Ordinariate Reception

Photo: Fr. Tim Finigan

Last night the great and the good (and I) were in the throne room at Archbishop's House, Westminster for a special reception, sponsored by the Catholic Herald. The guest of honour was Cardinal Levada, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees the Ordinariate. He, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Mgr Keith Newton all made short speeches; I had hoped that one of them might use the occasion to release some exciting news (for instance about when an American Ordinariate might be set up), but I was disappointed; His Eminence deliberately side-stepped that one. Mgr Newton appealed eloquently for funds, and a quick glance around the room showed many who might be prepared to dip into their pockets to help.

And now, at the risk of this sounding like a Hello magazine article:

Several bishops were present besides the Archbishop; there were also the retired Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark (is London unique in having two metropolitan sees in one city; in fact the two cathedrals less than five miles apart?), Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood (another London see, sort of) Bishop Alan Hopes, auxiliary in Westminster, and another I didn't know; three abbots, of Douai, Buckfast and one other I didn't recognize.

The Ordinariate prelates were there, of course; Monsignori Broadhurst and Burnham, Frs Silk and our own Barnes, and several of the clergy including the now-famous Deacon James Bradley.

There were several historians, besides the Abbot of Douai, Dom Geoffrey Scott, there were the magisterial Jack Scarisbrick, the first 'revisionist' historian who revealed the real character of Henry VIII for the first time, and now the tireless campaigner for Life; Professor Eamon Duffy and John Martin Robinson.

There were many titled people there also, Lords and ladies; one I was pleased to see has no title, but he doesn't need one; Jack Eyston of Mapledurham, the descendent of St Thomas More, and his wife were there.

Someone pointed out to me Julian Fellowes, the man behind Downton Abbey, and Rocco Forte, the entrepreneur. No doubt there were many others that I should have recognized, but didn't.

Peter Sheppard, Luke Coppen and the staff of the Catholic Herald sponsored this event, and dispensed wonderful hospitality.

And finally, there were bloggers! Fr Tim Finigan and Fr Ray Blake have already written comments on their respective blogs. Fr Barnes is of course known to you already.

The point, of course, is a serious one. The Ordinariate cannot live on fresh air, and though Ordinariate parishes are likely to cost less than Anglican ones to run (without the crippling levies to be paid to Church House, for instance), as Mgr Newton pointed out, there are salaries and pensions to be found, and the expense of training new recruits. Those already ordained will continue to be trained by Fr Stephen Wang and his team for a further two years, he added, and then there are seminarians. One is already at St John's Seminary at Wonersh, where we pray he will be happy. All these things are expensive, and so if anybody reading this blog happens to have some money lying around that they don't know what to do with… please click here.

Author: Fr. Seán Finnegan

Born in 1961, Fr. Seán Finnegan studied at the University of St. Andrews and St. John’s Seminary, Wonersh, England. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on September 24, 1989 where he has spent the majority of his priesthood, apart from a few years in the Oratories of Oxford and London. He is presently the Parish Priest of the Parish of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Adur Valley, which is on the South Coast of England, not far from Brighton. Fr. Finnegan is the author of the exceptional blog Valle Adurni (the ancient Roman name for Shoreham, the main town of Fr. Finnegan’s parish, is supposed to have been Portus Adurni). He also teaches Early Church History at St. John’s Seminary.

9 thoughts on “Ordinariate Reception”

  1. What a great event! Thanks for posting this, Father.

    Concerning your hope that something might have been announced about our American Ordinariate… as nice as the hope was, I'm just as glad that such an announcement wasn't made at that occasion. I would hope we might receive word in a way which would be a little more direct and personal, rather than reading about it on the blogs and in the newspapers after the event!

  2. Fr Christopher: you're right, of course. It should certainly happen your side of the Atlantic. But some splendid announcement would have been nice.
    David Wagner: because one crept in by accident, and I couldn't find a way to remove it! Maybe someone with more skill than I have can do so.

  3. In response to one of the asides, I don't know if London is the only city with two *Latin-rite* Metropolitan sees based within its limits, but it is not the only city with two Latin Archdioceses based in its limits, or even with two metropolitan sees. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada has two Latin-rite cathedrals right across the Red River from each other: the Metropolitan Archdiocese of St-Boniface and the Archdiocese of Winnipeg's cathedral of St. Mary's. Meanwhile, the third "Archbishop" of Winnipeg is the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Catholics of Canada, the Archeparch of Winnipeg.

    Mind you, the multiple-rites argument probably introduces more contenders–at the very least, I know that the same Ukrainian rite, in the United States, has its Metropolitan in Philadelphia–same city as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Philadelphia of the Latin Rite.

    1. Thanks for noting that fact about my hometown of Philadelphia. Don't forget that the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn are within the same city limits.

      1. Also, to be very nitpicky, there are two in Washington, DC. The original shape of Washington was a diamond, with the Potomac River splitting the southwestern quadrant (much like the Thames splits out Southwark).

        Back in the 1850s, Congress "retroceded" this SW part to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Later, it was incorporated into the post-Civil War Diocese of Richmond (VA). Washington was part of the primatial Archdiocese of Baltimore.

        After the Second World War, the Archdiocese of Washington was carved out of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, so for three decades the sees of Washington and Richmond abutted each other at the Potomac.

        Then in the early 1970s, the Diocese of Arlington was spun off from the Diocese of Richmond. Arlington is now the Southwark to Washington's Westminster.

        So, kind of the same city (ancient boundaries), two dioceses. I must say that Arlington is truly one of the most orthodox and holy dioceses in all the land.

        1. In the "metropolitan area of Paris" (equaling the Greater London in population) in France, we have 7 dioceses! (we are the winner of the contest!). Paris (metrop. arch.), Nanterre, Créteil, Saint Denis, Versailles, Meaux, Pontoise & Evry.

          + PAX et BONUM

          1. That is certainly an impressive number of dioceses in one city; however the Metropolitical status was what made the difference in my question: are not the dioceses you list all suffragans of Paris?
            Again, let's not get confused; in Catholic Canon Law, a suffragan is a true bishop in a true see. A Metropolitan bishop, usually an Archbishop is primus inter pares among a group of suffragan dioceses. Hence, in Catholic terms, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are Metropolitans; Rochester, Guildford and Chichester are suffragans.
            Just to clarify for Catholic readers; a suffragan in a Church of England diocese (and possibly elsewhere) is an auxiliary bishop, albeit with a nominal title of a town or region.

  4. Thanks for the report, Father.

    I understand that Bishop Robert Mercer, CR was invited to the Reception, and was in attendance.

    I hope that the TAC (UK) will be part of the second wave.


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