[Yesterday there was] historic news: the Vatican has issued the official text of the document, Anglicanorum Coetibus (“Groups of Anglicans”) which sets up an unprecedented structure to allow Anglican congregations to reunite with Rome but still keep their Anglican traditions.
This will be seen as one of the historic documents of Pope Benedict XVI‘s pontificate. We are watching history unfold here.
But this is just one part of a larger papal strategy and vision, which opens outward toward the Orthodox Churches, and which has to do also with the mysterious message of Fatima. Therefore, tomorrow morning I will begin a nine-day trip to Russia, and I hope to file daily about my journey.
The section about married priests is in Chapter VI of the document (see below).
The Anglican Proposal
The Vatican proposal to the Anglican Communion is now official, dated November 4, 2009, but published [yesterday], November 9, 2009.
There is an important “Australian Connection” here, as the original request for this type of Catholic Church structure came from a very traditional Australian Anglican Archbishop: Archbishop John Hepworth. Hepworth is the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a group of about 400,000 Anglicans from 16 different Anglican groups, out of the total of 70 million Anglicans worldwide, founded in 1991. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Anglican_Communion) These “traditional” Anglicans, over the past generation, became increasingly uneasy with what they believed were unorthodox doctrinal changes in the belief and practice of many in the Anglican Communion, particularly the decision to ordain women priests, then women bish ops, and also an increasing official acceptance of homosexuality.
Andrew Rabel, a Roman Catholic Australian journalist, has been a friend of Hepworth for several years, and Inside the Vatican published Rabel’s interview with Hepworth on these matters several years ago, so we have been watching this story unfold for a long time.
Andrew last week advised that this historic invitation to the world’s Anglicans would be published today, so I would like him to announce it here. Here is Rabel’s email to me this morning:
“This day comes after 400 years of many unsuccessful efforts, to bring about a reconciliation with the Anglican Communion, and the Roman Church.
“Now the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has taken the lead with this Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus (the words are the first words of the Latin text and mean “Groups of Anglicans”), the first Apostolic Constitution in 13 years, since John Paul II’s Univerisi Domenici Gregis in 1996 (regarding the updating of conclave procedures in the election of a Pope).
“[Other Apostolic Consitutions in recent decades made Opus Dei a personal prelature (Ut sit, November 28, 1982), revised the Church's 1917 Code of Canon Law (Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, January 25, 1983), established military ordinariates (Spirituali militum cura, April 21, 1986), reformed the Roman Curia (Pastor Bonus, June 28, 1988), insisted on orthodoxy at Catholic universities (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, August, 15, 1990), provided a distinct canon law for Eastern Catholic Churches (Sacri Canones, October 18, 1990), and promulgated a new Universal Catechism (Depositum fidei, October 11, 1992). All thes Constitutions regulated Church life, but never dealt with an ecclesial body not in communion with the Church of Rome.]
“Now the Pope has invited members of the Anglican Communion to come back to Rome, and be united but not absorbed, by giving them their own structures.
“Today we are seeing a fulfilment of the words Christ uttered at the Last Supper when He prayed, ‘That they may be one as you, Father in me, and I in you; that the world may believe that You have sent me.’ (John 17:21)
“England has long been called Mary’s Dowry. But a secularized nation and church have caused this gift to be taken from her. She wants it back, and this is the start. Please give a lot of attention to Anglicanorum Coetibus. God bless,
Here is today’s official Vatican press release:
“On October 20, 2009, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced a new provision responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.
“The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which is published today introduces a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow the above mentioned groups to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is publishing a set of Complementary Norms which will guide the implementation of this provision.
“This Apostolic Constitution opens a new avenue for the promotion of Christian unity while, at the same time, granting legitimate diversity in the expression of our common faith. It represents not an initiative on the part of the Holy See, but a generous response from the Holy Father to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups. The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church.
The possibility envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution for some married clergy within the Personal Ordinariates does not signify any change in the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy. According to the Second Vatican Council, priestly celibacy is a sign and a stimulus for pastoral charity and radiantly proclaims the reign of God (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1579).
