Most people will not be in the slightest bit bothered about the latest round of gamesmanship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church.
This week Mr Ratzinger announced he would appoint an 'ordinariate' (you have to love the language) for disaffected Anglicans who want to become RC but who don't really want to stop being Anglican... well maybe that's what it said... quite a lot of these people are "closet Romans" who for various reasons have lacked the opportunity/gumption/clout/guts to leave the Ecclesia Anglicana and become Roman Catholics. Not the least of the reasons for doing this might be that Anglican clergy are often, even usually, married. So if you want to become (or remain) a priest this presents a minor difficulty. I say 'minor' because in the end nothing defeats the bureaucracy of the Roman Church...even its owns rules (Ask Henry VIII)
So there are a wide range of people who might be interested in this proposition
1. Those who have already separated themselves. The so-called Continuing Anglican Churches for example. They appear to have been wetting themselves to get back into the flock. Their current leader actually resides in my parish (I have blogged of him here). "Archbishop" Hepworth happens to have been a Roman Catholic priest who became an Anglican and then who left and joined the splinter Church. He claims to lead a worldwide group of 400,000 disaffected Anglicans.
This in itself is an interesting figure, I would be interested to see how they arrive at such a figure. And particularly interested to see them substantiated in some properly audited way.
I have my doubts!
Some of the members of that church have colourful pasts, and are perhaps a little fractious and argumentative (aren't we all). I wonder if the Romish Church knows it all! I suspect they know more than they let on.
2. Disaffected Roman Catholics There was a titillating suggestion that a whole host of Roman Catholics who would have been priests may now try to enter through the Anglican Ordinariate. This would be amsuing!
3. What of the loyal Catholics? I remember a dear RC colleague telling me of how many fine male friends she had who would have made wonderful priests, and who felt saddened when Anglicans who were married were able to do what they were forbidden to do because they were loyal to the Holy See.
4. What of the complicated marriages? As one whose marriage fell on hard times what would the Roman Church make of people like me. I could (indeed do) function as a celibate person. Though technically married, surely separated Anglicans (continuing or otherwise) would be eligible to join this ordinariate as long as they didn't marry again.
Or what of those whose may have been divorced and remarried, perhaps even had their marriages 'annulled' by a schismatic continuing Church and then got married again. There are probably some of those.
I can actually think of three lots of former Anglicasn who became RC, all of their marital (and other) relationships appear to have been stressed. Even become irregular and dysfunctional
I just hope the Vatican knows what it is letting itself in for.