C of E panic about Anglicanorum coetibus

From Damian Thompson (who is in NYC and came to the solemn TLM at Holy Innocents yesterday):

The Church of England’s determination to wreck the Ordinariate plan needs to be emphasised again and again, despite the General Synod’s offer to departing Anglo-Catholics to allow them to carry on worshipping as Catholics in their old buildings (which will stay Anglican). The offer isn’t particularly radical – it would look terrible if the C of E refused permission, particularly as it allowed this arrangement to operate when a group of Anglicans from St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road, South Kensington, converted in the early 1990s. (Cardinal Basil Hume was persuaded by liberals to put an end to that experiment, I gather.)

I’m rather impressed by the panic in Anglican circles at the Pope’s plan, even though the people panicking simultaneously assure us that it will come to nothing. Amazingly, the Church of England is now dangling the carrot of the women bishops legislation not going through in front of potential Ordinariate supporters. But women bishops certainly will be ordained before long and, in strict Anglo-Catholic terms, any bishop in any sort of communion with them will be fatally compromised. It would be unkind to describe the attempt to confuse traditionalists as dirty tactics, though if I were a supporter of women’s ordination I might wonder what the hell was going on.

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

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  1. smcollinsus says:

    I’m sorry. It doesn’t really make sense. It really looks like a desperate gesture. I’ve been around churches, organs, and bells for years – especially change ringing peals quite prominent in England. There are redundant churches all over the country, many housing redundant bells. Some bells (indeed, organ and furnishings as well) have been taken out of these buildings, and many have found non-church uses. I suspect many of them have actually been sold off, and are no longer actual CofE buildings. There are better options for any community leaving the CofE and coming to Rome than sharing a building that remains property of what is a protestant church. It would send a horrible message to the faithful of all types, that the same building, the same altar, can be used by a Roman Catholic Bishop one day, and by an Anglican Bishop another ( possibly a woman)!

  2. priests wife says:

    We had dinner this weekend with an Anglican-turned Catholic priest and his wife (converted years ago)- interesting….about the buildings- doesn’t so much just come down to practical matters?

  3. Supertradmum says:

    The practical matters are important, as explained in previous posts concerning the governance of the properties by the Church Commissioner, the individual Diocesan Boards of Finance, or even the individual parson, in some cases. The transfer of property is a huge “mess” and will take soft gloves to work out compromises or complete transfers. Where the entire community is coming over, there may be less of a problem, but where the congregations may be split, there will be many compromises which will have to take place.

    The proposed compromise of sharing space probably will not work in the end, as the parishes will have conflicting use of the buildings. Can you imagine heretical talks for vocations for women priests being scheduled around orthodox Holy Communion preparation, for example? I think in the end, either the church property will go over to the local parishes, for a price, or individuals will simply move to another church.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    May I please add, that land is always an issue in the British consciousness regarding religion. One of the first things Henry the VIII did in order to suppress the Church was to take away and/or destroy colleges, schools, churches, monasteries,convents, shrines, abbeys, orphanages, almshouses for the poor and elderly-and putting these institutions, if not completely ruined, under the control of the King and His Men. This idea of land and religion is a psychological reality for every British citizen, who understands the history of the National Church. Land not only means power and presence, but the reality of Truth. The British are “Incarnational” it that they understand the meaning of sacramental buildings and statues, as well as the historical significance thereof. Land and buildings are not small issues in this huge change in the make-up of the Institutional Church of England.

  5. TNCath says:

    I never have liked the “sharing buildings” idea. I don’t think it is a very wise idea for either side. As for the Church of England panicking yet saying “nothing will come of it,” this certainly sounds like the sisters’ communities and the LCWR whenever they talk about their Apostolic Visitation and investigation, respectively.

  6. kallman says:

    sounds like someone is trying to mess up the plan from the Anglican end. I find it ironic that the Anglicans are welcome to come back but the SSPX remain out in the cold with no current path back. Pope BXVI has previously said that Anglican orders are invalid so how is this whole A Coetibus thing going to happen?

  7. robtbrown says:

    From this end it looks to be an attempt by the C of E to preserve their churches by preserving the collections.

  8. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I prefer not to be critical but I’m afraid supertradmum’s point about land makes no sense to me as an English Catholic. I couldn’t follow it at all well but I’m pretty sure the point she was trying to make is mistaken.


  9. Oleksander says:

    they letting the potential converts use continue to use the same churches, which is HUGE for keeping a small parish successful and together (i know firsthand since my parish is fifty people, some split off to form a mission parish 6 years ago and it failed), the Church of England is being extremely generous here, so I don’t see how article is helpful – anyways the sincere ones will convert regardless of anything, the ones who would change their minds on converting shouldnt have declared themselves to be entering into the ordinates to begin with.

  10. Supertradmum says:


    Having lived and worked in England, both in the university system and in the Westminster Diocese, working specifically with Anglicans, specifically with then Bishop of Bristol, Carey and others, I have some knowledge of the feelings and views of both the Romans and the Anglicans. Part of my job was working with both Anglo-Catholics and with low Church Anglicans in dialogue with Catholics. The sense of place is an important theological and philosophical idea, not only in that tradition and in ours, but in other cultures as well. The sense of place is important in politics, as it is the official religion–a position which the Anglicans of any ilk are afraid of giving up.

