UK Anglican Ordinariate

The UK bishops announced the timetable for the creation of the personal Anglican Ordinariate within that territory. This is extremely exciting. Five Anglican bishops have announced their intent to resign from pastoral ministry in the Anglican Church effective 31 December 2010. In early 2011, the personal ordinariate will be decreed and erected. The former Anglican bishops will assist with the formation of other Anglican clergy swimming the Tiber to the Catholic Church.

Near Holy Week, the former bishops will be ordained into the Catholic Clergy with other clergy being ordained near Pentecost. There will be, of course, continued education since there are other differences between the two traditions, but all-in-all, we’re pretty close already.

I find this exciting as it is 1) the Catholic Church showing that we can have unity within diversity and that we’re not expecting everyone to come home to the Catholic Church after completely cutting all previous ties to their religious tradition and 2) it is a step closer to all the people of God praising him name unified.

Personal ordinariates are not that common within the Catholic Church. The most common execution of this type of jurisdiction would be military ordinariates where a bishop or priest is in charge of all military personnel wherever they may be. The Archdiocese of Military Services, USA is an example of this. The archbishop is the ordinary bishop for all military bases (and Catholic military chapels on those bases) as well for all servicemembers deployed throughout the world. Outside of the military, there are few examples. Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Church with a worldwide jurisdiction. In this case, members of Opus Dei are under the direction of their local bishop, but also of the Prelate of Opus Dei. Opus Dei, generally, directs their folks more on personal formation, whereas the local bishop tends to deal more with the day-to-day parish life. Lastly, there is a personal apostolic prelature in Brazil that was erected after bringing back folks who defected after the liturgical changes of Vatican II.

As far as who the ordinary (e.g. bishop) of the Anglican Ordinariate, there are a few options. It could be a bishop assigned specifically for the ordinariate with no other pastoral assignments or it could be a bishop of another diocese who will add on these duties to his current ones. It would, in my opinion, not be one of the transferring Anglican bishops, at least not initially. My understanding is in all cases, the Pope would be the one to formally appoint the ordinary.

In all cases, very exciting times ahead as we look to this relatively new form of jurisdiction to solve a very pastoral problem in the broader Christian world.






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