With the retirement of Mgr Andrew Wadsworth as boss of ICEL, the Chuch has lost, at least to some degree, the talents of a very fine priest and scholar. Fr Andrew is a polymath and a polyglot and a warm and loving pastor.
He has ministered through difficult times. No sooner had the New Translation of the Novus Ordo been completed, and accepted by the relevant Episcopal Conferences, than somebody in Rome set up a committee called Vox clara which made large numbers of unnecessary changes to the agreed texts. In his letter of resignation, Fr Andrew very rightly says that this mess needs now to be cleaned up.
Readers will remember how, after the unalloyed evil of traditionis custodes spread its dark and cruel shadows over the Latin Churches, Father reacted in one brief public cry of anguish. Because: he is a man who, paradoxically, worked for much of his life at enabling vernacular, Anglophone, liturgy, yet knew where ... far deeper in the old Roman Rite ... his own strength and mainstay lay.
When the Ordinariates were set up, Mg Andrew was my own 'mentor'. This was not an easy role. It had become known that I favoured the Forma Authentica of the Roman Rite, which, indeed, I had regularly used, in Latin, in my last Anglican post. Although I know of no canonical or juridical provisions in Anglicanorum coetibus giving the the English hierarchy a veto over who was admitted to the presbyterate of the Ordinariates, it appeared that, de facto, they did possess such a veto and were more than willing to use it ... on me.
I was informed of this veto in Holy Week the day immediately before our scheduled admission to Full Communion. I remember the scene in the piazza in front of Westminster Cathedral as, in a state of very considerable distress, I ran up to Fr Andrew and shared with him what I had just been told. He folded me in his arms ... somehow or other, we worked through those next painful fourteen months while I was made to feel in fullest measure ... blow by blow ... the punishments the hierarchs deemed due to my preferences. If there is one thing at which the then English Bishops were dab hands, it was the construction of hoops through which their victims had to jump. I have never felt so desolate in all my life. The first hint that it is possible to be happy despite being in Full Communion with the See of S Peter came when Andrew invited me to his Birthday Party (in the Common Room at Harrow School) and put Pam and me on the same table as Mgr Bruce Harbert (previous ICEL boss) and some other Good Eggs.
Thank you, Fr Andrew, for everything.