Friday, May 11, 2007

No Comment, sort of

In response to the questions raised by David Virtue's report that Archbishop Morse plans to retire, as mentioned here, I cannot confirm or deny any aspects of the report. The last time I spoke with Archbishop Morse was about one month ago, and this subject never came up. Therefore, I simply refer the readers to the Archbishop's own words, which are short and to the point (and I will not attempt to add my thoughts to what he has said). The questions are answered to a degree which leaves everything quite vague. This may indicate one of two things: 1) The Archbishop has not decided, or 2) he is deliberately keeping things quiet. Either way, I respect his wishes.

As I looked at the comments that followed the piece posted by Albion on our own blog, the subject of disunity came up once again. And, indeed, the scandal of our fragmentation should be faced as a problem to be solved. One comment referred to an unkown "archbishop" of an unknown "archdiocese" in an unknown "province." We have a word for that: Vagans. This is not a problem of Anglican splintering, however, but rather a consequence of religious freedom such as that guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. After all, this freedom has resulted in schisms before. (The Methodists and the Reformed Episcopal Church both split off from Anglicanism long before any of us were born, and the Methodists came up with endless splinters throughout the Twentieth Century. And, in the 1960s that crazy racist Bishop Dees led his own little group out of the Episcopal Church)

The vagantes will never stop appearing (especially at every full moon), and this must be distinguished from the disunity that exists among the leading jurisdictions of tradional Anglicans who believe in The Affirmation of St. Louis. Anybody can buy a church start up kit at Walmart, and create an "Archdiocese" in his garage, complete with members among his family, neighbors, and relatives. Even his dog may join. Each such kit has an inflatable bishop consecrated by the "dead hand." (Well, alright, so maybe not.) But, the disunity among the actual jurisdictions that called themselves (at the beginning) the Continuing Church is a more serious problem. However, there is more agreement than disagreement, more common ground than division.

One thing I have observed, however, and I will dare to comment with an air of authority that only knowledge and experience can provide. As an experienced exorcist (that kind who has had to drive real demons out of real people), I have learned that spiritual warfare is always a reality. We ignore it at our own peril, forgetting the words of Saint Paul: "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices ( II Corinthians 2:11)." I am amazed at the ease with which the enemy keeps using the same devices over and over again, with a terrifying degree of success. The deadly sin most exploited is pride.


Alice C. Linsley said...

And pride produces fruits unfitting the Kingdom of God.

You make an important distinction here between vagante and real jurisdictional disunity.

I trust that you will keep us informed re: Archbishop Morse, as you are able.

Anonymous said...

I think that we all must be careful regarding any articles posted by David Virtue. Not only because of the accuracy of his reporting, but his obvious disdain for Anglo Catholics in general and the Continuum in particular.
Fr. Hart's post bears heeding! Frankly I am tiring of the criticizms of the splits in the Continuum especially from those still in apostate church's and from those who have split off from the original Province.
Fr. Joseph DeHart, ACC.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for introducing me to the concept of vangante bishops. For those not overly familiar with the continuing Anglican world the difficulty is determining just who is vagante and who is "legit". Somehow I think Archbishop Camp would be terribly offended at being placed in the vagante category.

poetreader said...

Thank you Fr. Hart for an excellent and helpful statement.

Fr. Joe, I'm in agreement with you in being tired of how often those 'others' sputter about our disunity. They've got plenty of stuff to deal with in their own home turf. However, regardless of the reasons it may be there, we of the major ("St. Louisian") Continuing jurisictions are in a situation of constantly taking potshots at each other, working so hard to justify our fragmented state, or to blame it on someone else. It's a great big honking log in our own eyes, and, until we have shown maximum effort to heal these divisions, we have no cause to present ourselves as the holy place everyone else should seek.

I may be unhappy with the attitudes of such as Mr. Virtue, but what he does is beyond my reach. I am even more unhappy with an atitude that fails to recognize the desperate sinfulness of our divisive and prideful attitudes and conduct.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

To "ililke the28":

Perhaps Archbishop Camp (whose name I have never heard before) does not deserve to be called a vagante, and if so I apologize for any such implication. The website, as described in a comment by a reader, did have a vagante ring to it, as described. So,it was that description I wrote about, and it may be quite unfair as far as I know.

