The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has returned a £1 million grant to an Anglo-Catholic charity after the Charity Commission ruled that it was invalid.
The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, founded in 1862, gave the money a year ago to ensure that the ordinariate’s priests would not be left penniless. It represented almost half of the charity’s assets.
The Charity Commission, however, said the grant was invalid because most of the trustees who agreed to it had a “personal financial interest” in it. Five out of six of its trustees had already been ordained as priests in the ordinariate.
The commission also ruled that there was “substantial doubt” over whether use of the money would be consistent with the charity’s objects – ”the advancement of the Catholic faith in the Anglican tradition”.
The ruling contradicts the advice lawyers gave to the charity before it approved the grant.
The Charity Commission concluded: “We have been informed that the grant has been returned in full (with interest) by the ordinariate of its own volition.”
The Confraternity has about 120 priest members in England and 1,500 worldwide. It was founded by the Rev T T Carter, a prominent Anglo-Catholic.
A grant of funds from the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been returned.
The grant was awarded by the Trustees of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament following extensive legal advice in 2011.
Subsequently the grant was challenged and, as the result of an investigation by the Charity Commissioners, the Ordinariate has returned the funds of its own volition.
Until the conclusion of the investigative process undertaken by the Charity Commissioners, the charitable aims of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham precluded the return of the funds.
It is deeply regrettable that this generous benefaction is to be returned, but our sincere hope is that the conclusion of the legal process regarding this grant may now lay this issue to rest.
Note: No further comment will be made regarding this statement. For specific enquiries or clarifications, please contact the Communications Officer.