- Fr. Barnes, when I interviewed you two years ago, you were an Anglican bishop. Now you are a Catholic priest. Are you happy with the change?
Yes, very happy indeed. No regrets.
- Has your relationship with God, with Our Lady, with the saints changed in any way?
I hope it has deepened, but that is not for me to judge
- Have you felt welcome in the Roman Catholic Church? Any bad experiences?
Thoroughly welcome; and no bad experiences at all.
- Have you received/are you receiving any training as a Catholic priest?
Yes, I attended an initial three-month course with weekly sessions at Allen Hall Seminary in Chelsea. Now, as a former Anglican bishop, I am not required to continue attending, but I do so on a monthly basis and intend to continue for the next two years. I am also receiving great help and support from local priests in developing a certain ‘Romanitas’.
- What are your current tasks in the Ordinariate? Do the priests of the Ordinariate work only with their Anglo-Catholic parishioners or do you also help at diocesan parishes?
I have temporary responsibility for an Ordinariate Group which meets twice each week in Bournemouth, in a Catholic Parish Church. I also assist in our local Catholic parish – I have said Mass there three times this week, and have also heard confessions. Besides this I join with other priests in the Pastoral Area and in the last two weeks have been present at two liturgies of reconciliation, hearing confessions. I have also spoken to groups of priests about the Ordinariate and have joined CCC (the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy).
- Have you petitioned the Holy See to be able to use mitre and crozier, as is your privilege as a former Anglican bishop?
No, nor shall I. I am simply a priest of the Ordinariate and am happy to remain so.
- How many priests and laymen are there now in Our Lady of Walsingham’s Ordinariate? Any religious men or women? And how many groups/parishes?
There are some hundred priests and around a thousand lay members, though this number is growing all the time. We have as yet no parishes established, but around fifty Groups either already formed or in formation. There are three women religious who are living in community in East London. Two male religious who came into the Church at the same time as us have joined an established Order. I understand there are likely to be others.
- I understand that the ‘second wave’ of the English Ordinariate will be received this Easter. Will it be as numerous as the first one?
There are, I think, about twenty men waiting to be ordained this summer. Many of them will bring groups of laity with them, though I do not know what numbers are involved. The Church of England is currently making decisions about attempting to ordain women as bishops. If and when this happens there are likely to be further Anglicans seeking to join the Ordinariate. Certainly there are more Anglican clergy considering their future.
- Has the English Ordinariate received or is it planning to receive any members from the TTAC or other continuing churches?
A Bishop of the Church of England who has led a TAC group is to be ordained later this month. I believe there may be four or five priests who are likely to be ordained after appropriate training. I know of one local TAC congregation most of whose members – about twenty – are to be received this year. They are receiving instruction from a Priest of the Ordinariate (among others).
- Are you planning to acquire your own churches, as the American Ordinariate, or will you continue to share the buildings with the dioceses?
At present we expect to continue sharing buildings, though in a few cases Ordinariate priests have been put in charge of existing parishes, and their Groups of Former Anglicans have joined them there.
- In your opinion, what are the main obstacles in the way of the English Ordinariate?
The English have a great attachment to buildings; the beautiful ancient parish churches, all in the hands of the Church of England since the Reformation, are the biggest single obstacle to the growth of the Ordinariate.
- Any special intention you would like our Spanish readers to pray for?
Pray, please, for the Church of England, many of whose members are in turmoil at present – not least because of Government decisions to undermine the sacramental nature of Marriage and extend it to those in same-sex partnerships; and that the members of the Ordinariate may be humble and welcoming towards those who feel rejected by the Church of England, but who are hesitant to commit themselves to the Catholic Church. Pray, too, that we may find the financial resources to train new priests, and support those, especially young priests with families, who have given up a great deal to join the Ordinariate.
Thank you for your interest in this great experiment which the Holy Father has enabled us to undertake.