An Appreciation of Anglicanorum Coetibus (Part III): Study Paper I – Towards an English Ordinariate

4 07 2011

This Study Paper, written by the Revd Brooke Lunn, is published on the Catholic League website.  It is prefaced by these words:

Following the posting from Prebendary Brooke Lunn, our past Priest Director’s remarkable Appreciation of Anglicanorum Coetibus, in which he judges that the Apostolic Constitution’s provisions satisfy the aspirations of the historic and influential Anglican Papalist tradition and its objectives for “corporate reunion”, we now post the first of his three accompanying Study Papers.

Study Paper I: Towards an English Ordinariate was drafted in the period following the issue of Anglicanorum Coetibus in late 2009 and into 2010. It was circulated privately to assist Anglicans discerning the significance and provisions of the Apostolic Constitution and proposed a “proto-Ordinariate”, an informal association of individuals and groups exploring possibilities, who could serve as the basis of a more defined movement out of which the Ordinariate itself could be formed.

Above all, Fr Lunn focuses on the Constitution’s four significant factors:

  1. The creativity of the Apostolic See in accepting the once maligned, but ecumenically influential, Anglican Papalist narrative of “corporate reunion”, locating the Catholic space for its terms in Ad Gentes 20 and Canon 372;
  2. It is a breakthrough solution to Christian disunity, providing the means for respecting the Church life of other Christians and integrating it with the Catholic Church in a way that has been impossible at any other time since the sixteenth century (not least because of the shortcomings of the procedures of merely individual reconciliation);
  3. It provides for a genuinely mutual reception of gifts and ecclesial life, fully in accord with the Decree on Ecumenism’s principle of spiritual ecumenism, also known nowadays as receptive ecumenical learning – thus the Ordinariate can and must offer the tradition and the key elements of the patrimony of the “Church of England entire”, not just isolated portions;
  4. How the members of the Ordinariate can contribute to the closer sharing of ecclesial life and mission among the Pilgrim People of God, across the divisions within the Church, in order to meet the needs and justified expectation of the people of England for a “common, shared, united witness and proclamation of the Gospel by all the Christians in this land”, “united not absorbed”. The same could be true of an Ordinariate in other lands.

While some of Study Paper I serves the enquiries and explorations of those beginning to consider the possibility of joining an Ordinariate, it also has a great deal to say about the positive formation and development of an Ordinariate once established, as it takes shape and maps its way ahead on sound and carefully thought through principles. This is above all what Fr Lunn is seeking to facilitate. To his mind, the Ordinariate and its patrimony are fundamentally concerned with the integration of the whole of Christ’s Church according to the prayer and will of Christ – “that they may be one, so that the world may believe.” Indeed he strongly articulates the encouragement of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI on his Apostolic Visit to Great Britain in September 2010, as he addressed the Ecumenical Evening Prayer at Westminster, to find unity in none other than the apostolic faith, in order to give before the world a convincing account of the hope in the Risen Jesus Christ that lies within us.

Here is the complete Study Paper:

Towards an English Ordinariate

This Study Guide is intended to facilitate consideration of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of Pope Benedict XVI given at Rome on 4th November 2009, together with the accompanying Complementary Norms from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  [CTS Booklet Do 826]

The Apostolic Constitution and accompanying norms are the response of the Holy Father to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full, visible communion with the Catholic Church.

Thus the Constitution is not addressed specifically to English Anglicans.  Therefore the particular form which the canonical structure introduced by the Constitution might take in England needs to be explored and formulated and spelt out in further detail.  This should enable those English Anglicans wishing to follow up this response of the Holy Father to achieve a more thorough and considered and better informed understanding on which to base any decision they might make in this matter.  So this Study Paper is offered to facilitate consideration within the Church of England.

This is the compilation of one person.  Is it helpful?  Does it cover the subject adequately, at least by way of introduction?  Does it encourage useful discussion?  Are there obvious omissions?  Are any parts superfluous or irrelevant?  Constructive criticism would be gratefully received.

You may get through it in half-an-hour, with yes/no answers.  This is not its purpose.  The purpose of the questions is to provoke thought rather than definitive answers.  Though intended primarily for group study, it may be used individually.

The Reverend Prebendary Brooke Lunn, Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6AN.


ACAC = Anglicanorum Coetibus Apostolic Constitution

ACCN = Anglicanorum Coetibus Complementary Norms


The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus is possibly the most practical and significant initiative of the Roman Catholic Church since the sixteenth century schism to make provision to heal it.  Its radical features include, for example, provision for:

a) corporate reunion;

b) the wider sharing in the Catholic Church of that which is of good value in our Anglican Patrimony;

c) a significant extension of the place of married clergy within the Catholic Church.

