Wed 23rd Jul 2014 | Last updated: Wed 23rd Jul 2014 at 16:03pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Ordinariate receives controversial £1m donation

By on Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Priests of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (Photo: Mazur)

Priests of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (Photo: Mazur)

A 150-year-old Anglo-Catholic charity has given £1 million to Britain’s Personal Ordinariate – enough to keep it financially afloat for up to a year.

The money, donated by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, will ensure that priests in the ordinariate will not be left penniless in the coming months. It represents almost half of the charity’s total assets.

Trustees agreed to the grant after checking with lawyers that it would be compatible with the charity’s objects – namely, “the advancement of the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition”.

The Confraternity changed its rules in April last year so that ordinariate priests could become members. Five out of six of its trustees have now been ordained as priests in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

But one Anglican minister has already lodged a complaint with the Charity Commission and written letters of protest to Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and the Pope. The Rev Paul Williamson, from Hanworth, south-west London, said the grant was a “disgrace”. A Facebook group opposing it has attracted nearly 300 members.

Mgr Keith Newton, the head of the ordinariate, said the grant guaranteed an income for its priests. He said: “A million pounds sounds like a lot of money but it’s not an awful lot to run something like an ordinariate. It needs at least a million pounds a year – and that’s without thinking that it will grow.”

Mgr Newton said there was still “a lot of work to do”, citing pensions as well as life and health insurance costs for clergy. But he said that all of the 60 or so ordinariate priests now had somewhere to live. “It’s a great relief,” he said.

Fr Christopher Pearson, superior general of the Confraternity, said he would be consulting in the coming year on whether Catholics should be allowed to remain members, and if it could continue to exist as an Anglican charity.

He defended the grant against criticism, saying that the Confraternity was never a Church of England society. He said that when it was founded in 1862 priests who reserved the Blessed Sacrament or led Benediction risked imprisonment. Its assets, he said, did not originate from the Church of England either. He said they were largely down to the investment of donations from the 19th century.

Fr Pearson also pointed out that critics of the grant “had their own incomes, churches, tabernacles, chalices”, but priests in the ordinariate did not.

The Confraternity has also given £10,000 to three Walsingham nuns who joined the ordinariate at the start of the year. According to Fr Pearson, the money paid for “clothes, shoes and housing”.

It is understood that trustees cannot benefit from the £1 million grant.

The Confraternity, which has about 120 priest members in England and 1,500 worldwide, was founded by the Rev Thomas Carter, a prominent Anglo-Catholic, in 1862.

Its six trustees are supposed to be elected by district councils of priest members, or associates, but some of these councils have not met in decades. In these cases the appointment is made by the superior general.

On its website the Confraternity states: “There is no more precious thing in the world than the Blessed Sacrament of the altar and our joy is to help … others to regard as such this most precious gift: Christ’s own abiding Presence among us.”

  • http://frstephensmuts.wordpress.com/ Fr Stephen

    What a great investment!

  • ex CBS

    Since anyone joining the Ordinariate believes that since the CBS was founded in 1862 every clerical member of it has been a deluded layman in fancy dress and that what they called the ‘blessed sacrament’ was just a bit of bread, it seems an odd gift. £1 million as a way of saying that CBS was a lie from the start!

  • Bishop Colenso

    Rock-solid logic has never been a strong point of the extremer Anglo-Catholics, such as ECU, CBS, GSS, GAS, etc.

  • Calm down

    This would be the same Rev Paul Williamson who, according to local media reports, “instructed police to serve ‘harassment’ warnings to five members of his congregation who have had petty disagreements with him.” Prior to this, he “attempted to have both archbishops arraigned for treason in a magistrate’s court in west London” according to the Independent. He has about as much chance of success in his current complaint.

  • Calm down

    Oh, and Rev Williamson “is banned from taking anyone to court as he is listed by the Government as a ‘vexatious litigant’.” That should go down well with the Charity Commission.

  • Anonymous

    God Bless the Confraternity for their generous donation. How can anyone disgree with the statement “there is no more precious thing in the world than the Blessed Sacrament of the altar..”