Here is a link to the Holy See’s official complete text of the Constitution, which is also included here below: http://188.8.131.52/news_services/bulletin/news/24626.php?index=24626〈=en#APOSTOLIC%20CONSTITUTION%20ANGLICANORUM%20COETIBUS
The text is worth a close reading. It was carefully written and re-written, and is intended to serve as a model also for further developments.
Official Text, Dated November 4, 2009
APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS
In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately. The Apostolic See has responded favorably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches,1 could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy desire to realization.
The Church, a people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,2 was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as “a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people.”3 Every division among the baptized in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to every creature.”4 Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the salvation of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples.5
It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion.6 He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer.7 The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible;8 in fact, “the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human and divine.”9 The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff.10
This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic “subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside her visible confines. Since these are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.”11
In the light of these ecclesiological principles, this Apostolic Constitution provides the general normative structure for regulating the institution and life of Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner. This Constitution is completed by Complementary Norms issued by the Apostolic See.
I. §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.
§2 Within the territory of a particular Conference of Bishops, one or more Ordinariates may be erected as needed.
§3 Each Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a diocese.12
§4 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.
§5 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.
II. The Personal Ordinariate is governed according to the norms of universal law and the present Apostolic Constitution and is subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia in accordance with their competencies. It is also governed by the Complementary Norms as well as any other specific Norms given for each Ordinariate.
III. 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.
IV. A Personal Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral care of an Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff.
V. The power (potestas) of the Ordinary is:
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;
b. vicarious: exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff;
c. personal: exercised over all who belong to the Ordinariate;
This power is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms.
VI. §1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law13 and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments14 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. 4215 and in the Statement In June16 are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.
§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.
§3. Incardination of clerics will be regulated according to the norms of canon law.
§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.
§5. 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.
VII. The Ordinary, with the approval of the Holy See, can erect new Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, with the right to call their members to Holy Orders, according to the norms of canon law. Institutes of Consecrated Life originating in the Anglican Communion and entering into full communion with the Catholic Church may also be placed under his jurisdiction by mutual consent.
VIII. §1. 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.
§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.
IX. 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.
X. §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.17
§2. 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.
§3. 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.18
§4. In order to provide for the consultation of the faithful, a Pastoral Council is to be constituted in the Ordinariate.19
XI. 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.
XII. For judicial cases, the competent tribunal is that of the Diocese in which one of the parties is domiciled, unless the Ordinariate has constituted its own tribunal, in which case the tribunal of second instance is the one designated by the Ordinariate and approved by the Holy See.
XIII. The Decree establishing an Ordinariate will determine the location of the See and, if appropriate, the principal church.
We desire that our dispositions and norms be valid and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, should it be necessary, the Apostolic Constitutions and ordinances issued by our predecessors, or any other prescriptions, even those requiring special mention or derogation.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on November 4, 2009, the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.
+ BENEDICTUS PP XVI
1 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 23; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, 12; 13.
2 Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 4; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2.
3 Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 1.
4 Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 1.
5 Cf. Jn 17:20-21; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2.
6 Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 13.
7 Cf. ibid; Acts 2:42.
8 Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8; Letter Communionis notio, 4.
9 Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.
10 Cf. CIC, can. 205; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 13; 14; 21; 22; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2; 3; 4; 15; 20; Decree Christus Dominus, 4; Decree Ad gentes, 22.
11 Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.
12 Cf. John Paul II, Ap. Const. Spirituali militium curae, 21 April 1986, I § 1.
13 Cf. CIC, cann. 1026-1032.
14 Cf. CIC, cann. 1040-1049.
15 Cf. AAS 59 (1967) 674.
16 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Statement of 1 April 1981, in Enchiridion Vaticanum 7, 1213.
17 Cf. CIC, cann. 495-502.
18 Cf. CIC, cann. 492-494.
19 Cf. CIC, can. 511.
COMPLEMENTARY NORMS FOR THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS
Jurisdiction of the Holy See
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.
