Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Gathering us in, soul by soul

This SSPX business is constantly in my mind at present, whether at the surface or just beneath it. The Holy Father has shown himself capable of taking astonishing initiatives, going beyond what was imagined: for example, in enabling the establishment of Anglican-use Ordinariates. I hope it may be so in this case.

If a split occurs in the wake of any proposal, it will not be neat, but messy. It will be rather like a bloodless version of the partition of a country, with people fleeing in one direction colliding with others who are fleeing in the opposite direction. We cannot know at this stage how many of each type there will be. I think there will be a good deal of pain.

Our dear Pope Benedict has a great ambition, it seems: to gather us in, as many of us as possible, of all spiritual shapes and sizes and colours, as long as we have a Catholic heart and Catholic faith; to ensure that we of the wild olive shoot are all securely grafted into the true olive where the Good Lord intended us to be. This, I think, is meant to include, quietly but most ambitiously of all, the branches which really belong to the olive but were once, long ago, broken off*. Institutions and groups are one thing, and important; but I believe that in the last resort we are meant to be gathered in as individuals, soul by soul.

* Romans 11: 17-24

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