First female bishop of London

Social media was buzzing yesterday with news that the new Anglican Bishop of London, who replaces the colourful and charismatic Richard Chartres, is Sarah Mullally;  notably the first woman to hold this ancient see.

The Church of England is ever political so the news was predictably greeted with cheers and groans… depending on one’s beliefs regarding the suitability of women to holy orders. This led to the unsavoury sight of her first words being reconciliatory ones to those with whom she is in disagreement. That was a shame, I felt, primarily because she deserves better. Both sides in this dispute need to recognise that airing dirty laundry in public is not winning souls for Christ. It was no way to introduce anyone as bishop to a watching nation.

Yet appeasement was necessary because this was a manifestly political appointment. Bishop Mullally is able and compassionate, I warm to her, yet the third most important see in the Church of England should demand more than ‘being nice’ or ‘being a good manager’ in terms of ecclesial credentials! One might have expected a proven biblical scholar or one skilled at running a diocese. What we witness, instead, is a late vocation to the church whose residentiary training was in nursing not theology. Does this not speak volumes? And does it make it a triumph for women’s ministry if she is being promoted not on merit but gender?

Maybe this fact is what convinced her to begin her Anglican episcopal ministry with a call to appeasement? If so I believe it was misguided; because when assurances to mutual flourishing have to be given with the opening breath it rings hollow. Let us not forget the last traditionalist candidate chosen for a diocese was hounded out within weeks by the intolerance of the supporters of women’s ordination! The time when nice words alone might heal these deep wounds is long past I fear.

Hence behind establishment smiles of late one senses fear of further fracture. The Anglican communion can no longer hold the Lambeth conference due to irreconcilable differences. And at home, eons after the vote to ordain women, Anglicanism still struggles to move on; relationships have broken down. The C of E is not in communion with itself anymore. So the new bishop’s task will not be easy. A house divided cannot stand. And the pressing task for all Anglican prelates, male or female, is to end this dispute. Holding together people of opposing beliefs is good in theory but it is not proving remotely possible in practice.

Might it be time for opponents to admit defeat and move on? We in the Ordinariate could help by welcoming them into an authentic Catholic community. After all there is only so long you can rumble along against the grain with impossible division before it hampers evangelistic capability. Even principled stands begin to look myopic and curmudgeonly after time and from the outside it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand what the remaining Anglo-Catholics think an achievable end game is for them?

Bottom line? If you worship in a synodical church embrace the consequences of losing synodical votes. Those votes have not been easy on traditionalist Anglicans, and many sympathise, but the implications cannot be dodged forever. The situation will only get worse for traditionalists moving forwards given that the modernist project is well underway and shows no sign of abating. So again what are they remaining for exactly given that all credible Catholic claim is long gone?

It really is time to accept then that the Anglican ‘via media’ was abandoned in pursuit of liberal modernism. Hence it isn’t only the admission of women to holy orders (a matter of faith) which challenges Anglo-Catholic claims. It is also the position on numerous moral issues which have changed beyond recognition. Consider the acceptance of divorce and re-marriage without recourse to annulment, contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage (pensions are now paid to the civil partners of clergy).

The historic Anglo-Catholic claim, to be a part of some mythical authentic Catholic body, is made farcical. Only the most stubborn could pretend that is even remotely true in 2017. Whatever it may be, however right or wrong its thinking, the modern Church of England just is no longer home for those who hunger for historic Christianity as understood by the Universal Catholic world and the church in all ages. So make your choice….Remain and accept what synod delivers and embrace a liberal protestant and congregational reality. Or find a Catholic home where conventional belief can thrive.

The Catholic church was my choice. You can enter via a diocesan route, if you can cope with cultural change and less English spirituality, or, if you love the Anglican patrimony, via the Ordinariate. Both doors open into the one united home of course. But any hope for an orthodox future within the C of E is gone. So I say with compassion… Come in Anglo-Catholics; your time is up! It is time to make a decision about where it is you are heading.

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139 thoughts on “First female bishop of London

  1. We will not see an exodus from the Anglo-Catholic’s comfort zones, they are just far to happy with “playing church” and lack the spines to swim the Tiber!

  2. Very well said again, Ed. I think all we can do now is pray…and rejoice in having come home at last, in a way I (a devout committed Anglican for 40 years) never felt like this.

  3. Antony, that is not a very Christian comment. Anglicans do not “play church” any more than members of other denominations including yours, and many remain Anglicans by conviction believing that it is where God wants them to make their witness.

    1. But what good is a witness if he’s not pointing people to the true Church? Anglicans are Christians, sure, but their churches aren’t the Body of Christ. It’s tragic. Their churches are imposters, with no divine identity, and powerless to strengthen their members with sacraments or ordain real priests.

      1. I think your tone is a little rude here. There are many protestants who seek the Lord with integrity and honestly believe that you dont need lived out unity or doctrinal fidelity to be one big happy church. That needs to be respected no matter how much we might disagree. And, as noted in my article, the Anglican church has many treasures. It is however sad to see it slide so fast into a liberal modernism which the Anglican greats of the past would have been bewildered by.

      2. John, your comments reflect a sad aspect of Roman Catholicism. The RC church is not the Body of Christ. It is part of it, and other churches are equally part of it. We are not imposters and we have real priests, even if they are not recognised as such by the RC church, and we have the sacraments. We need to grow together in love and not make claims that our church is the true church – we could all claim that, but it is not helpful. We need to work together to proclaim Christ to a world where so many reject Him.

