Comments: CofE Legal Guidance on the Ordinariate

I hope England is not afflicted by nasty battles over church property as we have been in the US.

After reading the Q&A, I have a few questions. Pardon my lack of understanding of CofE details. What happens if a priest joins the ordinariate and refuses to relinquish his orders and does not resign his benefice? That is essentially what has happened in the US as people have left ECUSA, and lawsuits and clergy disciplinary measures inevitably result.

Posted by Scott Gunn at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 12:47am GMT

Oh, the irony.

One wonders how many people who frowned at North American litigiousness will now peruse this leaflet on the "legal position" with utmost care and attention.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 2:06am GMT

At last some legal clarity from the Provincial Registrars of Canterbury and York concerning the Ordinariate and the sharing of church buildings.
"So far as the Church of England is concerned, the (Sharing of Church Buildings) Act requires that the incumbent and PCC (among others) should be party to the agreement."
So, it would seem, that those former loyal Anglican priests and laity joining the Ordinariate not only have been rebuffed by the CofE diocesan authorities but must also have the agreement of the succeeding incumbents and PCCs of the parish churches which they are voluntarily vacating if there is to be any hope of sharing Anglican church buildings in future.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 8:17am GMT

'Unless they take advantage of the procedure under the 1870 Act, they will, as a matter of English law, continue to be subject to the same jurisdiction as any other clerk in holy orders of the Church of England and therefore subject to the discipline of the Church of England...as well as that of the Roman Catholic Church'.

As Joe says to Pip in Great Expectations ' What larks'.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 9:20am GMT

Father David, that would seem a natural course of action to me, as an onlooker from New Zealand. At least, it does leave open the option of the new incumbent and his PCC (with the permission of the local Ordinary) to offer the same sort of family hospitality as s/he may offer to other Christians who have no spiritual home of their own.

Surely, it cannot be expected that an intentional divorcee be given the right to demand access to the family home, once they have abandoned it? This is what divorce really entails as a natural consequence for the departing spouse. Access might indeed be granted by the injured party, but it would need to be on their terms.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 9:23am GMT

There is though an essential difference between the situation facing dissenting Anglicans in the USA and those in the UK. In the UK there is a parochial and diocesan structure in place for our dissenters to move to, which has its own buildings and infrastructure - namely the Roman Catholic Church.
I very much doubt that the Roman church will lay claim to Anglican parish churches, not even those built by the church in England before the reformation!
CB

Posted by Chris Baker at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 9:28am GMT

@Scottgunn I am going to ask the C of E that very question - also there seems to be a cost involved. How much?

Posted by riazat butt at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 9:57am GMT

Scott Gunn asks a very good question and I hope Riazat gets an adequate answer.

But I think there are material differences in the UK and with this conversion process. These former Anglicans are joining the RC Church, their Canon Law will not allow them to do as Scott suggests.

There may well be a renegade or two who claim this or that, but if these people become Roman Catholics they will not be allowed to act in any way that brings that Church into disrepute, as the RC bishops have already stated - they will be expected to worship at RC churches.

That's not to say that people might try to make the process difficult, but I suggest that there is a high expectation of keeping good will and if there were any attempt to be difficult by a former cleric who was moving to the Ordinariate a quick phone call to the RC bishop will probably be all that is needed.

As I say, expect a few renegades who will not be welcomed by Rome - they can (and have in the past) caused years of grief to the system.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 12:32pm GMT

@Riazat Butt: The cost will be high, and not only financial.

Posted by Nom de Plume at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 1:32pm GMT

'therefore subject to the discipline of the Church of England...as well as that of the Roman Catholic Church'.'

Caned by the head of house and the headmaster on the same day !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 2:08pm GMT

Well, well, well.

After all that sanctimonious talk from England about wicked Americans taking the likes of Minns and Iker to court....

