27 July 2020

Bishop Graham Leonard

I have decided to publish the main parts of a letter written to me (14 June 1994) by Bishop Graham Leonard. He was the senior bishop of the Province of Canterbury after the Archbishop; he was received into full communion after the vote of the General Synod in 1992 to "ordain" women to the presbyterate. Rome decided that he should be ordained to the presbyterate sub conditione.

"... after discussions with the Cardinal [Hume] over many years, and finally after the vote, I petitioned the Holy Father to be received into the Catholic Church, setting out the position as I saw it over my Orders. I had always made it clear (vide my article in the Catholic Herald in November 1992) that I did so as a suppliant without presumption. All I asked was that I should not have to deny my former ministry. I did not seek conditional ordination which was offered by Rome. Cardinal Hume delivered my petition personally to the Pope [S John Paul II]. I am told that it was considered by 4 Cardinals and 10 consultors. The decision that I should be ordained to the priestood per saltum and not first to the diaconate was a personal decision of the Pope.

" ... B T Simpson played a crucial part. The Bishop who ordained me in 1948 was Edward Wynn [Bishop of Ely 1941-1957], who was consecrated by Simpson in 1941. Rome was particularly concerned about his intention in conveying Old Catholic Orders. Fortunately, Simpson executed a document of which a copy exists in Pusey House Library, certified by Darwell Stone, which makes his intention clear beyond any doubt. He writes of his 'express intention of transmitting the Old Catholic Succession as well as the Anglican'. Through the Cardinal I provided Rome with a copy of the document.

"So much for my ordination as a priest: the question of my consecration to the episcopate [as Bishop of Willesden in 1964] remains an open one. In my petition, I had said that at my age, I had no desire to exercise episcopal functions, whatever decision be made about my episcopal orders. I did point out that nine bishops in the Old Catholic succession took part in my consecration. The intention of six of them gave no cause for doubt. The then Bishop of London [Robert Stopford] and the then Bishop of Kensington had themselves been consecrated by Old Catholics, the former Archbishop of Utrecht having participated in both consecrations. I was present at the consecration of Ronald Goodchild as Kensington [in 1964] and remember what happened. However, as I say, no decision has been made about my episcopal orders. ..." 


coradcorloquitur said...

I trust this will not come across as disrespectful, but I ask, as a former Anglican (when a child and adolescent), how at then or now can an Anglican not ask the very pertinent question: if my church is of apostolic origins, as the Branch Theory maintains, why the need for the presence of the Old Catholics at the ordinations and consecrations? It denotes a lack of confidence in the apostolicity of Anglicanism, and yet many remain in that apparent doubt. As to not renouncing the fruits of his ministry as an Anglican clergyman, Dr. Leonard is, I think, on safe grounds: souls can be fruitfully ministered to without a direct reference to or need for the validity of orders, as countless lay people do throughout the world today in various and noble apostolates---and I believe the good Lord Jesus can only be pleased by any good accomplished. No need to agonize between the spiritual/material good accomplished and the exigencies of "Apostolica Curae" and of truth itself. In most cases, I am confident, there is no contradiction.

Shaun Davies said...

Good to see a mention of Bishop Edward Wynn, who was supposed to have been a very great man and brought many to Ordination - I think he was of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd. He intervened in the Ordination of the Henry R.T. Brandreth O.G.S.(Episcopi Vagantes expert and ecumenist) when some others had tried to stop it taking place. Fr Bradreth held Bp. Wynn in high regard.

William Tighe said...

In answer to coradcorloquitur, read this:


( Accipe Spiritum Sanctum: Historical Essays on the Agreements of Bonn and Meissen by Brian Taylor)

It was privately published in 1995 by St. Thomas's Trust, 252 Worplesdon Road, Guildford GU2 6XH. The author, Brian Taylor, was Rector of Guildford St. Nicholas for many years, and, subsequently to his becoming Catholic, parish priest of St. Edward the Confessor, Sutton Park, Woking. It consists of three short essays, of which the most salient is the second, "The Consecrations of 1932." Fr. Hunwicke would know of these essays, as I believe I gave him a copy shortly after its publication. In part, these consecrations were a deliberate effort on the part of Canon J. A. Douglas and A. C. Don (Archbishop Lang's chaplain) to "get around" Apostolicae Curae.

The Librarian of Little Note said...

I wonder to what extent this kind of Episcopal Genealogy is really an Anglican (and related) niche? It is presumably more important now as you don't want to accidentally be ordained by someone who wears the wrong socks, or accept the ministration of a Bishop who drives an Audi, and so on. I think, within the Roman laity it's never needed to be a "thing" and isn't thought about, so the effort that appears to go into tracing lineages is often met with bewilderment, or a suspicion of feet in both camps.

Trying to get various elements "in" at consecration (or to avoid certain elements) always makes it appear like a laboratory experiment!

Banshee said...

There's a very fine website called "Catholic Hierarchy" which goes into the episcopal lineage of pretty much every Catholic bishop that we know about. Occasionally I find something missing, but usually I find that I'm just looking things up in the wrong place.

Episcopal lineages come up a lot in books about Catholic bishop saints, and about early Christianity, and about frontier American bishoping. It also comes up in a negative sense in current events, as a lot of bad US bishops have turned out to have had bad protegees whom they consecrated, along with other bad bishop friends and mentors.

So yeah, it's kind of interesting, and sometimes illuminating.

Catholic said...

Was Bp.Leonard original ordained in the Rite of Trent by a valid Old Catholic Bishop?
Was his Consecration in the Rite of Trent?
These questions are difficult to find on the Net and I do not wish to debate the validity nor invalidity.
If anyone answers I promise to not debate.
God bless -Andrew