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August 2012 The Ordinary’s Page

Monsignor Keith Newton writes I SOMETIMES get a little exasperated when people ask why we cannot become proper Catholics, as if diocesan Catholics (for want of a better phrase), Melkites, Maronites, or members of Opus Dei are somehow more Catholic than those who enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Such comments are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the Church.

Misunderstanding Te truth is that the Catholic Church is far more

diverse than many imagine. What unites Catholics is a common Faith, which is set forth clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and communion with the Holy See.

Indeed legitimate diversity is not inconsistent with

the unity of the Catholic faith; unity does not require uniformity. However, there must be that common faith and a belief that the Office of Bishop of Rome is Christ’s will for his Church.

Desire for truth, unity and communion Tose of us who have become Catholics over the

last eighteen months have done so because of that desire for truth, unity and communion. Tis was paramount even though the media said it was all about the ordination of women to the episcopate. Nor did I believe the hyperbole of the press that hundreds of priests and thousands of lay folk would leave the Church of England over that issue. Te Ordinariate was always going to be a modest but significant movement.

Concerned for our friends and former colleagues Last month the General Synod of the Church of

England decided to delay the decision about women in the episcopate so that the bishops might look again at the amendments they had added to the legislation to help those who object to women bishops for theological reasons.

It is not for us in the Ordinariate to comment about

internal matters for the Church of England, though we should be concerned for our friends and former colleagues who are struggling for an honoured place which seems less and less likely to be given. Many of them will be waiting to see where the Synodical process will lead, though I suspect most will stay in the Church

of England w h a t e v e r happens.


should keep them in our prayers.

Become a Catholic for its own sake No one should become a Catholic simply as a way of

escaping the problems of trying to live a Catholic life in the C of E; you have to want to become a Catholic for its own sake.

Nevertheless, we pray that in God’s good time many

will come to see that the Church of Jesus Christ, which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, in the words of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, “subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him”.

Long term project For this reason we do not expect a great influx of

people over the next few years. Rather this is a long term project as small groups of Anglican priests and people gather together to be guided by the Holy Spirit about their future. For ourselves we have been pioneers, now we simply need to be patient, prepared and waiting to welcome our brothers and sisters when that time comes.

Small steps In his recent book ‘Te Mystery of the Mustard

Seed: Foundations of the Tought of Benedict XVI’ Cardinal Koch, the President of the Pontifical Could for Promoting Christian Unity, argues that the Holy Father believes that renewal of the Church begins with small movements and that great things begin with small steps.

All we can pray for is that we might make a small contribution to that renewal.

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