Tuesday, 30 November 2010


The north wind will blow

And we shall have snow.......................

And we certainly did over night. By morning the roads around here were all covered in snow and I had a funeral to get to. Fortunately the traffic was moving – just – so a journey which normally takes now more than 10-15 minutes took me the best part of an hour today. All credit to the Funeral Directors who arrived on time, despite a journey similar to mine. By the time I came to go home the roads were a lot better. The local authority have worked hard to keep the traffic flowing but I wish they would do something to the side roads which are quite lethal.

Just a Casual Remark!

I was talking to someone yesterday who, as far as I am aware, supports the ordination of women to the priesthood and their consecration as Bishops. She remarked to me that she thought the way General Synod had treated Catholics was despicable especially after the promises made when women were first ordained. She felt that Christians shouldn’t act in that way to which most Anglo-Catholics would say amen. Perhaps the realisation of just what has happened is only just dawning on people in the pews. Perhaps it has taken the resignation of 5 first class Bishops and their indication that they will be joining the Ordinariate to bring about this awareness.

Monday, 29 November 2010



The enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury took place on the 17th October and,  in a break with tradition, took place at the Wembley Arena which as most readers will be aware is usually used for football matches particularly the FA Cup. The day started badly. Due to various incidents on the 10 lane M25, when the gates opened at 10.00 a.m. at the Wembley Stadium for the enthronement of Archbishop Rowena, instead of the expected flood of eager participants there was a mere trickle. It is reported that last night Ticket Master confirmed that total sales for the ceremony only amounted to 2,000 of the number available of some 99,000. Speculation is that there are three reasons for the low sales and poor attendance:-
1.      Total lack of interest with the Church of
England being little more than a sect

2.      The high cost of the tickets and transport

3.    With 3d television in every house many preferred
to stay at home and watch it rather than travel long distances.

The promised football match had already been cancelled as the platform for the throne which stood 15 feet high could not easily be moved on to the football pitch so be left in situ. Around 11.30 a.m. people did start to arrive and the groups began to play in turn whilst some dancers from the Gay
Lesbian Transvestite and Transgender Liturgical Dance Ensemble together with the Liturgical Flag Waving Group filled the ground. The souvenir stalls were laden with mugs, scarves, postcards, archbishop teddy-bears and other dolls dressed in ecclesiastical garb etc., although they didn’t seem to be selling very much. A visitor claimed the prices were very high and people just wouldn’t pay them.
At 1.45 p.m. the King and the Royal Family and their entourage arrived, greeted at the entrance by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The National Anthem was played by one of the groups very badly and your reporter wondered why it hadn’t been possible to arrange for a proper band to play this or, at
the very least, to have used a record. The King drove round the ground to the specially constructed Royal Box facing the Enthronement Platform. Shortly afterwards the colourful procession of clergy entered the ground. Many had specially commissioned robes made for the occasion and they ranged from Copes to the new all-in-one clergy choir dress of slip-on alb/hood/scarf and tippet. It was noticeable that there were less than 10 male members of the clergy in the procession. At the stroke of 2.00 p.m. there was a fanfare from members of the Royal Horse Guards and Archbishop Rowena entered the ground accompanied by leaders of Christian and other Faiths, four thurifers with billowing scented smoke, with her four chaplains, twenty servers and the Dean of Canterbury Worship Centre (previously known as the Cathedral).
The Archbishop looked stunning in her designer-made emerald and ruby encrusted Gold Cope and her diamond encrusted Gold Mitre. She carried her shimmering Episcopal Staff with its shining gold and silver shaft and Gold Cross as the crook.  As there was, of course, no door for her to knock in the customary manner an altar boy presented her with a large piece of wood which we understand had been carved out of the door of the Canterbury Worship Centre and which had been replaced with a glass panel so that those outside could see into the nave at all times. She knocked three times and walked on a little.
The Dean of the Cathedral then greeted her: “Welcome Archbishop, our very own and dear Rowena, on this historic occasion. We have waited many years for a woman to become our Archbishop and now this day is here we rejoice and are glad, to quote the Psalmist, to greet you as the first woman
Archbishop of Canterbury. May your reign as Archbishop be long and happy and may it promote the Church to all our sisters and brothers. We will sing the first of the group of choruses which you will see on the screens in front of you”. After the choruses had come to a conclusion, Rachel Constance the first white witch, leader of the Mother Earth coven and first ordained priest of the Church of England to be both a witch and priest and Vicar of St. Hilda’s, Coventry, led a Mother Earth incantation in front of the platform with around twenty other witches from her coven.
The new Archbishop was led up the steps of the platform to be seated in the ancient throne specially brought from Canterbury for the occasion. Prayers were led by the Grand Mufti, a representative of the Dali Lama who couldn’t be present due to a prior engagement, the Leader of the Pagans of Great Britain, the Druids and the Moderator of the Gay Lesbian Transvestite Transgender London Branch The Very Reverend  M/s Roger Eileen Thomas a pre-op Transgender cleric.
Archbishop Rowena mounted the step to the pulpit and delivered her sermon in which she said: “As the Dean said in her introduction we have waited patiently for a very long time for this day to come, when for the first time a woman becomes the Archbishop. I promise you I will do all I can to
promote the church as inclusive of all sorts and conditions of women and men. Everyone is welcome and I was pleased today to have the leaders of various religious organisations here and participating. We all worship the same Mother Father God even though we might express that worship differently. We are an inclusive church, a church for all the people. In fact we are one big happy family rejoicing in both our similarities and our differences and appreciating many different styles of worship that our allied friends have introduced. In a moment we will be taking a collection which will help to defray some of the expenses of this wonderful day.  Over the next few months I will be visiting our churches around the world starting inAmerica where I will be going next week.” You can read the full sermon on the Archbishops Blog.
After the ceremony was complete there was a barbecue followed by a twenty minute firework display. The Royal Family left immediately after the enthronement.
The expense of hiring Wembley, the cost of Archbishop Rowena’s vestments, the Firework Display and the barbecue has been estimated at a cost of around £15.45 million pounds. We understand that part of the cost will be recovered by selling several church properties and other assets and it is rumoured Lambeth Palace, Church House and Southwark Worship Centre (Cathedral) are two of the possibilities and that the Ordinariate might be interested in acquiring Church House and Southwark Cathedral and that a hotel and casino chain are interested in Lambeth Palace for a new Five Star luxury Hotel and Casino.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Shih Tzu Sheridan goes to church!

