Diaconal Ordinations: Eyewitness Account

13 01 2011

The Catholic League blog has a brief account of the diaconal ordinations of the Reverends John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, which took place at 5.30pm on the evening of Thursday 13 January:

We warmly congratulate the Revd John Broadhurst, the Revd Andrew Burnham and the Revd Keith Newton on their ordination to serve in the sacred order of deacons in the Catholic Church today, 13 January 2011, at Allen Hall. The three who will form the founding clergy of the Ordinariate, were presented for ordination to Bishop Alan Hopes by Mgr Seamus O’Boyle, Vicar General of the Diocese of Westminster, with the insertion of the words ‘with the approval of the Holy See.’

The prayer created by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship giving thanks for previous ordained Anglican ministry used in the past by Cardinal Hume was not employed.

Because the Ordinariate is not yet formally announced, the deacons are not ‘acephalous clerics’ nor of the diocese of Westminster. They were ordained under the direct authority of the Pope, the Archbishop of Westminster through Bishop Hopes acting on his behalf.

At the end of the Mass, the Bishop offered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over Mrs Broadhurst, Mrs Burnham and Mrs Newton.

The following comment on the post, made by the Catholic League’s blogging team, adds further information [Ed.]:

They are ordained with the approval of the Holy See for the Ordinariate in anticipation of its formal creation Friday or Saturday. Ecclesiologically this task has been confided to the Church of the diocese of Westminster acting on the Holy Father’s behalf, so on this occasion Bishop Alan was acting as assistant Bishop in the diocese of Westminster, more than as Episcopal Delegate for the Ordinariate of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference as a whole.

Prior to the Mass of Ordination, the three swore the usual oaths and made the usual promises and this included promises of obedience received by Bishop Alan as ordaining within the diocese of Westminster. Indeed the candidates were presented by the diocese’s Vicar General. They also made additional promises to obey the Ordinary, in anticipation of the erecton of the Ordinariate and the appointment of the Ordinary himself. So the answer is that, from the outset, while the instrument was the diocese of Westminster for the purpose, acting directly under the provisions of the supreme authority, the new clerics are designated clerics, even now, of the Ordinariate.

When the Ordinariate is announced, probably on Saturday when all three belong to the Catholic priesthood and an appointment is made, we shall also have confirmed the dedication and patronage of the Ordinariate.