Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Diocese of Metuchen, Correspondence concerning the pastoral provision for former Protestant ministers who seek to be ordained as Catholic priests, 20 May 2007, Private.


The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent to U.S. Bishops in April 2007 a “minimum profile of the theological formation required of former Protestant minister who wish to be ordained Catholic priests.” It is printed in Origins, 31 May 2007, Vol. 37, No. 3, pages 46-47.

Origins reports that the profile was enclosed in a letter sent to Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, from Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the C.D.F. asking that the profile be distributed to all U.S. Bishops. The cardinal distinguishes the process to be followed for former Episcopalian ministers from that of former ministers of other Protestant denominations, saying that the pastoral provision instituted in 1981 for Episcopalians (see in Origins Vol. 10, No. 12 and Vol. 11, No. 33) remains in effect and should be followed. The text of Cardinal Levada’s 1 April letter and the ”Minimum Profile” are given here.

The following exchange of correspondence from the Diocese of Metuchen and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are being published it their entirety, with permission. It is interesting and informative, not only in describing the so-called “International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church,” for which the “Pastoral Provision” is not applicable, but also in its listing of various ecclesial communities which do fall under the “Pastoral Provision.”

Also, the correspondence contains a list of the contents for a dossier to be sent to the C.D.F. for “Married Former Protestant Clergy who desire ordination to the priesthood in the Catholic Church.”

Further, the correspondence carefully distinguishes former Episcopalian ministers who continue to fall under the Pastoral Provision and whose cases continue to go to the Office of the Pastoral Provision, from the Protestant ministers of other Protestant denominations whose cases will be presented to C.D.F.

I am grateful to Msgr. William Benwell, V.G., Diocese of Metuchen, for presentation of this material and assuring that its publication was permitted.

Lastly, the letter of Cardinal Levada, Prefect, and the text of the Minimum Profile are printed as they appeared in Origins, 31 May 2007.




The Original Inquiry:

29 January 2007

His Eminence William J Cardinal Levada, Prefect,

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Piazza del S. Uffizio 11

00193 Rome ITALY

Your Eminence:

Recently I have been approached by two priests of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC), who have expressed a desire to be received into the Roman Catholic Church and to be ordained to the presbyterate. Both men have been highly recommended to me, and I have myself met with one of them.

It is my understanding that such requests from priests of the CEC are not to be addressed by means of the Pastoral Provision created by the Servant of God, John Paul II, but instead are to be considered through another process established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Congregations’s guidance in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

With sentiments of respect and personal esteem, I am,

Sincerely in the Lord,

Most Reverend Paul G. Bootkoski

Bishop of Metuchen




The C.D.F. Reply:

23 February 2007

Your Excellency,

Thank you for your letter of 29 January 2007, in which you present the situations of two priests of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who have expressed a desire to be received into the Catholic Church and be ordained to the priesthood.

Though the Charismatic Episcopal Church claims apostolic succession received through the schismatic Igreja Catolica Apostolica Brasileira, it is a relatively new entity whose origin can be described as a confederation of charismatic-evangelical Protestant congregations. The Charismatic Episcopal Church does not claim any association with the Anglican Communion or the Episcopal Church USA. This Congregation has therefore judged in previous instances that former ministers of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who wish to become Catholic priests do not fall under the auspices of the Pastoral Provision. Further, because of its association with other schismatic groups, the Charismatic Episcopal Church seems to present complexities that call for a great deal of prudence and enlightened deliberation.

With this in mind, this Congregation wishes to call [to] your attention the fact that those ex-ministers who are seeking priestly ministry in the Catholic Church should first undergo a period of not less than three years of theological studies. You Excellency would be asked to attend to the candidate’s theological, pastoral and spiritual formation, particularly in the areas of ecclesiology, sacramental theology and canon law. This Dicastery would be grateful if you could furnish a description of the theological study they have completed, together with the above mentioned plan for Catholic theological study.

It is unclear from your letter whether the two candidates from the Charismatic Episcopal Church are married men. If this is indeed the case, Your Excellency would be asked to prepare a dossier for submission [to] the Congregation requesting the dispensation from the irregularity of admitting a married man to sacred orders. A list of the elements required in such a dossier is enclosed. (Cf. Attachment 1).

