Monday, 8 November 2010

Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Fulham

The Bishop of Fulham has published this pastoral letter on his website, following the announcement of his resignation.

Pastoral Letter from the Bishop of Fulham

My resignation has been formally announced. I know that for many of you this will be not unexpected but for others it will be a shock. I have thoroughly enjoyed being your Bishop and have thought it a great privilege. I remain utterly committed to our Catholic and Anglican heritage.

The Bishop of London intends to replace me and I hope that you will get a Bishop who is able to minister to you faithfully in the deteriorating situation in the Church of England.

It has been my great joy to work in three different Dioceses and in each of them I have felt welcomed and affirmed. I will miss many colleagues and the priests and parishioners of the parishes it has been my privilege to serve for more than 14 years.

My personal future is that I intend to enter the new Catholic Ordinariate being set up by the Pope. For 40 years I have been committed to the ARCIC process in which the Church of England seeks to unite with Rome. Recent decisions in our own church have made a positive outcome to these talks less and less likely. The Holy Father has made what seems to me a positive and generous offer to Orthodox Anglicans and I do not feel any choice but to accept. The consequence of this will be that our Catholic and Anglican heritage exists in two different places. It is important that we all remain friends and do not do anything to undermine or criticise each other. I am very grateful for the affection and love which Judi and I have both found in all the parishes. Many thanks for everything that you have done over the years and for all that we have achieved.

My final act as a Bishop will be to celebrate the Mass at Gordon Square on the eve of Christ the King, Saturday 20th November at 12 noon. I hope to see many of you there.

Every Blessing,
Yours as ever,
+John

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 3:34pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Three things.

Why does the Bishop of London get to replace him?

Wouldn't it be better to retire the position rather than fill it again?

ARCIC: "in which the Cof E seeks to unite with Rome."

Really? Silly American me, I thought ARCIC was an effort to reach theological understanding and eventually, perhaps, agreement on things like baptism.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 4:03pm GMT

"My final act as a Bishop will be to celebrate the Mass at Gordon Square on the eve of Christ the King, Saturday 20th November at 12 noon. I hope to see many of you there."

The very day the bishop enters the Roman Catholic ordinariate, his orders will be null and void, and, in fact, according to the powers in his new denomination, will never have existed as proper Holy Orders. Here today, gone tomorrow. I wondered whether Bishop Broadhurst still presided at the Eucharist or if perhaps he had stopped in anticipation of the null and void. My question is answered by the bishop himself.

Posted by: Grandmère Mimi on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 4:23pm GMT

"...in the deteriorating situation in the Church of England..."

Up and down the land, Anglicans go about their daily lives of faith, prayer, service, love of neighbour.

I am a member of the Church of England, and I am so glad and grateful for the countless unpublicised lives of faith and grace, witnessing to Christ, and becoming a living word in their prayers and loving action.

Personally, I also see ways in which the life of Christ breaks forth, in the Church of England, in sometimes new and always wonderful ways.

And I am reminded, and wish it like a prayer for the bishop too, that "all things work for good for those who love God."

Deteriorating? Christ is alive among Christians, and alive in the people we meet, and I find *so much hope*...

With respect, I think 'deteriorating' is a small picture of an aspect of church politics, of marginal concern to most sick people visited, most bereaved people comforted... not the big picture of Christ alive and continuing to bless the Church of England's ministry.

But I pray blessing on the Bishop. We are each called on a unique and hopeful journey. God be with you, and really bless you.

God will also, I am sure, bless all Christians who are called to continue their lives of faith in the Anglican Church...

...for our God is a God of great hope.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 4:55pm GMT

there is not much difference between the church of england, church of ireland and the roman catholic church exept for a paper thin wall.

Posted by: stephen skimin on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 5:50pm GMT

Their statement said they were ceasing their public episcopal ministry forthwith. Presiding at the Eucharist is a public episcopal ministry, perhaps the quintessential public episcopal ministry, and forthwith means 'immediately'. The opinion that his presiding at the eucharist is valid is no longer valid, as the Vatican definitively (if not clearly infallibly -- there are two conflicting voices on that one) holds that his orders are null and void. He cannot preside at the eucharist with a proper intention and also intend honestly to make the profession of faith that he presumably has yet to make. He's got to choose. Otherwise it's not really about faith, it's about his wanting a send-off. I hope he reconsiders. Better yet, I hope Rome tells him it's not on, that he hasn't quite understood what orders, the Eucharist, presiding, etc. are all about. In my experience, in the RC Church, once you decide to marry, for instance, your faculties are immediately suspended (not your mental faculties!)...

