Monday, 30 August 2010


I have copied this article from and hope it may provide a prayer we can use in the U.K. It was written by Christian Campbel one of the regular contributors to that blog. The blog itself is well worth visiting with articles from around the world.

Ordinariate Prayers from Bishop Peter Elliott

Noting our discussion of heavenly patronage for the anticipated personal ordinariates, Bishop Peter J. Elliott, the episcopal delegate for Anglicanorum Coetibus in Australia, has written to offer these prayers for the success of the Holy Father's project now circulating in that country.  He observes that, in addition to Our Lady of Walsingham and St. Thérèse of Lisieux (a title of Our Lady and a saint he has personally selected), we may well add the invocation of John Henry Cardinal Newman upon his imminent beatification.

* * *


Eternal Father, we place before you the project of forming the Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. We thank you for this initiative of Pope Benedict XVI., and we ask that, through the Holy Spirit, the Ordinariates may become:

families of charity, peace and the service of the poor,

centres for Christian unity and reconciliation,

communities that welcome and evangelize,

teaching the Faith in all its fullness,

celebrating the liturgy and sacraments with prayerful reverence

and maintaining a distinctive patrimony of Christian faith and culture.

Drawing on that heritage we pray:

Go before us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

V/ Our Lady of Walsingham.

R/ Pray for us as we claim your motherly care.

V/ Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus.

R/ Pray for us as we place this work under your patronage.

V/ Saints and Martyrs of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

R/ Pray for us and accompany us on our pilgrim way

Sunday, 29 August 2010

St. Mary’s, ILFORD


The High Altar.

Today I had the pleasure of celebrating and preaching at St. Mary’s Ilford. I am at St. Mary’s several times during this week and again next Sunday. St. Mary’s is one of the oldest churches in Ilford and has a long history in the Catholic Tradition. The present Bishop of Richborough served his title here.


The Lady Chapel

I helped during the Interregnum and it was great joy to see some of the people I got to know during that period. I preached on the Gospel and, as an introduction, used an anecdote I found some while ago which I am reproducing below:-

“There was panic in the airport. A flight had been cancelled. A slow-moving line of passengers was waiting to book on another plane. One man was getting increasingly annoyed. Finally he marched to the counter and demanded a first-class ticket on the next available flight. "Sorry," said the girl at the counter, "but I must serve the people in turn." The irate customer banged his fist on the counter: "Have you any idea who I am?" he roared. Without a moment's hesitation, the girl picked up the microphone and announced: "There's a gentlemen here who does not know who he is. If anyone in the airport can identify him, please come to the counter." The people waiting in line burst into applause, while the line-jumper experienced one of the most embarrassing moments of his life.”

Ann was able to come with me but we weren’t able to stay for coffee as she can’t manage stairs too well on crutches so we returned to St. Augustine’s and joined their congregation for coffee. Father Martin presented Ann with a “Get Well” card and a bouquet of flowers from the congregation and Father and Jan. Ann won’t be able to put any weight on her leg for 6 weeks but she is now getting to grips with moving around on crutches and does so very well.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


During my life I have many people who have been an inspiration to me. One such was Father Giles Clayton. When I was at Salisbury & Wells Theological College we lived quite close to St. Martin’s Church, an Anglo-Catholic parish, where we used to go to Mass every Sunday. It was always well attended and it was quite a surprise to find that a number of the Lecturers also went there particularly as they were not of an Anglo-Catholic persuasion. Every Sunday during term time we were joined by the girls from a local Girls Public School and for the most part they sat in a side aisle chatting. The vicar, in those days, was Father Giles.

