Up to 1 in 10 Roman Catholic Priests Are Former Anglicans (UK)

The Tablet:

Up to one in 10 Catholic priests are former Church of England clergy, according to new figures.

Professor Linda Woodhead, a sociologist of religion at Lancaster University and organiser of the Westminster Faith Debates, worked with the Catholic bishops’ vocations director Fr Christopher Jamison OSB to establish that 389 Catholic priests are former Anglican priests, including 87 priests in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingam.

Currently it is estimated that in England and Wales there are 3,000 active diocesan priests, 800 retired priests, 1,000 religious priests and 700 deacons. Most of the Anglicans are believed to be working in parishes or chaplaincies.

Professor Woodhead told The Tablet that the Church of England clergy represented in these figures began to leave their original Church from 1994, when the first women were ordained priests. Those who left between 1994 and 2004 were provided with financial compensation amounting to 100 per cent of their stipend in year one, three-quarters in year two and two-thirds in year three. The payments amounted to £27.4 million over a decade.

She wanted to establish the veracity of reports that 400-500 priests and thousands of lay faithful had decided to join the Catholic Church, with many now serving as priests, including hundreds who are married.

She estimates that about 250 clergy “went across” between 1994 and 2000, with a further 52 from 2001, and then the Ordinariate clergy on top of that.

Professor Woodhead pointed out that the Catholic Church made the biggest gain from the moves given that there are 18,000 Anglican clergy compared with around 4,000 Catholic priests.

“So a relatively small loss of clergy numbers for the Church of England represents a very significant gift for the Catholic Church in England and Wales at a time of falling ordinations,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mgr Keith Newton, the Ordinary, said in a homily at Portsmouth Cathedral that people sometimes asked members of the Ordinariate why they couldn’t become “proper Catholics.”

He said: “What they mean is, why can’t you just be absorbed into the wider Catholic Church so that what you bring disappears like sugar dissolved in water,” stressing that Christian unity was not about uniformity.

In September there will be events held by Ordinariate groups across the country to promote better understanding of the structure, set up to allow Anglicans to become Catholics while retaining elements of their identity.

 

 

Anglicans Joining Ordinariate Are Like ‘Hobbits In Search of Treasure’

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (CNS)

So say the Ordinary, Msgr Keith Newton:

Anglicans joining the Ordinariate are like Bilbo Baggins and the other hobbits going in search of treasure, Mgr Keith Newton said on Sunday.

Speaking in Portsmouth Cathedral, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham began his homily by mentioning The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, which he described as “one of (his) favourite children’s books… the exiting story of a hobbit together with a band of dwarves searching for dragon guarded gold,” before adding that the true treasure is to be found in Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.

“To discover Christ and his kingdom is more of a lifelong treasure hunt,” he said. “We need God’s grace to do this because it needs courage to make sacrifices and to take risks for Christ if we try to faithfully seek his kingdom and his righteousness. It is part of making choices in seeking of the kingdom that has led some former Anglicans to enter full communion of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.”

He said that people sometimes asked members of the Ordinariate why they couldn’t become “proper Catholics”. “What they mean”, he said, is “why can’t you just be absorbed into the wider Catholic Church so that what you bring disappears like sugar dissolved in water”. But, he added, “Christian Unity is not about Christian uniformity”.

“It is about exploring the possibility of sharing a common faith in communion with the successor of Peter and yet having different liturgical, devotional and pastoral practices which enrich the wider Church. When Catholics and Anglicans first began talking about unity they used the phrase of being ‘united but not absorbed’. In the Ordinariate that idea has been put into practice – the possibility of Unity of Faith and diversity of expression,” Mgr Newton said.

“Pope Benedict encouraged us not to leave our history behind but to take it into the Catholic Church and to share some of the distinctive aspects of Anglicanism which are consistent with the Catholic Faith.” The Ordinariate Mass has elements taken from the Book of Common Prayer – “a treasure to be shared.”

An Ordinariate “exploration day” event in Portsmouth is just one of 40 different events being held on September 6 by Ordinariate groups across the country, to help people to understand the Ordinariate better. Pope Francis last week sent his good wishes, saying he is praying for the success of the day.

For the full text Mgr Newton’s homily go here.

Pope Francis Prays for Success of Initiative to Convert Anglicans

The above heading caught my attention on the inimitable Fr Z’s blog:

In the wake of the decision of the State tethered Church of England to have wyshyps (female bishops), the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham set up a “Exploration Day”.

