The Anglo-Catholicism landscape post Ordinariate


I want to explore what has happened to Anglo-Catholicism in the wake of the Ordinariate. To ask important questions that those with open minds might be helped to “think through” what is going on in the ecclesial landscape in 2015.

This could undoubtedly rattle those who, feeling threatened on all fronts, have grown very sensitive to criticism and debate in recent years. To them I say this. If you are not ready to confront the questions the Ordinariate asks, in its hunger for unity, then remember this is an opt-in blog. There is no need to read further. Secondly I welcome debate. So feel free to come back at me and respond. But please do using reason and not just emotion. Theological debate demands that we apply the head as well as the heart.

So what of the Anglo-Catholicism today? From this side of the Tiber, despite fantastic work at the local level, the movement seems to be experiencing deep crisis in the 21st Century. And those who did not take up the offer of Anglicanorum Coetibus are struggling to define or to defend what it actually means to be Catholic in light of that decision. Not least when the Church of England itself now navigates an obviously liberal and protestant path that leads ever further from a Catholic conclusion.

This point was made by theologian Fr. Mark Langham. He suggests Anglo-Catholicism, as well as Anglicanism in general, needs to “think through” its decisions as regards ecclesiology and unity. I found his words helpful and a refusal to “think things through” is one of the changes I witness within Anglo-Catholicism. Can you believe some have even taken to singing the Catholic hymn “faith of our fathers” which speaks of the English Martyrs who suffered at the reformation? A hymn whose last verse reads:

Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
England shall then indeed be free.

Have those singing paused to think through the use of that hymn in this setting? Do they realise the very martyrs they uphold died at the hands of the body they belong to and precisely because they refused to be English Christians without the Pope? And what do they mean by saying they shall win the country back? back to what? Certainly not what Faber who wrote those words imagined! A small incident, you might think, but it underlines the massive disconnect I discern at present between belief, claim,  practice and reality within Anglo-Catholicism.

If the singers of that hymn really do desire unity, via Mary’s prayers, in a united Catholic England – then how do they justify not joining the Ordinariate? And if they do not want the unity the Catholic church has offered, and prefer to belong to the Church of England, then why refuse to accept the authority of Canterbury? It makes little sense so that one must ask what does it mean to be Anglo-Catholic? What is the aim and purpose of this movement post Ordinariate? Logic surely demands it is time to either truly embrace Anglicanism or delight in the historic offer of unity laid down by Rome?

This point is emphasised when one ponders the ecumenical landscape. Let’s get real. The ordination of women, and the ordination of practicing homosexuals within Anglicanism has killed hope of formal unity between Canterbury and Rome. Conversation will continue. We must maintain good relations. But hope of a formal union is over. So anyone claiming to work for the sort of unity that seemed possible forty years ago is living in la la land. And if one is not working for such unity- as the shift of liturgical clothing by Anglo-Catholics from cotta and stole to hood and scarf in recent years might suggest- then what exactly is the Catholicism to which you adhere?

Because the Church of England has made a permanent statement about its Catholic claim when it tinkered with the three fold order. Pope Francis said the door is forever closed on women priests for Catholics. He is right. Therefore the Church of England would need to release every woman ordained and then refuse to create more for true unity to be possible. And this isn’t going to happen.  So what do Anglo-Catholics make of this dilemma?

Today’s Anglo-Catholics are hoping to live unaffected by the wider decisions of Anglicanism. To this end they formed a “society”- the manifestation of post Ordinariare Anglo-Catholicism- an imagined “church within a church”. Validity proved by membership. A letter from the secretary one’s celebret. But this is problematic because whatever makes for authentic Catholic order- it is hardly a letter from a group that lacks authority from on high. The game is up then surely? It is hard to see how anything beyond hospice care is possible.

In many ways the Society attempts to be a group akin to the Ordinariate but minus the Pope. It doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny. First in terms of unity. For membership of the Society leaves one out of communion, not only with Catholics the world over, but with all other Anglicans too. Whereas membership of the Ordinariate puts you in communion with 1.4 billion and leaves you part of the Catholic mainstream. Why then opt for the Society instead of embracing the offer of unity laid down by Rome?

Secondly in terms of official recognition. The Ordinariate is sanctioned by Rome and comes with blessing and approval. We are entirely legitimate. But the Society was formed with no public recognition from Canterbury. It might serve those who belong but who beyond its membership will take the movement seriously? Will the Eastern Orthodox? Or the CDF? Or even Lambeth Palace? What then is the Society to be about? This is the question I would ask Anglo-Catholics today but the silence is deafening.

So to my challenge. What is the long term aim and purpose of the Society? What are the achievable goals and how do you reconcile these with the current ecumenical landscape? And how will you deal with the Ordinariate into the future as a group given that it is Rome’s answer to the question of unity? I would love to hear answers.

I would love the Society to put forth a coherent explanation of what it is actually about.  That I might understand it and see its purpose beyond preservation for the sake of resisting change. Is anyone up to the challenge? I would happily let you have a post on this blog…

And finally what do the Society make of the photograph above? Where the new Bishop of Burnley- Philip North (a traditionalist who does not recognise the ordination of women) poses with the first female bishop- Libby Lane. Many assume the photograph is a wonderful expression of  “better together” and making things work. I say think it through a little more…isnt it just a smiling acceptance of deep disunity?  They might be chums, they might grin and cuddle for the cameras, but they cannot stand at the altar together and they do not preach the same faith. How can these two positions flourish together? Did not Jesus himself suggest that a house divided on itself must fall? Surely they are pitted against each other and only one of this visions can win out in the end? And  the next two photograps suggest the battle is already won…

The consecration of Libby Lane with most every bishop present. It stands in strong contrast to the next ordination in which very few were there.



Am I alone in discerning a token gesture given to those whose hope of reclaiming the Church of England is now long gone? To those who find themselves in such an impossible situation I simply say this. The Ordinariate was created for you.

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155 thoughts on “The Anglo-Catholicism landscape post Ordinariate

    1. I have “moved on” But given that one of the great aims of the Ordinariate is to call Anglicans home to Rome this does not mean I should not question those who remain. The parable of the lost sheep gives the reason why…

      1. I have just read this, as an Anglican who is deeply saddened by the path the Anglican Church has decided on I attempted to join the Ordinariate but was refused as I had been divorced when young. I now have no Spiritual home. Saying join the Ordinariate is not an easy option at all.

        1. Valerie I am really sorry that you seem to have had such a bad experience. Feel free to email me so we can talk in private and maybe I can help. And take hope- I assure you that nobody would ever be barred from joining the Catholic church because they are divorced. Several members of my own congregation were in that same position and we worked through the annulment procedure together which brought mercy and clarity to most. Even those for whom an annulment was not possible can still join and be full members- the only issue would be reception of communion if not in a state of grace. Hope that helps and do email me.

          1. From where do some clergy get the idea that people in Valerie’s situation cannot become Catholics? It would seem that some clergy (at all levels) need retraining. That was the source of my earlier comment on knowing what was and was not Tradition and Divine Law. True there can be problems with the Eucharist but the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, have kept the ancient custom of providing small portions of blessed (but not consecrated) bread which can be taken freely by non-communicants – perhaps we should re-activate the idea. Meanwhile I hope that with the ‘s Lords grace you can help Valerie. The churches which I normally attend have such people, who are active in parish support, in their congregations.

    2. The Church of England ‘lost’ many Catholics to ‘Rome’ / the Ordinariate yet there is a remarkable recovery taking place with many converts and many ordinands. I believe that the second Catholic revival in the C of E is now under way.

  1. The reason for the larger number of bishops at +Libby’s consecration was that this was an historic first with extra visitors from overseas. +Philip’s consecration was to a normal suffragan’s post. I am sure that there were many more bishop’s there than is shown in your photo.
    It’s such a pity you cannot desist from attacking the Church of England. It does you no credit and merely shows a lack of tolerance towards Christians in other denominations.

    1. To ask honest questions of Christian groups is not an attack. Surely all of us believe our faith can hold up to questioning else what is the point? And I am not attacking the Church of England but questioning how one can claim to be Catholic within it – which is a very different proposition. Why do people struggle to answer what is actually raised here?

    2. I was at York Minster for Philip North’s consecration. There were lots of bishops present including London and Fulham. The latter, the leading Anglo Catholic was, of course, divorced and remarried in a civil ceremony.
      +Sentamu before the service started popped up in a pulpit and gave a long and muddled apology/justification for how the service was going to proceed.
      “The lady doth protest too much.”
      To me it looked like two churches that day. A bit like a wedding where the two families really dislike each other but try to put on a brave face.

        1. Women ‘priests’ and women ‘bishops’. As long as they are fostered, never mind the possibility of atheist ministers and active homosexual couples in the ministry, there can be no hope of formal reunion. The Orthodox take the same view. The point has been made often enough and cannot be ignored.

  2. Reason would surely see significance in the fact that only a tiny number who might be considered (by others, if not themselves) to be suited for membership of this group have actually chosen to associate themselves with it. Reason teaches us that when most people reject an invitation, there is probably a sound explanation for it; vox populi, vox Dei.

  3. “…hope of a formal union is over.” Is this the official Catholic line or just your opinion?

    I for one still hope for a union.

    1. Realistic hope is certainly over and anyone can see that Arcic, whilst civil, is no longer bearing fruit. This point was made well in Mgr. Langham’s address which I commend to you.

  4. Your questions imply a baffled sense of desperation, Fr Ed. You belong to a very minuscule group within the RC Church which depends for its continuing existence on another denomination. Clearly the Ordinariate is not a model of unity since it has failed to bring together two separated Churches. Many Anglo-Catholics have no problem with ordained women or gay clergy and have a natural affinity with millions of liberal Roman Catholics who share those views and with whom they yearn for a future unity.

    1. Our congregation is growing nicely with new members mainly being existing Catholics so I do not accept your conclusion regarding our dependence. And clearly the Ordinariate has done more to bring about unity of two separated churches than anything else in years – my presence says so as does our liturgy et al… whole groups have reconciled. How is that not a work of unity? Finally the “Affcath” liberal catholics you describe are not the body I am referring to in this article.

  5. You have focused on the ordination of women to the episcopate as the issue that has not been thought through by Anglo Catholics. However, I think that there is a much bigger issue festering in the CofE, and this is a matter where the Evangelists and the Anglo-Catholics should have some common ground. It is a matter of morals as well as scripture and accepted practice. I refer to the whole question of homosexuality, and more importantly how it affects clergy.

    We are, of course, awaiting the outcome of facilitated conversations and, no doubt, many synod meetings before any clear policy emerges, if it ever does. However, it must be obvious to many people that these discussions amount to little more than playing for time. The writing is surely on the wall.

    Anglicans who think things through must be preparing for further disillusionment. Will this result in another wave of groups joining the Ordinariate?

    Maybe you would like to write a piece on this subject, Father.