The only time the girls stopped chatting was when Father Giles went into the pulpit and as soon as he finished speaking the chatting started again. When he was in the pulpit preaching, his face became radiant, and seemed to glow. Both Ann and I noticed this independently of each other and we have mentioned this to many people over the years. The only way to describe it was that during that time he was transfigured. His sermons were always well worth listening to and radiated his holiness and the depth of his spirituality. He would often be seen around Salisbury in his cassock and often riding his bicycle. He always wore sandals without socks which he did summer or winter. He was a truly inspiring priest who radiated the love of Christ in his life and in all that he did.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Just a Slip

On Monday afternoon we suffered torrential rain which only lasted around 20 minutes. When it had stopped my granddaughter wanted to take her toy pushchair out into the garden so Ann opened the back door at our daughter’s house, stepped outside and slipped on the patio twisting her leg underneath her and banging it on the wood with considerable force. As a result she had to go into hospital Monday evening where, after various tests they found she had damaged her tibia. On Tuesday she returned to hospital for a scan and a consultation with the consultant who decided she needed an operation to pin her bone. She was admitted and had her operation late yesterday afternoon. She was well enough to be able to return home this afternoon (Wednesday). It will take 6 weeks for her to be able to use her leg which is now in a splint from above the knee to her foot. Many thanks to the staff of the North Middlesex Hospital who dealt with this very efficiently and so quickly and who were so helpful.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010



The first Celebration of the new Liturgy for Holy Communion took place at the former Church of St. Michaels and All Angels now the East Gate Worship Centre. The servers entered with two thuribles billowing incense followed by the Worship Group, the Liturgical Dance and Flag Waving Team and the celebrant The Rev Miss Maria Jones. The dancers gyrated whilst the Flag Wavers twirled their flags and banners to the accompaniment of guitars, drums and cymbals as the party proceeded to the altar which is set in the middle of the Worship Centre.

Many were surprised when Maria greeted the congregation by saying “Hi guys. May the force be with you.” to which the congregation replied “As it is with you.”

Instead of ”Let us confess.....” Maria said : “We’ve upset Mother/Father God with the times we haven’t exactly kept his rules so now is the time to put matters right” “Mother/Father God we are sorry but it wasn’t all our fault. We were tempted and gave in. We shouldn’t have but we did and we’re not making excuses and know you’ll understand. Please forgive us.”

When we came to the Eucharistic Prayer it was totally different to what most have been used to.

May the force be with us

We agree

We lift ourselves to Mother Father God

And so we should.

Indeed we should. We ought to give our Mother Father God praise, and thanksgiving, and worship, the best we can because we join with those who are in heaven as we sing with our Worship Group Holy, Holy, Holy Mother Father God, you are you and you are from the beginning the creator of Mother Earth. It reflects your glory.

Mother Father God, your Son Jesus born as a human being, when he was betrayed and awaited his arrest, he took bread, said grace and gave it to those present saying: “receive this bread as a token of me.” they all then had a piece of the bread and continued with their meal. When they had all eaten supper he took a glass of wine and said “The wine is red the same colour as blood so let this represent my blood when you next have a drink to remember me.” They then shared the wine passing it from person to person.

So we have done what you told us to do. May your blessing be upon us as we eat the bread and drink the wine. In your name Amen

During the Eucharistic Prayer the Dancers pirouetted around the altar, the Flag Waving team stood at the side waving their flags whilst the Thurifers produced clouds of smoke. We all then joined in the new revised Lord’s Prayer.

Our Mother Father God, Creator of heaven and earth

Your name is blessed everywhere.

May you kingdom come soon. We will try to do your will.

May we be given the ability to obey those of your commandments we can because we agree with them

Give us enough food to satisfy our needs every day

Forgive us for the times when we haven’t kept your rules, you know how difficult it can be

And we will try to forgive those who upset us.

And keep us safe,

For heaven and mother earth are yours for all time Amen

Everybody then came to the altar and was given a piece of Home Pride and a disposable cup with a little wine in it. We then sang numerous choruses, An official came round with a recycling bin to collect the disposable cups whilst another vacuumed the crumbs which had fallen on the floor. The Celebrant then gave the blessing.

