Last July, I wrote an entry here called “Storm in a Chalice” where I outlined the disgraceful alienation of one million pounds, half of the capital of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. Five of the six trustees of the Confraternity had become Roman Catholic priests by way of the new Ordinariate, and had secretly changed the rules of the CBS to be able to donate the million to the Ordinariate.
I don’t know how many of the ordinary members of the CBS wrote in outrage to the Charity Commissioners of the UK. I, as a Life Member of CBS certainly did. And this week the Commissioners returned the verdict we were hoping for, namely that the donation was unlawful and must be returned to the CBS with interest.
This is very good news for poor Anglican parishes for whom the CBS has been a Godsend. It was founded to promote veneration of the Eucharist in the Anglican Church, and it has done it chiefly in making grants to parishes all over the world to help them buy vestments, tabernacles, chalices, ciboria and monstrances. Thus it has helped forward the spread of true devotion to the Blessed Sacrament in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.
I remember when I was Chaplain and Tutor in Salisbury Theological College, and we had a young seminarian who was from a very poor African country, Mozambique. He was Portuguese speaking and I taught him English for two years, though he was brilliant and picked up much more than I taught him. However, he had almost no possessions and went back to Mozambique to a priestly life of self-sacrifice and poverty. Through the CBS, I was able to get sent to him all the things I have mentioned above and much more for poor parishes in his diocese. That diocese, within a year of his priesting was guided by the Holy Spirit to elect him Bishop, and he has gone from strength to strength. What a joy that the CBS was able to help him.
That is just one example from my own experience that shows the wonderful work the CBS has done in promoting the Holy Eucharist. It is not alone in this, of course. In my travels around Europe as Vicar-General to the Bishop, I often found things lacking in Chaplaincies which were just getting by but could not afford much. I knew rich and prosperous parishes in London and elsewhere, and was never refused when I asked them to buy a chalice or vestments for a poor Chaplaincy. And the CBS never turned me down either.
So thank God they now have the interest from that million pounds to carry on their good work. For my part, I will soon ask the Vestry of St Clement’s to seek out needy parishes and help them buy or acquire vestments and all the things that will make their Masses part of “the beauty of holiness”.