Relations with Episcopal Conferences and Diocesan Bishops
§1. 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.
§2. The Ordinary is a member of the respective Episcopal Conference.
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.
§1. The Ordinary may be a bishop or a presbyter appointed by the Roman Pontiff ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, based on a terna presented by the Governing Council. Canons 383-388, 392-394, and 396-398 of the Code of Canon Law apply to him.
§2. The Ordinary has the faculty to incardinate in the Ordinariate former Anglican ministers who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church, as well as candidates belonging to the Ordinariate and promoted to Holy Orders by him.
§3. Having first consulted with the Episcopal Conference and obtained the consent of the Governing Council and the approval of the Holy See, the Ordinary can erect as needed territorial deaneries supervised by a delegate of the Ordinary covering the faithful of multiple personal parishes.
The Faithful of the Ordinariate
§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. 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.
§2. Lay faithful and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, when they collaborate in pastoral or charitable activities, whether diocesan or parochial, are subject to the Diocesan Bishop or to the pastor of the place; in which case the power of the Diocesan Bishop or pastor is exercised jointly with that of the Ordinary and the pastor of the Ordinariate.
§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.
§2. Those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate. Anglican clergy who are in irregular marriage situations may not be accepted for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate.
§3. Presbyters incardinated in the Ordinariate receive the necessary faculties from the Ordinary.
§1. The Ordinary must ensure that adequate remuneration be provided to the clergy incardinated in the Ordinariate, and must provide for their needs in the event of sickness, disability, and old age.
§2. The Ordinary will enter into discussion with the Episcopal Conference about resources and funds which might be made available for the care of the clergy of the Ordinariate.
§3. When necessary, priests, with the permission of the Ordinary, may engage in a secular profession compatible with the exercise of priestly ministry (cf. CIC, can. 286).
§1. 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 (cf. CIC, can. 498, §2).
§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 (cf. CIC, can. 512, §1).
§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.
§2. Where and when it is deemed suitable, clergy incardinated in a Diocese or in an Institute of Consecrated Life or a Society of Apostolic Life, with the written consent of their respective Diocesan Bishop or their Superior, can collaborate in the pastoral care of the Ordinariate. In such case they are subject to the Ordinary in respect to that which pertains to the pastoral charge or office they receive.
§3. In the cases treated in the preceding paragraphs there should be a written agreement between the Ordinary and the Diocesan Bishop or the Superior of the Institute of Consecrated Life or the Moderator of the Society of Apostolic Life, in which the terms of collaboration and all that pertains to the means of support are clearly established.
§1. Formation of the clergy of the Ordinariate should accomplish two objectives: 1) joint formation with diocesan seminarians in accordance with local circumstances; 2) formation, in full harmony with Catholic tradition, in those aspects of the Anglican patrimony that are of particular value.
§2. Candidates for priestly ordination will receive their theological formation with other seminarians at a seminary or a theological faculty in conformity with an agreement concluded between the Ordinary and, respectively, the Diocesan Bishop or Bishops concerned. Candidates may receive other aspects of priestly formation at a seminary program or house of formation established, with the consent of the Governing Council, expressly for the purpose of transmitting Anglican patrimony.
§3. The Ordinariate must have its own Program of Priestly Formation, approved by the Holy See; each house of formation should draw up its own rule, approved by the Ordinary (cf. CIC, can. 242, §1).
§4. The Ordinary may accept as seminarians only those faithful who belong to a personal parish of the Ordinariate or who were previously Anglican and have established full communion with the Catholic Church.
§5. The Ordinariate sees to the continuing formation of its clergy, through their participation in local programs provided by the Episcopal Conference and the Diocesan Bishop.
Former Anglican Bishops
§1. 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.
§2. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be called upon to assist the Ordinary in the administration of the Ordinariate.
§3. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be invited to participate in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of the respective territory, with the equivalent status of a retired bishop.
§4. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.
The Governing Council
§1. The Governing Council, in accord with Statutes which the Ordinary must approve, will have the rights and responsibilities accorded by the Code of Canon Law to the College of Consultors and the Presbyteral Council.
§2. In addition to these responsibilities, the Ordinary needs the consent of the Governing Council to:
a) admit a candidate to Holy Orders;
b) erect or suppress a personal parish;
c) erect or suppress a house of formation;
d) approve a program of formation.
§3. The Ordinary also consults the Governing Council concerning the pastoral activities of the Ordinariate and the principles governing the formation of clergy.
§4. The Governing Council has a deliberative vote:
a. when choosing a terna of names to submit to the Holy See for the appointment of the Ordinary;
b. when proposing changes to the Complementary Norms of the Ordinariate to present to the Holy See;
c. when formulating the Statutes of the Governing Council, the Statutes of the Pastoral Council, and the Rule for houses of formation.
§ 5. The Governing Council is composed according to the Statutes of the Council. Half of the membership is elected by the priests of the Ordinariate.
The Pastoral Council
§1. The Pastoral Council, constituted by the Ordinary, offers advice regarding the pastoral activity of the Ordinariate.
§2. The Pastoral Council, whose president is the Ordinary, is governed by Statutes approved by the Ordinary.
The Personal Parishes
§1. The pastor may be assisted in the pastoral care of the parish by a parochial vicar, appointed by the Ordinary; a pastoral council and a finance council must be established in the parish.
§2. If there is no vicar, in the event of absence, incapacity, or death of the pastor, the pastor of the territorial parish in which the church of the personal parish is located can exercise his faculties as pastor so as to supply what is needed.
§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).
The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved these Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, adopted in the Ordinary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 4, 2009, the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.
William Card. Levada
+ Luis. F. Ladaria, S.I.
Titular Archbishop of Thibica
An Official Commentary on the Meaning of this Document
The Holy See also published today the following commentary on the document, written by the head of the Gregorian University.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS
BY FR. GIANFRANCO GHIRLANDA, S.J., RECTOR OF THE PONTIFICAL GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY
The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of November 4th 2009, provides the essential norms which will govern the erection and the life of Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who wish to enter, either corporately or individually, into full communion with the Catholic Church. In this way, as it says in the Introduction, the Holy Father Benedict XVI – Supreme Pastor of the Church and, by mandate of Christ, guarantor of the unity of the episcopate and of the universal communion of all the Churches – has shown his fatherly care for those Anglican faithful (lay, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated life and of Societies of Apostolic Life) who have repeatedly petitioned the Holy See to be received into full Catholic Communion.
The Introduction to the Apostolic Constitution lays out the ratio legis of the provision emphasising a number of things which it might be useful to point out:
— The Church, which in its unity and diversity is modelled on the Most Holy Trinity, was instituted as “a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people” (Lumen gentium, 1). For this reason every division among the baptized wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists, and constitutes, therefore, a scandal in that it contradicts the prayer of Jesus before his passion and death (cf. John 17:20-21).
— Ecclesial communion, established by the Holy Spirit who is the principle of unity in the Church, is, by analogy with the mystery of the Incarnate Word, at the same time both invisible (spiritual) and visible (hierarchically organized). The communion among the baptized, therefore, if it is to be full communion, must be “visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff”.
— Although the one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in union with him, there are also elements of sanctification and of truth to be found outside her visible confines, in the Churches and Christian Communities separated from her, which, because these elements are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.
Those Anglican faithful who, under the promptings of the Holy Spirit, have asked to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church have been moved towards unity by those elements of the Church of Christ which have always been present in their personal and communal lives as Christians.
For this reason the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus by the Holy Father, together with what will follow from this, indicate in a particular way the movement of the Holy Spirit.
The juridical means by the which the Holy Father has decided to receive these Anglicans into full Catholic communion is the erection of Personal Ordinariates (I § 1).