    1. I have much to say on the subject, not least that a large group who refuse the Ordinariate do so because, whilst they have no theological objection to our views on Womens ordination will not take quite the same orthodox line on moral issues..and for a very good reason. It was the elephant in the room for Anglo-Catholics over many years. But then who are we to judge!

  6. Why haven’t Anglo-Catholic people who reject women priests and (now) women bishops (as opposed to the majority of Anglo-Catholics who do accept those things) joined the Ordinariate? The answer, it seems to me, is that when push comes to shove they like the C of E better. Why might they do so? Many reasons. They love their churches. They love the fact that many C of E churches, including their own, are more ‘Catholic’ in their liturgy, practices, and, indeed, beliefs than most RC churches in Britain today. They don’t accept papal primacy. They have many friends with whom they profoundly disagree on WO and women bishops but to whom they remain very emotionally and sacramentally close. And they remain in order to bear witness to a particular tradition within the C of E (which they love) which would be extinguished were they to depart. I don’t mind admitting that I have problems with such people (I think they’re wrong on WO), but I think they are treading a difficult path and as a ‘liberal’ (in this sense, pluralist) Anglican I support them, and emotionally – but also theologically – I am actually far closer to them than I am to many C of E Evangelicals, with whom I might seem to be formally much closer.

    1. Thank you John. I think the emotional issues are pertinent that you raise. Though one need not worry about liturgy given our freedom in the Ordinariate to retain that patrimony.

  7. How ever many times you ask the “question” (which everyone knows is not a question but a jibe) you will get no better reasons than you have a dozen times on this blog.

    Your leadership, through a mixture of wishful thinking and padding to get the Ordinariate approved vastly overestimated the numbers who would join. The ordination of the first women Bishop has not even sparked a trickle never mind the oft spoken of second wave.

    They (and it seems you) can not get over it. I understand promises were made but those who held back or only said yes to the Flying Bishops as they desperately canvassed for support to remain in fellowship are now seeing the truth; Anglican grass can be greener than Roman Catholic grass.

    They see the fatal flaw in the future of the Ordinariate as you describe it: If it is there to “call Anglicans home to Rome” then it will ever be fishing from a smaller pond and ever decreasing itself.

    You are given reason and answer but you will not hear it. “Will not” I say, not “can not.” Forgive me but it is unseemly. Despite 25 years of the Anglo – catholic wing of the C of E being tossed and turned on the internal war that erupted over the ordination of women it is still there, weakened and confused but still there. It was ill served for years by many who claimed to have its best interest at heart but were chasing a new mistress, yet it survives.

    When the time is right it will bring (again) to the Nation the joys of good liturgy, mystery and a deep understanding of the sacraments that have been the core of Catholicity for millennia.

    I continue to pray for the Ordinariate which has been a blessing for many. This sort of blog post does them or in truth yourself no credit.

    Time to move on, let it go for Pete’s sake man. (pun intended).

    1. Gwyn,
      Logically you would seem to be right that the Ordinariate will ever be fishing in a smaller pool. But that pool does seem to have the ability to refresh itself and even grow. If we go back to the time of Newman and the Oxford Movement, people would have said that the Anglo Catholic pool was small. Yet dozens of clergy and hundreds of laity converted at the time. That process has been going on ever since, sometimes at a faster rate than others. Generally between 4,000 and 5,000 are received into the Catholic Church as adults each year, and the vast majority of these would be former Anglicans.

      We know that 400 Cof E clergy took advantage of the compensation scheme and converted in the early 1990s. At a reduced rate, the flow continued until the creation of the Ordinariate, since when at least another hundred have converted.

      My guess is that the conversions will continue, with the laity figuring more prominently. The big issue will not be women’s ordination, but deviant sexual behaviour.

  8. The Catholic Church should seek to appeal to the widest possible audience, whilst remaining true to its core beliefs.

    That audience stretches far beyond the confines of particular bits of the C of E, the whole of which is a great institution, with faithful and holy members, and which will continue to be so. The legitimacy of that church did not end in 2011 or 2015, any more than it started with the Reformation or the invention of ‘Anglo Catholicism’ in the 19th Century, or the rise of evangelism, or any other moment in its history.

  9. I take Ed’s points entirely. I accept that for those of us who are still here in the CofE we are found wanting in La La Land. His description can seem disingenuous to some of our sensibilities not least because we know we are serving Christ according to our calling and vocation in the chalk face of priestly ministry not in a fictitious land but in real location where we see the fruit of our labours in the vineyard were given the Cura animarum. However if we are in the Catholic Societies of the Church of England or the Society or SSC is there not some dislocation of our conscience
    when we invent ways of not embracing the offer of unity laid down by Rome? Or is it just me that thinks this?
    Once again New Directions could offer to publish your article and garner the ‘incoming’ reply Ed is requesting. On Faith of our Fathers and where it’s sang didn’t we sing this at a Richborough Chrism Mass in Chelmsford some years ago?

    1. Thank you for your gracious and honest response James. I did try to highlight the good work done on the local level. The problems are, as you so rightly point out, on the bigger playing field of national and international identity. Your answer suggests there is no real attempt to explain the dislocation you speak of which must be troubling. We continue to pray for you.

      1. Father, If I sing an evangelical worship such “Be still for the presence of the Lord” during Benediction, I am not using it entirely in the way the authors intended, but perhaps am using it in the way the Holy Spirit intended.
        In the same way “Faith of our Fathers” was written in an age when Christians had quite learnt Jesus’s commands about loving one another. But in an England where most of the country has abandoned Christianity, then rather than being a call partisanship, it can be a beautiful hymn praying for the genuine conversion of England to Jesus.

        1. I can only respond thus:


          1. (Philosophy) any theory holding that truth or moral or aesthetic value, etc, is not universal or absolute but may differ between individuals or cultures. See also historicism

  10. The questions that Fr Ed poses are very serious ones. I do remember, however, that similar questions were asked in the early 1990s of those who then chose to remain in the CofE after the Women Priests measure. Even then the territory was familiar: hopes for unity dashed. What was the future of Anglo-Catholicism? How was a coherent and credible Catholic presence in the Cof E to be maintained? What we are witnessing now is the final working out of this decades long conversation/debate/argument. The questions still need to be asked but everyone needs the space to work out their responses; and my prayers and thoughts are with those who are doing that. For my part, I am profoundly grateful for Pope Benedict’s invitation and believe that the Ordinariate is a model for what a thought through search for unity can achieve. It’s not all plain sailing and, no, we are not huge, but then neither are mustard seeds. And there are many, many blessings.

  11. “Despite 25 years of the Anglo – catholic wing of the C of E being tossed and turned on the internal war that erupted over the ordination of women it is still there, weakened and confused but still there. It was ill served for years by many who claimed to have its best interest at heart but were chasing a new mistress, yet it survives. ”

    I am sure that many members of the Church of Sweden’s “Lutheran equivalent” of “the Anglo – catholic wing of the C of E” were telling themselves much the same sort of reassuring stories in the mid-1980s. Thirty years on, they are on the verge of extinction, at least on the clerical level. I am sure that the result will be much the same thirty years on from now in the C of E.

    1. The Church of Sweden is a very “profetic” example of where CofE will end. It is a very sad future and the “Society” bishops have fooled them all!

  12. I know that many Anglo-Catholics are irritated and offended by your continuing to raise these difficult questions … However, you are entitled to do so. As you say, no one has to read your blog! I have to agree with James and admit there is some dislocation of conscience in remaining in the C of E post women bishops. The five principles have made it possible for us to stay, but for how long? I never thought that I would find myself in this present situation and when I was first ordained had assumed that I would either become Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic when the crunch came and yet I’m still here. My future is also bound up with the future of our local petitioning parish and that is precarious. To be honest, I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I’m not ready to leave the C of E yet … this may seem illogical to you, but there is still work to be done for the Lord on this side of the bridge.

    1. Hello Mark,
      I don’t normally weigh in on these sort of discussions because, frankly, I don’t think I have much to add. I wonder however if I could ask, because I would really like to know the answer, whether you see the Orthodox /Catholic Church (whichever it might be you were leaning towards) as the repository of all the revealed truth now or whether you think that, at present, the Anglican Church has it (but may not in the future) or simply has enough of it to be going on with as it were.
      I am genuinely interested in this because a colleague of my husband who is a (lay) very high Anglican, Forward in Faith member etc. told us some time ago that he would convert in due course but not yet because it might upset his mother. In the interests of being polite I didn’t press him anymore but I couldn’t help wondering, if you think (whichever) Church is the one you ultimately want to belong to, what possible justification there could be for hanging around? Surely you would want to get in as soon as possible irrespective; Ronnie Knox and Blessed J H Newman springing to mind as examples.
      I do of course take your point about your current ministry and I am not for a moment disregarding that but I would be interested to try to understand your logic/thinking.
      PS I realise that I have referred to the “Catholic Church” above. I really don’t like the use of the word “Roman” because that’s not actually what it is, just where its HQ is. But I am sure everyone who reads this post will understand what I mean!

      1. Hi Mary, not sure where to begin … at one point in my spiritual journey I was very interested in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition and thought that this was where I was heading. I still have a very high regard for Eastern Orthodoxy, and during the Ecumenical Marian Pilgrimages to Walsingham the highlight for me has often been the Orthodox Liturgy served by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware in the Railway Chapel. A couple of years ago my brother-in-law surprised our family by converting to the Greek Orthodox Church from a Free Church background! So what held me back? Did I accept that the Orthodox Church had kept the deposit of faith more faithfully than the Anglican Communion? Yes, of course … but culturally this is a difficult path and the creation of the Ordinariate reminded me of the value of my Anglican Patrimony! Had the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery permitted a Western rite expression of Orthodoxy, as they do in North America, this would have made a difference. I’ve watched the development of the Ordinariate with interest and mixed feelings … while I admire many of those who have joined it, those of us left behind have been left in a weakened and more exposed situation. However, I don’t blame anyone for following their informed conscience. There is much to admire about the RC Church, I take part in a pro-Life prayer Vigil, that prays the Holy Rosary of the BVM outside Treliske Hospital in Truro and I’m normally the only Anglican, all the rest are Catholics! However, I hope you won’t be offended if I say that my experience of attending Mass in the RC Church, leaves me a bit flat compared to my experience of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. I can accept most aspects of RC teaching, but like many Anglo-Catholics there are no doubt some unresolved issues. I too would fear upsetting my Father, a retired Anglican priest, who would be very unhappy if I went to Rome. I also worry about cutting myself off from the ordinary people I serve in my C of E parish, who don’t look to Rome or Orthodoxy. As you will gather, I’m quite conflicted! I also feel loyalty is due to + Jonathan, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, having attend his Chrism Mass last year (and he subsequently visited and confirmed our candidates). As long as I have access to Anglo-Catholic bishop whom I can respect, then I will continue to serve in this part of the Lord’s Vineyard for the time being.

