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Church reveals fine details of ordinariate

Fr Marcus Stock, general secretary of the bishops conference, left, pictured during the bishops’ ad limina visit last year Mazur/

Personal ordinariates for groups of Anglican converts around the world are likely to develop their own missal according to traditional Anglican use, an English Church official has said.

Fr Marcus Stock, the general secretary of the Bishops of England and Wales, said that while an ordinariate in Britain would be likely to follow the Roman Rite, he expected that there an Anglican use of the Roman Rite would be developed.

Fr Stock said: “When we are talking about the ordinariate we’re not just talking about England and Wales but for across the world and I’d be surprised if something isn’t developed for use for all the ordinariates. I don’t think they’ll develop particular ones.

“There will be an Anglican Traditional Use, such as there is in the United States who use the book of divine worship, which again they might simply adapt that for use in ordinariates around the world.”

He said that Anglican patrimony and tradition did not only refer to the missal used in Mass, but also to things like Evensong and Morning Prayer “and a slightly different form of the Breviary than the Roman rite would use and additional funeral rites and marriage rites which might reflect a particular tradition in the Anglican communion”.

“So it will probably be more of a sacramentary than a missal, which will have different rites,” Fr Stock said. “That’s a long-term project.”

The ordinariate in England and Wales, which is due to be established by a decree from the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, will have a principal church which is to serve a similar function to a diocesan cathedral.

Fr Stock said: “They will need a place to meet, to have meetings and gather as a group. Not a cathedral as such, but a principal church, it’s called in the constitution, where the members of the ordinariate can gather for the celebration of liturgies and where the ordinary will be based.”

The bishops have been on the look out for a church of sufficient size, capacity and centrality to serve as the principal church for the ordinariate.

Fr Stock said: “Like any diocesan centre, you want somewhere where people can get to easily, so that’s all being looked into at the moment. And that will hopefully not just have the church, but also accommodation for the ordinary and a bit of luck some additional facilities for social meeting and some offices for the ordinariate.”

While the bishops’ conference has pledged £250,000, which is in a restricted fund of the Catholic Trust for England and Wales at the moment until the ordinariate is actually established, Fr Stock said that funding for the ordinariate has also been coming in from other sources. He cited charities, individuals and communities which have pledged “not insubstantial amounts” to assist the establishment of an ordinariate.

He said that financing the ordinariate would clearly be “a major strategic concern for the ordinary when he is appointed and his council when that is constituted”.

Fr Stock said the rapid ordination of the three former Anglican bishops who were received into the Church on the first of January and will be ordained priests on January 15, was a unique situation.

He said “The pastoral arrangements that have been put at the inception of the ordinariate are to recognise the fact that there is a pastoral need for those men who have been ministering to the congregations hitherto need to be making their journey into the Catholic Church and that’s why these provisions have been put into place. Of course those men who are going to have to be prepared for the Catholic priesthood—things to do with canon law and pastoral practice that they need to get used to and need to learn those things. But it is a recognition that fundamentally we need to keep these groups together to meet their spiritual needs.”

When he was asked whether it was a step forward from the pastoral provision which was granted to former Anglican clergymen in the 1990s thanks to the efforts of Cardinal Basil Hume, Fr Stock said: “I think it’s recognised that that may have been a weakness at the time, that there wasn’t a recognition of the need for their pastors to accompany the people, but any priest who has been parish priest will tell you that after a bit time the priest and people get very close. It’s important sometimes for priests to accompany their people.”

The ordinariate represents a completely new canonical structure which is similar to a military diocese, but allows groups of Anglicans who wish to keep their patrimony to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Members of the ordinariate will be fully-fledged Catholics of the Roman Rite – this means they are not like the Eastern ritual churches which are in communion with Rome. Ordinariate priests will be able celebrate Mass normally in Catholic churches and Catholics attending ordinariate Masses will be able to receive Communion there.

Fr Stock today issued an extensive guide to the ordinariate on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales.