The Times has today run a rather long article entitled "Come all ye faithful", which lauds the Catholic Church in the UK (although focusing almost entirely on England and Wales) as "thriving", something which I'm sure we can all take pride in.
Alban McCoy, a Franciscan and chaplain at Cambridge University, implies that this current Catholic revival is enjoyed partly due to the chaos which seems ready to tear apart the Anglican "inclusive" church experiment. Further, the delightfully named Fr. Terry Tastard of Holy Trinity Church (Brook Green, London) speculates that as many as five hundred Anglican clergy may seek to convert if the CofE goes ahead with its plan to consecrate female "bishops". One can't help but feel that the Anglo-Catholics have been truly isolated; they are clearly opposed to the liberalism of Anglicans of the UK and the US, and yet they merely a convenient ally for the burgeoning ultra-protestant evangelical wing finding a voice at GAFCON in Jerusalem.
But I digress. The paper immediatley hits upon the winning formula. Father Peter Geldard, of the University of Kent sums it up thus, "Its orthodox and mainstream". Praise for Benedict XVI's recent moves is also present, mentioning a thriving "Tridentine" Mass at the Brompton Oratory.
My favourite part of the article was by far the description of Timothy Radcliffe O.P. as "that perculiarly Dominican phenomenon, an orthodox radical." Orthodoxy is clearly the key remedy to the Church's woes.
The effects of Catholicism's revival, the great Benedictine voyage to rediscover Roman Catholicism's identity are already being felt, Fr Alban McCoy of the "dynamic" Cambridge chaplaincy says "we've had to buy extra communion hosts... we had 15 converts this year. And we've had 14 vocations to the priesthood and religious life since 2000." If this sounds like a drop in the ocean to you, dear reader, the good news is that the trend appears to be spreading.
In 2003, in England and Wales, a phenomanally low 23 people entered the seminary or religious houses. Last year the number had risen to 44.
Let's hope these trends continue!