(BBC) Dissident Anglicans leave Church of England

A first wave of about 600 Anglicans are officially leaving the Church of England in protest at the decision to ordain women as bishops.

They will be enrolled as candidates to join a new branch of the Catholic Church – the Ordinariate – which has been specially created for them.

They attended Catholic Mass marking Ash Wednesday before spending Lent preparing to convert.

Read it all.


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

28 comments on “(BBC) Dissident Anglicans leave Church of England

  1. Larry Morse says:

    Leaving to protest are they? Well now. Would you say that they were running away from something? Or that they have suddenly developed a profound desire for RC protection from a world they are afraid to face and fight? Larry

  2. eulogos says:

    Larry, it really isn’t your job to make a judgment about the state of these people’s souls. It is only your job to follow your own conscience.

    And remember that this is just what a newspaper article says about them. News type folks have certain memes they stick to pretty closely. Radical innovators vs objectors to same is one of them.
    They don’t really understand the issues in themselves, they just want to hear something with a newsworthy “hook” to it.

    The way it works for people when they have a change of beliefs is that this little bit of problem with the old one suddenly seems more significant, and this little objection to the new one suddenly seems less cogent, but still… and they swing back and forth and struggle, in thought and in prayer. And after a while they find themselves in a new place. Sometimes a group of people who were all talking to each other about these things find themselves moving together.

    Those things which you say these people should have just “stayed and fought” for them brought into question whether the C of E or the Anglican communion, can be said to be “Church” in the Catholic sense. If women simply cannot receive the sacrament of orders no matter what words may be uttered, and if without orders there is no Eucharist…. and if then women who purport to be bishops ordain priests, they are not priests and there is no Eucharist…no Eucharist, no Church. Being an Anglo-Catholic always meant that you thought the C of E was “The Catholic Church in England,” in continuity with the pre-Reformation Church in England, and that church in its around the world form was as Catholic as the RC’s and the Orthodox. So the issue in the C of E where female bishops were being pushed upon them was not something you could “stay and fight”. You can’t stay in something which is making itself into “not-church,” any more than you can continue to stand on a quickly melting ice floe. And since part of being a Catholic is that you believe that there is a visible Church founded by Christ, you are led to re-examine the claims of Rome (or of Orthodoxy) and reconsider what objections you previously had to them. For someone of Catholic belief, if what seemed to you to be Church is clearly becoming not-Church, and therefore maybe never was Church, the only thing you can do is say “Lord, show me where is Your Church?” ..and Rome is clearly one of the (only two possible) places someone of Catholic belief would look!

    So there is no reason to believe that they are not sincere. There is reason to think that despite Anglicanorum Coetibus they may encounter issues of ecclesiatical culture which make things difficult for them. If so, I am very sorry for it. I hope they will be able to persevere, because I believe they bring gifts the Church was meant to have, and even more so because I believe despite superficial -although sometimes very painful-issues, this is where they will have peace.

    I hope you have peace where your conscience guides you to be as well and that you will stop being agitated about the conscientious choices of others.
    Susan Peterson

  3. martin5 says:

    Some are called to stay and some to fight. It isn’t for us to judge which they should do.

  4. nwlayman says:

    Wow. Just, WOW. Some people are actually using lent to….Prepare for Christina initiation! It might astonish a lot of the people they leave behind that that is the original IDEA of Lent! Please post some articles describing Anglican catechumens enduring the rigors of 40 days of theological instruction before reception at Easter?

  5. nwlayman says:

    Meant to say CHRISTIAN initiation.

  6. Larry Morse says:

    No Martin, we are ALL called to fight. What is happening in Britain (and in the Us) is a call to arms. Now some stand and fight. Others form a new province like ACNA whose purpose is to fight the erosion and decay of which TEC has become the billboard. Those in the entry above are just running way to Mommy so they don’t have to fight anything while Mum does the fighting for them. And why isn’t it for us to judge?
    And for that matter, if we accept your quasi argument, then who are you to judge whether I should or should not judge? Every day, in a thousand ways, in great matters and small, we render judgments on “who should stay and who should go” if I may put it that way. Why not now and here? If you will not fight the thugs of Correctitude on this field, where will you fight them? And because so many refuse to fight at all, but merely give in, back away, run and hide, talk and talk and listen and listen, go to meetings and summits and conferences endlessly, the enemies of the living gospel bring home their trophies and win all their battles. If we lack the courage to judge, we deserve what is happening to us. Larry
    No, Eulopgos, I am not “agitated” by the runners. I am appalled by their passion for publicity, given what they are doing. (Don’t you recall what Christ had to say about those who fast in public display?) And I am really po-ed at the RC church for poaching – which is what the Ordinariate is all about. And I’m not making a judgment about their souls. I am making a judgment about their sheer lack of spine, and for what? Who is better for their running away? There is precious little sign that these people have developed a passion for RC theology; if that were the case I would encourage them. But that is NOT the case. They make it abundantly clear that they are running away from a church that is doing idiot things which they do not approve of. Larry

