Monday, February 07, 2011

Ordinariate Watch: Former ACA Bishop Campese to Head Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family

Having resigned from his office as Ordinary of the Diocese of the Eastern United States of the Anglican Church in America, Bishop Louis Campese is now to serve as Ordinary of a new transitional structure, under the umbrella of the existing Patrimony of the Primate, designed to facilitate the movement of faithful clerics and groups from the deeply divided diocese into the anticipated personal ordinariate to be erected in the United States of America under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The new jurisdiction is called the "Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family," and, in a recent interview, Bishop Campese, stressed its temporary nature. The Pro-Diocese will have only a lightweight administration, designed solely to accomplish the mission of Christian Unity to which the bishops of the ACA committed themselves over three years ago.

Bishop Campese has appointed a Council of Advice (a purely consultative, non-canonical body) to assist him….

To read more, click here.

The creation of such a structure may prove very misleading to clergy and congregations seeking to enter the Roman Catholic Church, leading them to confuse this structure with any Personal Ordinariate that may be erected in the United States. The Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family even though two Anglican Use Roman Catholics serve on former ACA Bishop Louis Campese’s Council of Advice does not to my knowledge have the official sanction of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and has been organized by Campese and others for their own purposes. It is further evidence of the split in the ACA over Anglicanorum coetibus (Groups of Anglicans).

Continuing Anglican congregations and clergy need to bear in mind that the smaller congregations cannot upon conversion to Roman Catholicism expect to be granted quasi-parish status in any U.S. Personal Ordinariate that is erected. Rather these congregation will be disbanded and their members expected to attend the personal parish, if any, erected to serve a particular area or one of the regular Roman Catholic parishes in that area. Older clergy and those without seminary training cannot upon conversion to Roman Catholicism expect to be reordained to Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church. They will in all likelihood be laicized.

If a congregation chooses to dispose of any property before entering any Personal Ordinariate that may be established, the congregation will need to establish and implement the necessary safeguards to ensure that proceeds from the sale of such property is used for the purposes that it determines and does not fall into the hands of unscrupulous individuals, clergy or lay, who would use such monies for their own benefit. There is a very real possibility that such individuals may prey upon unsuspecting congregations during this time. This may include individuals that the congregation has until this point been able to trust. The temptation to profit from the particular situation of a congregation may prove too strong to resist. Aging congregations will in particular need to be on their guard. The elderly are often the target of unscrupulous individuals, including such individuals who may be close to them.

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