A Principal Church: A Matter of Principle

An article by Dr. William Oddie was published recently in the Catholic Herald. He began with the great news of the diaconal ordinations of seventeen men which will be taking place at Westminster Cathedral. These men are being ordained for service in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

So far, so good.

After reporting that happy news, Dr. Oddie immediately segued to making the point that these ordinations shouldn’t be taking place at Westminster Cathedral. No, says Dr. Oddie – they should be taking place in the principal church of the Ordinariate.

There is no such principal church, you say? That’s exactly the point he wants to make.

And why is there no principal church for the Ordinariate? Because Archbishop Nichols and the other Catholic bishops in England haven’t given them one, Dr. Oddie says. And he takes this as proof that the English hierarchy isn’t being as supportive of the Ordinariate as might be expected.

I have no first-hand knowledge about the support being given to the Personal Ordinariate by the English bishops, nor am I casting myself in the role of apologist for Archbishop Nichols. I’m just trying to figure out why anyone would think that a principal church should be given outright.

Much has been made of the fact that the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was “given” a principal church. What is neglected to be mentioned, however, is that the Houston parish of Our Lady of Walsingham had been planning to enter the Ordinariate as soon as it was erected. The parish was already Catholic, having been established a generation ago as an Anglican Use parish, and its property would be transferred with the people. It was a simple matter to declare it to be the principal church. I’m sure the same would have happened in England if there had been a group entering with its property. But there wasn’t.

To make it sound as though the American hierarchy simply cast an eye around and randomly selected a church to give to the Ordinariate, so therefore the English hierarchy should do the same, is (to use a cliché) like comparing apples to oranges.

And that’s all preface to the more important point; namely, simply giving a church to the English Ordinariate isn’t going to help it, in the long run. The principal church in Houston didn’t fall down from the sky. That congregation of Anglican Use Catholics spent years worshipping in a rented convent chapel, and for a time even in a rented store-front. Through tremendous sacrifice they built a church which was very modest, and now serves as the parish hall. And what they did, other Anglican Use groups did. Our Lady of the Atonement began in rented facilities, and through patience, thriftiness and sacrifice, was able to construct what it has today – and even that was done incrementally over several years. None of us had any particularly wealthy donors in those early days, and we certainly didn’t expect our respective dioceses to hand a church building over to us – nor did they – just because we had become Catholics.

It’s a pretty simple principle, immediately evident to anyone who’s had teenagers. If a young man wants a car, he needs to get a job to pay for it. Just because a father doesn’t hand his car keys over to his 16-year old son doesn’t mean he doesn’t love him and support him. Quite the opposite – because a father loves his son, he helps him by giving his son the responsibility of accomplishing it himself.

I’m as eager as Dr. Oddie is, to see a principal church for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. But I believe they need to work for it, sacrifice for it, save for it – which will make it all the more beautiful to them – and I have no doubt they can do it. Many of us have.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

61 thoughts on “A Principal Church: A Matter of Principle”

  1. Thank you, Father, for so eloquently making the point I wished to – with real experience behind your words.

    Which community in London, who have sacrificed so much through the generations, are expected to lose their church to facilitate Dr Oddie's wish?

    As a great supporter of the Ordinarate, I feel this attack on the senior Archbishop of England and Wales only undermines the wish of the Ordinariate to be an integral part of the Church in E and W.

    Thankfully, Dr Oddie does not represent the view of the Ordinariate.

  2. If there is enough goodwill, the CoE can give at least one of the closed medieval churches. During the heyday of ecumenism, The CoE gave at least one of the medieval churches back to the English Catholic Church. Is it possible to recover such goodwill and graciousness on the side of Catholics and Anglicans? The situation in England however is much different than in America.

    1. I have heard or one or two cases of a mediæval church being discovered in ruins and rebuilt as a Catholic church (like St Etheldreda's in London), or reconsecrated, having been used for another purpose (like the Slipper Chapel in Walsingham and a chapel in Dover); I have also known of ancient churches used to celebrate Mass in, either as Mass centres, or for occasions; however, I have never heard of an ancient church actually being given by the CofE to the Catholic Church. Do you know where, Ben?

      1. The Catholic Church in Malton North Yorkshire is a complete medieval church leased by the C of E to the Catholic Chuch.