Wishing you God’s continued blessing in your ministry, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

William Cardinal Levada

Prefect

Attachment 1: Dossier

Married former Protestant Clergy who desire ordination to the priesthood in the Catholic Church

1. Sponsoring letter of the Bishop, indicating also the current occupation of the candidate and proposals for adequate theological, pastoral and spiritual formation

I. Petitioner’s formal request to the Bishop for ordination

II. Wife’s letter of support

III. Evidence of Baptism

IV. Evidence of Marriage

V. Testimony of the stability of Marriage

VI. Signed statement of intention regarding Catholic education of minor children

VII. Signed Profession of Faith

VIII. Academic Record

IX. Evidence of Protestant Orders

X. Pastoral Experience

XI. Psychological Evaluation Report (at the discretion of the Bishop)

XII. Other character-references from Catholics priests and lay people

XIII. Autobiographical Information

* Name

* Birth date and place

* Early religious practice

* School & Higher Education

* Later religious practice

* Marriage and family information

* Ordination in the Anglican church [sic: does it mean Protestant Church?]

* Profession of faith (date and place)




C.D.F.: Follow-Up Letter to Bishop Bootkoski

1 April 2007

Your Excellency,

In a letter dated 23 February 2007, this Congregation responded to your inquiry regarding the desire of two priests of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church to be received into the Catholic Church and be ordained to the priesthood. In that letter, the Congregation asked you to furnish a description of the theological study they have competed, together with a three-year plan for Catholic theological study.

Subsequent to that letter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a Minimum Profile of Formation for Former Protestant Ministers who desire to be Ordained Catholic Priests (cf. Enclosure). This profile is intended to assist the Bishops in responding to the particular formational needs of former Protestant ministers. Having the inquiry you presented in mind, I enclose a copy of the Profile in the hope that it will be of assistance to you in your ongoing conversation with the two former ministers of the Charismatic Episcopal Church.

Wishing you God’s continued blessing in your ministry, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

William Cardinal Levada

Prefect




C.D.F. Letter to Bishop William S. Skylstad, President, U.S.C.C.B.

1 April 2007

Your Excellency,

In the ongoing efforts of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to evaluate and adjudicate cases of former Protestant ministers who wish to be ordained as Catholic priests, it has become clear that the theological formation of such candidates is a matter of utmost importance.

Currently, the Pastoral Provision in the United States provides for a process of assessment, study, and certification for former Episcopalian ministers. Similar established criteria are lacking as regards former ministers of other Protestant denominations who would not fall under the care of the Pastoral Provision.

Please find enclosed a copy of the Minimum Profile of Formation for Former Protestant Ministers who Desire to be Ordained Catholic Priests (cf. Enclosure). The Congregation asks that this information be made available to the Bishops of the USCCB in order to assist them in responding to the desire of former Protestant ministers who wish to be ordained to the priesthood. The cases of former Episcopalian ministers, however, are still to be referred to the Office of the Pastoral Provision.

Wishing you God’s continued blessing in your ministry, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

William Cardinal Levada

Prefect




The following letter is published because it contains the permission to publish the 23 February 2007 and documentation, but it also contains a list of Episcopal communities recognized as falling under the auspices of the Pastoral Provision.




C.D.F. Letter to Msgr. William Benwell, V.G., Diocese of Metuchen

20 May 2007

Dear Monsignor Benwell,

Thank you for your letter of 30 March 2007, in which you acknowledge receipt of the Congregation’s letter to the Bishop of Metuchen and ask whether the information presented to Bishop Bootkoski might be published in Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions.

While the Congregation has upheld its decision of 6 November 1998, which maintained that the Pastoral Provision is not applicable to the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, in a decision of 11 May 2007, this Dicastery decided that the Pastoral Provision does apply to the following Ecclesial Communities which, in some form, have broken with the Episcopal Church USA: The Reformed Episcopal Church; The Anglican Church in America; The Anglican Catholic Church – Original Province; The Anglican Province of Christ the King; The Episcopal Missionary Church; and the Christian Episcopal Church.

The Congregation has asked the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to publicize these decisions to the Bishops of the Conference. We would have no objection therefore to the publication in Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions of the letter and documentation of 23 February 2007, sent to Bishop Bootkoski.

With gratitude for your service to the Church, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

P. Joseph Augustine DiNoia, O.P.

Under-Secretary




Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Diocese of Metuchen, Correspondence concerning the pastoral provision for former Protestant ministers who seek to be ordained as Catholic priests, 29 January 2007 – 20 May 2007, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2007, 8-14.