As the details begin to emerge of the Ordinariate for England and Wales, there is a danger of losing sight of how other people feel. Fr David Houlding gave an interview to Ruth Gledhill. It has been on YouTube, but it is difficult to grasp an interview at one hearing. So I have transcribed it, in the hope that it will help others to understand just where one of the proponents of SSWSH stands.
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Fr David Houlding SSC
I am concerned by the direction the Church of England seems to be going. That's one of my reasons for staying in the Church of England. I do believe in the C of E and I love it very much.
We don’t want it to appear as though we are criticising our friends… who have decided they have to move to the Catholic Church to seek communion with the See of Peter — that it is a very honourable catholic thing to do. So I think we have not been able to say anything.
But nor do we think we are betraying the cause by staying in the C of E. We’ve still got a job to do for the church, and we’ve still got to fight for the catholic understanding of the church. And therefore that’s where we are: it’s important that we carry on and don’t just give up.
R.G. I think people well be very relieved — people such as myself for example — that the church is not losing its entire catholic wing. But yet Fr Broadhurst intends to remain as chairman of FiF?
Yes. He is. Now whether that will last, I think, is very difficult because Forward in Faith, whatever he says, is an Anglican organisation; it is a political body fighting for a catholic future within the C of E. If you actually feel that is no longer achievable for perfectly good, understandable reasons, then you do have to leave it behind; I think sometimes the things that you love… Bishop John has loved Forward in Faith. It’s been his life. He probably finds it very hard to leave it behind.
R.G. And of course members of FiF love Bishop John; but are you really saying that he should resign?
Yes… because he doesn’t have any integrity by staying. I don’t think it will help him to move things forward in the C of E if he does stay.
R.G. Father John?
This is not to criticise him; this is not personal. He’s been a friend of mine for many, many years. I think for him he is doing the right thing. It is not a criticism of any of the bishops. Rather it is an endorsement that they must leave things behind in order for us to move things forward.
R.G. Are they all in FiF?
Yes they are.
R.G. Do you hold a position in FiF?
I’m a member of the Council. No more than that.
We have a lot of work to do. We have to move things forward. But we can’t do it, if you like, with a mixed agenda.
R.G. And is it the view of the Council that they should all resign?
I think it’s the view of the Council that we need to put a new leadership in place to move things forward. I think that’s generally the overall feeling that I pick up.
(Spy cartoon of Bp of London and of Fr Mackonchie)
That’s Fr Mackonochie and he started up SSC; And I’m now the Master of the SSC.
Of course I looked at the Roman option with interest; for the catholic position as it were comes from the Roman Catholic Church and there is obviously going to be an obvious closeness; that means that we don’t just make the rules up as we go along, that we do look for authority from the wider catholic church in the decisions that we have to make in the C of E. There is something about that Church of England its identity and the reason for its existence that is catholic; it is the Catholic Church in this land.
R.G. I know you’ve been among those working hardest behind the scenes to try and create some sort of provision which is acceptable to all sides in this. But at the moment it doesn’t look as though it will work. What will you do if it just goes though without provision?
Well that is of course the $1000 Question. I don’t know the answer. I cannot believe that things will… but I agree with you. It does look very difficult at the moment. Because we don’t want to create a separate church on the one hand which is in danger of doing that.
R.G. It’s a sort of 45th diocese rather than a free Province?
Yes, that’d be would be a very nice way of putting it.
R.G. We’ve seen this beautiful vicarage. What period is it?
Oh it’s 1894 — designed by the same person as the church.
R.G. Now various World War analogies have been flying around; Wallace Benn said he thought we were in January 1939; John Broadhurst said the Church of England is fascist. Do you believe we are in a war situation?
I think we are in a situation where we have to struggle for survival. I think when you are cornered — human beings are after all only human — when you are cornered you do feel very threatened and you’re angry. I get very angry about this issue sometimes. You do say things that are a little bit too forceful.
How many do you think will go to the Ordinariate?
I think at first it will be small; because we’re still not sure what the Ordinairate is or what they are offering. Some people are ready to go; if that’s where people are, I have no problem with it: they should go. But there are other people who aren’t ready to go — people like me who still feel there is still something to do in the Church of England, it is business as usual… We need to carry on doing our work. I don’t see the need to go at this particular point. And especially if you are involved in the discussions and the arguments like I am, and in the Synodical Process, I don’t think it's helpful just to back out now.
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There was a little more about Fr Houlding's parishioners, but above is the gist of the interviews. I am tempted to comment; but I think that is best left to readers of the interview, especially those who know Fr Houlding and heard him trying to commend SSWSH at the 'Sacred Synod'. And now, let's just be happy because we have the details of the Ordinairate for England and Wales, and what we are being offered is more than generous. Laus Deo!
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