        1. I have notices, in various quarters, that some CoE ministers have expressed a tendency to the Orthodox Churches. But, we need to remember that the healing of the Latin/Byzantine breach is gaining ground apace. I don’t think that I’ll see reunion in my life (unless God spurs things along somewhat) but my grand children probably will see it. Where then is the escape hatch for those who want to be seen as ‘Catholic’ but don’t want to be full members of the Church? It seems to me to be a bit like wanting to be seen as a member of a rugby team but trying to play by American Football rules.

        2. Hi Mark, thank you for this very honest answer. I can see that this must be very difficult for you. Three supplemental questions if I may? Two serious, one not so. Again I am genuinely interested in trying to understand the logic and I am not trying to set traps!

          If you think the the wholeness of Truth with a capital T is found outside Anglicanism ( whether in Orthodoxy or Catholicism) then shouldn’t you seek it at whatever cost? Easy for me to ask I know but surely that is the core question? I do appreciate issues about family loyalties, the people, you serve currently etc but in the end aren’t we all asked to ” leave everything and follow me?”.

          I will confess to finding the current flying bishops arrangements peculiar in the extreme and the separate Anglo Catholic Chrism Masses ( the Chrism Mass itself being supposed to be a sign of unity of all the priesthood) strike me as being bizarre but that’s really none of my business. However my second question is to ask how your remaining in an institution can depend – at least in part – on having a bishop you respect? What would change theologically if the next bloke was someone you didn’t like or didn’t respect? Surely it’s the office not the man to whom respect is due?

          I do agree with you however that many Catholic Masses leave a lot to be desired from an aesthetic point of view. Fr. Ed would no doubt tell you that that is what the Ordinariate/Anglican patrimony is there to address (!) but, as a friend of mine rather irreverently but accurately, put it “provided Jesus turns up that’s really all that actually matters; the rest is nice but not essential.”

          The third and not so serious question is to ask whether you know Fr. Guy de Gaynesford from his days as PP at Bodmin? He said Mass at Padstow where we used to holiday and, if you do know him, you will be aware that he is a fine preacher and theologian. If you haven’t had a look at his course on the Catechism or his own material for instructing adult converts then they are well worth a look. J

          Sorry not trying to teach grandmother to suck eggs but, as masterpieces of lucid explanation and teaching, I think they rival the writings of Ronnie Knox of whom I am a great fan.
          Best Wishes.

          1. Mary, you must think me rude for not replying to your 2nd set of questions … I did try to, but managed to delete my reply by mistake! I just wanted to say as a postscript this debate and to bring it to a conclusion; that I do not see any real difference between the Ordinariate OLW having its own Chrism Mass and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet or Richborough having separate Chrism Masses. The one significant difference being that Mgr Keith Newton is not able to celebrate the Chrism Mass himself but invites the Papal Nuncio to do this because he is not in Bishop’s orders in the RC Church. I did meet Fr Guy once when he was at Bodmin, as he came to speak at St Mary’s (Immaculate) in Falmouth with Fr Robbie Low (before Robbie was ordained as a RC priest). I’ve known Robbie for many years (since I was a student at St Stephen’s House, Oxford). And Robbie had a high opinion of Fr Guy. My main contact is with our with our local RC parish priest, Fr Jon Bielawski, who is a very good man. Of course, I also known Fr John Greatbatch, formerly Anglican Parish Priest of Charlestown, and now with the Ordinariate (plus PP of Tavistock in Devon). However, I understand that his health is not good and he is in need of our prayers. May I finish by saying that I have nothing but goodwill for the Ordinariate and those who serve in it …

          2. Hi Mark, this is a response to yours replying to my “three questions ” because your posting/response doesn’t seem to have a Reply button! However of course I didn’t think you rude! Glad you’ve met Fr. Guy though and I have been at masses celebrated by Fr.. Robbie in Padstow. A fine preacher and a nice chap so far as I could tell!

  13. Fr. Ed wrote; “Why does a desire for theological debate do us no credit Gwyn?”

    Your desire does you credit, your means sometimes less so. With all good heart may I ask you couch your debating points more clearly and keep the questions you are seeking answers for to a minimum. Maybe just one question per blog?

    Paul wrote: “My guess is that the conversions will continue, with the laity figuring more prominently. The big issue will not be women’s ordination, but deviant sexual behaviour.”

    Well it is good guesses are permitted, mine would be that (from Anglicanism) most will convert directly to non-Ordinariate Roman Catholic Churches. And yes I agree some will move to a more conservative position on sexual ethics, God’s providence is wide.

    William wrote about the Swedish Lutheran Church, a sad story. In this fallen world I would be worry more about my own denomination in 30 years time that seemingly gleefully revelling in the demise of a one now. And The C of E has weather more than one protestant/evangelical swing of the pendulum. It seems that Pope Francis has to look like he will permit one quarter inch of swing and the apocalypse is upon you.

  14. From my experience as a former Anglo Catholic in the U.S., it seems to me that what actually stops Anglo Catholics from joining the Ordinariate or converting to the Catholic Church is “authority”. There seems to be a great fear of the Papacy.

    Also I did belong to a parish that was known for being “very Catholic” and even seminarians would come on Christmas eve to our Mass. Looking back the parish seemed to be what one would call “papalist” more than just Anglo Catholic. But when a choice of leaving TEC and becoming Catholic, at that time it was the Anglican Use not the Ordinariate, at least 2/3 of the members did not want to leave their beautiful vestments, incense, liturgy behind. Also I would say in my own experience as an Anglican, Anglicans are like Protestants, they want things done the way they like and don’t like authority.

    At least to me many Anglo Catholics like to play Catholic but are not willing to be obedient to the Church. I am sure that this post will get some angry denials and that what I have posted is far from the truth, however, although many fear authority, it is really “freedom” and gives a sense of peace. At least one knows what the Church teaches whether all members or some clergy disagree, it doesn’t matter as what has been believed and taught for 2000 years will not change.

    Also the Orthodox Church no longer is open to unity with Anglicans. The two Apostolic Churches agree that there is no longer common ground for unity with the Anglican church.

    Personally I don’t care if Anglicans or other Protestants choose another spiritual path or not, the problem seems to be when Anglicans keep protesting that they are part of the Catholic Church or a branch of it. Is this really an honest belief?

  15. Two comments from me:

    It is obvious that those who consider themselves Anglo- Catholics in the CofE find it difficult to offer a coherent explanation for their decision to remain. This will only get tougher as the CofE adopts a more liberal leaning agenda. I believe that regardless of ANY innovation the church may adopt they will be able to rationalize their decisions for not leaving. Boiling frogs come to mind;

    If there is any future for the Ordinariate it is from within the wider Catholic laity that may truly appreciate what has been brought across the Tiber. I think it is that constituency that needs to be engaged now. In short, it’s time to move on.

  16. Maybe some Anglo-Catholics do not join the Ordinariate because they cannot in good conscience accept all the teaching in the Roman Catholic Catechism.
    Father Hunwicke, in his most interesting talk (thank you for the link, Father Ed), does not (as I recollect) mention this as a possible reason why some Anglicans who had discussed the Ordinariate possibility with Rome did not proceed further.

    1. You are correct to note that those unable to accept Catholic doctrine are not able to join. But does this not raise the spectre of relativism. When they then describe themselves as Catholics what is it that they mean? In what way is the modern C of E – to which they ARE happy to belong-Catholic? Strikes me it is very, very obviously no longer even a via media having opted to become truly protestant and liberal via its recent decisions.

      1. I know I have said to Mark Mesley that, normally I don’t get invoved in this kind of posting and he and I are having a very interesting side discussion. However i cannot forebear to ask, if one self describes as a “Catholic” ( in this case an Anglo-Catholic), how can you do so in logic and conscience if you don’t accept all Catholic doctrine?

        Accepted there may be an argument that the Anglican Church is/is not or was/ is no longer part of the universal Catholic Church but there can’t, surely, be any doubt that the (Roman, even though I don’t like that word) Catholic Church is part of said universal Catholic Church. So, in order to be a Catholic, of whatever stamp, don’t you in all conscience have to accept the teachings of the (Roman) Catholic Church even though you may be parked in a bit of it not formally in communion with Rome?

        This is one of the bits that has always puzzled me. Along with Anglo- Catholics who say they accept the Pope’s authority and teachings in everything. Except what the Popes have repeatedly said about them not being in communion with him.

        1. Actually, Mary, we are in some sort of communion with the Pope: “real, but imperfect communion” is what the 2nd Vatican Council said … and this by virtue of our common baptism into Christ. The Eastern Orthodox regard themselves as “Catholic” even though they don’t agree with all aspects of Roman dogma, for example, the Immaculate Conception. So in what respect do I regard my as Anglo-Catholic, and distinctive from other Anglicans? For a start, I accept the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the “undivided Church” (East & West) and I also accept the Seven Sacraments of the Church as agreed by both the Eastern & Western Churches. Many Anglicans only accept two “dominical sacraments”: baptism & Holy Communion. I also accept the mind of the Church that women cannot be ordained to the ministerial priesthood or episcopate; but have an open mind about the diaconate … I also believe in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. These Catholic & Orthodox beliefs set me apart from the majority of other Anglicans. This is what makes me a “Catholic Anglican”. Its about my mental furniture and the disposition of my heart.

          1. Thank you Mark.
            I do understand the point you make about impaired communion and I expressed myself clumsily for which apologies. I suspect however that the comment Fr. Ed has made about sharing communion being a sign of being in communion – impaired or not – will lead on to someone posting what has been said before on this blog i.e. “ It’s you that won’t share with us not the other way round!”.
            Perhaps I should have said something along the lines of “Anglo Catholics who say they accept the Pope’s authority and teaching in everything except what the Popes have repeatedly said about them not being sufficiently in communion to receive the Eucharist with us.”
            I personally know a couple of Anglo Catholics who, despite knowing full well of the (Roman) Catholic teaching in this point, make no secret of the fact that they always receive when they attend a (Roman) Catholic Mass which has, I have to say, always struck me as being downright rude. When I have put this point politely to them I have usually been met with “I believe everything the Catholic Church and the Pope teaches and so I’m entitled to receive even if the Pope says I can’t.” which has always seemed to me to be a very convenient lapse in logic, not to mention having a bit of a foot stamp about it!
            As to your “mental furniture” being Catholic, again I do understand this. I suppose what puzzles me and other (Roman) Catholics – because the beliefs that you instance are so fundamental – is how Anglo Catholics can say, entirely honestly and in good faith I am sure, that they hold “Catholic & Orthodox beliefs (which) set me apart from the majority of other Anglicans” whilst remaining in the Anglican church?
            In this regard the ARCIC agreed statements on the Eucharist etc. always even that long ago, seemed to me to be pie in the sky, if not verging on sophistry. Whilst, on very abstruse levels, a degree of agreement might behave been reached which reflected the teaching of the (Roman) Catholic Church the statements on this or any other topic, in no way reflected the beliefs of the Anglican in the street so far as I could see. My dad who is a middle of the road Anglican would absolutely refute any belief in the Real Presence and so would just about every other Anglican I have ever met with the exception of Anglo Catholics.
            We have taken up a lot of time on this thread and it has been very interesting; however if Fr. Ed wants to wind up now and move on to pastures new, so that he doesn’t publish any more comments then I would entirely understand. It’s his blog!
            Best Wishes anyway.

