Father Michael Nazir-Ali

I remember reading a few years ago a book on the Ordinariate written by Father Nichols of the Dominicans. Father Nichols has been a champion of the Ordinariate since its beginnings with the Holy Father Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. In that document, the Holy Father had declared his appreciation for what he called the patrimony that would be drawn into and benefit the Catholic Church. It is easy to speak about Christian unity, but few are the bishops and the popes who act decisively to provide solutions. Here is a stray paragraph, in which the Holy Father declares that unity is real and visible, not merely an ideal or a concept:

“It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion. 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. The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible; 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 divine.” 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.”

HH Benedict XVI, Anglicanorum coetibus

I have known a few priests of the Ordinariate over the years, and I was pleased when the bishop of Rochester was declared to be moving over, a few weeks ago. Within a few weeks, he was ordained a deacon and then a priest. I’m going to lift a line from an article on Father Nazir-Ali’s website. The picture attached to this post is from the same website. It is a statement from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Quoted within this statement, the soon-to-be ordained says that the best way for Anglicans to aspire to apostolicity is within the Ordinariate, which was designed to safeguard the Anglican identity and patrimony within the Catholic communion. He agrees with the Holy Father in saying that:

“…I believe, that such patrimony in its Liturgy, approaches to biblical study, pastoral commitment to the community, methods of moral theology and much else besides has a great deal to offer the wider Church.”


Father Nazir-Ali is a native of Pakistan and with several academic qualifications, therefore bringing a great wealth of experience to the Catholic Church in this country. I was just given an article written by Father Benedict Kiely, an Ordinariate priest, which says that this is the biggest move of its type since Cardinal Newman’s reception into the Church in the middle of the nineteenth century.

More information on the whole is best available from the Ordinariate website, although there will be much commentary elsewhere.