I was once in this position, and when I presided at my last RC Eucharist I (and the bishop) were the only ones who knew this would be my last. I have to say it was incredibly consoling, unbelievably-so. For his sake, I hope his was equally consoling, but with the emphasis on 'was'.

Posted by: Joe on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 6:33pm GMT

His final act as a bishop should have been whatever he did yesterday.

And that is being over-generous to him.

In the real world that the rest of us inhabit he would have been suspended, allowing him "to spend more time with his family", weeks if not months ago.


Posted by: John Roch on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 6:34pm GMT

"My final act as a Bishop will be to celebrate the Mass at Gordon Square on the eve of Christ the King, Saturday 20th November at 12 noon. I hope to see many of you there."

Yes, I'll buy a new suit and be there. I've always wanted to take Mass from a Bishop who believes that his orders are null and void.

Posted by: Doug on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 7:09pm GMT

"The Bishop of London intends to replace me and I hope that you will get a Bishop who is able to minister to you faithfully in the deteriorating situation in the Church of England."

- +John, Fulham -

I hope the Bishop of London is not going to institute another 'lame duck' into the provenance of 'Flying Bishops'. That would negate all the work done to eradicate these episcopi vagantes in the Church of England. The only similar sort of 'bishops' are those 'ordained' by the Global South to interfere in the life of TEC & A.C.of C.

Does +John not realise yet that he is actually part of the continuing problems within the Church of England, and that the sooner he and his fellow these vagantes are gone, the sooner the Church of England will be restored to its one-time catholic and reformed heritage?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 8:30pm GMT

It would seem Broadhurst still believes in his orders...so he knows how women priests feel when they were told by him that they were not true!

My question is this, how can any person of integrity accept unconditional ordination if they believe they are already ordained?

Posted by: robert Ian Williams on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 8:45pm GMT

Wot Mimi said. If he's Poping, then he's NOT currently a "priest" in their eyes, and CANNOT "celebrate the Mass".

Fr OR Mr Broadhurst's Double-Think would make Orwell proud!

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 9:11pm GMT

Phrases like "the deteriorating situation in the Church of England" hardly seem gracious. Beneath all the outward politeness, this is really the point. Another bishop who is leaving (Burnham) made a comparison between the C of E and a Coffee Shop chain that doesn't sell the same product in every location. Has he actually looked at the C of E? 'Twas ever thus and we used to call it Anglican comprehensiveness and not a bad thing. It would be kinder at gentler to leave without sniping, but them they have been sniping since 1994. The peculiarity of saying a "farewell Mass" in Anglican orders while being convinced that he should join a Church that says he is not a priest at all underscores how peculiar this situation really is. If he believes his Anglican orders to be valid, then he is already disobedient to Rome. Hypocrisy is a strange animal and this whole situation, especially from the Roman side, reeks of it.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 9:24pm GMT

Joe: of course the situation for you and your bishop were rather different from that of the Bp of Fulham's. You were moving to a part of the Church that would continue to recognise your existing presbyteral orders, nothing had to be denied in that regard (even if you didn't know whether they would want you or not -- which I of course have no personal knowledge of). Your bishop might have said that since you are about to renounce the authority of the pope and of your bishop under whom you exercised your presbyteral ministry that your own ministry was no longer regular, but no one was denying its validity.

Whereas the Bp of Fulham is moving to a part of the Church that does not regard hs orders as unconditionally valid (to put it at its most favourable).

We had a similar situation in our parish until recently. The vicar had announced his retirement and it was widely known that he intended to be received into communion with the Bp of Rome. So where did that leave him during the final months of his incumbency?

And if he thought that it was okay to preside in such a situation at the eucharist, why is it so terrible for women clergy to? (From the perspective, that is, which isn't sure about the validity of women's orders, I mean.)

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 10:04pm GMT

Does anyone ask how women priests in the C of E are faring in the light of all this? The fuss in the media and the coverage (especially in the Telegraph) that provides a platform for sounding off against the C of E and women clergy doesn't seem to take into account the many faithful women who continue to minister without seeking headlines. The Roman triumphalism and the shameless grandstanding about this is nothing less than abusive to them and to the faithful who depend on their ministry. It is interesting that these bishops are so pastorally insensitive not only to women clergy, but to women in general. But then look where they are going.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 10:06pm GMT

Those commenters castigating +John for proposing to celebrate a final Mass would carry more weight if their concern truly was for +john's soul, rather than a mixture of spite, bitterness and triumphalism at his departure.

