The Daily Telegraph reports here that the Archbishop wants to set up a joint Anglican-Catholic commission to assist those who want to leave the Anglican fold and become Catholic. I do feel sorry for the Archbishop of Canterbury. What a dreadful job to try to hold together a church that is going it umpteen different directions all at once.
I’m also a little bit suspicious. Does he really want to help them leave or hinder their exit? If he wants to help the disaffected Anglicans to become Catholic it shouldn’t be difficult at all. Just say “Good bye”, and ask if they would kindly take off your hands some of the churches you don’t want. I’ve pointed this out before: the Church of England has way too many churches. Many of them in rural and urban locations have lost their resident populations. They’re redundant. Lots of them have already been turned into pool halls, bistros, mosques and furniture stores.
Let’s be honest, there aren’t going to be many of the little ordinariate congregations. If every Anglican Diocesan bishop put his Archdeacon on it, in every deanery they could probably find two or three churches they don’t really want. They don’t even have to give them to the Ordinariate–just lease them or let them be used for worship and let the Ordinariate maintain them. It would be a win-win situation.
It will be very interesting to see if they Anglican Bishops actually come up with a creative solution like this. Somehow I doubt it don’t you? Much more likely that they will expel those who wish for an ordinariate and choose to close or pull their redundant churches down rather than let Catholics have them.
Still. I may be wrong. I know of several situations in the Church of England where they either do share the village church with Catholics or where extra churches are used for Catholic worship. It might be and we should pray that it be so.