NCR John Wilkins: With a thousand Anglican converts, ordinariate gets going

2 06 2011

From the National Catholic Reporter:

Not for nothing has the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome been known as the “Suprema.” It does not specialize in consultation with other bodies, whether within the Vatican or elsewhere. This mindset was spectacularly exhibited with the abrupt unveiling of a new supra-territorial Roman Catholic church structure titled a “Personal Ordinariate,” with its doors open to groups of disaffected Anglicans throughout the world who were invited to move collectively to Rome, bringing their Anglican patrimony with them. This explosive device had been secretly laid below the surface of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations by a small party of doctrinal congregation sappers, encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI. In press conferences on Oct. 20, 2009, it was detonated.

The debris from the explosion is now settling. In England, the only country so far where the ordinariate is up and running, almost a thousand ex-Anglicans, composed of groups of laity with 64 of their pastors, of whom 54 have applied to become Catholic priests, have come over in the first wave. The ordination of the former Anglican clergy is being fast-tracked for Pentecost. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is calling the shots, for the local Roman Catholic bishops had wanted these clergy to undergo a year’s preparation.

Three former Anglican bishops, all of them married, all now with the title of monsignor, are the leaders. One, Keith Newton, has been appointed the ordinary, may carry a crosier and wear a miter, and participates in meetings of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales with an equal voice. In an echo of the Anglican synodical tradition, he is required to consult with a governing council of priests and laity, and future holders of his office will be appointed from a list of three candidates drawn up by this council, not by the nuncio.

Read the rest of the story here.