Fr Federico Lombardi on the Ordinariate

22 01 2011

Translated from the Vatican Radio website, which includes a recording of the text:

On 15 January in London, three former Anglican bishops were ordained priests. In recent months, they had submitted their resignations from the Church of England in order to enter into the communion of the Catholic Church. It was a decisive step for the erection of the first “Ordinary” provided by a document of Benedict XVI published in November 2009 – Anglicanorum coetibus – for the pastors and Anglican faithful who wish to enter the Catholic Church, not as individuals but as groups. Meeting the English bishops at the end of his trip, Benedict XVI spoke of “a prophetic act that can contribute positively to the development of relations between Anglicans and Catholics, which helps us to turn our gaze to the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activities: … full ecclesial communion”.

On the occasion of his appointment, the first Ordinary – one of the three newly-ordained, in fact – he thanked the Pope for his confidence; his wife and his family for their support; the Church of England for all it gave him; the Anglican primate, Rowan Williams, for his patience and kindness shown to him during the long and difficult path of transition to the Catholic communion. In a long interview, marked by spontaneity, he recalled how the desire for union has marked his entire Christian life, recalled his experience profound universality of the Church at a general audience in St. Peter’s Square, and spoke of his joy of a grandfather who was able to baptize his first grandson during his first Mass as a Catholic priest.

Not a sign of division then, but a small bridge on the long road to unity. It seems that there really is here something which is new and beautiful. We hope that the new English Ordinariate, and the others that follow, can be born and grow in this spirit. May Blessed Cardinal Newman, patron of the Ordinariate, accompany and inspire it.