Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Monday, June 25, 2018

MsgrLiptak_TNQ. I haven’t heard anything recently about previously announced plans by the Catholic Church to establish special parishes for Church of England members who want to become Catholics. Are there any such plans?

A. One source of information about the creation of new "ordinariates" for Anglicans desiring to enter the Catholic Church is the London Tablet, which reports regularly on such matters. Evidently, the implementation of Rome’s new overtures to accommodate the entry of Anglican clerics and laity is proceeding well.

For example, the 27 Nov. issue of the Tablet reports a "time-line" for implementing the new structures envisioned by Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Anglicanorum coetibus.

According to this schedule, initial registration was required by 31 Oct. of this year. The new ordinariate (e.g., a kind of diocesan entity) is programmed to begin in January 2011 – this month. Already, five Anglican bishops have signaled their intention to enter into communion with Rome; the three who are not retired will presumably be ordained deacons, then priests. Later, prior to Lent 2011, those Anglican priests who would like to join the new ordinariate will begin a 12-week course. (The ordination of the two retired bishops is set for this time period, also.)

During Holy Week 2011, all five previously Anglican bishops will be called upon to help process applications from Anglican priests and laity for communion with Rome and as members of an ordinariate. Applications must be approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Finally, at Pentecost, the ordination of these latter Anglican clergy is currently scheduled to take place.


Q. Weren’t there some questions about whether Pope Benedict’s recent overtures about admitting Anglicans might affect negatively long-standing efforts in the ecumenical movement?

A. Pope Benedict’s motu proprio welcoming groups of Anglicans to enter the Church was not intended to interfere in any way with continuing ecumenical efforts between Catholics and Anglicans. The intent and scope is over and beyond that of ecumenism, in which the Catholic Church continues to be actively engaged.


Global Outreach

Q. Do the new rules for facilitating Anglican priests’ entry into Catholicism apply chiefly to Great Britain, or are they meant for Anglican clergy and laity worldwide?

A. Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio welcoming Anglican clergy and laity into the Catholic Church is meant to be a universal invitation.

For example, Australian Bishop Peter Elliott, who oversees implementation of the new directives in the Australian Church, reportedly hopes to structure the new ordinariate there by next Easter or, at the latest, Pentecost. (Tablet, 4 Dec. 2010)



Q. Do the new regulations for admitting Anglican priests to the Catholic Church apply to Episcopalians?

A. Here in the United States, the term "Anglican" is interpreted as "Episcopalian." But the answer to the above question is yes.

In other words, Pope Benedict’s invitation refers to members of the Anglican communion anywhere; hence, it applies to Anglicans in the United States, or Episcopalians. (The reason for the term "Episcopalian" lies in an historical context. During the American Revolution, "Anglican" obviously did not sound appropriate, since the Colonists were locked in a war against Britain.)