Thursday, November 7, 2013

Joanna Bogle on the Ordinariate

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI issued Anglicanorum Coetibus on November 4, 2009, and Joanna Bogle looks at the progress of the Anglican Ordinariate in England in The Catholic World Report. Our Lady of Walsingham was established in January, 2011 and has since found a home in London, at least, with parish churches, and continues to grow:

So far, some 80 clergy and about 1,000 laity in Britain have responded to the invitation made by Pope Benedict in Anglicanorum Coetibus. The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham came into being in 2011 with three former Anglican bishops forming its leadership. The following year two other ordinariates were established—the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the United States and Canada, and the Ordinariate of the Southern Cross in Australia.

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has groups in various parts of Britain. In London, two churches have been given over to the ordinariate by the Catholic bishops: one in Warwick Street—a building with an extraordinary history going back to the days when Catholics could only worship in chapels linked to foreign embassies—and one on the south bank of the river Thames, near London Bridge.
It is this Church of the Most Precious Blood, a late 19th-century building next to the railway viaduct, not far from Borough Market, that is now the spiritual home of a thriving ordinariate parish community. Father Christopher Pearson was formerly the vicar of the Anglican church of St Agnes, at Kennington. He and a number of parishioners responded to the Holy Father’s call, and after due process—a time of reflection, decision, and instruction—were formally received into full communion with the Catholic Church and confirmed. A while later, Father Christopher was ordained deacon and then priest in St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark. They all worshipped for a while at St. Wilfrid’s Catholic Church in Kennington, not far from their old home at St. Agnes. And then the Church of the Most Precious Blood becoming vacant with the planned departure of the Salvatorean Order, which had been running the parish, and it was given into ordinariate care.
But that does not tell the whole story. There have been so many adventures along the way. Media coverage of the ordinariate has been, to put it mildly, mixed. The Times ran a headline announcing that the Pope had “parked his tanks” on the Anglican lawn. There had been hopes that Anglican clergy seeking full communion with large groups of parishioners might be able to continue using their churches—perhaps under a sharing arrangement. No such possibilities were allowed. Nor did the Catholic bishops of England and Wales seem enthusiastic: while there was official goodwill, and ordinations were celebrated at Westminster Cathedral and elsewhere with glorious music and a packed congregations, there was an apparent reluctance to help get things moving. Ordinariate groups found that they were, at best, offered a time-slot for Mass in a local Catholic parish. Ordinariate clergy were generally absorbed into the mainstream of Catholic life, working as chaplains in hospitals and parishes, and caring for their ordinariate groups, but without buildings of their own.
Read the rest here.

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