The first personal ordinariate for former Anglicans will be established in England in early January, the English and Welsh Catholic bishops announced. It will include five former Anglican bishops, who announced their resignations earlier this month, and an unspecified number of clergy and laity divided into about 30 groups, the bishops said a news conference at their headquarters Nov. 19.
The ordinariate will be formed by a decree, and Pope Benedict XVI will appoint the ordinary at about the same time, they said. The structure, which will resemble a military diocese, will be the first to be created since the Pope issued his apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus Nov. 4, 2009.
The ordinariate will allow groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church while retaining much of their distinctive patrimony — including married priests — as well as their liturgical practices.
Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster, the bishops’ liaison officer for the ordinariate and the highest-ranking former Anglican priest in England and Wales, said small groups of Anglican laity and their pastors had been preparing for reception into the Church and the ordinariate since late September.
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