On The Blogger Who Froze His Blog

James Jacques Joseph Tissot, "The Prodigal Son"

A couple of days ago, a well-known blogger announced that his “Catholic ordination” (note the words) had been postponed, clearly sine die.

The news went around the blogosphere and I also made some comment on the site of a Catholic weekly. As it is my custom, I intervened with a string of messages and then left the matter alone, being fully persuaded that those who don’t get things right when one writes them once or twice will not be able to get them right if one keeps writing them again and again.

The discussion tended about finding the reasons why the blogger’s ordination was put on ice. Some believed that an element might have been that the blogger in question can be, at times, rather abrasive. Some others – including your truly, and at least one Catholic priest blogger – tend to think that the reason might well be that said blogger gives at times a rather strong impression of either not accepting Apostolicae Curae (about the nullity of Anglican Orders), or of “accepting” it the Anglican way, that is: interpreting the way he pleases.

The elements that led me to believe that the second reason might be the right one are as follows:

1) one commenter explicitly said that said blogger had in the past repeatedly showed his failing to  accept Apostolicae Curae.

2) the blogger refers to himself as “Father”, but is not ordained a Catholic (only for the sake of clarity: it means “Roman” Catholic) priest.

3) the blogger refers to his “ordination as priest” and his “43 years of priestly ministry”, in both cases talking of Anglican so-called “orders” as if they were valid orders.

4) on his blog, a well-known Catholic blogger priest went explicitly on the matter, opining that the problem might have originated by his calling himself “father” and candidly saying that he (the priest commenter) had thought that he (the blogger) was a Catholic priest.

I have written in the past on several occasions – here, about when conversions go wrong, or here, about the many Anglicans who seem to want the roast without the trimmings, or here, with a little vademecum for Anglicans thinking about conversion – about the great danger that Anglicans desirous to convert to Catholicism may have – in best Anglican tradition – an attitude of refusal of what they don’t like, and acceptance of what they like. This is, I am afraid, so ingrained in the Anglican way of doing things – and without which the Anglicans would have long split many more times than they already did – that it was very much to fear that in many cases – and without taking anything away from those sincere convert who sincerely accepts Catholicism in its entirety – this would be the case in occasion of their conversion, too.

What is truly worrying, though, is that the comments left on the comment box of said blogger left no doubt whatsoever that this Anglican mentality of accepting what is convenient, and talking away what isn’t is rather spread among his followers. This would suggest, at the very least, that said blogger should feel the opportunity – nay: the responsibility – to properly instruct his followers about the nullity of Anglican orders, with no ifs and no buts.

I want to think that said blogger is – albeit this might have been, or must have been painful to him – aware of the nullity of his Anglican orders; of the fact that he therefore hasn’t any; of the fact that he will only become a priest the day he is ordained a priest by the only Church; and that his calling himself “Father”,  & Co. are merely unlucky ways of expressing oneself; ways perhaps due to force of habit and, say, needs of internet name recognition.

Still, it would not be good if, of all people, those prominent members of the Anglican clergy who are swimming the Tiber would not help those following them to do things properly, that is: believing all that the Church believes and professing all that the Church professes.

I have in the past only been an irregular reader of the blog in question; I have found most of what is written there intelligent, instructive and – with the exception of the seeming attitude towards his own “priesthood” – very orthodox. I sincerely think that the man will be – if he is orthodox about Apostolicae Curae – a great asset for the Ordinariate, and an effective weapon in the Catholic armoury.

But this makes it, in my eyes, the more necessary that former Anglican clergy like him be a shining example of orthodoxy, irrespective of his seeming attitude towards Apostolicae Curae having been the cause of his problems or not. Anglicans are such experts of ambiguity, that they must be above every suspicion of abandoning themselves to it again once they have become (notice the word: become) Catholics.

We are all human beings, we all have egos and we all have, so to speak, an affection towards our past. It is understandable that, here and there, our ego may offer some resistance and perhaps even play us some bad tricks. But it is then the more important that, at the beginning of a new life, a last effort is made to remove all obstacle remaining to the beginning of this new phase of existence.

I sincerely hope that we will, sooner than not, welcome this blogger as a new, fully orthodox Catholic priest.

At which point, by the way, we will all call him “Father” anyway.


Posted on June 10, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Oh what nonsense. The blogger in question has spent more time blogging about this question than any other and it is perfectly clear what his position is: he accepts the non-conditional ordination and the reasonableness of being offered non-conditional ordination. That is surely enough.

    Being ‘orthodox about AC’ can only mean ‘accepting that what AC said was true then was true then’, it tells us very little about whether one should believe that the orders of this or that Anglican are valid today since the situation is not the same as when AC was issued. This has been made abundantly clear by the treatment of Graham Leonard, who was never even conditionally ordained deacon. You might as well say that to be orthodox you have to accept statement, true in 200AD, that there were no valid orders north of the Rhine.

    • The nonsense is yours.

      In the end, he either accepts th evalidity of AC or he doesn’t.

