After the excitement of yesterday’s inauguration of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the appointment of Keith Newton as the first Ordinary and the ordinations at Westminster Cathedral of Keith, John and Andrew as the first priests of the Ordinariate, it was back to normality this morning as I preached and concelebrated the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green. In all the bitterness, sadness and consternation about General Synod’s decision last year we must never forget that we have an important mission to tend the sheep that have been placed into our care.
As I understand matters, the Ordinariate is not just prepared to accept priests and people in the near future but is intended to be there for whenever they discern that it is God’s will for them that they should make the move from the Church of England. For many that period of discernment has only just started.
For many people, the decision of General Synod concerning the possible Consecration of Women as Bishops in the future is only one of a number of matters which are causing consternation about the Catholicity of the Church of England. Can it still claim to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church or has it abandoned this to become little more than a Protestant sect. Should practising homosexuals be ordained and be appointed to parishes? Is General Synod competent to decide matters such as these? Will the Society of St. Wilfrid and St Hilda ever achieve its aims and ambitions? How far will the Bishops, who are promoting the Society, be prepared to go to ensure an acceptable future for Anglo-Catholics? It is these questions which are upmost in the minds of those seeking to discern God’s will for them.
It is essential that we keep in our prayers those who have made the decision to join the Ordinariate, those who are involved with the Society of St. Wilfrid and St. Hilda and those who are in the process of exploring God’s will for them.