THE P RTAL May 2013 The breeze was blowing fresh from the sea, a game of rounders was being played with energy and enthusiasm on the sands, some children were scrambling their way carefully over some rocks, and I was watching the scene with a delicious ice-cream cone in my hand. It was a real British seaside and I was enjoying it all. At some moments, it is possible to feel that everything is really all right with our country, after all. disciplinary action Ghastly and Wonderful Page 6 na wri tes just given – ghastly things at one level, but signs of enduring vitality in the Church - the Ordinariate places us all at the centre of a daily drama. This is particularly the case if you happen to live in London: this has been a wonderful and happy time for the Ordinariate because it now has a headquarters church (Warwick Street, where 2013 saw the Ordinariate holding its Chrism Mass in great style) and also a parish given to its care: Precious And more: opposition to this from anyone holding Blood Church, Borough, at London Bridge. any form of public office – a school governor, a local borough councillor, a head teacher, or even some PB is a delight Being at PB is a delight: Palm Sunday saw a procession minor official in a local Planning department – must be crushed and the person concerned subjected to through the local streets, various renovations are disciplinary action. And more again: while all this is happening in the church (a restoration of the rather happening, you and I are paying, through our taxes, fine sacristy with a beautiful ceiling), the atmosphere for substantial numbers of British children to be is friendly, the year ahead looks full of promise. The destroyed while still in the womb, and this dreadful church has a rich history and the parish is proud of thing is widely promoted as a “right” and girls are it, and the local area teems with street-names and pub taught that any attempt to restrict it in any way is an signs that echo London’s Christian heritage. Vast office blocks soar upwards – London’s newest landmark, insult to them. the Shard, is nearby and dominates – and the Thames awesome bowing of heads surges alongside. The local Good Friday Walk of For a little while, this Spring, we were able to ignore Witness included prayer outside the offices of London’s some of this as our mass media was dominated by government (Mayor Boris’ HQ). In PB itself, in the events that, because they involved great and spiritual silent moments of the Mass, you hear trains rumbling things, and the lives of great and good men, stirred past on the big Borough viaduct which transports our hearts and lifted our spirits. Pope Benedict XVI thousands of people daily in and out of the capital. retired, a new Pope was elected, and in the drama and the poignancy of it all – the love and gratitude shown We need good priests The Ordinariate is a sign of hope: new life and to Pope Benedict in that great farewell from St Peter’s Square and arrival at Castel Gandolfo, the surge of new adventures in the Church in our country. And, excitement as Pope Francis’ name was announced and oh, goodness, we need this sign of hope. We need that awesome bowing of heads as he asked for prayers good priests and packed churches, sound teaching, from the vast crowd – we glimpsed something so huge prayer-based missionary efforts, joyful service, and and reassuring that it gave out a message of hope to all. an understanding that God is calling us to be faithful witnesses in times that are not of our own choosing. the centre of a daily drama It is a great thing to be in Britain in 2013 and to be It is very strange to be a Christian in today’s Britain, witnessing the first days of the Ordinariate of Our and especially to be involved with the Ordinariate of Lady of Walsingham. Our Lady of Walsingham. Like the juxtaposition I have Joanna Bogle But it isn’t. While I stood there, enjoying the first of the spring sunshine, a Parliamentary committee was busy working its way through planned legislation to redefine marriage, because our Prime Minister has decided that two people of the same sex ought to marry and the way that we have lived, and every other known civilisation has ever lived, throughout recorded history, has got this wrong.