I came across this today and is another example of the liberalisation which horrifies so many of us.

“A canine ‘christening’ has taken place in Cumbria – in one of the most lavish ceremonies ever planned for a pooch. Wearing a specially made silk shawl, the Shih Tzu puppy Sheridan was chauffeur-driven to church in a Jaguar. After the ceremony, the mutt-made-holy was taken to a hotel where 75 guests drinking pink champagne toasted its health. The event cost about £1,000. Local vicar Revd David Fowler blessed the dog in church – but refused to actually christen the animal there. Instead, the clergyman placed his hands on the dog's head at the hotel and declared it be called Sheridan Smith. ‘It was a very emotional service,’ said owner Russell Smith. ‘The vicar, who is a big dog lover and has bearded collies of his own, was fantastic.’”

Source: Telegraph (20/11)

Thursday, 25 November 2010


The Redbridge & Havering Ordinariate Group met on Monday and continued the “Evangelium” Course. We will be meeting again at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, Romford for Mass and Christmas Refreshments on Monday 20th December at 7.30p.m. when we hope to arrange our dates for meeting for the New Year.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Today I celebrated and preached at the Solemn Mass at St. Barnabas, Woodford Green. Once again the Choir excelled themselves and were a joy to hear. They have been in a state of Interregnum for nearly two years now. They are looked after by retired priest Father Donald May who has been attached to the parish for several years. St. Barnabas have a good team of Servers who look after visiting clergy very well. I always enjoy going to St. Barnabas and will be joining them again in December.


A reminder that we meet at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, Romford tomorrow 22nd November with a Mass at 7.30 p.m. followed by “Evangelium” All are welcome to these exploratory meetings.

