One small change to the wording of the mission of the Anglican Ordinariate, instituted by Pope Francis might have a profound effect on how it participates in the Church’s mission of evangelisation; and on English speaking culture.
When I was at the Sacra Liturgia Conference this past summer, speaker after speaker emphasised the importance of Latin as the norm in the Roman rite. Nevertheless, a warm welcome was given also to several priests from the Anglican Ordinariate, which will rarely offer Mass in Latin, and it was offered the platform when Mgr Andrew Newton gave a talk in which he described progress in establishing the precise form of the Ordinariate liturgy. I heard no one say that they saw any contradiction in this. Similarly, the developments in the Ordinariate Use liturgy are, apparently enthusiastically, reported on this site as they occur and have been ever since it was created. The fact that the Ordinariate Use is taken seriously by all these traditionally minded Latin-orientated Catholics seems to me to indicate a recognition of the general point, that the vernacular does have an important place in the liturgy; and more particularly that English has a privileged position amongst vernaculars. Where might this be going in the future, I wondered?
Then shortly after returning from Rome I read in Damian Thompson’s blog in the Telegraph an article that was headed Pope Francis Embraces the Ordinariate and Increases Its Power to Evangelise. In it he said: ‘Francis has widened the remit of the Ordinariates in Britain, America and Australia. Until now, only ex-Anglicans and their family members could join the new body. But, thanks to a new paragraph inserted into the Ordinariate’s constitution by Francis, nominal Catholics who were baptised but not confirmed can join the structure. Indeed, the Holy Father wants the Ordinariates to go out and evangelise such people.’
The paragraph he referred to was Complementary Norms, Article 5 §2: ‘A person who has been baptised in the Catholic Church but who has not completed the Sacraments of Initiation, and subsequently returns to the faith and practice of the Church as a result of the evangelising mission of the Ordinariate, may be admitted to membership in the Ordinariate and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation or the Sacrament of the Eucharist or both. This confirms the place of the Personal Ordinariates within the mission of the wider Catholic Church, not simply as a (Read More)