Posted by JPM at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 3:23pm GMT

Basically, it's not enough to resign your office. You need to give up all the gubbins that comes with it and relinquish your orders. It's called the deed of relinquishment. Without it, the priests/bishops are still within the C of E and therefore in breach of their duty of obedience

Posted by riazat butt at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 4:12pm GMT

GS MISC 979 is a bit tedious, but clear and thorough. (Clarity and thoroughness sometimes require a bit of tediosity!) Because the Church of England is an "established church" (for good for or ill!), it is to be expected that these legal provisions would be explicit. The Episcopal Church in the United States, as well as most other churches in the Anglican Communion, are not by law established, and we never thought we would need legal provisions of this sort. The first time similar issues raised their heads (30-some years ago) it was thought that the fairly straightforward "Dennis Canon" (I.7.4) would suffice. In retrospect, it might have been useful for that canon to be a little more specific, but its validity has been upheld by the civil courts (except for an occasional case of Matthew 13:14-15 Disorder).

We grieve that a few of our brothers and sisters feel that in conscience they must leave the Anglican Communion and become part of the Roman Communion, but we wish them Godspeed. But No Whining.

Posted by Bill Moorhead at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 6:43pm GMT

Chris Baker - "There is though an essential difference between the situation facing dissenting Anglicans in the USA and those in the UK. In the UK there is a parochial and diocesan structure in place for our dissenters to move to, which has its own buildings and infrastructure - namely the Roman Catholic Church."

I know it will come as a shock to Chris Baker, but the Roman Catholic Church already exists in Canada and the United States. No one has ever questioned the right of ACoC / TEC dissenters to leave ACoC / TEC. The legal absurdidty, avidly promoted by serial slanderers like Chris Sugden, has been to suggest that those leaving ACoC / TEC should be allowed to steal the silver on their way out.

Certain devious mischief-makers and cowardly characters in the Church of England have pretended, falsely, that the situation is different in England. We have here incontrovertible proof that the sitiuation is EXACTLY the same - that individuals may leave the Church, but that they have NO right whatsoever to take the property with them.

I expect that the Church of England will immediately issue an apology to the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church for having so long given aid and comfort to a campaign of lies and slander against their North American co-religionists.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 10:08pm GMT

We had to renounce all claims on buildings, just before Catholic emancipation was passed in 1829.That was a precondition.

In 1850 the British parliament passed legislation preventing us from naming our reconstituted dioceses after the original sees founded by papal bulls.

In 2010, you are hopping mad that a really tiny group of mainly elderly persons are converting to Rome,and being allowed a self governing theme park.

Can't we do anything right?

Posted by Robert Ian Willioams at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 10:19pm GMT

Ah, dear Robert, surely it was you (until just last week) who was "hopping" the highest and making the loudest and maddest noises on these pages about the foolishness of granting planning permission for this new "theme park"?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 11:23pm GMT

Robert Ian Williams writes: 'In 1850 the British parliament passed legislation preventing us from naming our reconstituted dioceses after the original sees founded by papal bulls.'

Actually what the legislation restates is the principle that territorial titles in Britain are in the gift of the Crown, to be conferred according to law. That applies whether we are talking about a temporal designation (e.g. Earl of Avon) or a spiritual designation (e.g. Bishop of Portsmouth, or Vicar of Bray). Consequently the titles of RC bishops have no legal standing, though I guess one would not want to be so discourteous as not to let them have general usage.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 11:25pm GMT

@Martin Reynolds, can you point to RC canon law that would require a priest to resign a benefice or his orders? Since Anglican orders are null and void, they surely need not be relinquished. They never existed! (From an RC perspective.)

Posted by Scott Gunn at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 3:27am GMT

"I hope England is not afflicted by nasty battles over church property as we have been in the US."

I hope they *are*! Maybe Rowan's ivory tower will get shaken up a bit!

"Can't we do anything right?"

Sanctimonious self-pity . . . you do that really well.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 5:08am GMT

" Since Anglican orders are null and void, they surely need not be relinquished. They never existed! (From an RC perspective.)

- Scott Gunn -

Mr. Gunn, you have probably already read on this thread that the titles of R.C. Bishops do not have the same validity in law as those of Bishops of the Church of England.

