Thinking Anglicans

Ordinariate or Religious Society?

An announcement today about the formation of The Missionary Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda, which has a website here.

Anglican Catholic bishops have announced that in addition to the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West…

The press release describing it is reproduced in full below the fold.

Also, a news story in the Catholic Herald Britain could have an Ordinariate by new year.

Britain could have an Ordinariate by the end of the year, it emerged today.

Sources say that the Rt Rev Keith Newton, the flying bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet will take up the special canonical structure, which allows groups of Anglicans to come into full Communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity, before the end of the calendar year.

Groups of Anglicans are already forming across the country in preparation for joining an ordinariate, according to the blog of the retired Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev Edwin Barnes.

In his October pastoral letter, Bishop Burnham wrote that ordinariate groups would likely be small congregations of thirty or so people…

NEWS RELEASE
FROM: ANGLICAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS
Friday 24th September 2010
For Immediate Use
www.sswsh.com

Anglican Catholics Rally to protect and preserve Anglican tradition.
-New Society is announced to refocus ministry & mission

Anglican Catholic bishops have announced that in addition to the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West.

At two upbeat gatherings this week of over 600 clergy and religious from the northern and southern provinces of the Church of England, there was unanimous condemnation of proposed legislation to allow the ordination of women as bishops that will soon go to the dioceses for discussion, debate and approval.

The unveiling of The Missionary Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda reflects a determination not to accept a Code of Practice as currently suggested by the General Synod but to work for and create a more realistic approach which allows the integrity of those who cannot accept this innovation to be preserved, to flourish and grow within the Church of England. This development represents a constructive initiative on the part of those who cannot accept the innovations proposed in legislation and who are hurt and frustrated by the General Synod’s inability to provide for their theological position.

The Society has been named after two English saints with a passion for the unity of the church and is expected to attract thousands of members. It was quite clear during the gatherings that many wish to remain loyal to the comprehensive nature (within the confines) of the Church of England despite the legislation and are unlikely to join the Ordinariate at least in the foreseeable future.

As with the Ordinariate further details about the Society and its life will emerge in the comings months. In the meantime a group has been asked to do some theological reflection about the identity of the Society, its common life and the way it might have the potential for ecumenical dialogue directed towards the goal of full visible communion with the rest of the Church catholic, both Eastern and Western.

The meetings were called by catholic bishops to allow those with concerns about the future to consult together. The gatherings were united in their concern about the disastrous implications the proposals will have for the cause of Christian unity with the Church both East and West and for the genuine comprehensiveness of the Church of England should the legislation pass. However it was clear that participants at the conferences are likely to take divergent paths in the future. But all are committed to a “parting of friends” and the maintaining of the closest possible relationship.

The Bishop of Plymouth, John Ford, on behalf of the Catholic bishops, said today: “It was greeted with utter incredulity that this debate should be allowed without any clarity concerning the promised provision for those unable to accept this innovation.

In the meantime a group has been asked to do some theological reflection about the identity of the Society, its common life and the way it might have the potential for ecumenical dialogue directed towards the goal of full visible communion with the rest of the Church catholic, both Eastern and Western.

This development represents a constructive initiative on the part of those who cannot accept the innovations proposed in legislation and who are hurt and frustrated by the General Synod’s inability to provide for their theological position.

The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, published on 4th November 2009, was positively commended to the Sacred Synod of Anglican priests from the Southern Province, meeting at Westminster on 24th September, 2010. The Apostolic Constitution offers Anglo Catholics the way to full communion with the Catholic Church for which they have worked and prayed for at least a century and it is a way in which they will be ‘united and not absorbed’. Pope Benedict spoke warmly about the Apostolic Constitution when he addressed a meeting of Catholic bishops at Oscott College, on 19th September 2010, during his recent State Visit to the United Kingdom. He set the offer firmly within the developing ecumenical dialogue when he described it as ‘a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics’. This, then, is an exciting initiative for those for whom the vision of ARCIC of corporate union has shaped their thinking over recent years.

