What is the Anglican Ordinariate? (Guest: Fr. David Palmer)

Crisis Point

Interview Transcript

Fr. David Palmer, a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, joins Crisis Point to discuss the Personal Ordinariate, also known as the Anglican Ordinariate. What is the history of this group, and what is its purpose in the Church today? How does its Mass compare to the Novus Ordo Mass and the traditional Latin Mass? Find out in this episode of Crisis Point!

Links:

• Fr. David Palmer on Twitter
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (U.K)
Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (United States, Canada)
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (Australia, Japan)
The Anglican Use: A Better Novus Ordo? (Crisis Article)
An Anglican Use Success Story (Crisis Article)

Watch on Odysee:

Watch on YouTube:

Transcript:

Eric Sammons:

What is the personal ordinariate, otherwise known as the Anglican ordinariate? What is its history and what is its place in the church today? That’s what we’re going to talk about on today’s Crisis point.

Hello, I’m Eric Sammons, your host, and the editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, I just want to encourage people to subscribe to our channel wherever you may listen to it or watch it. Like this video, like the podcast, give us a good review, whatever the case may be, that really helps other people to find out about it. Also, I just want to ask people to consider donating the Crisis magazine. You can just go to www.crisismagazine.com/donate. We’re completely donor supported, so anything you can do to help, is appreciated. Of course, we appreciate even more, your prayers for our postulate.

Well, I’m excited about today’s podcast. I’ll just be blunt, this one, I’ve been looking forward to for a little while. We’re going to be talking about, like I said, the personal ordinariate. I think some people know it as the Anglican ordinary. The Anglican use. We’re going to talk about all these different terms as well, and what they all mean. Our guest today is Father David Palmer. He’s a priest of the personal ordinariate of our lady of Walsingham serving in the diocese of Nottingham, parish of St. Mary’s with St Paul’s and chaplain, to the university students at Nottingham. Welcome to the program, Father.

Fr. David Palmer:

Thank you for having me.

Eric Sammons:

Tell us a little bit about your background. Are you a convert to Catholicism? Are you a married priest? All these different things, I know can be… Are possibilities. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about how you came to be a priest to the personal ordinariate of our lady of Walsingham.

Fr. David Palmer:

Okay, yes. Well, I’m indeed a convert to Catholicism. So I was a church of England vicar, and then I married with kids, although the kids are… The youngest is 19 now, so they’re not really kids anymore. And then about 16 years ago, I became a Catholic, so that was before the ordinariate had actually started. But I came to that position, where I just knew, this is what I needed to do and that this was the truth. So then when I became a Catholic, I spent the first sort of five… Well, I did an MA in Catholic theology, to try and upgrade my Anglican teaching, as it were. And then I spent sort of five years, five and a bit years, working as a lay Catholic chaplain in a prison in the UK. And then when I was working in the prison, I had a phone call from an Anglican vicar, who was going to come through this ordinariate process, and said, “I think… Would you be interested?” And so it kind of went from there, really.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. So what year then, were you ordained into the Catholic priesthood?

Fr. David Palmer:

So I was ordained 2011.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. And that was directly into the personal ordinariate, at that time?

Fr. David Palmer:

Into the personal ordinariate. Yes.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. So why don’t we then take a step back then, and tell us, what is the personal ordinariate? What are we talking about when we talk about the personal ordinariate? It sounds like a vague, kind of… It sounds like an odd term, to be honest, I think for most Catholics. So what exactly is it?

Fr. David Palmer:

Okay. Well, the actual phrase itself, is personal ordinariate. Which what it means, is that it’s not… You think of the military ordinariate, for example. And so it’s not geographically based. So, a diocese, you have a geographic diocese with the diocese Bishop. So an ordinariate, you are connected to your ordinary personally, rather than geographically. Okay? So the personal ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and the other ordinariates as well, there’s Chair of St. Peter and the Southern Cross, I think it’s called, America and Australia as well. So basically, Pope Benedict had been petitioned by groups even before him, but groups of Anglicans have been positioning at Rome, saying that we would like to become Catholic, but we’d like to do it in a way that we can come as a group with our people as well.

And maybe even keep some of this, sort of what they call Patrimony, which we can go into a bit more later, of the Anglican Patrimony. And so Pope Benedict very generously issued an apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus I think that was 2011. That was when it was officially directed, as it were, to allow that to happen. So the groups of Anglicans could petition the Holy See, as a group, and be received into the Catholic church as a group. Now, I actually… The original hope, I think, was that kind of whole parishes with their schools, would kind of come across. And to an extent, that happened more in America. But there’s more of an issue in England, because the churches don’t belong to the parish in the church of England. So if groups leave, they lose their buildings. So not as much of that happens, I think, was initially hoped. And I would even go as far as saying, the ordinariates almost changed, what I think its purpose is. But that was the initial idea.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Okay. So now, just to make sure we’re clear. So personal ordinariate itself, the term, technically, that could be applied in other situations in future as well, right? It’s not nothing Anglican about the idea of a personal ordinariate, it’s just like, this is the canonical structure. And that’s different than… I know there’s… You mentioned the military ordinariate. So if you are a member of the military… If you’re a priest, I should say, of the military ordinary, that means you answer to the ordinariate. Just for people who don’t know, ordinariate is the canonical term, usually just for Bishop.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

The ordinariate of a diocese is the Bishop of the diocese. So that’s where the term ordinariate comes from, I assume. And so that’s case. And that’s different also then, from a personal prelature, like Opus Dei. And I don’t know exactly how it’s different, I just know it is different from a personal prelature, because that’s what Opus Dei is. And I think Opus Dei, the idea is, they’re still part of their normal parish, their diocese parish. They’re not part of some separate structure, so they still kind of answer to their Bishop, in a sense.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

But then you have these priests as this personal prelature, the Opus Dei priest, right? Does that sound right?

