In our parish we have been blessed this year by a number of 'innovations'. Usually I groan, often not too silently, at the latest fun and fashionable 'good idea'. Usually, it involves the laity doing even more stuff even more clerically than they do already. Of course, I'm talking about my ordinary form parish, with all the novelty and as many ghosts of Vatican II you can think of still haunting the place. Think lady foot washing is new? It's been here for quite a while.
However, this last year, I felt the wind of change. Small stuff, like really nice vestments appearing. Rorate Masses before Christmas. Benediction and Rosary on Sunday afternoons. The Good Friday Reproaches. And to what can these changes, small and subtle though they are, be attributed? There is only one answer. The Ordinariate. It's been with us for five years now and there is undoubtedly a slow and steady reclamation of things which are really Catholic. They have managed to provide an atmosphere in which it is possible to re-lay some old foundations upon which others are able to build.
I'm not saying it's plain sailing, far from it. The merest mention of ad orientem can lead to spittle flicked nutties in some quarters : the spirit of VII just doesn't want to blow away. That I have a small apoplectic fit every time I see the good ladies washing up the sacred vessels after some Masses, I still can't get my head round laity touching the Blessed Sacrament, or administering the chalice, and altar girls do my head in, is irrelevant.
But the small additions to the spiritual life of the church now happening will in my opinion have a profound impact on spiritual life yet to be seen.
Of course, my true love is the Latin Mass. I miss it when I can't get to it. No I pine for it. But these signs of regeneration in my home parish give me an awful lot of hope for the future, when a few years ago I was pretty sure there was none.
Isn't it ironic that ex-Anglicans have a greater sense of the numinous than some Catholics?