...in discussions re the Ordinariate.
Apparently in gathering figures for official records, a "large" congregation in an Anglican church is deemed to be one of 55 or over. Can this really be true?
Obviously, for reasons of history, Catholic parishes cover in Britain cover far wider territories than do Anglican ones, so a congregation in any given church is likely to be larger. But even so...most Catholic parishes that consider themselves to be fairly small still count people in hundreds, and I know of several suburban parishes that are in four figures,and some of more than 2,000.
While on the subject of church attendance: I was informed by a Catholic writer back in the 1980s that there would be no one at Mass at all in England and Wales by the start of the 21st century, based on his projections. I think of this from time to time. How wrong he was. About a third of the people at a Sunday evening Mass in our parish were hardly born when he made that prediction: but there they are, kneeling and praying. His prediction was made with a sort of gloating ooh-isn't-it-dreadful approach which at the time seemed to me very impressive and knowledgeable and grown-up. But when I came acros it in some old papers I was sorting a few months ago, it just looked cross and sour - and, of course, wrong.
So making predictions is dangerous. But here's one anyway, as a hostage to fortune. I believe that the Anglican Ordinariate parishes being etablished in Britain over the next year and a half will survive and thrive. They will not grow dramatically at first, but will flourish quietly and significantly. Revisit this prediction with me in five years' time and let' see.