The Ordinariate

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was set up in November 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI in response to the desires of those of the Anglican tradition who wished to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate has a number of groups, parishes and religious houses in England and Wales, and also Scotland; there are sister groups in North America and Australia. It has an "Ordinary", Monsignor Keith Newton (pictured with Pope Benedict below), who is its spiritual overseer with a role similar to that of a bishop for all its priests, deacons, laity and professed religious.

Members of the Ordinariate are fully Catholic, and have their own distinct liturgy that draws upon the riches of the Anglican liturgical tradition: we have been called "Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony". In practice, this means that many of the prayers and the diction of the Ordinariate's Eucharistic Rite, and also the hymns sung, will have a familiar sound for those who have been used to both Anglo-Catholic and Wesleyan hymns, and who have been accustomed to the Book of Common Prayer and its more modern revisions.

Thus the Ordinariate is a truly ecumenical endeavour, a place for Anglican prayer, worship and spirituality to find its home in full communion with the successor of St Peter and the Church Universal. It is the fruition of a movement within the Anglican tradition that was begun by J.H. Newman, Pusey and Keble in the early nineteenth century in Oxford towards a rediscovery of the fulness of Catholic and Apostolic belief and practice.

Membership of the Ordinariate is open to anyone who is not yet Christian, who believes on Jesus Christ and who desires to be born from above by the power of the Holy Spirit in baptism; it is also open to any Anglican or Methodist who wishes to become Catholic; and baptised Catholics who have not yet been confirmed can receive Catholic confirmation in the Ordinariate.

Here is a link to the main Ordinariate website, which gives more details about the setting up of the Ordinariate, with news and events, and links to other Ordinariate groups and parishes.

A further useful document for those interested in the Ordinariate is (click for link) Anglicanorum coetibus, the formal document of Benedict XVI's "Apostolic Constitution" by which the Ordinariate was erected.

In addition to the news and events pages on the Ordinariate website, the Ordinariate Expats blog is an excellent source of news and comment on the Ordinariate worldwide as well as in Britain.