Thursday, 28 June 2012

CBS, the Ordinariate, and the £1 million

"The precise meaning of Anglican Tradition is unclear" - the ironies abound...

The Charity Commission has ruled against the legality of the £1,000,000 donation by C.B.S. to the Ordinariate. The full decision is  [here]. 
Our review concluded that:

  • The decision to make a grant to the Ordinariate was taken at an inquorate meeting, the majority of the trustees having a (financial) personal interest in the decision. It was also in breach of the charity’s governing document.
  • The meeting being inquorate, the decision was invalid. There was no valid exercise of the power to make a gift to the Ordinariate and the payment was unauthorised.
  • The gift is held upon constructive trust by the Ordinariate for the Confraternity.
  • The objects of the Ordinariate are wider than those of the Confraternity. A gift given to the Ordinariate without restriction could be used for purposes which have no connection with the Anglican tradition at all.
  • The precise meaning of Anglican Tradition is unclear but there is substantial doubt whether the Confraternity could make a grant to the Ordinariate (even with restrictions) which could be applied by the Ordinariate consistently with the objects of the Confraternity.
  • The Commission therefore considered the trustees of both charities were under a duty to take action to ensure the repayment of the money.
Clearly, it would seem that those who challenged the grant were correct in their legal judgement. I still believe, and for the same reasons cited here, that they are misguided in terms of their motivation. We must hope they have a better use for the money and a more viable and 'catholic' strategy for an Anglican future - one they are prepared to impart to us as a matter of urgency. The implications of this decision are wide ranging and profoundly serious in so far as they relate to the future of other Catholic societies and institutions in the Church of England should the eventual passing of the women bishops legislation lead to further division.
So, be careful what you wish for. 
The worst possible outcome to all this is that the Ordinariate in the U.K. should fail for lack of financial resources in its purpose of securing a lasting home for the Anglo-Catholic tradition in the Roman Catholic Church, and that any remaining orthodox expression of the Catholic faith be expunged from the Church of England (and the other Anglican provinces in Britain).
Yet there  seems to be a danger that this could be precisely where we might be heading, probable but ultimately unavailing synodical delays nothwithstanding.
Who will be rejoicing then, I wonder?


  1. It is a very sad state of affairs. The Church of England I think still does not believe what the CBS stands for and certain regards Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament as an illegal service (despite +Rowan actually participating in this) Also the Revd Williamson effectively sidestepped quite nicely his vexatious litigation position (whereby he could not bring any case to court) by leading the charge (your blog of a year ago). I just wonder where those who so nastily opposed this grant think their church is going and how they propose to stop their opponents getting their mitts on the money

  2. A thoughtful post as always. I'm increasingly confused as to what Anglo-Catholics actually want. For years, they have talked about union with Rome and sacramental assurance. The Ordinariate is the fulfillment of all these hopes and yet only a handful have taken up the offer. I can't understand why Forward in Faith didn't follow their leadership and create something powerful from the very beginning. I suspect that as you point out, a few people may be left without a home anywhere.

  3. ..."how they propose to stop their opponents getting their mitts on the money."
    Who will these opponents be? The trustees will be bound by the objects of the CBS, and if they misallocate the funds again they will be open to the same sort of legal challenge as their predecessors. Your language towards those who "so nastily opposed this grant" betrays you. The money is not there for Roman Catholics, among whom there is presumably little need to promote devotion to the Holy Eucharist, certainly not to enable other funds to be released to pay stipends, etc. Rushing this grant through in the first place showed an extraordinary lack of imagination about what CBS members would think. The whole silly mistake has set back the cause of continuity between the ordinariate and those who have (so far) stayed put, a cause which was already regarded with disfavour by the management on all sides.


Anonymous comments will not be published