Comments: Common sense about the Ordinariate

The lay people, curate and retired priests at St. Mary's in Torquay set a fine example of Christian ethics by their good wishes for those who have left their parish to become Roman Catholics, while also expressing rebirth and JOY for the people who have stayed members of St. Mary's parish. How wonderful to see their numbers grow. I see a much healthier and vibrant St. Mary's in Torquay. Hats off to all of the people on both sides of this issue. May love replace bitterness.

Posted by Chris Smith at Sunday, 24 April 2011 at 7:01pm BST

Fr Broadhurst: the Church of England - “vicious” and “fascist“.

Fr Geoffrey Kirk: "It has changed out of all recognition from the Church I joined,”

Some years ago I heard Fr Kirk declaim to a FiF meeting at Holy Nativity Knowle Bristol (where Keith Newton was parish Priest before becoming a 'flying bishop') - "make no mistake about it, they hate us".

I, and no doubt many others, will join the Bishop of Guildford's sigh of relief that these and others have hopefully found a home where they will be happy and where they will no longer have need to use their intemperate language. I may say that I for one am extremely glad that the CofE isn't the same one that either Fr Kirk or I joined (and the Bishop of Lewes who recently made the same complaint)! The changes may well make some think about going but they have also enabled me and no doubt many more like me to stay and feel that, for us, there is a place here where we can be loved and incorporated into Christ's body just for who we are. This isn't the end of the matter though. The women bishops issues is still not resolved and then we have the Covenant and all the mischief that will cause. But in the meantime, after a packed Eucharist at Chichester Cathedral this morning, one can say 'He is risen indeed!'.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Sunday, 24 April 2011 at 7:13pm BST

Members of a group calling its self the Anglican Association have issued a pamphlet entiled "Is the Ordinariate for you,? "With the subtitle“ some considerations for Anglicans about the Ordinariate proposals contained in and offered by “Anglicanorum Coetibus”.However this is a way of disguising the fact that the contents are an attack on the claims and doctrines of the Catholic Church. In so far as that is the case, this is not so much an objective critique of Anglicanorum Coetibus, as a dissuasive from joining the Catholic Church. The booklet is subsidised, as the first 250 copies have been offered free in the Anglican press.

Readers should be aware that the Anglican Association, largely consists of Anglo Catholics. However in the production of this pamphlet the services of Evangelical Anglican scholar Doctor Roger Beckwith have been used. I mention that because Roger Beckwith is as far removed from the members of the Anglican Association as he is from Rome. Roger Beckwith’s whole life has been one long denial of what Anglo Catholics hold as true and dear. He repudiates baptismal regeneration, the sacrifice of the Mass, prayers for the dead and the intercession of the Saints. Significantly his assistance colours the answers , as in the case of the real presence , which is described as being at the Eucharist and not in the Eucharistic elements.

Most of the attacks on Catholic doctrines like the Papacy, infallibility and other Catholic doctrines are the standard misrepresentations, that mark anti-catholic discourse, whether it emanates from fundamentalist Protestantism or liberalism. All these can be easily rebutted by going to the web site

However it is interesting that this work, does not reflect on the current chaos of Anglicanism, and significantly it draws from an Anglo-Catholic theology manual first published in 1943. However its author, the late C B Moss is not quoted in the pamphlet when he states that a Church which ordains women, would probably lose valid orders. I do hope that the English Ordinariate will respond to this booklet, and show it up for what it is. By doing so, they will help souls potentially sidetracked by the booklets arguments.

Posted by robert ian williams at Sunday, 24 April 2011 at 9:06pm BST

Agreed. I think the sense of goodwill and positivity surrounding the Ordinariate on all sides has proven the doubters wrong and has highlighted what imaginative and creative potential the Ordinariate has for all!

Too often we hear about division and negatives and not near enough about the "positive choice(s)". Happy Easter to all!

Posted by Jakian Thomist at Sunday, 24 April 2011 at 9:27pm BST

Having read the remarks of Robert I Williams on this thread, one cannot help but reflect on the situation of a one-time Prime Minister of New Zealand - Robert Muldoon - who, when told that one of the effects of his administration was that many N.Z-ers were leaving for Australia, remarked that perhaps the IQ of both countries were set to receive an up-grade by the move.

With apologies for my warped sense of humour (and no disrespect to my Aussie friends)!

In a more serious vein, Bishop Hill is surely correct when he intimates that the Church of England is better off with the departure of a group of people who were not in tune with the inclusive ethos of the Church of England. Now the Church can settle down to an epoch of serious mission to the formerly marginalised within its purlieu.

