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Anglican ordinariate to evangelise lapsed Catholics: The Church of England Newspaper, July 21, 2013 p 7. July 19, 2013

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Msgr Keith Newton, ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham and Pope Francis

The Anglican ordinariates have been given permission by Pope Francis to evangelize lapsed Catholics. On 31 May 2013 the pope amended Article 5 of the ordinariates governing Norms, widening its base for evangelization from ex-Anglicans to include those Catholics who had fallen away from the church before being confirmed.

The new Article 5 §2 of the ordinariate’s Norms states:

A person who has been baptised in the Catholic Church but who has not completed the Sacraments of Initiation, and subsequently returns to the faith and practice of the Church as a result of the evangelising mission of the Ordinariate, may be admitted to membership in the Ordinariate and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation or the Sacrament of the Eucharist or both.

In a statement released on its website, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham explained: “This confirms the place of the Personal Ordinariates within the mission of the wider Catholic Church, not simply as a jurisdiction for those from the Anglican tradition, but as a contributor to the urgent work of the New Evangelisation.”

Roman Catholics “may not become members of a Personal Ordinariate ‘for purely subjective motives or personal preference’”, the statement said as “enrolment into a Personal Ordinariate remains linked to an objective criterion of incomplete initiation”, when baptism, eucharist, or confirmation are lacking.

The “new evangelization” is the Roman Catholic Church’s campaign to bring the Gospel to formerly Christian nations in Europe and the Americas and includes outreach to people who were baptized as Catholics but who never completed the process of Christian initiation.

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson – the former Episcopal Bishop of the Rio Grande and ordinary of the Chair of Saint Peter, in North America welcomed the clarification from Rome. “Particularly in North America, with large percentages of ‘unchurched’ peoples, it is inevitable that we will encounter those who have no formal ecclesial relationships but who are seekers of truth,” he said.

Anglican Ordinariate secure, leaders say: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013 March 24, 2013

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Leaders of the Anglican Ordinariate urged patience and restraint in light of statements by the Bishop of Argentina that Pope Francis did not favor the creation of a home for Anglicans in the Catholic Church.

In a note released after the election of Pope Francis on 13 March 2013, the Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, said Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was, in his experience, “consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man” who had been a friend to Anglicans in Argentina.

Bishop Venables said Cardinal Bergoglio “called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans.”

He later clarified his statement noting the cardinal’s comments were more an affirmation of Anglicanism than criticism of the Ordinariate.

The report from Bishop Venables sparked controversy in the British press and speculation Francis might adopt the different tone than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. A spokesman for the English Ordinariate denied any change was in the offing telling the Telegraph the comments were Bishop Venables’ not the Pope’s.

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict last month, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Chair of St. Peter, said: “We members of the Ordinariate are in a particular way the spiritual children of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.  Throughout his years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and especially as Pope, the reconciliation of Anglicans to the Catholic Church has been one of his principal tasks.”

He noted that “when Pope Benedict issued the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in November 2009, he laid a permanent foundation for the Ordinariate, to be the means to reconcile Anglican groups to the Catholic Church and that this Anglican patrimony might be shared with the Catholic Church.  While the Ordinariate has been a special intention of Pope Benedict, it is now firmly established in the Catholic Church and will continue to serve as an instrument for Christian unity.”

Msgr. Steenson said the transition between Popes “should not greatly impact the work of the Ordinariate.  We should probably expect that the ordinations of our candidates could be delayed slightly, as the Pope must approve these petitions.”

Following the publication of Bishop Venables’ remarks Msgr. Steenson said he had received a number of inquiries from those “who are concerned about what our new Pope’s attitude may be toward the Ordinariates, occasioned by an anecdotal report from an Anglican bishop in Argentina.”