While the argument concerning orders is a difficult one, it bears pointing out that celebrating Mass is not an episcopal function but a priestly one. The main point however is that Rome is not nearly so inflexible with respect to past Anglican orders as people think. I have no doubt that very many of the Catholics involved in the Ordinariates privately accept +john's orders. Technically and legalistically is only one way to view the situation. Thankfully, Rome also sees it pastorally, which it seems is more than Anglicans can do. As I have said here before, previous converts in 1994 were not required to renounce or deny their Anglican ministries, indeed Cardinal Hume explicitly said that they were not in his homily at their reception service.

A smaller example from my own conversion is that I was told I would be welcome to receive the sacraments during my RCIA formation, based on my Anglo-catholic past. I chose not to, waiting until the Easter vigil and my reception and confirmation into the church. But the Roman church is very capable of a flexible pastoral response and not nearly so demanding as people think.

Posted by: Clive on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 10:52pm GMT

"But the Roman church is very capable of a flexible pastoral response and not nearly so demanding as people think."

- Clive, on Monday -

Yes, we've witnessed this in the recent visit of the pope to Barcelona to consecrate the church of Sagrada Famiglia. The Spanish government would be really hearted to hear his speech about marriage being a gift of God for a man and a woman only. This really is pastoral. No doubt heterosexual married couples will now be flocking to Church in Spain - but no gay ones.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 11:24pm GMT

I can find nothing pastoral in this letter.

This resignation has been the most protracted I can remember, and even now, it is not over. I note what Clive writes - and regret that some wish this man ill, but the matter of Anglican orders is neither a casual nor a pastoral matter. If this is a conversion it is amongst the most unusual I have witnessed. Clive must also bear in mind some of the comments he finds unpleasant here above are from members of the RCC.

So, can someone tell me, just when does he become Mr Broadhurst? I can't be the only one wondering?

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 11:45pm GMT

"....celebrating Mass is not an episcopal function but a priestly one".

Sorry Clive but you are totally wrong on this. Presiding at the Eucharist is THE principal episcopal function. Priests do it in the bishop's stead.

Clerical converts to Rome are not asked to deny their orders but they are (re)ordained unconditionally. I can't imagine how anyone of any integrity could continue to function as a priest or bishop once the decision to convert had been made, but maybe that says more about my imagination than their integrity.

Posted by: Jonathan Kirkpatrick on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 12:01am GMT

I fail to see the "spite, bitterness and triumphalism" Clive has remarked on. Perhaps he has reasons for projecting them onto people who posted comments. I think it's fair to say that there has been so much carrying-on for so long that we are happy that the hurt has stopped. The fact that it's been "all about me" for these bishops for so long with so litle real empathy for others has been hurtful-now we are being told that we must have more empathy for them. They are not victims, despite their attempt to paint the C of E as victimisers. Didn't Broadhurst call the CofE fascist recently? How pastoral, especially as he already had both feet out the door. The remarks about his rather loose application of the RC view of Anglican Orders is not mean. After making such a huge issue about wanting the "traditional" Catholic Faith and accepting the claims of the See of Peter, he should at least be consistent in what he deems to be "Tradition". The flexibility of Rome is the last thing Broadhurst and his ilk would seem to admire, since Anglican flexibility has been their bete noir.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 1:44am GMT

"Those commenters castigating +John for proposing to celebrate a final Mass would carry more weight if their concern truly was for +john's soul, rather than a mixture of spite, bitterness and triumphalism at his departure."

My concern is the DAMAGE HIS HYPOCRISY does to ***proclamation of the Gospel***, Clive. (And next time, if you want to know my motivations, just ASK!)

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 2:14am GMT

"I have no doubt that very many of the Catholics involved in the Ordinariates privately accept +john's orders ... Thankfully, Rome also sees it pastorally, which it seems is more than Anglicans can do." - Clive

It's been that way for a long time, Clive. The more liberal Roman Catholics think Anglican Orders are OK. The problem comes with the official teaching (party line) which doesn't jive with informed opinion.

How are we Anglicans not "pastoral" with John Broadhurst. Some snippy comments here? I wish him well in hopes that his move will be a comfortable one. Many have found it otherwise and returned home to a fatted calf. My John do well with Rome or return and be welcomed. The is always a place at the table.

Posted by: Robert Zacher on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 2:32am GMT

Steve states....

there is not much difference between the church of england, church of ireland and the roman catholic church exept for a paper thin wall.

Well I belive there is and I belive those differences will have eternal consequences.

