Anglican Bishop and Queen's Chaplain Converts to Catholicism

This story came across my feed today and it seems pretty significant. An Anglican bishop, who complained about reading the Quran from the pulpit (a passage denying the divinity of Christ), throws in the towel on Anglicanism, and is received into the Catholic Church. Is his portrayal of the Anglican Church as losing its handle on orthodoxy (small-o) correct? In what way is he wrong (if he's wrong)? It seems to me that the divinity of Christ is a bit central to Christianity. But is he overreacting to something small that doesn't really signify an abandonment of that doctrine? I value my Anglican brothers' and sisters' thoughts about this bold step.

Comments

  • The use of the term "cultural Marxism" in the article sets half-a-dozen alarm bells ringing all on its own.

    As I recall from the ludicrous furore at the time, the reading from the Qur'an was meant to finish before the passage that denies the divinity of Christ, and was continued in error. The content of the passage, however, was not the cause of the histrionics so much as the welcome given to our Muslim brothers and sisters and, I strongly suspect, the sexuality of the Cathedral's provost.
  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    It may also be worth noting (at the risk of playing the man rather than the ball) that the writer might be thought to have a gripe against Anglicanism - see this decision and penalty.

    And on closer reading of the article, I see that
    Under pressure from Buckingham Palace, Dr. Ashenden resigned his royal chaplaincy in order to be free to challenge the rising tide of apostasy in the Church of England.

    Later that year, Ashenden was consecrated a missionary bishop to the United Kingdom and Europe by the Christian Episcopal Church to provide episcopal cover to traditionalist Anglicans leaving the Church of England.

    i.e. he's not and never was a Church of England bishop, even if (for certain values of Anglicanism) he's an Anglican one.
  • From the article, it seems that the only specific disagreement the Bishop had with the CoE is the ordination of women as priests, and now bishops. Which is possible, but hardly anything new.

    He does say that only the Roman church has "eucharistic miracles". Unless he's begging the question, what is he referring to?
  • From the article, it seems that the only specific disagreement the Bishop had with the CoE is the ordination of women as priests, and now bishops. Which is possible, but hardly anything new.

    He does say that only the Roman church has "eucharistic miracles". Unless he's begging the question, what is he referring to?

    First guess, I'd say he means the bread-and-wine turning into the body-and-blood.
  • I think he's probably going beyond the Real Presence, which is widely accepted in various flavours of Anglo-Catholicism, to the fact that miracles have been attributed to the consecrated elements, particularly the host.
  • IIRC, this is the chap who objected vigorously to the temporary installation of a golf course in the nave of my local Cathedral, back in the summer holidays.

    Good luck to him, and I guess the RCC gets another priest for free, as it were.

    Interesting that the article is by Jules Gomes. As @Fawkes Cat points out, he is a former Anglican priest on the Isle of Man, who disagreed violently with his then Bishop, and has set up a sort of independent Anglican church of his own. His writings are indeed not without some bias, and, sometimes, venom.
  • When an individual can't accept that one of the organised Christian Churches tries to be broad enough to welcome and love everybody, regardless of our quirks and foibles, it is healthier for them to take a time of reflection outside of it than to cause trouble within it.

    I'm pleased that they've gone elsewhere.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    From the article, it seems that the only specific disagreement the Bishop had with the CoE is the ordination of women as priests, and now bishops. Which is possible, but hardly anything new.

    He does say that only the Roman church has "eucharistic miracles". Unless he's begging the question, what is he referring to?

    First guess, I'd say he means the bread-and-wine turning into the body-and-blood.

    In which case he is begging the question. Romans say the host changes, Anglicans on the whole say it doesn't, and there's no objective proof either way.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    Because I'd never heard of him, I looked him up. @Fawkes Cat you are right. He isn't and was not an Anglican bishop. His claim to be a bishop is as one of the episcopi vagantes variety.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    He made the news earlier, I think, because of his former connection with Royalty, as a Queen's Chaplain.

