Boarding the Barque of Peter

In England and Wales this year the numbers of participants in the rite of election were swelled by members of various Ordinariate groups as they set out on their journey from the Anglican communion to unity with the See of Peter.

This is a great and challenging time for all of them and the going is hard, as people give up a religious life that has nurtured them for many years; a good glimpse of the process and the difficulty faced by these groups is provided by Fr Spilsbury on his blog.

The crossing of the Tiber by the priests and people of the Ordinariate has been marked by many tender, sad-yet-happy moments and many moments of joy

The remarkable thing about this process is the sheer, tenacious hope expressed by many of those making their pilgrimage to Rome. Those of us on this side of the Tiber must give thanks for their faith and for the many riches that they will bring to the Church.

Please pray for all of those joining with the Ordinariate to cross the Tiber and for those still unsure, but inclined to set out, not to mention those heroic souls leaving their lives as Anglicans aside to join Holy Mother Church under their own steam.

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27 Responses to Boarding the Barque of Peter

  1. Diane says:

    The Catholic Church in England was always called”Our Lady’s Dowry”. How happy she must be to see her Anglican children coming home to full unity with Rome. I’ll pray the Hail Mary for courage and peace for those returning and openhearted love for them from us on this side of the Tiber. Welcome home.


  2. Patricia says:

    God bless the courage and humility of those who are coming home to Rome. The Holy Spirit is leading us toward the unity that Jesus prayed for to the Father. God bless those making the Journey Home. It will be exciting to see how the Holy Spirit is going to work in unifying the Mystical Body today and in the days ahead. Our Holy Father has a monumental task of leading the Church in this landscape of change. This whole scene is a learning experience for all of us. We can truly benefit by learning about the history of the Church in England and Wales and the many obstacles and persecution She endured. The stories of the saints, martyrs and lay people who remained faithful, even to death, are truly inspiring to me. Our Lady of Walsingham pray for us all, as a new chapter in the Life of the Catholic Church is written. Cardinal John Henry Newmann, pray for us.


  3. toadspittle says:

    Boarding the barque of Peter

    Rats joining the sinking ship? Not at all! What an idea!


  4. kathleen says:

    The Cure d’Ars, St. John Vianney (French) and young St. Dominic Savio (Italian), who lived in the 19th century and never left their respective countries, both had visions of the future conversion of England……. or should I say, RE-conversion? (After all, from the time of St. Augustine of Canterbury until Henry VIII decided to separate us, all the British Isles were Catholic!)

    These are not just fanciful ideas or wishful thinking, but predictions of canonised saints of the Catholic Church. The Cure d’Ars saw into men’s souls, and Dominic, in spite of his tender age, had already shown an ability to know things by revelations of the Holy Spirit through his profound prayer life.

    St. Dominic’s vision is particularly encouraging for English Catholics I think. Before he died Dominic related to his spiritual guide and teacher, St. John Bosco, his vision to pass onto the Pope when he saw him (Blessed Pius IX). He described how he’d seen the Holy Father hold up a flaming torch, the light of the True Faith, which spread gradually over a mist-covered plain that was England, dispersing the mist till it was as clear as midday. Dominic added:
    “Tell the Holy Father that in the midst of all the trials that await him, he should not lessen his special care for England. God is preparing a great triumph for the Church in that country.”

    Could this ‘boarding of the barque of Peter’ of so many Anglicans today be the start of this vision becoming reality?


  5. mmvc says:

    Prayer for England

    O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother look down in mercy upon England, thy dowry, and upon us who greatly hope and trust in thee.

    By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.

    Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the cross, O Sorrowful Mother, Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold, they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.

    Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith, fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee in our heavenly home.


    St John Vianney, pray for us!
    St Dominic Savio, pray for us!


  6. toadspittle says:

    Fond as he is of his delightful Catholic chums on CP&S, the idea of England becoming a totally Catholic country again – “Mary’s Dowry”, in fact – is nightmarish to him.
    He would have hated it the first time around, as, so he suspects. would have everyone else on here.

