Reuters FaithWorld Blog—A priest’s guide: How to Swim the Tiber Safely

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About 50 Church of England priests opposed to the consecration of women as bishops are expected to be in the first wave of Anglicans to take up an offer by Pope Benedict and convert to Rome. The traditionalist priests will be joined by five bishops and 30 groups of parishioners, in a structure called an ordinariate, or a Church subdivision, in the new year.

About 300 priests switched in the early 1900s when women were ordained as priests. Then they did not have the comfort of moving over in groups, and nearly 70 returned to the Anglican fold.

Here, one priest explains why he stayed, while another describes why he returned.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

11 Comments
Posted November 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this article from both commenters. I have been saddened by some folks I know in England that are jumping who hog to the Ordinariate. I think a lot of them are jumping before they look, and I think what they will find will be a rude awakening.

November 29, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
2. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#1 There may be some merit in what you say.  Already, the congregations thinking about the Ordinariate are being told that they have to leave their churches behind, often beautiful and built by their forbear Anglo-Catholics.  This is not the Church of England saying this, but the RC church in England, who say they must move to Catholic churches.  The hard edge of the Catholic Church is beginning to assert itself in amongst all the warm fuzzy feelings being talked about.

There is some history to this.  A catholic and an anglican congregation shared a church in London some years ago.  The plug was pulled on this, by the RC hierachy.  A contrast with the States where a number of RC churches with official approval have generously welcomed Anglican congregations who have been expelled by TEC lawyers.

We will have to see how things pan out for these folks in England.

November 29, 6:38 pm | [comment link]
3. wvparson wrote:

The English RC church doesn’t want to get into wrangles about the continued use of CofE buildings and probably wants the converts to make a clean break.

What remains to be seen is just how these enclaves will relate to the rest of the RC church, how warm the welcome will be from RC priests who finnd this conservative enclave in their parishes or whether the ordinariate will become an ecclesiastical ghetto.

November 29, 7:24 pm | [comment link]
4. Catholic Mom wrote:

I find it so strange that the families and friends of these people were so upset that they joined that Catholic Church that some returned to the Church of England.  (Admittedly, these were Anglican priests so not quite the same as a lay person switching churches.) 

I pray and hope and firmly expect that my sons will remain faithful Catholics all their lives, but if somebody told me right now that they could say with absolute certainty that the worst thing my kids would ever do in their lives would be to switch to the Anglican Church I would get down on my knees and thank God!

November 29, 7:57 pm | [comment link]
5. NewTrollObserver wrote:

#4 Catholic,

Memories of the Martyrs die hard on that blessed plot.

November 29, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#3 I rather think some of those thinking about the Ordinariate have been hoping to continue to live in the matrimonial home, sharing it not only with Synodica, but also with their new friend Vaticana.  I am not at all sure that they had in mind sharing the local concrete spaceship with their Catholic friends.  AB Nichols, however, seems to have other ideas at the moment.

November 29, 9:20 pm | [comment link]
7. lostdesert wrote:

This just seems an impossibility, rather like one firm buying another firm.  At first all seems well, assurances that nothing will change, but then ....  At the end of the day there are reasons we do not worship together.  We put a little different english on it.

November 29, 10:03 pm | [comment link]
8. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“The English RC church doesn’t want to get into wrangles about the continued use of CofE buildings and probably wants the converts to make a clean break”.

I imagine it’s also a sticky wicket that the C of E church buildings are owned by the “state”; is that not true?

November 29, 10:27 pm | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

“C of E church buildings are owned by the “state”;”
Um, some certainly are in some senses, such as the ‘royal peculiars’, some aren’t, some nobody really knows.  Like everything else in this country, it all depends.

November 29, 11:09 pm | [comment link]
10. driver8 wrote:

The Legal Advisory Commission (lawyers who advise the C of E central bodies but whose advice does not have the authority of law) have suggested that the ‘fee simple’ - that is, I think, what is often understood by “ownership” - of churches and churchyards is “in abeyance”. So, as they understand the law, in ordinary terms of ownership, nobody owns the great majority of C of E churches and churchyards.

However various parties have all sorts of rights and responsibilities in respect of parish churches and their churchyards. As I understand it there is a sense in which incumbents as a “corporation sole” have legal title to parish church. But it is very difficult to say what rights, if any, such “ownership” confers. In like fashion, the churchwardens can be described as “owning” the contents of the parish church.

It’s a complicated historical mishmash. However in terms of “absolute ownership” not the Crown, not Parliament, not the Bishop, not the diocese, not the parish priest, not the PCC (equivalent of the Vestry), and not the congregation, “owns” most English parish churches.

November 30, 1:19 am | [comment link]
11. jhp wrote:

I was in York/Durham/Newcastle a few summers ago for a longish visit and I was saddened to see there so many “redundant” churches up for sale—mostly all Gothic and Victorian, some of them quite spectacular (a lonely rural chapel built by Pugin [!], for instance).

The newly minted RC converts shouldn’t really have too hard a time finding liturgically-appropriate digs in some of these churches ... and there’s plenty of church furnishings up for sale every week on ebay too.

Yet, speaking as someone entirely unsympathetic to the whole Ordinariate idea, I think my departed brethren should worry less about the real estate and more about “the Real Presence.”

November 30, 2:44 am | [comment link]
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