Deborah Gyapong: Considering a post-Ordinariate future

Considering a post-Ordinariate future

Over at The English Catholic, where I blog occasionally with Fr. Anthony Chadwick, I have lengthy post on the effect the process of Ordinariate formation has had on us as members of the Traditional Anglican Communion and thoughts on the way forward.  Here are some excerpts:

I intend to stay with my Anglican Catholic Church of Canada parish as long as it is preparing to enter the Catholic Church.  If down the road, our parish decides for whatever reason—no clergy accepted as Catholic priests could be one—to opt out, then I may see about making arrangements to become Catholic on my own.  I trust that God will guide me at the time and I ask that people refrain from pressuring me or anyone else to join the One True Church right now on threat of hell or of having questionable faith.   It is as annoying and off-putting to me for that to happen as it is for most Catholics to find some zealous evangelical asking them “Are you saved?” and insisting they are not unless they have said the Sinner’s Prayer and asked Jesus into their hearts as their Personal Savior.   I love the Sinner’s Prayer, mind you, and I think it is wonderful when someone can genuinely feel repentance and sincerely make the plea.  But there is a big difference between a God-given repentance and “repeatance” when one is browbeaten or pressured to say a formula.

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There are some who might argue that well, if there is no Ordinariate for you, then if you really hold the Catholic faith you must abandon everything and become a Roman Catholic.  Right now.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Interestingly, the ones most likely to say this are usually those Continuing Anglicans who have no intention of going to what they perceive as “jail” themselves.


For the sincere Catholics who read this blog, I would ask that you prayerfully consider how you might put  forward a vision of the Catholic Church in a way that encourages someone to take that step rather than browbeating with a set of propositions that make the prospect nauseatingly grim.  And think also of the responsibilities a priest might have to people in his charge who are not ready to take this step, the shut-ins who will no longer receive ministry of any kind if he walks away, and so on.

I am blessed here in Canada that I live in a diocese where the Roman Catholic Church is alive, where the archbishop is a true shepherd who draws me and attracts me to the Church.  While I have been crushed by what has happened to us over the past two years, and have already been grieving over the loss of our hopes and dreams to come in corporately, I can see a joyful future for myself as a Roman Catholic if this whole Ordinariate dream crashes around me and I find I must move on. I also have an option of Ukrainian Catholicism because of my Russian Orthodox christening.

But others may not see that joyful future for themselves.
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I believe the Church Christ instituted subsists most fully in the Roman Catholic Church.  But that does not mean there is no grace outside her institutional confines.  The One True Church apologists might have been unable to experience the joy of spiritual communion I felt recently with a group of evangelicals who are involved in the Alpha program.   I loved being with them.   They are my brothers and sisters in Christ because of their love for Him and the love they express that can only come from Him.  The Catholics who make me want to be in communion with them and who, by their love, testify to me that the claims the Roman Catholic Church makes about herself are true, would have experienced the same joy as I did.  They are not legalists or modern-day Pharisees.

Above all, let’s focus on the true unity that can only be effected by the Holy Spirit.  Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith and make sure that we ourselves are not an impediment to unity because of our own sinfulness and pride.

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