Fr. David Palmer:

That’s right. Yes. That’s right.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. Perfect. And then the personal ordinariate, the one we’re talking about, there’s three, I guess, ordinariates, within the overall structure, right? There’s the one that’s for the UK. There’s one for America. And that’s the one you’re in, which is our lady of Walsingham.

Fr. David Palmer:

That’s the UK one. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

And then chair of St. Peter, is the one for United States and Canada.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

And then I forgot… The Holy Cross, I think.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. It’s the Holy Cross, or the Southern Cross or something like that.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And that’s the one in Australia, and maybe other areas over there as well. Okay, so we have that defined then. Now, you mentioned that… So that’s the history. And I remember when this happened. It was funny, I was just starting… This is a stupid aside, but I was just starting my personal blog. And that was the first thing I ever blog about, was Pope Benedict. And so I think it was 2010, 2011, something like that, setting this up. So the idea was, that you have these… Parishes would come over completely. Just go from being Anglican, to being Catholic, but now they’re part of the personal ordinariate. But you say that didn’t really happen in the UK at least, and for some obviously legal reasons, it sounds like.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

And the mission has kind of changed. How would you say then, the mission has changed, from maybe what the original vision of Pope Benedict and some of the first people who were involved in it. How has that changed?

Fr. David Palmer:

Okay. Well, there were a couple of groups that came across, that were big enough to carry on becoming a live community, as it were. But in most cases, it was more sort of individual priests, individual A people, who kind of came across. And I would say, I think where the shift has gone… Well, what do we mean by Patrimony? And I have to say, when I first joined the ordinariate and became a priest, and I was using the same liturgy that every other Catholic priest used, and you sort of think, well, why am I in this? Then I ended up working in a diocese and parish. Why am I in this ordinariate thing? And for a while, I was kind of considering possibly joining the diocese. But then the missal was released.

And now, we have the ordinariate divine office book as well. And also, all of confirmation and baptism and stuff. But when the missal was released, I kind of thought, actually, this is brilliant. I’m beginning to understand what they mean by Patrimony. This is a liturgy that I love, and the office book’s just increased that as well. So I think what it’s almost become now, is almost like… Well, so I have an ordinariate Mass on Sunday evening at my parish. And most of the people that come to that, aren’t members of the ordinariate. A good number of them are students, actually. And they come because there’s something about the liturgy that resonates with them. And I think when we talk about Patrimony, I think the way I understand this, is that in England, a lot of… This is just for obviously historical reasons, but because of the reformation, a lot of the kind of Catholics in England, came to the Irish and the Polish, and various waves of Catholics from other countries.

And with them, they brought all their devotions, their way of being Catholic, I suppose. And barring kind of the reticence, if you like, most English people always had this sense that, to become a Catholic is somehow to become something a bit foreign, if that makes sense. A bit alien to the English culture. And so what the ordinariate does, is very much focus on that kind of Catholic… English Catholic tradition. So we have focuses on, they’re called English saints, the no sort of traditions. The liturgy of the ordinariate, the Mass has a lot taken from the old Sarum Rite Which was the kind of English missal, before reformation and everything.

So it’s kind of reconnecting to the roots, kind of the Catholic roots of this land. And so some of the kind of… We kind of have great celebrations of Our Lady of Walsingham. John Henry Newman is our patron, of course, who was also a convert from Anglicanism, to the Catholic church. A lot of the old English saints that people have forgotten about, are very much celebrated within the ordinariate. So I think what it’s done, is given a way to be Catholic, but still feel authentically English, if that makes sense.

Eric Sammons:

Yes, definitely. Definitely. Personally, I have a great love of the English Catholic tradition. I’ve read, I mean, so much of the history. I’m reading a book right now, about the English Catholic Saints. I can’t remember the name of it. The English way of life or something. It’s about Catholic saints from England, and it’s beautiful.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Now, I want to talk more about the liturgy in a minute.

But first, I just want to make sure. We published in Crisis a few weeks ago a couple of articles about the personal ordinariate, and when I used the term Anglican Use in the title I gave it… The author didn’t, necessarily. And I had a priest of the personal ordinariate contact me and say, “That’s not really the term.” And so, I felt bad that we had used the wrong term. So I want to know, because there’s personal use… A lot of people use the term Anglican ordinariate, and I’ve seen Anglican use, but Anglican use seems to be something different. Could you explain those different terms, so we call things by the right terms?

