Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Ruth Gledhill at The Times has this:

"The Charity Commission has been asked to investigate a £1 million grant made to the Ordinariate, a new Roman Catholic organisation for defecting Anglicans, by a 150-year-old Anglican charity.
Trustees of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, founded in 1862 as part of the High Church revival in the Church of England, voted the grant through a few weeks ago, thus divesting their charity of more than half its total assets of £1.85 million.
The grant has prompted an outcry among Anglo-Catholics who have remained in the Church of England.
Shortly before the grant was made, the confraternity changed its membership rules, allowing Roman Catholics to become members for the first time.
Counsel’s advice was sought by the confraternity before finalising the grant, a substantial sum which will go a long way to establishing the fledgling Ordinariate as a going concern.
Many priests have converted before retirement age and with little or no guaranteed income to replace their former Church of England stipends. A further grant of £10,000 was also made to the three Anglican nuns from Walsingham who left their order and went over to the Ordinariate.
Father Paul Williamson, an Anglican priest from Hanworth, south-west London, a “ward superior” in the confraternity, has lodged a formal complaint with the Charity Commission about the grant and has also written protest letters to the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols and to Pope Benedict XVI, under whose personal remit the Ordinariate ultimately falls.
He told The Times: “This grant of £1 million to the ordinariate is an outstanding disgrace. For 150 years, members of the Church of England have given money for the objects of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament which were to provide tabernacles, chalices and vestments for parishes of the Church of England.”
Father Pearson said last night: “The Trustees considered an application for financial support for the ordinariate very carefully, with the assistance of advice from leading counsel. We agreed that the objects of the Ordinariate was compatible with the charitable objects of the confraternity and specifically the advancement of the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition. We agreed that making a grant would be in the best interests of the confraternity, in furthering our charitable objects. We also hope that a substantial grant might be a helpful signal to others contemplating financial support to the Ordinariate.”

I hesitate to comment on the internal affairs of any organisation, but as a member of the C.B.S. and an Anglican, although, of course, continuing to explore the idea of the Ordinariate, I do have an interest in what is going on.
So perhaps we should ask a few questions of those who think the C.B.S. Trustees' decision to contribute to the funds of the Ordinariate is "an outstanding disgrace."
In whose best interests is it that the Ordinariate should not receive financial support in this way?
It is still the most likely outcome, given recent history, that the attempt to establish any kind of long-term and enduring episcopal provision for 'orthodox' Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England will fail.
Even if a compromise is reached, what will be the prospects of the long war of attrition in which we have been involved - on the losing side - for a generation, actually coming to a peaceful resolution?
It is simply not realistic even to hope that anything other than a temporary truce will be reached with those who are intent on driving Anglicanism in an ever more liberal protestant direction.
What then will happen to the assets of the Confraternity? Is it desirable that they should fall into the hands of Affirming Catholicism and its allies within the Church of England?

The change in the C.B.S. membership rules is to be welcomed; we are now in a entirely new era in terms of "Catholic" ecumenism. Many of us now believe that only through the Ordinariate - only through full communion with the Successor of Peter - will it be possible to  safeguard the aims and objectives of C.B.S. and indeed, any orthodox Anglo-Catholic tradition at all. The sceptics choose to ignore, when they doubt the possibility of a repatriated Anglican or Anglo-Catholic tradition within the Catholic Church, the fact that this 'distinctive patrimony' will almost certainly have ceased to exist within Anglicanism itself within a generation.
If we are inclined to question that, we only need to visit (if you can get past the locked doors) any of the large and increasing number of former Anglo-Catholic parish churches up and down the country whose tabernacles and aumbries stand empty, whose lamps have been extinguished, their eucharistic vestments unused.
And that's not to mention those places where, courtesy of the synodical process in which some are still inclined to place their trust, sacramental uncertainty is now the order of the day.
Perhaps it's time for those who seem to be suffering from a particularly unpleasant kind of visceral anti-Romanism to wake up and smell the coffee; or, at the very least, to spell out some realistic plans and hopes for the future that are not dependent for their success on the shifting sands of contemporary Anglican theological fashion.


  1. A quick Google search on Rev. Williamson tells you all you need to know, I think!

  2. Regardless of whether the grant is within the objects of CBS, there is a conflict of interest.
    The Superior General, Secretary General and many of the trustees are, or will become members of the Ordinariate. In my opinion the Trustees of CBS should not have made the Grant to the Ordinariate because many of the Trustees of CBS have a personal and financial interest in securing the future of the Ordinariate, in that they are (or will be) paid employees of the Ordinariate. Therefore they have made a grant from one charity in which they have no financial interest to another charity in which they have a beneficial financial interest in that it will pay their wages. There is a very clear prejudicial conflict of interest. Although the making of the grant may be within the charitable objectives of CBS, it was wrong for the Trustees to make the decision without consulting the wider membership of CBS although they may not have had any legal obligation to do so.
    I do hope that the decision will be referred to the Charity Commission.

    I am a member of CBS and am very interested in the Ordinariate and wish it well for the future.

    Stu the Vic

  3. In the U.S. over the past decade, the leadership of the Society of Mary has gradually become more diverse in affiliation. I was the second council member to become Orthodox. One council member has become Catholic and two others are on the way to joining the ordinariate. At least two are members of Continuing Anglican jurisdictions and one is in ACNA. Yet we all still identify with traditional Anglo-Catholic devotion to Our Lady, even though many of us can no longer receive Communion together.

  4. http://www.premier.org.uk/news/archive/2011/02/23/Army%20chaplain%20suing%20MoD.aspx

    Just take a listen to this - I think this is another person signed up to protest- it does seem to attract some strange people

  5. "If we are inclined to question that, we only need to visit (if you can get past the locked doors) any of the large and increasing number of former Anglo-Catholic parish churches up and down the country whose tabernacles and aumbries stand empty, whose lamps have been extinguished, their eucharistic vestments unused."

    Oh boo hoo hoo - the old victim thing again. Churches get closerd down, not because nasty liberal evangelical bishops don't like them, but for the age old reason that they have fuck all money and fuck all people go to them. If a church can't pay its quota, and appears to be serving no useful purpose, why should the diocese keep it open? An impartial survey of inner city churches that have been made redundant will show many that were evangelical or just plain nondescript too.

  6. I'm sorry, but my argument seems to have evaded you - I don't think what was said displayed a 'victim mentality,' and it had absolutely nothing to do with "nasty liberal evangelical bishops" (whoever they may be!) closing churches. The comments of mine you quoted were about churches which were still being used, but whose tradition has changed, not redundant ones - about which I agree with you, even if not in quite the same terms.
    I was merely commenting on the observable fact of the increasing disappearance of a historic, visible Anglo-Catholic presence within the Anglican provinces of the British Isles. It's hard to believe I know, but there was no attempt to attach blame to the phenomenon, only a plea to get real and realise where the future should lie.


Anonymous comments will not be published