Per angusta in augusta

This is sad news for Anglo-Catholics, and sad news for clergy bloggers -- indeed, for all of us who blog on religious topics. Father John Hunwicke, whom I met personally last year in Oxford and whom I have been following regularly since then, has been told that his ordination into the Catholic Church, as part of the new Anglican Ordinariate, has been "deferred" -- on the ground, apparently, that what he (or commenters?) may have written on his blog needs to be reviewed first.

As many readers will know by now (he started blogging more than four years ago), there is not anyone more devoted to the Magisterium than Father Hunwicke. He alone edits and publishes the annual Ordo (Order for the Holy Eucharist) for Anglo-Catholics, which provides the Ordinariate with all the liturgical direction it could ever require. And I personally, having been privileged to attend one at his beautiful old stone church in Oxford, can attest to his devotion to the Mass in all its splendid detail, a devotion and attention which fuses vestments, altar cloths, incense, asperges, purificator, pall, corporal, veil, burse and all the other accoutrements into a liturgical experience of the highest order.

In short, there could hardly be any member of the Anglican clergy who would be (seen from the Pontiff's point of view) a more desirable addition to the Ordinariate than Father John Hunwicke.

Yet he is told that the Church must review his blog first. (It could do worse than start here, his very first post, in January 2007. The Church can learn all it needs to know about Father Hunwicke from that one post, which set a tone and a standard he consistently has maintained in the years since.) So he, ex maiore cautela (have I also told you that Fr. Hunwicke speaks, reads and writes Latin as well as he does English?), must needs close down his blog pending his acceptance into the Ordinariate, and scrub it of any and all comments which could be seen as deleterious to the Roman Catholic Church.

Is this the same standard the Church applies to all of its clergy bloggers? I had thought, with Pope John Paul II and now Benedict XVI, that a new spirit of intellectual adventure had suffused the Church, and that it was not afraid of anything the secular world might throw at it. Perhaps the diocesans charged with the review of Fr. Hunwicke's scriptura could view them with the charity intimated in this delightful graphic:

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