    Now, whatever HM the Q might think of the state of the Church of England, and whatever she might say on the subject to her Chaplain, that should surely be kept private. However, Jules Gomes says:

    Under pressure from Buckingham Palace, Dr. Ashenden resigned his royal chaplaincy in order to be free to challenge the rising tide of apostasy in the Church of England.

    Maybe, and maybe not - but I doubt if HM the Q would be amused.

    Anyway, the rising tide of apostasy in the C of E is hardly likely to be stemmed by one man, because I suspect he is (or was) the sole member of the 'Christian Episcopal Church'.

    The story of episcopi vagantes is fascinating, but largely irrelevant to the church at large. That's what is so sad about them - they think they have The Truth™, but no-one else is interested. At least this man has, in effect, admitted that, and joined a 'proper' church!
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    ... However, Jules Gomes says:

    Under pressure from Buckingham Palace, Dr. Ashenden resigned his royal chaplaincy in order to be free to challenge the rising tide of apostasy in the Church of England.

    Maybe, and maybe not - but I doubt if HM the Q would be amused. ...
    I would suspect that indicates that either that is speculation by Jules Gomes, or Ashenden is the source and it is no more than his version of what happened.
  • We are not amazed :naughty:
  • The only label that I give myself is Christian

    “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited December 2019
    When he was in the Church of England Gavin Ashenden was an Honorary Chaplain to the Queen, part of the ‘Ecclesiastical Household’ which is part of the Royal Household.

    There are AIUI 34 Anglican chaplains and 10 Church of Scotland chaplains.

    According to Wikipedia
    They are honorary chaplains who do not fulfill any formal duties. They preach once a year in the Chapel Royal.

    There is AIUI no pay for the role, only the privilege of wearing a scarlet cassock.

    Ashenden took early retirement (age 58) in 2012 and took up a House for Duty post in Jersey. He was privately (secretly?) consecrated as a bishop in the Christian Episcopal Church of Canada and the USA in 2013, but this was not made public until September 2017, after he had renounced his orders in the Church of England in March 2017.

    In January 2017 Gavin Ashenden had spoken out publicly against a service in the Scottish Episcopal St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow where a passage of the Quran was read denying the divinity of Jesus. (It appears that the offending verses might have been read in error, they went beyond the passage that was listed as being due to be read.)

    There was then some push back because his position as Honorary Chaplain to the Queen was seen by some as giving some kind of authority to his statement, or suggesting that it came with royal authority, and thus drawing the Queen into controversy. He then resigned as chaplain giving as a reason the need to be free
    to speak out on behalf of the faith

    ISTM that in recent years he has occupied the sort of clerical rent-a-quote niche previously inhabited by Archdeacon George Austin.
  • I have long held that the small breakaway churches were often not particularly healthy places to be, especially for clergy formerly attached to mainline churches (the small churches might be fine for individual laity, or clergy with startups, but the jury's out on that), so Fr Ashenden's move to the RCC is likely going to be a good thing for him, where he can operate under a bishop and structure, and with the support of fellow clerics. With any luck his new bishop will guide him away from focussing on public statements....
  • Why on earth did he have himself secretly ordained as a bishop? He's clearly not living in a society where he is at risk of persecution.

    Will he actually serve as a Roman Catholic Priest and would they to some degree recognise the validity of his episcopal status? With regard to the former I though they were wary enough of their own clerical eccentrics without empowering imported odd-bods.
  • edited December 2019
    In his own voice:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMWi6A8q9LM

    In purple on the Isle of Mann

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbrs2icQzFc

    He's not keen on this new European idea of equality or Muslims, cultural Marxists or non-obedient women.
  • edited December 2019
    Why on earth did he have himself secretly ordained as a bishop? He's clearly not living in a society where he is at risk of persecution.

    Will he actually serve as a Roman Catholic Priest and would they to some degree recognise the validity of his episcopal status? With regard to the former I though they were wary enough of their own clerical eccentrics without empowering imported odd-bods.

