(Church Times) President of CU to quit over its exclusion of Ordinariate

THE President of the Church Union (CU), Fr Edwin Barnes, is to stand down because the majority of its Council opposes “assisting those who join the Ordinariate”. Last month, the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS) provoked anger among some of its members when it donated £1 million to the Roman Catholic Ordin­ariate…

Fr Barnes, who joined the Ordin­ariate earlier this year, wrote in a statement posted on the website of the CU, which says that it seeks “to promote and renew Catholic Faith and life within the Church of England”, that the group received a legal opinion from a QC suggesting that, although the organisation’s Constitution had been altered to include those outside the Church of England, “the foundation docu­ments had not, and they trumped whatever the Constitution might intend.” The legal opinion “seemed to say this was a Society for Church of England members only”.

Fr Barnes said that he sought another legal opinion, which “arrived at a different conclusion”, and suggested that the CU “might indeed function ecumenically”.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

18 comments on “(Church Times) President of CU to quit over its exclusion of Ordinariate

  1. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Most of the Anglo-Catholic parishes and clergy remain within the Church of England. The attempt by some of the ‘first wave’ to strip the charities set up to assist the Anglo-Catholic witness within the Church of England, presumably with the complicity or knowledge of the Pope, Cardinal Levada, the CDF and the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales is disgraceful.

    If of course Catholics and others wish to support the Ordinariate one wishes them well, but financing the Ordinariate by asset-stripping Anglican charities is a collosal cheek, and a scandal and a dishonest abuse of the trustee positions in those charities these departed priests have held over the heads and behind the backs of the membership.

    Most of all it is desperately sad, how little honour remains among those who have started off the Ordinariate in this way. It really does not augur well, and the sympathy I otherwise had for them has now gone completely. What a pity.

  2. Terry Tee says:

    Pageantmaster, of the morality I make no comment. But of the practicality I want to raise a question. The Anglo Catholic wing of the Church of England used to be huge and the movement with momentum behind it. I would say that the momentum is now with charismatic evangelicalism, and the Anglo Catholics are now much reduced in numbers. This shrinking began long before the Ordinariate hove into view on the horizon. A further complication would be how to decide what constitutes Anglo Catholicism even among the faithful remnant; some of the ancient citadels of the catholic faith now have women incumbents. Given all this, how are the sizeable charitable monies to be spent?

  3. Sarah says:

    Pageantmaster, I sincerely don’t understand why you’re so distressed over this or think it wrong. Boards and associations change their purposes all the time — quite legally, through board agreements. And they alter their constitutions and bylaws accordingly.

    To use a much closer to home example, for years the AAC was to renew the Episcopal church. Lots of Episcopalians donated with that purpose in mind. It changed its purpose to what it is currently today, and from my perspective [and most others I speak with] its mission is largely in support of ACNA and the Global South, although the language is something about renewing Anglicanism, etc.

    These things happen. Boards change their views and their purposes. And donaters and supporters decide if they want to continue their involvement or move on to something else.

    Are you saying that boards must never change the purpose of associations or non-profits? If so, there’d be a lot of missed evolution down through the centuries!

    Now granted, I don’t support the Ordinariate — but for many AngloCatholics in the COE, they’ve been left with [i]no other place to go[/i].

    The choices are fairly stark now. Live within a church where their lines of ordination become sacramentally invalid because they’re not going to be able to tell who has ordained whom, due to the women bishops. Or depart to another church where they can have clear valid lines of ordination.

  4. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #2 Fr Tee – What you say of the Anglo-Catholics is true within the Church of England. However, the majority of the Anglo-Catholics remain within the Church of England and they constitute not only a sizeable force still in Synod including many bishops, but also the membership of the two bodies the Ordinariate has been trying to touch for money. I do not mean by Anglo Catholics the liberal catholic Affirming Catholics who do have women priests, support gay bishops and SSU’s and are Anglo-Catholic only when it suits them and who have done their best to shaft the real Anglo Catholics.

    In the case of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, the trustees including the Ordinariate bound priests, changed the constitution and voted a substantial proportion of the assets of the Confraternity to the Ordinariate, behind the back of the membership and without their agreement. Of course they probably knew that had they asked the membership, their plans would probably have been scuppered by the membership, and they would have been voted off the boards. This of course is just what has happened in this case with the Church Union. So the Confraternity trustees did it anyway, knowing they were heading out the door with the looted swag, and only told the membership afterwards when the deed had been done. There was not much the membership could do about it [as the Ordinariate trustees knew] other than appeal to the Charity Commissioners, as has been done, and if anyone is so minded, to bring a personal action against the trustees and the Ordinariate in the Chancery Courts.

