Thinking Anglicans

Common sense about the Ordinariate

Riazat Butt has written an excellent article for the Guardian, titled Catholic defectors will leave Anglicans breathing sigh of relief – bishop.

Bishop Christopher Hill of Guildford is quoted:

A Church of England bishop says congregations will breathe a “sigh of relief” this week when hundreds of worshippers defect to the Roman Catholic church, potentially drawing a line under the schism over the ordination of women.

Up to 900 Anglicans, including 60 clergy, are preparing to be received into the Roman Catholic faith in special services during Holy Week.

The Right Rev Christopher Hill said congregations losing clergy or laity to the Personal Ordinariate, a Vatican initiative allowing Anglicans to convert while keeping elements of their spiritual heritage, would allow the church to move on after being “racked” by the issue of women priests.

Hill, who is the bishop of Guildford and chair of the Council of Christian Unity, said while there was sadness at congregations losing their clergy or co-worshippers – in some instances both – there was reason to be positive.

“Where a decision has been made then those who go will have a bigger agenda, as do those who stay. They can leave this issue alone. It has racked these congregations. It has absorbed a lot of energy. Where a church has had such an exodus, there will be a sigh of relief that a decision has been made.”

Riazat also reports on two parishes where clergy and some laity have left. One of these is St Barnabas, Tunbridge Wells.

For the congregation of St Barnabas, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, the loss of a priest and 72 worshippers has caused personal and practical difficulties.

All but two members of the parochial church council – the executive body of the parish – have left, and people with no prior involvement in the running of the church have been forced to help out.

Christine Avery, a churchwarden who has been praying at St Barnabas for 20 years, said: “We have to make ends meet and it’s a big church. Everyone is doing jobs they never thought they could do. But there’s a great atmosphere and we want this church to stay open.”

On Palm Sunday a reduced but resolute congregation threw themselves into a Sung Eucharist and a procession along the Camden Road.

Avery, and others, say they have noticed that people who had stayed away from St Barnabas have returned, as have some who said they were leaving for the Ordinariate. The church is by no means united on women’s ordination, but one worshipper implied there were fewer divisions than before the 70 departures…

Some more background on the situation in this parish here.

An earlier report in the Telegraph by Jonathan Wynne-Jones mentioned St Mary the Virgin, Torquay. A letter in the Telegraph today (scroll down) reports that:

Anglican parish carries on despite departures

SIR – Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports on events at St Mary the Virgin, Torquay (“The faithful torn apart”, News Review, April 17). As an honorary priest at St Mary’s I know that when the vicar, the Rev David Lashbrooke, announced his departure to join the Roman Catholic Church on March 6 it came as a shock to some parishioners, but it was not unexpected because there had been speculation for months.

Some 25 adults and children went with him to the Ordinariate and that did cause some distress because they went without notice, some abandoning their offices in the parish.

Since Ash Wednesday on March 9 the congregation has begun to grow under the exemplary leadership of Fr Dexter Bracey, the assistant curate, supported by two retired priests. Sunday services have been adjusted, but numbers have increased and the atmosphere is purposeful and joyful as people grow closer and more confident.

There are new churchwardens and a newly elected parochial church council, so we are moving forward still rooted in our Catholic heritage and determined to keep the faith within the Church of England.

“Though much is taken much abides,” as Tennyson wrote.

We miss our friends who have gone to the Ordinariate but we continue to pray for them as they seek to follow their consciences and remain faithful to their calling.

Fr Warwick Whelan
Torquay, Devon

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Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

The lay people, curate and retired priests at St. Mary’s in Torquay set a fine example of Christian ethics by their good wishes for those who have left their parish to become Roman Catholics, while also expressing rebirth and JOY for the people who have stayed members of St. Mary’s parish. How wonderful to see their numbers grow. I see a much healthier and vibrant St. Mary’s in Torquay. Hats off to all of the people on both sides of this issue. May love replace bitterness.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Fr Broadhurst: the Church of England – “vicious” and “fascist“. Fr Geoffrey Kirk: “It has changed out of all recognition from the Church I joined,” Some years ago I heard Fr Kirk declaim to a FiF meeting at Holy Nativity Knowle Bristol (where Keith Newton was parish Priest before becoming a ‘flying bishop’) – “make no mistake about it, they hate us”. I, and no doubt many others, will join the Bishop of Guildford’s sigh of relief that these and others have hopefully found a home where they will be happy and where they will no longer have need to… Read more »

