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.