And as for the validity of Holy Orders within the established Church of England - 'The Pope hath no jusridiction in that country' - something for you and R.I.W. to take on board if you are ever to really understand the local situation in the U.K. Holy Orders come from Christ, through the Church - not from any papal court or conclave.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 9:43am GMT

I suppose there are many ways R C canon law can be used to respond to the situation you pose, Fr Scott butt much depends on if the cleric is seeking ordination in the RC church. While the norms for this ordinariate accept that it is likely priests will also be in a job, these jobs require the permission of the bishop and I don't think the idea of holding on to your old job was contemplated.

While canon 1381i&ii might be said to apply, the real problem faced by a cleric who was contemplating such an action is that it is not going to be approved by the accepting RC bishop - so the point is moot. I think it is clear that no such piracy would be allowed by the English and Welsh hirearchy.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 8:21pm GMT

We are entirely independent of the British Crown. We are respectful of the Law inso far as it conforms to the Catholic truth and does not compromise it.

Apparently a Church of England cleric who leaves Anglicanism ( not specifically Rome) has to resign his orders as he is accorded the status of a registrar as regards marriage. The same interestingluy also applies to the clergy of the disestablished Church in Wales.

The Pope has full jurisdiction over his flock in England and Wales and that article of the 39 articles has no effect today....or for the past 451 years of the schism initiated by Elizabeth the first. We just ignored it, and for 300 years some of us paid for that with our blood.

Posted by robert ian Williams at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 8:21pm GMT

RIW: 'The Pope has full jurisdiction over his flock in England and Wales and that article of the 39 articles has no effect today....or for the past 451 years of the schism initiated by Elizabeth the first. We just ignored it, and for 300 years some of us paid for that with our blood.'

The article means that the Bishop of Rome has no legal jurisdiction -- there is no appeal from the English Courts to the papal chancery. Before the Reformation there was. Since the Reformation there is not, and that does continue to be the case. The Bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in this realm.

If some people choose to voluntarily comply with the Bishop of Rome's directives, then just so long as those directives are compliant with English law then the State will not prosecute such people. But neither will it force them to comply, nor uphold the Roman Bishop's authority.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 11:16pm GMT

That may be the case today...but in the sixteenth century " voluntary association" was even punished by the law. They knew no such difference and their interpretation of jurisdiction much wider.

There are actually far more English people under the jurisdiction of Rome than there were in 1559.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 27 January 2011 at 6:09am GMT

"There are actually far more English people under the jurisdiction of Rome than there were in 1559." Given that these islands are far more densely populated 451 years on, that qualifies as stating the obvious, rather than contributing to intelligent debate. The 16th century was not exactly a model of tolerance or mutal respect whilst holding different views on ANY side. Elizabethans hanging Jesuits, Bloody Mary burning Protestants, Calvin conniving at the strangulation of Sadoleto etc, etc, etc ad nauseam. Legal niceties aside, in the MODERN world no-one really cares if anyone takes any notice of Papal teaching - anyone may adhere to whatever spirtual or ethical code they wish, provided that they stay within the law of the land. And most people ignore the spirtual authority of the Established Church (be it Anglican or Presbyterian) on a daily basis. this thread is a fine example of the inward looking Church that the World sees as an irrelevance.

Posted by fr dougal at Thursday, 27 January 2011 at 4:45pm GMT

RIW: yes, in the quite distant past, those who professed loyalty to the Bishop of Rome were persecuted, sometimes unto death. Similarly there have been interludes where those who protested at the Bishop of Rome's jurisdiction have been persecuted, sometimes unto death. Those times do neither side much credit, I suggest.

Those times are however several hundred years ago, and the majority of legal impediments against Roman Catholics were lifted nearly 200 years ago. Very very few no remain, and none, I suggest that impinge on ordinary everyday folk (i.e. on people who aren't in direct line to the throne!) Of more import now are the statutes and ordinances of the state as a secular body rather than as another religious body -- in this members of the established Church are as likely to find themselves at a disadvatae as are Roman Catholics.