The competence of erection has been given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The reason for this is that during the long process which has finally borne fruit in this Apostolic Constitution many doctrinal questions have had to be addressed, and such questions will continue to arise as the time comes for the erection of particular Ordinariates and for the incorporation of groups of Anglican faithful into full Catholic communion through the Ordinariates. In any case, as specific issues emerge, each Ordinariate will be subject not just to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith but also to the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia according to their competences (Ap. Cons. II). For example: for associations of the Faithful, the Pontifical Council for the Laity will have competence; for the formation and life of priests, the Congregation for the Clergy; for the various forms of consecrated life, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societie s of Apostolic Life, etc. For the visit ad limina Apostolorum, which the Ordinary is obliged to make every five years, the Apostolic Constitution specifically mentions that the Ordinary must consult not only with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith but also with the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples(Ap. Cons. XI).
The possibility for the erection of Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church which is envisioned in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus does not create a new structure within the current canonical norms, but rather, uses the structure of Personal Ordinariates, originally created for the pastoral care of members of the armed forces, in the Apostolic Constitution of John Paul II Spirituali militum cura of April 21, 1986. Notwithstanding the similarities between these two types of Personal Ordinariates, it is clear that given their different purposes, one for the Military and the other for those coming from Anglicanism, there are also significant differences between them. What we are dealing with are structures created by the Church in order to deal with specific situations which arise from the needs of the faithful, and which are, by definition, exceptional. The pastoral concern of the Church and th e flexibility of her canonical norms permit the creation of juridical structures which are specifically adapted to the spiritual good of the faithful, while not contradicting the foundational principles of Catholic ecclesiology.
Just as the Military Ordinariates were not envisioned in the Code of Canon Law, so also Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church were not specifically foreseen. However, just as the Military Ordinariates are described in the Apostolic Constitution Spirituali militum cura as specific ecclesiastical jurisdictions which are similar to dioceses (Ap. Cons. I § 1), so also the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus describes Personal Ordinariates for the faithful coming from Anglicanism as juridically similar to dioceses (Ap. Cons. I § 3).
These Personal Ordinariates cannot be considered as Particular Ritual Churches since the Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral tradition is a particular reality within the Latin Church. The creation of a Ritual Church might have created ecumenical difficulties. Nor can these Personal Ordinariates been considered as Personal Prelatures since, according to can. 294, Personal Prelatures are composed of secular priests and deacons and, according to can. 296, lay people may simply dedicate themselves to the apostolic works of Personal Prelatures by way of agreements. Members of Institutes of Consecrated Life or of Societies of Apostolic Life are not even mentioned in the canons concerning Personal Prelatures.
The Ordinariates for the faithful coming from Anglicanism are therefore personal structures in as much as the jurisdiction of the Ordinary, and consequently also of parish priests, is not geographically defined within the territory of an Episcopal Conference like a particular territorial Church, but is exercised “over all who belong to the Ordinariate” (Ap. Cons. V). Moreover, one or more Personal Ordinariates can be erected within the territory of the same Episcopal Conference, according to necessity (Ap. Cons. I § 2).
It is clear from a careful reading of the Apostolic Constitution and of the Complementary Norms published by the Apostolic See that the provision of erecting Personal Ordinariates is intended to respond to two needs: on the one hand the need “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” (Ap. Cons. III); on the other hand the need to fully integrate into the life of the Catholic Church groups of faithful, or individuals, coming from Anglicanism.
The enrichment is mutual: the faithful coming from Anglicanism and entering into full Catholic communion receive the richness of the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition of the Latin Roman Church in order to integrate it into their own tradition, which integration will in itself enrich the Latin Roman Church. On the other hand, exactly this Anglican tradition – which will be received in its authenticity in the Latin Roman Church – has constituted within Anglicanism precisely one of those gifts of the Church of Christ, which has moved these faithful towards Catholic unity.
