Deborah Gyapong on The Anglo-Catholic’s Hiatus

Deborah Gyapong comments on her blog, Foolishness to the world, on the breaking events of this morning:

The Anglo-Catholic blog is officially on hiatus now, first with Fr. Christopher Phillips announcement that he was taking a break, then with moderator Christian Campbell’s announcement.

First of all, I want to thank Christian Campbell for creating and hosting the blog, which in its heyday was the go-to source for information, speculation and encouragement for everyone interested in Anglicanorum coetibus.  He did a great job in finding excellent voices from around the world from the Church of England, from the Traditional Anglican Communion, and from Anglican Use Catholics and former Anglicans who had already become Catholic.

It was wonderful to be part of it.  I had a lot of fun writing for it and I am grateful I was asked to be on the masthead.

I departed from the Anglo-Catholic twice for reasons of wanting to distance myself from editorial stands that seemed to be forming, first against Archbishop John Hepworth, and secondly against Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson.

When I was told that only the moderator would be posting on the contentious liturgy matter concerning Steenson and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,  I decided that my silence might look like editorial agreement.

It’s kind of interesting to see some of the speculation showing up in the comments sections of various blogs, or over at Fr. Anthony Chadwick’s blog, hinting that all of us have been darkly told “from above,” perhaps even a phone call from Msgr. Steenson himself to shut up about internal Ordinariate matters.

Alas, I’m on my mother’s Mac and I haven’t figured out how to cut and paste so I cannot supply the links or chunks of text I would like.

Well, I’m sure that Msgr. Steenson is media savvy enough to know that a phone call to a journalist or a blogger telling them to be quiet would potentially have the opposite effect.   While he is soon to be my ordinary and I owe him loyalty and obedience in faith and morals by virtue of his position, I am not under his jurisdiction in terms of what I write about the Ordinariates.  In other words, I reserve my journalistic independence, both as a reporter and a blogger.  What I will guarantee him and anyone else I write about, is fairness and my best efforts at objectivity.   When I saw a tightening editorial stand at the Anglo-Catholic that did not reflect my views, I had to distance myself.

In fact, no archbishop or cardinal in the Catholic Church would tell me what to write though I have had some gentle suggestions from time to time that have been helpful but not bullying.  They could complain to my superiors, (which has happened but only once to my knowledge, but my editors in that instance defended me.)  I write primarily for papers that are owned by dioceses so bishops are the owners and publishers.  But while papers are expected to participate in the mission of the Church in terms of seeing through the lens of the Magisterium and highlighting news about Catholics in the public square or in their contributions to the common good, bishops do not generally interfere with the day to day operation of the papers.  And Catholic journalists have worked hard to carve out that independence because we know our credibility is shot when we are perceived as mere public relations shills.

As for Fr. Phillips reasons for pulling away, well, I think we should take his statement on the Anglo-Catholic at face value.   He wishes the Ordinariates well but he is not involved in them right now and has other matters occupying his attention, such as ensuring the continuing flourishing of his own parish and school.  I would find it extremely hard to believe that he got a phone call from his own archbishop or Msgr. Steenson ordering him to stop blogging on the Anglo-Catholic!

The Anglo-Catholic served its purpose and it did a great job and it would be nice to see more people remembering what was so great about it than to only think of the negative or to hint at some kind of dark dictatorial authority shutting it down…

The whole piece here.

 

Clergy Told: Never Be Alone with Children

Is it not sad that things have come to this?

Clergy will be reminded never to be alone with children under new rules proposed by an inquiry into sexual abuse in the Church of England.

They will also be expected to keep records of all meetings with parishioners, while priests accused of abuse will be immediately suspended, it was reported.

Investigators looking into child protection policies following child abuse scandals in the Diocese of Chichester found that safeguarding had fallen “woefully short” of what should be expected.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury who set up the inquiry, said its interim report “confirms that there have been many and longstanding failures in implementing a robust and credible safeguarding policy in the Diocese of Chichester”.

In May last year, a review found serious failings in the senior clergy after two priests were allowed to continue working despite being accused of serious child abuse offences.

Colin Pritchard was the vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, until 2007, despite having been first reported to police over sex offences 10 years earlier. He was later jailed for sexually abusing two young boys.

One of the boys was also abused by Roy Cotton, who worked as a parish priest in Brede near Rye, but prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to charge him before he died in September 2006.

Dr Williams said: “The abiding hurt and damage done to (the victims of abuse) is something that none of us in the Church can ignore, and I am deeply sorry that they should have been let down by those they ought to have been able to trust.

“I hope they will believe that we take their experience seriously: we owe them not only our words of apology but our best efforts to make sure that in the future our churches will be safe places for children and vulnerable people of all ages.”

The interim report confirmed there had been “many and longstanding failures” in implementing a robust and credible safeguarding policy in the Chichester diocese, putting children and others at risk.

Dr Williams added: “The problems relating to safeguarding in Chichester have been specific to that diocese rather than a reflection of failures in the legal processes or national policies of the Church of England.”

But areas were identified where lessons learned from Chichester could inform national Church policy.

Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC, who were appointed as commissaries to conduct the inquiry, wrote: “It has been particularly distressing to us to have met people whose lives have been deeply wounded by the abuse they have suffered at the hands of clergy and of lay people holding positions of responsibility in the Church. Sadly, these wounds often refuse to heal.”

The diocese had “an appalling history in these matters”, they said.

“It is clear to us that many lives have been blighted…We are clear that those who have sought justice through the courts are but the tip of the iceberg.”

The authorities in the diocese were “very slow” to recognise what was happening, they added, and called for “a radical change of culture in the diocese”

They made 32 recommendations which include that the “dysfunctionality” within the senior diocesan team must be urgently addressed, that all clergy must have up-to-date Criminal Records Bureau checks, and all clergy should undergo regular training in safeguarding.

Compare the above to the following Scripture, and join me in wondering what has become of the world…

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

- St Matthew 19:14

Fr Christopher Phillips Leaves The Anglo-Catholic

And as I said when Deborah Gyapong announced her hiatus from the Anglo-Catholic blog: Good! The blog is but a shadow of what it once was and with them (Deborah Gyapong and Fr Phillips) gone, there will not be much going on that is worth your while.

But fear not, there are still plenty of ways to follow Fr Phillips:

I’ve been posting articles on The Anglo-Catholic for a little over two and a half years. Many of them I’ve written myself, and others I have reposted from different sources. I hope most of them have been helpful, and I trust they have been a positive support for the Ordinariates. That has always been my intention and purpose.

Right now there seems to be a bit of a lull in any Ordinariate news to write about, and I think it’s most likely because Ordinariate activity is more of an internal thing at this particular time. It’s probably best for those of us outside the Ordinariates to back off a bit and let things work out.

To that end, I’ll be taking an indefinite break from posting on this blog. Of course, all my previous articles remain, and I’ll continue my own blog, AtonementOnline, as well as my Facebook musings.

There’s plenty to keep me busy at Our Lady of the Atonement Church and The Atonement Academy – something in the neighborhood of 3,000 people to care for spiritually, plus there’s a major building expansion that’s very much needed to accommodate the increased number of students applying for admission. I won’t be twiddling my thumbs, I promise!

The Ordinariates are dear to me, and it’s been a privilege to be able to encourage so many to seek their true home in communion with Rome through this wonderful vision of Pope Benedict XVI.

If you have been over to the Anglo-Catholic blog, you would have noticed that the moderator, Mr Christian Clay Columba Campbell, has for some time now been pushing his own new personal blog (with every posting made). And so the notice of a general hiatus coming shortly after Fr Phillips’ would also not come as any great surprise:

From this moment there will be an indefinite pause here on The Anglo-Catholic.  The purpose of this blog from the start has been to encourage the development of Personal Ordinariates according to the will of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, as expressed in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and the preservation and propagation of that Anglican Patrimony in harmony with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  I believe that we have played an important role in the formation of the existing Personal Ordinariates, and I hope a positive one.  Unfortunately, the powers that be have made it known that our help is not wanted at this time.  In deference to them, this blog will comply and leave them to their business.  Please pray for the Ordinariates, especially that of the Chair of St. Peter.

