Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Obstacles to Unity

To counterbalance the wonderful "Anglicanorum Coetibus", every so often Rome creates mountains of difficulties for us. No, not the hyped up press fulminations over alleged paedophilia. In this case I refer particularly to some pictures on the blog 'Orbis Catholicus Secundus' http://www.orbiscatholicus.org/. It begins with a Harry Potter look-alike modelling the sort of hat which once we called a Cure or poached-egg hat.

As if that is not bad enough it continues with diverse bishops and canons. Now I KNOW we often manage to look pretty stupid in church in the C of E, but even the Bishop of Ebbsfleet in all his glory is seldom arrayed like some of these. I begin to understand how Martin Luther felt when he visited Rome the first time. It is all so terribly OTT.

We are assured that come the Ordinariate, former Anglican Bishops may seek permission to wear episcopal insignia. What a dilemma! Do we try to look modest and simply not ask for this permission? And if we DO ask, what are the insignia we are expected to adopt? Are they part of our Anglican Patrimony, lawn sleeves, scarlet chimeres and all? Shall we be condemned to wearing purple shirts because they are peculiarly Anglican? Must we wear our pectoral cross tucked into our waistcoat pocket, or draped over our ample stomachs (either is a favoured Anglican habit) rather than carrying them high on our chest, as the name implies we should? Is our episcopal ring to be a socking great Anglican amethyst, or a Roman gold plate inscribed with the arms of our (no longer) diocese? And why were amethysts given up anyway? The name means "not drunken". Perhaps the reference to I Timothy 3.2 is avoided by Rome, not because it says the bishop should be temperate and soberminded, but because he is to be the husband of one wife?

Oh dear; perhaps all this is sent to test our resolve. So that our transatlantic brothers might be aware of the problems, I have also blogged about this on 'The Anglo Catholic' - if you can bear to read any more in this vein.


  1. Bishop Barnes has never seen me in all my glory, I hasten to reassure readers, I don't think he is referring to my preferred dress of a black cord jacket in winter and a white jacket in summer, exchanged in the sacristy for an alb. I think he must be referring to my lace rochet, purchased on my behalf by the Bishop of Richborough, in which, says Bishop Barnes, I look as though I have been laid for afternoon tea. I rather agree and take afternoon tea sparingly and only when absolutely asked to do so. Even then I tend to prefer a plain tablecloth....

    Not sure (AC blog) whether the red chimere is quintessentially doctoral. My own guess is that academic doctors got to wear them because they had attained the learning of bishops rather than the other way round. I suspect academic doctors ought to be forbidden the red chimere if they do not subscribe to the Creeds. Whether bishops are learned enough nowadays to be called 'Dr' is another point: it might be worth calling us all 'Dr' if only to reduce the references in the secular press to 'Mr' So-and-So, (referring to e.g. the Archbishop of Dublin, and all that). But if someone gave me a doctorate, I'd still opt for preference for the black cord jacket in winter and the white one in summer.

  2. Perhaps a properly attired monsignor gives an indication of how former Anglican bishops in the Ordinariate may dress: