Saturday, August 25, 2007

Open Letter to the TAC from the ACC

This letter has been sent to Archbishop Hepworth, Primate of the TAC, and Archbishop Langberg, Metropolitan of the ACA (TAC). It is an open letter from the Acting Primate of the ACC, Archbishop Haverland, and has received the approval of his College of Bishops. The title, greeting and "sign-off" have been omitted here.


In June 2007 my predecessor, the Most Reverend Brother John-Charles, F.O.D.C., and I each issued a statement bearing on ecumenical relations. Both statements were made with the foreknowledge and approval of the College of Bishops.

My statement was primarily directed towards the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the United Episcopal Church of North America (UEC). This statement since has been affirmed and endorsed by the Most Reverend James Provence, Metropolitan of the APCK, and the Most Reverend Stephen C. Reber, Presiding Bishop of the UEC. The effect of this joint statement has been to affirm or reaffirm that among these three Churches there is a state of full communio in sacris and that we agree jointly that we should encourage unity both among ourselves considered collectively and also within each of our Churches considered separately. We also have agreed to the principle that we are not and cannot be in a state of full communio in sacris with ecclesial bodies that are part of the Lambeth Communion, or indeed with ecclesial bodies that are indirectly in such full communion.

At this point it may be worthwhile to outline why we have come to this conclusion regarding the Lambeth Communion. For some time, well into the 1990s, the ACC still considered itself in full communion with every province or autonomous diocese in the Anglican Communion that did not ordain women. This is shown in the Athens Statement on Unity of 1995, which said “we see our duty as lying towards the retention and maintenance of communion with those Churches, Provinces, and Dioceses of the Anglican Communion which have remained faithful to their Apostolic foundations.”

However, we did not consider ourselves in full communion with any of the dioceses subject to heterodox provinces, even if it was headed by a bishop who, while personally orthodox in theory, refused to fulfill his Catholic obligation to repudiate clearly communion with the heretical remainder of his province. That is to say, we reasoned that since the justification for our existence as a communion separate and apart from the Lambeth one was the strict obligation of repudiating a manifestly heterodox jurisdiction, then to treat those who rejected or ignored this obligation as properly Catholic and Orthodox would be radically inconsistent with our justification for our own origin.

In the period since the 1992 defection of Canterbury we have seen that no attempt has been made by purportedly orthodox Anglican provinces to repudiate publicly Eucharistic communion with Canterbury (or, indeed, with other heterodox provinces). Therefore, given that communion with Canterbury as a central reference point and “instrument of unity” is still considered the sine qua non for membership in the official Anglican Communion, we have determined that all churches remaining in that group have signalled that they do not consider the ordination of women a communion-breaking issue. Thus their orthodoxy is at least questionable, and we cannot be in a state of communio in sacris with them until they make a clean break and so clarify their teaching.

The statement of Archbishop John-Charles looked further a-field than mine and was directed towards all of those who understand themselves to be committed to the Affirmation of Saint Louis. Archbishop John-Charles encourages all such Churchmen to put aside sin and self and to work earnestly for unity among our selves. Archbishop John-Charles also challenges us all to recognize that continuing communion, whether direct or indirect, with Lambeth Communion bodies is unacceptable. While we can and should certainly work for closer relations with those still in the Lambeth Communion, if they agree with us about the basic principles of the Affirmation, nonetheless we cannot be in full communion with them until they have unambiguously and completely severed their ties with an heretical Communion.

The statements from Archbishop John-Charles and from me should be taken together. My statement sets forth the starting point for the ACC’s ecumenical policies and endeavors. Archbishop John-Charles’s statement points to our broader goals and also to the limits that constrain us in pursuing those goals.

There are several Churches or ecclesial bodies apart from the ACC/APCK/UEC which understand themselves to be “traditional Anglicans” or even “Continuing Churches” and are not in the Lambeth Communion. Some of these bodies are not addressed by either ACC archiepiscopal statement because these bodies clearly do not accept the Affirmation and its central principles. In particular a variety of neo-Anglican bodies have formed recently, and still are forming, in North America. These bodies reject some of the theological errors currently abroad in the Lambeth Communion, but nonetheless accept women’s ordination, modernist liturgies, or other serious innovations rejected by the Affirmation. These bodies tend to form as offshoots of what they consider to be “conservative” Lambeth Communion Provinces. While, again, conversations with such folk are possible, we cannot anticipate significant ecumenical progress with them in the short term: our initial assumptions are too far apart.

Another grouping, which includes the Anglican Province of America (APA), formally endorses the Affirmation, but seems to us to embrace ecumenical relationships and other policies which effectively contradict the Affirmation. While we might hope for progress with this group because of its formal endorsement of the Affirmation, here also we do not look for immediate or short term progress.

It is our belief that the most significant body of conservative or traditional Anglicans not described by the principles set forth in the foregoing paragraphs is your own, the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), which includes the Anglican Church in America (ACA).

Some assert that the ACC has a rigid view of the TAC and has refused to engage in dialogue with the TAC. This is simply false. On at least four occasions in the last five years TAC bishops have approached ACC leaders or have been approached by us. On each of these occasions the ACC has put into writing the issues we believe need to be addressed before we can move to a relationship of full communio in sacris with the TAC. In each case our position was given frankly, directly, politely, and was not widely publicized because doing so could be interpreted as seeking not true unity but instead mere political advantage.

We set no preconditions for conversations, but indicated principles that we considered essential. In one case in 2005 a TAC bishop was invited, at his request, to the Provincial Synod of the ACC’s Original Province. This bishop was warmly received, attended the public meetings of our College of Bishops and then of the Synod, came to dinner with the College, had private conversation with me, and received a copy of my report as chairman of our Department of Ecumenical Relations, which included a clear, written statement of our ecumenical policies and principles. While with us, he appeared to be pleased and made several tentative proposals for further steps. However, after the Synod there was no further contact of substance. Likewise the other TAC-ACC contacts mentioned ended with the TAC bishops failing to continue the dialogue. We do not note this fact to complain: the TAC may well have had good reasons not to sustain dialogue. But it is not true that the ACC has been “isolationist”, unwilling to engage in dialogue, or even unfriendly towards the TAC.

We are happy to acknowledge that the initiative for making contact has often been taken in an admirable way by the TAC. For example, Archbishop Hepworth, as Primate of the TAC, arranged a face-to-face meeting with Archbishop John-Charles, our former Acting Primate, where important ecumenical matters were discussed. This meeting, held on the 19th of March, 2004, was friendly and a good beginning.

Thereafter, we sent to Archbishop Hepworth a paper discussing the theological issues between our churches. However, the official response of the TAC foreshadowed by Archbishop Hepworth never came. Later requests for such a response, expressly conveyed to the TAC bishop who attended our last Provincial Synod as the TAC’s emissary, also came to nothing. Thus, the ecumenical ball has consistently been returned by the ACC to the TAC side of the court, where it consistently has rolled to a stop.

Before moving to the substantial issues outstanding between the ACC and TAC, I should say that in what follows I do not presume to speak for the UEC or the APCK, though I have given their chief bishops copies of this document in advance. While I believe the UEC and APCK share some of our concerns, and while no formal steps will be taken by the ACC with other Churches or ecclesial bodies without seeking approval or at least acquiescence from the UEC and APCK, in what follows I speak for myself and for my Church alone.


Deerfield Beach

We understand the objections to bringing up the subject of the Deerfield Beach consecrations. Many feel that raising this subject merely dredges up the past in an unnecessary and unforgiving way, which betrays a lack of perspective and constitutes a refusal to face the real challenges of the future. However, the problem is not that we cannot or will not forgive, for we are certainly willing to do so. Similarly, we are willing to discuss the rescinding of disciplinary sentences against former ACC bishops now in the TAC, as noted in the paper sent to Archbishop Hepworth some years ago.

However, the real problem is that neither our pardon of perceived past offences or our silence concerning such, brings us much closer to genuine reconciliation. It is this that is seldom understood. There are a number of reasons to consider the Deerfield Beach events, quite apart from issues of justice or mercy. To begin with, it should not be forgotten that the ACA was founded by these very events and that the TAC (minus the ACC, which was until then a member of that body) performed them. Thus it is not unreasonable to ask whether any objective disorders therein in fact essentially characterize the nature of the ACA and of the post-1991 TAC. These issues will be discussed below with the specific intention of unfolding their possible theological implications in the present.

The ACA began in 1991 when five bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church joined with a body called the American Episcopal Church (AEC), whose leader was a colorful episcopus vagans named A.F.M. Clavier. This union was effected in Deerfield Beach, FL, within the ACC’s Diocese of the South, when all of the men who were intended to be bishops in the ACA were consecrated conditionally by, among others, the Right Reverend Robert Mercer and the Right Reverend Charles Boynton.

Bishop Mercer was Ordinary of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACC-C), which at the time was in a state of full communio in sacris with the ACC and with Archbishop Lewis, the Ordinary of the ACC’s Diocese of the South (and by that time already Archbishop Falk’s successor as ACC Metropolitan). Bishop Boynton was a bishop of the ACC residing in the Diocese of the South. The consecrands included not only A.F.M. Clavier and other bishops of the AEC but also the five bishops of the ACC. Clergy and laymen of Bishop Lewis’s diocese also were ordained at Deerfield Beach for the ACA.

However, in clear contradiction of ecumenical canon law and sound principles of Catholic order, bishops in full communion with Archbishop Lewis and the ACC entered his diocese, ordained laymen and clergy of his diocese without his permission or foreknowledge, and reconsecrated several of his episcopal colleagues without his permission or foreknowledge. They did this also without the permission or foreknowledge of the majority of the ACC’s bishops. It is difficult for us not to see this as the serious ecclesiastical offence of invasion.

The ACC does not recall these unfortunate events in order to reopen old wounds or to indicate a refusal or failure to forgive. The ACC recalls these events in order to probe the ecclesiology of the TAC as an important and necessary part of ecumenical dialogue. The ACC has to ask what theological principles could justify what happened at Deerfield Beach? What essential failure or heresy could justify such unfriendly acts towards Bishop Lewis and the majority of his colleagues who remained loyal to the ACC? Perhaps more importantly, in the future if the ACC achieved full communio in sacris with the TAC but then in some way displeased the TAC, could such events occur again? And if not, why not?

If, on the one hand, the consecrators and consecrands at Deerfield Beach, who were in the process of abandoning the ACC or its communion (despite not, except in one case, formally resigning from it), acted for what they deemed to be necessary, justifiable, and important reasons, why do not those reasons still exist and remain as a barrier between the TAC and the ACC? If, on the other hand, the consecrators and consecrands were guilty of unjustifiable oath-breaking and invasion, why have they not expressed regret, apologized, and perhaps even sought to return to our communion? This apparent dilemma remains unresolved, and until it is resolved, the ACC cannot be sure that we will not suffer similar invasion and schism in the future at the hands of the TAC.

At the time of Deerfield Beach one of the ACA’s bishops justified his departure from the ACC by asserting that the ACC’s ecumenical policy was an essential error that demanded departure from the ACC and so also repudiation of his oaths thereto. Since that policy has not changed to become more like that of the TAC, does the TAC believe that there still is an essential or Church-dividing error in ACC ecumenical policy? If not, what has changed? Or was the ACA bishop mistaken earlier?

In asking these questions the ACC is not demanding apologies or refusing to forgive or seeking to score debating points. The ACC is concerned to understand the ecclesiological principles that govern the TAC and its partners in dialogue.


The Lambeth Communion

At the time of this writing two bishops of the TAC appear to be simultaneously bishops in a diocese of the Lambeth Communion. One of the same two bishops appears to be rector of a parish in the Episcopal Church. In the last three years the TAC has claimed another Lambeth Communion bishop from Africa as one of its own, or at least has claimed a state of full communio in sacris with him. The TAC appears to enjoy or seek a state of full communio in sacris with a number of other “conservative” Lambeth Communion bishops. The TAC also has a close relationship with Forward-in-Faith and other para-Church organizations whose status is unclear and somewhat unsettling. Forward-in-Faith/North America, for instance, has recently elected a bishop. The ACC does not understand how a para-Church organization can elect a bishop. How does the TAC, which is in full communion with Forward-in-Faith, view a Forward-in-Faith bishop?

The ACC has difficulty reconciling many of these relationships and facts. Taken as a whole, these relationships and facts suggest an unacceptable laxity in regards to the Lambeth Communion and a willingness, when it appears to be expedient, to avoid clear conclusions. Once again we seek to understand the TAC’s ecclesiology and its limits and implications. We have asked such questions before quietly and in private, as I have noted above, and have not received answers. We only ask such difficult questions now more publicly because we have been publicly accused of rigidity and refusal to engage the TAC in dialogue.


Rome

A great deal of confusing information and many doubtful claims have circulated within the last three years concerning the TAC and the Roman Catholic Church. Careful attention to all press reports and official statements on the matter have not resolved the confusion in our minds. We do not understand if the TAC seeks to become a part of the Roman Catholic Church, whether as a Uniate Church or merely a personal prelature, if it seeks a relationship of full communio in sacris with Rome without any organic and organizational unity, or if it seeks some other goal.

Again, this matter has important ecclesiology implications which need to be clarified if fruitful dialogue with the ACC is to occur. It is not for the ACC to dictate the TAC’s policy towards Rome. But there is little point in the ACC talking to the TAC if the TAC merely seeks to become absorbed into the Roman Catholic Church.


Conclusion

This is not an exhaustive set of concerns, but it suggests important areas which, if clarified, would take the ACC a long way towards understanding the TAC better. I have noted to more than one TAC bishop that we understand that the TAC may well have questions for and concerns about us. We ask what we ask, not in a spirit of self-justification, but in a sincere attempt to clarify our own position and to understand the position of the TAC. We recognize the many subjective and objective sins and negligences that exist among us in the ACC. We understand that our own sins contributed to our unhappy division. But if we are to progress we must talk. And if we are to talk, the conversation has to begin and then must be pursued. We are willing and still are waiting.

75 comments:

poetreader said...

