Brandon's Notepad

April 30, 2013

Anglicanorum Coetibus

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The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus (“On Groups of Anglicans”, though coetibus also implies union or affiliation), decreed by Pope Benedict XVI on November 4, 2009, makes provisions for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with Rome.



  • This Apostolic Constitution is very short, so the purpose of this summary isn’t so much to reduce the time it takes to read it, but to provide some organizational guideposts and clarify its content, especially by rephrasing certain parts in language more commonly used by Catholics in the United States.


Introduction. Jesus Christ himself prayed for the unity of the Church. [Jn 17:20-21] All division amongst baptized Christians is against his will and against the Church’s purpose. Unity (communion) is established by the Holy Spirit, and is manifest not just invisibly, but visibly in the profession of the entire faith, the celebration of the sacraments, and the leadership of the Bishops with the Pope. Many truths are found outside the Church’s visible boundry and should rightly draw people to unityin the One Church. This document establishes the norms by which Anglicans may enter into full communion with Rome as members of Personal Ordinariates.

I. Constitution. One or more legal entities called Ordinariates (comparable to dioceses) are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the territorial boundries of a Conference of Bishops. Members include laity, clerics, and religious belonging formerly to the Anglican Communion and now to the Catholic Church, and those who receive the Sacraments of Initiation within the Ordinariate. The Catechism is the authoritative expression of faith.

II. Governance. The Ordinariate is governed by canon law, this Apostolic Constitution, other Dicasteries, the Curia, and provided Norms.

III. Faculties. Liturigal celebrations (including Sacraments) may be based on Anglican liturgical books approved by Rome, as well as on the Roman Rite.

IV. Appointment of the Ordinary. An Ordinary is appointed by the Pope as pastor of the Ordinary (comparable to a Bishop or Abbot).

V. Power of the Ordinary. The Ordinary’s power is ordinary (by the law), vicarious (in the Pope’s name), and personal (over the Ordinariate), and is exercised jointly with the local Diocesan Bishop when required by the Norms.

VI. Holy Orders. Former Anglican ministers, qualified and unimpeded, may be accepted as candidates for Holy Orders. Only celibate men may be admited to the priesthood as a rule, but the admission of married men may be approved by Rome under existing canon law. Placement of a priest or deacon under the jurisdicton of the Ordinary (incardination) is also regulated by canon law. Priests within the Ordinary should work cooperatively with local diocesan priests and under the leadership of the Ordinary and the local Bishop. Candidates are prepared along with with other seminarians, though seminary programs and houses of formation may be established to address particular needs according to Anglican patrimony.

VII. Religious Life. The Ordinary may establish with permission Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The former can originate in the Anglican Communion.

VIII. Parishes.The Ordinary may establish with permission personal parishes, the pastors of which enjoy the rights granted and are held to the obligations established in canon law.

IX. Entrance. Laity and Religious originally in the Anglican Communion must express the desire to enter the Ordinariate in writing.

X. Councils. The Ordinary is to establish a Governing Council of six or more priests, a Finance Council, and a Pastoral Council.

XI.Quinquennial Visit Ad Limina Apostolorum. As is required of docesan bishops and other prelates, the Ordinary must visit Rome every five years and present a report to the Pope on the status of the Ordinariate.

XII. Tribunals. Unless a tribunal has been constituted by the Ordinary, the tribunal of the local Diocese is competent to handle judicial cases.

XIII. See. The location of the See and the principal church (if appropriate) will be established when an Ordinariate is established.


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