Comments: an interview with Andrew Burnham

So when Andrew Burnham accepted his position as flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet in the Church of England, his intention, from the beginning, seems to have been to fly away to Rome. Do I have that right?

Posted by Grandmère Mimi at Thursday, 13 January 2011 at 11:51pm GMT

"One wouldn’t dream of asking them because you might get the wrong answer."

Well, he's certainly got the Roman ethos down pat, doesn't he?

Vaya con Dios!

Posted by JCF at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 4:29am GMT

These are particularly revealing.

"I was moved to a new parish and I became the vicar of St John’s Carrington, in Nottingham and I was there for seven years till 1994. By that stage I was looking to become a Catholic but it wasn’t clear how that would work out with a wife and two small children."

"Now I must admit that, though I was ready to do that in 1994, as a family we weren’t able to do that, and I think many families aren’t going to be able to do that now. There are no time limits and people will do what they can."

For 17 years Fr Burnham only remained Anglican for monetary reasons. He's only moving now because he can afford to. And they made him a CofE bishop even though his loyalties and theology lay elsewhere. And he then proceeded to create an independent 'Apostolic District' with the secret intention of eventually moving it all, lock, stock and barrel, over to Rome. Incredible!

Posted by Anglican at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 9:49am GMT

I had exactly the same reaction on reading this as did 'Anglican' and 'Grandmere Mimi'. I know we have agreed to charity and moderation when posting about individuals here but I find it very difficult to think other than that the Church of England and many loyal anglo-catholics have been 'had' by this man. He has by his own admission had a secret agenda which he has kept hidden throughout the whole of his time as a flying Bishop and his loyalties have clearly not been to the Church which appointed and paid him. His agenda has been some sort of 'corporate' reunion with the Church of Rome and he is acquiescing in the Ordinariate because he has realised that his initial objective is no longer realisable.

Apart from anything else it brings into question the whole of the PEV experiment, makes one wonder where the loyalties lay of the other PEVs and what is going to be asked and what commitment is going to be made of those who are to replace the defectors to Rome.

Quite frankly the word 'betrayal' comes to mind.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 2:18pm GMT

I get the impression from reading Anglo-Papalist blogs that mental reservation and other forms of equivocation are still admired. If I'm understanding the interview correctly, Mr Burnham seems to be a past grand master.

It's very disheartening, this Anglo-Catholic taqqiya.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 2:59pm GMT

Nothing seems more bizarre to those of us beyond your shores than the selection and appointment of clergy to be "flying bishops" who had so little loyalty to the CofE and so many covert plans. Now that they have made their move after creating such a hornet's nest, can anyone justify why they were chosen? Their views and perhaps even their intentions must not have been a secret. How to shoot yourselves in the foot! These "sees" should perhaps not be filled by people of very liberal views, given the constituency, but at least of people who actually see the Church of England as more than a stepping stone to Rome.

Posted by Richard Grand at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 3:54pm GMT

These people are the problem of the RCC now and I wish them well of it.
The ordinariate is only another rather rickety bridge thrown quickly over the Tiber to.encourage some to cross, it's just this one offers something rather strange, an unrivalled view of the bank you just left!

Rather nostalgic I think.

I see some of the bishops were made Deacon and are to be priested tomorrow.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 5:57pm GMT

I thought the bishop made some very odd choices about self-disclosure right from the start. The interviewer made an idle comment about college, and the very first thing the bishop decided to tell him (and us) about himself is that he chose his studies based not on what he loved or what he wanted to do, but on how he could manipulate the system into paying more for it. I know we all make decisions based on this sort of thing, but why, of all the things he could have said, did he start there? It certainly set the tone for the rest of his remarks, where he made a point of telling us he was never any more forthcoming than absolutely required to be.

Posted by MarkP at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 6:05pm GMT

"As if we were" is the definition of "camp" in the British t.v. series "Beautiful People."

Ironies abound when people live in two worlds at the same time. Here, rather than "fun" it seems the definition of duplicity and equivocation.

