Thursday, June 16, 2011

Controversial Bishop

Today in our diocese is the feast of St Richard Wych, Bishop of Chichester 1197 -1253. He began his episcopate unwanted by the King, unwanted by his diocesan Chapter of Canons and unwanted most of the diocesan clergy and a large number of his contemporary fellow bishops. There is one source which speaks of him hammering on his cathedral door only to be ignored.
He was very much a European intellectual, having taught at Oxford, Paris and Bologna, he eventually became Chancellor of Oxford.
Asking around about the deferral of the ordination of a former Anglican clergyman I am told by a couple of sources that the problem is he is "controversial", which nowadays seems to be a euphemism for "orthodox" or "catholic". St Richard would well have been described as "controversial". He insisted on his clergy celebrating Mass decently, on them being prayerful, on them having some degree of understanding and learning. He suppressed heresy and immorality with rigour. he promoted the more radical "new movements" in particular the Dominicans, with their then controversial radical orthodoxy and orthopraxy, firmly rooted in the new learning and Catholic Tradition. He was intolerant of the vain and self serving.

St Richard pray for us. Amen


AndrewWS said...

May he pray for a certain ex-Anglican ex-clergyman who used to teach at a school in the diocese of Chichester, and also for the Ordinariate, which values the things that were dear to him.

berenike said...

If being orthodox were the difficulty with A Certain Ex-Anglican, does that mean those who have been ordained are unorthodox?

Read the recent entries again, and see if you can't see at least one problem.

Richard Collins said...

I always thought that the feastday of my patron saint was April
3rd...and that the Anglicans celebrated it on 16th June. Have I been feasting out of calendar Father?
The best story re St Richard is the probably apocryphal one of when, at the moment of consecration, a large and hairy spider fell into the chalice. Without a second thought the saint consumed the species and the spider at the same time on the premise that one could not reverently separate the two.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Haven't the time, nor do I do guessing games.

Fr Ray Blake said...

RC, According to our diocesan Ordo today is the feast.

Anonymous said...

H e was first PP of Deal where I once ministered. A road in the adjoining "daughter!" parish bears his name, as does a school in Dover parish where he dedicated a chapel to St. Edward of Abingdon.It is stated that it was the first chapel dedicated to an English Saint by an English Saint. The Chapel still exists. Tt was restored by the late Father Terence Tanner (another "controversial" priest!) and is in the care of a trust

universal doctor said...

I like to consider myself orthodox. I have been called "fundamental" before. But, as one of my orthodox priest friends once said: "at least "fundamental" has the word "fun" in it!"...

berenike said...

Fair enough, but the first, more important point, stands.

Asking around about the deferral of the ordination of a former Anglican clergyman I am told by a couple of sources that the problem is he is "controversial", which nowadays seems to be a euphemism for "orthodox" or "catholic".

If being orthodox were the reason for the deferral, then presumably those who have been ordained were not orthodox, or not as orthodox.

Richard said...

To Richard Collins:

3rd April is the anniversary of St Richard's death, 16th June the anniversary of his translation.

Both have been used as his feast days, and Fr Blake is right that 16th June is the current Catholic one (as well as the usual Anglican one).

Historically his feast was 3rd April, but he seems to have been dropped long ago - I looked for him in a 1961 calendar and he wasn't there, not even on the Southwark diocesan calendar (Arundel & Brighton didn't exist then).

When the Bishops revised the National Calendar in 2000, they brought him back (as an optional memorial in England), but they chose 16th June, probably because 3rd April often gets over-ridden by one of the Easter feasts.

16th June does have an older Catholic pedigree, but only in the Dominican Order - I found him celebrated on 16th June (again, just an optional memorial) in a 1969 Dominican calendar.

Anonymous said...

I should have sid St EDMUND of Abingdon not St Edward

georgem said...

Controversial? The gentleman is in good company. In some minds the Pope is controversial.

pelerin said...

Very interested to see about the date of St Richard's feastday. My father was born on April 3rd 1888 and his first Christian name was Richard - I had never realised the connection before. Thanks to the two Richards for the information.

Daryl said...

My source says "Hubris".

Wiki defines this as "extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power".

Just a breathing space and a period of reflection.

Peter said...

In most cases I think it best to keep a deferral or refusal of ordination quiet as the reasons might give distress to the candidate and raise questions in those cases where no explanation can be given.
In this case the matter is already public so a different approach may be justified. If what was published was damaging I think that we are entitled to be told what the errors are. This is important as I suspect that the author will gladly correct any errors. It is only fair to him to be told and given the chance to correct.
Thanks to you and all good bloggers.

Anonymous said...

If being orthodox were the reason for the deferral, then presumably those who have been ordained were not orthodox, or not as orthodox.

Add "forthrightly-and-in-a-widely-read-medium" to the epithet "orthodox" and there you might have the explanation for both his deferral and the non-deferral of other perfectly orthodox candidates.

But since we've been discouraged from specualting vainly about the case, perhaps I shouldn't even have said this much. [Appositely enough, the verification word for this comment is "dinni"!]

Smashing stained glass image of St Richard, by the way (... he added iconoclastically).

Anagnostis said...


It also has the word "mental"

Sharon said...

I think that St Richard of Chichester wrote this:
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits Thou hast given me,
For all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer,
Friend and Brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day. Amen

nickbris said...

The city of Brighton is "controversial" and always has been.

Census returns show the majority as being Jedi Knights or Pagans

Daryl said...

@ Anagnostis (and Father Ray)

Your humorous point is actually an aspect that needs to be considered.
It may be a loving deferment in the interest of the person.
The pressures and stresses of moving across the unpredictable Tiber current is something we cradle Catholics should take into account.

Father Ray. A question please:

Why do you think some Catholic bloggers profiles show "star signs"?
I was taught (by nuns) that astrology was sinful.
I think in St. Richard's day they would have been burnt at the stake!

discipula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inkstain said...

Dear Father,

Thank you for this post and may Our Lord reward you for it.

Richard said...

Daryl asked "Why do you think some Catholic bloggers profiles show 'star signs'?"

I've never noticed it. But before condemning them, consider that possibly the blogging service they use adds it automatically, based on their date of birth.