What is involved in this provision, therefore, goes beyond what was envisioned in the Pastoral Provision adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by John Paul II on June 20, 1980. Whereas the Pastoral Provision foresaw that the faithful coming from Anglicanism would be members of the Diocese in which they were domiciled, although receiving special care from the diocesan Bishop, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus considers them as members of a Personal Ordinariate and not of the Diocese in which they are domiciled. Furthermore these Ordinariates will be composed of faithful from every sate of life (laity, priests and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and of Societies of Apostolic Life) coming from Anglicanism either in groups or individually, or receiving the sacraments of initiation within the Ordinariate itself (Ap. Cons. I § 4).
Priests will be ascribed to the Personal Ordinariate by incardination, regulated according to the Code of Canon Law (Ap. Cons. I § 3), while lay people and Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life must manifest their desire to enter and become part of the Ordinariate in writing (Ap. Cons. IX). The Complementary Norms (= CN) state that such lay people and Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life must be inscribed in an appropriate register of the Ordinariate (Art. 5 § 1). Thus, while one is a member of a particular territorial Church by virtue of one’s domicile or quasi-domicile, one is a member of the Personal Ordinariate in virtue of the objective fact of having previously adhered to Anglicanism, or because one has come to the Catholic faith through the Ordinariate. In this sense, inscription in the appropriate register substitutes for the fact of domicile or quasi-domicile, which in relation to membership in a Pers onal Ordinariate is irrelevant.
This Apostolic Constitution wishes above all to provide a means to re-establish full communion, in some way “corporately”, for groups composed of people in various states of life. Personal Ordinariates for such groups appear to be the most suitable canonical structure by which the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition, developed within Anglicanism and recognised as authentic by the Catholic Church, can be protected and nourished. All of which does not exclude the possibility of membership in the Ordinariate for individuals coming from Anglicanism, or for individuals who come to the Catholic faith through the pastoral or missionary work of the Ordinariate and who receive the sacraments of initiation within the Ordinariate. The Pastoral Provision was not suitable for the new situation to which that the Holy See was called upon to respond.
The Ordinary, to whom the pastoral care of the faithful who belong to the Ordinariate is entrusted, exercises ordinary vicarious authority (potestas ordinaria vicaria) in the name of the Roman Pontiff (Ap. Cons. V.b). He enjoys legitimate autonomy with respect to the jurisdiction of the Diocesan Bishops in which the faithful of the Ordinariate have their domicile and is, therefore, better able to ensure that those faithful are not simply assimilated into the local Dioceses in a way which would lead to the loss of the richness of their Anglican tradition – which would be an entire impoverishment of the entire Church. On the other hand, the Ordinary in the exercise of his vicarious authority must ensure the full integration of the Ordinariate into the life of the Catholic Church, making sure that it does not evolve into an isolated community.
The safeguarding and nourishing of the Anglican tradition is guaranteed:
1. by the concession to the Ordinariate of the faculty to celebrate the Eucharist and the other sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical rites proper to the Anglican tradition and approved by the Holy See, without, however, excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite (Ap. Cons. III);
2. by the fact that the Ordinary may determine specific programmes of formation for seminarians of the Ordinariate living in a diocesan seminary, or may establish a house of formation for them (Ap. Cons. VI § 5; CN Art. 10 § 2); the seminarians must come from a personal parish of the Ordinariate or from Anglicanism (CN Art. 10 § 4);
3. by the concession that those who were married Anglican ministers, including bishops, may be ordained priests according to the norms of the Encyclical Letter of Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and of the Declaration In June, while remaining in the married state (Ap. Cons. VI § 1);
4. by the possibility that, following a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate (CN Art. 6 § 1), the Ordinary may also petition the Roman Pontiff, on a case by case basis, to admit married men to the priesthood as a derogation of CIC can. 277, § 1, although the general norm of the Ordinariate will be to admit only celibate men (Ap. Cons. VI § 2);
5. by the fact that the Ordinary may erect personal parishes, after having consulted with the local Diocesan Bishop and having obtained the consent of the Holy See (Ap. Cons. VIII § 1);
6. through the capacity to receive into the Ordinariate Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic life coming from Anglicanism, and of erecting new ones;
7. by the fact that, out of respect for the synodal tradition of Anglicanism: a) the Ordinary will be appointed by the Roman Pontiff from a terna of names presented by the Governing Council (CN Art. 4 § 1); b) that the Pastoral Council will be obligatory (Ap. Cons. X § 2); c) that the Governing Council, composed of at least six priests, apart from fulfilling the duties established in the Code of Canon Law for the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors, will also exercise those duties specified in the Complementary Norms which include in some cases giving or withholding consent or of expressing a deliberative vote (Ap. Cons. X § 2; CN Art. 12).
