THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The Anglican Apostolic Constitution has been published by Rome, and a new era in Church history has begun -- the era of Anglican Catholic Renewal! Being an Evangelical convert to Catholicism myself, I spent about a year in a moderately conservative Episcopal parish before swimming the Tiber. It was the Anglican love for catholic liturgy and form that opened my eyes to the beauty of the Catholic Church just before the turn of the millennium. So 'The Catholic Knight' has a special interest in the development of this Anglican reunification with Rome.
First let me say this. The future of Anglicanism lies squarely within the Catholic Church. The Protestant Anglican Communion (PAC) and the Archbishop of Canterbury are now defunct. I call it the "Protestant" Anglican Communion (PAC) because that is exactly what it is - Protestant. Granted, many Anglicans show a love and affection for all things catholic, and they deserve full recognition for that. One could possibly say they are "catholic" only in the extreme lesser sense, because they embrace many catholic practices. However, most Anglicans reject the authority of Rome, and while that does not negate their catholicism in and of itself, their lack of valid holy orders does. Anglicans have a 'catholic' style of religion, but the national provinces of the Anglican Communion are essentially Protestant churches. Therefore, the Anglican Communion is essentially a Protestant organization. Hence I call it the "Protestant Anglican Communion" or just PAC.
Now the reason why the future of Anglicanism lies squarely in Rome and not the PAC is because the PAC has demonstrated a complete inability to police it's own provinces and protect those who object to the liberalizing trends of modernist relativism. The PAC has effectively embraced the ordination of female bishops and homosexual bishops simply by it's inability (or refusal) to jettison those diocese that engage in this practice. So what is the future of the PAC? Simply put, it's going to be more of the same - a lot more of the same! In fact, we can expect the liberalizing trends of northern provinces within the PAC to accelerate in the years ahead as more and more conservatives leave the communion for other churches, or to join the Catholic Church via the Anglican Ordinariates.
Rome will preserve Anglican tradition far better than Canterbury ever could. How do I know that? Simple, we have over a thousand years of example. The Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church have operated in union with Rome, and with nearly complete autonomy, for a millennium. When we think of Eastern Rites, our minds often default to the Eastern Orthodox, who are not currently in union with Rome. However, what many people don't know is that a lot of Eastern Catholic churches refused to break with Rome, or else they chose to reunite with Rome after the initial schism back in 1054 AD. Those churches that remain in union with Rome are virtually indistinguishable from Eastern Orthodox churches, and yet they are fully Catholic in the sense that they are in full communion with the pope. The same will be the case with the Anglican Ordinariates, and thirty years from now, when the PAC is nothing more than a liberal shell of the great Christian body it once was, Anglican Ordinariates will be growing strong and leading the way for Catholics in the English-speaking world. By that time, the Anglican Ordinariates will be more "Anglican" than the PAC, and just as "catholic" as Rome itself.
The full text of the Anglican Apostolic Constitution can be viewed on the Vatican website HERE. What I provide below are excerpts, with my own commentary....
I. §1 Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference.Ordinariates are a lot like diocese. They will be erected by Rome itself, working together with national Catholic bishop conferences, to establish these ordinariates within their territories. They will certainly overlap existing diocese, and each ordinariate will have it's own "Ordinary" (or bishop) who will govern that ordinariate with full episcopal authority, answering directly to Rome.
§3 Each Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a diocese.
§4 The Ordinariate is composed of lay faithful, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally belonging to the Anglican Communion and now in full communion with the Catholic Church, or those who receive the Sacraments of Initiation within the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate.Effectively, you become an "Anglican Catholic" (basically a "Roman Catholic" but with an additional Anglican identity) and in full communion with the pope, if you enter the Catholic Church through an Anglican Ordinariate parish. Now in regards to regular Roman Catholics who wish to join an Anglican Ordinariate, Fr. Phillips at his Anglican Use blog does a good job addressing this issue here.
§5 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.Just in case there was any doubt, Anglican Catholic Ordinariates are fully Catholic, in full communion with the pope of Rome, and the beliefs are 100% identical.
III. 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.The Anglican "Book of Common Prayer" has already been revised and approved by Rome under the new title of "Book of Divine Worship." A free online PDF version can be acquired HERE. It is expected that a newer revision will eventually be published after the new Ordinariates have been formed, and a general conference is convened among the new Anglican ordinary bishops to further define and propagate their traditions. Of course this new revision will have to be approved by Rome as well. The Anglican Catholic mass is in many ways similar to the traditional Roman Rite mass (extraordinary form), however it is all in traditional high English, and it includes some things that are particularly unique to Anglican tradition. It also excludes a few things which are particularly unique to Roman tradition. The same could be said for the Anglican Divine Office (or "Liturgy of the Hours").
§ 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.The rule of celibacy applies identically to the Anglican Ordinariates as it does the the Byzantine Catholic Rite, and other Eastern Catholic rites. Typically celibate men are admitted as candidates for Holy Orders. However, married men (men already married that is) may apply for Holy Orders on a case by case basis. It is presumed that at least some will be admitted, however we can expect celibacy to be the common norm for Anglican Catholic priests, just as it is for Byzantine Catholic priests. There is no reason, whatsoever, to believe that this permission will lead to priests getting married, as some in the press have theorized. This tradition is 100% compatible with eastern Catholic traditions and the Roman Catholic tradition up until the Second Lateran Council in 1139 AD.
§ 5. Candidates for Holy Orders in an Ordinariate should be prepared alongside other seminarians, especially in the areas of doctrinal and pastoral formation. In order to address the particular needs of seminarians of the Ordinariate and formation in Anglican patrimony, the Ordinary may also establish seminary programs or houses of formation which would relate to existing Catholic faculties of theology.
VII. The Ordinary, with the approval of the Holy See, can erect new Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, with the right to call their members to Holy Orders, according to the norms of canon law. Institutes of Consecrated Life originating in the Anglican Communion and entering into full communion with the Catholic Church may also be placed under his jurisdiction by mutual consent.
VIII. § 1. The Ordinary, according to the norm of law, after having heard the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place, may erect, with the consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the faithful who belong to the Ordinariate.
Yes, you read that right! The Anglican Ordinary bishop may erect his own seminaries, institutes of consecrated life (holy orders), parishes and tribunals, all in cooperation with Rome and having heard the opinion of the Roman Rite diocesan bishop this may effect.
XII. For judicial cases, the competent tribunal is that of the Diocese in which one of the parties is domiciled, unless the Ordinariate has constituted its own tribunal, in which case the tribunal of second instance is the one designated by the Ordinariate and approved by the Holy See.
In effect, what we have is a "church within the Church" fully governed by the pope and the norms of canon law. Also, we have the makings of a whole new rite (or the resurgence of an old rite) within the Catholic Church, should it ever come to that at some point in the distant future. At present the status of "Ordinariate" was far more than anyone expected and is more than satisfying to the Anglicans involved. The rites and privileges they've been given within the Catholic Church are nothing short of amazing!
'The Catholic Knight' predicts this will have a profound effect on Catholics in the English-speaking world, though maybe not right away. Time will be the main factor here. Anglican Ordinariates will prove to be both liturgically traditional, and profoundly orthodox on doctrinal matters, just as they already have proved in the United States where "Anglican Use" parishes have existed for some thirty years. The effect of Anglican Ordinariates will call all Catholics to a more traditional and orthodox expression of the Catholic faith in the English-speaking world. Indeed, the creation of Anglican Ordinariate parishes will not only be attractive to Anglicans within the PAC, but also some Roman Catholics disgusted with the liberal practices and teachings typically found in many Roman Catholic parishes these days. Thus it is completely reasonable to assume that future Anglican Catholic parishes will consist of a mixture of parishioners coming from both the Anglican tradition, and regular visitors from the Roman Catholic tradition. Anglican Ordinariates in England and the United States are effectively as good as established, simply because of the presence of many Anglicans already in full-communion with the Roman Catholic Church in these areas. More nations will soon follow.
If you wish to join an Anglican Catholic parish, or would like to start one in your area, use these contacts below for more information...
Inside the United States contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Outside the United States contact: email@example.com