Thursday, 11 April 2013

Anglican Catholic Future launches on 18 April

The launch of Anglican Catholic Future will take place at a Mass on Thursday 18th April at 7pm at the Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch. The celebrant will be the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, and the preacher will be Fr Peter Groves, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Oxford.

The website is here.

The launch statement reads:

Over the past two years a number of us in the Catholic tradition who love the Church of England have been meeting to pray and think about how this Catholic identity and inheritance, mission and vision, might be celebrated and strengthened. We feel it is timely to launch this initiative to meet the challenges of our time, and in doing so our aim is to complement rather than compete with existing Catholic groupings, which is why we are deliberately adopting a network model of association.

This is our working statement. We hope you will join us in this new venture of faith.

As Anglicans from across the Church of England who have been formed and nourished in the Catholic tradition, we have established a network to help to inspire and equip clergy and laity for the work of Christian mission and ministry rooted in Catholic practice, piety and theology. By returning to the fundamentals of the apostolic faith, but without recourse to political agendas and party rivalries, we seek the renewal and revitalisation of the church’s mission and apologetic proclamation.

The Catholic identity of the Church of England has suffered a crisis stemming from a preoccupation with divisive issues. As a result the Catholic tradition in Anglicanism has become fragmented and nerveless. Many who hold this tradition dear feel that the time is right to rediscover our Catholic roots and values for the sake of the church’s witness in our land.

Following the imperatives that guided our Catholic forebears in the Church of England we will focus on
* theology
* spirituality and the life of prayer
* liturgy and worship
ž* vocation and priesthood
ž* ecumenism
ž* social justice.

We will seek to model a style of discipleship faithful to the riches of our tradition, which encourages us to be creative and credible, imaginative and generous.

Generosity requires dialogue with other Christian traditions, especially those with whom we share a common heritage of spiritual understanding within the Western Church. Such dialogue will be pursued in an eirenic rather than a combative spirit.

We believe that the time has come for the implicit Catholic identity of our church to be made explicit. We look back to the Oxford Movement and the tradition on which it was built, and forward to the revitalisation of our church and nation as we recall our secularising culture to its spiritual inheritance.

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Categorised as: Church of England

Is Inclusive anywhere in the aims???

Posted by: sally Barnes on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 11:25am BST

Well that's exactly what the Church needs, another Catholic club! I wonder how this network will relate, if at all, to the Society of Hinge and Bracket, and whether anyone will remember that either of them existed in twenty years time.

Posted by: Disgraceful on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 12:06pm BST

Not being familiar with the protagonists of this new 'Anglo-Catholic" movement within the Church of England, I am bound to wonder what is the basis of their project to renew enthusiasm for our cause.

There could be two distinctly different types of 'Anglo-Catholicism' being promoted here. One of them - which I would whole-heartedly support - is that part of the remaining group of A.C.s who have stayed in the Church of England because of their support for Women's Ordination - wanting to reassure us that Anglo-Catholicism is able to accommodate Women clergy and Bishops in the Church.

The other possibility is that 'ultra-montane' Anglo-Catholics, determined to demonstrate their 'loyalty' to Roman Catholicism by refusing to accept the ministry of Women clergy and bishops; are seeking consolidation in their cause of demanding 'Alternative Episcopal Oversight', like themselves, opposed to Women clergy and bishops.

Can anyone identify the basic motivation of the promoters of A.C.F.? Is it Pro- or Anti- Women?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 12:19pm BST

This sounds exciting and timely. I pray for their every success.

Posted by: rjb on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 12:20pm BST

Quite so, Sally. Where do they stand on women and sexuality?

I think it is a futile exercise to launch something like this that intends to be an exercise in renewal while ignoring the two biggest elephants in the room. After all, the Oxford Movement got moving precisely because it addressed a current issue (Keble on "National Apostasy"). ACF should work out where it stands on these two burning issues of our day and declare itself - and if it has the wind of the Spirit behind it, then it will find that it may indeed become an engine of genuine renewal. But fudging and silence will kill it before it starts.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 12:37pm BST

"As a result the Catholic tradition in Anglicanism has become fragmented and nerveless"

Already we have The Church Union, Forward in Faith, Affirming Catholicism. What does this new gathering hope to achieve other than fragmenting still further?

Posted by: Brian Poulson on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 12:44pm BST

Hopeful that the Church has moved beyond the need to say that it is inclusive...........

Posted by: Elizabeth on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 1:01pm BST

I think Elizabeth is probably right bearing in mind their website advertises a day conference on the "vocation of a priest for men and women in the Catholic tradition" with, among other speakers, the Revd Lucy Winkett.

