Thursday, 10 February 2011

Ordinariate puts downsizing on hold

"Oh there will only be a few." This was almost a mantra in the months leading up to the establishment of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. It seems that the "few" is a couple of hundred here, a couple of hundred there, along with various groups of several priests.

Fr John Boyle has picked up on an article in TotalCatholic which reports that seven Anglican priests and 300 lay people from six congregations within the territory of the Diocese of Brentwood are to join the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. This means that significantly more ordinations and receptions are foreseen this year for the Ordinariate alone than the yearly average figure for dioceses in England and Wales.

Recently, Bishop Thomas McMahon and the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell were interviewed by Radio Essex: the Ordinariate Portal has posted a transcript. The Catholic Herald adds a significant angle to the story from this interview. (See: Bishop defers plans to cut number of Masses thanks to ordinariate) Bishop McMahon's answers to the interviewer's questions were sensible and balanced. During the course of his remarks, he said:
Rationalisation of Masses for a number of parishes has been put on hold for the time being, as we wait to see what effect the priests coming into the ordinariate will have in the diocese in the months to come.
This is welcome news. It has become rather depressing to hear constantly of how we are preparing for a Church with fewer priests, amalgamating parishes and generally looking forward to the point where we might as well say "Last one out, turn the lights off." Despite the negative and unenthusiastic spin put on it by quite a few people within the Church, the Ordinariate does seem set to make a real difference to the life of the Church in England and Wales. (But the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford still maintains that "it is a small group of people.")
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