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Anglican Ordinariate

Melbourne ordinations: historic day for Church in Australia

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 Contents - Oct 2012AD2000 October 2012 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Year of Faith and Catechism of the Catholic Church - Michael Gilchrist
Anglican Ordinariate: Melbourne ordinations: historic day for Church in Australia - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Universities: Cardinal Pell's tertiary ministry at Sydney's universities - Br Barry Coldrey
The Year of Faith and true unity of faith - Cardinal Raymond Burke
Missions: Father Raphael: dynamic Nigerian parish priest - Madonna Brosnan
History: Melbourne Catholics: Dr Mannix's impact - Patrick Morgan
The new evangelisation and the culture of life - Anne Lastman
Liturgical Music: Vatican II: Singing nourishes faith ... raises minds to God - Bishop Arthur Serratelli
G.K. Chesterton on the decay of Western Christianity - Donald Boland
Schools: Saint Mary MacKillop Colleges, Wagga Wagga: progress report - Charles Morton
Letters: Information - Robert Bom
Letters: Nuclear family - Leon Voesenek
Letters: Harm-minimisation - Arnold Jago
Letters: Financial capitalism - Peter D. Howard
Letters: Christian unity - Andrew Sholl
Letters: Real Presence - Cedric Wright
Letters: Biblical assertions - Frank Mobbs
Books: AN AMAZING LOVE, by Father Ken Barker - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: Manual of Minor Exorcisms, Prayers for those in Spiritual Affliction, Porteous - Fr Nicholas Dillon
Support: 2012 Fighting Fund Progress
Books: Order books from
Reflection: The Year of Faith and the Church's missionary role - Fr Dennis W. Byrnes

The ordination of eight men to the Catholic priesthood in Melbourne on 8 September four of whom were former Anglican priests who have joined the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross is a historic event for the Catholic Church in Australia.

The ordinations took place before over 2,000 people who packed St Patrick's Cathedral. It was the largest ordination ceremony in Melbourne since the 1980s.

The event was made more significant by the presence of Cardinal George Pell from Sydney, Archbishop Denis Hart from Melbourne, Bishop Peter Elliott (a former Anglican who was appointed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to oversee the formation of the Ordinariate in Australia), and Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett, a former Anglican priest who is Bishop of Lismore, NSW.

Over 120 priests were also present, laying their hands on the newly-ordained priests.

Papal decree

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross was established in Australia this year in direct response to Pope Benedict's historic 2009 decree, Anglicanorum Coetibus (Groups of Anglicans), which welcomed Anglican parishes or even dioceses into full communion.

The papal decree, which Pope Benedict called an "Apostolic Constitution" the highest level decree issued by a pope established the "structure for regulating the institution and life of Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner."

It authorised the Ordinariates "to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared."

Within a year of the decree, five Anglican bishops from around the world indicated that they intended to join the Catholic church.

Ordinariates have new been established in Australia, Great Britain and the United States/Canada, where Anglican churches had petitioned to be admitted into the Catholic Church.

Among those who had petitioned Rome to join the Catholic Church were member churches of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) formed in 1991 when the Anglican Church approved the ordination of women, and some members of Forward in Faith, an international organisation of traditional Anglicans who were in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In March 2010, the eight members of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America the United States branch of the TAC voted unanimously to formally ask the Holy See to be accepted as a personal ordinariate, and leaders of the Canadian branch of the TAC (the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada) decided to do the same.

The TAC member churches in the United Kingdom and Australia also petitioned for the formation of respective ordinariates.

The Anglican Ordinariates have also attracted a number of other Anglican priests and parishes.

In the United States, six Episcopalian (Anglican) priests were ordained as Catholic priests last July, and according to Virtueonline, the voice of global orthodox Anglicanism, a further 30 were expected to be ordained during the northern summer.

In England, eight Anglican priests were ordained for the Ordinariate in September alone.

The significance of the Melbourne ordinations was highlighted by Archbishop Hart who described it as "a moment of unity", and by Fr Harry Entwistle, former Bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, and now head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

Fr Entwistle, during his address in the Cathedral, explained, "In response to the request for unity with the Catholic Church by several groups of Anglicans, the Holy Father has made provision for those Anglicans with a Catholic heart who seek unity, to enter into full communion while maintaining much of the Anglican tradition and liturgy that is commensurate with Catholic belief.

"To achieve this, the Holy Father has authorised the erection of an independent diocese within the boundaries of the Catholic Bishops Conference.

"Within Australia this prophetic initiative in furthering the goal of Christian unity is known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. Anglicans and Catholics who have an Anglican background as well as Catholics with a family member who belongs to the Ordinariate can be registered as a member. Of course any Catholic is welcome to worship and receive Communion in the Ordinariate and vice versa.

"Part of the Holy Father's vision in his quest for unity is that the priests of the Ordinariate and the local diocese should work alongside each other to grow God's Kingdom and bring others to salvation.

"What greater sign of this sharing the task can there be than for priests of the Archdiocese and the Ordinariate to be ordained side by side? One Church, one priesthood, one mission, but enriching the tapestry of the Catholic Church by our bringing our own liturgy and spirituality to be shared by all.

"As Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, I wish to thank Archbishop Hart and Bishop Elliott for ordaining our candidates to the diaconate and priesthood on my behalf.

"Today is a historic moment for the Church in Melbourne, unity is a step closer, and so we rejoice. Thank you all for being here and please continue to pray for us in our mission and ministry."

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 25 No 9 (October 2012), p. 3

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