Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Duty to God

I think that the new Girl Guide Promise is dangerous. Whereas a good guide used to promise to serve God, Queen and country, she is now required to say, 

"I promise that I will do my best: to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide law." 

Up until now, the first promise was to God. The whole point of God, if you will pardon this clumsy way of putting it, is that He is above everything. There is an authority which is over and above all my other allegiances: Queen, Country, Family and certainly self are all subject to another who is greater and it is to Him that I owe my first allegiance and only then to these others and only to the extent that they too owe allegiance to Him.

In the new promise my first allegiance seems to be to myself. An unreliable authority for any of us but for a child and a teenager I would have thought that self, as yet unformed and uninformed, would be a hopeless guide as to what is good. Zoe Williams puts all this very well in her piece in the Guardian today.

But dangerous? If my first allegiance is to myself, who is to tell me that I am wrong? If I promise to be true to myself and my beliefs and if that is to be my guiding principle through my life then my Queen, my country, my family and my community will all take second place in my moral reference book and God does not get a look in at all. Morality has been reduced to what I think is right with no outside arbiter to tell me that I may be wrong.

If God is my reference point all other claims on me are judged by His demands. If my ego is my only moral reference may God help us all!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Angry Bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury is obviously furious that Synod rejected the Women Bishops legislation. You could hear it in his voice yesterday morning. It certainly came across when, bidding farewell to Bishop Peter Price, he mentioned that Bishop Peter was one of “an uncertain future” having been trained at Oak Hill Theological College. It was a bad joke from the usually courteous archbishop at the expense of one of the speakers in Tuesday’s debate. The speaker (I’m sorry but I didn’t get her name) made reference to conservative Evangelical students who are obviously very fearful that their views – indeed they themselves – might not have a future in the Church of England. I suppose really the joke was at the expense of those students. It shows just how bad things have got.

The Archbishop’s anger is understandable. He genuinely wanted this because he thought it would send the right message about what the church believes about God. He also thought it would send the right message to the many women who have served the church as priests, deacons and deaconesses for generations – that they were valued and appreciated. A “No” vote at this final stage obviously sent the opposite signal to the world and to women in general and to those in ministry in particular.

Alarmingly, the bishops seem to have completely failed to grasp that they must take their share of the responsibility for all this. Whatever outsiders think, there is no one on the General Synod who wanted this outcome. All were hopeful that legislation allowing the ordination of women would have passed that final hurdle on Tuesday; yes, even the Catholic Group and Reform wanted that. The legislation failed not because anybody was trying to stop women bishops; it failed because it was poor legislation – at least in the eyes of those who voted against it.

I listened to nearly all the debate on Tuesday (isn’t the internet amazing?) and I was struck by how much it was a debate of the deaf. The number of times those against the legislation said that the provision for traditional Catholics and conservative Evangelicals was insufficient was matched (and probably exceeded) by the number of times bishops and senior clergy told them that the provision was quite sufficient.  Well, who is to say what is sufficient, those asking for provision or those supplying it? I have a picture in my head of someone going to an old fashioned petrol station, asking for enough petrol to get from London to Manchester  and being told that he could have enough to get him to Birmingham and that that would be sufficient.

The truth is the Bishops knew they were not offering what was asked for. Conservatives and traditionalists (how I hate those labels) have been fond of saying that they haven’t been listened to, but I don’t think that is really true. I think the Bishops knew that it wasn’t enough but hadn’t got the guts to tell the truth: this isn’t enough but we can’t give you anymore. To his credit, Archbishop Rowan got closest to such an admission.

So why had we got to this place? How was it that on the final day of a process that had taken twelve years – yes twelve years – the fundamental problem had not been resolved? Actually, it wasn’t just the fundamental question, it was the only question. Looked at from this point of view it seems fairly obvious to me that it is the Bishops who must take responsibility for what happened on Tuesday. I am astonished that, so far, not one of them has been prepared to admit that. Perhaps when their anger has died down they will have clearer insight.

I am not going to suggest a way forward - I haven’t got a clue - but I would like to offer one insight: Throughout this process the Bishops have been seen, indeed may even have seen themselves as honest brokers between the liberals, Catholics and Evangelicals. The trouble with this dynamic is that it has disguised the fact that the Bishops themselves have had strongly held views on the issue and they are quite unrepresentative – as Tuesday’s vote shows. There is, for example, not one conservative Evangelical amongst them.