Thanks, Father Kirby, for sharing this. While, obviously, as a member of ACA/TAC, I do not accept all that ++Haverland said, I welcome the irenic tone he is showing. He has rather well outlined some of the concerns that need to be addressed. If they are honestly approached from both "sides" as existing problems that need to be overcome in order to achieve an absolute imperative of unity, then, I, for one, am well pleased. I've had pleasant interaction with ACC clergy who hold that sort of attitude, and I have emerged black-and-blue from contact with others of a rather different spirit. I suspect the same can be said in the reverse direction. WE NEED TO BE ONE -- if that is presently not something we can accomplish, the imperative is that we ALL put maximum effort into finding ways. ++Haverland seems to be making a strong push in that direction. For the moment anyway, I'll restrain myself from debating the specific issues here.

ed

Anonymous said...

Why persist in adding to the divisions of christendom when no really important matter of substance divides you from the divinely given centre of unity? His Holiness the Pope is very sympathetic to the concerns of traditional Anglicans. Rather than waste time raking up old scores why not follow the example of the TAC and discuss the matter with him or his representatives?

poetreader said...

Anonymous,
please identify yourself, at the very least with a nickname.

ed

Anonymous said...

I do not matter. I hope that what I said does. It helps to judge utterances on their merits regardless of who says them. The ACC / TAC debate seems to be bedevilled by personalites!

rev'd up said...

Personally, I think there are other "elephants in the room" that are keeping the TAC from taking the ACC seriously. I agree with anonymous...the TAC's talks with Rome are the best option for them to exercise. Why should they waste time with the ACC? ++Haverland and others may be scared of parishes jumping ship to the TAC because of their taking Western unity seriously. This letter may be intended to shore up the ACC base by floating the idea that the TAC/ACA are "scizmatic"--horse-pucky!

Also, ++Haverland's letter seems to be written in someone elses style, not his own....

Albion Land said...

Dear I Do Not Matter,

I published your comment here out of courtesy, guessing you might be a new reader and unfamiliar with our policy of discouraging anonymous posts.

If you do not wish to give your real name, fine. I Do Not Matter will do.

We ask this simply to avoid confusion in discussions on threads with many comments. In the end, you don't know with whom you're talking, and that impedes effective dialogue.

Ohio Anglican said...

Archbishop Haverland makes excellent points, as always. Unity talks of any kind, can not happen unless all are willing to be honest and open about their intentions.

As the Metropolitan indicated, if the TAC wants to become part of the Roman Catholic Church, the talks of unity are meaningless. I know, that myself, and all other ACC members I know, would not want to be part of the Roman Catholic Church. If we did, we would have joined the the Roman Catholic Church. There are obviously many more of their parishes than the ACC. We sought out the ACC because the Roman Catholic Church was not acceptable to us.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Albion Land said...

Brian,

I think you will find that the TAC is not seeking absorption into the RCC, but a relationship that will take the form either of it becoming a uniate church or a personal prelature.

How that can be done, assuming the Vatican is prepared to "play ball," is yet to be seen. From the TAC perspective, the central one has to be the question of the "primacy" of the pope versus the "supremacy" of the pope. A subsidiary of that, of course, is the matter of papal infallibility. Then there are the biblically questionable Roman doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and of the Assumption.

I am hopeful that some of these questions might be answered in the not-too-distant future, perhaps before the end of this year.

Ohio Anglican said...

Personally, I would not want to be part of any attachment to the Roman Catholic Church, of any type.

I drive 10 miles to the nearest ACC parish. There is an RCC parish less than a mile from my home. I know ACC members who drive 100 miles one way to our ACC parish, and I'm sure there are people all over the US driving similar distances to an ACC parish. All of whom drive by lots of RCC parishes on their way, I'm sure.

I for one, and I imagine most ACC members (I'm not speaking of clergy here) would not want any connections to Rome whatsoever.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Irenicist said...

I won't pretend to understand the Deerfield Beach ordination controversy. The description, such as it is offered in the open letter, is too allusive and cryptic for me to follow.

Not being Anglican of any stripe, I also won't pretend to speak for the TAC. It strikes me as one interested in Christian unity, however, that there may be an ecclesiological nuance at work here that perhaps ACC members might pause to consider when weighing both the TAC's apparently more open communion, and its attitude towards Rome.

Is it possible that the ACC still adheres to the Branch theory of ecclesiology, and assumes its validity as axiomatic, whereas the TAC does not?

It may be that the TAC recognizes itself to be in an objective state of schism from the "rest" of the Church (wherever this "rest" might be found), whereas the ACC considers itself to be fully PART of the Church (whatever its actual and specific extent)?

If my conjecture is correct, the TAC must then see itself at best as a transitional body holding to its treasured deposit of the Faith until such time as it recognizes this Faith in others who in turn recognize their Faith in the TAC.

It may see its eucharistic communion as provisionally valid, but inherently defective insofar as it cannot provide the communicant with the assurance that eucharistic participation makes him one with the "rest" of Christ's people.

If the TAC sees itself as being in objective schism from the "rest" of the One True Church, it would be difficult to see on what grounds, short of hypocrisy, it could deny communion to those whose baptism, confirmation and orthodoxy it recognizes simply on the basis that they "keep faith with heretics"? Keeping faith with heretics is a disciplinary issue, but so is schism.

Turning to Rome then, if the TAC recognizes Rome and the Churches in communion with it as authentically part of Christ's Church, rejects the Branch theory (as Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox ALL do), and yet declines to claim (as Catholics, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox all do with respect to themselves) that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church subsists fully within itself, what choice has it got but to ring the Vatican (or, for that matter, the Phanar) doorbell and await painfully, humbly and penitently in the hope of finally being recognized as orthodox and invited to share a place with others at the table?

So my question to the ACC, would be whether adherence to the Branch theory of ecclesiology is so central to its understanding of Christianity as to preclude communion with those who, in all humility, cannot subscribe to it?

Eirenicist

Ohio Anglican said...

Irenicist:

While I cannot, and would not presume to speak for the ACC, I can speak for myself as an ACC member and say that I truly believe the ACC to be a valid branch of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. If I did not believe the ACC to be a valid branch, I would not have joined it.

At the time I joined the ACC, I had been attending the Roman Catholic Church for two years, giving consideration to joining it. However, considering certain of their beliefs concerning the Bishop of Rome and St. Mary, I could not in good conscience join the Roman Catholic Church. I found in the ACC, a truly valid branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - indeed one that I, personally, find more valid than Rome.

I do not believe that the ACC needs to be begging at Rome's door for validation that it is a branch of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apsotolic Church.

I think that you have offered some valid considerations about the idealogy/desires of the TAC that bear consideration.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

John A. Hollister said...

1. "Anonymous" (the "I Do Not Matter" one) said, "Why persist in adding to the divisions of christendom when no really important matter of substance divides you from the divinely given centre of unity? His Holiness the Pope is very sympathetic to the concerns of traditional Anglicans. Rather than waste time raking up old scores why not follow the example of the TAC and discuss the matter with him or his representatives?"

a. When "Anonymous I.D.N.M." refers to the Pope, the context of his/her remark leads me to assume (s)he is not referring to His Holiness Shenouda IV, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, nor to any of the other dozen or so extant Popes, but is restricting his/her reference to the Patriarch of Rome.

