The Ordinary, Msgr Harry writes:
In 2007, Tolowa Nona, Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Church of Torres Strait was one of the TAC bishops to sign the letter and copy of the Catechism that were subsequently presented to Pope Benedict seeking his advice as to what the next step on the road to corporate unity might be. For the Church of Torres Strait this was a solemn and binding act. Following the announcement that an Ordinariate would be erected in Australia, the CTS petitioned the Holy See in 2011 for their own Ordinariate rather than become part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.
Since 2013 many discussions have taken place involving, among others, Bp James Foley of Cairns, Msgr Harry Entwistle and Bp Tolowa Nona. These discussions addressed what might be the best way forward taking into account the cultural uniqueness of the Torres Strait and the ecclesial history of the CTS.
As the discussions progressed, the CTS has come to the conclusion that their desire for a separate Ordinariate needs to be a staged process with the prayerful hope that in God’s time it will come to fruition. Their revised petition, containing some proposals for its implementation, was forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith in February of this year. The Dicastery considered it in March and the Prefect, Cardinal Müller, presented their recommendations to the Holy Father.
It is with joyous thanks and deep gratitude to our Holy Father Francis that I am able to announce that he has responded positively to the petition of the CTS and has given his blessing to the creation of a Territory for the Torres Strait to be established within the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. This Territory will be subject to the jurisdiction and authority of the Ordinary of OLSC, but administered on a daily basis by a Regional Vicar who will be appointed.
While it will take time for the establishment of the Territory, and the ordination of the clergy, the process of coming into communion with the See of Peter is an answer to prayer. We ask God’s blessing on this endeavour, and the priests and people stepping out in faith so Our Lord’s words may be fulfilled, “that we may all be one”.