Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ordinariate Watch: History overturned as Anglican bishops are ordained as Catholic priests

In its 100-plus years Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of English Catholicism, will have seen few stranger sights than Saturday's procession of three Anglican bishops' wives, in matching beige coats, one with an outsized brown hat, going up on to the high altar to embrace their husbands, all newly ordained as Catholic priests. Catholicism isn't that keen on women on the altar – to the pain of the demonstrators from the Catholic Women's Ordination movement protesting outside the cathedral's doors – and it doesn't usually countenance priests having wives.

But this was no ordinary ceremony. Almost everyone who spoke during it used the word "historic" to describe the ordination as Catholic priests of John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, all formerly Anglican bishops.

It is the Vatican's negative attitude to women's ministry that formed the backdrop to the whole affair. The three recruits oppose the Church of England's plans to appoint female bishops and regard the Catholic priesthood as a safe, female-free haven.

To read more, click here.

Readers are cautioned to be on the alert for inaccuracies such as churches in the ordinariate will use their own prayer books and rites, imported from Anglicanism, which are becoming increasingly common in English media reporting on the ordinariate. All liturgies used in the ordinariate churches must conform to Roman Catholic doctrine and must be approved by the Vatican.


RMBruton said...

If a photo is worth a thousand words then Broadhurst's expression speaks volumes.

Joe Mahler said...

Appearantly these Anglo-catholics is being reordained admit that they never were ordained to begin with. They were never Anglicans; they were always Roman. The charade is over with them; when will it be over for the rest?

Robin G. Jordan said...


"Anglo-Catholics" are not a homogenous group. Some are Roman Catholics in everything but name and church membership. Others are what may be described as "Prayer Book Catholics." They may prefer the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and a High Church style of worship, and have a high view of episcopacy and ordination and the gospel sacraments, hold to the modified doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice that the 1958 Lambeth Conference commended to the consideration of Anglicans, may have a realist view of the eucharistic presence, may regard confirmation as an apostolic ordinance if not a sacrament, and consider marriage to be a sacrament, views which the 1928 Prayer Book promotes. They may also be described as "High-Anglican."

However, they are not particularly attracted to the Church of Rome. They do not venerate relics, invoke the saints, make pilgrimages particularly to the sites of apparitions of the Virgin Mary, walk in processions with statues of the Virgin Mary or the Host, wear crucifixes, medallions, and scapulas that a priest has blessed or in the case of the medallions and scapullas are associated with a miracle-performing saint, say the rosary, attend novenas and other Marian devotions, light votive candles, dip their fingers in holy water and cross themselves upon entering a church sanctuary, or genuflect to the reserved Host in a tabernacle. They do not adore the Host or pray before the Host exposed in a monstrance or attend services of Benediction.

They may attend a church where the priest is Roman Catholic in everything but name and church membership and uses in the services prayers and other liturgical texts and ceremonial from the American Missal or the Anglican Missal. This is often because the alternative is not to go to church at all. They may follow their priest into the Roman Catholic Church because they otherwise will become churchless.

However, I do not believe that they are going to fare well in the Roman Catholic Church. Their churches are too small and will in all likelihood not be granted quasi-parish status. Their aging priests are not likely to be reordained. The Roman Catholic authorities will disband their churches and sell the church buildings. The proceeds from the sale of these churches will go into the coffers of the Roman Catholic Church. The members of the disbanded churches will be faced with the choice of attending the services of a local Roman Catholic church or joining the ranks of the churchless. They will most likely do the latter.

Joe Mahler said...

Anglo-catholics no matter what they practice in terms of ceremony and ritual usually disdain the Low Churchman and their almost total lack of ceremony and ornamentation. When they would attend a low church, there is a constant belly aching about how this should be done this way and that should be done that way. Though I consider myself a "Catholick," it is in the true sense of the word, Biblical truth. I accept the creeds (3) as being comfortable with the doctrine of Holy Writ. But all this made up ceremony, well, it is not Catholick in the true sense of the word. The Roman Church calls things Catholick which is not Catholick at all. I do not refer to the Roman Church as being Catholick.

Please explain to me how an anglo-catholic may have an altar but do not believe in the sacrifice of the altar. An altar is for a sacrifice. I have never heard one ever refer it as a table. All of them are really much closer to the Roman Church than to the Protestant Reformed Anglicanism. And in Rom they belong.

Robin G. Jordan said...


For an 'official explanation' I refer you to Synodalia: a collection of articles of religion, canons, and ..., Volume 1, Constitutions and canons ecclesiastical treated upon by the archbishops of canterbury and york, "VII. A declaration concerning some rites and ceremonies," on pages 404-406. The constitutions and ecclesiastical canons may be found on the Internet at: You will have to scroll down to page 404. The Constitutions and canons ecclesiastical... are the famous or infamous Canons of 1640, which helped to spark the English Civil War. "VII. A declaration concerning some rites and ceremonies" is, when you read the entire document, one of its mildest provisions.

Robin G. Jordan said...


If you copy and past the URL and it does not work, google 'constitutions and canons ecclesiastical treated upon by the archbishops of canterbury and york'. Synodalia: a collection of articles of religion, canons, and ..., Volume 1 was first on the list.