Anglicans heading to Rome told they can't stay in their churches

As traditionalist clergy threatened to leave over their opposition to women bishops, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the Church of England would seek a system of sharing buildings so that defecting worshippers could continue meeting in familiar surroundings.

Yet the decision over whether to permit Catholic congregations to share Anglican church buildings was ultimately left to individual bishops, with the policy varying from diocese to diocese. The ruling that any defectors would have to leave St Barnabas was conveyed to its vicar by the Ven Clive Mansell, Archdeacon of Tonbridge and a senior clergyman in the diocese of Rochester.

“How sad that the Ordinariate seekers, good people who have contributed so much to this parish and its fabric over so many years, were plainly told they should leave with nothing,” added Fr Tomlinson.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

24 comments on “Anglicans heading to Rome told they can't stay in their churches

  1. A Senior Priest says:

    How terribly charitable.

  2. Fr. J. says:

    Another way that the C of E and KJS share so much in common.

  3. Teatime2 says:

    No, it makes perfect sense. They are choosing to join another church and they need to join the parishes of their new church, just as converts have done for ages. What, did they really think that nothing was going to change for them except the name on the door and their hierarchy?

    Joining the RCC means that they embrace their new family and not sequester themselves, particularly in a country where there’s an Established Church whose buildings are assisted by taxes and trusts.

  4. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    I hope they enjoy their new post-Vatican II architectural digs.

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Our very own friend will keep getting himself in the papers. Time for prayers for all the congregation of St Barnabas and for Fr Ed and his family.

    We will miss the Anglo-Catholic bloggers who are some of the leading lights of blogworld and have made the medium their own.

    I don’t see why we can’t share churches – after all there are a bunch of South American pentecostalists sharing a CofE church I have heard of and we regularly share our churches with Methodists and, well, all sorts. The archdeacon and the bishop’s chaplain seem to have been off on a frolic of their own while Rochester was without a bishop and one of the suffragans was getting too big for his boots. But when conservative bishops leave their posts early, that is what happens.

  6. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Well what can i say! the tragedy is that the VAST majority are wanting the ordinariate. Furthermore the diocese admit there are too many churches in this town. It would be VERY simple to relocate the minority (most of whom are already worshipping happily elsewhere) but bitterness rules at present.

    Pathetic really. And any neutral would admit we deserve our church…but so be it. Peter left his nets and we are happy to leave everything.

  7. sophy0075 says:

    Kind of ironic when you figure that some of these church buildings may have been constructed before Henry VIII set up the C of E. Maybe the Vatican should charge Cantuar+ for 500 years’ worth of rent?

  8. Teatime2 says:

    LOL, I was wondering how long it would take before Henry VIII was brought into the discussion! Sorry, but that’s what happens when religion and politics are thoroughly in bed with each other. Spoils of war go to the victor.

    What I don’t understand is why, while jubilant about “leaving,” they don’t want to join their RCC brethren but, rather, want to remain separate from the others. Shouldn’t they join the RC melting pot? That’s what other converts do and have done for centuries. Why do these folks expect to be set apart?

  9. Teatime2 says:

    Ooops, forgot something. Sophy, Henry VIII didn’t set up the C of E. The Church not only commanded religious affairs but exerted extreme influence over secular governance, as well. She was happy to allow the monarchs to name bishops and make some church decisions in their own countries as long as the monarchs did the Church’s bidding. Henry, in his megalomania, thought his actions were justified but he didn’t intend to separate his country entirely from the RCC. The formal split came with Elizabeth I, whom the Church declared a bastard, later excommunicated, and encouraged civil disobedience against, including the exhortation for her assassination.

  10. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    No 8,

    That’s exactly why I’m skeptical of the Ordinariate. I’ve had an American Roman Catholic bishop tell me privately that at least in the States, many Bishops are rather resentful of the Pope’s offer of an Ordinariate because such disgruntled Anglicans coming en masse are perceived as potential trouble makers with divided loyalties. The Bishop I was talking to said that the RCC seems a good fit for these Anglo-catholic traditionalists at the moment, but how quickly we all forget that the liberal wing of the RCC was in power not that long ago during Vatican II. This bishop, I think correctly, wondered if the theological winds shifted again in the future would these Ordinariate folk bail ship as quickly, especially if a liberal pope brought the hammer down on the Ordinariate and revoked its charter or something. Strict clerical hierarchy has done meaner things over the years.