Friday, 19 November 2010


The long wait is now over and we have, via the Statement of the Catholic Bishops reproduced below, more details of the implementation of the Ordinariate in the United Kingdom. Initially it is thought that there will be up to 50 parishes with their clergy in the first wave. They will join the five Bishops who have already handed in their resignations to the Archbishop of Canterbury. However I suspect there are many more who will be waiting for various reasons or are still in the process of making a decision under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and who make this move at some later stage. The Archbishop of Canterbury has already indicated that losing 50 parishes and clergy is going to leave a void in the Church of England with people without priestly support. I think General Synod should have taken that into account when they made the decision that they did to make little or no provision for those who will never, ever, accept women as bishops. It will be interesting to see, over the next few months, how the Society of St. Wilfrid and St. Hilda develops but to date there has been no news apart from its original inauguration at the Holy Synods in October.
Statement on the
Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Establishment of a
Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales
Much has been achieved over many years as a result of the dialogue and the fruitful Ecumenical relations which have developed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Obedient to the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Heavenly Father, the unity of the Church remains a constant desire in the vision and life of Anglicans and Catholics. The prayer for Christian Unity is the prayer for the gift of full communion with each other. We must never tire of praying and working for this goal.
During his visit to the United Kingdom in September, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: “…should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively 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.”
It is now just over one year since the Apostolic Constitution was published. The Pope’s initiative provided for the establishment of personal Ordinariates as one of the ways in which members of the Anglican tradition may seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic
Church. As the Holy Father stated at that time, he was responding to petitions received “repeatedly and insistently” by him from groups of Anglicans wishing “to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately.”  Since then, it has become clear that a number of Anglican clergy and their faithful do indeed wish to bring their desire for full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church to realisation within an Ordinariate structure.
In collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales have been preparing for the establishment of an Ordinariate early in January 2011. Although there may be practical difficulties in the months ahead, the Bishops are working to address these at a national and local level.
Five Anglican Bishops who currently intend to enter the Ordinariate have already announced their decision to resign from pastoral ministry in the Church of England with effect from 31 December 2010. They will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church early in January 2011. During the same month, it is expected that the Decree establishing the Ordinariate will be issued and the name of the Ordinary to be appointed announced. Soon afterwards, those non-retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood for service in the Ordinariate.
It is expected that the retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood prior to Lent. This will enable them, together with the Ordinary and the other former Anglican Bishops, to assist with the preparation and reception of former Anglican clergy and their faithful into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.
Before the beginning of Lent, those Anglican clergy with groups of faithful who have decided to enter the Ordinariate will then begin a period of intense formation for ordination as Catholic priests.
At the beginning of Lent, the groups of faithful together with their pastors will be enrolled as candidates for the Ordinariate. Then, at a date to be agreed between the Ordinary and the local diocesan Bishop, they will be received into the Catholic Church and confirmed. This will probably take place either during Holy Week, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or during the Easter Vigil. The period of formation for the faithful and their pastors will continue to Pentecost. Until then, these communities will be cared for sacramentally by local clergy as arranged by the diocesan Bishop and the Ordinary.

Around Pentecost, those former Anglican priests whose petitions for ordination have been accepted by the CDF will be ordained to the Catholic Priesthood.  Ordination to the Diaconate will precede this at some point during Eastertide. Formation in Catholic theology and pastoral practice will continue for an appropriate amount of time after ordination.
In responding generously and offering a warm welcome to those seeking full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church within the Ordinariate, the Bishops know that the clergy and faithful who are on that journey of faith will bring their own spiritual treasures which will further enrich the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Bishops will do all they can to ensure that there is effective and close collaboration with the Ordinariate both at diocesan and parish levels.
Finally, with the blessings and encouragement they have received from Pope Benedict’s recent Visit, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are resolved to continue their
dialogue with other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities on that journey towards the communion in faith and the fullness of unity for which Christ prayed.

Monday, 15 November 2010

SSC Meeting

Today, I attended the meeting of my SSC Chapter, which was held at St, James, Leigh-on-Sea. After Mass we went to the hall for lunch and, at my end of the table, there was some discussion about who the new Bishop of Richborough would be. All I can say is, if some of the names mentioned have any substance, it will become one further reason to join the Ordinariate when it is practical to do so (if any further reason was even needed!!!!!!) When I got home and told my wife the names mentioned, she said if “x” was appointed that would be a very good reason for going to the Ordinariate and might just tip the balance. One thing that puzzles me is why anyone would be prepared to become a Provincial Episcopal Visitor under the present circumstances when the role will only last until the legislation for Women Bishops is approved.