    Of course when it came to the Church Union the membership had wised up, having seen the raid on the Confraternity, and did not only not go along with the Ordinariate’s scheme, but voted them off the board, much as would probably have happened at the Confraternity had the membership wised up earlier.

    If however, the trustees had consulted the membership of the Confraternity and they had approved the scheme, then of course it would have been a different matter, and the division of the assets of the Confraternity would not be open to challenge. However it looks like Barnes, Newton and crew knew that this was most unlikely to get through the membership of the Confraternity, so they went around them.

    #3 Sarah – for the reasons stated in this comment.

  5. tjmcmahon says:

    Please name the Anglo Catholic diocesans of the CoE. That is to say, how many FiF or SSC bishops currently hold jurisdiction in the CoE. (I am assuming here that SSC in England has maintained against WO, and not been overrun by Affirming Catholics). How many were there 25 years ago?
    Of course, you have the Flying Bishops (suffragans). How many other suffragans (again, using the FiF, SSC criterion to determine Anglo Catholicism), and what percentage are they of the total number of bishops?
    Please substantiate your claim that the majority of Anglo Catholics remain in the CoE. Clearly a “majority” have not left for the Ordinariate, but Anglo Catholics have been streaming out of CoE for the last 20 years as women rectors have been forced upon them in one parish after another. What in your mind is an Anglo Catholic?

  6. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #5 TJ
    “Please substantiate your claim that the majority of Anglo Catholics remain in the CoE.”
    So far under 100 priests, and allegedly 1,000 parishioners if that have joined the Ordinariate, so that is why I say that the remainder of the Anglo-Catholics remain in the CofE. A very small number have left, and yet they have sought to finance themselves from the assets of the Anglo-Catholic charities without consultation with the many of them who remain.

    I am not going to get into the remainder of your questions because they do not relate to the points I have been making which are about the changes to membership and removal of assets without consulting the membership of the charities by those who are joining the Roman Catholic Ordinariate provision.

    Many of the remainder of our Anglo-Catholics, the majority, will probably make their decisions depending on what the Church of England does at Synod next year. Nevertheless they deserve better than to be just ignored by the small rump who have decided to become Roman Catholics. If of course the membership of these charities in due course makes other decisions, then that will be a different matter.

  7. FrVan says:

    Pageantmaster [Say no to Nick Holtam] ,
    Thank you for these insights, they are very helpful… I am sorry they are because what it will probably portend, but Rome will be Rome I suppose–And a Canterbarian by any other name… I always felt as though J. H. Newman was truely a fine Catholican.

  8. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse says:

    Just out of curiosity, I wonder how much money the departing Anglo-catholics had given the CBS in the years before leaving for the Ordinariate. it would be a fitting gift to give something back to those departing donors, wishing them success and peace on their new journey.

  9. driver8 says:

    Good old Fr. Barnes. A very honorable and decent man.

  10. Teatime2 says:

    I absolutely agree with Pageantmaster. Why on Earth would the Church Union donate substantive funds to assist those who left the C of E? They should use their funds to help bolster those Anglican parishes that were torn apart by the departing clergy and parishioners.

    Rome should take care of its own new members — surely the Vatican had a real plan and funding in place when they began their new scheme?

    Sarah, whether AAC uses funds for ACNA parishes or TEC work, they’re still ANGLICAN causes. Do you honestly think that if a bunch went to the RCC, funds would be given to assist them in the RCC? Not bloody likely! 😉

  11. Sarah says:

    RE: “Do you honestly think that if a bunch went to the RCC, funds would be given to assist them in the RCC?”

    Oh . . . [b]Absolutely[/b] — if the majority of the board or staff became RCC.

    Since the majority of the staff and a huge chunk of the board became ACNA, then obviously — it’s ACNA.

    The fact is, boards and associations change their purposes and as a result bylaws and constitutions all the time.

    Some people don’t like that. Ah well . . . maybe YET ANOTHER association needs to be founded, this time placing in their Constitution that, should the purpose of the board members or staff change away from whatever organization they are attempting to renew or reform, they will have to resign their board membership and found a new association.

    Very few associations think of doing this — when they are founded they can’t imagine changing their minds and pursuing new avenues, efforts, and causes.

    Of course . . . what we’re speaking about is precisely also [i]what happened to The Episcopal Church.[/i]

  12. Martin Reynolds says:

    I think Sarah is correct here. UK charities have wide powers to change their purposes, and in this case those seeking to send money to the Ordinariate took great pains and consulted top lawyers to comply with the law. The Q&A pdf file now pinned to the Home Page of the CBS website lays out the trustees case. http://www.confraternity.org.uk/documents/CBS-QandA.pdf

    The tone of this Q&A is itself interesting – the deep divisions within CBS caused by this donation a matter for concern.

