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Leading ex-Anglo-Catholic shuts down blog

By on Thursday, 9 June 2011

Fr Hunwicke's last blog post

Fr Hunwicke's last blog post

A prominent ex-Anglo-Catholic has shut down his blog in wake of news that his ordination as a priest in Britain’s ordinariate has been “deferred”.

John Hunwicke, former Anglican priest at St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford, and former Senior Research Fellow at Pusey House, said there had been a “misunderstanding” about the content of his blog.

He added: “I shall promptly delete any comments on it (or emails sent to me) which are in any way whatsoever critical of the Catholic Church, or any of its officers, or of the ordinariate.”

His blog “Fr Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes” was read by many in the blogosphere and has received extensive support and prayers.

A distinguished intellectual, Fr Hunwicke opened his last blog post with the words: “I had better share with my friends the distressing news that my ordination within the Catholic Church has been ‘deferred’.

“Despite everything, I remain convinced that the ordinariate is the only means of achieving the great vision of the Catholic Revival.”

Blogger Fr Ray Blake said he was dismayed at the news.

Fr Ray Blake said: “I, too, am distressed to read this. I have never understood anything you have written to be unkind or ever contrary to the Faith … Your blog has been very important to me in my own spiritual and theological growth.”

  • Little Black Censored

    Ooh, did you nearly say something naughty?
    This is pathetic.

  • Little Black Censored

    Compare the list of participants in the course of “formation” with the lists of those who actually underwent the ordination ceremonies.

  • Uillidh

    To the best of my knowledge he is the only “deferral” among the candidates for ordination. The fact that he is also, by a fair distance, the most erudite and articulate of them perhaps tells one all one needs to know.  A clear case of “Tall Poppy Syndrome”.

  • Chris Lee

    I am somewhat surprised and saddened by the news of Fr Hunwicke’s deferred ordination.

    I empathize with him. Like all, I’m unsure what ther reason is. Is it because of his comments on Paul VI? Or it is because of Apostolicae Curae? The issue surround Apostolicae Curae will continue to be contentious due to the events that took place during the Reformation era. The intent of the English reformers was murky and led Leo XIII to issue Apostolicae Curae as a response in the 19th century.

    I urge all outraged readers of good faith her to exercise restrain. Crucially, we should pray for Fr Hunwicke and a positive, fruitful outcome for him.

  • NotAllThatAgedPapist

    AgingPapist, it’s possible you’re a bit behind the times. You’ll find masses of my fellow young Catholics (read: under 30) are there with Pope Benedict, Mundabor and the Irish nuns.

  • Nigel

    It seems that he may have displayed unwonted levity concerning the sacrament of penance, and that the decent obscurity of the Latin tongue is nevertheless comprehended by at least a few senior clerics.

  • AgingPapist

    Would the Pope allow a man to be ordained who publicly ridiculed Humanae vitae?..
    “Humanae Vitae”, that tiresome bore. I can’t believe any serious Catholic takes it seriously.  Most Catholics here in the United States, not only ridicule “Humane Vitae”, they use it to wrap fish.  Just as Father Z does with “The National Catholic Reporter”.

  • AgingPapist

    You tell him RC.  Get the stake ready and collect the wood for this heretic Robert’s  burning.

  • AgingPapist

    “A C” was the fruit of power politics and cardinal Vaughn’s envy.  There was little scholarship which went into the preparation of it. No Anglican or Catholic should take this seriously flawed document as gospel. It was not the last word in 1896 and it certainly is far from it today.

     Few students outside this Bavarian bureaucrat’s court of incompetent, misty-eyed lackeys and yes men take it seriously. 

  • Ratbag

    You are NOT and AgingPapist… Oh, no! You are an AgingProtestant. Deal with it.

  • Ratbag


  • Ratbag

    He’s NOT Roman Catholic, that’s for sure… :-/

  • Juandi1977

    CDF in 2007: “According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.”

  • Neville Noags

    Oooh righty sir. And where do I find this information?

  • John Bowles

    Probably one of the oldest too. Maybe Vinnie Knuckles, or whoever, reckoned there weren’t enough years left there for it to be worth housing him, and rang up Msgr Newton to tell him to stop wasting his time.

  • John Bowles

    Concher, you are a total tit.