To identify this one Patriarchal See out of five, and this one particular occupant of such a See out of the considerable number of living claimants to such Sees, as "the divinely given centre of unity", is what debaters and other forensic folk call "assuming the truth of the matter to be proven".

As Mr. McKee has suggested here, and as Archbishop Haverland has written elsewhere, any Anglicans who actually believe this particular assertion have no reason to be Anglicans in the first place. Rather, anyone for whom that proposition is ipso facto true really has no good faith choice but to have already acceded to Roman jurisdiction.

2. "rev'd up" said, "Personally, I think there are other 'elephants in the room' that are keeping the TAC from taking the ACC seriously. I agree with anonymous: the TAC's talks with Rome are the best option for them to exercise. Why should they waste time with the ACC?"

"rev'd up" might be correct, assuming (a) the TAC actually wishes to merge itself into the Roman tent, which some TAC members have indicated they do not, and (b) if the TAC is in fact having discussions with Rome. Its leaders have certainly said, a number of times, that it is. On the other hand, with one exception, there seems to have been a thundering silence from the Roman direction. That exception is one very senior Cardinal member of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who has said at least twice that the Vatican is not having any discussions with the TAC.

For those of us who are outside these particular loops, only time will elucidate the actual facts of that situation. In the meantime, it appears prudent for us to continue to pursue such avenues toward unity as seem to be reasonably available.

3. "Eirenicist" asked, "So my question to the ACC, would be whether adherence to the Branch theory of ecclesiology is so central to its understanding of Christianity as to preclude communion with those who, in all humility, cannot subscribe to it?"

I have never met any member of the ACC who does not adhere to the Branch Concept of the Church (I think "Concept" is more accurate than "Theory"). Whether, in light of that, communion would be possible with those who reject that concept, is really a matter for those latter to determine for themselves, not for the ACC to determine for them.

Communion is like marriage: any number of offers may be made, but no relationship results unless one of those offers is actually accepted. To put it another way, communion is a two-way street -- which is one reason why notions such as "partial communion", "impaired communion", or "mediate communion" are mere ecclesiobabble.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

addressed the Branch Theory/ Fact in Non-Anglican Difficulties. I hold to that position still; nonetheless, what I favor is a reunion of the whole Catholic Church without compromise of the truth. We must, also, face the reality that Protestant systems of theology cannot be reconciled to the Catholic Faith. Anglicanism has been attacked by Satan for the same reason that bridges are always bombed in warfare. It is the Anglican bridge that offered the best real hope for healing the Great Schism, a bridge, that is, between Rome and Orthodoxy at a time when both were having substantive talks about unity with Anglicanism- talks which are meaningless today, since they are carried on exclusively with the Canterbury Communion.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It is my understanding that Rome will not go forward with the TAC unless Archbishop Hepworth retires from his position. It is also my understanding that he has expressed a willingness to do so.

Archbishop Haverland's main point here is that he is requesting clarification. Clarification may lead to more agreement or more disagreement; but, at least it will add to true understanding.

I do not understand why the ACC makes so much out of some new communion with what is left of the APCK, and with the tiny UEC. The UEC is happy to be noticed at all, and the APCK is going to withdraw from the "circle of three" by stretching forth the left foot of disfellowship when their perceived emergency wears off.

poetreader said...

Brian (Ohio Anglican),

Do you recognize the Roman Catholic church as Christian?
Do you recognize it as Catholic?
Are these not brethren in Christ?

If not, well, then you are free to express a desire not to be in any kind of relationship with them as a church.

However, if they are your brethren, even if there are matters of substance standing between you, you are obligated, by the express will of Our Lord Himself to desire that you be one with them, "as He and the Father are one."

You've expressed that you "would not want to be part of any attachment to the Roman Catholic Church, of any type. [emphasis supplied] There may be good and sufficient reasons for considering that certain types of attachment may indeed not remedy the legitimate barriers, and that no acceptable types of attachment seem to be presently available. That indeed is the present state of things, and it is precisely for some kind of attachment that is not presently available that the TAC is seeking.

It may be reasonable to object to the way that TAC is proceeding, but it puts you on perilous theological ground to state that there cannot be a solution. If that be the case, perhaps the gates of hell have actually prevailed, and God's will has been thwarted. Impossible, of course.

ed

Ohio Anglican said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ohio Anglican said...

Ed:

Tomorrow morning, as soon as I finish officiating Morning Prayer in our parish, I will go to a local United Methodist Church to give the sermon for them. Out of Christian fellowship, friendship, and charity, I am filling in while their pastor is on vacation. It is a wonderful thing to help each other out across denominational lines, etc.

However, by the same token, I would not want the ACC to have official ties/communion agreements with the United Methodist Church. They ordain women, allow lay people to celebrate communion, etc.

I see this as no different than my feelings toward Rome. I have served as a Lector in our local Roman parish for community ecumenical services, and played the organ there for the same over the years. I feel we should be friendly and respect one another as religious bodies. I wouldn't want any official ties to Rome however.

If it were a choice of the above two with which to have official ties, the United Methodists would be a better choice, in my opinion. We have the common ties to John & Charles Wesley, for example. However, I wouldn't want official ties to either the UMC or RCC.

I am glad and willing to help them, pray with them, etc. I just wouldn't take communion from them;
or have official ties that indicate that we would endorse everything that either of them does.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Ohio Anglican said...

Ed:

I personally think that praying with and respecting other churches is "being one with them."

I think that "jurisdictional unity" is not necessary to be one in the Spirit and one in the Lord. I do not believe official ties/communion aggrements are neccessary to be one in prayer, and to respect one another as Christians. I think matters of jursidictional unity are not even what our Lord was talking about.

It is interesting to me that you so want "to be one" with Rome, yet I've never read where you ever advocate any sort of cooperation at all with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters who descend from the Protestant Reformation. Don't you see that as problematic? Are they not the children of God as well?

I wouldn't advocate official ties to the Protestants, yet we should "be one" in prayer and cooperation with them. I believe the same of Rome.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

WannabeAnglican said...

If the APA and Forward in Faith isn't pure 100% orthodox enough for the ACC . . . . Well, I hope the ACC is happy in its alphabet soup land. Because that's likely where it will remain.

Whatever happened to the Anglican practice of flexing on secondary matters? INdirect communion with great bishops like ++Akinola and ++Orombi is out? Geez.

(And I'm not a member of either the APA or FiF, btw.)

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Some quick points:

It has been asked why the ACC has not contacted Rome. Answer: It has. An official letter was sent requesting that we might begin a dialogue. Since sent by registered post, we know it was received by the Vatican. No response of any kind was ever received, even to say in diplomatic style, "Thanks for the letter. Sorry, not interested."

There are signs that Rome is not that interested in Continuing Anglicans of any jurisdiction, as alluded to by Canon Hollister. To be frank, the rumours of the present Pontiff's sympathy for or interest in us are just that, rumours. The objective evidence of actual Vatican behaviour points in an entirely different direction, one of contempt. This is underlined by the unavoidable comparison with the continued relationship with the Lambeth Communion by Rome. Perhaps this does not reflect the Holy Father's opinions, but we have no way of knowing this and the facts on the ground are what we have to deal with.

