Sunday, 1 March 2015

Chico Bom

Chico says 'Hi'.
Fear not, the marbles are still in place. Thought, though, that you should meet Chico Bom. He is the creation of  Tracey, one of our Bournemouth Ordinariate Mission. A couple of  weeks ago we handed out leaflets from the Torbay Group, appealing for help in purchasing a former Methodist Church for the Ordinariate. Now Tracey had originally come into the Church of England from Methodism, so she felt a special need to do something this Lent to raise some funds for that Appeal. So this morning after Mass we were introduced to Chico (I suspect like the Marx Brother of that name his REAL name is Leonard, but we can't be sure - he is not saying.) Tracey allowed me to bring Chico, her prototype Easter Egg Cosy, back home with me. As you see he helped write this blog. He has spent the rest of today getting acclimatised and meeting some of the flora and fauna of Lymington.

At first he found Wol our Lancastrian owl, a bit intimidating, but give them time and they
Chico and Wol
will surely get along. I have a feeling that Chco is going to appear from time to time on Facebook, but my valued readers on this blog deserve the first sight of him. Chiefly because we would like others to go and take up the challenge from Tracey. She is busy knitting her fingers to the bone in order to create many brothers and sisters for Chico. All the money she raises from their sale (the asking price is only £1.50, and his woolly exterior hides a genuine chocolate cream egg, so we look for generous donations) will go to the Torbay Ordinariate's appeal.. We hope other Groups might be inspired to do their own fund-raising best for the Torbay Group.

I you would like to find out more, log on to the Torbay Group's page, or write to their Pastor, Fr David Lashbrooke, St Agatha's Presbytery,27 Exeter Road,Dawlish, EX7 0BU

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Clear the Decks

Kingston Lacey
Anglican bishops look for moral leadership in politics. Catholic bloggers worry about the Pope. Egypt tries to defeat Isis by bombing Syria. And Lent begins.

Snowdrops in the Fernery

To clear our heads, and prepare for the next forty days, we headed for the country- specifically the ancient Bankes estate [now National Trust] of Kingston Lacey near Wimborne - and these pictures might give you a moment to consider that Spring, and Easter, really are on the way.

Lime Walk
Tomorrow the Bournemouth Ordinariate has a morning Mass, but I shall be celebrating for the Parish at 6.30pm since Fr Darryl, their Parish Priest, has to say Mass at the Hospital at that time.

Aconites: lovely, but deadly
Sometimes you need to a close-up to see the beauty of creation.

Cherry Bark

As we left the notice said that annual membership of the Trust for a year was something over £90. When I bought life membership for my wife it cost £75. There are advantages to growing old.
                                                        Have a happy and holy Lent.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Out of the Ordinaries

Fr Ian Hellyer
Westminster Cathedral Hall, and the ordinariate priests of England and Wales (and Scotland) met in conclave with Mgr Keith Newton, our Ordinary, together with two extra Ordinaries, from North America and Australasia. These plenary session are great occasions for catching up with friends, discovering how their Groups or Missions are flourishing, what new ideas are coming up. From Plymouth
Mgr Keith intent on Mgr Mark Langham's exposition
we heard about the developments in catechetical opportunities given us by Buckfast Abbey -opportunities which the Abbot and his Community hope we will use with enthusiasm.

We also had visitors; the Chaplain to Cambridge University, Mgr Mark Langham, has long experience in ecumenical matters, so it was good to hear him speak about the Ordinariate as a great new venture in the search for Christian Unity. He is well versed in classical Anglican spirituality, and is pleased to have readings from Thomas Traherne of John Keble to lighten the load of St Augustine's interminable sermon on the Shepherds.

After a picnic lunch we turned our attention overseas. We complain about the cost of getting to
[l/rt] Mgrs Entwistel, Steenson and Newton: OZ, US,  and us.
London, and the time it takes; but it is trivial compared with Mgr Harry Entwistle's travels. He lives in Perth, on the West Coast of Australia; to get his clergy together (and they are numbered only in tens rather than hundreds) it costs around £6000. It was not so much the differences between the three Ordinariates so much as the similarities which were striking. We are all having to help Catholics of long standing understand what we are about. Of course if they had simply read what the Pope said in Anglicanorum Coetibus it would be perfectly clear.......
Fr Bould between the Pembury duo
As always it was less the set pieces than comparing notes with other priests which was really helpful today. I shall post pictures of some of them on Facebook, but here are a couple for this blog.
Frs Graham Smith & Jonathan R-Harris

And because Fr Allan Hawkins would expect no less, I did raise with the three Ordinaries the question of married clergy. Are our wives a gift to the Catholic Church, or an impediment to be borne? I believe they are a gift to the whole Church, not to be hidden away or spoken about as an embarrassment.Perhaps, though, we do well to let them speak for themselves, and, as they become better known in Catholic Parishes their lives of dedication and service will become increasingly appreciated.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Wisdom from Texas

Fr Allan Hawkins, until fairly recently a Parish Priest in Texas and now retired (much as I am retired, that is seldom saying Mass more than six times a week) has returned to blogging. You can find him at and he is well worth reading - his latest piece concerns clerical marriage, and as a son of an Anglican cleric he understands more than most  the pressures of life in a parsonage. Do read him and, if you will, respond. He and I were seminarians together at a long- vanished institution called Cuddesdon - there is some sort of establishment occupying the old buildings and calling itself "Ripon College Cuddesdon" - it is the heir of the liberal Protestant place formerly on Boar's Hill (Ripon Hall). Back in the 1950s Cuddesdon was properly monastic; I had to get special permission to allow my mother to see the Common Room. I am told that now it more resembles a branch of a ladies' sewing bee. O Tempora, O Mores!