Posted by: Stephen De Silva on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 2:17pm BST

@ Fr Ron I'm not sure "pro-" or "anti-women" are useful labels to stick on a movement that seems determined (in a very un-Anglican way) to look beyond the issues that have so bitterly divided Anglo-Catholics over the last thirty years or more. But it's probably fair to say that I can't imagine Bishop Stephen Conway (of Affirming Catholicism fame) being associated with an "ultramontane" faction.

Posted by: rjb on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 2:23pm BST

Fr Ron, I see that the second "Event" on the website is

Saturday 20th April 2013
Vocations Day - Living Priesthood
A day conference on the vocation of a priest for men and women in the Catholic tradition
with the Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James, Picadilly, The Revd Bernard Silverman,
Chief Scientific Adviser to the Home Office

Does that answer your question?

Posted by: american piskie on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 2:42pm BST

The have picked a fine, rather under-appreciated church, for their inaugural mass.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 4:00pm BST

Consider some of the names of those behind the movement, and one soon discovers that it is simply Affirming Catholicism by another name, a misnomer if ever there were one!

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 7:17pm BST

Benedict - I think that we may now be able to recover the usage of 'catholic' in the context of Anglicanism from the limitations of being defined as opposed to the ordination of women. It would be good if we could also restore 'traditional' as well. But perhaps you will think that a misnomer too?
I struggle with those of a Papalist tendency who seek an honoured place for an alternative integrity when such would not be on offer within the Roman fold. Obedience to that church's official position is non-negotiable. Within the Anglican fold there is room for variety and accommodation. I think that is why I have chosen to be an Anglican Catholic and not made my submission to become a Roman Catholic.

Posted by: Commentator on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 9:48pm BST

@ Benedict 'simply Affirming Catholicism by another name, a misnomer if ever there was one!'

Like FORWARD in Faith and Anglican MAINSTREAM then Benedict...

Posted by: John C on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 10:00pm BST

Contrary to Benedict's pessimism - having now been assured that this new movement is perfectly in accord with 'Affirming Catholicism - I would give it my utmost support, from the far-off outpost of Anglo-Catholicism in New Zealand.

Anything that will encourage Anglo-catholic openness to the 50+% of the Church that happens to be the feminine bearer of the divine Image and Likeness of God sounds authentic and welcome to me.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 10:34pm BST

Prayers rising for them; may this be the start of a new Catholic Revival.

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 10:58pm BST

Anglican Future sounds like Anglican Past. They seem focused on the ministry of the ordained in an era where lay people will have do more. I am thinking of the Archbishop of Wales saying: “Put another way, the Church is all God’s people not just those who are ordained.” Too often Anglo-Catholicism seems stuck on priesthood and the eucharist.

I hope I am wrong.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by: Gary Paul Gilbert on Friday, 12 April 2013 at 6:46am BST

Twisted Logic, John C. Anglican Mainstream is an evangelical movement, and thus lays no claim on catholicity. At least Fif demonstrate faithfulness to the Catholic teaching inherited from the great Churches of East and West, and is not propelled forward by secular mores and norms.

Posted by: Benedict on Friday, 12 April 2013 at 10:38am BST

'Too often Anglo-Catholicism seems stuck on priesthood and the eucharist' - perhaps too much so, in the narrow lane where people like to make rules, hold power and exert control over others.
At the heart of catholic doctrine is eucharistic community and the priestly vocation of the baptized.
Behind that in the First Testament lies a priesthood of human beings as worshippers of God, celebrating the gift of life. How good it would be for this broader vision to be affirmed in fresh Anglo-Catholic emphasis on 'world as sacrament' and freedom of the children of God.

Posted by: Keith KImber on Friday, 12 April 2013 at 12:26pm BST

Thank you Keith.

Yes, I would have gone if there was a hint of serving the poor, bind up the broken hearted, setting captives free ...... Perhaps that's all bound up with the doing of social justice rather than the being of priesthood ........

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Friday, 12 April 2013 at 1:30pm BST

At least Fif demonstrate faithfulness to the Catholic teaching inherited from the great Churches of East and West, and is not propelled forward by secular mores and norms.

