My last post, ahead of Called to be One, was a challenge to those Anglicans who identify as Catholic. My suggestion being that changes within the Church of England, coupled with the nature of this offer of unity from Rome, leaves only one intellectually credible place in which traditional Anglo-Catholic patrimony can now flourish. The Ordinariate.

Monsignor Burnham backed this up in a measured comment stating; I cannot see any justification for holding out any longer for a male clergy: the General Synod has made it clear that, though gender discrimination may be practised, it has no recognised doctrinal basis in English Anglicanism. And it certainly could no longer be argued ecclesiologically as things stand. The remnant has no theological moorings for such an argument. The future then must be built on a liberal leaning Affirming Catholic model not all that Forward in Faith stood for.

Today I make a different point. That the Ordinariate is not just for the high church but open to all Anglicans, no matter their churchmanship, who hunger for unity and are struggling with the present difficulties of modern Anglican life. And plenty of clergy in the Ordinariate did train at Ridley Hall not St. Stephens House, plenty of laity worshipped at middle of the road parishes not exotic shrines dripping with lace and plagiarised Romanism.

And increasingly enquirers to the Ordinariate come from evangelical and mid church backgrounds. Perhaps not surprising when you recall that the difficulties we faced did not centre on ceremonial at the altar but orthodox teaching in the pulpit. Thus anyone who believes in, say, the unity of Christians or a male only priesthood might be looking in interest. So too those who struggle to understand how one can re-marry divorcees without annulment or accept a contraceptive mindset. Truly the list of shifts in Anglican thinking is long. Such people might well be pondering their future  considering Ordinariate life.  This is a call then to those whose spiritual needs are not being met as opposed to any attempt to proselytise those who are happy as Anglicans and belong in that communion.

Prayer Book folk would find life in the Ordinariate agreeable. For our liturgical texts are dripping in Anglican patrimony. The Customary provides Offices from prayer book tradition and the Ordinariate Rite uses many of these favourite texts that once defined English spiritual life. There is here a treasury of devotional life holding broad appeal, something of great benefit to our mission as we seek reconcile where the reformation once divided. To gather into unity those born into a prayer book tradition but who no longer recognise the Church of their baptism with the emerging Church of England of the future.

Yesterday I suggested the true face of Anglo-Catholicism in the future will, ironically, be found in the Catholic Church. There is also a possibility that devotion to the Prayer Book will predominantly, maybe even exclusively, be preserved here also. For even now Saint Anselm’s in Pembury is one of only a few places locally where Choral Evensong is scheduled on a regular basis. We are living through a time of real change…


Ahead of “Called to be One” it helps to ponder how Anglo-Catholicism has fared since the inception of the Ordinariate. For this development in the life of the Catholic church presented a challenge to those claiming to be Anglican and Catholic. Questions were asked. Unity offered. So how have those questions been answered?

From what I can tell Anglo-Catholicism today  faces a crisis precisely because no answers have yet been given. Despite an heroic attempt to keep the show on the road, Anglo-Catholicism has not yet meaningfully engaged with the Ordinariate vision nor explained how it perceives itself in the light of this historic offer from Rome. Which  leads to a number of problems.

First- and most significant- is the theological conundrum. Whilst pastoral and practical reasons for remaining Anglican are obvious, the new leadership has, thus far, failed to address the issue in hand intellectually. There is no published coherent Catholic theological defence to justify denial of the Ordinariate in the wake of women bishops. Which leaves the claim to be Catholic and Anglican (post Ordinariate offer and post women bishops) looking spurious.

How can one claim ‘Catholicity’ when one’s decision to remain Anglican not only rejects the historic offer of unity/sacramental assurance from Rome but also leaves one having to accept the direction of the current Church of England? That being the abandonment of Catholic order to embrace a more liberal /protestant definition of ministry.  The option to remain thus becomes a most protestant answer to the Ordinariate question.  Another tricky issue for those claiming to be Catholic…

Sometimes people ask but ‘how this is any different to when those of us in the Ordinariate were Anglican?’ The answer is threefold. First the Ordinariate had not posed its question. Secondly we could only opt for an exit alone and not for an exodus together. And thirdly the Church of England then claimed to be in a period of reception. It allowed  two ecclesiologies to exist under one roof as discernment was made regarding women in holy orders.  The court was out and it was possible the Catholic solution would win out. It didn’t.