The crucial issue is the ministry of the Pope himself, as the successor of St Peter. Anglicans who accept that ministry as it is presently exercised will want to respond warmly to the Apostolic Constitution. Those who do not accept the ministry of the Pope or would want to see that ministry in different ways will not feel able to accept Anglicanorum Coetibus. The decision to respond to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution is not dependent on the decisions of the General Synod or on any particular issue of church order. The initiative should be judged on its own merit. It will require courage, and vision on the part of those who accept the invitation, particularly amongst the first to respond. Although there are few practical details at present in the public forum, discussions have already been taking place as to how the vision of the Apostolic Constitution can be implemented. It is expected that the first groups will be small congregations, energetically committed to mission and evangelism and serving the neighbourhood in which they are set.

Notes for Editors:

www.sswsh.com

Bishop John Ford, Bishop of Plymouth 01752 769836 office; 07917191938 mobile

The Ordinariate:
A personal ordinariate is an intended canonical structure within the Roman Catholic Church enabling former Anglicans to maintain some degree of corporate identity and autonomy with regard to the bishops of the geographical dioceses of the Catholic Church and to preserve elements of their distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Its precise nature is described in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of 4 November 2009 and in the complementary norms of the same date.

The new structure is intended to integrate these groups into the life of the Catholic Church in such a way as “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared”.

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Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Can someone explain what it may mean to be “in full communion with Rome without losing … Anglican identity”? Sounds like a bit of ecclesiastical slight-of-hand.

Meanwhile, over on Episcopal Cafe, the Dio of VA vs. CANA saga goes on, with CANA’s appeal being rejected. Am not quite sure what this means in the immediate future.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“in addition to [1] the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be [2] a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England” 1. the Ordinariate, will be *within the Church of Rome* So how then can 2. “a new Society … *within the Church of England*” (we’ll see about that!), be “in addition to”? (?)Ford and company need to choose a superior (Canterbury or Rome?), and be clear about it. It’s one or the other: there’s no… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

They could do with Methodist, Baptist and URC strands and in-put for further intensified catholicity – could nt they ?

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Well this so far suggests to me that we will have much more, much more of the same in due course. After all per some media reports at least, Rowan Williams and Benny Sixteen are now great buds who hold one another in fond, high regard, indeed? One conservative’s courage/vision is another conservative’s toxic innovation? One must acknowledge the sheer, brash vigor of church leaders who dutifully expect to be patted positively on the back for dressing up new moves and new speeches, predicated fundamentally on the same old flat earthisms told in familiar hot button campfire tales about monstrous,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

You can bet that Reform will have their own Society of Thomas Cranmer.

As for the Anglo-Catholic Society, what a very English rebufff to Pope Benedict!

By the way both St Wilfrid and St Hilda were zealous Romanists!

Canon Bruce Sharpe
Guest
Canon Bruce Sharpe

Please use the words Church of England not Anglican when referring to the Church of England Bishops and clergy,
There is no Anglican Church, only the Anglican Communion.
I am a Church of England priest, not an Anglican priest.

Mynsterpreost (=david rowett)
Guest

Never did think much of Wilfrid. Obviously chosen because he was an ardent Romaniser (see Bede H.E.), but even the pro-Roman Bede seems to have disliked him. One of the most dubious saints ever to grace the Kalendar.

As for the choice of Hild – hm, female headship anyone…?

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

So that’s where all those black coated clergy were going who I saw arriving at Victoria Station this morning. Quite a manifestation of the LBSCR (London, Brighton and South Coast Religion)!

Fr James
Guest
Fr James

Once again, the negative comments flow. Why not try and be happy that some clergy are seeking a way of remaining within the Church of England?

Rome is only a solution for a few CofE priests. For many, this could be the answer.

