|John Broadhurst, ex-Anglican Bishop of Fulham, now a Catholic|
As the Catholic Herald reported here the largest steps to date were taken by three ex-Anglican bishops, who converted to become, as I understand it, simple Catholics [like me - I'm a simple Catholic ;-)].
Now I have had all manner of opinions on this thrust at me by friends, but let me put my own out there.
I have to say that I am pleased at events, because it shows many Anglicans that their real home is in the Catholic Church. It also reminds more people that Anglicanism is a very strange heresy started by a Catholic king who wanted a divorce, and later taken over by Protestants (hence the Heinz 57 Varieties of Anglicans available!).
At the same time, my worry is that 'liberals' (maybe quasi-Catholics or media hirelings) who are always trying to nibble away at authentic Catholicism, will try and use these events to apply pressure for a married clergy, planned family mentality, etc. - in short to move the Catholic Church closer to the former Anglicanism of the converts, than bringing all the Anglican converts over to Catholicism as outlined in our catechisms (which kind of undermines the point of them converting in the first place!).
Of course we all know of the Eastern (Greek, Russian, Ukrainian) Uniat Churches that keep their own liturgies but moved back to recognise the Pope. Do some see the Ordinariate, established by the Pope, as being a version of this? But then I believe I'm right in saying that the Orthodox Mass is legitimate, whereas no Catholic seriously believes that transubstantiation takes place under Anglican auspices.
So is this a clever way to get Anglicans to convert en masse (but with free will) to the Faith of Our Fathers? Or a way to try and validate Anglican liturgy in a Catholic setting?
One friend of mine has said he is worried that the conversions are being 'fast tracked' and that the Anglican converts therefore won't know their Catholicism, possibly bringing heretical ideas with them (thus bolstering heretical ideas held by a vocal minority within the Church)
Another has said that the Ordinariate is a clever move by the Vatican to keep the Anglican converts under the direct control of the Vatican, and thus free of the "ecumania" of the Bishops Conference.
We have to be ecstatic at the turn of events that has brought more souls to our Church, and the fact that it is women 'bishops' and homosexual 'clergy' that has pushed Anglicans in recent years into the Catholic fold should be a warning to all Catholics to keep our Faith orthodox on the issues of married clergy, female clergy, homosexuals etc. because we have all seen the damage such moves have made to the Anglicans.
As the Catholic Herald article says:
We all received Communion (five of our new brethren, including all three former bishops, on the tongue) and, lo, it was done. We are in communion.
Perhaps more Catholics receiving Communion on the tongue, together with the demand that Papal Masses can only have Communion on the tongue, might see a move for more Catholics to move away from the horrifying and unedifying sight that is Communion being placed in unconsecrated hands (which Mother Theresa said is the worst thing in the world!).
In short we as Catholics must receive our formerly separated brethren with great joy and charity, hope for many positives, yet be watchful as always, certainly against ecumaniac suggestions as this.
I think the advent of the Ordinariate will give the many millions of Catholics in Britain renewed vigour in their Faith (following on from the Pope's visit) and a sharp lesson that what GK Chesterton would have labelled as 'fads' in churches only lead to people losing their beliefs or walking out of their church. If anyone tries to use it as a fop to more ecumaniacal behaviour then it will only lead to Catholics (of the 'old' or 'new' type) losing their Faith.
These good people wanted to join the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: not to see the Catholic Church become another variant of the liberal, all-things-to-all-men/women/transgenders mess they left behind.