    As bad as living in Mecca these days.

    Luckily, the chances of it happening are slim.
    Slim to none, he hopes.

    Can you imagine?


  7. kathleen says:

    Methinks our Toad has not discovered the ‘pearl of unfathomable price’……. how sad!

    So living in Spain as you do – a Catholic country let me remind you – is nightmarish to you, is it Toad? Like Mecca, is it?

    I await your reply with bated breath, ready to duck from your, ahem, spittles ;-).


  8. Rebrites says:

    Spain was dominated by Catholicism for centuries, but not so much these days. True, most Spaniards call themselves Catholics, and they send their kids to Catholic schools if they have that kind of money. There are still some remarkable combinations of church and state floating around in daily life. But even the very conservative Spaniards in Toad´s Castilian village will assure you that Spain is a secular society, with full freedom of/from religion. The Spanish Catholic hierarchy may still feel compelled to advise the Vatican on what Real Catholicism is, but out here in the (empty) pews millions of nominal Catholics attend church only for weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
    Calling Spain a “Catholic country” is wishful thinking at best.


  9. Mr Badger says:

    About 75% of the population identified as (at least nominally) Catholic in the last census. Of these more than half never attend religious services. About 20% of the country identify as atheists. Spain has had no official religion since the seventies.
    It is a country with a lot of Catholics, and a Catholic heritage, but surely it is a stretch to call it a “Catholic country”.
    In fact the idea of a “Catholic country” is fast becoming a term with out a referent. Surely the future of the Church is along the lines of what the Pope expects, a “an active and creative minority” within local, national, and global society.
    Given that England is increasingly post-Christian, and that the decline of Christianity in England has been slowly increasing in pace for at least 250 years, it is hard to see how the “re-conversion of england” would work. Force?


  10. Mr Badger says:

    To keep the “boarding of the barque” in perspective, if every single Anglican in England who attends Church on a weekly basis converted to Catholicism tomorrow, Catholicism would remain a small minority in a secular country.


  11. toadspittle says:

    As Rebrites has enunciated clearly the current situation here in Spain, Toad will content himself with a bit of explanation as to why he dislikes the notion of a single religion dominating any country, be it Jewish, Islamic or Catholic, Calvinist, Quivering Brethren or whatever.
    The great Voltaire put it best when he said England was far superior to France because England had several dozen religions and only one kind of cheese, whereas France had several dozen kinds of cheese and only one religion.

    Diversity, in both cheese and religion in fact, is not only desirable, but essential, thinks Toad.


  12. toadspittle says:

    Toad aslo extends thanks to Mr. Badger for the numbers he provided.
    It is also worth remembering that, since the Civil War and its aftermath, a great many ‘Catholic’ Spaniards regard ‘their’ church in a light that would be considered inconceivably negative in any other ‘Christian’ country in the world.
    (Toad has gleaned this from conversation, the media and books here.)


  13. kathleen says:

    Well yes, everyone knows that OFICIALLY Spain is a secular country, but I was referring to (as Mr. Badger points out) Spain’s Catholic heritage, and how the vast majority of Spaniards identify themselves as Catholics. True, the practice of the faith has indeed dropped in Spain, just as it has in every western country.

    Sorry to hear about your ’empty’ pews Rebrites. Things surely vary from parish to parish, but that is not my experience of Spain. Last week I returned from Collado Villalba (Madrid) where I attended my baby grandson’s Baptism. Seven babies were baptised that Saturday; the Church was packed. On Sunday we only managed to arrive for Holy Mass in the nick of time…….. standing room only, the church was so full!
    In Andalusia I’ve not found the churches as full (except on special feast days) but they are also far from empty.
    Literally thousands of people take part in the Holy Week processions when Spain seems to come to a standstill. Would people make such sacrifices as walking for hours carrying excruciating heavy images on floats for a ‘non-existent’ God? I don’t think so.

    England is a far more secular country than Spain, but as our Holy Father’s visit to Britain last September proved to the amazement of one and all, deep down within the hearts of people – many who might not have set foot in a church for years – there is a need and hunger for God……. yes, even in England.


