Line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little; just a few months ago it seemed impossibly slow, the move towards the ordinariate. Now it is underway, and we find it hard to keep up. Today's announcement from Sevenoaks is especially welcome; Fr Ivan, the married parish-priest, and Fr James, his unmarried Deacon, are offering themselves for the Ordinariate. It will have taken both of them a great deal of prayer and effort to reach this point in their journey. Now we must pray for them that the way ahead may be made clear, that they will have the prayerful and practical support of their laity, that they may have a warm welcome from their catholic friends.
Of this last I have no shadow of doubt. This morning in Lymington as I stumblingly deaconed the Mass the parishioners were warm and wholehearted in their greeting to Jane and to me. Bishop Crispian, who ordained me to the diaconate on Friday, was embarrassingly generous in what he said about my previous ministry. For retired geriatrics like me, the step is not difficult; for younger men it must be a fearful time. Yet the Lord's hand is so clearly in all this that we must be reassured.
Later this week we head off West to Buckfast Abbey for the Priesting of David Silk, one-time Bishop of Ballarat – and before that as Archdeacon of Leicester, scourge of the General Synod. Pray for him and Joyce, and for Bishop Christopher of Plymouth who is to ordain him. That we should have lived to see these days! We shall not be around to witness the fulness of this great ecumenical experiment; but already the first-fruits are more than promising. Thanks be to God, for answering so many prayers down the years, 'that they may be one, that the world might believe'.
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