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No. 6475

October 1 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)

Anglicans to seek Ordinariate by end of year Anglo-Catholic clergy met to discuss their future only a few days after the Holy Father’s visit


SENIOR Anglo-Catholic bishops are likely to take up the Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate before the end of the year, it has emerged.

Sources say the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough, and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet will opt for the special canonical structure – which allows groups of Anglicans to enter full communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity – before the end of the calendar year.

Groups ofAnglicans are already forming across the country in preparation to join an Ordinariate.

In a pastoral letter Bishop Burnham wrote that Ordinariate groups would likely be small congregations of about 30 people.

The Ordinariate was considered by traditionalist Anglican clergy of the Canterbury Province, encompassing the south of England, at a Sacred Synod in Westminster last Friday, and by members in the northern Province of York who met a day earlier.

The Rt Rev John Ford, Bishop of Portsmouth, called the meetings. He invited the signatories of a 2008 open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, which expressed reservations over women bishops.

They were held only days after Pope Benedict told Catholic bishops in England, Wales and Scotland to see the offer made in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus as a “prophetic gesture”.

The synods also produced a new organisation called the Missionary Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda.

Bishop Burnham said that Anglicanorum coetibus offered “Anglo-Catholics the way to full communion with the Catholic Church for which they worked and prayed for at least a century and it is a way in which they will be united and not absorbed”.

He said that discussions were underway about how the “vision of the Apostolic Constitution” could be implemented and said the first people to take up the initiative would require vision and courage.

A service for the Feast of Title at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Reading

He quoted Pope Benedict’s speech to the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland which set the offer to Anglicans “firmly within the developing ecumenical dialogue”, adding that it was an exciting initiative for those whose vision of Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) of corporate union has shaped their thinking over recent years”.

The issue at stake, he said, was “the ministry of the Pope himself, as the successor of St Peter. Anglicans who accept that ministry, as it is presently exercised, will want to respond warmly to the Apostolic Constitution.” He said: “Those who do not accept the ministry of the Pope or would want to see that ministry in different ways will not feel able to accept Anglicanorum coetibus.”

Bishop Burnham added: “The decision to respond to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution is not dependent on the decisions of the General Synod or on any particular issue of church order.

“The initiative should be judged on its own merit. It will require courage, and vision on the part of those who accept the invitation,

particularly among the first to respond... Although there are few practical details at present in the public forum, discussions have already been taking place as to how the vision of the Apostolic Constitution can be implemented.

“It is expected that the first groups will be small congregations, energetically committed to mission and evangelism and serving the neighbourhood in which they are set.”

In the pastoral letter, the third in a series about the Ordinariate, Bishop Burnham described two reasons for taking up the offer.

Photo: Daniel Lloyd, courtesy of James Bradley

He wrote: “Joining the Ordinariate is not a matter to be considered lightly. Clergy who do so put their stipends and pensions, their homes and their security at risk.

“In some cases the response of laity will be so enthusiastic that whole congregations might be able to move together with their parish priest. In most cases, the Ordinariate groups will be churchplanting new congregations, congregations of perhaps only 30 or so people to start with, but 30 enthusiasts nonetheless.

“Such congregations of activists will probably grow rapidly, but there, of course, lies another risk. There are many clergy and laity who would love to possess the courage for this pioneering venture but they simply do not. Not everyone is at heart a risk-all pioneer. Not everyone can be: we all have real responsibilities to families to balance against the radical demand of the Gospel.”

There is some speculation that October 9, the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman, Britain’s most prominent Anglican convert to Catholicism, could be the date on which an Ordinariate will be announced. Meanwhile, the creation of the Missionary Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda has caused consternation in some AngloCatholic circles.

The Rt Rev Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley, and the Rt Rev Lindsay Urwin, former Bishop of Horsham and now administrator of the Anglican shrine at Walsingham, are among the project’s official supporters, while Bishop Burnham, Bishop Newton and the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham, are not.

The bishops involved in the society say it was created “to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West”.

A joint statement said: “The society has been named after two English saints with a passion for the unity of the church and is expected to attract thousands of members.

“It was quite clear during the gatherings that many wish to remain loyal to the comprehensive nature (within the confines) of the Church of England despite the legislation and are unlikely to join the Ordinariate at least in the foreseeable future.”

The Society’s creation has raised questions about its purpose, including whether it would serve to be a place for people who might take up the Ordinariate once it has been established, if it had been created for traditionalists who will stay in the Church of England, and if it will have any juridical powers.

Pope Benedict XVI announced Anglicanorum coetibus in November 2009 as a response to requests from Anglo-Catholics.

It offers a structure, similar to military dioceses, which is called an Ordinariate and covers a geographical area but has its own leadership and answers to the Pope.

Auxiliary BishopAlan Hopes of Westminster and Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham are in charge of the bishops’ conference commission dealing with Anglicans wanting to take up the Ordinariate.

Editorial comment: Page 13

‘I’d baptise an alien – but only if it asked,’ says Pope’s astronomer


THE POPE’S astronomer has said he would be happy to “baptise an alien” after saying the stars may be full of intelligent creatures who possess souls.

Brother Guy Consolmagno said he would be happy to bring extraterrestrials into the Church but admitted that the chances of communicating with alien life were low.

Speaking at the British

Science Festival in Birmingham, Dr Consolmagno also dismissed Creationism and said that intelligent design was “bad theology”.

Dr Consolmagno, 57, one of 12 astronomers working for the Vatican, said the Catholic Church had been supporting and funding science for centuries.

He said: “I’d be delighted if we found life elsewhere and delighted if we found intelligent life elsewhere.

“But the odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it – when you add them up it’s probably not a practical question.”

Asked if he would baptise an alien he replied: “Only if they asked.”

He added: “Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul.”

Dr Consolmagno is the curator of the Pope’s meteorite collection, a trained astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican’s observatory. Speaking about intelligent design, the idea that only God can explain gaps in Darwin’s theory of evolution, he said: “The word has been hijacked by a narrow group of Creationist fundamentalists in America to mean something it didn’t originally mean at all.

“It’s another form of the God of the gaps... It’s bad theology in that it turns God once again into the pagan god of thunder and lightning.”

Pontiff to visit the Dominican Republic

Coleen Rooney on Lourdes pilgrimage


POPE BENEDICT XVI will travel to the Dominican Republic in August next year to mark the 500th anniversary of the founding of the first diocese in the Americas, according to Bishop Antonio Camilo González of La Vega.

The announcement follows an invitation to the Pope by the President of the country, Leonel Fernandez

Reyna, when he visited Rome in May.

The diocese of La Vega was established in 1511 by Pope Julius II. It has already begun to prepare a place to accommodate Pope Benedict during his visit.

According to Bishop Gonzalez, the Pope will visit some of La Vega’s most famous spots, including the local cathedral, Santo Cerro (Holy hill), and the ruins of La Vega Vieja.

This will be Pope Benedict’s second trip to Latin America following his 2007 visit to Brazil.


COLEEN ROONEY has made a pilgrimage to Lourdes to pray for her seriously sick sister and her marriage.

The 24-year-old Catholic flew to the French holy site last Friday, telling friends she needed some “time and space”.

She has spent the last week at the hospital bedside of her younger sister Rosie McLoughlin, 12, who suffers from the incurable brain disorder Rett syndrome. Rosie has suffered a stroke and is in intensive care.

Coleen visited Lourdes in 2008 to pray for her sister.

Mrs Rooney is also battling to save her marriage to England and Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney,

who has admitted to seeing prosti-

tutes during their 18-month marriage, even when Coleen was pregnant.