Patrimony

How wise are the words of the new Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham when he says that although Liturgy must be a central component of Anglican Patrimony, there is much more to it.

Liturgy is the source and summit of all Christian life. In it and through it we become one with Christ and with each other, in it our communion is expressed at its highest and we move from being the people of God to become the Mystical body of Christ himself; entering ever so deeper into the mystery of the Triune God to which we are created. So liturgy (Word & Sacrament) constitutes not only our identity and relationship but underpins our Patrimony. Whichever rite used (Roman, Byzantine, Anglican) the heart and soul of what is celebrated is the same.

With the Ordinary we need to look beyond. Our patrimony is our spirituality which we hold in common with the Universal Church, it is the way how we govern our churches and the lay involvement which has been codified in the foundation documents of the Ordinariate. Our patrimony is the enquiry into learning new things; it is our constant scanning of the context in which we live to identify new evangelistic opportunities, it is our engagement with all who live around us even if they will never darken a church door. It is also our experience in the last ten to fifteen years in the Church of England – joyful and sorrowful: the experience of making our churches as centres of excellence in the face of manifold difficulties and persons who opt not to understand our catholic position.

Around five years ago, a liberal clergyman who I respect said to me that this time for “Catholics” in the CofE there will be no provision and no compensation, as he called it, the “mistake” of the Act of Synod will not be repeated. That has come to pass as what the General Synod is attempting to offer is a misogynist solution not a Catholic one. It reads like: ask a female “bishop” to appoint a male Episcopal delegate and a male priest to the parish so that we do not upset congregations with the sight of a female minister. What on earth does this say about General Synod and its supporters?

Nothing happens by chance and I think it is time to respect General Synod and this new Church of England. For some it must mean that they need to move to stay where they are, where they are called to be, at the foot of the cross.

You and I are Anglican Patrimony; it is how we think and how we do things. We are not many, we come in all sorts of size and shapes and temperaments, but look at the Twelve and take courage. Our Patrimony will be enriched when placed into the fullness of the Catholic Faith, the faith once given to the saints. There is work to do in England, let us keep praying and working, so that we can take with joy the road God is showing us to follow.

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