Fr Dwight Longenecker reflects:
Last weekend, in London, three Anglican bishops and their families were received into full communion with the Catholic Church in a very public ceremony in Westminster Cathedral. Three Anglican nuns and some laypeople were also received. By Easter it is expected that the Anglican Ordinariate will have been set up, and up to 50 more Anglican priests will be received into the Catholic Church along with a significant number of laypeople.
This public reception is in marked contrast to the manner in which I, and many others were received into the Catholic Church in England in the mid 1990s…
How things have changed! Now three bishops and fifty clergy are converting and they pull out the stops and have the Mass in Westminster Cathedral–the mother church of Catholicism in England; for this is not the embarrassed reception of disenchanted Anglicans, but a very public beginning of the Ordinariate, and what is going unsaid is the fact that under the papacy of Benedict XVI it is all but shouted from the housetops that the old ecumenism is dead.
This pope understands Anglicanism better than any other pope. He sees clearly that ecumenism with the Church of England is dead. The ordination of women, the consecration of women bishops, the rationalization of homosexual unions, the doctrinal apostasy and the openly moral degeneracy has led Benedict XVI to conclude that the new ecumenism is not a diplomatic building of bridges, but a bold establishment of a new kind of Anglicanism within the greater fold of the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate will begin small and it will be persecuted. There will be difficulties and defections. There will be many problems, but history will show that the Anglican Ordinariate will provide for the ultimate preservation of the Anglican patrimony.
All Catholics should watch this development with care and with prayer. Those Anglicans who are stepping out to pioneer the Anglican Ordinariate should be upholded in our prayers. The Anglicans often like to portray themselves as bold innovators and pioneers of the future, (We first had the liturgy in the vernacular and five hundred years later Rome followed) The real innovators are Pope Benedict XVI and the three bishops and their flocks who are, at last, coming home to Rome.
Read his whole post here.