  11. Supertradmum says:


    This already happened after the Synod decided on the ordination of women,finally in 1992-93. There was never a question of accepting Anglican orders, as that was decided years ago by Pope St. Leo XII. Most of the priests who came over to Rome in 1992-93 went into Catholic seminary training for two years and then were ordained-not “re-ordained”. This is not a problem now, either, as the precedent has been set by Rome. I you want details, there are several websites on the history of these events.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    ah XIII, of course, our great Saint of the Modern Age

  13. Jerry says:

    @kallman – “I find it ironic that the Anglicans are welcome to come back but the SSPX remain out in the cold with no current path back.”

    The SSPX has a path back; they have chosen not to take it.

  14. John UK says:

    Supertradmum wrote:
    The British are “Incarnational” it that they understand the meaning of sacramental buildings and statues, as well as the historical significance thereof.
    From this side of the pond, I would agree with Supertradmum’s observations, though I had always thought of it in terms of buildings, rather than land. There is a saying,
    Anglicans go to church, Romans to Mass.
    Unpicking this a little, on the positive side, Anglicans have a sense of the “theology of stone”. Less positively, Anglicans go to church can mean “their” church the one they have always gone to, and if they don’t like the Vicar, will stay away until a new one appears more congenial to their views. In many places, especially rural areas, a family may have attended the same parish church since before the Norman Conquest. In a senses, they will have lived through Interdict and nvestiture disputes, the rapid changes of 1532-1560, the abolition of the C.of E. under the Commonwealth, the torpor of the 18th.century, the revivals of the 19th…… Here, I think, an attachment to a building is understandable. A recent programme on television charted the history of one such village and its families from Saxon times to the present, thanks to the survival of a remarkable series of records. [see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00txydj ]

    On the other hand, … Romans [go] to Mass.
    From the days of proscription and then persecution under Elizabeth, for those determined to practice the Faith in secret, it was the Mass what mattered. In barns and bedrooms, cellars or clearings in woods, priests would emerge from hidey-holes to say Mass at risk of their lives. The first tolerated, if not legal, chapels were plain and unostentatious – and attacked by the Gordon rioters. Emancipation and then the return of the hierarchy in the 19th century was greeted with more riots. Small wonder that, until very recently, almost all English Roman Catholics had such an atttachment to the Mass.

    Of course, I realise that the foregoing is full of sweeping generalisations, and needs to be read with care and allowance for errors and exceptions.
    But Anglicans go to church, Romans to Mass. does I think, contain a pointer towards the differing attitudes of the two traditions.

    Regards, John U.K.

    P.S. Cynically, there is probably an attachment to the land by the Church of England authorites – after all it represents real estate, often very valuable!

  15. Warren says:

    “Amazingly, the Church of England is now dangling the carrot of the women bishops legislation not going through in front of potential Ordinariate supporters.”

    Yep, it’s a carrot, and a rotten carrot at that. The CofE has been breaking promises (made to the trad-minded folk) since the 1993 Synod. Judging from the Forward In Faith site, et al, trad-anglicans are weary of the empty pledges. Let’s hope they won’t buy into the latest empty promise and instead go for the sure thing – the Roman option, i.e., an honoured place in Christ’s Church.

  16. Gail F says:

    Hello to D.T.! I really enjoy his blog, although the comments there are bizarre. The British apparently have their own style of making bizarre comments. The ones on his site make me kind of ill, but perhaps it is simply a difference in national style — I am used to our sort, and not to that sort.

    What is going on in the CoE is strange. From the outside, it sounds like a last-ditch effort to keep people that the leadership has marginalized, ignored, and even called bigots. But heaven forbid they LEAVE! It just might work, though. Converting to Catholicism is so very hard for the British, for all sorts of reasons, and all of us would rather make where we are palatable (even if that is by ignoring reality) whenever possible. All involved need our prayers. That Benedict XVI would walk into Canterbury Cathedral in a vestment of Leo XIII’s, while the Church of England is literally disintegrating on its own, was just amazing… The Church of England is a blip in the Church’s 2000-year history. Someday, I think, people will learn about it their history books as a “movement” that lasted for a few centuries.

  17. Fr. A.M. says:

    Thank you Supertradmum for your comments which do, actually, contain a grain of truth – ever been faced with your parish being closed, especially if it is a beautiful and historical church ? Unfortunately many Catholics today in the UK have lost ‘the sense of the sacred’ and ‘sacred buildings’.

    By the way Pope Leo XIII has never been canonised. But he was certainly on of the ‘great’ popes of the modern era.

  18. irishgirl says:

    Gail F-Uh, our Holy Father Benedict XVI did not go to Canterbury Cathedral when he visited the UK. He did, however, go to Westminster Abbey, which was once Catholic. And he did wear a stole once worn by Leo XIII.
    Maybe you were referring to John Paul II’s visit to Canterbury in 1982.
    Gee, isn’t it odd that all the goodwill that was shown by the Anglican Church last month has just disappeared? Now they’re back to ‘fighting and biting’ with Catholics. People have such short memories…..

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