APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS
PROVIDING FOR PERSONAL ORDINARIATES FOR ANGLICANS
ENTERING INTO FULL COMMUNION
WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of
Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into
full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately. The
Apostolic See has responded favorably to such petitions. Indeed, the
successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of
the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion
of all the Churches,1
could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy
desire to realization.
The Church, a people gathered into the unity of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,2
was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as “a sacrament – a sign and
instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all
Every division among the baptized in Jesus Christ wounds that which the
Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such division
openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and
damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to every
Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the salvation
of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of his
It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which
establishes the Church as a communion.6
He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the
Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer.7
The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is
not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible;8
in fact, “the society structured with hierarchical organs and the
Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual
community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly
riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they
form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human and
The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the
breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of
the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all
of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the
College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff.10
This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the
Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic “subsists in the Catholic
Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops
in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and
of truth are found outside her visible confines. Since these are gifts
properly belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling
towards Catholic unity.”11
In the light of these ecclesiological principles, this
Apostolic Constitution provides the general normative structure for
regulating the institution and life of Personal Ordinariates for those
Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the
Catholic Church in a corporate manner. This Constitution is completed by
Complementary Norms issued by
the Apostolic See.
I. §1 Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into
full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial
boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with
that same Conference.
§2 Within the territory of a particular Conference of
Bishops, one or more Ordinariates may be erected as needed.
§3 Each Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality
by the law itself (ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a
§4 The Ordinariate is composed of lay faithful, clerics
and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
Life, originally belonging to the Anglican Communion and now in full
communion with the Catholic Church, or those who receive the Sacraments
of Initiation within the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate.
§5 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the
authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of
II. The Personal Ordinariate is governed according to
the norms of universal law and the present Apostolic Constitution and is
subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the other
Dicasteries of the Roman Curia in accordance with their competencies. It
is also governed by the Complementary Norms as well as any other
specific Norms given for each Ordinariate.
III. Without excluding liturgical celebrations according
to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy
Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other
liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the
Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to
maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the
Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift
nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure
to be shared.
IV. A Personal Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral
care of an Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff.
V. The power (potestas) of the Ordinary is:
a. ordinary: connected by the law itself to the
office entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff, for both the internal
forum and external forum;
b. vicarious: exercised in the name of the Roman
c. personal: exercised over all who belong to the
This power is to be exercised jointly with that
of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the
VI. § 1. Those who ministered as Anglican deacons,
priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon
and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments14
may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the
Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established
in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus,
and in the Statement In June16
are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of
clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.
§ 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline
of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula)
will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also
petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the
admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case
basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.
§ 3. Incardination of clerics will be regulated
according to the norms of canon law.
§ 4. Priests incardinated into an Ordinariate, who
constitute the presbyterate of the Ordinariate, are also to cultivate
bonds of unity with the presbyterate of the Diocese in which they
exercise their ministry. They should promote common pastoral and
charitable initiatives and activities, which can be the object of
agreements between the Ordinary and the local Diocesan Bishop.
§ 5. Candidates for Holy Orders in an Ordinariate should
be prepared alongside other seminarians, especially in the areas of
doctrinal and pastoral formation. In order to address the particular
needs of seminarians of the Ordinariate and formation in Anglican
patrimony, the Ordinary may also establish seminary programs or houses
of formation which would relate to existing Catholic faculties of
VII. The Ordinary, with the approval of the Holy See,
can erect new Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
Life, with the right to call their members to Holy Orders, according to
the norms of canon law. Institutes of Consecrated Life originating in
the Anglican Communion and entering into full communion with the
Catholic Church may also be placed under his jurisdiction by mutual
VIII. § 1. The Ordinary, according to the norm of law,
after having heard the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place, may
erect, with the consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the
faithful who belong to the Ordinariate.
§ 2. Pastors of the Ordinariate enjoy all the rights and
are held to all the obligations established in the Code of Canon Law
and, in cases established by the Complementary Norms, such rights and
obligations are to be exercised in mutual pastoral assistance together
with the pastors of the local Diocese where the personal parish of the
Ordinariate has been established.
IX. Both the lay faithful as well as members of
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
originally part of the Anglican Communion, who wish to enter the
Personal Ordinariate, must manifest this desire in writing.
X. § 1. The Ordinary is aided in his governance by a
Governing Council with its own statutes approved by the Ordinary and
confirmed by the Holy See.17
§ 2. The Governing Council, presided over by the
Ordinary, is composed of at least six priests. It exercises the
functions specified in the Code of Canon Law for the Presbyteral Council
and the College of Consultors, as well as those areas specified in the
§ 3. The Ordinary is to establish a Finance Council
according to the norms established by the Code of Canon Law which will
exercise the duties specified therein.18
§ 4. In order to provide for the consultation of the
faithful, a Pastoral Council is to be constituted in the Ordinariate.19
XI. Every five years the Ordinary is required to come to
Rome for an ad limina Apostolorum visit and present to the Roman
Pontiff, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in
consultation with the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for
the Evangelization of Peoples, a report on the status of the Ordinariate.
XII. For judicial cases, the competent tribunal is that
of the Diocese in which one of the parties is domiciled, unless the
Ordinariate has constituted its own tribunal, in which case the tribunal
of second instance is the one designated by the Ordinariate and approved
by the Holy See.
XIII. The Decree establishing an Ordinariate will
determine the location of the See and, if appropriate, the principal
We desire that our dispositions and norms be valid and
effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, should it be
necessary, the Apostolic Constitutions and ordinances issued by our
predecessors, or any other prescriptions, even those requiring special
mention or derogation.
Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on November 4, 2009,
the Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo.
Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium,
23; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter
Communionis notio, 12; 13.
Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 4; Decree
Unitatis redintegratio, 2.
Constitution Lumen gentium, 1.
Unitatis redintegratio, 1.
Jn 17:20-21; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2.
Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 13.
Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8; Letter
Communionis notio, 4.
Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.
10 Cf. CIC, can. 205; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen
gentium, 13; 14; 21; 22; Decree Unitatis redintegratio,
2; 3; 4; 15; 20; Decree Christus Dominus, 4; Decree Ad
11 Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.
12 Cf. John Paul II, Ap. Const. Spirituali militium
curae, 21 April 1986, I § 1.
13 Cf. CIC, cann. 1026-1032.
14 Cf. CIC, cann. 1040-1049.
15 Cf. AAS 59 (1967) 674.
16 Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
Statement of 1 April 1981, in Enchiridion Vaticanum
17 Cf. CIC, cann. 495-502.
18 Cf. CIC, cann. 492-494.