Thinking Anglicans

Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans

Updated Tuesday lunchtime, afternoon and evening

In a joint statement issued today the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury have said

Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

There is also a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to “the Bishops of the Church of England, and the members of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion”.

Read the full statement and the letter below the fold.

Damian Thompson in the Telegraph reports this as Pope announces plans for Anglicans to convert en masse.
Also in the Telegraph George Pitcher has Pope throws a lifeline to the Church of England for women bishops.
Yet again in the Telegraph Martin Beckford and Nick Squires have Pope Benedict XVI paves way for thousands of disaffected Anglicans to cross over to Rome.

Reuters has Pope approves document on Anglicans joining church.

Associated Press has Vatican creates new structure for Anglicans, and, more extensively, Vatican creates new structure for Anglicans.

John Hooper in The Guardian has Roman Catholic church to receive Anglicans.
Also in The Guardian Riazat Butt and John Hooper write Roman Catholic church to receive Anglicans.

Austen Ivereigh in America has Rome offers new home to Anglican trads.

Ruth Gledhill in her Times blog has Pope unity move ‘not act of proselytism or aggression’ says Rowan Williams. This includes the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter, and also a letter from the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough (two of the “flying bishops”).
Update – Ruth Gledhill has updated her blog with video and audio from this morning’s press conference.
Ruth Gledhill and Richard Owen have the Times news article on this story: Vatican moves to poach traditional Anglicans.

Forward in Faith UK has issued a brief statement FiF reacts to Statement from Rome.

At The Guardian Andrew Brown writes in his blog about The end of the Anglican Communion.

Jim Naughton at Espicopal Café writes Vatican offers home to traditional Anglicans

Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia writes For Canterbury Exiles, Rome Builds a Bridge.

Episcopal Life Online has Pope announces special provisions to accept former Anglicans in Roman Catholic Church.
The US Episcopal church has issued this statement From The Episcopal Church on the recent statement from the Vatican.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales also has the statement on its website along with a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) press release: Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church.
There is a longer version of the CDF press release here.

Joint Statement by The Archbishop of Westminster and The Archbishop of Canterbury

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

+ Vincent + Rowan

To the Bishops of the Church of England, and
the members of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion

20 October 2009

The Vatican has announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has approved an ‘Apostolic Constitution’ (a formal papal decree) which will make some provision for groups of Anglicans (whether strictly members of continuing Anglican bodies or currently members of the Communion) who wish to be received into communion with the See of Rome in such a way that they can retain aspects of Anglican liturgical and spiritual tradition.

I am sorry that there has been no opportunity to alert you earlier to this; I was informed of the planned announcement at a very late stage, and we await the text of the Apostolic Constitution itself and its code of practice in the coming weeks. But I thought I should let you know the main points of the response I am making in our local English context – in full consultation with Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales – in the hope of avoiding any confusion or misrepresentation. I attach a copy of the Joint Statement that I agreed to make alongside the Archbishop of Westminster, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. It can also be found on my website.

It remains to be seen what use will be made of this provision, since it is now up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution; but, in the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression. It is described as simply a response to specific enquiries from certain Anglican groups and individuals wishing to find their future within the Roman Catholic Church.

The common heritage of the achievement of the ARCIC agreed statements, and the IARCCUM principles for shared work and witness (in Growing Together in Unity and Mission, 2007), remain the solid ground both for our future co-operation as global communions, and our regional and local growth in common faith and witness. For those who wish to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in the near future, this announcement will clarify possible options, and we wish them God’s strength and guidance in their discernment. Meanwhile our ecumenical relationships continue on their current cordial basis, regionally and internationally.

+ Rowan Cantuar:

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Song
Guest

The mind boggles.

Thomas+
Guest
Thomas+

Well, we now will see if those who where threatening to cross the Tiber have the guts to do so… or if it was just bluff!

So, I guess, now the CoE has a superb opportunity to move full steam ahead with the ordination of women to the episcopate.

Thomas+

ettu
Guest
ettu

oi vey! Hope the conservatives are happy and clean the premises before they leave for other pastures. Will Rowan be leading the procession or will he hang around the palace?

Marshall Scott
Guest

Here is something that some have wanted for some time: an Anglican Uniate body in communion with Rome. For example, the Traditional Anglican Communion has been seeking something like this. I do have to wonder about two things. The first is how married bishops will react, since they cannot function as ordinaries – unless they claim simply to have reverted to their priesthood. Certainly there are some celibate bishops in the Anglican tradition, but this will still, I think, leave the majority with a question of status. The second is Rowan’s interest. What sense of common interest led to a… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“[A]ccept the Petrine ministry **as willed by Christ for his Church**?”