He reaffirmed the “real permanence and stability” of the Ordinariate within the Catholic Church, and added “but it is even more important to remember what it means to be Catholic, to have the full assurance that faith brings. Christ the Good Shepherd entrusted the governance of the Church to St. Peter and his successors. To be in communion with Peter brings a confidence we never knew as Anglicans. Pope Francis understands the pilgrim character of our communities and will be a wise and caring pastor to us,” Msgr. Steenson said.

Msgr. Steenson has no worries about Pope Francis: Anglican Ink, March 15, 2013 March 16, 2013

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Msgr Jeffrey Steenson, the ordinary of the Chair of St. Peter,  has urged members the of the American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate not to fret over recent news reports the new pope was not convinced of the necessity of creating a home for Anglicans in the Catholic Church.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Ordinariate liturgical commission meets in London: The Church of England Newspaper, January 27, 2013, p 3. January 28, 2013

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The liturgical commission created by the Vatican to prepare a Catholic Book of Common Prayer for the Anglican Ordinariate met in London last week.

In 2012 the Vatican created the Subcommission on the Liturgy for the Anglican Ordinariates staffed by canon law experts, liturgists, and prelates.  The commission is to submit proposals in 2014 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship on Anglican rites for the Eucharist, marriage, funerals and seasonal prayers that are in conformance to Catholic doctrine and discipline.

Shortly before the start of the 16-18 January 2013 meeting in London, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco – a member of the subcommission – told his diocesan newspaper Catholic San Francisco there was “diversity among Anglican liturgies.  We’re trying to have a more unified form. They can always use the current form of the Roman Missal, but also they’ll have a more traditional form that’s Anglican.”

Last August, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter – the American branch of the ordinariate – stated the liturgy now in use was the “Book of Divine Worship Rite I”, while “those congregations that prefer a contemporary idiom, the Roman Missal 3rd edition could be used.”

However, the Latin mass was not to be used in ordinariate congregations. Clergy who “want to learn also how to celebrate” according to the traditional Latin mass were “certainly encouraged to do so” under the “supervision of the local bishop,” Msgr. Steenson said, so as to “assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.”

The traditional Latin Mass, (the Extraordinary Form) “is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities,” he added.

Those elements of the Anglican liturgical patrimony incorporated into the liturgical life of the Ordinariate sought to balance “two historic principles — that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral,” Msgr. Steenson said.

Archbishop Cordileone said among the differences to be reconciled between the Anglican and Catholic liturgies were prayers said placement of the penitential rite before the offertory in the Anglican service and the use of “The Comfortable Words” recited by the priest or deacon to the congregation.

The archbishop added that within the Anglican Church there was a diversity of opinion over questions concerning the divinity of Christ, sexual morality and ordination.  “There weren’t Christians who, before the 1960s, didn’t believe Christ was divine, didn’t believe he rose bodily from the grave,” he said.

“It really wasn’t that much of an issue. Now that it has become, I think these more traditionally minded Anglicans lament that many of their fellow believers don’t hold to these traditional Christian beliefs and they see that the Catholic Church is. So they want to be in union with the Catholic Church because of those beliefs but they want to retain their Anglican worship and spirituality.”

Anglican Ordinariate expands to Canada: Anglican Ink, December 20, 2012 December 20, 2012

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St John the Evangelist, Calgary

The Anglican Ordinariate has expanded north into Canada.  On 7 Dec 2012 the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter and the Archdiocese of Toronto announced the Vatican had given its approval for the creation of a deanery of St John the Baptist as part of the Houston based U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson announced that he had appointed the Rev. Lee Kenyon, administrator of St. John the Evangelist Church in Calgary as the first dean for Canada.

