Deborah Gyapong: Some sobering observations about the one and only Ordinariate

Some sobering observations about the one and only Ordinariate

From a blog of a former Canterbury Anglican who choose go to a Continuing Anglican body (not Traditional Anglican Communion, as far as I know), rather than join the English Ordinariate:

I received this a comment to a previous post. I didn't publish it there on the grounds that it didn't fit the post to which it was appended. The poster remained anonymous, which is a shame.

The big national Pilgrimage to Walsingham organised by the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham took place today in the wooden barn-like structure that serves the Latin Rite Catholics as a church. As a rather disillusioned ex-Anglo-Catholic [now a traditionalist Catholic] I was looking forward to it and particuarly to see what elements of Anglican Patrimony and customs might be
incorporated into the Mass and procession. I was greatly isappointed. It was concelebrated in modern Roman style in nylon matching chasubles, the rite of Mass was the current New Rite of Paul VI with the proper sung to Missa de Angelis, full throatedly (so not very R.C.). There was one Anglican hymn Immortal Invisible and at the Offertory a rather slushly worship-song: Gifts of Bread and Wine. In all, a typical reasonably High Church Modern Roman Catholic service. The brochure was covered and filled with pictures of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, a number of references to Don Gobbi's Visions, and a Day of Divine Mercy. In the afternoon there was a weather-damaged procession to the Anglican shrine and a Sprinkling with Holy Well water took place. Alas, during this we were treated to a young lady singing a modern Roman Catholic worship song with a guitar. I left greatly disappointed wondering what elements of Anglican heritage, the "Patrimony" were going to be brought by these ex-Anglicans to Holy Church. They all seemed to be good, decent, dutiful modern Roman Catholic priests. What is the point of the Ordinariate ? Can someone explain ?

So why have I published this post? Largely because it is a cry from the heart. Perhaps, then, I am getting sentimental in my old age? Well, simply put, I know what it's like to be ignored and this is a cry from one who has become accustomed to being ignored by those rolling merrily on a bandwagon.

It is a long post. Here is another excerpt:

It is going to take time for what Anglican Patrimony there is in the Ordinariate to become apparent, and that’s the big challenge that faces the new Monsignors and the Anglicanorum Cœtibus hierarchy. They will have to convince Anglo-Catholics who will potentially form the second and future waves into the Ordinariate of just how they are preserving that Patrimony. While some may be happy to become Roman Catholics, others will be looking for that distinction. Others will not want to find themselves doing circuits in an episcopal piscine! The Anonymous Commentator is certainly justified in his/her comments that surely there should be something of the Anglican Patrimony apparent.

Fr. Anthony Chadwick, who is back from holidays, responds to this post in a long lament of his own about the discouraging state of play.

The Ordinariate solution is not sufficiently established to command the trust of all, and these ghosts will continue to haunt our blogs and inward thoughts until the difficulties are seen by all to be resolved in an open and honest way. We can only wait and see, and no one should be made to feel any compulsion to this or that commitment. Likewise, the projects of repair work in the continuing Anglican world have yet to show their fruits and have lasting results, presumably through a more “professional” profile in the Episcopate and influential clergy. On the ground, people need stability, and the state of flux that has been maintained over the past four years has become unbearable in emotional and spiritual terms. Many of us are worn out, and perhaps even tempted at times by the possibility of abandoning Christianity altogether…


Many of us are still hopeful that lessons are learned. We are extremely heartened by many of the words of Pope Benedict XVI that show a self-critical attitude and honest recognition that some ecclesiastical policies have alienated people and failed to be conducive to reconciliation and visible unity. Such words and utterances are already something, but the difficulty is convincing Curial authorities and local bishops to get over their own prejudices and implement them. Otherwise, we have pious thoughts and good words, but nothing actually makes a difference. We still hope, but we are afraid we will grow old, sicken and die in the same hopes…

We do not have the right to give up, and most of us can do something. Other than prayer, the most important thing is to become lucid about reality and deal with truth rather than illusion. We have also to form social bonds of friendship and a feeling of kin and family. We must overcome our alienation, because we cannot go back to where we were before. We have to find new roots, and it is on this basis that new communities may be formed, whether under the authority of a Catholic bishop or in an independent “holding” community of some kind. That is probably the hardest part. We can repeat doctrines and truths, and say what the ideal is. That is easy. The hard part is to be human and live in community, developing bonds of empathy, love and friendship in which Christ can infuse the grace of ecclesial communion. This is the nerve to be touched and the issue to be faced.

As for me, I have been on the Ordinariate-or-bust bandwagon, so much so that if the little TAC/ACCC cart I am on lurches to a stop because a red light is thrown in its path, I might keep on going through inertia and join the Church on my own.

But the thought of having to leave behind the Anglican beauty that we try to keep alive, the rigorous old-fashioned Athanasian Creed type faith we cultivate and my little church family makes me heartsick.



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