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Sunday, January 1, 2012

U.S. Anglican Ordinariate Plants Seeds for Anglican Rite And Renewal of Roman Rite

The mass according to the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:  Today is the Feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, in the season of Christmastide.  On this first day of this first month, in the year of our Lord 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, creates the United States ordinariate for Anglicans, which has been named the 'Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter' - see official website here. Former Episcopalian Bishop, now a Catholic priest, the Reverend Dr. Jeffrey Steenson, has been nominated for the position of the new Ordinary. 

Fr. Jeffrey Steenson
Fr. Steenson is married with three grown children.  The Catholic Church has been admitting married men into the Catholic priesthood for at least some thirty years now.  Fr. Steenson was received into the Catholic Church in 2007, and ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 2009.  Pope John Paul II created the 'Pastoral Provision' in 1980, which opened the door for married Protestant clergy to enter the Catholic Church and be ordained Catholic priests.  Currently, there are over one-hundred such men serving as priests in the United States, most of them came from The Episcopal Church USA (American Anglicanism), but some came from Lutheran and other Protestant traditions.  Because the Anglican Ordinary will likely be a married priest, he cannot be consecrated as a bishop at this time.  This is a tradition going back to the earliest days of Christianity.  However, the U.S. Anglican Ordinary, if he is not a bishop, is instead granted all the powers of a mitred abbot.  He will have the full authority of a bishop, except he cannot ordain men to the priesthood himself.  Instead regular Roman bishops may do this upon his request.  He may even wear episcopal vestments during liturgical events and carry a crosier, just as if he were a bishop.  That's because these are symbols of his shepherding role in the ordinariate.   The Ordinary will be given an equal seat with the other prelates at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This condition of a non-episcopal Ordinary is in all likelihood a temporary one.  It is designed to prepare the way for something different later on.  Originally, when traditional Anglicans first opened communications with Rome, the idea was to create a whole new rite for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church, however, this proved impossible at this time because of the condition Anglicanism currently finds itself in. In order to have a full-fledged rite, there must be celibate bishops with real apostolic succession, an undisputed patrimony, and no ambiguity on the sacrament of holy orders.  Historically, Anglicanism has not possessed these things, in any clear fashion, even though it has demonstrated an certain affinity toward English Catholic liturgy and sacramental life.

So what the pope did was create an incubator called the 'Anglican Ordinariate.'  It is similar to the military ordinariate for Roman Catholics.  The idea of the Anglican Ordinariate is to create a 'space' (if you will) within the Catholic Church, wherein traditional high-church Anglicans (i.e. Anglo Catholics) can further develop their patrimony with absolute clarity, in an environment where holy orders are no longer in question. The position of Ordinary may be occupied by a married priest for as long as these Anglo Catholics require one. However, it is envisioned in the long run that there will be some celibate men ordained into the Anglo Catholic priesthood eventually. These men will eventually become candidates for the position of Ordinary when the time is right. When that day comes, a celibate bishop will be consecrated as the next ordinary (someday in the future). Once that happens, the ordinariate becomes a 'particular church,' a full-fledged diocese (if you will), and the Anglican patrimony is well on its way to become a full-fledged rite within the Catholic Church, just as soon as all the ordinariates worldwide are similarly prepared.

As for time frame, your guess is as good as mine. Speculatively, one would think one to two generations would be ample. However, that is not a job for this pope or this generation. This pope plants the seeds of a future Anglican Rite. Another pope, someday in the future, will harvest the crop, and actually make it happen. Just as Pope John Paul II cleared the field with the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision some thirty years ago, so this pope (Benedict XVI) is laying the foundation with the Anglican ordinariates. Other popes will help build the structure as Anglo Catholics supply the living materials, and someday the Anglican Rite within the Catholic Church will be completed.  Personally, I would think at least thirty to forty years will be required before this happens, perhaps longer, but you never know.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.

As for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church, the ONLY thing they need to do is just keep the Anglican Patrimony and be good Catholics.  As for a future Anglican Rite, that is a job best left to the Holy Spirit.

In the mean time, the Holy Father has a much broader plan for the Anglican ordinariates.  First and foremost, of course, they provide an easy point of entry for Anglicans (Episcopalians) into the Catholic Church.  They also provide a similarly easy point of entry for some Lutherans, as well as other traditional protestants.  Second, because the ordinariates will have their own traditional English liturgy, and their own rubrics in which that liturgy MUST be celebrated, they provide yet another means through which the Holy Father can further his liturgical "reform of the reform" of the Western Church.  Traditional Anglo Catholics are more than eager to help the pope in this regard, as it is primarily their love for liturgy that has driven them to the Catholic Church over the last two centuries.  Third and finally, the ordinariate structure, as provided for under the Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans, puts ordinariate members under Roman canon law, and for the time being anyway, considers the Anglican ordinariate patrimony a subdivision of the Roman Rite.  This allows clergy and laity to easily cross over between any Roman diocese and the Anglican ordinariate.  Thus, any ordinariate priest can fill in as a substitute guest priest in a diocesan parish.  The same is true vice versa.  Likewise, any Roman Catholic layman can take up membership in an Anglo Catholic parish.  The same is true vice versa.  This crossover is designed to alleviate some of the strain caused by the priest shortage, and to give traditionally-minded Roman Catholics some more liturgical options, as well as give some ordinariate Anglo Catholics easy access to diocesan life should they prefer it.  This allows for some regularisation and normalisation between the ordinariate and local dioceses as things get under way.  It also introduces Catholics from both groups to opportunities to help each other out.  With these Anglican ordinariates, the Holy Father has done nothing short of helping both Catholics and Anglicans, giving both groups more tools at their disposal to further nourish their spiritual needs during a period of dark times for Western Christianity.

Finally, I would like to offer a word of admonition to both Roman Catholics and Anglicans entering the Church through the ordinariate.

To Roman Catholics I say this.  DON'T BE STUPID.  The Holy Father has structured these ordinariates in such as way as to help struggling Roman dioceses in their time of need.  Make no mistake about it.  Dioceses that are accommodating to Anglican ordinariate parishes and groups will be blessed.  New vocations may arise from these communities, and those vocations will likely be of service to both the diocese as well as the ordinariate.  Anglo-Catholic priests are fully permitted to celebrate the Roman Rite liturgy as well as their own.  This means with your local bishop's permission, they can do a regular mass in any diocesan parish, and you can be sure they will celebrate the Roman liturgy with the highest level of respect and honour given to your traditional customs.  That can only serve to strengthen your local parish's Roman Catholic identity.  This is a win-win situation for Roman dioceses.  Don't pass the opportunity up when it arises.  Embrace the Anglican ordinariate, in the true spirit of Vatican II (a spirit of continuity not rupture), and your diocese will be blessed because of it.

To all those entering the Church through the ordinariate, most especially to Anglicans for whom these ordinariates are being created, I would like to admonish you to fully embrace the Catholic faith as well as the Anglican Patrimony.  Most especially, nurture the Anglican Patrimony, which is primarily liturgical of course, but can also include personal and family customs that are unique to Anglican history and English culture.  The Holy Father has made it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that he EXPECTS us to build something new and unique in the universal Church.  He does not want us to be absorbed into the Roman Rite as a community.  Granted, if individuals (or families) want to be absorbed into the general Roman Rite, than that is fine, and that is their choice.  As an Anglo Catholic community however, those of us who choose to remain part of that, should endeavour to be unique and distinct, keeping with our Anglican Patrimony and forging ahead in Traditional development.  Remember, it was our most conservative Anglican traditions that brought us INTO the Catholic Church, and it is those same conservative Anglican traditions that will help us move forward WITHIN the Catholic Church. As for today however, let us celebrate and give thanks to the Lord. Today history is made. Today marks a new beginning not only for Anglicans (Episcopalians) in the United States, but also for Roman Catholics as well, as we will both mutually benefit from this ordinariate arrangement.


Anonymous said...

Sir Knight,

Oh me!!

This Marounite's English heart is weeping with joy!!!!! Please pray for the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church, plus that of the Catholic that a way is found for an Ordinariate to take root here. The Anglican landscape is militantly evangelical in Sydney , and the two or three 'high churches' we do have are incredibly liberal in their theology. (one of the reasons I have found refuge in the Marounite rite, having converted straight into it from evangelical/fundamentalist protestantism (my story has been told here before so I'll not wear out my welcome with its recounting).

Please pray for we in Australia that the difficulties which exist within the various factions of Anglicanism are no obstacle to the establishment of Anglican ordinariate congregations everywhere!!

My heart aches!!