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

Members of a group calling its self the Anglican Association have issued a pamphlet entiled “Is the Ordinariate for you,? “With the subtitle“ some considerations for Anglicans about the Ordinariate proposals contained in and offered by “Anglicanorum Coetibus”.However this is a way of disguising the fact that the contents are an attack on the claims and doctrines of the Catholic Church. In so far as that is the case, this is not so much an objective critique of Anglicanorum Coetibus, as a dissuasive from joining the Catholic Church. The booklet is subsidised, as the first 250 copies have been offered… Read more »

Jakian Thomist
Guest

Agreed. I think the sense of goodwill and positivity surrounding the Ordinariate on all sides has proven the doubters wrong and has highlighted what imaginative and creative potential the Ordinariate has for all!

Too often we hear about division and negatives and not near enough about the “positive choice(s)”. Happy Easter to all!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Having read the remarks of Robert I Williams on this thread, one cannot help but reflect on the situation of a one-time Prime Minister of New Zealand – Robert Muldoon – who, when told that one of the effects of his administration was that many N.Z-ers were leaving for Australia, remarked that perhaps the IQ of both countries were set to receive an up-grade by the move. With apologies for my warped sense of humour (and no disrespect to my Aussie friends)! In a more serious vein, Bishop Hill is surely correct when he intimates that the Church of England… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“Most of the attacks on Catholic doctrines like the Papacy, infallibility and other Catholic doctrines are the standard misrepresentations, that mark anti-catholic discourse, whether it emanates from fundamentalist Protestantism or liberalism. All these can be easily rebutted by going to the web site Catholic.com.”

Well, Easter IS the Paramount Day for good humor, RIW. 😉 [Happy Easter to all at TA—he is risen, Alleluia!]

Father David
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Father David

Me thinks that Bishop Hill is being a little premature in his comments. The Ordinariate which is struggling to attract 1000 members means that the Established Church retains tens of thousands of loyal Anglo-Catholics who remain and are deeply disturbed by recent and possible future changes to the sacred ministry. An acceptable form of accommodation must be found for them if there is not to be a further exodus when or if women are consecrated into the historic episcopate.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Presumably those who have joined the Ordinariate are now known. Is there a list anywhere of the former C of E clergy? How many were stipendiary, non-stipendiary, retired etc? Also perhaps a breakdown of the laity numbers.Have all who left on Ash wednesday actually become Roman Catholics? I heard ( down here in the diocese of Canterbury) that a few of the east Kent “converts” have come back? what of the “Anglican patrimony”? I will be fascinated to see what that is…I cant somehow see some of those I know donning scarves and hoods and returning to the Anglican Daily… Read more »

Benedict
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Benedict

Father Smith, if everything is so rosy for Anglicanism in New Zealand, can you explain why it is that according to the census figures for religious affiliation there, the following was noted? In 1996, the number of Anglicans stood at 631 764, compared with the figure for Roman Catholics of 473 112. By 2006, the former number had decreased to 554 925, whilst the latter had increased to 508 437, a trend repeated in many parts of the world. Is that the serious mission you refer to in your post?

Richard Grand
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Richard Grand

This post is obviously catnip for Benedict and RIW, who always manage to turn everything to their cause. Father Smith wasn’t talking about Anglicanism in NZ at all. It is never a good thing to see splits and conflict, but they were already a fact and the Ordinariate has just brought them out. Those who have gone still can’t seem to resist throwing brickbats at the CofE. They should really be happier. Despite their bragging and speculating that this is “the first wave” and a deluge of people leaving the CofE will follow, this is probably their high water mark.

JPM
Guest
JPM

Has Fr. Ed stopped publishing his venomous little blog now?

