When the idea of an Anglican Ordinariate was announced in September 2009 in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Times of London ran the headline 'Vatican Parks Tanks on [Archbishop of Canterbury] Rowan [Williams]'s Lawn'. It seemed an apt image at the time. Three years later it is more as though the Pope had, uninvited, sent over a Fiat Cinquecento or two to pick up some stranded friends and their bags. ... the stated aim of the Ordinariates, to accommodate whole groups of Anglicans who might come together as existing communities or structures with Anglican patrimony in tow, and thus to promote unity, is a failure.

The gains (if you can call relieving the Anglican Church of some of its nastiest bigots and letting them into your own church, a gain) of the Anglican Ordinariate for the Roman Catholics pale into complete insignificance when compared to the number of the Catholic faithful who have turned their back on their church and religion due to the child sex abuse scandal and the intransigence of the Vatican hierarchy on matters such as women priests, divorce and family planning.

For full article, check out EUREKA STREET. It's well good.



  1. “pale into complete insignificance when compared to the number of the Catholic faithful who have turned their back on their church and religion”

    That’s the sad part of the story (well, besides the trauma/horror of child sexual abuse!), the loss of ALL faith (i.e., trust in a Higher Power). I hope they eventually find Someone to believe in (esp if that Someone is the Holy Trinity of the…well, the better parts of the CofE! ;-/)

  2. From the cited article: “Yet the fact of the Ordinariates suggest that the real position of the Vatican on Christian unity is about absorption rather than convergence; the tanks, not the talks.”

    Truer words were never spoken. All one has to do is read the end notes of the new RC Missal here in the US to see that Rome’s position is and always has been: You’re welcome to share the eucharist with us only if you accept that we are the sole heirs of the Kingdom.

    The price of their hospitality has alwys been too high.

  3. Part of what has happened in the Ordinariate story, is that the mis-perception of those in the ultra-conservative portions of both the Anglican and Roman world. Both think they can carry the laity with them, or at least most of it, because after all, not only are they in charge, they are clerics!

    After Cardinal Law became a fugitive from American justice, harbored by the Vatican; after the churches in Europe exploded with litigation and revelation of abuse, and after the utterly homophobic response from the Vatican; it is amazing, but they still think they are in charge and the rest of us must follow.

    That perception is wrong in Rome, and it is wrong in conservative Anglican parishes. Even when the congregation is scandalized by women priests and horrified by the prospect of female CoE bishops, they are opposed to child abuse and cover-up! It may be possible to drag a few parishioners with a Rome-bound priest, it may be possible to drag a few priests with a Rome-bound bishop, but the majority of parishioners will have none of it, here, in England or anywhere else.

    So the tide of disaffected expected by B-16 is never going to be more than a trickle. As their fate becomes clear, Rome is the prototype for the Borg after all, it will be an ever smaller trickle. In a fair number of the cases where the trickle has run, no one is particularly upset that those who left did. As we say over here: wayward sisters, go your way.


  4. Few people seem to remember, but in the late 70’s the same deal was offered to disgruntled Episcopalians: clergy and congregations convert, clergy reordained, wives included, permission to use the Book of Common Prayer. Some 40 clergy and a few hundred lay people took them up on it…out of 9,000 clergy and 7,000 congregations. Based on our experience we take many many times that number every year going the other way. Based on the one clergyman I know who did that then, I can only hope his new bishop was a man of unusual patience and tolerance.
    Tom Downs

    • I once met an ex-Roman priest, who left Rome to marry, became an Anglican priest, and then tried to go back (w/ his wife). The RC bishop hung up on him!