Damian Thompson: Bishop of London tells Ordinariate worshippers: we don’t want you using our churches

7 12 2010

From Holy Smoke:

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, had long had a reputation for being less appreciative of Roman Catholicism, shall we say, than many of his High Church colleagues. So the following statement he made to the London diocesan synod strikes me as entirely in character. (H/T: Ordinariate Portal.) In it, he tells London clergy and worshippers joining the Ordinariate that he will NOT let them take any buildings with them, and he’d rather they didn’t share Anglican churches with C of E congregations but took themselves off to the Italian Mission to the Irish. (OK, so he didn’t use that last phrase, but he might as well have.) Here’s the statement. Oh, and for more background on this delightful prelate, here’s an article I wrote about him in the Spectator a few years ago.

There does however seem to be a degree of confusion about whether those entering the Ordinariate like Bishop John might be able to negotiate a transfer of properties or at the least explore the possibility of sharing agreements in respect of particular churches. For the avoidance of confusion I have to say that as far as the Diocese of London is concerned there is no possibility of transferring properties. As to sharing agreements I have noted the Archbishop of Westminster’s comment that his “preference is for the simplest solutions. The simplest solutions are for those who come into Catholic communion to use Catholic churches”. I am also mindful that the late Cardinal Hume, whom I greatly revered, brought to an end the experiment of church sharing after the Synod’s decision of 1992 because far from being conducive to warmer ecumenical relations it tended to produce more rancour.

Nicely crafted phrasing, don’t you think? I couldn’t possibly say, looking at it, whether the reference to “rancour” is hypothetical, a prophecy or a threat.


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