25 November 2010


Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, deserves the sympathy of all right-thinking people. To lose the services of one suffragan bishop could be just bad fortune. To lose, in the same month, two such prelates , can only be ... I'm not quite sure what. Incidentally, I gather that the Bishop of London is proposing a Society for those parishes in his jurisdiction which disdain the ministry of women priests.

I wonder what the august prelates who mastermind SWISH think of this deft irruption into their own little private game. Won't it put a bit of a spanner in their works as every inventive diocesan with a dash of control-freakery invents societies to which named categories in their dioceses will be deemed to belong? Perhaps the Roman Pontiff will get on board and found a Society to which he will assign the von Trautmenn, the Lofti, the .... I wonder what that society would have to be called?

I am holding back as to whether to offer my moral support to Chartres' plan. If he names his Society after the great Edmund Bonner, the last Bishop of London to suffer as a Confessor for the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Universal Church has received it, I might be tempted to do so.

BTW, I have heard from two different and equally impeachable sources that Fr David Houlding is to be the next Bishop of Fulham. I thought that in his interview with Ruthie he was a bit unfriendly about John Broadhurst, the Bonner of our own days. I hope the kindly old gents of SWISH aren't suddenly going to turn nasty with everyone who doesn't play things exactly so as to suit their own book, especially since it has not yet been revealed what that book may turn out to be.


Little Black Sambo said...

If only the control-freaks are going to set up these societies there will be one in every diocese.

worcester fragment said...

Even more careless than you might think, for the Bishop of Willesden had assumed pastoral responsibility for Stepney Area since the last occupant took early retirement after the death of his wife. In turn Willesden was made largely the responsibility of it's Archdeacon - Rachel. To add to the fun, it's not too long ago that Chartres had named Pete as The Assistant Bishop of London. Only two of the five suffragens left...who'se next to fall?

Unknown said...

The C of E is a very funny bird. Its clergy may deny any article of the Christian faith with impunity, and blaspheme our Lord at whim. But woe betide any who speak slightingly of the royal house. Clearly, the article on which the C of E stands and falls is the crown's supreme governorship of the established Church. Oh woe!

Joseph Shaw said...

Edmund Bonner! Not a confessor, a martyr in chains.

I read a fascinating account of how he and the great Catholic lawyer of the age, Edmund Plowden, kept off the hangman. It was a capital offence to refuse the Oath of Supremacy a second time, when it was tendered by the local Ordinary. It was thus tendered by Bishop Horne of Winchester. Bonner and Plowden argued that Horne was not the properly constituted Ordinary because of doubts about Parker, who had consecrated him. The authorities didn't want to see these doubts given a public airing, and let the matter drop.

See 'Edmund Plowden', by Geoffrey Parmiter.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Indeed. Parliament had not agreed to the Ordinal which was used. The Government admitted the legal validity of Bonner's point by passing an Act to make everything right in retrospect. The Oath could then have been tendered again, but at this point the Elizabethan persecution had not become quite as merciless as it did later.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

By the way, Joseph, I used 'Confessor' the Latin equivalent of Greek 'martys', in the sense it had in the early centuries: of someone who had suffered mightily for the Faith but not to the point of shedding his blood.