March 26th, 2011 by St Hybald Leave a reply »

Ordinal_title_1550Questions have been raised recently about the nature and efficiency of Anglican Orders in the wake of the re-ordinations of the former (and retired) PEVs. Letters to Church papers, official statements, homilies and various blogs have each put a different ‘spin’ on this issue, but the photos of former clergy wearing collars and ties from whom many have received Communion, absolution and even Ordination is bound to produce strong feelings .

The ever-watchful Bishop Colin Buchanan has raised the question of ‘how’ and ‘when’ those leaving the Priesthood within the Church of England effectively ‘laicised’ themselves and how ‘Sacramental  assurance’ can be argued for so passionately on the one hand only (and ultimately) to be denied by submitting to re-ordination.  He may have a point. The donning of the aforementioned collars and ties after final Anglican masses, the ‘laying up’ of Churchwarden’s staves and Bishop’s crosiers before statues is certainly romantic, but no one seems terribly willing or able to articulate the underlying truth that it inevitably conveys.

Yes, former ‘ministries’ have been acknowledged and commended but what it really boils down to is the question of whether an Anglican Priest is (or was) a validly ordained Priest? To that question there can only ever be one simple answer: ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. So which is it to be? Perhaps we should all have a little more sympathy for the way that Politicians often avoid giving straight answers to questions like these! Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not deliberately knocking those who have made this decision but, should I ever go the same way, I would want to be honest about what I was (or wasn’t) doing and what the ramifications were for myself and for others.

St Hybald



  1. Ed Tomlinson says:

    hmmm I am not sure it IS as simple as that. As one currently donning the shirt and tie – this has far more to do with my own personal need for a break between putting down one ministry and taking up another than in making any theological statement.

    In truth I could not answer the question. It is enough for me to say only God really knows and all grace comes from Him in any case. Certainly he blessed my ministry as an Anglican but it is also true that there is a new assurance and certainty in joining Rome that was not there before.

    Sorry- that is a bit grey and soggy! But it is the truth

  2. St Hybald says:


    Thanks for your comment. I do take your point. But while we may not feel able to verbalise what we think or feel about issues such as this, our actions do, inevitably, make statements (simple or otherwise) on our behalf that it is difficult to avoid. Former Anglicans entering the Ordinariate might not wish stand up and say ‘I wasn’t really a Priest’ or ‘I hadn’t actually been Confirmed’, but some would say that subsequent (or superseding) Ordinations and Confirmations do make those statements. Perhaps we need a need way of articulating what is actually happening so that honesty and integrity and be preserved on all sides?


  3. Little Black Sambo says:

    Since ordination cannot be repeated, and since the people now undergoing re-ordination have never doubted their orders, these ordinations must be conditional, or in some way supplementary. Presumably those doing the reordaining believe the candidates were not already deacons or priests. But everybody has agreed not to say anything out loud, and perhaps that is the only way. It is reminiscent, however, of the fatal flaw in the old Anglican-Methodist scheme.

  4. I believe that ordination, like baptism is unrepeatable. Submitting to re-ordination has to be a denial of the first ordination, otherwise it is unnecessary. Doesn’t the guidance on the marriage regulation advise against a couple remarrying each other on the grounds that it casts doubts on the first ceremony?

  5. catholic gal says:

    My comment may be viewed as an unwanted intrusion
    perhaps; but I will rush to the crux of the matter nonetheless. (Dialogue is important even if a painful process for greater understanding.)
    We observe that Apostolic succession has always been contiguous within the R.C. Communion; Christ is head, and Peter his Bishop.
    The establishment of the Anglican church required a break in this apostolic successsion to allow an English king nominate himself as head.
    (In effect; A self-appointed Arch Bishop if you will..)
    He formed therefore a state church, which assimilated that of Roman Catholicism.
    The Roman Catholic Church recognises the authentic call to priesthood within the Anglican Communion. In recognition of this vocation bestows those in the ordinariate with that she believes is authentic ordination.
    If she did not do this, then she would not be true to her dogma.
    Therefore to offer less to her ordinariate priests than R.C. Ordination – would be unjust to them.
    I hope this helps to clarify matters.

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