New beds - dug over and ready for planting
Today in catechesis we went through the Catholic practice of making our confession. With humour and a selection of stories we were put at our ease by Father Abbot. Now we look forward to being shriven on Maundy Thursday.
We also looked at the liturgy of Reception and Confirmation which will take place just before the Mass of the Lord's Supper. It is very poignant that we will be brought into full communion, ready to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, on that evening when our Lord prayed that His disciples might be one.
During the second millenia of Christianity the disciples of Christ divided themselves. First most of the Eastern patriarchates (the "Eastern Orthodox") separated themselves from the successor of Peter, then later in the West, disciples of Christ separated themselves too (the "Protestants"). It is the particular concern of Popes to keep unity amongst the disciples of Christ. Most especially Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI are on record for hoping and praying that the third millenia be a time for the disciples of Christ to unite in full communion. The Ordinariate is one way in which their prayer and hope is being worked out in practice. What a privilege it is for us to be part of this work of the Holy Spirit.
We went on to discuss why Catholics can only receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, and how sometimes this can put Catholics in difficult situations, yet we are still called to witness to the truth. This is particularly difficult for members of the Ordinariate as they maintain friendships with those outside the Catholic Church. It calls for firmness in our acceptance of the teaching of the church, combined with wisdom and tact in how we share this in the future. Understanding and respect is needed on both sides. However honesty and truth is to be preferred to a certain kind of politeness that tries to paper over truth because it is making us or others feel awkward. This kind of "politeness" has plagued the Church of England and modern ecumenism, where so often real dividing issues are papered over for the sake of appearing to be united - a polite gathering.
Then as we sat in the Upper Room we realised that in just a few days twelve of us will be Received into the full communion of the Catholic Church. There will be more Receptions soon after the Ordinariate parishes have been established. Also some Catholics in the group being related to members of the Ordinariate will take up their privilege of being able to join too. As Mgr Newton said in his Holy Week letter, currently there are about twenty members of the Ordinariate, by Easter there will be just under a thousand.
Ian Hellyer, Pastor of the Buckfast Ordinariate group