VNichols on Anglicans.jpgIncreased attention is growing in the days that lead up to the anticipated creation of an Anglican Ordinariate in England. It’s hoped that the Ordinariate will be announced in early 2011. As you are aware, following the beatification of John Henry Newman 5 Anglican bishops declared that they’re resigning their positions in the Church of England in favor of entering into full communion with the Church of Rome. Andrew Burnham one of the bishops seeking communion with Rome set aside his mitre and crosier at the Mary altar, saying: “It is because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit, abiding in his Church, that I believe I must accept it and invite others to come with me on the journey.”

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols gives his perspective on recent events. While what he says is basically true, he whitewashes a number of things. It is true that there are common, shared elements of belief and practice which are beautiful. There are, however, other things between the churches that don’t cohere. I am doubtful of Archbishop Nichols when he says that the CofE and Roman Church share in a single mission. That is not evident in the CoE’s statements on doctrine and pastoral practice. Matters of truth don’t always seemed to be as shared as friendship is among the bishops of either communities.
There’s a spirit of gratitude among many who “pope”. Friends who have done so lament the lack of good preaching (at least in style with the beauty of words), the lack of a superb ars celebrandi in the sacred Liturgy on the part of the Catholic priests, and the lack of excellent music. The list could go on…. But on this topic, Andrew Burnham says, “The Anglo-Catholic movement has fought a losing battle for 150 years, trying to convince the Church of England that she would be Catholic if only she conformed herself to the Catholic Faith and fully embraced Catholic Faith and Order. But I love the Church of England –the mainstream bit– and shall miss her. She taught me the psalms and the Revised Standard Version. She taught me about music in the service of God. She taught me about the beauty of holiness … There is little more beautiful in literature than the Cranmerian cadences of the traditional language of the Prayer Book, which, rather unusually, we are using today.”
Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us.