Australian Anglican Ordinariate Update

This has been reported on other blogs, but we need to keep up with it here at SCE as well. Here is the report from the Archdiocesan website:

Australian Ordinariate: Giant Step Forward
Thursday 16 December 2010

At a recent meeting in Melbourne convened by Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott, Episcopal Delegate for the Ordinariate, and Traditional Anglican Archbishop and Primate John Hepworth, the Australian Ordinariate Implementation Committee was formed.

This ground breaking and historic initiative was unanimously agreed to by a working party including clergy of the Anglican Church of Australia and official representatives of the Traditional Anglican Communion in Australia. They resolved to work closely together to bring to fruition their shared desire to be in full communion with the Catholic Church through the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus of Pope Benedict XVI.

“I was heartened and moved by the spirit of good will and cooperation at the meeting which represented the major Anglican groups.” said Bishop Elliott. “This convergence of heart and mind opens the way for establishing an Ordinariate in Australia next year. There is every reason to be optimistic that our goal for unity will soon be achieved.”

Archbishop Hepworth said, ”The long years in which we have had conversations with the Holy See and with other Anglican groups, which the Holy Father recognized in creating Anglican Ordinariates, will now become a reality. The Australian Ordinariate will exist in a matter of months. I urge Anglican clergy and people to consider with seriousness this unique offer of the Holy Father.”

A national gathering open to interested Anglicans and Catholics will be held in St Stephen’s College, Coomera, Queensland, 1-3 February next year. Details of the gathering may be found at: and

They obviously have a lot of work to do if things are to be “ready to go” by Easter!

Terra, on her blog, draws our attention to this piece from The Australian, which claims:

Four TAC bishops, a retired Anglican bishop, a Japanese bishop, 24 priests and several thousand laypeople will join from the outset. Many of the Ordinariate’s priests will be married, and Catholics will be free to attend their masses.

It is significant that the bishops taking up the offer of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Australia are mainly from the TAC, rather than from the Anglican Church of Australia, whereas the five in England come from the Church of England. This is because existence of the TAC in Australia has meant that there has been a sort of “half-way house” already for Anglicans who feel that they could no longer remain in the larger Anglican body.

The Australian also reports that the Ordinariate will be using “500-year old liturgies”, which really peaks one’s curiosity.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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10 Responses to Australian Anglican Ordinariate Update

  1. Interesting that they make such a point of the ad orientem orientation…I face East every Sunday, more for practical reasons than theological ones, though. As you know David, many of our altars inthe LCA are still set against the eastern wall, and even the free standing altars we do have are mostly still set up for a celebration ad orientem.

    • Schütz says:

      Yes, but this hasn’t ever really been thought through. In fact, a number of Lutheran parishes did introduce free standing altars, even though they usually only went “behind” them to consecrate the eucharist. Another case of copying Rome without understanding what was going on. Not that we did, mind you…

      • Going “behind” the altar only for the consecration makes good sense from a Lutheran perspective, as we understand the sacrament to be God coming to us under bread and wine, in accordance with our Lord’s words of institution. I think, rather, it is Rome that hasn’t thought this through; hence the uncertainity over orientation which prevails now in the re-introduction of the Latin mass and now the Anglican Catholics insisting on the ad orientem orientation.

        • Schütz says:

          Well, Mark, I was there when this began happening, and believe me, there was precious little thought given to it. When the new churches were built the old fashioned gothic reredos was out. Think of Immanuel College chapel in Novar Gardens for example. (As a contrast, the church at Hampstead Gardens had an altar that was a kind of shelf attached to the east wall). So they built altars like the Catholics were building, but no body went behind them. The service continued to be celebrated completely in front of the altar. When St Mark’s in Underdale was built in the mid 1980’s, I helped place the altar “stone” (actually a huge slab of concrete) on its pedastal. But there was barely 50 cms between the altar and the back wall. You could squeeze behind it, but there wasn’t room to genuflect! In every case, unlike the Catholics, the crucifix was still placed centrally on the altar facing the people, just like the old altars. Then some pastors started going behind the altar to consecrate the elements. As you say, in the LCA there was a long tradition of facing the altar for the “sacrificial parts” and facing the people for the “sacramental” parts of the liturgy (this hard and fast division of the parts of the liturgy was itself an oddity in liturgical theology). But yes, as you say, the same logic that drove Anglicans to celebrate the sacrament on the “north side” of the altar eventually took hold in the Lutheran Church too, and pastors started going behind the altar facing the people just for the Words of Insitution. It actually looked pretty silly, as they had to squeeze between the centrally placed crucifix facing the people and the candles and the flowers. Then came the the thought that the communion ware (which in the Lutheran service was always placed on the altar from the beginning of the service, not brought up during the offertory) should be placed centrally on the altar. This was a problem in some places because there was already a whopping great bible in that spot, so there was a bit of controversy about whether the “Word” or the “Sacrament” should have central place on the altar. Nevertheless, that put the chalice etc right in front of the crucifix, which was awkward for the chap going behind the altar… Anyway, my experience in Lutheran Churches today is that they mostly still use the free standing altars as east facing altars, except in a few places like St Paul’s in Box Hill that has placed a communion table in front of the original high altar. The Cross is on the high altar, as is the communion set until the offertory when it is brought to the communion table. At St Paul’s the whole Eucharistic prayer is done from behind the communion table facing the people.

          Anyway, the upshot is there is no uniformity and no well thought out theology of liturgical orientation in the LCA. But then, your parish and your practice may be different.

          • Interesting to hear your perspective as one on the spot, David.

            Actually, John Kleinig has done a lot of work with students at Luther on liturgical orientation, but how much of it survives the first few years in the parish is another matter. I guess our lay folk need a bit of liturgical education too, especially if they are going to insist on their opinions being upheld!

            I agree, the crufix has to go if one is going to face the congregation, and also the Bible, which should be on the lectern not the missal stand anyway. The communion ware could still be set up discreetly to one side, I don’t see a problem with that.

  2. Henrietta says:

    Does anyone know if the Anglican clergy will require re-ordaining (to establish Apostolic Succession) upon entry into the Catholic Church?

    • Schütz says:

      Oh yes, absolutely. All Anglican clergy will be ordained as Catholic priests, including the bishops.

    • There won’t be a need to re-ordain Archbishop John Hepworth as he was ordained for the Roman Rite in the Archdiocese of Adelaide in 1968. Not sure which of his marriages will be considered valid and OK ni the new schema.

      • Schütz says:

        Well, he’s been keeping a fairly low profile in this, despite being a key player in the process that led up to Anglicanorum Coetibus. I think he has behaved very honourably and selflessly. We do not know though if he will himself enter into the Ordinariate, nor do we know in what capacity. As it stands, he would not be able to exercise his priesthood in the Ordinariate, precisely because he was ordained as a Catholic priest before leaving to marry. It is possible that Rome might “find a way” to redeem his situation. They did for me, but nevertheless I am a layman now, not a priest. It is a very hard thing for people in irregular marriages with a desire to enter into or return to the Catholic Church. I pray not only that Arch. Hepworth’s marriage situation may be regularised, but that God would “find a way” to open the door to all who find themselves in similar situations.

  3. William Tighe says:

    My “informed guess” is that the basis for whatever Mass rite that these groups will use will be based on the “English Missal” (also called the “Knott Missal” from its original publisher in ca. 1912):

    and not on any Prayer Book rite (even those approximating most closely in its “Prayer of Consecration” to Catholic, or rather Orthodox, norms, the Scottish Communion Office of 1764 or its Scottish revision of 1929*) or the “Book of Divine Worship” currently in use in the “Anglican Use” parishes in the United States.

    * see my articles here:

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