Confraternity’s grant to the RC Ordinariate

by
27 July 2011

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From the Revd Paul S. Williamson

Sir, — I hope that you will allow me to reply to your news item last week about the Ordinariate.

When Fr Christopher Pearson, as he then was, Superior-General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS), came to St George’s, Hanworth, he inaugurated our Ward and placed in my hand a CBS Constitution and Manual. Immediately inside the Manual are the words: “The oldest devotional society for Priests and Laity in the Church of England — founded in 1862”.

The words “Roman Catholic” do not occur anywhere in the Constitution. The only references to “Roman Catholic” in the Manual occur in the ARCIC Agreed Statement on Eucharistic Doctrine. Furthermore, the copy of the 2010 accounts in my possession clearly state “Church of England”.

Since the major donation of £450,000 in 1870, all donations and, since 1862, all subscriptions have been paid by members of the Church of England. These monies have been collected for Church of England purposes only. At no time was any member or donor asked if his or her money could travel onwards to the Roman Church.

The website of the Ordinariate states very clearly that it is Roman Catholic.

It is highly questionable to use the word “Anglican” of the monies collected and of the Ordinariate to facilitate a transfer of more than half the assets of the CBS.

Considerable expenses were paid in the transition period to those who are now in the Ordinariate: £12,000 to the trustees, £3000 A. Burnham*, £1000 K. Newton, £10,000 Sisters, occur in the accounts. It takes a long time to withdraw £1 million from investments.

I know of no Roman Catholic charity that gives money to a Church of England charity; certainly none that would hand over half its assets in one donation. No Roman Catholic charity to my knowledge has Church of England trustees. New Ordinariate trustees dominated the last CBS Council meeting.

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PAUL S. WILLIAMSON
The Rectory, 7 Blakewood Close
Hanworth, Feltham
Middlesex TW13 7NL

*Mgr Andrew Burnham has asked us to point out that the sum he received was to fund a mission post: He writes: "The person was part-funded by the Church Commissioners (CC) as a member of my staff and part-funded by Forward in Faith or the CBS because of wider national tasks. The money came to me as the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, because the person was paid by the CC and we re-imbursed the CC for part of it. Very little of this was done by or through me, and I derived no personal financial benefit."

From Canon Michael Stagg

*Mgr Andrew Burnham has asked us to point out that the sum he received was to fund a mission post: He writes: "The person was part-funded by the Church Commissioners (CC) as a member of my staff and part-funded by Forward in Faith or the CBS because of wider national tasks. The money came to me as the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, because the person was paid by the CC and we re-imbursed the CC for part of it. Very little of this was done by or through me, and I derived no personal financial benefit."

From Canon Michael Stagg

Sir, — In order to validate the contribution of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament to the Ordinariate, the Charity Commissioners will have to decide what precise features make up the “Anglican tradition” and how many of them will be manifest in the Ordinariate.

Without waiting for that decision, perhaps someone could tell the rest of us. I have no intention of joining, but were it in my mind to do so, I would want to know the answer to this question before I “jumped”.

Apart from the obvious adherence to the Lambeth Quadrilateral, does it include the use of the traditional sources of Anglican worship — the Prayer Book and Common Worship? Or more recent features such as a House of Laity in decision-making? A Reader ministry including women? To name but a few. If not, what? I suspect none of these, but am happy to be proved wrong.

MICHAEL STAGG
31 Ash Grove, Norwich NR3 4BE

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