This is a transcript from part of the Press Conference following the November 2011 Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales. In it, Madeleine Teahan (Catholic Herald) asks Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, about progress relating to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham as discussed at the meeting. The full audio can be found here.
MT: As I understand it the Ordinariate was discussed aswell during the time. The first question is, what is the progress on the Ordinariate project and, most specifically, do they have a church yet? [Ed: Second question about holydays of obligation].
+VN: Yes, we had report from Monsignor Keith Newton. He gave us an indication of the present numbers within the Ordinariate, and that was about 60 clergy and about 1000 people. He gave us some indication of those who where coming forward, as it were, in a second wave – at the moment I think he said that there were about 20 clergy, most of them with some groups, but he didn’t specify the size of the groups. We talked quite a bit about the support of those 60 clergy and how co-operation between the Ordinariate clergy and diocesan responsibilities is going quite well. I think you will have seen that some of the Ordinariate clergy are taking posts in the dioceses. Some of those posts are chaplaincy posts, some of those are parish posts – posts in parishes – and that is obviously helping the Ordinariate to carry its’ responsibilities for its clergy.
With regard to churches: the groups that exist on the whole find their use of the local diocesan church perfectly adequate. I think I read that the Archbishop of Southwark has more or less handed one church into the care of the Ordinariate. With regard to the suggestion that constantly comes up about a headquarters church, as it were – a cathedral for the Ordinariate – I think that is something probably beyond their resources at the present time, and I don’t think the Ordinariate would thank us, actually, to simply give it responsibility for a church that it would have to then maintain and upkeep. That day might well come, and it certainly is not ruled out there are various things under consideration – but the timing of it is not to be rushed, and nor should it be made into some sort of iconic issue: it isn’t. The Ordinariate is getting established, it’s getting ready for its’ second step, and we will see how it develops in that proper organic way.