          2. Worth remembering that it is not just the Popes who have put the inter-communion and other sacramental guidelines in place. Guidelines on receiving the Eucharist etc. have been made by the whole church (and the Orthodox). The history goes back a long way. In the early Church, non-baptized candidates awaiting reception where not even allowed to be present at the Consecration of the Eucharist

  17. mary b asked : “However i cannot forebear to ask, if one self describes as a “Catholic” ( in this case an Anglo-Catholic), how can you do so in logic and conscience if you don’t accept all Catholic doctrine? ”

    Simply by acknowledging that “Roman Catholic” and “Catholic” and not necessarily congruent. Many non Roman Catholics self describe as Catholic. All Ordinariate clergy did while in the C of E and they swore allegiance to the Queen (I am pretty sure that is not Roman Catholic Doctrine). So it can be done.

    Catholic is a state of mind.

    Joshing aside, the word means something different to you than it does to me.

    1. Thanks Gwyn. That is helpful. I think I understand that but what therefore do non ( Roman) Catholics mean about about their beliefs etc when they self identify as Catholic? At least in your experience? I take it as read – I hope rightly for the purposes of this discussion – that when (Roman) Catholics do so everyone knows what they mean.

    2. Perhaps it would help if the word “Roman” were to be ditched. It was an add on form the 1700s – not from the Catholic Church, I’m told. The Catholic Church has 24 (at last count), largely autonomous, major churches with widely differing liturgies, languages etc. What they have in common is the Mass (but with wide liturgical and ceremonial differences), the same sacraments and communion with the Petrine Office. Being a Catholic means being a member of all those churches and the ability to receive the Eucharist in any of them. As an examole, I could claim to be a musician because I like and enjoy various forms of music but I would be wrong because I cannot read a single note or play anything. Similarly, if I were not in communion with the Petrine Office, and knowing what the word means, I could not and would not call myself Catholic.

  18. I receive Communion in the RC Church if the celebrant permits me to do so … some do and some don’t. When I was on holiday in Devon last year, the RC priest asked me if I believed in the real presence, when I affirmed this, he said I was welcome to receive. I’ve also had varied experiences when I ask if I may make my confession … one RC priest told me, “only if you are in danger of death” (!) And then they complain that so few people make their confession.

    1. See that is another example of contradiction in your claim to be a Catholic Mark. You seem to endorse a very Protestant sense of Congregationalism, putting the opinion of each individual priest celebrant over that of the clear and freely available teaching of the church itself.that strikes me as being wrong on two counts. First because you opt to disregard the official Catholic church and second because you encourage her priests to break those laws too.

      1. Father, I suggest that you read Catholic Bishops’ Conference teaching document, “One Bread One Body” (CTS, 1998) because the situation is not as clear cut as you suggest … For example, “The Catholic Church recognises that in particular circumstances, by way of exception and under certain conditions, admission to Holy Communion and to the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick may be permitted, or even commended, for Christians belonging to communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. [107]

    2. I’m not going to comment on the reception of Holy Communion point because I don’t really think I can add to what I have already said and what Fr Ed has added (with which I agree, incidentally). As to confession I don’t believe for a moment that you seriously think that only Catholics who are in danger of death can make their confession! I think you know quite well that that rule applies to Non- Catholics in extremis and is entirely of a piece with the rest of the Church’s sacramental discipline. It’s not like a priest gets Green Shield stamps for every dozen penitents and you were depriving him of a scalp now is it?! Although it does beg the question as to why you didn’t want to confess to an Anglican priest?
      I think, however, that what I would say, Mark, is that what appears to be your hunger for the certainty and assurance of the (Roman) Catholic Church is made evident by just about everything you have posted here. I hope you find a way to satisfy that hunger and to find peace. Do check out Fr. Guy’s writings though. They’re good stuff!

      1. I was not suggesting that the sacrament (Confession) was in any restricted for Roman Catholics, simply pointing out that many RC priests complain that the sacrament of reconciliation is sadly neglected … you ask why I would want to confess to a RC priest, so let me give an actual example, I was on holiday in Dorset and attended Mass at a RC Church on the Feast of All Saints, having heard the Gospel reading (the Beatitudes) and the homily and being moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit to make my confession; I approach the priest afterwards and explain that I’m an Anglican and would like to make my confession. He refuses, saying that he would only do so “if I was in danger of death”. However, this is incorrect, no where in the document OBOB (CTS, 1998) is access to the sacrament of reconciliation restricted to “danger of death” for those who belong to other ecclesial communities. May I quote the relevant section: “the Directory gives general permission in one case only: danger of death. In other cases, a discernment of the situation of the individual has to be made.” (108) May I suggest that the priest concerned failed to make the required act of discernment, he simply wanted to close down the discussion. What if I had died in a car crash on the way home to Cornwall? Was this not a missed opportunity to reconcile a potential penitent … What would Christ have done in this situation?

      2. Just a thought on one of your earlier comments “…. I’m entitled to receive even if the Pope says I can’t….”
        Do you think that those same people would walk into a members only gym, golf club etc. and say ‘I accept all that you say but I’m going to use your facilities without being a member’. I suspect not and that they would be horrified at the thought of so doing. But when it comes to the Eucharist…..! To me, there is a logical disconnect somewhere.

        1. Hi Pat. No I don’t think they would do that and that is exactly the point I was making. My subsequent discussion with Mark though has made it clear that he is not of that mindset.

          1. Hi Mary. I’m with you all the way on this one. Clumsy wording on my part, I’m afraid, led me to falling into a linguistic trap – sorry about that. What I was trying to ask was ‘Does anybody think…..’ and give a worldly example. I’m sure that the people in question are sincere and would never act as per example. But, the question arises:- Why would someone want to use the sacramental life of Church membership but reject the membership requirement and not see the nature of the contradiction? My mind is puzzled.

  19. Dear Mark,
    Re your responses to me and to Fr. Ed you are quoting very selectively indeed from “One Bread, One Body” . It does indeed say that there is only one general exception – danger of death -when baptised Christians from other ecclesial communities may be admitted to Holy Communion/ penance/anointing but it goes on to make it clear that the particular (as opposed to general exceptions) are where such Christians may not have access to a minister of their own denomination i.e. you are in prison and there is no Anglican chaplain or, for e.g., weddings/ funerals i.e. very limited occasions. It also says that the Bishop is the one who has authority to make this decision (so a formal application has to be made for a dispensation) unless a priest is authorised by the Bishop. Which hardly any are.
    Do you seriously expect us to believe you couldn’t find an Anglican Church in Dorset both to attend and where you could receive Holy Communion and confess?!
    You ask “What Christ would have done?” which is, again with respect, a very subjective and emotionally charged question.This is the kind of challenge that woolly minded liberals throw out when they get an answer they don’t like not intelligent orthodox believers. Catholic teaching, as you well know, is that if the Church says it and does it then that IS Christ saying and doing it. The priest you mention was doing as the Church required him to do and hence that WAS Christ doing it.
    Mark, you are clearly a clever bloke and you are engaging in what must be very wearying mental gymnastics. I guess that you very much want to be able to be in full proper communion with Rome and able licitly to receive the sacraments because, at the risk of coming over heavy for a second, the authoritative teaching of the Church in these matters is disregarded on pain of serious sin.
    If we return to where we started this discussion, if you do want to receive the sacraments and, if you can state that, if your bishop changed or if something else developed, you would be received then that must be because you think that the fullness of truth is to be found in the Church i.e. it is the true Church. So, again, if you can seriously say you are worried about the possibility of dying unshriven on a journey back from Dorset to Cornwall, surely you should do as Newman did? Trust in God, get yourself into the Church now and not hang around any longer?
    Happy Lent!

    1. Mary, I’m aware of the restrictions in OBOB, but you may be interested to know that I have received Holy Communion in the (Roman) Catholic Church with the explicit permission of a RC Bishop … Are you also aware that the late Pope St John Paul II said in his encyclical letter “Ut Unum Sint” (1995) that it was a source of joy to him that there were circumstances in which separated brethren (such as myself) could be admitted to the sacraments in the Catholic Church? You would not guess as this joy from reading some of the comments from on this blog! Moreover, Fr Ed is completely wrong to suggest that I have done anything wrong in approaching Rc priests to ask if I may receive the Blessed Sacrament or make my confession; indeed, from memory the threefold conditions laid down in Ut Unum Sint, included the requirement that the person concerned make the request (rather than the minister of the sacrament offering Eucharistic hospitality) that the person be properly disposed … (which suggests to my mind that they also need to make a sacramental confession prior to Communion) and that they share the Catholic belief in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Lastly, it was Fr Hunwicke, who said that Forward in Faith members needed to be treated differently from other Anglicans when making requests for admission to the sacraments in the Catholic Church; because there are many C of E Churches where we are unable to receive the sacrament, either because they have a women minister or the male priest is in full communion with the women clergy in their Deanery. For example, in the Diocese of Truro there are only three serving Anglo-Catholic priests of my integrity (including myself) in the whole of the Diocese! I could change the question for you, and ask, “what would Pope Francis do?”. I hear that he broke the rubrics and washed a Muslim woman prisoner’s feet on Maundy Thursday … would he refuse to hear a confession from an Anglican? I think not! I gather that his friend Bishop Tony Palmer (a protestant evangelical) in Anglican orders, but not in full communion with Canterbury, was granted a full Catholic Requiem Mass after his tragic death in a road accident in recognition of his strong desire for Christian Unity.

      1. Hi Mark,

        This discussion is going nowhere now unfortunately interesting though it has been. You can’t, with respect, call on “One Bread , One Body” as authority for what you want to do, then, when I point out that it doesn’t allow you to do that, say it’s “Ut Unum Sint” which allows it (which it doesn’t actually; to take but one example, if it did, there would have been no need for those entering the Ordinariate to observe a Eucharist Fast prior to their reception), then say it’s not what Christ would have done it’s what the Pope would have done! It was you who originally posited the question!

        I would just – very gently – ask you to consider whether or not there might be a lot of wish fulfillment going on here and a desire to have your cake and eat it because, if what you say were true, there would be no real need for Anglo Catholics of a certain disposition to convert at all.

        Also the fact that you say that you cannot receive the sacraments in many of your own churches doesn’t mean that you should hitch hike spiritually on the Catholic Church. Rather you should consider whether you can, with integrity, remain in a church which has put you into such an invidious position. I bet Fr. Hunwicke if asked now would resile from that statement on the grounds it is no longer necesary, if it ever was, since the Ordinariate!

        Nonetheless I wish you well and would reiterate that I have enjoyed our online chat.

        Best Wishes,

  20. PS I have just looked up what Fr. Hunwicke said on this topic being unable to do so before. It is quite right that he raised it after the Ordinariate ( in 2013). However he goes on to say that it would be quite wrong to flout canon law and canon law as conveyed through OBOB is that ther is at present no general exception for Anglican Catholics who are, undoubtedly left in very difficult straits nowadays. That means that they could only ask to take advantage of a particular exception and, by definition, that is one which can only be granted by disposition by the diocesan bishop or by a duly authorised priest I.e. Not every Fr. Tom, Dick or Harry.

