Mission of the Ordinariate
The Ordinariate seeks to be genuinely open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the wise direction of the Holy See, as groups of Anglicans bring their distinctive gifts and aspirations to this new work. What constitutes the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral patrimony of Anglicanism [AC, III] is as rich and diverse as the cultures of the people who have been nourished within this noble tradition. The Ordinariate will strive to maintain this comprehensiveness, firmly grounded in the Catholic Faith, in the spirit of St. Paul’s charge to build up the Church in I Corinthians 12.
Three particular themes will emerge in the work of the Ordinariate:
1. Liturgical – The Anglican liturgical tradition emphasizes the principle of worship in the vernacular, that is, prayers offered to Almighty God in the language of the people. The Book of Common Prayer is one of the chief glories of the English language, and many elements of this tradition are already authorized for use in the Catholic Church in the Book of Divine Worship. It is hoped eventually that one liturgy will unite the Ordinariates located throughout the English-speaking world. A distinctive feature of this liturgical identity is the commitment to the sacral character of the language of prayer, one of the principles that guided the new translation of the Roman Missal.
2. Ecumenical – After the second Vatican Council, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) was established to work toward the reconciliation of churches separated at the time of the Reformation in the 16th century. This ecumenical work has borne much good fruit: of particular note is The Gift of Authority (1998), which called for the re-reception of the historic ministry of Peter in the office of the Pope within Anglican life. The founding documents of the Personal Ordinariate make clear that it is intended to be an instrument of Catholic unity, an opportunity to model what the future reconciliation of separated Christian communities could be. The ecumenical character of the Ordinariate requires that we build bridges, heal relationships, and seek forgiveness where necessary, with respect and gratitude for the Anglican institutions that nourished us, so that we might build up the body of Christ.
3. Evangelistic – Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have called the Catholic Church to renew her commitment to the evangelization of the peoples of the world. The Ordinariate will find its very life in this calling. Ordinariate congregations can only grow through the work of evangelization; the Ordinariate exists for those who are and will be coming to the fullness of the Catholic faith. Cooperating closely with the local diocese, the Ordinariate congregation will find its vitality, not only by preserving a venerable ecclesial patrimony, but by sharing it with a generous and joyful heart.