Bishop Alan Hopes clarifies Joint Contact Group status

15 04 2011

From the Ordinariate eBulletin:

Bishop Alan Hopes, Episcopal Delegate to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, has written to the Tablet to correct some inaccuracies regarding the Joint Contact Group established to liaise between the Church of England House of Bishops and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales. His letter, which is not published in this week’s edition, can be found on our website here.  Bishop Hopes states that “[t]he Joint Contact Group has no remit or oversight in relation to the establishment or the implementation of the Personal Ordinariate” but, rather, “to provide a forum for contact between the House of Bishops of the Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for discussion on pastoral and practical issues arising from the establishment of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham; and, to inform and advise the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference on specific pastoral issues, practical developments and any potential ecumenical implications”.

The full text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Ms Pepinster

I write in respect of the ‘News’ article by Christopher Lamb entitled “Ordinariate gets joint liaison group”.

The article states that the “Church of England and Catholic bishops have set up a joint liaison group to help to oversee the implementation of the British Ordinariate”. This, I must inform you, is inaccurate.

The establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus is the responsibility of the Personal Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, working in collaboration with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. The Joint Contact Group has no remit or oversight in relation to the establishment or the implementation of the Personal Ordinariate.

The Joint Contact Group was formed for a particular purpose and with a limited remit, namely: to provide a forum for contact between the House of Bishops of the Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for discussion on pastoral and practical issues arising from the establishment of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham; and, to inform and advise the Archbishop of Canterbury and the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference on specific pastoral issues, practical developments and any potential ecumenical implications. The Joint Contact Group has no decision making power or powers of oversight.

Yours sincerely

Right Reverend Alan Hopes, Episcopal Delegate

The original story, which appeared on the Tablet website, can be found below:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster agreed this week that it was too soon for Anglicans who join the ordinariate within the Catholic Church to share Anglican churches. Dr Rowan Williams cited “pastoral sensitivities” and Westminster Archbishop Vincent Nichols said ordinariate groups in Westminster could share Catholic churches. Archbishop Nichols stressed that the ordinariate should not be seen as “alternative ecumenism” with Anglicans. Three Anglican and three Catholic bishops are overseeing the implementation of the ordinariate: Anglicans Christopher Hill (Guildford), Anthony Priddis (Hereford) and Stephen Platten (Wakefield), and Catholics Thomas McMahon (Brentwood) and auxiliaries Alan Hopes and Paul Hendricks.

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