It was announced this morning that Mgr. Edwin Barnes died this morning after a short illness. The thoughts and prayers of our parish are with him, his wife, Jane, and their children. May God welcome him home.
The parishioners of St. Anselm’s will remember Mgr. Barnes fondly. Not only did he volunteer to celebrate our first holy week, refusing to take a penny in recompense, but he and Jane occasionally popped up in the congregation as they have friends in Tunbridge Wells. It was always a pleasure to see them.
The closeness between Jane and Edwin merits a mention because it was a thing both obvious and palpable. Family meant so very much to him and whenever he visited he would speak with warmth about his children and their families. He was, therefore, a fine family man and a fine priest. Managing both so well is no easy feat as any clergy family will tell you.
Mgr. Barnes spent most of his active ministry in the Church of England. During this time he was principal of St. Stephen’s house theological college in Oxford (a seminary to Catholics!) before being consecrated as Bishop of Richborough. He would later be part of the first wave to join the Ordinariate which he supported passionately and loved…despite a rather unhelpful dislike of Divine Worship! Being ‘of his generation’ he was more a Novus Ordo man; done well and with sound preaching mind you.
Throughout his life Edwin was a staunch supporter of orthodoxy and a formidable opponent of those who endorse modernism. Indeed latterly he became the voice of one crying in the wilderness within Anglo-Catholicism where he ever warned of a need to convert to Rome else lose everything the movement stood for.
I like him a lot. He was incredibly supportive of me personally and always asked, with genuine interest, after my family. He goes to his death with a head held high because he ever stood for the Gospel with passion and zeal. I have little doubt the Lord will be delighted to receive him home. Rest in peace my dear friend. You did remarkable work for the Lord.