The closure (let us hope, suspension) of Fr Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes is, I think, a grief for all of us of a Catholic persuasion. That very phrase should suggest the distance we have come. I think that there is nobody who has sold to us ‘Romans’ so persuasively the merits that may be found within Anglo-Catholicism. You need only see the number of Catholic blogs who link to his. I think that among all those Anglophones who welcome Pope Benedict’s various initiatives, on both sides of the Tiber, Fr Hunwicke has starred as one of the most erudite and articulate expositors.
I cannot imagine that Fr Hunwicke has suspended his work willingly. In fact, I rather suspect that in his Liturgical Notes he has found his most adaptable and functional pulpit to date. But it seems clear from what he writes that he abandons the blog in order to be able to exercise the priesthood of Jesus Christ. I find this wholly admirable. What I mean is that were John Hunwicke to be denied the priesthood, this would assuredly release him to write whatever he wanted without fear of censure. I would continue to read him, as, I strongly believe, would large numbers of people, including those in Rome.
John Hunwicke is now a Catholic; a believing, communicant member of our faith, and that will not change. Though I have never met him, I will continue to look up to him as one of the main architects of one of the most exciting changes to have taken place in Western Christianity since the Reformation. I pray that this development will not deter many others from following him across the Tiber, though I fear it may.
Correction— I know, from actual examples, that it already has.