We Provinces who have already trodden the path of the inclusion of women within the ranks of the clergy - without collapse - welcome the Provinces of Canterbury and York into the complimentarity of the whole human race. Christ is Risen. Alleluia

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 2:01am BST

"Most of the attacks on Catholic doctrines like the Papacy, infallibility and other Catholic doctrines are the standard misrepresentations, that mark anti-catholic discourse, whether it emanates from fundamentalist Protestantism or liberalism. All these can be easily rebutted by going to the web site"

Well, Easter IS the Paramount Day for good humor, RIW. ;-) [Happy Easter to all at TA---he is risen, Alleluia!]

Posted by JCF at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 2:43am BST

Me thinks that Bishop Hill is being a little premature in his comments. The Ordinariate which is struggling to attract 1000 members means that the Established Church retains tens of thousands of loyal Anglo-Catholics who remain and are deeply disturbed by recent and possible future changes to the sacred ministry. An acceptable form of accommodation must be found for them if there is not to be a further exodus when or if women are consecrated into the historic episcopate.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 7:27am BST

Presumably those who have joined the Ordinariate are now known. Is there a list anywhere of the former C of E clergy? How many were stipendiary, non-stipendiary, retired etc? Also perhaps a breakdown of the laity numbers.Have all who left on Ash wednesday actually become Roman Catholics? I heard ( down here in the diocese of Canterbury) that a few of the east Kent "converts" have come back? what of the "Anglican patrimony"? I will be fascinated to see what that is...I cant somehow see some of those I know donning scarves and hoods and returning to the Anglican Daily Office.When the dust settles in a few years time it will be interesting to see what it has all amounted too.....but I suspect, not a lot.

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 11:11am BST

Father Smith, if everything is so rosy for Anglicanism in New Zealand, can you explain why it is that according to the census figures for religious affiliation there, the following was noted? In 1996, the number of Anglicans stood at 631 764, compared with the figure for Roman Catholics of 473 112. By 2006, the former number had decreased to 554 925, whilst the latter had increased to 508 437, a trend repeated in many parts of the world. Is that the serious mission you refer to in your post?

Posted by Benedict at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 12:57pm BST

This post is obviously catnip for Benedict and RIW, who always manage to turn everything to their cause. Father Smith wasn't talking about Anglicanism in NZ at all. It is never a good thing to see splits and conflict, but they were already a fact and the Ordinariate has just brought them out. Those who have gone still can't seem to resist throwing brickbats at the CofE. They should really be happier. Despite their bragging and speculating that this is "the first wave" and a deluge of people leaving the CofE will follow, this is probably their high water mark.

Posted by Richard Grand at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 3:22pm BST

Has Fr. Ed stopped publishing his venomous little blog now?

Posted by JPM at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 4:43pm BST

Perry, a full list of clergy is to be found here:

It looks like approx 50% are stipendiary, which ties in with the numbers claimed all along. Those who are retired seem to be active.

Posted by David Malloch at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 5:14pm BST

"The Ordinariate which is struggling to attract 1000 members means that the Established Church retains tens of thousands of loyal Anglo-Catholics who remain and are deeply disturbed by recent and possible future changes to the sacred ministry."

I can only comment as an Ignorant Yank from afar, but does anyone closer to the situation believe that Father David may be "Crying 'Wolf'"?

Posted by JCF at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 6:16pm BST

There is obvious concern for Anglo Catholics - as well there should be - regarding the move toward women in Holy Orders including, eventually, Bishop. But if the experience in North America is applicable, it seems that the really wonderful centers of Anglo-Catholicism such as St Mary the Virgin in NY and St Mary Mag in Toronto have made peace, and more than peace, with women in various Orders. I dare say that this is in part because both sides (in spite of our tendency toward inflamed rhetoric) have been patient and gracious. I also dare say it is in part because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by Scott at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 6:18pm BST

I liked Sir Robert Muldoon...a very astute politician (Welsh on his Mum's side). As regards religious statistics.. only conservative evangelicalism within NZ Anglicanism is growing.

As regards Anglo catholics.. only a fraction of them have joined Rome.. there is still a solid number opposed to women bishops within the Church of England. Most of the 60 ordinariate clergy are retired former Anglicans.

Posted by rOBERT IAN WILLIAMS at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 8:37pm BST

Richard Grand, I am not sure whether you meant to include me as one of "those who have gone", but I take the opportunity to let you know that I am stil very much a member of the Church of England, a member too of a thriving Anglo-Catholic Parish with all three resolutions in place, which takes the Christian missionary imperative very seriously. On Easter Sunday, we were thus blessed with almost 200 worshippers at Mass, young and mature, male and female. It simply isn't good enough to claim, as Father Smith did, that the "inclusive ethos" of the Church of England, and departure of some to the ordinariate, will somehow be responsible for a new "epoch of serious mission", when traditionalists like ourselves have been serious minded about that imperative all along. Such comments as those made by Father Smith echo those ludicrous claims we heard in 1992 when the legislation for the ordination of women as priests was passed, that the innovation would somehow signal a new awakening in the life of the Church and its mission. That has most not definitely not proved to be so, given falling numbers and a situation which sees us worse off as a church in 2011 than we were in 1992, and a church that is again, decreasing numerically compared to its Roman Catholic sister.

Posted by Benedict at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 10:33pm BST

"Those who are retired seem to be active". I am baffled by the meaning of this statement. I assume it must mean are doing churchy things (e.g. taking services.) Unless they have gone into hiding or have died, aren't most retired clergy "active". Why is that fact relevant?

Posted by Richard Grand at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 10:41pm BST

The Archbishop of York spoke about this on Radio 2. See transcript here:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 10:55pm BST

What makes churches grow? Excellent preaching, which can bend itself to the needs of the congregation without yielding an atom of the essence of the Truth. Compassion. Energetic clergy and engaged laity. A lively sense of both the presence of Christ,and the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit,and the over-reaching care and compassion of the Father. It can happen in any church of any flavour. I think I should add that chairs had to be set at the back of St Mary's to accommodate worshippers at the main Easter service on Sunday. And we are not conservative - neither Evangelical nor opposed to women clergy or gay clergy. (Should you wish to hear the sermon, the link is above. Have your handkies ready, you will need them._

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Monday, 25 April 2011 at 11:39pm BST

"a church that is again, decreasing numerically compared to its Roman Catholic sister." - Posted by Benedict

Surely you would concede, Benedict, that EVERYWHERE in the developed world, that's due to birthrate and (following from) immigration (by RCs)? Not evangelical zeal/conversions?

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 1:53am BST

Difficult for me to understand (but then I am a Yank) what the Ordinariate offers these 900 converts that the RC church before the ordinariate didn't. Why did they wait for the ordinariate if they believed the Pope was infallible and outside the church (RC) there is no salvation. Also why is the RC church willing to take people in on special conditions (only)?

Posted by Sara MacVane at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 6:32am BST

Thanks, Rosemary, for your helpful comment here - about the goodly congregation at St.Mary's. I'm pretty sure that Jesus won't neglect to visit the altars of English churches where dissenting clergy and congregation have departed for fresh fields in the Ordinariate. In fact, his presence might be even more keenly felt - simply because of the lack of back-biting and the possibility of a welcome to the ministry of women.

We had a good reminder at the Easter services of how Mary Magdalene was chosen by Jesus as His Apostle to the Apostles! (The men didn't believe her message, but isn't that typical?)

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 11:16am BST

The statistics posted on here last month from BRIN rather suggested that the RC Church in England had declined marginally more rapidly than the C of E since 1985.I am not sure the Ordinariate will change things much.Conservative and sectarian forms of religion seem to be holding up or slightly increasing, which I suppose is what the sociologists said would happen."Gathered" Conservative evangelical parishes in towns seem to do well, but clearly dont suit the countryside and C of E churches of different hues flourish in the suburbs and country towns. I suspect that with the arrival of women bishops there will be another wave of people joining the Ordinariate but I cant see it being large.Anglican layfolk especially tend to stay put come what seems to have been that way from the Reformation onwards.

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 1:03pm BST

The "numbers game" plays to the advantage of some (like Benedict, who seems to enjoy it it), but without context tells us very little. The influx if Irish people into England accounted for the main growth of the RC Church in the past and the same is happenng now when people immigrate with RC backgrounds. In Canada, the traditional groups that formed the RC Church have largely departed, especially the French and Irish, and have been replaced by people from Southeast Asia and, to some degree, eastern Europe. Meanwhile Anglicanism receives next to no one from immigration and the birthrate has declined. Without immigration the RC Church would definitely be in decline. Then there are those who have stopped practising or have left, but are still claimed by the RC Church. The largest denomination in the USA is "former Roman Catholics".

Posted by Richard Grand at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 1:07pm BST

Some Catholic bishops have been less than welcoming to converts, and it is the direct involvement of the CDF with the process that has ensured a swift process rather than the protracted period of reception that many of the English bishops wanted. When a large number of priests converted after the Ordination of Women in the Church of England, it was the CDF that tried to keep the process simple - even then some Catholic bishops were notably obstructive, and once the special process came to an end, the 'usual channels' reverted to a 4-5 year wait for ordination to the Catholic priesthood. The Ordinariate gives Rome a continuing direct hand.