Sunday, 14 November 2010


As our Organist was away I played the organ today, Remembrance Sunday, at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, Romford for the Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of all those had died as a result of war. In a moving service, Father Martin who presided and preached welcomed our Scout Group and our guest trumpeter who played the Last Post and Reveille in the Memorial Garden during the Two Minutes silence. I played an organ version of Barbers Adagio before the service and Walford Davies Solemn Melody at the end. I do enjoy playing the organ some times for a service; it reminds me of the time, some while ago now, when for many years I was a parish church organist and choirmaster. I started at St. Wilfrid’s Church in Cowplain, then on to St. John the Baptist, Rowlands Castle, followed by All Saints, Commercial Road, Portsmouth, and then St. John the Evangelist, Gosport –r a period in excess of 25 years.


A new site has opened called the Ordinariate Portal and can be found at: http://ordinariateportal.worldpress.com. On the site it says: “This blog aims to link to articles, news and comment on the forthcoming Ordinariate in the UK.”

In one of the articles it says: “Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, will reveal on Friday the Vatican’s plans to welcome the departing priests – including five bishops – who are expected to be received into the Catholic Church early in the new year.Hundreds of Anglican churchgoers will join them in the Ordinariate – a structure introduced by Pope Benedict XVI to provide refuge for those diaffected with the Church of England. The number of worshippers who leave the Church is predicted to double as the new arrangement finally begins to take shape.” The Portal would like to make known details of Ordinariate Group meetings by emailing them at: ordinariateportal@gmail.com

Thursday, 11 November 2010




The 1914-18 First World War was heralded as the “war to end all wars”. Sadly it wasn’t and just 21 years later the Second World War began. Subsequently there have been many wars some small and some much bigger and the quest for peace continues.

Today we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for their countries. We particularly think of those who have died recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should not only remember and pray for those who died for our country and all those who fought alongside us. We also need to remember and pray all those who died on the opposing side......they too are God’s children.




With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.


By the 21st September 1914, when England was already suffering appalling casualties in France and Belgium, the Times Newspaper published Binyon's poem, 'The Fallen'. Binyon had written it in despair over the mounting casualty figures. The poem became widely popular in England and also in Australia and New Zealand. Binyon wrote the poem while he was employed at the British Museum, it would not be until later, in 1916, that Binyon would finally go to the Western Front to serve as a hospital orderly and witness the carnage personally.Binyon returned from the war and its horrors to work once again for the British Museum. He died in 1943.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Redbridge & Havering Ordinariate Group

Seventeen people attended the Ordinariate Group tonight which began with a Mass for the Intentions of Bishops Keith, Andrew, John, Edwin and David. We started the Evangelium Course which those present said they enjoyed. Four people apologised that they were unable to be present due to prior commitments. The next meeting is on Monday 22nd November starting with Mass at 7.30 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green, Romford.

Monday, 8 November 2010


Following my note yesterday, today the Catholic Herald announced the resignation of Bishop Keith Newton and Bishop Andrew Burnham who join Bishop John Broadhurst who announced his resignation at the Forward in Faith Assembly in October. They will be joined by retired Bishops Edwin Barnes and David Silk.

I am attaching an article which is published today on The Anglo-Catholic Blog.

Five Bishops Fly to the Ordinariate for England and Wales

Posted on November 8, 2010 by Br. Stephen Treat, O.Cist

From the excellent Anna Arco at the Catholic Herald:

Five traditionalist Anglican bishops have officially resigned this morning with the intention of taking up an English Ordinariate when it is set up.

This morning, the Rt Rev Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury accepted the resignation of three flying Church of England and two retired assistant bishops in what is a major development in the move towards establishing an Ordinariate in Britain.

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough and Rt Rev John Broadhurst Bishop of Fulham as well as the Rt Rev Edwin Barnes the emeritus Bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev David Silk, an emeritus assistant bishop of Exeter released a statement announcing their resignations.

They said: “As bishops, we have even-handedly cared for those who have shared our understanding and those who have taken a different view. We have now reached the point, however, where we must formally declare our position and invite others who share it to join us on our journey. We shall be ceasing, therefore, from public episcopal ministry forthwith, resigning from our pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010, and seeking to join an Ordinariate once one is created.”

