Auxiliary Bishop Peter Elliot of Melbourne, project delegate for the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith CNS photo/John Casamento, courtesy The Record

Vatican to announce new ordinariate for Anglicans in Australia

By  By Sharyn McCowen, Catholic News Service
  • May 15, 2012

SYDNEY - Australia's new personal ordinariate will be a "homecoming" for former Anglicans joining the Catholic Church later this year.

The ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St. Augustine of Canterbury, will be established June 15 by the Vatican.

Holy Cross Church in Melbourne is the first church to be designated for the ordinariate.

Auxiliary Bishop Peter Elliot of Melbourne, project delegate for the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Vatican's 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," he said. "I would invite Catholic people to reach out and welcome these men and women who are choosing unity."

Kevin Parsons, 85, and his wife, Judith, are two such people.

They belong to a small parish in suburban North Turramurra and made the decision to enter into communion with the Catholic Church after Pope Benedict's announcement of "Anglicanorum coetibus" in 2009.

Parsons said he had been dissatisfied with the "overwhelmingly evangelical" nature of the Anglican diocese of Sydney and canonical changes, including the ordination of women, in other dioceses.

"That's the sort of trigger which set off many changes in the Anglican Communion," he said. "The Anglican Communion has lost, in my opinion, much of the tradition on which it was based."

Parsons said it is a "pivotal point" that the personal ordinariate will allow former Anglicans to retain their own liturgy and traditions.

"I've been an Anglo-Catholic all my life, as far as I can remember, and it's always been in the background for myself and many of my friends that, sooner or later, Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics should have an arrangement for some sort of union."

It will be a "homecoming" and a "dawning of a new age" for Anglican Catholics, he said.

Father Warren Wade, 78, a grandfather who was ordained 50 years ago, will lead at least 10 of the 15 members of the North Turramurra community into the ordinariate after they undergo instruction. He said that some Anglicans have been "praying for unity for a long time" and "their prayers have been answered."

In the United States, Msgr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, head of the U.S.-based Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, welcomed the news of the Australian ordinariate.

"The news that the Holy Father will establish a personal ordinariate in Australia, the third in the world, is truly wonderful, as it marks another important step toward Catholic unity.

"I offer my prayers, good wishes and encouragement to all those who will become part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross," he said.

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