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I cannot now recall who it was who once used the imagine of the out-companies marching into Minas Tirith to describe the movement of disaffected Anglicans toward Rome, but it certainly flashed across my mind as I read this:

The most Rev Vincent Nichols, leader of Catholics in England and Wales, ordained Andrew Burnham, former bishop of Ebbsfleet, Keith Newton, ex-bishop of Richborough, and John Broadhurst, former bishop of Fulham, as Catholic priests at a service at Westminster Cathedral in London on Saturday.

They are the first members of an Ordinariate specially set up by the Pope, for groups of Anglicans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church while retaining aspects of their Anglican heritage.

The congregation included hundreds of priests from the Diocese of Westminster, along with Bishop Alan Hopes, Archbishop Bernard Longely, from Birmingham, and trainee priests.

Rev Nichols told them: “Many ordinations have take place in this cathedral during the 100 years of its history. But none quite like this.

“Today is a unique occasion marking a new step in the life and history of the Catholic Church.

“This morning the establishment of the first Personal Ordinariate under the provision of the Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum Coetibus’ has been announced in our hearing.”

The ordinariate is expected to be joined by up to 50 Anglican clergy and two retired Church of England bishops.

Count me as still somewhat dubious that the Ordinate is going to rally really large numbers.  As with the muster of Gondor, I think each region will produce its hundreds rayther than its thousands.   Still, every little counts.

Even after all the years I’ve messed about with  Bach’s English Suites (I studied No. 2 in a minor and No. 4 in F, but only sight-read bits out of the others), I do believe that this morning was the first time I ever played all the way through No. 3 in g minor.  It was certainly the first time I can recall ever tackling the gigue.  Evidently, I’ve been missing out on a treat.

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