Fr. David Palmer:

Okay. So the Anglican use, and this was specifically, I think an American thing. So before the ordinariate, there were various… There had been occasions where Anglicans had come over, sort of en masse, so to speak. And they were given sort of permission for an Anglican use, which was much more like the kind of old Anglican service, but was kind of Catholic. But the divine worship missal, which is what we call it now, has sort of superseded that. So though, in some senses… I mean, there are, I guess elements that are similar, it’s a different missal, if that makes.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

And then in terms of the Anglican ordinariate, that’s helpful, in terms of, I suppose, giving some idea of where it comes from. But of course, a lot of us would say, well, we’re not the Anglican ordinariate, because we’re not Anglicans anymore.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. You’re Catholic. You’re not Anglican.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And actually, Pope Francis has actually broadened. So you used to have to be a former Anglican to join, although you’d go to Mass, if you weren’t, obviously. The Mass is valid and everything. But now, if you’re baptized as a Catholic, as a child, but complete your initiation through the ordinariate, you can join the ordinariate. So I mean, and if you marry… If you’re a Catholic and you marry someone with an Anglican background, you can join through being married. So I know an example of a family member, actually, who’s Irish. Irish, Catholic, born and bred. But he’s joined the ordinariate, because he married someone that was an ex Anglican. And now their child has been baptized in the ordinariate. So as it kind of goes on, it-

Eric Sammons:

And when you say join the ordinariate, you mean be an actual official member of a parish that’s an ordinary parish, correct?

Fr. David Palmer:

Well, not even that. You can join without… So by joining the ordinariate, you come under the ordinary…

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Of the ordinariate. So you could still go to a local parish church and not go to an ordinariate church, but still be a member of the ordinariate.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. The layperson, your ordinary, the person that you would kind of answer as a layperson, would be the ordinariate ordinary, whoever that might be.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

So if you were to get married, for example, the records would go to the ordinariate rather than the diocese. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Now I know… I also thought I heard something about, you didn’t necessarily have to be a convert from Anglicanism. For example, I converted… I was a Methodist and I converted to Catholicism, came into church. So would a Methodist convert, for example, be eligible? Because of course, we are from… Methodists broke away from the Anglican church.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. I think there are… Yeah. There is generosity. Let’s put it that way. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. Okay. Because I think I read that, where Methodist and maybe even Lutherans or something. I mean, I’m not sure why Lutherans, but something. It probably sounds just like, we’re not going to be real sticklers for who can join, type of thing. Now, so we talked a bit about the liturgy and the patrimony. Most of the people, I would assume, who are watching this, listening to it, either attend the Novus Ordo or the traditional Latin Mass. So explain to us, or maybe even… And I know some… We’ve had somebody on, who talked about the Eastern Catholic liturgies, and so some might also attend the Eastern Catholic liturgies. So explain where the ordinariate Mass, I think… I assume that’s the name for it, fits into that spectrum of, you have the Novus Ordo, the traditional Latin Mass, and the Eastern Catholic liturgies. Where does it fit?

Fr. David Palmer:

Okay. So I think the first thing I would say is, I think… This is my personal opinion, that the ordinariate Mass, is probably the Mass that the council – Vatican II – envisioned, rather than the one we got, if that makes sense. So to put it… I mean, what it’s most like… And I know some of my ordinariate reverend would not like me saying this, but I think this is the easiest way to explain it. It’s most like… The best way of describing it, is it’s like the Latin Mass, in Tudor English. Okay? So that’s the kind of… So it tends to be ad orientem, there’s prayers at the foot of the altar, silent offertory prayers, double genuflections. All those things are written into the ordinariate, right? The calendar, although we keep the saints and everything of the Novus Ordo days, but we also have seasons. So we have pre-Lenten, all that sort of stuff as well. So if you are a cradle Catholic, you go to an ordinariate Mass, what you will probably think, is this is like the old Mass, but in Tudor English.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Okay.

Eric Sammons:

Now, mentioned the calendar. So for example, do you have Septuagesima season?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, so you have that. But for example, the changes, how saints removed. For example, this week, when we’re recording it, St. John Chrysostom, on the new calendar, I think it’s September 13th. And on the old calendar, it’s January 27th. Would the ordinariate… Which one would they do, of that?

Fr. David Palmer:

No, we do the September date. The new calendar is the calendar that we have to use for saints and things.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

And the readings would be the same, as the new lectionary, although we don’t use the same… Well, I think America’s a bit different. But in England, the translation we use in the ordinariate, is the revised standard version, which the rest of the church in England, doesn’t use. They use the Jerusalem, I think, or something.

Eric Sammons:

So do you have, in the new Mass, a first reading Psalm, second reading, and then gospel?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yes, although the Psalm can be optional, because we also have the thingy. What are they called? Gradual.

Eric Sammons:

Oh, right. Okay. You do have a gradual. Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Which is in the missal.

Eric Sammons:

Now, what do you do on a day like Septuagesima Sunday, for example, which would be the fifth, let’s say Sunday, of ordinary time, but it’s Septuagesima Sunday. How would you do readings on that day? How would that work, because that seems to be… You wouldn’t want the readings for the fifth Sunday of ordinary time.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. No, I’m afraid that’s what they have given us. So basically, it’s the same, but wearing purple.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Rather than green.

Eric Sammons:

And I guess you don’t… And you wouldn’t say the hallelujah, I assume.

Fr. David Palmer:

Won’t say hallelujah, no. No.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

No, no.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. So it’s got a little bit of both, but it sounds like it’s much more leaning towards the traditional Latin Mass, as far as the liturgy itself.

Fr. David Palmer:

Even with the last gospel at the end as well. I mean, yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

So the whole structure… The structure would be very, very, very recognizable to anybody that goes to the Latin Mass. And to be honest, a lot of the students that come to my Mass on Sunday evening, once a month, is a Latin Mass they go to. The other three Sunday, it’s not there, so they come to me. So I think they see it as a kind of halfway, gateway drug, maybe.

Eric Sammons:

Gateway drug. Yeah, right. Exactly. That’s right. Now, explain also… And I think I have this right, but I want to make sure everyone else understands it. So the Eastern Catholics, they have a different right. And I know there’s a big controversy right now, we’ll talk about this in a little bit. In the Roman right, there’s two. There’s the form, the ordinary… What was called the ordinary form, and the extraordinary form, which Francis seems to be getting rid of, but let’s not go down that path. But just, is the ordinariate then a right, or a form of the Roman right?

Fr. David Palmer:

It’s a form… Well, I think the official term is, it’s a use of the Roman right.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

It’s not a separate right. But that does raise… Not wanting to go too far down the line you just went there, but it does raise the issue. When the document came out, saying that there can… That the Novus Ordo, if you like, is the only form of the Roman right. You think, well, that’s not true. So we have the ordinariate use, we have the Dominican right. So actually, I don’t understand how they can use that. My concern, as an ordinariate priest… I know this is me being selfish, but they could use the same arguments to try and suppress the extraordinary form, with the ordinariate use, as far as I can see.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

I hope they won’t.

Eric Sammons:

I thought that too, when I ran those articles a few weeks ago at Crisis, and I saw that it was actually a form. Somebody explained to me, it’s a separate form.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Or use of the Roman right. I’m like, well, hold on a second. They’re saying that the Novus Ordo is a unique expression, with the implication it should be the only one. So what happens to the ordinariate? Let’s not give them any ideas.

Fr. David Palmer:

I don’t think they thought through it, so looks like they don’t. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Right, right. And like you said, the Dominican right. There’s a parish in my town that used to celebrate… Is Dominican parish, used to celebrate the Dominican right. But it’s all part of the Roman, kind of Western tradition. We’re not really like the East as much, and the East has separate true rights separation. Whereas, we seem to have one kind of general right, that has lots of different uses and forms and things like that. Now, what is the role? Is there a role for the book of common prayer, in the liturgy of the ordinariate?

Fr. David Palmer:

Well, this is our new book, which is our divine office book. So somebody said, it’s like the book of common prayer, with bells on. So you have the basic morning and evening prayer in here, that’s largely… So, the Psalms are the same translation as the book of common prayer. Most of the collects are the same, because largely, Cranmer just translated the collects from the Sarum Rite right anyway. But it has the additions of sort of [inaudible 00:22:29] and stuff. It has seasonal hymns. It has all the collects for other times that wouldn’t have been in the book of common prayer.

But it does have the tradition of the extensive scripture reading as well. And so an ordinariate priest is bound to say morning prayer and evening prayer, or evening song, alone, because morning prayer is basically office of readings and matins combined. And evensong, basically evening prayer and compline combined. So they’re both quite chunky offices. But the idea was, that you’d start your day, you’d say your morning prayers, and then get on with your work. And then in the evenings, say your evening prayers. But this does also have prime and none and a separate compline as well, if you want to, but that’s not considered to be canonically obliged to.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. And so that’s basically… So the book of common prayer, is definitely influenced. It was of course influenced by the Roman right. But it sort of influences this, a divine office, that now… And is this all… All three of the ordinariates use this book, or do we have different ones?

Fr. David Palmer:

Well, this is even more complicated. So this is called the Commonwealth edition. Okay? So initially, they were trying to get all three to have the same, but the tradition, the prayer book tradition in America kind of went on a slightly different path. Whereas, Australia and England, didn’t. So in the end, we got two editions. We’ve got the… I don’t know what the American one’s called, but this is the Commonwealth edition. Australia being ex Commonwealth, or no, current Commonwealth even. So yeah, but I haven’t looked at the American one, so I don’t know how different they are, but I wouldn’t have though it would’ve been hugely different.

Eric Sammons:

Are you familiar with the… Actually, I own this. I can see it right now. The old Anglican bravery.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yes.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. I have that, and it’s beautiful.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, it is beautiful.

Eric Sammons:

I think it’s wonderful. Now, how is that different than from what you’re using now, this old… And for those who aren’t familiar, it’s from… I know it’s pre 1955, because it has even the old pre 1955, but it’s very similar to… Excuse me. To the Latin divine office, from before 1955. But it’s called the Anglican bravery. And what is that, compared to what you’re using?

Fr. David Palmer:

Right. So the Anglican bravery was basically… I have a copy of myself up there somewhere. So the Anglican bravery was basically crafted, if you like, by a group of very sort of high church Anglo Catholics, who basically wanted the Roman bravery in English.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Largely. But they also did tweek… They did twiddle a few things, so I think they added Charles the Martyr for him, which of course, no self-respecting Catholic would have. But yeah. And it’s a beautiful book, with all the kind of readings of the saints. I mean, it’s absolutely glorious. And then of course, Rome changed it anyway. So it’s a bit of a historical curiosity as well, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. So the divine worship one, the breviary more so than the Mass, does draw more on the old prayer book tradition. So you have those two hinge offices of morning prayer and evening prayer. And I mean, the Bible is bound in here as well. And readings, you read through almost the entire Bible in the course of the year, as part of your office. A lengthy old Testament and new Testament in the morning and in the evening, which is a very kind of Anglican-

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

Tradition. But then the smaller offices are much more similar to the Anglican bravery, if that makes sense.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Okay, okay. I’m getting a little bit into the weeds here, but I’m very fascinated by, so I don’t mind.

Fr. David Palmer:

The language is great.

Eric Sammons:

Now, I guess a question arises. Why should there be this special group set up for Anglican converts? I’m a Methodist convert, there’s Lutheran converts, there’s Baptist converts. Why should the Anglicans be treated differently, and given their own group? Why shouldn’t they just be thrown into the whole general church, the general Novus Ordo and all of that? What makes it different?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. I think there’s a couple of answers to that. I think the first answer is, I think Pope Benedict was actually hoping that this might even be a model for ecumenism. So we talk about ecumenism a lot, and we’ve got to work together. But actually, it’s all a bit pointless, if the eventual aim isn’t visible unity. And we’re not going to get visible unity, oh, becoming Baptist or becoming Methodist. The only place that unity could happen, is with Rome. So I think it was an attempt. So is there a way that we can actually say to our ecumenical partners… And of course, Anglican is easiest to do with, because in many ways, a lot of the traditions in Anglicanism, are less far away, if you like, than some of the other traditions. Is there a way we can say, look, you can keep something of that in your tradition, which is good, but bring it into union with Rome.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. I guess, rather like… Groups like the Eastern churches, rather like the Eastern churches that came back into union with Rome. So they kind of re-come back into communion with Rome, but are still allowed to keep something of their Patrimony. So you’ll get Ukrainian Catholics saying the Jesus prayer, or icons. So I think that’s the kind of model. And there was talk, I don’t think anything came, of some sort of Lutheran ordinariate being set up as well. But I don’t know if that’s got anywhere.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And to be honest, obviously with the Eastern churches, they were fully Catholic, in essence, before they… In the sense of their liturgy, the sacraments, all that. So it’s pretty easy then, to bring them back, and just, okay, now you’re in community with Rome, but you can keep everything you had, other than that. And then with the Anglicans, I mean, let’s be honest, they all… Definitely, there’s at least a tradition within Anglicanism, that is far closer to Catholicism than anything you’d find in Lutheranism, and definitely Baptist or anything like that. So it does seem to make sense, because although the Catholic church did not recognize the orders of Anglicanism as valid, you still had a lot of the same structure, a lot of the same general… At least the high church, I’m not talking about the wacky Anglicans.

Fr. David Palmer:

And of course, the high church is the background to this as well. I mean, so in some ways, hence John Henry Newman being our patron. So for those who don’t know, of course, I mean, within the church of England, particularly from the time of the Oxford movement, there was a group who have longed for a union with Rome and the Anglo Catholics. Now, a lot of those gave up and became Catholic, including John Henry Newman, but others kind of carried on. And that tradition carried on in the church of England, always losing some people to the Catholic church on the way.

Fr. David Palmer:

It’s been a great way of converting Anglicans, actually. And at one time, there was this hope that, I think the time that Archbishop Ramsey and Pope Paul, whatever it was, who came to England. It almost looked like there might be a possibility of corporate reunion, but that was kind of thrown under a bus really, with the ordination of women. Because once the church of England’s done that, you can’t come to an agreement where we say, okay, on bulk, we’ll take you and re-ordain all of you, because the situation’s changed. And I think for many Anglo Catholics, that was the moment they realized that this was never going to happen. So they had to make the decision to go to Rome. And the ordinariate kind of came out of that, probably.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And you may not know this, since you’re not Anglican anymore, but is there still the high church movement within Anglicanism? I would think, of course, the ordination of women, which happened in the seventies, right?

Fr. David Palmer:

Eighties.

Eric Sammons:

Eighties. Okay. And then they start ordaining women as bishops as well, at some point. That was later, I think. But I would think that would’ve really killed the high church Anglicanism. But is there still a relatively strong high church within Anglicanism?

Fr. David Palmer:

It certainly isn’t as strong as it was, because a good chunk of us, I suppose, have joined the Catholic church. There is still… I mean, so for example, the famous example would be, this shrine of our lady of Walsingham, which is an Anglican version as well as a Catholic version. And that was always the kind of great center for Anglo Catholics. Now that still exists. It’s still just about going on, the Anglican one. But you do get to a stage, where you think, well, those who are still… I mean it’s very much weakened as a position.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Because it’s not coherent anymore, if it ever was. But definitely isn’t now. And you do get to a stage, where you think those who are still doing it, are more interested in… I mean, I don’t want to be too insulting, but more interested in dressing up and playing a role, then actual, the truth.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

Faith. Would be my take.