  14. toadspittle says:

    Well, Kathleen, of course Spain has a Catholic heritage. So does France, and Italy and Britain.
    Would Kathleen regard France as a Catholic country these days? She admits (Toad thinks,) England no longer is.
    So why should Spain be stuck in the past?

    Toad is not surprised that the church Kathleen visited was packed for baptisms. Tha’s what happens. People show up to be baptised, they next show up to be married, and then they show up dead to be buried.
    A Spanish funeral sure packs them in, Toad can avow.
    And yes, in Holy Week we’ll all (not Toad!) show up and pay big bucks for the right to carry the pasos through the streets, and have a good old time in the bars, and let off lots of deafening rockets and scare all the dogs.

    Then, we’ll all go home until next year. Except for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

    However, Toad can confirm that, in the villages at least – there is still a strong social tradition of going to mass each Sunday.
    In our village about 80 per cent of the people always attend. All 14 of us.


  15. kathleen says:

    Toad asks:
    “Would Kathleen regard France as a Catholic country these days?”

    Well no, not officially of course, but there is also vibrant Catholic faith alive in France. You would only have to join the Pentecost pilgrimage from Notre Dame in Paris to ND in Chartres to see that for yourself. An estimated 15.000 Catholics (mostly very young) take part in this traditional annual event – an inspiring, amazing experience. Some foreign Catholic groups take part in the pilgrimage too – I join the British ‘chapter’.
    This is the opinion on one British pilgrim last year:
    “Being part of something so enormous is itself a thrilling experience. The column takes an hour and a half to pass a given spot: it is a powerful witness to the faith, and demonstrates that it is far from dead in France.”
    (For the full article see here:

    Then Toad asks:
    “So why should Spain be stuck in the past?”

    So to be a practising Catholic is to be ‘stuck in the past’ in your opinion Toad? Not mine.
    I would say that to be a pagan like you is to be ‘stuck in the past’. Paganism, or to use it’s ‘modern’ word, agnosticism, is to be far more ‘stuck in the past’. Catholicism is as actual and alive now – perhaps even more so if we talk worldwide and don’t just get ‘stuck’ in the west – as it was when Jesus Christ handed St. Peter the keys of the Church with His promise of its protection till the end of time, and the Holy Spirit subsequently flooded the hearts of the Apostles at Pentecost.


  16. kathleen says:

    Toad I said that the church I visited in north west Madrid, Spain, was packed not only for the Baptisms on Saturday, but ALSO THE NEXT DAY, for just an ordinary Sunday Mass!
    The reason for this I think is because the parish priest (and curate) are true grit traditionals, teaching the fullness and beauty of the Catholic Faith, and tireless in their pastoral work.

    It’s the liberal parishes that find the number of their congregations dwindling.
    And the same goes for England and elsewhere.


  17. Mr Badger says:

    Kathleen, the question is not whether a vital and faithful Catholicism exists in Spain — it does. The question is whether Spain as a whole can be described as Catholic. Unless we water down our definition of Catholicism to mean some sort of “cultural heritage”, surely Spain is no longer a “Catholic country”. But the future of Catholicism isn’t about creating or re-converting “Catholic countries” it’s about being the universal Church, present in every country, and standing as a sign of contradiction, however secular modern “nation states” become.


  18. kathleen says:

    Mr. Badger, OK yes, if you put it like that, I agree with you. Great comment btw!


  19. toadspittle says:

    No, Kathleen,
    Toad doesn’t think that to be a practising Catholic is to be “stuck in the past.” Stuck in the present, possibly.
    What Toad meant was that to be labelled as a Catholic country when it is no longer really applicable is to be “stuck in the past.”

    And the past in Spain, under Franco, is not a place any reasonable person would care to be stuck, suspects Toad..
    But we must agree to disagree on that.


  20. Patricia says:

    Waiting to see what blessings come to Spain after the upcoming World Youth Day and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. I suspect that, as the fragrance of the Holy Spirit will be left behind, it will not be the same as before this holy event. St. James, pray for us. St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.