I am shocked that any Archbishop of Canterbury would put his name to such a concession. One would have thought that one of the primary tasks of such a post is to defend non-Roman churches against Roman claims of primacy.

Can an Archbishop of Canterbury be impeached?

Walsingham
Guest
Walsingham

What I think will be most interesting to see is whether Rome recognizes Anglican orders in any case. The Vatican constitution appears to say that any Anglican priests making the switch will be re-ordained, but a Radio Vatican report (in German) expressly says their orders will be recognized.

Personally I think a recognition of Anglican orders would be a far greater sensation than this, as remarkable as it is.

JPM
Guest
JPM

Surely I wasn’t the only one hoping that the big announcement would be the transfer of Rowan Williams to Rome.

John Robison
Guest

Oh gag me.

christopher+
Guest
christopher+

This probably does offer a good way forward to some who be happier in the Roman Catholic Church, though they might find, as did Tony Blair, that formally affirming papal claims to supremacy does not always mean agreeing with the Bishop of Rome. This, of course, is not really the way it is *supposed* to work in Rome’s view, but there it is. Perhaps the member churches of the Anglican Communion should offer similar formal guidance and structures for Roman Catholic priests who wish to marry and yet still be part of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church” –… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Yes, and I’ll be playing “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” on my boombox as a certain cleric prepares to swim the Tiber:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6881679.ece

john
Guest
john

Well, one has to say that the timing is good. Other than that: this is the sort of mischievous and unscrupulous action which some of us expect from the present Vatican regime. Reaction/non-reaction/inoperability of some FiF sites is interesting, the ‘official’ FiF response predictably lick-spittle. Rowan’s ‘cooperation’ is also lamentable. What will Fathers Ed Tomlinson, T E Jones, et al. actually DO? Positive feelings will be tempered by the knowledge that few, if any, of their congregations will actually want to follow them, (he says: I hope it is true), as well as (I hope and believe) loyalty to the… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

And Gene Robinson to Canterbury JPM?! I am not encouraged by the narrow and mean mindedness of anti Roman Catholic sentiment on this blog. If people are given the chance to find a happy home this is surely a case for joy and happiness. I was happy for friends who took this step after 1992’s vote to ordain women…though surprised that what they suddenly found themselves in agreement with in Rome about outweighed what they disagreed about in the CofE. Even if you oppose women’s ordination and wish to have a debate to reach consensus (which did not happen in… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

“At The Guradian…”

Was that deliberate?

Ge
Guest
Ge

Well, I’m one that has quite happily made the switch (US) in the other direction.

Since most of the commenters here come from the Anglican/Episcopal direction, I thought I might suggest that it’s easy to overlook the extent to which this is likely to be focused on internal Catholic issues, specifically reinforcing the clericalist minority that, at least in the US, is more than disgusted with the antiques of the Wojtyla bishops and their followers.

Andrew Brown
Guest

What I think will be most interesting to see is whether Rome recognizes Anglican orders in any case. The Vatican constitution appears to say that any Anglican priests making the switch will be re-ordained, but a Radio Vatican report (in German) expressly says their orders will be recognized. Do you have a source for that. Walsingham? My enquiries (and I wasn’t at the press conference) suggest that re-ordination will be mandatory.

norris hall
Guest
norris hall

I think this is an excellent move. By opening itself up to married priests the Catholic church will have taken a small step towards acceptance of married clergy.
If nothing else, the Catholic Church will grow accustom to the idea of having married priests and it will become harder to justify celibacy in the church as a whole.
Also, since Anglicans are not as strongly opposed to abortion and divorce or to the concept of “Mary Mother of God”, I wonder if the Catholic Church will begin to allow exceptions to some of their more cherished beliefs.

BillyD
Guest

I agree with Peter Owen. This is simply the US’s “Anglican Use” writ large.

toby forward
Guest

Please leave the lights on as you go, because the rest of us will be carrying on, business as usual. Goodbye.

Christopher (P.)
Guest
Christopher (P.)

Re: Norris Hall.

My understanding is that the Eastern Catholic Churches may have married clergy, if that is their tradition and if authorized by their autonomous churches, which are in full communion with the See of Rome and acknowledge the primacy of that See. Is this any different?

BackPew
Guest
BackPew

More prejudice against women. Let’s see: some Anglicans protest against the ordination of women and appeal to Rome for acceptance. Rome creates an opening that allows disgruntled, anti-women, former Anglicans to “enter into full communion with the church”. Without the issue of ordination of women, neither of these parties would be even remotely interested in the other; they are bound only by their belief that women are somehow not qualified to the work of God on earth. The church even hypocritically alters it’s own “personnel policy” by accepting married anglicans to become part of the all male, “celibate” clergy. The… Read more »

David Keen
Guest

Couching it in terms of ‘groups’ of Anglicans seems to be a direct appeal for congregations to move under the Roman wing en masse. Am I reading that right?

