6 January 2010

Placuit Deo

I doubt whether very many bishops, of whatever Church, will, upon their deaths, elicit such an avalanche of heart-felt tributes as will Graham Leonard, Bishop in the Church of God. He, together with the recently departed Eric Kemp, was one of the first diocesan bishops in the Church of England to welcome the Catholic Revival with a wholeheartedness that included no ifs or buts. His and my paths crossed when he was President of the Woodard Corporation; in which role he maintained the Catholic Faith without giving an inch to bigots. The same was true of his ministry as Bishop of Truro; his orthodoxy being all the more marked by contrast with the smoke of Satan which billowed into that diocese, hitherto perhaps the most orthodox in England, under his successor in the 1990s.

He told me he was convinced that the reason why Rome did not formally consider the validity of his Episcopal Consecration after he entered into Full Communion (only his presbyteral orders were examined) was that Rome knew that by declaring them valid it would find itself embarrassed by the presence of a married bishop. In his great humility he took part in the 'reordination' of priests whom he had, as bishop of London, ordained to the Sacred Priesthood.

There will be very many priests, both present and former Anglicans, all over England who will be saying his Requiem with the prayers pro defuncto episcopo.


ADALBERT said...

Father Hunwicke, what does SCC mean ?

I got an (long and elaborate) answer of the Ashmolean about the "paedophile and his victim". It is to long to put it on the blog. To what address can I send it to you ?

The French RC from Lille.

Fr William said...

Some years ago, on the only occasion when I was able to have a real in-depth conversation with him, he told me that the then Cardinal Ratzinger invariably addressed him as "Bishop". Given that this was some time after he had Poped, this cannot have been a matter of diplomatic ecumenical niceties; both parties knew very well the implications of what was being said, but for the reasons you state it could not be publicly recognised. In the light of that, though, I do wonder what he made of the (absolute) reordination of those who had already received orders from one whose episcopal orders were clearly recognised by the prefect of the CDF and closest of confidants to the then Holy Father.

But, like +Eric (even if they came to different conclusions), +Graham was one of the great figures of our time. May they both rest in peace, and may that unity in the one Church of Christ for which they both strove soon be ours, as it is surely already theirs.

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Adalbert: it was very good to meet you and your wife and to chat after Sunday Mass. I do hope I see you both again.

SSC=Societas Sanctae Crucis; a priestly society with around a thousand members, Vincentian spirituality,and a Rule.

28 St Thomas Street Oxford, OX1 1JL

Hibernicus said...

Thank you, Father - requiescat in pace ..

Steve said...

I should like to hear Lord Hope of Thornes on GDL....