New ordinariate in AustraliaFriday, May 18th, 2012
The new ordinariate in Australia for former Anglicans joining the Catholic Church will be established on June 15.
The ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury, will have the status of a diocese. “I am confident that those former Anglicans who have made a journey in faith that has led them to the Catholic Church will find a ready welcome,” said Archbishop Denis Hart (pictured) of Melbourne, and president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The ordinariate is intended for Anglicans and former Anglicans who wish to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining some of their customs and liturgical traditions. The Australian bishops have put in place procedures to help Anglican clergy and laity join the Catholic Church through the ordinariate, the bishops said on May 11.
Bishop Peter Elliott, project delegate for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said there has been a, “beautiful response,” from Catholics welcoming these new members to the Church.
“The journey hasn’t been easy for them,” he said. “We must not be triumphalist about it; we must respect the sensibilities of other Anglicans who do not choose to make this step.”
The ordinariate for England and Wales launched in 2011, while the U.S. ordinariate is being launched this year (2012). In England and Wales, there are at least 40 ordinariate groups with 60 priests, and several former Anglican bishops.
Under the Anglican ordinariate that Pope Benedict established in his 2009 apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus," Anglican groups such as parishes can join the Catholic Church yet keep their clergy, liturgy and some church structures.
There are almost 4 million members in the Anglican Church of Australia and over 12 million Christians in total in the country. The Anglican Church arrived in Australia in 1788 with the 'First Fleet', which was made up primarily of convicts and military personnel.
by Ann Marie Foley