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A brief history of the Anglican Use Society

There have always been converts to the Catholic Church from Anglicanism.  Certainly the names of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, G.K. Chesterton, and Ronald Knox come to mind as famous converts.  The Anglican Communion, in spite of herself, has continued to point many individuals toward the Catholic Church.  When radical changes began to be introduced in the Anglican Church, such as the ordination of women and changes in the Prayer Book, many Anglicans felt forced to leave.  Some made their way into other churches, others formed new churches, and some stayed.  Today this disintegration of Anglicanism is more pronounced and rapid than ever, and it appears that the Anglican Communion itself may be in danger of splitting up.

In the 1970s two significant groups of Episcopalians in the United States petitioned the Holy See to let them come into the Catholic Church.  His Holiness Pope John Paul II responded with the Pastoral Provision for Anglicans and permitted Episcopalian priests, including quite a number of married men, to be ordained Catholic priests.  The Holy Fatherís Pastoral Provision, together with the Roman Catholic Bishops in the USA, also allowed Anglican Use Congregations to be formed, and personal parishes were erected in several dioceses of the United States.

The early days of exceedingly difficult work saw the birth of two Anglican Use parishes which continue to this day:  Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas with Fr. Christopher Phillips, Pastor; and Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church, Houston, Texas, with Father James T. Moore, Pastor.  Both these parishes are thriving, and have built new churches.

The fact that Anglican Use Congregations remained few in number is due to a number of factors.  It was rare that an Episcopalian congregation entered with their priest, as was the case with Fr. Allan Hawkins and St. Mary the Virgin Church in Arlington, Texas.  Fr. Richard Bradford of Boston, MA also entered the church with a number of his parishioners from All Saints, Ashmont.

On February 23, 2003 a group of people met at St. Lukeís Church in Whitestone, New York, under the leadership of Father Joseph Wilson, a Catholic priest who was a long-time devotee of the Anglican Use.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the formation of an Anglican Use Congregation in New York City.  Out of those discussions came the sense that there might be many people in various other parts of the country wishing to do the same thing, and that they needed a vehicle by which to do it.  Father Joseph Wilson celebrated Mass, and the participants signed a document forming the Anglican Use Confraternity.  Joseph Blake was elected President pro tempore. 

On June 16, 2003, Trinity Sunday, Father Richard Bradford, Chaplain for the Anglican Use in Boston, celebrated Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Manhattan.  This was the first official Anglican Use Mass in New York City.  Father Carleton Jones, OP, a former Cowley Father,  and Father Kevin Robb, OP, the Superior, were our gracious hosts.  Following Mass there was further discussion about the Anglican Use Confraternity.

On January 4, 2004 there was a Quiet Day held at St. Lukeís, Whitestone, New York, and Father Wilson celebrated the Anglican Use Mass.

By this time the original plan for the Confraternity had been vetted by canon lawyers, and it was decided to call the organization the Anglican Use Society.  Mr. Blake, as President pro tempore, was authorized to incorporate the Society as a Non Profit Corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The provisional Board of Directors included Mr. Blake, Father Wilson, David Burt, Joseph Oliveri, and Jacob Dell.  They signed the incorporating documents.

It was decided that the Board of Directors should meet quarterly at the Embertides, and that the Society should have a Retreat in the Fall and an Anglican Use Conference in the Spring.  The First Annual Meeting of the Society met on Trinity Sunday 2004 in conjunction with the second Anglican Use Mass to be celebrated at St. Vincent Ferrer Church in New York City.
In the meantime there have been eight Anglican Use Conferences and the journal Anglican Embers appeared regularly every quarter between 2004 and 2013.

With the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the subsequent establishment of the three Personal Ordinariates in the United Kingdom, North America and Australia, it was decided to extend the spectrum of the Societyís activities beyond the Pastoral Provision communities to encompass the whole Ordinariate movement. The Society was internationalised and the name changed to Anglicanorum Coetibus Society in 2015.

David Murphy
President, Anglicanorum Coetibus Society
president@anglicanuse.org


Mission Statement of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society

The mission of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is:

  • to offer independent and loyal support to the Personal Ordinariates established under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the Pastoral Provision communities
  • to foster relations between the members of the Ordinariates worldwide and encourage synergies
  • to promote and where possible to provide an environment where thinking, pondering, discussing, informing, educating, creating, writing and publishing can take place with regard to the entire span of the received Anglican patrimony - liturgical, intellectual, pastoral, spiritual, theological, literary, artistic, musical, social - which the Ordinariates are called to bring into the Catholic Church as a treasure to be shared
  • to encourage full participation of lay members of the Ordinariates
  • to embody the ecumenical spirit of the Ordinariates by reaching out to other Christians who are also custodians of the Anglican patrimony, encouraging them to participate fully in our activities and possibly to become associates.

In order to fulfil this mission, the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society will try to achieve the following specific goals:

  • The ACS will encourage and facilitate research to study and identify and suggest ways of implementing the Anglican patrimony, working together with academia.
  • The ACS will organise an annual conference (with parallel conferences/meetings in other nations or regions where possible) where theologians, historians, liturgists, etc. can share their expertise with the Ordinariates and where constructive exchange can be fostered.
  • The ACS will publish the papers presented at the conferences and other books or individual tracts.
  • The ACS will publish a quarterly journal, Shared Treasure, available online but with a limited number of print copies, for serious writing on the Anglican patrimony and other Ordinariate issues.
  • The ACS will encourage the composition or adaptation of music for the Divine Worship liturgy. Similarly artists, poets, spiritual writers will be encouraged and perhaps sponsored where possible.
  • The ACS will, where requested, support the Ordinariates in the development of the formation of Ordinariate priests in Anglican patrimony. Additionally, the ACS will take on a fund-raising role to support the formation of future Ordinariate clergy, particularly in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.
  • The ACS will invite open-minded and willing friends from the Anglican churches to cooperate in its activities, to attend and speak at conferences, to write in the journal, etc.
  • The ACS will continue and expand on its traditional communications role, informing about the Ordinariates and the remaining Pastoral Provision communities.
  • The ACS will maintain close ties with the Ordinariates, informing and consulting them on all important matters, and offering support where possible, whilst safeguarding a healthy independence.

The following concrete targets or projects will form the basis of the work of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society in the near future:

  • A conference will be planned for Summer/Autumn 2017 at a location in the USA which can be easily reached. The main topic of the conference will be the Anglican Patrimony, particularly the new Divine Worship liturgy.
  • The feasibility of organising a parallel conference or meeting in the United Kingdom and maybe Australia, which can be linked electronically to the main conference, will be examined.
  • The revision of the Anglican Use Gradual in line with the new Divine Worship Missal will be undertaken by C. David Burt as soon as possible.
  • The Ordinariate Expats news blog and the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite blog will be merged and additional authors will be sought.
  • A first edition of Shared Treasure is planned to be published in late 2016, to be edited by the previous editor of Anglican Embers or the Secretary
  • The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society website will be updated and probably redesigned.
  • An editor or editors for Shared Treasure and a new webmaster for the ACS website are currently being sought.
  • The recruitment of new members shall be one of the ACS's main priorities.

Anglicanorum Coetibus Society
June 24, 2016
(Australia: June 25th, 2016)