The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Saturday, January 1, 2011

History Being Made

January 1, 2011
by Fr. Seán Finnegan

One of my jobs is that of teaching Church History in a seminary, and it is a awesome (in the correct sense of the word) thing to be actually present at an event which my successors will be teaching about.

I was present today in Westminster Cathedral when three (not the five that had been prophesied) former Anglican bishops were received into full Communion with the Catholic Church,
The whole thing was very low-key, really. I turned up early, and was saying a prayer at the shrine of Our Lady of Pew when I was joined by a man in a purple tie. He asked for assistance in a small matter, and I recognized John Broadhurst (hard to know how to title him right now). We chatted for a minute, and I thought that he seemed in very cheerful humour.

I crossed over to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and was met by two anxious-looking journalists who also wanted help. They were deceived by my clerical collar into thinking I was on the local team. 'We're from The Telegraph, and are here for the Ordination at 12.30'. Well, The Telegraph had obviously not sent the A team, I thought, if they hadn't even realized what they were coming to!

I got a nice seat at one side, and was pleased to espy Jeffery Steel of De Cura Animarum in the congregation.

There was a little rehearsal beforehand, and Mass duly began. There was absolutely no reference whatever to the elephant in the room (the reception of these notables) from the celebrant (and former Tibernaut) Bishop Alan Hopes or anyone else. It was simply a Mass for the feast of the Mother of God; a little note in the service sheet simply observed that there would be a reception in the middle. Finally, once he had preached, Bishop Hopes said a word about what was happening.

The reception itself was very low-key. The journalists turned out to be photographers, and put their heads over the screen behind the choir stalls, setting the volume of their shutter clicks to Maximum and Extremely Distracting. Only the three active flying bishops were received, all modestly and humbly in ties, together with some members of some of their families, plus the three sisters from Walsingham...

Read the rest of Fr. Finnegan's post at The Anglo-Catholic blog.


See also the article on the blog of America Magazine:

The discreet beginnings of the Ordinariate
Saturday, January 01, 2011 09:55:23 AM
Austen Ivereigh

The 1230 Mass today at London's Westminster Cathedral looked like any other. But for the hint in the booklet for the feast of Mary, Mother of God, that after the homily would be a "Rite of reception and confirmation", there was nothing at all to indicate the significance of what was to happen. The celebrant, an auxiliary bishop of Westminster, Alan Hopes, said nothing at the start of Mass, and it wasn't until the end of a lengthy homily on Mary as Theotokos, or God-bearer, and the controversies of the fourth-century Council of Nicea which led to this Feast, that Bishop Hopes mentioned that they would be receiving some former members of the Church of England into full communion.

They included, he said, three former bishops and their relatives, as well as three Anglican nuns....


Another post on the topic, on the blog A Reluctant Sinner has three photos of the actual reception ceremony at Westminster Cathedral, in the post "Three former Anglican bishops and three nuns are received into the Catholic Church today, as the Anglican Ordinariate is about to be created".

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