Saturday, 25 September 2010


Yesterday, I went to the Sacred Synod called by some Anglo-Catholic Bishops following the decision by General Synod to proceed with the Consecration of Women to the Episcopate. I went with expectations of an interesting and fulfilling day and returned home feeling disappointed. I enjoyed the speeches by the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough explaining the Ordinariate but found much of the rest totally depressing. The day seemed to me to be chosen as the means to introduce the new Society of St. Wilfrid and St. Hilda, a society for Anglo-Catholics as an alternative to the Ordinariate. Read the statement here:

My first question is do we really need another Catholic Society and why couldn’t one of the existing Societies undertake this such as FinF, SSC et al. If the new society is designed to prepare for the Ordinariate for those who through force of circumstances are unable to take up the offer in the immediate future then it could become a useful tool. But, if as I think, it is to bring comfort to those who reject the Ordination of women either as bishops or priests and nothing else then, for a while it will act as a haven but, eventually, it will fade into oblivion. Talk about “mission” and “Christian Unity” are meaningless unless there is some action. Could it be that some of the Anglo-Catholic Bishops want to be seen as doing something (anything?) whilst retaining the status quo. If unity is really part and parcel of the Society it should be helping and encouraging priests and people to accept the offer of Pope Benedict.

Secondly, this Society is designed to exist within the Church of England. Do the organisers believe that if it ever becomes successful it would be allowed to continue? I don’t think so! What happens then – a continuing “church” perhaps? Please, not another schism forming another continuing church.

Thirdly, what about the frequently stated aim of FinF to provide a Catholic future for “our children and grandchildren” Once the CofE go down the path of Consecrating Women there is no future for Catholics – one wonders why the Bishops who are setting up this Society don’t understand this. Once the protection afforded by the Act of Synod is rescinded by this new legislation there is no Sacramental Assurance and therefore no future within the Church of England for Catholics.

The other day I read of a parish where a woman is now the incumbent who wears vestments and at each service there are clouds of incense; clouds of incense and vestments do not make a Catholic. It is the teaching that matters. In the short term the Society may, I stress may, be helpful but in the long term the only way ensure a Catholic future for our children and grandchildren is RITA (Rome is the Answer) via the Ordinariate.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Anglicans in Communion with the Holy See – the Ordinariate.

The dust has now settled on the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI and it has been a resounding success despite all the commentators who, prior to the visit, had predicted small crowds and lack of enthusiasm. Despite too, the militant atheist agenda and protests by the likes of Tatchell and Dawkins who, in the event, made themselves look a bit silly. The truth is crowds flocked to see him in Scotland, London and Birmingham and took part in the various Masses and the Prayer Vigil and especially the beatifying of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Hopefully now the Pope’s visit is over we will be hearing some more about the Ordinariate.

I rather liked the suggestion by Father Hunwicke on his blog that Ordinariate members should be known as “Anglican in communion with the Holy See”. When the Ordinariate starts those who make the move will no longer be in communion with Canterbury and this title distinguishes them from those who remain but, importantly, it also asserts our continuing Anglican identity.

I have been pleased with the people in the Redbridge and Havering area who have responded to my invitation to a meeting on the 5th October at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green, Romford and I hope and believe we will be able to form a viable group to move to the Ordinariate in due course.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Holy Father talks about the Ordinariate

At the end of his address to the Catholic Bishops at Oscott, the Holy Father said:

The other matter I touched upon in February with the Bishops of England and Wales, when I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute postitively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when the goal can be accomplished.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

90th Birthday Party

P1000104 Gladys

It was a real joy for Ann and me to travel to Kent yesterday to join the celebration of the 90th Birthday of Gladys who, for nearly 70 years, was a member of St. Francis of Assisi, Barkingside, where until two years ago, I was the Vicar. She moved to Kent early this year to be near her family. Several of her friends from St. Francis were also invited and it was good to see them and hear some of their news.


Gladys and her brother talking to Ann

For many years Gladys was the organiser of the Mother’s Union which used to meet monthly for their MU Meeting and every other week for their Prayer Group. Gladys and her late husband Charles were always there at church events, running the kitchen with the help of other MU Members and folk from the church. Sadly the Mother’s Union has now been closed at St. Francis. Gladys served on the Parochial Church Council for many years and was, in many ways, a leading light in the congregation.

