Comments: some ordinariate news and views

How many times does one have to repeat that the primate of the "Traditional Anglican Communion" is a divorced and remarried former Roman Catholic priest?

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 5:02pm GMT

"He has the gift of colourful speech and there may be some Synod members unconvinced by his suggestion that he was leaving a 'fascist' institution for Liberty Hall on Tiber."

Being an American, my English isn't so good, but I think the Bishop said something snarkily hilarious. Can bishops do that in public?

Posted by Joe Episcopalian at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 5:14pm GMT

The posting of the Bishop of London's thoughts seems to invite comment on the current situation at Father Ed's church:

I would like here to put on record my view that - admittedly, after much provocation - the Diocese of Rochester is behaving meanly in discountenancing any 'shared church' arrangement between those (the majority in that church) who wish to join the Ordinariate and those who do not. I hope others on TA will join me in expressing that sentiment.

Everybody knows that the C of E has too many churches. Everybody also knows that the C of E hierarchy in general is pretty poor in practice about supporting its struggling churches. This is certainly true in Durham (UK), where I live. Why on earth that hierarchy should meanly and uncharitably strive to hang on to sole ownership of churches which it doesn't support and which can be maintained by others (or by others in combination with C of E members) is quite beyond me.

John Moles.

Posted by John at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 7:26pm GMT

The TAC statement quoted an Anglican in Texas getting ready to join the ordinariate thus:

"We have knocked at the doors of Holy Mother Church and those doors have been flung wide for us; a spiritual feast awaits; we hear the choirs of angels from within; the Holy Spirit calls to each of us..."

So, if Holy Mother Church's door have only just now been flung open for you, and it's someplace where a spiritual feast awaits you, what the hell was Anglo-Catholicism?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 8:22pm GMT

"As to sharing agreements, I have noted the Archbishops of Westminster's comment that his 'preference is for the simplest solutions'. The simplest solutions are for those who come into Catholic communion to use Catholic churches'"

If this is how their new Faith Leader sees the ideal situation as needing to take into account their new allegiance to Roman Catholicism, then surely the Roman neophytes ought to be glad to accept that ruling.

I cannot but agree with both the Anglican Bishop of London and the Roman Catholic Cardinal, that when you choose a new 'life partner' you must be prepared to live with her in her own home. Your previous spouse should not be expected to have to accommodate your new affiliation, Just common sense, really. I don't know what all the fuss is about. If not as though they've been forced out.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 11:09pm GMT

""We have knocked at the doors of Holy Mother Church and those doors have been flung wide for us; a spiritual feast awaits; we hear the choirs of angels from within; the Holy Spirit calls to each of us...""

May they enjoy the Italian Church's superb sacred music tradition of these last 40 years, the glorious hymnody available to them in the pews, and last but not least the robust hymn singing which Rome is so noted for in Christendom.

Posted by Br. William Henry at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 11:50pm GMT

I agree with the Bishop of london...the ordinariate groups should worship in Catholic Churches. The Catholic Church will not allow legal disputes to cloud entry of any groups.

Posted by Robert ian willaims at Tuesday, 7 December 2010 at 11:55pm GMT

"...we hear the choirs of angels from within; ...."

Must be singing "(B)eagle's Wings" and "Bread of Life".

That's okay, I'll just hit the cruise control button and have a little Herbert Howells neat.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 1:12am GMT

"the late Cardinal Hume...brought to an end the experiment of church sharing after the Synod’s decision of 1992 because far from being conducive to warmer ecumenical relations it tended to produce more rancour"

Hmmm. What's the dish? (I can imagine this being literally true, and I can also imagine this being a euphemism for something quite different)

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 1:38am GMT

How many times does one have to repeat that the primate of the "Traditional Anglican Communion" is a divorced and remarried former Roman Catholic priest?

I've heard it repeated many times myself, but I'm never clear as to how, in that case, he ascended to the primacy of TAC, which is supposed to share the Roman view of the indissolubility of marriage. Have they their own annulment tribunals?