      2. Yes, there is the Church of SS Leonard and Mary at Malton in Yorkshire and I have read of others, I think one in Oxfordshire. In recent decades, the Church of England has had many surplus churches which are also listed buildings. They have an obligation to maintain these buildings, or to pass them on to some other body or person who will take over the maintenance obligation. At Malton and, I believe, a few other locations they have been passed to the Catholic Church. The tragedy in the case of Malton was that the Catholic Church has subsequently wrecked many of the medieval features.

        1. Mr. Waddington, What exactly did the Catholics do to the church at Malton leased to them?

          I ask because Catholics for years have been desecrating their own Roman liturgy. I fear if the Ordinariate's liturgy is ever permitted to be placed in the hands of some of the barbarians we have in the hierarchy, they will wreck that too.

          So, I'm not surprised to learn of acts of desecration to the churches entrusted to them by Anglicans.

          1. The medieval church in question is a long, narrow building with a long, narrow chancel. When it returned to Catholic use it was radically re-planned. A new altar was placed half way down the nave against the south wall, and the seating was arranged in a radius around it. Effectively, the long chancel fell into disuse. The result is a shambles.

            In other instances, the return has been accomplished without disfigurement.

  3. I love the Ordinariate. I love these Catholics who love their Tradition one-hundred times than any "Cultural Catholic". Now, Archbishop Nichols hasn't asked of my opinion, and I don't think he should bother with it, as more influential people should raise the issue: Where is the charitable nature of the Church? I agree that the Ordinariates must eventually become self-supporting, but one can sense some vile, liberalized force behind the lack of support for the British Ordinariate, the same sort of force that prevents SSPX from entering, and the same diabolical force that encourage nuns to rebel and homosexuals to "marry". If the Holy Father could give money to that Ordinariate, even an uneducated layman such as myself can see how embarrassing it would be for fellow Catholics who have the capability to not help out, at least in the way the Holy Father has shown; the way Archbishop Nichols treats the Ordinariate is not like the father who loves the prodigal son, but like the elder son who wondered why the younger brother got more love even though he felt more deserving, or even the "apostle" who rebuked the woman who anointed our Lord's feet with valuable oil. A sort of questionable leader who I bet is more sympathetic to the women-ordaining Protestant neighbors and false ecumenism than pious Traditionalists. This is just a suspicion, as only the Lord knows what is inside Archbishop Nichol's heart, but considering how the Ordiniariate is treated by him, I am outraged at this blatant lack of charity.

    In the words of Damian Thompson: “The failure to address the matter is so morale-sapping that I really can’t blame those Anglicans who are hesitating to take the plunge…”

    1. “…I really can’t blame those Anglicans who are hesitating to take the plunge…”

      Oh, good grief! Are people really discerning their call to Catholicism by the building they may be able to worship in?! If so, I hope they stay where they are and wait for a genuine calling.

      I understand how a building can make a difference in how one experiences the celebration of the sacraments, but it’s the sacraments themselves, then the community of fellow believers and the celebrant, and then the physical surroundings that strengthen one's desire to follow Christ.

      You've all read my story here before, but for those that haven't, I survived two parish divisions (due to growth), all Masses in rented office space, additional sacraments in a Presbyterian church, and then in a temporary building (now our social hall). We are now in our brand new church, complete with stained glass windows, Stations of the Cross, and statues, nearly all from closed churches in the inner city. All the time and effort it took for us to get here makes us all appreciate its beauty all the more.

      1. It's not the building I'm talking about, It's the sense that there's seems to be some hesitancy to show some solidarity with Catholics coming in from the Anglican side. I just find it perplexing that the first Ordinariate established does not have a principal church (The lack of church itself is not disturbing, it's the lack of any action, that I know of, regarding what fellow Catholics are doing about it. The Holy Father amazed me with his donation, because he made a point about how much he cares, which goes beyond the amount of money he gave) The question is, how are these former Anglicans being treated in their switch to Catholicism? I'd hate for their situation to be "Marginalized on one side, Marginalized on the other." And of course, there's always the suspect issue of world-wide, liberalized views conflicting with "Pre-Vatican 2 Nonsense" that many, many, many liberalized Catholics are talking about and using as an excuse to be "modern". So I certainly hope, that instead of the Ordinariate being forced to conform to the sad state of the Roman Catholic Church now, that Ordinariate congregations (Which I have presumed and regarded as traditionalists, rather than seeing themselves as "innovators") will provide a precious example of what Roman Catholics have abandoned in exchange for the banalization and desacralization of the Liturgy, which is at the heart of our faith. There's always the possibility that I have unrealistic and irrational expectations, though. The Ordinariates may end up being just another peculiar rite like the Melkites or Maronites, under the umbrella of the Church, keeping to themselves and everyone else remaining apathetic and lukewarm about their faith. Let us hope, since Pentecost is upon us, that these troubles are alleviated, God willing.