The Bishop of Manchester’s closing speech on Tuesday evening was revealing. He said that the House of Bishops had, from the outset of the whole process refused to consider any proposal which would fundamentally change the structures of the Church of England. I suspect that by doing that they had turned their backs on the only way out of this impasse!

But what is clear is that the Bishops are not the mediators. Perhaps we have come to the point where only truly independent mediation will do.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Women Bishops: A response to the Dean of Durham

In February this year Michael Sadgrove wrote a piece on his blog encouraging Synod to vote "Yes" for Women Bishops. His piece can be found here:

1975 and all that

Michael Sadgrove taught me when I was a young seminarian – and he a young teacher – at Salisbury and Wells. This is important for two reasons. I want him and you, the reader to know that I love Michael as a student will love his teacher. And this teaching was not just confined to his discipline within the College; he, as much as anyone has, taught me about priesthood, about Christianity, indeed, about being human. So whatever I write here, I write in response to a dearly loved teacher and brother.

The second reason why it is important that you know that he, Michael (ordained in 1975) was instrumental in my priestly formation (ordained in 1983) is to do with those dates. At the end of his piece he wrote:

Anyone ordained with me or after me knows that our church is committed to the journey of integrating women fully into all the orders of ministry.  No-one ordained after 1975 can say that the church has 'changed its mind'. 

Well, obviously, I was Ordained after Michael and I have to say that I am still happy to say that the Church (of England) has changed its mind.

Michael writes of his Bishop telling the young ordinand on the eve of his ordination that the Church of England’s stated position was that there was no theological objection to the ordination of women. The clear implication of what the Bishop was saying was that no one should be ordained into the ministry of the Church of England unless he agreed with that Synod resolution.

Now, I am sure that the Bishop thought so; I am equally sure that Michael believed him. But ten years before the final Synod decision to ordain women to the priesthood, I can assure you, dear reader, that I and many like me believed that Synod Resolution to be a mere theologoumenon which most certainly did not bind me. Whoever heard of General Synod claiming to be infallible in matters of faith? How could this Church, which claimed to have no other faith or ministry than that of the Church Universal, claim to believe something which the universal church did not. So, nine years after that Synod resolution of 1975, I was given Priestly Orders, firmly believing that women could not receive them. I did not and do not believe I was a disloyal Anglican on that account; nor do I remember any of my pastors or teachers suggesting that to me. 

You might, dear reader, suspect that my memory is flawed. You might believe that in the early eighties all were warning that no young man should be ordained if he held onto such out of date ideas. But subsequent history suggests that this is not the case. When eventually General Synod passed legislation allowing women to be ordained as priests, it also passed an Act of Synod which would ensure that those who did not believe that women could receive Holy Orders (a gift to the whole Church, not just to the C of E) might still continue to have an “honoured and respected” place in the Church. To that end the Act of Synod allowed the consecration of Bishops (the Provincial Episcopal Visitors, for example) who would continue in that tradition. From then until now the PEVs and other Bishops have continued to ordain men who did not themselves believe that women could be priests. This fact does not match Michael’s telling of the story.

Whatever his Bishop might have thought on the eve of Michael’s ordination, that was not the view of the entire Church of England in 1975, in 1983 or even on the day the first Women were ordained priest in 1994. Only subsequently have some come to believe that there is no place for “traditionalists” in the future Church of England.

His and Hers

Michael loves images, poetry, metaphor and he treats us to an image here, the image of a line on a Cathedral floor. 

Michael tells us that the line drawn on the floor of Durham Cathedral marks the point beyond which women could not go in the medieval monastery.

This line had no more significance than those symbols on public lavatories which require us to check whether we are wearing skirts or trousers. It acknowledges that there is a difference between the sexes and it is not always appropriate for them to mix. However much we have  changed our ideas on this subject, recent  public demand that men and women are not housed in the same hospital ward remind us that, perhaps, we have not changed that much.

In Michael’s fertile imagination this line becomes the symbol of male oppression of women. He invites pilgrims to the Cathedral to

Think about the walls of partition that still exist in our world: divisions due to religious difference, ethnicity, privilege, gender, sexual orientation.  And I invite them to think too about the differences that still exist in our church.

