Friday, 8 July 2011

Ordinariate: Grant challenged; Costs pile up

The Church Times has a full report today, see Ordinariate deemed Anglican enough to be awarded £1m by Ed Thornton.

THE Charity Commission has been asked to investigate a grant of £1 million to the Roman Catholic Ordinariate by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: “Concerns have been raised with us regarding the Con­fraternity of the Blessed Sacra­ment. We are currently considering these to establish whether there is any regulatory role for us.”

The Confraternity, a registered charity, was founded in 1862 to support the Catholic revival in the Church of England. The Charity Commission website states that its charitable objects are “for the advancement of the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition”.

The present Superior-General, Fr Christopher Pearson, now a priest in the Ordinariate, has reported that, in December, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, then the (Anglican) Bishop of Richborough, approached him “asking whether it was within the remit of the Confraternity to make a financial grant to the proposed Ordinariate”…

And the Tablet has a news item:

Costs pile up for Ordinariate

7 July 2011

The head of the Ordinariate for England and Wales, Mgr Keith Newton, admitted this week that the group is struggling financially three months after it welcomed its first members into the Catholic Church from the Church of England. This month the group will have to start paying its clergy and other bills are piling in, Mgr Newton told The Tablet on Tuesday. In addition a recent grant of £1 million to the Ordinariate from an Anglo-Catholic group, Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, has been challenged and is under investigation by the Charity Commission.

There is a much more detailed report on this in the paper edition.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 7:21am BST | TrackBack
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Comments

I think that the changing of the rules for the charity in April 2010 to allow Catholics to be members, by the officers of the charity,seems on the face of it, to be natural development. However the officers of the charity must have known or have had the intention to move to the Ordinariate. This might be considered to be a lack of good faith.

The rule changes amounted to moving the charity squarely into an RC perspective, which does not seem to square with its objectives to advance the Catholic position within the Anglican Church. It actually moves them away from it.

While the Ordinariate is retaining some Anglican patrimony in its worship, it is clearly under the authority and approval of the Pope, therefore, becomes specifically Roman Catholic liturgy and worship.

I understand that the Superior General sought legal advice before considering the grant and again before making it, this advice seemed to support making the grant. The only way to test its validity would be in court. Which would waste money defending a decision, given for charitable purposes - not good for those making donations.

Bishop Keith Newton is also listed on the charity website under Officers of the Charity as a supporter.

It's a fine line to walk, normally Officers of a Charity should not benefit financially from it, apart from the normal expenses of carrying out their administrative and governance duties. As Priests in the Ordinariate, they place themselves in line to be paid from the grant transfer. This might be in breach of the Charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP).

Posted by: UKViewer on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 8:03am BST

"its objectives to advance the Catholic position within the Anglican Church." - UKViewer

You are factually incorrect. The objects do not make reference to the 'Anglican Church'. There is no such entity. Nor do the objects make reference to the Church of England. I thought the whole purpose of the Ordinariate was to allow members to retain their 'Anglican tradition' which is so beloved of Pope Benedict. And the fact that they have opened up their membership to include Roman Catholics shows an ecumenical spirit which I'm sure Warlock and Shepherd would have approved of.

"This might be in breach of the Charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP)."

Please can you be specific about this? I can get hold of the Charities' SORP so can check for you if you like. The Church of England has charitable status yet pays its priests, so what's the difference? Charities pay their staff too.

Posted by: A J Barford on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 9:05am BST

I don't want to be a cynic (why not, it's fun!) but phrases like 'The Lord will provide' and 'Take no thought for the morrow' come to mind.

I wonder whether the RC church will come riding to the rescue or whether the Ordinarians will embrace holy poverty.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 9:06am BST

This is just wasting the Charity Commission's time. They've got bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: A J Barford on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 9:37am BST

"I think that the changing of the rules for the charity in April 2010 to allow Catholics to be members, by the officers of the charity,seems on the face of it, to be natural development. However the officers of the charity must have known or have had the intention to move to the Ordinariate. This might be considered to be a lack of good faith."

Well, yes, if that was the case. But was it not the Council General who changed the constitution in 2009 and added to the list of churches in 2010? So this is not something the trustees have manipulated in secret; it must be minuted somewhere in Council minutes.

As to whether the council knew that trustees would be joining the ordinariate when it allowed membership: I know for a fact that Fr Waller was giving press interviews and speaking around the country making his position clear by the end of 2009. I suspect Fr Pearson was in a similar position. There can be no question that the Council General was fully aware of the intentions of these 2 priests by April 2010.


Posted by: Rose on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 10:53am BST

What an interesting kettle of fish. It does seem duplicitous to give money while wearing one hat and then to quickly switch headgear and receive the same money as remuneration. I await a legal ruling with anticipation.

