The Ordinariates have to remain distinct: yet also they are a part of Catholic life in this country.  So today I joined priests from the Bournemouth, Avon and Stour Pastoral District on their Advent Day of Recollection.

It was a very happy experience.  There was some input from one of the brethren, Fr Bill Wilson, and everyone seemed ready to contribute to the discussion which his talks provoked.  It seemed a very good way to begin Advent, and we look forward to a similar occasion at the start of Lent.

We met in very comfortable surroundings, Wisdom House in Romsey.  This occupies part of the site of a one-time French Convent.  It was good to be at home so quickly with fellow priests, only a few of whom I'd met before today.  One though, my namesake Fr Bruce Barnes, worked in the Anglican Diocese of Portsmouth soon after I served my Title there, and it was very good to catch up with him again.

It is a stone's throw from another former Monastic building, Romsey Abbey.  That church, one of the loveliest in Hampshire, is now the Anglican parish church of the town.  The famous local family is the Mountbattens, and Lord Louis, cousin of the Royal Family, was laid to rest here.

Portsmouth Catholic Diocese has created a great facility in Wisdom House, and I look forward to coming here again in the future.

I can't leave Romsey without showing you its greatest jewel, the Rood, which, though much damaged, is still magnificent.  This early representation of the crucifixion pre-dates the distorted suffering figures of the Middle Ages. This Christ is not victim but Victor, his arms spread out to embrace the world, his feet side by side as though he stands erect.  It was the inspiration for the silversmith who created the pectoral cross which I wore as Bishop of Richborough.  To have an opportunity to continue in Ministry in old age is a great privilege — to Christ be the glory!

Author: Fr. Edwin Barnes

Bishop Barnes read theology for three years at Oxford before finishing his studies at Cuddesdon College (at the time a theological college with a rather monastic character). He subsequently served two urban curacies in Portsmouth and Woking. During his first curacy, and after the statutory three years of celibacy, he married his wife Jane (with whom he has two children, Nicola and Matthew). In 1967, Bishop Barnes received his first incumbency as Rector of Farncombe in the Diocese of Guildford. After eleven years, the family moved to Hessle, in the Diocese of York, for another nine years as vicar. In 1987, he became Principal of St Stephen’s House, Oxford. In 1995, he was asked by then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, to become the second PEV for the Province. He was based in St. Alban’s and charged with ministering to faithful Anglo-Catholics spread over the length of Southern England, from the Humber Estuary to the Channel Islands. After six years of service as a PEV, Bishop Barnes retired to Lymington on the south coast where he holds the Bishop of Winchester’s license as an honorary assistant bishop. On the retirement of the late and much lamented Bishop Eric Kemp, he was honored to be asked to succeed him as President of the Church Union. Both these appointments he resigned on becoming a Catholic in 2010. Fr. Barnes is now a priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, caring for an Ordinariate Group in Southbourne, Bournemouth.

1 thought on “Inculturation”

  1. Thank you Father for sharing your experience and also for sharing the pictures, particularly that of the pre-Reformation Rood. Just last week Fr. Bruce Noble showed me some photos of the restoration of a depiction of the Last Judgement at Holy Trinity, Coventry. I'm glad that my art history teacher of many years ago was wrong in saying that next to no pre-Reformation religious art survived in England.

    Please allow me to use your theme of inculturation to invite Americans to share their experience to date of inculturation in their own local dioceses. I would also like to learn from their experience of past or present observance of a couple of upcoming dates not prominently observed in my own Episcopal Church and Anglican experience: The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


    Fr. Bill Ledbetter,
    Assisting at St. Mary of the Angels, Hollywood

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