But, I have to say, the symbol does not work. The line does not prevent women having access to the Holy. It merely refuses them access to the monks. Far from being the line on a battle field, it is like the “SILENCE” notice in a library. We need rules for things to work properly: monasteries and libraries alike. Rules are not always oppressive. The line on the Cathedral floor is not like a “Blacks only” sign; it is simply a “Please do not distract the monks” sign.

Women in the Church

I know well that some women feel that the church is an oppressive institution. They feel that an all male episcopacy is a symbol of that oppression. So when Michael compares this issue to the defining issue of the early Church: whether and how Gentiles be made welcome, one cannot but be moved. This, I think is the heart of his argument:

In the early church, circumcision was not a but the defining issue.  Breaking down this wall of partition was the most fundamental issue the church faced.  It posed the questions: what kind of church are we? Who is welcome here?  What kind of gospel do we proclaim? What kind of God do we worship?

So, on to the question of whether women may be admitted to the Epicopacy:

I believe that we must do this not just for the sake of our mission to our society; nor just for the sake of our women priests, to whose ministry we all owe so much. We need to demonstrate to ourselves that we believe what we believe, and that our vision of the gospel is not less universal and generous than the New Testament’s, and that our theological vision and the courage of our convictions are equal to St Paul’s.  

Powerful stuff! 

I do not agree, of course. I do not believe that the line which does not allow women to receive Priestly or Episcopal Orders is the same as allowing gentiles into the Church or blacks on a bus, but given that Michael – and many others – do, I can understand that this has become a first order question. I never want to underestimate the seriousness of that cry.
But yet! But yet, I do still have huge problems with all this. If this is the first order issue that Michael and others believe it to be, this is a question for the Universal Church. At the moment, by far the biggest part of that Church does not believe (and has not ever believed) that it is possible for women to receive Holy Orders. Whatever that resolution of 1975 may have said, it is still, even now, at best, a mere theologoumenon; a matter of opinion. And however strongly that opinion is held, it cannot be said to be the mind of the Church.
And yet! And yet, I have come to the view that this is something worth running with. Yes, “Let’s do it!” It is worth testing this out. Let’s find out whether this is of God; but let us be clear! The Church of England has no ministry which is not the ministry of the Universal Church and until the mind of the Universal Church is clear, this cannot be seen to be anything other than an important experiment.


One thing that completely puzzles me is the attitude to “provision”. It seems to me that both the present legislation and Michael’s piece want to enshrine misogyny into law.
I am not a misogynist. I actually prefer to have a woman GP (they listen better). The best Archdeacon I ever had was a woman. I am happy for a woman to cut my hair! I do not dislike women and certainly I do not object to women caring for me! Please believe this; it is really important! I do NOT want to be “looked after” by a man rather than by a woman; not in church, not in hospital, not in the barbers. 

The present legislation seems to offer care for misogynists. That is so utterly wrong.

(I’m getting cross now – can you tell?)

What it does not offer, and what traditional Anglicans want, is sacramental assurance. You see – and I thought Michael would get this – what is needed is not a man but a validly ordained priest and validly ordained bishops. Until the Universal Church accepts this new understanding of its Ministry, it remains provisional. 

If the entire ministry of the Church of England is to have this provisionality about it – that is to say, if we do not build into its future ministry guarantees that we will continue to find there the historic three-fold ministry as the Church of England has received it – I am not at all sure that that church can seriously claim to be a part of the whole Church at all.

The 1975 Synod was NOT the Council of Jerusalem. The 1992 Synod wasn’t either and nor will this week’s Synod be. Until that “Council moment” comes, Anglican Churches really need to be quite humble about this hopeful experiment.

It is, as they say, an Ecumenical matter!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Great Cry

I am reading Ruth Burrows' Interior Castle Explored (Burns & Oates 2007) and there I found this:

"Blowing through heaven and earth, and in our hearts and the heart of every living thing, is a gigantic breath -- a great Cry -- which we call God. Plant life wished to continue its motionless sleep next to stagnant waters, but the Cry leaped up within it and violently shook its roots: ‘Away, let go of the earth, walk!’ Had the tree been able to think and judge, it would have cried, ‘I don’t want
to. What are you urging me to do! You are demanding the impossible!’ But the Cry, without pity, kept shaking its roots and shouting, ‘Away, let go of the earth, walk!’

"It shouted in this way for thousands of eons; and lo! as a result of desire and struggle, life escaped the motionless tree and was liberated.

