The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is a canonical structure for ex-Anglican clergy and lay people who have been granted – by a mighty and irrevocable decree of Pope Benedict XVI – their own English Missal based partly on The Book of Common Prayer.

The experiment has not been a runaway success, as members of the Ordinariate readily admit. Ever since the body came into being five and a half years ago, I’ve been listening to Ordinariate clergy predicting that it can’t last.

One priest was still wearing his Mass robes as he declared, à la Private Frazer, that “we’re dooomed!”

If so, there will be few tears shed by the bishops of England and Wales. They are queuing up to preside at its Requiem Mass. (They can do nothing about its sister ordinariate in America, now flourishing under its own 41-year-old bishop, Steven Lopes.)

In the words of one supporter of the Ordinariate, “the English hierarchy seems to have decided that the Catholic prohibition against ‘assisted dying’ doesn’t apply to corporate bodies.” CONTINUE READING