Vatican issues updated norms for personal ordinariates

Vatican City — Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI established personal ordinariates for Catholics coming from the Anglican tradition, the Vatican has issued a slightly updated set of norms governing them.

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The updated "complementary norms" include a provision Pope Francis approved in 2013 explicitly stating that the personal ordinariates are not only for former Anglicans and their families, but also may include persons evangelized and brought into the Catholic Church through the ordinariate's ministry.

The norms, approved by Pope Francis and released April 9, were drafted and published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees the ordinariates.

Currently there are three personal ordinariates, which are church jurisdictions similar in some ways to a diocese: the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham serves Catholics with an Anglican tradition in England and Wales; the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter covers the United States and Canada; and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross serves Australia.

The ordinariates are led by an ordinary, who has the powers of a bishop, but may not necessarily be ordained a bishop. If the cleric chosen is a married former Anglican priest or bishop, he cannot be ordained a bishop in the Catholic Church. Whether or not the ordinary is a bishop, he is a member of the bishops' conference in the country of the ordinariate.

The updated norms also reflect the fact that since Pope Benedict opened the way for the establishment of ordinariates in 2009, the Holy See has approved liturgical texts for use in the ordinariate parishes.

" 'Divine Worship,' the liturgical form approved by the Holy See for use in the ordinariate, gives expression to and preserves for Catholic worship the worthy Anglican liturgical patrimony, understood as that which has nourished the Catholic faith throughout the history of the Anglican tradition and prompted aspirations toward ecclesial unity," said the updated norms.

While the liturgy and rites have been approved by the Vatican, they are approved for public celebrations only in parishes of the ordinariates, unless explicit permission is given by the pastor of another parish, it said.

The updated norms also said that when a priest of the ordinariate is not available for the celebration, any validly ordained Catholic priest may celebrate for the community using Divine Worship and that any priest may concelebrate at a Mass using Divine Worship.


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