Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
Ordinariatus Personalis
Dominae Nostrae Valsinghamensis in Anglia et Cambria

Coat of Arms of the Personal Ordinariate
of Our Lady of Walsingham
Country United Kingdom
Territory England and Wales
Congregations 40 [1]
Members 3,500 (2014)[2]
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite (Anglican Use)
Established 15 January 2011
Patron saint Blessed John Henry Newman
Secular priests 86[1]
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Ordinary Keith Newton

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England and Wales is a personal ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church immediately subject to the Holy See within the territory of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, of which its ordinary is a member, and encompassing Scotland also.[3] It was established on 15 January 2011 for groups of former Anglicans in England and Wales in accordance with the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of Pope Benedict XVI.[4]

The personal ordinariate is set up in such a way that "corporate reunion" of former Anglicans with the Catholic Church is possible while also preserving elements of a "distinctive Anglican patrimony".[5] The ordinariate was placed under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham and under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman, a former Anglican himself.

Church buildings

Roman Catholic church buildings throughout England, Scotland and Wales are used by the ordinariate alongside the established congregations.[6] The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Gregory in Warwick Street, Soho, London, which belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, has been designated for the ordinariate's exclusive use from Lent in 2013.[7]

The use of Church of England buildings by the ordinariate requires permission from the relevant Anglican bishop; permission has been denied in at least one case.[8]



Main article: Personal ordinariate

The apostolic constitution that allows for the institution of personal ordinariates for Anglicans who join the Roman Catholic Church was released on 9 November 2009, after being announced on 20 October 2009 by Cardinal William Levada at a press conference in Rome.[9]

Anglican responses

Some senior Church of England leaders have been reported as considering the establishment of the ordinariate to be damaging to relations between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches.

The Bishop of Lincoln, John Saxbee, said that "I can't judge the motives behind it [the offer], but the way it was done doesn't sit easily with all of the talk about working towards better relations" and that "Fence mending will need to be done to set conversations back on track."[10]

Roman Catholic clergy who were present at an ecumenical service at Westminster Cathedral for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity were reported as being "dismayed" by the sermon by Canon Giles Fraser, then Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, which included comments that the ordinariate had a "slightly predatory feel" and that "In corporate terms, [it is] a little like a takeover bid in some broader power play of church politics."[10]

Bishop Christopher Hill, the chairman of the Church of England's Council for Christian Unity, later described the erection of the ordinariate as an "insensitive act".[10]


In October 2010, the Parochial Church Council of St Peter's Church in Folkestone became the first Church of England parochial group to formally begin the process of joining the Roman Catholic Church.[11] However, St Peter's remains an Anglican church.

On 8 November 2010, three serving and two retired bishops of the Church of England announced their intention to join the Roman Catholic Church. The serving bishops were Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet, Bishop Keith Newton of Richborough, and Bishop John Broadhurst of Fulham. The retired bishops were Bishop Edwin Barnes, formerly of Richborough, and Bishop David Silk, formerly of Ballarat in Australia. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, announced that he had with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Burnham and Newton. In the following week, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales considered the proposed ordinariate and gave assurances of a warm welcome for those who wish to be part of it.[12]

On 1 January 2011, Broadhurst, Burnham and Newton, together with their wives, three former Anglican nuns of a convent at Walsingham and former members of 20 different Anglican parishes, were received into the Roman Catholic Church.[13]

The first personal ordinariate, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, within the territory of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, was established on 15 January 2011[14][15] with Keith Newton appointed as the first Ordinary.[16]

About half the St Peter's Parish, Folkestone (mentioned above), including their priest, were received into the ordinariate on 9 March 2011, along with 600 other Anglicans, largely from south-east England, with six groups from the Southwark diocese.[17][18]

The "ordinariate groups", numbering approximately 900 members, entered the ordinariate at Easter 2011, thereby becoming Roman Catholics.[19] Initially, 61 Anglican priests were expected to be received,[19] but some subsequently withdrew, remaining in the Church of England. John Hunwicke, who joined the ordinariate, had his reordination "deferred" owing to unspecified comments allegedly made by him on his Internet blog site, but was subsequently ordained to the Catholic presbyterate.[20][21] In 2012, Robert Mercer, a former bishop in both the Anglican Communion and the Traditional Anglican Communion, was received into the ordinariate and ordained on 27 March 2012 by Bishop Alan Hopes in the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Portsmouth.[22][23]

In 2013, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham became the first such ordinariate to have a married layman on his way to priesthood.[24]

In 2014, Monsignor Keith Newton, the ordinary, admitted that the ordinariate had not grown as much as was hoped. It had not yet aroused broad interest among Anglican clergy, who had not welcomed it. To revive interest among Anglican upholders of traditional Christian doctrine, the ordinariate's members, he suggested, should "communicate our message more fully and with more vigour and enthusiasm".[25]


In 2010, three nuns from the Society of Saint Margaret joined the personal ordinariate.[26] The two former SSM sisters formed the Marian Servants of the Incarnation (MSI) and hold private vows.[27] On 12 December 2012, it was announced that 11 religious sisters from the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV) intended to join the ordinariate.[28]

On 1 January 2013, the eleven sisters of the CSMV were received into the Roman Catholic Church at the Oxford Oratory of St Aloysius Gonzaga and, with a former SSM sister from Walsingham who had been one of the first members of the ordinariate, were erected as the Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary (SBVM), a new religious institute within the ordinariate following the Rule of St Benedict.

