Let the swimming begin! The Anglican Ordinariate is going to grow.

There will be an interesting article in the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald about the big influx of Anglicans who are expected to join the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Diocese of Brentwood alone.

Brentwood Diocese includes East London and Essex.

David V Barrett reports for the Catholic Herald that some 300 people, some parishes, could be coming soon and many in already taking instruction.

I am happily looking at my digital complete copy of this week’s print edition of the paper… which you can obtain at a big discount right now (a “tenner” for a year’s subscription… about $16).  You will even get an email telling you when a new edition is available so you don’t forget to look at it.

What is interesting about look at this story in the digital edition, is that you can seen immediately beneath the article about Anglicans and Brentwood, that “A prominent Anglican clergyman said in a speech at Westminster Cathedral last week that the ordination of women is God’s will.”

He did this in the context of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Hey Anglicans!

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Hieronymus says:

    What is interesting about look at this story in the digital edition, is that you can seen immediately beneath the article about Anglicans and Brentwood, that “A prominent Anglican clergyman said in a speech at Westminster Cathedral last week that the ordination of women is God’s will.”

    He did this in the context of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

    You have to give him one thing: he broke rank and actually stated a position that he believed in during this week of ambiguous rambling. At least you can argue with someone like that. In fact, I would rather see that an Anglican has spoken out for women’s ordination and made the division clear than to hear one of our own “representatives” repeat the same tired, hippie message about world peace that is only useful for giving participants the warm-and-fuzzies.

    Now the TAC can see clearly what the differences are and can make a decision based on reality. I think if Rome were more forthright in asserting the truth in all of her public discourse she would see more people making that choice.

  2. RichardT says:

    Brentwood? That will be interesting.

    Last time I went there, the rows of chairs in the Cathedral were placed so close together that it was physically impossible for an adult of normal height to kneel. This was not due to pressure of space; only about 20% of the chairs were occupied, and this at the main Sunday Mass. But because the chairs were joined together, it was impossible to push them back to get more room.

    I knelt in the aisle, but most of the congregation remained standing for the consecration.

    Wondering whether this was accidental or deliberate, I asked the priest about it on the way out, and he said we should stand for the consecration, and that in medieval times everyone did because there were no pews! Fortunately having read Duffy I was able to correct this historical inaccuracy, but was unable to persuade him on his theological error.

    If that is the state of belief and practice in the cathedral, the lead church of the diocese, it will be interesting to see how relations develop with the former Anglicans.

    This was 4 or 5 years ago, so things may have improved – but perhaps not, since the current bishop has been there for over 30 years.

  3. The Egyptian says:

    the ordination of women is God’s will.”

    Maybe it is, so that the final nail may be driven into the church of Henry, and the faithful will have clear reason to swim the Tiber

  4. RichardT says:

    I’ve just looked, and the current Bishop of Brentwood turns 75 this year (17th June).

    If the diocese is going to have a particularly large number of former Anglicans becoming Ordinariate priests, I wonder if this would be a good place to see the first Ordinariate priest to be consecrated as a diocesan bishop?

  5. RichardT says:

    Brentwood Cathedral (built 1991, under the current bishop):
    The altar can be seen just to the left of the middle. Almost all of the seats are to either side of the altar, giving an “in the round” feel. To me it feels more like the ballroom of an old-fashioned spa town than a place of worship, but that’s just my personal view.

  6. dominic says:

    RichardT, that was still the case last time I was in the cathedral (last springtime).

    Although I did once hear a fine homily preached there (by a young priest, who has now moved on to take charge of his first parish elsewhere in the county), which began with a story of his involvement in joint Anglican-Catholic events in England and in Rome, and explained how they had led him to be more certain than ever that the Catholic church was the true church, and that he had had no choice but to tell his Anglican colleagues exactly that. While this is (or should be) pretty conventional, orthodox Catholic stuff, for the Cathedral (dare I say, for any Catholic cathedral in England? I can’t even imagine a homily at Westminster generally being quite so direct on this matter, generally speaking) this did surprise and even impress me slightly

    One point to note is that the diocese of Brentwood (and particularly its cathedral) has for some time had particularly close relations with the local Anglican diocese of Chelmsford – this is partly because, uniquely in England, the Catholic and Anglican dioceses share identical boundaries (the pre-1965 boundaries of the county of Essex). (Brentwood is thus one of the geographically smallest Catholic dioceses in England, although not so in numeric terms)

    If these reports are confirmed (and there have been some denials about the details announced by Brentwood diocese from some Anglican sources, including from among the parishes where clergy or laypeople are claimed to be swimming the tiber – perhaps understandably under the circumstances, where those affected, including clergy, have not, or not as yet, formally announced their decision to become Catholic), it is most interesting to see that this influx has taken place in one area of the country that has most enthuisastically partaken in” traditional” ecumenism.

