The UK Ordinariate after four years

Please allow me some observations about the status quo of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, based of course, as they are, on my relatively limited information:

Cardinal Vincent Nichols addressing Ordinariate members in September 2014

Cardinal Vincent Nichols addressing Ordinariate members in September 2014

Members of the Ordinariate

  • 6 former Anglican bishops have joined the Ordinariate (they are all now Monsignori)
  • there are approaching 90 priests and a few deacons
  • there are also several former Anglican priests who are not (or not yet) proceeding to Catholic ordination
  • the Ordinariate consists of between 40 and 50 groups, depending on what you understand by the word “group” (e.g. is Scotland really more than one geographically very disparate group?)
  • as far as the number of lay faithful is concerned, estimates vary between one and a half and two thousand
  • the Ordinariate has three seminarians (as distinct from former Anglican clergy on the fast track to the Catholic priesthood)

Religious in the Ordinariate

  • there is one institute of consecrated life (the ten Benedictine nuns of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kingstanding, Birmingham)
  • two sisters form a public association of the faithful (the Sisters of Our Lady of Reconciliation in Walsingham)
  • one deacon (soon to be ordained priest) lives as a hermit
  • one continuing member of his Anglican religious community is living alone
  • there are also two former Ordinariate sisters who have joined other communities of the Roman Rite

Group organisation

  • there is only one completely independent Ordinariate “parish” with its own church, and that is St. Agatha’s in Portsmouth
  • one group is in the process of fund-raising to acquire its own church
  • two diocesan parishes are officially in the care of the Ordinariate
  • there are about half a dozen diocesan parishes where the pastor of the Ordinariate group has been appointed priest-in-charge (whether this is planned as a long-term relationship between the diocese and the Ordinariate is as yet unclear)
  • there are several smaller groups which have their own chapels or oratories where Mass is celebrated regularly, or which worship in a convent chapel
  • one Ordinariate group has its own chapel in a diocesan cathedral
  • the remaining Ordinariate groups (approx. 30) are in some kind of church-sharing relationship with local diocesan parishes (some of these are quite large groups of maybe 50 members with a distinct life of their own, but there is a significant number of small to very small groups which meet less than weekly and seem to have little growth potential, often because of the age of the lay faithful and/or of their pastor)
  • a small number of experimental or exploratory ventures are in the process of trying to plant or to gather together a group

Secondary (or sometimes primary) occupations of the clergy

  • about half a dozen are priests in charge of a diocesan parish where their group is not hosted (either additionally or as their only charge)
  • at least two are on the staff of a diocesan cathedral
  • one is the director of religious education of a diocese
  • many are in paid full- or part-time chaplaincy work in prisons, universities, schools or hospitals
  • others are teachers at school or university
  • one is a barrister and a permanent deacon is a high court judge
  • one is studying Canon Law at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
  • there is also a significant number of retired clergy (who had already retired as Anglicans in their sixties) who now assist in various groups

Other interesting developments

  • after an trial period in a couple of groups the Ordinariate Use Order of Mass was officially introduced in October 2013
  • a relatively small number of groups use the Ordinariate Use Mass exclusively
  • some groups have opted for one Ordinariate Use Mass per week
  • others have experimented with the Ordinariate Use for a while and have still to decide a long-term stategy (or have already abandoned the Ordinariate Use for pastoral reasons)
  • a number of national events have taken place:
  • there is a national Ordinariate pilgrimage to Walsingham every year and several groups have organised their own pilgrimage
  • most groups took part in the first Called to be One Exploration Day in September 2014
  • the first Ordinariate festival took place in Westminster at the end of September
  • the Ordinariate has a well-functioning communications system thanks to Catherine Utley, with regular newsletters, a working website, excellent press releases which are mostly used verbatim in the Catholic media – and we are happy that this Expats website plays its own humble role in getting the news out
  • several Ordinariate priests have much-appreciated personal blogs
  • the Ordinary is on an information and fund-raising tour of British cathedrals sponsored by the Friends of the Ordinariate (FOTO), who are active in fostering support for the Ordinariate and its activities (with liturgical, social and information events)
  • the Ordinariate Support Group for Expats in Europe has itself held two information events in French parishes (in one case including a celebration of the Ordinariate Use Mass) and raised a healthy sum for FOTO
  • two groups are in the process of joining the Walsingham Association in support of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the two Sisters of Our Lady of Reconciliation work at the shrine

