Pastoral Provision History
In July 1980 the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop John Quinn, received a letter from the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Franjo Seper, indicating that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, responding to requests received from some priests and laity formerly or actually belonging to the Episcopal Church in the United States, had decided to make a special pastoral provision for their reception into full communion with the Catholic Church…
A Message from Most Rev. Bishop Kevin Vann
Dear Friends of the Lord,
Welcome to the new and recently refurbished web site for the Pastoral Provision. I hope that this newly updated website will help anyone seeking answers to questions about the Pastoral Provision. As many of you may not know, the origins of the Pastoral Provision is attributed to the vision of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and his foresight towards complete unity by Anglicans with the Church. It is also a fruit of the Second Vatican Council and the Pontificates of Pope Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II. The Pastoral Provision has over a thirty year history of assisting individual Episcopal priests answer the call to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, and as part of that journey, to priestly ministry in the Church.
The Links in this site includes a PDF version of the Pastoral Provision Manual entitled: “Into Full Communion;” informative articles by faculty, and staff on the Pastoral Provision and the Ordinariate such as Msgr. Robert Wister-Chair of the Theological Faculty for the Pastoral Provision, members of the Theological faculty and the Pastoral Provision staff. The goal is to keep this site updated on a regular basis.
I would like to thank everyone, who has been involved in this process from the very beginning, assisting in this pioneering and historical step in the Lord’s will that “All May Be One.” In particular, I sincerely thank Msgr. William Stetson, then Bishop Bernard Law of Springfield Cape-Girardeau, Missouri, Arch Bishop John Meyers of Newark, New Jersey and the late Msgr. James Sheehan.
God Bless you always.
+ Kevin W. Vann
Bishop of Orange
Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision
The Pastoral Provision
The Pastoral Provision for Former Episcopal Clergymen in the United States
In 1980, the Holy See, in response to requests from clergymen and laity of the Episcopal Church of the United States who were seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, created a Pastoral Provision to provide them with special pastoral solicitude. The Pastoral Provision is under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Delegate of which directs its activities.
The ordination of married former protestant clergy began under Pope Pius XII. The
Pastoral Provision gave a structure for the integration, formation and eventual ordination as Catholic priests who are married former Anglican Clergy. Under the Pastoral Provision, the ordination of married former Episcopal clergymen was made possible. In response to the request of former faithful of the Episcopal Church, it also authorized the establishment of personal parishes in dioceses of the United States in which they may retain certain liturgical elements proper to the Anglican tradition. A specific liturgical provision was subsequently approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Committee for the liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Two of the four parishes are in the process of being transferred into the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. The new liturgy, known as “Divine Worship,” has been promulgated and should be published in the near future.
The Pastoral Provision is a service rendered to the bishops of the United States by which former married Episcopal clergymen, in recognition of their years of ministerial service and who have been accepted as candidates for priestly ordination, receive theological, spiritual, and pastoral preparation for ministry in the Catholic Church. Since 1983 over 100 men have been ordained for priestly ministry in Catholic dioceses of the United States; four personal parishes have been established, and the Book of Divine Worship approved.
In order to give due regard to the value of clerical celibacy, it is ordinarily the practice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that the number of married priests in any particular diocese under the Pastoral Provision be limited to two.
Even with the establishment of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, the Pastoral Provision remains available for individuals and married former Episcopalian priests to become Catholic priests in a diocese.
Correspondence concerning the Pastoral Provision can be addressed to:
Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann J.D.C., D.D
Bishop of Orange
Ecclesiastical Delegate of Pastoral Provision
13280 Chapman Ave
Garden Grove, CA 92840