    From previous comments I would not imagine this complainant would be taken seriously, but God Bless him anyway.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    “The money … will ensure that priests in the ordinariate will not be left penniless …”
    “Five out of six of its trustees have now been ordained as priests in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham …”
    So the trusty trustees have decided to take with them £1m of the charity’s funds which will be put towards their own material welfare. How very generous of them to stick their hands so comprehensively in the till.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    “The money … will ensure that priests in the ordinariate will not be left penniless …”
    “Five out of six of its trustees have now been ordained as priests in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham …”
    So the trusty trustees have decided to take with them £1m of the charity’s funds which will be put towards their own material welfare. How very generous of them to stick their hands so comprehensively in the till.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    “The money … will ensure that priests in the ordinariate will not be left penniless …”
    “Five out of six of its trustees have now been ordained as priests in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham …”
    So the trusty trustees have decided to take with them £1m of the charity’s funds which will be put towards their own material welfare. How very generous of them to stick their hands so comprehensively in the till.

  • Bill Wright

    As a Catholic Anglican I am scandalised by this action and cannot understand why Roman Catholics do not join in the growing chorus of disbelief at the self-serving duplicity of this ‘gift’.

    That the RC hierarchy have seen fit to ignore the ban on the ordination of openly homosexual Anglican clergy I can understand; Anglicans know that gay clergy are just as competent and caring as their straight counterparts and frankly the number of married clergy must be a bigger bugbear in the organisation. But an unwillingness to discipline clergy who manipulate the legal meaning of ‘Anglican’ to suit their own Orwellian contempt for the formation and foundation from which they come is shocking. And undermining of any ecumenical relations.

    I am an Anglican because I do not believe that just because the Holy Father says that something is so in England it is so. I hope that Roman Catholics who do believe this ensure that he sees, and acts on the manifest lack of integrity shown by these new priests.

  • http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/ The Catholic Herald

    Uillidh – The article has been updated. Trustees of the Confraternity cannot benefit from the grant.

  • Conchúr

    Given that the General Synod has de facto (de jure next year) made impossible “the advancement of the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition” within the CofE, it is hardly a surprise or a scandal that the CBS, which as has been stated NOT CofE society, has made a donation to the only body now realistically capable of “advancing the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition”.

    The fact that it is Paul Williamson howling about this speaks volumes.

  • Conchúr

    If you had actually bothered to read the article you would know that the the trustees of the CBS are prohibited from benefiting from the grant.

  • Little Black Censored

    That sounds like “investment” in the Gordon Brown sense.

  • Little Black Censored

    Demonstrably nonsense: ask any of the members of the Ordinariate whether he now believes he was a deluded layman, and I bet not one will say yes.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    If you had bothered to read the thread you would know that the article has been changed since I commented.

  • Little Black Censored

    Any trustees who are not living on the their own income would benefit indirectly by the very fact that the organization which they have joined will have more money and will be better able to provide for them. Of course, none of the trustees may be in this position,

  • Little Black Censored

    “Howling” is a good word. Play the man and not the ball, eh?

  • Anonymous

    Sir, your are either Catholic or you are Anglican. The term Catholic Anglican has no meaning any more than a woman can be ‘a bit pregnant’. If you are an Anglican in communion with Rome, as in the Ordinariate, then your description, though wrong, would have some merit.
    The Oridinariate has the full backing and prayerful concern of the Holy Father. He (the HF) is nobodys fool.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    “… an Anglican in communion with Rome …”. Now there’s a term which has no meaning. It’s been made repeatedly clear (from the Roman side) that those who join the Ordinariate are no longer Anglican. But it’ll be no surprise if the prospect of a million smackers persuades them to drop that line.

  • fatheredward

    “Trustees of the Confraternity cannot benefit from the grant”. Seeing as the grant was
    for “theological teaching, learning and development” within the Ordinariate the Trustees can only avoid benefiting if they require no more ‘theological teaching, learning or development’.

  • ex CBS

    In that case, why are they presenting themselves for ordination as if they were nothing but simple laymen, even if until a few weeks before they were claiming to be Catholic bishops or priests and acting accordingly, complete with ‘Farewell Masses’?

  • ex CBS

    In other words, if they do *not* believe they were deluded laymen before entering the Ordinariate they have lied to God and taken part in a blasphemous parody of a sacrament.

