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Francis continues Benedict XVI’s legacy of the ordinariates for former Anglicans

Francis continues Benedict XVI’s legacy of the ordinariates for former Anglicans

Benedict XVI supported the integration of former Anglicans into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church by issuing the decree known as the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus on 9 NOV 2009. Anglicanorum Coetibus, so far the only Apostolic Constitution in the 21st Century, provided for the erection of canonical structures juridically equal to a diocese. These structure are known as Personal Ordinariates. They provide for the reception of entire groups of former Anglicans into the Roman Church. Since the decree, three personal ordinaraites have been erected; the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on 15 JAN 2011 (England and Wales, Scotland), the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter on 1 JAN 2012 (United States, Canada) and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross  on 15 JUN 2012 (Australia, Japan).Personal ordinariates stand along side the traditional Roman Catholic diocese which may exist in a geographical territory. The personal ordinariate in North America stands along side all of the Roman dioceses in the United States and Canada and the ordinary is a member of the conference of bishops in both countries.

The Roman Church does not recognize Anglican orders, but considers them to be null & void, as per Apostolicae curae a papal bull, issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII. Former Anglican priests and bishops who wish to continue serving as priests in the ordinariates or in other capacities in the Roman Church must be re-ordained. Married former Anglican priests and bishops may be ordained priests, but they may not be ordained bishops. However, Anglicanorum Coetibus provides that former Anglican priests and bishops who have been re-ordained as Roman Catholic priests, may serve as the ordinary of a personal ordinariate. The ordinaries of the three personal ordinariates erected to date have all been former Anglican priests and the ordinaries in the UK and North America were former Anglican bishops. The ordinary in Australia is a former bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church.

The Revd Msgr Steven J. Lopes, the bishop-elect.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, which is based in Houston TX, has been led by the Revd Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson. Msgr Steenson was a former bishop of the Episcopal Church. Prior to resigning his See and joining the Roman Church in 2007, Msgr Steenson was the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande. On 24 NOV 2015, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter issued a press release announcing that Pope Francis has appointed the Revd Msgr Steven J. Lopes to become the first bishop for the ordinariate. Msgr Steenson’s retirement became effective with the announcement of the bishop-elect, however he will serve as the ordinariate’s administrator until 2 FEB 2016, the scheduled date of Mgr Lopes’ consecration.

The bishop-elect is a 40 year old priest from the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Francisco. He has served two parishes in CA but has been an official of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican since 2005. He received his theological education at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he earned a licentiate and a doctorate.

Additionally, the press release announced that the ordinariates will begin worshipping on the First Sunday of Advent (29 NOV 2015) from Divine Worship: The Missal, the new liturgy approved for use in the ordinariates. “Bishop-elect Lopes was directly involved in developing these texts for worship; since 2011, he has served as the executive coordinator of the Vatican commission, Anglicanae Traditiones, which produced the new texts.” The liturgy is said to share the heritage of Anglican Worship with the Roman Church.

The images are form the website of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.
Information for this story was gleaned from various topics at
The full press release from the ordinariate may be read here.


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Jos. S. Laughon

As a committed Protestant, it saddens me that former Anglicans abandon truly catholic, orthodox and reformed doctrine for Roman Catholicism (solae scriptura et fidei et gratia) but given the total and utter disrepair the Anglican Communion is in and the mess Anglicanism is in the West, I can understand why some look to Rome’s (apparent) doctrinal unity. I imagine more will swim up the Tiber and even the Bosporus as time goes on.

JC Fisher

That’s one way of looking at it.

Conversely, I wonder if the tide of the self-styled “truly catholic, orthodox” going to Rome has slowed, as the *current occupant* of the See of Peter looks too much what they’re trying to leave behind in North American/UK/SANZA Anglicanism! [But for the “Hammer of Orthodoxy” types, the swim across the Bosporus—and esp up the Volga to Moscow—remains an option. As was the rabbi prayed re the Russian Orthodox Tsar in Fiddler on the Roof, “God bless and keep them…far away from us!” ;-/]

Jos. S. Laughon

It may slow but my guess is not. When a Church that trumpets Scripture, Tradition and Reason largely abandons the first two, the exiles to more evangelical Protestantism or Eastern/Roman churches will likely continue. As opposed to simply rejoicing that they leave, perhaps we should wonder why this occurs?