To everybody else:

In my experience with David Virtue, he is certainly not an enemy of Anglo-Catholics. True, he is not one; and I thought he made too much of the emergence of the AMiA as if finally there was an alternative to ECUSA (I am not ready to change to writing TEC. We must be allowed to refer to those ECUSAns-pronounced "Ecoosans"- out there). However, I wrote to him at the time, and discovered that he can be quite fair (in fact, he has posted quite a few things that I have written). Shortly afterward, he interviewed Archbishop Morse. However, as much as the Archbishop may not like my saying so, we ought to give Virtue his due. He is a responsible journalist, and I am not ready to discount his reporting. If he is reporting these things, he probably knows something the rest of us -including yours truly- do not. Sorry, but there it is.

One point that I hope came across in my post is this: Even if all of the bishops of the original "Continuing Church" in January 1978, had remained in complete unity, that would not have prevented Anglican vagantes from springing up all over the place whenever the moon is full, or Walmart has a sale on those kits I mentioned. We have freedom of religion in most of our countries (certainly in America and Australia, etc.), and with this good thing comes the inevitable problems. I think our policy on this blog presents the best "litmus test" that can be suggested for people out there: What does a church body believe about the Affirmation of St. Louis? This must be a dividing line.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For heaven's sake. I just saw that the reader I mentioned was "ilikethe28" himself. That was a brilliant job of, as we said when I was a kid playing football in the old neighborhhod, "faking me out."

Anonymous said...

As only a recent reader that of one month, I find the Continuum and other such blogs very interesting and I have learned a lot from the posts.

I find I have to agree with Fr. Hart's comments that pride is a major problem for Continuing Churchmen, it seems that it is all a bit like the book "Animal Farm", all claim that they are valid but some think they are a little more valid than others.

I have been a part of the Continuing movement for the last six years, recently incardinating into the Anglican Independent Communion Australia from the Anglican Church International Communion.

Though I must admit I have led a very sheltered existence! I had no idea of the amount disunity between differing groups. I understand from reading recent comments that the group I belong to and the group I came from might be regarded as being in the "Vagantes" category by some. I hope that this does not stop meaningful discussions between us.

Though in the end Our Blessed Lord gave us one yardstick to measure a ministries validity: " By their fruit Ye shall know them."

Peace to all
Fr. Ian Adrian, Brisbane Queensland Australia.

Anonymous said...


It seems like your lumping anyone who claims to be Anglican but is not in the Anglican Communion as "continuing". But that's not the case at all.

For example, this Province of the Good Shepherd has a distinct starting point outside the continuing Churhes (the ones that trace their origin to the Affirmation of St. Louis). In fact, it appears that this Province of the Good Shepherd allows women priestesses. This is obviously in contradiction to the Affirmation of St. Louis.

For the most part, the links on the Continuum blog provide a good list of the continuing Churches (APCK, ACC, TAC, APA, UECNA). The APCK, ACC and UECNA being the result of the original split in the continuing movement.

In summary, I'd say a "continuing" Church is one that holds to the tenents of the Affirmation of St. Louis AND has its bishops in succession from the original 4 bishops.


Anonymous said...

My other disagreements with Fr. Hart (David Virtue) aside please do not let this site become a haven for vagantes!
Fr. Joseph DeHart, ACC

ACC Member said...

I compare the discussion of unity among true Continuing Anglicans to my experiences as a breeder of purebred horses. One would think that being a stickler for purity by a registry would be appreciated by all breeders of purebred horses. Yet there are those who are furious that the registry demands DNA and other safeguards for purity. Why? Because for reasons of financial gain, PRIDE, and other reasons, they would like to cheat and that which is impure registered as "pure".

Similarly, in the Continuum, those churches that truly descend from the Affirmation of St. Louis, and the resulting January, 1978, Consecration of Bishops, must guard their purity.

There are much more important issues at stake here than in the horse business. For instance, valid Holy Orders (not descended from Vagantes), so that when we receive the Holy Eucharist we have the assurance it IS the Precious Boady and Blood of Christ. Protecting the purity keeps out apostasy such as priestesses, etc.

There are many jurisdictions who are not true continuing churches who would love to be allowed to unite their way to a false "purity". We must guard against that.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I suppose that to be a part of what was called "this Continuing Church" in The Affirmation of St. Louis one may argue that a descent from the four original bishops is required. But, what matters, from an Anglican perspective, is valid Apostolic Succession and orthodoxy. As far as the Affirmation goes, it is more important to believe in its principles than to claim descent from the Denver Consecrations. I was ordained in a jurisdiction so old that it was one of our bishops that assisted Bishop Albert Chambers in Denver on January 22, 1978.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Heavens! The Continuum is the last hope of Prayer Book Anglicans, so please cooperate in every way before true Anglicanism disappears from the face of the earth.

