ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS AND COMPLEMENTARY NORMS
VATICAN CITY, 9 NOV 2009 (VIS) - The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today published the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus", which provides for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, and someComplementary Norms for the same Apostolic Constitution.
Both documents are dated 4 November, feast of St. Charles Borromeo, and are signed by Cardinal William Joseph Levada and Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria S.J., respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
An English-language communique released by the congregation recalls how on 20 October, Cardina Levada "announced a new provision responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.
"The Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus' which is published today introduces a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing personal ordinariates, which will allow the above mentioned groups to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is publishing a set of Complementary Norms which will guide the implementation of this provision.
"This Apostolic Constitution opens a new avenue for the promotion of Christian unity while, at the same time, granting legitimate diversity in the expression of our common faith. It represents not an initiative on the part of the Holy See, but a generous response from the Holy Father to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups. The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church.
"The possibility envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution for some married clergy within the personal ordinariates does not signify any change in the Church's discipline of clerical celibacy. According to the Vatican Council II, priestly celibacy is a sign and a stimulus for pastoral charityand radiantly proclaims the reign of God".
The Apostolic Constitution contains thirteen sections which concern, among other things: the formation of the new ordinariates which possess, according to paragraph 3 of section 1, "public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure)" and are "juridically comparable to a diocese"; the power of the ordinary, "to be exercised jointly with that of the local diocesan bishop in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms"; candidates for Holy Orders; erection, with the approval of the Holy See, of new Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; the "ad limina" visit of the ordinary, etc.
The Complementary Norms concern the jurisdiction of the Holy See; relations with episcopal conferences and diocesan bishops; the ordinary; the faithful of the ordinariate; the clergy; former Anglican bishops; the governing council; the pastoral council, and personal parishes.
Two points strike me as important: 1.) the embrace of legitimate liturgical diversity in the Roman Rite, as opposed to neo-Tridentine uniformity; and 2.) married clergy among the new Catholics, which we can term "clerical diversity." Both points emphasize that the "Benedictine" model of this Pope does not match that of the supertraditionalists.
Here is the Vatican website link for those who like the canonical details. What struck me was how generous are the provisions in favor of former Anglican bishops who will be able to exercise jurisdictional authority if appointed as "ordinaries" even though they are not Catholic bishops. As I understand the norms, former Anglican bishops can even participate in the appropriate Catholic bishops' conferences as if they were retired Catholic bishops and may even keep the episcopal insignia they used as Anglican bishops. That is a very generous and shrewd move, given that Anglican bishops will play a crucial role in determining if their flocks will join the Catholic Church. See Article 11 of the norms and the accompanying canonical commentary.