  • Robert Ian Williams

    little black censored..who appears on other blogs as Little black sambo…how racist and offensive you are. I demand you are forced to give up your name..which is so offensive to people of black African descent. You should not be welcome on a mainstream Catholic web. I shall be complaining to the Ediitor on Monday and if necessary taking the matter further.

  • Little Black Censored

    For list A you would need to ask somebody who was present, but presumably it is not secret. You could compile list B from public reports on the internet.

  • Little Black Censored

    Ooh, hark at him!

  • John Bowles

    Actually, Robert, LBSambo, a close acquaintance of mine, is a black man, albeit of Caribbean rather than African descent. The only inappropriate part of his name is the first bit. He is huge.

  • John Bowles

    The Rev Ron Crane didn’t make it through then?

  • Lrapanet

    Indeed… even those ordained today for the Ordinariate would not qualify re the document you refer too…

  • Madame Chantal

    I accidentally gave you a thumbs up, RC.  I would retract it were it possible.

  • Madame Chantal

    You’ve shown your true colo(u)rs now.  I’m a serious Catholic in the United States who disagrees with you.

  • Uillidh

    As any fule kno, the “Little Black Sambo” of the book title is not African but Indian. And any racist stereotypes exist entirely in your own head, not in the book itself.

  • Glenda Lough

    Poor soul, he must be sick as a parrot.

  • Susan Peterson

    Mundabor,  I think you are confusing “valid” and “non-valid”  with “real” and “not-real.”   
    Since the Church has to make absolutely without a doubt positive that its priests are really priests,  it understandably sets “beyond a reasonable doubt”  criteria  for considering ordinations “valid”  and Ap.Curae stated that Anglican ordinations did not meet that standard.   Some doubts concerning the actual continuity of the laying on of hands have been erased since then by better history.   The other doubts concerning the intention of those passing on the orders were quite legitimate.  But subsequent events have overtaken those doubts.  Up until the current situation of female “bishops,”  most Anglican priests have orders which are no longer “Anglican orders” but which stem from bishops clearly validly ordained with Catholic orders, even if they were in schism. (Old Catholics etc).  Since we don’t have the Orthodox belief that these orders cease to exist outside of full union with the Church,  these were presumably valid ordinations…and there has been no rule to the contrary. All of these Anglo-Catholic priests can trace their orders back to bishops whom Rome considers to be validly ordained.  And Rome does ask them for the pedigree of their ordinations.   Nevertheless, they are ordained so that there cannot be any doubt.   

    Even if someone’s orders don’t meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” criteria to be declared valid,  that does not mean that they are not really ordained.   Someone might have a reasonable doubt of it, but the preponderance of the evidence is that they are,  and in any case it is not wrong for them to believe that they are.  (Again, these are not the “Anglican orders” of Ap. Curae, so they are not refusing to believe a teaching of the church when they believe this. )  

    I don’t believe Rome or our Holy Father looks upon this in the terms you use at all.  There is no hint of words like “sham” and “adoring a piece of bread”  in any writings from there.   Rowan Williams was allowed to celebrate the Eucharist in a Catholic Church in Rome,  on a consecrated altar containing the relics of a saint.  I believe this happened during the current papacy. (someone correct me if I am mistaken.)  Do you think this would happen if what were going on were considered to be a blasphemous sham?    Consider that at the direction of Rome Catholic churches have dis-invited Anglicans who were going to “ordain”  women to the priesthood or diaconate.  Obviously there is some care on high for what happens in Catholic churches.  Yet RW celebrated on a consecrated altar.   

    I truly believe your comments put you in the category of “more Catholic than the Pope.”  

    Susan Peterson

  • Anonymous

    “Rowan Williams was allowed to celebrate the Eucharist in a Catholic
    Church in Rome,  on a consecrated altar containing the relics of a
    saint.  I believe this happened during the current papacy. (someone
    correct me if I am mistaken.)”

    Take careful note of that and compare this scandal with the very real scandal in Ireland where Bishop Fleming refused permission for a deceased lady to have her wish of having her funeral in  her parish church with a Mass offered by a priest of the Society of Saint Pius X.  In the end, the funeral had to be held down at the pier.  This same Bishop Fleming permits one of his priests to participate in the leadership of the appalling Association of Catholic Priests whose objectives leave nobody in any doubt about their desire to start a brand new church (to match their new Mass, new catechism, new rosary and new evangelisation – not to mention their new morality where “gay” marriage is permitted.)