Posted by Geoff at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 4:33am GMT

"Why could we not reach out together with the Gospel? Where is the need for division? Why do we look to build walls when God always calls us to form bridges?" - Fr. Ed Tomlinson -

In his message to his parishioners at St. Barnabas' after a parish meeting which discussed the 'way forward', even Fr. Ed seems to be a little confused about what he ought to be doing if he is serious about joining the 'Ordinariate'.

The clear message from his new boss, the cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, has said that the new 'Catholics' must be prepared to worship in 'Catholic' buildings - not try to reamin in Churches which, by their very dissociation, they want to be distanced from. You can't have your cake and eat it. This is one of the principles of institutional severance. It can hardly be called a movement towards 'Unity' when one is deliberately moving apart.

The very Church Unity that Ed. and his departing F.i.F. friends have been longing for is now theirs - but not yet ours, and no amount of fabrication on the part of Ordinariate members will make it so. If anything, the Ordinariate business has put back the Unity movement at least another fifty years. What price Unity now?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 4:36am GMT

In reply to John Moles, you seem to think that property is something that can be handed around like Christmas gifts. If a congregation wants to go, that's up to them, but expecting to take property worth thousands of pounds with them that they don't own is absurd and naive. What diocese would just hand over its valuable property to just anyone who asks or thinks they deserve it? Taking the action of leaving and then taking the property with them is disrespectful of the years people spent supporting a Parish as Anglicans and the current congregation should never have been led to believe that they own it. If people want to leave and find greener grass, they should do just that. No hand to the plough. No rewards.

Posted by Richard Grand at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 4:57am GMT

"We have knocked at the doors of Holy Mother Church and those doors have been flung wide for us; a spiritual feast awaits; we hear the choirs of angels from within; the Holy Spirit calls to each of us..." May they find the nirvana they expect, but many Roman Catholics are less certain that their Church is heaven on earth. That kind of talk is so pie in the sky that it's silly. May reality never confront them. It's interesting that this choir of angels regards them as sub-Christian and requires that they be confirmed and their clergy re-ordained on a case by case basis. Even Hepworth and company are having problems with the Roman hierarchy that really doesn't know anything about Anglicans and doesn't care. Some welcome.

Posted by Richard Grand at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 5:02am GMT

Heaven must have no women or gay people if the Roman Church is heaven on earth.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 5:14am GMT

if I was a Bishop following the public ordinariate debate and hearing a lot from priests steeped in a bout of aggressive self pity who talk a lot about loving those who disagree with them but who have already sown seeds of division within their own Anglo-Catholic movement, I'd think very very very carefully whether it wouldn't be more healing for the now divided parishes if there was a clear split and not an arrangement whereby the two sides were expected to work together sharing the same church.

Especially as the Roman Catholic church has already indicated its own preference in the matter.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 8:05am GMT

My understanding is there is already a small group investigating those who are seeking ordination as RC priests.

I am told that the idea that priest and people will be accepted "with open arms" but without serious questions is a myth.
An ultra conservative group with roots in Scotland has already started to identify and supply evidence to RC bishops that some of these Anglicans have same-sex partners, and are determined to cause mischief for even the most discrete, especially those who also have wives.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 11:30am GMT

@Adam, my eyes must be deceiving me: for all around me at Mass this Sunday there were women. How strange. And although I personally am heterosexual - my apologies if that offends you - I do have gay Catholic friends.

However, I don't quite see how the modern Catholic church can possibly be heaven on earth; where's the incense?

Posted by Clive at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 12:46pm GMT

Fr Smith, the Archbishop of Westminster would not be Fr Ed's new boss. The Constitution makes it quite clear that Ordinariate priests are answerable to the Ordinary, who is directly answerable to the Vatican.

And +Westminster is not a cardinal!

Posted by tommiaquinas at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 1:27pm GMT

The Primate of TAC wrote the following regarding the Ordinariate:
"It is also a time to remember in our prayers the Archbishop of Canterbury, who acknowledged recently in Rome the prophetic witness of this initiative."

What Archbishop Williams actually said:
"But prophetic? Maybe yes, in the sense that here is the Roman Catholic Church saying there are ways of being Christian in the Western Church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity - that's something we can talk about."

