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Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy

Online Edition:
March 2013
Vol. XIX, No. 1

CDF Prefect Addresses First Symposium of Ordinariate in Houston

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), gave the keynote address at “The Mission of the Ordinariate,” a symposium marking the first anniversary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, established for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church in the United States and Canada. The symposium was held February 2-3 at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas; it was Archbishop Müller’s first trip to the United States since he became prefect of the CDF last year.

Three ordinariates have been established since Pope Benedict’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (Anglican groups). The others are the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (UK) and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (Australia).

Other prelates who attended the ordinariate symposium were Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman-elect of the US bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship; Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, Vatican delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States; Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, who heads the Pastoral Provision for individual Anglicans entering the Church; and Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson, ordinary of the Ordinariate of St. Peter.

Archbishop Müller focused his address, “The Call to Communion: Anglicanorum coetibus and Ecclesial Unity,” on the essence of unity/communion as the basis of establishing the ordinariates, and explained their structure within the Church. “The unity of the one and the many is a key insight of Anglicanorum coetibus,” he said:

"The unity of the Church is an image of the eternal unity of God, and according to that heavenly pattern, unity is not achieved by an elimination of distinctiveness. The unity of faith, therefore, permits a diversity of expression of that one faith. This is what is meant in the Apostolic Constitution when it says that groups of Anglicans can enter into communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. The diversity in liturgical expressions, in some governance structures and in parochial culture does not threaten ecclesial communion. The overarching structure which holds together these expressions is the faith of the Church, ever ancient and ever new, and expressed eloquently in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

A principal concern of the Ordinariates is liturgical texts. A special Vatican-appointed international working group, Anglicanae traditiones, is charged with producing common liturgical texts. Among the group’s members are Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco; Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne, Australia; Monsignor Andrew Burnham of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham; Father Michael Lang of the London Oratory; and Monsignor Steven J. Lopes of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Monsignor Lopes, in his address to the symposium, focused on the development of liturgical texts. He noted the complexity of incorporating Anglican traditions into the Catholic liturgy, given the “tremendous variety of liturgical forms in the Anglican world in general, and even within the three ordinariates.” He stressed that there must be a balance between “patrimony” (the Anglican liturgical tradition) and “primacy” (of the Catholic Church). “Particularly through its liturgical patrimony,” he said, the ordinariate “bears witness … to the great diversity of the Spirit’s gifts, demonstrating even today the vitality and variety still to be found in the Body of Christ for the good of all the members.”

The addresses by Archbishop Müller and Monsignor Lopes, and the response by Monsignor Steenson, are accessible on the website of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: usordinariate.org/ —hhhitchcock

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