A joint statement by the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Europe:
“Feast of St Botolph, Abbot, 17 June 2013
WE, as the acknowledged leaders of the canonical Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Europe give warning that a group currently calling itself the “Old Roman Catholic Society of Pope Leo XIII” led by an individual named “Archbishop David Bell” (formerly known as James Atkinson-Wake) has no connection whatsoever with any historical nor canonical Old Roman Catholic jurisdiction.
Furthermore, having concern for all those committed to our pastoral charge and with regard to recent determinations by the Holy See concerning the actions and status of “Archbishop David Bell”, we direct that the same person be regarded effectively a “vitandus”* by all Old Roman Catholic clergy and faithful.
This joint Statement has been issued in response to title changes on the website http://www.hrcac.org.uk/.
The “Society of Pope Leo XIII” has also previously claimed to be a Roman Catholic institution and historically to be a part of the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira, an independent church founded by Dom Carlos Duarte Costa (former Roman Catholic bishop of Botucatu) in Brazil; both assertions have been strenuously refuted by the respective authorities.
Mgr Marcus Stock, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales was quoted in “The Catholic Herald” (7 September 2012) making similar statements later made by Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Giovanni D’Aniello on behalf of the Vatican’s Secretary of State to the President of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, that: “…the Pope Leo XIII community is schismatic and as such cannot receive official recognition from the Catholic Church” and that “…bishops ordained in that community cannot carry out a ministry in the Catholic Church as it does not recognise these ordinations… All organisations or associations linked to that society should be treated as one would treat any non-Catholic institution.” (Protocol 1177/12) dated 8 October 2012. Similarly, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to Bishop Thomas MacMahon of Brentwood stating that David Bell “…must not be allowed to exercise any ministry in the Catholic Church.”
The conclusions of recent determinations by British Law Courts concerning the “validity” or otherwise of “Archbishop David Bell’s” holy Orders not withstanding, the Old Roman Catholic Church like the Roman Catholic Church is not obliged to accept “as valid” for its own purposes, the validity of any sacramental ministrations performed by “Archbishop David Bell” nor of any person ordained/consecrated by him. For information about recognising genuine Old Roman Catholic clergy and jurisdictions we refer enquirers to this previously published advice.
*”Vitandus” i.e. “To be avoided”. This Statement is expressly not a declaration of “vitandus excommunicate” i.e. a sentence reserved canonically [ref CIC 1917 Canons 2343 §1 n. 1 & 2258 §2] in the Western Latin tradition to the Holy See; but rather a direction to the clergy and faithful subject to the jurisdiction of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain and Europe to behave “as if” such had been decreed.
Al-Bawaba: Acting President of the Syrian National Coalition George Sabra said Wednesday that the two Orthodox archbishops kidnapped in Syria were being held in a small village northwest of Aleppo by a rebel group.
In a telephone conversation with Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel, Sabra said that Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were both in good health and still in the custody of a small group of rebels in the Syrian town of Bshaqtin.
“The bishops are in good health and are being held by a small group in a town called Bshaqtin, 20 kilometers northwest of Aleppo,” Sabra told Gemayel, who was in a meeting with Syriac Orthodox bishops at the Kataeb Party’s headquarters in Saifi, according to Gemayel’s office.
Yazigi and Ibrahim were kidnapped last month by armed men while they were on their way to Aleppo from the Turkish border.
The meeting in Saifi was attended by Mount Lebanon’s Syriac Orthodox Bishop George Saliba, Beirut Bishop Daniel Koriyeh, Syriac League President Habib Efram and Deputy Bishop of Aleppo Joseph Shabo. Bishop Saliba also spoke to the Syrian opposition leader over the phone and urged him to secure the release of the kidnapped bishops.
When contacted by The Daily Star, Sabra declined to comment.
Speaking during the meeting in Saifi, Gemayel said the abduction of the two bishops constituted a bad message to the Christian communities in Syria and the region.
Saliba said that fear might overwhelm Christians in the region if the bishops were not released: “I don’t know whether the Christians would leave the region because of this or stay and react to this kidnapping in a way that we do not want.”
ORC News Portal: The plight of the two archbishops is of particular interest to Old Roman Catholics because since 1911 the Old Roman Catholic Church has had a special relationship with the Patriarchate of Antioch. ORC Churches and faithful have been praying for the release of the two archbishops, offering Masses and devotions for their safe relief. This latest news is a positive sign of that “faith, hope and charity” that has been expressed by Christians all over the world for these two men and their well-being. Please join us all in prayer for a speedy return of these two men of God to their faithful and to the Church as a whole.
