(NC Register) No Ordinary Year for the U.S. Anglican Ordinariate

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Father Scott Hurd, vicar general of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter — a home in the Catholic Church for former Episcopalians and Anglicans — reflects back on 2012, he points to a period of rapid and exciting growth marking its first year of existence.

On New Year’s Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI erected the ordinariate, which allows former Anglicans to retain certain treasured traditions within the Catholic Church. It was created in accord with Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Pope’s apostolic constitution permitting former Anglicans to come into the Church corporately instead of as individuals.

On the same day, the Holy Father named Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, a married Catholic priest and the former Episcopal bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rio Grande, as the first ordinary.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

15 Comments
Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Teatime2 wrote:

So, 1,600 lay people in 36 communities? That’s about 45 people per “community.” Actually, less because I’ll bet that several good-sized Anglican-Use parishes that have long been in existence comprise much of that 1,600. The rest will have to be folded into the other RC churches unless they recruit large numbers quickly. The RCC won’t sustain tiny, 50-member parishes for long.

January 9, 8:47 pm | [comment link]
2. Catholic Mom wrote:

1,600 isn’t even a medium-size parish.  We have 6,000 in our (suburban) parish and we have five other parishes within 30 minutes driving distance.

What are they possibly going to do with all those clergy?  And more to come?  .

January 9, 9:46 pm | [comment link]
3. Charles52 wrote:

In principle I agree about the numbers, but it probably makes more sense to think in the scale of TEC parishes. Isn’t the ASA there about 65? The numbers will work themselves out one way or another.

The temptation would be to use all those AO priests to staff regular Latin Rite parishes. However, the Ordinariate is not under the authority of the local bishop, but the Ordinary. In fact, my parish hosts an Ordinariate parish of about 80 souls and their priest helps out with our much larger parish.

January 9, 10:49 pm | [comment link]
4. Teatime2 wrote:

We’ve got Anglican-Use parishes here in Texas that have been around for a while and likely have a couple hundred parishioners each. So, that means there’s probably less than 1,000 lay people in about 32 “communities.” My point is that this will be unsustainable for the RCC and those folks who don’t belong to a long-standing Anglican-Use parish will have to matriculate to the Latin Rite—unless they spend a lot of effort selling it and attracting large numbers of converts.

That’s been the red herring in this. There will be an Anglican provision as long as it’s sustainable but there’s no guarantee that it will always be around. I’m not sure if there’s a commitment to keep it as much more than a transitory thing to bring in disaffected Anglicans, anyway, despite all of the high-minded rhetoric about the beauty of our liturgy.

Our liturgy and music ARE beautiful but I can’t see that as instruments the RCC can use for conversion. There is far too much that Protestants have to happily swallow about the RCC that makes liturgical considerations drop far down on the list of considerations for becoming an RC. 

These people and priests always had an opportunity to become RC. If they were called to it then they should have gone. I don’t get why they needed special provisions and pastoral care to make the jump and wonder what will happen when they eventually have to split up among the Latin Rite parishes. I could very well be wrong but I think that the clergy were waiting for a much more expedient and Anglican-friendly vehicle for themselves to make the switch, and it helped if they could bring along parishioners, too.

January 10, 12:52 am | [comment link]
5. Sarah1 wrote:

Teatime2, I think the main fruit of the Ordinariate—at least from the RC church point of view—are the *clergy*.

They get to pluck up male clergy who have an Anglicanish style but are true Roman Catholics in doctrine and commitments [at least . . . most of them are, other than the desperate-to-escape, or the naive, not-very-informed ones], and use them to inculcate some much-needed conservatism in the absolute pit that is much of the RC church in the US.

That’s a great deal for them, and I can see why they’d pursue those people and this mission—the parishioners, however many they are, are just “bonuses.”  ; > )

Hey—I’d do the same if I were in their shoes.

January 10, 1:45 am | [comment link]
6. Teatime2 wrote:

Very true, Sarah1. The RCC desperately needs more good and faithful priests, especially when they’re coming already trained and vetted. It seems like they’re just getting the RC crash course before they’re re-ordained, or whatever they’re calling it.

Wouldn’t it be something if some of these clergy members were assigned to liberal RC parishes to crack the conservative whip, so to speak? The poor dears would hear rhetoric and deal with loonies reminiscent of their more colorful liberal Episcopal counterparts but without the comforts of beautiful liturgy and other niceties.

January 10, 2:38 am | [comment link]
7. Charles52 wrote:

As it happens, I have seen an Anglican Use priest, who was incardinated into our Latin Rite diocese, assigned to a relatively liberal parish, which forced the closure of our AU parish due to priest shortage. We had plenty of people.  It wasn’t that big a deal. He made changes gradually, as any careful pastor does in any church, and things got better.

January 10, 3:17 am | [comment link]
8. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “The poor dears would hear rhetoric and deal with loonies reminiscent of their more colorful liberal Episcopal counterparts . . . “

Right—they’d be familiar with it all, but also have the support of others in the hierarchy rather than as they had it in TEC, where the bishops of our church are easily as loony as the parishioners.

