Friday, November 5, 2010


Nice alliteration.

Lesley Fellows gives us the text of Bishop Colin Buchanan's letter from last week in the Church Times.

Sir, — I have read your account of the Bishop of Fulham’s statement about his future (News, 22 October), and have heard him interviewed on the BBC’s Sunday programme. Am I right in my understanding of his position as follows?

He believes himself to be a true apostolic bishop ministering in the Church of England, and giving absolute assurance about the validity and efficacy of the sacramental ministrations he offers, which assurance, being of top priority for the life of the people of God, is guaranteed by the historic succession from the apostles, the preservation of that succession in the Anglican passage through the Reformation period, and in latter days the ensuring that the succession is sustained by male bishops only.

This assurance has not only been the key to all eucharistic celebrations by the Forward in Faith (FiF) constituency: it has also been visibly expressed in ordination by the Bishop of Fulham, in that in September he ordained a deacon (announced on another page) and, presumably, assured him that he was being truly ordained. All that is how I have read his present position.

At the end of the year, however, he will resign, and, in joining the Church of Rome, will acknowledge he has never been ordained, that his sacramental ministrations have been open to the highest level of doubt, and that the orders he has conferred (mostly, presumably, within the FiF constituency) have been fictitious. Does he in fact say this now, or is it simply that he will say it in two months’ time?

If I have got it wrong, I would be the first to acknowledge it and apologise for misrepresenting the position that I think I read. But I still have the dilemma that, if Rome is right, we have to go today; where as, if it is wrong, nothing that happens in the Church of England can make Rome right. Surely logic has some part to play in relation to integrity?


Splendid! I couldn't leave out a word. Thank you, Lesley!

The bishops and clergy in the Church of England who cross over to join the Roman Catholic ordinariates will be no more than mere seminarians, once they've made their swim across the Tiber. Fast-track seminarians, perhaps, but their Holy Orders once held by them to be precious, pristine, and unbesmirched by contamination from the likes of a woman bishop, will, in an instant, be declared, not only null and void, but never to have existed at all. What about the poor deacon? What about all the other deacons and priests the bishop ordained? What about the Eucharistic celebrations in which he presided?

What say you, Bishop Broadhurst?

Here's the link to the story of Bishop John Broadhurst's resignation in the Catholic Herald.

UPDATE: Earlier I pondered in the comments:

I wonder if (shall I call him Bishop?) Broadhurst presides at the Eucharist at the present time under his here-today-gone-tomorrow orders.

Bishop Broadhurst answered my wonderings in his pastoral letter:

My final act as a Bishop will be to celebrate the Mass at Gordon Square on the eve of Christ the King, Saturday 20th November at 12 noon. I hope to see many of you there.

Where is the logic here? How can Bishop(?) Broadhurst believe in the validity of his orders one day and believe them to be null and void the next day?


  1. Nice to see a strong evangelical like Colin Buchanan speaking out like this.

  2. About a hundred years ago, an Episcopal Bishop gave the following advice to the fiercely Anglo-Papalist Episcopal priest Fr Paul Wattson, founder of Graymoor:

    You accept the whole teaching of the Roman Church save the single detail of the repudiation of Anglican Orders. . . This proposition is an impossible one for a clergyman of our Church. My advice is that, in the interest of single-minded honesty and devotion to duty, you make the choice between the two Churches. You cannot serve either the Papal Church or the Protestant Episcopal Church well if you try to serve both at the same time. Either give up belief in a divinely established Papacy and in Roman dogmas. . . as one must do who is a consistent and contented Anglican; or else give up Anglican Orders, make an unqualified submission to the Latin Church, and be a good Roman Catholic. I have no hesitation in saying that if I were in your position I should choose the latter alternative. This would seem to be the natural outcome of the line of development you have adopted.

    Nothing has changed, and this advice applies to any and all Anglo-Papalists. It is simply absurd to say one believes in papal supremacy but not to accept a definitive pronouncement from that Office which concerns one intimately and explicitly.

    The Episcopal Bishop (Kinsman), interestingly enough, eventually did follow that course, renounced his orders, and died a Roman Catholic layman in 1944.

  3. Tim, I knew the letter would make you proud. Remember, "Pride goeth...." :-)

    Good quote, Tobias.

    I wonder if (shall I call him Bishop?) Broadhurst presides at the Eucharist at the present time under his here-today-gone-tomorrow orders.

    John Henry Newman had to swallow papal infallibility. What will the present day cross-overs be force-fed once they are safely inside the fold?

  4. I should hardly consider myself safe in Ratso's fold.

    But I believe there is a warning that this blog employs irony.

  5. Paul, allow me to reword the end of my comment, "...once Rome has them firmly in its clutches."

    And no, m'dear, you would not be safe in Rome's fold.

  6. Some of this makes me wonder why Jesus said "when two or three.." when He clearly meant "let's set up apostolic succession"

  7. Susankay, sadly the church seems to have been busy "clarifying" what Jesus said on all sorts of topics for some centuries, hasn't it?

  8. I wonder if someone as puffed up and impressed with his own importance as +Broadhurst seems to be is really going to be happy as a mere priest or as part of the laity in the Roman Church.

  9. Perhaps +Broadhurst could be a prelate, which is the title of the person in charge of a military ordinariate, but the prelate serves under the authority of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops and is not the same as a bishop.

  10. Tim, I knew the letter would make you proud. Remember, "Pride goeth...." :-)

    Hah! Have mercy, Mimi, it ain't often an evangelical gets an honourable mention on your blog! Let me enjoy it without threats, okay?!!!

  11. Well, as my wafe, a lifelong Anglican said after the Sunday Programme, "So he uses robust language eh? Well f**k off and don't come back in the name of the Lord."

  12. DP, your wafe uses rather robust language, too. I'm shocked, shocked, indeed!

  13. Where oh where is rick allen, to set us right?

    As I said at Tobias's: none of this makes sense . . . EXCEPT that that "I agree w/ Rome's sexual ethics" cart is pulling the "...therefore their ecclesiology MUST have always been correct" horse.

    So very sad, that some would throw over Scripture, Tradition and Reason, for the (absolutely subjective/autocratic, and completely non-Biblical) Magisterium...

  14. JCF, yes. Where is Rick to 'splain it all to us. When you think about it, though, it's not Rome that needs to explain, but the logic of the departing clerics in the Church of England that calls for clarification. I still want to know if John Broadhurst presently presides at the Eucharist under his soon to be null and void orders.


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