Methodist “ordination” in Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral cancelled

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, comes this news.

LiverpoolArchbishop calls off Methodist ordinations

By David V Barrett on Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The controversial proposed ordination of Methodist ministers in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral in July has been called off.
On the advice of the Vatican Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool has withdrawn the invitation he gave to the Methodist church last year.
In a statement last week the archbishop said he had always recognised that “the occasion would be a symbol”.

Given “the iconic reality of the Metropolitan Cathedral far beyond Merseyside it would be watched, interpreted, scrutinised quite properly by many. And symbols are dangerous things; they can explode,” he said.

“Every pattern of ordination known to me is at the service of communion and an occasion for profound renewal of the most personal, hidden demands of discipleship. Spotlights, controversy, fear of misinterpretation undermine the prayer and discipleship into which the Spirit would lead us,” Archbishop Kelly said.

The proposed ordination service was roundly attacked by Catholic bloggers earlier this year. One called it “sacrilege”, while others criticised it for the confusion it would bring.

It might result in people who protest against Catholic truth… conducting a service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in whose presence they don’t believe,” Ben Trovato wrote on the blog Countercultural Father. He continued: “It might lead people to imagine some equivalence between Methodism and the One True Church founded by Christ.

Archbishop Kelly gave permission for the ordination service last autumn when he was approached by the Rev James Booth, chairman of the Liverpool Methodist District.

Methodist ordinations take place in conjunction with the annual Methodist Conference. Buildings of other denominations are often used because the Methodist have fewer large churches of their own.

Archbishop Kelly said the event “was not just a question of a large enough venue. It could also be a word about the ecumenical journey to which we have been long committed, which was re-affirmed when Cardinal (Walter) Kasper visited Liverpool at Pentecost in 2010 and yet more powerfully by Pope Benedict during his visit to this island last September.”

But over the last few months, while convalescing following his hip replacement surgery, Archbishop Kelly said he had “time to reflect” on his decision.

“I found myself often wondering if what I had encouraged was inappropriate at this time and a possible scandal in the original meaning of that word, a stumbling block for an ordination and for the ecumenical journey.”  [That’s twice with the “ecumenical journey” line.  BTW… “ordination” implies the conferral of “orders”.  Methodists don’t have Holy Orders.]

He said he was “not entirely surprised” when learning that “this was the judgment of the Holy Father’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity in their interpretation of the principles set out in the ecumenical directory of that same Pontifical Council”.  [So… reflection and the input from two dicasteries of the Holy See.]

Sadly, he said, he would have to withdraw the invitation. “I recognise that this decision will bring pain to some, relief to others, and confusion to many. [I understand the points about pain or relieft.  But confusion?  It seems fairly clear: it is not going to happen.] I am very aware that it gives rise to very practical problems for the Methodists only two months before their ordinations,” he said. [Doesn’t the SSPX use big tents?  Is there no auditorium available in or near Liverpool?]
“I can only apologise for any drift for which I am responsible and pledge that I will continue to be as faithful as I have for all the nearly 50 years of my life as a priest to the ecumenical journey to which the Second Vatican Council committed every Roman Catholic,” he said. [Thrice.]
Mr Booth said he had been delighted when Archbishop Kelly had agreed to the ordination “in the glorious building that is the Metropolitan Cathedral”.

“There had been careful conversation about how the Methodist ordination service could appropriately and properly be held in the cathedral, honouring and respecting both Roman Catholic and Methodist tradition and understanding, while at the same time affirming the ecumenical journey that we share and the fact that the destination of that journey is not yet reached,” he said.  [Four times so far.  “ecumenical journey” seems a favorite phrase.]

“To say that I am disappointed that this decision has had to be taken would be an understatement, but it is a decision that I, and the Methodist church, must respect and understand,” he continued.

Referring to Archbishop Kelly as “a colleague and friend” he said he knew it was “a decision he has not taken lightly, but under that discipline of belonging that, as Methodists, I hope we understand”.

The Methodist ordinations will now take place in the Anglican cathedral in Chester. [Doesn’t that make more sense?  Isn’t there a more natural relationship there?]

One of those who had been due to be ordained in the Metropolitan Cathedral, Mark Rowland, said in his blog that the withdrawal of the invitation “reflects the rather colder wind that is now blowing for our ecumenical dialogues and relationships”. [Frosting the road of the ecumenical journey?]

