15 January 2011

Gaudet mater ecclesia!

What a great day for the Church!

Today has seen the ordination to the Catholic priesthood of three former-Anglican bishops and the erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales and the appointment of one of the newly-ordained Father Keith Newton as its first Ordinary.
What a great day for Christian Unity! There are more to come!
Thank God for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, gloriously reigning, whose personal insight and insistence brought this day about. Anglicanorum Coetibus must now rank with Summorum Pontificum as two of the great fruits of this pontificate so far.
Let’s not forget the real liturgical impact of this. Anglicanorum Coetibus no. III says:

"Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared."

Three former Anglican Bishops
Photo: Catholic Church of England & Wales
Also, let’s not forget that article 11 § 4 of the “Complementary Norms” for Anglicanorum Coetibus states that “A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.” Let’s hope that the Holy See’s generosity includes this too.
This is exciting. Our brothers and sisters with whom we now rejoice in full communion know what the liturgy is. Have a look at the book published last year by the newly-ordained Father Andrew Burnham, published as an Anglican bishop - Heaven and Earth in Little Space. These former-Anglicans haven’t put up with the liturgical dross and drivel that disgraces many modern Catholic parish liturgies. They’ve kept up liturgical standards that others have long since let slip.

The Pimpernel understands that exactly what liturgical rites the Holy See will approve is a work in progress. Will the English Missal be included, and if so which edition? That could be interesting. What other riches of the Anglican tradition might be approved?
According to the Pope these liturgical rites will be “a treasure to be shared” i.e., for all of us, not just for the Ordinariate. They may even enrich liturgical celebrations well beyond the Ordinariate's own churches.
And don’t forget that Anglicanorum Coetibus doesn’t exclude liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite. The Ordinariate can use the missal of Paul VI if they really want to (they would at least do it well) or the 1962 missal.
Thank you, Your Holiness, for your vision, your fatherly concern for those outside the full Communion of the Church and for your courageous action that has brought us to this day. Ad multos annos!


  1. Andrew Burnham's book is excellent and I would urge anyone with an interest in liturgy and music (Andrew is an accomplished musician) to buy a copy.

    Btw...nice to see my altar frontal and tabernacle veil in your photo of the Slipper Chapel at Walsingham!

  2. I am going to drink some malt beer and eat some fish and chips to celebrate!

  3. Has there been any mention of a revival of the Sarum-use among these groups? How glorious it would truly be, would it not?