How do you join the Ordinariate?

On Facebook, a former Episcopalian who had become a Catholic inquired about whether he is eligible for membership in the Ordinariate for Catholics of Anglican Patrimony.

The consensus was that he is eligible and should apply even if there is no Ordinariate community in his vicinity—yet.

We also encourage people who have no Ordinariate parish or community in their local area to start one.  Over at the Anglicanorum coetibus Society’s website there are instructions on what you need to do and how you can get a pin on our map as a Patrimonial community.

These patrimonial communities are lay-run efforts that do not guarantee official recognition but they are a place to start and who knows, maybe eventually the seed community could grow large enough to support a priest and become an Ordinariate parish.

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On unitive and procreative sex within context of marriage

Fr Dwight Longenecker, a former Anglican, now Catholic priest (though not part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter) has been writing and tweeting on Catholic teachings regarding human sexuality in light of the huge scandal now rocking the Catholic Church in wake of the revelations regarding former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Continue reading

A delightful account from the 100th priest

Fr Michael Ward, the 100th priest to be ordained a Catholic priest for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham shares his experience of ordination with The Catholic Herald.  Here’s an excerpt. Please go on over and read the whole thing!

As I drive up the M40, I rehearse these parallels more to amuse myself than for purposes of serious reflection. Newman was the greatest theologian of the 19th century and some say his was the most powerful Catholic mind since that of St Thomas Aquinas. I, on the other hand, know a lot about Narnia.

In The Last Battle, CS Lewis’s final Chronicle of Narnia, the foolish donkey, Puzzle, finds himself standing next to the noble unicorn, Jewel. Jewel is very kind to Puzzle, “talking to him about things of the sort they could both understand, like grass and sugar and the care of one’s hoofs”. That’s the sort of conversation Newman would have with me.


The clergy gather in the sacristy. The time is drawing near. We vest with more solemnity than usual. The archbishop greets the candidates quietly and warmly, one by one. Everyone lines up. The room goes quiet. Then someone whispers urgently to the archbishop: “Where’s your crozier?” Sudden panic, it seems. But someone just forgot: he won’t be using his own crozier because these are ordinariate ordinations, not diocesan ones.

A young oratorian hastens from a doorway, carrying what the archbishop has agreed to use. Like wildfire the news runs round: it’s Newman’s crozier! My heart lifts. Newman’s crozier. How often is a precious relic actually pressed into present-day use? But here is the very shepherd’s crook Newman himself carried. I eye it with awe as I pass into the church.

Congratulations Fr. Ward and to the other new priests!

 Fr. Michael Ward is the author Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of CS Lewis

On the Traditional Latin Mass and the Ordinariates

Back when Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson was Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, he issued a directive that Ordinariate priests were not to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) on Ordinariate properties.

Ordinariate priests could celebrate the TLM for other communities, but the point of having the Ordinariate, at least in North American circles, was to promote Anglican patrimony.

At the time, there was a quite a reaction, with some wondering if Msgr. Steenson had the jurisdiction to make such a call, seeing as it went against, some argued, the spirit of Summorum Pontificum, in which Pope Benedict XVI made it much easier for priests to celebrate the TLM, even without permission of their bishop ahead of time.

I personally agreed with Msgr. Steenson’s call.

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Save the Dates! November 4-8, 2019

IMG_7050IMG_7060On November 4-8, 2019 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will hold a symposium in Rome to mark the 10th Anniversary of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Now is the time for communities in all of our Personal Ordinariates to start organizing pilgrimages and tours to coincide with this special event that will include an audience with the Pope.  Now is the time to start saving and planning for your visit to the Eternal City to celebrate the anniversary.

I will be traveling to Rome this October to meet with the organizer of the symposium to see what the Anglicanorum coetibus Society might be able to sponsor in conjunction with this event.   We could sponsor a social event, a lecture, special music.

Who among my readers is likely to come to Rome in Nov. 2019?  What would you like the Society to sponsor?

Syncretism? Bait and switch? A look at reality in the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican Patrimony

Back in the days after Anglicanorum coetibus was published but before we had the certainty afforded by the establishment of the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican Patrimony, we encountered a range of perceptions about what exactly Pope Benedict XVI had done.  The uncertainty and differing perceptions caused splits in many of our parish communities.  Sadly, some of these perceptions still exist, despite the proof being in the pudding, as it were.

One perception is that the Ordinariates allow Protestant or non-Catholic elements into a kind of training-wheels, not-fully-Catholic structure that is meant to be temporary until those poor Anglicans who were used to their liturgy and hymns get fully brought up to speed on what it means to be a real Catholics like everyone else.  Another version is that the Ordinariates represent a Trojan Horse of heretical ideas.

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Barbara Nicolosi on the Ordinariate in Los Angeles

I have been a fan of Barbara Nicolosi’s for a long time.  I first encountered her after she had founded Act One, a program to help Christian writers hone the necessary skills to make it in Hollywood.  She found the state of so-called Christian movies so abysmal artistically –didactic, preachy, stereotypical characters, and lack of basic concepts of story-telling–that she tried to remedy it.  She’s still involved as one of the faculty members and also teaches at a university in Southern California.