Posted by NCG at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 1:17pm BST

Benedict said "those ludicrous claims..that the innovation would somehow signal a new awakening in the life of the Church". No one can seriously claim that anything in itself will do this. It is the grace of God and our faithfulness that is needed. Although some may have said that the ordination of women might bring new life, the fact is that is wasn't done to "fix" the Church. It was done because half of humanity has the same status in the eyes of the God as the other half. If you think about it, women have made a huge impact for good in the life of the Church and it's hard to imagine the CofE or the Anglican Communion excluding the gifts women bring to ordained ministry. The RC Church not only restricts the priesthood to males, but insists on celibacy, which hardly represents the breadth of the gifts God gives for ministry. Without getting into the issues of sexuality and scandals in such a self-selected group, suffice it to say that this isn't working so well.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 1:25pm BST

The high principle that, we are told, lies behind going to Rome in its guise as the Ordinariate raises many questions. The claims of Rome to be the "one true Church" and the Pope the Successor of Peter with all that entails (infallibility being just one) have always been in place. These never were such attractions until the possibility of a women as a bishop came along. Even women priests seemed not to be a compelling reason to go. Some would argue that the present Pope has made leaving more attractive, but the claims of Rome have always been the same and either one believes them or not. The underlying issue is that this is very much a clergy-led issue, interestly by men in episcopal orders. the possibility of a woman in the House of Bishops has done what twenty centuries of Roman claims could not. Meanwhile the Pope knows that the zeal of converts, especially right-wing conservative ones, can provide him with new "true believers" when others seem to be departing. Not to mention the fact that he seems to want to emulate Pius IX, whose vestments he wore at Easter. (He seems to be searching the Vatican museums). This is the Pope of Vatican I and infallibility, which speaks volumes. Amazingly, Anglo-Catholics have bought into the idea that the Pope now likes them and they are just tickled.

Posted by Derek Gagne at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 2:38pm BST

As to the old "which church is declining" (as measured by bums in the pews), and "which church is flourishing" (using the same measure), it seems to me to be nothing more than the old idea that "Nothing $ucceeds Like $uccess!" In the narratives that we have inherited, Jesus seems remarkably indifferent to this very conventional concept. He attracted a lot of people. He alienated a lot of people. In the end, His movement numbered His dying self on a cross together with 3 women and a teenage boy, and that after a life's work.

Maybe He had something more in mind for the Church than a club always needing recruits.

Posted by Counterlight at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 8:50pm BST

The truth is the Catholic Church in England and Wales is in meltdown. Look at the Ordinariate reception photos and see how old the new converts generally are.

As regards the birthrate , Italy and Spain ( 90 per cent catholic ) , have the lowest birth rates on earth!

And the Pope keeps talking of the great renewal of the second Vatican Council.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 26 April 2011 at 10:37pm BST

Picking up on Derek's excellent post...I have heard it said that the Ordinariate is Pope Benedict's way of having an ultra loyal group as a counterweight to the perceived"liberalism" of the bishops of England and Wales. Not sure how that would be verified...but to work it would need a substantial body of converts and as on previous occasions..1845, 1851. Apostolicae Curae, South India, 1993 ....the Vatican has considerably overestimated the likely numbers of converts. A friend of mine who is an english correspondent to a proVatican Italian national newspaper told me when I met him last week that many in the Vatican bureaucracy are very gullible when their triumphalism is tickled.

Posted by Perry Butler at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 10:15am BST


Italy and Spain are nominally 90% Roman Catholic. Once again, the real question is--how many of those who call themselves RC in those countries attend Mass on Sunday, follow Vatican rules on things like contraception and abortion (not to mention homosexuality), etc. I can call myself anything I like...whether I act like it is another story entirely.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 11:27am BST

"And the Pope keeps talking of the great renewal of the second Vatican Council." - R.I.Williams -

While yet turning the clock back to Vatican I!
You and I both know, Robert, that the Pope is busy side-stepping most of what he once advocated as a young theologian before Vat.II. He, like the ABC on the Anglican front, has been suborned by the conservatives in your/his church

I find it quite peculiar, Robert, that you, having sought sanctuary across the Tiber, seem now to be doing your very best to discredit your new-found co-religionists. Are they disappointing your thirst for scalps? And they've still done nothing about the lack of fertility in Vatican-land! Will you next be giving the Welsh Baptists a go?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 11:51am BST

"has been suborned by the conservatives in your/his church": Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 11:51am BST