  7. eulogos says:

    Larry, I don’t think you get my point. These people (I am supposing based on their theology) think that by doing what it has done, the C of E has made itself NOT Church. One cannot stay in a non-Church. For those who believe that proper doctrine constitutes a Church, a solution like ACNA is possible. For those who believe that the Eucharist constitutes Church, and that orders in apostolic succession are necessary to have a Eucharist, the only solution is to be received into the Church.

    These people have known for YEARS what points held them back from becoming Roman Catholics. Most of them have believed almost all of what that church teaches for years. Some have felt that since their church, in their view, had valid orders and sacraments, it was acceptable to stay there and work for corporate reunion. Some have struggled with the position of the Pope, or with some Marian doctrines. But once they come to believe that their church has become or will soon become, not a Church, also believing that God has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, they have to ask themselves where that Church is to be found. For those with this idea of Church, there are only two possibilities, Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

    As for poaching, if you believe all the sheep belong in one fold, and you see some outside who are now coming to realize that they are outside, it is not wrong to call them in. Christians of other ways of thinking who think that the Catholics of, say, South America, are outside because they are poorly taught, and they think, do not know Christ, have no scruples about going there to preach to Catholics!
    While I resent this, I know they would have little success if these sheep had been properly taken care of.

    In this case Pope Benedict is acting like a shepherd for people who had already come to suspect that they were wandering sheep.

    Susan Peterson

  8. TACit says:

    Surely, Larry, you can discern the difference between a poacher and a Fisherman?
    Eulogos’ explanation that Ordinariate-goers have concluded they are, or are about to be, in a NOT-Church and thus are heading for The Church is an apt one which I haven’t seen stated that way before. It was 1993 when Pope JPII told Cardinal Ratzinger that he should ‘be generous’ when the time arrived that Anglicans’ requests for full communion could be answered. In the UK further developments were blocked by that bishops’ conference for years, and thus it was 16 years before such an offer. Not hasty – though in the time-frame of the RCC, fairly quick – and not a lightly considered move, as it costs Ordinariate-bound UK Anglicans much, in all ways.

  9. Frank Fuller says:

    Eulogos/Susan, please help us with full disclosure: are you yourself Roman Catholic?

  10. DavidBennett says:

    I was not called to fight. My head became very sore from banging it against the same brick wall over and over again. Instead of sustaining more head trauma, I decided to move to a place without so many brick walls.

  11. Milton says:

    eulogos, kudos for a couple of gracious, gentle and thoughtful replies to some comments that seem to me to be barbed and presumptuous, and for the qualifier “of Catholic belief”.

    Frank Fuller, eulogos/Susan has made it clear on a number of comments here and on Stand Firm in Faith that she is Roman Catholic. You may simply not have had the opportunity to read those comments on other posts.

    Larry, for all your orthodox belief and passion for lost people, especially young people, that you have displayed clearly on many comments, you are to be commended. But you are no one else’s conscience.
    Romans 14:4, 10, 12
    Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. … But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. … So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

  12. off2 says:


  13. Frank Fuller says:

    Thanks, Milton (#11). One had to assume that, if one is not an avid follower of our discussions, but it becomes helpful to self-identify when we make our pleadings and not assume that all our readers come from our tight circle. Because it does mean one thing if one admonishes a brother for judging when you share his basic commitments, and quite another when you share the commitments of those he has chosen to criticize. In the latter, it seems to me, we (all of us, not just in this instance) stand in peril of putting camouflage on our special pleadings. It is not as though our conversations here suffer from a lack of making judgments on others.
    The deeper question we might all be asking ourselves, is what has changed for those seeking quiet and asylum in the Roman communion? Were there for them literally no differences in belief, save those of allegiance to papal supremacy, prior to leaving the Anglican church? That seems at least to me difficult to believe. And for any other belief-structures to have changed because of the present state of dispute about sexuality makes very little sense: the Immaculate Conception, Assumption of the Virgin, and Papal Infallibility do not become credible suddenly because a bishop is gay, any more than they cease to be credible if a bishop is a pedophile.
    In any case, the peace of the Lord be upon us all. As Newman learned, wherever we go, we will need to stand up and fight for what we believe is right.