So now the period of reception is  over and the historic Catholic model is the one Synod abandoned. What then does it  mean to be Catholic yet Anglican within an ecclesial body that has done away with Catholic order? What does it mean to be Catholic if opting to reject the historic Catholic church but remain in the very community placing such an impossible obstacle in the way of ecumenical progress?  I am yet to read a healthy answer to this question. And this only magnifies the question the Ordinariate itself poses.

And what does it mean to be “Catholic” within a Church whose own orders you yourself no longer accept? An answer appeared in the August edition of New Directions. But it was far from coherent and it was manifestly not Catholic. The best the writer could offer was a rambling explanation of how one might simultaneously accept a woman bishop in terms of being an “office holder” – yet all the while denying the sacramental aspect of that very calling. Are you confused? So am I… because it makes no sense.

But duplicitous thinking is the inevitable fruit of compromise. And those remaining Anglican (yet seeking to identify as Catholic) must swallow it because the official provision for those unable to accept the ordination of women is based on a model that assumes you are sexist not theologically principled. Its purpose (in their eyes) is to help you avoid the ministry of validly ordained women  not allow space for anyone to claim they are not in fact validly ordained.

Hence opponents must  write to a woman bishop, thereby acknowledging her authority, to politely request permission to then avoid her ministry… Hardly a Catholic solution to a serious problem. It might work for misogynists but how could it possibly appease a truly Catholic soul?

Another problem arises due to the historic claims of Anglo-Catholics themselves. Formed by John Henry Newman in the years prior to his own journey to Rome, Anglo-Catholics have always cried out for unity! It was the main thrust of their thinking. But having now rejected that offer those remaining are left with a problem. How do you explain the historic cry in light of your subsequent refusal?

What tends to happen is that history is rewritten or else people  act as though nothing has actually changed. Even though it so obviously has. These approaches might facilitate the head in the sand approach but neither  is going to prove satisfactory long term. Why?  Because neither action is based on truth. Rome has spoken. The Ordinariate being both its answer and its challenging question.

And that remains true no matter how much detractors (on both sides of the Tiber) pretend otherwise. Hence Pope Francis gave his Apostolic blessing to those taking part in Called to be One.  This is the fruit of Arcic. Take it or leave it. And anyone claiming there will be a different offer of unity further down the road -or else that they remain because the reconciliation of the entire Anglican body is still possible- deludes themselves. Far from working for unity that actually work against it by denying the path of unity which Rome has opened. And, again, how can that be described as a Catholic option?

And finally Anglo-Catholicism is in crisis because- in the wake of the decision to consecrate women- the Church of England now forces them into a life of hospice care in the margins. What can they become now but a group of yesteryear- extremists who defy the norm and must define themselves only in the negative.  We are against the X, Y and Z of the church at large. And this is just not conducive to growth. Indeed the greatest gift in becoming Catholic was the ability to  define myself in the positive.  “I am a Catholic” is enough and we build on the rock of the teaching we embraced.

Understand Anglo-Catholics are a people of integrity with a rich and noble history. But they face serious challenges today not least because intellectual coherency was historically what they did well. But the truth is that you cannot live solely in the past and the questions posed need answering if there is to be a purpose to the future.  It is not enough to ignore reality and simply howl in  protest whenever challenges are made (which tends to happen on this blog)

In their own synod and in their own words Anglo-Catholics proclaimed that a “Code of Practice would NOT do. But today they are trying to eek out a life having been offered even less than that Code they rejected. To my mind it seems obvious therefore that a new era is unfolding. The choice to be Anglican requires acceptance of a protestant vision. One can be a high church congregationalist, of course, with clouds or incense and yards of lace. But it is impossible  to be Catholic as regards ecclesial identity. The game is up.