Growth

  • after the first wave in 2011 there has only been a slow trickle and this is not expected to change.
  • even after the final decision of the Church of England to appoint women bishops the flood gates have not opened
  • the main growth potential is in the well-functioning parishes and missions, where a doubling of attendance since 2011 is nothing exceptional
  • the smaller diaspora groups are finding it more difficult, even where there has been an attempt to establish a regular presence, for example with daily mass in an oratory
  • the experimental groups are also displaying growth, partly because interested people are deliberately moving to the area

Some staffing problems

  • because of the logistical problems of moving a whole family, the married Ordinariate priests are not as mobile as their celibate counterparts
  • one of the problems is therefore finding pastors for all of the groups
  • at least three of the larger groups have been without a priest pastor for some time
  • some of the priests live considerable distances from the groups of which they have the charge (partly because their “day job” is in a different location ot because the groups which one priest has charge of are dispersed geographically)

Acceptance of the Ordinariate

  • after an initial period of scepticism and reluctance to embrace the Ordinariate with enthusiasm, many bishops are now showing more support, partly because they are profiting from the extra personnel which the Ordinariate places at their disposal
  • particular support has come from the dioceses of Southwark and Brentwood
  • Cardinal Nichols is also increasingly becoming a mainstay of the Ordinariate
  • the understanding of the Ordinariate’s mission both within the Ordinariate itself and in the Church at large is growing, although it is still true that a Catholic with an Anglican heritage is often not regarded as a “proper” Catholic by many of the faithful
  • despite much ill-feeling and reluctance on the part of the Church of England, many Ordinariate groups are busy establishing ecumenical credentials, working in Churches Together, inviting ecumenical partners to Evensong or Lessons and Carols, sharing choirs, etc.
  • interest is also growing among members or former members of other Christian denominations and in various countries

Anglican Patrimony

  • one litmus test of the Ordinariate is naturally whether the groups are fulfilling the mission of bringing treasures from the Anglican Patrimony into the Catholic Church as a gift to be shared
  • right from the start the Ordinariate groups became well-known for beautiful liturgy, for an attention to detail, for beautification of church buildings, etc.
  • the Ordinariate Use Mass is becoming more widely known and the traditional  “Cranmerian” prayers are gradually becoming a firm part of Catholic liturgy
  • excellent Bible-based preaching and teaching is paramount
  • most groups have introduced Evensong and Benediction into the Catholic Church as a regular feature
  • many churches now have morning and evening prayer said in church
  • 11 am masses end with the sung Angelus or Regina Coeli
  • the typically Anglican seasonal services of Lessons and Carols, Advent processions, Harvest festivals are now a regular feature of many groups
  • excellent music characterises many of the groups (excellent choirs, enthusiastic hymn-singing, Anglican plainchant, beautiful Mass settings – increasingly vernacular Anglican settings -, anthems and motets)
  • groups are conscious of the need for good organs, are thus acquiring organs and refurbishing existing organs
  • bellringing is becoming more important (St Agatha’s has now installed its own peal of eight bells, Most Precious Blood has restored its bells and regularly rings them for Mass)
  • fellowship (parish suppers, “bunfights” after Mass, etc.) feature large in the activities of most groups
  • relationships within the “parish” are much more personal, not least because of the small numbers
  • regular parish (adult) catechesis plays a more significant part than in most Catholic parishes
  • devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham (which still leaves a lot to be desired in the Catholic Church in Britain) is an indispensable aspect of the spirituality of all Ordinariate members, not least because of the title of the Ordinariate
  • and, last but not least, there is the ethos and example of a married priesthood and a presbytery full of children, which is not insignificant

All of this represents an excellent start for Ordinariate life in this country. Some groups may disappear over time, others will spring up and flourish. But the Holy Spirit seems to be meaning well with us. Let us pray – and also do whatever we can ourselves – that the Ordinariate will prosper and grow, and truly fulfil its important role in the evangelisation of Britain.

