Holy See Concurs on Anglicans and Celibacy

Says Seminarian Cases Will Be Addressed Separately

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is affirming that there is no disagreement between Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials on the question of celibacy and Anglican pastors who want to become Catholic.


 
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, issued a clarification Saturday addressing recent speculation on the delay of the announced apostolic constitution allowing for personal ordinariates for Anglicans wishing to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church

Quoting Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the statement denies that the delay of the constitution's publication is due to differing positions within the Holy See.
 
The note revealed that the constitution is expected to be completed by the end of the first week of November, along with a list of guidelines that will be followed in receiving these Anglican communities into the Church.
 
"The delay is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references," said Cardinal Levada in the clarification.
 
A press article, and the consequent interpretations throughout the online media, falsely stated on Oct. 29 that the Pope's document had not yet been published due to conflicting positions on whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy implicated in this provision.
 
The Vatican statement clarified this issue: "With regard to future seminarians, it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned.

"For this reason, objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See."
 
In regard to Anglican pastors who decide to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, the clarification confirms what Cardinal Levada already announced in an Oct. 20 press conference, that former Anglican married ministers may be admitted to the priestly ministry in the Catholic Church, but that each case will be evaluated according to certain criteria approved by the Holy See.
 
Therefore, on joining the Catholic Church, these Anglican pastors, bishops and priests, if approved on an individual basis, will be able to be ordained priests while continuing to maintain their marital life.

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On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text of clarification: http://www.zenit.org/article-27402?l=english