  21. PPS I have now been able to reread this post at leisure i.e. when not engaged in cooking the Sunday dinner, organising the family diary and multitasking with both hands! What follows is an expanded version of my original post:-
    PS. Firstly the issue of Bishop Tony Palmer’s funeral is a compete red herring tragic though it no doubt was. I have been to any number of Catholic requiems celebrated for non- Catholics. It this country it commonly happens on the death of a non Catholic spouse in a mixed marriage. This practice in no way abrogates Canon Law about reception of the sacraments by non Catholics simply because the mere celebration if a public Mass doesn’t involve this. The usual requirements as set out in OBOB for reception of Holy Communion by a non Catholic on an occasion such as this would apply; permission would have to be given in advance by a priest duly authorised or by the bishop.
    Secondly I have now looked up what Fr. Hunwicke said on this topic being unable to do so before. It is quite right that he raised it after the Ordinariate ( in 2013). However he goes on to say that it would be quite wrong to flout Canon Law and it is quite clear that he is asking for a wider interpretation of OBOB to be officially sanctioned for Anglican Catholics (not just FiF members) who find themselves without sacramental assurance, generally when they are off home turf. If it were already the case that the law allowed for this wider interpretation there would have been no need for him to have made this appeal. For the avoidance of doubt my (and, I believe, Fr. H’s) interpretation of current Canon Law as expounded by OBOB is that there is, at present, no general exception for Anglican Catholics who are, undoubtedly, left in very difficult straits nowadays. That means that they could only ask to take advantage of a “particular” i.e. not ” general” exception because there is only one general exception which is danger of physical death. A particular exception is, by definition, one which can only be granted by dispensation by the diocesan bishop or by a duly authorised priest i.e. not every Fr. Tom, Dick or Harry.
    Mark goes on to complain that we should be displaying joy and we who disgree with him aren’t. I would certainly do so if I thought that John Paul for a moment meant that we should rejoice at non Catholics receiving the sacraments in direct contravention of Canon Law. I am absolutely sure he didn’t. And before Mark or anyone else instances Pope Francis washing the feet of a Muslim woman that is a very different thing. It was an extra liturgical action and in no way in the same category, controversial though it undoubtedly was.
    However, rather than get involved in what could be increasingly tedious exchanges on a posting which is now of some vintage, I suggest we go to the horse’s mouth as it were. I am willing to draft, with Mark’s prior approval so we can both be sure that it completely and accurately represents his position, a letter to the senior Canon lawyer in the Archdiocese of Westminster or another Canon lawyer of equivalent status. We could even copy in Fr. Hunwicke and canvass his views!
    For the avoidance of doubt my understanding is that Mark’s position is that, as an Anglican with beliefs in conformity with Catholic teaching, he is allowed to seek permission on routine, i.e. not special occasions IN THIS COUNTRY from the celebrant of the day, whoever he may be, to access Catholic sacraments and, if that permission is granted on the spot, he may do licitly do so. Obviously Mark may wish to fine tune the terms of the enquiry and I am very willing to cooperate with him in doing so. As I imagine this would be a matter on which Fr. Ed would also be interested in having a definitive dictum given the number of times this issue crops up on his blog, he may possibly be willing to act as an off forum post box between me and Mark? He may even want to publish the exchange, with Mark’s permission of course, on the forum in due course? Anyway, if the answer that comes back vindicates Mark, I will pay £100 to a charity of his nomination through Fr. Ed. If it supports my view then it will be a matter henceforth for Mark and his conscience.
    I am sorry if this latest post comes over as a bit tetchy and contentious but, beneath the legalese (regular readers may recall that my day job is as a (civil) lawyer) there are really serious issues here about the sanctity of the sacraments, sacrilege, obedience to the magisterium and not setting up your private judgment over that of the Church whilst simultaneously proclaiming conformity. In other words about not fooling yourself and about avoiding really serious sin.
    If Mark said he didn’t give a stuff what the (Roman) church taught and he was going to do what he wanted full stop that would be very different. Some Anglo Catholics of my acquaintance have said just that and made no bones about it.
    However he isn’t; he is saying that he is behaving in obedience to her. Hence my challenge!

    1. I think that some clarity in this area would be most welcome … I think that the starting point is probably the Ecumenical Directory issued by Rome in 1993. This permitted individual priests to make decisions concerning the admission of the non-RC spouse in a “mixed marriage” (Inter-Church couples) to the sacraments (in the absence of guidance from the relevant Bishops’ Conference). Pope John Paul’s Encylical Letter Ut Unum Sint (1995) added some further criteria for discernment in this delicate area and I had a discussion with our local RC Bishop, Christopher Budd, when he was Bishop of Plymouth about how this was to be interpreted. It was as a result of these two documents from Rome that the local Bishops’ Conference issued OBOB in 1998. You are absolutely correct to say Mary that OBOB tightens up disciple on admission to the sacraments to the Bishop or his delegate (presumably Vicar Generals and some Episcopal Vicars). Therefore, I must reluctantly concede that individual RC priests do not have the right to admit Anglican Catholics to Communion without first speaking to the Bishop or his delegate. However, if I’m on holiday in Devon for a week, by the time the parish priest has consulted the Bishop or his delegate, I will be back home in Cornwall! So I have some sympathy for the hard pressed priest who makes his own decision (on the spot) in the light of his conscience and mine. I can assure you that I do not do this routinely …

      1. Thank you Mark for the grace and humility of your response to my slightly tendentious challenge. I appreciate that this concession must have cost you more than a bit to make in the light of your previous postings.

        In the light of it however do you still want me to draft the letter of enquiry? It seems to me that we have, eventually, reached an agreement about what should happen so as to be in conformity with Canon Law and your only remaining “gloss” or reservation on that is that it causes practical difficulties as to which see below..

        I should however be more than happy to draft the letter if you still wanted to pursue this and I assure you I won’t charge…

        Can I also advise (again this is free of charge!) that you could do what Catholics, certainly in this country, routinely have to do when travelling away from home, which is to make some enquires and some arrangements in advance? This has become much easier with the advent of the Internet. In your case it means you could look up a suitable conforming Anglican parish close to wherever you are going to be staying or, if you genuinely cannot find one, then you could write – again well in advance – to the Diocesan Catholic Bishop, explaining your position, justifying why you need a dispensation and asking for one to receive the sacraments at whichever Catholic Church you elect to attend whilst you are away. Nowadays this could all be sorted out by email and you could take a copy of the dispensation with you in case of enquiry. It can – and very often is, especially in the cases of funerals – be done very quickly because, if the Bishop is away, it can always be passed onto the Vicar General

        We, as a family, have to do research like this every time we are away, to make sure my husband who is very severely incapacitated can be brought Holy Communion if he cannot access the church (as well as checking up Mass times locally which Catholic families on tour always have to do anyway!).

        And, on a wider point Mark, for goodness sake consider your position. You really can’t carry on like this. If you haven’t already done so I urge you to read what Fr. Ronnie Knox wrote about this sort of thing when he found himself in a similar quandary a hundred years ago. “The Knox Brothers” by Penelope Fitzgerald is an excellent read. I will stick an extra prayer in for you and light a candle next time I find myself in near proximity to one.

        Best Wishes,


        1. Thanks, Mary, as you say, we seem to have come to a point where we more or less agree where authority lies to make these decisions. However, in respect of the Ordinariate, presumably the decision lies with the Ordinary (as he has jurisdiction) and he could, if he wished, respond to Fr Hunwicke’s proposal to provide Eucharistic hospitality to trad. Anglo-Catholics who are off their home turf and don’t have access to a Church of their tradition. I take your point, that I should write to the Bishop of Plymouth prior to my Summer holiday if I wish to receive Communion (again) in the local RC Church where I shall be staying. This is a fairly remote part of N. Devon and local C of E parish has a lady Vicar and the nearest Anglican Church of my tradition would be over an hour’s drive away. So whether I’m able to receive Communion or not I shall be hearing Mass at the local (Roman) Catholic Church. I’ve attended this Church for the last three years while on holiday and have been made most welcome. So what are the outstanding issues, the Ecumenical Directory talked about “cases” rather than occasions … and yet OBOB talks more about special “one off” occasions where exceptions to the norm maybe made (rather than cases). Perhaps a Canon Lawyer could elucidate … Ut Unum Sint seemed to envisage a spontaneous request for admission to the sacraments, but the guidelines contained in OBOB suggest a letter to the Bishop sent well in advance … this is not always possible, and removes discretion from the parish priest (which I regret). Some parish priests will continue to exercise their own judgement, but are no doubt exceeding their authority by doing so. A bit more thought needs to be given to serious spiritual need other than danger of death … this is the area where real discernment is needed. I am more affronted by a refusal to hear my confession than the inability to provide Eucharistic hospitality. The sacrament of reconciliation is not available in most Anglican Churches and personally I will not make my confession to a priest who I know is not a penitent himself. I do believe that you have to a penitent yourself to hear other peoples confessions! Many Anglican priests and I include some Anglo-Catholics in this, do not hear enough confessions to be proficient in this field. Any baptised Christian should be able to avail themselves of this sacrament of mercy. Finally, I’m on a spiritual journey, and this pilgrimage is not yet complete … I am not yet ready to take the step that you would like me to take! (so please be patient with those of us who remain in the C of E). But I do desire to be in full Communion with both the Eastern and Western Churches. And one day, this desire will lead me home.

          1. “But I do desire to be in full Communion with both the Eastern and Western Churches. And one day, this desire will lead me home”.

            An honest spiritual quest, as your is, will never be denied. Trust in the Lord to lead and as Pope Francis has said ‘let Him find you’ when the time is right. But the sign, when it comes, might be easy to miss. I pray that you will not miss it. You seem to have already received and are responding to the first part of the invitation. I too desire that the Latin/Orthodox breach may be healed. Much progress has been made but many hearts and minds have yet to be opened. An example of some small progress is the loan of an Orthodox church to us for Sunday Mass on Crete.

  22. If one’s definition of ‘Catholic’ is union with the Pope, shame on one for waiting for Anglicanorum coetibus before crossing the Tiber.

    For many of us, Anglo-Catholicism has no more to do with reunion with the Pope than it does reunion with the Orthodox Patriarchs. We all seek a united church, but some of us are weary to accept the entrenched heresy of papal infallibility for the recent faddish heresy of liberalism – what Austin Farrer called the ‘papal fact-factory’.

    I’m forced to agree with whoever said the author doesn’t ‘get’ Anglo-Catholicism. From the Caroline Divines through the Tractarians and beyond, ‘Anglo-Papism’ was always a small sect. The vast majority of Anglo-Catholics were stalwarts of an autonomous Anglican Church under an autonomous Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Anglo-Catholics prayed that our Roman brothers and sisters would see the error of their suprematism and infallibilism. It was never the aim of Anglo-Catholicism to bring the Church of England under the mantle of those heresies.