Financial difficulties

The ordinariate experienced what was described as "a tough first year". Writing in the Roman Catholic magazine The Tablet, Keith Newton said that the group was struggling financially. He expressed disappointment "that so many who said that they were heading in the same direction did not follow" and failed to join the ordinariate as expected.[29] In April 2012, Pope Benedict XVI donated $250,000 to the ordinariate to help support its clergy and work.[30]


Monsignor Keith Newton, the former Anglican Bishop of Richborough,[12] was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood and on 15 January 2011 was appointed the first ordinary.[31] As he is married, he is not permitted to receive episcopal ordination in the Roman Catholic Church. On 17 March 2011, he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the rank of protonotary apostolic (the highest rank of monsignor).[4]

Liturgical calendar

The proper liturgical calendar of the ordinariate was approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 15 February 2012.[32] In the main, it is identical with the current Roman Rite liturgical calendar of the dioceses of England and Wales, but it has retained some elements that form part of the Anglican patrimony.[33]

In the Proper of Time:

Regarding the Proper of Saints, the ordinariate observes the proper calendars of England and Wales, as well as the following saints:

Friends of the Ordinariate

Soon after the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in 2011, a group of lay Catholics founded a separate charity, called the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, to assist the work and mission of the ordinariate by providing both practical and financial support. The Friends of the Ordinariate, as it is commonly called, was also established in order to raise awareness of the ordinariate's life and mission within the wider Catholic community. The ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, is the organisation's president. The current chairman is Nicolas Ollivant. Honorary vice presidents include Lord Deben; Matthew Festing (Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta); Charles Moore; The Duke of Norfolk; The Countess of Oxford and Asquith; Katharine, Duchess of Kent and Lord Nicholas Windsor.[34]

See also


  1. 1 2 David M. Cheney. "Our Lady of Walsingham (Personal Ordinariate) [Catholic-Hierarchy]".
  2. "Our Lady of Walsingham" Personal Ordinariate,
  3. "Ordinariate welcomes first priest in Scotland". Independent Catholic News. July 28, 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
  4. 1 2 Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham: History
  5. Barr, Robert (October 17, 2010). "Church of England bishop plans Catholic conversion". Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  6. "Ordinariate Groups and Exploration Groups". The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham Ltd. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  7. "London church designated for Ordinariate use". Innovative Media, Inc. 8 January 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  8. Wynne-Jones, Jonathan (8 January 2011). "Anglicans heading to Rome told they can't stay in their churches". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  9. Richert, Scott P. "Pope Benedict to Anglicans: Come Home to Rome". Catholicism. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  10. 1 2 3 Wynne-Jones, Jonathan (23 January 2011). "Pope's offer was an 'insensitive takeover bid', say senior Anglicans". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  11. Bates, Stephen (17 October 2010). "Church of England parish sings battle hymns as it plans move to Rome". Guardian News. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  12. 1 2 "Five Anglican bishops join Catholic Church". BBC. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  13. Bergin, Claire (January 3, 2011). "Westminster: three former Anglican bishops received into Catholic Church". Independent Catholic News. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  14. Decree of Erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
  15. "London: first anniversary celebrations for Ordinariate". Independent Catholic News. January 10, 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  16. "Keith Newton Appointed the First Ordinary of the 'Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham' by Pope Benedict XVI". Catholic Communications Network. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  17. "Hundreds formally join Anglican Ordinariate". Independent Catholic News. March 9, 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  18. Frymann, Abigail (23 October 2010). "The journey begins". The tablet. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  19. 1 2 "Index of /news".
  20. Referenced at this news report.
  22. "Another Anglican Bishop Answers Pope Benedict's Call to Unity". The Anglo-Catholic. 2012-01-07.
  23. "Another Former Anglican Bishop". The Anglo-Catholic. March 27, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  24. "Married layman to become ordinariate priest". The Tablet. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  25. "Leader of Anglican ordinariate admits interest has waned" (Catholic World News, 17 April 2014)
  26. "Nuns leave Walsingham priory to join ordinariate". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  27. "Religious". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  28. "Eleven Anglican Sisters to be received into the Catholic Church". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  29. The Tablet, 7 July 2011 and 8 December 2011
  30. "Catholic News Service".
  31. "Former Anglicans could share old churches, says head of Ordinariate". Daily Telegraph. London. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  32. Latest News from the Ordinariate, 6 March 2012 and 8 March 2012
  33. Liturgical Calendar for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
  34. "About". Friends of the Ordinariate. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
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