Bill Dilworth
Guest

I agree with Fr. James on this – I think this is a positive development.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Traditionally-minded Anglican clergy from the South of England were gathering at a Sacred Synod in Westminster today to discuss the future direction of the Church of England.” – Anna Arco, Catholic Herald – Under whose auspices was this ‘Sacred Synod’ convened? Was it called by the offical body of the Church of England? If not, it surely has no status in that Church. To call such a Synod must be already some sort of schismatic action, which seems to have involved some serving Church of England Bishops. What will be done about this action which has departed from the polity… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“By the way both St Wilfrid and St Hilda were zealous Romanists!” – Robert I Williams –

Remember, though, Robert, that Hilda was the female Head of a Joint Monastery at Whitby, of both Women and men. What does that say about the new society’s ideal of MEN ONLY in charge?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Anglican Catholic bishops have announced that in addition to the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West.” – Statement of ‘Anglican Catholic’ Bishops – Oh, Indeed! So this is a new religious Order within the Church of England. By whom was… Read more »

Peter Edwards
Guest
Peter Edwards

I am unable to grasp the integrity of this proposed Society, and am not helped by not clearly knowing who said or wrote what in the body of the main text above. This seems like a new proposed home for those who are unable either to accept the ultimate authority of the Pope, nor the authority of a woman. I wonder what the Pope might feel about that. He has made his offer which was intended for those who have already left the formal Anglican Communion; but now the ‘Catholic’ C of E refugees are countering it with their own… Read more »

evensongjunkie
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evensongjunkie

Love the LB&SC parallels Richard, it was one of my first railroads I saw in Great Britain, and loved the “Thumpers”, diesel-electrical multiple units with their whistling turbochargers and 4 cyl. EE powerplants that were once commonplace out of Victoria. And come to think of it, the region it served does seem to have a “high” ring to it!

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

How can it be good Bill, when a society dedicated to keeping Anglo Catholics within the Church of England adopts the name of two Saints who believed in full submission to the Pope?

Its a stupid as myself starting a John Wesley religious order in the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile across the pond , three dioceses out of four of the Anglican Church in America (Tradional Anglican communion) have rejected the ordinariate. The fourth diocese is apparently split.

When they say diocese think of about ten congregations.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Hey, I love a catholic religious society as much as the next Anglo-Catholic . . . but there’s a difference between an order and a *fifth-column* (and “The Missionary Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda” shows every sign of being the *latter*).

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Ron, St Hilda never held spiritual authority over men. No Catholic woman has ever been put in directional authority over men….children yes, but not men.

junius
Guest
junius

Peter Edwards – ‘I am unable to grasp the integrity of this proposed Society, and am not helped by not clearly knowing who said or wrote what in the body of the main text above.’

Integrity? Oh, stop it, Peter. My sides are aching.

Fr James
Guest
Fr James

Oh stop being provocative Ron. I’ve pointed out many times before that FiF Anglo-Catholics are not Roman Catholics in disguise. What they’re saying is that the Ordinariate is there for those who wish to enter full communion with Rome, and now this Society could be an option for those who wish to be part of the Church of England. I wonder why you capitalize Authority and Blessing, as if to imply that General Synod possesses some great divine power? The formation of religious societies and orders does not require any such authority or blessing from Synod. Do you recall the… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
Guest

Ironically, the Anglo-Papalist blogs I’ve looked at this morning seem to hate the idea of the Society, too.

Steve P in La Crosse, Wis.
Guest
Steve P in La Crosse, Wis.

“…ecumenical dialogue directed towards the goal of full visible communion with the rest of the Church catholic, both Eastern and Western.”

IOW, a rationalization for inaction. They have an engraved invitation to practice Anglican spirituality within the “full visible communion” of the Catholic Church, and what do they do? Found yet another new society to cover their remaining in a church that does not want them.

john
Guest
john

I find the ‘Society’ aspect a bit prissy. But these people don’t want to pope and they’re still fighting. Perhaps they do need some sort of re-branding. I think something like ‘the Archbishops’ amendment’ will eventually be agreed and even if it isn’t Anglo-Catholics opposed to WO who stay may well find they are sufficiently ‘protected’ by the code of practice. I also think it’s clear enough that many are motivated not just by rejection of WO but also by a positive commitment to C of E pluralism. May they stay and be happy. May they also extend to the… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“No Catholic woman has ever been put in directional authority over men….children yes, but not men.” – Posted by Robert Ian Williams

“directional authority”, huh?