    I’m fairly Anglo-catholic minded myself, but I’ve been telling my Anglo-catholic colleagues in England to go slow and look before you leap. I’m convinced neither the RCC hierarchy nor the Anglo-catholics joining the Ordinariate know what’s about to hit them.

    All the glitters isn’t gold.

  11. deaconjohn25 says:

    Something as basically unique that is being done through an ordinariate is bound to have some bumps and ruts to smooth over as things progress. We should all pray for Christian charity and justice for all in the process.
    The issue of who owns what church building in England is one issue I find intriguing. Buildings erected after the Anglican split with Rome seems no problem to me. They belong to the Anglican Church. But there may be some whole parishes worshipping in buildings from before the split who want to re-establish communion with Rome through the ordinariate. Their Catholic ancestors in communion with Rome built the churches, so shouldn’t they go back to communion with Rome with their congregations.
    Also, I do see there may be some problems for new Catholics who actually support Catholic Tradition and tradition with some of the liberal Old Guard in the Catholic Church which still has some power in places and want the Roman Catholic Church to become the Roman Anglican Church.

  12. A Senior Priest says:

    It’s always about property and power. Forget the treasure stored up in heaven.

  13. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    There is an awful lot of guff talked by some of our Catholic chums.

    The English church and its buildings were never the property of the Pope, nor of the Vatican; neither before the Reformation, nor after it.

    Like proclaiming: ‘the Malvinas are Argentina’s’, such guff does not become any more true because of its interminable repetition by the various pseudo-Catholics who uncharitably clog up the Anglican blogosphere with this rubbish rather than getting on with the business of their new church, having joined it.

  14. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Btw, as far as I know St Barnabas is a late 19th Century high Gothic Revival structure built by Anglo-Catholic Anglicans in their hey day, and a fine example of it.

  15. dwstroudmd+ says:

    So very ‘piskie of them. Perhaps the CoE can be folded into the American New Thang ™ -lican “Church” composed of EcUSA and its sycophants and trough-feeders after all. Have Row check with the PB.

  16. Intercessor says:

    The idea of paying taxes to support the post split 18 member and shrinking remaining parishoners of the dead COE church seems revolting. Move on good Anglo- Catholics and to carry on your faith and the Great Commission within new surroundings.Pray for those who lied to you about women clergy,lied to you about women bishops,lied to you about flying bishops,lied to you about sharing buildings et al. What would lead you believe that they would ever tell the truth or commit Christian charitable acts?

  17. TomRightmyer says:

    Paying taxes? In some European countries the church buildings are state property but in England the parishioners and others contribute to maintain and repair. I occasionally read of some special arrangements where individuals have an ancient obligation to help maintain churches but these seem to be tied to certain properties.

  18. IchabodKunkleberry says:

    Where’s Inclusive Church ? Maybe they can live up to their name
    by protesting in favor of the newly minted RCs.

  19. Intercessor says:

    Both are in the diocese of London, where the bishop, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, has been particularly firm in refusing to allow defectors to continue to worship in their buildings.

    “For the avoidance of confusion I have to say that as far as the Diocese of London is concerned there is no possibility of transferring properties,” he said last month.

    He said that previous experiments of church sharing had not led to “warmer ecumenical relations” but “tended to produce more rancour”.

    I agree Bishop that for you to invite Catholics into your building to worship after your diocese hosted ANOTHER gay wedding within it might be considered poor taste.

  20. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Pageantmaster wrote:

    ‘The English church and its buildings were never the property of the Pope, nor of the Vatican; neither before the Reformation, nor after it’

    And I would point out that my church was never the property of the Diocese, nor of the liberals who plan a take over in our absence! It was built, maintained and loved by those of Catholic views since its foundation stone was laid. The very people the Ordinariate was created for and whom synod repeatedly betrays.

