Comments: Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet

"My resignation takes effect on 31st December but, for bishops who become a Roman Catholic, custom requires that we cease public ministry forthwith. I foresaw how difficult this would be and it was for that reason that I arranged Study Leave, which began a month ago and lasts until the end of the year."


"My final act as a Bishop will be to celebrate the Mass at Gordon Square on the eve of Christ the King, Saturday 20th November at 12 noon."

Compare and contrast

Posted by John Roch at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 11:30pm GMT

"The Holy Spirit is at work in the Church, not at our beck and call, but changing and transforming us and our communities."

I couldn't agree more. Women are now being accepted as full members of the Church as (more gradually) are gays and lesbians. The Church is finally realizing its potential. It's taken nearly 2,000 years, but I believe it's becoming what it was meant to be.

Posted by Doug at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 12:21am GMT

Thanks, Andrew. I trust that we will remain friends in the Lord. You are right: the Holy Spirit is alive and well and bending over backwards. Kenosis is the heart of it all. God bless....

Posted by joe cassidy at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 12:43am GMT

honest and heartfelt, i thought. blessings to him on his journey.

Posted by trooper at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 4:06am GMT

I'm interested in the notion that there is a 'See of Ebbsfleet'. Can somebody explain, please? A See has to have a bishop's throne and thus a cathedral, doesn't it? I didn't think suffragan bishop's had their own cathedrals but were appointed to assist the diocesan bishop to administer his See. And I didn't think you could have two Sees occupying the same geographical space. Anybody? Thanks.

Posted by Terence Dear at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 10:10am GMT

Yes, Terrence but when you think about it, a sea and a sandbank (Ebbsfleet) do often go together, under providence.

Seriously, Andrew and the others seem to have so much energy and get up and go ! Impressive.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 11:40am GMT

Suffragan sees in England were established by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534 (see -- where it taks about the Sees established for these suffragan bishops; a list since added to incidentally!)

This is absolutely consistent with the idea of one bishop one see. In the case of a suffragan, this is a 'titular see', but it retains the notion that (a) a bishop is the bishop of a place, and (b) that you cannot have more than one bishop n the same place. Before the Reformation, these assistant bishops took their titles from sees in lands which had been occupied by the infidel :-) and thus no longer had a Christian congregation needing a bishop. At the Reformation, when the Crown did not claim the right to nominate bishops to these foreign sees, the system of suffragan bishoprics was put in place to provide assistance to the English diocesan bishops. These suffragans took (as they still do in England) their titles from another town in the diocese to which they are appointed to assist.

The US idea that a suffragan bishop shares the title, the see, of the diocesan bishop does not exist in England. A suffragan bishop has his own, titular, see, though as you note, he has no cathedral, and no throne.

Suffragan bishops are appointed to help minister to the diocese -- we need to distinguish between the 'diocese', the 'see' and the 'bishopric' here.

Of course, at one level al this is mere pedantry, and no one's salvation depends upon it. On the other hand, it does mean that Bishop Andrew is quite correct to refer to the See of Ebbsfleet. Just as long neither he nor anyone else assumes that there is necessarily any jurisdiction that pertains to that see.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 11:42am GMT

Thanks, Simon. Very interesting. Much appreciated.

Posted by Terence Dear at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 1:14pm GMT

Dear Friends,

Why is it that the religious are the last ones to consider the equality and worth of all persons, male/female, jew/gentile, poor/rich, gay/straight? No matter the esoteric language, the lofty rhetoric, or the well stated apologies, he and the rest are afraid of getting cooties and want to continue the paternal system of self affirmation and subordination of the other.

Posted by Randall J. Keeney at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 9:35pm GMT

Note: In England there is also a distinction to be made between Suffragan bishops and Area Bishops (appointed under a Diocesan Area Scheme). The PEVs have to be related in appropriate ways to each diocese in which they operate - but they are suffragans of the archbishops and treated effectively as 'provincial suffragans'.

Hence the resignations of two bishops via Lambeth, and a third via London as a diocesan suffragan.

No doubt Simon K will correct any technical errors in the above - if in doubt ask the expert.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 10:57pm GMT

"Stand not upon the order of your going, but GO, at once!" - William Shakespeare -

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 11:19pm GMT

A lovely sermon from +Andrew. We are all actually 'One in Christ'. The only trouble is, some of us haven't even begun to accept the fact.

Perhaps when we begin to practise the irrational, all-embracing LOVE of God, who 'so loved the world...'that Unity may be recognised amongst us.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 14 November 2010 at 9:35am GMT
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