About half of the Ordinariate clergy outside Westminster Cathedral in September 2014

About half of the Ordinariate clergy outside Westminster Cathedral in September 2014

(click on the photos for enlargements)

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36 Responses to The UK Ordinariate after four years

  1. Paul Waddington. says:

    Thanks for this summary, which very much in accord with my observations.

    I am sure that the Ordinariate will grow organically, even if not many new groups are formed. By this I mean that existing groups will attract new members. This could be a slow but steady process.

    I expect that there will also continue to be a steady trickle of clergy, sufficient to replace the retirements over the next decade or so, but their geographical spread may be a problem. Soon it may come to some Ordinariate priests having to move to where the need is.

    The other problem will continue to be money. Unless there are some significant bequests, the shortage will continue.

  2. EPMS says:

    This is a wonderful round-up of information on many aspects of OOLW and represents a considerable investment of research and writing time. Thank you, Mr Murphy. A few initial points strike me: in North America, for the most part, OCSP communities and the two(?) remaining Anglican Use parishes have a clear identity. Most of the members are former Anglicans and the liturgy is distinctive, especially in its language. There are exceptions — two Spanish-language communities and perhaps half-a-dozen communities without clerical leadership who worship in local diocesan churches at OF services, but this latter is perceived as hopefully an interim arrangement. So the Ordinariate option has a brand. It is not, IMHO, being particularly well managed or marketed, but those who encounter it can see its distinctiveness immediately. If we include the Anglican Use predecessor, it has survived, if not thrived, for thirty years. The OOLW, on the other hand, seems to be all over the map, with seven or eight different models, only a few of which seem to me to be likely to promote the long-term health of the Ordinariate project. I think this is partly due to the staffing situation; as has been noted previously, about 10% of the Catholic clergy in the UK are former Anglican clergy and this is clearly a resource the Church had come to depend on well before the OOLW came into existence. It would seem that when Ordinariate clergy are deployed the main priorities are the requirements of the local diocese and the financial and/or housing requirements of the incoming priest, with the interests of the Ordinariate a distant third. In order to be considered an Ordinariate member one must register centrally, so the exact number of laity must be known. The fact that this number is not published, unlike the number of clergy, which is readily available, suggests that it is at the lower end of what is estimated here; perhaps even falling owing to deaths and defections to the local diocese. If so, I am not surprised. What is on offer in the OOLW is generally unclear and inconsistent. Of course individual members may be having a rich and positive experience, but whether this will translate into an ongoing and distinctive element in the life of the Catholic Church in the UK is another question.

    • Paul Waddington says:

      I think that the reason for the vagueness in stating the number of lay members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is due to genuine difficulties in assessing the number. This is for many reasons.

      Firstly, because in almost all cases, the Ordinariate groups are sharing a church with an existing parish. Often one Sunday Mass, and sometimes weekday Masses, are billed as Ordinariate Masses, but in most cases the two congregations have become integrated. Inevitably, the Ordinariate Mass usually gets an unpopular timing (maybe 7.30 in the morning or 2.00 in the afternoon), and people tend to go to the Mass that suits their routine best.

      Secondly, Some Ordinariate groups have been allocated churches some distance away from where they were formed. Ordinariate members who do not have their own transport cannot always get to this church, and habitually attend another Catholic church.

      Thirdly, many of the original members have moved home, usually to a part of the country where there is no Ordinariate group.

      Fourthly, people who live in an area where there is no Ordinariate group, may associate themselves with a particular group, but rarely attend that church, because of the amount of travelling.

      Fifthly, there are Ordinariate groups (exploratory and actual) that have no priest, and thus no regular services.

      For all these reasons, and perhaps more, it is very difficult to have a definitive headcount.
      However, I really think that there should be an effort to establish some better figures.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Paul,

        You wrote: I think that the reason for the vagueness in stating the number of lay members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is due to genuine difficulties in assessing the number.