Bl. Card John Henry Newman pray for us,
St. Edward the Confessor pray for us
St Hilda of Witby pray for us,
Our Lady of Walsingham pray for us!!



Dan Z. said...

The website is now online:

and we have an official name:
The Personal Ordinariate Of The Chair Of St Peter.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion for the new Ordinariate:

Perhaps the new ordinariate could come under the patronage of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 – 1821) who was a convert from the Episcopal Church and the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Catholic Church (September 14, 1975).

She established Catholic communities in Emmitsburg, Maryland and founded the first American sorority while in Manhattan, known as the Sisters of Charity.

The Catholic Knight said...

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton would be an ideal co-partron, however the US Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter is already under the patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham. Check the website.

Siobhan said...

I just wish our modernist catholics will leave and join the Episcoplians as we take in their conservatives. Where I work, I'm surrounded by these heretics and I's so tired of putting up with them. Mind you, I pray for them every day but eventually, somethings gotta give. They'll have to make up their minds once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Any chance that there are any traditionalist Catholic organizations in unity with Rome in Brazil? I find that the Portuguese mass has the same prolems as the old 70's English translation. When the priest says the "Lord be with you" we answer "he is among us." Lots of hippie guitar stuff here as well.

PLLahey said...

Having left the sinking raft of Episcopalianism 18 years ago, I am happy to be settled of the firm foundation that the Catholic Church is. I grew up in a staunchly conservative Anglo-Catholic parish, and had the added advantage of being the son of the rector ('rector' mind you, not 'pastor'). No liturgy I have witnessed anywhere ever in the Catholic Church could hold a candle (and we held lots of candles) to our standard high mass. That all began to change in the 60's with the movement towards abandoning the dignified language of the 1928 rite for the mundane language of the post-Vatican II modernizations. Quite frankly, if the new ordinariate is struggling to preserve the banal liturgies of the post 1970s, I wonder why they bother. I came to the Catholic Church for its Truth and authority. Yes, the old liturgies were beautiful, and there is a place for such beauty in the celebration of the mass, but the essential beauty of the mass is that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, and we are welcome to partake of it. Everything beyond that is pleasantry.

Anonymous said...

The modernist lack of beauty in ritual is a symptom of a philosophical belief that our past traditions were actually superstitions and that the embrace of modernism equals the embrace of science and enlightenment. This is nonsense but those promoting this were more proactive then us traditionalists who sat by and let it happen. A revival of the beauty can occur if we make it happen through active involvement and participation.

The Catholic Knight said...

A very good observation anonymous! I would like to add that while the Modernists have since built a vast empire since then, it is a hallow empire that is weak at the core. The 1970s hippy clergy are approaching retirement. The laity that supported them are getting old and frail. They are tired. The throngs of new young hippies they expected to flock into the pews never came. Instead our parishes have been gutted, emptied, and the youth arising today is far more conservative than their parents' generation. We, the youth, are perhaps their greatest disappointment. Who would have thought we (of all people) would clamour for the Latin Mass, the Anglican Use, and a more reverent celebration of the Novus Ordo. Their empire is vast but it is a house of cards. It will crumble now, even with the most moderate effort, if indeed Traditionalists will abandon the siege mentality and move forward toward retaking our parishes. ATTENTION TRADITIONAL CATHOLICS. GO GET ON THOSE PARISH BOARDS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

As Pope Benedict suggested, it is perfectly alright that the church downsizes to favor quality over quantity. Even finances can be improved if we simply sell off the churches that can't be identified in any way as churches and center around real structures with serious members. From there Catholic universities, monasteries, and parishes can be revived with tradition courageously and intellectually applied to today's challenges.

Joan said...

Anonymous of Jan. 3,

We need to pray for Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, as he is about to announce the closing, merging, and clustering of many parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The scary part is, the plan that has been submitted to him (and, without intervention from the new Vatican committee for Sacred Architecture, he will most likely accept) calls for many of the architectually inspirational and unique parishes in the suburbs to be closed and sold, with the plain, generic multi-purpose buildings being saved. In the city of Detroit itself, it is advised to close and sell several historic church buildings, and build a "new, more environmentally friendly" multi purpose building for the merged parish.

We need help! We need attention called to this! Most of all we need the Vatican in intercede and stop this, making sure it is only the plain, generic multi-purpose "worship centers" that are closed and sold!

