An English bishop has confirmed that Anglicans who were received into the Catholic Church years ago can join the personal ordinariate created by Benedict XVI last year.
The Pope established the world’s first personal ordinariate for groups of former Anglicans that wished to enter into full communion with Rome in January 2011. There was discussion at the time about whether Anglicans received before 2011 could also join the structure under the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution describing the nature of personal ordinariates.
Writing in the January 2012 issue of The Newman, the journal of the Newman Association, Bishop Alan Hopes clarified that the ordinariate was open to all former Anglicans.
The bishop, who serves as an auxiliary in Westminster diocese and as episcopal delegate to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, wrote: “The personal ordinariate is for former Anglicans – but Anglicans who converted some years ago can, if they so wish, say that they would like to become members of the ordinariate. There is that dual possibility.
“The decision-making body is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. They are the people who will be the final arbiters in any question that might arise. There are points in the constitution [Anglicanorum coetibus] that will have to be fleshed out.”
The bishop, a former Anglican who was received into the Catholic Church in 1994, said that the long-term future of the ordinariate was unclear.
“As for the future, it may be God’s will that it should be the present structure, but maybe in 50 years’ time the ordinariate will become fully integrated into the Catholic Church. Who knows? We must wait and see,” he wrote.