The Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter

Origins and Ethos


A very long name! But this is the jurisdiction in which St John Vianney Catholic Church resides. What is it, and why do we exist are common questions about the Ordinariate. I will cover this question in the next few articles.

Beginning in the early twentieth century, the Anglican Church, known locally as the Episcopal Church, began to separate itself from scripture. As we remember well from scripture:

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”1

Genesis 3:1

The devil continually tempts us, and we continually have to decide whether we will follow his evil suggestions or follow God. But what about the times we are not certain if it is God speaking or not? The Episcopal Church had this problem when the idea of women’s ordination came to their doorstep. From a “fairness” perspective one might think woman’s ordination is an obvious acceptable evolution of ministry. But then we have scripture, in which God definitively states that ordained ministry is reserved for men. “Did God really say you shall not ordain women, or was this simply the men that wrote the bible installing their own misogyny into scripture?” The Episcopal Church grappled with this idea for a time, but in the end, a few bishops took it upon themselves to simply ordain women, on their own authority. When this happened, instead of censure or any form of discipline, the bishops who made this innovation, were lauded. It was not long after that the General Convention of the Episcopal Church voted to ignore the scriptural prohibition and ordain women out of a sense of fairness. This precedence turned out to be the downfall of the Anglican Church. Once theology was not the purview of the King or Queen (A practice that was absurd in it’s own right) it was now given to political discourse and vote of all the church. This effectively un-anchored the Anglican communion, and started a downward spiral that would see many of it’s bishops and clergy deny the Trinity, biblical ethics and morals, and most egregiously decide that birth control and abortion were “neutrals” as far as God was concerned. (as apposed to being evil in His sight)

At this point, many priests and bishops knew the church was lost, and began to look towards Rome for help. Pope John Paul II in 1982, of his charity, created the pastoral provision, allowing married and un-married clergy to come from the Anglican church into the Catholic Church. This was done on an individual basis. The Anglican cleric would leave the Anglican church, renounce his orders, and enter the Catholic Church through a Catholic diocese. That diocese would then educate him as seen fit, and then ordain him deacon and priest for that diocese.

As the 1990’s rolled in, the Episcopal Church was becoming alarmingly apostate, and there were several congregations that desired entrance into the Catholic Church. This was done on rare occasions, as long as the Anglican bishop agreed, the entire parish would transfer to the Catholic diocese in which it resided. The entire congregation and pastor would go through RCIA, be confirmed; and lastly the pastor would go through appropriate education and after what usually was a year or so they would be a Catholic parish.

This was not a clean process though, to add to the issues, many of those who came to the Catholic Church wanted to bring some of their traditions with them. Pope Benedict XVI would be the perfect pope to fix this issue, which we will cover in the next article. (Patrimony)

Fr Scott

1Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1994). The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (Ge 3:1). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA

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