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Amendment to Apostolic Constitution Complementary Norms Emphasizes Evangelism

Amendment to Apostolic Constitution Complementary Norms Emphasizes Mission to Evangelize

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson
July 4, 2013


We recently received some very good news from Rome that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, approved on May 31, 2013, a significant modification to the Complementary Norms for Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, which establishes and guides the work of the Ordinariate.

The modification addresses a particular question of who is eligible for membership in the Ordinariate. Here is the modification in the Complementary Norms:

5§2: A person who has been baptized in the Catholic Church but who has not completed the Sacraments of Initiation, and subsequently returns to the faith and practice of the Church as a result of the evangelizing mission of the Ordinariate, may be admitted to membership in the Ordinariate and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation or the Sacrament of the Eucharist or both.

In communicating this modification, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stresses that the objective criterion of an incomplete catechesis is the baptized Catholic who lacks one or other of the Sacraments of Initiation (Confirmation, reception of the Eucharist). Catholics may not become members of the Ordinariate "for purely subjective motives or personal preference."

I certainly welcome this development, which further establishes our place in the work of the new evangelization. Our primary mission remains the reconciliation of Christian people coming from the Anglican tradition who are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Particularly in North America, with large percentages of "unchurched" peoples, it is inevitable that we will encounter those who have no formal ecclesial relationships but who are seekers of truth. The Great Commission thus becomes more and more the heart of our work.

The episcopal conferences of Canada and the U.S. have been generous and enthusiastic in their support of us in the Ordinariate, as co-workers of the Gospel. It is heartening indeed to have this formal encouragement from the Holy See.

So let us renew our efforts to commend the Gospel to all people.

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