Assumption Warwick Street: Ordinariate to move in

The announcement that the lovely hidden Church of the Assumption in Warwick Street W1 is to become an Ordinariate church has placed it in the spotlight.

The church looks like a row of houses and has always had a discreet entrance since it opened in 1730. It was first an embassy chapel and only became a parish church in 1871.

Much has been made about Blessed John Henry Newman having attended Mass. As a child he was brought just once by his father. This may have been due to the high standard of music.

The church was recently in the news due to unseemly demonstrations outside during Masses attended by gay people. From next month the worshippers will attend Mass at Farm Street instead.

I hope that handing the church to the Ordinariate will not prevent it continuing to be open for prayer with all visitors welcome. Anglican evensong is now likely to be a weekly feature.

It is claimed that the Ordinariate is part of ecumenical progress. This is hard to grasp when the split from Anglicanism without fully joining Rome appears to set up yet another division. It is also a view of Christian unity which was rejected by such inspiring ecumenical pioneers as Spencer Jones and Abbé Paul Couturier in the Thirties.

But if Anglicans and Roman Catholics can continue to pray in Warwick Street there may yet be a way forward. Blessed John Paul said that unity will come in a form we do not yet recognise.

The rectory is a former embassy and will make a lovely residence for whoever is in charge.

The Precious Blood in O’Meara Street, near Borough Market, became Southwark’s Ordinariate church last year. The new parish priest is the former vicar of St Agnes Kennington.

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One Response to Assumption Warwick Street: Ordinariate to move in

  1. Fr James Bradley says:

    Thanks for your kind remarks. Just a clarification: the Personal Ordinariate is fully a part of the Catholic Church, like any other jurisdiction (such as a diocese). We are in full communion with the Church and the Holy Father, but also maintain elements of our Anglican heritage and tradition. This is exactly what Abbé Couturier and his contemporaries sought: an Anglicanism united, but not absorbed. Do come and visit when we’re in!

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