By WILLIAM ODDIE
on Monday, 22 November 2010
In the words of Cardinal Ratzinger then, ‘what are the English bishops afraid of?’
On Saturday evening, I received a telephone call from a Catholic priest, formerly an Anglican clergyman, who had been one of a group of influential Anglo-Catholics (the most senior being the Rt Rev Graham Leonard, formerly Bishop of London) who in the early 90s had entered into negotiation with a group of Catholic bishops led by Cardinal Hume, on the possibility of devising a method whereby Anglicans might convert to the Catholic Church not individually, but in parish-based groups. My caller was clearly excited, having learned in more detail than has yet been published, the terms under which the Ordinariate will be set up. “They’ve given us everything we were asking for,” he said. “It’s all there.”
I had been in contact with him throughout those long-ago negotiations, about which he had kept me fully informed as each meeting took place. I kept copious notes, later confirmed by the minutes of the meetings, which were leaked to me by more than one participant. This information formed the basis of a detailed and accurate account of what had happened, which appeared in my book The Roman Option some time after the whole thing had been torpedoed by the opposition of certain English Catholic bishops, as a result of which Cardinal Hume – who in the negotiations had been entirely supportive of the Anglican negotiators – lost his nerve and withdrew his support. The scheme foundered and sank, some thought without trace. In Rome, Cardinal Ratzinger asked “what are the English bishops afraid of?” Pope John Paul asked the former Bishop Leonard: “Why are the English bishops so unapostolic?”
Read the rest of Dr. Oddie's post at The Catholic Herald.
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