Not a particularly morally elevating interview, to my mind, but fitting in well with the old model of thinking that the ends justify the means, and that dissembling in the service of what thinks is a higher cause is morally worthy. (This was the same rationale that led to the concealment of scandals on both sides of the Tiber.)

Posted by Tobias Haller at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 6:07pm GMT

Anyone else notice the bit where he was going on about whether he would be allowed to dress as a bishop once he joined the Ordinariate? No? That'd be just me then, because obviously as a woman I am obsessed with trivial things like fashion.

Posted by Joan_of_Quark at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 6:23pm GMT

Very, very sad.

Andrew had no need to 'become a Catholic' - he already was one !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 6:38pm GMT

It's interesting that the most high profile entrant into the Ordinariate comes across as something of a confidence man.

Posted by Doug at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 7:14pm GMT

I don't think it as bad as some do. He's frank about the fact that some churches 'work' entirely independently of supposed 'big issues'. Of course, in general he has for a long time been 'disloyal'. But should one generalise to 'all the PEVs are like this'? The bishop of Fulham that was seems to me to have been more complicated (though it's over now); the Bishop of Beverley seems to me to have made it very clear where his loyalty and heart lie. So have the majority of FiF people. Let us help them.

Posted by john at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 7:23pm GMT

The truth is that the Catholic Church has not taken on an Anglican patrimony but an Anglo-Catholic theme park...never representative of the Anglican mainstream. Sadly some Roman catholics think they are.

The official Ordinariate magazine the portal opened with an article on Bishop Gore.

Ironically Bishop Gore wrote a book..Roman catholic Claims which stopped many Anglo -Catholics converting....it was first published in 1888, ran into 12 editions and was last published in 1928.

Anyway , even though I have reservations, may God bless them in the Catholic Church. I may yet be proved wrong.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 14 January 2011 at 8:30pm GMT

Don't know if this idiom is known across the pond, but here in the southern part of the States, we would say of his very disingenuous explanation, "Well ... bless his heart!"

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 12:53am GMT

There are so many strange things about the whole Ordinariate business on both sides that it makes one wonder about how people are able to justify and equivocate and live with duplicity and self-righteousness. Conservative (Papalist, Ultramontane) Roman Catholics are applauding this move, as well as many very narrow hidebound Anglo-Catholics who are so thrilled that Rome will have them, that it is hard to remember that a year or two ago these Romans viewed these Anglicans as heretics and schismatics who needed to "submit". Now these same voices are saying that the Anglicans had to leave because of their orthodoxy, which was now being challenged by the ordination of women as bishops. Suddenly those Anglicans were orthodox all along and just needed to find a place to go to escape women where their orthodoxy would be saved. So these heretics were really orthodox all along. Women have been priests in the CofE for almost twenty years and much longer in other places anf women as bishops are quite accepted in other places. yet having women as priests in the same diocese or deanery did not make them leave. This is a strange ecclesiology and psychology. It's as if women don't exist if they pretend they don't exist. It is harder to pretend that a women isn't a bishop. So these Anglo-Catholics are no longer heretics, mostly because they oppose women as clergy. If they really had accepted the claims of the Papacy, they should have gone long ago.It is not submission to the Successor of Peter, but an escape from the female half of the human race that motivates them. These very Anglo-catholics decry "liberalism", yet the liberalism of the CofE has allowed them to indulge themselves. What of those gay Anglo-Catholics who were left to function as priests without censure and now must hide in Rome's closets? Or will Rome look the other way just to get them in the door? The endless complaining, conniving, and sense of victimization that Anglo-Catholics are famous for has now been taken to Rome. What will they do when they find that they can't use those things as weapons any more? What will it be like when the thrill of finding acceptance in Rome wears off and they have to get on with fitting into a Church that will not afford them the opportunity to be as quirky, self-obsessed and entitled as they were as Anglicans? What will it be like when they have to follow rules and lose the attitude? To find that their liturgical hobbies will not be so tolerated? Or to find a Church that is as flawed and divided and troubled as the one they left behind?

Posted by Derek Gagne at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 4:43am GMT

"Of course my dream would have been that when I said: “We’re going to submit to the Holy See.” Everyone would have followed me and done so that the priests, the churches and congregations would do so en bloc, which they haven’t".