January 10, 8:41 am | [comment link]
9. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

No Anglican Use Parish unless it has formally joined the Ordinariate is counted in those numbers. An Anglican Use Parish is under the complete auspices of the local RC Diocesan bishop.

Many Ordinariate clergy will likely be working part time in their Ordinariate community and also working as a supply in the regular Diocese, some other Catholic social service organization, or will be doing secular work to supplement their income. There are also a good number of military chaplains that are in the pipeline in the Ordinariate.

No one is under the delusion that the Ordinariate is going to be a huge Mega-church wave of converts. No one is joining for kicks or for the money. It is a slow process that is geared towards finding unity for those who want it in the various Anglican Jurisdictions under the auspices of the Holy See. It is a home for those who are no longer welcome in TEC but still feel called to Communion in the Catholic Church.

Perhaps it will always remain small, but ‘where two or three are gathered together in My name…’

January 10, 10:34 am | [comment link]
10. Charles52 wrote:

Archer, as noted above, my parish is blessed to have just such an arrangement a you suggest. It has a lot to do with the friendship between the Ordinariate priest and our pastor. But he remains under the authority of the Primary, Msgr. Steenson.

From what I can find online, of the 3 large AU parishes in Texas, Our Lady of the Atonement will remain with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Walsingham/Houston goes to the Ordinariate, and St Mary the Virgin, Arlington, will go to the Ordinariate when Fr. Hawkins retires.

January 10, 12:11 pm | [comment link]
11. Charles52 wrote:

Meant to say that I also agree that the Ordinariate will probably never be large, but over time, it will have a significant impact on the Catholic Church. 

And of course, Msgr. Steenson its the Ordinary, not the “primary”.

January 10, 12:15 pm | [comment link]
12. Teatime2 wrote:

Sarah1, Oh, I don’t know. The RCC has had their share of loons in the episcopate, as well. Shoot, the one in San Fran. was informed that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were running a bingo game with sex toys as prizes in one of the parishes and it wasn’t immediately shut down. They showed up in full regalia and he gave them communion, as well. They’ve had bishes in jail and in all sorts of trouble, too. TEC hasn’t cornered the market on crazy bishops. Orthodox and Lutherans likely have their share, as well. I’m thinking it miter have something to do with the hats, tee-hee. Some may be too tight, cutting off circulation and all that.

Charles and Archer, I didn’t realize that the Anglican Use was separate from the ordinariate. WHY? And why, when congregations left TEC with their clergy, didn’t the RCC simply help establish them as Anglican Use churches instead of creating yet another structure for Anglicans? I guess we should relish all of the attention directed toward us, lol, but isn’t it overkill for the numbers involved?

January 10, 4:42 pm | [comment link]
13. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Anglican Use parishes were started under the auspices of the Pastoral Provision of John Paul II in the early 1980’s. They are fully functional diocesan parishes with clergy who worked with and were ordained by the local diocesan bishop through the pastoral provision. Ordinariate parishes are members of the Ordinariate (which is basically a non-geographical diocese) and are not technically under the auspices of the local diocesan bishop. They have to get permission from the local diocesan bishop to set up shop, but its like any parish that is run by a religious order. It’s sort of a chapel peculiar you might say.

Some existing Anglican Use Parishes have opted to join the Ordinariate, but they have to do so with the full permission of the local diocesan bishop. The Church of the Atonement in San Antonio thought about it, but has decided to stay as a diocesan parish. Technically, anyone in the geographical parish area can join an Anglican Use parish. Really, Ordinariate parishes are only for either new converts or those with some previous tie to the Anglican church. Any Catholic can attend of course, but their proper parish membership will be their local Latin parish, not the Ordinariate parish.

January 10, 5:17 pm | [comment link]
14. Charles52 wrote:

In a nutshell, the Ordinariates were created because some of those looney RCC bishops were suppressing or inhibiting AU life. In my case, it was not a matter of malice or ill will; our bishop simply needed the manpower. There are stories of active opposition to AU groups as well.  The Ordinaries answer directly to the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, headed for 20+ years by the current pope. There is language about Ordinaries collaborating with the local LR bishop, and if memory serves, they are members of the various national bishop conferences.

What this means is that those who claim the Anglican patrimony can develop their common life without the distractions of the Latin Rite 800 pound gorilla. Its not unlike the status of the Eastern Catholic Rites.

And I don’t know about the Lutherans, but the Orthodox have some nutty bishops, or so I’ve heard. It’s possible to read Paul’s letters as addressed to various forms of nuttiness. Any Christian community should expect problems, sinners that we are, prone to the weakness of the flesh, the lure of the world, and the wiles of the devil.

January 10, 5:39 pm | [comment link]
15. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “The RCC has had their share of loons in the episcopate, as well.”

Well . . . it certainly has *a* share—but since we have approximately 110 diocesans, and approximately 90 of them are raving foaming heretics with documented ridiculous and buffoonish sermons and essays and pronouncements, all tidily posted on this very blog, I rather doubt that the RC church—even in the US—has that ratio.

Frankly . . . there is no real substantive comparison between the rate of raving heresy in our leaders compared to theirs.  But it’s always nice to try to draw some sort of comparison I suppose.

January 10, 5:39 pm | [comment link]
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