Ten new deacons in the UK

On Saturday June 17th ten men were ordained to the diaconate at one of London’s most iconic Catholic churches, St. James, Spanish Place. Cardinal Pell had been announced as the principal celebrant and ordaining bishop but unless he has shrunk in the wash, it would appear from this really unclear photo published without further comment on the UK Ordinariate’s facebook page that  the ordination was actually performed by Bishop Robert Byrne CO, auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Birmingham – as an Oratorian Bishop Byrne is a close friend of the Ordinariate.

The ten new deacons include eight former Anglican priests and two men who found their vocation in the Ordinariate and have been studying first in Oxford, then at St Mary’s College, Oscott, the seminary of Birmingham Archdiocese.

Jonathan Creer and Thomas Mason
(seminarians at St Mary’s College, Oscott)

David Pritchard and David Hathaway
(Ordinariate Mission in South Wales in Newport)

Michael Ward
(an expert on CS Lewis, teaches part-time at Blackfriars, Oxford,
to assist Fr Daniel Lloyd with Ordinariate group at Holy Rood, Oxford,
and the Parish of North Hinksey)

Leonard Cox
(former vicar of St Peter’s, Greet Green,
to assist Fr Simon Ellis at St Margaret Mary, Perry Common, Birmingham)

David Jones
(former vicar of St Luke’s, Jersey,
to assist Nottingham Ordinariate Mission)

Timothy Boniwell
(formerly Anglican hospital chaplain,
to assist Fr Paul Burch with Coventry Ordinariate Mission)

Cameron MacDonald and Simon Beveridge
(to assist Fr Len Black with the Ordinariate in Scotland)

18 thoughts on “Ten new deacons in the UK

  1. The number is really impressive, as I believe it to be the highest since the “first wave”.
    In particular, those two men for Scotland may soon find themselves quite busy, as the local branch of Anglicans has just decided to officially promote same-sex unions.


    • Currently there are 5 ordinariate communities in Scotland. So even now – there is lots of work.
      As to numbers – I think the second year “class” of ordinands had 17 priests (not mention of course 1 year – consisting of about 50 men).


      • Yes, but the “second year” group actually was part of the first wave. Some might have needed additional time to pull the paperwork together, and some might have had other issues, such as “irregular marriage situations,” that they needed to resolve before their Catholic ordinations could proceed.



    • The idea that any particular development—women bishops, same-sex unions, whatever—will propel any significant number of Anglicans into the Church has been regularly disproved. People embrace a new faith community for positive reasons. Those who leave in a huff go nowhere, more often than not, feeling betrayed and bitter.


      • If you read accounts of people coming into the Ordinariate, there is often some single issue which made them rethink the concept of the Church and “the faith as it has always been taught”. Recently, precisely the SSU enforcement was the last straw making Fr Erdman and some people in Louisville leave (the same was true about St. Timothy’s, as I recall),


      • New developments were precisely what propelled the congregations and bishops who participated in the 1977 conference in St. Louis to leave The Episcopal Church (TEC), then known as the Episcopal Church — U. S. A. (ECUSA).

        Those who leave in significant numbers frequently discern their way to a new church situation. The preponderance of those who left ECUSA over new innovations in 1977 typically landed either in (1) a new “continuing Anglican” body or (2) the Catholic Church, via the so-called “pastoral provision.”

        And new developments in the Church of England are precisely what prompted three (3) active and two (2) retired “flying bishops” of the Church of England to go knocking on the Vatican’s door asking for a way to come into the Catholic Church with their congregations. The difference, in this case, was that they did not leave the Church of England until there was a plan to implement the first ordinariate.

        Methinks that interesting times are ahead in the world of Anglicanism. After a recent vote by the synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church to change its canons to redefine “marriage” so as to encompass homosexual unions, the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCon) has announced its intent to ordain a Missionary Bishop for Scotland and Europe later this month, apparently at least partially in response to requests from parishes of that body for orthodox episcopal oversight. And Fr. Len Black & Co. of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in Scotland also have lifeboats at the ready for those who decide to jump ship!


