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Anglicanorum Coetibus: Questions & Answers

 

What is Anglicanorum coetibus?

This is an apostolic constitution issued by Pope Benedict XVI in November 2009 that authorized the creation of "ordinariates," geographic regions similar to dioceses but typically national in scope. Parishes in these ordinariates are to be Catholic yet retain elements of the Anglican heritage and liturgical practices. They are to be led by an "ordinary," who will have a role similar to a bishop, but who may be either a bishop or a priest.

Note: Anglicanorum coetibus is pronounced Anglican-orum chay-tee-boose.

Why did Pope Benedict authorize this?

Anglicanorum coetibus was a response to repeated and persistent inquiries from Anglican groups worldwide who were seeking to become Catholic. Ordinariates seek to provide a way for these groups to enter in "corporate reunion"; that is, as a group and not simply as individuals. This will allow them to retain their Anglican liturgical heritage and traditions.

Is there an ordinariate for the United States?

At the Fall Meeting for the U.S. bishops in November 2011, Cardinal Wuerl announced that Pope Benedict XVI approved the creation of an ordinariate in the United States.The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. An ordinary for the United States will be named at that time.

How many ordinariates are there?

The first ordinariate, Our Lady of Walsingham, was established for England and Wales on January 15, 2011, bythe Vatican. The ordinariate is led by Monsignor Keith Newton, a former Anglican bishop who is married and was ordained a Catholic priest. The ordinariate in England and Wales now includes approximately 1,000 Catholics, 42 groups located throughout the country and a growing number of priests and permanent deacons, with others in formation. Among its priests are five former Anglican bishops. Ordinariates also are under consideration in Australia and Canada.

What is the timeline for actions related to the ordinariate in the United States?

  • In September 2010, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, was asked by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to be its delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States.
  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops created an ad hoc committee that includes Cardinal Wuerl, Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester to assist the CDF with implementation of the document and to assess interest in an ordinariate for the United States. Fr. Scott Hurd, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, was named as a staff liaison to the committee.
  • Over the next several months , Cardinal Wuerl received inquiries from numerous groups and parishes interested in potentially joining an ordinariate. Some are currently part of The Episcopal Church and others, though Anglican, are not part of The Episcopal Church. Cardinal Wuerl presented the findings to the United States bishops at their Spring Meeting in June 2011.
  • At the Spring Meeting, Cardinal Wuerl stated that there was sufficient interest to move forward with establishing an ordinariate in the United States.
  • In September and October 2011, two communities (one in Fort Worth, Texas, the other in Bladensburg, MD) were received into the Catholic Church with the intention of eventually being part of the ordinariate.
  • At the Fall Meeting of the United States bishops in November 2011, Cardinal Wuerl announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the creation of an ordinariate in the United States.The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. An ordinary for the United States will be named at that time.

Is there a difference between Episcopal and Anglican?

Parishes that are part of The Episcopal Church belong to the worldwide Anglican Communion, under the spiritual direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. Thus, they are both Episcopalian and Anglican. However, other Christians in the United States identify themselves as Anglican, but are not part of the Anglican Communion. These Christians therefore are Anglican, but not Episcopalian.

How does an ordinariate work?

According to the Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, issued in November 2009, an ordinariate is "juridically comparable to a diocese."

An ordinary (an individual with a role similar to a bishop) who may be a bishop or a priest - is appointed by the Pope and is a voting member of the Episcopal Conference. If a priest is married, as Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary for Our Lady of Walsingham is, he may not be ordained a bishop.

The ordinary exercises his responsibilities in collaboration with local diocesan bishops, and is assisted by a Governing Council, Finance Council and Pastoral Council.

The Governing Council has the rights and responsibilities that Canon Law gives to a diocesan College of Consultors and Presbyteral Council. In addition, the Governing Council must give consent for an ordinary to (1) admit a candidate to Holy Orders; (2) erect or suppress a personal parish or house of formation; or (3) approve a formation program. The Governing Council advises on formation and also submits a terna of names to the Holy See when it is time to appoint a new ordinary. Half of the Council's members are to be elected by the priests of the ordinariate.

Is there precedent for this?

These ordinariates are new in that they will provide a way for Anglicansto enter the Church in a corporate manner; that is, as a group or community, while also retaining some of their Anglican heritage and traditions. However, there are other Catholic ordinariates. One that many people are familiar with is the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, which has responsibility for Catholics serving in the U.S. armed services worldwide and which works in collaboration with local bishops.

How does this differ from the "pastoral provision"?

The pastoral provision was established by Pope John Paul II in 1980 to provide a way for individual Episcopal priests, including those who may be married, to be ordained Catholic priests for dioceses in the United States. It also allowed Anglican parishes to become Catholic parishes or chaplaincies within existing dioceses. Since 1980, three parishes and a number of smaller groups have been established. They are commonly referred to as "Anglican Use" communities, since they use The Book of Divine Worship in their liturgies, a Vatican-approved Catholic resource that reflects traditional Anglican prayers and formularies.

Anglicanorum coetibus is new in two ways: it applies to the world, not solely the United States, and it allows Anglican groups to be received into the Catholic Church - not through a local diocese, but through a new entity, an ordinariate that, though similar to a diocese, is national in scope and reflects Anglican liturgical and other traditions.

How many groups in the United States will enter the ordinariate when one is established?

Cardinal Wuerl reported to the U.S. bishops in June 2011 that inquiries had been received by many groups and that there was sufficient interest to proceed with the creation of an ordinariate in the United States. Since the June meeting, two communities have been received into the Catholic Church – one in Fort Worth, Texas, and the other in Bladensburg, Maryland.

How does this work?

Anglican priests seeking to enter the Catholic Church under an ordinariate may apply to be ordained as Catholic priests after a period of preparation. Community members also will undergo a formation period prior to their reception into the Church, studying the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

The liturgy in ordinariate parishes will be very similar to that of an Anglican liturgy. However, the parishes will use the Book of Divine Worship, which is a Vatican-approved Catholic liturgical book that is based upon historic Anglican liturgies.

How do groups come into the ordinariate?

Groups seeking to be part of the ordinariate will undergo a process of catechesis involving the use of the United States Catechism for Adults which has been approved by the ad hoc Committee on the Implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Has an ordinary been named yet?

No. The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. An ordinary for the United States will be named at that time.

What news for the ordinariate was announced at the U.S. bishops' Fall Meeting?

At the Fall Meeting of the United States bishops in November 2011, Cardinal Wuerl announced that Pope Benedict XVI had approved the creation of an ordinariate in the United States. The canonical establishment of the ordinariate will take place on January 1, 2012, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

At the same time, Cardinal Wuerl confirmed that Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas, will succeed Archbishop John Myers of Newark as the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, through which married Anglican priests become diocesan priests in the Catholic Church.

While Bishop Vann's new role as Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision and his continuing work on the establishment of the ordinariate are separate, they are related because both are concerned with Anglicans entering the Catholic Church


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