        1. The difficulty with your viewpoint Fr. Barry is that it isn’t the teaching of the Catholic Church. As you know that teaching is that the fullness of Christian revelation is only found in the Catholic church and that other churches do not have validly ordained clergy or, as it has been put, “real priests”. By extension neither do they have valid sacraments.. I am not for a minute discounting the grace to be derived from these bodies outside the Catholic Church but the teaching is clear. I certainly don’t care for John’s tone but I cannot deny that, when he says that Anglican priests are not “real priests”, he is doing no more than repeating the very clear teaching contained in Apostolicae Curae. You would no doubt rather the Catholic Church taught something else and that Catholics said something else but that is hardly reasonable is it?

          1. One problem is that folk have forgotten or do not know why the term ‘Catholic’ was applied from the earlies times. The Greek word means ‘Universal’ and was used to indicate that Christ’s Church was open to everyone regardless of status or race and it was His wish that its members should be ‘one’. That ‘oneness’, as far as I can see, only referred to belief and never meant total uniformity of custom and ceremony. The examples of the ancient Churches in full communion with the Petrine Office shows that. Post reformation propaganda was aimed at degrading the meaning of the word and that mis-information is still with us. It also seems to me that just as our government wants to have the benefits of EU membership without actually being a member and taking its share of responsibility there are those who want the solidity of membership of the Universal Church without being actual members and accepting its teaching and communion with the Petrine Office..

        2. As a catholic I do believe that the orthodox churches are true churches and thus, as institutions, parts of the Body of Christ. That is not what the Catholic Church teaches in regard of the protestant denominations, such as the CofE, since they lack true sacraments, except the sacrament of baptism. There are for sure Christian individuals in the Anglican denominations, who we gladly invite to the full communion in the Catholic Church!

        3. With all do respect Father, that comment goes against 1,964 years of Catholic teaching until Vatican Council II closed and inserted ambiguity and doubt into what had been settled belief.
          If Christ established one Church, with one Head, how can all of the separated denominations, groups and cults be part of the same body while rejecting the Church as established? How can these brethren be part of the Mystical body without the Sacraments instituted to give Saving Grace?
          How much damage to souls is being done by misleading the separated by insuring them they are fine to continue in their unbelief ?

          1. There are no documents from Vatican II, that recognises the heretical protestant denomination, such as the CofE. VII is very clear that all Christians should be in full communion with the See of St. Peter!

        4. “we have real priests”

          It is indeed the case that you have some real priests. I know one personally. He left the Catholic Church and joined the Anglican because of his views on marriage. He was a validly ordained priest and remains so. There are others who have arrived in the Anglican Community by other routes. I know of some who, being doubtful of their status, arranged to be ordained again by one of the churches whose orders we do recognize. The question to my mind is why take such a work around if you know that your church is not or cannot be giving you valid orders? Unfortunately, there are also those who call themselves priests but whose ‘ordination’ can be shown to be null and void because the ordaining bishop’s consecration could be shown to be void. I read somewhere that it is possible that you also may have some validly consecrated bishops (again having been consecrated by a bishop from one of the other churches) – others may know better. So the question is; – can such a minister administer real sacraments? You need to be sure of that when you are seeking absolution.

          The Lord did not found churches He founded His Church. The Greek of Matthew’s Gospel in the Codex Sinaiticus is clear (the singular form of the noun is used). You can consult the document here:-
          Sometimes it does not open at the text you ask for but the sliders are easy to use.

          1. The former catholic priest, who is now a heretic due to marriage reasons, is null and void and thus a layman amongst others!

          2. Reply to Antony

            The seal of the Priesthood like that of Baptism can never be removed. He remains a priest but cannot licitly function as such. His consecrations remain just that.

            Merry Christmas

      3. I’m encouraged to read some doughty restatements of Catholic truth regarding other ‘churches’ and their priests. I write as someone living out the pain of schism and heresy within my family; who certainly appreciates graces God gives Protestants for I was one for 38 years until He brought me into the one, true Fold 4 years ago. But it’s not rude to state the truth about schismatic communities: the current ecumenical impetus stops so many from being clear in their thoughts and words here. Archbishop Nichols for instance has just been very misleading in that regard, implying equivalence of Catholics with Anglicans in evangelism.

  4. Having a nursing background is almost as bad as being an uneducated uncouth ex-fisherman who can’t control his temper and who pretends he doesn’t know you when things get difficult.

    1. Ah but that uncouth fisherman has personal training from God himself over several years. Rather more impressive than a distance learning course!

      1. Ambrose was elected Bishop of Milan when he was still a pagan magistrate because the people thought he’d be rather good at it. He was baptised, confirmed and ordained through four minor orders and three major orders all in the space of a day.

  5. My question is: Where does Bishop Mulally stand on the issues of the day? What is her position on same sex marriage and blessings of such unions in church? Someone should tell us.

  6. Perhaps you should see the Catholic Herald’s report of Bishop Mullally’s appointment, which states that people – her husband, for example – can swim the Tiber in the “wrong” direction.

  7. You say “ it is difficult to understand what the remaining Anglo-catholics think is an achievable end game for them?”
    They are living the ‘end game’‘ in freedom from , and fear of, the authority of the Magisterium. That is the Protestant mind .

    1. I quite agree. But that isnt how they themselves would see it. One wonders what they imagine is realistically achievable in the long term to trump the amazing offer from Rome which the Ordinariate represents to such people. Yet it is not theology many remain for- rather moral wiggle room, comfort, desire for pensions, etc, etc….

      1. The Ordinariate is not an “amazing offer” except in your and John Hunwicke’s blogs. Everyone else, even from within, acknowledges its failure.

        1. What nonsense. We have loads of supporters and lots of great clergy. Of course we are a fledgling order and have little as yet but still we see huge signs of growth and positivity. You were the one of those who assured us we would be closed within a year I seem to remember. Why not watch our recent video to see the development and exciting growth then tell us what you have achieved recently as one still in the C of E professing a faith the institution seems to ignore.

