Peter Bingle the chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs tweeted this the other day. The second in my series of Theological Questions to Which the Answer is No.
The answer to this is none (which is a no!)
There has been a lot of hype in the papers recently about the Roman Catholic ordinariate and the bishops and priests joining it from the Anglican church. To date three bishops have gone over. In fact they are suffragan bishops, of whom 2 were retired, which means they are assistant bishops and don’t have a diocese.
But here is the thing. All of the current diocesan bishops have women priests in their dioceses. If they then resign and go to Rome because of women priests what does that say about their integrity? So, it won’t happen.
The third is likewise a no. Peter Bingle asks
Does this mean that ecumenism is now dead?
No. Of course it doesn’t. Ecumenism was never going to end up with the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches combining. When it was launched after Vatican II it was over-hyped and sought by a stronger Anglo-Catholic movement that was then present. But there were always too many differences – authority, Mary (immaculate conception and assumption) etc that aren’t likely to be sorted out any century soon.
Instead it will carry on in a realistic manner by focussing on areas of common interest and values. Local engagement in bodies such as Churches Together etc.
No. 4 was asked by the Ordinariate’s spokesman in chief the columnist Damian Thompson, who writes for the Telegraph. he wrote back in November when 5 bishops resigned (all suffragan and two retired.
NOW will people take the Ordinariate seriously?
Sorry about the size of headline – but says it all about his style of writing. The answer is, of course, no. The numbers going over to the ordinariate are minuscule. The MOST that they are talking going over is 50 clergy (and probably many of them retired).
Compare this to the number of clergy in the CofE. In 2009 there were 19,504 active clergy (plus another 1,600 chaplains). The one congregation that has been mentioned in Kent that might go over has a congregation similar in size to our Cafe Church – and even not all of them wish to go!
So no. It’s not serious