- Bishop Burnham -

I see Robert I Williams has changed his tune. However Bishop Burnham's hopes seem now to have not been fulfilled' so that Robert can relax. It would have been too bad if the incoming 'hordes' of ex-Anglicans into the Ordinariate had spoiled his dream of an unspotted Magisterial Church.

One wonders, when the kerfuffle has died down - as it eventually must - whether the Roman Catholic Church in England will be disappointed by the poor response to the papal invitation to provide a refuge for those who thought they could provide an 'Anglican Patrimony' within the fold of 'Mother Church'? One can't say they didn't do their very best to encourage this debacle.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 5:54am GMT

Further to the above, I should have said that "some" Anglo-Catholics are famous for complaining, etc. I am an Anglo-Catholic and feel I can speak freely, but I should not generalize. I admire Anglo-Catholicism for what it has given to our Church and will continue to give. However, some of the websites and comments of the groups in sympathy with the Ordinariate, including those "continuing Anglican" groups have given me pause. The utter conviction of their rightness and condemnation of those not going along with them, the scurrilous attacks on the CofE, the Episcopal Church and others. the frightfully nasty comments about gay people, along with breathless admiration of Rome for having them, have made me question what spiritual qualities they have. There are cranks and haters everywhere, but to see this smugness and self-congratulation is quite distasteful. They seem to see themselves as the SPPX of Anglicanism. No doubt the Vatican's ouvertures to that group as well as this group of "Anglicans" will make right-wing conservatism even more entrenched in Rome. One wonders if the average Roman Catholic realizes what is coming their way.

Posted by Derek Gagne at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 6:10am GMT

@Derek who says "..One wonders if the average Roman Catholic realizes what is coming their way."

O in fact we do which is why they are suppose to be cordoned off into the Ordinariate while the rest of us are fleeing over to your side!!

Posted by jim at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 9:11am GMT

Well at least Andrew Burnham has joined the Ordinariate. I wonder about those anglican papalists who havent and wont.Are they going to continue using Roman rites and pray for Benedict our Pope having spurned his offer?.Anglican Papalism has always been a curious phenomenon but now it will look utterly bizarre.
Though, I suppose, at the other end there have always been evangelicals who admit they are only in the C of E because it is "the best boat to fish from".You might conclude the C of E is at root sui generis and not really "anglican" in the way other provinces are, hence its ambivalence about the Anglican Communion.

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 1:34pm GMT

The Ordinariate is now established, Andrew Burnham and co have/are leading the faithful Catholics back home to be in full union with the See of Pete. Now Catholics can truly practise their catholic faith and the liberals can lead the C of E in which ever direction they wish; surely this is the best solution. I am truly grateful for Andrew Burnham's ministry and leadership

Posted by FrJohn at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 2:03pm GMT

I have just arrived home from attending a most glorious, moving and life-affirming Mass in Westminster Cathedral at which 3 faithful Christians made the next step on their Christian pilgrimage. There was standing room only (2,500, possibly more) and long and loud applause as they were made RC Priests. The name of the Ordinariate (the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham) and the ordinary (Fr Keith Newton) were also announced. Whatever mixed motives may be at work in all of our human actions (yes, even blogging!)it is clear that the Holy Spirit is at work just as much in them as it was in those people in my beloved Church of England who argued as a small minority in the Church of England 40 or more years ago in favour of ordaining women. I did not hound them out of the Church of their birth then and I really do wish that that they would show the same tolerance to me now.

It is churlish to point to money and other factors as issues - if those were driving forces these intelligent, articulate men could long ago found more financially rewarding, less intrusive and less stressful jobs to do. They would have been paying a Mortgage and now have houses to live in! Please do not blame them for the decision made by General Synod in 1992 to provide a mechanism for providing pastoral oversight to those who could not accept the rightness of the Ordination of women. Google the Act of Synod and read it - it enshrines in law the uncertainty about the rightness or otherwise of the ordination of women that we have lived with for nearly 20 years.

