Thursday, 28 June 2012

Charity Commission rules CBS grant to Ordinariate is invalid

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament has issued a Statement by the Superior-General, Fr Christopher Pearson, at Council-General meeting, 28 June 2012.

The statement can be found on the CBS website, and can be downloaded as a PDF file.

The Charity Commission final decision is available in full here.


Our review concluded that:

  • The decision to make a grant to the Ordinariate was taken at an inquorate meeting, the majority of the trustees having a (financial) personal interest in the decision. It was also in breach of the charity’s governing document.
  • The meeting being inquorate, the decision was invalid. There was no valid exercise of the power to make a gift to the Ordinariate and the payment was unauthorised.
  • The gift is held upon constructive trust by the Ordinariate for the Confraternity.
  • The objects of the Ordinariate are wider than those of the Confraternity. A gift given to the Ordinariate without restriction could be used for purposes which have no connection with the Anglican tradition at all.
  • The precise meaning of Anglican Tradition is unclear but there is substantial doubt whether the Confraternity could make a grant to the Ordinariate (even with restrictions) which could be applied by the Ordinariate consistently with the objects of the Confraternity.
  • The Commission therefore considered the trustees of both charities were under a duty to take action to ensure the repayment of the money.

An example of the complaints sent to the Charity Commission can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 3:44pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

The only people who are surprised by this decision are the trustees and their advisors.

Everyone else seemed convinced that the donation was VERY dubious.

Now the question remains what will happen to all these RC priests on the trustees?

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 4:55pm BST

"The precise meaning of Anglican Tradition is unclear but there is substantial doubt whether the Confraternity could make a grant to the Ordinariate (even with restrictions) which could be applied by the Ordinariate consistently with the objects of the Confraternity."

Charitable understatement (fittingly) by the Charity Commission, but they seem to have seen through the fiction that there is anything "Anglican" about the Ordinariate subsection of the Church of Rome.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 9:32pm BST

No Catholic priest can legitimately belong to an organization promoting the worship of the eucharistic elements in the C of E.

The Pope is supposed to be the bishop of the Ordinariate...but he 's a as much in charge as the Queen is Queen of Canada.

He has created an autonomous quasi-presbyterian sect within the Catholic Church.

I hope he doesn't make a similar botch with the Lefevrists.

Posted by: Robet ian williams on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 10:50pm BST

A sane decision. It's a shame, though, that it takes a secular body to tell a religious body to tell the truth (no surprise, sadly, but a cause for shame). The real problem is not the initial decision, but the fact that the Ordinariate/RC Church did not reach this conclusion first -- given the outcry when the decison was made public. That was always the primary issue. It'd be nice for the Church (all of us) to be seen to be taking the lead when it comes to ethics. Mea culpas will presumably come, but way too late....

Posted by: Joe on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 11:44pm BST

The "grant" was never anything but an act of embezzlement. Frankly, the trustees should be thanking their lucky stars they haven't been prosecuted.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 7:23am BST

The Charity Commissioners were only kicked into action, by the efforts of clergy who were horrified at what happened.

Many ridicule the Reverend Williamson of St George's Hanwell, but his work on this case was brilliant.

As for prosecution..that may well come.

I think Monsignor Newton should step down as Ordinary.

Can't you see now, why many former Anglicans LIKE MYSELF are not attracted to the Ordinariate. Mark my words, the Holy See will soon be regretting the rapid reception and ordination of some Anglo-Catholics.

In the Australian Ordinariate there are currently less than 50 souls.The Australian census recorded nearly four million Anglicans.

Meanwhile they continue to manufacture a patrimony...excising Cranmerian liturgy of Protestantism.

It rather like a suitor telling a girl she is beautiful, but that first she must have plastic surgery to come up to match!!

Posted by: robert ian williams on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 10:30am BST

They have been found out. The meeting was inquorate, some of those voting for the gift were potential benficiaries, it was in breach of the CBS governing document. Shouldn't the Trustees resign with immediate effect? But then no one ever seems to do so these days. It's just the same with crooked bankers and politicians.

And they are as mystified by how the 'Anglican Tradition' is pepetuated in the Ordinariate as anyone else.


Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 11:54am BST

Once the grant was made it could not be returned by the Ordinariate without a direction from the Charity Commission (paying money to the CBS would not be within the Charitable objects of the Ordinariate Charity). When such a determination came the grant was returned immediately.

The CBS has also voted to exclude members of the Ordinariate from membership (I am a life member of CBS and have joined the Ordinariate. I suspect that this is a case of illegal discrimination on religious grounds). Earlier this week Forward in Faith also excluded Ordinariate members despite taking our membershup fees and assuring us of a continuing place.

