Vatican announces new structure for Anglicans joining Catholic Church

(UPDATE: More complete story here.)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has established a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage, said U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada.


Cardinal Levada at a 2007 Vatican press conference. (CNS/CPP)

The cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said a new apostolic constitution would establish “personal ordinariates” — similar to dioceses– to oversee the pastoral care of those who want to bring elements of their Anglican identity into the Catholic Church with them.

Anglican priests who are married will be ordained Catholic priests, although married Anglican bishops will not be able to function as Catholic bishops in keeping with the longstanding Catholic and Orthodox tradition of ordaining only unmarried clergy as bishops, Cardinal Levada said.

The cardinal announced the new arrangement during a press conference today at the Vatican. He said the pope’s apostolic constitution and norms for implementing were undergoing final revisions and would be published in a couple of weeks.

The new provision does not weaken the commitment of the Vatican to promoting Christian unity, Cardinal Levada said, but is a further recognition that many Anglicans share the Catholic faith and that Anglicans have a spiritual and liturgical life worth preserving.

This entry was posted in CNS, Vatican. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Vatican announces new structure for Anglicans joining Catholic Church

  1. norris hall says:

    I think this is an excellent move. By opening itself up to married priests the Catholic church will have taken a small step towards acceptance of married clergy.
    In time, the Church will grow accustom to the idea and it will become harder to justify celibacy in the church as a whole.
    I wonder if Catholics who are married but want to become priest could join this new Anglican wing and stay married.

  2. K Powers says:

    The Catholic Church already accepts married clergy. The Roman Rite keeps celibacy as a discipline.
    A Catholic who is married but has a real calling to the priesthood could have just joined one of the many other Catholic Rites (Maronite, for example). This move only makes it easier for Anglicans who wish to escape the downward slide of their communion to join the Holy Catholic Church.

  3. Connie Sandlin says:

    As one who always been drawn toward the Church Catholic but appreciates and treasures the musical and spiritual heritage of Anglo-Catholicism, this comes as very, very welcome news!

  4. Athelstan says:

    The Vatican and Catholics should realize that the vast majority of Anglicans will stay right where they are. Most have no desire to embrace Rome and romanism regardless of women priests or the ordination of gay men to the priesthood.

    They’ll continue using either the 1928 or 1979 liturgy; with married priests and bishops; with the freedom to think and believe what they wish free of any central authority. Comparable to the Unitarianians, but buried under a cloak of the ritual of smells and bells

  5. Michael+ says:

    It remains to be seen how many Anglo-Catholics will avail themselves to this new “Anglican Rite”, but I for one see this as a momentous development. There are many within the Episcopal Church of the United States who are deeply disturbed by its unilateral repudiation of the historic teachings of the Church. There are many who long for the visible, corproate restoration of One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    There are also many who, no matter how generous and forward looking this move by The Holy Father might be, will never be able to swim the Tiber; and may God bless them for their faithfulness and perserverence. For those who will seek to return to the See of Peter, quite possible myself included, again I pray that God will bless them and the Catholic Church.

    There is much praying to be done; and many plans and provisions must be made for the new Personal Ordinariates, but I will go to sleep tonight with a renewed sense of lightness and joy.

  6. Baptist Jon says:

    The fusion of anglican priests who are married into roman catholism will create unseen problems in the catholic church in future and this will be much seen in developing countries. For accepting married anglican to become catholic priests is tantamount to deleting away celibacy though not openly to start with. In africa this will attract women to become closer to these men to have children with them or the opposite on the pretex that, its allowed for those from anglican to do so. in the end parishes will become families for priests with their many children.I imagine a parish with four priests, if each has three kids and wife who will be taking care of these big numbers? It may not be seen as a problem now, but as a catholic i foresee certain difficulties involved in this fusion atleast socially. But anyway today we talk of globalization refering to different concepts, so lets welcome this spiritual globalization, after all one time we were all one. Hope this re-unification will bring more togetherness than divisionism. Long live Benedict.

  7. Chris Dougherty says:

    I was born, raised and am a practicing Roman Catholic. I look at the coming of some of the Anglican faith as I look at those who no longer practice their Catholic faith, but another. I sometimes feel that some people base their religious beliefs on their emotions vs. their brain, looking for am emotional “high” Our Catholic beliefs and doctrine are not always “convenient”, and shopping around for one that “fits” us is not the answer, but is reflective of a lack of conviction to follow Christ, no matter what the cost. I pray that those coming to the Roman Catholic Church have a true conviction and are not just mad at their own religious group. God is consistent.