  14. martin5 says:

    For the record,
    I am from Fort Worth and now in ACNA. My church split and it wasn’t pretty. There are some who follow the TEC line and it wasn’t those I speak of. Some are called to stay in TEC or CoE and be a witness to Christ’s teachings, and others are called to leave and, in my case, be part of ACNA. It is really hard for those who stay. I would have stayed but it wasn’t what I was called to do.
    For those who stay, their faith might be compromised and they don’t have the support of those who left. They need our prayers.
    This is a battle. We see it not only here but in the schools, media, judges etc.
    I still pray that we will be [i]one[/i] church, and one day I believe we will be one.

  15. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Larry Morse I am the priest interviewed and find your raging post deeply offensive.
    What is noble about fighting if a valid way of peace exists? Why exhaust countless energy fighting for scraps within an ailing institution when invited to a feast and freed to preach the Gospel without fear of heresy?

    And personally I think it takes a LOT of spine to give up stipend, housing, pension and a living (security) to leap into the unknown…

    And finally I left to avoid becoming bitter and angry as this would ultimately rob me of the joy Christ calls me to share.

  16. Alta Californian says:

    Larry, I left a 1928 Christ the King parish because after 30 years of independence they still felt it necessary to throw barbs at TEC. I truly hope that ACNA moves on with the proclamation of the Gospel, and does not exist to “fight”. Because if bitterness and conflict are its raison d’etre it will fail.

    I stand with Eulogos and Milton, be generous and don’t assume everyone is called to do exactly what you are. And if we’re in a disclosure mood, I’m still in a good, solid, but increasingly isolated parish in TEC. It’s hard, but with the likes of Kendall Harmon and Sarah Hey in similar positions I feel I’m in good company.

    Rugbyplayer, pax vobiscum. I for one am cheering you all on and pray that Rome be a welcome place for you to land.

  17. Sarah says:

    RE: “I am appalled by their passion for publicity, given what they are doing.”

    I find that rather ironic considering that departing TEC parishes leaving for ACNA did the precise same thing — and I applaud them for that, if they are convinced they should leave. The more bad publicity for TEC — and the COE — the better!

    RE: “And for any other belief-structures to have changed because of the present state of dispute about sexuality makes very little sense . . . ”

    Hi Frank Fuller — you may not have kept up with the situation in the COE. These people are leaving because they have had stripped away from them the protection afforded by male bishops — and the COE will now force all AngloCatholic parishes to sit without protection under female bishops, which as you know AngloCatholics believe do not actually exist and thus cannot actually provide true sacraments, which for an AngloCatholic is rather impossible.

    It’s not the gay thing — it’s the WO bishops thing and the taking away of their former flying bishops that provided oversight for many years, and which was promised to these people.

  18. MichaelA says:

    Rugbyplayingpriest, I am appalled at your failure to supply the really important information – what position do you play? If you are the middle chap in the photo, I am guessing second row?

    Larry, as a protestant, I can hardly complain about the RCs “poaching”… the Lord knows we have poached enough of them over the years!

  19. Teatime2 says:

    #4, nwlayman,
    That’s the way it’s done here in both dioceses of which I’ve been a member. Actually, the Inquirers’ Classes began in late January/early February so they’re in full swing by the beginning of Lent. The bishop does his visitations during Pentecost, when people are received, confirmed and reaffirmed. Baptisms are done at the Easter Vigil by the rector, of course. I was received 10 years ago and am doing reaffirmation this year.

    I know of no other method in TEC. Care to share what goes on in your neck-of-the-woods and why you didn’t think traditional preparation exists? Your comment surprised me and now I’m curious.

  20. Teatime2 says:

    Comment deleted by elf.

  21. Paula Loughlin says:

    Kendall and Elves,

    I take it that as a Catholic I must leave not by choice but on the command of Teatime2. I wish you all a most blessed Lent. I am assuming that a decision has been made to make this a Protestant only blog which I your right and I wish you well.