I just think that there’s simply no one left to post anything worth reading over there. So, goodbye.

UPDATE I:  Fr Anthony Chadwick, who too was formerly a guest (contributor) at the Anglo-Catholic, shares his thoughts on the above news:

… I was first contacted by Christian Campbell on 29th November 2009 to ask me whether I would become a contributor on this promising new blog. I accepted, and contributed a number of articles – which are still there. Finally, I discovered that the blog had its own “orthodoxy” and “police”, and my increasing resistance to the pensée unique ended with a rupture. I set up my own blog called the English Catholic, and this met with my expulsion from the Anglo-Catholicin the last days of August 2010.

It now seems to be common knowledge that Christian Campbell went off on his own tangent after his reception into the Roman Catholic Church. I found out very early on that he was going to a chapel of the Society of St Pius X and had adopted the traditionalist ideology. Fair enough, but hardly representative of the Rome-ward movement of “groups of Anglicans”. This culminated with polemics concerning the use of the pre-conciliar Roman rite in the ordinariates, whether in Latin or the Cranmerese English form in the English Missal. This and other issues caused Deborah Gyapong to pull out, since this kind of discussion would tend to discredit other Anglicans on their way over, but less concerned about the exact rite to be used. I have been quite surprised by some things CCCC put on his Facebook page, but they are entirely irrelevant to me and concern only his personal life.

Now, Fr Christopher Phillips has pulled out too, and Campbell himself has announced an indefinite hiatus. We might suppose that Monsignor Steenson has told those who are now Roman Catholics that ordinariate business is private and not to be discussed on blogs. That seems to ring with my recent article on secrecy, but I am not myself concerned with any Ordinariate anywhere. I will not speculate, but with no discussion and no coverage of any kind, the internal business of a “private club” is irrelevant to nearly all of us, as would be the yearly accounts of some provincial golf club in England.

There is an old quip about gentlemen’s clubs in London – that you know a member has died when there is an ungodly stench coming from behind the newspaper!

Fr Phillips, as a priest under jurisdiction, would have seen the need not to provoke problems for himself or his ministry. Similarly, Deborah Gyapong is a respected journalist and maintains excellent relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. It is a question of professional integrity and keeping squeaky clean.

Sic transit gloria mundi. The Anglo-Catholic met a less radical demise than my English Catholic blog which I deleted. Campbell has his personal blog on which he writes about the things that interest him. I do the same thing here, but on different subjects and from another perspective…

Read the whole post here.

UPDATE II:  Deborah Gyapong comments on the above here.

 

Rhythm, Repetition, and the ‘Book of Common Prayer’

The distinctive aspect of the Cranmer liturgy is that it is in English — and a particular form of stately English whose wording may seem antique but whose rhythms retain a classic beauty. I wouldn’t, and can’t, write the same way. Yet passages like those after the jump have stuck in my mind as the pure idea of how sentences should be paced, should repeat for emphasis yet also vary, should end…

The whole piece here.

 

The New Ordinariate Office

For the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

We’ve had space to work in the offices of the Bishops’ Conference since January 2011, but now we’ve very kindly been given use of our own room there, which should give us a little more scope as things continue to grow.

And it has this for a window:

The stained glass reads: O Mary, Mother of God, bring England & Wales back to the Faith of our Fathers.

 

God’s Word in the King’s English

Why is the King James Bible still so revered?

The answer here.

 

The Importance of Having a Prayer Corner

Ascending Mount Carmel:

“But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee.” (Matt. 6:6)

In our age, solitude is not an easy treasure to find.  Most of us cannot live in a manner like the most venerable Fr. Lazarus El Anthony (whose life, by the way, is not one of escape but of praying for the world)- we have jobs to go to, children to raise, responsibilities to take care of.  So where do we find time to pray?  Where do we find time to converse, alone with the Alone?