However, I must disagree with some of the anti-Roman statements by Brian. It is traditional Anglican Catholic teaching that the RCC is part of the Catholic Church, though not the whole. Archbishop Haverland has stated as much before. Therefore we already are related to the RCC in intention, since we are necessarily committed to communion between all Catholics. Let us not forget that the "schism" between us and the RCC is, strictly speaking, unilateral. It is the RCC that thinks of us as excommunicate, schismatic or outside the Church, not vice versa.

As for Rome being a "divinely given centre of unity", I must demur from the judgement that any acceptance of such a principle would necessitate leaving the ACC for the RCC. A number of great Anglican Catholic theologians have accepted that the Roman Primacy is divinely intended in some sense (though not manifestly and explicitly Revealed) and is meant to be an instrument of unity. E.g., ++Ramsey, E. L. Mascall, ++Bramhall. However, if the Roman See had sinned against unity by excluding other Catholics unjustly, this could hardly separate those papally excluded, in the true and proper sense, from the Church. And even Vatican I did not say papal excommunications are infallible.

Too, a number of the Roman distinctives that offend the EO and us may take on a different aspect if certain qualifications that have been made by Roman theologians in good standing are taken into account. And we should not assume the "common" or "popular" interpretation of certain apparently problematic doctrines is the only one. Let us follow a theological path of hope.

Fr Edward said...

I very much welcome the open letter and the growing debate. As an Priest of the Canterbury Communion (outside the US) its taken me a good while to understand and appreciate the story and evolution of the Continuing Anglican movement and how the issues raised in ++Haverland's letter came about.

The main issue that I would like to comment on is the question of what form of communion between the Continuing Churches and orthodox 'outposts' within the Canterbury Communion is possible or desirable? While I can see that the current TAC/FiF situation is not attractive to the ACC (bearing in mind its origins) I think that we must approach this whole situation as being somewhat ‘provisional’. I doubt that FiF or TAC wants the current ‘situation’ to continue on a long-term basis. I think everyone feels that some sort of ‘crunch moment’ will eventually come (although not necessarily for all parties at the same time).

Until such time as a potential major re-alignment of the Anglican world comes about then perhaps some sort of relationship (sacramental if possible) could be sought or maintained with such orthodox outposts whether they be provinces, organisations, parishes or even individuals. It could, eventually, make a huge difference. It would be sad for faithful Anglicans seeking to live out their faith being faced with a seemingly endless list of unfamiliar alternatives.

Fr Ed

Irenicist said...

To return to the original topic, I note that Hepworth seems to have already responded to the open letter. If I may be allowed to provide the link:

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6569

Irenicist

poetreader said...

Perhaps we're finally on the right track. Instead of the agry invective that we've all seen so much of, this pair of statements appears to show both 'sides' as recognizing that, yes, there are issues that need to be faced, but that they need to be faced, not glossed over or ignored; and to be overcome. Let's march onward and trust the Holy Ghost to lead and direct us into all truth, and thus into unity.

ed

Sandra McColl said...

I'm with Ed. I also endorse what Fr Ed says. Some movements have yet to run their course and reap their harvest.

Sandra McColl said...

Brian, the difference between Rome and the ecclesial bodies of the Reformation (apart from the Anglican body) or post-Reformation bodies such as the Methodists is apostolic succession. We took our bishops with us (pity the Wesleys couldn't have done that--it might've led to quite a different result). They didn't. Now, Rome, at least officially, believes we didn't either, hence it's attitude of requiring individual 'conversions' rather than corporate reconciliation. I believe it's Staley who writes of 'schism within the Church' (which includes Anglicans) and 'schism from the Church' (which includes the non-apostolic Reformation and post-Reformation bodies). The approach to dialogue with bodies within the Church and bodies outside it (though still sharing Baptism) is of necessity different.

Oh, and I note that Abp Haverland's letter as published on the Virtue site is dated 'Octave of the Assumption'. Seems he doesn't share all your qualms.

AND I agree with Fr Kirby: what Rome officially believes now about many things isn't the same as what is popularly understood, or as the belief and practice attacked in certain of the Articles.

Ohio Anglican said...

Father Kirby:

In all due respect, my statements were not Anti-Roman. I said that we should respect the Church of Rome as fellow members of Christ's body, and that we should cooperate with them, and treat them with friendship and respect.

An agreement of communion, however, signifies that both churches endorse the faith, doctrine and practice of the other. I don't see how the ACC could endorse the Infallibility of the Pope, etc. I don't want to see us be absorbed by Rome and loose our BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER and our identity. So, I'm all for friendship and cooperation, but I'm not for endorsing their doctrines of the papacy. Again, I'm speaking not as a clergyman, but as a member.

The ACC clergy need to remember that the members chose the ACC rather than the Roman Catholic Church for a reason. It would have been far less easier for them to drive to a Roman church in most cases.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Ohio Anglican said...

Sandra"

I never stated what my qualms were. They have nothing to do with the Assumption. If I wrote a letter during that time, I would refer to the Assumption as well. I have no problem with the belief in the Assumption of St. Mary.

My qualms are with the papacy and the papal claims, which if you have read Archbishop Haverland/s book, you will note he has concerns with these claims as well.

You might do well to read what I write in the spirit it is intended, as opposed to criticizing based on your dislike of my opinion. I intended no slur to Rome, simply that I do not agree with them. I agree with what Canon Hollister said so well in his post above: those who believe in the infalibility of the pope need to join the Roman Catholic Church.

I certainly do not need you to explain Apostolic Succession to me. I understand it well. I understand that the United Methodists do not have it. However, if they were otherwise orthodox, which unfortunately they aren't, the lack of Apostolic Succession could be fixed with conditional ordinations/consecrations.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Michael said...

As a layman within the TAC, I am happy to see any sort of discussion between the TAC and other continuing churches. Since I'm in Canada (where the TAC is - essentially - the only continuing body), I have little personal experience of other groups, but these concerns are keenly felt north of the border.

I think that the question about Rome is the most important. Obviously if the TAC came into communion with Rome, its relationships with Forward in Faith and the few FiF friendly dioceses would be dramatically altered, as would its relationships with other continuing churches. The exact nature of this plan is key, and there seems to be a lot of confusion about this.

The TAC has no desire to "become Roman Catholic". As far as I understand it, the TAC wishes to remain authentically Anglican, retaining the traditional Anglican liturgy (the Book of Common Prayer), a unique and proper theological patrimony (admittedly a difficult concept to pin down exactly), its own polity (including married clergy), and many other customs and ideas that make up a distinctly Anglican ethos.

The only difference is that members of the TAC wish to continue the course that the Anglican Communion was on before the ordination of women to the priesthood - to come into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, "united but not absorbed". Beyond that, I don't believe that there is any formal plan.

This past year, I had the opportunity to study in a Ukrainian Catholic theological institute, and I think that the Eastern Catholic perspective on this might be very useful, because they have long experience in being Catholic - and united with the Roman Church, yet not being Roman themselves. They have not only a very distinct liturgical life, but often a very different approach to theology. They have a very different (yet still Orthodox and Catholic) view of the priesthood. Even on questions about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Papacy, or even the Trinity (!), they have different approaches, and ways of explaining. Yet, all the while they believe strongly in the unity of the church, they accept the primacy of the See of Rome, and feel that whatever differences they have from Rome should not be allowed to separate them. The see themselves as "Orthodox in communion with Rome".

I have great respect for the Roman Catholic Church, but I wish to remain an Anglican. I wish to worship according to the Prayer Book; I would desire - if God allows - to be ordained as a priest and to also be married; I desire to be a priest (or parishioner) in a traditional Anglican parish, that is as proud of Wesley as it is of Pusey... but, if possible, in the way of fulfilling Christ's prayer that the church would be one, I would desire to be an Anglican in communion with all other Orthodox Christians who have the apostolic succession, the sacraments, and the Catholic Faith.

It is very difficult for me to exclude Rome from the company I just described. Benedict XVI is a Pope of tremendous theological insight, with (I believe) great concern for the Eastern Orthodox and Anglican perspectives. I believe that he wishes to find a way to make his ministry acceptable both to the Orthodox and to traditional Anglicans, and that some solution will be found. I believe this is the will of Christ our Lord. Regardless of one's view of papal infallibility (or similar issues), the general consensus of Orthodox (and many Anglo-Catholics), is that there is a place for some sort of Roman primacy. We should seek to work as closely with the Holy See as it will allow us to without having to give up our own catholic heritage - our Anglican tradition.

This month is the 30th anniversary of St. Louis. One of the things the Affirmation of St. Louis called for is full communion between all orthodox-catholic Christians. It would be wonderful if in the next year we could see a redoubling of efforts on the part of the continuum to see that unity - both among ourselves, but also with Orthodox and Catholics.

poetreader said...

Brian,

If you really intend no slur against Rome, I would counsel you to check and recheck your statements about the RCC. As written, they are not very amenable to anything but a highly negative interpretation. I hope what I am seeing is more a result of intemperance of expression than of intent, but I can only go by what I see, and, frankly, your words cause me to cringe, even though I probably share most of your problems with the Roman see.

ed

Ohio Anglican said...

Ed:

I believe in speaking honestly. I don't believe that being honest about the fact that I am opposed to an official agreement with Rome should be interpreted as saying anything negative about the people who are members of the Roman Church.

I have consistently said that we should have respect for, and friendship with them. I see nothing negative in that either.

I feel the comments came more from the fact that my opinion was not appreciated.

If anyone is stinging from attack on The Continuum, it is the Anglican Catholic Church, not the Roman Catholic Church. It is so biased against the ACC, and, as of late, the APCK, that it is perfectly acceptable to say anything, no matter how unkind, about the ACC and APCK. But if someone dares to question Rome or the TAC, they are public enemy #1.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Ohio Anglican said...

Father Hart:

I sometimes fear the only reason that Archbishop Haverland's letters are published is so they can be attacked.

Archbishop Haverland, myself, or any other ACC member who comments on this blog, has ever said the ACC was totally innocent of personality conflicts and other problems that have plagued the Continuum. In fact, Archbishop Haverland openly admits that sometimes such things have happened.

What bothers me is that the minute one of his statements are posted, the same people always make unkinf comments doubting his sincerity, doubting the sincerity of the ACC, making fun of the UECNA because of the number of parishes it has, etc.

I'm only pointing out the obvious. Its a shame that the ACC cannot even be given fair consideration on this blog. Why not just rename it the "TAC Promotion Forum"?

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Brian:

Two of the four contributors here are ACC. Recently I posted a link to an article by Archbishop Haverland at his request. As for the APCK, I have reported nothing but facts, and such facts as need to be made public for the safety of innocent clergymen and their families. My position has been that the ACA/TAC should not be written off as if the new "circle of three" have an exclusive claim to be the only valid jurisdictions. I stick by that; and it is precisely my stand that has brought about this statement.

If the Continuum were anti-ACC why would ++Haverland's writings get posted?

Sandra McColl said...

Brian, calm down. You really are among friends.

A while back, when statements from the ACC were being posted which made it clear that the TAC wasn't considered in the same class of candidates for unity talks as APCK and UECNA, you were first to lead the cheering. Now, I, probably irrationally, interpreted your cheering as anti-TAC gloating, when it was probably justified joy at the movement towards unity that was actually being made.

Being myself TAC tainted with FiF associations, or FiF on the way into TAC, but in any case one who has found my way into the Continuum via FiF, I felt a leper and under fire. Then Canon Hollister opened up with both barrels and I really began to feel cornered (probably without good reason). Then discussion topics changed for a while and things became more civilized, and I began to realize that we were all on the same side, just like-minded folk with a few peripheral differences trying to sort a few things out.

We all know who the table-piddlers are--they come and go and do not stay for long, and you most certainly are not one of them--well, not in my view, anyway.

Whatever choices the clergy might have, we laity are in our various communions of the Continuum because the one we're in just happens to be the one of which God provides a local (e.g., in the same city of 3 million people) parish. That's probably the only thing that really divides us.

For the rest, I'm with Ed, as usual.

Ohio Anglican said...

In athletics, coaches are often attacked or misunderstood as being too hard on the athletes for being perfectionists, etc. In fact, what they are doing is setting the bar high. By doing so, they cause their players to strive for their best.

I don't think any of the leadership of the ACC is gloating or being snobbish toward any other group. What they are doing is setting the bar high to cause these groups to strive for the best - to strive for what Christ expects. They want us not to settle for making compromise with sin, or compromise with those whose orders are questionable, etc. They also offer open arms to receive those who wish the reach the bar, and would help those with vagante succession, etc., to cure such problems.

Christ taught us in the scriptures to "be ye seperate from sin." This we must not forget when considering making an entanglement with other churches. Sin is obvious in some areas. Sin can also be changing the doctrine, faith and practice of the church, and presuming to change the faith from what the Bible says; by one man (in one case), and by General Convention (in another case). I can't help but to view changing the faith to suit one's self as being a very dangerous sin. I do not believe Christ wants us to make compromises with those who change and compromise the faith.

I'm glad that the ACC is trying to take the high road and not compromise the faith given to the saints. The ACC dosn't comdemn those who do, or those who make compromise with those who do. The ACC simply does not wish to be guilty of changing the faith or making compormise with those who do. To me, that is what every statement that has been given by the ACC is saying. I don't see that as an unkind or bad statement, simply speaking the truth.

A good priest would speak truthfully and straight-forwardly to a penitent who came to their confessional. I'm sure anyone here would think it terrible if a priest patted them on the shoulder and said, "Oh, don't worry about the sin, just continue sinning." It seems to me that Archbishop Haverland is just doing his job as a good priest.

And by the way, I'm very calm. I simply believe that the greatest gift that we humans can give one another is to speak truthfully. It seems to me that a blog called "The Continuum", supposedly for all of the Continuum, has become very biased. I simply hope and pray that we begin to see things from an unbiased position.

