Chrism Masses: Report of the Independent Reviewer

Posted on the 31st Jul 2015

The Independent Reviewer, Sir Philip Mawer, has published his first report, in response to a complaint by WATCH (Women and the Church) against the bishops of The Society for celebrating Chrism Masses. The complaint was not upheld. Sir Philip's report is available here.


The Bishop of Wakefield (Chairman of the Council of Bishops of The Society) has welcomed Sir Philip's report. His statement is published here.


The Five Guiding Principles

Posted on the 21st May 2015

Forward in Faith is committed to the Five Guiding Principles enshrined in the House of Bishops' Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests. To help make the Principles better known, we have published them as a credit-card-sized pull-out leaflet. More information is available from this page on the Forward in Faith website.


Appointment of the Bishop of Maidstone

Posted on the 5th May 2015

Forward in Faith welcomes the appointment of Prebendary Rod Thomas as Bishop of Maidstone, as a further step in implementing the Five Guiding Principles enshrined in the House of Bishops' Declaration. We assure him of our prayers and good wishes as he prepares for his episcopal ministry.



The Rt Revd Tony Robinson



New Forward in Faith website

Posted on the 4th Feb 2015

Forward in Faith has a new website at


The new Resources section includes detailed advice to PCCs and Parish Priests about passing a Resolution under the House of Bishops' Declaration, together with leaflets and other resources to facilitate consideration of the issues. There is also a full commentary on the House of Bishops' Declaration.


The About Us section contains more information about Forward in Faith and its work, organized in a more accessible way.


Please explore and enjoy the new site!


The Ordination of the Bishop of Burnley

Posted on the 3rd Feb 2015

Forward in Faith expresses its gratitude to the Archbishop of York for making arrangements for the Bishop of Burnley’s ordination which gave full expression to the Guiding Principles enshrined in the House of Bishops’ Declaration.


The first Guiding Principle speaks of the respect and canonical obedience that lawful office-holders deserve. The Archbishop of York presided in York Minister and the Bishop of Burnley took the oath of due obedience to him. No one present could have been in any doubt as to the Archbishop’s metropolitical authority or the respect in which he is held.


The fourth and fifth Guiding Principles embody commitments to enabling those who, for theological reasons, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests to flourish, and to making sacramental and pastoral provision for us ‘in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing’.


The reference to a ‘degree of communion’ recognizes that full communion cannot exist where some bishops and priests are unable to receive the sacramental ministry of others. For over twenty years traditional catholic priests have been granted ordination by bishops with whom they enjoy full communion (because they can receive the ministry of all the priests whom those bishops ordain). The ordination of women as bishops gives rise to a need for similar provision for ordination to the episcopate. Such arrangements contribute to enabling our priests and bishops to flourish, allowing them to experience at the moment of ordination the full communion with the ordaining bishops that all other ordinands enjoy.


We are grateful that the service in York Minster was nevertheless characterized by a very high degree of communion and fellowship, expressed not least in the fact that all could receive communion together.


The arrangements determined by the Archbishop of York also contributed to ‘mutual flourishing’. We trust that no one imagines that the flourishing of traditional catholic ordinands could involve their being ordained by bishops whose sacramental ministry they cannot receive. If all the male bishops present had participated in the laying on of hands, the Bishop of Stockport (whose gracious presence we acknowledge with gratitude) would therefore have been alone in having to refrain from doing so. It would be difficult to see that as an expression of ‘mutual flourishing’.


Plainly, a future female Archbishop of York could not be the principal consecrator of a traditional catholic bishop. By delegating that ministry to the Bishop of Chichester, Archbishop Sentamu has ensured that there need be no difference between his role on this occasion and that of a future female archbishop. We hope that those who support the ordination of women as bishops will agree with us that any such distinction should be avoided.



The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract








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