David Malloch
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David Malloch

Perry, a full list of clergy is to be found here: http://www.ordinariate.org.uk/news.htm

It looks like approx 50% are stipendiary, which ties in with the numbers claimed all along. Those who are retired seem to be active.

JCF
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JCF

“The Ordinariate which is struggling to attract 1000 members means that the Established Church retains tens of thousands of loyal Anglo-Catholics who remain and are deeply disturbed by recent and possible future changes to the sacred ministry.”

I can only comment as an Ignorant Yank from afar, but does anyone closer to the situation believe that Father David may be “Crying ‘Wolf'”?

Scott
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Scott

There is obvious concern for Anglo Catholics – as well there should be – regarding the move toward women in Holy Orders including, eventually, Bishop. But if the experience in North America is applicable, it seems that the really wonderful centers of Anglo-Catholicism such as St Mary the Virgin in NY and St Mary Mag in Toronto have made peace, and more than peace, with women in various Orders. I dare say that this is in part because both sides (in spite of our tendency toward inflamed rhetoric) have been patient and gracious. I also dare say it is in… Read more »

rOBERT IAN WILLIAMS
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rOBERT IAN WILLIAMS

I liked Sir Robert Muldoon…a very astute politician (Welsh on his Mum’s side). As regards religious statistics.. only conservative evangelicalism within NZ Anglicanism is growing.

As regards Anglo catholics.. only a fraction of them have joined Rome.. there is still a solid number opposed to women bishops within the Church of England. Most of the 60 ordinariate clergy are retired former Anglicans.

Benedict
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Benedict

Richard Grand, I am not sure whether you meant to include me as one of “those who have gone”, but I take the opportunity to let you know that I am stil very much a member of the Church of England, a member too of a thriving Anglo-Catholic Parish with all three resolutions in place, which takes the Christian missionary imperative very seriously. On Easter Sunday, we were thus blessed with almost 200 worshippers at Mass, young and mature, male and female. It simply isn’t good enough to claim, as Father Smith did, that the “inclusive ethos” of the Church… Read more »

Richard Grand
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Richard Grand

“Those who are retired seem to be active”. I am baffled by the meaning of this statement. I assume it must mean are doing churchy things (e.g. taking services.) Unless they have gone into hiding or have died, aren’t most retired clergy “active”. Why is that fact relevant?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The Archbishop of York spoke about this on Radio 2. See transcript here:
http://ordinariateportal.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/bbc-radio-2-archbishop-of-york-on-the-ordinariate/

Rosemary Hannah
Guest

What makes churches grow? Excellent preaching, which can bend itself to the needs of the congregation without yielding an atom of the essence of the Truth. Compassion. Energetic clergy and engaged laity. A lively sense of both the presence of Christ,and the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit,and the over-reaching care and compassion of the Father. It can happen in any church of any flavour. I think I should add that chairs had to be set at the back of St Mary’s to accommodate worshippers at the main Easter service on Sunday. And we are not conservative – neither Evangelical… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“a church that is again, decreasing numerically compared to its Roman Catholic sister.” – Posted by Benedict

Surely you would concede, Benedict, that EVERYWHERE in the developed world, that’s due to birthrate and (following from) immigration (by RCs)? Not evangelical zeal/conversions?

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

Difficult for me to understand (but then I am a Yank) what the Ordinariate offers these 900 converts that the RC church before the ordinariate didn’t. Why did they wait for the ordinariate if they believed the Pope was infallible and outside the church (RC) there is no salvation. Also why is the RC church willing to take people in on special conditions (only)?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Thanks, Rosemary, for your helpful comment here – about the goodly congregation at St.Mary’s. I’m pretty sure that Jesus won’t neglect to visit the altars of English churches where dissenting clergy and congregation have departed for fresh fields in the Ordinariate. In fact, his presence might be even more keenly felt – simply because of the lack of back-biting and the possibility of a welcome to the ministry of women. We had a good reminder at the Easter services of how Mary Magdalene was chosen by Jesus as His Apostle to the Apostles! (The men didn’t believe her message, but… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