P1000105 The Birthday Cakes

Two strange coincidences: when my father visited us, he thought he recognised Charles but couldn’t say how and Charles thought he recognised my father. It was only after Charles died that his old war time notebook was found and we discovered that they both served in the same Squadron in the RAF during WW2. When Gladys moved she went to the nearest Parish Church to discover it was under the patronage of St. Francis. She has now settled in the congregation of her new parish of St. Francis.

Thursday, 16 September 2010



Today, history has been made, in the first State Visit of a Pope to the United Kingdom. It is with great joy and warmth that we welcome Pope Benedict XVI to our country and look forward to hearing the message he comes to bring. Many of us are looking forward to the day when we can become members of the Ordinariate and be part of the Roman Catholic Church. In the meanwhile we offer our prayers for the Holy Father, for our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church and for ourselves as we prepare for that momentous day.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The future of the C of E?????

Yesterday I received details and the Agenda for the Sacred Synod on 24th September at the Emmanuel Centre, Westminster which begins at 11.00 a.m. I hope at that meeting we will learn something about the timing of the Ordinariate.

I am puzzled by those who, when talking about the situation with regards to General Synod’s recent decision to approve the inauguration of women Bishops, say things like “everything is not lost –there’s still everything to fight for” and “It will be defeated in the Dioceses” and “General Synod will make better provision for Catholics” and “we will be alright our Bishop is male and he is sympathetic to Catholics” and “It will be defeated in General Synod” and “the Code of Practice can be made to work”. I have heard all of these remarks in the last few weeks and I have to say I believe they are all totally wrong.

Those who are of the opinion that General Synod will make better provision haven’t judged the mood of General Synod correctly. It seems hell bent on ridding the CofE of its Catholic tradition. The forthcoming elections to Synod could possibly change the makeup of that body but I really don’t believe that it will. I think it will be more of the same! The problem is that those who are appointed as guardians of the faith, the Bishops, have failed, with a few exceptions, to provide the lead themselves. Most of them support the legislation to consecrate women and endorse the Code of Practice which, as has been said many times before, will not do.

Although it is unlikely that there will be women bishops before 2014, the die has been cast and we can no longer claim to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church. Through this Measure we are no more than a Protestant body. The choice has been made and the CofE will have to live with the consequences. Those of us who cannot live, in conscience, with this latest innovation are looking forward to the inauguration of the Ordinariate and reconciliation with the See of Peter.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Peter Tatchell and “The Trouble with the Pope”

I find it hard to understand how, or why, Channel 4 gave Peter Tatchell the chance to make and broadcast a programme of such a nature as “The Trouble with the Pope”. This was a prime time programme providing Tatchell with the opportunity to attack the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Writing in the Daily Telegraph Damian Thompson the former editor of the Catholic Herald and now the Blogs Editor for the Daily Telegraph said the programme twisted the truth and “doggedly misleads” the audience.

He said Tatchell had made no attempt to understand Catholic doctrine on issues like birth control or abortion. He wrote: “I know that Tatchell profoundly disagrees with Catholic teaching. Fair enough. But I also thought he had enough integrity not to misrepresent key concepts such as papal infallibility, which he implies means that no decision of the Pope can be questioned – a schoolboy error. Tatchell also claims that the Pope’s previous role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave him control over Church doctrines. That last statement is so ignorant that I could hardly believe I was hearing it. Did Channel 4 not employ any researchers for this project?”

The content of Panorama broadcast on BBC1 at much the same time as the Channel 4 programme also featured yet another attack on the Holy Father mainly by Americans who had been abused by priests when they were children. Nobody could ever excuse child abusers and the RC Church was very dilatory in the actions they took towards the abusers and less than helpful to the abused. That said, this all happened in a different age and a different time and Pope Benedict has done everything possible to ensure that this situation never happens again. He has personally met very many of those abused to give his personal apologies for something of which he was in no way responsible.

As the day of the Holy Father’s visit draws even closer, please keep him in your prayers.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate. Meeting for interested people in the Redbridge and Havering Deaneries

Following a meeting with the Bishop of Richborough on Friday 10th September, he has given me permission to form a group to bring together members of the laity in the Redbridge and Havering areas who have no arrangements in their own parishes following the decision of General Synod to consecrate women as Bishops.

If you are interested in finding out more about this offer I invite you to a Mass and a Meeting at 7.30 p.m.on Tuesday 5th October at St. Augustine’s Church, Birkbeck Road, Rush Green RM7 0QP. Please let anyone else know who you think would be interested.