        Actually, assessing the number of lay members of the ordinariate is quite easy because each person who elects to join or to leave an ordinariate must do so in writing, submitted to the ordinary. The apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus requires the ordinary to maintain a register of those who enroll. Thus, the office of each ordinariate has not only an exact count, but a list of the current members. Getting the number of lay members is as easy as subtracting the number of clergy from the number of entries in the register.

        Now, assessing the usual metrics employed in the Anglican Communion, such as average Sunday attendance (ASA), might be a bit more difficult.

        Norm.

      • Although, Norm, when I go through Paul’s list of contingencies, I do wonder whether all these people who have moved or left for a myriad of reasons have actually gone to the trouble of leaving the Ordinariate in writing or even realise that they must, and indeed whether the new Mass attenders from an Anglican background have all been officially enrolled.

        And where is the structure in the Ordinariate (apart from our Expats group in mainland Europe) which keeps in touch with members who now live in the diaspora but wish to continue to be members?

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: Although, Norm, when I go through Paul’s list of contingencies, I do wonder whether all these people who have moved or left for a myriad of reasons have actually gone to the trouble of leaving the Ordinariate in writing or even realise that they must, and indeed whether the new Mass attenders from an Anglican background have all been officially enrolled.

        It does not matter. Canonically, those who drift away continue to be members until they opt out in writing.

        Likewise, assisting in masses of an ordinariate community does not make one a member of an ordinariate no matter how frequently one does it, whether one comes from an Anglican background or not. One must formally enroll to become a member of an ordinariate.

        You wrote: And where is the structure in the Ordinariate (apart from our Expats group in mainland Europe) which keeps in touch with members who now live in the diaspora but wish to continue to be members?

        The responsibility to maintain contact would rest with the pastor, by whatever official title, of the community to which they officially belong — which obviously would change if they move from the territory of one community to the territory of another. If they relocate outside the territory of any ordinariate community, the responsibility would pass to the ordinary. Your expat group obviously is actually unique in that the members reside outside the territory of the ordinariate — but even you have a chaplain (who, I presume, was formally appointed to that role by the ordinary) with whom you maintain some level of regular contact.

        Note, BTW, that the person who bears this responsibility need not be ordained. The ordinary can appoint a lay administrator for a group that does not have clergy assigned to it.

        Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    One would assume that long-term Catholics reconnecting with their Anglican background via an Ordinariate group are not greeted with paperwork. And if marriage or baptism is not a likely prospect membership may never come up. But by the same token those bailing out probably do not give official notice. So numbers on record are probably fairly accurate. But not shared.

  4. Catholicleft says:

    An excellent endeavour, Mr Murphy, which I will repost if that is alright with you.
    I have had it in mind for quite sometime to try to come up with an accurate-ish count of lay members of local communities, many of whom may not, for reasons already rehearsed in the other replies, have registered. There is a very British reluctance to register centrally for things.
    I am over-whelmed by work at the moment but still hope to make an attempt at some point.
    Anyway, well done.

    • EPMS says:

      One assumes that registering with the Ordinariate is a requirement for those who are received into the Church through an Ordinariate group, at the least.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: One assumes that registering with the Ordinariate is a requirement for those who are received into the Church through an Ordinariate group, at the least.

        Yes, and those baptized as infants in an ordinariate congregation also are automatically enrolled as members of the ordinariate by that fact.

        Norm.

  5. Paul Waddington says:

    Rev22:17,
    If you assess the membership of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham by the method that you suggest, then there may be 2,500 members or more. However, the figure would not be a realistic assessment for the reasons that have been given. It would take no account of those who have died, or those who now live so far from an active Ordinariate group that they take little active part, for example.

    What we do know from reading reports, is that there are baptisms of newly born babies and a continuing flow of conversions. I suggest that you read some of the blogs to pick this information up. I find the Darlington group a particularly good source for this type of information.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Paul,

      You wrote: If you assess the membership of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham by the method that you suggest, then there may be 2,500 members or more. However, the figure would not be a realistic assessment for the reasons that have been given. It would take no account of those who have died, or those who now live so far from an active Ordinariate group that they take little active part, for example.

