Damien Thompson reports here that the Anglican Ordinariate will be set up in England by the end of the year and the USCCB reports that in the USA Abp.Donald Wuerl is to oversee the process of setting up the ordinariate. Christian Campbell over at The Anglo Catholic blog is gung ho to join the ordinariate, but gives the news that three of the Anglican Church of America bishops who signed the Portsmouth Declaration (this was when a group of bishops from ACA along with other Anglican breakaway groups who make up the Traditional Anglican Communion signed the Catholic Catechism and said they wanted to be Catholics) have now backed out and want to join up the Anglican Province of America instead. I think I’ve got that right, but to be honest, the bewildering number of Anglican schisms and mergers and break ups and new confederations and alliances is pretty hard to keep track of. If you can be bothered to read this Anglican bishop’s letter Christian Campbell has it here. It basically says, “Rome didn’t really give us what we wanted. We didn’t want to be Catholics with Anglican liturgy. We wanted Rome to recognize our orders and have inter-communion with us. Also, I don’t really believe all of the Catholic faith like I said I did. I signed the Catechism and said I wanted to be in communion with the Bishop of Rome because that was mostly sort of what I wanted. But now I’m going to forget about that and seek unity with some other continuing Anglican groups again, so ta ta. It was nice talking to you, and Holy Father, of course I still really respect you and all that, and I really do believe in the demand for Christian Unity and that you really are the head of the church and oh yes that’s all wonderful.”
Meanwhile you can look up some other Anglican responses. Some of the English ones sound like this: “We are most grateful for the Holy Father’s generous concern for us in this, our darkest hour, and we wish to prayerfully consider all that he has written and then offer our response. We value highly his words of appreciation and love for our Anglican patrimony and we too do not wish to sacrifice the great riches we enjoy as Anglicans. However, the exact meaning of ‘patrimony’ has yet to be decided and we wonder what it might be that we would bring with us. Surely we will bring the riches of our intellect, our learning and our musical and liturgical traditions, but are not our ancient buildings also part of our patrimony? Would we really be able to claim that we are bringing our patrimony if we did not also bring our material goods and buildings?” In other words, “You mean I’d have to give up my beautiful old Anglican church and rectory and the nice cathedrals and stuff to be Catholic? Fuhgeddaboudit.
As you can guess, I’m weary of all the Anglican teasing and flirtation. However, I respect all those who are better men and better Christians than I am. The patience of the Holy Father and those with whom he’s working is an example to me. I’m pretty well impressed that the Holy Father thinks it worth the trouble. It’s going to take an awful lot of work to reconcile these individuals and groups, and the groups are likely to be small in number and (I’m afraid to say it) divisive in character. Still, how bewdiful that the Pope of Christian unity is willing to make an effort even for a few lost sheep to be reconciled–especially when so many of them continue to evidence a distasteful pride, and a seemingly willful rejection of the Holy Father’s generous call to unity.