What then does it mean to be Anglo Catholic today? Where is the Catholicism beyond the parish boundary? If true Catholicism is what you yearn for please take seriously the gracious offer from Rome. This is the third province you dreamt for and lived out in unity with the church of the ages. But if you cannot accept the offer than surely   it is time to put aside the Roman missal and Roman devotions and embrace the direction of Canterbury and its teachings and liturgy.

Please pray for all coming to the realisation that the landscape has changed. Pray that God might help them discern where they truly belong. I am currently in dialogue with a number of people exploring the Ordinariate option. Hold them in your prayers. We need both happy Catholics and happy Anglicans – and the solution exists for both. But not in the way some people hope for and there is the rub. Catholic souls- this way to the Ordinariate! It really is where true and sincere Anglo-Catholicism now resides.


Every now and then you will read a report in the newspaper about a sink hole appearing on some road or other, causing chaos to traffic at best and harm to  life at worst. These pesky holes occur where the substrate is  eroded but the problem remained undetected. Largely because the damage was hidden. All  appeared fine on the surface though a hollowing out was occurring.  Motorists assumed they traversed solid road but ,in fact, they were held by tarmac alone!

These sink holes are a perfect metaphor for what happens to a local churches in those places where she loses her vigour- where “Cafeteria Catholicism” becomes the order of the day. A danger Pope Francis warned about this week stating that he feels sorrow whenever he encounters “watered down” Catholics. Those who “lose their Christian flavour amidst the secular world”. 

For it is a perplexing fact that when any Christian community becomes more influenced by secular values than  Gospel values -so that community will remain in the pews long after the hollowing out has occurred. It would seem a cultural/tribal identity is enough to hold many in place for quite some time. People continue identifying as Catholic though they no longer actually espouse or endorse Catholic teaching. On the surface then- all seems fine.

…but underneath erosion of faith is occurring. The sink hole created. Loss of Gospel values soon leads to toned down catechesis. Then even a robust understanding of the faith isn’t possible. Which  leads to  loss of sincere love for Jesus Christ for you cannot love what you do not know. A hunger for “opening up the church” to secular values becomes the passion that replaces fidelity to the revealed faith. The political manifesto becomes the “Gospel”. And soon those whose ancestors once died for the living faith are found advocating values diametrically opposed to the Christian vision.

We might consider the  so called “Catholic” school in Armagh which hit the headlines this week having decided to send its children on a gay pride march. A march led by none other than Peter Tatchell- whose own moral thinking once led him to write a book condoning sex between adults and children. So much for the teaching of humane vitae or a healthy understanding of natural law. In defence of his position the headmaster said “Our pastoral care policy is light on dogma and heavy on compassion and celebration of diversity” He also admitted that “on homosexuality I part company with the church” What is that but an admission of hollowing out?

We begin to see how it was that the Church, in places like Ireland and Portugal, seemed to collapse over night. The truth being that they did not  collapse suddenly but were actually hollowed out for years by nomalism, modernism and relativism. We begin to see too how nations once fiercely loyal to Catholic teaching, such as Malta and Argentina, so quickly shifted so as to pass laws (on abortion, marriage, et al) that make Catholic teaching obsolete. These churches were, in truth, shells whose hollowed out Catholicism in the modern era led to that space being filled by the secular world.

And here in England I fear for many Catholic institutions and communities that continue to delight in watered down Catholicism. Those who continue to believe all is well because the surface is just about holding. But underneath one perceives a terrible loss of faith. That toxic combination of political ideology served up with a side order of poor liturgical standards and profoundly weak catechesis having led many a soul from Christ. So that it is hardly unusual to meet Catholics barely able to name the four Gospels let alone defend the beliefs of the Church against a secular onslaught.

Ultimately we need to get to work then, those of us who still love Christ more than the spirit of the age, and start filling the holes wherever we find them. And we do that by being true Catholics and not those selling out to the spirit of the age. We need lives lived passionately for Christ to restore confidence in the faith of the ages. A preference of liturgical style is not the issue here. Nor a political view. This is simply about embracing the New Evangelisation with passion.  It is about committing to Catholicism with vigour and not losing- as Pope Francis put it so well- our own Christian flavour.