"Animals appeared -- worms -- making themselves at home in water and mud. ‘We’re just fine here,’ they said. ‘We have peace and security; we’re not budging!’

"But the terrible Cry hammered itself pitilessly into their loins. ‘Leave the mud, stand up, give birth to your betters!’

"‘We don’t want to! We can’t!’

"‘You can’t, but I can. Stand up!’

"And lo! after thousands of eons, man emerged, trembling on his still unsolid legs.

"The human being is a centaur; his equine hoofs are planted in the ground, but his body from breast to head is worked on and tormented by the merciless Cry. He has been fighting, again for thousands of eons, to draw himself, like a sword, out of his animalistic scabbard. He is also fighting -- this is his new struggle -- to draw himself out of his human scabbard. Man calls in despair, ‘Where can I go? I have reached the pinnacle, beyond is the abyss.’ And the Cry answers, ‘I am beyond. Stand up!’"

(Nikos Kazantzakis, Report to Greco, pp. 291-292; Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1965.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The End of the (CBS) Affair

The Charity Commission has posted its final decision on the CBS gift to the Ordinariate. Essentially they found that too many of the Trustees had an interest in the Ordinariate to make the decision and that, in any case:

"A gift given to the Ordinariate ...... could be used for purposes which have no connection with the Anglican tradition at all".

It took the Commission a long time to come to see what we had all been telling them but there is some satisfaction in being judged right in the matter.

The million has been given back. Great! But what cannot be so easily dealt with is the bad taste in the mouth. The news that the gift had been made came to light just after I had returned to the Roman Catholic Church. I had been received into the Church in 1994 but never felt myself to be at home in it. I returned to the Church of England just a year later.

But when I retired, and could choose again where to go to Church, I returned to Rome. The creation of the Ordinariate assured me that, this time, I would be made welcome. And, I have to say, that the little Ordinariate Group in Eastbourne did make me feel very much at home. Their welcome was warm and generous. Actually I could easily have belonged.

When I learned about the donation of one million pounds by Trustees of the CBS (most of whom were members of the Ordinariate) to the Ordinariate, I felt sick to my stomach. Now, I must be clear: I am certain that the Trustees believed they were doing a good thing, the right thing. At the same time, I believe it to have been a thoroughly bad thing; both morally and politically - but mostly morally. I believe it had the moral equivalence of taking the windows, doors and pipe-work from ones parent’s home when one left to move into one’s own home!

Because leading members of the Ordinariate had done this dreadful thing I could no longer regard myself as a member of it. I could not any longer be associated with it. Once more I found myself in a very lonely place; unable to participate in the life of the Ordinariate, I found myself, once more, feeling quite unwanted in a quite un-loving Church. I struggled on for a few months - ill and miserable but still believing that I somehow ought to be a Roman Catholic. The final straw for me came later – and is not part of this story. For now, I would like the members of the Ordinariate who did this thing to reflect on the great damage they have done to their own cause and to the Holy Father’s initiative.

I must close this entry to the blog by thanking, once more, Fr Neil and the members of the Eastbourne Ordinariate for their love and warm welcome.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Bishops & Authority

For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:29)

I simply cannot understand why compromise is not possible on the question of the Ordination of women to the Episcopacy.

The argument goes, if I have correctly understood it, that if the authority of “male only succession” Bishops is derived from the Measure that would somehow undermine the authority of any woman Diocesan Bishop.

The argument seems to suggest an absolute authority vested in a Diocesan Bishop but, honestly, if that is the view of a Bishop’s authority held by those who take this position then, for heaven’s sake, don’t ordain them to any ministry in the church!

For all authority in the Church is both derived and shared. The most Ultramane RC knows that even the Pope’s authority is derived from Jesus Christ and shared with the Apostles and Bishops of the past, present and future. As the Pope doesn’t run the church single handed, nor should or could any Diocesan Bishop. (In any case, no Bishop in the Church of England has any executive power to speak of). 

His authority is the authority of the good shepherd, the authority of the one who comes amongst us as one who serves and so it is never about power and is never absolute. So from the very beginning the Apostles shared their ministry and gave others authority: Deacons, Elders, prophets, evangelists all shared the task of proclaiming the Good News “with authority”.