Posted by: ettu on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 12:13pm BST

I can't see what relevance the SORP has to this issue - it deals with how transactions are reported. It is Charity Law which will determine whether transactions are lawful or nor, and whether trustees have acted properly or not.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 1:06pm BST

This is hardly a waste of the Charity Commission's time. This involves a great deal of money. Don't these actions seem rather sneaky and nefarious? This money should be returned. It is a form of theft. Shameful.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 2:29pm BST

I just had a quick look at the Confraternity's webiste (http://www.confraternity.org.uk/todayswork.htm); I don't what their articles or consitution say, but the webiste says: 'The Confraternity is established for the advancement of the catholic faith in the Anglican Tradition.' I wouldn't like to be be the one burning up charity money trying to argue that the Ordinariate doesn't meet the requirements ... however, as I said, I'm only going on what is says on the website.

Posted by: Fr Levi on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 4:25pm BST

This is all very dubious.

I believe the money will eventually be returned.
Elsewhere the officers, who are now in the Ordinariate, say they will not directly benefit from this gift. I find the logic that leads to this statement difficult to follow.

One has a sense that these guys all knew they were pulling a legal fast one. They were standing plotting in the lounge of the Slug and Lettuce or the Gin and Lace, rubbing their hands together at this jolly wheeze.

But I think it will not do. It will not do at all.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 5:32pm BST

The Ordinariate is not Anglican..that is not even in its title. Members of it are Romabn Catholics of the latin rite, who have left churches of the Anglican communion or quasi Anglican sects.

The Ordinariate's doctrinal basis is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

It has nothing to do with the foundational Reformed Anglican documents, the ordinal and the 39 articles of religion. These are rejected out right. Elements of Anglican liturgy ( excluding the Cranmerian canon )are allowed where they are appropraitely revised for Catholic purposes. This in a sense is no more Anglican, than the Methodist service Book.

The liturgical setting for the Ordinariate is exclusively Roman Catholic in vesture and liturgical ceremonies.

I feel it would be entirely inappropriate for a catholiuc priest to be a member of the CBS, as we do not recognise Anglican orders, and the CBS is encouraging Anglicans to worship the bread which Rome and many other Anglicans see no change in it.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 5:51pm BST

"It does seem duplicitous to give money while wearing one hat and then to quickly switch headgear and receive the same money as remuneration." - ettu

This is an allegation which you have not backed up with any facts. What do you mean?

"Don't these actions seem rather sneaky and nefarious?" - Chris Smith

In what way? Please specify?

"This is all very dubious" - Marin Reynolds

Why is it dubious?

"these guys all knew they were pulling a legal fast one. - Martin Reynolds

If you are making this sort of allegation then please state exactly where you think there has been a breach of the law.

Posted by: A J Barford on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 10:14pm BST

"The Confraternity is established for the advancement of the catholic faith in the Anglican Tradition" is what the website says NOW, Fr Levi - rewritten by those who "transferred" more than half the Confratenity's substantial endowment to the Ordinariate, a totally new group. I wonder how many of those who donated or bequeathed their money to endow a body that would advance the "Catholic Tradition" within the Anglican Church would be happy with this appropriation of their gifts? Stinks of self-interest.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 10:24pm BST

RIW, you contrast the eucharistic doctrine and practices of the Ordinariate with those of the 39 articles and reformed doctrine. Ok. But now ask which is more akin to the beliefs of CBS. If the ordinariate runs counter to Anglican beliefs so does CBS. By your definition of what is Anglican, CBS is not. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Rose on Friday, 8 July 2011 at 10:59pm BST

Presumably the CBS priests now in the Ordinariate will be required to deny the Blessed Sacrament to Anglicans. How, therefore, can the reasoning behind this donation to the Ordinariate be anything other than a sham? It is an outrage and the money should be returned and the Ordinariate trustees replaced by Anglicans.

Posted by: Jill on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 12:45am BST

To m. Bar ford. How can I possibly be clearer? My statement is straightforward and I stand by the further statement that I await a legal clarification. The double dealing in this transaction seems obvious unless the facts are not as reported. Do you have proof they are incorrect?

Posted by: Ettu on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 2:06am BST

The CBS has never been an organisation that is officially part of the Church of England, and so long as it acts within the law and its current constitution I cannot see that there can be any proper recourse to expensive litigation. (I note that Fr Williamson has already been declared a vexatious litigant by the High Court.)

Posted by: Peter Preston on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 2:24am BST

CBS is definitely not mainstream Anglicanism and an aberration of the nineteenth century.However it is not Roman catholic either. So one should look at the intention of its founders, who established it for the advancement of their understanding of Anglicanism within the Church of England.


Some Protestants ( and Anglo catholics for that matter) may argue that the Roman Catholic Church is not true Catholicism, but at the end of the day the legal world has to go on the basis of the founders intentions that it was for the benefit of members of the Church of England.

