Only a couple more days

Christmas is approaching fast!

There only remain a couple of days for us to complete our spiritual and material preparation (last purchases, a visit to the confessional, decorating the tree, etc.).

And only a couple of days for the US Ordinariate’s quarterly Observer magazine to be published in Advent, as we had been promised. The first and last issue was in July 2014, since when there has also been almost no activity on the Ordinariate website.

So we hope that the pressing work of administering the Ordinariate will permit some communications activity in the near future, as many inside and outside the Ordinariates are hungry for news from the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter.

This blog tries to collate and (re-)post as much information as we can find,  but this cannot replace the regular provision of official news from the Ordinariate headquarters, which is working well in the other two Ordinariates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Father John Hodgins on Robert Baldwin

Fr. John Hodgins of St. Thomas More, Toronto, writes the following assessment of Robert Baldwin, former Co-Premier of Canada, an ancestor of Fr. John’s wife, Jane, and after whom the parish’s home-schooling academy is named:

Robert Baldwin – The Great Reformer – A forerunner of the Ordinariate?

Could we say that Robert Baldwin, the nineteenth century architect of the union between colonies in British North America in what became the united Province of Canada, was a forerunner of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter as well as of the Confederation of Canada?

Were Baldwin’s religious views such that he was moving towards unity in religious matters as well as political?

These intriguing questions have their roots in the life of the Honourable Robert Baldwin (1804 – 1858). Born in Toronto (York) he was a contemporary of John Henry Newman and was, by his own admission, a high church Anglican who was conversant with the ideas of the Oxford Movement as they became known in the British colonies.

Certainly Robert Baldwin was a lifelong Anglican (technically a member of what was known as the Church of England in Canada at the time). His family had emigrated to North American in 1799 when his father, William Warren Baldwin, and grandfather, known as Robert the Emigrant, left County Cork in Ireland.

The Baldwin family had long experience of co-operating with Catholics in the politics of Ireland. In fact, it was this experience of the Baldwins, many of whom were lawyers and involved in the administration of the island, which moved them to promote what they termed “Responsible Government” i.e. government that was responsible to and/or elected by the population that it served. In the case of Ireland, the vast majority of these folk were Catholics.

The idea of Responsible Government was not pure democracy (if there is such a thing) but it did give the franchise initially to men who owned property and had a material stake in the welfare of their community.

The closure of the Irish Parliament and the concentration of power at Westminster in England at the close of the 18th Century was the last straw for Robert’s grandfather, Robert the Emigrant. He picked up with his son William Warren Baldwin (The Reformer’s father) and made for Upper Canada (later to become Ontario). There they hoped to work in the new world for Responsible Government still loyal to the British Crown.

Baldwin and LafontaineLong an opponent of aggressive Protestantism, Baldwin’s Secret Societies Bill, sought to outlaw the Orange Order and its political violence. His alliance with Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine was more than simply political. They were close friends and because Baldwin did not speak French, he saw to it that his children were all educated in French in Québec. His daughter Marie was reconciled to the Catholic Church following her education at the Ursuline Convent in Québec. She did not marry and nursed Baldwin in his final illness until his death.

Robert Baldwin had become, he told John Ross in December 1853, “rather a High Churchman as I understand the distinction between High and Low Churchman, though I trust without bigotry or intolerance”. (Dictionary of Canadian Biography). His concern was with maintaining the traditional internal government of the church and his views on the separation of Church from the power of the state was, he had argued, necessary to prevent the Church from becoming a political football.

He did not approve of any democratization of the church believing, in line with what the Oxford Movement held, that the Church should be governed according to her own apostolic principles and governance. He advocated for the right to Catholic Education against Protestant prejudice and the Orange Order.

Baldwin worked with both high and low churchmen as president of the Upper Canada Bible Society until 1856.

All of this and much more Baldwin and his colleagues accomplished with virtually no bloodshed, unlike the American, French and other republican movements. Truly Baldwin was a man of unity and would likely see the Ordinariate and its witness to unity as a development which he and Newman could support.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Rector of Walsingham National Shrine appointed

Despite Mgr. Andrew Burnham’s recent suggestion, the newly announced next Rector of the Roman Catholic National Shrine in Walsingham is unfortunately not a member of the Ordinariate. The Bishops of England and Wales were obviously not inclined to make a prophetic gesture of this kind. The priest who has been appointed, Monsignor John Armitage, is, however, a good friend of Walsingham and also of the Ordinariate. The following report is taken from the website of Brentwood diocese:

The parish priest at the Royal Docks and vicar general of the diocese is to leave his beloved East End for the National Shrine of Our Lady.

