The Ordinariate

It sounds like some strange cult – the Ordinariate.

In fact its the Pope’s way of allowing Anglicans to cross over to the Roman Catholic Church (Just a point of terminology – catholic means universal and therefore when Anglicans use the term catholic in the creed we mean the universal church made up of Christians from all denominations) whilst keeping some of their own ways of worship.

The Telegraph is reporting that up to 50 clergy and 600 people will be crossing over to Rome. It sounds like some great disaster if you believe the trumpeter in chief Damian Thompson.

But here is the thing. Out of those “50” clergy I would love to see how many are parish priests. A good source has told me that it is looking like only about 20 of them and maybe only 10 will be parish priests (especially as the fund for them is only £250,000 – about a year and a half of the income of our church). So lets be generous and say 25. That is one person in every other diocese. And that is a disaster?

In the diocese of Southwark there are some 13 stipendiary (that means paid) clergy ordained as curates each year; that is apart from those who are ordained who are unpaid.

Now it is indeed sad that these clergy feel that they need to leave the Church of England. I would prefer that people could stay. But presumably since the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t recognise Anglican clergy as clergy this means that the Roman Catholics are not getting 50 clergy but rather they are getting 50 laypeople. And if those going now realise that in fact they are really Roman Catholics then do they realise that they were never ordained in the first place?

Still. We wish them well. I am sure that it won’t be all plain sailing for them. But for their sake I hope that they find their spiritual home. They had better start practising their Latin to have their spokesman in chief Damian Thompson kept happy.


The Guardian also has rather a sensationalist line “Anglican parishes will be without priests as 50 prepare to defect to Rome”. It makes it sound like large swathes of parishes will be left without incumbents. But that is so far from the truth. A few. And they will be dealt with in the normal way when parishes are without an incumbent. No hassle. Pass along. Nothing to see.


2 comments on “The Ordinariate

  1. peter smedley
    November 20, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    is it still the case that anglican orders is a matter of debate in the Roman catholic church? if so it has been going on for years. presumably by what you say the official position is against their validity?

  2. Will Cookson
    November 20, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    There is, in reality, no debate about the validity of Anglican orders. The Roman Catholic Church considers them “utterly null and utterly void”. This goes back to a papal bull of 1896.

    It had been hoped, by some, that they would change their minds. But it hasn’t happened. That is why all these “priests” and “bishops” going over aren’t in (RC eyes) priests and bishops and need re-ordaining.

    Its a bizarre world some live in.

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