Equity Rules

It must be hard enough to take that great step into that unknown which is the Ordinariate, but when your going is aided by men like the Area Dean of Waltham Forest, one Steven Saxby, it must be doubly trying. Take the case of the Vicar of S.Saviour, Walthamstow, in East London. Currently on leave as he prepares for his reception into the Catholic Church, he is due to resign his benefice on Palm Sunday, until which time, of course, he remains in his vicarage. Idly browsing the internet one evening, he discovered to his surprise that his parish had a website! Naturally, he explored further and discovered that Saxby was advertising himself there as ‘Acting Parish Priest’. Now, it doesn’t need a Cardiff Master’s degree in Canon Law to know that there is, in the polity of the Church of England, no such thing, so the Vicar not unnaturally sent an email to the Bishop of Chelmsford, enquiring, in the gentlest of terms, what was afoot. No one who knows Bishop Stephen Cottrell will be surprised by his reply: ‘Thank you for letting me know about the website that has been set up. I did not know about this . . . . you are right in pointing out that until you have resigned your living there is no vacancy in the parish. As you know, I have been at pains to do all that I can to ensure a smooth transition and I genuinely believe that this website, and some of the confusing information on it, is an unfortunate hiccough and not intended in any way to cause difficulty. . . . I am copying this email to the Bishop of Barking and the Archdeacon of West Ham so that they can make some discreet enquiries so that until resignations have gone through and vacancies happened, correct terminology can be used concerning those priests who are covering in the parish during your leave of absence.’ And, the very next day, the website had been amended and the offending description of Saxby deleted. So, full marks to Bishop Stephen for doing the right thing, and doing it quickly! No marks at all to the Area Dean, who is obviously a man on whom 30Days will need to be keeping an eye . . .

Purl beyond Price

Grateful thanks to The Daily Mail for news of Knit Your Own Royal Wedding – a snip at just £9.99, which will buy you knitting patterns to produce everyone you will need for the great day. Yes, you’ll be able to knit Her Majesty and a couple of her corgis, the Prince of Wales and his Duchess, Prince Philip, Prince Harry and, of course, the happy couple, not forgetting, with what the creator of the patterns describes as his ‘very distinctive wild hair and glasses’, the Primate of All England! Quite what Archbishop Rowan makes of it all is, thankfully perhaps, not recorded.

Breaking News

Red faces at The Catholic Herald, where, around lunchtime on Thursday 17 March, Chief Feature Writer Anna Arco posted a story to the effect that Frs Newton, Broadhurst and Burnham of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham had all been honoured by the Holy Father with the title of Monsignor. So far, so correct. She then went on: ‘Fr Keith Newton, the leader of the Ordinariate who has most of the functions of a bishop, and Fr John Broadhurst, the former Bishop of Fulham, have been granted the papal award of Apostolic Pronotary (sic), the highest ecclesial title for non-bishops. Fr Andrew Burnham, the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, has been granted the papal award of Prelate of Honour, and is therefore also a monsignor.’

As tat queens the length and breadth of Oxford endeavoured to find out what all this meant as far as the dressing-up box was concerned, others smelt a rat and wondered on the blogs why one of the three seemed to have been singled out for a lesser honour. Meanwhile, the Ordinariate website was announcing the news that the Ordinary had been elevated to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic, and that Frs Broadhurst and Burnham had been elevated to the rank of Prelate of Honour – all of which naturally made perfect sense. Sure enough, The Catholic Herald corrected its story by around midnight and, as news of the cock-up is of course safe with 30Days, it’s safe to say that no one will ever know. So: our very warmest congratulations to the three new Monsignori (along with our commiserations to any purple ferraioli gathering dust anywhere!)

And finally . . .

Many thanks to the 30DAys reader who spotted this story in The National Post of Toronto: Canadian Anglicans will hold discussions this spring about whetherbaptism is necessaryfortaking part in communion – questioning a requirement of Christianity that has existed for 2,000 years.

Apparently, the Revd Gary Nicolosi, of St. James Westminster Anglican Church in London, Ontario who is described as ‘an official Church consultant on how to build membership’ is reported as saying that ‘many who come to church do not feel welcome because they are not able to fully participate’. It is, apparently, ‘akin to inviting someone for Sunday dinner and not feeding them a meal’. The inconvenient fact that The Anglican Church of Canada is losing 13,000 members a year is, presumably, a testament to Mr Nicolosis success in the consultancy field.

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