I appreciate that my feelings on this subject have been posted. Perhaps this is a sign that more unbiased attitudes might begin to prevail.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

He Who Does Not Register With Google said...

As a member of TAC, I long (as I recently saw it stated elsewhere) for unity. This, I believe, is the difference between the ACC bishops, clergy, and laymen who merged with the AEC to form the ACA and the ACC bishops, clergy, and laymen who turned back and held themselves aloof. (This distinction is probably more accurate than the ACC's frequent whining about "DB" about which everyone is tired of hearing.)

Nevertheless, I long for unity. And even with these well-known attitude issues in the ACC, I long for unity even with them.

More than that, perhaps, I long--maybe "yearn" is a better word--for unity in all Christ's One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. And Archbishop Hepworth has said it best, that five centuries of separation have taught us bad habits. I see quite a bit of "I" this, "I think", "I believe", "I don't want" and so on in some folks' writing here. This, I respectfully submit, is the prime example of the bad habits Anglicans need to unlearn.

We need to learn a humility, especially a doctrinal humility, and begin all our theological thinking with the assumption that God has not abandoned the largest body of Christians on the planet, headed by the successor of his friend, Big Rocky. We Anglicans need to learn a humility that does not begin every statement with "I". Most of all, we Anglicans need to learn a humility to counteract our human prideful and sinful temptation to think we have some kind of right to abstain from accepting the theological doctrines of our elder Sister on the seven hills.

Who do we think we are? Maybe, just maybe, these last three decades of Anglican fragmentation are the Holy Spirit trying to teach us this humility, tenderizing us so that we will be open to the unity Christ wants. If Big Rocky's successor holds out his hand someday and says, hey, fellas, I've built a rescue lodge for you, I'm not about to spit in his eye and complain about the color of the wallpaper in the bathroom. What's more, if that place that is built for us is built for all Anglicans, regardless where they come from, whether the Lambeth Communion, TAC, FiF (which seems to be a bit of both), the several splinters of Traditional Anglicans, or even, God help us, the ACC, then I'm going to rejoice that Big Rocky has responded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I'm going to try to unlearn five centuries of bad Anglican habits, and I'm going to say thank you to our elder Sister and accept it. Gratefully. HUMBLY.

poetreader said...

Brian,

I also believe in speaking honestly. I however, don't believe in speaking rudely. There were indeed one or two occasions where I allowed myself to be provoked into slipping over the line I know to be proper. I've examined my own words and backed off. I don't have a problem with hearing your opinions, and agree with you far more often than you realize, but I do have a major problem with the tone in which they are spoken, and especially in these last couple of postings.

I love the ACC, and deeply desire to see communion between us restored. I do find things within that body that make me uncomfortable, and I do comment on them, I fibnd things also within my own jurisdiction (ACA) that also give me discomfort, and I have commented on some of those in this board too.

You accuse this board of being anti-ACC. To the contrary, it is ACC dominated (as seen by an ACA contributor) and sometimes a very uncomfortable place for an ACA member to be. I guess that difference of perception arises because we all seek truth and are willing to speak it. I hope we can speak it in a civil and considerate way. When feelings are hurt by a dispassionate statement of what the writer sees as true, well, that is something that the hearer simply has to handle. But, when passion leads one to become abusive or to express opinion with anger, well, that's plain wrong. I've been tangling with you on a number of issues, and we will continue to have a lot of disagreement, but, you know, I've come to respect you highly. I just wish you'd express yourself less angrily and with more evidence that you are really listening. I'm trying and will continue to try to do the same thing. We're brothers, my friend.

ed

agrarian said...

wannabeanglican wrote:

If the APA and Forward in Faith isn't pure 100% orthodox enough for the ACC . . . .

And what exactly does small "o" orthodox mean here? In that it is intended to apply to two incongruous theologies, one dating to our Lord instructing His Apostles and the other to the creative minds of men of the 16th century, it is utterly meaningless. In fact, such a theological schizophrenia, necessarily producing something more akin to a "free thinker's society" than a church, is anything but "orthodox." Indeed it is precisely this "free thinking" theological schizophrenia that has inevitably provided room for the likes of Pike, Spong, and Vickie Gene. So all of Anglicanism's "free thinking" heretics are unavoidable byproducts of its "orthodoxy"? I think someone is misusing the word "orthodox(y)" here.

Yes, it does appear to me, a member of the APA, that my jurisdiction, being mainly "broad" (i.e. unconvicted) in character, is committed to this improper usage of "orthodoxy." Here you are inarguably correct. If left to its own devices, my jurisdiction would like to see this "orthodox" theological schizophrenia maintained indefinitely such that we might relive the current madness over and over and over again. That is the tragedy of it all. I have problems with the ACC myself (e.g. the Pharisaical "Circle of Three" exaltation), but at least they stand for something. At least they are convicted in their Catholic beliefs. That makes them a church as opposed to a "free thinker's society." God bless them.

agrarian said...

He Who Does Not Register With Google wrote:

Most of all, we Anglicans need to learn a humility to counteract our human prideful and sinful temptation to think we have some kind of right to abstain from accepting the theological doctrines of our elder Sister on the seven hills.

So the Oracle of Delphi has been moved to the Vatican, and it is prideful to reject the Kool-Aid which guarantees submission to each and every new "development" spawned of the magical gases emanating from the crevice? I believe, in your own pride, you have that backwards. It is prideful for the Roman Catholic Church to place itself above the Vincentian Canon, which defines Catholicism itself; and it is the RCC that needs to humble itself and listen to us since we display the faith they once held before they erred or deviated. We have been trying to show them the way, if they would only open up their eyes and ears.

I'm going to try to unlearn five centuries of bad Anglican habits, and I'm going to say thank you to our elder Sister and accept it. Gratefully. HUMBLY.

And I am going to continue to pray that the Roman Catholic Church might once again learn humility and unlearn the 10+ centuries of "bad habits" which created the current mess in Western Christianity.

Ohio Anglican said...

Ed:

I assure you I NEVER write with anger. I am passionate about defending the "underdog" in any situation.

I feel that all too often, every ill that has ever occured in the Continuum is constantly being laid at the feet of the ACC. I think it is highly unfair.

I'm not angry, but I am totally frustrated with the ACC, APCK, and UECNA being made out to be the "bad guys".

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Anonymous said...

With regards to the TACs desire to be united with but not absorbed by Rome, this is a non-runner depending on how you define "united but not absorbed".

Rome will never accept any type of Anglican church on the same basis as it does the Eastern Catholic churches ie. autocephalous. Why? Because Canterbury was part of the Roman Patriarchate; was founded as a Roman mission see; has never been a independent patriarchate of its own; nor was ever granted autocephaly or even autonomy from the Patriarchate of Rome.