    Who was it said, “it’s a funny old world”?

  • Little Black Censored

    But surely you are dismayed?

  • Uillidh

    If so, he is afraid to say so. What an advertisement this all is for the Ordinariate!

  • Dale

    I sincerely doubt that Tim Ware, and his Greek wannabes, would be in any manner interested in ordaining anyone still proud to be English, which I believe is the case with Fr. Hunwicke.

  • Basil Loft@ss

    That might explain why hardly anybody contributes to your blog, Mundabor. It is delusional to think that Apostolicae Curae is behind all of this.

  • Basil Loft@ss

    As well as ageing, you’re insane.

  • Basil Loft@ss

    Exactly – spot on. It was because of AC that Leornard and his ilk took the measures that they did.You might say they put AC into practice.

    Mundabor has a strange bedfellow in AgingPapist.

  • Ted

    I suspect his great sympathy for the EF Mass and liturgy even going to the extent of suggesting that folks watch some Econe ordinations is at the root of all this.  He is seen as anti-Vatican II.  Indeed, his recent comments on the new English translation of the Missal may have been the last straw. He claimed that the Council never mandated the use of the vernacular for the Mass.  Although many would agree with him,  that the Council allowed for the vernacular in some special restricted situations but never mandated it, such a statement would disgust not a few highly positioned clerics in the Catholic Church in England, Wales, and Scotland who have little respect for the current pope’s wishes.   

  • Anonymous

    If Fr. Hunwicke really wants to become a Roman Catholic, let him take himself to an SSPX priest for a course of instruction in what would be required of him, and let him pray to the Holy Ghost to be given the gift of Faith.  He could then ask to be received into the Roman Catholic Church like anybody else who wishes to save their soul, and he would be on his way, but as as lay person.

    Or is he seeking to enter via the Ordinariate so that he can retain his Book of Common Prayer and his liturgies and his pretensions of being a priest of the One, Catholic, Holy and Apostolic Church and be a “pretend” Catholic priest?

    Face the facts, Fr. Hunwicke.  God is not fooled by this “Ordinariate” bodge – and nor should you be.

    May Our Lady help you to find the right path.

  • niki

    This is how the romans deal with these types of issues. Shut em up or lock em out.

  • CM

    It’s not Holy ‘Ghost’ it is Holy ‘Spirit’ – Jesus after his resurrection made a point of proving he wasn’t a ghost. And the Nicene Creed from which you quote uses small ‘c’ for catholic meaning ‘universal’. Time for you to get your facts right!

  • Joan

     I think it is you needs to get your facts right if you think Jesus is the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, as Catholics traditionally referred to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Each Person of the Trinity is distinct. Jesus is the Son, not the Holy Spirit. Also, whether you write Catholic or catholic, the word means “universal” so why are you making a fuss about such a thing?  There is no need to be so rude to leprechaun_himself.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Joan, and may God bless you.

  • Harper

    “Many Catholics…”? Out of a billion-plus? Don’t be silly!

  • Den flyvende hollender

    Don’t be silly. The SSPX is not in full visible communion with the Apostolic See. Therefore they are not, despite appearances, fully Catholic.

  • EditorCT

     A typically confused response from a modern Catholic.  Being in “communion” with the Apostolic See, you say?  What does that mean?  Catholics must be in communion with the entire Tradition of the Church, not just Vatican City.

    And the SSPX “not fully Catholic”?  Don’t be daft.  Is the Archbishop of Glasgow “fully Catholic” when he writes to his priests to tell them he’s no intention of paying the slightest heed to papal instructions about restoring the Traditional Latin Mass and when he invites Protestant “bishops” to preach in his allegedly Catholic churches?  Is Cardinal O’Brien of Edinburgh “fully Catholic” when he tells newspaper reporters that he is happy for celibacy to “wither away” and when he promotes to Honorary Canon a priest who encourages a schoolgirl to take time off from her exams to go for abortion advice (to an abortion clinic, of course) and who tells Karen, who runs three in a bed sessions for both men and women to be sure to take herself down to the local Citizens Advice Bureau to sort out her tax situation before her daytime boss finds out about her sideline?  Is Archbishop Nichols of Westminster “fully Catholic” when he approves and supports Masses for “gays” and their partners, and for the Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgenders who just love him to bits for his enlightened views?  Are the bishops and priests in Ireland who are lobbying for a new Church through their apostate Association of Catholic Priests, “fully Catholic”?

