The distinctive identity of those becoming Catholics via the Ordinariate can be found in the liturgy of the Church of England, according to an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
Mgr Steven Lopes said the congregation had reflected on the definition of “Anglican patrimony”, the term used in Pope Benedict XVI’s document setting up the personal ordinariates which allowed Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining elements of their identity.
In an interview with The Portal, the British ordinariate’s magazine, Mgr Lopes said the CDF had come up with a definition of Anglican liturgical patrimony as that which “nourished the Catholic faith, within the Anglican tradition during the time of ecclesiastical separation, and has given rise to this new desire for full communion.”
He said this included Anglican prayer books such as the Book of Common Prayer although it cannot be placed in a particular period.
Mgr Lopes admitted, however, it was ironic that many Anglo-Catholics who have joined the ordinariate did not use Anglican prayer books as Anglicans but the Roman rite.
“We have many people in the ordinariate who are unfamiliar with some of that wider tradition, the depth of tradition, in Prayer Book forms and Anglican Missal forms of worship. In a certain sense it’s an irony because here’s this wonderful liturgical patrimony and we have ordinariate communities saying ‘wait a minute, that’s actually quite new’, ” he said.
One of the interviewers, a member of the ordinariate, responded to Mgr Lopes’ remarks on the liturgy, and said: “as a Catholic I’ve become more Anglican.”
In October the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham launched a new Mass text which includes words from the Book of Common Prayer. That book was overseen by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer.
Mgr Lopes added that if an ordinariate community simply uses the Roman Rite it becomes “indistinguishable.”