Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Catholic Ordinariate

Catholic Shrine of
Our Lady of Walsingham
Today marks a historic moment in the English Church. I have known for about six years of the powerful intercession of Our Lady of Walsingham; a pre-reformation medieval devotion which has been revived in the last century by both Catholics (left) and Anglicans. After a visit there as newly-weds, it had far reaching effects in our lives. Indeed, it led to my (then-Anglican) wife's conversion to Catholicism, and my own decision to believe in a personal God once again, and to practice the Faith of my childhood. It so happened that the weekend we decided to visit my cousin/aunt, was the same weekend Dr Rowan Williams was leading a Marian pilgrimage there!

So it is with great joy I learned today that the new Ordinariate for disaffected Anglicans has been named after Our Lady of Walsingham. This is a subject I have prayed for many times before. As an extra firm link to our Anglo-Catholic history, it has also been placed under the Patronage of the recently proclaimed Blessed John Henry Newman, which makes it look even more like his intercession has spearheaded this initiative. It came directly from the Pope, in answer to a plea from prominent Anglicans who couldn't see a way to continue in communion with Canterbury in good conscience.

Today's Ordinations (Offertory)
Today, en route to an LMS meeting, I absolutely had to pop in to Westminster Cathedral to see the historic event whereby three ex-Anglican-bishops were ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. They 'defected' from the Anglican church late last year, converting on January 1st this year, and have been fast-tracked to the Priesthood so that they can help establish the new Ordinariate, which promises  "will enable members ... to preserve within the Catholic Church those elements of Anglican ecclesial prayer, liturgy and pastoral practice (patrimony) that are concordant with Catholic teaching and which have nurtured and nourished their Christian faith and life." It certainly reflects how my wife found the journey to Catholicism; being drawn into a fullness of Faith rather than being repulsed by Anglican traditions.

I quote above a press release from the Bishops Conference of England & Wales (BCEW) which also mentions "The Ordinariate will not be a Ritual Church; that is, the Ordinariate will not be principally defined by the liturgical rites it uses." Of course this is a special interest of mine, since I am devoted to the traditional Latin Liturgy of the Church. It seems like they'll be able to use the 'Anglican Use' established in America, but also that "the Ordinariate will always be able to use the Roman Rite" which means, yes, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will be accessible and hopefully offered for the good of traditionalists in the Catholic pond. 

Better still, they will not be subject to the same sort of adverse pressures that Roman Catholic Clergy are, since the Ordinariate is a personal body of the Holy See and not answerable to the BCEW, but rather to a Governing Body (where at least half the membership will be comprised of new 'Anglo-Catholic' Priests). However, the press release does mention that £250,000 has been invested from the BCEW, and that the new Ordinary of the Ordinariate (mouthful? Basically means the office and power to govern, like a Bishop in his diocese) will be an ex-officio member of the BCEW, and expected to "take a full part in its discussions and decisions" and will "implement the resolutions taken by the Conference within the life of the Ordinariate". Sounds like the BCEW are being control freaks to me!

Rev Fr Keith Newton is the 'Ordinary' despite never being able to be a full Catholic Bishop (while his spouse is living): He was a married Anglican-bishop and received into the Church with his family this month and ordained today (Anglican orders are 'null and void' according to Pope Leo XIII's Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae in 1896). By Tradition, although it is known for Priests to be married, it is unheard of to have married Bishops. Today Fr Newton announced "I hope the Ordinariate will be a gift to the Catholic Church and that I, together with those priests and people who join the Ordinariate, will be of service to the whole Church." I hope this statement bears fruit, and that rather than marginalised or ghettoised, these new Catholics will teach us more about our own Faith than has been passed down to my generation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Epiphany House Blessing

During what was once the octave of Epiphany, we took advantage of a passing Priest and had our first traditional Epiphany House Blessing. I thought I'd make the text available below.
Epiphany Blessing

Wednesday, January 05, 2011