Saturday, 7 January 2012

Portsmouth Neighbours

The reception of Bishop Robert Mercer CR has already been covered in the Anglo-Catholic blog. But since I was there, and have a couple of pictures so far unpublished, it may be worth saying a little more about the event.

Bishop Mercer has been a leading figure among "continuing" Anglicans, and was for some years Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. His reception into the Catholic Church represents the first Bishop from the TAC grouping (the Traditional Anglican Church) to join an Ordinariate. Now we look forward to his ordination as a Priest - and perhaps too to the Episcopate, as the only celibate former Anglican bishop within the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. That is only speculation on my part. He may be considered over the hill, being past the supposed retirement age for Catholic clergy.

I was especially glad that we had a fair representation from our Bournemouth Group. Those who do not know the South Coast readily confuse Plymouth and Portsmouth (about as far apart as London and Leeds) and assume that Bournemouth, between the two, must be next door to both. In fact from our Ordinariate Church to its neighbour in Portsmouth is around fifty miles, much of the route heavily congested. So well done those who made the journey.

It was good to hear once more familiar Prayer Book words - the Prayer of Humble Access, albeit bowdlerised, and other phrases from what Geoffrey Kirk is wont to call "Dr Cranmer's little compendium". Better still to know that those words were being used in a fully Catholic context, and that the Mass was more pre- than post-Reformation.

All credit to Fr Maunder of the TAC and his faithful flock, who made us so welcome and put on a first-rate reception after the Mass.


  1. Wonderful,wonderful occasion.God Bless Robert Mercer and The Ordinariate

  2. Confused. Why were there words from the BCP used? Have these been authorised for use now?

  3. Maurice, The Book of Divine Worship has subsumed much Prayer Book material into the Liturgies approved for the Anglican Use churches - and now for the Ordinariates. Fear not, the words may be Cranmer's, the theology is Catholic.

  4. Thank you so much for your report, Father.

    It is good to hear this News in Canada and we hope that it will encourage TAC members here and other Anglicans to follow Bishop Mercer's example.

    How wonderful if he would be consecrated a bishop in the Ordinariate, rather like the awarding of a cardinal's hat to a faithful priest who is over 80 (like JH Newman). It would do much to heal relations in various areas and would be a big help to Msgr Newton, no doubt.