That is why some of us converted.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 7:09am GMT

I am suprised we have had no comment from our RC friend, Robert Ian Williams. he told us, I seem to remember that Bp Broadhurst was unlikely to be accepted since he was until undergraduate days a Roman Catholic....but Rome looks as if it will be pretty flexible to make sure the Ordinariate is viable.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 9:13am GMT

The delayed posting system left Perry Butler's comment very amusingly placed and very apt.
I am sure Robert IW will be writing to ask about this apparent contradiction with the norms - let's hope he shares with us the reply

As to delayed resignations .... well I think Gene Robinson has managed one of the longest run ups ever!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 12:41pm GMT

Re: Clive on Monday - 'Technically and legalistically is only one way to see the situation.' Yes indeed there are plenty of RCs who believe priested women are priests and in France I've heard ... that some have even concelebrated in public with women priests .....it is certainly a common RC practice in France (by priests as well as laity)to receive from Anglican women priests. I was told to use the reserved sacrament if I ran out of hosts and indeed to leave any of my left-over hosts in the common tabernacle. (Don't worry R I Williams, I'm not planning on doing either of those).

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 3:16pm GMT

"As to delayed resignations .... well I think Gene Robinson has managed one of the longest run ups ever!"

Would you mind explaining this statement? Thanks.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 5:28pm GMT

Oh, go on, Sara, leave them there. I have an image of the Holy Spirit hovering over your hosts, torn with indecision as to whether to act upon them or not. Perhaps not if anglicans consume them, and perhaps diving-bombing in at the last moment if they're put on the tongue of an unsuspecting Roman Catholic. I can't help feeling sorry for the Holy Spirit, having to check on the gender of everyone who holds up a host at the consecration. It would have been so much easier in the 1950s when a short-back-and-sides or a Marcel Wave would have been enough evidence. Today, with shoulder-length hair on men and grey bobs on women it's so difficult to tell.
Perhaps it's just as well you're so well-behaved about your left-overs.

Posted by: junius on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 7:29pm GMT

Thank you, Susannah Clark. I've felt like this all along. I love reading about everything that's going on here - a geeky fascination for a layperson, I guess - but I'm often very struck by how utterly removed from, and foreign to, our regular communal life all this is.

Posted by: Sarah on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 7:56pm GMT

Would you mind explaining this statement? Thanks.

I can't imagine why you might need that!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 9:19pm GMT

Broadhurst is promoting the idea that thousands will join the ordinariate....I think that is drivel. I believe that in England there will be a disproportionate number of ex clergy and very few laity. I think 500 maximum. One ex Anglican and now Catholic priest, Peter Geldard is hoping cradle Catholics will help prop it up.

its not the Church buildings that will decide the issue, but the lack of accommodation and stipends.

I feel sorry for our Bishops ( Catholic ) that this ordinariate will be an independent entity alongside them....governed like a quasi presbyterian sect!

I think the Vatican would be very unwise to ordain Broadhurst. I hope Rome are vigilant.. I know one FIF member who is considering converting and he has a boyfriend!

Interesting how these bishops are leaving, having milked the Anglican system for years.the attitude seems to be...Why not retire to become a Catholic priest..what an insult to our priests, who give up so much.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 9:57pm GMT

"Would you mind explaining this statement? Thanks."

"I can't imagine why you might need that!"


This exchange is about +Gene's retirement, and I still don't understand your "one of the world's longest run ups" and I still don't get it. Please spell out for this dim Yank. Thanks.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 10:51pm GMT

Cynthia you are'nt dim. I haven't understood either.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 11:30pm GMT

Since Martin declines to elaborate, I presume he is talking about +New Hampshire's announcement last weekend that he will retire in Jan 2012.

Of course, Martin glosses over the fact that he has called for the election of a coadjutor, and that the process in the Episcopal Church likely means the said coadjutor would not be in place prior to the late summer or fall of 2011.

In other words, +Gene is being very prudent about succession planning.

Though how this is at all relevant to the issue of this thread is a bit cloudy. +Gene is not about to deny the validity of his own orders.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 12:11am GMT

Ah 2012, I thought it was a year later!

Not, quite so long then. New Hampshire has a history of calling Coadjutor.

The American process seems unnecessarily long drawn-out.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 8:35am GMT

>>>The American process seems unnecessarily long drawn-out.

It would be so much quicker if we could just get a panel of government bureaucrats to foist one of their cronies on us.

Posted by: JPM on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 3:02pm GMT

"The American process seems unnecessarily long drawn-out." - Martin Reynolds -

Perhaps not, Martin. Other Provinces of the Communion, which have the capability to elect their own bishops (without government interference), often plan for the retirement of their diocesan bishops, It has been proved to be a prudent measure - giving all concerned the valuable opportunity of thoroughly vetting the prospects of new leadership in their diocese. I guess with the English system, this does not necessarily apply.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 10:27pm GMT

Ron Smith wrote: "Other Provinces of the Communion, which have the capability to elect their own bishops (without government interference), often plan for the retirement of their diocesan bishops, It has been proved to be a prudent measure - giving all concerned the valuable opportunity of thoroughly vetting the prospects of new leadership in their diocese. I guess with the English system, this does not necessarily apply."

