VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is letting baptized Catholics join the new church structure created to receive Anglican converts.
The "ordinariate," which functions like a diocese, was initially designed to enable Anglicans upset over the liberalizing trends of their church to join the Catholic Church while retaining some of their Anglican heritage.
On May 31, Francis modified the norms to allow Catholics who had been baptized — but not yet confirmed — to become members of the ordinariate and receive subsequent sacraments there.
The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Thursday that the U.S. ordinariate had asked the Vatican for such leeway after getting requests from baptized Catholics who had fallen away from the church but wanted to rejoin it via the new Anglican structure to receive First Communion and other sacraments.