Saturday, 20 October 2012

Towards a Pastoral Council

Mgr Keith Newton summoned representatives of the Ordinariate Groups to a meeting in Oxford. The notice was fairly short, so it was good that so many of our Groups were represented at today's event, each of them sending a lay person with the Group's Pastor. We celebrated Mass in the Catholic Chaplaincy of the University (shades of Mgr Ronnie Knox, to say nothing of Brideshead...) and the rest of the morning was given over to an address by Mgr Keith Barltrop.

Two Mgri Keith, Barltrop of St Mary Bayswater and Newton of nfa.

He spoke about the Year of Faith and the New Evangelisation, with special reference to the Ordinariate. He told us how it was Pope John Paul II who had listed what was to be new in the New Evanglisation. It was not a replacement for what the Parish Clergy and others were already doing.. And long before he came into office our present Pope had reminded us that the Church has always evangelised, without interruption, from the very outset; in celebrating the Holy Mysteries day by day, in the exercise of charity. "Light and warmth radiate from this permanent evangelisation" said Cardinal Ratzinger. The New Evangelisation though adds to these older methods, in an attempt to reach "the larger part of present society which does not find access through permament classic evangelisation". Mgr Barltrop spoke warmly, among other new initiatives, of the Jerusalem Communities in France and Italy which attracted so many of the younger generation.

Getting ready for our second session

Then he proposed three avenues for the Ordinariate to consider:
1.  Go back to the early church; see the virtues of smallness - 'Don't be afraid, little flock'.
2.  Look to your Anglican roots; see how the Church of England has been in touch with the culture.
3.  Remember the Marian dimension: Walsingham should become increasingly important for us.

This led to a lively Q&A session, before we broke up for our picnic lunch.

After Lunch Mgr Keith Newton spoke about the future (some of the American Ordinariate parishes are large; but they have taken thirty years from starting as Anglican Use Catholics to reach their present size; we need patience).

Our three wise Monsignori, (l to r)  Burnham, Newton and Broadhurst

Mgr John Broadhurst helped us consider our finances (we had been more generous givers as Anglicans than we were now: we must recover that part of our Patrimony). Mgr Andrew Burnham brought the welcome news that our Customary is now published (and he told us how we might use some of its material alongside our present Office Books).

Representatives from the Southwest in a Group Discussion

For once dividing into groups proved a helpful next step; our four Groups in the Portsmouth Diocese, for instance, were joined with others from the midwest (Bath and Bristol) and the Southwest
(Plymouoth, Buckfast, Torbay &c) together with some from the South Midlands (though Reading is already well known to us being in the same diocese as us). We shared our experiences, good and not so good, and looked forward to what might help in future.

The Isle of Wight makes a telling point

Finally, we twisted a few arms to ensure that there would be good lay representation on the Council of the Ordinariate - something which for Diocesan Catholics was permitted, but for us was mandatory. Altogether a very positive and up-beat day, and (as Michelin has it) "vaut le voyage" .. well worth it, in fact.


  1. As for being in touch with Anglican roots and English traditional culture - are a hymn book and former Anglican personnel enough? Have not the Americans of the Pastoral Provision set a good example by adapting the Book of Common Prayer and the King James' Bible for Catholic Use with the Book of Divine Worship?

  2. A good example for America, maybe; but not for former Anglo-Catholics in England. The rich treasury of Tudorbethan English has largely passed us by. No doubt we shall learn (or in the case of the very elderly, like me, relearn) to value BCP's cadences - but only when we have a version of the Mass authorised for our use. To try to use the Book of Divine Worship will not do - its bowdlerised BCP collects, for instance, grate on the ears of those who have used the Book of Common Prayer in times past. Meanwhile, the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham (approved by our Ordinary)is a good place for us to begin.

    1. Thank you. Without the genuine Anglican tradition of the BCP you sound very like any other modern Catholic Church. It seems that the Extra-Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite would be more congenial for traditionalist ex-Anglicans. It has a similar atmosphere to that to which they are accustomed unlike that of the New Order and its Anglican derivatives.

  3. By confining a definition of our Patrimony to the BCP (or something derived from it) there is a danger of failing to see the other (and to my mind greater) parts of the Patrimony - pastoral method, depth of biblical preaching, music, relationship to a nation and to the diverse people within it. The Anglican tradition has a real meaning in England, even without Dr Cranmer's language. I grew up with BCP and none other - and mighty tedious it could be too. As a young boy, the Te Deum at Morning Prayer week by week seemed to me especially well named.

  4. Thank you once again. However the "patrimony" of which you speak, which could well be claimed already by the Church of Challoner, and even of John Wesley, is rather indefinite and diffuse, a matter of assertion rather than proof. Apart from its splendid literary, and I agree musical tradition, I would wonder if there is now any recognisable Anglican tradition with a real meaning.As it is ordinary Catholic parish churches sometimes have Anglican organists. No doubt cranmerian language, as with Shakespeare, Milton, or any other part of our literary heritage which required effort, would be tedious for a young boy. As we obviously disagree, may I wish you well.

  5. Thank you, Independent, yes, let's drop it for now; but what you have said has set me thinking about the different experiences of the Prayer Book in England and elsewhere. In England it was forced on catholic Anglicans by State authorities who were capable of imprisoning those who disagreed; so it became a badge of captivity, and when a degree of freedom was permitted (in the 1960s) many of us identified BCP with all that was wrong with the Church of England; whereas in America, for instance, it was the suthorities (this time Ecclesiastical powers) who were seen as forcing the faithful to abandon the tradition; in other words (in the imperishable phraseology of '1066 and All That") for Anglo Catholics in England the Prayer Book was a BAD THING, and for A-Cs in the States it was a GOOD THING. Perhaps both of us need to discover how to "bring out of our treasures things new and old". Bujt I will think further and maybe blog later about this. Thanks for your help.

  6. Right Reverend and dear Monsignor,

    I understand your point on the BCP seen as evil by Anglo-Catholics of a papalist hue. But what about those called "Prayerbook Catholics", who faithfully used the BCP with high-church ceremonial, holding it as capable to convene a Catholic understanding? If I'm not mistaking, there are in the ordinariate more than a few Priests who held this persuasion in their CofE days.

    Dear Monsignor, yours truly.

    + PAX et BONUM

  7. Thnks, Don Henri... A few, I'd say (I know three - there may be more - but not a great number). Others of us who once were "Prayer Book Catholics" (I include myself among them) became tired of the mental gymnastics involved in so reworking BCP as to lend it a Catholic hue. In its origins it is such a patenly Protestant publication that, beautiful as some of its language might be, it is far better to come to understand and use the newly Translated Roman Missal. I think in some respects former Anglicans have found 'the beauty of holiness' in the new translation more easily than some more longstanding Catholics - perhaps becuse we have had such a diversity of variant prayer books in the past. So possibly adaptability is an element of the Patrimony? It's not always what you say - it's the way that you say it.

  8. Dom Henri, this is the wrong chap to argue with on this particular subject.