Yet neither the RC "traditionalists" nor the Anglican "conservatives" like or respect Pope or ABC - both seem to think they are merely wolves dressed as lambs.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 5:28pm BST

I like Pope Benedict and do not question the validity of Vatican Two ( in fact rather prefer the ordinary rite of Mass)...but I do think there has been a lack of discipline in the Church, pooor catechetics etc which a future Pope will restore.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 7:56pm BST

I also found Bishop Hill's comments too simple. Those who have joined the Ordinariate have gone - others will follow - others will come back. For the first two groups, one has no further concern (I mean, qua Anglican). For the third, one can only rejoice. But then as Benedict rightly says, there is another group - those FiF people who have not gone/will probably not go/most definitely want to stay/but who yet do not accept WO. I know some and read others. It remains our duty to accommodate them - just as they too must accommodate us. On their side, that means less about the Pope, less about the true church, less fulmination about liberal innovations. On our side, it means giving them all reasonable space. All reasonable space is what they think they need to remain within the better church: the Church of England (and its Welsh, Scottish and Irish versions).

Posted by John at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 8:57pm BST

"...the Established Church retains tens of thousands of loyal Anglo-Catholics who remain and are deeply disturbed by recent and possible future changes to the sacred ministry".

And, I suspect, many 'loyal Anglo-Catholics remain who are convinced that Women in Holy Orders is the new initiative of the Holy Spirit - redressing the balance of many centuries of misogyny in the Church, by harnessing the total ministry concept. Make no mistake, the Anglican Communion Churches still need the catholic and apostolic theology that undergirds the thrust of the Gospel's inclusive outreach to ALL people.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 27 April 2011 at 11:29pm BST

John said: "On their side, that means less about the Pope, less about the true church, less fulmination about liberal innovations."
In other words, "Calm down dears, calm down".

Posted by Cunctator at Thursday, 28 April 2011 at 10:14am BST

I suspect that while tens of thousands probably do worship at churches with an Anglo-Catholic tradition of worship, a much smaller number are as concerned as many of their clergy. In many parishes the resolutions esp C have not been put in place because the clergy know it would not get through the PCC.I suspect the ( remaining) number of laity concerned enough to move to Rome is not huge.Most parishes with an anglo-catholic tradition contain those ( often a considerable number) who are relatively relaxed about the issue. They remain "Anglican" in identity not anything else, and are mostly loyal to the parochial set up they like. An energetic incumbent ( of the Ed Tomlinson sort) may persuade a fair number but they are the exception. Take St Stephens Gloucester Rd where I was once curate.An anglo-catholic shrine...yet despite catechesis and a church sharing arrangement only about 25 followed the vicar, and many of them were new comers he had ,so to speak, brought with him. Im sure there will be another wave of sorts to the Ordinariate but even with just a code of practice in place im prepared to bet it wont be "tens of thousands" who leave..more likely the number that have gone already. Will ,for example, the "fast track" be open to clergy in 2 yrs not sure the offer is open-ended is it?

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 29 April 2011 at 8:30am BST

Now that the Archbishop has put in place more PEV's with impressive speed, I'd like to venture he should show the same positive response to the Holy Father's 'gracious' offer of the Ordinariate. His Grace should follow the Supreme Pontiff's example and offer a similar facility to Roman Catholics across his Province. They could come on over and use their traditional rite. I wonder just what that would produce?

Posted by commentator at Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 11:45am BST

Do you mean to suggest that they could use the "forma extraordinaria" i.e. the "Tridentine" 1962 form entirely in Latin?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 7 May 2011 at 1:14pm BST

An even better idea: Let the new PEV's minister to this newly-proposed Anglican Ordinariate - for disaffected Roman Catholic Traditionalists. After all, one of them is already well acquainted with the Pusey House Use, which could please the Roman Catholic newcomers a great deal.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 12:13pm BST

While everyone seems to be congratulating themselves on the relatively small number of Anglo-Catholics joining the Ordinariate, what they should really be worrying about is the large number of very wealthy traditionalist Evangelical parishes who, if the measure in its present form is approved, will just take their 500 plus congregations and go quietly to do their own thing - Heaven knows they can afford it. Can the C of E afford to lose them?

Posted by Fr John at Sunday, 8 May 2011 at 10:48pm BST

John, one is already aware of those evangelical parishes who use their monetary wealth to try to influence dogmatic conservatism - by already withholding their diocesan quota, etc. But are they seriously considering doing this on grounds other than 'sola scriptura' or openness towards gays in the ministry and SSBs? I would not have thought that the prospect of women bishops would rank highly on their programmes of intentional fiscal withdrawal.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 9 May 2011 at 11:59am BST
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