Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Ordinariate Evensong

This evening I went to the Oxford Ordinariate Evensong and Benediction at Blackfriars. The sermon was preached by Mgr Burnham and in it he looked at the aims and intentions of the Year of Faith. The service was sung by the Newman Consort, who have established themselves with a considerable repertoire and style in the musical life of Catholicism in Oxford.

At the reception afterwards I was talking to someone from an Anglo-Catholic background who is considering joining the Ordinariate. I clearly encouraged this, and talked to him about my own experience of conversion and reception over seven years ago. What was gratifying was his obvious appreciation of what the Ordinariate offers to people like himself, and I not only hope and pray he makes the transition, but that others may do the same. This is not only the Year of Faith, but this is supposed to be the year in which the Church of England finally(?) makes up its mind about legislating for women bishops - though maybe I won't hold my breath on that one.


Frederick Jones said...

So what does the Ordinariate offer - Evening Prayer. the English Hymnal, but the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite? A rather scanty anglican patrimony indeed. Would not traditional anglicans be much more at home with the Tridentine Mass?

anglican dissenter said...

I shan't be joining the Ordinariate but thanks for the offer anyway. As much as I despise the Church of England's liberal direction, it is still possible to keep the evangelical faith alive in some quarters within the established Church, if you try hard enough. If you believe in the two things that Anglicans really should believe, a) the sufficiency of scripture and b) salvation by faith alone, I see absolutely no reason why you would want to enrol in the Roman Catholic Church, which is very legalistic in nature and practice.

Do you really think, really, that teachings as dubious as the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption (of Mary, allegedly 'ever Virgin') are necessary for salvation? They aren't explicit enough in scripture, surely, for a just God to make this the case? And do you really believe that the Bishop of Rome, by virtue of his inheritance of the See of Peter, has the godlike power of making infallible declarations?

This is what Anglo-Catholics thinking about the Ordinariate really need to consider, very carefully. Yes, you can be assured of apostolic succession, but you must realize that Rome is a fundamentally different religion. If Rome is just a refuge for you because the Bishops are more conservative, then you're not being true to your Christian faith.