May Mother Father God watch over you and yours

And may you enjoy every blessing, now and always.

The congregation were then dismissed: “It’s over. You can go home now.” and they left the building.

And several left the church for good.

After the service our reporter spoke to Miss Jones. “What did you think of it, dear. Wasn’t it marvellous? The new liturgy which I helped to write under the chairmanship of Archbishop-elect Robena, meets people where they are. It will take time for people to get used to it I expect but it is now available for everybody to use. “

Our reporter remembered the church/worship centre before the alterations that had taken place.

“What happened to the beautiful marble altar and the candlesticks?”

“I had them taken out. I didn’t like the altar at all. It had one of those tabernacle things on it so it had to go. The next thing to go is the organ. We don’t use it and it takes up so much room. I mean now we have all these wonderful keyboard thingy’s what do we need an old fashioned organ for. I know organ enthusiasts will not be pleased; they say it is one of the best in the area but, you know, it costs an arm and a leg to keep going so since I’ve been here, nearly four years now, we haven’t spent a single penny on it and the sooner it goes the better. Of course, we’ve saved money on not having to pay an organist and we let the choir ago although people said it was one of the best.”

“I see you use a lot of incense but I noticed it had a quite unusual smell.”

“We use it all the time. We buy it from the Mother Earth Shop at Glastonbury. It’s a special blend and it’s used in a lot of Mother Earth ceremonies particularly at the Summer Solstice. “

“Isn’t that witchcraft?”

“No dear, just reminding us of our relationship with Mother Father God’s wonderful creation in the earth on which we live.”

Friday, 20 August 2010



12th June 2040 The Chief Officer of the Church of England the Most Reverend Daisy Trump announced today at a Press Conference, that the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury will take place on the 17th October at Wembley Stadium. She remarked that the decision to book the stadium with its capacity for 90,000 had been taken as Archbishop elect Robena wanted as many people as possible to be able to attend. She wanted it, Miss Trump said, to be an occasion that all would remember for the rest of their lives. She envisaged coaches coming from all over the UK and as she wanted to encourage children to come with their parents there would be special activities for them, with a small charge to defray expenses. It will be like a big party. The idea to change from the Canterbury Worship Centre (Canterbury Cathedral) where traditionally Archbishops of Canterbury had been enthroned for centuries was innovative and would allow so many more people to be with the Archbishop at the special moment in her party with her. The throne would be transported to Wembley from Canterbury. Stalls selling suitable mementos will be open all day.

The Stadium will open at 10.00 a.m. with a football match between two church teams, followed by massed bands, clowns, jugglers and Liturgical Dance and Flag Waving Teams. Whilst the Archbsihop-elect hoped people would bring picnics there would be various outlets selling hot food and drink for those who wished to avail themselves of them and the bars would be open all day. At 2.00 p.m. it was anticipated that Archbishop Robena would welcome His Majesty King Charles and his wife and other members of the Royal Party. She would also welcome other important and honoured guests. As the Royal Party entered the stadium the National Anthem will be played by the massed Worship Groups and then the King will drive round the stadium before taking his place in the box. At the end of the afternoon there will be a magnificent firework display and an ox roast – special permission had been granted for this by the Wembley Authorities.

Invitations were being issued to all Archbishops and Presiding Bishops throughout the Anglican Communion and their expenses would be defrayed. Other important guests and VIP’s would be invited which would include religious leaders of world faiths such as the Dali Lama, the Grand Mufti, the leaders of the Hare Krishna Movement, the Bahia’s and the Taoists, The Chief Rabbi, The Leader of the Buddhist Movement in Great Britain, the Leader of the Mother Earth Movement, the Chief Druid, the Chairperson of the Astrologers Society as well as leaders from various Christian Denominations. Unusually the Grand Mufti, the Dali Lama, and the leader of the Mother Earth Movement have been invited to lead part of the prayers and, in the case of the Leader of the Mother Earth Movement, she will give a special invocation.

