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Old Nov 10, '09, 1:17 pm
sww315 sww315 is offline
New Member
Join Date: October 22, 2009
Posts: 13
Religion: Anglican, soon to be Catholic
Default Re: Anglican Bishops coming Home to RCC

It's been a while since I posted as I have had a lot going on, but I am happy about the language of the AC and the Norms. They are not perfect, but they do a brilliant job of handling several thorny issues. As a layman who was already in RCIA when this was announced, I can't imagine a more generous offer. Every rule that Rome could bend to get Anglican clergy who are so inclined to sign up is bent; married Anglican bishops without irregularities truly can be bishops in all but name, even to the point of episcopal insignia.

I am not a member of a TAC parish and don't know much about what was going on there or what was communicated to TAC laity, but I don't really see how anyone could have expected anything more generous than this. I also don't see how this can be labeled as "absorption," which I think I saw somewhere up the thread. It's not a Uniate Church, but it's about as close as you can get under the parameters we've all been aware of for some time.

Here are some disjointed thoughts on the text--forgive all the block-quoting and hand-wringing, but I am a lawyer.

I think the jury is still out on how married priests will be handled in the future.

AC, VI.§ 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.
Norms, 6. §1. In order to admit candidates to Holy Orders the Ordinary must obtain the consent of the Governing Council. In consideration of Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice, the Ordinary may present to the Holy Father a request for the admission of married men to the presbyterate in the Ordinariate, after a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate. These objective criteria are determined by the Ordinary in consultation with the local Episcopal Conference and must be approved by the Holy See.
It will all come down to what the still-to-be-devised "objective criteria" for dispensations for those seeking to be married priests are. "Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice" is for married men in the presbyterate to be permitted permanently and readily. This could also vary from Ordinariate to Ordinariate, depending on conditions in its country or part of the world. In short, there's more fine print to come.

I am glad to see the provisions regarding cooperation with the local Roman-Rite hierarchy:

AC, VIII. § 2. Pastors 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.
Norm 3. 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.
My wife, a cradle Catholic, was very concerned that if we joined the Ordinariate, we wouldn't be able to get parishoner rates at the Catholic schools, for instance. I read this Norm to say that the Ordinariate and its parishes should cooperate with diocesan authorities over issues like this. It may not pan out the way I would like, but the possibility is open.

I read the following to mean that I, as an originally baptized and confirmed Episcopalian who subsequently went through RCIA, can join the Ordinariate after I am confirmed, because I am "originally of the Anglican tradition":

5. §1. 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 apposite register of the Ordinariate.
One other cool thing I picked up in the Norms: the call for "quasi-parishes."

14. §3. For the pastoral care of the faithful who live within the boundaries of a Diocese in which no personal parish has been erected, the Ordinary, having heard the opinion of the local Diocesan Bishop, can make provisions for quasi-parishes (cf. CIC, can. 516, §1).
I don't quite know what that means, but my interpretation was that if there's not a full Anglican Ordinariate congregation in an area, but there is a qualified priest available, a local Roman Rite parish could allow Anglican Ordinariate masses in its building from time to time. If that is what this means, I think it's a key provision because it would allow Anglican Ordinariate parishes to build over time.

I am curious to hear thoughts on some of these specifics from everyone. Thanks be to God and to the Holy Father for this answer to my prayers and those of many others.

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anglican, episcopalian, reunion

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