From Friday's Telegraph:
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, will reveal on Friday the Vatican's plans to welcome the departing priests - including five bishops - who are expected to be received into the Catholic Church early in the new year.
Hundreds of Anglican churchgoers will join them in the Ordinariate - a structure introduced by Pope Benedict XVI to provide refuge for those disaffected with the Church of England.
The number of worshippers who leave the Church is predicted to double as the new arrangement finally begins to take shape.
Waiting, too, no doubt, to see what happens at the next General Synod.
Oh, and say: Friday's Financial Times saw reporter AN Wilson lunching with Archbishop Nichols.
Perhaps too persistently, I try to get him to say that we should all be joining his church and accepting the Pope. In fact, as Nichols tells me: “I think he [the Pope] is more at ease with the diversity of expression of Catholic truth than we are. I think he knows that the Catholic face can have many expressions.”
Does that mean that the role of an archbishop of Westminster is no longer to convert England to Catholicism but to look after the foreigners who happen to live in England? “Here you have this multicultural, multiracial Catholicism. In the Popemobile as we drove about the streets [during the Pope’s visit] quite a bit of the conversation ... was spotting the different flags in the Mall. We have 60 different chaplaincies in London for different languages.”
I get him back on track with another question about the ordinariate and this idea that the Anglicans can come to Rome en masse? “It feeds the wider ecumenical quest,” he says.
To what extent, though, is "the wider ecumenical quest" (dessert, Bishop?) fed by the possibility of further disputation and heartache introduced into the body Catholic by newcomers? Stephen Bates splits the arrow.
It is the pick'n'mix approach which grates the most about the ordinariate. Bishop Broadhurst and his friends seem to think they can choose the bits of Catholic doctrine they wish to adopt, while moving into their separate attic in the mighty mansion of Roman Catholicism, rather than accepting the whole package. Broadhurst came to a meeting of Catholic journalists, writers, theologians and priests organised by the Tablet magazine earlier in the year and seemed rather surprised to be assured that this might not be so. He got rather cross and ended up shouting that we would have to do what the pope told us – an interesting sentiment from one who has been such a disputatious member of the Anglican polity – only to be told: "Just because the pope makes us a sandwich, doesn't mean we have to welcome it."
And this is the last thing that worries Catholics: that the johnny-come-latelies, being higher than the pope and knowing better than the life-longs what the church is all about, will import their factionalism and argumentativeness into a culture they don't entirely understand or appreciate. Not all Catholics are as conservative as they are, socially, theologically, or politically and they would do well to exhibit a certain humility in their new home before they start criticising the decor. They may even be surprised to find that Catholic liturgy is generally rather lower than they have been used to and the incense less stifling.