A New Ordinariate: Anglicans and Episcopalians Fully Welcome

I’m sure many of you saw this news yesterday, and it’s been in the making for several years–but it’s worth re-posting here at CatholicVote.  The second Ordinariate, as originally envisioned and authorized by Vatican II, went into effect yesterday.  This one, of course, allows for Anglicans and Episcopalians to join fully with the Roman Catholic Church.

Frankly, this has to be one of the biggest stories of the last several years, and it might well change the very course of the Roman Catholic Church.  In a sense, it just undid one of the most important aspects and tragedies of the Reformation.

Scholars such as Hillsdale College’s Dr. Steve Smith have shown what immense damage, for example, King Henry’s Act of Supremacy of 1534 did not only to England but to the whole of the western tradition.  Indeed, within the larger movement of the Reformation, no new Christian denomination so changed and challenged the noble traditions of the West as did the English Church, forced so brutally upon its people from the top down.

In a few very wise moves, Pope Benedict has undone much of the devastation wrought in the sixteenth century by the bloodthirsty and tyrannical.  Now, as of 2012, with the Ordinariate, we have the blessing of much new blood (freely given, not spilt!) and we’ll have an influx of new ideas. . . .  And, the English Roman Catholic tradition reverts–at least potentially–to its pre-Reformation Golden Era, rooted not only in the Catholic faith, but also in the Anglo-Saxon traditions of liberty, Erasmian humanism, and the common law.

I travel often to Houston, Texas, and have done so for well over a decade and a half.  When I’m there, I happily attend Our Lady of Walsingham, an Anglican-use Roman Catholic Church.  Now, of course, it can drop the “use.”  My second daughter, Maria Grace, was baptized there, and some of my closest friends are parishioners.  In every way, it’s a stunning parish.

Over a decade ago, Father James Moore, then pastor of Our Lady of Walsingham, and Winston Elliott founded the Society of St. John Fisher (http://www.ssjf.com/).  There have never been more than a few members of this group, but we dedicated our prayers to the reconversion of the English Church:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast confirmed the perfection of true faith in the crown of martyrdom, and who didst fill thy blessed bishop and holy martyr John Fisher with such great courage that he did cast away his life in the cause of truth and justice, strengthen us, we beseech thee, through his intercession and example with the like courage to proclaim the faith we profess and to give up our life in this world for the sake of Christ that we may find it again in thy everlasting kingdom; through the merits of thy Son, the same Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God world without end. Amen.

Though never more than a few, we also prayed for a revival of the English Christian Humanism of Fisher, Erasmus, and More.

Obviously, Pope Benedict’s welcoming of the Anglicans and Episcopalians is a huge moment not only in Catholic history but in larger western history.  But, there’s still much more to pray for.  Please join us in praying for all good to come out of this new union.

The new Ordinariate is an immense blessing for the whole Church, but especially for those of us who love the great English Roman Catholics: Bede, Boniface, Alcuin, Alfred, Edith, Becket, Thomas More, John Fisher, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Martin D’Arcy, Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

What would Edmund Burke and T.S. Eliot have done, given the option of an Anglican Ordinariate?  One can only dream. . . .

For more information, http://usordinariate.org/



  • Paul S.

    Praise the Lord for Pope Benedict XVI!

  • rev.franklyn mcafee

    Where in the documents of VII does it authorize an ordinariate for the anglicans? The ordinariate is a post conciliar idea of Benedict XVI building on the initial apostolic provision of Blessed JPII. The Second Vatican Council is credited with many things it had nothing to do with.

  • Zed

    I’m exceedingly happy about the new ordinariate. There is an Anglican priest near where I live that has tried twice to convert as an Anglican-use priest, but has been refused by the diocese. I pray that he takes advantage of the new structure.

    On a different note, can you explain what you mean by “The second Ordinariate, as originally envisioned and authorized by Vatican II”. I’m at a loss to see how the ordinariate was envisioned or authorized by Vatican II except as the general desire for “the reconciling of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ” (Unitatis Redintegratio).

    • Brad Birzer

      Thanks for the comments, Zed and Rev! I might very well be wrong about the Ordinariate. My understanding was that such a thing was first envisioned at VII. Apologies.

      • Michael F

        Brad: Looking for when this actually started is difficult, and can’t really be done without some knowledge of the Church of England’s (and The Episcopal Church’s) side. Such a vision may go all the way back to when they first split. One of the most significant moves by Anglicans was the Oxford Movement. But the Anglican Church didn’t break down far enough to view such an option as serious until the 1970’s, when women’s “ordination” was brought up and not stifled, a new prayer book (basically the Anglican equivalent of a missal) was published that watered down everything, the Seven Sacraments were reduced to two, and bishops started buying more and more into the theory of relativism. That was when the Anglican communion started to fracture, and if you go Google different spin-offs of The Episcopal Church, many of them start around that time. That was when the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision was created, and Our Lady of the Atonement and Our Lady of Walsingham both came into the Roman Catholic Church. The split in the Anglican Church since then has increased, and found another fracture not too many years ago, when the ordination of homosexual activists became prominent. The Episcopal Church has few remaining members now, as whole dioceses have split into different splinter groups. My family, in fact, converted a couple years ago from one of those splinters.—– That’s some of the background on the Anglican side (although I have no doubt you knew much of this already). From what I have seen and heard on the Roman side, I would venture a guess that Pope Benedict XVI is attempting to restore a love of tradition to the Church, in response to those who twisted the decisions of Vatican II to make it “more acceptable in the modern world”. And the type of Anglican to accept this invitation does love tradition; the only thing that stops him from going to a Latin Rite Church, such as FSSP, is the language. All other elements are virtually the same. In fact, many Anglican Use churches celebrate a Latin Mass every Sunday, in addition to the AU Mass (the Ordinariate churches probably will too, but as they technically don’t exist yet, I can’t be certain). —- I don’t know what Vatican II said on the matter (if anything), so I’m not sure, but it appears to be a pet project by Pope Benedict, and the authority of the Ordinariate goes back directly to him. At least, that’s what it’s title infers (for those who don’t know, it’s “The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter”).



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