    This has been one of the best sources for news on the Christian front and I appreciate all the work you have done. Keep up the good you do. I will keep you in my prayers.

  22. TACit says:

    In point of fact, TT2, I think most of the Catholics who visit this blog do so in the interest of correcting mis-information, which does sometimes seep into the discussions on threads. QED, eulogos’ explanation of what is causing Ordinariate-goers to move. Considerable electrons seem to be spent on opinions and on reactions to statements which were not factual in the first place.

    (writing this just as Paula posted.) The impulse to correct mis-information, in my still-Anglican situation certainly, comes from my appreciation of the past high standards of commentary and sometimes insightful discussions found here on Kendall’s blog. Anglicanism is being rent asunder, and many of us care passionately about that tragedy in God’s house.

  23. MichaelA says:

    Given that Paula has put up with my rantings on Stand Firm and T19 over the years, I am sure she won’t let TT2 get her down, and we will see her back here eventually.

    Which would be a very good thing – I will miss her gentle corrections.

  24. Teatime2 says:

    If she saw herself in my protestations, well, that’s not my problem. I actually wasn’t referring to her or to Susan. I WAS referring to someone who was previously VERY insulting toward Anglican theologians, in particular, and our church and I called him on that directly when it occurred. The “command” bit is quite dramatic, considering I’m such a nothing that even my little terrier grins when I try to “command” him to do anything at all!

    Weird, though, that she’s blaming me here when she previously was blaming others, as well, for her decision to “give us up for Lent” earlier in the week on other blog entries when we posted our feelings about the ordinariate. But, again, we are Anglicans and we should be able to express our thoughts and feelings here.

  25. MichaelA says:


    I wasn’t meaning to judge either of you! I appreciate both your posts and Paula’s and I do hope we see plenty more from you both in future.

  26. eulogos says:

    I am sorry that TT2’s comment, which I read in my email, was deleted. Paula may have taken it as an invitation to leave, but I jut took it as an invitation to further spirited, but not mean spirited,conversation. And I would like to tell him that my interest in things Anglican stems from my baptism at the age of 20 in an Episcopal church, and my love for the old BCP liturgy, and from my Anglo-Catholic catachesis which gave me my love for the visible church and for the sacraments-all seven of them! When I became what you insist on calling a “Roman” Catholic I very much missed that stately liturgy, and wished very much I could have brought it with me, mutatis mutandis in the very few places where change is needed to sustain a Catholic sense. So of course I rejoice in Anglicanorum Coetibus. I understand what you are saying about wishing to have as many people as possible stay and fight for your denomination’s integrity, but I really feel that these particular people truly no longer belong there.

    Just as an Irish Catholic is different from an Italian Catholic is different from a Polish Catholic, an English Catholic, before the split from Rome, was something different from a French Catholic, in what we might call culture and ethos. After the split the C of E preserved something of that ethos; it is unclear how much. The people of Anglicanorum Coetibus believe that they will be preserving and perhaps restoring that; they believe that they can most truly be Anglican as Anglican Catholics, in communion with the See of Peter as England once was. I deeply hope that they are right.

    You are certainly entitled to your feelings about this. I just wanted to explain why within these folks theology, the theology they already had as Anglo-Catholics, they could not stay.

    I think you are mistaken that there is any difference in the attitude of the Orthodox. In fact, up until now they have been more successful than Rome in winning former Anglicans. There are upwards of twenty parishes of Western Rite Orthodoxy in the US, and most of them were formerly somewhere on the Anglican spectrum. If this has been more quiet than Rome’s initiative it is because Rome has a higher profile in the eyes of those who make the news.

    God bless, and have a good lent.
    And here is a good thought which often comforts me. The Church triumphant, the Church in heaven, is not divided. There we will indeed all be one.

    Susan Peterson

  27. Milton says:

    And here is a good thought which often comforts me. The Church triumphant, the Church in heaven, is not divided. There we will indeed all be one.

    A-men, and Ah-men, Susan!!! 😉

    Reminds me of something I heard a while back that had a punchline with a punch:
    There will be no Catholics in heaven. Before anyone gets to gloating over that, there will be no Anglicans in heaven, either. Nor will there be any Orthodox, Calvinists, Armineans, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Nazarenes, Quakers, or any other denomination, sect or splinter you care to name. But there will be Christians in heaven. Lots and lots of Christians! 😉

  28. MichaelA says:

    I agree with Susan’s point at #23.