I am neither the first nor the last to notice that the announced closure of the seminary, church and ancillary structures of the Ushaw College is uncannily near to the announcement that the newly created Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is looking for both a “central” church and a structure able to provide for their administrative and formation duties.
It doesn’t need a genius to at least consider putting two and two together here. Some say that the new HQ of the Ordinariate should be situated in (or near) London, but I frankly cannot see why as the Ordinariate is not steered from Westminster or from the Bishop’s conference, but from Rome.
On the contrary, establishing the heart of the Ordinariate far away from Eccleston Square would in my eyes more convincingly stress the operational independence of the new structure.
Furthermore, if one assumes that there will soon be a number of churches operating with the rite of the Ordinariate (a batch of further 50 former Anglican clergy ready to swim, it is purported), it is not unrealistic to assume that a number of these will be located in or near London; the opportunities to enjoy beautiful Catholic Evensongs in the Capital should therefore be there anyway.
We’ll have to wait and see what decision is taken, but I am sure that I am not the only one thinking that this episodes has a certain smell of less-than-perfect collaboration between different parts of the Church.
Oh well, today it is really one of those days one doesn’t forget so soon…..
The very first Ordinariate for former Anglicans is there. You can read the details on the “Reluctant Sinner” blog.
My first reflections as it is very late now:
1) The Ordinariate is dedicated to Our Lady. This is a clear link to England as it was before a couple of bastard kings and their gravely deluded helpers made a mess of everything. It seems to me almost as if the Vatican would say to heretics of every sort “you are nothing more than a passing embarrassment for the Only Church”.
England, the recovering Dowry of Mary. Beautiful.
2) The Ordinariate is under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman. This is another choice that isn’t casual in the least. Newman clearly paved the way historically – and will pave the way spiritually – for those who decide to come back to the Only Church.
3) As I have already written here, the way will not be an easy one for those who sincerely want to convert and become true Catholics. Prayer, reflection and in case time will be needed. As for ourselves, let us remember them in our daily prayers.
4) Congratulations and best wishes to father Newton, the first Ordinary after Anglicanorum Coetibus. Rome clearly signals a great deal of trust in him and in his doctrinal orthodoxy.
At the same time, it is obvious that the (largely expected) appointment of a former Anglican to the head of the Ordinariate will give a certain amount of comfort to many disaffected and perhaps suffering still-Anglicans. What Father Newton has done – and Blessed John Henry Newman has done before him – they can do too. Whatever hard decisions he had to take, they were taken by a man many ordinary Anglicans esteem and respect. This will give them reason to think harder about where they see their future.
Again, it is very late now and in the next days more reflections and news will follow as the picture becomes clearer.
I am not one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Ordinariate. I see a real danger that the Ordinariate may attract chaps like this one.
But I must say that today I feel rather excited.
The American Papist has an interesting article about the NYT’s prediction of the Catholic vote in the coming Mid-Term elections. It would appear that – among the electorate generically defining itself as “Catholic” – the swing from the Democrats to the Republican is a barely believable 34 percent.
Beside reading such forecasts cum grano salis (it’s only a forecast; Obama was an oh so fashionable candidate two years ago; Catholics have already rather liked Republicans in the past, with George W Bush being the most recent example), we must consider that such a swing is unprecedented. Might it well be that the decline in popularity of Obama has few precedents, too, the fact still remain that when it has become clear and it has been insistently repeated that this President is nothing to do with Christian values, Christians have begun abandoning him in drove. Which drives me nicely to my point.
It is undeniable that the American Bishops, as a body, do not do enough to protect Catholic values among their sheep. Still, there are a handful of courageous Bishops who are never afraid of an “unpopular” headline and the general climate is much, much more Catholic than in the UK.
Take Archbishop Chaput for example, or the future Cardinal Burke before he moved to Rome, or the sadly soon-to-retire Bruskewitz. They are/were all people who can make national headlines; people willing to stir the placid waters of political correctness and rampant secularism by throwing the one or other Catholic stone in the stinking pond of secularist anti-Christian values.
I cannot imagine that this hasn’t made a difference. Not a 34-point difference for sure, but a difference in the cultural climate in which Catholic are called to operate and, importantly, vote. In two words, people are starting to open their eyes and in time, even a handful of brave Bishops will not fail to awaken a growing number of up to now not properly informed or soundly asleep Catholics.
This is, clearly, not what is happening in England and Wales, where the Bishops are the best allies of the secular leftist society and they either actively helped Labour to push its secular agenda (say: “sex education” for children; so-called “homo marriages”; neglect of proper Catholic teaching in Catholic schools; nice jobs given to Labour MPs in need of a perk) or gave an opposition which was not strong enough and determined not to offend anyone (say: adoption agencies). All this whilst Summorum Pontificum is eagerly boycotted, and Anglicanorum Coetibus at best ignored.
The situation in the US shows us that when good shepherds start doing their job, sheep start following them. It must be so, then once the Catholic message is insistently repeated, there is no way Catholics can – giving them sufficient space to come to term with uneasy truths never told to them before – avoid being affected by it. The beauty of Catholicism is that by its very nature every sustained, repeated call to orthodoxy will always fall on attentive ears, then in Catholicism’s case there is no need to define what “orthodoxy” is, merely to know that it exists and that it demands observance. This is a much easier exercise than to, say, define “Tea Party ideals” or “Republican values”.
If our Bishops started doing their job instead of limiting themselves to be automatic distributors of platitudes and convenient soundbites, things would start changing in Blighty too. Not today and not tomorrow of course; but in time, the effect would be felt.
Today, Cameron is scared senseless from a couple of hundred thousand homosexuals who don’t even vote for him. Let him confront, say, one million angry Catholics and see how he’ll react. Methinks, he’ll become a fan of the Tridentine Mass and tell us that he has always felt that way.
The Hierarchy of E&W betrays his sheep every day. None of them, not one, is worthy of his office. What is happening in the US exposes once more all their inadequacy, incompetence, corruption or very simply loss of faith.
Let us hope that this disgraceful generation of bad shepherds will soon be reformed or, rather less unrealistically, removed. Up to that point, we can only look at the US and sigh.