- Statement by both Patriarchs of Antioch & All the East (orcce.wordpress.com)
Congratulations to His Excellency Mgr António Freitas of Braga, Portugal and His Grace, Mgr Jerome Lloyd OSJV Metropolitan of Europe, celebrating the first anniversary of their Episcopal consecration today, May 5th, the feast of Pope St Pius V. Of your charity please pray for their Excellencies and for His Eminence, Archbishop Boniface Grosvold who consecrated them on this day in the Collegiate Chapel of St John, Huron University.
A new website has been launched with the blessing of the Primate for the Old Roman Catholic Church Latin Rite; www.orcclr.org. The new website is designed deliberately to be an introduction to the Communion of the ORCC LR, the largest Old Roman Catholic jurisdiction and the only one to have a global presence i.e. with communities on every continent. The new website is part of a review affecting the whole of the Communion which, due to its growth now requires certain key structures in place at its centre.
The Old Roman Catholic tradition has always prided itself on developing “local” churches, usually on national lines, but due to the generally small size of such local communities, key aspects of administration can become either onerous and time/resource-consuming, or barely sustainable. The recent appointment of a Primatial Chapter is purposefully to look at the governance of the Communion and identify those aspects of administration that may be operated centrally for the benefit of all, leaving local churches to focus on mission and pastoralia rather than administration. Refocusing the organisation of the Communion at the Provincial level should enable local churches at the diocesan and parochial level to concentrate their energies on growth rather than administration.
Embracing and harnessing modern technologies, it is hoped to be able to provide the Communion with a method of reporting key events and statistics that will not require copious amounts of printing and paper; together with a global presence comes a global concern for the environment! Similarly, reporting directly to the centre should avoid unnecessary duplication of procedures and free resources for mission. Whilst the size of the Communion is far from comparable to other much larger denominations, the implications of an internationally organised body are very relevant – languages, communication, legal differences etc, all have an impact on the efficiency and working of the Communion.
- ORCC LR Apostolic Vicar & Primatial Chapter appointed (orcce.wordpress.com)
The Revd Deacon Andrew Scurr, due to be ordained to the priesthood on St Mathew’s Day, September 21st 2013 has been restoring the domestic chapel of his house. Dcn Scurr is guardian of the Mission of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Lewinna in Buxted, a satellite of the Brighton Oratory and part of the Old Roman Catholic Mission in Sussex, England. Fr Charles Edward Roe who built the house replete with chapel in his retirement, was formerly Rector of St Mary‘s Buxted…
The infamous Father Arthur Wagner was succeeded at St. Paul’s, Brighton by Father J.E. Halliwell in 1902 and to him came Father Charles Edward Roe as Curate over fourteen years, during which time Father Roe became acquainted with a young layman in Brighton, Alfred Hope Patten. In 1917, Father Roe was appointed Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Buxted, where he took a great interest in the unique Lady Chapel. When in 1919 Alfred Hope Patten, then a Priest of five years standing, came to assist him at Buxted for a year, Father Roe told Father Patten that in the Lady Chapel at St Mary’s a Screen was placed where it was in order to make that part of the Chapel beyond to the east window correspond with the dimensions of the Holy House of Our Lady at Walsingham, destroyed in the reign of Henry VIII. This aroused Father Patten’s interest in the once-famous Shrine at Walsingham. Then came a remarkable sequence of events. Father Roe’s brother, Canon Gordon Roe, had recently been appointed Rural Dean of Walsingham, and wrote to his brother regarding the appointment to the vacant Living of Walsingham asking if he could suggest a suitable priest. Father Roe at once suggested Father Patten, and he was accepted and appointed, with the result that, through the Providence of God, he restored Our Lady to Walsingham once more. There is not the space here to record all that this resolute and devoted priest accomplished in setting up the image of the Mother and Child, so familiar to us now, in rebuilding the Holy House within a fine Pilgrimage church, etc., but the influence of Buxted St. Mary’s upon all this is clear for all to see and, when Father Roe died, a memorial brass was set in the floor of the Shrine Church at Walsingham, just in front of the Master’s Stall. This has an engraving of Father Roe in Mass vestments, and bears the inscription: ‘Of your charity, pray for the soul of CHARLES EDWARD ROE, M.A., Member of S.S.C. and S.K.C.M., Priest Associate of the Holy House, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, Buxted 1917-1935. Died 4th August 1940. Jesu mercy. Mary help.’’
The coincidences however do not stop back in the past but continue now in the present as the house is but a stones-throw away from St Mary’s Buxted and a contemporary honorary curate of St Paul’s Brighton is a neighbour! How wonderful that through Dcn Scurr’s efforts this domestic chapel will once again be a focal point of worship and the offering of the holy Mass in union with the prayers and patronage of Our Lady of Walsingham! When the restoration is complete, HE Mgr Jerome Lloyd OSJV, Provost of the Brighton Oratory will dedicate and bless the chapel.