Perhaps the TAC Primate merely overlooked the word "maybe."

Posted by Doug at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 2:01pm GMT

@Clive. You missed the point. The actual and factual reason why the Ordinariate has been offered and accepted by some Anglo-Catholics is their objection to the ordination of women and "liberal" ideas about the acceptance of same-sex relationships. That's the Rome they want, otherwise they have had no reason to wait until now. What Rome plans to do about gay Anglo-Catholic clergy remains to be seen and there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around. And "some of my friends are gay" is an offensive statement. It's a time-honoured way of saying that "I interact with them, but never think that they are really like me".

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Wednesday, 8 December 2010 at 9:16pm GMT

(Apologies for Off Topic, but I don't suppose that Br William Henry happens to be a Franciscan with links to Teeside does he? In case of which extreme unlikeliness, 'Hi'.)

Posted by david rowett at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 9:04am GMT

"The Ordinariate merely winks at some Anglican peculiarities for the purpose of drawing together those who are like-minded on other things. It is not grounded in Christian ecclesiology, but rather is a path to draw together like minds. The Christian Gospel, of course, is about reconciling diverse minds and groups in a unified body."

- Jared C. Kramer -

Jared Kramer's article - about the Ordinariates - refers to the wisdom of a former great Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey, whose longing for 'organic unity' of the Christian Churches even extended to his movement towards union with the Methodist Church in England - a move that in the end was rejected by the C.of E. Being himself an undisputed Anglo-Catholic, Abp. Michael's ability to overlook theological differences, in the interest of a common recognition of our Christian Baptism as the mark of belonging, would have not gone along with the F.i.F. desire to separate out from the Church of England on the singularity of the issue of women clergy. If Methodists held no threat for him, then the ministry of Women would probably have met with the same theological nous.

His love of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion did not blind this Archbishop to the need of fraternal relationship with other Christians who recognised our common baptismal heritage. His desire for unity with the Roman Catholic Church would not have blinded him to the problems of today's dilemma of the Ordinariates.
Nor, I believe, would it have blinded him to the need for the acceptance of women and gays in the Church of England and in the Communion at large.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 9:59am GMT

I fear that the Bishop of London is not a wise man and he is certainly in need of a reality-check! I have heard him preach twice recently and once you get behind the bluff and bluster there is very little substance. The simple fact is that an Anglican Bishop is as powerless in a Parish (where a freehold parson and PCC hold the trump cards) as he is in a Cathedral (where the Dean holds all the trump cards). If there is goodwill between a group leaving to join the ordinariate and those staying behind then an amicable sharing arrangement could be worked out. Indeed, it is probably the only way that many Anglo-Catholic parishes will survive because both groups will need the financial input (rent or direct giving) from the whole of the existing congregation to be financially viable. (I often wonder if the Bishops and Diocesan staff realise just where the money comes from to keep them in the life to which they have become accustomed! As a Churchwarden, it is mildly amusing to be ordered around and threatened about financial matters but since the Diocese depends on the voluntary contributions from the Parishes one wonders just what leverage they think that they actually have! If the 20 or so in the congregation of my Parish join the Ordinariate and then ask to pay to use the Church building on a Saturday evening or after the Anglican Mass on Sunday then I, for one, will welcome them and their payment which will then go towards paying the Anglican Diocesan Quota! Does the Bishop and others not realise that the people who join the Ordinariate are our friends and neighbours - we are Godparents to their children, we go to the pub together we have lived and worked together as a community building a Christian presence. He is trying to make the ordinariate a "big deal" in order to frighten people into staying where they are. Such action is not of the Gospel, it is uncharitable and unchristian and not worthy of the high office that he holds.)

Is the Bishop of London suggesting that it would be better for the Churches to close than to share? Is it OK for a share with anyone OTHER than Ordinariate people? Maybe if he had fought the Catholic cause within the Church of England over the years then we would have achieved a settlement that allowed everyone to coexist. As it is, he rarely speaks out and by his actions looks like he may in fact be a Kensitite!

Posted by A seeker after truth at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 10:17am GMT

@Adam. Relax, I was pulling your leg. And I wouldn't ever say some of my friends are gay. What I meant was, some of my friends are Catholic.

