Thinking Anglicans

an interview with Andrew Burnham

Anna Arco at the Catholic Herald has interviewed Andrew Burnham formerly Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

There is a feature article based on the interview: ‘What we asked for is what we got’

You can read a complete transcript of the interview here.

Here is a sample passage:

You said before you were basically setting up the See of Ebbsfleet. What does that mean?

My predecessor, Michael Houghton, who died after a year (which is of course why they were nervous about me), had taken to calling it the See of Ebbsfleet as if it were a proper diocese. And I took the view that what we were aiming to be was a diocese, an orthodox diocese: bishop, priests, deacons, and laypeople. And therefore that, even though we weren’t an actual diocese, we should organise ourselves as if we were. So I wrote a pastoral letter to the people every month, more or less every month for 10 years. I had a council of priests. This was before anyone else was doing this sort of thing. I had a lay council and a lay congress. I had deaneries, with clergy organised in deaneries for pastoral care.

We did all this as if we were setting out to be a diocese, which irritated people no end. It was done in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury because it was all about how best to care for people. And the apologia I gave was that of the Apostolic District, which was the term in canon law to describe a group that is not yet a diocese but might become so and has an apostolic administrator. Of course an administration, a jurisdiction, was the one thing we weren’t. We didn’t have the legal authority to do any of it. But that was what we were in search of becoming. And it fitted in with the Forward in Faith Free Province rhetoric and fitted what we needed to survive in the Church of England. It was a good way to organise people and get them to move forward together.

Of course my dream would have been that when I said: “We’re going to submit to the Holy See.” Everyone would have followed me and done so that the priests, the churches and congregations would do so en bloc, which they haven’t.

It irritated people, but it did give us a real coherence and cohesion, and it meant that such things as evangelism and mission were always at the forefront of the agenda. And we had a children’s and young people’s eucharistic festival at Brean Sands, Somerset every year with 700 kids coming together for the day. We had parish evangelism weekends to train up younger leaders to replace the older men and women who were struggling to keep their churches going.

I’m very proud of all that and it was all very good. Except that at the end we couldn’t all move forward together, which is the sadness. Partly it was because some priests are too afraid of doing it. Partly it was because of the issue of buildings. Partly it was because for congregations, provided they’ve got that nice Bishop so-and-so and that nice Father so-and-so the ecclesiology is neither here nor there.

And partly it was because the really vigorous parishes, of which there were some, don’t grow because people debate women’s ordination, gay marriage or any other issues of the day. They grow because they simply get people coming together as community. Who knows why they get together? One wouldn’t dream of asking them because you might get the wrong answer. For all sorts of reasons, therefore, going forward together hasn’t quite worked, neither on my side of the country, the West and South West, nor elsewhere.

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Grandmère Mimi
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So when Andrew Burnham accepted his position as flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet in the Church of England, his intention, from the beginning, seems to have been to fly away to Rome. Do I have that right?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“One wouldn’t dream of asking them because you might get the wrong answer.”

Well, he’s certainly got the Roman ethos down pat, doesn’t he?

Vaya con Dios!

Anglican
Guest
Anglican

These are particularly revealing. “I was moved to a new parish and I became the vicar of St John’s Carrington, in Nottingham and I was there for seven years till 1994. By that stage I was looking to become a Catholic but it wasn’t clear how that would work out with a wife and two small children.” “Now I must admit that, though I was ready to do that in 1994, as a family we weren’t able to do that, and I think many families aren’t going to be able to do that now. There are no time limits and… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

I had exactly the same reaction on reading this as did ‘Anglican’ and ‘Grandmere Mimi’. I know we have agreed to charity and moderation when posting about individuals here but I find it very difficult to think other than that the Church of England and many loyal anglo-catholics have been ‘had’ by this man. He has by his own admission had a secret agenda which he has kept hidden throughout the whole of his time as a flying Bishop and his loyalties have clearly not been to the Church which appointed and paid him. His agenda has been some sort… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

I get the impression from reading Anglo-Papalist blogs that mental reservation and other forms of equivocation are still admired. If I’m understanding the interview correctly, Mr Burnham seems to be a past grand master.

It’s very disheartening, this Anglo-Catholic taqqiya.

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

Nothing seems more bizarre to those of us beyond your shores than the selection and appointment of clergy to be “flying bishops” who had so little loyalty to the CofE and so many covert plans. Now that they have made their move after creating such a hornet’s nest, can anyone justify why they were chosen? Their views and perhaps even their intentions must not have been a secret. How to shoot yourselves in the foot! These “sees” should perhaps not be filled by people of very liberal views, given the constituency, but at least of people who actually see the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

These people are the problem of the RCC now and I wish them well of it.
The ordinariate is only another rather rickety bridge thrown quickly over the Tiber to.encourage some to cross, it’s just this one offers something rather strange, an unrivalled view of the bank you just left!