In England the media response has been generally negative, from the aggressively hostile – ‘Pope parking his tanks on the lawns of Lambeth Palace’ – to the lukewarm – ‘few will be interested’.  Among Anglicans who responded, there have been received just under forty small groups, like ‘parishes’/congregations, comprising just under 1,000 lay people with over 60 clergy mostly ordained deacon and priest in the Catholic Church between Easter and Pentecost 2011. This risks being a very limited, short lived, denominational adjustment to accommodate Anglicans, until such time as they have acclimatised themselves to the Roman Catholic English culture.

There is another, much more positive, reading of Anglicanorum Coetibus, which sees it as having the potential to develop into a major breakthrough towards Christian unity in England.  Such a positive reading sees the priority of Anglicanorum Coetibus as contributing towards the necessary renewal of the Church in England in order to make her fit for her purpose of meeting the needs of the people of England by the proclamation of the Gospel to all the people of our land.

Disunity among Christians is a major stumbling block in the way of the effective proclamation of the Gospel.  The prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ [John 17:20-21] makes this point clearly.  ‘I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.’  Our Lord Jesus Christ does not pray for the impossible, and Anglicanorum Coetibus, understood in this context, can be a way of facilitating the necessary unity that will make the Church in England fit for purpose.

Anglicanorum Coetibus is addressed to Anglicans worldwide, and how it might take effect outside England is outside the scope of this present exploration.  For those members of the Church of England of a strongly catholic orientation, the ball is most definitely ‘in our court’.

What then should we now be doing?  Exploring how Anglicanorum Coetibus might work out in practice in our English context?  Yes!  But how?  The writer of these thoughts makes a practical suggestion.

To explore the issues raised and to contribute towards the development of the English Ordinariate, three Study Papers are available to any, whether Anglicans considering joining the Ordinariate, existing members of the Ordinariate, or other Roman Catholics, who are interested in deeper study in groups or individually:

  • Study Paper I – Towards an English Ordinariate
  • Study Paper II –  Anglican Patrimony
  • Study Paper III –  Sacraments and the Ordinariate

For those interested in joining the Ordinariate, whether as an individual or in a newly emerging group, the exploratory process might be thus:

Stage 1 – Expressions of interest – use of study papers – collating of ‘findings’ of study groups/individuals – the formation of any identifiable new groups.

Stage 2 – Identifiable groups (as implicitly required by the title ‘Groups of Anglicans’) committed to making a corporate approach to an Ordinary or the local delegate of the Bishops’ Conference working to the brief of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

I.                   The genesis of Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Church of England distinct from Roman Catholicism dates from the Elizabethan Settlement.  The Church in England in the generation before that was a seriously unsettled Church, from the strongly protestant Edward VI to the strongly catholic Mary.  In the reign of Elizabeth Roman Catholics became increasingly distinct and marginalised.  Even here there were two distinct attitudes – those who were militantly counter-reformation, and the phenomenon of the ‘Church Papists’, who were qualified conformists, sometimes condoned by their own Roman Catholics priests.  To this day English Roman Catholics have either favoured pursuing the reunion of the Church of England with Rome, or of replacing the Church of England.  The latter approach has dominated.

The term Anglican to describe the position of the Church of England only goes back to the early seventeenth century.  From the sixteenth century to the present day there have been those who, from the Church of England side, have sought reunion with Rome.  They have been few in number, and for much of that period the general attitude was ‘No Popery’, up till our present time.

The Oxford Movement (1833 onwards) saw a significant development towards Rome in the Church of England, but a hardening of the replacement attitude by English Roman Catholics.  Specific movements within the Church of England for reunion with Rome appeared in the nineteenth century.  The Anglican Spencer Jones published England and the Holy See in 1902, a classic of Anglican Papalism.  The Centenary Tractates of 1933 are another classic of Anglican Papalism.  Both these were primarily concerned to commend catholic teaching to the people of England.  The group of Anglicans of catholic orientation who produced the Report Catholicity in 1947 contained an impressive number of great scholars, not all of whom were papalists.  The Report was favourable towards Rome, though not uncritical.

A major shift of emphasis resulted from the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.  Every Archbishop of Canterbury since Geoffrey Fisher, the first to do so, has visited the Pope.  The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission [ARCIC] was set up.  Their First Agreed Statement on Authority, in section 23, favoured a universal primacy based on the Roman Apostolic See.  The priority of Anglican Papalists, corporate reunion with Rome, for which they had been heavily maligned, could now be contemplated by an official joint Commission.

Then this encouraging ecumenical progress slowed down.  Increasing divisions within the Anglican Communion led to a variety of impaired communion situations.  Such is a very brief background to the more recent developments:

  • 1980s – The Pastoral Provision for Anglicans in the USA
  • 1990s – The setting up of Forward in Faith [FiF] for orthodox, mainstream Anglicans; the Act of Synod of the General Synod of the Church of England
  • 2000s – The Traditional Anglican Communion [TAC] in discussions with the Vatican
  • 2009 – The General Synod of the Church of England adopts a very hard line against the FiF constituency. Some Church of England Bishops have discussions with the Vatican following on the General Synod hard line attitude; and report back to Church of England authorities. Note well –  all the above developments from the 1980s are in the public domain.
  • November 2009 – Anglicanorum Coetibus is given in Rome. Church of England and Roman Catholic authorities in England appear to be caught off guard.  There is exceedingly hostile reception in parts of the English media, even to a resurgence of crude ‘No Popery’.

Such is an exceedingly brief genesis of the Apostolic Constitution.


i. Do you think that reunion with Rome is desirable?

ii. Do you think that full, visible communion with Rome is necessary to fulfil the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 17 that all his followers should be united?

iii. Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed that all his followers should be one.  Did Jesus pray for the impossible?

iv. Do you think that reunion with Rome is undesirable, or even worse?

v. Is the evident disunity of Christians in England a scandal, a stumbling block in the task of sharing the faith with the people of England?

vi. Do you think that any one Church or ecclesial community in England can alone carry out the task effectively of sharing the faith with the people of England?

vii. The Oxford Dictionary of the English Church has this entry: ‘Roman Catholicism.  The term, which denotes the faith and practice of all Christians who are in communion with the Pope, is used in particular of Catholicism as it has developed since the Reformation.’  Some see this as distinguishing between two cultures, and are better disposed towards the former.  What about you?  [NB.  Some Eastern Churches are in full communion with the Pope, but are not Roman Catholic.]

II.                Brief commentary on Anglicanorum Coetibus

1.                  Reunion with Rome

The First Agreed Statement on Authority of ARCIC, section 23, reads:

If God’s will for the unity in love and truth of the whole Christian community is to be fulfilled, this general pattern of the complementary primatial and conciliar aspects of episcope serving the koinonia of the Churches needs to be realized at the universal level.  The only see which makes any claim to universal primacy and which has exercised and still exercises such episcope is the see of Rome, the city where Peter and Paul died.

It seems appropriate that in any future union a universal primacy such as has been described should be held by that see.’


i. Do you agree that the pattern of ‘the complementary primatial and conciliar aspects of episcope serving the koinonia of the Churches needs to be realized at the universal level.’?

ii. Do you agree that such a universal primacy rightly belongs to the Roman Apostolic See ?

2.                  Corporate reunion

The title Anglicanorum Coetibus is translated ‘groups of Anglicans’.  The Constitution [p.7] makes provision ‘for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner’.  Hitherto, Anglicans entering into full communion with Rome could only do so on an individual basis; except in the USA since the 1980s through the Pastoral Provision.

This individual path was spelt out explicitly in the Statement of the (Roman Catholic) Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales in November 1993.

We have looked carefully at the suggestions of the establishment of a Personal Prelature or of a Special Pastoral Provision, such as exists in the USA.  We are of one mind that, in our particular circumstances, such alternatives would only serve to increase the multiplicity of Church identities in an unhelpful and confusing manner…..We are convinced that the Roman Catholic community, diocese by diocese, will be enriched by the eventual full integration of those who bring with them not only the traditions of English Anglicanism, but also its commitment to reach out to those who are on the margin of Christian living, or beyond.

The Vatican II Decree Ad Gentes (20) says:

If it happens that in certain regions there is a group of men which is impeded from accepting the Catholic faith because they cannot adapt themselves to the particular guise in which the Church presents itself in that place, then it is desirable that this situation should be provided for, until all Christians can gather together in one community.

Canon 372 reads:

1. As a rule that portion of the people of God which constitutes a diocese or other particular Church is to have a defined territory, so that it comprises all the faithful who live in that territory.

2. If, however, in the judgement of the supreme authority in the Church, after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned, it is thought to be helpful,  there may be established in a given territory particular Churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality.’


i. Anglican-Roman Catholic corporate reunion has hitherto presumed the involvement of the whole Anglican Communion.  Is this aspiration now seen to be too unrealistic?

ii. If so, does it make sense to think now in terms of groups of Anglicans reuniting with Rome?

iii. Would such partial reunion hinder or facilitate a fuller reunion of Anglicans with Rome?

iv. Might such partial reunion hinder the work of ARCIC and IARCCUM; or might it be seen as a practical application of the thinking of these two bodies?

v.  Anglicanorum Coetibus relates to Ad Gentes 20 and Canon 372:2.  The Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales seem to be taking an opposite view.  Do you think that Ad Gentes 20, Canon 372:2 and Anglicanorum Coetibus are right, in principle, in making special provision where this would be considered helpful for those seeking to enter into full communion with Rome?

vi. Do you agree with the Roman Catholic Bishops’ November 1993 Statement that special provision can be unhelpful and confusing?

