Since communication is one of our pet topcs on this site, we are reposting here the Word from the Ordinary from this month’s Australia-Wide:
“In the 1950’s life in the Church appeared to be more stable, but the problem of communication was still very real. Fr Forrest wrote books of humorous verses exposing the idiosyncrasies of both priests and congregations. In one verse he observed that the parishioners knew everything about their vicar as well as every detail of his private life.
“But when he had a meeting,
Or a service in the Church,
Unless it is a Sunday time,
They leave it in the lurch.
He posts it on a notice board,
Just where it may be seen,
And prints it very plainly
In the parish magazine.
Then, standing in the pulpit,
He will very nearly shout it;
Yet everybody makes excuse:
‘We never knew about it.’”
S.J. FORREST, ‘WHAT’S THE USE’, P.42
As the French say, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ One of the greatest concerns of both priests and laity in the Ordinariate is, ‘How is it that after 3 years, most Catholics don’t know anything about the Ordinariate?’
I am tempted to ask another question in return, ‘How come that after some 500 years, most Catholics know very little about the Eastern Catholic Churches?’ Yet replying to one question by asking another, does not address the issue.
So the question is, ‘How do we spread the news of the existence, nature and purpose of the Ordinariate articulated in Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus?’
The Ordinariate is a living example of the cost of true Church Unity with the Catholic Church and all that that involves, while maintaining our distinct English Christian Spirituality.
The Anglican Church seems to be content to consider Christian unity to be no deeper than being friends, so they regard the Ordinariate as a mirage that will quickly dissipate. They will not promote our existence. Catholic bishops have been supportive and the Catholic Press have reported ordinations and have printed articles about the Ordinariate. Yet Fr Forrest’s poem still holds true.
We are told that the under 40’s do not read printed newspapers and we know that some elderly people do not browse the web, surf the net, have a facebook page or twitter.´As an Ordinariate we must make use of all these technologies because we need to reach as many sections of the community as possible. We are considering running advertisements on Google, but with all advertisements, the careful use of words is essential.
Apart from using technology, the reality is that communication tools and people outside the Ordinariate can only achieve a limited amount. Not every Catholic diocese has an Ordinariate group in it and even in those that do, there doesn’t seem to be much knowledge of us. So what can we do about it?
St Paul asked a similar question about spreading the news of the Gospel (Rom 10 v14). Others will only know of the Ordinariate if the members of it tell them. We cannot advertise in the Anglican media, and the Catholic bishops face similar problems publicising their own activities. It is down to us.
- Have your own stock of leaflets about the Ordinariate and hand them to others if they show interest.
- Produce a parish or group, prayer card, or bookmark with Mass times and contact details and give them away anywhere you can – even include them in the local paper delivery.
- Be visible in local Catholic events, wear the Ordinariate lapel badge and have flyers or pamphlets with you.
There are more ways than this, so become lateral thinkers.
Called to Unity
… During last year’s Clergy Residential, it was agreed that around the feast of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, preferably the weekend prior, every Ordinariate Community would host an event to which all those interested in learning about how the Ordinariate is realising the prayer of Jesus that all his disciples might be one. Christian unity is deeper than friendship, as it involves sharing the same faith, but expressing that faith in the distinctive way of our previous tradition.
This event could be a Tea Party, a Meeting, a Mass, Evensong or a Prayer time together. The purpose is to share what God has done to enable his disciples to be united. We can share with others what this means for us, and show them what ‘unity’ with ‘distinctiveness’ looks like.”
Msgr. Harry Entwistle, Ordinary,
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Australia