You can access the plan that was submitted to Vigneron here, and you can view pictures of the churches of the Archdiocese of Detroit starting here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joan,

as a psychologist, I've identified the personality types of most bishops as "idealists," meaning they are men of prayer not men of war. These days, its very unusual to have warrior personality priests (although we could use some warrior priests like in the old days right about now).

Therefore, we lay people must be warriors for traditional Catholicism. Idealist type bishops well accept whatever the bureaucrats put in front of them. Therefore, we must confront the bureaucrats directly, not just complain to the Vatican (although that must be done too).

Find out who exactly is responsible for these bad proposals and bring a group of concerned Catholics to talk it out with them.

Deo Vindice

Anonymous said...

One solution for closing traditional church structures is moving the structure brick by brick to another archdiocese. This has happened many times including a church moved brick by brick from Massachusetts to Texas. So people in an archdiocese that may need a new church can, instead of building a new one, transport an existing structure from a location where the parish is about to close.

So catholics in a growing archdiocese can save church structures from another archdiocese in crisis.

Anonymous said...

The Vatican Committee on Sacred Architecture will be part of the Congregation for Divine Worship. To let them know about what is going on with parish buildings closures and sales (for any diocese going thru this), contact:

His Eminence Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera
Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship
Piazza Pio XII 10
00193 Rome, VATICAN CITY

Anonymous said...

Do you believe the Church will allow married men (who are not former priests) to be ordained
as Catholic priests to serve in the Ordinariate in the future?
If so, do you imagine they would limit this to Catholic men raised
in the Ordinariate and non- Catholic converts from other denominations while banning
those baptized and raised in the Latin Rite? Do you see an eventual
Anglican Rite always having some
married priests? And if so, where in the Church will they come from?

The Catholic Knight said...

1st question - Yes
2nd question - Yes, for the most part.
3rd question - Yes
4th question - They will come primarily from the Anglican ordinariates. Other married priests may incardinate from other rites if they are interested. Look to the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision as an example. Also look to the Eastern Rites in Europe as examples.

Etienne said...

Any of ya'll are welcome to come visit my home city Houston, TX--Go Texans!!!--and visit Our Lady of Walsingham!!

William said...

Re: Archdiocese of Detroit.

To contact Archbishop Vigneron to urge him to save the more beautiful and inspirational buildings (or at least "donate" them to the Anglican Ordinariate or FSSP) and only close the generic and plain buildings, despite what the "committee" advised him to do, by email

by post
Archbishop Allen Vigneron
Archdiocese of Detroit
1234 Washington Blvd
Detroit MI 48226

Catholic Knight, I hope you will do a full post on this and urge your readers to get involved, and I hope anyone reading this who has their own blog that covers religious topics will report on it and spread the word out to help save the more beautiful and inspirational buildings.

Anonymous said...

It appears that there is a problem with the US Ordinariate. Fr. Hurd seems to have taken over as the leader of it and is making comments that Anglicans who coverted many years ago, including the Anglican Use parishes would not be included in the Ordinariate. It seems at odds with what the Apostolic Constitution states that all former Anglicans may join the Ordinariate. Also where does that leave Fr. Hurd and the new Ordinary, who has only been Catholic for around 5 years.

It seems that the US Bishops are once again taking over as they did with the Pastoral Provision and denying certain people to enter and also the AU parishes, who if it wasn't for them and the Pastoral Provision I doubt that there would be an Ordinariate for Anglicans.

Some Bishops seem to have given Cardinal Levada some poor advice and he has relayed it to the Holy Father. This is not the intention of what the Holy Father envisioned for Anglicans entering the Ordinariate.

How does one convey the truth of what is happening to Pope Benedict.

Also it seems that if a former Anglican priest has said something that a certain priest (one with power) doesn't like, he makes sure that the man won't be approved as a priest.

This sense of power that some within the Church have is going to cause scandal and mistrust to those Anglicans who are waiting to see if the Ordinariate is what was promised. It is obvious that certain powerful priests/bishops within the Church wish that the Ordinariate will stay small and fail.

The Catholic Knight said...

Anonymous, i have heard these rumblings too and share your concerns. The ordinary has not been installed yet and won't be untill February 12. We shall know more in the weeks following. If indeed this appears to be the case by then you can be sure I will do a full and lengthy story on it here, giving all of you an opportunity to vent your grievances in the comment section. I'll also make sure this story gets picked up by multiple Catholic news sites and blogs. So not to worry. If what you say is true, the whole world will know about it shortly. Those behind such an effort will have nowhere to hide.

