The blogmaster of the Portsmouth Mission blog has written in response to my recent post on the distinctiveness of the Ordinariate:
… St Agatha’s is growing steadily. Fr Maunder recently received a number of people into the Catholic Church via the Ordinariate and has 5 baptisms lined up (all girls).
But to whom does St Agatha’s, with it’s Ordinariate Use Mass, appeal? Where is our evangelisation?
– Diocesan Catholics. There are many born and bred Catholics who prefer the Liturgy of the Ordinariate. I’ve heard many people comment on how they like the Ordinariate Use as it is practically the Tridentine Mass in English. Some have even commented that the Mass is ideally what Vatican II should have come up with (i.e. vernacular, hymns and active participation in the Mass but without modern and unnecessary developments such as facing the people).
– Anglicans. The English Missal with a bit of BCP chucked in will appeal to Prayer Book, Anglo Catholic and Anglo Papalist Anglicans who despair at the modern watering down of the Anglican Church. They believe that a “flourishing” of Anglo Catholic traditions can only be maintained and developed in a Church that believes, and I quote the Cathechism, “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination” and that “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.”
– Non Conformists such as Methodists/Salvation Army. The Ordinariate is open to these people as their Churches were carved out of Anglicanism.
– Those who do not know Christ. Many people will wander into St Agatha’s off the street. Usually when the church is open a board is placed outside inviting people in. I was listening to a programme on BBC Radio 4 about faith and art where a gentleman was interviewed as he sat in one of London’s Tate galleries. He said he often went in during his lunchbreak as it is quiet and he could view the art and through this experience feel calm and peace. If this works with secular art I’m sure a much deeper impression is made on people who come into St Agatha’s and stare at Sumners Sgraffito or indeed the new baroque St Agatha altar. Similarly music does the same. I recall how on one of the great Feast Days, when an orchestra was to play a fine Mass setting, a lady came up to me in the Car Park and asked if this was the place of the concert. I assume she had seen an advert and decided to join us for the music. Who says that the music didn’t touch her soul and help her to contemplate Christ? Maybe she felt warmth as she spoke to members of the congregation afterwards and scoffed on a fish paste sandwich?
Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words.