Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to the Catholic Church

Further to my post about the Ordinariate ordinations, there was much speculation about the setting up of the Ordinariate itself, a legislative act of the Holy Father. So I was keeping an eye on the blog of the Vatican Information Service, which reports these things. It wasn't announced until the day itself, but here it is, and here is the post recording the appointment of the first Ordinary. I was rather struck by the blog entry which records this. The Holy Father was having a busy day, and the post is called simply 'Other Pontifical Acts'.

He created a new diocese in Sierra Leone, dividing the diocese of Freetown and Bo into two, and appointed the first Bishop of Bo.

He appointed a bishop in Italy, to diocese of Aversa, following the retirement of the old one.

He appointed an auxiliary bishop in Zambia.

He appointed a new head of the Pontifical Acadamy of Sciences. This actually got some attention from the wider world, since Werner Arber is the first non-Catholic to hold the post.

And he appointed Fr Keith Newton as Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

I don't know what it is like being an Anglican, but I am often struck as a Catholic by the universality of the Church, both in time and in space. There is no age, since Pentecost, when there wasn't a Pope, bishops, priests, the Mass, Catholic scholars and saints: and of course sinners and persecutors too. And while the particularities of history determine the strength of the Church in different locations, it is truly Catholic - Ecumenical - Universal. This is not just something for Catholics to feel smug about, as if they worked for the World's Biggest Corporation or something, but it is actually a sign that this institution is Christ's Church, One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic. The picture at the top is Vermeer's expression of this idea, his 'Allegory of the Catholic Faith': the Church bestrides the globe.

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