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In a report to the semiannual general meeting of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops last week ( for press release), Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, announced that the Vatican will canonically erect a "personal ordinariate" for former Anglicans who come into the Catholic Church. This will be the second ordinariate erected under the provisions of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus ( for text and for associated Complementary Norms), the first being the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham ( for web site) in England and Wales.

An "ordinariate" is a "particular church" equivalent to a diocese, but its "ordinary" may be a presbyter rather than a bishop. This option allows married former Anglican clergy to act in that role without receiving episcopal ordinartion, and thus without causing ecumenical difficulties with the Orthodox, who do not ordain married presbyters to the episcopate. Of course, the "ordinary" is canonically equivalent to a diocesan bishop, and thus wears the choir dress of a diocesan bishop in any case. He also has full use of pontifical insignia (mitre, crosier, pectoral cross, ring, etc.) and is ex officio, a full member of the episcopal conference, whether he receives episcopal ordination or not. The designation of "personal" means that those eligible may elect to be members of the ordinariate rather than the regular ("territorial") diocese within which they live. Like the existing "Anglican Use" parishes, the ordinariates have the faculty to celebrate the liturgy according to the Anglican form in the Book of Divine worship ( for electronic version) in addition to the Roman Rite.

There is no announcement as to who will be the first ordinary of the new ordinariate as yet, nor has there been any announcement as to arrangements for any of the existing personal parishes for the "Anglican Use" to move into the ordinariate from there current dioceses, but most of these parishes do seem to anticpate such a move. It appears that reception of parish groups (laity and clergy) coming into the ordinariate from The Episcopal Church and from various "continuing Anglican" bodies will begin in late winter or early spring of 2012.

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