You know that the Ordinariate was created according to the provisions of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, for Anglicans who want to be Catholic and want to retain their customs, liturgy, etc.

Benedict XVI is, of course, the Pope of Christian Unity.

Anglicans have a true home in the Catholic Church.

I just read this press release from the Ordinariate:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27.07.2014

Pope Francis Prays For Success of Ordinariate’s Exploration Day

Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’s forthcoming “Called To Be One” exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate’s purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.

The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

The full text of Archbishop Mennini’s letter reads as follows:

“At the request of the Secretariat of State, I have been asked to inform you that  the Holy Father Francis, on learning of the national day of exploration entitled “Called to be One”, organised by the various Groups of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and due to take place on Saturday 6 September 2014, wishes to convey his good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion and presentation of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel in Great Britain”.

The Nuncio ends with his own prayerful good wishes for a very successful day.

Pope Francis’ blessing on the exploration day and Archbishop Mennini’s words of support for it follow a statement of welcome for the initiative from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In his capacity as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Cardinal said: “the Ordinariate both enriches the Catholic Church with Catholic aspects of the beautiful heritage and culture of Anglican patrimony and advances the cause of unity which must be the ultimate aim of all ecumenical activity… I wish you every success with this initiative. I hope it will attract many interested enquirers”.

Last week Mgr Newton warmly invited all those who are interested in the Ordinariate to attend the exploration day “whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do” . Mgr Newton’s invitation came in his response to the Church of England General Synod’s decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. In the same statement Mgr Newton said that, though that decision was a very happy one for many within the Church of England, it made the position undeniably harder for those within the Anglican Church who still longed for unity with Rome.

The Ordinariate was set up by Pope Benedict in 2011 to make it possible for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to do so, bringing with them much of the heritage and traditions of Anglicanism. Pope Benedict described these as “treasures to be shared”. On the exploration day, each of the 40 or so Ordinariate groups across the country will host a different event, with the common theme of the vision for Christian unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate.

I am glad to hear of Pope Francis’ prayers for the success of this initiative to help Anglicans come into the Catholic Church.

As Benedict, so Francis.

There is also a comment (with a link) which will be of interest to readers of this blog on the status of the Church of Torres Strait here.

 

The Ordinariate on Women Bishops

From the Ordinary:

In his statement on the C of E’s decision to allow women bishops, Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Catholic Church, only briefly comments on the decision itself. The main thrust of his message is to hold the door of the Ordinariate open for those who are “considering their future”.

He writes:

Monsignor Newton shakes hands - klein“For many in the Church of England this will be a very happy day. Having agreed to permit women priests in 1992, the Church of England’s decision today to allow women bishops is the next logical step. What is undeniable is that both developments make harder the position of those within the Church of England who still long for corporate unity with the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Pope Benedict XVl’s decision to set up the ordinariates – allowing former Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them much of the Anglican heritage and tradition – was made in response to repeated requests from Anglicans who longed for unity with the Catholic Church. It was a prophetic and generous ecumenical gesture because it demonstrated the possibility of unity of faith with diversity of expression.

On 6 September the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is holding a Called To Be One exploration day, which is aimed at making the Ordinariate more widely known and understood and reaching those whom God may be calling to join it. Groups across the country will stage an event on the day. Each event will be different – it may be Choral Evensong followed by refreshments and a presentation about the Ordinariate or it might be a debate or a talk – but all the events will focus on the vision for Christian unity at the heart of the Ordinariate. All who are interested – whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do are warmly invited to attend.

The groups page of the Ordinariate website will be updated with details of the Called To Be One day as plans develop. http://www.ordinariate.org.uk/groups/groups.html”

The Rt Revd Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

See also in the Catholic Herald: Ordinariate reaches out to Anglicans after women bishops vote.

 

Archdiocese for the Military Ordains two Ordinariate Priests for Service

The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite:

The Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS) is celebrating the Catholic priestly ordinations on Saturday of two United States military chaplains and former Episcopal priests, both entering the Catholic priesthood through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, established by the Holy See in 2012 for former Anglican communities and clergy seeking to enter the Church.

Father Joseph Francis Vieira, III, CH (MAJ) USA, was ordained in Grafenwoehr, Germany by His Excellency, the Most ReverendTimothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services.

