Monday, 9 November 2009

Rome's offer — any takers?

The Vatican has now published the details of the ‘Personal Ordinariate’, Anglicanorum Coetibus (does that mean‘Towards a Congregation of Anglicans?’), and at first glance I must say I can’t see how this is really going to work.
The difficult features seem to be these:
I §5 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.
In other words, members of the Ordinariate will have to accept every detail of the Catechism, just as do ordinary Roman Catholics. But that being the case, why not just become a Roman Catholic?
III. ... 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 ...
But this could hardly include the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (certainly not with its rubrics!). One is left wondering which books will be approved and if there will be enough left to give an Anglican identity to what remains.
The fundamental question which must be asked is why anyone who wanted to be adopted into the Ordinariate would not, on these conditions, simply go the whole way. Answers on a postcard, please ...
John Richardson
Anonymous users wishing to paste in the comments box need first to select the 'Anonymous' profile, then type in a couple of letters, select 'preview', then close the preview box and delete these letters.

When posting your comments please give a full name and location. Comments without this information may be deleted.


  1. John, regarding which liturgical books of the Anglican tradition will be approved; to be honest this is meaningless because those likely to go to Rome already use the Roman missal. What bits of the Anglican identity do they want to retain; the stipend, pension, house?

    You have identified a couple of issues but I think the whole thing is shot full of holes e.g people are going to have to be re-confirmed, priests re-ordained and they can't make up their minds whether bishops will be bishops or sort of retired bishops.

    Then we come to the RC church's teaching on contraception, human sexuality and civil partnerships and one really is left wondering how many are going to be left to take up the offer?

  2. When it comes to Holy Communion, my guess is that they won't get anything resembling 1662 Prayer Book Anglicanism. Even without the rubrics, the liturgical structure of the 1552/1559/1662 Order for Holy Communion would not pass the papal censors. The best they could hope to get is a modified version of the 1549 Order for HC or perhaps something resembling the Sarum Missal. If they got this I imagine that many of them would be fairly happy with that. But my guess is that even that would be expecting too much from Rome. What they'll probably get will be fairly similar to what already goes on in many Anglo-Catholic churches in England: Roman missal + permission to use the odd Cranmerian prayer (eg the Prayer of Humble Access: "We do not presume ...").

    Where they might get something more recognisable as 1662 Prayer Book Anglicanism is in the "the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations". For instance I can imagine Rome allowing former Anglicans to run services of Evensong pretty much straight out of the 1662 Prayer Book rather than running a Roman service of Vespers.

    One thing Rome certainly won't allow is the 1552 form of the Litany with its prayer for God to deliver us from "the tyranny of the Bysshop of Rome and al hys detestable enormities" :-D

    David Tomkins

  3. There is an approved Anglican Use rite for the USA, which has both traditional and contemporary language forms. You can find this online at

  4. John,
    I agree fully with this analysis. One might as "where's the beef?" I have said all along that they simply are better-off just becoming Roman Catholics. I was once one and, by the Grace of God, I am a Protestant. But as Ryle and the Church Association said in the Nineteenth century, the Ritualist do not really want to be under the Pope, they want to be their own pope.

  5. The poetry and prose of the Book of Common Prayer and the majesty of well-done Anglican liturgy is more to my taste than some of the modern happy-clappy Roman liturgies. The Anglican "experiment" has suffered by not having a way to discipline those who go off the rails. This Anglo-Catholic is very interested in the Pope's invitation, but I'm waiting to see if either my parish or diocese will be of the same mind.

    Connie Sandlin
    Dallas, TX and Costa Rica

  6. Georgia Smith, Tallahassee, FL12 November 2009 at 17:08

    Well, obviously Tony Blair did not accept the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, since he has spent the entire time since his 'conversion' scolding the Pope about homosex and abortion following along the lines of his wife Cherie's sentiments.

  7. Education?

    Does clerical education involve assessment of Martin Chemnitz's magisterial three volume set on the Council of Trent? (from the "second Martin" of the Reformation, albeit a thorough-going Lutheran, yet with substantive merit on Trent) In the Presbyterian and Episcopal seminaries where I attended, the answer was no. The former had the Confession to keep them from adultery with Rome. The latter, the REC, derailed into the ACNA-mix.

    I, for one, couldn't get past Trent to even talk with Rome.

    Size of postcard at an end.

    D. Philip Veitch
    Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
    Eastern USA

  8. Why would anyone want to leave the Church of England and become a second class citizen within the Roman Catholic Church, it's illogical. Such ministers will simply be putting themselves in the very position they fear; yet it maybe a fearful position that is totally unfounded if they stay. One thing's for certain, any status they are trying to preserve will be nothing. Any ministers who do take up the Pope's offer will become psychologically depressed after a time when the realisation of what they have done hits home.

    The Devil must be loving all this nonsense!

    However, from a plus point for each one who leaves the CofE God is already raising great men and women of God who will serve Him rather than an ego, we can be sure of that. We need to thank Him for His great plans to revive the Church of England and pray for all those men and women whom He is planting seeds within now. It's like receiving an undeserved kiss of pure love.

    God Bless X

  9. Caveat Emptor

    No Church is perfect - bloom where you're planted.