Anonymous said...

Dear commentators,

Please let me explain a little more clearly my situation. Firstly if I am part of a vagante organisation it was not my intention, nor is it my intention to legitimise myself by jumping over the back fence or obtaining purity by those with whom I chat.

What I do seek is to regularise my situation through whatever means necessary. I was Ordained Priest in 2003 by +Ernest Kelly when some doubts were raised about the catholicity of this succession I was sub-conditionally ordained by a Bishop in the Duarte- Costa line to assure that I was celebrating a valid Eucharist, was this good enough? I honestly now do not know.

In 2006 I was elected to be the next Bishop for the ACIC in Australia, a position I refused because we had only one viable parish and no need of a Bishop to run that. Also it was a concern that if I was to be consecrated there would be four so called Continuing Bishops in Brisbane, +David Chislett, +Ernest Kelly my old Ordinary and +Peter McInnes the newly consecrated Bishop for the AIC. I decided that Brisbane did not need another!

It was with this in mind that applied for incardination to the AIC I thought I was regularising my situation. It was only after I joined the AIC I found the dialogue between leadership of the AIC and members of this Blog site written last October. This I needlessly to say caused me a great deal of concern as I did not want to have jumped from the frying pan into the fire so to speak!

All I seek is to serve Our Lord and to live out my vocation, I admit to being uneducated on the whole vagante situation and I thank you all for bringing me up to speed on the situation. If I have offended any one I am deeply sorry, what I do seek however is your prayers at this difficult time and your advice on how to continue would be greatfully accepted.


Fr. Ian Adrian

Anonymous said...

On a slightly unrelated topic, does anyone know what is happening to the Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide? I am told that their senior members seem to be giving up?


Alice C. Linsley said...

Dear Father Adrian, be assured of my prayers for you. How difficult it is to serve the Lord! I once thought I was serving Him as an ECUSA priest. I arrived at that conclusion because of bad guidance and poor instruction and because, (frankly) I was being used.

I say this because it is so important to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and the wisdom of Mother Church. The people at this blog are wise and well informed. Many, like you, are seeking direction in their lives. They can provide good advice, but be cautious.

Anonymous said...

David Virtue, by the way, has within recent months recanted his (somewhat wavering, but long-time) support for women's "ordination" -- at theast to the priesthood (and episcopate).

Alice C. Linsley said...

And that can't be a popular decision. David Virtue is a member of the church in Paoli, PA that sponsored me for ordination.

Anonymous said...

Alice C Linsley said: "David Virtue is amember of the church in Paoli, PA"
There are two Episcopal Churches listed in Paoli, PA.
Good Samaritan & St. Peter's in the Great Valley.
Hit those sites and then defend if you can, David Virtue's credibility on any issue regarding the Continuum! If he can abide either, then he has not a clue!

Fr. DeHart, ACC

Anonymous said...

Good Samaritan is a member of ACN and the female clergy member is a TESM grad. So while the church wouldn't meet the orthodoxy standards of a continuing church, it isn't flaming liberal either.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

David Virtue has long known of my stand on issues in which we could not agree. Nonetheless, his professionalism as a journalist, and his honest efforts to be objective regarding Continuing Anglicans and others, deserve a good defense. The issue raised was his credibility as a reporter. On that score, he does very well.

Anonymous said...

ilikethe28 said: "So while the church wouldn't meet the orthodoxy standards of a continuing church,"
That is the point! The title of this Blog is "The Continuum" and it is the Continuum that judges what is orthodox, not some apostate Episcopal church.
Fr. Joseph DeHart, ACC

poetreader said...

Ah yes, Mr. Virtue's prejudices do show through in his reporting, but so do mine in my various writings, no matter how objective I strive to be. I happen to believe (quite firmly) that my prejudices are more accurate than his, but I've admired the degree of objectivity he is able to keep even so, and hope mine approaches that level.

He also shows marvelous ability to ferret out facts from a notoriously difficult battlefield where no one, including those I most admire, (including, I fear, even myself,) can be relied upon to present things as they are without distorting them toward what they'd prefer to be seeing. What he presents, then, must be looked at critically (as should anything I present), and errors will be found, as they have been, apparently, in this particular issue, but Mr. Virtue remains nonetheless probably our best overall source of news on these issues.

If he has indeed altered his position on ordained women (as I think I've been observing of late), I'll give him a great deal of credit for teachability. He's still far from being an AngloCathoilic (alas), but lightyears away frim the revisionists, and far more our ally than otherwise.