Anglicans Joining Ordinariate Are Like ‘Hobbits In Search of Treasure’

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (CNS)

So say the Ordinary, Msgr Keith Newton:

Anglicans joining the Ordinariate are like Bilbo Baggins and the other hobbits going in search of treasure, Mgr Keith Newton said on Sunday.

Speaking in Portsmouth Cathedral, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham began his homily by mentioning The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, which he described as “one of (his) favourite children’s books… the exiting story of a hobbit together with a band of dwarves searching for dragon guarded gold,” before adding that the true treasure is to be found in Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven.

“To discover Christ and his kingdom is more of a lifelong treasure hunt,” he said. “We need God’s grace to do this because it needs courage to make sacrifices and to take risks for Christ if we try to faithfully seek his kingdom and his righteousness. It is part of making choices in seeking of the kingdom that has led some former Anglicans to enter full communion of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.”

He said that people sometimes asked members of the Ordinariate why they couldn’t become “proper Catholics”. “What they mean”, he said, is “why can’t you just be absorbed into the wider Catholic Church so that what you bring disappears like sugar dissolved in water”. But, he added, “Christian Unity is not about Christian uniformity”.

“It is about exploring the possibility of sharing a common faith in communion with the successor of Peter and yet having different liturgical, devotional and pastoral practices which enrich the wider Church. When Catholics and Anglicans first began talking about unity they used the phrase of being ‘united but not absorbed’. In the Ordinariate that idea has been put into practice – the possibility of Unity of Faith and diversity of expression,” Mgr Newton said.

“Pope Benedict encouraged us not to leave our history behind but to take it into the Catholic Church and to share some of the distinctive aspects of Anglicanism which are consistent with the Catholic Faith.” The Ordinariate Mass has elements taken from the Book of Common Prayer – “a treasure to be shared.”

An Ordinariate “exploration day” event in Portsmouth is just one of 40 different events being held on September 6 by Ordinariate groups across the country, to help people to understand the Ordinariate better. Pope Francis last week sent his good wishes, saying he is praying for the success of the day.

For the full text Mgr Newton’s homily go here.


11 thoughts on “Anglicans Joining Ordinariate Are Like ‘Hobbits In Search of Treasure’

  1. Popular culture strikes again. In a homily. To a group of people of faith. So banal. Pandering to the poorly educated masses? Would be interesting to see what percentage of his audience had (a) read the books, (b) seen the movies, (c) both, or (d) neither.

    It isn’t as if there aren’t a plethora of potential stories of courage, sacrifice, and even journey in Holy Writ. How about using the Book of Tobit? A boy and his dog journeying to save a girl travelling with an archangel. Heck of a lot more relevant than Hobbits! Or maybe from the life of a saint? It isn’t as if there is a shortage of potential saints, many of whom rarely get mentioned.

    I guess I’ll take a modicum of solace in knowing that at least he didn’t cite Star Wars , Star Trek, The Hunger Games, or something from the world of Marvel/DC comics?

    1. I am of course quite with Michael here! And I have read the Catholic Tolkin’s, The Hobbit my share of times! But agreed, theology and biblical depth simply MUST go deeper! The great challenge is to the whole Church Catholic! But are we asleep like the five so-called foolish virgins in Matt. 25: 1-13? Let us “trim” our lamps as the five wise virgins, those of us that know we have oil! And of course “oil” is the Holy Spirit and the assurance of our Salvation ‘In Christ’!

      1. Thanks, Fr. Robert. In my fantasy/sword & sorcery time I was more Michael Moorcock’s Elric and Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara. But to each their own preference. 🙂

        My comments are motivated more by Paul in 1 Cor 13: “When I was a child,… When I became a man,…” I really wish preachers would keep pop culture out of the pulpit. It rarely works. And usually seems either a bit childish and immature, or “hey look at me, I’m hip, cool and with it”. Of course, this can be appropriate for some teaching class or other non-liturgical setting, when put in context in.

