Holy See Issues Decree Creating New Ordinariate

Blessed John Henry Newman Chosen as Patron

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See issued the decree of erection for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for Anglicans wishing to enter the Catholic Church.

The Vatican press office issued a statement Saturday announcing the creation of this ordinariate in England and Wales.

It stated: «In accordance with the provisions of the apostolic constitution ‘Anglicanorum coetibus’ of Pope Benedict XVI (November 4, 2009) and after careful consultation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has today erected a personal ordinariate within the territory of England and Wales for those groups of Anglican clergy and faithful who have expressed their desire to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.

«The Decree of Erection specifies that the ordinariate will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and will be placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.»

Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, publicized a message Saturday in which he affirmed that the establishment of this ordinariate «marks a unique and historic moment in the life of the Catholic community in this country.»

He added, «It is my fervent hope that, by enabling what the Holy Father calls ‘a mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies,’ the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will bring great blessings not only on those directly involved in it, but upon the whole Church.»

The Vatican communiqué affirmed that this structure «seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be fully integrated into the Catholic Church.»


The first clergy of this ordinariate, who were formerly Anglican bishops, were ordained to the Catholic priesthood on Saturday: Father Andrew Burnham, Father Keith Newton, and Father John Broadhurst.

Benedict XVI nominated Father Newton as the first ordinary to head this new community.

Cardinal Levada explained that these three clergy «will oversee the catechetical preparation of the first groups of Anglicans in England and Wales who will be received into the Catholic Church together with their pastors at Easter.»

They will also «accompany the clergy preparing for ordination to the Catholic priesthood around Pentecost.»

The Vatican communiqué noted that «the provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church.»

It explained: «The initiative leading to the publication of the apostolic constitution and the erection of this personal ordinariate came from a number of different groups of Anglicans who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church.

«For them, the time has now come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.»

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Holy See statement: http://zenit.org/article-31468?l=english

Cardinal Levada’s message: http://zenit.org/article-31469?l=english

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