        1. Please, whatever you do, don't try and quote Damian Thompson here. He's has his own agenda and is always trying to make the English hierarchy look bad, no matter what good they do.

          So, tell me this. If the Catholic church gave the Ordinariate a nice, fancy church in the middle of London, cos that's where every know-it-all says it has to be, which religious order do you think we should just kick out for the Ordinariate's benefit? What shall we tell them? "Oh, never mind the sacrifices you all made to build this building. The Ordinariates deserve, nay demand, a proper church and yours suits the bill. So, too bad old horse, but ta-ta."

          Now, they have their own grand building. How are they going to maintain it? It takes a lot of money to keep a building going, particularly in central London. Do you expect the central church to decimate every single London and surrounding Ordinariate group just to have a big enough congregation to keep the church going? Or do you expect Mgr Newton to keep on going cap in hand to English bishops for more money to keep up the appearance? Remember, there are loads of regular Catholic churches who are struggling financially as well. But hey, that's just minor detail to you, isn't it?

          So tell me, how much have you contributed to the Ordinariate's funds? How much is your monthly standing order? Not a lot, I bet. Yup, talk is cheap. Dirt cheap.

          1. I'm very sorry. How I wish I could contribute, but you're right; talk is cheap. I'll shut up now. Again, so sorry.

            God bless

        2. Actually, most of the bishops have been generous, finding houses for ordinariate clergy to live in, and incomes for their support. Many of the Ordinariate clergy are occupying hospital and prison chaplaincies, thus denying the diocese the fairly substantial revenues that go with these jobs.

    2. Hmmmm. Bishop Fellay drives his truck in one direction, but what is the Holy Father to do about the three remaining bishops? Maybe, one of them could be offered the archbishopric of Westminster with the incumbent sent to Alice Springs to tend to the spiritual needs of elderly nuns.

  4. A gothic style church would be great. Another question though. Do we have the talent today to build one, like they did in the past. I haven't seen any new gothic style churchs being built. Just plain jane ones. They talk about the high cost of building one, but previous Catholics didn't have financial institutions. They had faith and the will to build one!. Even if it took many decades, the gothic cathedrals in England and France as an example. But "Do we have the talent". Not sure if we do. We have plenty of examples to go by though. Unfortunately not in the hands of Catholics, but were built by Catholics. Hint hint!!. Start buildng!!!

  5. Thank you Fr Chris for these observations. I think another factor involved here is the perception that the Catholics in London have spare room. Is this true? I mean, are there decent, disused church buildings in London? That to me seems like a key question. But as to your main point, you are quite right that the situation in the US is very different than the situation in England & Wales. Has anyone looked at the option of the English Ordinariate buying a disused church from the C of E or even the Methodists?

    1. The Ordinariates may end up being just another peculiar rite like the Melkites or Maronites, under the umbrella of the Church, keeping to themselves and everyone else remaining apathetic and lukewarm about their faith.
      A case could also be made that with the almost daily exposure of scandalous behavior from one end of the Catholic Church to the other, the Latin-rite (non-Anglican Ordinariate) will need the Ordinariate rather than the other way around. Pope Benedict sees this in ways the English hierarchy and other Latin hierarchies don't appear to appreciate.

      If what Mr. Waddington has told us is true, the CofE shouldn't be giving, leasing, or selling any of their surplus churches to the Latin rite Catholic Church. If this parish at Malton is an example of what can be expected in other situations, better to turn these CofE churches over to the dissenters, or turn them into bed and breakfast inns, nightclubs (as was done in one case in New York City) or into nice pubs. Better than having them ruined by ignoramuses and cultural barbarians.

    2. Methodists? Ugh. Now Lutherans would make a lot more sense. Perhaps an old German or Swedish unused chapel.

      They would need to take out all the important artwork, or suffer the fate of the parish of Malton.

    3. As far as I know, there are no decent disused Catholic churches in central London. There is a disused church which has been described as resembling something between a Christian Science reading room and a public convenience. Apparently, even the Archdiocese of Westminster considers this unsuitable as a place of worship.

      However, there are some churches in central London which are lightly used, and I would be surprised if some arrangement could not be made for the Ordinariate to have use of one of these. Outside central London, there are areas where the Catholic population has largely been replaced by immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, and there must be surplus churches in these areas.