And, with regard to Ron's last sentence above, we can all see how well that has worked out over the past twenty odd years.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 12:57am GMT

Here in Canada, the Prime Minister (thank God) has no capacity to foist inept bishops on the Church. We do it ourselves.

Even so, our process takes significantly less time than the American Church.

Our previous diocesan resigned at the end of May. No formal part of the process had been initiated in advance of that. We had an electoral synod in December. We didn't have our new bishop until the following May, but that was principally due to family issues - ie, not moving the children late in the (Sep - Jun) school year.

I gather the TEC process includes an initial "nominating synod," where a limited "short list" of candidates is selected to go forward to the electoral synod. In addition, the handling of consents is different. In Canada, it is only the (internal) ecclesiastical province, and (IIRC) only the House of Bishops - and their consent will usually be gathered at a meeting of the House as one matter of business. In the US, it is a majority of bishops with jurisdiction across all of TEC - AND a majority of diocesan standing committees.

In Canada, from start to finish, the process could take as little as six months. In the US it appears to take more like 18 months to two years.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 4:46am GMT

"nominating synod," - That's not the name, but that's the idea.

The process begins with the diocsan announcing his/her retirememnt date. Typically, a committe of lay and ordained is appointed to, either formally or informally, take stock of where the diocese is, how it has changed, wants to change in the future, what qualities lay and ordained in the diocese value in a bishop.

Then the committee writes a profile of the diocese and an outline of desired skills, qualities in a bishop, and opens the nomiination process.

They or a second commmittee [details again vary by diocese] read applications/nominations, culls a short list of nominees [after visits/interviews by subcommitees].

This list is vetted by a company here that does background checks of employmemt history, checks on education background, financial health, criminal background checks.[Same company does background check whenever clergy take new jobs.]

Once these are passed, the committee relases the names of finalists. Then begin a series of walkabouts for all candidates.

Then the annual meeting [or special meeting] of the diocese, with all clergy and lay delegates [# of lay delegates determined by size of church] vote to elect. Details of process vary somewhat by diocese.

Yes, it is drawn out. It is not perfect [see Duncan, others, who have departed]. But it suits our self-understanding as an American church. The core of our constitution and canons were worked out about the same time as our national constitution, and reflects many of the same values.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 1:30pm GMT

P.S.:

I forgot to add the rest of the process.

The bishop elect must get the consents of a majority of bishops with jurisdiction [no suffragens or assistants] and of the Standing Committees of the rest of the dioceses.

A Standing Committee is an elected body with fixed, usually staggered terms, equally divided between clergy and lay people, that serves as a body of advice to the diocesan and is the ecclesiastical authority when the bishop is absent [ill or on sabbatical].

OR

The consents of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies if the election is within X days [can't remember how many] of the next General Convention [which meets every three years]. This is how + Gene gained consent.

This second way was established in the 18th c. when the church reinvented itself after the Revolution, and reflects the slowness and uncertainty of the mail at that time. I think it is likely that there will be a move at the next GenCon to eliminate this option, in light of improved communications.

And as I said, yes it is slow, and no it is not perfect. To be fair, in my earlier post, I should have cited not just Bp Duncan, but also, Bp Bennison. Those seeking enlightenment on him should go to Episcopal Cafe and flip back through the Leads for that sorry story.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 2:46pm GMT

We also have the diocesan profile process in the Canadian Church. Not sure what the background vetting process actually is.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 12 November 2010 at 3:47am GMT

Hmmmmm! Long drawn-out in spades, surely not the price of democracy? I think that the election of bishops, like justice, should best be completed expeditiously.
And I note that the article referred to above says this of Gene Robinson:
"He plans to retire in January 2013 after nine years as bishop, to give the diocese enough time to elect a new bishop and get the approval of the national church, a process that can take two years."

2013!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 12 November 2010 at 9:26am GMT

"I think that the election of bishops, like justice, should best be completed expeditiously."

Certainly in most cases justice delayed is justice denied. OTOH, show trials and the like are often swift indeed.

Our process works for us, and usually works well.

I shudder to think what it would be like to have, say, the Presiding Bishop sending two names to the President of the US to pick one!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Friday, 12 November 2010 at 1:14pm GMT
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