Posted by Clive at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 9:19pm GMT

This is all sounding too silly. Those Anglicans who have chosen to become Roman Catholics need to move on and join a Roman Catholic Community that already exists. It makes those who are angry over women's ordination and the inclusion of glbt people look like angry little children. Drama Queens for certain,(such as the former Anglican Bishop who left his crosier and mitre in front of a religious shrine) acting like a spoiled child instead of behaving like people trying to live out the gospels of Jesus. By all means, I wish them to go in PEACE but it is time for them to leave quickly. Their tantrums are becoming too much for decent people of good will. The Roman fantasy will soon become hard reality as Rome's Princes of the Church begin to demonstrate little tolerance for other players, who try to claim center stage.

Posted by Chris Smith at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 2:42am GMT

"Those Anglicans who have chosen to become Roman Catholics need to move on and join a Roman Catholic Community that already exists"

But that's the contradiction at the heart of the ordinariate. These people do not want to be Roman Catholics, they could have done that years ago. They want to be Roman Catholics in their own group preserving some undefined Anglican patrimony.
There would be nothing left of the Anglican whatever it is they're trying to keep if they had to integrate into a conventional RC parish.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 8:45am GMT

The English ordinariate is going to have so few laity, its going to be a farce. The Vatican have been duped by con men promising them hundreds of thousands of converts.

Smart move , not to allow Anglican church buildings for joint worship as this will lessen the number of converts.

But never mind the churches, where are the convert clergy going to be housed...courtesy of the Catholic bishops who they don't want to be under!

Posted by robert ian williams at Sunday, 12 December 2010 at 7:57am GMT


Ignoring the official services of the Church of England seems to be the norm.

To my cynical mind, the only "Anglican" thing about the clergy is that they have lived in the parsonage, taken the stipend, and look forward to the pension.


The Vatican would certainly appear to have been misled into thinking that there is some Anglican aspect that these people would want to keep. Stroppiness is what occurs to me.

@A seeker

Diocesan staff are only too aware of where the funding comes from. Many (most?) of those working in "the Office" are members of their local congregations. When I was involved in such matters, it was most helpful that I belonged to a struggling congregation in a different diocese. It did mean that in the PCC I always had to urge acceptance of the quota, though.

Posted by John Roch at Sunday, 12 December 2010 at 5:16pm GMT

Essentially, I'm with 'seeker' (though, it seems, from the other side of the fence).

What is the point of allowing (or forcing) churches to close? The 20-odd in Father Ed's church who don't want to join the Ordinariate can't possibly sustain that building. I very much hope that Anglicans across a very wide spectrum can agree on the pathetic performance of the hierarchy in helping their local churches.

I'm sorry to see that Fr Ed himself seems to have changed his tune and seems no longer to be fighting for a space in St Barnabas'. I'd like him to fight. I like fighters.

Posted by john at Sunday, 12 December 2010 at 7:16pm GMT

This what one Ordinariate bound Anglo Catholic vicar is telling his congregation. I think it speaks for its self...

"Whilst the Anglican church has no set position on divorce, and tends to duck the issue, the Roman Catholic church has a more consistent approach aimed at upholding the sanctity of marriage. This means that people in ‘irregular sexual relationships’ may not receive the holy sacrament.

However Rome also understands human weakness and provides ‘annulment’ to ensure second (and even third!) marriages are no bar to communion if it is deemed that the original marriage(s) were not valid for a range of reasons. These are complex but one example might be a person who was not Christian and did not fully understand marriage in the sacramental sense. There are many others and one cannot second guess the outcome.

I can assure you that divorcees entering the Ordinariate will be fast tracked through the annulment procedure and that your situations will be considered with genuine compassion. If you want to pursue this then let me know as soon as possible. Given that none of us were married as Roman Catholics it is very likely that the authorities will be gracious. I am confident help will be found but that does not mean we can avoid the necessary process. "

Posted by Robert Ian Wiliams at Monday, 13 December 2010 at 6:36am GMT

"However Rome also understands human weakness and provides ‘annulment’ to ensure second (and even third!) marriages are no bar to communion if it is deemed that the original marriage(s) were not valid for a range of reasons. These are complex but one example might be a person who was not Christian and did not fully understand marriage in the sacramental sense. There are many others and one cannot second guess the outcome."