      As I said in my earlier post, the definition of “membership” is quite clear. Also, deaths of members should be annotated on the register of membership, so this also is properly accounted.

      As you correctly observe, there’s a difference between official membership and active participation in an ordinariate community. One can measure the latter, and most ordinariate groups probably do measure it in one way or another, according to their circumstances, but that’s an area in which the relevant metrics in one ordinariate group might differ radically from the relevant metrics in another. But in any case, you asked about measuring membership — which has a specific meaning as it relates to the ordinariates.

      You wrote: What we do know from reading reports, is that there are baptisms of newly born babies and a continuing flow of conversions. I suggest that you read some of the blogs to pick this information up. I find the Darlington group a particularly good source for this type of information.

      Again, some ordinariate groups have more of this than others, and there is no single source of information that provides the complete picture.

      BTW, please be careful how you use the word “conversions.” At least here in the States, our bishops have explicitly asked us NOT to use this term in reference to baptized Christians received into full communion of the Catholic Church from other Christian denominations, but rather to reserve it for those who come into the church from non-Christian faith or from unbelief through the sacrament of baptism because the misuse of this term has egregious consequences for ecumenism. My guess is that the preponderance of those coming into the Catholic Church through the ordinariates are already baptized Christians, and thus are NOT properly called “converts.”

      Norm.

  6. EPMS says:

    Mr Waddington: I am sure the flourishing OOLW communities are indeed baptising new borns and receiving new Catholics (don’t let Norm see you referring to “conversions”), but not at the rate of 5-10 a week, which would be suggested by a total figure of 2500 (of those who are or had ever been members).

  7. asdf says:

    Is there any hope for those not using the Ordinariate Rite? Why would future generations travel miles to an Ordinariate Church using the Novus Ordo if they can get the exact same thing in their local Diocesan church? Mgr Mercer has an interesting post on the st agathas blog regarding Anglican Catholic relations available at portsmouthmission.wordpress.com

    • Dear ASDF,

      If the Ordinariate and Anglican patrimony were only the Order of Mass, then maybe you would be right.

      People do. however, in fact travel considerable distances to take part in Ordinariate groups whose regular Mass is celebrated according to the Ordinary Form, so there must be something else, don’t you think?

      Of course, it would be nice if each group could find a way to incorporate the Ordinariate Use into their schedule in some way, as this is the Ordo which we have been given by the Church. Although the OU itself contains many alternatives, there is not going to be another official Ordinariate Mass, so this is it.

    • Scotrhodie says:

      The Ordinariate is too small and fragile to accommodate multiple uses — there are already at least 3 different “styles” possible within the published rite. The ordo should be mandatory, in my view.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Scotrhodie,

        You wrote: The Ordinariate is too small and fragile to accommodate multiple uses — there are already at least 3 different “styles” possible within the published rite. The ordo should be mandatory, in my view.

        Unity is not the same thing as uniformity — and this is just as true within an ordinariate as within the larger church. Each “group” of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham must do what works best — and the “groups” find themselves in radically different circumstances.

        >> There are a couple groups that effectively have complete control over their places of worship and other facilities. They can pretty much do what they please.

        >> There are many groups that must schedule their masses around the masses of their host parishes until they acquire their own facilities. They will find that some of their parishioners will have more or less frequent schedule conflicts when they must assist in a parish mass because the ordinariate mass is at a time that, for whatever reason, is not workable. These groups also can pretty much celebrate in whatever manner they please, within the constraints imposed by the configuration of their worship space and the schedule of the respective host parish.

        >> And there are quite a few groups that are too small to have their own mass, who therefore must worship together at one of the masses celebrated for the respective host parish. These groups, by and large, must worship with the ordinariate form, whether they like it or not.

        But the other reality here is that many of these groups worshipped with the Roman Missal when they were part of the Anglican Communion, so that is their patrimony. If one attempts to force them to use Divine Worship, many will simply decide to go to regular masses of their host parishes instead because that is what is familiar to them. Far from strengthening the ordinariate group, this would weaken it.

