Monday, 18 October 2010

The nature of a caravan

This has been prompted by one or two comments on the blog

The Ordinariate "caravan," as Bishop Andrew Burnham has described it, is a process, a journey; it will take longer for some than for others to reach their intended destination. As the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus explicitly state, this is an open-ended invitation to enter into full communion with the Successor of Peter, there are no time limits imposed on it; we all have different timetables by which we are able to operate.

In Wales the response to the announcement of the Anglican Ordinariates has been muted (to say the least) for several reasons. Yes, there has been widespread scepticism and the pouring of gallons of cold water. But in fairness, apart from those who will never, under any circumstances, be prepared to leave the Church in Wales (which they persist in believing - somewhat against the evidence I have to say-  remains the ancient catholic church of the land)  a lot of people simply can't see how any new structures will operate. Some are unsure as to what all this talk of Anglican patrimony consists of and whether, if they can identify it, they can identify with it. Many people don't know in any detail what is being proposed. Others may feel they need more time and information in order to discern their future and make plans. It isn't only the clergy who will be fearful of being uprooted from familiar people and places.

It's in the nature of the Catholic Movement that many lay people look for guidance to their clergy. For two years now (thanks to the collective decision of the Diocesans) we have all lacked episcopal guidance; many priests are themselves hesitant and demoralised, not convinced of the support of their own congregations and worried about their future and those of their families, if they have them. Some, in view of what has happened in North America and Australia, might be wary of launching what could be interpreted as any kind of 'recruitment drive' for fear of being charged with abandonment of communion, or whatever the local term might be for what, in the hands of the unscrupulous, is an infinitely malleable concept.

If in Wales there are laypeople out there (who will inevitably be scattered among different parishes and over a wide area) who are interested in forming a group to explore the Ordinariate further - with no pressure, no immediate commitment and for however long the process might take -  perhaps it would be a good idea to get in touch (and in total confidence) with someone they know to be sympathetic -  if you see what I mean. Just a thought.
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