Eric Sammons:

So there was a Bishop that recently converted from Anglicanism, back in September. And what was his name again?

Fr. David Palmer:

Michael Nazir-Ali.

Eric Sammons:

And I think he was from the evangelical wing, of not the high church wing. So was he brought… Do you know him, or was he brought into the personal ordinariate?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, I do know him, because he actually ordained me as an Anglican many years ago. So I was there at his ordination as a Catholic priest, so I know him well. Well, I knew him well. I haven’t had very much contact in the last few years, but we have had a bit of contact since he’s joined. And he’s fascinating, for the very reason you say, because unlike a lot of the other people that joined the ordinariate, he didn’t come from the Anglo Catholic wing. Well, some of us started as evangelicals, but most of us, by the time we’d gone up the candle, as they say. But he was one of the leading evangelical bishops. He was a Bishop of Rochester, Anglican diocese of Rochester, so that was quite a significant role of Bishop Rick in the house of Lords, I believe, when he was a Bishop of Rochester.

He was one of the contenders for the Archbishop Canterbury. It was between him and Rowan Williams, back in the day. They were the two names. And very much known to be an evangelical, and right up until him coming over, he was still kind of very involved with sort of evangelical groups and things. So his conversion is hopefully a sign of things to come, and that the ordinariate may have a wider appeal than just the usual suspects.

Eric Sammons:

He’s in the ordinariate?

Fr. David Palmer:

He’s in the ordinariate. Yes. He’s a priest in the ordinariate now. Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

And for him… So he became a Catholic because he… I think the big issue for him, as for many, was authority. How does the church of England have the right to make these decisions? What gives it the right to depart from historic Christianity? And so I think for him, the Catholic tradition of a Catholic church, has that authority, in that sense. But the ordinariate…Because I think he likes the liturgy, to be honest, I think that’s his main reason. He finds sort of resonance and beauty in it. But he’s not the only one. There’s another guy from an evangelical background actually, who wasn’t a diocesan Bishop. But Dr. Gavin Ashenden. I don’t know if you’ve-

Eric Sammons:

Oh yes. Yes, I’m familiar with him.

Fr. David Palmer:

So he used to be a chaplain to the queen, and then he kind of became Bishop for sort of breakaway Anglican groups. It wasn’t to the diocesan Bishop, as such. I don’t know if I’m giving away, he’s joining the ordinariate. I think that’s known now.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah.

Fr. David Palmer:

If it’s not, well, I’m sorry, Dr. Gavin. Yeah. So I think for some reasons. So initially, he joined a… He became a diocesan Catholic. And now, particularly with, again, the liturgy, that he’s kind of come on board as well. And again, he wasn’t from a high church background. So we are beginning to see more people. And I suspect partly, the office book’s helped with that, because the Mass is very clearly in a very high church Catholic, whereas this has enough, I think, of the kind of middle of the road Anglican sort of scriptural basis, to be perhaps less threatening, if that makes sense.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Yeah, no, that does. Yeah. Now is he ordained? Is he ordained a Catholic priest?

Fr. David Palmer:

Not yet.

Eric Sammons:

Not yet.

Fr. David Palmer:

But I think that’s in the pipeline.

Eric Sammons:

Okay, okay. And he was a Bishop as well, so that’s amazing. And just for everybody who’s listening, to be clear, the Bishops in the Anglican church, are typically married, which is why in general, you can’t have… In the Catholic Roman tradition. And actually, what am I talking about? All traditions, Christian traditions, you can’t have married Bishops. And so that’s why they wouldn’t become… They would never become Bishops, these Bishops who convert.

Fr. David Palmer:

And that’s why… So for example, the ordinary of the ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, was also an Anglican Bishop, and married. So he is not a Bishop. He has ordinary status, so we still kind make promises to him, but he has to bring a diocesan Bishop in, if anyone gets ordained, to bless them. He can’t do that, because he doesn’t have that sacramental authority to do that. Whereas in America, the ordinary America is a Bishop, but he was already a Catholic priest and not married.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Okay. And that’s Lopes, right? Isn’t that?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. Right. Okay. Okay. So now, I wanted to ask, how is the… How would you say the day-to-day spirituality… You talked about it a little bit, but the difference between spirituality, just day to day, in the prayers, in maybe the saints and all of that. How would you say that would differ from maybe what a typical person, who attends the Novus Ordo, or even a traditional Latin Mass? How is it different for somebody who is a member… Not just somebody who just goes every once a month because the Latin Mass isn’t available, but really is part of the ordinariate. How does their spirituality differ?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. I think if you are actually… So again, if you are using the office book, that’s the kind of clearest way, because it actually saturates you in scripture, which was very, very much… That is one of the strengths of Anglicanism, actually. So it’s very structurally rich. The language is sort of sacral English, which isn’t common. Sometimes. I mean, the new missal is a better translation than the old one. But even so, sometimes it feels a bit like, kind of committee English. Whereas, this is kind of very poetic and beautiful English. And because it’s the kind of language that we don’t talk in normally… This might sound a bit counterintuitive, but we don’t normally speak this English, so when we go into Mass or into morning prayer using this language, it kind of takes you into a different space almost, if that makes sense.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

