Ed Thornton writes at Church Times
The UK Ordinariate, which celebrated its first anniversary on Sunday, is to refrain from spending a £1 million grant until the Charity Commission has completed an investigation.
The Charity Commission said last year that concerns had been raised about the grant, which was made by the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS), a registered charity founded in 1862 to support the Catholic revival in the Church of England (News, 8 July). The trustees of the CBS said that the objectives of the Ordinariate were compatible with the charitable objects of the Confraternity.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Ordinariate said that the £1 million had been received, but would not be spent until the outcome of the Charity Commission investigation was known. “It is a dispute between the group of people disputing it [the donation] and the Confraternity. We are waiting to hear what the resolution will be.”
A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: “The Commission has met with the trustees of the Confraternity and also received a substantial amount of other information representing a range of views. We intend to provide a public statement on the outcome of our engagement in due course.” She said that it was likely to be “a matter of months, not weeks” before the investigation was concluded.
The Ordinariate spokesman said that it needed “at least £1 million a year” to operate, and that it was “still a struggle because we are setting everything up from scratch”. He said that some financial help had been provided by groups such as the St Barnabas Society and the Catholic League.
In a pastoral letter published on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the Ordinariate, its Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, admitted that there had been “disappointments and setbacks on the way”, but these had been “outweighed by the warmth of the welcome and the knowledge of being in communion with the See of Peter and countless millions across the world”.
He said that there was “a constant stream of men and women being received into the full communion of the [Roman] Catholic Church through the Ordinariate”; several new groups were expected to enter the Ordinariate before Easter; and “a number of ordinations to the priesthood” were expected to take place at Pentecost. There are also “several young men . . . exploring the possibility of ordination within the Ordinariate”.
Mgr Newton continued: “This is all extremely encouraging, but could be a strain on our limited financial resources. I ask you to be generous in your financial stewardship.”