Marshall Scott

It is worth noting that most of the congregations that have become part of the Ordinariates around the world were not in the Anglican Communion, but were associated with a “continuing Anglican” body, the Traditional Anglican Communion. While a number of clergy and a few congregations have come to Ordinariates from bodies in the Anglican Communion, TAC was the body that sought to be received first.

A search here at the Café under “Ordinariate” will offer these articles.

Rod Gillis

Can’t say the ordinariate is completely without merit. It’s a case of the sparrow hath found her an home kind of thing. Interesting that one of the big ticket items is the missal, Divine Worship:The Missal. Wonder what Dom Gregory Dix would think of this development?

How typical that Anglicans to Rome have their own “book” as it were. One of my late colleagues used to express his sometime frustration with we Anglicans whom, he said, like to show up on Sunday and “read to God”. So, if they are happy in their new place, God bless ’em. Better than sub-dividing the Body of Christ with yet another tailor made boutique denomination.

Jos. S. Laughon

What is so “disordered” regarding the tenure of Benedict XVI?

Jos. S. Laughon

I mean, there’s very little in Benedict’s writings on theology of the body and sexuality that isn’t basically a rehash of traditional Christian sexual ethics and a traditional reading of the Word. If one chooses a different hermeneutic or theology of Church Authority then by all means that discussion can be had on that level but pretending as if Benedict’s theology on this is something new is more than a bit incorrect.

Jos. S. Laughon

Ah…. so just a general dislike of traditional theology of the body/sexuality. Ok.

Marshall Scott

“Benedict XVI supported the integration of former Anglicans into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church….” Note that it would be more accurate to say they will be integrated as Latin Rite Catholics. The ordinariates are temporary, and will ultimately end as the next generation is integrated into the Latin Rite. The appointment of this bishop, not from within the Ordinariate, is on that course.

Marshall Scott

Geoff, you are correct that these Ordinariates are not separate Rites or Uniate churches in communion with Rome. Under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus any person called from Ordinariate congregations to ministry will be educated and ordained in the Latin Rite. These traditions, however comfortable they may seem for Ordinariate congregations now, will not be sustained or replicated.

Prof Christopher Seitz

Thank you for your clarity, Marshall.

Marshall Scott

David, sorry if I seem persistent. That was my reading of Anglicanorum Coetibus at the time, and that hasn’t changed. For good or ill, it will be years before we see whether I read it or failed to read it accurately. And, so, pace in the meantime.

Kurt Hill

Anglo-Papalism has never been as popular here as it has been in the UK. The Society of the All Saints’ Sisters of the Poor translated to Rome in 2009, and Father Paul’s Franciscans (Graymoor) did so a century earlier in 1909, so corporate reception is not unknown. On the other hand, the bishop of my diocese (Long Island), the vicar of my parish church and our parish’s deacon were all Roman Catholics who translated to Canterbury.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Geoff McLarney

“Similar” is relative I guess, but the ordinariates are expressly not equivalent to the Eastern churches, which are their own “rites”. A more direct comparison would be with other “uses” of the Roman Rite, such as the Zaire Use or the personal apostolic administration for the “extraordinary form” in Campos, Brazil.

Ann Fontaine

Many more RC priests have come the Anglican way than the other way around.

Amanda Clark

Except that Rome (or, to be more precise, the Catholic bishops in the US) have often been against the ability of married men to become Eastern Catholic priests in the US. Its only lately that *that* particular hurdle has been overcome.

Amanda Clark

The only way the (very small) number of ordinariate parishes will survive, is if lay men in the ordinariate parishes will be allowed to become married priests (fat chance).

The fact of the matter is at this late point, just about every first world Anglican who wants to become Catholic has already crossed the Tiber in the past 40 years.

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