Benedict XVI - Apostolic Constitution
H.H. Benedict XVI
Providing for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans
Entering into Full Communion with the Catholic Church
November 4, 2009
In recent times
the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly
and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion
individually as well as corporately. The Apostolic See has responded
favorably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter,
mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate
and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the
could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this
holy desire to realization.
The Church, a
people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy
was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as “a sacrament – a sign
and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among
Every division among the baptized in Jesus Christ wounds that which
the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such
division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the
world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to
Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the
salvation of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the
unity of his disciples.
It is the Holy
Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a
He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of
the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer.
The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word,
is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible;
in fact, “the society structured with hierarchical organs and the
Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual
community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly
riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary,
they form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human
The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in
the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the
bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the
celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of
the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the
Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy,
catholic and apostolic “subsists in the Catholic Church, which is
governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion
with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth
are found outside her visible confines. Since these are gifts
properly belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces
impelling towards Catholic unity.”
In the light of these
ecclesiological principles, this Apostolic Constitution provides the
general normative structure for regulating the institution and life
of Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to
enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate
manner. This Constitution is completed by Complementary Norms issued
by the Apostolic See.
I. §1 Personal
Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the
Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a
particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same
§2 Within the
territory of a particular Conference of Bishops, one or more
Ordinariates may be erected as needed.
Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality by the law itself
(ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a diocese.
§4 The Ordinariate is
composed of lay faithful, clerics and members of Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally
belonging to the Anglican Communion and now in full communion with
the Catholic Church, or those who receive the Sacraments of
Initiation within the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate.
Catechism of the Catholic Church
is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by
members of the Ordinariate.
Personal Ordinariate is governed according to the norms of universal
law and the present Apostolic Constitution and is subject to the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
and the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia in accordance with
their competencies. It is also governed by the Complementary Norms
as well as any other specific Norms given for each Ordinariate.
excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the
Ordinariate has 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.
IV. IV. A Personal
Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral care of an Ordinary
appointed by the Roman Pontiff.
V. V. The power (potestas)
of the Ordinary is:
connected by the law itself to the office entrusted to him by
the Roman Pontiff, for both the internal forum and external
exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff;
exercised over all who belong to the Ordinariate;
This power is to
be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in
those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms.
VI. § 1. Those
who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who
fulfill the requisites established by canon law
and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments
may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the
Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms
established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis
coelibatus, n. 42
and in the Statement In June
are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of
clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.
§ 2. The Ordinary, in
full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin
Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men
to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff,
as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men
to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to
objective criteria approved by the Holy See.
§ 3. Incardination of
clerics will be regulated according to the norms of canon law.
§ 4. Priests
incardinated into an Ordinariate, who constitute the presbyterate of
the Ordinariate, are also to cultivate bonds of unity with the
presbyterate of the Diocese in which they exercise their ministry.
They should promote common pastoral and charitable initiatives and
activities, which can be the object of agreements between the
Ordinary and the local Diocesan Bishop.
§ 5. Candidates for
Holy Orders in an Ordinariate should be prepared alongside other
seminarians, especially in the areas of doctrinal and pastoral
formation. In order to address the particular needs of seminarians
of the Ordinariate and formation in Anglican patrimony, the Ordinary
may also establish seminary programs or houses of formation which
would relate to existing Catholic faculties of theology.
VII. The Ordinary,
with the approval of the Holy See, can erect new Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, with the right to
call their members to Holy Orders, according to the norms of canon
law. Institutes of Consecrated Life originating in the Anglican
Communion and entering into full communion with the Catholic Church
may also be placed under his jurisdiction by mutual consent.
VIII. § 1. The
Ordinary, according to the norm of law, after having heard the
opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place, may erect, with the
consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the faithful who
belong to the Ordinariate.
§ 2. Pastors of the
Ordinariate enjoy all the rights and are held to all the obligations
established in the Code of Canon Law and, in cases established by
the Complementary Norms, such rights and obligations are to be
exercised in mutual pastoral assistance together with the pastors of
the local Diocese where the personal parish of the Ordinariate has
IX. Both the lay
faithful as well as members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life, originally part of the Anglican
Communion, who wish to enter the Personal Ordinariate, must manifest
this desire in writing.
X. § 1. The
Ordinary is aided in his governance by a Governing Council with its
own statutes approved by the Ordinary and confirmed by the Holy See.
§ 2. The Governing
Council, presided over by the Ordinary, is composed of at least six
priests. It exercises the functions specified in the Code of Canon
Law for the Presbyteral Council and the College of Consultors, as
well as those areas specified in the Complementary Norms.
§ 3. The
Ordinary is to establish a Finance Council according to the norms
established by the Code of Canon Law which will exercise the duties
§ 4. In order
to provide for the consultation of the faithful, a Pastoral Council
is to be constituted in the Ordinariate.
XI. Every five years
the Ordinary is required to come to Rome for an ad limina
Apostolorum visit and present to the Roman Pontiff, through the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in consultation with
the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the
Evangelization of Peoples, a report on the status of the Ordinariate.
XII. For judicial
cases, the competent tribunal is that of the Diocese in which one of
the parties is domiciled, unless the Ordinariate has constituted its
own tribunal, in which case the tribunal of second instance is the
one designated by the Ordinariate and approved by the Holy See.
XIII. The Decree
establishing an Ordinariate will determine the location of the See
and, if appropriate, the principal church.
We desire that our
dispositions and norms be valid and effective now and in the future,
notwithstanding, should it be necessary, the Apostolic Constitutions
and ordinances issued by our predecessors, or any other
prescriptions, even those requiring special mention or derogation.
Given in Rome, at
St. Peter’s, on November 4, 2009, the Memorial of St. Charles
John Paul II, Ap. Const. Spirituali militium curae,
21 April 1986, I § 1.
AAS 59 (1967) 674.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Statement of
1 April 1981, in Enchiridion Vaticanum 7, 1213.
Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and