Bishop Newton has been tipped to be the Ordinary of an English Ordinariate when one is established.

The Catholic liason officer for the Ordinariate, Bishop Alan Hopes, an auxiliary of Westminster said: “We welcome the decision of Bishops Andrew Burnham, Keith Newton, John Broadhurst, Edwin Barnes and David Silk to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate for England and Wales, which will be established
under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.”

The bishops are due to discuss the Ordinariate at their plenary meeting next week.

Full statement of the resigning Church of England Bishops:

Like many in the catholic tradition of Anglicanism, we have followed the dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics, the ARCIC process, with prayer and longing. We have been dismayed, over the last thirty years, to see Anglicans and Catholics move further apart on some of the issues of the day, and particularly we have been distressed by developments in Faith and Order in Anglicanism which we believe to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism and the tradition of the Church for nearly two thousand years.

The Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus, given in Rome on 4th November 2009, was a response to Anglicans seeking unity with the Holy See. With the Ordinariates, canonical structures are being established through which we will bring our own experience of Christian discipleship into full communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout the ages. This is both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians, the unity for which Christ himself prayed before his Passion and Death. It is a unity, we believe, which is possible only in eucharistic communion with the successor of St Peter.

As bishops, we have even-handedly cared for those who have shared our understanding and those who have taken a different view. We have now reached the point, however, where we must formally declare our position and invite others who share it to join us on our journey. We shall be ceasing, therefore, from public episcopal ministry forthwith, resigning from our pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010, and seeking to join an Ordinariate once one is created.

We remain very grateful for all that the Church of England has meant for us and given to us all these years and we hope to maintain close and warm relationships, praying and working together for the coming of God’s Kingdom.

We are deeply appreciative of the support we have received at this difficult time from a whole variety of people: archbishops and bishops, clergy and laity, Anglican and Catholics, those who agree with our views and those who passionately disagree, those who have encouraged us in this step and those who have urged us not to take this step.

The Right Revd Andrew Burnham
The Right Revd Keith Newton
The Right Revd John Broadhurst
The Right Revd Edwin Barnes
The Right Revd David Silk

Bishop Alan Hopes’ full statement:

We welcome the decision of Bishops Andrew Burnham, Keith Newton, John Broadhurst, Edwin Barnes and David Silk to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate for England and Wales, which will be established under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

At our plenary meeting next week, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales will be exploring the establishment of the Ordinariate and the warm welcome we will be extending to those who seek to be part of it. Further information will be made known after the meeting.


Sunday, 7 November 2010


For some obscure reason, there is news on the blogasphere, originating from Australia, that tomorrow the Archbishop of Canterbury will announce the resignations of the Bishop of Richborough and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet to join the Ordinariate.
Why did this important news come from Australia? I have no idea and one might have thought that it should be announced first in the UK. It is possibly a leak and it is possibly inaccurate as well but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if any such announcement is made. If this is confirmed it will mean that, so far, four Bishops have indicated that they will be joining the Ordinariate: Richborough, Ebbsfleet, Fulham and the retired Bishop of Richborough the Rt. Revd Edwin Barnes SSC. The Parish of S Peter’s Folkestone have already indicated that they will be joining and to my personal knowledge there are five others in my immediate area who are making preparations to join plus:-.
We meet on Wednesday 10th November at 7.30 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Church, Rush Green, Romford by kind permission of the Vicar Father Martin Howse SSC. Mass will be celebrated at 7.30 p.m. followed by the Course Evangelium. All are welcome and coming to this exploration does not commit you to joining the Ordinariate.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Mr. Wonderful takes a Cruise……………

“I wish I could be anything other than offended by the modern Church of England. But, like modern politics, it has debased itself into the focus group. It is concerned with accommodating modern life rather than confronting its obvious evils. It is obsessed with marketing for customers rather than preaching principle. What used to attract me to the Church was its sense of comradeship and its historical continuity, the beauties of the Anglican tradition. But our trendy priests of today are engaged in destroying the traditions of language of the Church. They might as well abandon them openly.........and base their appeal on religious karaoke – scripture and emotion.”