  6. Was a currently closed Catholic church in London not under consideration as a principal Ordinariate church sometime last year? I recall seeing pictures of it on The English Catholic and elsewhere. A grey, modernist building. Sacrifice and small beginnings are of course easy to talk up, but when people see that a new initiative is under- resourced by its own sponsor, they naturally draw the conclusion that there is some lack of commitment at the top.

  7. I suppose that, to have a principal church, one must have a church. Even if one has just one church, it cannot be the principal over non-existent others. So my question is this: Does the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham own even two churches yet? Does it own just one. Once it has at least two, it can make sense to designate a principal one.


    1. There is one church in Kent that the Ordinariate share on a fairly equal basis with a diocesan parish. Unfortunately, it is a modest building and totally lacking any architectural merit. I am not sure how things stand with the TAC church in Portsmouth. Unfortunately it is poorly located geographically.

      1. Poorly located geographically? Well to quote an old story… when a yuppie couple stopped their flash motor somewhere in the middle of nowhere to ask for directions, the reply from a country yokel was "If I were you I wouldn't have started from here". So if you mean poorly located for central London then you are correct — but beautifully placed for the South Coast and ferries to France, Spain, the Isle of Wight and even Gosport!

  8. On the negative comments here regarding the magic circle, otherwise known as the English hierarchy, well, while the magic circle doesn't much like the former TAC people, I'm sure, I don't see why they would have an intense dislike for the former FiFers. Their reticence in this matter is probably only being shown so as 'not to offend' the C. of E. while the latter goes wilder by the month. No matter. It's hard for Roman œcumaniacs to embrace the Canterburians when these Canterburians are running away in the opposite direction. Cardinal Koch will have to run faster to catch the C. of E. bishops. He wants to shake their hands but they are shaking their heads instead. He'd like to run deeper into heresy but can't catch up to the Anglicans. Meanwhile, a reconciled Bishop Fellay is driving a large truck in the opposite direction.


      1. Yes, reluctance fits better. Thank you.

        On the former TAC church at Portsmouth, is it now a church of the Ordinariate? The shared church mentioned here, I'm guessing, is probably still a territorial church of a local Parish, whether or not it is a Parish church. It would be a bit fun if the Ordinariate of Msgr. Newton had to declare (with reluctance, not reticence) that the former TAC church was to be the principal church of the Ordinariate. We live in interesting times.


    1. Indeed Bp Fellay is driving a lorry in the opposite direction but without three important passengers!

      On the Ordinariate's Cathedral, patience is a virtue. Who knows Winchester Cathedral may be restored to the Catholic Church as Shaw writes in St. Joan, "when the Anglican schism is over"

      1. On the Ordinariate's Cathedral, patience is a virtue. Who knows Winchester Cathedral may be restored to the Catholic Church as Shaw writes in St. Joan, "when the Anglican schism is over"
        I hope you haven't sold the family jewels to place a wager on that prospect, or have you?

      2. Well put but you may be wrong. All we know for sure is that one not-so-important passenger is not in the lorry. Yes, I know about the leaked letters of April, but notice that there has been no public statement of any kind from the other two passengers. So we must wait and see. They might be in the lorry but hidden behind the cab.


  9. Fr Phillips is right. At the moment there are greater priorities. The bishops of England and Wales gave the Ordinariate a quarter of a million, and the Holy Father gave another substantial gift. This is really a drop in the ocean in comparison to the Ordinariate's needs. The largest and most pressing need is to provide an income for the clergy. The largest congregations, such as at Pembury, manage to be self-supporting, but most are not in that fortunate position. And then there are the expenses of the organization itself to be found.

    Large London churches already have large congregations, as has been observed. You can't just hand these things over, which are, canonically the possessions of the parish. London is not like a continental ancient city, with many under-used Catholic churches. Though there are many under- and un-used Anglican ones, but Bishop Charteris has made it quite clear that he wishes to play dog-in-the-manger with them.

    Truly, at present I suspect the best solution is to continue to use one central church, such as Spanish Place, where the principal events are habitually celebrated, and which might therefore 'feel' like their own home without the concomitant expense.

      1. Too expensive. It is more plausible if one of the Roman Catholic religious orders were gracious enough to give one of their magnificent churches to the Ordinariate.

