St. Barnabas Society giving financial aid to Anglican priest converts

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The England and Ireland-based St. Barnabas Society gave over $160,000 to help Anglican priests make the transition into the Catholic Church.

“It is a very generous gesture and one that will be widely appreciated,” Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols said on April 15. “It is a concrete expression of the generosity which the Holy Father asked us to show towards those who are seeking full communion in the Catholic Church.”

Read it all.

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

Posted April 26, 2011 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Teatime2 wrote:

We’re so often portrayed as the meanies in this. There’s another side that the RC and the press, that likes a good conflict, don’t report. I encountered this gem from an RC publication yesterday, regarding a Rome-bound priest and his large family:

In the meantime, the Church of England has come to the rescue. The Number 1 Trust, a charity established in the days of the Blessed John Henry Newman’s Oxford Movement to further the teaching and practice of the Catholic faith within the Church of England, has allowed the family to live rent free at their present residence—St. John’s Vicarage in Bovey Tracey—until the end of August.

Then there is the question of income. Because of its size, the family is eligible to receive cash benefits from the government and tax credits.

“We are not absolutely desperate,” he explained. “We have financial resources we can draw on and people have been generous and given us large sums of money.

“The parish I left behind had a large collection and gave us a very large gift, and other people have been very generous toward us,” he added. “We are not too worried about making ends meet with paying bills and putting food on the table.”

I thought the bit about the Number 1 Trust within the C of E was especially interesting. Anyone know much about it?

April 26, 2:16 pm | [comment link]
2. Fr. J. wrote:

So when is all this cruelty to the new Catholics by cradle Catholics going to begin?  So many naysayers promised us plenty of horror stories of miserable and persecuted new Catholics.  It is so terribly disappointing, all this Christian charity, kindness and hospitality.  What’s the fun in a Catholicism that isn’t all wickedness and demons?

April 26, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Teatime2 wrote:

#2—Time will tell. As one who has been a convert, I know that no matter where you’re leaving and where you’re going, there is a honeymoon period after being received. Those of us who left our longstanding spiritual homes over the years did it primarily alone and without special consideration or help.

Leaving in groups is unusual and changes the experience. They are supported by their like-minded friends who share a common history and experience. It will be interesting to see what effect that has on the converts and on the Roman church itself. Will the Anglicans remain separate, almost as a separate rite, or will they eventually be split up in the RCC and integrated? Will the cradle RCs come to appreciate and want the ministry of married men and a more reverent liturgy and begin demanding it across-the-board?

Again, time will tell, and it will be interesting to watch.

April 26, 3:58 pm | [comment link]
4. Terry Tee wrote:

Teatime, you can find full details of the Number 1 Trust Fund here:
and if anybody would like to tell me how to make a hyperlink shortcut, I think y’all would be glad because I wouldn’t have to paste these vast URLs.

April 26, 5:08 pm | [comment link]
5. Fr. J. wrote:

“Will the cradle RCs come to appreciate and want the ministry of married men…?”

Seems there are two possible questions in this phrase.

1.  “Will cradle Catholics come to want a married priesthood for the whole of the Latin Rite?

2.  “Will cradle Catholics appreciate the ministry of these particular convert priests?”

These are two very different questions.  As to the first, Catholics are divided.  Those who are better educated in the history and traditional theology of priesthood will likely continue to support clerical celibacy.  But, those who support clerical celibacy do not oppose married priests in particular cases such as the Eastern rites or convert priests.  Thinking with the church requires this subtlety of thought and the better formed Catholics dont have any problem with this. 

I, for one, firmly support clerical celibacy as well as the Ordinariate.

That there will be a honeymoon is a matter of human nature.  And the novelty will ware off.  But the end of novelty has nothing to do with the persecutions predicted by so many Anglicans willing to say anything in order to discourage others from joining the Ordinariate.  As those who have joined find no such persecution, I suspect that others who were swayed by such nonsense will be able to overcome their timidity and jump in the water.

On the other hand, anti-Catholicism being what it is, will remain highly resistant to contrary evidence among many.

April 26, 6:08 pm | [comment link]
6. Teatime2 wrote:

Thanks for the link and info, TerryTee! Very interesting. I’m afraid that I can’t return the favor by providing shorter link instructions. I haven’t a clue, lol.

