This morning, the news was released that Pope Benedict has created a Personal Ordinariate in which Anglicans can enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, but keep their liturgy and traditions—as long as they are opposed to women’s ordination and to ordaining openly gay bishops.
Rachel Donadio of the New York Times offers an account of it here.
Austen Iverleigh’s post on the America blog is informative and contains the link to the Associated Press story.
It remains to be seen what effect this move will have on the practical, day-to-day experience of individual Anglicans who wish to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church via the Rite of Reception.
One at the Table: The Reception of Baptized Christians
Ronald Oakham, et al
Click here for details
Will their situations be handled as the reception of Orthodox Christians is? When members of an eastern Christian Church not in union with Rome enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, they automatically are enrolled in the corresponding Catholic community: Greek Orthodox become Greek Catholic, etc. It takes permission from Rome to actually allow someone to become a member of the Latin Rite Catholic Church under such circumstances.
Once this Personal Ordinariate is in operation, will the same situation obtain for Anglicans? Will anyone received into the full communion of the Catholic Church from an Anglican background have to become an Anglican Catholic of this newly created Ordinariate, and be faced with the need to petition Rome if they wish to do otherwise?
Because the Anglican Communion is descended from the Latin Rite (the Catholic Church in the West), the answer would seem to be no. But never before has this sort of entity existed (a Personal Ordinariate), in which the Anglican Church has—so to speak—it’s own household within Catholicism. So there may be some new rules coming.