  10. Of course none of us know exactly what discussions are taking place, and it may be that, before too long, some church will be be made available to become the principal church of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. I would add that it may not be essential that this church is in central London.

    What I do believe is that the Ordinariate, if it is to prosper, must have a principal church, even if it is only a temporary arrangement. It may be that the Ordinariate would not have exclusive use, but it does need somewhere to base itself. One might say that it is already using various churches in the London area, and one of these could be designated principal. However, these are frequently of the scout hut variety or the slots being made available to the Ordinariate are at inconvenient times.

    The Church of St James, Spanish Place, was made available for for the Ordinariate's Chrism Mass earlier this year, but clearly this is not the solution as it is one of the busiest churches in London and usually does not have spare time in its programme.

    I am sure that there is a solution somewhere, although it might not be in central London. Churches are being closed, and many are underused because there are insufficient clergy. One, not too far away in Bracknell, was secretly demolished only last week.

    Although the bishops of England and Wales have been generous to the Ordinariate in many ways, it does seem that they are a bit slow in coming forward on this issue.

    1. Although the bishops of England and Wales have been generous to the Ordinariate in many ways, it does seem that they are a bit slow in coming forward on this issue.
      Not to mention other issues as well. If the Catholic church has buildings to spare now being demolished, why would the Ordinariate feel it has to purchase a church from the CofE?
      It makes no sense to be using these generous gifts to the Ordinariate wasting it on purchasing a church. Isn't St.Augustine's at Ramsgate available for sale?

    2. I expect that any grant of a church to the Ordinariate will be carefully timed. All these things are. The hierarchy (and also Rome) want to avoid even the appearance of poaching, so they might hold off a bit while the C. of E. discusses episcopettes, and before it moves on to consider inverted marriages. When they do grant a church, I expect a modest one: not too tiny or ugly (for that would be insulting) and not too large or imposing (for that would irritate the œcumenists). The very size and character of the grant will be carefully chosen to have just the right effect.

      We needn't worry about this overmuch. The Ordinariate need not poach Anglicans or get militant. They also serve who only stand and wait. They need only wait for the C. of E. to implode and then offer its refugees a helping hand to bring them out of the crater.


  11. I think American readers should be sensitive to cultural differences here as well. Many in our country understand and can sympathize with the "store front" church. It is part of our culture and spiritual experience. That experience is in alignment with our pioneer ethic.

    This is less so in the UK. Rather than valuing "pulling up by our bootstraps", the lack of support in terms of a physical space is seen as a desire for failure. This is especially true in a country where spirituality is so profoundly expressed and received in terms of architecture.

    I would also point out that Anglican Use parishes in this country have had decades to build the foundation for the Ordinariate. That time line for OLW does not exist, and so significant and visual support through space will both be a sign of charity (and the greatest of these…) and of organizational desire for success.

    I would also gently point out that the number of blogs and news articles trumpeting the end of Western Christianity in Europe would seem to imply some space is available somewhere.

    1. I note that the latest CofE Diocese of Europe magazine features pictures of a new congregation in Normandy worshipping in a church "ceded" to them by the local Catholic diocese. The local Catholic priest is in attendance.

    1. Oh, for heaven's sake. This was the same one that Damian Thompson claimed the English bishops were trying to fob off on the Ordinariate. And every know-it-all claimed it was an insult to the Ordinariate. So how come it's now acceptable to put this forward? Yes, it's empty and available but supporters like Damian Thompson and a number here insist is not up to par. They expected something like St. Etheldreda (http://www.stetheldreda.com/home.html) to be handed over lock, stock and barrel. I'm sure the Rosminians were not amused!

      We all want a principal church but sometimes,. we have to trust in the Lord. It costs over £1,000,000 (about US$1.6 million) a year to maintain Westminster Cathedral. The Ordinariate would need something about a quarter that size for starters. Extrapolating from that figure, it would require £250,000 (about US$400,000) a year just to maintain the church. I've heard the Ordinariate's annual running costs to be anything from £800,000 to £1,000,000 a year, so you can see that that would eat into a significant slice of that money.
      It costs about £22,000 a year per clergyman. So what would you do? Pay the salaries of 11 good men or spend it all on a church you really cannot afford at the moment? I know what I'd do.

      1. Why would it need to be Westminster Cathedral? There's nothing wrong with St. Anne's, so long as the insides are properly set up for the Mass; people can worry about renovating the exterior later. Rather than the congregation and the Liturgy being made holy by the building, the building will be made holy by the people who worship with the Liturgy within.