Benedict, I don't know who you are but I often ask the Good Lord to help you to stop kidding yourself. In my neck of the woods the FiF Priest in Charge celebrates the Eucharist dressed in outdoor clothing, leaves mashed up sliced consecrated bread on the paten, doesn't use the Lectionary and waves his Bible high in the air whilst banging on about sin using any text he chooses to pull out of said air. Well, this is how he celebrated on three occasions before I decided it was a 'no go' area for me. No crazy FiF priest is ever going to cause me to leave church in tears again. It is a three hour drive for me to get to another Anglican Church. It is not amusing being the only Catholic in the village and watching the pews empty week by week. I therefore worship with Roman Catholics who are very respectful of my orders and some ask me in private to celebrate Mass in my home for their loved ones who are sick. This is what I call all embracing Catholicism. I am also contacted privately by sick Anglicans when there is no pastoral cover whatsoever. All very unofficial of course but to whom else may they turn?

You and others on the other hand think it is morally right to align yourself with such priests when you want to rid the C of E of us troublesome 'couldn't possibly be priests' women. I sincerely pray you will examine your conscience on this one at least because you are blocking Christ's ministry in ratified ways. Nevertheless, do not suppose that the Spirit will not choose to blow where it wills.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 7:15pm BST

"not propelled forward by secular mores and norms."

Benedict, do you have any idea how OFFENSIVE this characterization (of a Catholicism that affirms ALL the Imago-Dei, in ALL their God-given callings) is?

I (try to) dialogue w/ those who have "secular more and norms" All.The.Time. It's *very* difficult, precisely because *I* come from a ***Gospel POV***. Don't presume that just because we affirming Catholics have reached different conclusions than you have, that we are any more "secular" than you are.

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 7:48pm BST

I hope to be there, not least because this is the first launch of anything in the recent past, pace Martin Reynolds, that doesn't seek to join some internal battle or other one the one hand or channel faith into action and regard the church as a well-motivated social agency. There are other dimensions to faith, other bonds that need breaking; other struggles than those for justice and people have other kinds of hunger which need to be fed ...

Posted by: Jonathan Jennings on Saturday, 13 April 2013 at 10:17pm BST

Rosie, perhaps the priest you refer to is the exception that proves the rule. Your emotionally charged response stems from your frustration, I know, but traditionalists too were on an emotional see saw all the way to the November vote. The majority of Fif members, I suspect, are Anglo Catholics, though not exclusively so. It sounds like the priest you describe is an evangelical. JCF, I did not suggest you were secular. The tail is wagging the dog sometimes in respect of the relationship between the Church and Society.

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 10:39am BST

Having read Rosie's post again, I am astounded, as she seems to suggest, that she is acting illegally, both in respect of Anglican and Roman Catholic norms. As an ordained minister she is surely aware that one does not act sacramentally for parishioners in another priest's parish without first seeking the consent of the local vicar. Furthermore, the Roman Catholic authorities, locally, would be very interested to learn of her actions vis a vis their own members. As to the point of Rosie having to travel, that can be matched by stories from any number of traditionalist laity unable to worship locally and having to travel huge distances. That is simply the nature of the beast.

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 11:57am BST

Benedict, Thank you for your responses.

Emotions are part of our natural state of being in Christ. Witness the life of Christ on earth. I will admit to my breaking points. I will not admit to any disgrace in this.

This gross disregard of Catholic celebration of the Eucharist out of respect for those who believe it to be a celebration of 'real presence'
is offensive to many, both lay and ordained, as is disregard for the Lectionary. This is not the first time I and others known to me have encountered such problems with priests who are members of Forward in Faith. Other individuals leave churches when it becomes impossible for them to discern or appreciate the liturgy. I was upset as I saw many people leave this church and realise that they too have no other Anglican church to attend with ease. I was upset because it was not possible to build mutually supportive community. I was also disturbed because the church building is a RC church and some RC's had been in the habit of attending Anglican Eucharists presided over by previous priests. They were not happy either. I made my complaints directly to PCC members.

I do not have the financial resources to travel.

I am not administering Sacraments to Anglicans without the Priest in Charge's permission.

If a parishioner/friend wishes me as a Christian to visit to support them during bereavement or sudden sickness I respond as any Christian would when a Priest in Charge is unavailable for pastoral visits.

I have had discussions with both the RC priest in the church concerned and the RC priest who ministers to me. Matters have been regularised in the church concerned. My local RC priest is ecumenical and has his Bishop's permission to minister to me and to allow me to host inter-faith events in my home. This is more common than people realise.

As for private celebrations of the Eucharist in my own home with the angels and private intentions, I know of no law against this.

Christianity has no Beastly identity when lived out in God given power and I choose to safeguard my spiritual life by avoiding beastliness in worship. There is enough beastliness going on day to day without seeking it in worship settings.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 2:38pm BST

Have you sought to instigate, Rosie, the clergy discipline measure against this priest about whom you complain? Or is it rather a case of personal antagonism, because his views are not in accord with your own? If you think there is a case to answer, then you should take it up with the Diocesan. It is simply not good enough to level accusations against someone who is without defence on this site?

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 15 April 2013 at 9:14pm BST

Benedict: I think you will find that Rosie is in the Diocese of Europe, and in what I recall she described as a rather out of the way part of it (apologies if I have misremembered). I suspect that this means that both pastoral and sacramental provision is rather harder to tidy into any sort of neat arrangement than it might be in the UK, and that greater flexibility is essential. Whether or not the Diocese of Europe follows the Clergy Discipline Measure in the same way as the UK C of E churches do, I am not sure, but my guess is that it is not as simple as it is in the UK.

Having said that, the experience of parish priests "on the ground" in the UK is often not straightforward either when it comes to working across parish or denominational boundaries.

I have on occasion found myself listening to the parishioners or disaffected congregation members of other parishes (including quite a number from AB & C parishes, who had an urgent pastoral need or needed to make confession, and felt they couldn't go to their own parish priest, because they didn't feel they had the pastoral skills to deal with them. They didn't want to move churches - perhaps because they were unable to travel easily on a Sunday or had family connections there or an involvement which pre-dated, and they hoped would outlast , the current priest, but they didn't believe he could meet their need, or didn't trust or like him. They might have been right or wrong in that, but it was neither within my power, nor would it have been pastorally responsible, for me to have insisted that they speak to their own parish priest, and to have said anything to him about this would have breached their confidentiality. To have refused to listen or care for them would have been inhumane. I assume that my parishioners probably seek out others if they feel I would not be the right person to listen to them too, and I am glad if they find help for whatever is troubling them. What are we supposed to do in these situations? Put the rules ahead of the real people and their needs? I seem to remember Jesus saying something about the Sabbath being made for people, not the other way round....

Posted by: Anne on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 at 8:39am BST

Anne, You are correct. Anglo-Catholic Future may hopefully be alert to sinful alignments and the power of those who refuse to communicate openly whilst finding plenty of ways and means to cause fairly widespread discord and distress.

Benedict, 'If you think there is a case to answer, then you should take it up with the Diocesan. It is simply not good enough to level accusations against someone who is without defence on this site?'

In normal circumstances I would agree with you. However, November and pre- November ignited an unholy fire and I don't watch souls perishing in the acrid fumes without screaming for oxygen. When others block the flow of air, absolutely and indefensibly, I react these days by dragging them into the the open. They toon need to breath fresh air. It was not me that threw the rule book on this pyre in the first place.

The pastoral abuse of others was a very distressing factor. There is no such thing as an isolated incident we are all diminished and damaged by discrimination. The Body of Christ bears the scars. This forum is part of his voice that tells us 'Fear not'. God's love is a 'Devouring fire' and we are not advised to wear masks when entering into the flames of pure Love. This is how

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 at 4:05pm BST

I was privileged to be at the launch of Anglican Catholic Future last night. I was encouraged. It was an event of hope and confidence and of affirmation, that the future of the whole church needs to be catholic in all its fullness and wholeness. This was a non-partisan gathering with what was a palpable desire to renew a sense of confidence and energy into a tradition that is too often sidetracked and not living and propogating the gospel through the fulness of the Anglican tradition. I pray for fruit and that many will find a stronger sense of Anglican, Catholic, and Christian identity through this venture. This can only lead to a wholness to bring healing to so much which is divisive and hurtful as evidenced in some of these postings.

Posted by: Tim on Friday, 19 April 2013 at 6:23pm BST

I did not know anything about the Anglican Catholic Future movement, despite its having been in existence for over a year! Light and bushel come to mind! Will certainly be going to their National Conference in Southwark this September.

Posted by: Claire Cavendish on Sunday, 10 August 2014 at 10:02pm BST

The problem I see with 'Anglican Catholic Future' is that it does not clarify if it is entirely for those commonly called liberals or if its intention is to be for liberals and traditionalists. If the latter, who are the key traditionalist bishops associated with it. I do believe that there are some things that liberal and traditionalist Catholics can do together; e.g. ensure good liturgy via the General Synod and promote Catholic prayers but I am concerned that this may be a typical Anglican fudge. Please can someone explain exactly what it is about?

Posted by: Fr Geoffrey Squire. on Monday, 19 January 2015 at 2:18am GMT
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