Apostolicae Curae ~ Anglicanorum Coetibus

Ad Tuendam Fidem is an apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II issued motu proprio on May 18, 1998.
The apostolic letter made modifications to the Oriental and Latin codes of canon law defining penalties for public dissent by public ministers of the Church.
In an unusual move, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith simultaneously issued an instruction on Ad Tuendam Fidem identifying examples of the ordinary magisterium that must be accepted with obsequium religiosum, “religious assent.” Among those examples, to the surprise of many,[citation needed] was the papal bull, Apostolicae Curae which defined Anglican Holy Orders as invalid.

Apostolicae Curae is the title of a papal bull, issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII, declaring all Anglican ordinations to be “absolutely null and utterly void”. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York of the Church of England responded to the papal charges with the encyclical Saepius Officio in 1897.
The principal objection to Anglican orders being valid, according to Pope Leo XIII, was the alleged deficiency of intention and of form of the Anglican ordination rites. In the case of deficiency of intention, Leo XIII declared that the rites expressed an intention to create a priesthood different from the sacrificing priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church and to reduce ordination to a mere ecclesiastical institution, an appointment or blessing, instead of a sacramental conferral of actual grace by the action itself.

In 1998 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and later Pope Benedict XVI) issued a doctrinal commentary to accompany Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter Ad Tuendam Fidem, which established penalties in Canon law for failure to accept “definitive teaching”. Despite the ongoing work of the ecumenical Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), Ratzinger’s commentary listed Leo XIII’s declaration in Apostolicae Curae that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void” as one of the teachings to which Catholics must give “firm and definitive assent”.[13] These teachings are not understood by the Church as revealed doctrines but are rather those the church’s teaching authority finds to be so closely connected to God’s revealed truth that belief in them is required to safeguard the divinely revealed truths of the Christian Faith. Those who fail to give “firm and definitive assent”, according to the commentary, would “no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church”.
The continuing authority of Apostolicae Curae was reinforced in the essay The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus by Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, released on 9 November 2009. (Anglicanorum Coetibus introduces a canonical structure that provides for groups of Anglican clergy and faithful to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church “while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”) In the essay, which is approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Fr Ghirlanda comments that “the ordination of ministers coming from Anglicanism will be absolute, on the basis of the Bull Apostolicae curae of Leo XIII of September 13, 1896.”

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