Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali on the Ordinariate

… the Anglican Communion, Gafcon, FiF and more. Virtue Online:

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.”



9 thoughts on “Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali on the Ordinariate

    1. > N-A was one of that group of C of E bishops making secret or clandestine approaches to Rome

      Interesting. I wasn’t aware of that, but it kind of fits, inasmuch as his objections to the Ordinariates are strictly in terms of them not going far enough.

  1. Indeed the Bishop makes some good points here! Again only time will tell where this is all going? But many of the Ordinariates appear bogged down, at least as some tell me. I know someone who has gone back to the/a Lutheran Church already. And Latin is only good for theological study in reality!

  2. Nazir Ali is apparently an ex Catholic himself. He actually ordained dozens of women when he was bishop of Rochester.

    The Ordinariate only recogniss ” Anglican patrimony” when it is in line with Catholic teaching. It rejects the BCP, the 39 articles and the ordinal.

    Furthernmore whilst married Ordinariate clergy may come from convert clergy and trainee will never draw such from the Ordinariate laity!

  3. Bishop Nazir-Ali has described himself in CofE terms as a “Catholic-Evangelical” and he was certainly prepared to purport to ordain women which a number of the “Catholic” Anglican Bishops have thus far not been prepared to do.

    His article is not exactly straight with his readers: for example while the married priests of the Ordinariate may not be consecrated as bishops, future celibate priests may be and the Ordinaries are mandated to ensure that clergy receive appropriate formation including coverage of the “Anglican Patrimony” the Ordinariates are to preserve.

    The CofE General Synod is trying to make progress on the legislation which will see its female clergy purportedly consecrated as bishops – so one may expect more negative comments about the Ordinariate from CofE quarters as the Nazir-Ali’s seek to deter those Anglo-Catholics still in the CofE from jumping ship.

    As for Irish Anglican’s comment on the uses of Latin, it is a remarkably precise and concise language. For example, the inscription on the Bayeux War Memorial:


    1. Indeed Latin is a beautiful language! My remarks were toward the religious and theological place. Sadly Latin however has long lost its effect on the masses! Of course this was the great language of ancient Rome, and the ancient Latium or its people.

      1. The point is that Latin has a millennium or so head start over any of the vernacular languages used in the West. The language therefore has a stability in meaning not enjoyed by the vernaculars which is why it became of importance to the Western Church.

        The words of the Pater Noster have not changed in Latin over nearly 2 millennia – but as is pointed out in Maskell’s Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1882) the vernacular of that prayer in English in the 13th, 14th or 15th Centuries would not be understood by the average English speaker of today.

        You will doubtless recall the prayer of St Thomas Aquinas – as comprehensible today as it was in the 13th Century:-

        “Creator ineffabilis, qui de thesauris sapientiae tuae tres Angelorum hierarchias designasti et eas super caelum empyreum miro ordine collocasti atque universi partes elegantissime distribuisti: Tu, inquam, qui verus fons luminis et sapientiae diceris ac supereminens principium, infundere digneris super intellectus mei tenebras tuae radium claritatis, duplices, in quibus natus sum, a me removens tenebras, peccatum scilicet et ignorantiam. Tu, qui linguas infantium facis disertas, linguam meam erudias atque in labiis meis gratiam tuae benedictionis infundas. Da mihi intelligendi acumen, retinendi capacitatem, addiscendi modum et facilitatem, interpretandi subtilitatem, loquendi gratiam copiosam. Ingressum instruas, progressum dirigas, egressum compleas. Tu, qui es verus Deus et homo, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.”

      2. Again, getting back to theology, both Latin and Greek are the language of Theology. As we also note the Septuagint! “Jehovah has been pleased to give us the revelation of His mind and will in words.”

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