The integration of the Ordinariate into the life of the Catholic Church is assured by those norms which govern the profession of faith and the relationships of an Ordinariate with an Episcopal Conference, and with individual Diocesan Bishops. According to these norms:
1. the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be considered the authentic expression of the faith of the members of the Ordinariate (Ap. Cons. I § 5);
2. a Personal Ordinariate will be erected by the Holy See within the territorial confines of an Episcopal Conference, after having consulted with that Episcopal Conference (Ap. Cons. I § 1);
3. the Ordinary will be a member of his respective Episcopal Conference and will be obliged to follow its directives, unless they are incompatible with the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (CN Art. 2);
4. the ordination of ministers coming from Anglicanism will be absolute, on the basis of the Bull Apostolicae curae of Leo XIII of September 13, 1896. Given the entire Catholic Latin tradition and the tradition of the Oriental Catholic Churches, including the Orthodox tradition, the admission of married men to the episcopate is absolutely excluded (NC Art. 11 § 1);
5. the priests incardinated into an Ordinariate constitute its presbyterate, but are obliged to cultivate bonds of fraternal unity with the presbyterate of the Dioceses in whose territory they exercise their ministry. They are to encourage joint initiatives and pastoral and charitable activities, which may be regulated by agreements between the Ordinary and the Diocesan Bishop or Bishops concerned (Ap. Cons. VI § 4; NC Art. 3). The Complementary Norms envisage the possibility of mutual pastoral assistance between priests incardinated into the Ordinariate and those incardinated into Dioceses in which there are faithful of the Ordinariate (NC Art. 9 §§ 1 and 2);
6. the priests of the Ordinariate are eligible for election to the Presbyteral Council of the Dioceses in whose territory they exercise the pastoral care of the faithful of the Ordinariate (NC Art. 8 § 1);
7. the priests and deacons of the Ordinariate are eligible to be members of the Pastoral Council of the Dioceses in whose territory the exercise their ministry (NC Art. 8 § 2);
8. the authority (potestas) of the Ordinary is exercised together with the Diocesan Bishop in the circumstances envisioned in the Complementary Norms (Ap. Cons. V; NC Art. 5 § 2);
9. candidates for Holy Orders will be formed together with other seminarians, especially with regard to doctrinal and pastoral formation, even though particular programmes or houses of formation may also be established for them (Ap. Cons. VI § 5; CN Art. 10 § 2);
10. before establishing a personal parish the Ordinary must listen to the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the area (Ap. Cons. VIII § 1);
11. the Complementary Norms establish when the rights and duties proper to a parish priest of the Ordinariate are to be exercised in mutual pastoral cooperation with the parish priest of the territory in which the personal parish has been erected ( Ap. Cons. VIII § 2; CN 14 § 2);
12. the competent tribunal for judicial cases regarding the faithful of the Ordinariate is that of the Diocese in which one of the parties has domicile, presuming that the Ordinariate has not constituted its own tribunal (Ap. Cons. XII).
It is clear that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus provides norms which establish the nature and, in general, regulate the life of Personal Ordinariates erected specifically for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.In this way a flexible canonical structure has been instituted. Moreover, it is foreseeable that what is contained in the present Apostolic Constitution and Complementary Norms may be adapted in the Decrees of Erection of each individual Ordinariate in the light of particular local situations. As the Holy Spirit has guided the preparation of this Apostolic Constitution, so may he also assist in its application.