Field of Dreams: if you build it, they will come!

An important development
July 11, 2013, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Opinion

Long standing followers of this blog will recall that it began in order to support the beginnings of the Ordinariate in the Bristol area. Its title is dawn from the film, “Field of Dreams”, about the vision of an Ohio corn-farmer to build a baseball park in his cornfield. He hears a mysterious voice saying, “If you build it, they will come.” He builds it, and the ghosts of old players appear, troubled souls who now find peace, and many others come to watch them and also find peace and fellowship.

field-of-dreams-for-saleI believe that the Ordinariate, the vision of Pope Benedict, resembles that field. It has been built, as a way of incorporating the distinct contribution of the Anglican way into the full symphony of the Catholic Church. This is being done in the area of Liturgy (thanks to the work of, among others, Andrew Burnham, former Bishop of Ebbsfleet), with the provision of a distinctively Anglican-tradition Office Book, together with Marriage and Funeral rites drawn from the Prayer-Book. A Eucharistic Rite is expected in due course, drawing on the same sources.

KNewton_PopeFrancisPope Francis has now given fresh impetus to the Ordinariate project in the field of mission and evangelism. Initially, only people who had originally been Anglicans, and their families, were eligible for inscription into the Ordinariate. In a recent addition to the regulations, it is now possible for baptised Catholics who have never been confirmed and have lapsed from the practice of the faith, but who are brought back to faith through the outreach of the Ordinariate, to be confirmed as members of the Ordinariate. This will give a real incentive to the work of re-evangelising the lapsed- whether Anglican, Catholic or indeed of other Christian traditions.

I remain convinced thatPope Benedict’s  initiative in founding the Ordinariates in this country, the United States and Australia, will be a powerful tool in the work of bringing back English-speaking peoples to the fullness of faith, through the riches of the Anglican Tradition, fully united with the world-wide structure of the Catholic Church. I would hope that any Anglicans considering their position, as a result of current moves in the Established Church regarding priesthood and marriage, will seriously consider the Ordinariate as the proper way forward. For details of local groups see the Ordinariate website. I also hope that Anglo-Catholics who, for now, remain within the CofE will continue to cherish close links with friends and colleagues in the Ordinariate. As Wesley wrote (admittedly in a different context), we reamin “One army of the living God, to His command we bow; Part of His host have crossed the flood (the Tiber?), and part are crossing now.”


1 Comment so far
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Thanks but no thanks.

Why would someone abandon the errors and innovations of the Canterbury communion only to embrace the errors and innovations of the Church of Rome? What is this alleged “patrimony” we are going to be taking with us, aside from a few “thees” and “thous” from the Prayer Book? A theological one? The legacy of Hooker and Andrewes, not to mention Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, burned to death for opposing various mediaeval enormities (punitive purgatory, justification by works, the Treasury of Merit, Indulgences, Aristotlean transubstantiation)?

All of that is not to mention the various “doctrinal developments” (that is, innovations) which Rome has codified since then (Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Papal infallibility) and the ones which may be to come (co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces)?

The Anglican patrimony is worth preserving – the real one, not this. It is a very generous offer by the Bishop of Rome, no doubt, but those who take it up very definitely become former Anglicans.

Comment by Saepius Officio (@SaepiusOfficio)

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