  • ex CBS

    > How can anyone disgree with the statement “there is no more precious thing in the world than the Blessed Sacrament of the altar..”

    True. But by joining the Ordinariate they have admitted that they previously knew nothing of the Blessed Sacrament, but were content blasphemously to worship bits of bread. 

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    That is a question that many of us have been insistently asking for some time, without ever receiving an adequate answer.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    How disingenuous of Fr Pearson to claim (as reported) that CBS was never a CofE society. It was only last year that its Constitution was changed to allow RCs to be members – a change pushed through by the very people who are now taking such advantage of it. Up till then it had been exclusively Anglican: independent of (and often at odds with) the hierarchy, but founded, funded, and run by members of the CofE and other Anglicans for purposes relating solely to Anglicanism.

    It will be interesting to see if the Charity Commissioners agree that the Ordinariate is ‘the only body now realistically capable of “advancing the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition”.’

  • Bill Wright

    @ signum_magnum 

    Perrhaps the refusal to enter the reality lived by others is the same mental and spiritual mechanism the Trustees of CBS are using when they think they can get away with this outrageous behaviour?
    Just because some Roman Catholics like to think they are the only players on the pitch doesn’t change the fact that Catholicism is bigger, broader and more flexible than an Ultramontanist/Reform of the Refomist/’traditionalist Catholic’ dare to believe. That way the game is more exciting and the Holy Spirit more chance of getting stuff done.Please don’t worry about convincing me – after all, that’s why you’re a Roman Catholic and I’m a member of the Church of England ie a Catholic Anglican – but please don’t expect people who are not enamoured of Rome to succumb to her rigid embrace or her claim to be the sole definer of terms!And with the greatest respect to the Holy Father; given the parlous and dangerous conditions in which most Uniate churches in Eastern Europe exist why did he imagine the Ordinariate (a Uniate scheme by another name) should have an easier ride? 

  • Matthew Tomlinson

    That is a ridiculous assertion, and merely your opinion. It is clearly not the opinion of the majority of members of the CBS who intend to remain loyal members of the Church of England.

  • Nugent Noags

    “£10,000 to three Walsingham nuns who joined the ordinariate at the start of the year. According to Fr Pearson, the money paid for “clothes, shoes and housing”.

    Given that they have already been housed by an RC order, is one to conclude that they have expensive taste in shoes?

  • Little Black Censored

    “Howling”: The message this was written in answer to seems to have disappeared

  • Little Black Censored

    … they have admitted that they previously knew nothing of the Blessed Sacrament…
    They must have been conscious of admitting this if they had done so. Have you asked any of them if they admitted it?

  • Little Black Censored

    They must answer for themselves. I did notice that First Mass was sometimes in inverted commas. And a Farewell Mass is a mass when you say goodbye; what is wrong with that?

  • Robert Ian williams

    No Catholic priest should retain membership of an Anglican Society like this, which is maintaining devotion to bread. The Church of England has no valid orders and no authentic real presence.

    However I sympathise  with Paul Williamson….he  may be controversial, but apparently he is a well loved pastor and vicar. He stood up about Prince Charles’ marriage to his former mistress.

  • Robert Ian williams

    No Catholic priest should retain membership of an Anglican Society like this, which is maintaining devotion to bread. The Church of England has no valid orders and no authentic real presence.

    However I sympathise  with Paul Williamson….he  may be controversial, but apparently he is a well loved pastor and vicar. He stood up about Prince Charles’ marriage to his former mistress.

  • AgingPapist

    Papalists also worship “bits of bread”–the ACCIDENTS of bread (and wine). Anglicans and Romanists should abolish Benediction outside of Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours and return the Blessed Sacrament to the sacristy where it belongs. Not in some golden box in Church for everyone to sit before, gaze, and honor some trophy.

  • AgingPapist

    A “Catholic Anglican ” is a contradiction in terms.

  • AgingPapist

    However,  Anglicans joining the Ordinariate DO remain Anglican culturally and, especially , from a liturgical standpoint.  The Ordinariate represents an attractive alternative to the Latin Church for many Roman Catholics who don’t want the all Latin liturgy, Paul VI’s 1970 rite,  and are attracted to the Anglican office.

