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  • A Missal for the Ordinariates: The Work of the Anglicanae Traditiones Interdicasterial Commission
  • Steven J. Lopes (bio)

The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, published by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, made ample provision for the incorporation of Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony into Catholic worship.1 The Constitution notes that, while the new Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church may always celebrate the sacred liturgy according to the Roman Rite, Article III also grants these communities the faculty:

to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.2

The implementation of this provision was entrusted to an interdicasterial commission named Anglicanae Traditiones, formed [End Page 116] expressly for this purpose and comprising representatives from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and various other experts. The work of this commission has proceeded slowly but steadily and has resulted in the approval and promulgation of liturgical texts for the Ordinariates, which are reflective of Anglican liturgical patrimony. In March 2014, the liturgical vision of Anglicanorum Coetibus found its first realization in the publication of Divine Worship: Occasional Services, a single volume that contains the approved rites for Baptism, Marriage, and Funerals.3 In May 2015, Divine Worship: The Missal received ecclesiastical approbation and it is anticipated that the Missal will be available to the parishes and parochial communities of the Ordinariates in time for the First Sunday of Advent 2015.

This article will offer some insight into the work of the Anglicanae Traditiones Interdicasterial Commission and the deliberations and decisions that inform this historic contribution to the Church’s worship. The account will not enter into explicit detail regarding specific liturgical texts or ceremonial, but rather explain the principles and presuppositions that guided the work of the commission and support the understanding that the liturgical celebrations of the Ordinariate are an indispensable part of its mission. Ultimately, the inclusion of this noble patrimony in Catholic worship is meant not only to nourish the Ordinariate communities themselves, but is always “a treasure to be shared” to the extent that the liturgy itself fuels the missionary and evangelical impulse of the Ordinariate for the great good of gathering together the one flock of Christ.

Divine Worship

When the statutes of the Anglicanae Traditiones Commission were drawn up in 2011, its specific task was defined as “preparing liturgical books reflecting the Anglican tradition for the Personal Ordinariates according to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.”4 The issue of nomenclature arose [End Page 117] almost immediately: what should one call this provision? The question did not occur in a vacuum. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith first considered the question of Anglican patrimony and Catholic worship in 1978 while examining a request for corporate reunion from the Anglican Diocese of Amritsar in India. Although the Congregation authorized the use of several Anglican liturgical forms for those converting clergy and faithful, in practice that authorization never actualized in Amritsar. In 2003, the Book of Divine Worship was approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship, thereby making available some patrimonial elements for the nine parishes of the Pastoral Provision in the United States. Though the book itself offers no such designation, it nevertheless became quite commonplace to refer to an “Anglican use” liturgy celebrated at these Pastoral Provision parishes.5

Taking up the question again after the establishment of the Ordinariates, the Holy See expressly desired to avoid the designations “Anglican use” or “Anglo-Catholic,” the former being an ambiguous term for Catholic worship and the latter having its own proper meaning and context within Anglicanism. A joint decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship therefore specified that Divine Worship would be the...


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pp. 116-131
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