Rather nostalgic I think.

I see some of the bishops were made Deacon and are to be priested tomorrow.

MarkP
Guest
MarkP

I thought the bishop made some very odd choices about self-disclosure right from the start. The interviewer made an idle comment about college, and the very first thing the bishop decided to tell him (and us) about himself is that he chose his studies based not on what he loved or what he wanted to do, but on how he could manipulate the system into paying more for it. I know we all make decisions based on this sort of thing, but why, of all the things he could have said, did he start there? It certainly set the tone… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

“As if we were” is the definition of “camp” in the British t.v. series “Beautiful People.”

Ironies abound when people live in two worlds at the same time. Here, rather than “fun” it seems the definition of duplicity and equivocation.

Not a particularly morally elevating interview, to my mind, but fitting in well with the old model of thinking that the ends justify the means, and that dissembling in the service of what thinks is a higher cause is morally worthy. (This was the same rationale that led to the concealment of scandals on both sides of the Tiber.)

Joan_of_Quark
Guest

Anyone else notice the bit where he was going on about whether he would be allowed to dress as a bishop once he joined the Ordinariate? No? That’d be just me then, because obviously as a woman I am obsessed with trivial things like fashion.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Very, very sad.

Andrew had no need to ‘become a Catholic’ – he already was one !

Doug
Guest
Doug

It’s interesting that the most high profile entrant into the Ordinariate comes across as something of a confidence man.

john
Guest
john

I don’t think it as bad as some do. He’s frank about the fact that some churches ‘work’ entirely independently of supposed ‘big issues’. Of course, in general he has for a long time been ‘disloyal’. But should one generalise to ‘all the PEVs are like this’? The bishop of Fulham that was seems to me to have been more complicated (though it’s over now); the Bishop of Beverley seems to me to have made it very clear where his loyalty and heart lie. So have the majority of FiF people. Let us help them.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The truth is that the Catholic Church has not taken on an Anglican patrimony but an Anglo-Catholic theme park…never representative of the Anglican mainstream. Sadly some Roman catholics think they are.

The official Ordinariate magazine the portal opened with an article on Bishop Gore.

Ironically Bishop Gore wrote a book..Roman catholic Claims which stopped many Anglo -Catholics converting….it was first published in 1888, ran into 12 editions and was last published in 1928.

Anyway , even though I have reservations, may God bless them in the Catholic Church. I may yet be proved wrong.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Don’t know if this idiom is known across the pond, but here in the southern part of the States, we would say of his very disingenuous explanation, “Well … bless his heart!”

Derek Gagne
Guest
Derek Gagne

There are so many strange things about the whole Ordinariate business on both sides that it makes one wonder about how people are able to justify and equivocate and live with duplicity and self-righteousness. Conservative (Papalist, Ultramontane) Roman Catholics are applauding this move, as well as many very narrow hidebound Anglo-Catholics who are so thrilled that Rome will have them, that it is hard to remember that a year or two ago these Romans viewed these Anglicans as heretics and schismatics who needed to “submit”. Now these same voices are saying that the Anglicans had to leave because of their… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Of course my dream would have been that when I said: “We’re going to submit to the Holy See.” Everyone would have followed me and done so that the priests, the churches and congregations would do so en bloc, which they haven’t”. – Bishop Burnham – I see Robert I Williams has changed his tune. However Bishop Burnham’s hopes seem now to have not been fulfilled’ so that Robert can relax. It would have been too bad if the incoming ‘hordes’ of ex-Anglicans into the Ordinariate had spoiled his dream of an unspotted Magisterial Church. One wonders, when the kerfuffle… Read more »

Derek Gagne
Guest
Derek Gagne

Further to the above, I should have said that “some” Anglo-Catholics are famous for complaining, etc. I am an Anglo-Catholic and feel I can speak freely, but I should not generalize. I admire Anglo-Catholicism for what it has given to our Church and will continue to give. However, some of the websites and comments of the groups in sympathy with the Ordinariate, including those “continuing Anglican” groups have given me pause. The utter conviction of their rightness and condemnation of those not going along with them, the scurrilous attacks on the CofE, the Episcopal Church and others. the frightfully nasty… Read more »

jim
Guest
jim

@Derek who says “..One wonders if the average Roman Catholic realizes what is coming their way.”

O in fact we do which is why they are suppose to be cordoned off into the Ordinariate while the rest of us are fleeing over to your side!!

