This photo of the new Ordinary for the “Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham” is interesting for a couple of reasons that Rocco Palmo points out:
Two days after his ordination to the Catholic priesthood — and, with it, his papal appointment as head of the groundbreaking Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans in England and Wales — Fr Keith Newton (left) held a press briefing yesterday on the new structure, whose 14-month trajectory from Vatican plan to ecclesial reality remains fairly breathtaking by Roman standards.
Reflecting both his prior life as an Anglican bishop and his new status as the leader of an entity with the juridical status of a diocese (including financial votes in the episcopal conference), in keeping with the special provision of Anglicanorum coetibus for prelates-become-priests, the new cleric donned a pectoral cross and — in another first-of-its-kind moment (at least, this side of Canterbury… not to mention Milingo) — an episcopal ring on his right hand alongside the wedding ring on his left.
To be strictly correct, the provisions referred to are actually in the Complimentary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, rather than in the Constitution itself. The relevant paragraph is:
§4. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.
One assumes that Fr Newton has actually requested and been given this permission – although it may be his perogative “by right” rather than by “permission”, since we note that the “decree of erection” of the Ordinariate (again helpfully provided by Mr Palmo) actually states that
6. The Ordinary is a member by right of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, with deliberative vote in those cases in which this is required in law.
Again, the Complimentary Norms also state that:
§3. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be invited to participate in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of the respective territory, with the equivalent status of a retired bishop.
So as Ordinary, it appears that Fr Newton assumes an episcopal status “by right” which can be extended to the other ex-Anglican bishops also, but by “invitation” and “permission” rather than “by right”. So while sacramentally not a bishop, he legally exercises all the perogatives of a bishop. I wonder if this isn’t perhaps rather akin to the status that an abbot traditionally has. Don’t abbots also wear pectoral crosses and the ring? Is that an analogy?