An Update from the Ordinary
The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is now nine months old. Much has happened in that time, and we give God the glory for all of it, the challenges as well as the successes. One of the most significant moments came in mid-September when the Cardinal Archbishop of Galveston-Houston transferred to the Ordinariate the title to our principal church, Our Lady of Walsingham. In a similar way, the Diocese of Fort Worth is in the process of transferring St. Mary the Virgin, Arlington, to the Ordinariate. We have seen some twenty-two priests ordained and incardinated in the Ordinariate, with additional ordinations to come soon. Also, we will launch a new formation program for the second group of prospective candidates in Advent...
Who and What We Are: A Primer for Catholics
The Ordinariate is unique in the Roman Catholic Church; however, it comprises many elements similar to other Catholic structures, recognizable to all Catholics. Consequently, these familiar elements can help to define and explain the Ordinariate, our purpose, and our vision for the future.
In some ways, the Ordinariate is similar to a religious order. In the same way that the Franciscans and the Dominicans have distinct charisms or missions within the Church, we have a distinct, two-fold charism or mission granted to us by the Holy Father. This charism must be taken into account in all decisions as we discern our way forward. We are (1) to minister to the pastoral and spiritual needs of all former Anglicans coming to the Catholic Church and (2) 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” (AC 3). The decisions we make to plot a course for the Ordinariate must be always with an eye toward both caring for the people specifically entrusted to our care and bringing the fullness of the Anglican patrimony to the Catholic Church. This is our commission, the commission the Holy Father gave us in Anglicanorum coetibus.
We sometimes receive questions about the relationship between the Ordinariate and certain traditionalist liturgical groups in the Catholic Church. In answer to these questions, I think the comparison between the Franciscans and the Dominicans is apt. Saints Francis and Dominic once met to see whether they might combine their efforts and form one religious order. Although they left their meeting with great respect for each other and for their individual missions, they realized that it was important for the Church that they keep their efforts distinct. We in the Ordinariate must recognize that our commission to care for former Anglicans and to introduce our distinctive patrimony to the Church is a full-time, life-long calling, similar to but separate from the recovery of the Extraordinary Form within Catholic life. While our goals might be similar, and while we might support each other’s charism, the charisms are not identical. To merge the two might divert the Ordinariate from its primary tasks. We must seek to be faithful to our own distinct charism and patrimony.
We are blessed to be a part of the Catholic Church and all of its liturgical riches. Sometimes it seems that coming into the Catholic Church is like dining at a smorgasbord – there are so many beautiful choices on the table that we are tempted to sample them all! I understand this desire, and I have encouraged my clergy to become involved in their local dioceses so that they are able to sample the riches that belong to the Church. They are welcome to assist at other local parishes, and to celebrate both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Latin liturgies in the traditions of those diocesan parishes for their parishioners. In this spirit, we even have had one priest of the Ordinariate supply in a local Eastern Catholic parish. I want our priests to share in the activities of the presbyterate of their local dioceses...
...The first principle of the Ordinariate is communion – to be in communion with St. Peter and his successors, to be in communion with those bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome, to be in communion with the Catholic people, to seek communion with those separated from the Church – “that they may be one.” Some of us have come to the Ordinariate from situations full of conflict, much of it painful, some even scandalous. As a consequence, we have behaviors to be unlearned, obedience to be given, peace to be discovered. We do not want to replicate this disorder in our new ecclesial home...
Read the whole update here.