On a more local note, we welcomed the local Catenian Circle at Mass today, and very jolly it was, with some great singing. Usually our Ordinariate Mass is a rather intimate gathering with no more than thirty or forty in Church, so it was lovely to have the place almost full today. Some have said they would like to return when we are using the Ordinariate form for the Mass. That will begin again on the first Sunday in Lent..

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Just a Question

Twenty years ago when Flying Bishops were first appointed the Archbishop ensured that there was a full turnout of Bishops to endorse this new ministry, and show it had the support of the whole of the Church of England. Apparently there were several present at the consecration of Philip North in York Minster. Yet it seems only three (Chichester the sole diocesan bishop, Beverley the only Flying Bishop, and Pontefract, another Suffragan bishop) were permitted (or willing?) to lay on hands. So where were the other traditionalist bishops? Or are there so few left? It's just a question - maybe someone can answer, but it seemed so markedly different when Libby Lane was all but lost under a welter of episcopal hands only a few days earlier. Bishop Philip has made encouraging noises for those still unpersuaded by women's ordination. His voice sounds a bit lonely and it would be especially helpful to know how and whether the Bishops of the Society of SS Wilfred and Hilda mean to support him.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Eyes have it

Well there you are, history rewritten - supposing you watched the first part of Wolf Hall. There was the saintly Thomas Cromwell, honest and upright, devoted to the English Bible, bearing nobly the death of his wife and daughters - oh, and he had wanted to teach her Greek too - how very Humanist of him! You might say just like Thomas More and his Family - except that here we have already been shown what a dastardly fellow More is .. at least in the opinion of convent-educated Hilary Mantel. Not content with blackening him, we also have seen her show Stephen Gardiner as a real snake in the grass.

Now in that I feel Ms Mantel has gone little too far; just because he upheld the faith which England had always held, she must show him as a complete rotter. The photography was marvellous, lots of chiaroscuro; not so the characterisation, all either utterly black or purest white.

The pity is, a picture is worth a thousand words; and we shall see many such pictures over the course of the next five episodes. They are likely to distort people's opinions for years to come.  For me, though, the more accurate picture is given us by a contemporary, rather than an embittered would-be historian. So which of these men would you sooner trust?

Thomas Cromwell

Or the persistent Catholic who preceded Cromwell to the block, and who has been declared a Saint of the Church?

Thomas More

Holbein saw them both; and I think the eyes have it, the eyes have it.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Southwark Sunday

Milling after Mass
After a family party in Dorking on Saturday night, where to go to church next morning? We decided to head into town, to find the Precious Blood, London Bridge - one of the two Ordinariate churches in the Great Wen. Dorking to London is not far on the map; but on a Sunday morning it was a nightmare. Why does anyone try to drive in London? They cut off roads which appear continuous on the map, others they make one-way - always the opposite way to where you heading. After some interesting diversions, we made it, with ten minutes to spare.

Anglican Patrimony? Parish Priest greets people after Mass
 It was, though, worth the journey. A marvellously diverse congregation, and an example of how the Ordinariate might develop. Apparently the church had been in danger of closing until the Archbishop of Southwark and Mgr Keith decided to put an Ordinariate priest,  Fr Christopher Pearson, in charge. There were enough former Anglicans not to be simply swallowed up by the existing congregation, Fr Christopher had experience of that part of London in his Anglican days, and both communities have come together very happily.

Father gave me the privilege of being Principal Celebrant, which I enjoyed - I hope others did too. Then there was a little more patrimony; the bunfight. I did not quite workout the geography of Church and Presbytery, so I was not clear if we were in the house or the sacristy,but it was all very jolly and we met many people, among them some old friends. Antonia Lynn (trained at a certain House in Oxford) travels in from Ewell, and others come from a distance to find lively worship offered in a recognisably Anglican Manner (recognisable, that is, if you were a well-instructed Anglo-Catholic.)

We were given more hospitality - lunch in a pub in Tabard Street-  shades of the Canterbury Pilgrims.

Then we set off for home and found ourselves entangled in the cars of home-going shoppers as we crossed Southwest London, so that the journey was even more wearing than getting to O'Meara Street in the morning. But it was STILL worth the trip. As if to encourage us, we'd been given a SIGN in the sky outside church - disappointingly there was not also "In hoc signo vinces" but perhaps that is just understood.