Monsignor John Armitage has been appointed as the Rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, Norfolk. He takes up his appointment on Ash Wednesday 18th February 2015. His appointment is for five years.

Monsignor John ArmitageMgr. Armitage is currently parish priest of the Royal Docks in London’s East End and has served for the last 11 years as vicar general of the Brentwood Diocese. He was born in Canning Town, and studied for the priesthood at Oscott College, being ordained on 16th June 1979 by Bishop Patrick Casey. He was the first director of the Catholic Children’s Society Brentwood, and then vocations director for 10 years and chairman of the National Vocations Directors’ Conference. He was chairman of governors of St Bonaventure’s Catholic Boys’ School in Forest Gate for 12 years. He has served as a trustee of the Apostleship of the Sea, and is currently chairman of the Trustees of Caritas Anchor House, a residential centre for single homeless men and women in Canning Town.

Mgr Armitage said: “I first visited Walsingham as a seminarian in 1976, and since that visit have had a great devotion to our Lady of Walsingham. Each year I have attended the Youth 2000 Festival, and spent part of my holidays in the village. Although born and bred in London’s East End, I have a particular love for Norfolk, my great grandmother having come from Holt. I have lived in the East End for most of my life, where it has been a real joy to minister to the most wonderful people in the parishes in which I have served. I know I will find it hard to leave my parish, but as the local saying goes: ‘you can take a boy out of the East End but you can’t take the East End out of the boy’; I take them all with me in prayer as I go to serve this most ancient shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham. The message of the Annunciation is ‘do not be afraid’; this proclamation to all God’s people, to trust in God’s unconditional love, is the heart of Our Lady’s ‘yes’. In the spirit of the new evangelisation may Walsingham continue to play its part in calling all men and women to a conversion of heart, bringing healing, unity and peace in our lives.”

The Bishop of East Anglia, Bishop Alan Hopes, said: “I am delighted that Mgr John Armitage has accepted the appointment to be the new Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. He has been coming to Walsingham since 1976 and has a deep devotion to and love for Our Lady and her shrine. He will bring to this responsibility a huge amount of pastoral and practical experience with a love for people and especially for the most deprived and vulnerable of our society. Building on his predecessors’ work, I know that he will bring vision, enthusiasm and boundless energy to the task before him.

“I would like to thank the Marian fathers for the ministry they have carried out in Walsingham over these past decades; I would also like to express my gratitude to Bishop Alan Williams for releasing Mgr Armitage from the Diocese of Brentwood for the next five years.”

Bishop Alan Williams, who was director of the Shrine before his episcopal ordination as Bishop of Brentwood, said: “I offer Mgr John my warmest congratulations and wish him well in this new role.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

President Obama acknowledges Pope Francis’ political influence on the Pope’s 78th birthday

Happy birthday pope FrancisAd multos annos!

On today’s 78th birthday of Pope Francis, President Obama has announced moves to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba, and twice in his speech acknowledged the role that His Holiness Pope Francis played in this political process – praise indeed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sorry I missed this one: Philip North is new Bishop of Burnley

Fr Philip NorthIt is perhaps appropriate that on this noteworthy day of the appointment by the Church of England of the first woman bishop, thus departing from the tradition of the churches of the first millennium, we should reflect on the following:

On 7th November 2014 it was announced that Father Philip North CMP, former Administrator of the Anglican Shrine in Walsingham and currently Team Rector at Old St. Pancras in London, has been appointed the new Bishop of Burnley, Suffragan bishop in the diocese of Blackburn.

This is significant for a number of reasons, not least because of Fr. Philip’s withdrawal two years previously from his appointment as Bishop of Whitby after massive protests from the local C of E faithful because of his stance against women bishops.

At the time, the Church Times had announced:

In a statement issued by the diocese of London, Fr North said: “It was a great honour to be chosen for this role, and I had been very much looking forward to taking up the position. However, in the light of the recent vote in the General Synod, and having listened to the views of people in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland, I have concluded that it is not possible for me, at this difficult time for our Church, to be a focus for unity. I have therefore decided that it is better to step aside at this stage.

“I have reached this decision after a time of deep reflection and feel sure that it is for the best. I now look forward to refocusing my energies on the pastoral needs of my parish.”

To explain why he has accepted a second episcopal appointment, Fr. North has now announced:

“Some of you might be aware that I withdrew from an appointment as Bishop of Whitby. The fact that I have been invited and have agreed to serve as a Bishop again is testimony to the very different mood across the Church of England since the understandable disappointment that followed the failure in 2012 of the legislation to enable women to be bishops.

The Church has stated afresh its commitment to enabling all traditions to flourish within its life and structures, and I hope that my appointment will be seen as evidence of that pledge.”

We can only hope that the Church of England indeed remains true to this commitment and that Bishop-elect North is not ultimately disappointed.

Two years before his appointment to Whitby, Philip North had made rather a name for himself when in a speech at Pusey House in Oxford he publicly refused Pope Benedict’s offer to join the ordinariate in Britain. He had pointed at the specific advantage that the CofE enjoys as a result of Establishment, namely that the vicar of a Church of England parish has the cure of the souls of all the residents of the parish, something which Fr. North highly cherishes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Revd Libby Lane is named first C of E woman bishop

(From the official Church of England website:)

Downing Street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport – and the first woman bishop in the Church of England – will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter’s, Hale, and St Elizabeth’s, Ashley.

Rev Libby Lane first Cof E bishopessAs Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minster on Monday 26 January 2015.

Libby Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the North of England in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past 8 years she has served as Vicar of St. Peter’s, Hale, and St. Elizabeth’s, Ashley.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West.

Speaking at Stockport Town Hall where she was announced as the new Bishop of Stockport Libby Lane said: “I am grateful for, though somewhat daunted by, the confidence placed in me by the Diocese of Chester. This is unexpected and very exciting. On this historic day as the Church of England announces the first woman nominated to be Bishop, I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God.

“The church faces wonderful opportunities, to proclaim afresh, in this generation, the Good News of Jesus and to build His Kingdom. The Church of England is called to serve all the people of this country, and being present in every community, we communicate our faith best when our lives build up the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable. I am excited by the possibilities and challenges ahead.” (see video below)

Responding to news of the announcement the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu, said: “It is with great joy that on January 26, 2015 – the feast of Timothy and Titus, companions of Paul – I will be in York Minster, presiding over the consecration of the Revd Libby Lane as Bishop Suffragan of Stockport. Libby brings a wealth of experience in parish ministry, in hospital and FE chaplaincy, in vocations work and the nurture of ordinands. I am delighted that she will exercise her episcopal ministry with joy, prayerfulness, and trust in God.

“When the General Synod rejected the previous proposals in November 2012, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote to ‘pour some balm on (my) wounded heart’. That year, he encouraged me, his province was finally celebrating the election of two women bishops. ‘Be comforted’, he said, ‘it will come.’

“When I wrote to him last weekend to offer my prayers for his battle with prostate cancer, he replied with these words: ‘Wonderful that you over there will soon have women bishops. Yippee! I know you have pushed for this for a long time. Yippee again!’

“Praise be to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all in England!”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “”I am absolutely delighted that Libby has been appointed to succeed Bishop Robert Atwell as Bishop of Stockport. Her Christ-centred life, calmness and clear determination to serve the church and the community make her a wonderful choice.

“She will be bishop in a diocese that has been outstanding in its development of people, and she will make a major contribution. She and her family will be in my prayers during the initial excitement, and the pressures of moving”.

The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, said: “Libby has had a varied and distinguished ministry, and is currently a first-rate parish priest. She has already demonstrated her ability to contribute nationally through her representative role in the House of Bishops, on behalf of the north-west England dioceses.

“As the first woman bishop in the Church of England she will face many challenges as well as enjoying many opportunities to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ. I have no doubt that she has the gifts and determination to be an outstanding bishop.

“I am delighted at her designation as Bishop of Stockport after a lengthy process of discernment across the Church of England and beyond.”

