Fr Edwin Barnes on Cardinal Levada’s Plenary Meeting with Ordinariate clergy

30 09 2011

Fr Edwin Barnes writes:

A Visit from Head Office

Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the CDF, visited the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham over the last two days. Yesterday evening there was a reception for the Friends of the Ordinariate (and we do have some very influential friends, it seems).  We met in the Archbishop of Westminster’s house, and a very happy evening it proved.  Mgr Keith stressed to us all the financial needs of the Ordinariate, and all attending were encouraged to do what they could to help with the initial funding of this amazing experiment.

Today, Cardinal Levada gave us more of his time, speaking to all the recently ordained priests and giving us an overview of how Rome expects us to evangelise and grow.  He spent half an hour fielding some very difficult questions from us — could he help us discern just where the line was to be drawn between being too separate from the rest of the Catholic world, and simply being subsumed into the English diocesan systems?  The Catholic Church welcomed the gifts we were bringing with us; but were our wives simply to be tolerated, or were they indeed treasures which the whole Church needed to welcome?  Did not a married priesthood make chosen celibacy all the more highly valued?

Allen Hall pulled out every stop, and we celebrated a very happy Mass of the Archangels (for it is Michaelmas Day) and the Seminary also laid on a splendid lunch which we enjoyed in the warmth of the late-summer garden.  The Cardinal’s visit was a great boost to us all, a reminder that the Holy Father expects great things from us, and that we must not disappoint him.

We returned to our separate corners of the Vineyard — as far scattered as St Austell in the Southwest and Deal in the Southeast, the Isle of Wight in the balmly waters of the English Channel, and bracing Inverness on the northeast coast of Scotland — all of us determined to pray more intently, to work harder, and to seek to make the Ordinariate an effective instrument in the conversion of England, and the Unity of Christ’s Church.