Yes, there is more than one person at the Vatican who reads this blog. I've seen their IP address on my tracking software. One of them uses an iPhone. Another uses a laptop and a few use desktops. Welcome Vatican readers! Thank you for reading The Catholic Knight. Stay tuned. I may have a big story for you in late February to early March.

Anonymous said...

Catholic Knight,

Thank you for your input in this important matter.

Hopefully the Ordinary will take his position seriously and protect those who wish to enter the Ordinariate.

Although he does have wonderful credintials, his position placed him with more powerful clerics in the Church. My fear is he didn't seem interested in retaining his Anglican Patrimony when he came into the Church and might feel less stronly about his former brothers and sisters who have been Catholic for years or are now entering the Church. Pope Benedict made sure that Anglicans were protected in the AC from being controlled by bishops who were not in favor of the AU parishes, when he elected to have an Ordinary over the Ordinariates and not the local bishop.

It is sad to keep seeing politics play a part in spiritual matters that can place a soul in harm's way.

The Catholic Knight said...

Just a followup to my previous comment, and in defence of Fr. Hurd (for the time being anyway). There is a logical fallacy to Fr. Hurd's alleged agument as anonymous has presented it above. If indeed it is true, as anonymous says, that Fr. Hurd is telling people that former Anglicans who already converted cannot be part of the ordinariate, than indeed that would mean that he himself cannot be part of the ordinariate, nor can Fr. Steenson, and if that is so, the US ordinariate for Anglicans does not (indeed cannot) exist right now! It would also make the Holy Father a liar, because it would imply that Fr. Steenson is not the Ordinary when in fact the Holy Father has named him as such.

So I think what we may have here is a big misunderstanding. I would venture to say that what Fr. Hurd is actually telling people is that former Anglicans who have already converted (including Anglican Use parishes, missions and societies) MUST FIRST GET PERMISSION FROM THEIR BISHOPS before requesting entry into the ordinariate. That would make more logical sense, and I would agree with Fr. Hurd if indeed that is what he is saying. The jurisdiction of the Roman bishops must be respected.

I think the situation I described above might be a better explanation of what is going on, and eliminates the logical problem, because the ordinariate would exist in Fr. Steenson and Fr. Hurd alone, who to this date are the only two men who have been invited into the ordinariate, having been given permission by the Holy Father and Cardinal Wuerl respectively. This scenario makes more sense to me. We will know if I'm right within a matter of weeks.

The Catholic Knight said...

Another followup: Pope Benedict XVI has made it painfully clear and obvious, both by his comments as Cardinal Ratzinger and his acts as the Holy Father, that he likes the traditional-Anglican patrimony, and wants it preserved, defended, nurtured and flourishing. Outside of this context, Anglicanorum Coetibus makes no logical sense.

The Ordinaries (UK, US, etc.) have a PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY ABOVE ALL THINGS to preserve and protect the traditional-Anglican patrimony. Outside of this context there position and office makes no logical sense.

By extension of this mandate, those persons (Catholic, Anglican and Anglo-Lutheran) who faithfully keep the traditional-Anglican patrimony are to be protected and pastorally cared for. Again, if this is not done, the whole ordinariate structure makes no logical sense.

Trust me. If the ordinaries fail to do their jobs in this endeavour there will be hell to pay, and that will be exacted by the Holy Father himself. He has put his neck out on the line for the Anglican patrimony. Those who embarrass him on this will find themselves in very hot water.

Not to worry, I and other bloggers like me, will make sure those people are exposed for what they are doing. They cannot hide. Names and incidences are being compiled in England as we speak, if this stuff has to go to the blogosphere it will get ugly very fast. The best thing everyone can do is just get out of the Holy Father's way and let him do what he wants with these Anglican ordinariates.

The best thing the Vatican can do right now is approve the new Anglican ordinariate liturgy (already sitting in Rome awaiting recognitio) and let the Holy Father use that as an occasion to re-state his intention with these ordinariates, making it crystal clear to everyone. He shouldn't have to do that, but if he does, there will be no excuse. Those who actively (or passively) work against his intentions will be documented and exposed. If not by this blogger than certainly by others. They might prefer that I break the story though. I tend to treat those I scorch with a little more mercy than some of my comrads out there in the blogosphere.