The Scriptures tell us to go into our rooms and close our doors – a healthy dose of common sense.  Set aside a half an hour as time for you and God.  And there, in that room, set up a little place where you and God can converse: a prayer corner, home shrine, or whatever else you wish to call it.

I am blessed most abundantly by God to have a little room for a study – this is where I write, read, and the like.  But this is where I also like to pray, when I am not walking through the woods or even taking my puppy out for a run (yes, one can pray even with a healthy pup bouncing about around their legs!).

Setting up your own prayer corner is a work of love in many respects.  Decorate it with whatever is conducive to prayer – a crucifix is essential, but beyond that it really is up to you.  As someone who loves Eastern Christian spirituality very much, I like to hang up icons there – little windows to heaven, if you will.  My wife bought me a nice cushion to kneel on too, instead of the old Christmas-time cushion I had been using, with a note that read “Thou shalt not kneel on the Christmas cushion” attached.

What the prayer corner really amounts to is that it is a place where you and God can be truly alone for a little while.  It is something that should be conducive to increasing devotion and piety, to setting your heart on fire for Christ.

All of this talk of solitude and being alone with God of course should come with some cautions however – as I have learned the hard way, prayer in solitude should not be sought as an escape from others.  The great hermits and monks and nuns who pray for us daily in silence and solitude are there for us and our souls, not to simply get away from the noise of the modern world.

As Montaigne writes, “we have to withdraw from such attributes of the mob as are within us.”1  In other words, one cannot be at peace with God via mere location, but must seek for this peace in their heart.  One can be just as tormented and irritated by things when alone in the desert as when they are in the middle of rush-hour traffic, if not more so.  We can see the truth in the words (and I always try to remind myself of this), “Unless thou shalt first amend thy life going to and fro amongst others, thou shalt not avail to amend it dwelling alone.”2

With that in mind, if you don’t have a private place to pray in the home, then, if you can, go about setting one up today.  It is truly a privilege to have one, and it doesn’t have to be extravagant or spacious – just a tiny corner in which to spend some time with the One Who gave Himself for us.  A blessing indeed.

1 – “On Solitude”

2 – Verba Seniorum, X:33

For Want of a Nail…

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Blogging, Honesty and Accountability

Blogging, secrecy and accountability is another rousing post by Fr Anthony Chadwick:

A long time ago, I wrote and article on the Anglo-Catholic on Damian Thompson, Blogging and Episcopal Accountability. The article is still there. The essential theme is that in this age of instant information, no public figure can keep dirty secrets secret for long. This is almost certainly how bishops and other Church officials were outed and prosecuted for having aided and abetted child abusers. The article is still there for you to read.

The reason I bring this subject up is my previous article in which Mrs Sandra McColl from Australia calls for discretion and the respect of other people’s secrets:

I’m not talking about suppressing information, just about people regaining the sense of what is, and what is not, their business, and for those who are curious beyond what is not their business to be a little less insistent in demanding to know and to stop trying to make up information that hasn’t been provided.

I would say fair enough. Some things in life are confidential and are not to be fed to the lynching mob. However, we are dealing with human nature and with church organisations of various affiliations that have got away with many things because of institutional secrecy. Over the past few years, many things were secret and under the lid – which turned out to be a euphemism for smoke & mirrors or simply something that didn’t exist. Secrecy is a means of manipulating people, keeping them hooked and hoping for resolution that never comes. Putting it another way, it keeps people waiting for Godot

The life of churches concerns all those who are interested in churches. In a transparent and honest organisation, there is little need for secrets other than what concerns persons. For example, doctors and lawyers are held to professional secrecy for the good of their clients. It is a misuse of secrecy to make it cover up evil or use it as a tool for manipulation.

