04 May 2010

A Few Words About “The Journey Home”

It was a late night last night (at least by my usual standards), as I got back from Birmingham a little after 11:00 p.m. Although I was in bed by midnight, I tossed and turned. I didn’t get to sleep much before 1:00 a.m., and then I got up at my usual time of 5:00 a.m. So it’s been a full day, and I’m feeling a little groggy, but I wanted to write down just a few thoughts about my time on “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi.

It seemed to me that he had a better grasp of things this time, compared to the last program when he dealt with Anglicanorum coetibus. Actually, we had a bit of time before the program started, and he’s a delightful man to talk with. In fact, I think the pre-show conversation helped him to formulate some of his questions in – what shall I say? – a “more felicitous form.”

Christian Campbell has given a very good synopsis of the general topics covered and the various points made, so I won’t repeat that. But I do want to say that I’ve found there’s great interest in the whole matter of the Ordinariates, and the good people at EWTN were no exception. When I’ve been there in the past, it’s been almost painful to have to try and explain the Pastoral Provision and the Anglican Use – and that’s even after having one of our own parish girls enter the monastery there. Usually there would be a vague recollection that they’d “heard of it,” but not much more. Now, with Anglicanorum coetibus having been published, it’s very different indeed. People might not know how to pronounce it, but they certainly seem to know what it’s intended to do. I guess there’s a lesson in that someplace; namely, if you want people to pay attention to something, all you’ve got to do is get the Holy Father to write an Apostolic Constitution about it. Simple!

I hold my breath (figuratively, of course) when there are call-in questions from viewers. I’ve been on enough programs using that format to know there’s usually reason to be more than a little apprehensive. But the questions last night were pretty good. Some were quite thoughtful, and – of course – there’s always a softball question about the Blessed Mother. That’s de rigueur for any Catholic call-in show. (I sometimes wonder what they think I’m going to say – that I don’t like her very much?!). Actually, I always enjoy answering that question. There’s usually a bit of surprise when they find out that many Anglicans do have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin. You can almost feel the wheels turning – “Hey, he’s one of us!”

I have no doubt at all that a program like last night’s is helpful to the Catholics who were listening. They need to get to know us, and having time on a network like EWTN gets our story into hundreds of thousands of Catholic homes. But I know there were many Anglicans listening, too. And I hope it was helpful for at least some of them. It probably was for those who have already decided in favor of being part of an Ordinariate; it’s a confirmation that they’re making the right decision and the Church really is serious about this.

For the Anglicans who aren’t sure what they’re going to do, I tried to speak in a way that was gentle and clear. How successful that was, I don’t know. I spend quite a bit of time thinking about them, talking with them when they’re willing to talk, and praying for them. I keep wondering what more we can do to help them understand what peace they would find, if they would just come home. I mentioned last night the importance of communication (yes, I know that’s cliché). But it’s true. Very often when we talk about these things in a calm and open way, clarity comes, and it can result in a person who was hesitant about entering into communion with the Holy Father, then being able to do so whole-heartedly. I wish there could be a way for these conversations not to turn into debates that have to be won, but just talks between friends. Oh well… I can hope, can’t I?