    But I fully understand Pageantmaster and share his deep misgivings. It now seems that plans for the Ordinariate were well known to a wide number of people back in 2008 and that those likely to avail themselves of its facilities started planning their exit strategy quite a long time ago. Many complaints have now been lodged with the Charity Commissioners and they are expected to respond soon, but behind the scenes there are deep misgivings in both Canterbury and Westminster and it is more than likely that the stratagem will not pass careful examination.
    It is a normal practice -though not universal – that trustees do not benefit themselves and the Q&A argues that the trustees will be specifically excluded from financially benefiting from the £1million donation – while this may be technically possible by keeping a separate account for this donation – it would only be a device and there clearly would be a benefit to the whole organisation they are now a part of. Equally the principle normally followed is not only the trustees should not directly or indirectly benefit but the guidance says “or connected persons”, and that is evidently going to happen here.

    Roman Catholic bishops too are known to be deeply disturbed by this finesse and some see the foundation of this new and important development within the RC Church should not be undermined by something that may yet prove lawful but not seen as completely honest or at best morally dubious something akin to sleight of hand.

    I still think it most likely the money will be returned.

  13. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #13 Rev Reynolds
    [blockquote]the principle normally followed is not only the trustees should not directly or indirectly benefit but the guidance says “or connected persons”, and that is evidently going to happen here.[/blockquote]
    I believe there is not only such an obligation, but a further obligation to declare an interest in any matter being voted on where there is or could be a conflict of interest between the personal interests of the trustee and his duty to the charity, but also to withdraw from the discussion of the matter and to certainly not vote on it.

    But as you say, they do seem to have gone to some lengths to cover their backs. It remains to be seen how well.

    It is all just very sad, but these are the times we appear to be living in.

  14. driver8 says:

    We do live in interesting times. Across the Atlantic similar points were made by TEC representatives against those who wished to depart with resources they argued had been given to benefit the Episcopal Church.

  15. MichaelA says:


    Just trawling around CofE church web-sites, I sense that there are still many congregations there who are anglo-catholic. They all seem to have male priests and deacons.

    Added to which, if you look at bishops, three bishops went to the Ordinariate, but twelve CofE bishops have signed the Society of Hilda & Wilfred declaration offering alternative episcopal oversight to anglo-catholics within CofE.

    It suits the purpose of both liberals and the Ordinariate to claim that there are few anglo-catholics left in CofE, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

  16. tjmcmahon says:

    I won’t comment further, other than to point out that I have yet to see any consideration of the fact that many people have contributed to these charities as alternates to the CoE, knowing that funds contributed to the CoE would be used to undermine the Catholic faith and their parishes. The same thing that many in what would become departing parishes and dioceses did to keep the money out of the hands of 815. No doubt they assumed since these funds were separate and distinct from the funds donated to the CoE, the CoE had no claim to them. They donated to support the work of the Church Catholic, as opposed to the affirming catholics who have taken control of the CoE.

  17. TACit says:

    I think you may have hit the nail, bang-on, #16.
    #15 makes a reasonable point in his last sentence and it sent me looking for the list I recently heard of supposedly Anglo-Catholic or otherwise orthodox bishops still in the CofE. Perhaps PM could comment whether any of these bishops are among those he had in mind in his #4, second sentence: J. Hind, M. Nazir-Ali, M. Scott-Joynt, G. Rowell (of Europe), Langrish, Jarrett, N. Reade. Thanks.

  18. MichaelA says:

    For what its worth, the pastoral letter issued by bishops of the Society of Hilda & Wilfred on 25 January 2011 is at http://www.sswsh.com/Pastoral_letter_25-01-11.html

    The twelve signatories are:

    + Nicholas Blackburn
    + John Cicestr:
    + Geoffrey Gibraltar
    + Martyn Beverley
    + John Burnley
    + Peter Edmonton
    + Mark Horsham
    + John Plymouth
    + Anthony Pontefract
    + Martin Whitby
    + Lindsay Urwin
    + Robert Ladds

    I expect TACit at #17 is correct: oversight by +Nazir-Ali or +Scott-Joynt would also be acceptable to many anglo-catholics, even though those bishops aren’t usually thought of as anglo-catholic themselves.

    Incidentally, this puts the recent offer of alternative oversight to evangelicals by AMiE in perspective – they have only mustered five bishops!