This article is compiled by a priest of the Federation of Catholic Priests who values the support and nurture provided by the society, both at diocesan and national level. Many Anglican Catholic priests are members of FCP. In the majority of dioceses there are regular meetings and priests continue to develop their understanding of the theology and practise of priesthood. The aim is to remind all Catholic priests, both within and without the society of the importance of such a body.
Why a federation of Catholic priests?
FCP was originally started in the diocese of Lichfield and was established as a national organization in 1917 to present ‘a united front in the propagation and defense of the faith, worship, and discipline of the Catholic Church.’ The first chairman was Dr Darwell Stone of Pusey House. From the start it worked to promote Catholic faith and understanding and, in particular, campaigning for the public reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. Members met regularly to support each other in upholding traditional Catholic teaching. FCP soon became closely linked with maintaining a Catholic voice in the Church Assembly and, later, General Synod. At national level, delegates and members of the executive met for the annual Priests’ Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and held their own separate meeting (and mini-conference) after the pilgrimage. Today, the pilgrimage forms an integral part of the conference.
1992 and all that
Like most Catholic societies, FCP was severely damaged by events in the Church of England in 1992. By 1994, however, the organization had regained some of its nerve and voted overwhelmingly to continue its work of promoting the Catholic Faith among priests. It made this all the more clear by affiliating to Forward in Faith.
The Federation today
For the new century FCP has reorganized itself. In some dioceses the clergy meet together to discuss issues relating to the priesthood or to hear a speaker on a particular subject. (For example, Lichfield FCP arranges a pre-Lenten Quiet Day, a pilgrimage to an holy place, a study day, and an annual requiem for past members.) In other dioceses, numbers and distance makes meeting difficult. All FCP members are now invited to Walsingham for the Priests’ Pilgrimage – this includes the meeting of the National Council for formal business together with talks on the subject of priestly development and the building up of the Body of Christ. General news and the papers given at Walsingham are published in FCP’S annual Acta. This is sent to all members. FCP is also developing a series of leaflets which seek to address the needs and concerns of members. (Visit our website at www.priests.org.uk) Underpinning all the work of FCP is the Rule of Life.
The Federation of Catholic Priests is a society of men ordained priest according to the orthodox practice of the universal Church, and in communion with each other and with the See of Canterbury. Its members agree to live in accordance with the Catholic doctrine and practice of the Church. It exists:
– to serve the mission of the Church by strengthening and consolidating the spiritual life of its members according to the Catholic faith and practice;
– to propagate and maintain the Catholic faith, doctrine, and practice, and to defend truth against error;
– to unite its members in a special bond of mutual charity arising from their common faith and discipline;
– to encourage participation in the synodical deliberations of the Church so that the Catholic tradition is commended and maintained;
– to organize and sponsor meetings, conferences, teaching and study days, retreats, pilgrimages, and publications, on its own or with other organizations, in pursuance of the objects of the Federation.
Members of the Federation accept the Catholic and Apostolic Faith of the Church as Anglicans have received it – a faith expressed in the Scriptures, Creeds, Sacraments and Ministry. They commend that faith to others by teaching and example. They commit themselves to a rule of priestly life that will include:
– the frequent offering of the Eucharist with due preparation and thanksgiving, including the observance of the appointed Eucharistic fast;
– the daily recitation of the Divine Office;
– self-examination and use of the sacrament of reconciliation;
– the practice of mental prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures and the Fathers;
– prayer for the Federation, particularly at the Eucharist, the Divine Office, and when visiting the Blessed Sacrament.
For more information, contact the Membership Secretary:
The Revd Dr Lawson Nagel Aldwick Vicarage, 25 Gossamer Lane, Bognor Regis, West Sussex. P021 3AT (E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
‘IMMERSED IN PRIESTHOOD’
PILGRIMAGE TO THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM
TUESDAY OCTOBER 14th – FRIDAY OCTOBER 17th
The programme begins at 3.30pm and ends with mass and breakfast at 8.15am. The programme includes the usual pilgrimage devotions, together with talks given by:
The Bishop of Richborough The Bishop of Burnley Fr Jeremy Sheeny
Fr Stephen Bould (FCP Chairman)
COST – £104.80p
Further details are available from the Secretary General & Treasurer:
The Rev’d. Preb. B. R. Tubbs The Vicarage, Palace Place, Paignton, Devon. TQ3 3AQ