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NOTEBOOK Widders’ mite


WHILE some long-standing Anglican converts to Catholicism, such as Fr Peter Cornwell writing in today’s Tablet, question current arrangements for unhappy members of the Church of England to cross the Tiber en masse, others are among their most enthusiastic supporters. Former Conservative MPs Ann Widdecombe and Lord Deben (John Gummer) have declared themselves delighted with the ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which came into existence with the ordination of its first three priests – all former Anglican bishops – on 15 January. Miss Widdecombe told us: “Last time there was an exodus, in 1992-93, it was chaos. What happened varied from diocese to diocese, priests in particular found huge differences. Some were received into the Church fairly quickly, others were not. Now anyone who is fed up as an Anglican can very quickly say, ‘No problem – I’m making the move.’ Also being able to retain their Anglican traditions is a very big plus.” Lord Deben has harsh words for the Anglican Bishops of London and Rochester who have ruled out allowing ordinariate groups to use their churches. “There is no generosity of spirit. It is a very


un-Christian line. If in those circumstances we can’t share churches and demonstrate that we are one, it does worry me very much indeed,” he said.


Both peers acknowledge that funding is a concern for the ordinariate. Lord Deben has just undertaken to raise funds for its online magazine, The Portal. Miss Widdecombe said she would make a very modest donation – “a widow’s mite” – if asked. But she would not be drawn on whether


any earnings from her participation in the BBC1 series Strictly Come Dancing might go into the ordinariate pot. Speaking from Liverpool, where she was taking part in a live touring version of the TV programme, she said of the show: “It has been wonderful. I have enjoyed every minute and will be sad when it’s over.”


Birmingham’s pilgrimage THE PILGRIMS’ WAY along the North Downs is the path traditionally thought to be that taken by pilgrims trekking from Winchester in Hampshire to the tomb of St Thomas à Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. But the name may also soon refer the route taken by those who attended Cardinal Newman’s beatification near Birmingham. Cofton Hackett parish council, north-east of Bromsgrove, has proposed naming a street on a planned new housing estate “Pilgrim’s Way” in honour of the Catholics who travelled to the event last September.


If given the go-ahead, the estate would be built on the site of the former Longbridge Rover car plant, which was used as a coach park by pilgrims who walked across it on their way to nearby Cofton Park where Pope Benedict beatified Newman last September. The idea came from local resident Roger Marsden, 80, an Anglican, who wrote to the council, and to Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley. “This was an extremely important event for this area, and I thought the pilgrims were wonderful and should be honoured in some way,” he said.


Faithful Catalina THE annual commemoration of Katharine of Aragon at Peterborough Cathedral offers an opportunity to re-engage with the much- maligned Catholic Queen of England, who was so unfairly blamed for Henry VIII’s historic break with Rome. The candlelit procession and vespers in honour of Katharine on 28 January is usually attended by devotees from around the world and involves children from several local schools. The ensuing two-day festival has an interesting programme of related events including a concert by the choral ensemble the Sixteen. The concert will feature music Katharine would have heard at court, includ- ing a piece reputedly written for her by Henry. After a life of unswerving loyalty to her faith, Katharine was laid to rest in the cathedral in 1536 (her name is spelled this way on the Victorian tomb, and is the spelling used for the festival events, although she would have been known as “Catalina” in her native Spain). In the spirit of unity and rec- onciliation, a Catholic Mass is celebrated each year at the altar near her resting place in the Anglican cathedral. (For a review of the latest biography of the queen, see Books, page 19.)


Home to Yorkshire HE WAS tipped to fill the vacant auxiliary bishop’s post at the Archdiocese of Westminster after playing a key role organising Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain. But instead Mgr Andrew Summersgill, who coordinated the papal visit for the Church, has returned to his home county of Yorkshire as a parish priest. He will oversee St Stephen’s Church, Skipton, and St Margaret Clitherow, in Threshfield, following the retire- ment of Fr Peter Dawber. It is the first time Bradford-born Mgr Summersgill has been a parish priest since he was ordained 25 years ago, having worked first as an assistant priest, and then as secretary to Bishop David Konstant in Leeds before serving as the diocese’s chancellor and judicial vicar. He went on to become general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales from 2001 to 2009. Many believed he would follow in the footsteps of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who was general secretary from 1984 before becoming a Westminster auxiliary in 1992.


Picture perfect


FOR AN insight into how our cover illustrators arrive at the end product, readers should head for the exhibition space at The Guardian newspaper’s headquarters near King’s Cross in north London. There, in a one-man show devoted to the work of the Tablet illustrator and cartoonist “JAS” –Jim Sillavan –they will get an insight into the evolution of one of our most mem- orable covers of 2010. The exhibition shows how Sillavan toiled over the cover image for 8 May 2010. It shows Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos of Colombia wearing the magnificent cappa magna and storming off in a fury with a dismissive wave of his hand and contemptuous sweep of his train. The idea for the picture, which came from the editor, proved difficult to realise. The artist produced dozens of roughs – although just eight pocket versions on a single sheet are shown in the exhibition together with the finished artwork and the final cover. “It was a favourite of mine – I don’t know


why. When it was first suggested I didn’t like the idea at all. But like so many of the most difficult ideas, it ultimately turned out one of the best,” Sillavan told us. There are one or two other Tablet pen- and-ink drawings in the exhibition, together with others done for The Guardian and The Economist. There are also more than 100 photographs, sculptures and collages. The exhibition at The Guardian (King’s Place, 90 York Way, London N1) is free and runs to 3 March.


29 January 2011 | THE TABLET | 15


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