And all Christian ministry and authority is a shared venture. No wise Dean of a Cathedral would risk undermining the role of the Precentor, only a very foolish parish priest would not listen to the advice of his or her churchwardens and no Diocesan Bishop would interfere with an appointment made by one of his Archdeacons.

And this “sharing” of authority is intrinsic. The Bishop, Dean, Vicar or whoever does not share his or her authority because of a whim but because that sharing is essential to the very nature of the authority we are discussing. Ecclesiastical authority, because it is derived from Jesus Christ, is never absolutely held by one person.

As the preamble to the Manchester Motion suggests, Area Bishops have their authority by virtue of the Measure which established the Area System in the Diocese. Has anybody ever seriously suggested that the Diocesan’s authority is thereby compromised? 

To be a Bishop is to be engaged in a shared endeavour. Women Bishops will be sharing their work with many other ministers – and not because they are delegating some absolute right to rule but because that is the very nature of the ministry to which they will be called. I do hope that they will share their ministry with some form of “male only succession” Bishops too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Whatever happened to Anglo-Catholics?

There have always been different sorts of Anglo-Catholic: ritualists, papalists, high churchmen and women; those who loved the Prayer Book and those who “borrowed from Rome”. I’m not going to list them all but on the whole there have been those who have believed that their ultimate goal was simply to remind the Church of England that she is Catholic, and there are those who have only ever dreamed of re-union with Rome. Alongside both there were the high church latitudinarians who shared much with both. Honestly, I guess most of us were a bit of all three. It is not necessarily the case that the first lot are in “SSWSH” (the group who are staying in the Church of England whilst opposing the consecration of women Bishops); or that the second lot are in the “Ordinariate” or the third in Affirming Catholicism (who embrace the possibility of Women bishops) but these three groupings roughly correspond to earlier, more nuanced divisions within the movement.  For our purposes, when I speak of “traditional catholics” I will mean the first two groups.

As something of an aside, it is worth noting that many (especially priests) who might well be described as “Romanisers”, remain in the Church of England keeping a watchful eye on the Ordinariate. The Ordinariate will need to woo these guys carefully over the next few months and years. There are also many who would have been loyal “Prayer Book Catholics” in an earlier generation, who will no more go to Rome than they would become Methodists. It seems to me, as an outsider now, that these folk will have to broke a deal with the Affirming Catholicism camp; somehow!

Until 1992 (or perhaps a little earlier) these people all belonged together. The vote allowing women priests was the watershed which gave rise to the expulsion of the Affirming Catholics from our midst. Since 1992, it has to be said, this group has flourished reasonably well. It is the group that the Archbishop of Canterbury would, I think, most happily identify with. To the extent that “Catholicism” has any sort of future in the Church of England it will be because these people are holding the Catholic torch.  At the same time as the “AffCaths” were being denied a place at Anglo-Catholic Altars, a few hundred papalists took themselves off to Rome. 

For those who were left in the traditional Anglo-Catholic movement, an organisation calling itself “Forward in Faith” was formed to defend and promote the Catholic cause. It was going to be the one organisation around which all who called themselves Catholic could rally (that is “Catholic” now defined to exclude the AffCaths). Indeed, all who held the traditional faith which denied the possibility of new inventions such as women priests would find a home there. Even evangelicals were wooed and brought into the organisation. But although all were supposed to be welcome into the organisation, the anger, nay fury, of the initial leadership over the ordination of women drove them into a very hard-line position. Almost immediately, it seemed to me, they alienated very many people who should have been the grass roots of the movement. It was reminiscent of 70’s Trade Unionism: the militants were in charge and the moderates were left, on the whole, voiceless.

As for me? Well, I became a Roman Catholic but a year later I came back to the Church of England. I could not find a home anywhere. The only place where I was truly at home in the C of E  was in the Company of Mission Priests. Why? Because this group had within itself guys from all three camps; yes, even AffCaths and certainly papalists. It was home because it was Catholic. And the great thing about  the Roman Catholic Church today is that one can sit alongside Tablet readers (AffCaths) and Catholic Herald readers (papalists) and know that all are Catholics!

The formation of Forward in Faith took place almost immediately after the vote allowing women priests in November 1992.  Very quickly the leadership produced a “Statement on Communion”. They had defined who was in and who was out. Over the next seventeen years F in F became a loathed organisation in the Church of England; not, possibly, down on the ground where good catholics worked hard in their parishes, got on well with neighbours and flourished. But at a national level the organisation was hated. I am sure that is why General Synod gave Traditional Catholics such a hard time in July 2008: they wanted to punish Forward in Faith who were seen as “the enemy”, opposed to all the legitimate developments that the vast majority in the Church of England wanted. So bitter had the fight become that folk were very openly saying that it would be better if we were gone from the Church of England.