          1. I’m not. Many of us will come over, for sure, but not to the Ordinariate. The ‘amazing offer’ is not amazing to all those Anglican clergy who have no time for, or experience of, the traditional Anglican services of the BCP. For those of few of us who do, who use the BCP and English Missal regularly what the Ordinariate offers seems entirely fanciful and affected. Even one of the Ordinariate’s ex-Bishop-now-Monsignors made that very point on his blog, but then removed the post, one presumes because of pressure from within. As for failure, this is my observation. Here in Birmingham, where we have Cardinal Newman’s own Oratory, the Ordinariate is non-existent.

            Another matter – many of us are accused of not having the courage to make the leap. That might be true, but it is also true that many of us do not have wives with well paid careers to support us, do not have much pension to live on and do not have any alternative housing or means to acquire housing for our dependants. And many simply flinch from the thought of dumping on congregations that have been loyal to them.

          2. Let me take those in reverse.
            1. Why would you dump on a congregation when the Ordinariate allows you all to come over as a group? SO invite people to accompany you- and respect those who choose to stay and wait for a new vicar. For goodness sake- clergy move all the time. Why would they be so bereft with a straight forward clergy change as happens weekly throughout the C of E?
            2. My wife earns a pittance, I have no pension etc… God provides. Besides- bring your congregation and they can support you. But certainly if your desire for comfort and assurance comes above sacrifice and trust- you will likely remain Anglican. But seriously I have not been left without at any point of the transition. Help exists and no priest would be left to rot.
            3. As another has reported- we have over 100 priests- lots of growing groups and signs of health. Modest success so far despite not much support.
            4. Why is the Divine Worship liturgy, approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and with an impremata from Cardinal Sarah- affected? Most cradle Catholics who encounter it love it. It is reverent, clearly linked to the ceremonial of the Traditional Rite and yet in the vernacular. Methinks you are just set against it and view it with very Anglican not Catholic eyes.
            Here is what the Bishop of Wisconsin said after he experienced it.

            “Beauty in the liturgy is, it seems to me, the very best way to promote the new evangelization because God is the one worshipped. The motto for the liturgy should be ‘nothing less than beautiful ever’. Nothing less than beautiful, because the beauty of the liturgy should reflect, mirror the beauty of God Himself, in the music, in the church building, the artwork and so on, and especially in the ritual. Music, church building, ritual: nothing less than beautiful. Now when I’m talking to people in the Anglican ordinariate that’s not a problem. The beautiful Anglican tradition is the beautiful Anglican tradition: that beautiful plainchant; the language, that beautiful language of the liturgy that we spoke today; incredible.”

            5. If you enter via the diocesan route you dont end up somewhere different to the Ordinariate. Honestly so many Anglicans just dont get the unity in the Catholic church. We are not some sect or separate body. We are a full part of the Latin Rite- most of us running Catholic parishes like any other. It is like arguing I would enter your house but not by the back door- but the front- when both lead into the same room albeit with different sort of handles.

        2. Who is/are this everyone?
          I remember Rabbi Lionel Blue R.I.P. writing in the Universe that according to one of his children everyone wore X while another mantained that everyone wore Y. The mere use of ‘everyone’ in such a definitive statement is enough to set my radar alert twitching. I’ve usually found that the word is misused! The Ordinariates around the world are seed planted in the ground by the Holy Spirit. Some will flourish and bring renewal, some will fail and some will drift along – just like our established congregations. For the record, I am a Cradle Catholic and I can see some of the potential benefit areas.

        3. Failure! The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has over 100 priests who were formerly C of E clergy, and they continue to trickle in. They also have several seminarians training for the priesthood. There are around 50 active and functioning groups around the country, almost all of which are growing in size. One group is sufficiently strong that it has been able to purchase its own church, and is doing very well.

          Each year, the OOLoW grows a bit more, whereas the Church of England, by its own figures, declines in size by one to one and a half percent.

          In the USA, although the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter started with smaller numbers than its English equivalent, its growth has been more spectacular. In Australia the Ordinariate is perhaps finding life more difficult, but much of this can be put down to the geography, with some groups being thousands of miles from their nearest neighbour. Nevertheless, it is far from being a failure.

          Overall, the project to date is a modest success story, with every prospect of continued growth in the future.

  8. Hello Fr. Ed,
    Well reasoned arguments as usual in your posts and as a cradle Catholic I am worried by the tendencies within The Church prompted by the current Pope and hierarchy who’s credentials as Catholic must be called into question as their actions seemed to me to be prompted by Protestantism, sodomy or masonic promptings. However all of these very disturbing movements must surely be related to the reformation, that since the inception of the CoE governed by politicians and monarchs the fabric of Christian doctrine has been and is being steadily eroded by that body and now many other ‘Christian’ bodies also founded by men who find the scriptural strictures to closely binding so set up a church to by pass the inconvenient teachings some of which you have listed. My point being that Protestantism exists to undermine Christian belief.
    God save us all, Holy Mary Mother of God and all the Saints pray for us.


    1. The Action of the Holy Spirit is not limited by the confines of the church or restricted to the sacraments. Like the wind, the Spirit of God blows where it will. All goodness comes from God and so wherever goodness and love flourish we find God.
      Granted Jesus founded the church as the great highway to Heaven and equipped it with the sacraments and all the means of grace. However people of good faith can reach Heaven on byways, even if they have to climb fences and swim rivers. Those of us fortunate enough to be on God’ highway should try to make it accessible to those struggling by other routes.
      Being on a more hazardous path requires far more effort, and we, who sometimes coast along taking our Catholicism for granted should remember this. Other Christians belong to their denominations in good faith and our common baptism makes us brothers and sisters. We, who know that the one true church subsists in the Catholic Church, and have all the advantages which God has lavished upon us, should not see our good fortune as making us superior or elitist but rather be clothed in humility and gratitude. That will enable us to reach out in love to our separated brothers and sisters who will then see how attractive their true home is.