    At least in Canada, they have a fairly careful and strict protocol they follow-- they are not worried as much about eccentrics as they are for the demented and those of .... doubtful behaviour. The police and reference checks now have to be seen to be believed. They then slot them into a supervised programme of studies where they make up the slots Anglicans don't have (canon law, moral theology à la Rome) and they touch up the ones which they do (liturgy, Latin). It's normally 1-3 years, although they have touched the rocket fuel for a few exceptions.

    There have been a very few exceptions to the re/ordination rule. His blog suggests that his episcopal consecration provides grounds for a conditional ordination, but I do not know if I would put much money on that resolution. Far better I use my available resources to pick up a bottle of Laphroaig to cut the sweetness of the fruitcake which so providentially appears at this time of year.

    PS I forgot to mention that in Canada, there is a protocol between the Anglican and RC bishops, to facilitate an exchange of information (with the applicant's permission) and to regulate that the ex-Anglican now-RC priest does not normally serve in his former area.
  • Why on earth did he have himself secretly ordained as a bishop? He's clearly not living in a society where he is at risk of persecution.

    Will he actually serve as a Roman Catholic Priest and would they to some degree recognise the validity of his episcopal status? With regard to the former I though they were wary enough of their own clerical eccentrics without empowering imported odd-bods.


    Far better I use my available resources to pick up a bottle of Laphroaig to cut the sweetness of the fruitcake which so providentially appears at this time of year.

    <tangent>
    Just bought a bottle today for a friend and the price in Ontario has become eye-wateringly high. And they now store them in locked cases and will not even let you touch the bottle until they have your payment securely in hand.

    But excellent Scotch nonetheless...
    </tangent>

  • <meta-tangent>
    The lock-up (for the whiskey - I'm not referring to Ashenden) is a good idea. Winnipeg has seen a large number of swarming thefts in their liquor stores recently. I'm told that they have taken to requiring official photo ID before admitting a customer, and then, a limited number of customers at a time.
    <meta-tangent/>
  • Marsupial wrote: »
    Why on earth did he have himself secretly ordained as a bishop? He's clearly not living in a society where he is at risk of persecution.

    Will he actually serve as a Roman Catholic Priest and would they to some degree recognise the validity of his episcopal status? With regard to the former I though they were wary enough of their own clerical eccentrics without empowering imported odd-bods.


    Far better I use my available resources to pick up a bottle of Laphroaig to cut the sweetness of the fruitcake which so providentially appears at this time of year.

    <tangent>
    Just bought a bottle today for a friend and the price in Ontario has become eye-wateringly high. And they now store them in locked cases and will not even let you touch the bottle until they have your payment securely in hand.

    But excellent Scotch nonetheless...
    </tangent>

    Such generosity of spirit is surely inspired, and should be encouraged more widely. When I first bought Laphraoig it was $37.50 the bottle.

    Back to the OP-- I neglected to mention that this arrangement between the Anglican and RC bishops goes back now about a quarter century and has helped iron out many of the practical difficulties of clergy transference. A friend of mine who works on pension issues informs me that the Anglican Diocese of Toronto superannuation scheme now has a payment code for the widows of Roman Catholic clergy.

    For years the protocol was posted on the web with the heading: "Secret Protocol."
  • Any bets on how long it is before he denounces Pope Francis as too liberal?
  • As a Catholic I just wonder how long he lasts once he realises that we are a broad church too and leaves to join or found another denomination that more closely reflects his particular set of preoccupations.
    Not too long I suspect.
    I really hope that Mark Davies doesn't ordain him - though I would put nothing past that particular bishop!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited December 2019
    A timely reminder, @Alan29 , that the RCC is nowhere near as monochrome as some suppose it to be.

    I rather think Dr Ashenden would indeed be happiest in his own sect, possibly converting his garage, or garden shed, to a chapelpro-cathedral, but it may well be that he will find a suitable niche - whether clerical, or lay - in the RCC. One hopes so, anyway.
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