Picture England twenty years from now. The Church of England is on its last legs. They have far too many buildings. The clergy are ancient and have to look after ten or fifteen parishes. The atheistic English government has refused to step in and maintain the ancient medieval churches, cathedrals and abbeys. The Church of England has closed numerous churches as the English population declines and Islam advances.
July 8, 2008 by 7 Comments
The Catholic Church has also declined. Churches have closed and Catholics are few and far between. But in the midst of the gathering gloom Catholic religious orders have revived. Here there is a small, but dynamic band of Benedictines. Over there the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are the only inner city presence. Here an order of Carmelites, there a group of Dominicans. There are even some Jesuits who have renewed their order in the midst of the persecutions.
There are new ecclesial communities too. Opus Dei, Communion and Liberation, Neo Catechumenate, Emmanuel Community–groups of lay people, religious and priests who have kept the faith. In the vacuum these Catholic communities quietly start to re-colonize the empty Anglican Churches. They move into villages and towns. They ask if they can say Mass in the Church because no one worships there anymore and they need a place to meet. The old Anglican priestess sees no harm in it. Eventually they meet there every week. The people begin to gather again.
In time the Church of England puts together a measure offering the ancient churches to the priests and people who are maintaining worship there, and by default the ancient faith is restored.