The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints
I hope there's room for me.

Welcome all - especially Mancunians.

Hello anybody lost in the blogosphere. Welcome to the ruminations of a politically left of centre, Man United supporting, blues loving, history-fixated, Catholic wanderer. Be warned, I am a bit of a curmudgeon.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Welcome home, please don't spit in our face.

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: 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?


  1. Good post.

    It is an obedience thing. What so many are failing to comprehend is that Mgrs Burnham, Newton and Broadhurst are men of total obedience to Rome and as such put a lot of Catholic traditionalists to shame.

    I was at Mgr Burnham's first Mass as a Catholic priest, it was a beautiful "N.O." with some Anglican embellishments. They are not "traditionalistas" but working on bringing out a "living tradition".

  2. Dear Sir
    I don't think we can say that "a lot of those who are interested in the Ordinariate do not like the N.O.". What I would say is that the most vocal comentators on "Anglicatholics" blogs don't like the Novus Ordo. But frequently these people aren't Anglicans, but (weird) Catholic traditionalists, who uses these sites as a platform to rant again and again against the way the Church is governed.

  3. Dear Sir,

    I believe you have a point, but it is not completely fair to blame it all only on 'wierd' Catholics. There are remarks coming from others as well in the Continuing Anglican Community. I would also say that those in the Traditional Anglican Communion are less likely to be comfortable with the Novus Ordo but, as my link shows, there are other options. As for the ranters - oh well, they are unhappy people.

  4. Don't forget most members of the Anglican Church in the U.S. use the 1979 "manufactured" liturgy. The pure 1928 Episcopal prayer book is used in very few churches.
    In the UK, only about 18% of the CofE churches use the BCPrayer of 1662, the "official" text. They make use of a liturgy strongly influenced by the Roman 1970 or Novus Ordo Mass of Pope Paul VI. It makes sense for Rome to create a distinctive Anglican version of Pope Paul's Mass with Sarum, borrowed Byzantine-style litanies, the Trisagion, and other eastern elements, as well as borrowing the outstanding features we all know and love from Cranmer's liturgy and offices.

    I'm optimistic. Let us have confidence in Msgr. Burnham and the the final choice Rome makes.

    Forget what the unhappy sedevacantist/SSPX ranters say. They're heretics and schismatics. When Benedict XVI has vacated his golden throne, the new pope will clean them out with a new broom.

  5. I think you will find that most of the priests recently ordained into the Ordinariate are used to a Liturgy that is best described as Modern Catholic. Many of them will have used the Roman Rite whilst still Anglicans. The hostility to the N.O. surely comes from the "Trad" Catholic camp?

  6. I make that very point in my posting. The truth is that there is a mix of 'Trad' Catholics and Anglican Catholics who have expressed themselves on this issue. The thing is that while you cope with the mumbling from your own family, it is unnerving to hear it from those who are about to join. I have read comments/posts from members of the 'Continuing' community, many on their way to join the Ordinariates in North America, which have been quite vitriolic and unkind. I understand that people have concerns about Liturgy, it is how they are expressed that matters.
    I have to say that the internecine quality of the fallout among the 'Continuing' Anglicans left me shocked and I made the mistake of visiting the Anglican Continuum blog on one occasion; if that is Christianity then Lord help help us. I am glad they aren't joining.

  7. I am one of those awaiting the erection of the Ordinariate in the USA. I have on various occasions shared with my congregation that our 'training curve' will include issues of obedience. Yes, there are some folks on The Anglo Catholic website who attempt to instigate controversy yet, they are readily called on if they are uncharitable or seeking to disturb those of us committed to the journey Home. It is the latter whom I thank God I am making this journey with. I do not visit committed 'Continuing' websites because I do not wish to be concerned with the negative feelings I understand are found there. A 'divorce' is never pleasant, so as we depart our present location and move on to the future offered us through the ministry of Papa Benedict let us, based on the reality of the moment, as CatholicLeft has described it, set our 'hands on the plow' and not look back; but pray for those we leave behind knowing that this blessed process does not have an expiration date. Only God knows if those who rail against us today will not later on contact us for assistance and prayer on their journey Home.

  8. "So - what is it with these people..?"
    You cannot be talking about the Ordinariate in England; none of what you say applies to it.

  9. I think I made it clear I didn't refer to the OLW, whom I am very excited about

  10. Little Black Sambo, you have already indicated on the Anglo-Catholic blog that the Ordinariate is not for you, so why are you hanging around like some bad smell?

  11. Many of the people who are members of traditional Anglican parishes in America are not so sure that bishops can be trusted, and with good reason based on experience. Thus you insist that they "trust the church."
    Perhaps they are giving the church a chance at this time.
    Remember also that we can read on various blogs many negative comments about the Mass of Paul VI. some of us can also read the comments, respectful but critical, of such Mass (as he has seen it said) made in writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
    NOTE: Almost 100% of traditional Anglicans in America use the 1928BCP and/or the Anglican Missal.
    And, please realize that many Anglicans and Episcopalians just LOVE to rant.

  12. Thank you for that reflection Father. When it comes to Faith matters and the Liturgy, I would advise people not to read about them on various blogs. Whilst I am sure there will be a beautiful Liturgy for the American Ordinariate, I hope you also look forward to celebrating the re-reformed Novus Ordo Missae for the many non-Ordinariate Catholics who will just be delighted to have a priest to lead them in the glory of the Sacrifice of Holy Mass.

  13. "... why are you hanging around like some bad smell?"
    Is this your way of saying you disagree with what I have just written?

  14. I am saying, if you're not interested in joining the Ordinariate, as you indicated on the English Catholic blog (not Anglo-Catholic, my mistypo),
    why are you commenting on matters which do not concern you. Not just here, but you pop up everywhere matters concering the Ordinariate are discussed/mentioned.