The statistics posted on here last month from BRIN rather suggested that the RC Church in England had declined marginally more rapidly than the C of E since 1985.I am not sure the Ordinariate will change things much.Conservative and sectarian forms of religion seem to be holding up or slightly increasing, which I suppose is what the sociologists said would happen.”Gathered” Conservative evangelical parishes in towns seem to do well, but clearly dont suit the countryside and C of E churches of different hues flourish in the suburbs and country towns. I suspect that with the arrival of women bishops… Read more »

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

The “numbers game” plays to the advantage of some (like Benedict, who seems to enjoy it it), but without context tells us very little. The influx if Irish people into England accounted for the main growth of the RC Church in the past and the same is happenng now when people immigrate with RC backgrounds. In Canada, the traditional groups that formed the RC Church have largely departed, especially the French and Irish, and have been replaced by people from Southeast Asia and, to some degree, eastern Europe. Meanwhile Anglicanism receives next to no one from immigration and the birthrate… Read more »

NCG
Guest
NCG

Some Catholic bishops have been less than welcoming to converts, and it is the direct involvement of the CDF with the process that has ensured a swift process rather than the protracted period of reception that many of the English bishops wanted. When a large number of priests converted after the Ordination of Women in the Church of England, it was the CDF that tried to keep the process simple – even then some Catholic bishops were notably obstructive, and once the special process came to an end, the ‘usual channels’ reverted to a 4-5 year wait for ordination to… Read more »

Adam Armstrong
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Adam Armstrong

Benedict said “those ludicrous claims..that the innovation would somehow signal a new awakening in the life of the Church”. No one can seriously claim that anything in itself will do this. It is the grace of God and our faithfulness that is needed. Although some may have said that the ordination of women might bring new life, the fact is that is wasn’t done to “fix” the Church. It was done because half of humanity has the same status in the eyes of the God as the other half. If you think about it, women have made a huge impact… Read more »

Derek Gagne
Guest
Derek Gagne

The high principle that, we are told, lies behind going to Rome in its guise as the Ordinariate raises many questions. The claims of Rome to be the “one true Church” and the Pope the Successor of Peter with all that entails (infallibility being just one) have always been in place. These never were such attractions until the possibility of a women as a bishop came along. Even women priests seemed not to be a compelling reason to go. Some would argue that the present Pope has made leaving more attractive, but the claims of Rome have always been the… Read more »

Counterlight
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Counterlight

As to the old “which church is declining” (as measured by bums in the pews), and “which church is flourishing” (using the same measure), it seems to me to be nothing more than the old idea that “Nothing $ucceeds Like $uccess!” In the narratives that we have inherited, Jesus seems remarkably indifferent to this very conventional concept. He attracted a lot of people. He alienated a lot of people. In the end, His movement numbered His dying self on a cross together with 3 women and a teenage boy, and that after a life’s work. Maybe He had something more… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

The truth is the Catholic Church in England and Wales is in meltdown. Look at the Ordinariate reception photos and see how old the new converts generally are.

As regards the birthrate , Italy and Spain ( 90 per cent catholic ) , have the lowest birth rates on earth!

And the Pope keeps talking of the great renewal of the second Vatican Council.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Picking up on Derek’s excellent post…I have heard it said that the Ordinariate is Pope Benedict’s way of having an ultra loyal group as a counterweight to the perceived”liberalism” of the bishops of England and Wales. Not sure how that would be verified…but to work it would need a substantial body of converts and as on previous occasions..1845, 1851. Apostolicae Curae, South India, 1993 ….the Vatican has considerably overestimated the likely numbers of converts. A friend of mine who is an english correspondent to a proVatican Italian national newspaper told me when I met him last week that many in… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

RIW:

Italy and Spain are nominally 90% Roman Catholic. Once again, the real question is–how many of those who call themselves RC in those countries attend Mass on Sunday, follow Vatican rules on things like contraception and abortion (not to mention homosexuality), etc. I can call myself anything I like…whether I act like it is another story entirely.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“And the Pope keeps talking of the great renewal of the second Vatican Council.” – R.I.Williams – While yet turning the clock back to Vatican I! You and I both know, Robert, that the Pope is busy side-stepping most of what he once advocated as a young theologian before Vat.II. He, like the ABC on the Anglican front, has been suborned by the conservatives in your/his church I find it quite peculiar, Robert, that you, having sought sanctuary across the Tiber, seem now to be doing your very best to discredit your new-found co-religionists. Are they disappointing your thirst for… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

“has been suborned by the conservatives in your/his church”: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 11:51am BST

Yet neither the RC “traditionalists” nor the Anglican “conservatives” like or respect Pope or ABC – both seem to think they are merely wolves dressed as lambs.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I like Pope Benedict and do not question the validity of Vatican Two ( in fact rather prefer the ordinary rite of Mass)…but I do think there has been a lack of discipline in the Church, pooor catechetics etc which a future Pope will restore.

John
Guest
John

I also found Bishop Hill’s comments too simple. Those who have joined the Ordinariate have gone – others will follow – others will come back. For the first two groups, one has no further concern (I mean, qua Anglican). For the third, one can only rejoice. But then as Benedict rightly says, there is another group – those FiF people who have not gone/will probably not go/most definitely want to stay/but who yet do not accept WO. I know some and read others. It remains our duty to accommodate them – just as they too must accommodate us. On their… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“…the Established Church retains tens of thousands of loyal Anglo-Catholics who remain and are deeply disturbed by recent and possible future changes to the sacred ministry”.

And, I suspect, many ‘loyal Anglo-Catholics remain who are convinced that Women in Holy Orders is the new initiative of the Holy Spirit – redressing the balance of many centuries of misogyny in the Church, by harnessing the total ministry concept. Make no mistake, the Anglican Communion Churches still need the catholic and apostolic theology that undergirds the thrust of the Gospel’s inclusive outreach to ALL people.

Cunctator
Guest
Cunctator

John said: “On their side, that means less about the Pope, less about the true church, less fulmination about liberal innovations.”
In other words, “Calm down dears, calm down”.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I suspect that while tens of thousands probably do worship at churches with an Anglo-Catholic tradition of worship, a much smaller number are as concerned as many of their clergy. In many parishes the resolutions esp C have not been put in place because the clergy know it would not get through the PCC.I suspect the ( remaining) number of laity concerned enough to move to Rome is not huge.Most parishes with an anglo-catholic tradition contain those ( often a considerable number) who are relatively relaxed about the issue. They remain “Anglican” in identity not anything else, and are mostly… Read more »

commentator
Guest
commentator

Now that the Archbishop has put in place more PEV’s with impressive speed, I’d like to venture he should show the same positive response to the Holy Father’s ‘gracious’ offer of the Ordinariate. His Grace should follow the Supreme Pontiff’s example and offer a similar facility to Roman Catholics across his Province. They could come on over and use their traditional rite. I wonder just what that would produce?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Do you mean to suggest that they could use the “forma extraordinaria” i.e. the “Tridentine” 1962 form entirely in Latin?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

An even better idea: Let the new PEV’s minister to this newly-proposed Anglican Ordinariate – for disaffected Roman Catholic Traditionalists. After all, one of them is already well acquainted with the Pusey House Use, which could please the Roman Catholic newcomers a great deal.

Fr John
Guest
Fr John

While everyone seems to be congratulating themselves on the relatively small number of Anglo-Catholics joining the Ordinariate, what they should really be worrying about is the large number of very wealthy traditionalist Evangelical parishes who, if the measure in its present form is approved, will just take their 500 plus congregations and go quietly to do their own thing – Heaven knows they can afford it. Can the C of E afford to lose them?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

John, one is already aware of those evangelical parishes who use their monetary wealth to try to influence dogmatic conservatism – by already withholding their diocesan quota, etc. But are they seriously considering doing this on grounds other than ‘sola scriptura’ or openness towards gays in the ministry and SSBs? I would not have thought that the prospect of women bishops would rank highly on their programmes of intentional fiscal withdrawal.