Though I have never met her personally, we are Facebook friends, and she always has interesting posts and comments.  So, on Sunday, this one particularly caught my interest, since it’s about one of our Ordinariate communities.  She gave me permission to re-post this from Facebook:

ATTN: Los Angeles Catholics

The baby parish of Our Lady of Grace is part of the Anglican Ordinariate. They are a group of Anglicans who petitioned to be reunited to the Catholic Church and have recently had their pastor, Fr. Aaron Bayles ordained as a Catholic priest. The liturgy is lovely – basically follows the Latin Rite but using some of the splendidly rich prayers from the Book of Common Prayer. They also have wonderful music – robust, lyrical hymns rich in theological imagery – nothing like what I hear at most Evangelical praise and worship sessions, and far better than what passes for hymnody at regular Catholic parishes these days.

All we need is more people to come! The parish currently is using the cafeteria at La Salle High School, but, hopefully, we will be moving to a real church soon. Meanwhile, they have built a lovely altar and the spirit of the people is very reverent.

Mass starts at 11:00 a.m. with Confession available at 10:30 a.m.

Another La Civilta Cattolica article on religion in America

It was embarrassing, even cringe-worthy, to read Fr. Anthony Spadaro and Rev. Marcelo Figueroa’s first foray last July into explaining American brands of Christianity entitled Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism: A Surprising Ecumenism.

That piece from a year ago described such movements as Evangelicals and Catholic Together founded by the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and the late Charles Colson as an “ecumenism of hate.” It also described faithful Catholics and evangelicals who have found common ground as Manicheans who mirror Islamist fundamentalism in wanting to deliberately bring about the End Times—as if all conservative American Christians, Catholic and non, and are hoping for the Rapture any day now and if they can start a nuclear war to hasten it, well, they won’t let a crisis go to waste, as it were.  Because Trump, I guess.  I dunno. It included almost all of the anti-Christian tropes one encounters in the mainstream media employed by reporters with no knowledge of religion.

This article received much thoughtful criticism from people who actually know something about America, such as Carl Olsen  who in his critique links to several others.  I posted on it last summer here with many  links to critiques of the article.

Now Fr. Spadaro, the Jesuit confidant of Pope Francis, and his Presbyterian co-author from Argentina are at it again with a new article in La Civilta Cattolica on the American Prosperity Gospel.

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The crisis of authority

With more news of allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, I’m reminded of the angst and turmoil I experienced before coming into the Catholic Church in 2012.

I had known, as did many other journalists, about the rumors of his behavior with seminarians for a number of years.   In 2012, and perhaps earlier, I had interviewed Richard Sipe, who had affidavits on his website describing some of it.

I had even met Cardinal McCarrick when he attended the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops back in 2005 or 6 as a guest.  He was most kind and charming, so I could also see why many would find these allegations extremely hard to believe.  Continue reading

Having the best credentials won’t necessarily make you holy

Having the best credentials in the world for becoming a priest or a prelate does not ensure he is the best man for  the office.

In fact, if I had to choose between someone who has a God-given, supernatural faithor someone with a top notch education at the best Catholic universities without that faith, I would chose the former.  Having all the head-knowledge in the world cannot give someone a living faith, nor is it necessarily a sign of virtue and character.

Ideally, one should not have to choose.   A good, solid education and faith formation coupled with moral, psychological and Holy-Spirit inspired spiritual integrity are what we need in  priests and bishops.

In addition to being surrendered to God’s will, a priest must be a man who could have been (or is) a good husband and father, not someone asexual and oriented towards books or things, or other men, hoping to use the priesthood as a hedge against acting on those inclinations or worse, as a cover for leading a double life.

I have met some very simple, uneducated people who have great wisdom.  I have met pastors on the Protestant side with very little formal education who exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit and operate in supernatural gifts that can only come from God.  In fact, it was a simple, charismatic pastor who, through his teaching, and spiritual gifts imparted by the Spirit through his ministry, played a major role in my faith journey in preparing me to become Catholic—-because all true wisdom from God always tends towards unity and communion in Christ, in sharing that one mind that was in Christ Jesus.

The Catholic priests I know in the Ordinariate have that dual combination of holiness and theological depth, even if the education in every instance was not a typical seminary formation in the Anglican or Catholic sense.

As our former bishop once said to me, “Where would we send them?”  He meant that as an indictment of the state of Anglican formation, especially for those who had a Catholic understanding of sacraments.

The recent revelations about Cardinal McCarrick, the Archbishop-emeritus of Washington, also reminded me formation in Catholic seminaries has not always been so great either, even though it’s my understanding  things have improved a lot in North America since the 1980s and 90s.

The McCarrick revelations reminded me of Michael Rose’s 2002 book  Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption into the Catholic Church  and its stories about how orthodox, masculine candidates  were either pre-screened as unsuitable (too rigid!) for the seminary, or were forced out later by pressure from a lavender mafia.

Part of the journey into the Catholic Church for our former clergy included a detailed description of their spiritual journeys.  It was the authenticity and willingness to suffer for the faith that were convincing for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith of the caliber of men desirous of becoming Catholic priests, even if not all of them had the requisite degrees.