“The territory of the Ordinariate in North America is enormous, and it will be a great blessing to be able to delegate many of the duties for shepherding these groups to Fr. Kenyon,” said Msgr. Steenson.  “He brings to this work a superb foundation within the Anglican tradition, and he brings this patrimony to the Catholic Church with a wise and generous pastoral heart.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Papal meeting for conservative Anglican leaders: Anglican Ink, December 11, 2012 December 12, 2012

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At the close of the General Audience of 28 Nov 2012, the leader of the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop Robert Duncan met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, leader of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, was to have also attended the General Audience, but was delayed. Joined by the chairman of the ACNA’s ecumenical relations commission, Bishop Ray Sutton of the Reformed Episcopal Church, Archbishop Duncan spoke with the pope.  The three later met with Vatican officials.  Details of the conversations have not been released.  Claims of the significance of the meeting or of its symbolism are also premature, one Vatican watcher said, until the substance of the conversation is known.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Ordinariate Denies Favoritism Charge: Anglican Ink, August 25, 2012 August 25, 2012

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The head of the U.S. branch of the Anglican Ordinariate, Msg. Jeffrey Steenson, has denied accusations it has given preference to former Episcopal clergy in its ordination process. However, among its first class of priests, 16 of 19 are former Episcopal clergy, with only 3 receiving their formation and orders from the continuing church.

Questions and concerns about the implementation and interpretation of Anglicanorum coetibus have met the Vatican’s initiative to create a liturgical home for Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church. In an interview with PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Dr. Ian Markham, Dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary criticized the pastoral provision for Anglicans for sheep stealing.

“There was a perception that this was poaching by the Roman Catholic Church of Anglicans around the world. It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical,” he said, adding “It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

American Ordinariate accused of being ‘insufficiently Catholic’: The Church of England Newspaper, August 12, 2012 p 5. August 16, 2012

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The American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate is insufficiently Catholic, critics charge, following the announcement the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter will not use the traditional Latin mass – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Clergy who had been permitted to use the Latin mass by their Anglican bishops tell The Church of England Newspaper they are nonplussed in being forbidden to use the traditional rite now that they are Catholic priests.

On 30 July, Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, the ordinary of the Chair of St Peter and the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, released a statement clarifying the Ordinariate’s liturgical formularies after some new converts claimed he was bullying them by forbidding the use of the Latin mass.

On 29 July 2012 the Anglo-Catholic website posted a story stating Mgr Steenson had discouraged his clergy from using the Latin mass, directing them to use only approved Anglican and Catholic English-language liturgies.

Christian Campbell stated that he had it on “unimpeachable authority that there is an ongoing crackdown on those AU/Ordinariate priests who would dare to learn or celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the part of [Mgr] Steenson” and other Ordinariate leaders.

The “affected priests are naturally frightened, and unwilling to go on record, but make no mistake, the leadership of the US Ordinariate at present has set itself against both Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus,” he stated, adding: “I also have it on good authority that this intimidation, an abuse of power, is being reported directly to the Roman Authorities. And the contention that the traditional Latin Mass has no bearing on the Anglican Patrimony — this simply has me flabbergasted.”

Other traditionalist Catholic websites picked up the story, with many commentators berating Mgr Steenson. By not allowing the traditional Latin mass the ordinary was forbidding the use of the liturgy that “shaped the Anglo-Catholic movement.”

“The Mass celebrated by [Blessed] John Henry Newman is not apt for the Anglican converts of the Ordinariate,” was how one commentator characterised Mgr Steenson’s actions.

But in a statement posted on the Ordinariate’s website, Mgr Steenson responded to his detractors saying those elements of the Anglican liturgical patrimony incorporated into the liturgical life of the Ordinariate sought to balance “two historic principles — that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral.”

The Ordinariate’s “Book of Divine Worship Rite I” was its principal liturgical resource, while “those congregations that prefer a contemporary idiom, the Roman Missal 3rd edition could be used.”

Ordinariate clergy who “want to learn also how to celebrate” according to the traditional Latin mass were “certainly encouraged to do so” under the “supervision of the local bishop,” Mgr Steenson said, so as to “assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.”

However the traditional Latin Mass, (the Extraordinary Form) “is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities,” Mgr Steenson wrote.

A spokesman for the Ordinariate told CEN that over the past seven months, Mgr Steenson “has undertaken the incredible task of building what is essentially a national diocese from the ground up, and with few resources.”

“Looking back, we can see all that has been accomplished, including a high quality application and formation programme for clergy; ordinations of more than 20 priests in two countries in just six months – with more on the way; new communities being received into the Ordinariate regularly, with the next one in Boston this August; and policies, procedures and a structure being put in place to ensure the Ordinariate has a firm foundation for a healthy future.”

However, she noted that “bloggers always will speculate, but the focus of the Ordinariate continues to be on building up this new community of faith, with a healthy presbyterate and healthy local communities.”

The American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate is one of three so far created in response to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorun coetibus. In addition to the Chair of St Peter in America and Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross was established in June for Australia.

A former Church of England clergyman who became a bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Rev Harry Entwistle was appointed as the first ordinary.

Fr Entwistle was born on 31 May 1940, at Chorley, Lancashire. After studies at St. Chad’s Theological College in the University of Durham, he was ordained a priest in 1964 for the Diocese of Blackburn.

After serving parishes in Fleetwood, Hardwick, Weedon, Aston Abbotts and Cublington, he was a chaplain in the prison service from 1974 to 1988, serving as Senior Chaplain at HM Prison Wandsworth before emigrating to Australia, where he took up the post of Senior Anglican Chaplain for the Department of Corrective Services in Western Australia. In 2006 he joined the Traditional Anglican Communion and was appointed Western Regional Bishop and Parish Priest of Maylands in Perth.

The head of the English Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton said he was pleased to learn of the appointment. “Fr Entwistle has a wealth of experience from his Anglican ministry in England and in Australia, and I look forward to working with him closely as we seek to articulate the vision of Anglicanorum coetibus,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Ordinariate denies crackdown underway against traditionalists: Anglican Ink, August 1, 2012 August 1, 2012

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The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter has dismissed claims that clergy of the newly formed home for Anglicans in the Catholic Church are being bullied by its leader, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, for using the traditional Latin mass – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

On 29 July 2012 the Anglo-Catholic website posted a story stating Msgr. Steenson had discouraged his clergy from using the Latin mass, directing them to use only approved ordinariate and Catholic English-language liturgies.

Christian Campbell stated that he had it on “unimpeachable authority that there is on ongoing crackdown on those AU/Ordinariate priests who would dare to learn or celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the part of [Msgr.] Steenson” and other ordinariate leaders.

The “affected priests are naturally frightened, and unwilling to go on record, but make no mistake, the leadership of the U.S. Ordinariate at present has set itself against both Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus,” he stated, adding I also have it on good authority that this intimidation, an abuse of power, is being reported directly to the Roman Authorities. And the contention that the traditional Latin Mass has no bearing on the Anglican Patrimony — this simply has me flabbergasted.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

First US Ordinary for ex-Anglicans installed: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2012, p 7. March 1, 2012

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Mgr Jeffrey Steenson

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The requirement of re-ordination for Anglican priests entering the Catholic priesthood is not a rejection of Anglican orders, the head of the American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate said last week during his service of installation in Houston, but an invocation of the Holy Spirit seeking to restore a divided church.

On 12 Feb 2012 Fr. Jeffrey Steenson was installed by the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl and the Archbishop of Houston, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, and ten other Roman Catholic bishops at Houston’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart as the first Ordinary of the Chair of St Peter.

The former Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande was given the title of Monsignor and will be a member of the U.S. Catholics Bishops Conference. As he is married Msgr. Steenson will remain a priest and have the authority of a bishop over the ordinariate, but not be given the title.

Cardinal Wuerl, the U.S. delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus – Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution that permits former Anglican groups and clergy to become Roman Catholic whilst retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and liturgies – read the document authorizing the appointment of Msgr. Steenson and presented him with a crozier and mitre as his symbols of office.