Dirk Reinken
Guest
Dirk Reinken

I think this action can be read cynically, or at face value. From my own experience in staffing Anglican/Roman Catholic Dialogue in the US, I’m choosing to see this at face value. Rome has heard from former Anglican groups who are ready to submit but basically want to keep a BCP-ish liturgy on some form of Anglican ethos. Rome has now established a global provision for doing so that seems to build on the pastoral provision in the US. My read is that this isn’t so much full communion with Rome as we speak of it with the Lutherans, Moravians,… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

No, Neil; Gene seems to be doing a very fine job in New Hampshire.

Rowan, on the other hand….

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I wonder what the Vatican sees as the “worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony”.In England most Anglican “papalists” are simply “modern Roman catholics” in liturgy and spirituality;they rarely use anything Anglican at all.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Great. Let’s now repeal the Act of Synod and not worry about codes of practice for the opponents of Women bishops.

Christopher (P.)
Guest
Christopher (P.)

Re: Norris Hall.

My understanding is that the Eastern Catholic Churches may have married clergy, if that is their tradition and if authorized by their autonomous churches, which are in full communion with the See of Rome and acknowledge the primacy of that See. Is this any different?

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Is Rome telling disaffected Anglicans that they can eat their cake and have it too? I think this is meddling in the affairs of another church. But since Rome continues to see the rest of Christianity as interlopers, pseudo Christians, or second-rank Christians, with the Roman Catholic Church as being THE true One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, this is simply a continuation of Rome’s 400-year fight against the CofE by other means. After all, Anglicans have always been able to become Roman Catholic by following whatever path to conversion/reception that church already had in place. Although, this sounds very… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

If two bites of the apple are permitted sequentially …
I’m a slow typist. Thank you BackPew at 4:26pm BST for your comments on the Roman Catholic Church and WO, especially your first two paragraphs.

Lister Tonge
Guest
Lister Tonge

Perry Butler’s point is very interesting: the situation in the USA and UK is very different. T/ECUSA has nothing like the CofE’s tradition of clergy (including bishops) and parishes which try to be as ‘Roman Catholic’ as possible in their liturgical use. They use the Roman mass rite exclusively and steer clear of everything Anglican, wherever possible. The (Roman) Divine Office is de rigeur. I suppose we shall still end up with some of these Roman-style parishes and priests remaining in the C of E but it will be very hard to see why. Having negotiated this new arrangement with… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

Peter Owen: 25 years and longer. The first Episcopal priest I knew who decided to pursue Roman Orders with wife and family in tow was in early ’80’s. Members of his family were parishioners. They didn’t understand what he thought he was doing. This, however, does go a step beyond. This is more like the Eastern Catholic churches that others have referred to. Heretofore “Anglican Rite” congregations under the Pastoral Provision have been accountable to the local Roman bishop. This would seem to establish a separate episcopate, accountable to Rome directly, and not through the Roman episcopate.

KHBrumm
Guest
KHBrumm

Perhaps considering scripture may shed some light: “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” Galatians 5:1, 5-6, NRSV. It makes no difference which side you decide to stand on, “circumcision or uncircumcision”, Anglican or Roman, if “faith working through love” is not present. Isn’t the point of our faith being able to… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

I have to admire the way Rowan and the English Romans handled this, for this is an unwelcome development. I posted some time ago the report of a very gin soaked meeting I had with a former Anglican who now is a well placed RC, the expectation and “reliable information from Rome” he advanced then was the deal had been done with the Orthodox for married bishops in this new Anglican Rite Church. I must say that I was convinced and made many calls the next day – only to be told at the very highest level “not to be… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

The Roman Catholic Church appears to feel able to adapt its episcopate to new circumstances without calling a Council of the whole Church?

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

“To think God would have a preference of gender among our species to do His work is absurd.”– BackPew Absolutely! And, don’t think that progressive RCers will be very happy about this development. While THEY are expected to be celibate, the RIGHT-WINGERS from Canterburyland can be married. Who knows, maybe this will be the last straw for those RCers who have advocated married and women priests. We Anglicans may, in fact, get more traffic crossing in our direction than in the other. At least that’s the view from Brooklyn, NY, where our newly consecrated Bishop Coadjutor (the Rt. Rev. Lawrence… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Does anyone really think that there are so many Anglicans who would much rather be RCs (papal infallibility, assumption of the BVM, etc) but haven’t done so yet because they’d have to do without Evensong? It doesn’t sound like a good basis for switching churches or not……

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Taking a break from my unexpected infamy…it is not about a strange basis of switching faiths as Sara suggests, but a desire from Rome to reach out to those they recognise to be faithful who are trapped in a church which is increasingly becoming unfaithful….