He said: “The 21st century will look very different to the 20th in that regard and it is perhaps regrettable that we did not seize more fully the opportunities that were then available but are now fast slipping away, if they have not already gone.

“If this can be a wake-up call to us all as to the urgency of the ecumenical task then it has the possibility to be a blessing, but I suspect it may simply be a sign of what is to come.”  [It’s a journey, after all.]

We had a discussion about a similar situation in the case of the parish priest in Texas who was going to allow a Jewish community to use the parish church for services.  That resulted in a withdrawal of the invitation.

I agree completely that we are, as a Church, committed to ecumenism.  We have to be.  But we should be committed to the right kind of ecumenism.  It might be good to review, along with all the other things written about ecumenism over the last forty years or so Pius IX’s Mortalium animos.

I am not against the generous occasional lending of our churches for the services of other Christian groups, so long as what is done is not out of keeping with the sacred character of the place and its meaning.  Say, for example, some Coptic Christians lose their church because of a fire.  I don’t know where the line must be drawn, but… an “ordination”?

What do you think?

Does letting other groups use our churches bring those groups closer to the Catholic Church?

Does such a move break down our own Catholic identity?

Does it help or hurt ecumenism?

Chose your answer and then add a comment in the combox.

Methodist "ordinations" in Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Hieronymus says:

    I would go one step further in my ecumenical gesture: give them the cathedral altogether! That building is atrocious!

    As to the question about drawing the line, I would say validity of sacraments would be a minimum requirement. Thus, I (the bishop who will never exist) would grant the use of one of my churches in extraordinary circumstances (such as the fire you spoke of) to a schismatic group having valid orders (Orthodox, Copts, etc). There should be no fake sacraments or services in a Catholic church.

  2. Titus says:

    I would go one step further in my ecumenical gesture: give them the cathedral altogether! That building is atrocious!

    That was going to be my suggestion. Then the Methodists wouldn’t have to go a-begging anymore. Much friendlier.

  3. ContraMundum says:

    I’m glad to see the Methodist “ordination” won’t take place in a Catholic cathedral. I am somewhat alarmed, however, that the picture shows that some sort of alien spacecraft has landed. Why isn’t this in the news?

  4. Pachomius says:

    Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral looks like a concert hall, anyway. More seriously, I don’t think the offer should have been extended, no. A polite, but clear letter explaining why it couldn’t happen – the still very-real distance between the two churches, recognising differences, perhaps when further along the ecumenical journey, and so on – could have avoided this whole mess.

    However, with that said… at the back of the Metropolitan Cathedral, there is a large, open-air altar with a plain cross above it. There is also a (admittedly rather dingy) hall underneath the Cathedral. Either of these could have been offered without the same problem as a Methodist ordination service taking place in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

    On the Copts, I would say by all means let them come in the situation suggested. The ecumenical situation there is rather different – the question of monophysitism has been cleared up, and we hold much more similar beliefs with them.

    I don’t believe they have any questions about the validity of Catholic orders, and we don’t about theirs. Frankly, it seems to me our issues with the Orthodox churches remain primarily cultural and ecclesiological rather than doctrinal. As such, it makes a great deal of sense to allow Copts in that instance to celebrate the Divine Liturgy (were they willing).

    But as I said, both Churches in that instance believe in the Trinity, Holy Orders, the Real Presence (and the fundamental change that takes place during the Eucharistic prayer, even if the mechanism of transubstantiation is not (?) accepted by them or familiar to them). The other two situations – with a Jewish community, and with the Methodists, don’t fall into the same category.

  5. “I recognise that this decision will bring pain to some, relief to others, and confusion to many.” [I understand the points about pain or relieft. But confusion? It seems fairly clear: it is not going to happen.]

    I can only imagine that the “many” who would experience “confusion” would be the same many who are in fact confused about the Faith; those who don’t know Doctrine and therefore would not understand that certain doctrinal differences matter very much and are nothing to be trivialized or pushed aside by a spirit of syncretism masquerading as “ecumenism.”

    As long as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered in the Cathedral, when the Lord, the Holy One, graces us with His very presence, and which we not only acknowledge but adore, the space should not be “for rent.” I believe we should instead remember and imitate the Lord’s own zeal for His Father’s House (Jn 2:17 “Zeal for your house will consume me.”).

