Interpretation of the Pope’s Apostolic Constitituion Anglicanorum Coetibus

Alright, I have had some to read and re-read the Holy Father’s new Apostolic Constitituion Anglicanorum Coetibus. I was able to speak with Monsignor Bill Stetson today on the phone who cleared up a few ambiguities.

The Constitution is basically what everyone expected, but there are some notable features. The most juicy tidbit is that married former Anglican bishops who become Catholic priests can apply for Episcopal insignia! As Whispers in the Loggia stated today: “Orders Void, Mitres Valid!” This point will obviously draw attention.

Reaffirmed was the expectation that the ordinary could be a married priest. In canonical terms, this ordinary will be:

a. ordinary: connected by the law itself to the office entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff, for both the internal forum and external forum;

b. vicarious: exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff;

c. personal: exercised over all who belong to the Ordinariate;

The situation of married Anglican seminarians will likely be by a case by case situation and will have a calendar limit (i.e. no Anglican seminarians who enrolled passed such and such a date).

The role and purpose of the current Pastoral Provision system in the United States is currently uncertain, but it will likely be adapted to fit the Holy Father’s new vision.

Notably, those baptized as Catholics will apparently be barred from the Anglican ordinariate, but I wonder whether exceptions might be made for men who were not raised and rightly catechized in the Catholic Church.

Another interesting feature was the stipulation for multiple ordinariates in a single national conference.

The ordinary will be assisted by six priests to determine the suitability of future Anglican ordinariate priests.

The ordinary will be appointed directly by the Pope and will be a member of the national conference of bishops–again nothing surprising there. It seems also that this ordinary, whether a bishop or not will be granted the ability to “pontificate” liturgically (in lay terms: vest and preside as if a bishop).

I’m personally very excited to learn who the Holy Father will appoint to this new post in the United States. We should begin to pray for him, whomever he will be. I’m sure that the Holy Spirit is preparing him for this.

Last of all, I am still grateful to our generous Holy Father Benedict XVI. This is truly a historic moment. I encourage everyone to pray a Te Deum in gratitude to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this gracious overture of the Church – “that they all might be one.”

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