Ordinariate to Be Established Down Under by Easter

Bishops Working With Vatican to Establish Structure

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SYDNEY, Australia, NOV. 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A personal ordinariate for former Anglicans as outlined in the apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus" could be established in Australia by Easter, says a representative of the country's bishops.



Bishop Peter Elliott, an auxiliary bishop of Melbourne and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference's delegate for assisting lay Anglicans join the Church, told the Catholic Weekly of Sydney that the bishops hope to follow a "similar timeline" to that of the bishops of England and Wales, but that they might need a few more months.

The apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus," published a year ago, offered a way for groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church through the establishment of personal ordinariates, a new type of canonical structure.

The constitution outlines that these communities will be able to retain some elements of their liturgical and spiritual traditions while being unified under the Pope.

The bishops of England and Wales announced earlier this month that an ordinariate would be established there as early as January, and five Anglican bishops have announced their intention to join it when the ordinariate is ready. The ordinariate in England and Wales would be the first one to be established.

In Australia, Bishop Elliot said the bishops are working with the Vatican, and that by Easter or Pentecost they hope to have specific churches designated for the ordinariate, as well as former Anglican clergy "who have been privately reconciled and ordained to the priesthood ready to welcome their fellow former Anglicans."

The bishop said that they are following very closely the developments in England and Wales, and that in Australia, at least, the ordinariate will be very small. Once the structure is established, however, he believes it "will attract a much larger number of people."

"You can’t expect people to join something they can’t see," he added, "but next year that will be very different."