  6. teomatteo says:

    I voted ‘no’ because Rome weighed in and that is all i need to hear, but…
    Does letting other groups use our churches bring those groups closer to the Catholic Church?
    I would think that it would bring the nonCatholics closer to us if we let them use our churches. Not letting them isnt going to bring them closer. maybe…then..??
    Does such a move break down our own Catholic identity?
    Not if we have a strong Catholic identity. They may come to respect our confidence in our identity. So… ??
    Does it help or hurt ecumenism?
    I’ve now decided that flipping on the decision wasnt a good thing. The bishop should have sent it thru ‘rome’ before agreeing but… I say now ‘why not!’ I have a great Methodist friend that i love to pieces…

  7. Brad says:

    Once upon a time our pastor invited the local presbyterian minister to attend a parish rosary. If I recall correctly, the gentleman did not know how to recite the rosary, visibly, or perhaps did but chose not to (boggles the mind). He just stood there, before us, like some sort of VIP, when the real VIP was She. At the end, our pastor talked about how we and the presbyterians must come to ecumenical common ground, or some such. I thought to myself, if that means dumbing down my faith to meet with someone who can’t/won’t pray the most beloved rosary, there is no way. I drive past the presbyterian church in my town regularly and recall that day as I see the plain cross on their building and again think, no way. The denominations must come back to the fullness of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. I say this with charity toward all mentioned.

  8. Athelstan says:

    I admit I also had Hieronymus’s thought about the cathedral – but however banal it might be, it remains a Catholic place of worship.

    The invitation itself is a scandal, however. And now it also happens to be a setback to ecumenism, since it is much worse to have to withdraw an invitation that you knew was likely to be vetoed, your Grace, than to not extend it in the first place. It’s hard to not to conclude that Archbishop Kelly – and I suspect much of the E&W episcopate – are effectively indifferentists vis-a-vis much of Protestantism, or not far removed from it, going on current evidence. Which is not a surprise given how much of their understanding of Catholicism really seems to amount to a kind of liberal Protestantism.

    This episode suggests even more: Perhaps what is really remarkable about former Bishop Morris of Toowoomba is that, in urging a recognition of Anglican and Lutheran “sacraments” and “orders,” he was only giving voice to a position quietly held in large degree by more than a few of his fellow Catholic bishops today.

  9. Mundabor says:

    Already a bishop calling a methodist a “colleague” stinks of scandal to my not-so-sensitive nose. Yes they may be both religious leaders, but I very much doubt that Pius XI or Pius XII would have used such a term.

    Also not clear to me is how could – of all people – a bishop tolerate a false ordination in – of all places – a Catholic church. What is next, the ordination of a muslim cleric in Westminster Cathedral in the name of ecumenism and dialogue? This is a classic example of wrong ecumenism. It confuses the faithful, it nurtures moral relativism, it is a mess.

    Thirdly, I seem to understand that the bishop has not really had a spontaneous second thought, but has been led to backpedal and has done so – as it transpires – very much obtorto collo.
    Kudos to Rome, but – to say the very least – this doesn’t reflect well on bishop Kelly.


  10. profcarlos says:

    The very same thing happened here in Brazil a while ago, when a Bishop offered his Cathedral for some Anglican attempts at ordaining some folk (men and women). He had to back off, and wrote a venomous letter accusing “traditionalists” of plotting against Ecumenism with the help of vile Romans. Something a lot worse than in this case, I would say. The Anglicans also wrote some rather vitriolic things about the Church, in the same occasion.

    Needless to say, it is easy to understand how it works when we realize that instead of “ecumenical journey” they really mean “ecumenical TRIP”, as in a drug trip. Reality no longer matters, only the oh-so-bright rainbow colors of the Protestant vestments, what a trip, bro!… :(

  11. asperges says:

    When the Holy Father opened the door to disaffected Anglicans, he was inviting them to come into the Church as Catholics, and be welcomed. Archb Kelly is still in the never-never land of the 70s where we all drifted about looking for common ground and pretending we were all the same.

    Why do they need to use the Catholic Cathedral in Liverpool anyway? The Anglican Cathedral, not a quarter of a mile away, is enormous and the Anglicans recognise Methodist orders. Someone is not telling the whole truth. It makes no sense at all.

