The Ordinariate and the search for unity

Precious Blood, Borough - the first Ordinariate Church in England

Precious Blood, Borough – the first Ordinariate Church in England

I wrote this article  in January for the Magazine of my local Catholic Parish. One of the parishioners told me that it had helped her to understand what the Ordinariate was all about.

On 2nd February 2012 I was received into the Catholic Church: and I did it through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. These Ordinariates, in England, America and Australia, are structures by which former Anglicans become Catholics in communion with the Holy See, and can remain together as groups and congregations, retaining something of their Anglican heritage, or ‘patrimony’.

A year ago I resigned as vicar of an Anglican parish in SE London, and moved to Wimbledon. Sacred Heart became my home for the daily Mass, and on Sundays I joined the London (South) Ordinariate Group, all former Anglicans including our (now Catholic) priest Fr Christopher Pearson. We worship at the Most Precious Blood Borough, and on January 7th Fr Pearson became priest in charge. Our group works now as part of the congregation to revive and renew the parish.

Monsignor Keith Newton, who now leads the Ordinariate in England, rejects the idea that we are ‘disaffected Anglicans’ and stressed that he had become a Catholic not for “negative reasons about problems in the Church of England but for positive reasons in response to our Lord’s prayer the night before he died, [that] ‘they may all be one’.”

In the 1970’s many of us hoped for re-union . But we were saddened by the unwillingness of many in the C of E to commit themselves to the ARCIC agreements. Then in the 90’s new obstacles to unity turned the C of E away from both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Anglicans appealed to the Pope who proposed a new way of unity. He offered as a basis for Christian belief the Cathechism of the Catholic Church and recognised that many of the Anglicans he was meeting had been living a Catholic life. Many of us were coming to see that Communion with Peter was precisely what we Anglicans needed – and were now being offered.

For the Ordinariate in England it is early days. Some of our groups have been established as small congregations: others find a home in their local Catholic Church. As former Anglicans we have received a wonderful welcome into the church, and may perhaps bring something of our former life with us. Above all, we long to work for unity: not as a pious hope for the future, but as a practical reality now.


About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
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One Response to The Ordinariate and the search for unity

  1. Michael says:

    Thank you!

    I came to the Catholic Church a bit “early” to join the Ordinariate (and besides, attended low-Church congregations in my brief sojourn as an Anglican).

    Please continue with your “peoples’ history of Anglicanism” posts as I think we in England have missed out on this side of our common heritage – the fact that there were worshiping Christians here even up until now… the mainstream media gives the impression that no Churches were populated after about 1932… your writing is lively and accessible. Consider making some videos!

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