At least we all now know where we stand. Since becoming a Catholic I have been appalled by the anti-Catholic attitudes demonstrated by some of the CofE hierarchy which is perhaps to be expected but for Anglo-Catholics to "ape" Rome in their attire, liturgy and practice and yet to be so opposed to the Catholic Church is very strange!

Posted by: Steve Marsden on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 1:47pm BST

But, Steve, if the Ordinariate could not return the money because the objects were incompatible, then the money should not have been given in the first place. It works in both directions: the objects would have had to be compatible for the initial transfer unless sanctioned by the Charity Commission. I am quite sure the CC would have been sympathetic to a request to return the money if the objects did not overlap, as is implied, I think, by your comment. I find the CC most helpful most of the time: they can deal with an 'oops'.

Re anti-Catholic? Obviously Anglicans and RCs don't agree on everything, otherwise, with Rome's claims, one would have to, in conscience, become RC. But the 'anti' business runs both ways, and not all RCs fully appreciate just how anti-Anglican the non-recognition of Anglican orders really is: it's pretty hard not to imagine something more 'anti' and more painfully 'anti' than that. The use of absolute ordination for ex-Anglican priests, when conditional would have sufficed, still jars. So unnecessary. So is the refusal to recognise the Church of England (whether at the national or communion level) even as a church (but only as an ecclesial community) -that's a pretty 'anti' statement. True, there have been some rather powerful symbolic gestures between popes and archbishops that suggest that not everything is black and white (and I thank God for that), and there is much communion on the ground; but a little balance in understanding how we can all be rather 'anti' would be nice....

Posted by: Joe on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 5:51pm BST

I am not altogether surprised by the Charity Commissioners'decision, given the make-up of the CBS's trustees. It was an ill-considered and precipitate action.

The only qualification I have is that past generations of members of the CBS were definite Anglo-Catholics who prayed for reunion with Rome for years as part of their daily devotion. They would have been appalled by the present character of the Church of England and many would have become Catholics if they had been faced by Anglican policies of the last twenty years or so. Their motive in joining was to help the Catholicising of the National Church by deepening Eucharistic devotion and encouraging reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. In time there will be few, perhaps nobody, to form their membership. The CBS is an organisation of the past unless it is taken over by Affirming Catholicism on an opportunistic basis.

Many of the 'Catholic' societies have enormous endowments with increasingly less on which to spend the income or disburse the capital. To give money to current Anglican causes would be to betray their origins. Surely the Ordinariate is as good an object for disbursements as many less consistent purposes that hardly reflect the views of those who gave and bequeathed money to enable such vast reserves to come into being? Anybody with integrity would not expect to see this capital misused.

Posted by: John Bowles on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 5:57pm BST

I know one of the trustees who was in place when the decision was taken to make the gift to the Ordinariate, he is a man of generous spirit, innocent in his nature, and honest to the core. I have absolutely no doubt that his view at the time that it was the most “wonderful gift to fellow Christians who will continue in the Anglican tradition” was genuine. He remains an Anglican priest though has now completed his three years as a trustee.

As Steve Marsden says Roman Catholics were stripped of their membership at yesterday's meeting of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. Does that mean that this charity has is now (or always has been) an Anglican charity?

New trustees have been appointed and it is notable that the new Superior is someone who has already crossed the Tiber and returned – he was at a seminary but I am not sure if he was ever ordained into the RC Church. I think there are no Affirming Catholics amongst the leadership but perhaps I am mistaken.

While I think this particular incident is now closed I would not be surprised if there are some serious consequences. The Ordinariate emerges from the whole sorry mess looking shoddy and suspect, its leaders now appear as shady characters. Roman Catholics in my family believe they have brought disgrace to their faith and Church. I would say (listening to my family and RC friends) there is not much welcome for the Ordinariate amongst them either.

I would not be surprised to hear of a formal investigation into those who conspired to strip assets of this and other Anglo Catholic charities. It may be that some will judge that conspiracy as having criminal intent. I would suggest that they employ better lawyers than those engaged by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, I have more than a feeling they are going to need them.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 6:44pm BST

How can the CBS Trustees make a grant now to the CofE? they all have a personal (financial) interest! Can't have it both ways!

Posted by: Steve Marsden on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 10:55pm BST

"The only qualification I have is that past generations of ... would have been appalled by the present character of ... would have ... if they had been faced by ... last twenty years or so."

