Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Here comes everybody!

Rorate Caeli has a picture of Our Lady of Walsingham at the head of his article, "Mass Anglican conversion?" (RC, July 8, 2008). The juxtaposition of the picture with the article is not lost on anyone who knows the significance of Our Lady of Walsingham. But first, the article. Rorate Caeli reports:

"Good news after the expected debacle: an episcopal-level minister of the "Church of England", is to "lead his fellow Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England into the Roman Catholic Church", as Damian Thompson reveals today."
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, is to lead his fellow Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England into the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Herald will reveal this week.

Bishop Burnham, one of two "flying bishops" in the province of Canterbury, has made a statement asking Pope Benedict XVI and the English Catholic bishops for "magnanimous gestures" that will allow traditionalists to become Catholics en masse.

He is confident that this will happen, following talks in Rome with Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Kasper, the Vatican's head of ecumenism. He was accompanied on his visit by the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough, the other Canterbury "flying bishop", who is expected to follow his example....
Our Lady of Walsingham! How perfect! How long have English Catholics sought her intercession in the cause of the repatriation of their Faith in their fair land. I have been to East Anglia and seen her shrine -- both the site under Anglican management, as well as the Slipper Chapel a mile away, now the relegated preserve of Catholics, where pilgrims once shed their slippers, or shoes, to walk the last mile unshod. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us! To this prospect of an Anglican mass conversion, Rorate Caeli responds: "Welcome home, dear friends! England will forever remain Our Lady's Dowry: may the Queen of Martyrs guide you as you reach out for the firmness of the Rock established by the Lord." He then concludes with the following words from the accompanying letter to Summorum Pontificum:
Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return ... widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

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