07 July 2014
Ordinariate Continues to Grow
In the last few weeks, two priests have been ordained in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. If my tally is correct, this brings the number of priests in the OOLW to 86. Regrettably, the Ordinariate have not got round to publishing anything like a directory, so statistics are hard to find. There are reports of the number of laity increasing here and there in twos and threes, and I am guessing that the total in now around 1,600. If this is correct, there is more than one priest for every 20 lay people, which is quite a remarkable ratio! However matters remain quite difficult for the Ordinariate, as the geographical spread of the clergy, does not always match the spread of the lay members very well. For example, in Scotland, there is one priest is covering three groups that are scattered over a huge area. In some parts of the south of England, Ordinariate clergy are so numerous that some are covering diocesan parishes full time and rarely get to work with Ordinariate groups. It would be difficult for the Ordinary to insist that the clergy move to where the need is greatest, as many of them are married, and such moves would cause a great deal of family disruption. It is still a little soon to predict the future shape of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. One of the issues that provoked Pope Benedict to make the provision was the prospect of the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England. This matter has rumbled on for about ten years, but a conclusion is likely soon, following the expected vote in the C of E synod next week. This could induce some C of E members who are wavering to make up their minds.