I read this recently in a book by Sir John Nott “Mr Wonderful takes a Cruise”. John Nott was a Conservative MP for St. Ives, Cornwall which he represented for 17 years. He served as a Treasury Minister in the Heath Government and then as Trade Secretary and Defence Minister under Margaret Thatcher. The book, published in 2004 by Ebury Press, is very funny in parts and I found myself laughing out loud at some of his comments and anecdotes.

I was interested in his comments about the Church with which many of us could wholeheartedly agree.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


On Monday I had the privilege of officiating at the Committal Service at Forest Road Crematorium for Chris Stevenson who had been the Director of Music at St. Francis’ Church, Barkingside. Chris came to St. Francis about 12 years ago and had been a wonderful musician with a particular interest in choir training. He himself sang in several local choirs. The morning started with a Requiem Mass at St. Francis and after the Committal a Memorial Service was held in church which was full to overflowing. John Rippon played the organ and Philip Norman conducted the choir, Choral Cantando who sang several anthems as well as leading the hymns. Chris had been a member of Choral Cantando. Fr Andrew Fenby the Vicar of St. Francis led the service and I preached. Afterwards a reception was held at the Chigwell Police Club for family and friends. It is planned to hold a Memorial Concert in the New Year in memory of Chris and to raise funds for research into prostrate cancer.

Yesterday I celebrated the evening Requiem Mass at St. Augustine’s where we had a good congregation.

Monday, 1 November 2010


In a recent article Bishop Peter Elliot, Auxiliary Bishop, Melbourne, and Delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for the Ordinariate wrote:-

THE Holy Father’s offer of the Ordinariate will take concrete form in 2011. In light of this impending reality, it is a matter of some urgency to clarify the options that confront traditional Anglo Catholics at this time. At first sight there seem to be four options: 1. Rome, via the Ordinariate or by personal reconciliation  2. Eastern Orthodoxy. 3. the Continuing Anglicans and 4. remaining in communion with Canterbury.

However these options fall into two groups. If you take either of the first two options, you are entering communion with traditional apostolic Churches which understand the Church in terms of communion. In the second two options you are either joining some form of independent association of continuing Anglicans or you are choosing to remain part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The key word is “communion”. On that we can all agree. Across the four options, in varying degrees, this is a shared understanding of what it means to be a member of the Church. But communion as a visible reality depends on bishops.

In the apostolic tradition we have received from Saint Paul, Saint Ignatius of Antioch and the Fathers of East and West, we understand the Church in terms of the episcope of the successors of the apostles. The bishop is the centre of each “particular Church”, later known as a diocese.

However, in an “Episcopalian” understanding of the nature of the Church on earth, no bishop exists in isolation. He has to be in communion with other bishops, a communion of shared faith and order. He is part of an apostolic college that across the ages reproduces the original community of the twelve. Within the particular church where the bishop presides, his clergy and people are in communion with him. Yet his Church is meant to be in communion with other Churches, particularly apostolic patriarchates.

The communion of a college of bishops is visibly maintained in the Catholic Church (in its Roman and Eastern Rites) and in the venerable Orthodox Churches of the East. From the East we receive a beautiful and concrete understanding of the sacramental meaning of this communion, in terms of whether a bishop can share the same chalice with another bishop. Eucharistic communion with Jesus Christ, organic union with his Body, is communal, ecclesial. It flows from the Eucharist, summit and source of the life of the Church on earth. It is celebrated and perfected in the Eucharist.

“Communion” in Anglicanorum Coetibus

However, to understand communion we turn to God, the Holy Trinity, source of unity and communion. Communion is expressed in a God-centred way in the concise opening paragraphs of Pope Benedict’s Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, establishing a distinctive ecclesial community for former Anglicans within the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Let us listen to the words of Pope Benedict:

“The Church, a people gathered into the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, as “a sacrament – a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all people.” Every division among the baptized in Jesus Christ wounds that which the Church is and that for which the Church exists; in fact, “such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching the Gospel to every creature.” Precisely for this reason, before shedding his blood for the salvation of the world, the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples.

