Transcript: Ed Stourton interviews Bishop Alan Hopes

21 11 2010

From BBC Radio 4: Sunday on Sunday 21 November 2010:

ES: The Roman Catholic Church here has laid out a timetable for establishing the Ordinariate, […] the body which will allow disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church while maintaining some of their own traditions.  Bishop Alan Hopes is a member of the commission which is preparing for the new body and he is on the line. Good morning.

+AH: Good morning, Ed.

ES: And you want it done pretty quickly? Things up and running by the beginning of next year?

+AH: Yes, it appears to be a rather quick thing but I suppose it has to be put into the context of what has been an ongoing discussion for these clergy and their people for a number of years.

ES: But do you think you think you can do it in that time in practical terms, because there are big issues to settle: the money, for example.

+AH: Yes, there are some big issues about housing and how we finance any of the clergy who come, through the Ordinariate, but I think the bishops of England & Wales who met this week are confident that they will be able to meet the deadline, as it were.

ES: But can you come up with the money?  I think at the moment you’ve got a start-up fund of around quarter of a million pounds…

+AH: Yes, the bishops have very generously given a quarter of a million pounds and I think we’re seeking ways in which we can find money from other funds.  We’re actively engaged in that.

ES: Because you could be looking at clergy from the Church of England coming over, with their families, used to a certain level of support which is greatly in excess of what a celibate Catholic priest would get.

+AH: Yes, indeed, I think what we’re looking for are various chaplaincies which may be able to help them in their financial straits.  But also, I think, the Ordinariate norms allow for converting clergy to take on secular work as well as the work of caring and pastoring their people.

ES: So they’d have a job as well as being…

+AH: Yes, indeed.

ES: What about the vexed questions of buildings, of churches, have you had any discussions with the Anglican Church about whether it might be possible, if for example a whole parish or most of a parish come out of the Anglican Church and into the Ordinariate, for them to continue using their church or to own their church?

+AH: Yes, we haven’t had any discussion yet with members of the Church of England but I know that one or two of them, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, has indicated that they might be ready to think about this. I think it would have to be a matter for discussion in the Church of England and a discussion at the local level, wherever an Ordinariate group was set up.

ES: If parish churches start becoming Roman Catholic churches, in many cases again because some of them, many of them, are pre-Reformation, it’s bound to fuel that suspicion that some people are going to have, that this is effectively a mechanism for the Roman Catholic Church achieving its ambition to reconvert England.

+AH: I don’t think that comes into our thinking really, but we’re hoping to proclaim the gospel in the best possible way and we do that, of course, in an ecumenical context, as well, and the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, has placed this whole business of the Ordinariate firmly in the overall context of our ecumenical journey, which seeks communion in faith and that fullness of unity for which Jesus prayed.

ES: Bishop Alan Hopes, thank you very much indeed for talking to us this morning.


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