An Ordinariate for Wales?

5 12 2010

From a new blog designed to aid the establishment of an Ordinariate Group in South Wales –

In October 2009 news broke of a most generous offer from Pope Benedict XVI.  The Holy Father proposed the establishment of a mechanism whereby groups of Anglicans could be received into Communion with the Holy See and still retain and celebrate elements of their Anglican heritage.  This method of reception would be different from a personal reception where an individual can be received into the Catholic Church.  The details of this alterative form of reception for Anglicans were published on the 4th November 2009 in Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution and Complementary Norms, entitled Anglicanorum Cœtibus.  The opening paragraph of this Apostolic Constitution clearly describes the intention of the Holy Father’s offer:

In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately.  The Apostolic See has responded favourably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches, could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy desire to realization.

Under Anglicanorum Cœtibus a structure known as a Personal Ordinariate would be established for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into full communion with the Holy See.  Such Personal Ordinariates would be erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the territorial boundaries of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.

In England, under the guidance of the Anglican Provincial Episcopal Visitors (PEVs, or “Flying Bishops”) several Anglican congregations, plus a number of individuals who have been drawn towards these congregations, have formed groups to discern, pray, reflect and explore the possibility of asking for an Ordinariate to be established in their locality.  This process of discernment was given added impetus and encouragement as a result of the highly successful State Visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland and England in September of this year.  During that visit the Holy Father specifically asked his bishops to be supportive of those wishing to set up Ordinariate congregations in the UK.  Preparations for the formation of the first Ordinariates in England are underway, with them likely to be functioning by Pentecost 2011.  The nearest Ordinariate Group to South Wales is probably to be in Bristol.

This process is already underway; over the past few weeks a vanguard of five Anglican Bishops has left the CofE to prepare for reception in the Ordinariate in England.  These include two retired bishops (David Silk and Edwin Barnes), the two Provincial Episcopal Visitors for the Southern Province (Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton) and the Bishop of Fulham (Bishop Suffragan of London), John Broadhurst.

However, the situation in Wales is very different.  For nearly two years traditionalist Anglicans in the Church in Wales have been without episcopal oversight.  The Bench of Bishop has declined to appoint a successor to Bishop David Thomas, who had served with great distinction as our Provincial Assistant Bishop.   (The role of the Provincial Assistant Bishop [PAB] was similar to that of the English PEVs, but sadly without territorial jurisdiction).  So whereas the English traditionalist Anglicans could look to their PEVs for advice and guidance, without a PAB in Wales there is no natural figurehead to guide this project.  Credo Cymru, the Welsh section of Forward in Faith, has directed its efforts towards encouraging the Bench of Bishops to reconsider their decision not to appoint a PAB.  In this they have so far failed, and there seems little or no likelihood of that situation changing.

The essential feature of Anglicanorum Cœtibus is expressed in its title, Groups of Anglicans.  If there is not a significant number of traditionalist Anglicans in Wales who are willing to come together as a congregational group, or groups, to form an Ordinariate, then the only viable option is for a personal conversion to the Catholic Church.  Without any apparent leadership amongst traditionalist Anglicans in Wales it is impossible to assess whether there is any interest or desire for a Welsh Ordinariate.

This website has been set up as a first step in attempting to discern if there are any traditionalist Anglicans who may wish to explore the possibility of an Ordinariate in Wales.  Understandably there are going to be very pertinent questions and concerns about buildings, clergy, clerical stipends and pensions, clergy homes, provision for their wives and children.  These are very important material matters that will have to be addressed.  However, at this stage we are interested in finding out how many people may be interested in exploring the notion of a possible Ordinariate in South Wales.  Please register your interest by E-mailing your name and contact details to the Administrator at .  A registration form will then be E-mailed to you for you to complete and return to the Administrator.  The website Administrator will ensure the total confidentiality of your registered interest.  He will contact you personally to relay details about the next stage of this project.



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