Rome has established an Australian ordinariate for former Anglicans wishing to join the Roman Catholic Church. On June 15, Pope Benedict gave the official nod to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St. Augustine of Canterbury, and he named a former bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) to lead it.
Similar ecclesiastical jurisdictions have been formed for the U.S. and the U.K.
The first ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood for service in the new ordinariate took place at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Perth. Fr. Harry Entwistle, a former TAC bishop in the Western Region, was ordained a Catholic priest and named as the first ordinary.
Entwistle, who is married with two adult children, has served as a bishop in Western Australia since 2006. The new ordinary was quick to warn that the ordinariate is not offering Catholicism lite. “Pope Benedict has made it very clear that unity between Christians is not achieved by agreeing on the lowest common denominator, and those entering an ordinariate accept the catechism of the Catholic Church as the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith,” said Fr. Entwistle.
Membership in the Australian ordinariate is open to former Anglicans who accept Roman Catholic teaching, to former Anglicans who previously have been reconciled to the Roman church but now wish to reconnect with their Anglican spiritual heritage, and to people with close family members who have joined the ordinariate.