Pope Emeritus sends letter to the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Benedict XVI has welcomed the progress of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and has said he is “glad” that its church has been established on the site of the historic Bavarian embassy chapel in London.

Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory’s in Warwick Street is situated where the Bavarian embassy chapel, which was pillaged during the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots in 1780, once stood.

The Pope Emeritus made his comments in a letter to the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, in reply to Nicolas Ollivant, chairman of the Friends of the Ordinariate, who had written to the retired pope to express his gratitude for the gift of the ordinariate. He had also sent Benedict a brief history of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory’s.

“Your thanks for the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has greatly moved me, and I ask you to convey my thanks to all its members,” wrote Benedict XVI, who was born in Bavaria.

“Naturally, I am particularly glad that the former Bavarian Chapel has now become your ordinariate’s church, and serves such an important role in the whole Church of God. It has been a long time since I have heard news of this holy place, and it was therefore with all the more interest and gratitude that I read the description with which you accompanied your letter.”

November 4 marks five years since Benedict XVI issued the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which led to the creation of the personal ordinariate. The ordinariate enables groups of former Anglicans to retain elements of their patrimony within the Catholic Church.

Full text of the letter (translated by Fr Daniel Lloyd):

Dear Mr Ollivant,

Since I know that you read the German language without difficulty, I may answer your friendly letter of 1 September in my mother tongue, since my English would not quite suffice to do so.

Your thanks for the establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has greatly moved me, and I ask you to convey my thanks to all its members. Naturally, I am particularly glad that the former Bavarian Chapel has now become your Ordinariate’s church, and serves such an important role in the whole Church of God. It has been a long time since I have heard news of this holy place, and it was therefore with all the more interest and gratitude that I read the description with which you accompanied your letter.

Once more, many thanks, and may God bless you all.

Yours in the Lord,

Benedict XVI