  21. toadspittle says:

    “I suspect that, as the fragrance of the Holy Spirit will be left behind, it (Spain) will not be the same as before this holy event. “

    Says Patricia.

    Toad agrees. Nothing is ever quite the same. Still, he doubts if it will result in a wholesale massacre of ‘The Reds.’ But you never know with Spain.


  22. Mr Badger says:

    “Still, he doubts if it will result in a wholesale massacre of ‘The Reds.’ But you never know with Spain.”

    Connecting Spanish Catholicism with some of the horrors of the civil war era may be justifiable, but conflating it certainly is not. As Toad knows.


  23. kathleen says:

    I would say that Toad’s analysis of the Spanish civil war is more than a little one-sided.

    So what about the thousands of priests, bishops, monks, nuns, plus ordinary lay people, even children, who confessed to being Catholic, who were brutally murdered by your beloved ‘Reds’? Not to mention the malicious and macabre displaying of their tortured bodies for all to mock and spit at.
    Or the thousands of beautiful churches and monasteries ransacked and destroyed?

    I would say the devil was let loose during those years. There is no other explanation for such horror and evil.

    The other side under Franco also committed murders – I admit – in response to these atrocities, especially once the war was over.
    That is the tragic result of a civil war; no one comes of out it blameless.

    Btw, I remember Spain under Franco, before its economic boom. When I was a little girl I went there on many holidays with my family. Seemed like a very happy, laid back place to me, and not at all as you paint it. I doubt whether people would find the same laissez-faire attitude in the old communist countries of the time! Since learning Spanish and talking to many people who lived under Franco, I am convinced that it had all the beginnings of democracy then, that effectively arrived two years after Franco’s death. If the seed had not already been sown, I don’t think that would have been possible.


  24. toadspittle says:

    Kathleen! ¡ Tranquillo!

    ‘Reds’ are not beloved of Toad. He despises most all politics – always has.
    He believes the problem with Communism/Marxism is very similar to that of Christianity/Catholicism – they expect- (or expected, in the case of Communism) – people to believe six impossible things every morning before breakfast, and act on them.

    Spain is today, in Toad’s arrogant (he was going to say humble, but let’s be honest) opinion, the most open, most democratic country in the world. It leaves the States and Britain standing, mired in humbuggery and hypocrisy.

    He loves it here. You can be anything – a Communist, an Anarchist, a Falangist (and very many still are) if you feel like it, and nobody can, or will, stop you, let alone put you in jail or kill you.
    And God forbid it should ever regress.

    There’s “laid back” for you!


  25. toadspittle says:

    Toad is sorry to go on at such boring length, but what he is trying to get across here is that he would hate to live in any state or country, where one religion, or dogma, (like Communism,) has an overwhelming monopoly.
    And he knows Islam, for one, is like that, and he strongly suspects Catholicism would be too, if it got the chance. Or Calvinism, or whatever. Anything. Beter to put up with the minor inconveniences of the Open Society.

    Feel free to tell him he’s wrong, of course. That’s what it’s all about.


  26. kathleen says:

    Right dear Toad, having thrown a few buns at you, I am now ‘tranquila’. Hope we are still ‘chums’ 😉 ?

    But what are those ‘six impossible things’ Catholics are supposed to believe……. before breakfast of all times? (How can one do anything before breakfast?)
    Well, I can probably imagine what they are – contained as they are in the acts of Faith, Hope and Charity. Impossible for you perhaps, because you admit to being a non-believer, but wonderful and inspiring to men of Faith.

    I shall keep praying for your encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus.


  27. toadspittle says:

    Yes, we must be kind to each other. And I did not miss your subtle correction of my Castellano.
    As you no doubt already know, the idea of believing six impossible things before breakfast comes from the White Queen in ‘Alice,’ and as Carroll (Dodgson) was Anglican rather than Catholic,, Toad thinks…..
    Oh forget it.
    No offence intended to you. Just one of Toad’s idiot hobby-horses. Not to be gone into here.


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