It is back to full time parish duties today with a very busy September ahead of us. There is the “Called to be One” event in church as well as the Ordinariate festival in London to look forward to. Seminarian Thomas Mason returns for his final two weeks on parish placement as we get to grips with our building project and plan some tree work in the grounds of the Church.

We are also planning a special fundraising social event to be held in the village hall on the 29th of November (get the date into the diary) It will take the form of a dinner and dance- the entertainment being provided by Saint Anselm’s in house band “Sold Out”- who played on the village green earlier this summer. The money raised will help us to get the lychgate, which will form the new entrance into Church, assembled.

On top of all of this my eldest son Benedict starts school. A big day for him and extra work on the school run for mum and dad as we cope with the shorter hours he attends as he is phased into the daily life of the school. Autumn is upon us then- a busy  but productive time. I very much look forward to getting into the swing of things again after a very good summer break.

Mrs. Beamish is a funny song that touches on a very real issue within the Church- and not just for Anglicans! Namely how to ensure that the ‘sharing of the peace’ is conducted in a way that is reverent and does not detract from holy and sincere worship of God.

Sadly in many places the balance has not been achieved and so the ‘sharing of the peace’ has turned into an interval for people- with much bear hugging, slapping each other on the back and general chatter amongst the people. The focus on recognising God in each one of us has been eclipsed by a general ‘how do you do’ moment more fitting for post worship refreshments.

So it is good news indeed that the Vatican has released a letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, regarding the Sign of Peace. This is an instructive letter and another aspect of the new translation/evangelisation which emphasis a need for God centred reverent and fitting worship to replace what has become banal, man focused and irreverent in places.  The bold text is mine (for those who don’t read this in its entirety!)

1. «Peace I leave you; my peace I give you».1 As they gathered in the cenacle, these are the words with which Jesus promises the gift of peace to his disciples before going to face his passion, in order to implant in them the joyful certainty of his steadfast presence. After his resurrection, the Lord fulfills his promise by appearing among them in the place where they had gathered for fear of the Jews saying, «Peace be with you!».2 Christ’s peace is the fruit of the redemption that he brought into the world by his death and resurrection – the gift that the Risen Lord continues to give even today to his Church as she gathers for the celebration of the Eucharist in order to bear witness to this in everyday life.

2. In the Roman liturgical tradition, the exchange of peace is placed before Holy Communion with its own specific theological significance. Its point of reference is found in the Eucharistic contemplation of the Paschal mystery as the “Paschal kiss” of the Risen Christ present on the altar3 as in contradistinction to that done by other liturgical traditions which are inspired by the Gospel passage from St. Matthew (cf. Mt 5: 23). The rites which prepare for Communion constitute a well expressed unity in which each ritual element has its own significance and which contributes to the overall ritual sequence of sacramental participation in the mystery being celebrated. The sign of peace, therefore, is placed between the Lord’s Prayer, to which is joined the embolism which prepares for the gesture of peace, and the breaking of the bread, in the course of which the Lamb of God is implored to give us his peace. With this gesture, whose «function is to manifest peace, communion and charity»,4 the Church «implores peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family, and the faithful express to each other their ecclesial communion and mutual charity before communicating in the Sacrament»,5 that is, the Body of Christ the Lord.

3. In the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI entrusted to this Congregation the competence of considering questions about the exchange of peace,6 in order to safeguard the sacred sense of the Eucharistic celebration and the sense of mystery at the moment of receiving Holy Communion: «By its nature the Eucharist is the sacrament of peace. At Mass this dimension of the Eucharistic mystery finds specific expression in the sign of peace. Certainly this sign has great value (cf. Jn 14:27). In our times, fraught with fear and conflict, this gesture has become particularly eloquent, as the Church has become increasingly conscious of her responsibility to pray insistently for the gift of peace and unity for herself and for the whole human family. [. . .] We can thus understand the emotion so often felt during the sign of peace at a liturgical celebration. Even so, during the Synod of Bishops there was discussion about the appropriateness of greater restraint in this gesture, which can be exaggerated and cause a certain distraction in the assembly just before the reception of Communion. It should be kept in mind that nothing is lost when the sign of peace is marked by a sobriety which preserves the proper spirit of the celebration, as, for example, when it is restricted to one’s immediate neighbours».7

4. Pope Benedict XVI, further than shedding light on the true sense of the rite and of the exchange of pace, emphasized its great significance as a contribution of Christians, with their prayer and witness to allay the most profound and disturbing anxieties of contemporary humanity. In light of all this he renewed his call that this rite be protected and that this liturgical gesture be done with religious sensibility and sobriety.