Miss Trump confirmed that tickets are now available through Ticket Master at prices ranging from £20 to £200 for adults; children and concessions at half price. There will be a booking fee of £3 per ticket.

When asked by the a reporter if the invitations would be extended to the Roman Catholic Church or the Ordinariate, Miss Trump speaking indignantly gave the following reply: “You are joking, aren’t you? When those heretical, disloyal, misogynist priests left the Church of England they took with them many faithful people and indoctrinated them with false doctrines. As soon as the Ordinariate was set up, a vigorous campaign was inaugurated to persuade others to join them and I have to say with some reluctance that the campaign was quite successful. Therefore our numbers and our income suffered dramatically. We will do nothing to co-operate with them and want nothing to do with them or their masters the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. They are anathema as far as we are concerned so neither will be invited. Even if they were I doubt that they would accept anyway.”

To be continued…………………..

Sunday, 15 August 2010



5th June 2040: Lambeth Palace today announced that the Prime Minister’s office confirmed that King Charles had approved the appointment of Robena Forsyth-Jones, Bishop of Chichester and Chaplain of All Faiths to the King and formerly Bishop of the Outer Hebrides and the Isles as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Robena is married to Joanna who is currently her personal Chaplain. Robena trained for the Ministry at the Internet School of Ministry, part of the Open University. She was ordained Deacon and then Priest in the Chelmsford Worship Centre (formerly known as Chelmsford Cathedral) by the Bishop of Chelmsford Gladys Smith. After her curacy, she was appointed Chaplain to the Gosport Ferry Company and Team Vicar of Portsmouth Worship Centre New Expressions Outreach Team.

Four years later she was appointed Dean of the Worship Centre (previously known as St. Thomas Cathedral) and was elected to General Synod where she served with some distinction. She was part of the Committee for the closure or renaming of Parish Churches as Worship Centres. As well as Christian Services these were opened up for all religions to use to come in line with the King’s new designation as Defender of Faiths. She oversaw the sale of many of the churches made redundant by this innovation to the Muslim Community and some to the Hindu Community; others were sold for redevelopment. This boosted the reserves in the Church which had suffered severely as a result of compensation payments to male clergy made redundant when General Synod passed the notorious Deprivation of Living of Male Incumbents. As there were so many women ordained each year it was necessary to fast track them to become incumbents but that was impossible with many important parishes occupied by the few remaining male incumbents. They were made redundant as part of the Church’s policy to pursue positive discrimination with women appointed to replace them. The sale of the redundant churches also ensured that the more historic churches could be preserved even if no longer used for either Christian or other forms of worship. Several have been turned into very successful gastro pubs open during the week but used on a Sunday morning for services and reverting to a pub for Sunday Lunch and the afternoon and evening.

Bishop Robena was a leading figure in the Women in the Church (Witch) Movement, which she helped to form. She also served on the New Liturgical Committee for “Doing Church & Meeting People where they Are” which had been instrumental in the introduction of many new services including a new service for the Consecration of Bishops. This was conducted quite recently in the Royal Albert Hall when Mary Simpson was consecrated as Bishop of Durham to allow as many people as possible to be present. The evening started with dancing by groups of teenage girls in flimsy outfits accompanied by a group comprising of guitars and drums at a very high decibel level. This was followed by the Gay Liturgical Dancing Team performing several Liturgical dances. The clergy procession entered the Hall not with the anticipated organ voluntary or a trumpet fanfare but with a several boy & girl bands playing modern worship songs. Groups accompanied all the singing and the magnificent Royal Albert Hall Organ was not used during the ceremony. The clergy all wore long flowing garments similar to the old fashioned cassock alb but with trains of lace, some carried by children, and many had flowers in their hair. When the new Bishop had been consecrated balloons, streamers and gold paper came down from the ceiling onto all the participants whilst disco music blared out from a multitude of huge speakers around the Albert Hall. “It was deafening” said Bishop Mary, “but it made me want to dance out of the Hall in joy.” As the new Bishop left the hall girls scattered rose petals from cane baskets making a path of roses for her to walk on. It was hailed by some as a most wonderful experience; others thought it a complete travesty.

Other services that Bishop Robena was instrumental in arranging include: A Requiem or Funeral Service at the Burial or Cremation of Pets, Marriage or Remarriage for Gay Men and Women, Naming and Blessing of Pets, Blessing of Couples Living Together, A Service at the Time of Divorce, A Service for the Baptism of Children at the Marriage of their Parents etc. She is also involved in devising the new liturgy for the service of Holy Communion which we will feature in an article later when it is published.

As Chaplain of All Faiths Bishop Robena has arranged successful negotiations with the leaders of the main religions in the UK including Buddhists, Muslims, Hindu’s, Sikhs, Bahia’s, Pagans, New Age (and others too numerous to mention) with the proposal for holding regular joint multi-faith services. 

To be continued……………….

Friday, 13 August 2010


I can understand how the staff at BAA feels; last year they agreed that there would not have a pay rise and this year they have been offered 1% whilst the directors of the company have awarded themselves large pay rises. In the ballot for the proposed strike action only 50% of those eligible to vote bothered whilst 30% voted against. I cannot understand how the union see this as a mandate for a strike which will disrupt most of the main British airports including Heathrow and Stansted and ruin holidays for many, many people. If you assume that the 50% who didn’t vote either were against strike action or couldn’t care less one way or the other and add to that those who voted against it means that 65% of BAA employees are not in favour of striking.
Another continuing dispute which could also cause misery to holiday makers is possible further strike action by BA staff. . And a question: why is it that these matters come to a head at the holiday season. Do the unions really think that they will get public support when people who have worked hard to have an annual holiday find that it is cancelled or ruined due to Trade Unions taking industrial action?
It seems to me that in the 21st century that there should be a better way of resolving disputes rather than strike action. You can hardly blame workers who by enlarge are not well paid getting resentful when they see bosses helping themselves to large chunks of the money they worked hard to produce and being offered a very small increase. In fact, the BAA workers have suffered effectively a wage reduction.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Thursday Mass

At the Thursday morning Mass at St. Augustine’s we are often joined by people from Ebury Lodge a local Rest Home. It is always a pleasure to see them and they usually stay for refreshments afterwards. After Mass this morning I had the pleasure of taking Home Communion to a couple who have not been well lately. I was able to offer them the Laying-on-of-Hands with Prayer. It is a great privilege to be able to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to take the Body of Our Blessed Lord to those who are sick and housebound. It is one of the great joys of priesthood to be able to offer this ministry and one that I have missed since I retired.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


On Monday I had a phone call from a firm of Funeral Directors asking me if I could play the organ for a Requiem Mass at St. Augustine’s R. C. Church, Barkingside on Tuesday. Being free and enjoying playing I readily agreed. When I arrived at the church I discovered that the funeral was for a member of Tomswood Lodge, a wonderful home in the parish of St. Francis where I was the Vicar until retirement. Tomswood Lodge cares for adults with learning difficulties and during my ministry at St. Francis some of them came to Mass on a regular basis, including the dear soul whose funeral I played for today. If I had known he had died I would have gone to his funeral if it had been possible and by a strange coincidence I went anyway. I said coincidence but perhaps it was through the Grace of God. It was a real joy to be able to do this small service for a lovely man who had great devotion. May he Rest in Peace.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Today I celebrated and preached at the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green. To view an outline of my sermon see: Although I didn’t refer to the Ordinariate it was in my mind as I talked about how the Israelites had been called to undertake a journey of faith when they set out from Egypt. And how Abraham and Sara had to undertake a journey of faith not knowing where God was calling them to go but aware that that was what God was calling them to do. As I preached the Ordinariate came very much to my mind although I hadn’t set out to preach about it and in fact didn’t do so. The journey into the Ordinariate is a journey of faith for those God is calling to set forth. Some will go straight away; some will have to wait a while longer depending on both circumstances and prior commitments. When they make that journey is not, in a way, important, as long as they obey what they feel God is calling them to do, and do it in faith and at the earliest it is possible to do so.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Catching the Right Bus

Sometimes instead of taking the car into Romford I make use of my bus pass and catch the bus. Parking is not always easy and, after all, it’s environmentally friendly to do so. The trouble is when I arrive at the bus stop I’m never sure whether I’m going to have to wait a long time for the bus or if, by chance, I’ve just missed one. I have to exercise my patience and stand and wait. Returning home is far more difficult. As Romford is quite a large town I have to find the right bus stop as there are many and not all of them close together. Come back around 3.45 p.m. the journey will be one of complete misery as then all the school children will be getting on and their sole aim in life seems to be to annoy the other adult travellers as much as they can.

Last year, in Croatia, we decided to take a trip on the local bus which only runs a few times a day. When we arrived at the bus station there were crowds of school children waiting for the bus and we did wonder if we would actually get on it. When the bus arrived I couldn’t believe it when all the children stood to one side so the adults could get on the bus first and when the last of the adults got on, they did. They were well mannered and polite and such a contrast to what we often receive in the UK.

It occurred to me that waiting for the bus is very similar to those of us who are waiting for the Ordinariate or deciding if there is another bus that can be taken. We don’t know when it will come or the route any other body will take. Already a branch of the Orthodox Church are advertising the fact that Anglo-Catholics could go to them if they so desired and keep an English Liturgy which has been authorised for use via the Russian Orthodox Church. I personally think this would be the wrong “bus” to catch but some might be attracted. I think I will wait for the Ordinariate “bus” whenever that might arrive. At least on that I will know I am going to the right destination.

Comment on the Letter by 15 Bishops

It had originally been my intention to comment on the Letter by 15 Bishops which I put on the blog several days ago but Bishop Edwin has done so quite brilliantly on his blog that I feel it would be better if that was read rather than anything I could write which would not be nearly so succinct and well thought out. ( However I would like to comment on the idea in the letter that Catholics should stand for General Synod in the hope that they could defeat the legislation on Women Bishops.

There is no hope that the legislation can be defeated. And even if it were, by some strange chance, it will reappear and keep reappearing until it is passed. Those who are so determined not to provide for the needs of Anglo-Catholics are not going to give up!

Choices have to be made and to rely on the possibility of defeat of the legislation in General Synod is, I think, living in cloud cuckoo land. The most that Catholics elected to Synod could hope to achieve is that they may be able to influence the contents of the Code of Practice and I have my doubts about that. Whatever is in the Code you can rest assured it will not meet the needs of Anglo-Catholics and as has been said many times not least by the Bishops who signed the Letter a Code of Practice will not do. It seems to me that the only way forward for Anglo-Catholics is through the Ordinariate.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Moral Standards amongst Teenagers

A feature in last Sunday’s Sunday Times reports the fact that 58,000 girls aged 15 are on the contraceptive pill and many more are using other forms of long-term contraception. More than a 1,000 girls aged 11 and 12 have been prescribed the pill and a further 200 between the ages of 11 and 13 have long-term injectible or implanted contraceptive devices. Trevor Stammers, a member of the British Medical Association expert panel on sexual health, said: “These figures illustrate the fact that the UK is facilitating the sexualisation of young people at an even younger age.”
These figures are a sad reflection on the morals of modern British society and they confirm that moral standards both in schools and in homes are very low. It seems that due to patient confidentiality, parents are often unaware that their children are using contraceptives. I think one of the problems is that we teach children the mechanics and the biology of sex and forget that the most important part is that of relationships. There can be no doubt that children are ill equipped to deal with sexual relationships at the tender age that many of them are now experimenting. There is a tangible decline in moral teaching both at home, at schools and, sadly, in many of our churches.
I have heard it said that it is better that children who intend to indulge in sex should use contraceptives rather than have unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortions. Whilst there is some truth in the argument that if they are going to do it it is better that they should use some form of protection but it would be far better if they didn’t have sex at that age. It is also a fact that abortions amongst teenagers have increased and some have been known to have more than one. Unfortunately everything children see on television and on the internet is sexualised to such a great extent that the act of sex itself has been reduced to a mechanical thing which you do to satisfy an appetite rather than as part of a loving relationship in marriage.
Because many of these children are also promiscuous they put themselves in danger of contracting a sexual disease and these have been on the increase amongst young people. In my teenage years kids were so concerned about the dangers of an unwanted pregnancy that most weren’t sexually active. Nowadays it is seen amongst teenagers as a badge of coming of age, they have the means to prevent pregnancy and many are put under peer pressure to lose their virginity at an early age.
The Churches need to provide guidance and leadership in giving young people the armour they need to withstand peer pressure and temptation. Moral guidance for young people is not easy but it is something we mustn’t shirk from. Pressure also needs to be put on schools to give moral guidance and reassert the value of marriage.

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Visit of the Holy Father 16th –19th September 2010 & the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman


Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the UK from the 15th to the 19th September and on the 19th September will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman. Newman is not only revered by the Roman Catholic Church he is revered by Anglicans as one of the prime figures in the Oxford Movement which brought alive the Catholic heritage of the Church of England. Sadly, in the CofE we have no process for recognising Saints otherwise perhaps with Cardinal Newman would be the two others, colleagues and friends of his, Keble and Pusey. Today, as some of us look to the Ordinariate, we value the great contribution that these three men made to our spirituality. Perhaps the Ordinariate could be under the patronage of Cardinal Newman and as we leave the Church of England we could say, as he did, it is “the parting of friends”.


Obituary in the Guardian Published Aug. 13, 1890, two days after Newman’s death by R. W. Church, dean of St. Paul’s and a close friend since their days together as Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford

“Cardinal Newman is dead, and we lose in him not only one of the very greatest masters of English style, not only a man of singular beauty and purity of character, not only an eminent example of personal sanctity, but the founder, we may almost say, of the Church of England as we see it. What the Church of England would have become without the Tractarian movement we can faintly guess, and of the Tractarian movement Newman was the living soul and the inspiring genius. Great as his services have been to the communion in which he died, they are as nothing by the side of those he rendered to the communion in which the most eventful years of his life were spent.… He will be mourned by many in the Roman Church, but their sorrow will be less than ours, because they have not the same paramount reason to be grateful to him.”

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Letter from 15 Bishops serving in the Church of England

The Letter which I am publishing in full from 15 Bishops serving in the Church of England, has been widely distributed by snail mail as well as appearing on various blogs. I will refrain from any comment today except to say that the letter emphasizes the grave situation in which we now find ourselves and which has led many Anglo-Catholics to look to the Ordinariate.

‘God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you, but I will tell you the good and proper way.’ (1 Samuel 12:23)

These are grave times in the Church of England especially for those of us unable in good conscience to accept that any particular church has the authority to admit women to the episcopate. While we certainly accept the good faith of those who wish to make this change believing it to be God’s will, we cannot rejoice with them, not least because of the disastrous cost to Catholic unity.

Our concerns are not only about sacramental assurance though that is of profound importance. If the legislation now proposed passes, it will not provide room for our tradition to grow and flourish. We will be dependent on a Code of Practice yet to be written, and sadly our experience of the last almost twenty years must make us wonder whether even such an inadequate provision will be honoured in the long term.

Neither the Report of the Revision Committee nor the legislation itself show a proper understanding of our reservations, however carefully these have been presented through the consultation process and in the College and House of bishops. It remains a deep disappointment to us that the Church at large did not engage with the excellent Rochester Report and paid scant attention to the Consecrated Women report sponsored by Forward in Faith.