        Liked by 1 person

  2. The 1977 exodus, and its equivalent in the UK, although that was mostly confined to clergy, has not been repeated. Of course individuals are always making decisions, but one could point out that individuals have also left the Church to become Anglicans because they disagree with the Church’s teaching on divorce, women’s ordination, or homosexuality. Do we regard that as boarding a lifeboat from a sinking ship? No. It’s an offensive analogy, either way.


  3. Wonderful news but can the Ordinariate support such numbers of clergy with just 1000 laity? So many of the Ordinariate clergy are unpaid or working as Diocesan Polyfilla. The Ordinariate needs widespread use of Divine Worship, a Bishop and churches of its own. Ultimately it needs vision. Why was Keith Newton appointed by the CofE as a “Flying Bishop” to FiF? Could it be that they saw him as a weakling who wouldnt cause much trouble? Vision please!!


    • Well, appointment to various ministries on behalf of dioceses that have a significant shortage of clergy is a very effective way of supporting an overabundance of clergy. Indeed, that’s precisely what may Catholic religious orders do. Let’s not be so quick to disparage it. An abundance of clergy will serve the ordinariates well, especially as older clergy approach retirement.

      And yes, ordinariate congregations do have a clear need for (1) a clear identity and vision and (2) adequate facilities for their worship, for community gatherings, and for catechesis and other ministries. However, these needs can vary greatly depending upon the size of an ordinariate congregation and the circumstances in which it finds itself. Nevertheless, there is no reason, in principal, why an ordinariate congregation cannot share facilities and even some ministries with a diocesan congregation, so long as the facilities and shared ministries are adequate to meet the needs of both communities. Given that the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus explicitly stipulates that “[c]andidates for Holy Orders in an Ordinariate should be prepared alongside other seminarians, especially in the areas of doctrinal and pastoral formation[,]” what is the difficulty with children of ordinariate communities and candidates for reception into ordinariate communities receiving catechetical instruction alongside their counterparts from a local diocesan parish? There seem to be several instances in which parish churches host a mass celebrated according to the ordinary form at 9:00 or 9:30, ostensibly for the diocesan congregation, and another mass according to the Divine Worship missal at 10:30 or 11:00 AM, ostensibly for the ordinariate congregation, with an ordinariate priest canonically appointed as both pastor of the diocesan parish and chaplain or administrator of the ordinariate congregation. Where both congregations are small, this arrangement can work very well for both. In addition, a common program of catechesis may provide enough students to form classes of reasonable size and to recruit enough volunteers to serve as teachers in such programs.

      As to the question of a leadership, there is no objective reason why the ordinary of an ordinariate must be a bishop. Rather, the Catholic Church has a longstanding tradition of particular churches canonically equivalent to dioceses that are led by presbyters. The abbot of a territorial abbacy never receives episcopal ordination, yet “governs it as its proper pastor just like a diocesan bishop” (Canon 370 of the
      Codex Juris Canonici
      ) — and there still are quite a few territorial abbacies in Europe in spite of recent efforts to relieve them of that status by assigning their territory to existing or newly erected dioceses. The prelate of a territorial prelature, the apostolic prefect of an apostolic prefecture, the apostolic vicar of an apostolic vicariate, and the apostolic administrator of an apostolic administration also need not be bishops, but nevertheless are canonically equivalent to a diocesan bishop. The preponderance of ordinaries of military ordinariates, who also are canonically equivalent to diocesan bishops, also are not bishops. The only complication, if the ordinary is not a bishop, is that he must recruit a bishop to perform ordinations of clergy for the ordinariate on his behalf since he cannot do so personally.

      But here is the bigger picture. The tact taken in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus is in fact walking a tightrope. Here’s the backdrop.

      >> 1. The desire, on both sides, was, and still is, to provide an ecclesial structure that will allow former Anglican bishops, many of whom are married, who come into the Catholic Church with their congregations to retain their role of substantially episcopal leadership and to allow clergy from those structures, some of whom may be married, to succeed them in that role.

