While arranging a meeting in my parish to discuss the future, I asked a brother priest who said he favoured the SWISH proposals devised by friends of Johnny Hind, Bishop of Chichester, if he would care to provide a paper explaining and defending those proposals. He declined because he could not find anything to say about the scheme except what was on its website. Which said precisely nothing that was in the least illuminating.
We still have no evidence what the proponents of SWISH have in mind. I have a suspicion which rests upon no evidence whatsoever but upon my own intuition. Here goes.
SWISH is manifestly simply an attempt to wreck the Ordinariate scheme. It was devised ... to the extent to which it was devised ... in a tearing hurry before the "Sacred Synods" of clergy in the Northern and Southern provinces. The bishop who defended it in Westminster meeting of Forward in Faith had to confess that he still had no real idea what it was all about.
There is prima facie evidence that it is essentially an attempt to keep several very divergent groups of people together under one umbrella. There are those who warmly desire the Roman Option, but are not quite ready to join the Ordinariate's "First Wave". There are those who are not straining at the leash to leave the C of E but could conceivably take a Roman Option if they had no alternative. And there are those who will never touch Rome with a bargepole either because of their ambitions in the Mainstream or visceral prejudice or because their domestic arrangements make them unacceptable to Rome (of course, in some these last two categories coincide). My theory is that by keeping silent ... and thus remaining united and impressive ... until the First Wave enter the Ordinariate, they hope to queer Dr Ratzinger's pitch without needing to answer difficult questions which would create divisions in their ranks and expose SWISH as a vacuous and cynical attempt at unprincipled realpolitik.
One example. The Master General of SSC, Fr David Holding (by the way, a fellow brother said to me the other day "I can't wait to send my badge back") said at the October F in F meeting that he was provisionally supporting SWISH but that it would be useless if it did not decide to be prepared to break the law. One presumes he had in mind things like "taking for ourselves what they refuse to give us"; the 'illegal' consecration of bishops; and putting priests into churches and clergy houses and defying the Mainstream to send the bailiffs in to evict them. If SWISH declares that it will not take such action, it will promptly lose those who agree with Holding that such a preparedness is essential. If it declares that it is prepared to go down such a path, it will lose those who would never, in a month of Sundays, break a law.