I have been absolutely fascinated by the creation of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and the preparations for the Ordinariates in other countries. Historically, I find the idea attractive in that the Church has created a space for Anglicans to be united with the See of Peter whilst retaining something of their traditions and culture, which have grown up over the past five centuries.
This in itself is not without precedent as it has its roots in the creation of Anglican Use parishes in the United States back in the 1980s - these are parishes where former members of the (Anglican) Episcopal Church were received into the Roman Catholic Church and allowed to retain much of their 'patrimony' (a fascinating word which seems to excite much debate between different Anglo Catholic groups), in terms of liturgy and practise. From very small communities, parishes have flourished - I encourage people to visit the website of two of the Anglican Use parishes in Texas, http://www.walsingham-church.org/site/Welcome.html and http://www.atonementonline.com/intro.php.
In our own country, by the end of this month, somewhere over 60 men will have been ordained to the priesthood, a couple to the 'transient' diaconate and one as a permanent deacon. With the 900+ lay members we see the beginning of something that could be very exciting in terms of the future of the Catholic Church in the UK and be a trailblazer for much that is to come in the years ahead around the world.
I have only a couple of niggles - one comes from the fact that I have recently been following discussions on some of the blogsites favoured by Anglo-Catholics (or Anglican Catholics) and am frankly depressed by the poisonous atmosphere between those who wish to take up a place in the Ordinariate and those who wish to continue swimming in the ever decreasing circle which are the 'continuing' Anglican groups around the world. I have to make clear that I am not referring to any of those in the UK here, but those who are mostly in North America. I say to those who are on their way into the Ordinariate - shake the dust off your feet when you arrive and let these arguments go - it is in the joy that you will feel that will give the best answer to the naysayers. To those who aren't coming - don't.
My other niggle is to do with people who are holding back from entering just now; please do not misunderstand me, I don't refer to those who are truly on a journey which may eventually bring them into the Ordinariate (or even into the Church without the Ordinariate). I refer to those who are 'waiting to see what is on offer' before making a choice. Be it those who are waiting to see whether or not the General Synod of the Church Of England will give them another compromise to allow them to remain 'Catholic and Anglican' or those who want to be sure that joining the Ordinariate will not require any real change on their part, allowing them to keep their positions and authority (here, I admit, I am throwing a stone in the direction of the USA and its continuing communities). If you have truly prayed for unity, it is on offer; you cannot use the threat of joining the Ordinariate as a bargaining chip with the General Synod nor can you expect that this journey makes no demands of the individual making it.
So, best of luck to all of you who have already joined the Ordinariate in the UK or those eagerly awaiting the erection of the same in other countries. You are all in my prayers.