Allentown Catholic Diocese anticipates new structure to welcome Anglicans
Karen Brynildsen offers a pithy bit of advice that makes everyone in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church meeting room smile knowingly:
"Sing the whole hymn!"
That's how Episcopalians, members of the worldwide Anglican communion, approach their Sunday singing. None of that half-hearted Catholic business where you lop off the last couple of verses to speed things along. Where's the reverence in that?
Perhaps Brynildsen's presence in the Roman Catholic Church — she will join it at Easter — will spark a revolution in hymnody, but that's getting ahead of the story.
Right now, the Allentown woman would be gratified enough to know whether she will continue to be able to worship according to her familiar and beloved Anglican rite once her conversion is complete.
Brynildsen, her husband, Martin, and a half-dozen other area Episcopalians are among thousands worldwide entering or planning to enter the Roman Catholic Church in expectation that the Vatican will establish an Anglican "ordinariate" in the United States. The canonical structure would allow them to retain their reverent, hymn-rich liturgy and other sacred traditions after conversion.
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"Monsignor Francis Nave, pastor of Sacred Heart, likened it to the existing system for Byzantine Rite Catholics in the Diocese of Allentown, who are led by their own bishop rather than by the Latin Rite bishop, the Rev. John O. Barres."
The Vatican has been very clear that the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglo-Catholics will not be like the existing system for Byzantine Rite Catholics who have their own rite. The Personal Ordinariates will be Roman rite. They will not have their own seperate rite.
The Personal Ordinariates are to be led by an Ordinary who will not be a bishop but a priest.
"Some in the Anglican tradition would likely not make the move if it required giving up their liturgy. It is not vastly different from the Roman rite, but the prayers are lengthier and language richly Elizabethan."
Even the theology of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is different from the Roman rite. The Vatican has also been very clear that any liturgy that will be used in the Personal Ordinariates must be vetted and approved by the Holy See. Vatican spokesmen have repeatedly emphasized that the Personal Parishes erected under the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus may use and are encouraged to use the new Roman liturgy scheduled for implementation later this year.