The need for Confession

“…If there be any of you who…cannot quiet his own conscience…let him come to…some discreet and learned Minister of God’s Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God’s holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding all scruple and doubtfulness.”

Order of Holy Communion


The power of the Keys

“Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto…Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained.”

Book of Common Prayer The Ordering of Priests


“After which Confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences: And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Book of Common Prayer Visitation of the Sick

The Seal of the Confessional

“If any man confess his secret and hidden sins to the Minister, for the unburdening of his conscience, and to receive spiritual consolation and ease of mind from him; we…do straitly charge and admonish him, that he do not at any time reveal and make known to any person whatsoever the crime or offence so committed to his trust and secrecy…under pain of irregularity.”

The Canons of the Church of England


From the Bishop of Wakefield

From the Chairman of Forward in Faith

At its June meeting the Forward in Faith Council considered the letter from Miss Hole published in last month’s issue of New Directions and asked me to respond.

In our statement on ‘A Catholic Life in the Church of England’, published back in 2015, the Council of Bishops of The Society wrote: ‘We are particularly conscious of the situation of those who identify with The Society but live at some distance from one of our parishes.’ Addressing how we could ‘fill the gaps’, at least with regular celebrations of the Eucharist, is one of the many issues that we face. Our Projects Officer Anne Gray has made a start by identifying those areas that – like Miss Hole’s home in rural Worcestershire – are more than 20 miles from one of our parishes.

Our branches in the areas with few of our parishes naturally tend to be less strong than those with many parishes, but there are good examples of very small branches maintaining regular celebrations of the Eucharist for members in areas where we have no parishes. We shall be writing to the branches to encourage them to look at this issue in their areas, in conjunction with the Bishops’ Representatives.

 Meanwhile, I would encourage any member of Forward in Faith who is deprived of the sacraments to contact their Bishop’s Representative. (Their contact details are available by clicking on the Dioceses tab on the Society website and then on the name of the diocese concerned.) I will also be writing privately to Miss Hole.


+ Tony Wakefield

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson