As I have previously pointed out in an earlier post, I am fairly cheerful about the setting up of the Ordinariates for people of an Anglican tradition within the Catholic Church. I recently attended the Ordination of 3 men to the Priesthood in Nottingham Cathedral and it was very moving and there was a sense of history about the whole thing. I chatted to all the newly ordained and they came with all kinds of hopes and were full of joy - especially the 82 year old great-grandfather (in remarkable health) who spoke movingly of this being the result of a 58 year journey praying for unity. After the Bishop of Nottingham had ordained them for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (OLW), their Ordinary, Monsignor Newton, pointedly turned to the diocesan priests and made it clear that they would be working together with the Church in the Diocese to support the work of the Catholic Church: "We are Catholic Priests first and Ordinariate second". This was a good thing to have done and added to the good feeling among all those there.
Now, whilst I am fascinated about how the Ordinariate will grow (and I am sure it will), I would like to turn my attention to the febrile atmosphere that exists in the 'Blogosphere' among those who are waiting for the formation of Ordinariates in Canada, USA, Australia, the Torres Straits (google it) and elsewhere. I am frankly astonished by the number of commentators who seemed to think that the Catholic Church is desperately in need of their immediate arrival so that they might 'save us' from the horrors of our Liturgy, our Bishops and our - obviously very inadequately trained - priests.
Now, I have been to some appallingly prepared/celebrated Masses, which are usually due to the Presiding priest's political agenda and it disappoints/annoys me intensely, but this is a rare occurence and not, as you would believe when reading some of the commentators, the case in every parish. There is a continual reference to the 'N.O.'(Novus Ordo) which, for all you life-long, committed and faithful Catholics out there, is a reference to how we have celebrated our Liturgy since the early 1970's. It is a shortened way of referring to the Novus Ordo Missae which means 'The New Order of the Mass'.
Put simply, a lot of those who are interested in the Ordinariate do not like the N.O. OK - I think that is pretty clear. They share this dislike with the Latin Mass Society who, given the recent issuing of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict, have not too much to worry about as they can far more frequently have the Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Missal.
Now, I have been to some beautifully celebrated, Spiritually uplifting, celebrations of Mass and it is very rare where I am not deeply moved to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and I always find peace in the reception of Holy Communion. So, I am not overly impressed by the constant sniping from those who have yet to become members of our Church.
Those joining the OLW are having a Liturgy prepared which will be in keeping with the Anglican Patrimony which the Ordinariate is set up to encourage and nurture. The thing is - and pay attention everybody - a lot of those who have yet to join an Ordinariate do not trust those preparing the Liturgy, even though they are led by Monsignor Andrew Burnham, former Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet. They believe that those who have already joined the Ordinariate were hardly Anglicans anyway as they already used the Roman Missal and celebrated using the N.O. (they have a point here, a lot of C of E priests did do this) so they are not 'sound'. I believe this to be nonsensical and a lot of those who are 'on the way' to the Ordinariates trust Msgr Burnham, who is not acting alone but with others from around the world to prepare appropriate Liturgies.
Indeed, if anybody wants to see what an Ordinariate Liturgy might look like, I point them to the Anglican Use Roman Catholic Mass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q251EywW__M which seems to this cradle Catholic a beautiful and appropriate Liturgy. I assume this is close to what the USA Ordinariate liturgy looks like when it is set up in the Autumn.
So - what is it with these people; why the lack of graciousness and the anger directed towards those who are inviting them home? In truth, I think it has little to do with the Catholic Church as such, it is to do with ongoing battles between groups of people in small breakaway Anglican communities. They have been so used to fighting with other Anglicans they don't know how to relax and trust; they have been let down too many times and still feel that is what will happen. I am sorry about that and encourage everybody to pray that they find peace and unity in the Body of Christ, the Church.
However, that doesn't mean that the snide comments and patronising remarks should continue; can we have a little more trust and a lot less vitriol, brothers and sisters, as we walk this journey of Faith together?