        Norm.

  8. Rev22:17 says:

    EPMS,

    You wrote: … but not at the rate of 5-10 a week, which would be suggested by a total figure of 2500 (of those who are or had ever been members).

    That average rate might not be as unrealistic as you surmise. Don’t forget there were perhaps eight or ten “exploratory groups” received into full communion, most of which probably had about 50-60 members at the time of reception, and some of which might have been considerably larger.

    Norm.

    • EPMS says:

      We know that the initial intake in 2011 was around 900, according to the site British Religion in Numbers. This was attended with a fair amount of positive publicity. Had 5-600 people joined each year since I think we would have heard about it, and I do not think we would have heard the Ordinary, on several occasions, express disappointment at the growth rate. The OOLW declined to provide statistics to BRIN after 2011.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: Had 5-600 people joined each year since I think we would have heard about it…

        I’m not convinced. The reception of baptized Christians into full communion normally is not exactly trumpeted from the rooftops.

        You continued: … and I do not think we would have heard the Ordinary, on several occasions, express disappointment at the growth rate.

        I’m not convinced of that, either. I think that there was some hope, even expectation, that large numbers would follow the first wave into the ordinariates when they saw the ordinariate communities functioning as such and that developments in the Church of England would drive even more to leave, with the ordinariate being the most readily available alternative.

        Norm.

  9. bmvallejo1 says:

    About the married priests and presbytery filled with kids, this will not last for long as the Ordinary has said that future vocations to the priesthood will be from celibate men. Will future Ordinaries (who I expect to be Bishop-Ordinaries) use the rights they have under Anglicanorum coetibus to “petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis”? As the “swimmers across the Tiber” have dwindled to a trickle, future vocations will not be from the converts but from the present Ordinariate members themselves and their descendants.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      bmvallejo01,

      You wrote: About the married priests and presbytery filled with kids, this will not last for long as the Ordinary has said that future vocations to the priesthood will be from celibate men. Will future Ordinaries (who I expect to be Bishop-Ordinaries) use the rights they have under Anglicanorum coetibus to “petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis”?

      The tone of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the associated complementary norms is clear: one of “Hmmm….” The Vatican clearly would like the ordinariates to conform to the discipline of the Roman Rite with respect to celibacy, but there’s also an implicit acknowledgement that it might not be practicable for the ordinariates to do so because it is not the custom of those coming into the Catholic Church to form the ordinariates. The Vatican clearly would rather admit a different discipline for the ordinariates than have the ordinariates fail, if it comes down to that choice.

      Having said that, I rather suspect that we are going to see a gradual chinking away at the discipline of celibacy throughout the Roman Rite, as bishops have more and more difficulty finding men who are willing to commit to celibacy to staff parishes and other diocesan ministries, in the foreseeable future. But recognizing the practical difficulties of (1) the need to reconfigure existing rectories in a manner suitable for married clergy with children and (2) the need to adjust diocesan finances to support greater numbers of married clergy than now exist, the Vatican wants the initiative on this to come from the bishops themselves, through the episcopal conferences, rather than from the pope down. The current normative practice is to grant dispensations from celibacy only for Catholic ordination of former Anglican and former Protestant clergy. A logical next step might be to grant similar dispensations for married deacons who earn the degree of Master of Divinity or for married lay men who, in some dioceses are serving as parish administrators on a stable basis or for married men serving as catechists in mission lands that have particularly severe shortages of clergy. But this will likely start with a pilot project in the territory of one or two episcopal conferences, or even in a small number of dioceses within the territory of an episcopal conference, and gradually expand to encompass the whole church. The question is over what time line this might occur — next year or two, next decade or two, or next century or two.

