THE P RTAL
March 2012 Father Peter’s Page
When theory becomes a reality..
IN A world which demands Instant News, Instant Comment and Instant Judgement, the knowledge that the Catholic Church thinks and decides matters over centuries must only confirm the view of many that she is a ‘Sign of Contradiction’.
Scholars of early Church
history constantly remind us that the Arian Crisis, which seemed almost at one point to have captured the Church, took over 580 years to be resolved.
By such a perspective,
it makes the break of the Church of England from Rome (if you date it from the Act of Supremacy of 1534) seem still to be within its early days of possible reconciliation!
Much labour and long gestation Yet although the desire for Unity must always be
seen as an Urgent one, and there must be a justifiable frustration when it is not being achieved immediately, such feelings must be balanced by a recognition that great events are not achieved without much labour and long gestation.
Such an attitude is oſten forgotten by certain voices
in the media who try to claim that the work and progress of Te Ordinariate is too slow or ineffectual. Perhaps they could be forgiven for forgetting that barely 14 months ago the concept and reality of Te Ordinariate was not even known, let alone discussed or contemplated.
Ecumenical endeavour Yet within a year something for which people have
prayed and worked for nearly four centuries has come to fruition and is transforming the landscape of ecumenical endeavour.
Although its ‘name’ and certain aspects of its
organisation took everyone by surprise, the fact of its existence and achievement cannot be doubted. As
Using a ‘flying’ analogy, (something which is close
to my heart!), it is clear that within just over a year Te Ordinariate has ‘taken off’. Both in the UK and America, it is now clearly ‘In the climb’. Whilst it has not yet reached ‘the cruise’, when I speak at meetings and some cynic tries to claim that things are ‘not as successful’ and he/she claims they should be, I remind them of a story told about John Wesley.
He was once challenged as to whether he actually
believed in Infant Baptism. “Believe it?” he retorted, “I’ve actually seen it!” As we face together some of the growth-pains of a God-given movement let us never forget how wondrous is its reality!
you read this, it is being replicated in America and soon, one anticipates, in Australia.
It is easy to exaggerate
certain ‘difficulties’: the delay in the creation of a national headquarters and/ or central church; the time it takes Rome to endorse a specific liturgy; the creation of ‘independent’ decision-
making bodies and/or the creation of a structure which certain people feel is desirable.
Historic reality Attempts at Unity in Church history have oſten been
beset by national politics or destructive personalities, e.g. the Uniate Churches. But all these secondary questions must not be allowed – especially by ourselves – to disguise the historic reality of what has happened within our lifetime and its phenomenal potential for the future.
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