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Dear Frank,

A friend brought to my attention Austen Ivereigh’s insightful article in CRUX, and I am very sorry.

I cannot tell you how distressed I am that your whole programme is apparently being so viciously undermined by converts (most of them from the Anglican Communion).

You and I share the same goals and are walking the same path. When we Anglicans come to a bridge which others have found perilous, we cross it intrepidly, showing that it will carry the weight of the Catholics waiting to  follow. We did that with women priests and bishops, and we will no doubt do the same for same-sex marriage. We are the bell-wethers of forward-looking catholicism.

You and I know that the game is to jettison the rigid traditionalists (who are a pitiful few, let us face it) in order to garner in the unchurched masses, who, gratifyingly,  are not weighed down by a devotion to scripture or a knowledge of the Fathers.

I think you will agree we did a good job of getting rid of our own die-hards in the ‘90s. It’s just such a shame that they have come over to you.

I really am sorry about that. It was with a sigh of relief , in a previous age, that we saw the back of trouble makers like Newman, Chesterton and Knox. But it does seem unfair that just when you have embarked on a great new programme of inclusivity, renewal and mercy, that you should be burdened with another influx of ex-Anglican intransigents.

I blame Benedict and Rowan. Rowan should have kept them in and Benedict shouldn’t have let them in. Still, the damage is done.

We must agree not to make the same mistakes next time

Yours apologetically,


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