The ‘mixed emotions’ continue as Catholics, Anglicans and soon-to-be Ordinariate Catholics gathered at Westminster Cathedral as part of the the Walsingham 950 celebrations. The photos included at least two of the former PEVs, the former Walsingham sisters, together with the Priest Administrator, the Vicar of Walsingham and some of the Anglican Guardians in procession. Not having been there, I can’t speculate as to whether the atmosphere was something akin to a new sense of solidarity and cooperation or if it felt rather uneasy. Of all the photos from the Mass the image that struck me was that of the RC image of OLW flanked in the background by two clergymen in Anglican choir dress (see opposite). It reminded me of Michael Yelton’s biography of Alfred Hope Pattern and how, in many ways, it was the unique nature of Anglicanism in this country that allowed a maverick like Hope Pattern to re-establish devotion to Our Lady and in doing so to provide the catalyst for Walsingham to become what we see today.
All of this leaves me wondering if such things can, or could, ever happen again now that the Ordinariate has been established and the future for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England seems so bleak? Will it be possible for the popular imagination to be captured again in such away or will we sail into uncertain futures bricked-up in our little ghettos? Will the Ordinariate really be able to reach out beyond it’s own constituency or further than the remnant of Anglo-Catholicism in the CofE? Will the Catholic minority that remains have the confidence to continue to make bold and brash statements that draw attention to the Catholic inheritance of the Church of England be it at Walsingham or as part of an Assembly at the local non-Church School?
When the dust has settled I feel sure that some may feel that they have got what they wanted, but will those beyond the arguments and the aforementioned ecclesiastical communities still be getting at least some of what we used so eagerly to provide?