MCJ highlights the thoughts of a significant contributor at the Episcopal Cafe and his thoughts on the new Ordinariate. See GRAVEYARD AHEAD, COMMENCE WHISTLING.
I think Mr Naughton's vision is limited to say the least. I am not the only one that has commented that both in the UK, here in the USA, and indeed worldwide the Ordinariate numbers would not be huge at first. This is not shocking since the structure is being just set up and yes we have to allow time for the Holy Spirit to work.
Let me comment on the Ordinariate here in the USA. From indications from a very good source it appears the Ordinariate in the USA shall be set up and up and running in the next few months. The effect on the PROTESTANT Episcopal USA will be negligible. Many Anglo Catholic have already left. We share see a nice number of Episcopal that have Anglo Catholic leaning come over along with some clergy but the numbers will not be a threat to Episcopal Church USA. I think whole Parishes coming over will be a very rare event.
The Episcopal Church USA in it's current trend toward a progressive theology is becoming more Protestant to the core. So those that agree with that vision are unlikely to adopt an Catholic attitude. This is the same body that now balking signing even an Anglican Covenant that would try to establish some norms as to doctrine.
The growth will not come from Episcopal Church members but from CONVERTS!! I suspect this dynamic will occur in the the UK as well as elsewhere.
Pope Benedict does not view the Ordinariate as some quaint museum piece that will house some Anglicanism within the Catholic Church. Neither do thsee people crossing the Tiber. Over at the Naughton site someone made this comment:
I direct music for a Catholic parish, and for me the Ordinariate is a big deal not in and of itself, but because by establishing it, the Roman Church acknowledges at long last that the Spirit has been working within Anglicanism and has produced a remarkable body of work--both artistic and spiritual--that deserves to be the property of the Universal Church. On the ground that means that when I schedule big Anglican hymns, the Pope has my back LOL.
The key here and I think this often missed is that this will be a real separate structure from the American Bishops. The Priests of the Ordinariate will not report to the established Catholic Bishops but to their own Bishop and later Bishops. These Bishops will report directly to the Rome via the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
This Bishops will not have to ask permission from the established American Catholic Bishops on the opening up Parishes , schools , and other structures that are essential to have. This will cause some tension I suspect. In fact I bet it will cause a lot of tension in some areas. However it is a little "competition" that Latin Rite really needs here in the USA. In fact I think Pope Benedict knows this and thinks that is a grand idea.
Regardless the Ordinariate will not be at the mercy of the now local Catholic Bishops in the USA. That was a critical part of the deal that made with the Holy See. Many Anglican rightfully noted how many Bishops were in fact hostile to the efforts of John Paul the II on the Pastoral Provision and the use of Anglican Use parishes.
These new Parishes will not have to deal with American Bishops that are worried about offending the Episcopal Church down the street. I get every indication that they will downright Evangelical in their zeal to expand and bring the Good News to the Anglo Catholic faith in Union with the Bishop of Rome.
Let us look at an example of one of the few Anglican Use Parishes that was blessed to find a friendly Catholic Bishop the past couple of decades. That is Our Lady of Atonement in San Antonio. This Church was founded in 1983 by 18 former Episcopal Church members. Numbers that Mr Naughton would classify as no big deal.
Late last year there was a Conference at this Church for those interested in entering this new structure. Over at Anglo Catholic see this post which has pics and gives a nice overview of Father Phillip's talk. He also has the full text here .
....On the first Sunday after the canonical erection of this parish, our numbers started to grow slightly. Some of those who had left us decided to come back, and eventually were able to make a Profession of Faith. Episcopalians and Anglicans of various stripes came to see what it was all about, and many of them chose to join with us. Lapsed Catholics found a place where they could rediscover their faith, and were restored to the sacraments. People who had no particular religious background found a small and welcoming community of believers, and so made their way into the Catholic Church. One by one, soul by soul, our parish grew and continues to grow – numerically and spiritually – even though it was born in very discouraging circumstances. And I have no doubt whatsoever that our story will be repeated over and over again in the Ordinariate.
So, to those who claim that the Ordinariates “will never work” – they don’t know what they’re talking about. Even the little experiment which is the Pastoral Provision has achieved remarkable results in a relatively short period of time, when you consider that it’s been undercut at every turn. The Holy Father will have repaired that particular problem when he appoints an Ordinary to lead us....
And so it has!! From 18 members to a Church that has 4 Sunday Masses!! It also has one of the finest schools in the Archdiocese with over 500 students. We learn here:
... Atonement Academy came into being on that same Marian feast, 15 August 1994. We had sixty-six students in grades Kindergarten through 3rd -- the exact number that our school’s cofounder and business manager, Deacon James Orr, said that we would need in order to break even. Those sixty-six students rattled around inside a brand new building big enough for ten classrooms -- more than we would ever need, or so we thought at the time.
The people of this parish are not wealthy, and the existence of this school cannot be explained by a single large example of philanthropy. The academy was a pay-as-you-go financial enterprise at its founding, and it remains so today, almost fifteen years and two facility expansions later, and with seven times the initial enrollment. Our school survives and thrives through the labors and the prayers of many devoted parishioners, parents, and teachers -- and, I am convinced, through the gracious intercession of our patroness, the Mother of God.
Our vision for the school today remains as it was at the founding: a daily sacramental life, a devotion to teaching the Truth that has always been taught by the Church, a solid education grounded in the classics and in the Catholic scholastic tradition, a choral music program rich in sacred musical traditions and high standards of musicianship, an orderly and studious environment for our students, and an affordable Catholic education for hard-working families.
Academically ambitious parents of very capable students are entrusting their children's education to us. We have been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School and as one of the Nation’s Top 50 Catholic High Schools. We are accredited and taken seriously by the education community. Those of us who work and pray here know better than to claim personal credit for this progress. We would not have achieved it without God’s blessing upon our work. We are determined to continue offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily as a school community, to continue building up our curriculum, and to continue expanding our facilities, as we are able, to serve more families.
All that is a short period of time!!! All by the "not a big deal" number of people of 18. We shall see this repeated I suspect with some great speed in the major Cities of the USA. Then in the cities of medium size and yes even in rural areas. Parishes, Schools, and yes even the founding of Religious orders of both men and women.
While this is occurring both the Anglo Catholics and those that are in the mainline Roman Catholic Church will benefit by mutual enrichment.
So yes the Ordinariate is very big deal. At some point too this will have a much bigger effect on Anglicanism as a whole than many people can dream.
Be sure to visit Father Phillips very good blog.