5. This Dicastery, at the request of Pope Benedict XVI, had already approached the Conferences of Bishops in May of 2008 to seek their opinion about whether to maintain the exchange of peace before Communion, where it is presently found, or whether to move it to another place, with a view to improving the understanding and carrying out of this gesture. After further reflection, it was considered appropriate to retain the rite of peace in its traditional place in the Roman liturgy and not to introduce structural changes in the Roman Missal. Some practical guidelines are offered below to better explain the content of the exchange of peace and to moderate excessive expressions that give rise to disarray in the liturgical assembly before Communion.

6. Consideration of this theme is important. If the faithful through their ritual gestures do not appreciate and do not show themselves to be living the authentic meaning of the rite of peace, the Christian concept of peace is weakened and their fruitful participation at the Eucharist is impaired. Therefore, along with the previous reflections that could form the basis for a suitable catechesis by providing some guidelines, some practical suggestions are offered to the Conferences of Bishops for their prudent consideration:

a) It should be made clear once and for all that the rite of peace already has its own profound meaning of prayer and offering of peace in the context of the Eucharist. An exchange of peace appropriately carried out among the participants at Mass enriches the meaning of the rite itself and gives fuller expression to it. It is entirely correct, therefore, to say that this does not involve inviting the faithful to exchange the sign of peace “mechanically”. If it is foreseen that it will not take place properly due to specific circumstances or if it is not considered pedagogically wise to carry it out on certain occasions, it can be omitted, and sometimes ought to be omitted. It is worth recalling that the rubric from the Missal states: “Then, if appropriate, the Deacon or the Priest, adds: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” (emphasis added).8

b) On the basis of these observations, it may be advisable that, on the occasion of the publication of the translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal in their own country, or when new editions of the same Missal are undertaken in the future, Conferences of Bishops should consider whether it might not be fitting to change the manner of giving peace which had been established earlier. For example, following these years of experience, in those places where familiar and profane gestures of greeting were previously chosen, they could be replaced with other more appropriate gestures.

c) In any case, it will be necessary, at the time of the exchange of peace, to definitively avoid abuses such as:

the introduction of a “song for peace”, which is non-existent in the Roman Rite.9

the movement of the faithful from their places to exchange the sign of peace amongst themselves.

the departure of the priest from the altar in order to give the sign of peace to some of the faithful.

-that in certain circumstances, such as at the Solemnity of Easter or of Christmas, or during ritual celebrations such as Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Sacred Ordinations, Religious Professions, and Funerals, the exchange of peace being the occasion for expressing congratulations, best wishes or condolences among those present.10

d) Conferences of Bishops are likewise invited to prepare liturgical catecheses on the meaning of the rite of peace in the Roman liturgy and its proper realization in the celebration of the Holy Mass. In this regard, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments attaches to this Circular Letter, some helpful guidelines.

7. The intimate relationship between the lex orandi and the lex credendi must obviously be extended to the lex vivendi. Today, a serious obligation for Catholics in building a more just and peaceful world is accompanied by a deeper understanding of the Christian meaning of peace and this depends largely on the seriousness with which our particular Churches welcome and invoke the gift of peace and express it in the liturgical celebration. Productive steps forward on this matter must be insisted upon and urged because the quality of our Eucharistic participation depends upon it, as well as the efficacy of our being joined with those who are ambassadors and builders of peace, as expressed in the Beatitudes.”