      Bear in mind, BTW, that any diocesan bishop may “petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, for admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis,” though I’m not aware of any instances in which diocesan bishops have chosen to do so. It seems likely that the present pope would grant a dispensation if there’s a married member of the church who is uniquely qualified for ordination or who is in a unique position to meet an urgent pastoral need.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        Yes, there was a recent story (Irish Times, December 22) about a Catholic parish in Birmingham whose pastor left the priesthood to marry. His replacement is a former Cof E clergyman, married with three young children. These are the kind of optics that do not help the Latin Rite case for celibacy. I’m sure that if the bishop had had any other suitable candidate he would have sent him in preference to the married priest. But he didn’t. Regarding future “Bishop-Ordinaries”, the pool of celibate candidates for the episcopate in the Ordinariates seems likely to be extraordinarily shallow.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: Yes, there was a recent story (Irish Times, December 22) about a Catholic parish in Birmingham whose pastor left the priesthood to marry. His replacement is a former Cof E clergyman, married with three young children. These are the kind of optics that do not help the Latin Rite case for celibacy.

        Very true!

        When the situation here in the States led large numbers of married former Anglican clergy to seek indults to permit their ordination in the Catholic Church in the late 1970’s, there was no small concern at the Vatican about how mainstream lay Catholics would receive married clergy. Although there was distrust in some places at first, the reception was generally much better than what the Vatican had anticipated. I think that the reception of married former Anglican and former Protestant clergy who are now ordained in the Catholic Church has generally been positive in other places as well.

        You wrote: Regarding future “Bishop-Ordinaries”, the pool of celibate candidates for the episcopate in the Ordinariates seems likely to be extraordinarily shallow.

        I would not expect to see celibate ordinaries for at least a decade or two, simply because it will take that long for the ordinariates’ own seminarians to attain enough experience as pastors to be considered for the position. But in any case, the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus seems to convey very clear intent that all celibate ordinaries will receive episcopal ordination.

        Norm.

  10. EPMS says:

    Norm, as you know most UK dioceses have an annual “Rite of Election” ceremony for those planning to enter the Church at Easter, including those baptised in another denomination. I agree that this is not ideal, for reasons you have clearly explained apropos of previous discussions around receptions. The fact is that this is the way it’s done there and all the other dioceses report their numbers, which are availble at a number of sites. The OOLW may eschew a similar ceremony, for all I know, but the numbers are nonetheless internally available and if the OOLW, alone, an entity more or less dependent on the “reception of baptized Christians”, after all, chooses not to trumpet them from the rooftops I think it is fair to say it is because they are not very high. Actually they were reported in 2012 as it turns out: 200 people. It is 2013 and 2014 that are shown as NA, although of course they are known to the OOLW administrators.

    • EPMS says:

      http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/anglicanorum-coetibus-after-five-years Just remembered that in this article an OOLW spokesman gives the number of lay members as 1500.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Norm, as you know most UK dioceses have an annual “Rite of Election” ceremony for those planning to enter the Church at Easter, including those baptised in another denomination.

      Many dioceses here in the States do the same thing. However, it is more correctly a combined “Rite of Election” for converts preparing for baptism and “Rite of Admission of Candidates” for those already baptized who are preparing for reception into full communion.

      Norm.

  11. EPMS says:

    Norm, regarding the appointment of the next Ordinaries, I note that Msgrs Newton and Steenson, born ten days apart (!) can remain in office until April 2027. At that point I would imagine that considerably more than half the current priests in both Ordinariates will also be past 75.. Of course there will be new recruits, and we hope that the financial situation of the Ordinariates will be such that the percentage of retired Anglican/Episcopal clergy will be less. Otherwise succession planning will be challenging. I think “the ordinariates’ own seminarians” will be very few and far between.

    • 2027 is twelve years away. If only two priests are ordained every year, that would mean twenty-four new priests by then. We can probably hope for more than two.

      Personally I think it would be a mistake to limit the choice of Ordinary only to celibate priests, as in the Eastern churches, where the Ordinary must be a bishop and only monks can become bishops. The Apostolic Constitution specifically provides for married priests to be appointed Ordinary (and they don’t need to have been Anglican bishops previously), so there is no reason why this provision should not be used.

      Actually, not having a bishop as Ordinary provides the Ordinariate with opportunities to demonstrate their Unity with the Pope (by the Nuncio’s celebrating the Chrism Mass) and the diocesan bishops (by their ordaining Ordinariate deacons and priests).