  9. Might it not be better to say that Anglican priests are not real Roman Catholic priests ?. Surely most people could agree with that.They ,along with their parishioners, are ‘real’ baptized Christians and within their communities we recognize that they offer in God’s name ‘real’ spiritual graces to the people committed to their charge.
    I agree, but of course, with those who say that the Catholic Church is The Church with the fullness of revelation. It is not just ,as Fr Barry says ‘a part of the Catholic church’ But equally the Anglican Church and the many ,many other varieties of baptized Christian communities are ,as Fr Barry suggests ,’part of the Catholic Church’ albeit separated or cut off from the stem. We, as Catholics, have to do what we can to re-graft them on to the stem, more than stressing that they are cut off.

    1. Anglicans very often seem to want to have the cake and eat it on this one.

      On the one hand they want autonomy from Rome and from being beholden to the rules of the Universal church. Ergo they delight in being schismatic and go it alone on serious matters of faith and morals ignoring not only Rome but Constantinople too.

      Yet equally they love to state that they are part of the very Catholic body they ignore and wilfully broke from??! Asking us to believe that Christs church was always meant to be a multi denomination body of doctrinal contradiction. And that unity is Churches Together rather than people united in faith around one altar and preaching the same things.

      Strikes me you can’t have it both ways. Either we work jolly hard to be ONE universal Church of Christ- finding unity through shared proclamation of Truth- or we accept a protestant world of myriad denominations all going it solo. But to try to maintain you can be both schismatic and not under Rome’s authority whilst claiming nevertheless to be part of one universal church- well that seems a stretch.

      1. As I think I have said previously I really don’t understand Anglo Catholics at all. I can accept that they look back to a glorious history with many holy people and great achievements. What I don’t and have never got is how to take them seriously when they swan around in ultra Roman kit, go on about Lourdes, the feast of the English Martyrs and St John Paul, loudly protest that “We believe everything the universal Church says and we obey the Pope (except of course when the Universal Church says you are not part of us and the Pope says you can’t receive Holy Communion and your priests aren’t properly ordained. That bit we don’t accept. Obviously).” and so on and so on.

        The mainstream middle of the road Anglicans I know are just as incredulous.

        I do remember many years ago pointing out to an Anglo Catholic that he shouldn’t receive Holy Communion at Mass and he responded very aggressively by telling me that he believed everything the Pope did but that “No Cardinal” had the right to tell him what to do.

        Go figure.

        It must actually be an increasingly lonely position to be in.

      2. Our evangelism needs to put reception into the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic church centre-stage, and to say clearly why this is a vital matter for salvation and sanctification. So-called ‘Catholic Alpha’ is lethal in this regard. And we need to do this by personal witness as well as stating sound doctrine: the Church is Christ’s Body and He empowers Her to dispense graces and unite us with God which no imposter ‘church’ can. This isn’t a matter of talk, but true power.

    1. I mean that the gift of the Ordinariate is to cherish and re-introduce an English spirituality- English Hymnal, harvest festivals, altar rails, Gothic architecture, Evensong, etc etc
      Whereas many Catholic churches in England boast statues of Patrick not George and exhibit a more Celtic and modernist patrimony. Watch the video three threads down and look at how we transformed our church for a visual clue.

      1. Wasn’t George ‘downgraded’ as a quasi-mythical dragon slaying figure? I think Alban our proto-martyr as a more definitely historical figure or even Thomas More would be a better choice than George who was chosen to fit in with Edward III’s romantic Garter Order.
        George was not even English whereas Patrick was !

        1. If choosing I would go for Anselm, Wilfrid, Etheldreda- there are so many. But even George has much to commend him- still it is Patrick everywhere you go. There is a solid historic reason for that, and he must remain as must the universal dimension, but we also need to reclaim a distinct English spirituality that ensures the public does not assume it is only Paddy’s wigwam and that it is therefore a thing foreign and not for them. Most cradle Catholics dont like it stated- yet I assure you many English non Catholics just dont feel the Catholic church is open to them. It runs deep due to centuries of historic issues and agendas etc… The italian mission to the Irish is how many perceive it. Benedict understood this and therefore gave us the Ordinariate under the patronage of Newman and OLW. That is what I was driving at. Those steeped in an Anglican (English) custom will find the Ordinariate a natural home.

          1. Yes and one sees Fisher and More- not saying they are totally invisible. But when did you last see local Catholic parishes make a big deal about some of the other really important English saints like Wilfred, Hilda, Bede, etc etc… just saying there has been a very Irish influence and we tend to reflect something more organically English within the Ordinariate- it is what we were made for I think.

          2. “The Italian Mission” is a term coined and used, in joking disdain, by Anglo Catholics, Ed, and not by the general public.

            Rather oddly, pioneer Anglo Catholics in the early 20th century usually found the Tridentine baroque aesthetic an easier sell to parishioners than the mediaevalism of the Alcuin club. Prejudice ingrained over centuries was against supposed mediaeval “superstition” which we rational English had jettisoned.

      2. That is soooo patronising, Ed, and does not reflect reality. Yes, in some areas churches are dominated by and cater to certain ethnic groups, but there has always been alongside this a very English sort of Catholicism. And votive masses of the Blessed Sacrament in thanksgiving for the harvest are not unknown in the regular RC churches, nor is the use of hymns A&M. Most market town and rural (there are a few) are just as English in feel as their C of E counterparts.

        1. It is not patronising it is observational. Most Catholic parishes are not steeped in English spiritual traditions- which is why the Ordinariate offers something refreshing and interesting. It is just that you are so set against it, in your own misery I suspect, that you refuse to see it and argue black is white. Of course there is a strand of English recusant Catholicism- but even that got divorced from the cultural faith of the general public to a certain degree. We bring home aspects of something lost at the reformation- there is nothing remotely bad about that.

        2. Well mv saying the Ordinaraite has been a total failure seems to me (and I would imagine to most other fair mindexd people) a lot like getting hot under the collar. But if it isn’t then of course you can come in through the Diocesan route. When do you plan to do so? Sooner the better I would have thought? What’s stopping you?

          1. If it has now re-imagined itself as a priestly society along the lines of ICKSP then perhaps, with its 100+ priests, it should be counted a success. It has failed to capture any comparable following among the laity.

          2. Well 150 people worship in my parish- and all are quite happy with the Ordinariate association and involvement. Some would join but cannot due to being cradle Catholics. A situation replicated in many places. Doesnt look like a paucity of lay people to minister to from where I am typing.

        3. Well MV you being Anglican vicar and all one might very well ask how on earth you can speak with such apparent authority about what the feel of market town and rural Catholic Churches is? Me being a Catholic I do know and my experience is that every one I have been to has had to one degree or another a much more international/multicultural feel than I have ever noticed in what I am more than willing to concede is my limited exposure to Anglican worship whether urban or rural. The international/ multicultural feel is one of the things I love about the Catholic Church but I can see however that for those who are either ethnically or culturally more attuned to an English feel that wouldn’t necessity float their boat.
          Also what possible logical connection is there between Birmingham having The Oratory and there being, so you allege, no Ordinariate presence there?

          1. I love the international universal patrimony too Mary- and at our quintessentially English Ordinariate parish in Pembury we seem to be attracting lots of Indians and other nationalities too. One doesnt need to abandon that to nevertheless speak in a local dialect to the local people too. As to the Oratory- isnt that for Oratorians? Also Newmans babies- and there is strong friendship between them and us in the Ordinariate. But we are not them- hence we dont inhabit their domain! Methinks MV doesnt quite get Catholicism as well as he presumes.

          2. Birmingham:-“so you allege, no Ordinariate presence there”
            I wonder what makes MV think that is the case. MV seems to be somewhat uninformed about both the Ordinariate and the Catholic Church in general. There are two Ordinariate presences to my knowledge. The item below appeared last year when the group got its own priest

            Fr Simon Ellis, Priest-in-Charge of the Diocesan parish of St Margaret Mary, Perry Common, the leader of the Birmingham Ordinariate Group. St Margaret Mary’s is near convent of the Ordinariate Benedictine Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

          1. The music used in most Catholic parishes is a matter for shame Mary. What one finds is often poor and embarrassing. The use of sappy pappy sentimental songs, often played badly, has almost entirely killed appropriate musical understanding and tradition. This is one MASSIVE part of the patrimony we bring. Proper hymns full of proper theology, the use of appropriate antiphons in Lent and Advent- not here I am, its me, me, me, me, me. The knock on effect of bad music means we now struggle to hire an organist and director of music – because they just dont seem to exist anymore outside of a handful of city churches. Nor traditional choirs. Its all leads, microphones and guitar straps and it makes my toes curl! Sorry but it really gets to me. So, so impoverished compared to what can be done. Yet people have learnt to love it and thus resist change. Dumbed down anti elitism runs amok in many places dont you think?

  10. Absolutely agree about the local dialect point Father. Interestingly Walsingham which is possibly the ne plus ultra of English Catholicism Ordinariate excepted always has loads of Tamils in attendance.
    Re MV I suspect you may know rather more about his background than I do but from where I stand I can’t see what’s stopping him joining through the Diocesan route if he really thinks the Ordinariate is a washout. Hence my direct question to him above. Let’s see what he says!

        1. How so? The Book of Common Prayer has far more in common with the ancient Latin rite than Bugnini’s creation. I use the authorised service of the church in which I am ordained. I can do no other except use some of the ‘alternative services’ under the Common Worship umbrella which I choose not to do.

      1. So you could join the FSSP or even the SSPX? Why don’t you? Or even be received and then use the old rite in your parish and privately. Would be perfectly commensurate with Summorum Pontificium. Father Hunwicke does. Again what’s stopping you?

        1. I cannot join the SSPX. It is a priestly brotherhood. Even if I were not so advanced in years, marriage would be an obstacle to my entering their seminaries.

          1. Well MV as you are clearly intent on avoiding giving a straight answer to a straight question I am not pushing it any more becaue your evasiveness speaks volumes. But Fr. Ed (with whom I do not always agree as the record shows) had the courage and faith to accept the offer of unity when it was made via the Ordinariate. You clearly don’t have the same guts or faith so maybe, in future, it might behove you to bear that in mind when you come onto his blog sniping and stirring .

          1. Stop dodging the question. You have been asked why you don’t ask to be received into the, for the avoidance of doubt, Roman Catholic church. . If the answer is you are perfectly happy as an Anglican despite everything else that is going off in the C of E then just say so.

          2. You are dodging the question. You have taken upon yourself the role of moderating someone else’s blog. Your contributions are comprise multiples of the number of words of the original posts. So why don’t you write your own blog on which Ed and others can post comments?

          3. You are being petulant and silly MV. Just because somebody enjoys commenting on a blog doesnt mean they should, or would want, to run their own. Stop trolling please.