  12. Jack Hughes says:

    I’m assuming that the 11 people who voted yes did so in a jockular fashion

  13. Jason Keener says:

    We should be charitable to non-Catholics; however, our charity can never involve support for non-Catholic activities that are carried out as some sort of legitimate alternative to the True Catholic Church established by Christ. For example, good Catholics should never let non-Catholics use Catholic church buildings for worship services. Such a practice would seem to be an actual sin against the First Commandment in that it aids non-Catholics in the celebration of rites and prayer services that are set up as some sort of alternative to the Catholic Mass and Catholic hierarchy. I also think it is a false act of charity to contribute money to Protestants for the re-building of their churches after a fire or some other tragic event, because again, no one has a right to support Christian bodies that are separated from the True Church for any reason. Yes, we must definitely be charitable to our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in many, many ways but in no way that assists or cooperates with them in their setting up of an alternative church to Christ’s Catholic Church.

  14. Ben Trovato says:

    Thanks for posting this, Fr. I had missed seeing my blog quoted in the Herald, but now have the double kudos of that and being quoted by you! Pray for my humility which has gone walkabout…

  15. Great commentary, Father!

    One slight correction–Mortalium Animos was written by Pius XI, not Pius IX as the link indicates. (Although I could imagine Pius IX writing virtually the exact same thing.)

  16. APX says:

    My concern in sharing a church is that those who believe a church is “just a building” will treat it as such, rather than the sacred space it is.

  17. Gabriel Austin says:

    Are not the Methodists just a branch of the Church of England? John Wesley was an Anglican minister. Did he not insist on having a CofE “bishop” come to Georgia to ordain Methodist ministers. Leastways that’s what Fr. Knox writes in his book ENTHUSIASM.

  18. pelerin says:

    Asperges asks why could not the Anglican Cathedral nearby be used. Why indeed? I am wondering whether there is something ‘going on’ between the Methodist Church and the Catholic Church which we have not heard about as I notice in this weeks Catholic Herald three advertisements which I would not expect to find in a Catholic publication.

    There is one advert for a Liason Officer for Methodist Archives and a Methodist Archivists network Co-ordinator. Another advertises accomodation in a community in London where the members make a commitment to being involved in the life of a Methodist church there. The third advert and probably the most surprising is for a Methodist Church Lay Pastor in Wales. Are Methodists perhaps becoming regular readers of the Herald?

  19. RichardT says:

    Yes, very interesting that the Catholic cathedral in Liverpool was offered but not, it seems, the Anglican one (the Methodists having to go down the road to Chester to borrow the one there).

    Rather sad if the Anglican bishop of Liverpool have a better understanding of the importance of Holy Orders than the Catholic Archbishop.

  20. Schiavona says:

    Voted no. This idea confuses the meaning of ordination. There are other ways to support ecumenism, properly understood.

    The First World has gone too far in ecumenical silliness, while the Second World not far enough. Here along the geographic line of the Great Schism, friendlier relations among local churches are essential for overcoming nationalism. There’s the official commission, annual prayer octave, and some individual attempts, but, no, friendship is not happening, not in a real way. St. Leopold Bogdan Mandić, pray for us!

  21. EWTN Rocks says:

    I voted no, shouldn’t happen, as I believe it does break down our own Catholic identity. As a young Catholic teen, I made the mistake of attending a youth group while in high school that met in a local Methodist church. After a year I was so confused about what it meant to be Catholic I left the Church. They were not actively seeking my conversion but exposure Methodist beliefs, traditions, etc., was enough to cause significant confusion. Based on this experience, I favor keeping the two religions separate.

  22. markrowland says:

    There are four services of ordination taking place in conjunction with this year’s British Methodist Conference. One of them is indeed at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

    I am surprised to see analogies being drawn between this proposed service and the use of Catholic churches for services or ceremonies of other faiths. Methodists are among those who follow Christ and have received valid baptism and therefore have a right to be called Christian and are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church, as Unitatis Redintegratio teaches.

  23. haydn seeker says:

    Liverpool Cathedral is my favourite place in the world. I can assure you it is a beautiful and intelligent building. I happened to be there when Bl John Paul II passed away, and for the Tridiuum this year, and they have a fine choir and are serious and good people.

    Obviously this would have been a bad mistake, but let’s draw a heavy veil over the incident.