vii. Do you think that the two positions above (v and vi) are not necessarily incompatible?

viii. The Ordinariate is clearly a corporate structure.  What might constitute a group of Anglicans seeking full communion?  Religious Orders?  A group from a parish?  Members of an Anglican catholic society [e.g. SSC, etc.]?  A group formed within the Church of England with the specific purpose of seeking full communion with Rome?  [A previous proposal for a ‘proto-ordinariate’ is explored below]

ix. The previous question mentions ‘a group from a parish’.  In England parish is distinct from congregation, indicating all the population of a particular territory, regardless of their religious allegiance, or lack thereof.  Thus, it is not feasible to transfer a Church of England parish into a personal parish of the Ordinariate.  Personal parishes [ACAC VIII:1, ACCN 14:1-2] and quasi-parishes [ACCN14:3] in the English context would benefit from further consideration.  Explore the issues arising here.

III.             Anglican Patrimony

Anglicanorum Coetibus speaks of ‘formation in Anglican patrimony’ [ACAC VI:5, cf. ACCN 10:1,2].  This is a key concept of Anglicanorum Coetibus requiring the most thorough study.  Study Paper II: Anglican Patrimony therefore addresses it in its own right.

1.            Married clergy

The association of a vocation to Holy Orders with a vocation to celibacy is one of the most highly sensitive issues at this time.  The long Anglican experience of married clergy is very rich in evidence to assist in considering this issue.  In very recent times, the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has begun to share this Anglican experience which, it seems, has been found helpful.

The provision in Anglicanorum Coetibus for married Anglican clergy who enter into full communion with Rome to be admitted to the ordained presbyterate of the Roman Catholic Church needs to be seen against the above background and in the light of developing understanding throughout the Church.

Unmarried Anglican clergy who are accepted as candidates for the Roman Catholic presbyterate must submit to the norms of clerical celibacy [ACAC VI:1].  Married clergy may be accepted ‘on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.’  [ACAC VI:2]  ‘Anglican clergy who are in irregular marriage situations may not be accepted for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate.’ [ACCN VI:2]  ‘A married former Anglican Bishop is eligible to be appointed Ordinary.  In such a case he is to be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church and then exercises pastoral an d sacramental ministry within the Ordinariate with full jurisdictional authority.’  [ACCN 11:1]


i. Do you think that the provision for married clergy in Anglicanorum Coetibus is, relative to the practice of clerical celibacy as the norm, very generous?

ii. Given the relatively unknown territory into which married clergy take the Roman Catholic Church, do you think that special effort needs to be made to ensure proper pastoral care of such clergy and their families?

iii. On a question of fact, can you name a single Ordinary in catholic Christendom (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) in the last thousand years, and more, who was married whilst being in good standing as Ordinary?

2.            Integration

The fullness of the Church is to be found both in the local Church, the faithful with their Bishop, and universal, the communion of all the Churches with each other and with the Roman Apostolic See.  It is not an either/or but a both/and.  In many dioceses not all the clergy serving in the diocese will belong to it, but rather to religious orders, Benedictines, Jesuits, and so on.  Westminster Archdiocese, for example, also has within its territory nine Eastern Catholic Churches, not Roman Catholic, yet in full communion with the Roman Apostolic See.  Then there are forces chaplains and Opus Dei.

Integration seeks to hold all this diversity together in one essential unity.  No easy task.  It is not difficult to see why Bishops become concerned at ‘parallel Churches’ and special pastoral provision.  Anglicanorum Coetibus, whose prime purpose is to make special provision for Anglicans entering into full communion with Rome, is fully aware of this.  In the brief document there are twenty-five references relating to integration.


i. Can special provision and integration go together hand in hand?

ii. Do you accept that the Diocesan Bishop, in order to build up the unity of all the faithful in his territory, is right to have a special concern as to how diverse groups (religious orders, special provision, etc.) within his diocese fit in to that unity?

iii. Is it clear to you that a primary purpose of integration is the effective mission of the Church; so that the people may the more easily recognise the Church, and not be confused by the diversity of that Church?

iv. Integration in this context is not the assimilation of one group to another, but rather a mutual growing together.  Do you understand what this might entail?  (cf. ‘The Anglican Church, united, not absorbed’ of Pope Paul VI and Dom Lambert Beauduin)  [NB. ‘Mutual Reception’ is explored further below]

3.            Mutual reception

A key concept in Anglicanorum Coetibus is that of Mutual Reception.  Section III of the Constitution reads:

‘Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.’

Those last five words – a treasure to be shared – are of great significance.  They indicate clearly that Anglican Patrimony is not some sort of concession for Anglicans to cling to, but a treasure to be shared by the Church.  This is a key concept of mutual reception.  Here are some of the characteristics of mutual reception.