  11. Don’t get me started about modern Catholic music Father. I could rant for Britain. If you ever read a news story about someone running amok and taking pot shots at the “folk group” in an urban parish in the North of England it will be me.

    1. Music etc.
      Just remember that what The Lord hears and sees in not what we experience. He looks at what the hearts and minds of the musicians etc. intend and try to accomplish. And, just to stir the pot a little, I’ll echo what I have heard in another context. “There is no such thing as good or bad music in absolute terms only what the hearer deems to be such and today’s classical music was yesterday’s pop”.

      1. Pat – go and read the hymn ‘immortal invisible God only wise’ ponder the deep theology within it. Then read a ditty chorus and see how dumbed down and lacking it is. There is very certainly good and bad music, good and bad liturgy, good and bad teaching and good and bad theology at play in these things. Not least what I would dub God centred versus People centred. Most choruses fall into the latter character.

        1. And actually father Ed and Pat, even if I thought the utter drivel which has been peddled over the last fifty years was wonderful ( hint, I don’t) it wouldn’t matter because, actually, it is not in accord with what the magisterial documents about music in the liturgy actually say. They may be widely ignored but it doesn’t alter the fact that, in the Catholic Church, there is an objective benchmark and one of the things specified is that instruments which are associated with secular music should not be used so that would get rid of so called (actually nothing if the sort ) ” folk” musicians for starters. If only.

          1. I don’t want to pour cold water on all this hymnology but one has to remember that before all the ‘changes’ we didn’t sing hymns at mass at all. We did sing the kyrie, Gloria, credo , Sanctus, Agnes dei etc. At benediction we sang tantum ergo etc. but the only time we sang English hymns was mainly connected to Marian devotions and processions of the Blessed Sacrament.
            Six hymns to Our Lady, two or three to the Blessed Sacrament, Faith of our Fathers and God Bless ourPope was just about the full repertoire of Catholic hymns.
            With the advent of the ‘four hymn sandwich’ Novus Ordo and the Celebration Hymnal (containing all the old catholic hymns, some 60’s and 70’s modern stuff and many more pinched from the Methodists and Anglicans) modern times arrived. Unfortunately many Catholics remain struck dumb during mass whilst others sing with the enthusiasm of condemned prisoners.
            One thing we can learn from our’separated brethren ‘ is to open our mouths wide, take a deep breath and praise the Lord with the voice He gave us!

        2. Linguistic ambiguity effect?

          I ought to declare myself. I agree totally with you that, some congregations, in their current state, would be better off not trying to have music and singing. But, I have chosen, perhaps a little unwisely?, to play ‘devil’s advocate’ and remind folk that there are other viewpoints. Personally, I think that we should be using the terms ‘pleasing’ and ‘unpleasing’ or some other such terminology with reference to artistic endeavour. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ after all do have the baggage of also being moral absolutes.

          Incidentally, with reference to ‘immortal invisible God only wise’, which is a favourite with our congregation, some hymnals do not have the original last two stanzas which change the emphasis slightly. Likewise in ‘Be Thou my vision’ the Old Irish and Modern Irish originals have a slightly different opening. According to those who know about such things the opening should be translated ‘Be Thou my two eyes’ because the noun is in the dual case – the emphasis being on asking God to let us see as he would have us see.

          On a more seasonal note:- the blessings of the Chritmas season to all.

      2. Sorry oat but I absolutely disagree. There is indeed objectively good music.; Hark the Herald Angels sing for example and there is objectively terrible music. Anything at all by Estelle White qualifies. In this latter category along with shedloads of other stuff.

        1. Hi Mary
          I’ve been called some strange things in my long life but that one is new and has given me a good giggle. I don’t think I’ll show the kids and grandchildern thoug – I’d never hear the end of it!

          An individual’s view of music and other arts is coloured by their cultural and experience backgrounds – no matter how hard we try we cannot entirely avoid that. As I’ve stated to Fr. Ed, I actually agree with him but think (foolishly?) that I ought to say there are other viewpoints.

        2. But O the love of the Lord is ok, even good: From the depths of my shame I have called out his name: a pretty decent line.

    2. The Celebration Hymnal contains many hymns from A and M and also lots by Wesley. As regards ‘Englishness’ that’s all very well in the Ordinariate to make ex – Anglicans feel more at home, and there’s no one more patriotic than me, but the Catholic Church by definition is universal and it is not English. Indeed the Synod of Whitby committed England totally to the Latin Church, its liturgy and discipline.
      If there had been no Reformation the church in England would have developed along with ,and in accordance with, the rest of the Catholic world.
      Granted some pre-Reformation traditions were preserved within Anglicanism but does that necessarily mean that they are that important except to those who were accustomed to them? Indeed the actual Catholics who once observed these customs have been dead for nearly 500years.
      Having said all that It does not detract from the beauty of the Ordinariate liturgy, which the members of the Ordinariate are free to appreciate but at the end of the day ‘Englishness’ is far less important to the church than its Universalism.

