We have brought together here documents and resources that help to give a fuller and richer picture of the Ordinariate of Our Lady Walsingham, its short and recent history.
From Crisis To Faith
Two documents from many years before the establishment of the Ordinariate in 2011 seem to shed light on the circumstances in which the Ordinariate eventually came into being.
In 1852, the then Father John Henry Newman preached his famous Second Spring sermon to the English Bishops assembled in Synod at Oscott. Read the full text here. For the fledgling Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, these words from that sermon must surely have a very particular resonance: ‘Have we any right to take it strange, if, in this English land, the spring-time of the Church should turn out to be an English spring, an uncertain, anxious time of hope and fear, of joy and suffering,—of bright promise and budding hopes, yet withal, of keen blasts, and cold showers, and sudden storms? One thing alone I know, – that according to our need, so will be our strength.’ Amen!
At Christmas 1969 in a German radio broadcast, the then Father Joseph Ratzinger gave an answer to his own question “What will the future Church look like?”. Here are the concluding paragraphs. It is perhaps not too fanciful to see here the thoughts of the future Pope whose prophetic vision the Ordinariates would be. Almost the last words of that broadcast were these: ‘And so it seems to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith.
Unity of Faith in Diversity of Expression – Bp Stephen Lopes 2017
The Most Revd. Stephen J. Lopes is a bishop and Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter in the USA. In March 2017, he presented a lecture to the Catholic Theology Faculty of the University of Vienna, on the work of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, with a particular eye towards the Congregation’s work in establishing structures for groups of former Anglicans and other Protestants who desire full, visible communion with the Catholic Church. His lecture sheds interesting and useful light on why the Ordinariates were established as they were (see especially pages 8 to 12).
A Treasure to be shared – Fr Gerard Sheehan 2015
In a paper presented at the 2015 Ordinariate Festival in Westminster, Fr Gerard Sheehan, a priest of the opus Dei Prelature, proposed a specific role for the Ordinariates as being specifically ecumenical, in the sense that they are a means whereby Christ’s prayer for unity can become a reality. They are an ecumenical endeavour in that they are ordered to the unity of Christians in the Church founded by Christ.
Consistency and Communion – Mgr Mark Langham 2015
Speaking to clergy of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Mgr Mark Langham, Catholic Chaplain to the University of Cambridge and formerly of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, proposed that in an era when ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and other Christians has become more reflective and meticulous, the Ordinariate can give some guidance and impetus to our discussions. Consistency, and communion are two essential qualities of ecumenism; the Ordinariate can help re-invigorate, re-apply, and re-tune both these concepts. Mgr Langham’s paper pulls few punches in addressing the role of the Ordinariates in Ecumenism.
The Mission of the Ordinariates – Cardinal Gerhard Mueller 2013
In a paper presented in January 2013 to the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, the then-Archbishop and Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith developed some theological principles which inform and direct the vision for unity expressed in Anglicanorum coetibus, examined the canonical structure of the Ordinariate as a concrete expression of ecclesial communion and then upon the theological and canonical foundation of the Ordinariate proposed a “culture of communion”.
Visionary Gleamings – Fr Aidan Nichols OP 2012
In The Realm, a small book I produced a few years ago on the conversion of England, my argument ran like this. A Church that is to be evangelical must have native members, or it will not enjoy spontaneous sympathy with its environment, and the intimate understanding such sympathy brings. In a paper presented to the Ordinariate in 2012, the well-known author Fr Aidan Nichols discusses ‘Visionary Gleamings – the Ordinariate and the New Evangelisation’.
The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus 2009
Our ‘founding document’ is the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI on the 4th November 2009. It sets out in formal language the motivation for, the purpose of and the mission or charism of the Personal Ordinariates, the first of which was our Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, formally established on 15th January 2011. It begins with the words Anglicanorum coetibus or ‘Groups of Anglicans . . .’