A rather waspish assessment of the fruits of Anglicanorum coetibus

From Andrew McGowan, warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, this assessment of the Apostolic Constitution coming on three years since it was first announced.  My emphases:

When the idea of an Anglican Ordinariate was announced in September 2009 in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Times of London ran the headline ‘Vatican Parks Tanks on Rowan’s Lawn’.


However the stated aim of the Ordinariates, to accommodate whole groups of Anglicans who might come together as existing communities or structures with Anglican patrimony in tow, and thus to promote unity, is a failure. In just a few cases — ostensibly including one in Melbourne — congregations have moved en bloc; generally the new parishes of the Ordinariates will be precisely that, new bodies made up of disaffected individual Anglicans from various communities, gathered afresh around re-ordained clergy.

The Anglican parishes from which they came and even the ‘Traditional Anglican Communion’ itself remain, the structures of disunity as evident as ever, with a few extra cuts and bruises to boot.

As for Anglican patrimony, embodied in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, it remains to be seen how much this really becomes part of the life of the Ordinariates. 


When Anglicanorum Coetibus was issued, one bishop in the Church of England quipped that the likely departures would have to go out and buy copies of the BCP so as to have a patrimony to take with them.


The departing clergy now have some prospect of pursuing their vocations with more support and encouragement than they will recently have felt in an Anglicanism where they were a shrinking minority.

There have been costs to them. One will be somehow reconciling the immediate past of their sacramental ministries in Anglican orders, pursued even while publicly preparing to join and accept re-ordination in a body which still does not recognise that they had ever had any orders or sacraments at all.

This is not quite Newman’s profound journey of conscience.


Yet the fact of the Ordinariates suggest that the real position of the Vatican on Christian unity is about absorption rather than convergence; the tanks, not the talks.


Kind of nasty but some truth in what he writes, no?  Your thoughts?  Go on over and read the whole thing.


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5 Responses to A rather waspish assessment of the fruits of Anglicanorum coetibus

  1. Pingback: A rather waspish assessment of the fruits of Anglicanorum coetibus | Catholic Canada

  2. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    There have been some worrying signs lately that the Anglican patrimony is to be swamped by the Novus Ordo anti-tradition in the new ordinariaties. I need not recount all the incidents. However, very good men from the TAC are now working hard in the ordinariates to steer these three little boats in the right direction. While it’s too late to correct the problem in advance, as should have been done, I, for one, am very hopeful that much of the Anglican patrimony will be preserved in the ordinariates. I am hoping that former TACers will have a positive influence in the new structures.


  3. Clive Packer says:

    One could also quip that the only consistent Anglican patrimony is arguing about what Anglican patrimony is… I think this article is actually a pretty fair assessment, but similar things were written about the fledgling Forward in Faith in 1993, and it grew into a strong and significant organization for the last 15 years. What matters more is what will be written about the Ordinariates in five and ten years from now.

    Yes, the TACers should have a significant contribution to bring, but it cannot be denied that squabbling, infighting and division is a large part of Continuing Anglicanism, and that’s patrimony Rome doesn’t want.

  4. Paul Nicholls ofs says:

    Mr. Perkins,

    I think there are also other worrying signs. I think it best not to get into these, at this moment, because some of this involves local issues with the AU parish I have been frequently attending.

    As far as Canada is concerned, hopefully, positive news will come out of Msgr. Steenson’s visit in September and his presentation at the Plenary Session of the CCCB.

    On a personal level, if such news is not forthcoming by October, I will be hard pressed to continue with this process, until something is firmly in place.

    Right now, I am finding the EF mass in a local parish is more than satisfying my traditional needs, so this is the place where I will hold out on the sidelines and, my alternative, if the AU parish I have been attending does not work out.

    Certainly if the Anglican Patrimony was swamped by Novus Ordo anti-tradition within such Ordinariates, there would be little reason for me or any other former Anglicans, who are now Roman Catholics, to join. I share many of your hopes that much of the Anglican Patrimony will be preserved. If not, then I say, “What’s the point of joining?”

  5. EPMS says:

    The last Annunciator suggested that Canadian candidates would be starting ordination training in “late August”. Is this still a possibility? Even the most sympathetic supply pastors cannot be expected to lead the effort to define “Anglican Patrimony”.

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