    Most everything in it was given by those leaving in memory of loved ones. It is sick that they are sent out naked rather than with the blessing of those who proved incapable of caring for them.

  21. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #20 RPP
    It was indeed built by Anglicans of Catholic views, which should at least mean that those who remain of that view should be able to worship there, without prejudice to any possible sharing arrangements. Of course the memorials given in memory of loved ones militate towards such a sharing, although of course both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches do have a view, which is unfortunately unfavorable in some English quarters.

    [blockquote]The very people the Ordinariate was created for and whom synod repeatedly betrays.[/blockquote]
    Well it remains to be seen whether the new Synod will repeat the mistakes of the last, and there is no doubt that damage has been done to the reputation of the Church of England and to the mission of Christians generally in the UK by the unloving way in which our bishops and Synod have handled this. I hope they will have learnt something as people just get fed up with us [“see how these Christians don’t love one another”] and it brings disestablishment closer as part of the drip drip drip of one scandal after another.

    Next week is Christian Unity week when we think about how the Anglican and the Roman Catholic churches along with others work together in organisations like Churches Together and we pray for the furthering of the work and mission which we share as we all get to know one another better.

    For those moving on, I hope that we all can do so in love and without rancour, and get back to the relationships we should have one with another, so you all have my prayers at this time, wherever God is leading.

  22. Fr. J. says:

    The ironies here are plain for anyone who is open to see them. This same site has spent years pining over the desire to take properties with them as they leave TEC. But, when it comes to Catholics, whoooooa doggy!

    But, actually, I agree with KJS and the Anglican bishops who are ejecting the new Catholics. In truth, faith has nothing to do with buildings or anything material beyond the sacraments. Catholics in England for 500 years have suffered the loss of the ancient properties. To be Catholic in England is to take a prophetic stand against Erastian religion. It is to be a marginal minority. It is to get along with inadequate resources while watching the ancient buildings of the majority religion go empty, buildings which once sheltered Catholic faithful. So, yes, joining the Ordinariate is to join the faith defeated by history, whose only victory is fidelity to what others scorn.

    For many, this is an insurmountable hurdle, which makes those who have lept it all the more remarkable.

    Contrary to the illusions common to this blog, not every Catholic building in England is a modernistic spaceship. Many were of course built in the 19th Century when after 300 years of persecution the Catholic faith could be celebrated publicly. The 19th century Catholic churches were very often simple and cramped, though dignified.

    That the newer churches in England are more often Catholic than Anglican is testament to the vitality of the Catholic faith in England. Anglicans, being on the whole more liberal and modernist in their theology and morality and more open to liturgical experimentation would certainly have had many more modernist spaceship churches built, if they had only had the people to fill them. Rather they have a chronic surplus of empty and lovely buildings which no longer articulate the now gutted thought and practice of the new religion.

    Ah, but those buildings which best express the ancient faith must be kept Anglican for posterity… unless sold off to become secular community centers or mosques … where have we heard this before?

    Indeed, the C of E and KJS have so much in common — the preference of old buildings over the ancient faith. May those who join the Ordinariate embrace fully their new dignity expressed not in ancient architectural treasures, but in the simplicity of Christ and the treasures of heaven.

  23. montanan says:

    As a former member of a TEC congregation in which 90% of us chose to leave and chose not to fight for our beautiful building, though the deed was in the parish’s name and not the diocese’s, I feel for both sides of this debate. For anglo-catholics, in particular, having a space which conforms to the ritual, rather than requires adaptation to permit it (such as our current space requires), would be very important. However, I’ll tell you leaving it behind freed us in many ways to be about the mission of Church, rather than about the building (though I still miss its beauty). We left behind a few dear brothers and sisters who were simply too tied to the building as ‘what church is’ to come along, but a few of those have since moved on, too. Prayers for charity and a vision of what God is calling them to for all – on both sides.

  24. nwlayman says:

    Just tell the local bishop they’re becoming Muslims, not Latins….”Oh, why didn’t you say so! That’s different….”
    Rowan Williams will be there in a week, Ann Redding on tour in 2 weeks.