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Taking a break from my unexpected infamy…it is not about a strange basis of switching faiths as Sara suggests, but a desire from Rome to reach out to those they recognise to be faithful who are trapped in a church which is increasingly becoming unfaithful….

Heather McCance
Guest
Heather McCance

So, would my priestly orders be recognized?

I’m guessing not, but the statement from the Vatican Press Office says only that married former Anglican priests could be accepted. It says nothing about the gender of said priests.

The very fact that it goes without saying speaks volumes.

karen macqueen+
Guest
karen macqueen+

This move by the Holy See seems to be their response to the request of the Traditional Anglican Communion to submit themselves to Rome, and to be received as a body by the Roman Catholic Church. The timing of this move by the Vatican also has to do with the protracted debate about women as bishops in the CofE and the request of some CofE bishops for a similar submission to Rome. Obviously, this provision offers Roman oriented opponents of women’s ordination and consecration as bishops, as well as acceptance of LGBT persons in the Church an opportunity to enter… Read more »

john
Guest
john

Good post, Karen.

I agree absolutely about RW. One might have hoped that on such an occasion he could have mustered a few thoughts about the dignity – and continued need for – Reformed Catholicism. He has little dignity. So few of our people (in the C of E) have. At least Schori and others (including your good self) have balls (hope that’s acceptable gender-wise).

toby forward
Guest

Wouldn’t it be a hoot if they were told that they had to use Church of England services, in order to maintain the fiction that they were coming along and bringing a ‘distinctive Anglican patrimony’? Anyone who stared to use Roman Catholic liturgies would be made to get off the island in the middle and cross the Tiber completely.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Gee Ed, you thought that Tina Turner was bad, just wait until you get to sing ‘Awesome God’ and [B]eagles Wings!!!!! No more Evensong for you!

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

The establishment of an Anglican Use depends on a lot of laypeople crossing over with these priests. Sure, there may be a lot of Anglo-Catholic, anti-WO priests who will swim the Tiber. But will their congregations follow? The Pastoral Provision website suggests otherwise. It mentions that over 70 Episcopal priests have made the switch, but there are only 7 Anglican Use parishes (and it looks like only 3 of them have their own building). My predecessor in my current parish was one of those English Anglo-Catholics (by way of the West Indies), who used the Roman Missal. I have moved… Read more »

Ashpenaz
Guest
Ashpenaz

Ummm–could a Roman priest who wants to marry switch to the Anglican church, get married, and then come back to the RC Church?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“It would seem plausible that priests in this prelature will be able to marry just as eastern rite Catholic priests can.” Point of correction, Karen MacQ: it’s not that priests can marry (EO, ER, AngR). It’s that married men may be ordained (if they are widowed after being ordained, they will, I believe, be required to stay single). *** I want to second Jeremy: “‘[A]ccept the Petrine ministry **as willed by Christ for his Church**?’ I am shocked that any Archbishop of Canterbury would put his name to such a concession.” But maybe it’s a misinterpretation of Rowan’s signature? [At… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Please/Por Favor the ABC ought start paying attention (I realize he´s been busy blaming REALITY on The Episcopal Church but his ¨surprised¨ are destroying the Anglican Communion…obviously the Pope and those interested in worshipping at the RC Church can keep playing PRETEND as long as they like…but, lets not forget that THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES EVERYONE (and doesn´t pretend *everyone* isn´t at ALL levels of Churchlife)! ·Here´s a little reminder from the Roman Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey/U.S.A. from years gone by and actions taken in preperation to pull part of this condriven ¨shell game¨ off: The Most Reverend John… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

I think this one is worth watching. It could mean very little either way. Or it could be a big deal but in ways that might be unpredictable. The tectonic plates are in flux (if that’s possible). Might mean CofE is less rather than more accommodating over women bishops. Might offer a lifeline to FiF parishes but then again may not if the modalities are not correct. Certainly destabilises the Anglican Communion though in which way is difficult to predict and will take a decade or so to say for sure. Don’t forget that things are happening outside the Anglican… Read more »

Walsingham
Guest
Walsingham

@Andrew Brown:
Yes, the source is the German-language report from Radio Vatikan:
http://www.oecumene.radiovaticana.org/ted/Articolo.asp?c=327804
“Die Konstitution von Papst Benedikt XVI. sieht auch vor, dass die bisher verheirateten anglikanischen Priester anerkannt werden.”
(Translation: “Pope Benedict XVI’s constitution provides for the recognition of previously married Anglican priests.” The key word is “recognition” (“anerkannt”).
However, in the English text of the constitution, it seems clear that they will all be re-ordained, at least sub conditione. But I agree that it will also be interesting to see if they accept the validity of the orders on the basis of the Old Catholic succession, if at all.