Approximately 100 former Anglican priests have applied to become Catholic priests through the provisions of the apostolic constitution.  The ordinariate reports that of these, 50 are in the process of priestly formation with the first ordinations expected in June.  An additional 1,400 lay people from 22 communities also are seeking to enter the ordinariate.  Since September 2011 two former Episcopal congregations in Maryland and a group in Fort Worth, Texas has been received into the Roman Catholic Church.

In his homily Msgr. Steenson, quoted St. Anselm in defence of papal supremacy. “This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might therefore be invited to unity.  Christ therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissensions among them.  But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken …”

He noted that “some will argue that the Catholic Church makes Christian unity a difficult thing to achieve.  Look at what is being asked of those who are considering the Ordinariate! – Anglicans have not only to be received but even confirmed, and their clergy ordained in the absolute form. Is this not asking them to begin all over again?”

“Certainly not,” he responded. “From Zephyrinus to Callistus to Cornelius to Stephen – these third century popes, most of whom laid down their lives as martyrs, who governed the Church at a time when it seemed as though the gates of hell really might prevail, threatening to destroy her essential unity – the Catholic Church simply asked that the bonds of charity be restored sacramentally by invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

“These are brothers and sisters, returning home,” Msgr. Steenson said.

Former Episcopal bishop to lead US Ordinariate: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012 p 7. January 12, 2012

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Jeffrey Steenson

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Fr Jeffrey Steenson – the former Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande — to lead the American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate.

On 1 January 2012 the Vatican announced that Fr Steenson had been named the Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. The American branch of the Ordinariate will be based in Houston, Texas, and is the second national jurisdiction for former Anglicans established under the provisions of Pope Benedict’s 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

“Pray that we may strive to learn the faith, laws and culture of the Catholic Church with humility and good cheer,” Fr Steenson said after the announcement was made public. “But pray too that we do not forget who we are and where we have come from, for we have been formed in the beautiful and noble Anglican tradition,” he said.

A married man with three adult children, Fr Steenson will not be ordained a bishop, but will exercise a “role similar to a bishop” the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said and would be “a voting member of the Episcopal Conference.”

The 59-year-old Fr Steenson currently teaches at the University of St. Thomas Center for Faith and Culture and at St Mary’s Seminary in Houston and is an assisting priest at St Cyril of Alexandria Parish in Houston.

Approximately 100 former Anglican and Episcopal clergymen have sought to enter the Ordinariate and to be reordained as Roman Catholic clergy. They have been joined by an estimated 1,400 people drawn from 22 congregations and communities. The US Ordinariate is the second jurisdiction established by the Vatican following Anglicanorum coetibus and follows the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham formed in January 2011 to serve England and Wales.

At the September 2007 meeting of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops, Bishop Steenson said he was compelled to resign his episcopal office after three years and leave the Episcopal Church as its innovations in doctrine and discipline would require him act “apart from scripture and tradition.”

He told his fellow bishops he was entering the Catholic Church because “I believe that the Lord now calls me in this direction. It amazes me, after all of these years, what a radical journey of faith this must necessarily be. To some it seems foolish; to others disloyal; to others an abandonment.”

Cardinal Donald W Wuerl of Washington welcomed the appointment. Fr Steenson “brings to the position of ordinary great pastoral and administrative experience, along with his gifts as a theologian,” the cardinal told the Catholic News Service.

Jeffrey Steenson to lead Anglican Ordinariate in the U.S.: Anglican Ink, January 1, 2012 January 1, 2012

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Bishop Jeffrey Steenson speaking to Bishop Jack Iker at the 2007 House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans

The Vatican has appointed the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande to head up the American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate.

On 1 Jan 2012 the Vatican announced that Fr. Jeffrey Steenson had been named the Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The American branch of the ordinariate will be based in Houston, Texas and is the second national jurisdiction for former Anglicans established under the provisions of Pope Benedict’s 2009 apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus”.

A second former Episcopal clergyman, Fr. Scott Hurd, who was received into the Catholic Church in 1996 and is presently a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, has been appointed vicar-general of the ordinariate for a three-year term, the Vatican announcement said.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

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