What is a member of the Church of England..some one who is in communion with the Archbishop of
Canterbury? The Roman Catholic Church has not been in communion with this body since its inception in 1559.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 6:17am BST

Lapinbizarre,

You are suggesting that the trustees rewrote the objects. This is complete nonsense. The earliest set of accounts I could open on the Charity Commission's website was for the year 2007/08. The objects were exactly the same then. They have not been re-written. You have simply misquoted them when you replace "tradition" with "church".

Posted by: A J Barford on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 6:20am BST

"sneaky and nefarious"
The Ordinariate hasn't been in existence five minutes and already it is embroiled in scandal and controversy over its "dubious" financial shenanigans - robbing Paul to pay Peter. Well done Monsignor Newton.
I wonder if Benedict XVI is regretting the creation of the Ordinariate which not only soured ecumenical relations with Lambeth but also allowed entry into the Latin church of a small troublesome disaffected financially unsustainable group of former Anglicans?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 7:26am BST

Lapin Bazarre writes: "the advancement of the catholic faith in the Anglican Tradition...rewritten by those who "transferred" more than half the Confratenity's substantial endowment"

Nonsense! It is the historic wording! See the 1999 Constitution!

Posted by: David Malloch on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 8:38am BST

RIW, you contrast the eucharistic doctrine and practices of the Ordinariate with those of the 39 articles and reformed doctrine. Ok. But now ask which is more akin to the beliefs of CBS. If the ordinariate runs counter to Anglican beliefs so does CBS. By your definition of what is Anglican, CBS is not. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Rose on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 12:47pm BST

Whatever the legal postion, whatever the rights and wrongs of all this, it smells, very, very badly - in fact it stinks. Whether that is the smell of imcompetence, insensitivity, manipulation or some other, unidentified bad odour, I would not like to say. And I say this as a traditionlist Anglo-Catholic.

Posted by: Geoff Raby on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 1:10pm BST

"It does seem duplicitous to give money while wearing one hat and then to quickly switch headgear and receive the same money as remuneration" - ettu

Presumably you have the same criticism of those General Synod members on the payroll currently discussing ethical investments?

Posted by: A J Barford on Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 1:28pm BST

Hilarious. People who would normally despise the CBS and all it stands for now deciding they have a vested interest in it. Hypocrites!

Posted by: Jon on Monday, 11 July 2011 at 2:48pm BST

Theft is theft ..even if you don't like the people that much.

What is at principle , is people manipulating something for their own ends.

No Roman Catholic prist should be a member of a Church of England Society devoted to encourage the worship of communion bread. We do not accept Anglican orders and by implication that the Church of England has the Blessed Sacrament.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Monday, 11 July 2011 at 5:42pm BST

It seems to me there is more than a subtle difference between "the advancement of the catholic faith in the Anglican Tradition" and "the introduction of Anglican customs in the Roman Church."

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Monday, 11 July 2011 at 9:15pm BST

Given that three of the key figures in making the decision to transfer the funds moved to the Ordinariate there is, at the very least, a prima facie conflict of interest here. Whether, or not there is also a potential breach of trust is something the charity commissioners will have to decide in assessing whether or not to become involved. Personally, I am appalled. It is another example of inappropriate behaviour being justified on the supposed rightness of a cause. Something we all need to be careful about.

Posted by: Eric Beresford on Thursday, 14 July 2011 at 1:25am BST

Eric,

Just checking my Crockfords - we share an alma mater it seems, so I have to defer to your fourteen years' advance on me!

Posted by: A J Barford on Thursday, 14 July 2011 at 7:13pm BST

Piracy, hijacking and theft. Didn't the Pope have something to say about that recently?

Posted by: peter on Saturday, 6 August 2011 at 9:32pm BST

As a lay member and Churchwarden of the Anglo Catholic wing of the Church of England I have written to the Charity Comissioners to urge them to investigate this fiasco. Hopefully they will decide that the money has to be returned by these guys who thought that they could just walk away with half the funds of the Confraternity and that no-one would howl.....wrong!!
Mike

Posted by: Mike on Thursday, 18 August 2011 at 3:37pm BST

I am a life member of the CBS and its main object has always been to support the catholic faith IN the Anglican Tradition; the Church of Rome - which includes the Ordinariate - does not recognise the validity of the Blessed Sacrament in the Anglican Tradition. Numerous CofE churches do not even have a monstrance or humeral veil; and yet £1,000,000 can be spared/given freely to a body that fully accepts honouring the Blessed Sacrament and is fully in line catholic teaching etc as its actually part of the RC Church. That a number of the trustees are joining this body of their own free will surely doesn't make it right to vote it a dowry?

Posted by: Rick Savage on Saturday, 1 October 2011 at 7:20am BST
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