One positive thing about the blog is that it is democratised journalism. It may be of lower quality than the work of professional journalists, but I as a blogger try to work ethically – including a minimum of regulation of “trolling” and otherwise calumnious and disturbing comments. I try to use the blog as a ministry of the word, a teaching ministry. A responsible blog can also be used to resist evil and open the windows and doors to let the fresh air in and the musty smells out. It is a part of our freedom of speech as long as we remain within the law, moral principles and the responsible conscience.

We can exhort people to be more Christian and more respectful for other people, but we can’t force them. Where there are grounds for suspicion, people will be suspicious that something stinks. We all have to learn transparency and to behave in such a way as things don’t always have to be secret.

Perhaps there are secrets in Australia? Even now?

If I was to say something to the effect of, ‘bloggers expose inconvenient truths,’ would I be wrong in saying so?

Certainly secular and celebrity bloggers in particular, have had a lot to do with the generally bad name given, as well as the frequent criticism which is levelled at bloggers. Christian bloggers are (or at least in principle, should be) different. What we seek to do is edify, to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (1 Cor 10:5). Obviously, we don’t always get that right. It’s never easy controlling the content of your blog, especially since it is, for the most part, an open forum. Just ask any blogger, moderating a busy blog is really hard work.

But I’m lead at this point to think of our Lord’s words in St Mark 4:22 which, while quoted out of context here (it is a parable nonetheless), are rather pertinent: ‘There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light.’ Those who get to make decision that affect not only themselves, but others too, would do well to remember them. Sin grows in the dark (cf. Isa 28:15). And there are always consequences for the things we do and the things we say. In fact, a normally good measure of what is right as opposed to what is wrong, is whether or not we would be willing to stand for that – whatever – if it were brought to the light, or made public. This is especially true, as I’ve just mentioned, for leaders (and even more so, Church leaders). They need to be honest, ‘above reproach’ (1 Tim. 3:2), clear and forthright in their handlings and decisions.

One thing I can say, and I do so publicly now, is that we have been blessed here in South Africa with the godly leadership provided by our Bishop, Michael Gill. It’s not that I’m wanting to drag his name into this discourse, but for the sake of making a point, I cite him here as an example. With the whole Ordinariate / TAC occasion, he has been honest. He has not held back in his personal judgment, nor in what he prayerfully believes to be in the best interest of the entire Church, in other words, all the sheep he leads. He was (is) not willing that any one go astray. That is his heart. He has suffered with great restraint and unbelievable patience those who do not agree with this, his adopted position – squabblers who were either pro-Ordinariate or completely anti-Ordinariate. But because he has been consistent, open and honest, he has our respect and following. It really was (is) not an enviable position to be in, and one that he continues to walk in as the now Secretary to the College of Bishops, where they are at the fore of restoring the TAC and still are having to deal with the fallout of a split, confused and hurting global Communion.

So as we look back, it is questions in the area of honesty and integrity that still linger. With Fr Anthony Chadwick said to be ‘rehashing the history of the Traditional Communion’ yesterday, it all seems to run back to the then Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, and what he knew or didn’t know. How he conducted himself. Was he honest? Was he ‘above reproach’? Was he clear and forthright? I suspect each will have his/her own thoughts and judgments here, and perhaps the whole truth is yet eluding us?

Coming out of all of that, it is easy to see why people would expect (or demand) information that is presented transparently, honestly and that with accountability. The failing here would be not to learn from past mistakes and erroneously think that suppressing information, not being extremely open and honest, will get us anywhere but deeper into a hole.

Blogging may be what it is, but when used ethically with a little wisdom and circumspect, it can (and will) expose lies and fraudulence. That is not the goal of this blog, but it is the nature of the medium. My blog, I have always maintained, is an extension of my priestly ministry. While the blog may have failed at times, that is only because of the all too human author banging on the keyboard behind the postings. Yet God’s knows and sees my heart, and the deep longing I have to serve Him. Ultimately, it is He, our Creator, that gets to judge each and every one of us. Before Him, we are fully accountable, and there, nothing will be left that is secret.

 

The True Size of Africa

Perhaps Africa is far bigger than you realised?

 

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