  24. RichardT says:

    Gabriel Austin (3:52 pm) – no. Although Methodism started off as a group within Anglicanism, it fairly soon broke away from it.

    Wesley did indeed want an Anglican ‘bishop’ to ‘ordain’ ministers for America, and tried to get the Anglican ‘bishop’ of London to do it (this was just after your rebellion, so there was no Anglican structure in the Thirteen Colonies at the time). But when they didn’t, he ‘ordained’ them himself.

    Although Wesley still claimed to be an Anglican clergyman for the rest of his life, those ‘ordinations’ are the point at which Methodism is generally regarded as having separated from Anglicanism.

    Interestingly Wesley had been a firm believer in the importance of Apostolic Succession (and that the Anglicans had it), so there were claims that he had been secretly consecrated by a Greek Orthodox Bishop before he carried out the illegal ‘ordinations’.

  25. Chatto says:

    I had the dubious pleasure of showing an atheist friend, who lives in Liverpool, around both cathedrals a couple of weeks ago. He certainly preferred the Anglican one, and suggested that we “get rid of all the ’70s stuff” inside the Met (Paddy’s Wigwam, as it’s known locally). You know something’s amiss when an atheist understands ‘sacred beauty’ better than a cathedral’s decorators.

    On the more important matter, my parish has become the (temporary) centre for a new Russian Orthodox parish in Leeds. Our bishop knows about it, and our priest is delighted to have them once a month. He’s half Ukrainian, and has been redecorating our church with icons, so the Russians love it as well, and hopefully will it will soften any negative stereotypes of the Church. Personally, I’m happy for them to be there once a month, and here’s hoping they can stump up the cash to buy a nearby church – there are plenty of barely-attended Anglican churches around here.

  26. haydn seeker says:

    I should also point out that Archbishop Kelly has been in poor health recently. Maybe this clouded his judgement.

  27. haydn seeker says:

    Liverpool Cathedral is my favourite place in the world. I can assure you it is a beautiful and intelligent building. I happened to be there when Bl John Paul II passed away, and for the Tridiuum this year, and they have a fine choir and are serious and good people.

    Obviously this would have been a bad mistake, but let’s draw a heavy veil over the incident.

  28. ContraMundum says:

    @Jason Keener

    There are times when I think something of this kind may not be inappropriate. For example, in this year of tornadoes, imagine that a small town has one Methodist church, which is destroyed, and a Catholic Church, which is not. I think it would be entirely appropriate for the Catholic church to let the Methodists use their church building until they get back on their feet — though it would be better, if possible, to let them use the parish hall instead. Those circumstances don’t really apply in this case, which is the reason I voted “no”.

  29. Schiavona says:

    There is also the Anglican Ordinariate. I know it is a different, fresh and complicated situation, but with some problems related to church-sharing both with Anglicans and with other Catholics.

  30. TNCath says:

    I remember being in that cathedral about 25 years ago. It was pretty awful.

    Nonetheless, this is not an unusual occurrence in a lot of Catholic Church in the U.S., particularly the South, where Catholics are the minority. I also know of several parishes in my diocese that got their start by celebrating Masses in protestant churches before their own churches were built. I always found it very awkward.

  31. o.h. says:

    Why didn’t they use the Anglican cathedral? Many in the Texas diocese instance (which Fr. Z links to) asked the same question, when the Jewish group met instead at the large and comfortable Jewish center. Puzzled, I asked an Orthodox Jewish friend “Why didn’t they just use the center in the first place?” She laughed and said “Because it wasn’t going to be FREE!” (She also expressed her contempt for Jews who think worshipping in a Christian church, using an altar sacred to the Christians there, is somehow consonant with Judaism.)

  32. Samthe44 says:

    Maybe the ‘Magic Circle’ is breaking? :)

  33. benedetta says:

    Others would know better about the details but there are instances when congregations, with respect for one another, “share” or “take turns” in certain sacred spaces…

    I have to say on reading this I am impressed at several aspects of this Archbishop’s example and wish others would have similar humility or courage to re-consider official acts in certain other instances and publicly share the process of deciding something formerly committed to may have been hasty or not well-thought out, or to share their development of thinking in light of new observation. No matter what the subject, to publicly do something like that in and of itself takes a great deal of courage and humility as a leader — to share a thought process, or even process of prayer and discernment, which requires looking at things differently or with new eyes.

