Ordinariate Divine Worship Complementary Norms

Today the CDF released some Complementary Normsof the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith along with an Explanatory Note.

Some cradle Catholics find the liturgical provisions made for the Ordinatriates to be too conservative in style (and particularly in language). However I, for one, appreciate any attempt to broaden Catholic unity, and I believe that we need a certain amount of diversity in the legitimate practice of the Catholic Faith.

the last section of the new norms (article 15) deals with the Celebration of Divine Worship. the section reads:

§1. Divine Worship, the liturgical form approved by the Holy See for use in the Ordinariate, gives expression to and preserves for Catholic worship the worthy Anglican liturgical patrimony, understood as that which has nourished the Catholic faith throughout the history of the Anglican tradition and prompted aspirations towards ecclesial unity.

§2. Public liturgical celebration according to Divine Worship is restricted to the Personal Ordinariates established under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. Any priest incardinated in an Ordinariate may celebrate according to Divine Worship outside the parishes of the Ordinariate when celebrating Mass without a congregation, or publicly with the permission of the rector/pastor of the corresponding church or parish.

§3. In cases of pastoral necessity or in the absence of a priest incardinated in an Ordinariate, any priest incardinated in a Diocese or in an Institute of Consecrated Life or Society of Apostolic Life may celebrate according to Divine Worship for members of the Ordinariate who request it. Any priest incardinated in a Diocese or in an Institute of Consecrated Life or Society of Apostolic Life may concelebrate Mass according to Divine Worship.

While the new liturgical bookspromulgated for the Ordinariates are not mandatory for use in Ordinariate liturgies (they are free to use the Ordinary or Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite), the new norms clarify that the new liturgical books are to be used only within the Ordinariate. However when pastoral needs require it any RC priest in good standing can preside a celebration in an ordinariate parish. Likewise a priest incardinated into an Ordinariate may celebrate with the Ordinariate liturgical books in a non-Ordinariate parish with the permission of the pastor.

However, it is clear that a priest who does not belong to the Ordinariate, does not have permission to celebrate using the liturgical books of the Ordinariate (privately or publicly) unless he is helping out at an Ordinariate parish.


  1. I read one provision slightly differently than you do. “…[U]nless he is helping out at an Ordinariate parish”; I would read that provision rather as “unless he is celebrating for a group of Ordinariate members”.

    Given the nature of the Ordinariate, there are numerous local Ordinariate groups in the formation/discernment process which are not yet full parishes. Currently, diocesan and religious priests can receive permission to celebrate Masses using the Book of Divine Worship for those groups. I do not read these norms as removing that possibility. (But I am not an expert.)

    1. Sam, I’m not an expert either, but you may well be right. A priest who is not incardinated into an Ordinariate may well be able to celebrate using the Ordinariates’ liturgical books in such a scenario (with the permission of both his own bishop or religious superior and the Ordinariate’s Ordinary).
      The main point I was making was that a non-Ordinariate priest is not allowed to celebrate liturgies using the Ordinariate’s books unless he is helping an Ordinariate group.
      Also, I imagine that this would hold true for all of the liturgies in the Ordinariate books (marriage, baptism, funerals, etc.) and not just for the Divine Worship edition of the Roman Missal.

      1. Which is no different than a Roman priest not being able to celebrate in another rite (the Byzantine rite or Maronite rite for example) without receiving faculties to do so. What has prompted this I wonder? Has there been a spate of Roman priests celebrating using the Ordinariate liturgies in ordinary (pardon the pun) Roman parishes?

  2. Thanks for this post. I also appreciate the Ordinariate as an addition to the full panoply of Catholic Liturgical families (although a very unique one).

    Todd Voss

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