      If he accepts, in the sense that the accepts that he doesn’t have valid orders, then it is fine. But then he shouldn’t have gone on calling himself “Father”, etc.

      Being “Orthodox about AC” means believing about AC what the Church believes.

      The Church requires him to be ordained (not conditionally ordained), and therefore states that AC is valid not only then, but today.

      This is a black and white situation, and no middle positions or Anglican quibbles are allowed.

      You might as well say that the Gospels are not valid today as the situation is not the same as when the Gospels were written.


  2. Anyway, this can’t have anything to do with the delay to his ordination, since the view he takes is the view of a great many former Anglicans who have been ordained already.

    • Once again,

      he either accepts AC (as valid today) or not.

      If he does, everything is fine and as far as this is concerned and the causes of his problems will have to be looked for elsewhere.

      If he doesn’t, making mistakes with others doesn’t guarantee or indicate that the same mistakes will be made with him. Being a well-known blogger, he is more exposed than most and whilst some people might (wrongly, let me say this) decide to close an eye on some obscure local priest, they might well take a different stance with a person with a more defined public position.


  3. AC may or may not be infallible – let’s say it is. It says Anglican Orders were null and void in 1896. So, there have been cases since then of Janesenist bishops ordaining men to the Anglican episcopacy. Whether these ordinations were valid depends on the validity of the Jansenist orders and the form and matter used in those ceremonies. It does not, it cannot, depend on what AC said in 1896.

    That is plain as a pikestaff. As you say, no quibbles.

    • Firstly, it is not a matter of infallibility. It is not that a Catholic only has to believe only that which has been infallibly stated. A Catholic has to believe in the entirety of the deposit of faith, and the entirety of what he is instructed to believe.
      Infallibility is neither here nor there.

      Secondly: the Church states, today, that Anglican orders are null and void. She does this (besides it being clear enough through AC, which has no best before date) through the simple fact that the soi disant “ordained” Anglicans are required to be ordained. This is further confirmation that today (as we speak; 20111; Anglicanorum Coetibus) Anglicans so-called orders are null and void.

      Thirdly, you cannot infer from whatever ordination you think has been validly conferred from whom to whom and make your own theology. The Church has stated that Anglican orders are not valid.. That is that. Period. End of Story. Roma Locuta, causa finita

      The Anglican quibbles are just in this:
      1. that things are said plainly, and clearly.
      2. that all over the planet, catholics do not doubt about their content.
      3. that only Anglicans insist of not wanting to understand.


    • Now for your benefit, let me repeat and ask what is difficult in this:

      1. as a Catholic you are required to believe evetything that the Churchbelieves (not just what has been infallibly stated) and to profess everything which the Church professes.
      2. The Church believes that an Anglican vicar has no valid orders.
      3. so much so,that if he wants to become a priest she requires for him to take orders.
      4. Not to take conditional orders. No to re-take orders.

      5. She requires him to take orders, because he hasn’t any.

      What is difficult to understand in this? How is it that everyone understands these simple things and only Anglicans continues to say 2+2=5 like little children not wanting to accept the lesson?


  4. The Church has said no such thing. Show me the document. You are just making this up.

    You haven’t answered my example of Graham Leonard which holes your argument below the waterline.

    The practical policy of unconditional ordination is not a dogamatic statement. It is adopted as a matter of prudence because Anglican orders are invalid, or doubtful, or not worth investigating because it is too complicated, or because it would set a precedent which might complicate things in the future in other cases where there is more doubt, etc. etc..

    • Joseph, please inform yourself and please stop abusing my patience and time with such comments instead of doing the work YOU (not I for you) have to do.

      That you have to believe everything that the church believes and professes everything which the church profess is what you will be required to stand up and say in front of the entire congregation should you ever convert.

      Also, please READ Anglicanorum Coetibus and the ancillary documents. I did, but frankly I don’t feed little children in the mouth. Do your goddamn work yourself and stop making your own theology

      In those documents you will clearly read that what is required is ordination. ORDINATION. This means that the Church has no doubt whatsoever that the anglican so-called order are invalid. No doubt whatsoever. Not a single one. Not the shadow of a doubt. Not the least doubt.

      NO DOUBTS!! Do you get that?

      Now, if the Church had some practical doubts, the least doubt, about the Anglican orders being valid, then she would proceed to a conditional ordination.

      That she would have to do, because to repeat the sacrament of ordination would be a sacrilege.

      Must I repeat that, or do you think you can get it?








      What on earth is difficult to understand in this…..

      And now please do me the favour: learn something about Catholicism instead of making your own theology.

      When you have learned something about Catholicism, you’ll now that your assumed “argument” about strange “ordinations” from strange heretics is a non-argument, because the church says so. Because the Church says so. Because the Church says so.

      You anglicans think that you can start quibble over your cretinous excuses and dispute what the Church says. Catholicism is different.

      In Catholicism, you accept what the Church says, you don’t start arguing with her. That’s what Anglicans do. Catholicism is different.

      Wake up, smell the coffee and stop wasting my time.


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