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Archbishop appointed to implement US ordinariate

Archbishop Wuerl will be in charge of setting up the US ordinariate (Photo: PA)

Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl has been chosen to spearhead the foundation of an Anglican ordinariate in the US by the Vatican, the American bishops’ conference has announced.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith named Archbishop Wuerl as its delegate, who will head the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ ad hoc committee for Anglican integration. The committee will assist the CDF with the implementation of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, promulgated by Pope Benedict in November last year.

The ordinariate structure will allow Anglicans entering the Catholic Church to preserve some of their liturgical practice and Anglican heritage.

An Anglican ordinariate will also maintain some autonomy under their own bishop, who will act in consultation with the local diocesan bishop.

The ordinariate structure is open to lay people, clergy, and members of religious orders originally in the Anglican communion and seeking to join the Catholic Church.

While Anglican bishops who join the ordinariate scheme will not be allowed to function as bishops, they may be ordained priest, and be allowed to use episcopal regalia, and to attend episcopal conference meetings, with the status of a retired bishop.

Other members of the ad hoc committee are Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth, Texas and Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts, and will be assisted by Fr Scott Hurd, a convert from the Episcopalian Church who was ordained priest in 2000. Fr Hurd will act as a liaison between the committee and the US bishops’ conference.

The committee will be responsible for assessing the level of interest in the ordinariate scheme in the United States, as well as assisting its implementation.

Anglicans seeking to join the ordinariate in the United States are encouraged to contact Archbishop Wuerl and the new ad hoc committee.