And again: the word 'jurisdiction' has a particular legal meaning. It doe not mean someone who voluntarily places themselves under the guidance of the Roman See, nor indeed to a group of such people. Rather, I suggest, it refers quite specifically to whether the courts of this land are subject to the courts of the Roman See, and whether people can appeal from th courts of this country to the courts of the Roman See. They cannot. As far as the law of the land is concerned there is no such appeal. That is what 'jurisdiction' means. And it is entirely correct to say that the Bishop of Rome has no jurisdiction in this land -- the English courts do not exempt Roman Catholics from their jurisdiction nor allow that they may appeal cases from the Supreme Court to Rome.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 27 January 2011 at 4:47pm GMT

"schism initiated by Elizabeth the first"

It would be interesting, if Elizabeth Tudor could be transported to the 21st century, to seek redress for libel [We know how it would turn out if you were sent back to her 16/17th century Blightey: believe me, RIW, when I say I am NOT advocating that! (I, the Yank, don't believe in the divine right of ANY monarch, anymore than you believe in the divine rights of this non-Papist one ;-p)]

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 27 January 2011 at 7:06pm GMT

RIW should really read his history. Elizabeth I simply tried to make sense of the religious mess she inherited. She was excommunicated by Rome. However, having grown up Protestant and after Mary's reign, which was horrible in many things other than religion, she just wanted peace. Historians suggest that she wasn't so adamant about religion, she just saw the need to deal with a country facing threats from outside and discord within. She actually seldom committed herself on religious matters.

Posted by Richard Grand at Friday, 28 January 2011 at 3:59am GMT

Appeals to Rome were on religious issues...and this is the case today for the Catholic faithful. Heretics and schismatics have never had right of appeal to Rome.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 28 January 2011 at 7:16am GMT

RIW:

"Appeals to Rome were on religious issues...." Yes, but many "religious issues" were considered secular matters in the 16th and 17th centuries. Heresy could be tried in the secular courts, as was witchcraft. Even secular crimes were given a religious sheen--charges often included "having been seduced by the Devil..."

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 28 January 2011 at 11:27am GMT

"Heretics and schismatics have never had right of appeal to Rome."

Why would they want to?

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 28 January 2011 at 11:31am GMT

Interesting report that the Chelmsford seven are back tracking over the Ordinariate.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 7:38am GMT

" and for 300 years some of us paid for that with our blood." - Robert I. Williams -

Sometimes the use of the personal pronoun can have unexpected consequences - especially where self-elevation to martyrdom is involved. What a terrible burden you do carry Robert, and on such a short time of acquaintance with the Magisterium.


Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 9:37am GMT

"Interesting report that the Chelmsford seven are back tracking over the Ordinariate."

Believe me, they are doing no such thing. The Catholic bishop knows who they are; the Anglican bishop knows who they are and they have the support of both of them. The groups of laity they are leading are preparing for the transition and on Ash Wednesday clergy and laity will begin formation. All will proceed according to the already published timescale. The process is being handled sensitively on all sides; it is our intention to join the Ordinariate, not to provide endless media soundbites.

Posted by David Malloch at Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 11:02am GMT

You are so up to date RIW..enlighten us further. I was rather amused when a friend of mine who has good knowledge of some of these parishes told me that at one of the parishes it will come as a great surprise that they arent attending a RC church already!!!

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 2:33pm GMT

There is a report on Virtue online, which says completely the opposite to David.

.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Saturday, 29 January 2011 at 11:11pm GMT

"There is a report on Virtue online, which says completely the opposite to David"

Probably because we have not told virtue online what we are doing! I repeat: both bishops know, the timescale is in the public domain, the Bishop of Brentwood released some local details last weekend. This is an act of faith not media hype!

Posted by David Malloch at Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 8:18am GMT

Ian, I've just read the Virtue online piece and he is using it for spin. What those priests say is true: no resignations as yet, no one has started training. There is a timescale and it will be followed. Decisions will be announced, training will begin, groups will be received, clergy ordained. in the meantime, prayer is more useful than speculatin.

Posted by David Malloch at Sunday, 30 January 2011 at 8:27am GMT
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