In an astonishing outburst The Millstone (the influential international Catholic weekly) has published an unprecedented attack on the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Labelling the Ordinariate as ‘Ratzinger’s Rotweilers’, the editor Prue Matrix-Chambers, accused its clergy of ‘having nothing to preach about but the Gospel of the Day’.

These ‘fascists in chasubles’, the leading article went on, are ruining our Church with their retrograde attitudes and their antiquated liturgy. They call it ‘Anglican Patrimony’; but if God had intended us to have the English Hymnal he would never have given us Kevin Mayhew.

Worse still, these people claim to have experienced in the Church of England the ill-effects and decline in numbers brought about by forward-looking developments like women’s ordination, the remarriage of divorcees and the blessing of gay relationships. They are trying to prevent Catholics from taking the sensible path of renewal which is the real agenda of Good Pope Francis.

Interviewed on the BBC’s Sunday Programme, Peter Spalding, chairperson of the campaigning group We are Catholicism, said that he was outraged that so many Ordinariate clergy were married. He also alleged that a high percentage were gay. ‘Don’t get me wrong’, he went on, ‘we are in favour of both gay and married clergy – but only for real Catholics. Our aim is to create a Church of which Diarmaid McCulloch would be proud to be a member’.

The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Montecatini-Terme, who is rumoured to have attended furtive celebrations of the notorious ‘Ordinariate Rite’, declined to comment.

Speaking from Rome, Vatican spokesman Fr Lombardi said that there was no crisis.

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