  23. Please remember that when references are made to homosexuals, lesbians, ransgendered’s etc, that fistly they are all God’s children.

    On the day after the London Gay Parade, an Anglo-Catholic priest noted a lad opf about 16 in his congregation wearing a ‘gay’ flag tied around his neck and hanging down his back and wearing a Tee shirt with the word ‘Gay ‘on it. The priest, a traditionalist on LGBT matters, says, As he made the sign of the cross and received the sacred host I wanted to shout out ‘How dare we reject any one of God’s lovely children, even if they are Gay.

  24. You can find a sound and traditionalist Catholic home on those many C of E churches that are linked to Forward in Faith / the Society of St Wilfred & St Hilda.

    1. You say one can find a “Catholic home” in FIF and the Society. I am not so sure. Forget a strong Catholic claim- it strikes me even a “Via Media” claim departed some time ago!! In recognition of this fact- many have left for Rome since 1992 whilst others remain, in a state of denial or frustration, but now find themselves increasingly isolated and in an absurd position. Which is to say that post Ordinariate and code of practice- hospice care began for Anglo-Catholicism. That is rough, sorry if it pains, but an honest assessment. Valerie is not well served by being sold half truths and pipe dreams.

      Let us get real. The C of E has changed beyond recognition. Unlike its historical incarnation it is now synodically led- meaning the authority of scripture and tradition are weakened. Indeed it is no longer a unified body at all but more an umbrella organisation of divided Christians in which a renunciation of Catholic doctrine is just as acceptable as a passionate endorsement. Its moral teaching is also in chaos- for it followed a modernist line and now accepts a praxis in contradiction with its own official teaching. So that a transexual clergy person is on the staff of Manchester cathedral and pensions are paid to the gay partners of clergy who should not, according to official teaching, even exist. Such is the confusion. And soon it seems determined to allow Methodist ministers to celebrate at altars without having ever received episcopal ordination. Yet you claim it to be Catholic?!

      So whilst I fully accept that there are many fine Christians within the C oF E- and some great congregations probably including your own- I think any Catholic claim whatsoever is gone. Anglicanism came off the fence and chose a liberal and protestant future – not even grounded in historic Christianity but increasingly on a modernist interpretation as now dominates the Episcopal church in America… where even gendered language about God has been outlawed in contradiction to Our Lord’s own teaching.

      Sorry to be blunt- but intellectually honesty demands it here.

        1. You are of course right Pat but I have noticed that there seems to be little point in saying this to Anglo Catholics. They obstinately/ with great steadfastness (depending on your perspective) cling to their position. It’s nothing to do with me but I can’t help thinking it must be an increasingly lonely position to hold when the prevailing theology of the rest of the C of E is going in such a radically different direction.

          1. I suspect that, in some quarters, there is a deep-rooted misunderstanding of what Catholic means in church terms. That misunderstanding has led many C. of E. to think only in terms of what they think they know about the church in British terms. Some don’t seem to be aware that the καθολική Εκκλησία encapsulates many different flavours of rite and observation. The one thing they have in common is communion with the Petrine Office which means that members of one such community are free to attend and receive The Eucharist at any other.

  25. The aim of Anglican Catholic’s in the Church of England is to hole fast to the many parishes where the full Catholic faith is taught. Then recover the parishes that we n have lost Then gain the parishes we never had. They aim for some kind of unity in diversity with the holy see. It will take time but there is a lot of new life around and we will, with the grace of God, get there.

    1. Ok so what is the end game here? Let us say you hold onto the few parishes you still have, and then gain new ones. What then? To what end are you seeking to hold onto a “catholic” life and vision within a liberalising protestant body yet out of communion with Rome and global catholicism….when an offer has been made to live out the Catholic Anglican vision within the universal church? If the goal was achieved would you then seek unity with Rome? Surely they would direct you to Golden Square and hand over a copy of Anglicanorum Coetibus. Is the desire never to approach Rome- in that case you must surely be protestant? What is the gain for you compared to what the Ordinariate is offering? And why undermine the historic attempt at unity offered by Rome, in which you are welcomed, to remain in a church than manifestly does not welcome you or your attempts to resist their own desires? I still dont get how that is a better solution for Catholic minded Anglicans. Help me out here?

    2. Why don’t you accept the offer of unity ( what in any event is “some kingpd of unity”.) that has been made?. This attitude strikes me at the risk of being uncharitable very much of wanting to have cake ( and pensions and place in th established church etc) and eat it. Sorry to be so blunt but the idea you are going to eventually achieve an Anglo Catholic wipe out in the C of E so you can then aim for unity corporately is laughable.

      1. The answer of course is varied. For some it is comfort, for others prestige, for others pension, for others preferment, for others moral compromise – perhaps a live in boyfriend or a tricky marital situation, for others freemasonry, for others fear or lack of courage to embrace the necessary change, for others a protestant heart despite a love of Catholic trappings.

        The problem, of course, is that whilst such cases are understandable (at a certain level) none is truly satisfactory. At the deepest level therefore, where integrity is forged, compromise is found. This leads, I strongly suspect, to the reason why remaining Anglo-Catholics- far from embracing the Ordinariate and working for unity at their end even if not ready to join- have instead vehemently opposed it.

        Anglocanorum Coetibus whilst a wonderful answer to those who came is an awful inconvenience to those who did not. For it is a call that so exposes bluffs and claims! It shines light where many preferred a fuzzy darkness. How wonderful, pre- offer, to claim to be “for unity” and pray for the Pope and look to Rome for liturgical expression whilst never actually being asked to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. As you rightly point out Mary, the problem for Anglo-Catholicism today is that its central claims have grown laughable. Any attempt to re-Catholicise the C of E from within is now spent, due to the huge liberalising changes of recent years, and any justification for staying is therefore unconvincing. It is for this reason I say all it can really offer is hospice care for those who remain. And, from this shore of the Tiber, it does seem so silly. Why choose death when new life within the fold of Peter is on offer….It is akin to going down with the ship despite a lifeboat offering help.

  26. To some extent, the Ermine Street Guard come to mind. They display all the outward trappings and behaviour of a detatchment of a Roman Lrgion. However they are not and cannot be Roman and members of a legion.
    I have no doubt that Fr. Geoffrey Squire is sincere in his beliefs but the situation is self-contradictory. From earliest times to be a member of the Εκκλησία meant being in communion with the Petrine Office. You cannot honestly call yourself Catholic and, at the same time, reject communion with that office.

    1. I am somewhat reminded of the joke about the drowned man who got to heaven and loudly complained to God about the fact that He had not rescued him despite his fervent prayers. God’s response was “I sent two life guards and a man in a boat. What more do you want?
      Same principle applies re the Ordinariate. What more do they want God to send?

      1. Nicodemus may be relevant.

        Those outside who want to be inside but are not yet ready to take the step. The Lord will prompt and guide them in his own good time.

  27. Mary B, your comment that pensions are one reason for wanting to stay in the C of E must be seen against the background of clerics who shout from the rafters that as a matter of honour, integrity and principle, they cannot remain in the C of E, yet do not, as a matter of honour, integrity or principle, shout that they will renounce their interest in the C of E’s Pensions Board, and, I dare say, use it as a reason to pontificate about the C of E at every opportunity. That sounds as if they are having their cake and eating it.

    Indeed Fr Ed recently noted on this blog that by virtue of his service in the C of E he will be entitled to a pension (albeit a modest one). But given his trenchant criticisms of the C of E I would have thought it would be the last body from which he would wish to claim any money, or be seen to be doing so.

    I know perfectly well that if such people have served the C of E for long enough to qualify for a pension, of course they are entitled to claim it. I am retired from the NHS, and claim a pension from it. But unlike clerics who leave the C of E and then have a fascination with criticising it, I do not spend my retirement criticising the NHS, but get on with the rest of my life. (If, as a patient, I were to criticise how I personally had been treated, that of course would be different from criticising the NHS in general).

    1. Stephen pension I will receive is a tiny amount but will be claimed. Because it is my money- not theirs. It is not a gift of love but a share of my earnings.

    2. Fr Ed and others like him have paid for their pensions just like the rest of us. That is something often forgotten in certain quarters.

    3. Stephen also the pensions comment was not intended about past contributions but the fact that, if a cleric leaves, then his future entitlement is going to be a lot less than if he had stayed in the C of E

    4. A pension is just deferred payment, Stephen. It does not carry any kind of obligation of loyalty to the employer after the employment has ceased. It is simply something outstanding that is still owed to the former employee.

  28. May I, as a Catholic priest in the C of E, please request that in the spirit of love and ecumenism that people refrain from referring to us as Protestants. When a teenager asked the late cardinal Heenan if Anglicans were Catholic’s, he replied ‘Some of them are every bit as Catholic as we are’. That conversation took place at Walsingham many years ago.

    1. I don’t resent the term ‘Protestant’. I am not in communion with the Pope, therefore I am a Protestant. So are you, Geoff. It does not necessarily denote any doctrinal stance. When, as often happens in these parts, Poles, Lithuanians and Czechs turn up at my church asking about baptism, I do always ask them whether they are aware that it is actually a Protestant church. It is the language everyone understands, and it is the honest thing to say, don’t you think?

  29. I have to agree with Fr. Ed here. A contributory pension is just that; you only get out what you put in ( as Tom Lehrer commented in an entirely different context….).
    For that same reason however I think Fr Ed is entirely wrong when he complains about the pensions board paying pensions to same sex clergy partners. Same principle applies. The contributions have been paid in and the clergy person is entitled to nominate who gets the pension if he or she cannot draw it and that is not something the C of E has any control over nor should it.
    As for criticising the C of E whilst taking the pension I am self employed and one of my pension funds is with one of the big insurance companies. I deal with them regularly at work as well and I think their administration is shocking. I don’t think however that that puts me under a moral duty not to claim the loot when the time comes!

  30. Fr Ed, your pension is indeed part of your earnings, and you are fully entitled to it, whatever its amount. But as you are such a keen critic of the C of E, the notion of it paying you brings to mind a saying about biting the hand that feeds.

    Incidentally, I really do hope that at least one Ordinariate cleric feels that if, as a matter of honour, integrity and principle, he must relinquish his membership of the C of E, then also, as a matter of honour, integrity and principle, he must relinquish his financial interest in it. And I, as a retired Director of Finance, can assure you that he would command my respect.

    1. Can I remind you that Fr Ed’s contributions and those of others like him are no different from such invested in any other pension fund? They have bought the pension and are entitled to it. They certainly will not want to make a free gift to that organizxation. By the way, what does the C of E do with the contributions while contributer awaits collection date?

      1. To be honest the amount I can claim is pretty paltry. The church always gain- by owning the housing which is factored into low clergy pay. It means many get trapped in ministry with no way out or else have to accept a degree of poverty when leaving. Indeed given the rise in housing cost of the last half century and you soon see how badly clergy have done in regard to retirement than almost any other profession. Meanwhile the church coffers have risen nicely thanks to selling large rectories and downsizing on a national scale.

