Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who can be a member of Saint Aelred?
A: Any Catholic looking for a parish home or anyone looking to become Catholic.
Q: Why does Mass at Saint Aelred look and sound a little different than what I'm used to?
A: The Mass is according to our liturgical book Divine Worship: The Missal which was given to us by Rome. Most are familiar with Mass according to the liturgical book The Roman Missal: 3rd Edition.
Q: What Diocese is Saint Aelred in?
A: Saint Aelred Catholic Church is in The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (POCSP), a non-geographical diocese. Our Cathedral, Our Lady of Walsingham, is located in Houston, Texas.
Q: What is The Ordinariate?
A: Our diocese was created by Pope Benedict XVI in the document Anglicanorum Coetibus. It was created to help former Anglicans become Roman Catholic, to evangelize and welcome all who wish to be in full communion with Rome, and to share its particular liturgical, pastoral, and spiritual tradition with all Catholics.
Q: Is the Ordinariate Catholic?
A: Yes, Pope Benedict XVI created The Ordinariate and it remains a personal project of the Papacy for the whole of the Catholic Church. It is part of the Roman/Latin Rite.
Q: Who is your Bishop?
A: The Most Reverend Stephen J. Lopes. He worked for the Congregation or the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) for ten years before being consecrated a Bishop in 2016 on Candlemas to serve the POCSP. In late 2022 he will take his place as the newly elected Head of the Committee for Divine Worship in the USCCB.
Q: Why would I want to join The Ordinariate?
A: If our mission inspires and reinvigorates your faith, and you want to make our mission your mission, then you may want to discern joining our diocese. If you want Bishop Lopes to be your Bishop and your tithe to go to a diocese that focused on evangelization through reverent liturgy, orthodox teaching, fellowship, and the spiritual life, then you may want to discern joining us.
Q: What is the Mission of the Ordinariate?
A: Our two-fold mission is to (1) evangelize to help Protestants come into full communion with Rome through a particular English-speaking Christian tradition & (2) share our Patrimony with the rest of the Catholic Church: the way we do liturgy, fellowship, and spirituality.
Q: Who decides who can join the Ordinariate?
A: The Church. Anyone can ask and Mother Church is happy to oblige anyone whose faith has been reinvigorated by the Ordinariate, its parishes, and its Mission.
Q: Can I join Saint Aelred without joining the Ordinariate?
A: Yes. Any Catholic is welcome to become a member of our parish while remaining in their current diocese.
Q: What is the Patrimony your diocese is charged to share?
A: The Anglican Patrimony in the Catholic Church is an exercise of Peter’s authority over the churches which recognizes the authentic Faith of The Church expressed in an Anglican form, confirms that expression as a patrimony or treasure for the whole Church, and which then orders that expression in such a way to favor the pastoral good of the community and its desire for communion.
This is not an abstraction or universal or idea - but a 'how we do our rituals' in accordance with the books Rome has given us and a 'how we live out our life as informed by these rites.' IE, you can't know the Patrimony by reading about it online, you have to come see its forms and how it forms us by living it. 'All knowledge begins in the senses.' What we discover from our senses is that uniformity with Rome does not mean conformity, as if all must be the same everywhere all the time, as one can see from Pope St. Gregory the Great's response letter to St. Augustine of Canterbury's third question about diversity in the forms of Mass and his advice to St. Augustine on cultivating a Form of Mass for English speaking peoples. This sense of a oneness manifesting in a multitude of forms is what the Ancients meant by 'katholikos,' "Catholic."
Q: Are there married priests in the Ordinariate?
Yes. Married priests were normal in the West for some 1,000 years, though priests in the West, especially near Rome, took celibacy on as a pious form of imitating the life of Christ. In the high medieval era, the universal discipline of clerical celibacy was established. In the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church priests have always been allowed to marry and continue to do so.
On a case-by-case judgment by the Pope, some former Anglican clergy who were already married may become Catholic Priests for the sake of the faithful who have been led to Rome. Because eleven out the twelve Apostles were married (Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law; Mt. 8), celibacy can never be a Doctrinal or Dogmatic necessity without condemning the Apostles' Priesthood. Thus Celibacy is a Discipline, which may be bound or unbound by Peter (Mt 16). The Bishop is the authority on particular cases of clerical chastity, continence, and celibacy in accordance with Canon 277 §3. Private judgments that run counter to The Church's position and her Bishop are just that - private. All of our new vocations, seminarians, and priests are expected to conform to the normal vow of celibacy expected in the Latin Rite.
Q: Is there an "Anglican Ordinariate," "Anglican Uniate," "Anglican Use," or "Anglican Rite?"
No. There is no "Anglican Ordinariate," only a Catholic Ordinariate. Likewise, there is no "Anglican Uniate," just the Catholic, Personal Ordinariates, which function like dioceses within the Latin Rite. There is no "Anglican Use," just Mass according to Divine Worship: The Missal. There is no "Anglican Rite," we are part of the Latin/Roman Rite. There is, however, "The Anglican Patrimony in the Catholic Church" as it is defined by the Magisterium.
Q: How do I learn more about Saint Aelred & the Ordinariate?
A: To learn about us in a way that is more than a mere idea, come see what we're about in the flesh.