Crispian Hollis, Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, announced his retirement earlier this year. He is approaching seventy-five, and is due to hand over his office to another. Yet when he ordained me four months ago, and more recently ordaining three ordinariate priests, he could not have been more pastoral and caring for us and our families.
He admitted that originally he was puzzled at the Holy Father's initiative with Anglicanorum Coetibus, and worked hard to understand it. Now he is one of its firmest advocates among the Catholic Bishops, and is determined to help us make it work.
Today he included us Ordinariate priests along with his Diocesan priests, sending us all a letter. He explains in it that he has been unwell, had had a scan, and that the likelihood is that he will have to face major surgery sometime in September — yet he is still determined to join the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes at the end of next month.
He asks us for our prayers — and I should like to extend that request to you reading this blog. He has proved a true Father in God to the Ordinariate in his diocese. We owe him a great deal — and praying is the very least, and the very best, we can do for him.
[These few photographs of Bishop Crispian picture him among his people, and at an Ordination.]
POSTSCRIPT: You may have seen that one of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England has been able to make a donation to the Ordinariate. There was a request from Msgr Newton for a much smaller donation from the Church Union. The request met with opposition from some of the Officers of the Union. Accordingly I shall not stand for re-election as President, and if you want to read my reasons you will find them at http://www.churchunion.co.uk/index.htm. Now I find that the link is not, apparently, working; you might need to Google Church Union and go from their Church Observer page to the Welcomepage. Good hunting!