But the language itself has cadences that seem elevated, which is only correct if you’re coming into the presence of God, that we use our most elevated, our finest language. So that kind of feel, is different. I suppose there’s also a sort of sense of… So for example, isn’t actually an ordinariate organization, but quite a few of us are in it. It’s called the Society of St. Justin Martyr. And what they do, is they encourage their members every time they see an Anglican church that was formerly Catholic, and in England, there’s lots of these. When you see a church that used to be a Catholic place of worship, but now no longer is. And so most of the old, beautiful Anglican cathedrals, Anglican churches, would’ve been built for Catholics, by Catholics. And so they go into these places, they pray for the souls of the Catholics who worshiped there, Catholics who built there, and pray for the conversion of those who currently worship there. So there’s that kind of rooted sense of, this nation was Catholic.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

And that we’re actually trying to hold on the ancient faith of this country. And I think we are more conscious of that, more aware of that, partly even from being Anglicans. If you go to Westminster cathedral, it’s most bizarre. They have a list of all the Archbishops of Canterbury, starting with Augustin.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

Right the way down. And it carries on without any mention of reformation, down to the current one, as if there’s been an unbroken chain.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

And that’s the kind of thing that sold to most people in England, if you know what I mean. Your history, you talk about Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester. You go into the… When you go to his house, Bishop’s house in Rochester, there’d be a big painting of John Fisher, as if there’d be no kind of discontinuity at all.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

I’m not sure he would no longer argue that, by the way. And I think it’s that kind of awareness, that actually, no, no, there’s a kind of cooker in the nest, in our country. And it’s having that awareness, and praying. That deep desire for praying, for reunion with the universal church, if that kind of gives a sense.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I think it’s really beautiful, because we were talking about in the East, you have a lot of different traditions. You have the Melkites and the Ukrainians, and we might, on the West, make them think they’re all the same, but they really do have very distinct differences in their spirituality and even in their liturgy and things. And here in the West, we tend to just lump everybody together, no matter who… If they’re Polish or if they’re German or whatever. But this is like saying that, the English, at least for that, is a specific thing.

Allowing the English to be English, to not distance themselves from their heritage, as you said, it’s a very Catholic heritage that was lost in a lot of ways, of course, in the 16th century.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Now, one thing I wanted to… You mentioned, that I think is a huge controversy among Catholics, but it sounds like the personal ordinariate’s going a whole different direction, and that’s the issue of language and the liturgy. Because usually, it’s seen as there’s two options in the West. The Latin or the vernacular, which is basically the language of the common man, as spoken in normal. And I know one of the biggest arguments for the Latin, in the liturgy, is that it’s precisely a sacred language, and it’s not a common language that you just… Like you’re talking to your friend at the bar or something.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

But yet, you’re giving a third option.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Which is, it is vernacular. I mean, you would… English speakers would understand it. Yet it’s not what you speak at the bar or wherever you might go, and so I think that’s an interesting thing. That I think that in the West… Because I do think that’s also similar to the East, because I’m pretty sure a lot of their liturgies, they’re in the vernacular, but often they’re an old church Slavonic or something like that, which is really… It’s kind understandable, but not really. Does that make sense? Is that kind of what we’re talking about here?

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. No, it makes total sense. And I think that’s exactly what it is offering. And I think that’s why we get kind of quite a few of these young, Latin Mass types, who take refuge, to an extent, at the ordinariate Mass. And partly, some of them are also my students at the universities. That helps as well. But people do want beauty, and I think… I mean, to get a bit controversial for a second. If you think about kind of the history of the art in the Catholic church, the beauty, the gorgeous art, and then for this Synod we come up with, what looks like a play school.

Eric Sammons:

Right. It’s Sesame street.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, yeah. And you kind of think… But people do want beauty, people do want transcendence, people do want to feel taken out of their… I mean, there was Anglo Catholic tradition. A lot of the great Anglo Catholic churches, the ones that worked back in the day, were built in kind of slum areas in England, but they were absolutely ornate and beautiful. And the whole idea, was when people step into here, they get a sense of heaven, of transcendence or something that’s beyond their everyday experience. And the ordinariate liturgy is certainly trying to keep that. There’s a great sense of reverence beauty. That’s very much the focus of it.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

And so I think… Yeah. So I mean, in many ways, when they used to talk about the reform of the reform, which is a bit out of date at the moment, but things might change, this is kind of… I would always imagine this is the kind of fruit that somebody like Pope Benedict would’ve seen as the synthesis, in a way.

Eric Sammons:

You talk about the church buildings. Are most ordinariate parishes, do they have their own, or are they sharing? Are they using a diocesan parish?

Fr. David Palmer:

At this stage, most are sharing. So in lots of cases, the ordinariate priest is not actually running the church either. He might be visiting. In some cases, the ordinariate priest is the priests of the church, but he’ll have to also do the Novus Ordo Masses, if you like, as well as the ordinariate Mass. That’s probably the most common. There are one or two places where they’ve actually completely set up their own churches. But the vast majority, there’s some sort of… But I don’t think that’s all together bad, in that, because I’ve got a parish and then Sunday morning, I say Novus Ordo Mass, and people come along. Sunday evening, I have the ordinariate Mass. What happens, after time, is that people from the Novus Ordo Masses, get to know you. They know you’re not going to re everything from their viewpoint. That you’re going to let them have the Mass they want. And then they actually start being more open to the other ones.