As I understand matters it will be necessary to be in a group to join the Ordinariate - certainly in the first place. At the meeting we will be able to discuss how and when we can meet in the future. Coming to this, or any further meeting, places you under no obligation to take this step but will provide the chance to explore the possibilities that have arisen through the Holy Father’s generous offer to Anglicans (members of the Church of England.) in the present difficulties brought about by General Synod’s decision to proceed with the creation of women Bishops, which will automatically rescind the Act of Synod and abolish Provincial Episcopal Visitors (Bishops like Bishop Keith, the Bishop of Richborough).

I hope many will be able to come to the meeting but if you are unable to do so, and are interested in the Ordinariate, please let me know so that I can add you to a list to send you further information of future meetings.

Father Mervyn Jennings SSC

Thursday, 9 September 2010



As part of the General Audience at the Vatican on Wednesday Pope Benedict said:-

“I am very much looking forward to my visit to the United Kingdom in a week’s time and I send heartfelt greetings to all the people of Great Britain. I am aware that a vast amount of work has gone into the preparations for the visit, not only by the Catholic community but by the Government, the local authorities in Scotland, London and Birmingham, the communications media and the security services, and I want to say how much I appreciate the efforts that have been made to ensure that the various events planned will be truly joyful celebrations. Above all I thank the countless people who have been praying for the success of the visit and for a great outpouring of God’s grace upon the Church and the people of your nation.

It will be a particular joy for me to beatify the Venerable John Henry Newman in Birmingham on Sunday 19 September. This truly great Englishman lived an exemplary priestly life and through his extensive writings made a lasting contribution to Church and society both in his native land and in many other parts of the world. It is my hope and prayer that more and more people will benefit from his gentle wisdom and be inspired by his example of integrity and holiness of life.

I look forward to meeting representatives of the many different religious and cultural traditions that make up the British population, as well as civil and political leaders. I am most grateful to Her Majesty the Queen and to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for receiving me, and I look forward to meeting them. While I regret that there are many places and people I shall not have the opportunity to visit, I want you to know that you are all remembered in my prayers. God bless the people of the United Kingdom!”

We look forward to the Holy Father’s visit in exactly a week: he arrives on Thursday 16th September. Please keep him in your prayers.

Official Prayer for the Papal Visit

God of truth and love,
your Son, Jesus Christ, stands as the light
to all who seek you with a sincere heart.
As we strive with your grace
to be faithful in word and deed,
may we reflect the kindly light of Christ
and offer a witness of hope and peace to all.
We pray for Pope Benedict
and look forward with joy
to his forthcoming visit to our countries.
May he be a witness to the unity and hope
which is your will for all people.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

Our Lady, Mother of the Church - pray for us.
St Andrew - pray for us.
St George - pray for us.
St David - pray for us.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

St. Mary’s, Ilford

The Choir were in good form this morning at the Parish Mass at St. Mary’s, Ilford where I celebrated and preached. The Gloria and Creed were sung to Martin Shaw whilst the rest of the Mass was Schubert’s Deutsche Messe. As a change, this week the Psalm was sung to Anglican Chant which I really enjoyed. At the Communion the choir beautifully sang the unaccompanied anthem “If ye love me” by Tallis. St. Mary’s has a long musical tradition and many of the choristers have years of service between them. They rehearse after the Parish Mass and, usually, sing two services each Sunday.

This will be my last Sunday at St. Mary’s for the while being although I will be there during this week for two of the daily masses. The congregation of St. Mary’s are warm, friendly and welcoming and it always a real joy to be with them. Next Sunday I will be back at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green to preach and concelebrate.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Professor Stephen Hawkins

I am a great admirer of Professor Stephen Hawkins. Indeed, like many others I guess, I tried to read and understand his book “A Brief History of Time” (which sold 9 million copies) and totally failed. I still have it and may well try to read it again in the future. He recently made a pronouncement on God in which he says: “There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe.” He goes on to say: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

My main question to him would be who designed the Law of Gravity or set in motion the creation of something from nothing. Did it just spring into being of itself? Spontaneous Creation possibly? It seems to me, as one more or less totally ignorant of Science at this level, that there must have been some source from which the Law of Gravity and other laws which govern the universe started. We call that source “God” the all powerful, the almighty, the creator of heaven and earth, who we know as “Our Father” through the revelation of His Son Jesus. I think many of us find it very difficult to comprehend the power that God yields; in the words of J. B. Phillips “is your (our) God too small?”.


Many thanks to all those who have enquired about Ann. She went to the hospital on Tuesday for her post-op consultation and everything is going along well. She will not be able to put weight on her leg for another 5 weeks but she has now mastered the art of using crutches.