The nomination of Libby as the new Bishop of Stockport was approved by the Queen and announced today (Wednesday 17 December 2014). Libby succeeds the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, who is now the Bishop of Exeter.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A message from Father Jason Catania

The new priest in charge of the Sodality of St. Edmund, King and Martyr, in Kitchener, ON, Canada, Father Jason Catania, who has now been in office for less than two weeks, has written the following message to his congregation, in which he gives an insight into his background and some of his plans for the immediate future at St. Edmund’s:

Dear Friends in Christ,

Father Jason CataniaA blessed and holy Advent to you all. I am most pleased to be writing to you as the new priest in charge of the Sodality of St. Edmund, King and Martyr. Please permit me to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and to share some initial thoughts about the future of St. Edmund’s. As most you know, I am an American, but please don’t hold that against me. Originally from New Jersey, I was ordained in the Episcopal Church (the body to which most American Anglicans belong) in 2000. I come to Ontario from Baltimore, Maryland where until recently I was the priest administrator of Mount Calvary Church. I became rector of Mount Calvary in 2006, when it was an Episcopal parish. In 2010, the parish and I discerned a call to separate from the Episcopal Church in order to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. After lengthy negotiations with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, we reached an agreement to keep our church property, and on January 22, 2012, the congregation and I were received into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. On June 9 of that year, I was ordained a Catholic priest by the Most Reverend William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore.

Having just arrived at my new home in the rectory of St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows Catholic Church in Kitchener, I am still getting settled in, and I have only barely begun to get to know the people of St. Edmund’s and the Catholic scene here in the Tri-City area. But my initial impression is that St. Edmund’s move to St. Mary’s affords the congregation with significant opportunity for growth, and for ministry to the wider community. I commend the people of St. Edmund’s for your persistence in remaining together since coming into the Church in January 2012, and appreciate the support provided to you by Fr. Foote and the Diocese of Hamilton.

Yet now, with a more central location and a more convenient Sunday Mass time, I believe St. Edmund’s has the potential to be more than just a safe refuge for its original members within the Catholic Church, but to become a center from which to share the best of our Anglican tradition with the Catholic community in Kitchener and beyond.

In his apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, by which he called for the creation of personal ordinariates for former Anglicans within the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI refers repeatedly to the “Anglican patrimony”. To me, this phrase suggests, first and foremost, the historic liturgical practice (codified and purified for Catholic worship) proper to Anglicanism. We see this expressed in the liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, the Burial of the Dead, and especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which thus far comprise “Divine Worship”, the provision approved by the Holy See for use by the Ordinariates. A key component of the worthy celebration of these rites is the musical expression which is so characteristic of historic Anglican liturgical practice. For that reason, I am looking forward to making St. Edmund’s Sunday Mass a weekly full Sung Mass, incorporating the hymns, chants, settings of the Ordinary of the Mass, and other music which characterize the best of our Anglican heritage. I also hope to supplement the Sunday Mass with weekday celebrations and seasonal observances. And since the sacrament of Penance is of such vital importance to the spiritual life of every Catholic, each Mass at St. Edmund’s will be preceded by opportunity for confession.

Beyond the liturgy, I also view teaching and fellowship as integral components of our Anglican patrimony. Therefore I expect to provide regular teaching on various aspects of the Catholic faith, most likely on a weekday evening. Finally, given the fact that one of the elements which so often draws people to Ordinariate communities is a greater level of intimacy amongst the laity and between laity and clergy than one finds in the typical Catholic parish, I hope to follow each Mass with some opportunity for fellowship. This would take the form of sharing in refreshments, as well as occasional dinners and other events.

As I am just beginning my ministry to St. Edmund’s, it will take a little time before all these things can be put in place. And of course, I will of necessity rely on the help and support of the current members and friends of the congregation. Furthermore, I will also be exercising my priestly ministry in some capacity in the Diocese of Hamilton, at the direction of Bishop Crosby. Nonetheless, I have great hope that my time among you will be fruitful. I ask for your prayers and that I might be an instrument, by the grace of God, in helping St. Edmund’s become a true beacon of Anglican patrimony and orthodox Catholic witness in this place.

Wishing you all a blessed Advent and a happy Nativity,

Father Jason Catania, December 10, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments