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Friday 24 August 2012

Reluctant Anglicans (3) - Facts

Following is some useful information and factual references posted by commentators on various blogs in response to the questions from "Reluctant Anglicans" re. the Ordinariates:


In a partial answer regarding the Economics issues, the CSP pubished a statement on its website regarding property ownership and how it works. It can be found here: http://www.usordinariate.org/parishproperty.html. This is a very useful resource to anyone who has questions regarding parishes and their entry into the Ordinariate, and specifically addresses many of these concerns.


The expression “synod” comes from the Greek for “meeting” and in the Catholic Church it is broadly synoymous with “council” And there is a whole long list of important synods in the history of the Church perhaps begining with those held at Antioch and Carthage from around 250 AD and certainly including the Synod of Whitby in 664AD. The institution survives and works in the Catholic Church and in Orthodoxy. So far as the Catholic Church is concerned, there can be diocesan synods, and also meetings of national episcopal conferences all of which are provided for by canon law. At diocesan level the functions of the synod are advisory. The authority is that of the bishop.
But various non-Catholic Churches have adopted with word “synod” to denote their own meetings and the confusion arises because in scuh bodies, the expression has different meanings. In the CofE, the supreme legislatative authority is vested in Parliament – Church law is what parliament says it is. But the authority has been delegated to “general synod” – a kind of mini-parliament with three houses, bishops, clergy and laity. and it is that form of governance which has proved a disaster.
The ordinary of an ordinariate is a voting member of the national episcopal conference. The Ordinary has identical powers over those subject to his jurisdiction as diocesans have to those subject to their jurisdictions. The Governing Council and Finance Council of the Ordinariates function in the say way as the equivalent diocesan institutions and the same provisions of canon law apply.
The single difference is that when it comes to the choice of an ordinary, the compilation of the “terna” of names to be submitted to the Pope is not undertaken by the Apostolic Nuncio but to a deliberative vote of the Governing Council. Hardly revolutionary. That’s broadly similar to what happens for Eastern Rite Churches too.
Canon law is quite precise.
See Canon 331 “The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.
See also Canon 372:
Ҥ1. As a rule, a portion of the people of God which constitutes a diocese or other particular church is limited to a definite territory so that it includes all the faithful living in the territory.
§2. Nevertheless, where in the judgment of the supreme authority of the Church it seems advantageous after the conferences of bishops concerned have been heard, particular churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or some other similar reason can be erected in the same territory.”
And as with Apostolic Administrators – the Ordinary is provided with the full powers of a Bishop which he exercises by delegation. The only difference is that when an Ordinary is not in episcopal orders, he cannot ordain priests – he issues dimmisoral letters to a bishop, just as one bishop often does to another. One may expect that in the fullness of time, there will be Ordinaries in episcopal orders.

The excerpt below is from canons 211 to 214 of the Code of Canon Law (CoCL) which provide for a lay voice at the diocesan or ordinariate level in all Latin Rite Catholic churches. 

This council is mandated and gives a voice on a wide range of pastoral matters in the diocese while leaving matters of doctrine and jurisdiction to the bishop and the Magisterium.  

Unlike Anglican synods which have taken unto themselves the role of redefining doctrine, the Ordinariates will follow the guidelines set out in the CoCL. 



Canon 511 
In every diocese and to the extent that pastoral circumstances suggest it, a pastoral council is to be constituted which under the authority of the bishop investigates, considers, and proposes practical conclusions about those things which pertain to pastoral works in the diocese.

Canon 512 
§1. A pastoral council consists of members of the Christian faithful who are in full communion with the Catholic Church—clerics, members of institutes of consecrated life, and especially laity—who are designated in a manner determined by the diocesan bishop.
§2. The Christian faithful who are designated to a pastoral council are to be selected in such a way that they truly reflect the entire portion of the people of God which constitutes the diocese, with consideration given to the different areas of the diocese, social conditions and professions, and the role which they have in the apostolate whether individually or joined with others.
§3. No one except members of the Christian faithful outstanding in firm faith, good morals, and prudence is to be designated to a pastoral council.

Canon 513 
§1. A pastoral council is constituted for a period of time according to the prescripts of the statutes which are issued by the bishop.
§2. When the see is vacant, a pastoral council ceases.

Canon 514 
§1. A pastoral council possesses only a consultative vote. It belongs to the diocesan bishop alone to convoke it according to the needs of the apostolate and to preside over it; it also belongs to him alone to make public what has been done in the council.
§2. The pastoral council is to be convoked at least once a year.

The specific provision in Anglicanorum Coetibus for lay invlovement in the councils of ordinariates is as follows with my comments in red. 


§ 1. The Ordinary is aided in his governance by a Governing Council with its own statutes approved by the Ordinary and confirmed by the Holy See.[17]

§ 2. The Governing Council, presided over by the Ordinary, is composed of at least six priests. It exercises the functions specified in the Code of Canon Law for the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors, as well as those areas specified in the Complementary Norms. 

Does the provision for "at least six priests" leave the door open for lay consultants on the Governing Council as well? Likely the ordinary would want to have a canon lawyer who would at least attend some meetings of the Council in some capacity - many of these are laymen.

§ 3. The Ordinary is to establish a Finance Council according to the norms established by the Code of Canon Law which will exercise the duties specified therein.[18]

Again, lay members are important if not essential for transparent administration of finances. It is also important that the Ordinary and the clergy be at arms length from finances to put them beyond any question with regard to these matters which are often scrutinized very carefully these days. See the article in the latest edition of the  ECONOMIST magazine which is highly critical of the Catholic Church's financial dealings.

§ 4. In order to provide for the consultation of the faithful, a Pastoral Council is to be constituted in the Ordinariate.[The Code of Canon Law - see above] 

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