      1. Speaking to people in their own culture and dialect is not a rejection of universality. Indeed the Catholic church where effective does exactly that. Hence you can find paintings of Chinese mother and Christ, the use of drums in African liturgies, etc… Sadly, due to the horror of persecution and reformation, the English Way was decimated. It got sucked into the emerging C of E which lost its Catholicism, whilst the Catholic remnant retained their Catholicism but lost their English way, they just couldnt afford to keep it up from dungeons and priest holes. When Catholicism revived in the 19C it was largely due to Irish immigration- hence a very Irish culture and dialect took hold which thrived in the ghetto but never got a foothold within the establishment or middle England. Most Catholic parishes being a combination of recusant upper classes and immigrant lower classes. Benedict gave us the Ordinariate, I believe, to help us bring home the lost aspects of English patrimony from within Anglicanism and united them once again to the universal Catholic faith. That Catholicism may no longer feel ‘something foreign and un English’ to the many non Catholics of this land. Little wonder it threatens the established church so much! And indeed those wedded to the ghetto model of past era. There is a distinctly anti elitist and anti middle English flavour to some of the hostility we have encountered at times. But the end game is not to compete against the wider universal church but to help it better connect to the culture on these shores, whilst also being part of the reform of the reform that is so very desperately needed. One of the tricky things is doing that without upsetting those who can be very defensive about such issues and indeed about the wider challenge of that reform of the reform. Perhaps it is no surprise we have been welcomed by those who cherish tradition and rejected by the cafeteria Catholics…

        1. This makes the assumption that the English people have any interest in or connection with religion at all let alone in entirely anorakky distinctions between its aesthetic presentations. What Percy Dearmer was saying 100 years ago might have had some resonance and traction, but now Christianity in all its guises is no more meaningful, meaningless, attractive or unattractive to the average Englishman than Islam or Sikhism (which tend to be the typical default religions of the average Englishman in these parts).

  12. mv Harvington does indeed look very pretty from the outside and very rural and there are of course a few of these churches mainly pre Emancipation scattered round. There is no way however the inside looks like anything other than a Catholic church. I am pretty sure the same can be said for the worshipping congregation there and the feel of the liturgy. Indeed I note the PP has an Irish name. However, not having been there myself, I wouldn’t be dogmatic. But the interior of the church does not give the appearance of being middle of the road Anglican. Which is of course as it should be.
    Re their use of A n M that’s one church quite close to where you hang out. Which others do you know of?

      1. Well I’m not in a position to argue but it does seem to me a bit strange that the only two Catholic churches i have ever heard of using A n M are a mere 16 miles apart. i assume they use supplements for the sort of hymns that would never see the light of day in an Anglican hymnbook.

        1. Why? Have you actually looked at AMR or AMNS? why would they be thought deficient for Catholic worship? Ed is citing this as a worh gift that the Ordinariate has brought, after all. And again why do you think Harvington church, with its tombs and memorials on the walls, its altar up against the wall and its east window doesn’t look like a fairly typical C of E village church?

          1. Your average village C of E church doesn’t have stations of the cross or a tabernacle either. As for what’s in the hymn books I would imagine that such Catholic standards as “Hail,queen of heave ” doesn’t feature.

          2. Stations are common enough. Reservation of the sacrament is common too, but more usually in an aumbry on the north side of the sanctuary. Both these features are far more common in Cof E churches than eastward altars and graveyards are in RC churches.

        1. Can we remember something?

          A lot, if not most, Anglican village churches were originally Catholic churches until seized by the C of E. Things like monuments, tombs and burials win the churches were in use when they were functioning Catholic churches, especially so in foundations associated with the nobility. A surprising number of city churches are likewise in origin as are the medieval cathedrals. The church in question being pre-emancipation was merely continuing well worn precedents.
          In a similar vein the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch had to remind his clerics that it was not the case that the Catholic Byzantine Rite clergy had copied the Orthodox vestments but that the Orthodox had continued to use them after the split.

          1. Pat,

            Whilst most pre-Reformation monuments fit nicely into churches, there are a lot of eighteenth and nineteenth century monstrosities. Some are almost pagan in their Greaco-Roman style, are often massively ugly and being totally alien within the gothic setting , they ruin the appearance of many churches.
            They are often memorials to localprotestant landowners who seemed to take great pleasure into turning churches into family mausoleums. Such a great contrast with the catholic patrons who sought in the main to glorify God and not themselves

  13. Regarding the comments on hymns, in my university days I knew Maurice Couve de Murville, before he became Archbishop of Birmingham. I remember him saying that congregations cared less about the theological content of hymns, and more about whether or not the poetry rhymed. At this time of year I think Once in royal David’s city illustrates his point well – verse 5 begins “And our eyes at last shall see him”, ends with “And he leads his children on to the place where he is gone”, and then verse 6 returns to the lowly stable.

    1. Yes but Stephen the last verse is all about contrasting the lowly stable with heaven isn’t it? Although I will admit that the concept of His crowned white clad children “waiting around” always makes me smile!

      1. Mary, the last verse does indeed contrast the lowly stable with heaven, but would it not make more sense for verse 6 to precede verse 5 – notwithstanding white clad children waiting around, surely such a contrast would better precede, not follow “And our eyes at last shall see him , Through his own redeeming love, For that child so dear and gentle Is our Lord in heaven above. And he leads his children on to the place where he is gone”. Are not the words of verse 5 climactic, and do those of verse 6 not anticipate what is described in verse 5?

  14. Re hymnody David that’s very interesting. I am just a bit too young to remember pre Novus Ordo but, that said, I have a copy of the Westminster Hymnal printed in the forties I think. It belonged to my late mother in law and there are an awful lot more hymns in there than the ones you instance. There is particularly lovely one by Ronald Knox about, from memory, the English saints. Perhaps Fr. Ed ought to dust it off!

      1. M V

        There was never any singing at Low Mass. People said the rosary, read prayers or followed the Mass in their missals.
        Perhaps you are talking about Anglican ‘masses’.

          1. If it was the main Sunday mass then perhaps it was a solemn mass? Surely by definition singing meant a high or solemn mass whereas no singing indicated a low mass.

          2. I always understood Low Mass involved said propers, sung Mass involved Sung Propers and Solemn Mass involved Sung propers and full ceremonial- eg incense. Hymns, like the intercessions, being an optional extra at all and any.