Then the Holy Father focuses on the Holy Spirit source of communion, emphasizing that the Church is visible:

“It is the Holy Spirit, the principle of unity, which establishes the Church as a communion. He is the principle of the unity of the faithful in the teaching of the Apostles, in the breaking of the bread and in prayer. The Church, however, analogous to the mystery of the Incarnate Word, is not only an invisible spiritual communion, but is also visible; in fact, “the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, the visible society and the spiritual community, the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches, are not to be thought of as two realities. On the contrary, they form one complex reality formed from a two-fold element, human and divine.” The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds of the profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all of the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff.

Having set out the sacramental (baptismal, Eucharistic) and Petrine principles, the Holy Father goes on to identify the visible Church as the Catholic Church. He repeats the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that recognizes the working of Grace beyond visible unity with Rome:

“This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic “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 her visible confines. Since these are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.”

In the light of these teachings, we can re-interpret the question some perplexed Anglo Catholics are asking “Where do we go?” Once you grasp what communion means, agonising about “going” somewhere is unreal. The geographical metaphor is too narrow. The organic metaphor is Scriptural (Pauline) and Patristic and it focuses us on communion with God and through God communion with other people.  With whom are we in communion? That is the question. It clarifies the future.


An ecclesiology of communion also throws light on the last option, that is, when some Anglo Catholics choose, even reluctantly, to remain in communion with Canterbury, “come what may” as they say. Note that I only refer to convinced traditional Anglo-Catholics. I do not include those Anglicans who, in conscience, do not hold to the necessity of apostolic order as taught by the Tractarians and their successors, that is, that bishops are of the esse of the Church.

Hard questions can be asked. Could it be said that Anglo Catholics who choose “to remain” have embraced congregationalism? Do they contradict their own Tractarian insistence on “our apostolic descent”? Are they now saying that the Church is a collection of local congregations of those who maintain Catholic doctrine and sacramental practices? In this perspective, each parish becomes a Church in itself. But how can that be? What would St Paul,  Saint Ignatius of Antioch and all the Fathers of East and West, say about this?

The vicar and parishioners can dig in and hold on, but others may ask whether they in “the trenches” – or just down a bunker? They can ignore the bishop and persistently regard their parish as a Church in itself, but whether they like it or not, official Anglicanism carefully maintains the forms of apostolic order. Inevitably the day will come when empirical reality conquers. The vicar will retire or die and. because this is pretend congregationalism, the parishioners know that they have no authority to provide a successor. Then the bishop they pretended did not exist, will act. He or she will send them a vicar not of their choosing or even close their church. Do not these sad projections expose the unreality of the fourth option – when chosen by traditional Anglo Catholics?

I need to add something that Anglicans have brought to my attention – the temptations of “building worship” and “ancestor worship”. This is a painful matter, entering an Ordinariate and having to let go and sacrifice a familiar, much loved, place of worship with so many family memories.  We hope and pray that arrangements can be made to keep this to a minimum. In Australia we do not know to what extent that will be possible. Yet this mentality is not unrelated to the congregationalist tendency. The church is not buildings, rather it is that Holy Temple of living stones, a communion of people, united to Christ the Lord, one in faith, one in grace.

The Incarnation and Catholicism

Moreover, in the future, Anglo Catholics who remain in communion with any bishop of the official Anglican Communion are morally bound to respect and accept the duly established order he represents. That now includes the ordination of women as bishops and priests and whatever may be enacted through synodical government. Either they assent to that new order or else their communion with the bishop seems meaningless and their friends may tell them that they should admit that they are “Affirming Catholics”, no matter how many mental reservations they may store in their heads.

Here we confront a difference between apostolic Christianity and Protestantism. Religion is not simply “what I hold in my head and my heart”. Indeed personal faith is essential and unity in the faith is vital, but Catholicism involves much more. It goes beyond what is within us to what exists in material reality around us, a community of persons who are in communion with one another through the bishops. It integrates body and soul, matter and spirit, visible and invisible, avoiding a tendency towards dualism, old or new.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Word did not send us some doctrines or a philosophy of life. The Faith revealed in Jesus Christ is incarnational – a visible Church, tangible sacraments, human beings born again, new creatures through grace in Baptism and Confirmation. Gathered by God for eucharistic worship around the successors of the apostles, they are “in communion” with one another as the organic working Body of Christ in this world.

