A point I did not pursue in my previous post is concerned again with the fabric of Downside. In the interview with Abbot Nicholas he talks about securing the future of the abbey church. It is of course a listed building, but apart from the local congregation, and presumably on occasion, the school, who will use so splendid a church? Although it might well have some appeal to visitors it would be deeply sad to see it reduced to a tourist attraction maintained by a charitable trust, There is also the future of the very substantial and important library.
Is there any other community willing to take on the church and community buildings? Doubtful in this day and age of declining communities and few vocations. The ICKSP have done wonderful work in taking on the ‘Dome of Home’ in New Brighton, and St Walburga and The English Martyrs in Preston, but Downside might be a bit much even for them.
One idea occurs to me - move the cathedral of the diocese of Clifton away from its bizarre pyramid in Bristol and install the cathedra, the Bishop, his Curia and ancillary staff in the monastic buildings and use the spectacular abbey church to maximum effect for what it was built, the worship of Almighty God. It might be a bit off centre in the diocese but is probably as accessible as getting in and out of a bustling city.