Saturday, January 15, 2011

Archbishop Nichols' homily: Ordinations to the Personal Ordinariate

Homily of Archbishop Nichols on the Ordination to the Priesthood of Reverend John Broadhurst, Reverend Andrew Burnham, Reverend Keith Newton. Here is an extract.
Today we thank the Holy Father for the courageous leadership he gives in establishing the first Personal Ordinariate. His intentions are clear. It is, as he has said, ‘a prophetic gesture’. It is to contribute to the wider goal of visible unity between our two Churches by helping us to know in practice how our patrimonies of faith and living can strengthen each other in our mission today. At Oscott College, the Holy Father said to us bishops: ‘It (the Ordinariate) helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.’

The visible unity of the Church, then, is central to our thoughts today. Indeed, it was never far from the heart of St Paul as is well expressed in his Letter to the Ephesians and, a little earlier, to the Philippians. His appeal is steadfast: that believing in Christ as Lord, that sharing in one Spirit, that worship of one God and Father create a unity which must be constantly served by the practice of humility, gentleness, patience and love. In Philippians he is more explicit about the attitudes and behaviours that threaten this unity: selfish ambition for the power of office; the search for personal approval or prestige; a focus on the importance of self within a competitive spirit, all taking us away from ‘the mind of Christ Jesus’. (cf Phil 2.1‐5).

History shows how right he is. These patterns of failure mark our histories. They also find expression in the lives of each of us today. So we ask pardon for our failings and seek to renew within ourselves that mind of Christ Jesus himself.

The quest for the visible unity of the Church remains an imperative. In it the role of the successor of St Peter is crucial. Pope Benedict expressed it thus in Westminster Abbey: ‘Fidelity to the word of God, precisely because it is a true word, demands of us an obedience which leads us together to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s will, an obedience which must be free of intellectual conformism or facile accommodation to the spirit of the age. This is the word of encouragement which I wish to leave with you this evening, and I do so in fidelity to my ministry as the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Saint Peter, charged with a particular care for the unity of Christ’s flock.’ (Westminster Abbey, 18 Sept 2010)

The Pope’s ministry to the visible unity of the Church is central to the faith of the Catholic Church. It is central to the faith of those who enter into full communion in this Ordinariate. It is central to the welcome, encouragement and support the Catholic community in England and Wales gives to this development and to all who seek to be part of it.


Basil said...

The Archbishop preached brilliently this morning. It was a marvellous event - the beginning of something very exciting.

justin said...

The Archbishop's homily today was one of his very best. Fr Blake - do you know if he wrote it himself?

Firstly, the number of times he quoted the Holy Father - when talking about Newman's conversion, and then the specific nature of the Petrine ministry, which he affirmed for both the ordinands and for all Catholics present.

Secondly, his exposition on the traditional Catholic understanding of the sacred priesthood - as one who is ordained to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and through this the daily constituting of the Church.

And thirdly his own personal reflection on what it means to be a priest, reflecting on Christ showing the apostles his wounds in the Gospel passage. In particular his very apt words for priests - the wounds of sin are our business, the wounds of Christ, even though we have caused them, are our consolation and strength.

It seems as if the papal visit has inspired Abp Nichols, as it has all of us.

georgem said...

The homily was very Benedict. I never thought that anything like it would ever issue from the mouth of an English bishop.The inclusion of the Pope's reference to Newman and conscience and what he actually meant was a master stroke.

Even if the Archbishop didn't write the homily himself, which is likely, he had to approve it and if the Ordinariate causes the Catholic Church in England and Wales to raise its game then we are seeing its benefits already.

Lux Occulta posted on 10 Jan Cardinal Bourne's prophetic words on ecumenism. It's well worth a read in the light of yesterday's events and those to come.

vetusta ecclesia said...

Amazing turnaround from the suspicion and antipathy that the establishment of the Ordinariate first engendered. But thank God they have listened to the Petrine voice - basically at Oscott the HF told them to accept it and get on with it.

motuproprio said...

Just to say that there was also another ordination on Saturday in your own diocese, where Bp Kieran Conry ordained a married ex-Anglican priest Alex Hill, formerly Vicar of St Matthew's Willesden, who is to work in the Guildford parishes. I am sure he too would appreciate your reader's prayers.

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