  31. “cardinal Heenan”
    Have you got a reference for that? I can’t find one and the good Cardinal was sometimes mis-quoted or partially quote to support a particular point.

    The fact is that being in communion with the Petrine Office is the key factor in deciding whether or not a person or congregation is Catholic. You cannot call yourself Catholic if you are outside that communion with the Petrine Office.

  32. I can understand perhaps that Fr Squire thinks of himself as a Catholic, but he must surely accept that many within the CofE would see themselves as Protestants. Does not the supreme governor of the CofE not make a solemn promise to protect and promote the Protestant religion ?

    1. Interesting but even the Orthodox, who do accept a certain primacy of the Petrine Office but not the way it is currently expressed, do not call themselves Catholic. They are aware of what the term means.

  33. No , HM the Queen’s rile and promise as Defender of the Faith dates from before the split with Rome. If we Anglicans do not strive to re-unite Anglicans with the holy see and try to restore what we Anglicans call the ‘Protestant Denominations’ to their holy mother the Catholic and Apostolic church, then who will? And believe me we ARE getting there, despite setbacks.

    1. You are getting there? Really? So how did you overcome the problem whereby everyone acknowledged a code of practice would not do? Where would I see this getting there expressed in the current bench of diocesan bishops and the theology of the average anglican parish? Or in the decision to press full steam ahead with endorsement of the sexual revolution? Etc.. Strikes me you are in denial of reality here. You might have a few parishes doing stirling work- but to what end? This is not a case of a few setbacks holding back the wholesale re-Catholicisation of the C of E. That boat sailed LONG ago. It is now only about a tiny remnant fighting for survival but, to make it all the more depressing, against the back drop of having turned down an offer for the very thing they claim to be fighting for…

      1. You keep going on and on about this “offer” as if the doors of Rome had been firmly locked against Protestants until Pope Benedict’s motu proprio. There is no generous offer to Anglicans that wasn’t there for the preceding four centuries unless you live under the fanciful delusion that the only thing that was holding most Anglicans back was a love of evensong, harvest festivals and the prayer of humble access.

        1. Enabling groups to become Catholic together with their pastors, whilst retaining their own cultural praxis and liturgical gifts, was a massive deal. And if only it was a love of spiritual things holding Anglicans back from unity- that would be wonderful. Alas it tends to be far more political, moral, personal and tricky than that….

          1. There was nothing to stop groups coming over with their pastors before. It happened. There have been many instances through history of popular and charismatic pastors taking their whole congregations out of the Church of England to other destinations. Charles Raven did it in Kidderminster in 1999, you did it in Tunbridge wells, and Jules Gomez did it more recently on the Isle of Man. Tunbridge Wells and Darlington are the only places in the whole Ordinariate project where a significant part of a former C of E congregation entered with their pastor.
            The generous part of Benedict’s offer was the fast track ordination for former Anglican clergy – so that two years in a liberal theological C of E college plus a four week crash course at Allen Hall is seen as commensurate with six years in a Seminary as priestly formation.

          2. If you think there is nothing new in the Ordinariate, you might want to look again. Divine Worship with its imprimatur from the Vatican is just one major thing worthy of consideration. You might also ponder the continued support of the CDF who certainly consider it serious and more than mere speeded up ordination. All those who came before joined the local diocese for one, they didn’t have a diocese, in effect, of their own.

          3. How is Divine Worship a major thing worthy of consideration? Where is it even used apart from Tunbridge Wells and Soho? I think the decision to print 1000 study editions was highly optimistic and I really don’t expect to see them flying off the shelves. Who, apart from liturgy anoraks are going to buy them? Sorry to sound a misery but does it not all work from the same fanciful premise that the only thing that the only thing that is holding me and others from poping is a predilection for a certain liturgical aesthetic which you are now providing?

          4. Hmmm again you assume the Ordinariate is about you, when, in fact, it is about a rediscovery of English spiritual traditions and customs lost at the reformation to be gifted back to the Catholic church for better evangelisation and cultural integration.

            In terms of interest it certainly seems to appeal more to traditional credal Anglicans than the gin and lace brigade. That is perhaps positive for it suggests we speak to the centre not the fringes. And, in the interest of dispelling untruths, most every Ordinariate group is now using Divine Worship

            Finally a question. Why are so many Anglo-Catholics like yourself so vehemently against their own spiritual heritage as preserved in Divine Worship? Is is because you must ape Rome to assure yourselves of a Catholicity you know to be in doubt? If so why not join the local Catholic diocese and embrace the Novus Ordo? That is a real challenge to Anglo-Catholics. You are against a great deal but what are you actually for? How can you continue to look to Rome for guidance yet refusing to join whilst seeming to detest the direction of the church you remain in and also its own liturgical heritage? What is YOUR POSITIVE VISION for the future that is better than that of the Ordinariate? What is the plan for the suggested re-catholicisation of Anglicanism going to occur- that all use Novus Ordo rites but refuse to join? Help me understand your position beyond carping…

  34. The word ‘Protestant is used in many different ways but nowhere in the formularies of the Church of England is it used whereas ‘Catholic’ is much used. I realise that in Northern Ireland it is used for all that are not Roman Catholic’s including dogs! but surely no one can call the Holy Orthodox churches ‘Protestant’ or the Old Catholic’s who are in full communion with us and whose orders are accepted as valid by Rome Protestant or the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham Protestant? The late Ian Paisley has hi-jacked that word for something very extreme so I avoid using it even for Baptists.

    1. The 39 articles are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England.

      Article 19 claims clearly that “As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred, so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith” – if that is not a protestant statement then what is?

      Article 21:The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.- Again a very protestant statement.

      Article 28 then makes clear that a Catholic understanding of sacramental theology was renounced: Transubstantiation in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.”

      And finally in Article 36 we see that authority of holy orders is not seen as coming via apostolic succession but rather via authority of Parliament: “Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering..”

    2. Facts?
      I have never heard animals in NI referred to as protestant and I’m from there. The Orthodox churches are referred to as schismatic sister churches as is your Old Catholic organisation but not all their orders are recognised as valid. Orthodox orders are fully recognised. The fact that the O C choses to link to Anglican views (and become a subset thereof?) should tell you all you need to know. Denial of historical fact is all too common. I encounter it often in my historical profession.

  35. One might want to say that it is a noble aspiration of Father Geoffrey to bring all Anglicans into the Catholic and Apostolic Church ( and that must include ,surely ,Her Majesty, who has promised to maintain the Protestant religion !).
    He must, however, think also of himself,if he believes in that Catholic and Apostolic Church. His witness in attempting to bring Anglicans into the Catholic Church might be better shown, were he ready to enter himself into full communion with the Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    Could he not be like Fr Ed. and talk to others from inside the Church, instead of being an ‘out of town’ member ?

  36. Pat I think that Fr Squires may be thinking of the phrase
    Catholic cats and Proddie dogs – a phrase which was at one time much used
    in Glasgow which was a sort of northern Ireland overspill area.

  37. May I make a serious suggestion? Instead of calling each other Protestants or Catholics, how about just calling each other Christians? For that is what we are – isn’t it?

    1. I wish it were that easy. Are the extreme liberal protestants who refuse to use gender specific language for God and therefore dont baptise in the name of the Father Christian? Or post Christian new age? What of those who blithely refuse to uphold the dignity of life yet claim the name Christian? Or those who deny central tenets of the faith like the resurrection and virgin Birth? They are certainly formed from out of a Christian past but I really am not sure that many modernists are Christian in any conventional sense.

      1. In suggesting we call each other Christians, I was actually referring only to the contributors to this discussion!

    2. No Stephen. Christian and Catholic are synonymous terms. ‘Catholic Christian’ is a tautology. Less than Catholic means less than Christian.

      1. MV, if “less than Catholic means less than Christian”, then I trust you have informed Her Majesty the Queen accordingly.

        1. Interesting comment. Over the years, I’ve seen some speculation in history discussions that some monarchs have been deathbedconversions to the Catholic church. I only glanced at article headlines in passing because they dealt with a period way outside my specialism

      2. Not so.
        To be Catholic means to be Christian and be in communion with the Petrine Office. But, the mapping does not go the other way – just try telling members of some communities who call themselves Christian that they are also Catholics and be prepared to duck. In other words there is not an equivalence mapping between the terms.

  38. It ends up with asking ‘What is a Christian’?

    Surely a Christian is one who believes that Christ died for us un the cross, that he rose again from the dead, that he is alive today. and that the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is the most ancient of all mysteries and furthermore that a Christian is one who has been baptised with water in the name of the trinity and has regularly received the sacrament of Holy Communion.

    Within that, there are goo Christians and bad Christians and there are those who hold fast to all the teachings of Holy Church, or most of them, and those who have wandered from the path.

    One of the recent pope’s, I cannot remember which one, said ‘All Christians are members of the Catholic Church by virtue of our common baptism into the Body of Christ.

    That is the spirit in which for many years I have accepted invitations to officiate at non-Eucharistic services and preach and 9within the permitted rules) receive the holy sacrament in Roman Catholic churches and sometimes say an Anglican-rite Mass in a RC church for Anglicans that I am travelling abroad with. That is the spirit in which I have accepted invitations to preach and take non-Eucharistic services and occasionally say an Anglican rite Mass for Anglicans that I am travelling with in non-episcopal churches.

    Our C of E Bishop of Exeter is an oblate of a RC monastery. Roman Catholic’s sing my hymn for Saint Cuthbert Mayne and my Benediction hymn. I once had the awesome honour of carrying the relic of the Precious Blood in Bruges. Many Anglicans were present when some of their fellow clergy were received into the RC church.
    An RC deacon in dalmatic proclaimed the Holy Gospel at my anniversary Mass. A pope gave a pectoral cross and a chalice to an Archbishop of Canterbury.

    All this is far removed from the Roman Catholic / ‘other’ Catholic / Protestant arguments that I am encountering here.

    1. Oblates of monastic orders are welcome regardless of religious affiliation. Our church should be welcoming to all. But what is wrong is calling yourself one thing while being another, even if you believe you are right. I can believe that I am a Sumerian scholar because I can recognize a couple of signs but there is no way that I am any such thing.

  39. Re; ‘Protestant Dogs’ Someone from Belfast sent me a cutting from a local news[paper; ‘Good Protestant home wanted for Protestant dog’.
    P.S. Dear Father Dan Whyte from Glengormley was much persecuted by Ulster Loyalists and our Youthlink group were threatened with violent attack and ambush if we set foot in Northern Ireland. We used to have a prayer & friendship link with each other.

  40. I have never heard of Catholic Cats but I have often heard of Proddi or Protti-Dogs, expecially when in parts of Scotland..

      1. Hey let’s get it right.
        The province of Ulster has 9 counties. What a lot of folk call Ulster is but 6 of those counties and, if recent press reports are to be believed, 2 of those are not too happy about it because of the damage Brexit may do to them.