8. In conclusion, the Bishops and, under their guidance, the priests are urged, therefore, to give careful consideration to these observations and to deepen the spiritual significance of the rite of peace in the celebration of the Holy Mass, in their spiritual and liturgical formation and in appropriate catechesis for the faithful. Christ is our peace,I2 that divine peace, announced by the prophets and by the angels, and which he brought to the world by means of his paschal mystery. This peace of the Risen Lord is invoked, preached and spread in the celebration, even by means of a human gesture lifted up to the realm of the sacred.

The Holy Father Pope Francis, on 7 June, 2014 approved and confirmed the contents of which is contained in this Circular Letter, prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and ordered its publication.

From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Rome, 8 June, 2014, the Solemnity of Pentecost.


Arthur ROCHE
Archbishop Secretary


Attention Anselmians! I do not officially return to parish duties until Sunday. However, as I am resident in Pembury at present, Mass will be offered this evening at 7pm and also tomorrow morning at 10am. Do pass the word on and hope to see some faces there!


In a couple of weeks “Called to be One” – a special day of celebration for Ordinariate Groups the nation over- is upon us. Every group is encouraged to take part and here in Pembury we will hold a service of Choral Evensong and Benediction on Sunday 7th September at 6:30pm, during which a short talk will be given to help people better understand the Ordinariate vision.

Of course one of the main aspects of the Ordinariate centres on ecumenism. A point forcibly made by Monsignor Lopes of the CDF who reminded us we are “on the front row of modern ecumenism” A point later confirmed by Pope Francis who has shown his support for us by sending good wishes and imparting his Apostolic Blessing on anyone who takes part in “Called to be One”.

And the Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton, has written a very helpful article- ahead of our celebrations- examining where ecumenism is at present in light of recent changes in both Canterbury and Rome. Here are his wise and challenging words:

November this year will mark the 50th anniversary of the solemn promulgation of the Second Vatican Council Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio. It still remains the authoritative document of the Catholic Church setting out the principles of ecumenical dialogue, though much of its teaching was expounded by St John Paul II in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint (1995). Its first paragraph makes clear that the restoration of unity among Christian people was one of the major concerns of the Council. But a reading of the documents of Vatican II shows clearly that the bishops meeting in Rome did not deviate from the belief that there is only One Church of Jesus Christ and identified that Church with the Catholic Church in communion with the successor of Peter. This is made clear both in the dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, and also the decree on ecumenism. The Catholic Church is described as “God’s only flock” and it is from this “one and only Church” that other Christian communities became separated over the centuries. In a much-quoted passage Lumen Gentium described the Church in this way: “This Church constituted and organised 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. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.”

In an earlier draft of that constitution the text read “This Church is the Catholic Church” but was changed to “This Church subsists in the Catholic Church”. There have probably been hundreds of articles written about exactly what “subsists” means. It is usually taken to mean that the one Church of Jesus Christ “has concrete form” or is “concretely realised” in the Catholic Church. What it does not mean is that this one Church of Christ subsists in a number of different Christian communities of which the Catholic Church is one among many. It does mean that the Catholic Church is not totally set part from other Christian communities but recognises the active presence of the one Church in other ecclesial bodies, even if they are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. There is already partial communion between all the baptised which should lead by God’s grace to eventual full communion.

This has been the guiding principle of ecumenical dialogue over the last 50 years. Many of us who were previously Anglicans have yearned and prayed for Christian unity, only to have our hopes dashed as more obstacles have materialised to make the prospect of that unity, for which our Lord earnestly prayed, more difficult. Everybody recognises that the recent decision by the General Synod of the Church of England to ordain women to the episcopate has dealt a serious blow to ecumenical hopes. It would be wrong, however, to see the issue of women’s ordination as the only obstacle to corporate union. Other issues over marriage and other moral questions have arisen over the years to make the ecumenical dream much less of a possibility in the foreseeable future.

It was against this background that many Anglicans, who already believed they shared a common faith, approached the Holy See petitioning to be received into full communion which led to the publication of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus in 2009 and the erection of the first ordinariate in January 2011.

