An excellent article appeared in the Catholic Herald. Click here to read in full. Written by Stephen Bullivant it reflects on the vocations crisis and suggests a solution is staring bishops in the face, were they only to move away from a ‘one size fits all’ way of thinking and embrace the fruits of the new evangelisation. Then struggling parishes, instead of closing, could be handed over to emerging groups – like the Ordinariate – who have the clergy and vision to enable them to flourish. Our story in Pembury being proof positive of this claim.
From the article….
If I were a bishop…what I’d be praying for is a group with dozens of young and energetic clergy, thoroughly immersed in British culture, and with years (if not decades) of pastoral experience…which brings us to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Given the kinds of statistics I’ve outlined – that is, too many churches for the numbers of priests and worshippers we actually have – it’s no wonder that many bishops have readily borrowed ordinariate priests for their dioceses. Anglicanorum Coetibus was, in this sense, a unexpected windfall of additional clergy….yet the current model of plugging gaps in ordinary diocesan provision is, not in the long run, a sensible one for either party….
Christ’s Church has plenty of room in it for such a body…such a thing will not, of course, appeal to everyone (including not all former Anglicans). But then why should it? This vision…offers a niche way of “being Church” that complements, rather than competes with, the default normal parish offering.
Do read the whole article. And then pray the bishops are also reading and taking note. How the Ordinariate could fulfil its vocation, and do great things, if only more people would embrace rather than resist it and see it as a blessing rather than a threat. On both sides of the Tiber I might add!
A tip of the biretta to Stephen Bullivant from all of us in Pembury! The photograph above shows me presiding during Anglican days at St. Barnabas in Tunbridge Wells.