      >> 2. Ecumenical dialog between the Catholic Church and the churches of the Orthodox Communion has progressed very well, and the magisterium of the Catholic Church does not want to throw a wrench into the works by doing anything that might create a new obstacles to reconciliation. The Orthodox Communion maintains a celibate episcopacy, so there is no small concern in the Vatican that episcopal ordination of married men might create a difficulty.

      Calling the new ecclesial structures for former Anglicans “ordinariates” rather than “dioceses” allows the “ordinary” to be either a presbyter, if married, or a bishop, if celibate. The “ordinary” possesses the same canonical authority as a diocesan bishop either way — a fact manifest by the fact that the ordinary wears the same ecclesial garb and uses the same pontifical insignia as a diocesan bishop, even he is not a bishop.

      Going forward, the ordinariates and their communities have much to do — and there is no use in pretending otherwise.

      >> Many communities do need to work toward self-sufficiency and sustainability, including acquisition of their own facilities and growing their numbers to attain critical mass and financial stability.

      >> The ordinariates need build and form additional communities that will strengthen their numbers. In the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, the reception of the Church of the Torres Strait is a particular challenge because many of its congregations are in locations where there is no substantial Catholic presence or infrastructure — but its reception will strengthen that ordinariate considerably, as well as bringing a Catholic presence where there presently is none.

      >> The ordinariates also need to work toward self-sufficiency and sustainability, including development of the pastoral resources that a normal diocese would provide. This includes sending clergy to study for pontifical degrees in fields such as sacred theology and canon law to staff marriage tribunals and other standard elements of a diocesan curia and to provide a cadre of candidates to succeed the ordinaries.

      None of this will happen overnight, but the foundation is in place. I think that things are moving in the right direction in all three ordinariates.



  4. The Ordinary’s Diary as published in the July Portal involves celebrations at MPB and Warwick Sq, and a visit to Pembury. Not straying much off the beaten path, it would appear. The OOLW is certainly not in a position where leadership can be simply a matter of maintaining the status quo, however. The decision to ordain Ordinariate clergy together rather than at scattered times and places through the year simply makes it easier to see how few Ordinariate clergy have any Ordinariate assignment. What will change this situation?


  5. Thanks for your reply Norm- I have posted it on the Portsmouth Mission Blog.
    One of our readers has written an overview of the Ordinariate and it makes for an interesting read. The Ordinariate needs to free itself from the talons of Diocesan Bishops and gain some independence if it is to survive.


    • Indeed, that should indeed be the goal but it’s not realistic to expect it to happen overnight. Rome was not built in a day, and neither were most church buildings.

      However, bishops who are finding that ordinariate clergy are filling critical gaps in their own dioceses might not be so eager to have that happen. What exists in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham seems to be a very healthy collaboration with many of the dioceses where the ordinariate is active. By way of example, the situation mentioned in my previous comment in which an ordinariate priest serves as the pastor of both an ordinariate congregation and a small diocesan parish frees a diocesan priest for another assignment!

      Incidentally, I hope that the Portsmouth Mission is growing in a manner that will allow it to become a “parish” in the not to distant future. That congregation already has full and unimpeded use of a church, though a secular charity technically owns the building, so it should be just a question of numbers and financial self-sufficiency.


      Liked by 1 person

      • I was in England recently and, while there, was informed by one in an excellent position to speak of the matter that one “problem” in Portsmouth is, unfortunately, that the “Continuing Anglican” origins of the Portsmouth congregation may act as a dissuasive or disincentive for local Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England considering the “Ordinariate option.” I have to admit that I find it difficult to understand why this should be the case.


      • I suspect that some congregations that left the respective province of the Anglican Communion for the various “continuing Anglican” bodies had less than harmonious relationships with the their dioceses and even, in some cases, the rest of their parishes. It may take a while to heal the animosity surrounding their departures.

        This might also explain slow growth of some of the Canadian congregations of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.



  6. Pingback: The Statistics of the Ordinariates | Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

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