About the Ordinariate

What is the Ordinariate?
A Vision of Christian Unity from the See of St Peter

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in the United Kingdom on 15 January 2011 to allow groups of Anglican laity and their clergy, as well as religious, to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst retaining elements of their Anglican heritage which are in keeping with the Catholic faith…

The ordinariates came into being as the result of the promulgation in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI of the Apostolic Constitution called Anglicanorum coetibus.

This was Pope Benedict’s response to requests from Anglicans who longed for corporate unity with the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In effect, the ordinariates are personal, non-territorial structures, similar to dioceses, whose members have come from the Anglican Communion or who come to the Catholic faith through the Ordinariate…

Anglican Patrimony

The Ordinariate is organised in groups around the country, each led by a priest of the Ordinariate, who will often also serve the wider Church as a chaplain in a hospital, prison, or a school, or as a parish priest or assistant parish priest…

Members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are fully integrated into the life of the Catholic Church, but they retain some of the distinctive elements of their rich Anglican heritage and traditions. These traditions, which have helped bring their Christian faith to maturity, are often referred to as “Anglican Patrimony”. They include their spiritual inheritance, prayers, hymnody and strong choral tradition. Ordinariate clergy also have a particular way of engaging pastorally with wider society, which is born out of their pastoral experience of Anglican parishes where the clergy tend to minister to the entire local area rather than just those who belong to the parish.

The liturgy

As well as being permitted to use the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite, priests of the ordinariates may celebrate Mass and other services using certain texts which draw on elements from the Anglican tradition and have been specifically approved for use by the ordinariates by the Holy See. The name chosen by the Holy See for the entire liturgical provision for the ordinariates is Divine Worship.

In 2013, approval was given for what is informally referred to as the “Ordinariate Use”, a form of the Mass which integrates into the Roman Rite elements from the Book of Common Prayer and other centuries’ old words, hallowed by the prayers of generations of Anglicans.

Other services approved for use include the traditional Anglican celebrations of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer (Evensong) and Marriage and Funeral rites similar to those well known because of their use at televised royal occasions…

Only those elements of the Anglican tradition which are compatible with the Catholic faith are authorised for use by the ordinariates; other Anglican elements may be revised to bring them into conformity.

Source: What is the Ordinariate? CTS Essentials. ISBN 978 1 78469 043 3
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