October 19, 2010
by Damian Thompson
There’s an excellent piece on the Ordinariate in today’s Daily Telegraph by our new religious affairs editor Tim Ross, reporting that “senior figures in the Catholic Church in England expect the new body to accommodate ‘thousands’ of converts”.
I sense a change in the wind, don’t you? The Bishop of Fulham is (at least in his own eyes) an Anglo-Catholic “big beast”. As I said at the weekend, although I’m glad he’s coming over, his rhetoric about the “fascist” Church of England is… unhelpful, I think is the word people use. But if Bishop Broadhurst is joining the English Ordinariate, no one can say that it appeals only to an effete Anglo-Papalist fringe. I wasn’t surprised when, unlike other members of the Catholic Group in Synod in 1993-4, John Broadhurst stayed behind in the C of E and accepted a mitre. He thought Anglo-Catholicism was worth fighting for. Now he knows that the battle is lost.
In the end, though, it’s not his generation that matters...
I suspect that the future of the Ordinariate lies elsewhere: with bright younger Anglo-Catholic clergy, some of them scholars, and with thousands of committed lay people who already belong to “gathered congregations” – that is, who are used to worshipping at a church that suits them rather than just attending their local parish. This is an increasingly common pattern of worship throughout Catholicism, Anglicanism and the Evangelical world, not just some picky Anglo-Catholic habit. Another significant pattern is church-planting, which the Catholic Church in England has been really bad at until now…
Read in full at the Telegraph blog Holy Smoke.