Today is an historic day, the particular issues have been well (over!) rehearsed on these pages. For me, the goal of achieving the unity of Christendom overrides all other issues, the Church of England has other agenda items which it places more highly and therefore I fear, with huge sadness, that I must leave the Church into which I was baptised almost 50 years ago, which I have served as an Organist, PCC member, Deanery Synod rep, Gift Aid recorder, Churchwarden and, most importantly the guy who goes onto the roof and cleans leaves out of the downpipes! Please pray for all Bishops, Priests, Deacons and laity as we discern what is right for us and I beg you to try to show some basic, Christian charity in what you write.

Posted by a seeker after truth at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 4:19pm GMT

The comments on this thread convince me even more that these men have found their true home.

Posted by William at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 4:25pm GMT

"One wonders if the average Roman Catholic realizes what is coming their way."

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that the Ordinariate is such a damp squib that it will hardly affect the average Roman Catholic one way or the other. Setting up Anglican Use RC parishes here in the US didn't. We have several Eastern Catholic eparchies here in the States, too, but their influence for the average Catholic is relatively small (although it exists). I think setting up the Ordinariate will affect the average RC about as much as ourintercommunion with the Moravians has affected the average Episcopalian*.

*meaning no disrespect to the Moravians

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 5:22pm GMT

One wonders why Fr John (I am a Fr too, but I don't make anything of it) didn't find his way to Rome long ago. It is sad and misleading to say that conservatives are or should be Roman Catholics and "liberals" are Anglicans and that is the way this whole issue has been portrayed. I may be conservative as an Anglican as well as "orthodox", but it's nonsense to say that what makes liberals liberal and conservatives conservative is their attitude toward women as priests or bishops. I am offended to be told that I am a "liberal" because I am faithful to Anglican ethos and have concerns about the claims of Rome. It's bizarre to find people who have had longings for Rome but stayed Anglican who now see themselves as true Christians/Catholics because they have escaped the ministry of women. (I am avoiding their qualms about gay issues, since that is a complex issue for Anglo-Catholics and they don't say much about it on the whole.) These people who have swum the Tiber don't make nearly as much fuss about the various claims of the Papacy or Roman dogmas, since these were not enough to win them until now. It took the possibility of a woman at the altar to do that. The public just sees this as bigots and mysogynists fleeing to a Church that supports them and it makes Christians and especially Roman Catholics look narrow and nasty. A great witness indeed. If anything, it makes me glad to be part of a Church that doesn't pretend to tell people what and how to think and half the human race that God has made them to be inferior and up to ten per cent that God has made them to be looked down upon as sinners.

Posted by Richard Grand at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 7:47pm GMT

"...long and loud applause as they were made RC Priests."

Tsk.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 9:08pm GMT

"The comments on this thread convince me even more that these men have found their true home. "

Funny - Fr Burnham's interview affected me the same way.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 9:46pm GMT

The thing I find most striking in this interview, is AB’s remark ‘We did all this as if we were setting out to be a diocese ... it was done in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury ... and it fitted in with the Forward in Faith Free province rhetoric’. It would be very good, in the interests of transparency, to know more of this consultation process. Perhaps Father Burnham will enlighten us. In what sense was the ABC ‘consulted’? And if he was, then surely the House of Bishops must have been consulted; and what about the diocesan bishops of the dioceses from which +Ebbsfleet was carving out his ‘apostolic district’ – not at all, for all its many faults, the intention of the Act of Synod? Were they consulted – if not, why not? In terms of the ecclesiology and governance of the Church of England, this is a most extraordinary claim.

Posted by Judith Maltby at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 11:00pm GMT

Bill you can't compare this to the eastern rites...it will be so small...considerably less than 0.1 per cent of communicant members of the Church of England and the disproportionate number of former clergy will also show its lack of stability.