    I look forward to your reply – more than you’ll ever know…

  • Little Black Censored

    “Face the facts, Fr. Hunwicke.  God is not fooled…”
    You seem to know the mind of God. That must be a terrible responsibility to bear.

  • CM

    Dear Joan, I didn’t say Jesus was the Holy Spirit. I just said HE wasn’t a ghost. The word spirit comes from the Hebrew ‘ruach’ which can mean wind, fire or spirit but NOT ghost! And the capital ‘c’ does make a difference. Capital ‘C’ referes to THE Catholic Church. The Nicene Creed makes no mention of THE Catholic Church, nor does it mention THE ‘One’ church but simply’one’ meaning unity. Therefore there can be many parts, e.g. Orthodox, Western, Charismatic, Traditional members but all make up and are part of the one, holy, catholic church to which all are welcome. I wasn’t being rude; Leprechaun chooses to mislead by capitalising words which define the Christian faith for his own ends. I simply disagree with his views as I am entitled to do.

  • Joan

    Dear CM,

    You wrote “It’s not Holy ‘Ghost’ it is Holy ‘Spirit’ – Jesus after his resurrection made a point of proving he wasn’t a ghost.”  So it is clear that you were confusing Jesus with the Holy Spirit/Ghost. But there’s no problem using either Spirit or Ghost because the words Spirit and Ghost both mean “pneuma” in Greek.

    What you say about various parts of the Church doesn’t make sense. There is one, holy Catholic (universal) and apostolic Church united under Peter (i.e. the papacy) and anyone who is not subject to the authority of the papacy is not part of the universal – i.e. the Catholic Church. 

    What do you think Protestants think when they read the Nicene Creed – that they are part of the catholic / Catholic Church? Not the ones in my family, they don’t!

    And I’m sorry, but I stick to my original view – Leprechaun is right and you  are wrong on both of these issues: the terminology used to describe the Holy Spirit OR Ghost (I use both terms interchangeably) and the catholicity of the Church. You are the one misleading and confusing by stating that there are various parts of the Church (I think that’s a heresy called the branch heresy although I may be in need of correction on this) but nobody can be a member of the one, true Church referred to in the Nicene Creed unless they recognise and accept papal authority. 

  • Den flyvende hollender

    It is very sad to hear these things about the bishops and cardinals you mention. If you are right, they are indeed scandalous. I suppose you are aware that during the history of the Church, there have been many evil bishops, and there has always been need for reform. Today is no different. But throughout the history of the Church the one true point of reference has always been the Apostolic See of Rome, and nothing you say makes me doubt for one moment that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is the true Bishop of Rome and that being in full communion with him is the first duty of all Catholics, indeed of all Christians. So, I repeat that unless you are in full communion with the Holy Catholic Roman Apostolic Church, you are not fully Catholic.

    By the way, what makes you think I am a modern Catholic? I think I am about as conservative and old-fashioned as they come…

  • CathedralMan


    You say of Mgr Loftus, “He speaks out very plainly in his columns and thus he must be prepared to take public criticism.” You speak out plainly, but you are not prepared to take public criticism, moderating my posts on your insidious CT blog, and then on this blog, when you don’t have the power to censor me, asking other bloggers to blank me. Not double standards from the Editor of Catholic Truth, surely?

  • CathedralMan

    Another arrogant post from an arrogant blogger. Did God Himself let you know that he is not fooled by this ‘bodge’? Does he consult you for advice?

    It’s great how omniscient some people are.

  • Joan


    Mgr Loftus threatened legal action against a brother priest, Fr Michael Clifton, for daring to allow one of his bloggers to call Loftus a “heretic”. That was all over the internet at the time, so I presume you know about it.  I have never heard of EditorCT threatening any legal action against anyone, although, looking at the CT website where there are links to articles about her, she has had plenty of cause to do so.

    If her blog was so “insidious” then why did you blog there?  You really have a down on EditorCT for some reason. I wish you’d share it with us as it is quite difficult to make sense of your venom without knowing the reason for it.