      And I think it is not a bad idea to have a married man as member of the Bishops’ Conference.

      David Murphy

      • Rev22:17 says:

        David,

        You wrote: Personally I think it would be a mistake to limit the choice of Ordinary only to celibate priests, as in the Eastern churches, where the Ordinary must be a bishop and only monks can become bishops.

        Things are seldom what they seem. From conversations with clergy of various churches of the Orthodox Communion, I understand that their normative practice does not exclude election of widowed presbyters who are not monks to episcopal office. Upon election, such individuals apparently go to a monastery for a day, during which they profess vows and thus officially become monks, before they receive episcopal ordination. I presume that the sui juris ritual churches, at least of the Byzantine tradition, follow the same practice.

        Norm.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Norm, regarding the appointment of the next Ordinaries, I note that Msgrs Newton and Steenson, born ten days apart (!) can remain in office until April 2027.

      Canonically, they must submit their resignations when they reach the normal retirement age for bishops (I’ll take your word on the month and year) — but resignations don’t take effect until the pope accepts them. There have been a few recent instances in which popes have decided not to accept such resignations, allowing the respective bishops to continue in office past the normal retirement age.

      You wrote: At that point I would imagine that considerably more than half the current priests in both Ordinariates will also be past 75..

      I don’t know the exact fraction, but I agree with the gist of your point.

      You wrote: Of course there will be new recruits, and we hope that the financial situation of the Ordinariates will be such that the percentage of retired Anglican/Episcopal clergy will be less.

      Yes, of course. There probably will be more clergy coming into the ordinariates from the Anglican Communion and receiving Catholic ordination as they can clear out the obstacles that prevented them from coming in the initial waves, too.

      You continued: Otherwise succession planning will be challenging. I think “the ordinariates’ own seminarians” will be very few and far between.

      I suspect that there will be an assessment of the situation in the Vatican when the ordinaries present their first ad limina reports.

      It’s important to remember that, in the Vatican’s view, the ordinariates are the prototype for reconciliation of Protestant and Anglican bodies with the Catholic Church. This means that failure of an ordinariate would be a disaster for the goals of ecumenism: other groups would be very reluctant to form new ordinariates if the prototypes fail, whereas the Vatican could point to viable ordinariates as examples of how the arrangement works and of its viability. If it becomes clear that insistence upon celibacy will kill the ordinariates, the Vatican will approve whatever accommodation is needed to ensure the ordinariates’ survival.

      Of course, there’s also the very real possibility that one or another of the relevant episcopal conferences will propose broader exceptions to the present norm of clerical celibacy as a way to provide greater numbers of clergy for our parishes. If so, the revised rules will extend to the respective ordinariates.

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        What are “the goals of ecumenism”? I agree that if the Ordinariates erected under AC fail to grow significantly it will suggest that the Ordinariate model is not the way to go. If members of the Anglican denomination, with its liturgical focus and tradition of Catholic aspirations, do not flock to a Catholic service which preserves familiar elements we can hardly imagine that Presbyterians or Baptists are going to be more enthusiastic. That is not to say that former Presbyterians and Baptists are not joining the Church every week of the year, as are former Anglicans, of course—just not at an Ordinariate parish. Is this a problem?

      • I would be grateful if you were not so defeatist, EPMS. I would hate to have to delete comments again. The purpose of this site is to be upbeat and optimistic about the Ordinariate. I will not accept negative “What if?” scenarios.

        David

  12. EPMS says:

    Would an Ordinary in priest’s orders who had never been an Anglican bishop still be allowed to vest as a bishop?

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You asked: Would an Ordinary in priest’s orders who had never been an Anglican bishop still be allowed to vest as a bishop?

      Yes. Any presbyter who is canonically equivalent to a diocesan bishop (ordinary, apostolic vicar, apostolic prefect, etc.) is entitled to wear the same ecclesial vesture and to use the same pontifical insignia as a diocesan bishop.

      Norm.

  13. EPMS says:

    I would be grateful if I were not so defeatist also but I will try not to appear to undermine your agenda. I think this blog does important work and being purged would be a blow.

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