Wednesday, 5 January 2011


There's an interesting and revealing post and discussion over at the St Barnabas' Blog [here] on the subject of SSC's attitude to the Ordinariate. It will come as no surprise to hear that I agree with Fr Tomlinson both in terms of the Society's present stance (as far as we can say) and its history. There is absolutely no disloyalty in saying that in public, as there is, as yet, no agreed and declared strategy for the future.

SSC's ringing declaration, "No desertion, no surrender!" was very much born of the nineteenth century situation. It was by no means obvious that the Church of England could not be recalled to its true (as was believed) Catholic history and vocation. Conversions to Rome or capitulation to Establishment persecution clearly threatened that historic task.
But this is not the nineteenth century. We are now in an unprecedented situation - there are simply no historical parallels with what has happened recently in terms of the abandonment of apostolic order - and the difficulty with trying to remain (loyally?) Anglican, as Anglicanism has now irreversibly become,  is that in terms of the future that option looks very much like both desertion and surrender of the Catholic faith itself, which, surely we all must agree, is more important (as it is simply the authentic following of Christ) than the structures of the Church of England  (or Church in Wales) or any other province of the Anglican Communion.

The vital question, of course, is what those members of SSC who intend to stay within Anglicanism for the long term hope to achieve by so doing. Those who stay put for personal and practical reasons I can understand and even have considerable sympathy for their position, but what of those who maintain they are doing so for sound theological or ecclesiological reasons? They must speak for themselves, but from this perspective it looks perilously like the attempt to draw yet another line in the sand as the liberal tide rushes inexorably in, sweeping all before it. Is there no end to how far we are prepared to compromise? Our opponents, the liberal, revisionist majority, clearly believe there isn't.


  1. How true, Father. the attitude of the liberal ascendancy is, as I have said on my blog, take it.......or leave. And they obviously want us to do just that - leave. As far as I can see, there is no Catholic future in the CofE and it really surprises me, and annoys me too, that SSC are not offering more support for the Ordinariate. I always thought that SSC had, as a prime principle, reunion with the Holy See and now there is the opportunity, on the most generous terms, I would have thought that it would have been welcomed and embraced.

  2. Steady on, Padre! Be careful about having a pop at the Silly Sissy Club, as it is known by His Darkness. I hope you haven’t broken any of the secret rules by mentioning SSC on your blog. We don’t want the brethren doing you in and dangling you under a bridge with a couple of bricks in your pockets! Are there any big bridges near you?!

  3. Very funny! My intention is certainly not to attack SSC in any way. For many of us since the votes in the 1990s SSC has simply been the Church, and we are all deeply grateful for the spiritual support and friendship the Society has given at a time when all the old certainties have been crumbling around us.
    But one of the worries I have is that whatever stance any of the traditional Catholic Societies decides to take, we don't give the impression that life can go on as before. "Business as usual" is not an option but a dangerous delusion. Like it or not, we have to recognise that the 'period of reception' over unilateral Anglican changes to to apostolic order has (equally unilaterally) been brought to an end. As a result, we all have very difficult decisions to make one way or another; it's important that we make them with our eyes open and not sleepwalk into disaster.


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