Catholic Weekly (Australia): Gateway for Anglicans ‘in place by Easter’

29 11 2010

From the Catholic Weekly (Sydney):

The first personal ordinariate for former Anglicans is expected to be established in Australia by next Easter, according to Bishop Peter Elliott, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ delegate for assisting lay Anglicans join the Church. The first such ordinariate is to be established in England and Wales in early January.

Bishop Elliott says “we’re hoping to follow a similar timeline”, but it “may be a few months later”.

“We’re yet to work out with the Vatican what would be the best procedure, but it ought to focus around Easter and Pentecost,” said Bishop Elliott, auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne. “We would hope by then to have specific churches designated for the ordinariate and, also the most important thing, to have some clergy who have been privately reconciled and ordained to the priesthood ready to welcome their fellow former Anglicans.”

Catholic News Service reported the UK ordinariate 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 ordinariate will be formed by a decree and Pope Benedict XVI will appoint the ordinary at about the same time, the English and Welsh Catholic bishops 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 on November 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.

Bishop Elliott said: “I hope the structure can begin next year in Australia and that it will expand. I know it will be very small to start with and begin in some major cities. But once it is up and running I believe it will attract a much larger number of people.

“You can’t expect people to join something they can’t see, but next year that will be very different. The same situation applies in the UK and we will be following carefully what happens there even if we’re a few months behind their process.”