So I get quite a lot of people now that will come to the ordinariate Mass as well, or will alternate. So one of the things about Anglicanorum coetibus was also about sort sharing the riches, both ways. And I think in that sense, by having a bit more permeable perhaps, there’s a sense that… The hope is, for me, that some of the riches, certainly in terms of reverence and all that sort of stuff, might actually seep beyond the ordinariate Mass, into the wider.

Eric Sammons:

Right.

Fr. David Palmer:

I’ve got several priests in the diocese, who… So a priest can say an ordinariate Mass, who isn’t in the ordinariate, if they’re either covering for a regular one, or is a particular ordinariate event. I have several priests in the diocese now, who are diocesan priests, who now have learned how to say the ordinariate Mass, because they enjoy it. So every time, if I can’t make a particular Sunday, I’ve got a whole group of them who will very happily come running over to say the ordinariate Mass..

Eric Sammons:

That’s a very… It’s a very Pope Benedict thing to do. You can tell it was created by Pope Benedict, because that’s exactly what he was also intending with Summorum Pontificum as well, was this idea of some sharing, so that the good things bleed into the others. So, that seems to be… I’m glad to hear it’s working, at least in so some cases where you are. And so what is the… We’re going to finish up here, but a couple last questions first, is what is the kind of the status of the ordinariate right now, worldwide? Is it growing? Is it kind of… Is it becoming more popular, or is it just kind of staying the same? Is it shrinking? What is the status?

Fr. David Palmer:

It is growing, but growing slowly. I think that’s the best way of putting it. It is growing, and certainly more people coming to the Masses, but of course it’s actually quite hard to actually officially join. So I can say it’s bigger than when I started, I had about only 10 people turning up. Whereas now, we regularly get, I don’t know, 60 at the ordinariate Mass.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

But a lot of those people couldn’t join, even if they wanted to.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

So I had a Polish altar server who wanted to join, and actually asked if he could join, but there was no way that we could get around the requirements.

Eric Sammons:

You have a hard cap.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, exactly. So yeah. But in some ways… But even that, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, because in some ways, as long as it is growing, which it is, it can actually root itself, perhaps a bit better. If you get kind of huge influx, it’s all like… So it’s actually kind of developing. And we’ve got, in England, a couple got young men preparing for ordination, and we reckon we have more ordinations than the average diocese does, in England. That’s not saying much, but-

Eric Sammons:

Right, right. That’s great though. That’s good to hear. And where can people find out? So if somebody wants to really learn more about personal ordinariate, maybe find out where one, I mean, ordinariate Mass is near them, how would they find out? I know it’s going to depend on whether or not they’re in the UK or in America, Australia, but what’s the best way to find that out?

Fr. David Palmer:

If you’re in the UK, there’s a couple of publications that are produced. One is called the portal magazine, as well as on paper, you can find it online, which is kind of the official ordinariate magazine. That has a listing of all the ordinary Masses in the UK. There’s another magazine produced by friends of the ordinariates, which is actually a better magazine, I think, in terms of… Well, it’s got a different purpose, but in terms of the kind history and theology, it’s more in depth in those sort of things. The portal’s more an easy read. I don’t know. I’m guessing, the easiest way to do it if you’re in the states or Australia, is probably simply to Google the ordinariate, and see what comes up. I’m sure they’ll have-

Eric Sammons:

I’ll try to find a couple links and put them in the show notes, so people can… For each of the different three ordinariates. That’s great. And I know you’re on Twitter, where can people find out about you?

Fr. David Palmer:

Well, Twitter is probably easy… Well, do I want to encourage people follow me on Twitter? I’m not sure.

Eric Sammons:

That can be dangerous.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah. Well, on Twitter, what am I? On Twitter, I am @FrDavidPalmer. So, that’s quite straightforward.

Eric Sammons:

And I’ll link to that as well, and send all the hoards to you.

Fr. David Palmer:

But if you… Yeah, but if you… I do occasionally get in trouble on Twitter, just as a warning, if you’re going to follow me.

Eric Sammons:

We all do. We all do. It’s okay. Eventually, we’ll all get kicked off, but that’s okay.

Fr. David Palmer:

Yeah, yeah.

Eric Sammons:

Well Father, I really do… This is great. I tried to tell myself, okay, don’t let this go five hours. Not everybody might be as fascinated as I am, but I think this was great. It gave a good overview, people can understand. I’ll also link to the ordinariates in the show notes, I’m going to link to the Crisis articles that we had a couple weeks ago, so people can find out more. I just encourage people, if there is an ordinariate Mass near you, attend one some Sunday. We’re going to… My family, we have one. The closest one to us is an hour and a half away, but my family’s already said, we’re going to make the trek one Sunday. It maybe when the weather gets a little better, and attend one, because we’ve never been to one. But I think I’d encourage everybody to try to find one around you, and go to it. And just to experience, if nothing else.

And thank you again, Father. And until next time, everybody, God love you.

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