    I appreciate his very kind intention in first extending the invitation as a symbolic gesture even if it might not have seemed to him finally to be the ideal direction to take. Perhaps one concern that could come up would be the idea that one denomination was singled out for this honor…one could ask, why not this or that denomination, or even the iglesia or evangelical church down the block, or to Orthodox. I hope that this Archbishop continues in his ecumenical witness which is important and perhaps not always the sort of apostolic work which bears a quick and easy recipe or a tried and true road map.

  34. Jason Keener says:


    It may seem harsh to refuse Methodists the use of a Catholic Church or parish hall after a tornado, but there is no circumstance in which a person can break the First Commandment and give support to a religious body that is carrying on as if they are a legitimate alternative to Christ’s True Church. Again, doing so would be a false act of charity. By all means, after a tornado, give the Methodists money for food, for housing, etc., but do not aid them in their objectively immoral acts by which they carry on as if Christianity can legitimately be practiced without the Pope, without the seven sacraments, without a true priesthood, without all of the Church’s teachings, etc. Also, a better way of helping the Methodists in this situation after the tornado would be to share with them the teachings of Catholicism and by inviting them to come to Mass.

  35. The Cobbler says:

    “I found myself often wondering if what I had encouraged was inappropriate at this time and a possible scandal in the original meaning of that word, a stumbling block for an ordination and for the ecumenical journey.” [That’s twice with the “ecumenical journey” line. BTW… “ordination” implies the conferral of “orders”. Methodists don’t have Holy Orders.]

    Well, credit where credit is due: at least he knows the old meaning of “scandal”! That’s something you don’t hear every day.

  36. I voted no, Catholic churches should not host Methodist ordinations. But as a side note, we also need some kind of rule that requires architects who design Catholic churches to actually have the Catholic faith. I would never recognize that as a Catholic cathedral. Gemini 7 meets Hitler’s bunker.

  37. The Cobbler says:

    This just in: Pope announces new old Vatican office!

    “It has come to my attention that some of you are using words without knowing what they mean,” Pope Benedict said in a statement five minutes ago.

    Liberals were initially pleased. “About time he noticed! Maybe we can stick with the good, inclusive, understandable version of the Mass instead of going back to prayers based on Roman Paganism, after all!”

    The pleasure disappeared as quickly as it had come: “Therefore I have decided to reinstate and expand the Spanish Inquisition…”

    “WHAT?!?” the liberals shouted.

    “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!” several teenagers in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio cried.

    “…to be headed by Cardinal Montoya.”

    “Hallo. Thank you, Your Holiness. You there, in the Colonies! You keep saying ‘Ecumenical Journey’. I do not think that means what you think it means…”

  38. The Cobbler says:

    In all seriousness, I voted “yes” initially assuming that the starship in the picture couldn’t be Catholic, but now am thinking that as it was specified as “Methodist “ordinations” in Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral” I should have petitioned for “Methodist “ordinations” in Liverpool’s Catholic Methodist Cathedral.” I know that’s been touched upon already, but I wanted my vote’s explanation noted for the record.

  39. Chris in Maryland says:

    What a pathetic disgrace that Bishop Kelly holds the rank of Bishop…and the cathedral is repulsive.

  40. Jason Keener says:

    Chris in Maryland,

    I think you should tell us what you really think. LOL!

  41. Ezra says:

    To those who think it would have been OK for the cathedral to host Methodist ordinations, aping one of God’s sacraments while bolstering a heretical sect, I have to ask: how about Catholic cathedrals hosting Anglican ordinations (male, female, whatever)? Freemasonic services? Gay weddings? Black Masses? If the rationale is that we’ll allow our holy places – and I’ll grant that Liverpool Cathedral does a good job of disguising its holiness – to be profaned for the sake of “getting people inside”, on the off-chance that they might think warm thoughts about Catholic hospitality in future, all of those should be permitted.

    I don’t know whether the decision to host Methodist ordinations can be considered typical of Archbishop Kelly’s approach, but if it is, his “ecumenical journey” has about as much chance of arriving at a happy destination as a trip on the Hindenburg. Thank God for the Roman intervention; causa finita est, utinam aliquando finiatur error.

  42. EWTN Rocks says:

    Chris in Maryland,

    I don’t always agree with what you say or how you say it but I know your intentions are good.

