Monday, October 26, 2009

Towards Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans: The Final Picture (Part III)

LAST November 4, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus—ending short-lived speculations regarding the nature of the possible Personal Ordinariates for groups of Anglican, who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. Subsequently, Complementary Norms for the apostolic constitution were issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. To conclude this series of articles, let us briefly go over the more salient provisions of these documents.

Establishment of a Personal Ordinariate

The hierarchical nature of the personal Ordinariates is manifest in the way they are erected by and accountable to the Holy See, as seen in the following provisions:
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 (AC, Sect.I, §1). Within the territory of a particular Conference of Bishops, one or more Ordinariates may be erected as needed (AC, Sect.I, §2).

2) The Decree establishing an Ordinariate will determine the location of the See and, if appropriate, the principal church (AC, Sect.XIII).

3) Each Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a diocese (AC, Sect.I, §3).

4) Each Ordinariate is subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It maintains close relations with the other Roman Dicasteries in accordance with their competence (CN, Art.1).

The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate and his Power of Jurisdiction

1) A Personal Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral care of an Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff (AC, Sect. IV).

2) A married former Anglican Bishop is eligible to be appointed Ordinary. In such a case he is to be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church and then exercises pastoral and sacramental ministry within the Ordinariate with full jurisdictional authority (CN, Art.11, §1).

3) The power (potestas) of the Ordinary is (AC, Sect. V):
a. ordinary: connected by the law itself to the office entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff, for both the internal forum and external forum—i.e., not delegated;
b. vicarious: exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff—i.e., not a proper power (as in the case of the Military Ordinariates or Personal Prelature);
c. personal: exercised over all who belong to the Ordinariate;
d) cumulative: This power is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms—i.e., like the military ordinariates).

4) Every five years the Ordinary is required to come to Rome for an ad limina Apostolorum visit and present to the Roman Pontiff, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in consultation with the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a report on the status of the Ordinariate (AC, Sect.XI).

Communion of the Ordinary with other Bishops and the Episcopal Conference

The Complementary Norms specifies the relationship of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate with other Diocesan Bishops and with the Episcopal Conferences:

1) The Ordinary, in the exercise of this office, must maintain close ties of communion with the Bishop of the Diocese in which the Ordinariate is present in order to coordinate its pastoral activity with the pastoral program of the Diocese (AC, Art 3).

2) The Ordinary is a member of the respective Episcopal Conference (CN, Art 2, §2). The Ordinary follows the directives of the national Episcopal Conference insofar as this is consistent with the norms contained in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (CN, Art 2, §1).

The Faithful of the Personal Ordinariate

1) 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 (AC, I, §4).

2) As for the doctrinal requirement for ecclesial communion, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate (AC, I, §5). Thus, only those members of the Anglican communion, who are willing to profess the faith of the Catholic Church as summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, can form part of the personal Ordinariate.

The Complementary Norms further specifies the process for entering into full communion with the Catholic Church:

3) The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the appropriate register of the Ordinariate. Those baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate (CN, Art 5, §1).

4) Both the lay faithful as well as members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally part of the Anglican Communion, who wish to enter the Personal Ordinariate, must manifest this desire in writing (AC, IX).

Pastoral Care in the Personal Ordinariate

1) 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 (AC, III).

2) 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 (AC,VIII, §1). These would be like the territorial parishes in an ordinary diocese, and would overlap with them territorially—i.e., the members of the personal parishes would still be members of the territorial parish by virtue of domicile or quasi-domicile.

3) Pastors (i.e., parish priests) of the Ordinariate enjoy all the rights and are held to all the obligations established in the Code of Canon Law and, in cases established by the Complementary Norms, such rights and obligations are to be exercised in mutual pastoral assistance together with the pastors of the local Diocese where the personal parish of the Ordinariate has been established (AC,VIII, §2).

4) Priests incardinated into an Ordinariate, who constitute the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, are also to cultivate bonds of unity with the presbyterate of the Diocese in which they exercise their ministry. They should promote common pastoral and charitable initiatives and activities, which can be the object of agreements between the Ordinary and the local Diocesan Bishop (AC, VI, §4).

Governance in the Personal Ordinariate

1) The Ordinary is aided in his governance by a Governing Council with its own statutes approved by the Ordinary and confirmed by the Holy See (AC, X, §1). The Governing Council, presided over by the Ordinary, is composed of at least six priests. It exercises the functions specified in the Code of Canon Law for the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors, as well as those areas specified in the Complementary Norms (AC,X, §2).

2) The Ordinary is to establish a Finance Council according to the norms established by the Code of Canon Law which will exercise the duties specified therein. (AC, Sect.X, §3]

3) In order to provide for the consultation of the faithful, a Pastoral Council is to be constituted in the Ordinariate (AC, X, §4).

The Clergy of the Personal Ordinariate: Celibacy applies.

1) Initially, the clergy of the personal Ordinariates will logically come from the ranks of former Anglican clergy:

— Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI "Sacerdotalis coelibatus", n. 42 and in the Statement in June are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1 (AC, VI, §1).

— 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 (AC, VI, §2).

— However, those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate. Furthermore, Anglican clergy who are in irregular marriage situations may not be accepted for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate (CN, Art 6, §2).

2) As regards their incardination and faculties:

— Incardination of clerics will be regulated according to the norms of canon law (AC, VI, §3). Priests incardinated into an Ordinariate (…) constitute the presbyterate of the Ordinariate (AC, VI, §4).

— Presbyters incardinated in the Ordinariate receive the necessary faculties from the Ordinary (CN, Art 6, §3).

3) The presbyterate of the Ordinariate is also inserted in the territorial diocesan pastoral structure:

— The presbyters, while constituting the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, are eligible for membership in the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese in which they exercise pastoral care of the faithful of the Ordinariate (CN, Art 8, §1; cf. CIC, can. 498, §2).

— Priests and Deacons incardinated in the Ordinariate may be members of the Pastoral Council of the Diocese in which they exercise their ministry, in accordance with the manner determined by the Diocesan Bishop (CN, Art 8, §2; cf. CIC, can. 512, §1).

— The clerics incardinated in the Ordinariate should be available to assist the Diocese in which they have a domicile or quasi-domicile, where it is deemed suitable for the pastoral care of the faithful. In such cases they are subject to the Diocesan Bishop in respect to that which pertains to the pastoral charge or office they receive (CN, Art 9, §1).

4) Finally, in the case of new vocations to the sacred ministry, the Apostolic Constitution stipulates that 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 (AC, VI, §5).


Just like the case of the Military Ordinariates, we are dealing with an atypical personal ecclesiastical circumscription (i.e., not typified in the Code of Canon Law). Unlike the former, however, the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans shall be vicariates—i.e., with vicarious instead of proper jurisdiction. In this respect, it is also different from that other model of personal jurisdiction which is the Personal Prelature.

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