Deacon Ian Hellyer talks about the Ordinariate

14 06 2011

Deacon Ian Hellyer gives some views on the Ordinariate on his blog:

You commented that in the last 10 years you felt increasingly uncomfortable in the CofE and questioned its direction and decisions. What are the specific areas of concern?

I have been concerned with the way in which the C of E tries to discern the will of God through its governing body (General Synod) particularly in matters of faith and morals. It has increasingly seemed to many of us that this process has become political. Decisions made less on a consistent theological position and more on balancing the opinions of various groups within the church. Specifically I am troubled by inconsistent approaches to the life issues, especially at the beginning and end of life, and the church’s confusion over what it understands ordained ministry to be about (is it purely functional or is it ontological too). Some of these specific issues come to a head in the decision of GS to admit women to holy orders.

How did your parishioners react to the news?

My parishioners were somewhat shocked at my decision because I was forbidden by my Anglican bishop from announcing my resignation in advance. The day we announced our decision was the day we began gardening leave. So many were shocked I was going like that. However many of them knew my discomfort within the C of E and most seemed to have come to terms with it. They gave very generously to us as a thank you for all that I had done since 2001.

You spoke of your amazement at the Ordinariate¹s respect for Anglicanism. When the news of the Ordinariate broke, some sections of the media understood/portrayed the Ordinariate as little more than a poaching exercise by the Catholic Church, namely lacking in respect for Anglicanism. How would you respond to this?

The Catholic Church made this provision for Anglicans because groups of Anglicans asked for it, i.e. “how can we come into full communion with the Catholic Church in groups?” Also, Anglicanism respects a person’s conscience and essentially what my Anglican bishop wanted to know is whether I was testing my conscience properly, he was not against me following my conscientious decision. Equally every person in my ordinariate group discerned for themselves whether they believed God was calling them into the Catholic Church.

You referred to the Catholic Church evangelising in such a way that¹s most appropriate in our age. This is a very interesting observation. Can you elaborate on what you mean by this?

Well I find Blessed Pope John Paul’s phrase “the new evangelisation” a very inspiring notion. It is not that there is new content to the Good News, but that we need a fresh start in how we live it, how we apply it in daily life, and how we communicate it in the world today. Somehow we need to find more effective means of communicating the gospel in our world today. And, of course, to be ready to field the sorts of questions and problems modern people have with the Catholic Faith. To be more effective in evangelisation we need also to be visibly united; I believe Christians’ lack of unity is a great barrier to effective evangelisation. I understand the Ordinariate as an instrument for unity, and to have a prophetic aspect to this.


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