I am quite seriously upset : or, rather, saddened.
I was looking on the blog of Fr Jones, priest of the Anglican church of S. Peter’s, London Docks – a famous church, with a long history of devoted ministry in an area which was, if it is not now, very deprived indeed.
His post for today – ‘of Mazes and meetings’ – contained a passage which I found almost incredible :
‘In the past few days I have had two rather nasty attacking emails, both, I think, from FAC's (former Anglican clergy now within the Roman Catholic Church) telling me in rounded and fulsome terms that they will use every means they can to ensure that I would never be ordained if I joined an Ordinariate under the terms of the recent Apostolic Constitutions. There's a welcome for you.’
Obviously, I have no idea who these ‘FACs’ might be; nor their motives for such a gratuitous attack on someone who (apparently) was their brother in the Anglican priesthood : but it seems to me that, regardless of these things, such conduct is simply un-Christian. Further, it is judgemental – and we know what Our Blessed Lord said about that !
Mgr Ronald Knox once asserted that the Church of God was composed – like Gaul – of three parts : the Church Triumphant in Heaven – ‘All Saints’; the Church Suffering in Purgatory – ‘All Souls’; and ‘the Church Militant here in earth’ – ‘All Sorts’.
For me, one of the joys of coming home to the Catholic Church was exactly that : that it is the Church of ‘All Sorts’; good and bad alike, where ALL God’s children are welcome - and as I have never ceased to say, ‘coming home’ was, for me, exactly what it was; and I have never for one instant regretted it.
The Catholic Church is also the rightful home of all Christians; and if we are good (or at least faithful) Catholics, we should surely do all in our power to assist our separated brethren to find their way home – an obligation which, you might think, would weigh all the more heavily on those who have already been granted the grace to make that journey themselves.
Further, a deliberate attempt to prevent someone possessing a Divine Vocation from being ordained amounts to a calculated attempt to thwart the Divine Will – and apart from being rash, I must assume that that would be a grave sin.
As I say : I do not know who has made this deplorable comment to Fr Jones; nor do I know why it has been made, and I can have no sort of confidence that they will ever read my remarks. However, if they do, I would ask them to remember S. Philip Neri’s comment that when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are calling down a heavy vengeance upon us – ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us’.
Fr Jones’ two correspondents seem to have forgotten that point : I hope and pray they will not have to regret their attitude on Judgement Day.