The announcement of Bishop John Broadhurst, the Anglican Bishop of Fulham and Chairman of Forward in Faith, that he is to join the Ordinariate as soon as possible will not come as a shock to many, but some will be alarmed that he, in particular, has made this statement so quickly - and following the visit of Pope Benedict. Some Catholics who think they know what is likely to happen have suggested that nothing much will happen to begin with and that only a few Anglicans will take up the Pope's gracious and historic offer. It is my belief that these Catholics are wrong. I cannot say exactly why (it would not be fair at this stage to say who I believe is likely to be considering such a move) but I believe there will be a substantial movement involving groups, not just individuals. The Ordinariate may turn out to be more significant than we at first thought - perhaps opening the door to something we hardly dare think of - the beginning of a new alignment of Christians in Britain.
Another thing to be said - and this was pointed out by an Anglican friend - the Ordinariate is not simply about Anglicans becoming Roman Catholics. This is not how the text is worded. We are talking about Anglicans being united with Rome. We have yet to discover just what this means in practice, but there are already "Anglicans" in the United States ("Anglican Use") in union with Rome, and they continue to worship in ways which look very similar to Anglo-Catholics (though there are changes in the celebration of the Eucharist). We must not make the mistake of reading these historic events in a simplistic way. Something different is happening and it already promises much.