Fr. J., I highly doubt that a fear of “persecution” has discouraged many Anglicans from jumping ship. If it has, then they’re not very stout-hearted to entertain conversion in the first place. I swam in the opposite direction, of course, and it took me years of deep prayer and thought to take that plunge. It’s not easy, no matter which river you’re swimming.

Anyone would wonder how you’re going to be received by the new faith community. But that’s not the primary consideration in making the decision. If it is, then you may not have the fortitude for it. It DOES take fortitude. It’s not all this triumphant, “oh thank you, Jesus, because I’m really on the right side of things now!” experience.

But, objectively speaking, there are Catholics who are angry about this. I hear it from my RC friends and family members. At least here in the U.S., a substantial portion of the RC laity wants things to change and their church’s move to shore up traditionalism through importing conservative Anglicans and traditional foreign immigrants isn’t setting well.

Back when I was an RC teen, we had an Episcopal minister in town who became RC and was accepted into the Catholic priesthood, with wife and children in tow, of course. He was later assigned to a parish nearby and folks were vociferously against his ministry on two levels. They feared him bringing “Protestant ways” into the church and they resented his marital status when we had priests leaving the priesthood because they felt called to marry.

Several years ago, after my mother’s death, I realized that almost every RC priest who officiated on those momentous occasions in the life of my family either left the priesthood to marry or was otherwise identified as non-celibate. The priest who married my parents had a long-standing relationship with his housekeeper. He quietly retired and the two continued to live together until his death. The priest who baptised me left, married, and sired 5 kids. The priest who gave me my First Communion had an adult son turn up and it was proven that he was his father. The priest who concelebrated my father’s funeral Mass left for a woman two months later and is now married with children. And the very day after my dear mum’s burial, we were going to take her RC pastor out for lunch to thank him for his ministry to her but he called and informed me that he was packing up and leaving the priesthood. Her funeral was his last official act as a priest. We later learned that he had fallen in love with a woman and was leaving to be with her. It was a stunning realization to know that none of the priests in my spiritual history are still RC priests.

And even though I’m no longer Catholic, it makes one a bit sad. These weren’t bad priests; they were lonely. Theological justifications for celibacy don’t quell the confusion of the Catholic people when they see their own leaving and married men from other denominations coming in to serve.

April 26, 7:08 pm | [comment link]
7. deaconjohn25 wrote:

If you substitute the word “clergy” for the word “priest,” the Catholic Church has had a married clergy for almost 40 years in the U.S. Thus Catholics in some countries are very much prepared for having a married clergy. In our archdiocese almost every parish has at least one married deacon and people are used to seeing one of the vested men at the altar with a wedding ring on. In fact, trying to get across to people the difference between a priest and deacon—especially if both are wearing Roman collars—is about as hard to explain as the difference between a chasuble and a dalmatic.

April 26, 8:12 pm | [comment link]
8. PaulC wrote:

The problem with Catholics who cry out for a married clergy is that it never occurs to them that only men faithful to the Church’s teaching will be ordained, and this faithfulness often manifests itself in a very large family.  I’m acquainted with most of the Anglican Use / Pastoral Provision pastors, and all they all have between 5 and 7 children. 

But this isn’t what most Catholics have in mind when they think of a married clergy; they imagine that these priests, like them, will violate the Church’s teaching on contraception and keep their families to a sensible 2.1 children, leaving them plenty of time to minister to a Catholic Parish of 2,000 or so families.  The Catholic accustomed to a celibate clergy - but demainding a married one - will be less enthusiastic when, after getting what he asks for, finds his priest cannot minister to a dying family member when the priest himself has a child getting an emergency appendectomy, or a wife giving birth to their eighth child.

They’d like to have their cake and eat it too: Married priests, but priests who violate the Church’s teaching on marriage itself so they can lavish more time on their parishioners.  This they will not get.

April 27, 10:53 am | [comment link]
9. Fr. J. wrote:

I seriously doubt there are many Catholic “crying out for married priests.”  Catholics have plenty of passion about many things like liturgy, but whether their priest is married or not has little effect on their lives.

As for large families, that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.  Someone has to beat the demographic winter we are now facing.

April 27, 11:33 am | [comment link]
10. flabellum wrote:


April 27, 2:58 pm | [comment link]
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