Its only future is if it can drag in some cradle Catholics.

it is no more, no less, an ex Anglo catholic theme park ..set up within the Catholic Church.Under no circumstances does it represent mainstream Anglicanism.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 15 January 2011 at 11:40pm GMT

Before our seeker after truth petitions Rome for these men to be immediately beatified, he should not be so naive about them. They have made no major sacrifice and would not be doing this if Rome had not paved the way. Not for a minute would they have given up their purple and perks to go and work in secular jobs and they did not do that. Their status is what gives them the attention they crave. We have already seen how Andrew Burnham has been duplicitous and dishonest, but the CofE gave them roles, rights, positions, and money they would not have found in Rome. I try not to be cynical, but they will not be on the dole anytime soon. If this were not financially viable, they would not be doing it. Whether there are savings, family money, spousal income, or a new found pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, they are not giving up much. Remember that they took the Queen's shilling (or the Archbishop of Canterbury's shilling) for decades before their consciences conveniently kicked in. As they enter retirement, they are not giving up much. Becoming Roman priests and making headlines and trouble is their thanks to the Church that enabled and supported them. And they have not taken a vow of poverty. This looks bad on them, but worse on the RC Church whose opportunism is visible for all to see. They deserve each other.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 4:16am GMT

An Anglo-Catholic theme park indeed. I have read various sites where A-C liturgical hobbyists are fussing about returning to the Roman Rite pre 1955 or perhaps reviving Sarum. What fun, but scarcely the point. The fussing about how many inches of lace on their cottas may not be just what Rome is looking for and they may not have nearly as much fun. If they bring "Anglican Patrimony", someone suggested that they might have to discover what it is first.

Posted by Derek Gagne at Sunday, 16 January 2011 at 4:42am GMT

Adam Armstrong. I happen to know these men personally and you are wrong in your assumptions about their financial positions. I also know several of the clergy who will be joining the Ordinariate and will, of course, have to move out of their Vicarages and find a home and an income to support their families. You can call into question the motives for setting up and joining the Ordinariate but financial gain is not one of them. Similarly, I wouldn't read too much into the timing. Rome was first asked formally about providing a structure back in the early 1990s when some 500 CofE priests left. Quite rightly then, Cardinal Hume resisted any such special structure being established because it would damage further talks and work on corporate unity.

Indeed there was not even this possibility until the Apostolic constitution was published a little over a year ago and they have availed themselves of this option as soon as possible. If they wanted to milk the CofE they could have decided to delay joining the ordinariate for a few more years (live in their houses, draw the stipend and increase their pension contributions) while General Synod debates it some more.

All I can see at the moment are people prepared to resign from a job with an absolute guarantee of income and no need to retire until the age of 70 in order to follow their conscience.

Just on a piece of Anglo-Catholic Church history. Full and visible communion with Rome was always a goal for a sizeable number of ACs. Many of the AC devotional societies have it as one of their aims and Charles Wood, Lord Halifax as Chairman of the Church Union actively pursued dialogue with Rome. More recently the ARCIC process has produced real agreement in a number of crucial areas between Anglicans and Catholics. The hopes of an historic breakthrough which seemed possible when Pope JP II visited the UK in 1982 have gradually receded as the Church of England has pursued a different agenda.

Christ's high priestly prayer " That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." is a reproach to us all. Like the 3 former Bishops I had hoped for a formal arrangement on mutual recognition just as the Porvoo agreement produced for the Nordic Churches. This is the strand of the Church of England which has nurtured me for 40 years. There have always been Anglo-Papists hoping, praying for corporate reunion. We stayed in 1992 because we thought there was still a chance of it being possible. Yes one model was for a separate Anglican Province to be formed which itself could then enter into serious ecumenical discussions with Rome. It has not been covert, forward in faith has published New Directions each month and the plans were clear. We knew that a plan B may well be necessary because our friends in Sweden and the USA told us that we needed a structural solution. We argued in General Synod for such a provision but none was forthcoming. The timing is as it is because of the confluence of votes in the General Synod which declined to provide a structure and the creation of the Ordinate which is such a structure. The timing is extremely inconvenient for many people!

Posted by a seeker after truth at Monday, 17 January 2011 at 4:41pm GMT

Well, I know that many progressive Catholics in Canada are dismayed to have the ranks of reactionary Catholics being reinforced by defecting Anglicans, however few. I just re-assure them that few indeed they are.

Posted by Randal Oulton at Tuesday, 18 January 2011 at 2:49am GMT
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