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Anglicans urged not to accept Pope’s offer

By and on Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Catholic and Anglican bishops gather at Lambeth Palace as they await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI on September 17                                                                    (Chris Ison/PA Wire)

Catholic and Anglican bishops gather at Lambeth Palace as they await the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI on September 17 (Chris Ison/PA Wire)

The Catholic group in the Church of England’s General Synod has called for traditionalists to stay, claiming that they have the numbers to ensure provisions for objectors to women bishops.

Led by Canon Simon Killwick, the group claims that a reshuffle in the Church of England’s legislative body means that Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals could successfully oppose legislation on women bishops in 2012 unless it is amended to meet their demands.

They hope to establish a rival organisation to the Personal Ordinariate offered by the Pope, through which Anglicans can convert in groups while retaining their distinctive patrimony and practices, including married priests.

The Ordinariate could be established as early as January. The new structure will resemble a military diocese, under the authority of an ordinary without geographical boundaries beyond the local bishops’ conference.

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, last week told members of the Forward in Faith national assembly in London that he intended to resign by the end of the year and join the Ordinariate. He also said he was remaining chairman of Forward in Faith, the largest umbrella group for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England.

He said: “I have decided that I intend to resign as the Bishop of Fulham before the end of the year. This is to facilitate my replacement. I’ve talked to the Bishop of London and he intends to replace me.”

He said he expected had he would stay on as chairman of Forward in Faith International, but added: “I am not retiring, I am resigning. Secondly, I expect that I will enter the ordinariate when it is established.”

Groups of Anglicans hoping to take up the ordinariate proposed in Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus were urged to contact Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminster.

The Forward in Faith meeting was held two weeks after St Peter’s church in Folkestone, Kent – in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own diocese – became the first Anglican parish to opt to join the Ordinariate as a group. St Peter’s Parochial Church Council, which consists of churchwardens, the parish priest and elected representatives of the congregation and constitutes the governing body of a parish, voted to join the Ordinariate.

Meanwhile the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, set up last month with the backing of senior Church of England bishops, will offer a structure which closely resembles the Catholic ordinariate. The society will not have women priests or bishops or geographical boundaries and its members will obey their own bishop rather than fall under the authority of the local diocesan bishop, if the General Synod accepts amendments.

Instead of being in communion with the Pope members will be in communion with the Church of England, even if its members consider sacraments performed by women priests invalid.

Canon Killwick said: “There are a number of people who, whatever the General Synod does, will join the ordinariate and the Bishop of Fulham is one of them. But I think the majority of Anglo-Catholics are looking to remain within the Church of England and appropriate changes to be made for them to do so.

“This [society] has the potential to make it possible to remain.”

He said that recent elections to the Synod’s House of Laity and the House of Clergy mean that they no longer have the two thirds majorities needed to push through women bishops without approving the new structure too.

He said the new situation meant that the Synod’s House of Bishops “is clearly going to have to amend the legislation” on women bishops “or it won’t go through”.

“Our primary aim is not to be awkward and block things but to offer a constructive way forward,” said Canon Killwick, the vicar of Christchurch in Moss Side, Manchester. “The society is intended to be for bishops, priests and lay people. I imagine it would be possible for parishes as a community to join as well. We would be looking for bishops of the society to have episcopal authority for parishes which request it.”

Plans for an English Ordinariate gathered pace after the General Synod in July rejected a compromise proposed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop and York, and pressed ahead with plans to ordain women bishops by 2014 without satisfactory structural provision for conscientious objectors.

A spokesman for the Catholic bishops said no timetable had been agreed on the establishment of an Ordinariate. He said the bishops were awaiting confirmation from the Vatican that there was sufficient interest in the offer before an Ordinariate could be set up.

  • Victorweston

    The imperative is for Christian Unity; and as has been commented elsewhere the traditionalist Anglo Catholic clergy and laity now clearly belong within the Catholic church as the tide of orthodoxy has gone out in the C of E; and this (the Catholic Church) is where they (hopefully) will be able to make their most effective contribution

  • Bwaj

    Nonsense. They asked for the Ordinariate. For years they've claimed to be the Catholic element of the Church of England well the opposite is true. A true Anglo-Catholic will leave either for the Ordinariate or to be received into the Catholic Church. There are more issues then just the consecration of women to the episcopate as bishopesses. They will never be able to undo the invalid ordination of women to the Anglican diaconate and priesthood as priestesses. What about their taking a stand against homosexuality,birth control, abortion etc.,.? As I understand it the Holy Father is the one in charge of the Ordinariate not the Catholic Bishops in this country.

  • Jason Liuzza

    That the legislative “reshuffle” could possibly lead to a certain group obtaining enough votes is irrelevant. The fact that doctrine based in immutable eternal Truth is subject to a vote is the whole issue. That's a dead giveaway that you're in a false church.

  • Michael Stokes

    Roma locuta est, Causa finita est.

  • Mark

    If the imperative is Christian Unity, which I firmly believe it is, then the ordination of women priests/bishops can only harm the process. Changing the ecumenically agreed translations of the Creed and other prayers can't help either.

  • Thomas M.P.

    Christmas is fast approaching. England is a predominant Christian community. Are you bullied down by the atheists who are a minority? They have decided their own doom. Hasn't the recent survey shown that the non-believers who dominate the country is a pitiable minority? The Holy Father has visited you and exhorted you not to lose faith in the Lord God and His Son, the Son of Man. Whether you are Anglican or Catholic, it doesn't matter much. Hold on to your trust in the Lord Jesus. It's time for you to reassert yourself in the One and Only True God and in your faith. Even though I live in a country where the majority are Hindus, I will never let my Creator down. He is my owner and I will be His true follower come what may. What prevents you members of a Christian country to reassert your faith in the Almighty powerful God, your Creator and Father? Stand up and against the oppressors of your faith because they come from the devil himself who has vicious plans. Come out openly and celebrate Christmas and profess your faith in the Lord God. Be bold and own up your faith and the Lord will never let you down because in trying times you have stood by Him steadfastly.