- Robert I. Williams -

Sounds mighty like casuistry to me, but then, I'm not a convert to R.S.ism.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 14 December 2010 at 11:54pm GMT

Fr Ron,
it's also shockingly insensitive to children. I'd rather my children knew that their father and I had a very happy marriage for many years but that it came to an end, rather than pretending it was never real in the first place.

I prefer to be honest than to play silly games, it's healthier for my soul and for those around me.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 9:53am GMT

@ a seeker after truth:
your sentiments echo mine precisely and I don't for one moment believe that I am unique among grass roots CofE members in small-town churches up and down the country - but I doubt there's a cat's chance that our voices will be heard, not the way both hierarchies are digging themselves in. There are successful sharing arrangements with RCs in place in a number of places around the country. I am baffled by +London's comments about its undesirability; the people on the ground seem to pull it off well enough.
So what's the sudden problem now?
As regards property transfer: there's another objection to that as well: the Parish church is there for all in the Parish, a fact reflected in the financial support received from large numbers of non-members for the maintenance of the church. Even if the majority of a congregation wanted to join the Ordinariate, that fact alone would be an argument for leaving the minority in possession and renting the building out to the majority, as doing otherwise would deprive all parishioners of their baptism/wedding and burial rights.

Posted by Marika at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 10:22pm GMT

The annulment system has been unquestionably abused... particularly by liberals. However , here we see a so called conservative. What he states is a travesty of the truth.

Most annulments fail at the first hurdle.

Posted by robert ian williams at Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 11:11pm GMT

I would like to keep this thread running, because I think it is very important.

I agree entirely with Marika, as with 'seeker'. People 'across the boundaries' do get on, they do compromise. Of course, as a 'liberal', I hope that this 'getting on' will ultimately - does already often - blur boundaries, so that practical intercommunion results - and will ever more frequently result. I do think that is the ultimate logic of such 'compromised' arrangements - but do not wish to insist upon it.

Posted by John at Thursday, 16 December 2010 at 8:59pm GMT

people who genuinely share are usually people who respect each other.
But what we have here are fragmented parishes that are going through traumatic changes. When you are wrestling with having to leave where you have come from because it is no longer true to your beliefs, you cannot at the same time genuinely respect it.
That may come later, but you can see on FIF-affiliated blogs that the leavers are struggling very hard to understand those who are staying and that they are not always successful with their struggles.

On his blog Bishop Alan has cited a number of communities where sharing works really well and others where it didn't. The difference appears to be that 2 well established communities, each with its own clear identity, can share successfully, while sharing in break-away situations is generally less successful.

Ignoring the emotional realities involved in all of this and focusing solely on a well meaning desire to "let's all get on" does not necessarily contribute to long term healing.

I am all for making provisions for FiF people and for helping them generously on their way. But reading about people's actual experience with this, sharing churches does nto appear to be a helpful provision.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 17 December 2010 at 6:28am GMT


Not persuaded.

(1)'No longer true to your beliefs'. That's their perspective now - it's the cause of the split - but in fact the 'differences', against the whole spectrum, are relatively minor.

(2) The two contributors above seem to have practical knowledge of such arrangements working. I'm not remotely impressed by pompous or self-seeking pontifications from pompous bishops or cardinals.

(3) It's what the parish concerned (St Barnabas') actually seemed to want.

(4) I think it possible - even likely - that quite a proportion (say a third or more) of those Ordinariate-bound from St Barnabas' will come back, maybe in dribs and drabs. Nonetheless, if only about 20 remain at the start, this church (a big physical building) will be very hard to keep going. If it folds, I think that will be a bad thing, and I think it will have been wrong not to go for something that would have avoided it. That something would actually have benefited both parties: a win-win situation.

Be nice to Elizabeth,

Happy Christmas,


Posted by john at Friday, 17 December 2010 at 12:32pm GMT
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