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Anglican Ordinariate Begins: Reception into Full Communion at Westminster Cathedral

By Deacon Keith Fournier
1/5/2011
Catholic Online

First Anglicans enter Full Communion through the Anglican Ordinariate

"The current Successor assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ"s followers. This is his ambition, this is his compelling duty."When the history of the Third Millennium is recounted the actions of this Pope of Christian unity will be told with deep respect and honor. He is fulfilling that compelling duty with a Shepherds heart and a prophet"s mandate.


LONDON, UK (Catholic Online) - Church History was made in London, England on January 1, 2011. It was no accident that it occurred on the Feast of the Mother of God in the Roman Liturgical calendar - when the Church paused to commemorate the humble Virgin whose obedient "Yes" brought heaven to earth and earth to heaven. In Westminster Cathedral, a prophetic sign of the coming full communion of the Church took place.

Without any fanfare the former Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, former Anglican Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst and former Anglican Bishop of Richborough, Keith Newton, all dressed in suits and ties, were called forward during Holy Mass. Along with them were several members of their families and three Anglican sisters from the Anglican community at Walsingham.

As Baptized Christians already, they made the profession of the Ancient Creed adding "I believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." They were then confirmed and returned to their seats to what one observer called "gentle applause". When the time came to receive Holy Communion, they came forward, now as Christians in full communion with the Catholic Church, to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Accounts indicate that the simplicity of the reception caught the Press off guard. They probably expected a lot more fanfare. It was "Marian" for a reason. Humility forms the path toward the healing of the divisions in the Body of Christ. Those who came forward did so with humility. They gave their own "Yes" to the invitation of the Lord who continues His redemptive mission through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity. Do not underestimate the significance of what occurred. We will mark January 1, 2011, the Feast of the Mother of God, as the beginning of the healing of a division in the Body of Christ. It was no accident that the seed of the healing began in the land of John Henry Cardinal Newman. He prayed for this day. It is also no accident that the Pope of Christian unity raised him to the altars just months ago. It was a prophetic act.

I have followed the movement of Anglican Clergy and lay faithful toward the safe harbor in the Bark of Peter and written extensively about it. I have grieved along with many Anglicans as their Christian community was torn asunder by the rejection of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

The Anglican Community is fractured and falling apart. Some Anglican Christians reached out to the successor of Peter for assistance. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Pope Benedict XVI offered a juridical structure which provides a place within the full communion of the Catholic Church where they can maintain their Anglican Ethos and become a part of a new missionary age in a restored and resurgent Catholic Church.

In a book entitled "Salt of the Earth" published toward the end of the Second Millennium, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was interviewed by Peter Seewald. In the context of a question concerning the Venerable John Paul II"s vision for Christian unity, he noted that "the first Christian millennium was the millennium of Christian unity - there were schisms, as we know, but there was still the unity of East and West; the second millennium was the millennium of great divisions; and that now, precisely at the end (of the second millennium) we could rediscover a new unity."

It is no accident that Cardinal Ratzinger succeeded his friend Pope John Paul II to the Chair of Peter. He has now become an historic figure in Christian history by helping to fulfill this vision.In his first homily as Pope he said, "Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel stimulated to tend towards that full unity for which Christ hoped in the Cenacle. Peter"s Successor knows that he must take on this supreme desire of the Divine Master in a particularly special way.

"To him, indeed, has been entrusted the duty of strengthening his brethren. Thus, in full awareness and at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome that Peter bathed with his blood, the current Successor assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ"s followers. This is his ambition, this is his compelling duty."

When the history of the Third Millennium is recounted the actions of this Pope of Christian unity will be told with deep respect and honor. He is fulfilling that compelling duty with a Shepherds heart. He is also acting with a prophetic mandate.

Andrew Burnham, John Broadhurst and Keith Newton will be ordained to the Diaconate on Thursday 13th January. Then, two days later, Saturday, January 15, 2010 they will be ordained to the Holy Priesthood. They will be set aside to serve a beautiful expression of legitimate diversity within the Unity of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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