  7. dominic says:

    Richard T – fwiw, some of my comments on the design of the cathedral here
    I’m afraid I agree that it doesn’t look or feel as one might expect a Catholic cathedral (or Catholic church) to at all. An attractive building, though…

    I am, however, reliably informed it is possible to sit in one particular area to give the impression that mass is being conducted ad orientam!

  8. RichardT says:

    Dominic – agreed, both with your comments on the Cathedral (yes, an attractive building, but not a suitable design for a church) and on Anglican-Catholic relations in the diocese.

    If they are having more applications for the Ordinariate than average, it could make the current cordial relations rather interesting.

    Apparently they also have shared parish churches – I wonder if that will be extended to the Ordinariate, with the Anglican bishop allowing continued shared use? I suspect not.

    I may have heard that same priest – I remember once being pleasantly surprised to hear a robust, orthodox sermon preached by a young priest there. I am an occasional visitor; I live far away, but some of my wife’s relatives live nearby.

  9. Frank H says:

    RichardT – was that a wedding pictured? They appear to be doing the “hokey-pokey”.

  10. dominic says:

    I live elsewhere in the diocese, but occasionally go the Cathedral when I am nearby.

    In as far as I am aware the shared churches are mostly in relatively remote villages that would most likely not support a Catholic church in their own right (and which are served by priests from parishes based elsewhere. ) I am aware of one “shared ecumenical” church used by Catholics in the smallest “new town” in the county. (Possibly the only church there, I’m not sure.), but this is (probably thankfully) the exception rather than something more widespread. I believe the diocese has (or had) received an above-average number of priests who converted from the CofE in and after 1992, so this past experience may help. Certainly one gets the impression that institutional relations at the highest level have been far more cordial in Brentwood/Chelmsford than in neighbouring Westminster/London.

    Another important point (apart from the Bishop of Brentwood approaching his 75th birthday) is that a new Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford was just appointed very recently. What his approach will be remains to be seen.

  11. RichardT says:

    Shared “ecumenical church” in a New Town – there was one of those in Milton Keynes as well. Utterly ghastly. Fortunately a brief fashion that doesn’t seem to have spread much.

    I shall watch what happens in Brentwood with interest. As you say, with a new Anglican bishop (I didn’t know that) and the Catholic bishop due for retirement soon, what has happened in the past is no longer a certain guide. But if kneeling is once again made possible (or even encouraged) in the Cathedral then I shall be very pleased.

  12. Legisperitus says:

    Frank H– It is an interesting picture. Seems to be all women there, except for a few children. And everyone pointing at the ceiling.

  13. RichardT says:

    Legisperitus – perhaps they have hired out the church for a ‘keep fit’ session?
    (toungue very firmly in cheek)

  14. Supertradmum says:


    Are there still fake cows in the field outside Milton Keynes? I cannot imagine an uglier church than St. Augustine’s, unless it is the Liverpool or Clifton Cathedrals…poor Anglicans having to give up early or 16th century English perpendicular.

  15. ghp95134 says:

    Supertradmum: “Are there still fake cows in the field outside Milton Keynes?

    Hmmmmmm …. so THAT’S where 2% milk comes from!

  16. RichardT says:

    supertradmum – I don’t know, it was 15 years ago that I worked there.

    Here is the church.
    When I was there it had a walk-in pool for total immersion baptisms (it was supposed to be used by all Christian groups). This had a fountain constantly falling into it., the noise of which always made me want to wee. I wonder if that’s still there?

  17. The Egyptian says:

    Our parish, located in an 1800s Romanesque church decided to put up an Easter display every year including a barren cross, right in from of the Blessed Mother, complete with greenery and a trickling fountain, the number of little boys running for the side exit holding on to their “equipment” is amusing, and the powers that be (worship committee) cannot for the life of themselves see why. Hell it gets to me once in a while : )

  18. JonM says:

    I think this has the potential to inject vigor into the faith. I have reservations about the creation of the new rite – of course I’m not the final authority on it.

    Some have referenced St. Dominic Savio. If the Church really pushes for it, we could see a transfer of a large portion of what is left of active Anglican parishes.

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