Bring Back Betrothal Rites!

Espousal of Joseph and Mary

Image is of the Betrothal of Mary and Joseph

When I was engaged, I wanted to give my Beloved an extra special day- so I organized a Betrothal Rite, an ancient yet scarce practice. Betrothals are different from just being engaged because being engaged is a private arrangement between a couple, even if it is announced publicly. To be Betrothed is a deeper commitment to marry before both God and Church. 

In the Bible we see many examples of betrothals, the most striking example is at the time of the Annunciation Mary and Joseph are betrothed: in Jewish tradition they were as good as married, requiring a divorce to break. The 23rd of January use to be the liturgical feast celebrating the Betrothal of Mary and Joseph, a feast called the Espousals of Mary and Joseph up until 1961. While Betrothals use to be common practice in the West, slowly they were merged into the Marriage Rite so technically many Catholic couples are betrothed and then immediately married right after. Continue reading

The Brown Scapular and the Ordinariates

simonstockThe Personal Ordinariates love Mary, the Mother of God. A much beloved part of the Patrimony of the Personal Ordinariates is Our Lady of Walsingham: one of the earliest Marian apparitions that took place in England (1061).

Better known to the wider Catholic Church is the second Marian apparition in England (Cambridge, 1251) to St Simon Stock: an Englishman and Superior General of the Carmelite Order. Traditionally Mary gave St Simon Stock the Brown Scapular, which has gone on to become the second biggest
devotion in the Catholic Church. But what role might the Brown Scapular play in the Personal Ordinariates? Continue reading

An Ordinariate Oratory?


While the Personal Ordinariates have been recently celebrating the canonisation of St John Henry Newman, including his work of establishing the first Oratory of St Phillip Neri in Britain, I wonder whether anyone has thought of establishing an Ordinariate Oratory?

While doing research I discovered that in order to establish an Oratory a minimum of four men is all that is needed: two ordained and two either seminarians or Lay-Brothers. I believe this is more than possible in any Personal Ordinariate.

What is an Oratory? Continue reading

CSP: Double Your Donations 3/12/19

If you are a member of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter  in the United States, you maybe able to double your donation to the ordinariate or your parish on the December 3 through Facebook’s Giving Tuesday initiative.

I was made aware of this through the Catholic Fundraiser course, an excellent ministry by Brice Sokolowski, that I have been doing this year through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia.

Facebook will match up to $100,000 worth of donations to US-based non-for-profits done via Facebook on the 3rd December, and will continue to do so until they have given away $7 million dollars.

All the information regarding the matter can be found here.

If your parish has not been involved with Giving Tuesday before, then tell your priest ASAP and give them some time to alert their Ordinariate community and associates about the opportunity.

Here’s a link to a Facebook fundraiser for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

John Henry Newman’s Defence of the Virgin Mary in Catholic Doctrine- Book Review

statue-our-lady-5a151f5296211685df72cd496f2fe3861b933c1f1a0b3a106c9d07609a0cf2eeThe life and work of John Henry Newman (1801-90), the main leader of the Oxford Movement who later turned Catholic convert in 1845, is back in the spotlight with his recent canonisation. This recent book shines light on an often overlooked aspect of Newman’s thought: his Mariology.

Robert M. Andrews Apologia Pro Beata Maria Virgine: John Henry Newman’s Defence of the Virgin Mary in Catholic Doctrine and Piety (Academica, 2017) not only shows the development of Newman’s Marian thought, but also offers this discussion within the historic context of the Oxford Movement and the Church of England during the period. Continue reading

The Reckoning of the Fake Catholic Bishop of Whitby?

After the article “Philip James French: The Fake Catholic Bishop of Whitby” it seems the people of Whitby now have a chance to bring their concerns about Philip James French of St Ninians to a public forum.  The town’s religious leaders will be discussing the matter on the 8th of November.

Philip James French is a “bishop” for the  “Catholic Church OF England and Wales” (CCEW), a splinter group from the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB), which is Continue reading

Philip James French: the Fake Catholic Bishop of Whitby

In my recent article James Atkinson-Wake:“Who wears the Mitre of Satan” about the identity changing individual who heads a questionable international network of Episcopi-Vagantes and has been targeting Anglo-Catholics, I mentioned a Philip James French- the only one of the many “bishops” of the “Catholic Church OF England and Wales” (CCEW) which seems to actually have a Church building in the UK, St Ninians Whitby. Soon after this I was contacted by residents of the small town of Whitby asking if I could help them- it did not take long to uncover a disturbing tale, back up by official statements of multiple churches familiar with French.

