As most readers know, I am a journalist by trade and I write primarily for Catholic newspapers. I wish I had time to do the in depth, fair, balanced story the fledgling ordinariates deserve — you know, the kind of magazine piece that allows me to travel to do my interviews and attend events to capture the color, the smells, and the taste of things. I would love the time to pore over documents and weigh the credibility of every account.
But I don't have that luxury and I don't have the time right now to even write much of a blog post. In the interest of getting at some of the facts of what is going on in the United States concerning the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter here is what I would like to know and maybe some readers can help with factual accounts.
How many Anglican Use parishes are joining the Ordinariate? How many are staying out? Why have their priests/leaders decided to move in one direction or another? Be great to hear directly from them if possible.
Has there been a consistent policy in transferring membership from an Anglican Use parish (i.e. those on the parish rolls for baptisms, confirmations etc.) into the Ordinariate? If so, what is that policy? Have some parishes had concerns they would be forced to split, leaving many behind if they entered the Ordinariate?
At Our Lady of Walsingham, was the priest forced into retirement? Or did he voluntarily retire? Are the members of this parish members of the Ordinariate? Or does some official paperwork or something need to be done?
How concerned are priests of Anglican Use parishes that are remaining outside that they might be forced into retirement or moved elsewhere in the vast Ordinariate territory once they are incardinated into the Ordinariate?
How concerned are Anglican Use communities that someone who is a recent convert with no understanding of the history or sacrifices made by that community will be parachuted in as their priest?
Here in Canada, back in 2010 there was concern, at least on my part, that this might happen here because Cardinal Collins mused about putting some Anglican Church of Canada priests who wished to become Catholic — but had no communities coming with them — in charge of our parishes because he wasn't sure most of our priests would qualify as Catholic priests. The thought rankled me — that someone would get a soft landing in one of our parishes simply because he had the right credentials from a possibly heretical Anglican seminary but had not made any of the sacrifices our shepherds had made to serve us.
Fast forward to 2012 and the Canadian situation seems very hopeful lately and even more so after several visits by Msgr. Steenson to Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa over the past several months. From what I gather, our former clergy were greatly encouraged and none of the fears that plagued us over the past couple of years have come to pass. In fact, we have been meeting with extraordinary generosity from our local Roman Catholic bishops and from Msgr. Steenson.
Several things that might have helped us. We went through an awful time in the lead up to our entering the Catholic Church. Parishes split, some twice. Those of us who remained steadfast had nowhere else to turn but to the Cross for consolation. It changed us, made us more patient, more faithful and less quick to get riled up when the trials start up again. It unified those who remained so we are much more closely bonded and able to pray and act in one accord.
I think there is a tremendous amount of spiritual warfare involved in this Ordinariate project. The turbulence on every level we experience from time to time as they develop is likely a result of malicious spiritual forces playing on our all-too-human frailties. If this were not such a powerful and good move on the Holy Father's part to further the Kingdom of Heaven, the enemy of our souls would not be so active on every front!
I am not privy to the information that our Moderator has about what has been going on in the United States and I would prefer specifics with the "who, what, why, when, where". My questions above come from parsing the various blog posts and comments. But what I hope to do is see whether a calm investigation of the facts can produce some supportive and helpful suggestions because whatever our differences here on The Anglo-Catholic –and we do not all agree by any means — nor do we have "board meetings" or conference calls and most contributors I have never even had an email conversation with — we all hope Pope Benedict's vision in Anglicanorum coetibus will become a flourishing reality.
So, if you have some facts or can shed some light on what specific problems have arisen and how they may be overcome, please have at it in the comments section.