Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Anniversaries: Elizabeth I and the Ordinariate

On January 15, 1559 Elizabeth Tudor was crowned and anointed Queen of England and Ireland in Westminster Abbey with a ceremony based on that developed for her half-sister Mary Tudor five years or so earlier. There are reports that she left the sanctuary area when the Bishop of Carlisle elevated the Sacred Host and that she did not receive Holy Communion. She was only 25 years old--after the succession of a boy king, too young (legally) to reign, and of a middle aged woman, perhaps too old to reign, her youth must have been very refreshing. Her subjects anticipated her marriage.

Her first Parliament would establish the Via Media of the Church of England while the Convocation of Bishops as constituted by the late Reginald Cardinal Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury, almost to the man, refused to swear the Oaths of Supremacy and Uniformity demanded by it. Elizabeth appointed Matthew Parker, who had been one of her mother's chaplains, as her Archbishop of Canterbury--she was, after all, Supreme Governor of the Church, as determined by Parliament. The bishops, priests and officials at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge who refused to take her oaths and follow his leadership would be deposed from their positions, exiled or imprisoned.

On January 15, 2011, as the History on the official site of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham reminds us,  the

Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was erected by decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the same day, and the then Fr Keith Newton was appointed by the Holy Father as its first Ordinary.

On Ash Wednesday 2011, around 900 laity and clergy of the Church of England ceased public ministry in the Anglican Communion and began a forty day period of preparation to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
In March 2011, the Holy Father elevated Fr John Broadhurst and Fr Andrew Burnham to the rank of Prelate of Honour, and Fr Keith Newton to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic.
During Holy Week 2011, almost 1000 men, women and young people were received into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
After Easter the former Anglican clergy were ordained to the diaconate and then, around Pentecost 2011, they were ordained to the sacred priesthood.
This new structure within the Catholic Church is a generous and pioneering attempt to heal the wounds of sin and division between Anglicans and Catholics. The Holy Father, speaking at St Mary’s College, Oscott, at the end of his 2010 State Visit to the United Kingdom, said the Ordinariate “should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all”.
So today is the 454th anniversary of Elizabeth I's coronation and the second anniversary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham!

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