The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rome expected to take five years to approve Personal Ordinariate liturgy

Members of the personal ordinariate will have to wait up to five years for Rome to approve their liturgical texts definitively, it emerged this week.

It was originally thought that the Vatican would give the texts definitive approval within two or three years.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has already given interim approval to all the ordinariate’s liturgical texts, except for the rite of Mass. These texts include the Calendar, Divine Office, marriage rite and funeral rite.

But the CDF has now asked a commission of scholars to scrutinise the Mass text. The commission held its first meeting last month.

Canterbury Press will publish the ordinariate’s interim approved texts later this year in a book called The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham.

As the texts are provisional rather than definitive, Mgr Keith Newton, the leader of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is expected to establish their status in a pastoral letter to members of the ordinariate.

from The Catholic Herald.


from your blogger: this appears to apply only to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England & Wales (and one parish in Scotland to date). It may well be that the reason for a delay in final approval is that there will be interim rites in the UK, USA, Australia, et al, and the final version of the rites will be uniform for all English speakers.


  1. Disappointing. Now I worry about what will come out of Rome, will it even look 'Anglican' in any way or just a more dignified NOVUS ORDO.
    Interesting that what has been approved so far "THE CUSTOMARY OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM" will be printed by Canterbury Press. I guess they aren't owned by the Church of England, huh? Hope they do a quality job of printing and binding.
    I also do hope that Beloved Pope Benedict XVI is kept in the loop on this!

  2. Disappointing? All the five years refers to is definitive approval of a final form. The interim texts will be available this year.

  3. I suggest the write on the Catholic Herald was not particularly particularly precise when waiting. As with the Anglican Use parishes in the USA, the Ordinariate in England may use both the Latin Rites for Holy Mass and also Rite 1 of Book of Divine Worship "ad interim".

    But the Book of Divine Worship is not thought to be ideal since it was put together by retaining some elements of the US versions of the Book of Common Prayer and inserting parts of the Roman Canon. Mgr Andrew Burnham put in this way in a talk he gave to the Association for Latin Liturgy meeting at St Mary Magelene's in Brighton:-

    There is a continuing facility to use the Book of Divine Worship, but not to import texts from that book into masses celebrated according to the Roman Missal. Use of the Book of Divine Worship is complicated not only by it being North American in origin, and containing therefore much that is different from our own experience, but also because of some necessary restrictions placed on its use. For one thing, certainly as regards the OOLW, only the traditional language (‘Rite One’) services may be used. For another, the Roman words of consecration, as found in the new English translation of the Roman Missal, must be used in place of whatever is there, even in the so-called Coverdale version of the Canon.".

    A commission of liturgists have been working on this for some time and the aim is to develop a liturgy for all Ordinariates (eg including Australia and Canada (if and when erected) as well as the OLW and TCP Ordinariates already erected for England and Wales and the USA.

    The rather grandly named Interdicasterial Commission “Anglicanae Traditiones” is convened jointly by the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Congregation for Divine Worship and Bishop Peter Eliott, the Episcopal Delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, was recently in London for meetings of the Commission at the Brompton Oratory. On the Ordinariate Portal he is reported as saying:

    "...the commission has worked well and what it finally produces ought to contribute much to the identity and spirituality of the Ordinariates."

    The full text of Mgr Burnham's talk <a href="> Liturgical Patrimony of the Ordinariate and the Reform of the Reform</a> is worth a read.

    Given the central importance of the liturgy of Divine Worship one fully expects the CDW to proceed cautiously particularly since English is such a widely used vernacular language and there is reason to think that that it might not be too long before diocesans in the English speaking world are asking to be permitted to use it too. Ordinariate Evensong and Benediction is already proving popular.

    But the fact that that CDF is also involved will probably ensure that the Joint Commission will proceed with rather greater alacrity than is sometimes the case on matters liturgical.

  4. Apologies, I misspoke after misreading what the facts are. I am anxious to see a copy none the less to see the direction they take.
    Does this mean that the Book of Divine Worship will be or is being revised separately or are they going to wait until the 'definitive version' for Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is determined?
    I wish they would make clear if it is going to be one usage for all Ordinariates or separate ones based on as Msgr. Burnham points out, "Use of the Book of Divine Worship is complicated not only by it being North American in origin, and containing therefore much that is different from our own experience..." Personally, I hope they are different for each Ordinariate as I never found the the 1662 BCP that impressive. Think it is stiff and boring compared to the U.S. BCP.

    1. Matthew: Speaking personally, I suspect that in the fullness of time there will need to be more than one order of service.

      There are, of course, lots of cultural, generational and geographical issues to be resolved. From the historical point of view the pre-Reformation Church in England had the Sarum Rite (in Latin, of course) and there has never been a translation of that rite into English approved by the Catholic Church although there are extant translations of varying quality available. The Counter-Reformation, the Council of Trent and the liturgical reforms greatly reduced the number of regional rites and although not formally abrogated, the Sarum Rite fell into disuse. During Penal Times, Catholics in England were keen to adopt the Tridentine Mass. By the time the celebration of Holy Mass had ceased to be an activity which all too often led to imprisonment, exile or the scaffold, that rite was firmly established in the Catholic Church in England.

      In the CofE the "High Church" and the "Low Church" movements have always been in tension and,for some, "High Church" eventually developed into Anglo-Catholicism and for some Anglo Catholics into Anglo-Papalism. I don't have statistical evidence, but I suspect that the majority of the Ordinariate Groups in England were already using the Roman Missal rather than the Book of Common Prayer or any more modern CofE approved rite. In fact a few weeks ago there was a rather peevish Ad Clerum letter from the Anglican Bishop of London suggesting that those of his clergy not planning to join the Ordinariate should not introduce the latest Vatican reforms into their parish services - but then there has been something akin to guerrilla warfare between some bishops and the Anglo-Catholic clergy for a good many years.

      I think there will be a demand for an order of service in hieratic English. The English of the Elizabethans and of the Stuarts is part of our English cultural heritage and many Catholics (within and without the Ordinariate) feel very strongly that if we are going to attend Mass in the English language then it should be celebrated, particularly on great occasions, in the best language our heritage can offer.

      Master Cramner and his colleagues were brilliant liturgists. The problem is that they were also heretics. That is why the Book of Divine Worship takes much from the US BCP but also requires the importation of a modern Roman Canon and, to be honest, while it works from the point of view of avoiding heresy, to English ears the change in linguistic style is very unfortunate.

      I am sure our liturgists can do a lot better than that by starting from the Latin of the Sarum Use and translating. The language can be kept but these liturgists will not be working with the same intention of introducing heresy of those who first crafted the BCP.