In an interesting Editorial this week, the Catholic Herald points to ten subjects that, in their opinion will both dominate and provide a far-reaching impact on the Church in the coming year. These are:
The ordinariate: In arguably one of the most interesting developments in English Christianity since the Oxford Movement, groups of former Anglicans will form the first personal ordinariate. The English ordinariate will become a model for similar ventures around the world.
I have to say that the numbers talked about are impressive considering the many negative comments emanating from Anglican sources last year. It is thought that will be between 500-800 souls in the first wave which includes about 50 members of the Anglican clergy. This figure does not include those who are still in the process of discernment.
Persecution in the Middle East: The bombing of the Coptic church in Alexandria was Al-Qaeda’s way of saying that no Christian in any Middle Eastern country is safe. The terror network is likely to wage a concerted campaign this year to drive Christianity out of its ancient heartlands.
This is a very distressing and emotive prophesy. The Coptic Bishop of Luxor – Youhannes Zakaria – recently said “We have to pray. We have to pray for peace”.
Post-papal visit renewal: Many of us are still trying to absorb the impact of Benedict XVI’s trip to Britain. There is a danger that, if we continue to simply bathe in the visit’s warm after-glow, we will miss a key opportinity for spiritual renewal.
The Church and the Coalition: Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said that the papal visit seemed to herald a new era in relations between Church and state. But will the new spirit of cooperation survive the Coalition’s decision to place abortion at the forefront of over-seas aid and to drive through controversial cuts?
This is probably the one I am most cynical of. We shall see.
Apostolic Visitation to Ireland: This year the Apostolic Visitors will attempt to discover what went wrong with the Irish Church and how it might be corrected. If Rome can draw the right conclusions about the malaise it can ensure that the scandal is not repeated elsewhere.
I am sure Shane will have some comments on this! Also, the Cloyne Report is due and will be most interesting.
Reforming the Legion of Christ: No less important is the radical re-shaping of the most dynamic post-Vatican II clerical religious congregation, the Legion of Christ, and its lay movement, Regnum Christi. Pope Benedict has rejected the easy option of simply abolishing the Legion and will devote much energy in 2011 to salvaging the wreckage left behind by Marciel Maciel.
The Referendum in the Sudan: This month the people of Southern Sudan (many of whom are Catholic) will vote on whether to secede from the North. Khartoum has warned them to expect violence if they opt for independence. Will anyone defend them?
Joyful Papist has touched on this in one of her recent posts. St. Josephina Bakhita – pray for them and us.
Sino-Vatican ties: Before Christmas relations between Rome and Beijing deteriorated dramatically. Chinese state media accused thePope of behaving ‘like a Western politician”, while the Vatican said the Chinese authorities had engaged in ”unacceptable and hostile acts’. Will Sino-Vatican ties continue to worsen in 2011?
SSPX talks: This might be the year that discussions between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X finally bear fruit. As we report this week SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay is cautiously optimistic about full reconciliation. But we shouldn’t underestimate the obstacles that remain.
This would be something that many of us are praying for,
The Pope in Berlin: In September Benedict XVI will make his first papal trip to the German capital. Protests are expected, but the Pope may be able to charm the German public just as he did the British people. His scheduled address to the Bundestag is likely to be memorable.
I would say that the Holy Father did a little more than ‘charm’ the British people. Wouldn’t you?
These are very interesting issues confronting the Church for 2011, and it would be interesting to hear what other things you consider might be pivotal for our Church in 2011.
Please God we might have some date for the introduction of the new liturgy!!
Our Lady Help of Christians – pray for us.