Ah, Time-Machine Analysis! That never gets old. Oh wait, it does. If only *I* had a time-machine to jump back to when the FIRST of God's holier-than-thou's was saying who, in the past (imaginary) halcyon Days of Yore, "would have been appalled" at what "In Our Godless Present" (my bet is that there was whining The Day After Pentecost. After those fiery tongues went out, it was now open season for "Back When Things Were Perfect").

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 30 June 2012 at 6:23am BST

Bit baffled as to why a hypothetical 'takeover bid' by AffCath would be 'opportunistic'. Before That Vote there was presumably a mix of shades of opinion within CBS (in much the same way as SSC used to be), but all united in Eucharistic devotion. There is nothing at all in the CBS material which is not part of my devotional life - but you only need to look at the links to know how 'catholic' has been defined - and the application form's requirement that one takes on board FiF's 'agreed statement on communion' says everything.

Thus the decision of most of the Catholic Societies (SSC, ACS, GSSC, CBS, SoM) to jump one way on the ordination of women issue could equally be described as 'opportunistic' if one had a mind to - after all, the upshot of that decision was that catholics like me could no longer be accommodated (which is why I find some of the complaints that opponents of women bishops might feel 'pushed out' disingenuous).

I would very happily have been a member of CBS - but would not be welcome: as it is I have had to buy my own monstrance! Which, I reflect wryly, according to those who joined the Ordinariate, only ever contains blank ammunition....

Posted by: david rowett on Monday, 2 July 2012 at 11:19pm BST

Like Steve Marsden, I too find it strange that Anglicans "ape" Roman ritual and liturgy while at the same time being extremely anti-Roman.
I am pleased that former Anglican clergy joining the Ordinariate are fully ordained so there can be no doubt about the validity of their Orders. Sadly high church Anglicans probably use all the trappings of Rome to disguise their own invalid Orders.
Roll on women bishops!

Posted by: James on Monday, 2 July 2012 at 11:30pm BST

"Sadly high church Anglicans probably use all the trappings of Rome to disguise their own invalid Orders."

Could someone explain what this means? One possible interpretation is so unpleasant that I can't imagine that's the one intended by James - that Catholic Anglican clergy deliberately deceive the faithful.

Posted by: david rowett on Tuesday, 3 July 2012 at 9:02am BST

'according to those who joined the Ordinariate, only ever contains...'

No ! Not so !

Those who have joined the Ordinariate (must) believe in the authenticity and value of the Church that nurtured and sustained them up until - when was it ? last summer ? They must believe in the eucharist they offered, until t'other week.

Surely. The alternative is too appalling, involving as it would, deception and various unsavoury sins.

I have no doubt that they have full confidence, in their 'full ordination' and full ministry in the provinces of Canterbury and York.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 3 July 2012 at 5:55pm BST

Strange that Steve Marsden wants to remain part of an organization where laymen in eucharistic vestments are doing edifying things with bread and wine..surely there is an RC equivalent for him to pursue.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 8:40am BST

I don't question the sincerity of those who've joined the Ordinariate, but their acceptance of ordination (not conditional ordination) signals an acceptance that their previous orders (and therefore the absolutions which they pronounced and the eucharists at which they presided) were invalid. Not incapable of transmitting grace (by an overwhelming act of charity on the part of the Most High), which is why their previous ministry can be acknowledged as not entirely pointless, but invalid. Unless they've all become Jesuits and made mental reservations while outwardly accepting the discipline and doctrine of the RC Church....?

Posted by: david rowett on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 9:09am BST

"I have no doubt that they have full confidence, in their 'full ordination' and full ministry in the provinces of Canterbury and York."
- Lawrence Roberts -

Aye, and therein lies the rub, Lawrence. One can only hope that the transferring clergy can still sleep a'night without wondering what ordination in all about - for them, personally. Is membership of the quasi-Anglican Ordinariate Real Catholicism? they might be asking themselves.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 9:46am BST

The Ordinariate is now in possession of the Wedding and Funeral Liturgies - it all looks very 1928 Prayer Book to me.
As they say nowadays - "So Yesterday"

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 8:19pm BST

How tragic that the Church of England has come to this - that we need to be so scrutinisingly vigilant in ALL our financial affairs.

Posted by: H.R. on Saturday, 14 July 2012 at 10:00am BST

CBS Letter from Bishop Roger Jubb received this week -a very encouraging new start for the CBS of which I have been an isolated member for many years. Let's hope that the gathering in of all members will be successful and that all may have a share in the governance of CBS in the future.

Posted by: Fr Illing SCP on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 at 7:08pm BST
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