The Church of England’s apparent pride in its comprehensiveness in contrast to the ecclesiological narrowness of Roman Catholicism is now emerging as fantasy.
The Ordinariate is showing the Roman Catholic Church offering compromises, fudges and political fixes to Anglican traditionalists. Whereas the Church which has always taken pride in the image of itself as a via media and a place where everyone could fit in had nothing to offer the same traditionalists. As a result a number of bishops, clergy and laity have joined the Ordinariate or are still considering Pope Benedict’s offer.
And while the Roman Catholic Church’s secrecy, which bordered on contempt for Anglicanism, is to be criticised, it is the Church of England time and again which is showing itself to have no vision for the possibility of ecclesiological change. Bishops have even harshly ruled out the use of Church of England buildings for Ordinariate congregations, even under sharing arrangements. This looks more like a political strategy to dissuade laypeople from joining the Ordinariate than a decision about ecumenical principles.