Future of the Community of St Mary the Virgin

by
21 December 2012

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From the Bishop of Oxford
Sir, - The headline of your report on the departure of 11 Sisters of the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV) for the Ordinariate (News, 14 December) suggests that they had lost their bid to stay at Wantage as an ecumenical community.

The fact is that we were told by Roman Catholic canon lawyers that it would be impossible for an ecumenical community with an alternating Anglican and Roman Catholic Superior to be recognised by Rome.

As Visitor to CSMV, I have been in discussion with the Sisters for 18 months, as we have tried to honour their initial desire for an ecumenical community, then their wish to have a period of a few years living together while they worked out their future, and finally, in the past few weeks, their intention to move on as a separate community in the new year.

There are important legal and financial issues yet to be resolved; but I hope to reach agreement in the next few weeks. I wish them well as they journey on. My ongoing concern is for the welfare of the Sisters who remain, and I am working with an Advisory Group to this end.

JOHN PRITCHARD
Diocesan Church House
North Hinksey
Oxford OX2 0NB

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