LONDON -- From time to time in the church, developments come down the pike that stir up enormous reaction at first, but that, over time, never quite seem to produce the earthquakes that breathless commentary predicted.
Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 decision to revive the Latin Mass is arguably one such case, as is a 2005 Vatican document barring homosexuals from seminaries. Both became an instant cause célèbre, yet, at least so far, most people would say that neither liturgical practice nor seminary formation has been truly turned on its head.
In the U.K., some observers believe a similar point might be made about the recent creation of a new structure, called an ordinariate, to welcome groups of former Anglicans into the Catholic fold.
When it was unveiled two years ago, supporters hailed the ordinariate as a way to end the ecumenical logjam between Rome and Canterbury. Critics predicted it would corrode relations with Anglicans, and that it would drive Catholicism to the right by embracing Anglicanism’s most determined opponents of women clergy and homosexuality.