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

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fr. Aidan Nichols' published book on the UK Ordinariate

From the prolific pen/word processor of Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP comes a new book:
Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham: Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony

The description from
When in 1993 Aidan Nichols revived the long-dormant idea of an Anglican Uniate Church, united with the See of Peter but not absorbed, the reaction of many was incredulity. The ideal of modern Ecumenism was, surely, the corporate reunification of entire Communions. This he roundly declared to be unrealistic, for the Protestant and Liberal elements in Anglican history (and Anglicanism's present reality) could never be digested by Roman stomachs. What was feasible was, rather, the reconciliation of a select body Catholic enough to be united, and Anglican enough not to be absorbed. Just over a dozen years later Pope Benedict XVI, responding to the petitions of various Anglican bishops, promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Apostolorum coetibus and the deed was done. The three 'Ordinariates' now established for 'Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony' in Britain, Australia and North America have been described as the first tangible fruit of Catholic Ecumenism. In this short book Nichols reflects on the historical, theological, and liturgical issues involved. He also shows the congruence of the new development with Benedict's wider thinking, and outlines a specific missionary vocation for reconciled Anglicans in England.


  1. Another churchman (albeit Anglican) Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali comments on the Ordinariates (from Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali sees hope for the Anglican Communion, by Mary Ann Mueller at the recent Forward in Faith-North America Annual Assembly in Belleville, Illinois

    The Church of England bishop sees the Anglican Ordinariates as a two-edged sword. First, he notes that finally at the highest level, the Church of Rome has recognized the validity of the Anglican Patrimony and a married priesthood in the Western or Latin Rite. He is very well versed in the Vatican documents that outline the Ordinariates and how they will be formed and operated. He has clearly read and thoroughly digested the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus and its Complementary Norms and has given them much measured thought.

    "That is a major advance; there is no going back on that now," he said adding that it was a good thing for Pope Benedict XVI to do. However, he is concerned about the Roman Catholic nature of the Ordinariates, how they will eventually play out in time and that there are some built-in shortcomings. He named three.

    "First of all, it is quite strange that one 'episcopal church' to provide for another 'episcopal church' a system which has no bishops in it - a presbyterian provision - because the ordinary is to be a presbyter (priest)," he explained that this could eventually lead to the Latinization of the Ordinariates as they need to turn to the local Catholic diocesan bishop for Apostolic Sacramental care for their clerical ordinations.

    He also feels that with Ordinariate clergy being solely trained and spiritually formed at major Catholic seminaries would lead to even more creeping Latinization as the Anglicans are further distanced from their spiritual traditions and Anglican roots.

    "What you need is free-standing colleges that would promote the Anglican-Catholic way of doing things in its integrity," the CofE bishop explained.

    Finally, he feels that the Ordinariates' married priesthood provision would eventually dry up. "I think there has to be an explicit recognition (of a married priesthood) because Anglicans have found married priests valuable for the Mission of the Church, just as they have found celibate priests valuable for the Mission of the Church.

    "There are some problems in the Ordinariates, he continued, "but there are also some positive things."

    1. These issues are already recognized by the Ordinariates. As for the position of ORDINARY, the next successor if single & celibate could be elevated to the rank of Bishop Ordinary. A distinct possibility and that decision is in the hands of the Pope in Rome not the English, American or Australian council of Bishops. To refer to the present state as a form of Anglican Presbyterianism is just plain insulting!
      I believe Saint Mary's Seminary in Houston, Tx. is already making provision for various aspects of the Anglican Patrimony to be taught their for coverts from Anglicanism who want to serve as Ordinariate clergy . I don't believe the flow into the Ordinariate ranks will dry up soon. Establishing their own House of Studies will come along in time. It is too early in the process to start going woo is me.
      Considering how many Anglican clergy have not married over the years why all hysterical about married clergy. In the Eastern orthodox Churches they are having the opposite problem here in the USA & Canada in that more and more men are being ordained without marriage. The reason is simple, Women no longer see being married to a man who is a priest or pastor as having any future, Those days are long gone I'm afraid.

  2. As I commented elsewhere:

    Interesting, esp. when one considers that N-A was one of that group of C of E bishops making secret or clandestine approaches to Rome (with +Baker the quondam of Ebbsfleet, now Fulham, as their “theological expert”) in 2008-09; cf.:

    and especially the section entitled The Third Group, or “The Dog that Did not Bark.”

    +N-A himself is, I believe a former Catholic (the child of a family that converted from Islam to Catholicism) who became an Anglican as an undergraduate or postgraduate student.