    1. Mary,

      I remember the Westminster Hymnal and you are right about the number of hymns in it. The thing was though, that in the parishes of my youth, it really was only those hymns that have mentioned that were sung.
      Granted my pre-Vatican 2 days were all spent in working class parishes in north east lancs and in north Manchester. Perhaps other parts of the country (Westminster?) were more adventurous.

  15. The so called “Anglo-Catholic’s” must realise that it’s “Game Over”, it’s kaputt, there is no way that anyone can claim “sacramental assurance” within the CofE. It is truly tragic, but true!

  16. Reply to MV’s apparent non sequitur.
    “Well if the late Rabbi Blue says so, it must be true.”

    MV appears to have missed the point. MV’s reaction leads me to think that he has not had the experience of his own children and their friends making similar ‘everybody’ comments about various topics – to say nothing about our current marketing speak on TV and radio.

  17. Reply to Antony
    “function status is the same as a layman”
    It is true that he cannot function as a priest in any Catholic Church. But, his priestly order remains. So any absolution that he grants is valid and any consecration of the elements that he undertakes is real. How is new congregations might view the situation I cannot say. Nevertheless, the door is always open for such folk to return to the fold. If he did so, he would not be the first.

  18. David
    “If it was the main Sunday mass ….”
    I am old enough to have had plenty of experience of the Low and High Masses in the Tridentine rite. I do travel a lot, from time to time, and it seems to me that much is in the hands of the local ordinary (or abbot in monastic churches).

    1. Pat

      I think you must be right. Practices must just have varied in different dioceses. I can only report what went on in Salford diocese. The low masses of my youth would often be over in twenty minutes. The speed of Latin was akin to a 33rpm record played at 78rpm! There was no homily at most low masses and garbled Latin did not sound irreverent as did rushed English.
      Another thing I have just remembered was the entry of groups of mainly men just before the Gospel who stood at the back of church and left immediately after the priest’s communion, thereby fulfilling their mass obligation!

      1. David
        I read (some time ago) that the custom of men coming into the Mass at that time and standing at the back of the gathering originated in penal times. The idea was to create a delaying action and give the priest time to escape.

  19. I’m sure that this will resonate with English Catholics of a certain age. Here in Scotland before Vatican2 even Sunday Masses had virtually no singing.The one Mass which might be a Missa Cantata would have the choir singing in Latin from Asperges to the Communion proper.At the very end (no prayer for the sovereign in Scotland) there might be a hymn chosen from about ten which everyone would know by heart ‘To Jesus’heart all burning,’ Soul of my Saviour, or Immaculate Mary,our hearts are on fire etc.

    The only other time there would be singing would be at the popular services of Benediction,called ‘Devotions’ Again there would be the choice from the same ten or so hymns. This was also the time when the church goers would join fully in O Salutaris Hostia and Tantum ergo as well as Adoremus in aeternum

  20. The Anglican Church is doomed for lack of authority and no amount of intellectual dishonesty can make it otherwise. The Ordinariate is a work of divine genius since it imports all the graces and beauties of Anglicanism with none of the fatal lack of conviction and coherence.

    I see the Ordinariate as the primary spur of the reinvigoration of English Catholicism, of the recovery of the old rituals and practices so barbarously removed, and of the recovery of proper liturgical devotion. Not so only in our realm but wherever these brave priests and people gather. All of that despite the dreadful dampness of the CBEW and like-minded Vatican 2 apparatchiks.

    The dim-witted and graceless failure to recognise as much on the grounds that many Anglicans are too tentative or cowardly to make the crossing is mere confirmation of the Ordinariate’s courage and assured success.

  21. Yes, your enemies are fools and work in fools’ time, whereas you are established impregnably forever. Bravo to you all.

    Thank you for the generosity you have shown to me in fools’ time, this is my last post on here. Please pray for me that I may recover my faith and be forgiven.

    1. Tony.

      Your last post has worried me.
      My wife and I will be praying for you.Don’t worry about loosing your faith, it will definitely turn up again!

      Best wishes and prayers.


    2. Blimey Tony that’s a bit drastic isn’t it? I am sure I am not alone in saying that all of us ( those of us of good will and not insane of course) enjoy your contributions. There is no law that says you have to be practising or even a Catholic to read and comment on this blog.
      We will, I am certain, pray for you as you have asked but please reconsider.

    3. If you are seeking forgiveness and asking for prayer then I’d suggest that you consider that you have not lost the faith but that it has become blunted and obscured.
      May God bless and give you the light you need.

  22. As a Roman Catholic whose discipline is History, not Theology, I would simply note that the C of E, was Catholic, though schismatic from 1535 until Edward VI and Cromwell protestantised it. It appears that many Anglicans, not yet ready for Rome, wish a reinstatement of an English Church of 1535. Unfortunately, that tie was irretrievably broken and can not be reinstated. It would appear that the only two choices available are Rome or an (unacknowledged) protestant Canterbury. Noting the actions of the Anglican church going back to the 1930s, it would seem that choices are pretty much being made for those in the pews, with or without, their consent.

    1. I entirely agree Donald, but where is the forum for any kind of articulation by the Catholic laity? Where can the much vaunted sensus fidelis be expressed?

    1. As the Catholic Church is more hierarchical, the issue doesn’t often arise in the sense of central dogma. There are, as we have seen in the last few decades especially, various views on moral and theological subjects in the Church. That having been said, there are no longer the number of anathemas being pronounced as in centuries past or even such stringent condemnations as made by Pius IX. The sense of the faithful, to include clergy and laity, has gravitated to central points and left method and nuance for theologians to contend with. Even the present Pontiff, who not infrequently raises a few eyebrows, has not, strictly speaking proclaimed any new doctrine, though his comments on administration remain matter of discussion.

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