The Portal April 2017 - Page 21

THE P RTAL April 2017 Church. Our instruction was given by the Oratory Fathers and was aimed at us as a group of educated lay people from the Anglican catholic wing. I deliberately left it for nearly six months, but still felt that sense of calling to the priesthood. I turned to the Group Pastor in Oxford - Andrew Burnham. We had a couple of conversations leading to the formal interview process. It’s been very difficult for me not to see the hand of providence in the way that everything just lined up neatly. Now I am now a couple of months away from being ordained as a Deacon. I asked if celibacy is a problem. Jonathan answered, “I think the thing people struggle with is a feeling of loneliness and isolation and not so much about sex. I am not lonely or isolated and am surrounded by friends here. I have family and friends elsewhere. It is important for a priest not to let himself become lonely or isolated.” Thomas added, “I think it’s very interesting. I know in the C of E we did have celibacy, and I know there are clergy who are unmarried. It is not just a case of not having met the right woman, but for whom it is a conscious decision. The discipline of the Latin Church, with a few exceptions, is that only celibates can be ordained. This means there is a great openness about it. Page 21 defending the Faith in a reasonable way and saying that reason is part of the faith. Pope Benedict’s very interesting speech that he gave some years ago at Ravensburg, is remembered for only one line about Islam, but what he was talking about was the balance between faith and reason. The fact is that Christianity combines both of those. It’s a reasonable Faith. It’s not like Anglicans saying that we used to believe all this, but modern reason suggests that women are exactly the same as men, so now we can have women priests. It’s not about that. It’s giving priests a really good grounding in understanding the nature of the world of the universe of God of man and thinking about all those issues and then bringing them to the actual doctrinal content of the Faith and theology. Residential training is expensive. It is also very long - six years. At Oscott, and the Catholic Church in general, is absolutely solid and the key is in formation. What happens here isn’t training or study but formation. It takes time and what happens here is worth every penny. It is expensive but that’s because you’re taking a man, feeding him, housing him and giving him very intense spiritual input. There are eight resident priests at Oscott and two full time laymen teaching here. Of course, that is expensive. “One of the things about coming to Oscott is that It takes six years to prepare a man for a life time service it does focus on forming us to live a celibate life, and to the church. The Catholic Church has taken the view showing us how celibacy is different from bachelorhood. there is no substitute for that.” Its not that you’re un-married for the rest of your life; Jonathan and Thomas are the first Ordinariate rather it’s a very different way of looking at the world, and the natural and right instinct to love which every laymen to be Seminarians, and they hope to be human has, and directing them in another direction Ordained Deacon at St James’, Spanish Place London such as that love is for the whole of the community for on Saturday 17th June. They both hope that, although the community for God. I think that is something that’s they are the first, they will not be the last. very difficult to talk about in the Church of England Thomas said, “We hope it’s a sign that having but here it’s a natural fact.” Jonathan interjected, “It’s not a subject that’s ignored and brushed under the Seminarians is rich in Anglican patrimony, that this is carpet; at the seminary it is openly addressed and of the Holy Spirit saying ‘I am setting this up. This is not course not everyone concludes that it’s for them and a one generation thing. Let us find a way of integrating indeed not everyone stays. Some leave the seminary.” them into the church, without absorbing them. This is a new part of the Church’s life.’ I firmly believe starting We turned to their time at Oscott; what do they from the Holy Spirit, in five hundred years’ time there study, how is it different from the CofE? They both will be Ordinariate priests servicing Ordinariate agreed that the Catholic formation programme is congregations in this country.” distinctive. The Catholic approach, and why it’s a T he P ortal is very grateful to Thomas and Jonathan longer course than the Anglican two or three years, is because you start with Philosophy. The first two for their time and frankness. If you would like to years are ab out philosophy. It is the foundation of the contribute to the cost of their formation, or that of church’s approach to its religious belief.  The church their successors, or to continuing priestly training, adopted the principles of logic and reason borrowing just send you cheque marked “Clergy Training” to the them from Plato, Aristotle and others up to modern usual address at Golden Square. We assure you it will philosophy. The church is intimately concerned in be money well spent.