Traditional Catholics, it must be stressed, were not, at this stage, opposing legislation allowing women Bishops. All they were asking for was that when the Church of England had women Bishops they might be allowed to be a “church within a church” where no woman Bishop could have jurisdiction. General Synod is overwhelmingly opposed to this option – or to any option, that will allow a Traditional Catholic with integrity to believe that he or she is not totally compromised. We have seen this coming: one day there will be women Bishops in the Church of England and there will no provision within the Church for those who believe that women cannot be ordained. Legally these people may well find themselves under the jurisdiction of one whom they regard as a lay person.  

So what to do? Simply, at least at a psychological level, there have been two possible answers:

  • “In order to stay what I am, I must find a way of remaining in the deepest possible Communion with the Church of England despite her dreadful act of schism. I think the vast majority of Anglo-Catholic laity are in this place.

  •  “In order to stay what I am, I must find a way of putting a great distance between myself and the now schismatic Church of England”. The leadership of Forward in Faith, on the whole, was in this place.

It is obvious how these two positions correspond to the very old divisions in the movement. And although, as I have said, none of us belonged exclusively to one group rather than another, the tensions between the two tendencies has been more obvious and unbearable in the last decade than ever before. 

Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution which allows the erection of “Personal Ordinaries” for Anglicans entering into full Communion with the Catholic Church, was just what the second group was longing for. They could distance themselves from the Church of England and remain the same and be in Communion with the See of Rome. All the fighting was over – they had everything. They could not believe how generous the Holy Father had been! So excited were they at its publication that some quite forgot themselves. We even had an Anglican Bishop speaking on the radio days after the publication of the document saying that he had no trouble with papal infallibility! He obviously could hardly wait! I have observed elsewhere that the months between the publication of the Apostolic Constitution and the departure of that Bishop and others were extraordinarily stressful. It was not fun having a bishop who was obviously going and a congregation who were, mostly, firmly staying put. I have never known a situation where a Bishop was so disliked by a congregation!

It is in the light of all this that we must understand the recent scandal of the liberation of the assets of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. It is clear that the leadership of that organisation very firmly belong with those who have believed that in order to be loyal to everything they have been they must, somehow, distance themselves from the Church of England. This is crucial: to stay in the Church of England once the “schism” happened would mean being disloyal to everything. By April 2009 (just a few months after the crucial Synod in July 2008) they did not know what the “way out” would be, but they knew that they would have to go somewhere. And so, they changed the Constitution of the Confraternity in such a way that it could easily slip out of the Church of England with them. Whatever we might think of this, it is vital that we understand that the motivation for this move was so that they could remain faithful and the assets of CBS could be used for the work for which they were intended and not be spent by schismatics.

I hardly need to say that most members of CBS were unaware of what was going on. If they had been I think that they would have strongly disapproved. I am as sure as I can be that most members of CBS on the ground, in the parishes, belong to that group of traditional catholics who will stay in the Church of England until the absolute end.  They now feel that the money that belongs to them - and which they now need more than ever to fight the good fight of preserving the Catholicity of the Church of England – has been stolen. They will see this as a crime of dramatic proportions. Not only have their fellow Anglo-Catholics deserted them at the crucial moment; they have taken the fighting fund too!

Who is right? I have tried to write this in such a way as to imply that it has everything to do with perspective. But, in the end, it still seems quite obvious that those who joined the Ordinariate should have gone and taken nothing with them. It is the Gospel imperative: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff--no bread, no bag, no money in your belts”. But more than this, in their obsession to get out of the Church of England, they completely failed to notice that many (indeed, the vast majority) of their brothers and sisters were not leaving. The money belonged to the Catholic movement as a whole and not to just to the most powerful minority. I have to say; surely Rome is not so poor that it cannot care for these folk?

So, it was wrong to take the money. It was also totally stupid. By taking it they have alienated the very folk who should be following them in the next few years. I suspect that the decision to take the money will be the death of the Ordinariate.That is the real betrayal and that is very sad.

© Peter Bolton