We must now accept that a majority of members of the Church of England believe it right to proceed with the ordination of women as bishops, and that a significant percentage of those in authority will not encourage or embrace with enthusiasm the traditional integrity or vocations within it. Nor is it their intention or desire to create a structure which genuinely allows the possibility of a flourishing mission beyond this generation.

However, the closeness of the vote on the Archbishops’ amendment for co ordinate jurisdiction, concerns though there are about its adequacy, suggest at least a measure of disquiet in the majority about proceeding without a provision acceptable to traditionalists. The catholic group fought valiantly on the floor of synod and we are grateful for that, and while many in the Church and press are speaking as if the legislation is now passed, final synodical approval is still some way off.

Whatever happens in the Synod, there are some Anglo Catholics, including in our own number, who are already looking at, indeed are resolved to join the Ordinariate as the place where they can find a home in which to live and proclaim their Christian faith, in communion with the Holy Father, yet retaining something of the blessings they have known and experienced in the Anglican tradition. Of course the Ordinariate is a new thing, and not all of us are trailblazers or can imagine what it might be like. Some will undoubtedly want to wait and see how that initiative develops before making a decision.Yet others will make their individual submission and find their future as Roman Catholics.

Were the present proposals not to be substantially amended or defeated, many more of us will need to seriously consider these options.

A number will remain, perhaps even reluctantly because of personal circumstances, family loyalties, even financial necessity, but with a deep sense of unease about the long term future, an unease that is surely well founded. There are faithful Catholic clergy and lay people, though deeply opposed to the likely synodical decision, who cannot currently imagine themselves being anywhere else but the Church of England. They wonder how they can stay, yet cannot imagine leaving their much loved church and parish. They do not want to be forced out of the Church they love, and will persevere where they are, whatever the theological or ecclesiological ambiguities, and seek God’s blessing on all they do.

Those who are not actively seeking a home elsewhere must work to defeat the currently proposed legislation. It is essential that traditionalists engage in the debate and discussion in their diocese and are active in the election process for the next quinquennium on the General Synod when the two thirds majority in each House will be required if the legislation is to pass. Whatever our individual futures, and however disheartened we might feel, the Church of England needs strong catholic hearts and voices.

The text quoted at the beginning of this letter was the one used by John Keble in his famous Assize sermon, often regarded as the starting point of the Oxford Movement. It seems remarkably apposite, and gives a clue to an appropriate attitude of heart for this process: prayerful and gracious, but clear.

We are all bishops united in our belief that the Church of England is mistaken in its actions. However, we must be honest and say we are not united as to how we should respond to these developments.

Nevertheless we are clear that each of the possibilities we have outlined has its own integrity and is to be honoured. We are resolved to respect the decisions made by laity, bishops, priests and deacons of our integrity, and call on you to do the same. It would be a sad and destructive thing indeed of we allowed our unhappiness and wondering to drift into unguarded or uncharitable criticism of those who in good conscience take a different path from our own. We must assume the best motives in one another, and where there are partings let them be with tears and the best wishes of Godspeed.

You will we hope know of the clergy meetings in both provinces to take place in September when there will be opportunities for discussion and an exchange of views about the future. Be assured of our prayers as you reflect about how best to respond to the challenges which face us, and we ask your prayers for us too as we seek to be faithful to the Lord, and to the Faith once delivered.

Rt Revd John Hind, Bishop of Chichester
Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Europe
Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, Bishop of Blackburn
Rt Revd Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley
Rt Revd John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, Bishop of Edmonton
Rt Revd John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
Rt Revd Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
Rt Revd Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough
Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract
Rt Revd John Ford, Bishop of Plymouth
Rt Revd John Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham
Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Whitby
Rt Revd Robert Ladds
Rt Revd Lindsay Urwin OGS