It requires all parties to move.  It does not permit any one party to say to the others, ‘We are the perfect society; we have nothing at all to learn from you; so you come in and join us where we are.’  This attitude has been caricatured as You-come-in-ism.  The requirement for all parties to move thus sees us all as pilgrims, all on the move.  The more we can share our sense of direction and purpose, the more we can all be one ‘happy band of pilgrims’, with Jesus as our fellow, and Jesus as our head!

It requires us to be clear as to what is essential on our pilgrimage, and why.  This is a basic prerequisite of the inclusive approach, which can in no way ‘mean giving up or in any way diminishing the treasures of divine truth that the Church has constantly confessed and taught’.

It requires us ‘to have a predisposition for understanding every person, analyzing every system and recognizing what is right’ in the beliefs of others, acknowledging that the Spirit of truth can and does operate also ‘outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body’. [cf. Redemptor hominis 6]

It requires good will.

The Pilgrim People of God has become the dominant image of the Church, arising out of Vatican II.  In the dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, chapter 2 is headed ‘The People of God’, and chapter 13 ‘The Pilgrim Church’.  This set aside the pre-Vatican II image of the Church as the Perfect Society.  The change recognises that we are a people, not yet fully perfect, but on a journey to perfection, with the kingdom of God as our destiny.  As such it is essentially eschatological.  A static image has been replaced by one requiring movement.

No longer is there an ecclesial fixed point of unity.  Jesus is our fixed point, and he accompanies us on our journey.  On the analogy of the sat-nav, Jesus is our heavenly guide, and the Holy Father with the Magisterium our earthly Navigator.  Well, all analogies are imperfect.  Catholic Encyclopedia, page 745 says: ‘This people is the vanguard of the human race, for it is God’s will to bring all human beings into this one people, united in Christ, overcoming all that now divides mankind.’

Cardinal Kasper writes in That they may all be one (pages 67-68):

‘This does not mean that full communion as the goal of the ecumenical way has to be understood simply as the return of separated brothers and Churches to the bosom of the catholic mother Church.  The Second Vatican Council overcame this ecumenism of return by an ecumenism of common return, or common conversion to Jesus Christ…

‘The ecumenical endeavour is a common pilgrimage to the fullness of catholicity which Jesus Christ wants for his Church…

‘This does not mean the association or insertion of other Christians into a given ‘system’ but mutual enrichment and the fuller expression and realization of the one Church of Jesus Christ in all the Churches and ecclesial communities. The closer we come to Christ in this way the closer we come to each other, in order at the end to be fully one in Christ.’

Mutual reception is a very basic challenge to the way in which we have hitherto worked for unity and reunion.

We need to remember that this process is not starting from scratch.  The last half century has seen a notable increase of good work here, as in agreed statements of doctrine such as ARCIC has produced.  Mutual reception needs to be pursued at all appropriate levels, of which doctrine is one.  ‘All appropriate levels’ gives enormous scope for us, here and now.  We can, ourselves, explore what we might bring and, possibly, also hope to receive, in areas such as ministry, liturgy, teaching and preaching, pastoral ministry, and so on.  The question is not so much – what can we do ? – but rather – where might we start ?

‘With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf. Acts 17:30-31).’  [Dominus Iesus 22]

We must never lose sight of the priority that the Church in England is to serve ‘all humanity’ in England in accordance with the expressed will of our Lord Jesus Christ for the unity of all the faithful.  Other more personal reasons for reunion are not thus excluded, but must be seen in this proper context.  The mutuality of reception applies to all people of goodwill.


i. Do you accept that the Spirit of truth can and does operate  also outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body? [Redemptor hominis 6]

ii. If so, how predisposed would you be for understanding every person, analyzing every system and recognizing what is right?  Catholics?  Anglicans?  Methodists?  Baptists?  Quakers?  Jews?  Muslims?  Hindus?  Buddhists?  Non-religious life-stances?  etc.?

iii. How is your own pilgrimage going?

iv. In the process of mutual reception – where are you?

v. How might an English Ordinariate actively pursue Christian unity with the Church of England and the English Free Churches? [cf. IV below]

4.            The Catechism of the Catholic Church

‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by the members of the Ordinariate.’ [ACAC I:5]

On 11 October 1992, the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pope John Paul II gave the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum on the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  In Fidei depositum we read: ‘The principal task entrusted to the Council by Pope John XXIII was to guard and present better the precious deposit of Christian doctrine in order to make it more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all people of good will.’  ‘It must be sound doctrine suited to the present life of Christians.’  ‘This catechism is given to them (the Church’s Pastors and the Christian faithful) that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms.’

Consider also references in Anglicanorum Coetibus and its Complementary Norms to maintaining ‘the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared’ [ACAC III], and to formation in Anglican patrimony [ACAC VI:5 and ACCN 10:1,2].