Therefore choosing options involving communion with other people cannot coexist with mental reservations, such as were made in times past over the words of the Thirty Nine Articles. There can be no evasion of the visible structure of the Church, an empirical reality before our eyes. To retreat from this structure into congregationalism may indicate a shift to privatised pietistic Protestant individualism. But it might even descend to an apocalyptic mentality; “we are the last ones.…the faithful remnant as the end draws nigh”. Such unbalanced stoic spirituality wiped out the Catholic Apostolic Church (the Irvingites}. Convinced that the end was nigh, they simply ceased ordaining clergy.

I have heard pious pessimism such as “The last one out please snuff the sanctuary lamp”. That is miserable nonsense when set against the visible reality of millions of people just getting on with being Christians in communion with one another.  Anyone can see this in the largest community who live in full communion with the Successor of Saint Peter and the college of Catholic bishops. Australians saw it vividly when our first saint was canonized, Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop. The saints are witnesses to the reality of communion, for “the communion of saints” we profess in the creed begins here in the visible Church.

I warn of illusory congregationalism, because I am trying to respond to the pain and sorrow that some clergy and laity have shared with me. They are perplexed by the options that face them. They tell me that they “are not ready for the Ordinariate yet” and I can understand that, at least in 2010 when we cannot see the visible structure. We cannot open a church door and say “welcome!”  Soon, pray God, that will happen.

However it is not my brief to outline or suggest any other option except the Ordinariate generously offered to them by the Holy Father. I point them towards this offer because it is hope beyond sadness and self-pity. It is freedom from nostalgic slavery to dead issues and lost causes. It is reconciliation with God and His People, hence a step into unity and inner peace.

The Ordinariate Process Begins

The steps towards establishing Ordinariates in the United Kingdom, the US, Canada and Australia are well under way.  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has recently approved programs of preparation for the laity and formation for the clergy who intend to be reconciled through the Ordinariate. Here the key resource is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Clergy will also need to familiarise themselves with the magisterial sources for systematic and moral theology and the Code of Canon Law. The “magisterium at your finger tips” may be found in an excellent series of paperback volumes, Precis of Official Catholic Teaching obtainable from the United States. These handy books take us into the living teaching voice of the Popes and Councils. I also recommend the new United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

To establish the Ordinariates, two stages are envisaged next year: 1. the reconciliation and ordination of clergy who have applied for Orders in the Ordinariate and been accepted, then 2. at a later date, the first reconciliations of the lay faithful. The clergy will therefore be in place to welcome and minister to former Anglicans in a community that maintains the familiar Anglican patrimony of worship, spirituality, scholarship and pastoral care. We saw how that patrimony has enriched English Catholicism during the magnificent papal visit to Scotland and England, particularly during the beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman.

More concrete details will appear soon. I believe the model will be set by what proceeds in the United Kingdom in terms of a clear time line built around the two stages. However, at present it is important to keep informed, for example through circles such as the Friends of the Ordinariate.

What to do now? Those who believe that God is calling them to full communion should take practical steps, obtaining evidence for their Baptism which will be needed before registering for reconciliation through Confirmation with Chrism next year.  Those who are in irregular marriage situations need to go at once to the local Catholic Marriage Tribunal and seek whatever is possible to regularise their situation. These tribunals are pastoral, welcoming and maintain respect for confidentiality.

Above all pray. We are now entering the Vigil of the Ordinariate. In a spirit of “watching and praying”, In invite you keep vigil by reflecting on the wonderful mystery of the Church, the organic working Body of Jesus Christ. But let that visible reality of the living Church confront you. Let her challenge you, as you ask, “With whom are we in communion?” If that remains a painful or perplexing question, bring it before the Lord. Then may the Holy Spirit of unity and communion guide you and lead you to inner peace.

Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 4; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2.

Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 1.

Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 1.

Cf. Jn 17:20-21; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2.

Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 13.

Cf. ibid; Acts 2:42.

Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8; Letter Communionis notio, 4.

Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.

Cf. CIC, can. 205; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 13; 14; 21; 22; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 2; 3; 4; 15; 20; Decree Christus Dominus, 4; Decree Ad gentes, 22.

Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.

I am grateful to Father Paul Spilsbury for drawing our attention to this.