Wierni: Comings and Goings (Translation)

26 04 2011

Here is a translation of the original Polish article published earlier today (here):

Hundreds of Anglicans converted to Catholicism during Holy Week.  Thousands of people, however, are abandoning the faith.

“It’s one of the happiest moments of my life. I have been waiting for this for years,” Rev. Simon Heans told Rzeczpospolita. Until Monday he was still vicar of the church of St Barnabas in the London suburb of Beckenham, but together with a little group of lay people he has now converted to Catholicism. During Holy Week across Great Britain 900 people changed their religious allegiance, including 60 clergymen.

The Anglican church has been divided for years over the issue of the ordination as priests of women and homosexuals.  For some of the faithful homosexual marriages [sic – tr.] have been hard to accept.  “I felt that in that kind of atmosphere I wasn’t able to deepen my faith.  When the Pope gave us the opportunity of returning to the Catholic Church, I told my congregation that that’s where I would like to lead them to bring them nearer to God,” explains Simon Heans. In 2009  Benedict XVI promulgated an Apostolic Constitution, which enabled the formation of ordinariates for Anglicans wishing to convert to Catholicism.

“I became a Catholic 16 years ago, but my husband then still thought it would be possible to put a stop to the changes in the Church of England.  In the end, though, he’s become a Catholic too,” Patricia Bould, wife of the vicar of St Peter’s in Folkestone, told Rzeczpospolita.

“On the scale of the Church of England as a whole,” says Anglican minister John Leach, “the number of those leaving isn’t that big.”  He estimates that to begin with the Anglican Church will lose 400 000 of 77 million adherents.  [That’s what it says – I guess he’s talking about the Anglican Communion as a whole but even then, I don’t know if they’ve got the numbers right! – tr.]

According to data published by the Vatican in February, in 2009 the number of Catholics in the world increased by15 million and now stands at  1.18 billion. Over 10% of those newly christened were adults. The largest number of adult baptisms was in Africa.

Critics challenge the data which shows a growth in the number of Catholics, claiming that the sexual abuse scandals in the Church have lead to a mass exodus of the faithful. In Germany in 2010 180 thousand people (out of about 29 million) left the Catholic Church, and 150 thousand (out of about 25 million) left Protestant churches. Thousands of Christians are also converting to Islam – this phenomenon has been observed in both Great Britain and France.

The Ordinariate Portal is very grateful for the provision of this translation.