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Well at least Andrew Burnham has joined the Ordinariate. I wonder about those anglican papalists who havent and wont.Are they going to continue using Roman rites and pray for Benedict our Pope having spurned his offer?.Anglican Papalism has always been a curious phenomenon but now it will look utterly bizarre. Though, I suppose, at the other end there have always been evangelicals who admit they are only in the C of E because it is “the best boat to fish from”.You might conclude the C of E is at root sui generis and not really “anglican” in the way other… Read more »

FrJohn
Guest
FrJohn

The Ordinariate is now established, Andrew Burnham and co have/are leading the faithful Catholics back home to be in full union with the See of Pete. Now Catholics can truly practise their catholic faith and the liberals can lead the C of E in which ever direction they wish; surely this is the best solution. I am truly grateful for Andrew Burnham’s ministry and leadership

a seeker after truth
Guest
a seeker after truth

I have just arrived home from attending a most glorious, moving and life-affirming Mass in Westminster Cathedral at which 3 faithful Christians made the next step on their Christian pilgrimage. There was standing room only (2,500, possibly more) and long and loud applause as they were made RC Priests. The name of the Ordinariate (the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) and the ordinary (Fr Keith Newton) were also announced. Whatever mixed motives may be at work in all of our human actions (yes, even blogging!)it is clear that the Holy Spirit is at work just as much in them… Read more »

William
Guest
William

The comments on this thread convince me even more that these men have found their true home.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

“One wonders if the average Roman Catholic realizes what is coming their way.” Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that the Ordinariate is such a damp squib that it will hardly affect the average Roman Catholic one way or the other. Setting up Anglican Use RC parishes here in the US didn’t. We have several Eastern Catholic eparchies here in the States, too, but their influence for the average Catholic is relatively small (although it exists). I think setting up the Ordinariate will affect the average RC about as much as ourintercommunion with the Moravians has affected the average… Read more »

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

One wonders why Fr John (I am a Fr too, but I don’t make anything of it) didn’t find his way to Rome long ago. It is sad and misleading to say that conservatives are or should be Roman Catholics and “liberals” are Anglicans and that is the way this whole issue has been portrayed. I may be conservative as an Anglican as well as “orthodox”, but it’s nonsense to say that what makes liberals liberal and conservatives conservative is their attitude toward women as priests or bishops. I am offended to be told that I am a “liberal” because… Read more »

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

“…long and loud applause as they were made RC Priests.”

Tsk.

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

“The comments on this thread convince me even more that these men have found their true home. “

Funny – Fr Burnham’s interview affected me the same way.

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

The thing I find most striking in this interview, is AB’s remark ‘We did all this as if we were setting out to be a diocese … it was done in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury … and it fitted in with the Forward in Faith Free province rhetoric’. It would be very good, in the interests of transparency, to know more of this consultation process. Perhaps Father Burnham will enlighten us. In what sense was the ABC ‘consulted’? And if he was, then surely the House of Bishops must have been consulted; and what about the diocesan bishops… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Bill you can’t compare this to the eastern rites…it will be so small…considerably less than 0.1 per cent of communicant members of the Church of England and the disproportionate number of former clergy will also show its lack of stability.

Its only future is if it can drag in some cradle Catholics.

it is no more, no less, an ex Anglo catholic theme park ..set up within the Catholic Church.Under no circumstances does it represent mainstream Anglicanism.

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

Before our seeker after truth petitions Rome for these men to be immediately beatified, he should not be so naive about them. They have made no major sacrifice and would not be doing this if Rome had not paved the way. Not for a minute would they have given up their purple and perks to go and work in secular jobs and they did not do that. Their status is what gives them the attention they crave. We have already seen how Andrew Burnham has been duplicitous and dishonest, but the CofE gave them roles, rights, positions, and money they… Read more »

Derek Gagne
Guest
Derek Gagne

An Anglo-Catholic theme park indeed. I have read various sites where A-C liturgical hobbyists are fussing about returning to the Roman Rite pre 1955 or perhaps reviving Sarum. What fun, but scarcely the point. The fussing about how many inches of lace on their cottas may not be just what Rome is looking for and they may not have nearly as much fun. If they bring “Anglican Patrimony”, someone suggested that they might have to discover what it is first.

a seeker after truth
Guest
a seeker after truth

Adam Armstrong. I happen to know these men personally and you are wrong in your assumptions about their financial positions. I also know several of the clergy who will be joining the Ordinariate and will, of course, have to move out of their Vicarages and find a home and an income to support their families. You can call into question the motives for setting up and joining the Ordinariate but financial gain is not one of them. Similarly, I wouldn’t read too much into the timing. Rome was first asked formally about providing a structure back in the early 1990s… Read more »

Randal Oulton
Guest
Randal Oulton

Well, I know that many progressive Catholics in Canada are dismayed to have the ranks of reactionary Catholics being reinforced by defecting Anglicans, however few. I just re-assure them that few indeed they are.