THE RC Ordinariate will need “£1 million a year to keep going”, its Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, said last week. Earlier this month, the Charity Commission was asked to investigate a £1-million donation that the Ordinariate received from the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS) (News, 8 July).
Speaking at a press conference in London to launch the Friends of the Ordinariate, a fund-raising group, on Thursday of last week, Mgr Newton said: “It sounds a lot of money, but in the end it’s very important to realise that £1 million is not a lot of money when you are trying eventually to get accommodation for priests. We are in a sense piggybacking on the Catholic dioceses in England and Wales’ being generous, but that won’t happen for ever.”
Mgr Broadhurst, assistant to the Ordinary, who has been assessing the needs of Ordinariate priests, of which there are 59 so far , said that the £1-million donation by the CBS gave the Ordinariate “breathing space”. He said, however, that it was a “one-off”: “You’re not talking about a lot of money.”
Mgr Newton said that, of the 59 Ordinariate clergy, there were 31 “who need support of one sort or another. . . Out of those 31, there are 12 who are married with dependent children, nine who are married without dependent children, and ten who are celibates.”
When asked to respond to Anglicans who have expressed anger about the donation from the CBS, Mgr Newton said: “There are obviously some vociferous people who feel very hurt and annoyed about it. On the other hand, I think that the trustees thought this was a way to further their aims and objectives. That may be debatable, but they behaved in good faith.
“I wrote to them [the CBS] and asked if it is possible under the aims and objectives to have a grant. They took legal advice, and the legal advice was favourable, and therefore they gave us a grant.”
Mgr Newton said that the charitable objectives of the CBS, which are “for the advancement of the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition”, were “exactly why” Pope Benedict XVI set up the Ordinariate, “so that we could take something of our tradition with us into the wider Catholic Church”.
Mgr Newton said that he had hoped that Ordinariate groups would be able to meet in Anglican buildings, but, so far, it had “not been possible”.
“I can understand sometimes it may be difficult because the Church of England obviously wants that church to continue to be the parish church in that place, and they don’t want it to be divided. There would need to be an agreement between those who are there as Anglicans and those who are going to worship there as [Roman] Catholics that this would work happily. I think in some years’ time that may be possible, but I think at the moment it probably isn’t.”
A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said this week that it had not yet decided whether to investigate the donation by the CBS to the Ordinariate, and that it was “still considering the issues raised”.