“In keeping with the special provision of Anglicanorum coetibus”

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?

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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9 Responses to “In keeping with the special provision of Anglicanorum coetibus”

  1. Joshua says:

    Well explained, David.

    There are many useful discussions of this across the Web; I find the following sites particularly helpful:

    Ordinariate Portal;
    The Anglo-Catholic;
    English Catholic.

  2. Tony Bartel says:

    Avery Cardinal Dulles was not consecrated as a bishop. He requested special permission to remain a priest. He also had the right to wear a mitre and have an episcopal ring.

    I have always understood that the mitre etc are signs of jurisdiction and so may be worn by any person with jurisdiction, such as an abbess

    • Schütz says:

      Are you correct on this, Tony? He was a priest who was made a cardinal. Nothing in the rule book says that cardinals have to be bishops. They could even (conceivably) be lay people! I don’t think priests who are cardinals have the right to wear episcopal attire.

      I do agree with you that the mitre etc. are signs of jurisdication rather than sacramental office, however.

      • Joshua says:

        I think that Bl John XXIII made it a general rule that all Cardinals be bishops – exceptions continue to be made for elderly priests.

      • Tony Bartel says:

        Actually your rule book does say that cardinals have to be bishops:

        Can. 351 §1. The Roman Pontiff freely selects men to be promoted as cardinals, who have been ordained at least into the order of the presbyterate and are especially outstanding in doctrine, morals, piety, and prudence in action; those who are not yet bishops must receive episcopal consecration.

      • Tony Bartel says:

        From the Ceremonial of Bishops

        1205 All that has been said about the the vesture of bishops applies to that of cardinals, with the following exceptions:

        a. whatever is purple int he case of a bishop is red in the case of a cardinal;
        b. the red sash, skullcap, and cloak are of watered silk;
        c. the cord for the pectoral cross and the cords and tassels of the plush hat are of red interwoven with gold strands;
        d. the biretta of red watered-silk is to be worn only with choir dress, not as an everyday head covering.

        No distinctions is made between cardinals who are bishops and cardinals who are not bishops. Clearly a cardinal wears episcopal vestments as of right.

        The next section is one that would apply to the new ordinary of the Ordinariate:

        1206 Prelate who are equal in law to a diocesan bishop but have not been raised to the episcopate may wear the same vesture as bishops.

  3. Joshua says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to see in our own time the ultimate hope and goal of ecumenism – the full visible unity of all Christians – being accomplished, through the reunion of groups of Anglicans with the Holy See?

    Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity.

    Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
    All Saints of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, pray for us.
    Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us.

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