        1. Quite so, Pat, but that makes no difference to my observation about the use of the term ‘taig’. I’m sure Donegal Protestants refer to their neighbours as ‘taigs’ too when they’re being rude.

          1. Just my desire for accuracy in terminology when possibe (I’m sure I miss the boat sometimes). It come from years of trying to get ancient language translation as right as possible and student essay marking. I spent a lot of my childhood in Donegal and although there was some low-key rivalry, name calling was not part of it in my experience – I may have been lucky there. Us kids played happily together and often our families were also close friends. The advent of Paisley disrupted that in some areas I believe. A Derry informant tells me that in the Long Tower Church there is a bishop’s portrait in a place of honour. But he is an Anglican (Church of Ireland) Bishop. He helped finance the building. Wikipedia has this to say:-
            “Father John Lynch, a parish priest in Derry started action to raise funds for building the Long Tower Church and he received finance not just from Roman Catholics but also Protestant people in Derry at the time. The church was opened in 1788”.
            I suppose the point I’m trying to make here is that Catholic – Protestant relationships in Ireland are no where near a clear-cut as the press would have us believe.

  41. I have not heard a reference to the ‘Gin & Lace Brigade’ for a long time.
    It seems to have almost disappeared along with titles like ‘Protestant Crouch’, ‘Methodist Bend’ ‘Protestant Nonconformists’ and ‘Serviettes’ (for girl servers).

  42. You are either a Christian or you are not. You cannot be half a Christian or, to use that common phrase, a ‘Nominal Christian’.
    BUT, you can be a good and sincere Anglican or Orthodox or Lutheran or Presbyterian or Methodist Christian as well as being a good Roman Catholic Christian, AND according to a papal statement, as any of those you are a member of the Catholic church (as an individual’) by virtue of your baptism into the Body of Christ.

    I was once told by an ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic priest, an ex-Church of England priest who always used the Tridentine rite that the last three popes (pre Benedict) were Protestants and heretics. I asked him what he thought about me as an Anglo-Catholic priest (as he used to be) and he replied ‘Oh you are alright as you are not of that ilk, I am sure that you are more Catholic than the pope’. As there was no Anglican church for miles, he invited the members of my Youthlink group and myself to receive the holy sacrament, adding ‘We are not into concelebration of course’. So we are truly mixed up. In parts of the continent I am treated by the RCs as though I am precisely the same as any RC priest (e.g. we welcome Father Geoffrey Squire an Anglican priest from England who is going to concelebrate the Mass with us) but others regard me as a Protestant heretic.

    1. Now this RC priest you are talking about, he couldn’t have really been an RC priest could he? There was a former SSPX priest in your neck of the woods once, (one of the first cohort of Econe ordinations) but he returned to C of E ministry. Whether or not he still used the Tridentine Missal, he was actually then an Anglican clergyman ministering with the Bishop of Exeter’s licence. Otherwise you might have stumbled across some entirely autarkic product of an Episcopus Vagans operating from a garden shed oratory in the area.

  43. “You are either a Christian or you are not”

    It is true that a proper sacramental Baptism intended to give you entry to the Christian Church, enrolls you as a Christian and opens the doors to a full sacramental life in the καθολική Εκκλησία. But, you have to take up the invitation and work on it. Unfortunately, there are many baptised who do not accept all the Lord’s teaching but pick and chose the bits which suit them. Can they, in truth, be called Christian? They certainly are not full members of the Εκκλησία. It is also the case that some baptisms seem intended to make the candidate a member of a particular sect and not the Εκκλησία.
    The problems of identification of the church and its membership go back to the beginning of the church.
    Ignatius of Antioch somewhere around 107 AD seems to have had reason to write to Christians in Smyrna. advising them to remain closely united with their bishop –

    “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
    Unfortunately, we cannot yet use Christian in the way you mean because it would paper over some very serious cracks and mislead people. It is also unfortunate that for many folk the word catholic means the rituals involving the use of vestments, ceremonial, architecture and decoration. The FIF outside communion with the Petrine Office is not part of the καθολική Εκκλησία and therefore is not Catholic in the modern meaning of the word. You cannot be a member of both the Anglican Church and Catholic Church. I seem to remembe that one of the recent Anglican Bishops of London(Dr Chartres) had something to say on the subject. You can start to follow it here:-

  44. Re Cardinal Heenan. I personally heard him say it when I visited the RC shrine at Walsingham when he was there. Our Youthlink gropu had been talking with some RC boys who knew that we were Anglicans and the cardinal then spoke to the RC boys and they asked him if Anglicans were Catholics.

    1. Something seem to be out of context here.

      I was in London for a lot of Cardinal Heenan’s period in office and often went to Mass in his cathedral. At the time, his view of Anglican, Anglo-catholic and Catholic relationships was clear in his pastoral letters and homilies and other public statements. It was one of respect for a deeply held belief and expression thereof and a hope for progress to full reunion. He never felt that they were full members of his church and therefore intercommunion was impossible. I seem to remember that he had strong word, in a pastoral letter, about such practices in French churches.

    2. He might have looked a bit like Cardinal Heenan, Fr Geoff, and sounded a bit like Cardinal Heenan, but I am rather sure that you are mistaken here. C of E folk do get a little bit over-excited when they go to Walsingham.

  45. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside of the Church there is no salvation)
    Since the time at least of Vatican 2 the Catholic Church has looked at the picture of a wider Church than that of the tribal divisions from the time of the Protestant Reformation.
    The Catholic catechism states :the sole church of Christ is that … entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care……..This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.

    The catechism goes on to say that ….one cannot charge with the sin of separation those born into those (separated) communities….All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ and therefore have a right to be called Christians and WITH GOOD REASON are accepted a brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.
    Furthermore we have ‘The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honoured by the name of Christian,but who do not profess the Catholic Faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.They are put in a CERTAIN,although imperfect communion with the Catholic Church.

    From this I understand that ALL the baptized are in some ways members of the one,holy,catholic and apostolic Church. And yet, Anglicans whether high, low or middle of the road are NOT in full communion with the See of Peter and they are not Catholics , in the sense of tribal divisions at which most people operate.

    I don’t see the word ‘Protestant’ as pejorative in any sense. To me it simply indicates a Christian who is a member of one of the reformed ecclesial communities issuing from the Reformation.

    As imperfect human beings, and that most certainly includes those who call themselves Catholics, we do have to seek to understand those who follow slightly different paths.

    The Orthodox don’t recognize the orders of ‘Catholic’ priests, as Orthodox
    The Catholics don’t recognize the orders of Anglican priests, as Catholic
    The Anglicans, I think, do not recognize the orders of non-episcopally ordained clergy.
    At the moment I cannot think that the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland would be allowed to preside at the eucharist in Westminster Abbey,but please correct me if I am wrong.

    We can indeed recognize each other as Christians and as imperfect beings we can try to build on this.

  46. People who believe that one can only be Catholic in Communion with the Roman Pontiff engage in a level of arrogance and triumphantalism that is not only offensive but damages the Body of Christ. Catholics in the Anglican Church who did not wish to join the Ordinariate will remain Catholic just as we always have been. Just as the Copts, Syriacs, Greeks, and all of the other Catholic believers not in Communion with Rome are and always have been Catholics. The Ordinariate, just as the Uniates before them, promised Anglo Catholics they could retain their Traditions, but this is demonstrably untrue in both cases. The Ordinariate insists on clerical celibacy as the norm, absolutely disparages the Book of Common Prayer, and as this post so clearly demonstrates, displays a pattern of disrespect and inappropriate behavior which borders on contempt for the CofE. Union with Rome always means slavery for non Romans. Always.

    1. The Ordinariate does not insist on clerical celibacy. I am living proof. And the document Anglicanorum Coetibus does not answer the question for future clergy definitively. The Book of Common Prayer far from being disparaged has been so honoured as to have informed the Divine Worship liturgy which we use- we have many of the prayers in use. We most certainly have retained our customs- why not come along to our 9:15am Mass one Sunday and find out! Methinks you speak without much experience or knowledge. As to the Catholic claims of the C of E – I simply say that innovating on matters like female priests and trans liturgy for baptisms rather blows any Catholic claim from the water. Indeed I am not sure Anglicanism even really exists anymore. It is so theologically fractured and incoherent at parish level now- that it is little more than an erastian umbrella organisation holding together various people of widely different beliefs via a pension board and state connection. Some may identify as Catholics but others as protestant and others still as almost anything. Sorry if that hurts- but liberal and protestant is a much wider truth than adherence to the faith once delivered these days…

  47. I currently serve an Anglican parish in the South of England. The Mass (Novus Ordo) is said daily with regular opportunities for confession. I believe my ordination to be vaild and am living as a Catholic within the Church of England. I have a Bishop with valid orders and I am associated with the Society of Mary, SSC, Guild of the Blessed Sacrament, ACS and so on.

    If I were to leave the parish I would have to deny my priesthood, be ordained and probably go, perhaps with a few of my congregation, to the ugly 1960s Roman church across the road.

    The CofE provides an income and a house. Mgr Keith would probably sell me off to the local Roman Diocese perhaps as a hospital chaplain or assistant priest. I would not be able to spend much time with those I brought with me.

    Meanwhile the Lord only knows what would happen to the church where I’m serving my title. It would probably lose its resolutions.

    Is it worth it? Probably not. I am content in my habitat for now.

    1. thank you for your comment. What follows is offered in a Spirit of friendship.

      My response would be that your ordination is certainly valid within the Church of England, and doubtless precious and worthy, but those orders are protestant and not recognised by the Catholic church. When I travel to America I have to take dollars- this does not say anything about the value of the pound. When I became Catholic none of my ministry as an Anglican was denied or removed. I merely received the precious gift of certainty contained in Catholic orders to enable me to function in a Catholic setting without being questioned.

      As to ugly buildings, alas yes there are too many. I too feared that future but have, in fact, been free to build a gorgeous church in this place secure on the rock of the true faith. God is good. As to Mgr. Newton- he does his best to help people but yes, at times, sacrifice is part of the priesthood because ultimately it isn’t there to serve us but God. We go where we are called to go. If you bring a group who can support you, however, I assure you that you would remain with them full time- that is our vision and aim.

      As to your current parish losing resolutions- aren’t they pretty meaningless now? What, truly, is the point of Anglo-Catholicism post Ordinariate and post the C of E moving away from the via media into a clearly liberal and protestant future? I don’t ask this to be cruel- I really feel for people like you whose ministry is sound but unwanted by the Anglican hierarchy- but it is an honest question. What is the ultimate achievable aim?

      If you ever want to visit Saint Anselm’s and talk confidentially through any of these matters- just email me. I will buy you lunch too. And with no pressure at all to join just a secret forum to help work through thinking. The offer is there…

  48. Thank you.
    While my Anglican ministry might be precious and worthy, it does not guarantee my ordination into the Catholic Church.

    I would firstly have to be received as a layman and then make my application which could be rejected.

    Naturally the Ordinary, broadmore and burnham didn’t have that problem I assume?

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