I feel CERTAIN there are RC women flight traffic controllers, providing to “directional authority” to (male, adult) pilots, for which they are most grateful! 😉

[If you feel I’m being flip, RIW . . . my FIRST inclination was to refute your assertion, by citing the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori! >:-D]

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Ron, St Hilda never held spiritual authority over men. No Catholic woman has ever been put in directional authority over men” – R.I.Williams – Just try reading a little English – not Roman Catholic – History. St. Hilda was Abbess of Whitby, a joint monastery of both women and men! There was simply no Abbot! “I’ve pointed out many times before that FiF Anglo-Catholics are not Roman Catholics in disguise.” – Fr. James, F.i.F. – The difference between Anglo-Catholics and ‘F.I.F Anglo-Catholics’ is that the latter would seem to be an exotic sort of hybrid genus – not sure about… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

St Hilda was not in charge of the men, and both congregations were under the Bishop.

Spiritual authority..JCF ..not everyday authority.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

RIW
You seem to be reverting to your evangelical roots. Roman Catholics don’t have a problem with women’s spiritual authority over men, they just don’t believe that they can be ordained. They can teach you and preach to you, they just cannot celebrate the Eucharist.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

So where are women in authority over men? They are not allowed to preach at Mass.

They can teach in a school…but teaching is not the cure of souls.

Erika you are side tracking again ..lets keep on this very interesting topic. This is such an English rebuff.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

“Traditionally-minded Anglican clergy from the South of England were gathering at a Sacred Synod in Westminster today to discuss the future direction of the Church of England.”

No-one invited me!

Mynsterpreost (=david rowett)
Guest

RIW: St Hilda never held spiritual authority over men. So far as I understand the Rule of Benedict, and insofar as Bede HE IV:23 may be relied upon, she indeed ‘ruled the monastery, constantly occupied in establishing the regular life….’ And particularly telling is this: ‘Those under her direction were required to make a thorough study of the Scriptures and occupy themselves in good works, to such good effect that many were found fitted for holy orders and the service of God’s altar. Five men from this monastery later became bishops, Bosa, Aetla, Oftfor, John and Wilfrid…’ So I apologise… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
Guest

“So where are women in authority over men? They are not allowed to preach at Mass.” You would seem to be on shaky ground here. The prohibition of women preaching at Mass doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their being in authority or not over men; it’s because of the (misguided) RC stance that the homily is part of the liturgy reserved to those in major orders: “Can. 766 Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory, if necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems advantageous in particular cases, according to the… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Lets not side track. However this very English rebuff to the Ordinariate , comes at the same time as the tiny Anglican Church in America ( traditional Anglican Communion ) has en masse rejected the Ordinariate option.

If an Ordinariate is erected , I feel there will be less than 100 persons in the English branch..with a disproportionate number of former clergy.

Its effectively dead in the water.

The spirit of the vicar of Bray and not the vicar of Littlemore prevails.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I think the Vicar of Bray had the right instinct, like the Vicar of Morebath about whom Eamon Duffy has written so well. Both, at a time of ecclesiastical upheaval, put the cure of souls first. Good for them ,I say!

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

What established, settled anglicans would want to join the RC denomination, under any circumstances ? And this is especially the case for ministers with plenty on their hands, plenty to be doing, and a denomination whose flexibility can be quite good, really. Very few would think that there is much to be gained at all. Of course many of us have felt the romantic pull of a fantasy of Rome, in our teens or 20s, usually after reading Apologia Pro Vita Sua, and over–dosing on other such fare. But then reality tends to kick in, and we see that the… Read more »

Chloe
Guest
Chloe

That’s news to me. Women regularly preach at Mass at the Roman Catholic church I know best. And I know several adult male Catholics who have a woman spiritual director, too. The notion of compulsory male ‘headship’ over women is indeed a conservative Evangelical, not a Romanist, one. I’ve never heard an RCer talk in such terms.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The point is Chloe, they are doing it illegally..according to canon law only an ordained man can preach at Mass.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Robert Ian Williams – what a great comedian you are!

