Were Catholic blogs responsible for the Vatican stopping a Methodist Ordination Service in Liverpool Cathedral?

It’s been widely reported that the Catholic Church has withdrawn permission for an annual Methodist Ordination service to be held in Liverpool Cathedral.

This has caused no small amount of indignation.

Permission had initially been granted for the service by Archbishop Patrick Kelly, but subsequently reversed after “advice” from the Vatican.

The Catholic Herald notes:

The proposed ordination service was roundly attacked by Catholic bloggers earlier this year. One called it “sacrilege”, while others criticised it for the confusion it would bring.

“It might result in people who protest against Catholic truth… conducting a service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in whose presence they don’t believe,” Ben Trovato wrote on the blog Countercultural Father. He continued: “It might lead people to imagine some equivalence between Methodism and the One True Church founded by Christ.”

And so the question has been raised as to the possibility of the Vatican picking up on the discomfort of these Catholic bloggers, and intervening and proffering their advice to the Archbishop accordingly.

One Catholic blogger certainly seems to think so.

If this is the case, then it would indicate that Catholic bloggers now wield such power, that they are able to inform and influence the Vatican itself.

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “Were Catholic blogs responsible for the Vatican stopping a Methodist Ordination Service in Liverpool Cathedral?”

  1. Fr David Cloake Says:

    I blame Lesley


  2. Ben Trovato Says:

    You conclude: ‘If this is the case, then it would indicate that Catholic bloggers now wield such power, that they are able to inform and influence the Vatican itself.’

    I think that overstates it. We may be able to inform the Vatican, but I think it reaches its own judgement (in fidelity to Scripture, Tradition and the workings of the Holy Ghost) on what to do with that information.

  3. Doug Chaplin Says:

    It’s astonishing how many catholic bloggers seem to despise their bishops, and call that defending the faith.

  4. Ben Trovato Says:


    I’m not sure about despise, but there is a degree of mistrust. The reasons are well-rehearsed, ranging from the sorry Filochowski affair and the general corruption of CAFOD, to the Soho Masses, etc etc adding up to a general sense that in the Church in England under their care anything goes except the traditional Catholicism of our forefathers and their predecessors…

    But in our traditional way, we pray for them daily, offer sacrifices – and call them to account as and when we can, as the Church requires us to do.

    The blogs are interesting in this regard: until them, the bishops had a tight grip on what was published in the Catholic press (witness, for example, the suppression of a poll after the introduction of the New Rite of Mass, demonstrating its massive unpopularity with the laity). Was it Solzhenitsyn who said it was the photocopier that fatally undermined the Soviet dictatorship? It seems as though the freedom to share information not overseen by those in power is a heady thing…

  5. Roger Pearse Says:

    Erm, but why on earth would the Methodists have, or expect to have, an ordination ceremony in a Catholic cathedral; and why on earth would they get upset if they were prevented, on the reasonable grounds that they are not Catholics?

    Live and let live, and enough attempts to seize what is others.

    Maybe it is because there are so few telephone boxes these days that the few remaining Methodists can no longer hold their ordination ceremonies in them.

  6. peter Denshaw Says:

    Sometimes, when I read such stories, I try and apply Occam’s Razor and hope that the simplest explanation is probably the most likely one. i.e. that there has been a health and safety issues, or the diocese double booked the venue. It would be very sad indeed if there really had been pressure from the Vatican to stop the Methodists using the cathedral.

    When I was in the novitiate of an Anglican monastic community there were occasions when the neighbouring Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery used the Anglican chapel to celebrate mass for parish quiet days. The abbey’s own chapel was vast, as it also doubled as the chapel for the school the monks ran. Therefore the RC community asked if they could use the Anglican chapel because it was much smaller and more suited for the use of a parish quiet day. The neighbouring village Anglican parish church was also used by the abbey as a mass centre for the Catholics in the area. When the Anglican diocesan bishop retired the RC Abbey was used for his farewell service, because it was more central and ‘user’ friendly than the medieval cathedral.

    I think these examples show that the use of one another’s buildings can forge great friendships between denominations; this was certainly true of the Christian communities in the local neighbourhood of the two monasteries. It would be truly sad if the Liverpool RC Cathedral was only used by Catholics. Cathedrals are not just ‘big’ churches, they can be used for many purposes (this was certainly true of England’s ancient cathedrals – Old St Paul’s in London was used as a market and legal centre!).

    Well, for now, I am going to stick to Occam’s Razor and presume there is a simple explanation for the event being cancelled. Anything else just allows doubts, fears and resentment to creep in and causes division. And what if it turns out to be true? Well, it is their cathedral – they can do what they like with it and have in it whom they like. So again, there is no use getting up tight about it. But it would be a missed, or rejected, opportunity to build bridges…


Switch to our mobile site