Ordinariate yesterday. I have received a rather sneering comment, which I have not published, from a Roehampton Liberal stating that 800 lay members was about one largish Catholic parish, or two average sized parishes, which is true. My "co-respondent" suggested the Pope must be really disappointed and questioned whether a parish priest, meaning the Ordinary, should really be on the Bishop's Conference. He/she continued and asked whether such a small number warranted all the time and effort the Pope, the Curia, Bishop Hopes et al had spent on the Ordinariate. Sour liberal! especially as the 800 represents those who chose to go to a Cathedral, and wanted to take part in Rite of Election for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, if I were an Anglican and considered myself an Initiated Christian, I would choose not to go. Anglicanorum Coetibus doesn't call for the repudiation of anything.
Sixty[ish] clergy, admittedly some a bit long in the tooth, of course is larger than some of the UK's more remote dioceses, that alone justifies Fr Newton's seat! I think for many Anglicans the whole Ordinariate thing was rushed through, for lay people especially it was difficult to know how to get involved, especially if one's clergy were going to stay. In my own diocese of which the southern part covers the Anglican Diocese of Chichester there is an Ordinariate group in Eastbourne and that seems to be it.
However it isn't, talking to Anglican lay people around here, there seems to be a lot of interest in the Ordinariate, most people I speak to seem to wonder how it is all going to pan out, who is going and who is staying. There is surprise among Anglican laity that clergy, who have traditionally of "up the candle" south coast Anglican have not been more enthused by the Ordinariate. The problem could be, in some cases, a problem with Catholic morality but more likely that in our area there is a Catholic enclave that has closed itself off from the rest of Anglicanism, "ladies are not invited to concelebrate" at most South Coast Religion parishes, and John Hind the Bishop of Chichester has been pushing the Society of Saints Wilfrid and Hilda. Here, there is anxiety about just how Catholic the locals might actually be, having resisted women's ordination in the CofE, they don't want to find calls for it in the Catholic Church. On a more mundane level exchanging Hymns Ancient and Modern with bad arrangements of "Eagle's Wings" accompanied by banjo, tambourine and recorder is not an inducement.
One has to remember that Anglicanism is essentially culturally congregational, theologically it is more a system of church government than a Church. Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics, Liberals have learnt to co-exist and communicate with one another at least when necessary. It is worth remembering the Coetibus bit of Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is aimed at groups. England might well be the epicentre but the impact is really going to be felt in the former British colonies.
For many Anglicans the issue that has caused the 800 +60 to leave, the break with Catholic Tradition, will only have impact when a female bishop insists on celebrating the Eucharist in their own church or sends the fruit of her hands to do so, even then many will hope for some English compromise.
I suspect myself that the 800 +60 is the beginning, they are the "first fleet", the founding colonists, the sons of Noah on the foreign shore, many of them will continue to have contacts with their former congregations, whilst testing the terrain and the water, setting up structures, finding homes, building, checking out the friendliness or otherwise of the natives.
This is part of the Benedictine brick by brick thing, it is a candle in the dark, the leaven in the lump. These are men and women who have boldly gone where no-one has gone before.