“I have been proven wrong in my sidetracking argument, so let’s not sidetrack!”

Please, continue to speak for the Roman denomination – we’ll have converts to Protestantism in the millions!

It’s a pity, for the few good RC’s left, though, that blowhards like you have never bothered to learn how much depth and subtlety there is in your Roman denomination, even when it’s being arrogantly and stupidly wrong-headed!

Bill Dilworth
Guest

“The point is Chloe, they are doing it illegally..according to canon law only an ordained man can preach at Mass.”

Which has nothing to do with whether a woman is allowed what you call “directional” authority over men. It’s a lay/ordained issue, not a gender one. Even laymen with considerable authority, like abbots, wouldn’t be able to deliver the homily.

Philip PM
Guest
Philip PM

RIW ‘You seem to be reverting to your evangelical roots. Roman Catholics don’t have a problem with women’s spiritual authority over men, they just don’t believe that they can be ordained. They can teach you and preach to you, they just cannot celebrate the Eucharist.’ Posted by: Erika Baker Good on you, Erika! This should really be the nub of the debate, rather than all this pontificating over the holding and use of authority. As a former Anglican now moving towards reception in the Orthodox Church, I realise that I am joining a body which believes in a male priesthood… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Philip Please don’t be so quick to co-opt me for your side. I believe the Roman Catholic teaching on women priests to be misguided at best. It is known that Rome has acknowledged that there are no theological objections to women priests but that it has nevertheless declared the debate as closed. I can only speculate why it might have taken that approach, but “gender diatribe” might just possibly have something to do with it. Where I see the real difference between you and evangelicals is in the different use of arguments to oppose women priests and in the fact… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Philip: “The priest symbolises Christ during the Liturgy, which is the main reason why the Church has always maintained a male priesthood.” As I have frequently noted before, while there are coherent arguments to be made against the ordination of women to the priesthood, this is not one of them. Indeed, this argument is, at its very core, heretical – a denial of the Incarnation and an implicit claim that women are not redeemed. “That which is not assumed is not redeemed,” according to the irrefutable logic of Athanasius. Philip is essentially arguing that in the person of Jesus, God… Read more »

John Frost
Guest
John Frost

I note that that Canon Bruce Sharpe said that their is ” There is no Anglican Church, only the Anglican Communion. I am a Church of England priest, not an Anglican priest.” Sorry Canon, but there are many Anglican Churches other than the C of E even in the UK, and all these Anglican Churches are in communion with Canterbury and these priests are Anglican priests not C of E priests. Also those members of the C of E and the wider Anglican Communion who accept the Pope’s offer will leave the Anglican Church and will join the Roman Catholic… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Sorry Canon, but there are many Anglican Churches other than the C of E even in the UK, and all these Anglican Churches are in communion with Canterbury and these priests are Anglican priests not C of E priests.” Same difference. There are Anglican “churches” but no single Anglican Church. That’s why these other Anglicans are not CoE priests, but Epsicopalian priests or Church of Nigeria priests etc. The Nigerian church has it right on their website, they call themselves “Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion”. The danger of referring to an Anglican Church is that it implies a homogeneity in… Read more »

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

I get fed up with seeing Athanasius’ comment being misapplied. “That which is not assumed is not redeemed” was in response to those who claimed the Incarnate Son of God had a human body and divine soul. For Jesus to be fully human he had to have a particular gender. Of course that doesn’t mean that only those who share his gender are saved. Its the claim that Jesus was incarnate as both male and female, rather than the claim that only a male priest can act ‘in persona Christi caput’ that demonstrates a faulty understanding of the incarnation.