The above points from Fidei depositum and Anglicanorum Coetibus suggest that an English Ordinariate would be well placed to assist in preparing a local catechism for the people of England, sure and authentically based on the reference text of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, incorporating ‘those aspects of the Anglican patrimony that are of particular value’ and relevant to the catechism format.  Such a local catechism should be formulated to be user friendly to the people of England and for the formation of the faithful of the Ordinariate.


i. Discuss the usefulness of such a local catechism.

ii. How might it be prepared ?

iii. How might it serve the formation of the faithful of the Ordinariate? [see 8 below]

iv. How might its formulation be guided by the concept of the hierarchy of truths ? [cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 90, 234]

5.                  Formation

Anglicanorum Coetibus and the Complementary Norms use the term formation with reference to the clergy.  ACAC 6:5 and ACCN 10 speak of doctrinal and pastoral formation and formation in Anglican patrimony.


i. Extending the concept of formation to all the faithful – how might they be assessed in terms of their grasp of the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

ii. How might the individual’s ability to grasp the teaching be assessed?

iii. What might be the basic requirement for profession of the Catholic faith in accordance with the Catechism of the Catholic Church?

iv. …a basic requirement of assent, not dissent, according to ability?

v. …an acknowledgement of continuing need to grow in the faith, and willingness to do so?

6.                  Material resources – finance

The amount of the Church’s work which is done voluntarily is difficult to estimate, but is very significant.  Lay people in parishes do much of the work and contribute financially.  Considerable resources have been built up down the ages by the Church.  Then there are various other sources.  In Europe there are Church taxes.  In England there have been tithes and glebe.  In this writer’s lifetime much has changed.  Tithes and glebe have been progressively removed.  Standard stipend scales and pensions have come in, including for assistant clergy.

One of the most significant changes is the greatly increased reliance on the direct giving of the faithful.  Another change is the emergence of the Self Supporting Ministry.

In both stipends and accommodation Church of England clergy have had significantly better provision than their Roman Catholic counterparts.  It would be short sighted to fail to acknowledge that this can be an important factor in the decision to enter an Ordinariate in England.

As part of the necessary process of integration, together with the shortage of clergy in the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, it is reasonable to expect that many Ordinariate clergy will exercise their ministry in diocesan parishes.  It is reasonable and realistic that they should have the same support as their fellow diocesan clergy.  It would be unreasonable and unrealistic to expect the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to make special provision for Ordinariate clergy working in the diocesan system.

ACCN 7:3 opens the way for some sort of Self Supporting Ministry.  Other parts of Article 7 of the Complementary Norms give scope for further investigation.

Regarding buildings, much sharing already takes place.  Several hundred Church of England Churches are also used for Roman Catholic worship on a fairly regular basis.  This is a prime opportunity to practise the basic ecumenical principle – never do separately what we can reasonably do together.  The then Anglican Bishop Edwin Barnes, in his Tufton Tract, The Catholic Church and England, p. 12, makes the important point:

But in the end, the buildings must not matter.  Above all, none of us wants to be involved in the sort of legal bickering which has so harmed the Episcopal Church in the USA.  Far better that we simply walk away from the past, however much we have been attached to our buildings.  New wine, new wineskins.


i. How important are financial and accommodation matters and buildings in your decision concerning the Ordinariate?

ii. Do you agree with Fr Barnes that, in the end, buildings must not matter ?

7.                  Liturgy

ACAC III names liturgy as part of Anglican patrimony.  It is probable that most Anglicans, when asked about our patrimony, would mention liturgy first.  Largely they might be thinking of the Authorised Version [AV] of the Bible, 1611, and the Book of Common Prayer [BCP] 1662.  In both cases the language would be in mind, not the Bible itself nor the Rite of the Liturgy.

The Bible is common to all Christians. The distinctive characteristic of the AV is in its English language translation of the original texts.  It stands in its own right on the literary merit of its translation.  We should also note that, in terms of the many English translations of the Bible, it ranks as one of the best in terms of accuracy and faithfulness to the original texts.  The Revised Standard Version [RSV] is the AV revised 1881-1885, 1901, and 1946-1952, with the second edition of the New Testament 1972.  It is a fine revision.  We should further note that many more modern versions follow the concept of dynamic equivalence, introducing a degree of subjectivity which can lead to paraphrases rather than strict translation.

Likewise with the BCP 1662, it is primarily the language which is of such good value in our Anglican patrimony.  Cranmer is credited with much of this, yet there were many others who also contributed.  The Psalter is by Miles Coverdale.  The General Thanksgiving is a very fine example of sound theology, beautiful devotion and literary merit.  It is highly memorable.  It was composed by Edward Reynolds [1599-1676].  He strongly sympathised with the Puritan Movement in the commonwealth, but at the Restoration he conformed and was consecrated Bishop of Norwich in 1661.