Father Richard Rojas, Ch Capt USAF, was ordained in Inarajan Guam by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Anthony S. Apuron, OFM Cap., DD, Archbishop of Agana.

In his homily at the ordination Mass for Father Vieira, Archbishop Broglio said the faithful expect the new priest to “ignite a blaze of new evangelization as he is ordained in the Year of Faith.”

Addressing Father Vieira directly, Archbishop Broglio said:

“You will be empowered to nourish the community of faith with the most precious gift she has to offer, the Body and Blood of Christ. No one else can give it and so your contribution will be priceless. For the Army, the greatness of that gift is so appreciated, because it is in short supply. Every Catholic who has been deployed knows the value of what you and your brother priests alone can give. You will, to quote Karl Rahner, ‘lift the chalice with the blood that was redeemed and sanctified in the truth.’”

Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Broglio’s homily.

Father Vieira, a married father of two, holds a Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in December 1994 and entered Active Duty with the U.S. Army in July 1995.

Father Rojas, a married father of four, holds a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He has been a military chaplain for eight years.

Father Vieira said:

“It is with great joy that I enter this next stage in my faith journey which has led me ever closer to the Throne of God, through the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church He established.  I have been convinced of the veracity of the Catholic Church for many years, but until recently I have been unable to act on that faith.  Through the grace of God and the beneficence of the Catholic Church I now have the privilege to serve God in the Church I love. I wish to express my deep gratitude to the Holy Father, Pope Francis; and to my family, for their trust and unwavering support.  I also want to thank each of the Military Catholic Communities which have nurtured me as one of their own for over thirteen years as I walked the line between the Catholic and Protestant churches. I have truly come home!”

Father Rojas said:

“I am overjoyed to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.”

 

Anglican Priest, Flock Cross a Welcoming Bridge

In the Boston Globe:

Before Mass on a recent Sunday, the Rev. Jurgen Liias stood in a cramped sacristy of a Catholic church with an acolyte and cantor and began a call-and-response prayer of preparation.

Incense smoldered. The men thumped their chests in a gesture of contrition.

The elaborate ritual would seem unusual to most Catholic priests, who pray silently before Mass as they don their vestments, or quietly focus on the sacred work ahead. But Liias, who is 65, is different. He entered the church through a new doorway that lets members of the Anglican Communion return to the mother church in Rome while retaining their congregational communities — and, if they wish, much of their ornate ritual, including old Catholic traditions that Rome changed or left behind.

Pope John Paul II extended to Anglicans, including married priests, the opportunity to become Catholic in 1980. During the next 30 years, 100 or so Anglican priests entered the Catholic Church and were incorporated into local dioceses.

But some in the worldwide Anglican Communion — particularly the Episcopal Church, the religious body’s US province — wanted to make it easier for whole congregations to come in, and to be part of a group of like-minded churches.

At their request, Pope Benedict XVI established special “ordinariates” — basically superdioceses — especially for Anglican priests and congregations. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which spans the United States and Canada, was created last year. It includes more than 30 congregations, including Liias’s St. Gregory the Great, which held its first Mass in April.

“They are on a pilgrimage together, as opposed to an individual journey,” said the Rev. R. Scott Hurd, the ordinariate’s vicar general.

It is a tiny movement so far, with fewer than 2,000 people spread across a vast continent, an infinitesimal proportion of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

In many respects, the ordinariate resembles the Eastern Catholic Churches that returned to Rome from the Eastern Orthodox Church and have been allowed to preserve their own worship traditions and structure.

Hurd said the Vatican created the ordinariate primarily to “promote Christian unity” by bringing Anglicans back into the fold of Catholicism.

He said Episcopalians who are attracted to Catholicism “usually struggle with the breadth of plurality in belief” within the Episcopal Church “and come to appreciate the definitive teachings that are found in Catholicism.”

Liias has spent most of his career at the margins of the Episcopal Church, embracing both charismatic and high-church worship styles, each of which would be alien to most Episcopalians in Massachusetts. An avuncular grandfather who hikes 14,000-foot mountains and has deep experience in the charismatic movement, he is as comfortable speaking in tongues as he is praying the rosary.

He has come to see Catholicism as the center of gravity of Christianity, and an inevitable end point, not only on his own path as a Christian, but for Christianity itself.

“The unity of the church is not only an imperative for the internal life of God’s people but an essential dimension of her evangelical mission,” he wrote in a blog post this year…

Read on here.