  • john_of_hayling

    if the 'catholic' group of the CofE are serious about unity,. then they could do worse than consider the address by Metropolitan Hilarion given to bishops of the CofE just before the recentg visit of Pope Benedict.
    He disects developments in the Anglican Church and laments in very strong language the liberal trends and divergence from traditional faith and order.

  • MJCarroll

    The majority of Anglo-Catholics really have no concept of how blessed they are with Pope Benedict's offer of the Ordinariate. Those outside the Catholic Church wishing to join have to undertake a 'Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults' course (RCIA) which may very well take up to 18 months. Any anglo-catholic taking up the offer of the Ordinariate is effectively being received into the Church with little personal commitment what so ever. The anglo-catholic pew sitters will not be inconvenienced at all. It is their vicars/priests and bishops who are the brave individuals for whom I have total admiration.

    I find it sad to say that the Anglo-Catholics that stay behind will no longer be able to use the word Catholic as they have finally shown that they have rejected the 'rules' of the Universal Church.

    Finally, those Anglo-Catholic readers who are having problems with 'Papal Infallibility' then you really need to understand the term 'ex cathedra'. It is incorrect to hold that doctrine teaches that the Pope is infallible in everything he says. In reality, the invocation of papal infallibility is extremely rare. The most well known cases are of 'the immaculate conception', 'the assumption of Mary' and the 'Holy Trinity'.

  • Father_Ron

    One thing that must be taken into consideration in all of this, is that there is a disctinct possibility that Rome may yet accede to the possibility of a charism of priesthood for women. In a Church which, at Vatican II, declared itself to be a proponent of the maxim 'Semper Reformanda', there should be no embargo on what the Holy Spirit might still be 'saying to the Church'. In other words, it is God alone who decides whom to call into the Sacred Ministry of Christ's Church – neither the Pope nor the College of cardinals can get in the way of God's Spirit. Even Saint Paul said: “In Christ there is neither male nor female”. Therefore, when the call to men in the priesthood dwindles, it may suit God to call women into the priesthood and the espicopate. Then the motivation of providing an 'Ordinariate' may no longer be found viable or necessary.

  • Harroldian

    Father Ron, You may be right but the converts i know would accept that if the Holy spirit was guiding the universal church.With most, it is a question of authority and the fact that the catholic witness in the C of E is being marginalised. An ordinariate might still have a place. Eastern Rite Catholics are in communion with Rome and have kept theri traditions.


    I would hope the ladies of the CofE anxious to be admitted to the episcopate, rather than waiting for the Synod to approve anything, you should give serious thought moving to the Episcopal Church in the United States. Where you will be warmly welcomed by presiding bishop Schori.

  • David

    On a purely personal level, I believe that Anglo Catholics are indeed blessed with Pope Benedict's offer for the Ordinariate. As someone brought up in the Church of England, I fully intend to embrace this extraordinary offer, because – for me – it's the only way forward. At the end of the day, the CofE will do what it will do.

  • Jhammer

    Good man! I am hopeful this is a clear way forward for Anglicans. I hate to see the CofE go through further internal sub-divisions, as all Christ wants (and Pope Benedict) is unity. I'd hoped the ordinariate would be a step in that direction, please God it shall be. 'God's ways are not our ways', I've no idea why women can't be priests, but I accept it as a fact on faith.

  • Pmangod

    One Holy Apostolic Roman Catholic Church. If you truly want to have the total Charisms, blessings, graces, most important True Sacraments, then one should forget about 'positions' and titles. Because, Heaven is different from the Earth. Jesus tells us in the Gospel, it is not by 'positions and titles' does man enter Heaven, but by his deeds. What you did as in past tense pertaining to obtaining and entering Heaven. Christ, breathed on the Apostles, signifying the Breath of Life as God breathed into Adam to give Life to Man, thus, restoring Grace to Man, The New Adam. Christ's Church sits in Rome, the Head of the See of Peter. The See. From the View of Rome, the capital of the Church, the See, connects to the Diocese, which in it, are the Parishes a networked as you will of Christ's Breath extending to all who come to see Christ sitting invisibly on the Chair in Rome, St. Peter's Chair, the Chair of Christ, the King of kings.

    Human Erudition prevents, men from gaining true Sainthood. He who is not against Me is for Me, but He who refuses to come Me when offered, rejects Me.

    Peace be with you always

  • Rodguerrah

    Father Ron, you are mistaken. There will NEVER be validly ordained women priests in the Holy Catholic Church because his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II INFALLIBLY declares under ordinary and universal magisterium: “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of Our ministry of confirming the brethren. We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”

    The contents of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are considered infallible under the ordinary and universal magisterium, as this doctrine has been held consistently by the Church throughout her history. In a responsum ad dubium (reply to a doubt) explicitly approved by Pope John Paul II and dated October 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that the teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis had been “set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium” and accordingly was “to be held definitively, as belonging to the deposit of faith”.

    Consequently, having an all-male priesthood is an infallible dogma of the Holy Catholic Church and it can never be changed or derogated by a future Pope and/or bishop(s) because it already belongs to the deposit of faith for ever and ever.