The numerous allegations against Philip James French including abusive behaviour towards Whitby residences (including old women), alcohol abuse and drunken behaviour, it being an open secret he is in a homosexual relationship with the other “monk” at his cottage based monastery, and a long history of misrepresenting himself as a ‘Roman Catholic’ priest: which many only find out he is not after complaining to the local Catholic diocese. Of course it helps when allegations are back up with official statements from several different churches and screen shots like this Facebook conversion after a night out drinking: Continue reading

Are you called to be an Ancient Observance Ordinariate Carmelite?

After expressions of interest regarding a foundation of traditional Ancient Observance Carmelites to the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OLSC), those wishing to test such a vocation are invited to apply. At this stage the proposed foundation would be located in Perth, Australia.

The proposed foundation would celebrate the liturgy of the Personal Ordinariates Divine Worship which is around 90+% the same as the English translation of the Carmelite Rite itself, as both liturgies are closely related. The first general assembly of Carmelites outside of the Holy Land, and many of its first European monasteries, were in England. The monastic movement of this period, including the Carmelite Charism, helped to shape English Catholicism which is lived by the Ordinariates. The proposed foundation would be under the patronage of the great English Carmelite St. Simon Stock, who received the Brown Scapular from the Blessed Virgin Mary at Cambridge- the second biggest devotion in the Catholic Church after the Rosary. Although the foundation would have a Carmelite Charism, it would still also be in the spiritual tradition of the Ordinariates.

The cause of this appeal is based on a number of factors including several OLSC members expressing interest in Ancient Observance Carmelite vocations, with one testing a vocation through private vows, and the existence of a large and well established Ancient Observance Carmelite Confraternity in Perth, which also has one of the largest OLSC parishes. If enough serious applicants are found, then the Ordinary of OLSC will contact the Ancient Observance Carmelites for a formator towards the foundation.

The appeal is mainly aimed for those seeking to be Friars and Monks. As ordination counts as a sacrament of initiation into the Ordinariates those who are not members can apply to be Friars. If at least 3-5 serious applicants can be found, then a foundation can start to be discerned: and there is already one application.

At the current moment an Ordinariate Ancient Observance Carmelite foundation is a proposal, with this appeal being apart of the discernment process for the Ordinariate as much as those who expressed interest in such a vocation: so the call has been issued, we are just waiting to see who will respond.

St Simon Stock, Pray for the Ordinariates

For those interested in applying, you can send expressions of interest to:


(The text of this article was first published in the September 2018 edition of the free Ordinariate Portal Magazine under the title “Ordinariate Carmelites?”)

The English Catholicism Lecture Series

Lecture Series

Last year I organised a lecture series (in Perth, Australia) on the great Anglo-Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton, to help promote the Ordinariate and the local Ordinariate parish- this year it is the “English Catholicism Series”.

What do the Ordinariates have to offer the Catholic Church? Is a major theme of the Lecture Series, with most talks being aimed towards a general Catholic audience, but whose topic is never far from the Ordinariate. As a matter of history we look at the last time a large wave of Anglo-Catholics entered the Catholic Church which lead to a Golden Age in English Catholicism: whose key figures such as Newman and Chesterton are household names in mainstream English speaking Catholicism. As a matter of substance we look at not just the Anglo-Catholic liturgy of the Ordinariates, but also its Spirituality, Saints and way of doing Theology. And as a matter of fact we look at how these treasures are not just an academic matters of history but a living tradition that is heart of the Ordinariates which exist here and now that you can partake in. So we look at the shared treasures between the Ordinariates and the wider English speaking Catholicism, and treasures yet to be shared.

The plan is to have more such lecture series, including in other cities in Australia.

Such events in my opinion are crucial  to spreading the word about the Ordinariates, so the question is: can your Ordinariate community organise a Lecture Series of its own? Only two of the speakers are from the OLSC Ordinariate, the other four are mainstream Catholics who are friends of the Ordinariate with overlapping interests- one of which is visiting Perth. My advice is get active, get out there and make some friends.

(Also to answer the question the talks will not be recorded for public release- only for the use of Ordinariate seminarians).