      2. @Michael: We completely agree on this! And the Inklings were not strictly based on being Christians, but some aspect of friendship, community, and debate! But yes, here Tolkien read parts of The Hobbit to Lewis and the group; as Lewis read parts of The Pilgrim’s Regress also. Note Owen Barfield was never a card-carrying Christian! And the Inklings were never strictly a “collaborative group.” And in reality it was rather more a literary group, with some Christians. But God forbid that we should “Christianize” the whole! And to my mind, especially all of Tolkien’s writings. And actually there was very little strict Christian theology, save perhaps more of Lewis and Charles Williams at times. But even here it is not really classic like. My thoughts at least.

      3. Though I will confess that if a RC priest is going to use “popular culture”, why not go with a classic? I mean, I’d love to hear some sermons that included Dante’s Divine Comedy! And not just from the Inferno. 🙂

        While I’m a huge fan of 20th century English literature, I’m much more K. Amis, A. Burgess, G. Greene, D. Lessing, J. LeCarre, and G. Orwell. And I include the great “colonial” writers, Narayan & Naipul, with them. Read Lewis’ Space Trilogy as a teen. Never did read any Tolkin.

  2. I was right, the whole homily was not read. The homily is a normal Christian one which perhaps comes as a shock as the contributors here obviously think Catholics cannot be real Christians!

    1. Joseph, You are wrong on all counts. First, I did read the sermon. The link was right there. All I had to do was click on it. Which I did. Second, I certainly consider RCs, along with Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Reformed, etc. as “real Christians”. I’ve gone to my RC GF’s local church many times and worshipped with them. But I’ve also done same with PNCCs, CAs, Lutherans, Methodists, and others. (While I don’t presume to speak for Fr. Robert, I suspect such is the case for him, even though we both might argue that faith groups different from our own–mine, EO; his, Anglican–are in error in certain theological areas.)

      I think you’re missing my simple point. I find sermons that open up with pop culture references to be trite. They are like fingers on a chalkboard to me. But then…I’m an educated adult looking for challenging and rewarding preaching. Good sermons don’t need popular culture references. ’nuff said?

      And by the way, I really do think that his sermon might’ve been greatly improved if instead of ending with a mention of Romans 8:28, he might’ve preached on it.

    2. Joseph, I forgot to add, in his defense, he probably would’ve lost me if he’d mentioned the Sunday being in Ordinary time. Being AWRV, these Sundays are after Trinity. (I’m no fan of the NO, the RCC’s revised calendar, or the 3-yr lectionary. But that is just me. Guess I’m a bit of a curmudgeon?) 🙂

      1. Michael Our Lord used parables all of the time to get his message across. Rereading Monsignor Newton’s homily it is to me (not highly intellectual) just that – but the introduction was rather short and the real religion got in the way (sic)!

    3. Btw, mates, I live in the So Cal., and have a few friends in the Ordinariate near here, and know one Anglican friend that has left and has gone back to classic Anglicanism. And his major gripe, as he said, was the lack of biblical and traditional theological preaching! HE in fact shared this quote with me: ‘All great direction of souls is at once traditional in doctrine and original in application.’ (Evelyn Underhill)

      Speaking for myself, I agree with Michael that quotation of Holy Scripture must also have exegesis and explanation, and the Text of Romans 8: 28 was such a place to begin! Here we can have the great beauty of both biblical and traditional doctrine and theology, with some aspect of personal and original application in our time of postmodernity! “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty (void), but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isa. 55: 11, “Yahweh”)

      WE must wake-up to our times! The culture and world, cries out for truth and help.. in the midst of the Adamic suffering and pain! And we who have Christ and the Messiah: Jesus/Yeshua, living within must share HIS Good News! The true Church is a living assembly of believers..”Christians”, where Jesus IS Lord! (Rom. 14: 7-8-9)

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