So much of the language of the BCP is memorable.  The Rite is much more debatable.  There is much to commend the two-fold daily office of Morning and Evening Prayer.  This would deserve serious consideration in the Ordinariate.  For the rest, the occasional offices and the Communion Service have largely been superseded by 1928, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, ASB, and now Common Worship.

The 1662 Communion Service was seldom used as it is presented in the BCP, but ‘the usual modifications’ left a recognisable service.  Since the liturgical movement of the twentieth century, the shape of the liturgy has become much more recognisable across the denominations.

Today, Church of England clergy of a catholic orientation would, liturgically, fall into three overlapping groups:

1) those who use the Roman Rite;

2) those whose Rite is Common Worship;

3) those who use some version of the 1928/Interim Rite/Series 1 – somewhat loosely described as Prayer Book.

In the Ordinariate 1) and 2) would largely follow the Roman Rite.  Group 3 might use the Roman Rite, with a remnant wishing to hold on to a ‘traditional language’/Prayer Book order.

Thus, in accordance with ACAC III, the Rite of the Ordinariate would be the Roman Rite, with ‘the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See’.  These latter could constitute an ‘Extraordinary Form’ for the Ordinariate analogous to the ‘Tridentine’ Extraordinary Form in the Roman Rite.  This would also greatly facilitate the integration of the Ordinariate into the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Regarding liturgical language, in 2011 a new English translation of the Roman Rite is due to come into use.  There is considerable debate about its merits.  It seems fair to say that, as of now, we have not yet produced an English Liturgical Language of Excellence for the twenty-first century.  That such a language is possible should not be doubted.

There is a multiplicity of hymn books at this time.  Roman Catholic hymn books increasingly include Anglican and other hymns.  To facilitate integration and to reach out to the people of England, a project to produce an English Hymn Book with all that is best and long-lasting from the different ecclesial traditions of our land is worth considering.

Similarly, there are many English devotions of lasting value from the different traditions which could be brought together in a collection for use by the faithful and also be user friendly for those of the people of England currently on the margins of Church life and beyond.

The foregoing suggests that the Ordinariate might wish, in good time, to consider:

1. Anglican Tradition Extraordinary Form.

2. A two-fold daily office of Morning and Evening Prayer.

3. An English Liturgical Language of Excellence for the twenty-first century.

4. An English Hymn Book.

5. An English Book of Devotion.

Add to the above the possibility considered above [II:7] of a local catechism for England, and there is no shortage of scope for developing projects which should facilitate the coming together of what is of good value in the different traditions of our land; and thus more effectively reaching out to all people of good will in our land.

Liturgy is one part of our patrimony, but most certainly not the only part of importance.  Study Paper II: Anglican Patrimony seeks to make this point.  It also looks at a few further liturgical considerations in XVI.


i. Views differ as to the place of liturgy in our Anglican patrimony.  Some think that it is of primary importance; others would see it as just one among several aspects of equal or greater importance.  How do you evaluate it?

ii. How important to you is the place of language in our patrimony?

iii. Do you think that a two-fold daily office in the Anglican tradition should be available in the Ordinariate?

iv. Do you accept that the Roman Rite should be that of the Ordinariate, with an Anglican ‘Extraordinary Form’ as an alternative?

v. Do you agree that it is possible to produce an English Liturgical Language of Excellence for the twenty-first century; and that this has not yet happened?

vi. Is an English Hymn Book with all that is best and long-lasting from the different ecclesial traditions of our land worth considering?

vii. Similarly, is an English Book of Devotion worth considering?

IV.             Sacraments and the Ordinariate – see Study Paper III

V.                The Ordinariate and the Church of England

One of the specific functions of the Ordinariate is to facilitate the wider sharing of all that is of good value in our Anglican patrimony.  The Ordinariate is no place for disaffected Anglicans.  Far from turning our backs on the Church of England, the Ordinariate should see it as a specific responsibility to work for the reunion of all Anglicans with the Roman Apostolic See.  How then might the basic ecumenical principle – never do separately what we can reasonably do together –be applied in these particular circumstances?

The suggestion below might at first sight seem far too idealistic, or even unrealistic.  If so, why should it be thus?  Is there not some latent sectarian mentality abroad here?  So, nothing daunted, the following is made as a serious suggestion.


i. Would the Church of England see such provision as an expression of good will, respect and affection towards her by the clergy of the Ordinariate?

ii. Would such provision be a proper expression of the ecumenical principle – never do separately what we can reasonably do together?

iii. Would such provision be an earnest of our continued commitment to seek reunion between the Church of England and the Roman Apostolic See?

iv. Would such provision clarify where our different convictions lie [the understanding of the sacraments] thus freeing us to work together in other Christian activity?

v. In what other ways might such provision work towards the fulfilment of our Lord Jesus Christ’s prayer for the unity of all his disciples?