  8. Marie Rottschaefer says:

    Athelstan, on October 20th, 2009 at 12:49 pm Said:
    The Vatican and Catholics should realize that the vast majority of Anglicans will stay right where they are. Most have no desire to embrace Rome and romanism regardless of women priests or the ordination of gay men to the priesthood.
    They’ll continue using either the 1928 or 1979 liturgy; with married priests and bishops; with the freedom to think and believe what they wish free of any central authority. Comparable to the Unitarianians, but buried under a cloak of the ritual of smells and bells

    I think that Athelstan is listing some of the many problems in Christianity as an Axial Age religion. Christianity must study its roots, where it came from, where it is, and where it is going. One of the first among many, many steps it must take is to study contemporary biblical scientific scholarship. Most of the issues on the Internet Catholic news appear to be secondary, tertiary and lesser issues. But it is not in the self-interest of the hierarchy and laity who are not interested in these intellectual issues. That I believe is the primary problem. Nevertheless, unless we get to the root of a problem, the problem is not solved. And the compounding of the problem continues to intensify. By way of an analogy global warming would be a good example, And this is exactly what is happening in Catholicism and Christianity. The tipping point, the day of reckoning, is close at hand but only those who read the facts presented by numerous experts are convinced.
    As a starter experience one could read Robert Funk and his associates’ book The Acts of Jesus. But this is just the beginning. A 2000 years’ belief system will not change in an instant. Yet contemporary knowledge will show that it must change. I think that the real face-off will be whether the Catholic Exodus continues and escalates at tipping point speed or whether in Christianity itself there will be a tipping point phenomenon wherein Christianity makes an exit and consequent entrance into a post-Axial Age faith and action experience. This consists of the mitigation of the planetary crisis, the sixth mass extinction, and embracing global, sustainable living with each other and the other living and non-living creatures. And this takes diverse education. We have already entered a giant cultural evolutionary leap for Homo sapiens. Extinction or continuing our evolutionary journey, — what is our choice?

  9. Baptist Jon says:

    Yes its possible , i mean the idea of incorporating the anglican married priests into roman catholism. Its possible because every thing changes. And we have already heard of fundamental changes which took place in past. Jesus pionered change and so to say he encouraged change for better. Changing water into wine Jesus wanted people to stay in good humuor at the party. Accepting anglicans priests into roman catholism i think its a good thing though it has its problems it carries along seen and un seen. I think those who came with this idea saw it worthy trying than to have conflicts btn the two sides. I am sure each side has seen certain elements it misses from each other, so the need to re-unite. But all this is a work of the Holy spirit who make great things happen. In todays ways of life we live by experimenting, perhaps we have been used to laboratory experiments, but in a global world everything has to be experimented to find optimum satisfaction. And now time has come for spiritual experimentaion,( spiritual globalization) why not? One Greek philosopher for many years said, “everything can not step in a river twice(running water). So even our way of living must change, If the Holy spirit can make the idea of political unification possible( Like the E.U) why not the religious(spiritual unification)? We should not fear changes,because we have the Holy Spirit, and big change in our contemporary time has been manifested to us by Mr YES WE CAN( Obama) So the fusion of the two religious beliefs slowly will be accepted though with its burdens. Am sure those who for long have wished to see married catholic priests, should not wait long from now, because there are some people from above the roman catholics who are paving the way for this. Let us wait and see what this fusion will bring. Once again lets not fear change, for whatever kind of change is good for our mental growth, because we get to see, know and discern better what we could not before change was possible.
    So dear reader lets welcome and also emblace this spiritual revolution due to happen in our life time.

  10. alain says:

    Very little of you are getting it. The Anglican clergies will be able to function as Catholic priest…not a problem because the church think long tern…very long term. The priests of Anglican descent will eventually die and then will be replaces by other catholic priests..unmarried one. For the sake of Christian unity, the church will give a special dispensation of his discipline on married clergies for 30,40 years and then will be back to the true faith and discipline in the church.

    Voila, pretty clever

Comments are closed.