In a lecture given in 2010, Cardinal Levada, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made two very important points about Anglicanorum Coetibus. The first was that it was not created in a vacuum but was a logical development of the official Anglican-Catholic dialogue over the previous 45 years. In fact, it could be described a fruit of Vatican II. The second was that this is the first time that the Catholic Church had reached out to men and women of western Christianity who desired full communion and accorded them not just a place among many, but a distinctive place within the Church. This must have important ecumenical implications which Benedict XVI was fully aware of when he described Anglicanorum Coetibus as pointing towards that ultimate goal of full ecclesial communion between Catholics and Anglicans. The erection of the ordinariates opens new possibilities for Christian unity by offering the opportunity of legitimate diversity in the expression of our common faith. So much ecumenical work is about dialogue and reports which, though important in themselves, cannot be a substitute for something actually happening to restore full communion. The full corporate unity of the Church is the will of Christ for which all Christians must work and pray. The ordinariate, far from making ecumenical relations more difficult, holds out a vision for a means by which the goal of unity might be realised. In a small way, those in the ordinariate are working to achieve that aim of being “united but not absorbed”, a hugely important notion for the future of the Church.

We are conscious that many people are not aware of or have misunderstandings about the ordinariate that gives this prophetic vision for Christian unity. To help people understand us better, especially those in the Church of England who may be feeling that God might be calling them into communion with us, we have arranged an exploration day called “Called to be One” on September 6 for which our Holy Father, has promised his prayers. Ordinariate groups around the country are providing opportunities for anyone searching to learn a little more about our mission within the Catholic Church.


What an utterly charming event the Purbeck Folk Festival was. Set on a farm nestled on the Jurassic Coastline in Dorset, the setting was idyllic. There was music, workshops, good food, a warm atmosphere and, best of all, a huge array of different ales in the bar!


The best band we watched were “Caravan of thieves’ whose energy was engrossing and whose skill with instruments was astonishing. What a fantastic live act they are. It was a privilege to meet the band members afterwards, all of them down to earth. A meeting which allowed Jemima to be photographed with Fuzz the lead singer (above) and also his wife, Carrie Sangiovanni and zany band member Brian Anderson.


Aside from the music there was plenty of fun for the children. The highlight here being the special story telling session run by author and illustrator of children’s books, Mark Fraser.  I cannot imagine why but the children absolutely insisted we must buy his book entitled ‘ridiculous Nicholas’. Something about Saint Anselm’s church they said giggling….


And then there were the workshops. The drumming one ensured the whole family got involved. Even little Gussy! For almost an hour they beat their hands on the skins and enjoyed making different rhythms.


All great fun then with much crammed into a shorter visit than planned. I never imagined a folk festival could be such fun. Naturally there were a few oddballs in attendance and, of course, the inevitable act  or two which were little more than a dated angry man with guitar pointing out world’s faults whilst offering nothing by way of solutions- but that is to be expected. But over all the clientele was very mixed and the whole thing incredibly friendly. Great fun…now to collapse for a day or two before work begins in earnest.

Apologies for less frequent posting at present. This is due to it being holiday season.  A normal service will resume from next Sunday when I return to full time parish duties. 

Today the family was supposed to be in Dorset for the Purbeck Folk Festival which runs over the bank holiday weekend. But our plans were put on ice when I was unexpectedly taken to hospital on Thursday evening! Having felt unwell in the afternoon- by evening my temperature had risen to such an extent I lost coherency and was very muddled. The hospital was  brilliant and over Thursday night an amazing array of tests were done- from X-rays to CT scans- before it was announced I had contracted a nasty virus. Which explained why neither paracetamol nor antibiotics were shifting the temperature.

Having recovered a bit I was released yesterday afternoon. And though I am still battling a little bit of temperature and malaise I am now also sacrificially/foolishly/bravely packing up the trailer to get to Dorset in time to enjoy a performance Jemima’s favourite singer at the festival- Emily Barker.  (See video link above). We also look forward to enjoying the slightly off the wall ‘Caravan of thieves’.

I may as well have fun recovering whilst resting in a camping chair listening to nice music as trapped in my front room and the family have really been looking forward to this event- a treat to celebrate Hayley’s birthday. Lemsips packed then its off to Purbeck- children, camping equipment, virus and all.