  43. Peter in Canberra says:

    Well Australia had a go at this too. And no, it wasn’t the Toowoomba diocese but Sandhurst in Victoria
    In this case it was to help out the Anglicans whose church had been damaged by fire.

    It too got cancelled:

    Also in Australia, the former Bishop of Newcastle (New South Wales) has had a practice of joint celebrations with his Anglican brethren in the Catholic cathedral, for which the result can only be confusion eg :

    Conclusion – Australia has lost its way, de facto if not de jure.

  44. Pachomius says:

    I’d hold off on going too far in talking about this Cathedral as awful. After all, that leads few words for Clifton Cathedral, Worth Abbey, or the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City.

  45. irishgirl says:

    I’ve been in the Catholic Cathedral and the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. It was in 1999, when I was visiting my priest-friend from the Salford Diocese (Archbishop Kelly was his Bishop before he [Kelly] was translated to Liverpool). The cathedrals were [and are] within walking distance of each other.
    I didn’t particularly care for the ‘tent’ architecture of the Catholic cathedral. But my friend was ordained by Blessed John Paul II twenty-nine years ago next Tuesday (the 31st), and so it was rather special for him to show me around the place. I bought in the gift shop some postcards and a book, which my friend was gracious enough to pay for me!
    Then we went to the Anglican Cathedral, which I liked better. At least that looked like a church, both inside and out! I liked particularly the Lady Chapel.
    I think it was wrongheaded of Archbishop Kelly to let the Methodists do their ‘ordination’ in the Catholic cathedral. And I’m glad that the outcry was such that he backed down.
    And I voted ‘No’ in the poll for that reason-it was a wrongheaded decision.

  46. Dave N. says:

    I voted “yes” not that I think it’s in any way, shape or form a good idea–it’s not. The problem is that once the Church makes a commitment to something (and the Archbishop clearly has the power to make such a commitment, even if it’s a very wrongheaded–and that’s the kindest adjective I could muster-decision) the Church should follow through and not be wishy-washy about it. Or as Mom would say, “You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.” An archbishop shouldn’t invite someone to use his cathedral and then just flippantly “dis-invite” them. This too, creates scandal.

    Irrelevant I suppose, but this cathedral is reminiscent of various grain storage facilities one finds in the Midwest.

  47. New Sister says:

    I wonder if it’s really a case of the Bishop calling off the so-called “ordination” …or did the Methodists see that ghastly heap and run? [Miss Anita Moore O.P. – LOL!!]

  48. benedetta says:

    Yes that Cathedral seems to have a sort of post-Walter Gropius vibe going on. I wonder when it was constructed. In the Northeast finds similar shapes in salt sheds by the side of the highway used for storing road salt to make the roads navigable in winter. It’s called salt and it has some salt in it but it’s not the edible kind and if your dog stepped out in it the chemicals would burn their paws…I wonder how it is from the inside, this Cathedral.

  49. Brad says:

    It’s funny but is really no joke. The demon loves ugly buildings and was obviously quite potent during the time period that built them, quite potent in the spirit that got into the heads of architects. They are his way of besmirching the edifice his Crusher resides in. If the building has actual beauty, he will excite some foolish and weak souls to desecrate it. Modern men are so embarrassing. Would the men of the ancient world, the OT Jews in their temple, or even any of the various peoples of the ancient world, ever have built their places of worship to be anything less than grand and beautiful, the best they could do? The small and palatial wooden shinto shrines: even the pagan world makes a concerted effort at harmonious and objectively impressive beauty. But then again, a shinto shrine is harmless placebo to the demon, why should he care enough to try to dim one’s beauty. Sigh. Depressing.

  50. John Nolan says:

    Liverpool Met was opened in 1967. The original design (by Lutyens) was aborted on the grounds of expense; only the crypt was completed. It would have been the second largest church in Christendom. The present building is marginally better on the inside than out, which isn’t saying much.

    The BBC broadcast Xmas Midnight Mass from there last year. Abp Kelly demonstrated his well-known penchant for dressing down – no zuchetto or pallium, and a wooden crosier (unus homo et canis suus?) and his homily was puzzling. I can quite believe he was in poor health. The choir, men and boys, is indeed excellent but they are forced to sing Anglican psalmody, and there are too many hymns at Mass.

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