We also have a responsibility to all our fellow Christians in England, in the Free Churches and beyond.  It seems that there is a case for thinking more widely in terms of all that is of good value in our English Christian patrimony.

VI.             Structures

This Study Paper is entitled – Towards an English Ordinariate.  The Apostolic Constitution with its Complementary Norms gives the basic principles and the building blocks for Ordinariates.  Those wishing to pursue this initiative will ask – where do we go from here?  What might constitute a ‘group of Anglicans’ as understood by the Apostolic Constitution? As the English Ordinariate, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, has been erected and its stages of preparing the lay faithful for reception and the clergy for reception and ordination have been accomplished, how will the emerging model of the group as a whole and the local groups within it take shape and operate?

In the period immediately after the issue of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the present writer drew up and circulated a suggestion for a ‘proto-Ordinariate’, to explore such a model, entitled A Proto-Ordinariate: Draft Provisions, running to nearly five pages of A4. The Preface outlined a pattern and process that effectively came to pass in practice:

This Proto-Ordinariate is an informal model set up in the Church of England whereby Anglicans can explore the issues raised in the formulation of a formal Ordinariate.  This should enable Anglicans:

1. to clarify issues in advance of action;

2. to reach a point where a well-informed decision can be made in the light of a reasonably clear and adequate presentation of a Personal Ordinariate in England – what form it might take, and how it might operate.

The foundational General principles then outlined in The Proto-Ordinariate: Draft Provisions related to the practicalities and development of the life and work of the Ordinariate once established and in operation,  the phase it now finds itself in. They remain pertinent:

1. The ordinariate is a society whose purpose is the greater glory of God, particularly through the proclamation of the Gospel to the English people.

2. The people of England urgently need a common, shared, united witness and proclamation of the Gospel by all Christians in this land.  This Ordinariate is part of a process to achieve such unity, making special provision ‘until all Christians can gather together in one community’.  Therefore this Ordinariate is in no way a ‘parallel Church’ but rather a step towards full integration into one Church in England.

3. The Ordinariate seeks to realise the principle – ‘The Anglican Church united not absorbed’  (the title of a paper given to the last of the Malines Conversations on 20th May 1925, whose author was Dom Lambert Beauduin OSB.  Pope Paul VI, addressing Dr Coggan, the Archbishop of Canterbury, at their meeting on 28th April 1977, repeated this aspiration).

4. The Ordinariate seeks to make provision for the desire expressed in the Vatican II Decree Ad Gentes 20 as it applies to England, namely:  ‘If it happens that in certain regions there is a group of men which is impeded from accepting the Catholic faith because they cannot adapt themselves to the particular guise in which the Church presents itself in that place, then it is desirable that this situation should be specially provided for, until all Christians can gather together in one community.’ ”  [cf. Canon 372:2]

This exercise then went on to consider membership, clergy, formation of the clergy, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, finance, authority, the Ordinary, the Governing Council, Finance Council, Pastoral Council, and personal parishes, all in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution and its Complementary Norms. These are the very issues and practicalities that are now to be worked out in practice.

The exercise concludes with a section on integration, a subject that continues to be much discussed with regard to the Ordinariate and the Catholic diocese of England and Wales. This too seems to be how systems are working out in practice, especially with respect to the relationship of local Ordinariate groups and groupings with the dioceses in which they are situated (cf. too the ordinations of Ordinariate clergy according to the pattern of the dioceses):

52.  To fulfil the purpose of the Ordinariate, the greater glory of God, particularly through the proclamation of the Gospel to the English people, it is essential that the Ordinariate be fully integrated into the life and structures of the Catholic Church in our land.  Thus the people will be able to identify clearly the presence of the Church.  Any suggestion of ‘parallel Churches’ is to be avoided.  Integration does not mean a stifling uniformity but rather a rich diversity deriving from the several Christian cultures of our land, which are ‘a treasure to be shared’.  [ACAC III]

53.  In accordance with the second of these Draft Provisions, Anglicanorum Coetibus makes extensive provision for cooperation between the Ordinariate, the local Conference of Bishops, and the dioceses.

54.  To facilitate integration, the territorial boundaries of the Ordinariate should be coterminous with the existing territorial structures of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, e.g. an Ordinariate territorially coterminous with the Province of Westminster and/or Birmingham and/or Cardiff and/or Liverpool and/or Southwark.  Deaneries could then be coterminous with the dioceses.’

VII.          The people of England

This subject is dealt with in Study Paper II: Anglican Patrimony.  Reference to it is included here to remind ourselves, once again, to consider what is our primary motive in our interest in the Ordinariate.  Is it the better to serve the people of England?  Or are we motivated primarily to meet our own needs and interests?