        1. I agree. Moreover, a small space can be made splendid over time and in stages, and this reflects the dedication and piety of the congregation. There is a reasonable compromise between a church one quarter the size of Westminster cathedral and no church building at all.


  12. Please note that all of the comments along the lines of 'where's our prinicipal church guv…' are not coming from any source in the Ordinariate itself. The calls are coming from self-appointed 'friends' who may well have other axes to grind and use this matter as a convenient stick with which to whack Archbishop Vincent.

  13. Using Westminster Cathedral as the basis of comparison is a bit like saying one cannot afford a flat in Islington because a townhouse in Kensington costs 8 million pounds.

    1. Whatever. The fact of the matter still remains that the Ordinariate is still too young and small to afford it and any money it currently has, is better used to pay off salaries so that nobody goes hungry while a principal church remains empty most of the time.

  14. One fact that has so far not been mentioned is the weakness of the Ordinariate in the Archdiocese of Westminster. It is composed of fifteen laics. Four attend St James, Spanish Place; five have their own Mass at the Catholic University Chaplaincy in Gower Street, and the rest go to Our Lady of Halle, Camden Town. I don't know how many Ordinariate clergy work within the Archdiocese.

    Archbishop Nichols knows these facts and they probably have a bearing on his decision not to allocate a church for Ordinariate purposes. Neighbouring Catholic dioceses like Southwark and Brentwood have more people but the number is not large.

    1. Good old John, still banging your drum on Ordinariate numbers. You have a point though as, even with a medium sized church, decent numbers would be needed to maintain it.

      As for the suggestion that a religious order hand over a Church, the mind boggles. Should the local congregation just be turfed out as they are not members of the Ordinariate? Who'll pay the bills?
      Sweet mercy protect us from some of the 'supportive' commentators

      1. I count myself as one of those know-it-all supporters. I at least am willing to admit how unreasonable and unrealistic my expectations can be and remove my head from the clouds and live in the harsh reality of questionable sustainability. Is the UK Ordinariate hemorrhaging numbers in terms of money and parishoners, or are they just going to the Roman Catholic parishes? Since we're in communion and all, the entire "Separate Anglican Thing" would probably come much later and there would be nothing wrong with Ordinariate members attending Roman liturgy in Roman parish churches. (For now, at least.) I understand that at this point, it IS unreasonable to get a separate church for Ordinariate members. The important thing is that the Ordinariate exists and that it can serve its apostolic purpose.

        God grant us patience and understanding on this issues.

        Have a Happy and Holy Pentecost!

        1. Ioannes, your heart is in the right place, my friend. It's just too early for all this, unless some super rich millionaire decides to step in and drop a fat wodge of cash on the Ordinariate's doorstep.

          To maintain a decent-sized church would require a parish of about 400 or more. For the Ordinariate to do this, they would have to strip every group surrounding London, and probably more, to achieve this. I think that's hardly going to help it's cause if it does that.

          The Ordinariate is still a baby, in church terms. Why are we trying to force it to run while it's still crawling? Right now, it needs to build up it's membership and profile with the wider public.

          There are a number of large Catholic churches that are more than willing to let the Ordinariate use it for it's bigger functions. London-wise, St. James Spanish Place is perfect, and in the South-West, they use Buckfast Abbey's facilities. This saves them a lot of money and resources at this early stage. There are a lot of Catholic churches who are willing to help out in this way, if asked. It's just not fashionable for people to admit that as it just doesn't quite grab the headlines, does it?

      2. Numbers. When they are not in your favour it's all mustard seeds and quality over quantity. We all remember the headlines "400,000 Anglicans to become Catholic" picked up worldwide; now that it's more like 4,000, nobody wants to talk about them. The Book of Acts tells us loud and proud that three thousand were added to the faithful on Pentecost.

  15. As for the occasional suggestions that a religious Order might be willing to give up one of their London churches to the Ordinariate, let's face facts. Does this mean that the Oratorians should give up the London Oratory, the Jesuits Farm Street, the Carmelites their church in Kensington, the Benedictines Ealing Abbey, the Marists All Souls, Quex Road, Kilburn, to name the first that come to mind? All for the sake of fifteen members of the laity.

    As for providing a church in London for, say, the South of England. Financially, this would mean more money would go to National Rail and London Transport than into the alms bag. The cost of fares in the UK is exorbitant and several London Catholic churches with eclectic congregations are feeling the pinch, not to mention the cost of parking if people come by car.

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