Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, has said that the main reason for former Anglicans leaving the Church of England to join the Ordinariate has not been – as the media often say – the ordination of women in the Church of England, but rather obedience to the Lord’s call that the Church should be one.
Their decision, he said, had been about listening to the Lord’s voice and having the courage to follow him because Christian unity was not about “being nice to each other”, but about “being in communion with one another”.
Mgr Newton’s comments came during a weekend visit to the famous Catholic church, the Oratory, in Kensington, where he was invited to appeal for funds for the Ordinariate – the structure set up by Pope Benedict to enable groups of Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church while retaining much of their spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition.
As well as preaching at all eight Masses over the weekend to the Oratory’s total estimated congregation of 2,500, he also presided at the church’s procession in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes and at Benediction after Vespers on Sunday afternoon.
Likening those who joined the Ordinariate to the disciples of the early Church, Mgr Newton told the congregation that the former Anglicans had left behind what was familiar and secure in order to follow the Lord. In many cases, he said, that had involved real sacrifice, not only for those who were formerly Anglican priests but, if they were married, for their families as well.
The Ordinariate, he said, had no historic assets or buildings of its own and, though the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales had been very generous, the structure had started with very little and needed to be self-sufficient. He added that if it was to grow and develop and play its part in the mission of the Church to this country (at a time when the Christian faith was often marginalised or ignored) it needed the prayers, encouragement and financial support of the wider Catholic community.
Mgr Newton’s visit was one of a series being made by Ordinariate clergy up and down the country, organised by the Friends of the Ordinariate charity which helps to raise fund for, and awareness of the Ordinariate.
The Provost of the Oratory, Fr Julian Large, said: “The Fathers of the London Oratory were delighted to welcome Mgr Keith Newton to our house and parish. The Ordinariate is a great gift from the Holy Father to the life and unity of the Church”.
(NOTE: Please visit our new website at: www.friendsoftheordinariate.org.uk )
Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham