The President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart, has announced that Pope Benedict XVI intends to establish a Personal Ordinariate for Former Anglicans in Australia, commencing on 15 June 2012.
A Personal Ordinariate is a church structure for particular groups of people who wish to enter into communion with the Catholic Church. In 2009 Pope Benedict announced special arrangements to cater for groups of Anglicans who wished to join the Catholic Church. This provision allows them to maintain some of the traditions of prayer and worship of Anglicanism.
Personal Ordinariates have already been established in the United Kingdom (2011) and the United States of America (2012).
The Australian Bishops have already put in place procedures to enable clergy and lay church members to join the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate.
Archbishop Hart hopes that there will be a warm welcome to those wishing to enter the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate.
“I am confident that those former Anglicans who have made a journey in faith that has led them to the Catholic Church will find a ready welcome”, he said.
This new community will have the status of a diocese and will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury.
Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, said: "This is great news for the Church in Australia, and for those from the Anglican tradition who are seeking to fulfil the goal of full visible unity with the Apostolic See, whilst maintaining essential elements of our Anglican tradition".
"A close bond already exists between the Ordinariate here in the UK and our brothers and sisters of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. It is my hope that similarly strong ties can be established with our Australian counterparts, especially as we look forward to the publication of a common liturgical use".
Archbishop Hart said: "I hope that those former Anglicans who have made a journey in faith that has led them to the Catholic Church will find a ready welcome".
Source: Ordinariate/Australian Bishops Conference