Saturday, 25 September 2010

Catching up with developments....

Away for a few days this week on some essential business - it's probably a prudent idea to make sure we have a roof over our heads come le déluge. The prospect of having to find a vacant park bench and a stock of broadsheet newspapers to keep us warm doesn't thrill us at all. To quote a friend: "it's one thing to recognise that my own life is screwed up, its another thing to screw up the lives of those who depend on me" - except that's not the exact expression he used......

Some reflections on the Holy Father's Visit later - I left these shores at about the same time, but in a different direction - but already it is very clear that this Papal Visit has had and will have an impact and a significance far beyond what was expected, even by many of us who were eagerly anticipating it. Words were spoken which will resonate for a long time in many hearts and minds.
Being away, sadly I wasn't able to be present at the Synod called by the 'Catholic bishops of the C of E' (there's a telling phrase in itself); in any case I always find family funerals distressing and I'm not really that sorry to have missed this one. There are reports by Bishop Edwin Barnes and Fr Mark Zorab here and here

As for the new Missionary Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (website here), it would be very sensible to reserve judgement; it could have a highly welcome contribution to make if it proves to have a vocation as a stepping stone to advance the goal of further unity between Anglicanism, the Ordinariates and Rome ( a sort of "not yet the Ordinariate,"  a kind of rear-guard protecting the bridge over the Tiber - even the rearguard of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet's "caravan" here) rather than simply being a refuge for those unwilling to recognise the truth about our situation. We should probably try to ensure, if we possibly can, that the former is precisely its role. But only time will tell.

But whatever happens on a personal level in the short-term (what does that matter in the wider picture?), it is my fervent hope and prayer that the Ordinariates will soon be successfully launched and grow steadily in numbers and in influence and that they will  be one of the enduring legacies of this Pope of Christian Unity, a truly prophetic reaching out to those separated by one of the greatest tragedies of history.
We must salute without any qualification those who are willing (and able) to join now, but it's clear that many are not yet in that enviable position, theologically, financially, pastorally, canonically. Patience... the Ordinariate is specifically designed to be an open-ended project.. .
Yet those who have to stay put pro tem, for whatever reason, are not going to be transformed into enthusiastic Anglican loyalists. To be obedient (even to the vocation of Anglicanism, certainly as defined by true ecumenists such as Archbishop Michael Ramsey) we must remain disobedient to the idea that Anglicanism is an end in itself and has any other vocation than to be reunited with the rock from which we were hewn and the ending of a five hundred year schism. The commitment (Our Lord's command to us, that is!) to visible unity, reaffirmed once again in the visit of the Holy Father to Lambeth Palace, forces us to be disobedient to those things which separate us, both to the doctrinal 'innovations' of postmodern Anglicanism and its very recent departures from apostolic tradition in respect of Holy Order and moral theology, and disobedient, too, with regard to our historical liturgical deficiencies.

If we have to remain (for whatever period) many of us will stay as the convinced papalists which we have become in direct response to the disintegration of the Anglican world. If we are challenged or criticised over that by those in roles of Anglican episcopal leadership, I hope that after that recent meeting at Lambeth and what was said there, they will have the decency to blush the same colour as their cassocks. Words, only words......what do they matter? Say one thing, do another....all in a day's work where ecumenism is concerned. Although, perhaps one should not judge them too harshly, being now merely the servants of a runaway synodical process...

1 comment:

  1. This is certainly the best response I have read thank you Father. Should you add to your list >>but it's clear that many are not yet in that enviable position, theologically, financially, pastorally, canonically<<, geographically?
    It seems to me that those waiting to see are being unfairly criticised. Apart from not knowing what is involved, we don't even know whether there will be a local opportunity to join.


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