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Nov 08
10 Years of Communion with Catholics from an Anglican Tradition

On Friday, November 15, there will be a Votive Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica for the 10th anniversary of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

Below, Joseph DeCaria, Administrative Contact at The Catholic Parish of St. Thomas More, weighs in on its lasting impact.

1. For those who aren't familiar, what is Anglicanorum coetibus?

Anglicanorum coetibus: Providing for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans Entering into Full Communion with the Catholic Church is the full name of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's Apostolic Constitution.

Published on Nov. 4, 2009, it allowed for the creation of diocesan-like structures for Catholics of Anglican tradition to retain elements of their heritage and common identity. The pope made it possible for liturgies and sacraments from the Anglican tradition to be used by Catholics.

As the Holy See stated, this was done "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. Ten years later, is Anglicanorum coetibus still relevant?

On its 10th anniversary, Anglicanorum coetibus, is more relevant than ever because it expresses "realized ecumenism." It reveals how true unity in the Catholic Church can still permit a diversity of expression, including some elements that grew up in the Anglican world after the Reformation. This is an historic act of generosity on the part of Pope Benedict.

Since its publication, three personal ordinariates have been set up: in North America, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter; in the United Kingdom, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham; and in Australia, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

In Toronto, the ordinariate is manifest in The Catholic Parish of St. Thomas More, located in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood.

In 2015, Pope Francis approved, Divine Worship: The Missal, as an official form of the Roman Rite, alongside the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form. This missal captures the beauties of the language in the Book of Common Prayer and the English Catholicism that found its way into the Anglican prayers and collects.

Having our own missal is a sign we are definitely here to stay. 

While the ordinariate communities are often small and far-flung, they are growing and busy evangelizing not only former Anglicans, but also former evangelicals and those from other Protestant denominations. Even lapsed Catholics often find their faith revived by attending our services. 

3. What does entering into full communion with the Catholic Church mean?

Many Anglicans consider themselves catholic, but those of us in the ordinariates realize you cannot be a capital "C" Catholic without being in full communion with the Bishop of Rome: the Successor of St. Peter.

We have come to understand the necessity of the Papacy as a sign of unity for the whole Church. We have also come to understand the need for a final authority — that it's the Pope's role is to guard and defend the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles who were the eye-witnesses of Jesus Christ. We know what it is like to be in an ecclesial community where there is no final authority and every doctrinal matter is up for a vote. It's the difference between building your house on a rock or on shifting sand.

4. What is the appeal for an Anglican to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church?

The appeal for an Anglican — or for anyone — to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church is the realization that this is the visible church Christ founded, and that one's salvation depends on being part of Her. Many former Anglicans found the beautiful teachings in their tradition impelled them towards the unity that Christ prayed for before his crucifixion. In addition, Anglicans can discover in the ordinariates the tradition and practices that much of the Anglican Communion abandoned for more modern forms of worship. 

5. Is there anything else you'd like to add about this milestone anniversary?

We urge Catholics to visit us and experience the rich treasures we now share with the wider Church. We are now joyful members of the Catholic family and we welcome everyone to our services. Mass is offered every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at 263 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto.

We are so grateful for this amazing gift of Anglicanorum coetibus and the eternal security that membership in the Catholic Church brings.

For more information on the local celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Anglicanorum coetibus, please visit


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