    A painful reality: the Ordinariate’s liturgy (UK and elsewhere) will prove to be far more attractive to many Roman Catholics than either the Tridentine (1962) or the Novus Ordo.  The 2011 missal is such a seriously damaged liturgical text, it is just putting  bad lipstick on an already very ugly pig.

     I see a great rush of RCs to the Ordinariate once the liturgy is known.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    I’ll be most interested to see what the Ordinariate liturgy looks like when it comes out – and how many of the Ordinariate folk will want to use it, given the option of using “standard” Roman forms with which most of them will be more familiar. I suspect that if they (willingly) adopt the Ordinariate liturgy, it will only be because, with the arrival of the new translation of the Missal, they’ll be forced into choosing between one change and another. (Sadly, I can’t disagree with you about the 2011 missal, which I had been looking forward to with high hopes.)

  • Aisake

    Though we are many, we are one body and the gifts we have we are given to share, one the love that we share, one the hope in despair and one the cross that we bear. please let us unite Catholics and Anglican and try for conversion of lives and be living testimony of the living Body of Christ as we receive during Mass. God Bless

  • ex CBS

    They admitted it by presenting themselves as laymen for ordination to the diaconate.

  • ex CBS

    They have already answered for themselves by presenting themselves as laymen for ordination to the diaconate, thus publicly stated that they previously had no more right to say Mass than any other layman has – i.e. none whatsoever.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    Well, that’s your interpretation of their action (and actually I don’t blame you for interpreting it thus). But good luck with finding a single one of the Ordinariate clergy who actually thought that was what they were doing. It is not meaningful to claim that they have “answered for themselves” if the “answer” contradicts their conscious intentions. The answer must be willed, otherwise it is not they who have answered for themselves, but you who have answered for them.

  • ex CBS

    It simply isn’t possible for a sane person to believe that he is a Catholic bishop and priest today *and* to believe that the next day he will be a layman.

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    My point exactly. Since these men, many of whom I knew as valued colleagues in the CofE, did believe the first, it follows that they did not believe the second. What you say they “publicly stated” could not have been further from their minds.

  • ex CBS

    Forgive my saying this, being only a layman myself, but isn’t it sacrilegious for someone who knows himself to be a priest or a bishop to pretend to be a layman and to undergo a second deaconing and then priesting? If they still believe themselves to be priests or bishops, what on earth do they think they are doing?

  • http://is.gd/uillidh Uillidh

    As I have said, that is a question that many of us have been insistently asking for some time, without ever receiving an adequate answer. (To which should be added Little Black *****’s statement, “They must answer for themselves.” It is not for us to read their minds or presume to judge their consciences.)

  • ex CBS

    > It is not for us to guess their motives or presume to judge their consciences.
    Agreed, and when I’ve done so in exasperation or anger, as I sometimes have, I’ve been wrong to do so. Nevertheless, if, for instance, I saw someone whom I knew to be already married, and who himself knew he was not free to marry, get married to someone else in a Church ceremony while pretending to be a bachelor, I would feel free to criticise his *action* without necessarily guessing his *motives* or judging his *conscience, because his *action* would be just plain wrong!

  • Joyjahans

    For CBS insert Crooked Bastards Sellout.  This was done without consultative processes, by people who had already joined the ordinariate and over half the assets of CBS being disposed of.  It is unseemly of Roman to accept such a gift and shame on Keith Newton. 

  • Nugent Noags

    I think the stock answer they give is that their previously held Anglican orders were a valid currency within the Anglican Communion, in the way that the Turkish lira is a valid currency within the Republic of Turkey. The trouble is, having stated that, they now have to acknowledge retrospectively that the same validity applied to all those ordained ladies whose orders they once rejected.

  • ex CBS

    LOL!

    Unfortunately for them, nobody has ever been ordained as a priest just ‘within the Anglican Communion’. All priests in all Anglican churches have, as I understand it, been ordained as priests within the Church of God.

    Every Anglo-Catholic priest I have ever known has seen himself as a priest in exactly the same way as a Roman Catholic or Orthodox priest. Do you really think that e.g. Keith Newton in his Anglican days saw himself only as an Anglican priest, not as a priest within the Church Universal?