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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Anglican Seminarians Coming to Rome

The Vatican Oct. 31 clarified the issue of married Anglican clergy within the new structures to be set out in the forthcoming apostolic constitution.

In a lengthy statement, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi relayed an explanation of the situation given by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Cardinal Levada stated that any future married Anglican clergy wishing to come into communion under the new provision will be examined on a “case-by-case basis” and that seminarians wishing to become priests in the Catholic Church within the new structures will have to remain celibate, in keeping with current Church practice. But he said their ordinary, together with their bishops’ conference, can petition the Holy See regarding individual cases, for example in cases of married seminarians already in preparation.

“With regard to future seminarians, it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned,” he said. “For this reason, objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the personal ordinariate and the bishops’ conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See.”

The statement came in response to speculation that the Church might, under the new provision, dispense with the celibacy rule for former Anglicans and in particular for seminarians coming from the Anglican tradition.

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