What is possible is an Anglo-Roman Catholic church in the form of an Personal Apostolic Administration similar to the Apostolic Administration of St John Vianney in Brazil, but on a far greater scale and with more widely reaching autonomy. Essentially such a body would be an autonomous, particular church of the Latin church directly subject to the Pope and no other bishop in the wider Latin church. Such a church would be allowed to continue ordaining married men but would no longer have married bishops; would use the Holy See approved Anglican Use liturgy; use the Book of Divine Worship which comprises constitutive elements of the 1928 and 1979 editions of the Book of Common Prayer as well as the 1973 Roman Missal, Missale Romanum. In all other respects it would be a part of the general body of the Roman Catholic Church, its bishops would be part of the synod of Roman Catholic bishops just as those of the Mozarabic and Ambrosian rites are and it would be expected to affirm all the beliefs held by the RCC including the Marian doctrines and Papal infallibility. And on top of this Rome will require conditional (those with the "Dutch touch" or similar) and unconditional reordination of clergy.

Rome will not offer nor accept anything more than this.

Conor

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do not believe that the ACC, APCK or the UEC are the bad guys. But, I know that the Continuing Anglican movement is incomplete without the TAC, and some other diaspora exiles. I am not in any of the jurisdictions under discussion. The diocese I belong to was all that remained of the Anglican Rite Synod of the Philippine Independent Catholic Church* after we could not, in good conscience, join the other diocesan bishops who rolled over into the APA (none of us, including the bishop, were able, in good conscience, to join that jurisdiction. Since that time we have grown, and have two other bishops in far away Texas). If Brian feels like an outsider, how does he imagine I feel when reading of these three jurisdictions assuming such an exclusive position?



*About that, I remember Archbishop Robert Morse saying to all his other bishops, identifying the source of my orders, "these are very valid orders." Of course: He remembered well that it was the PICC Bishop Fransicsco de Jesus Pagtakhan who co-consecrated him to the episcopate (with the other three Continuing bishops in 1978) alongside of Bishop Albert Chambers.

Michael said...

One really interesting question, to my mind, is why I can read an exchange of letters between Archbishops Haverland and Hepworth on VirtueOnline or on The Continuum, but not on either the TAC or ACCC websites.

Also, can anyone enlighten me as to Haverland's "Acting Primate" title? It sounds as though it's not a temporary position (since he refers to Archbishop John-Charles as "our former Acting Primate"). Interesting.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I understand the Unregistered with Google one's point of view, inasmuch as we cannot cut off the Patriarchate of Rome, especially as a Western church. But, here is where I raise the standard of caution.

First of all, we cannot believe in unprincipled ecumenism. All of our hopes for the Reunion of Catholic Christendom must be according to the truth. At this time Rome holds to doctrines that must be placed on the table and evaluated in light of that true universal doctrine defended many times, especially seven times, during the first millennium of the Church. To be accepted by Rome strictly on their current terms would be to abandon the valid principles stemming from doctrinal considerations. In good conscience, we cannot. Frankly, theological problems can be discussed and resolved, but we are a long way off from that resolution, and brought no closer to it without the painful business of honest argumentation between theologically astute churchmen.

About the small "o" that I have often placed on the word "orthodoxy," it is for no other reason than these two: in proper English such a word is not capitalized except at the beginning of a sentence, and, the exception to this rule is when the word is used as a name. In this case, to use a large "O" would be to identify the Orthodox Church. The same consideration does not apply to the word "Catholic" in normal Anglican usage, simply because it is a creedal word that applies to the Church of which we are members (the Creeds define orthodoxy, but never name the Church with this word).

I will continue this practice since one can be Orthodox without being orthodox, just as one can be orthodox without being Orthodox.

He Who Really Distrusts Google said...

Fr Hart said "To be accepted by Rome strictly on their current terms would be to abandon the valid principles stemming from doctrinal considerations. In good conscience, we cannot. Frankly, theological problems can be discussed and resolved,...."

My dear Father, who gave you the right to judge?

A couple of people have brought up the so-called "Vincentian Canon," but omit to recognize that it is not a dogma and never has been declared such by any body...outside of the four amigos who run this blog, that is.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

My dear Father, who gave you the right to judge?

To judge truth from error? To have theological standards? Is this supposed to be a serious question? I cannot take it seriously.

A couple of people have brought up the so-called "Vincentian Canon," but omit to recognize that it is not a dogma and never has been declared such by any body...outside of the four amigos who run this blog, that is.

If the Vincentian Canon is not a self evident standard, then we are left with endless innovation. The popular misperception of the RC concept of teaching authority really does fit Newman's particular theory of Doctrinal Development better than it does the genuine teaching and practice of Rome. But, using the method that Rome actually does use (which is not Newman's), namely to prove their position with the Scripture as received and understood by the Fathers and the Church in every age, is their own formal recognition of St. Vincent's measuring reed as the accepted standard. We accept the same standard, and must see our differences as the stuff of theological debate.

Of course, if we have no right to judge these matters, then there is nothing to discuss, but no basis for submission either. And, we are left with schism right up to the end.

agrarian said...

google guy wrote:

A couple of people have brought up the so-called "Vincentian Canon," but omit to recognize that it is not a dogma and never has been declared such by any body...outside of the four amigos who run this blog, that is.

So, in other words, the Vincentian Canon is of no consequence to anybody? The Eastern Orthodox, who spend so much time studying the Fathers in order to ascertain the consensus patrum with regard to any given issue, would find your comment very interesting. For that matter, so would your Roman Catholic Church, which spends so much time cherry-picking those same Fathers (as badly as any Calvinist) in order to get around the consensus patrum, even going so far as to offer forged documents in the past, all to lend to their claims some air of "legitimacy," which is intolerant of innovation by their very own definition.

Okey-doke, then. No matter. Let's accept what you say and enter the resultant Christian cafeteria. Apparently, discernment is not only unnecessary, but impossible. Never mind then that the RCC's dictatorial ecclesiology stands starkly at odds with the humble, unimposing, servant leadership model which our Lord represented to His Apostles and the world. We are not permitted to discern, so we are not permitted to know Christ. All that is left for us, in order to avoid the snares of the devil, is to obey the Delphic Oracle lately transfered to Rome, and obey him absolutely.

You know, that does indeed sound like Rome's ecumenical line. It might actually carry some credibility if they would cease and desist from trying to prove that their every innovation is not in fact an innovation (as the Vincentian Canon demands). But even that would require some shred of Christ's humility, something they have not demonstrated in 10+ centuries.

Lord have mercy on all of us!

poetreader said...

I'm a little puzzled as to what authority Connor has to speak authoritatively for the Roman Church. Is it honestly beyond the power of the Pope to arrange some form of intercommunion with those who do not accept his positions fully? Hasn't the Eastern Church already been admitted to a limited status of intercommunion? It is, at this point limited, but any permission at all is vastly different from the position that such permission simply can't be given. My understanding is that the Polish National Catholic Church in the USA has been given a similar limited permission. The absolute 'never' would have been said only a few years ago in both situations. Could it be done with regard to Anglicans? I see no reason to deny the possibility. Is it likely? Now, that is a legitimate question. Barring a miracle, probably not -- but are we not to pray earnestly for miracles? Has God declared that He will grant no more?

Connor's reasoning is interesting, and does raise what some of the obstacles may be, and probably are, but 'never' is a far bigger word that anyone has a right to apply in such things. If it is God's will, then it will come to pass. Somehow, I think it is.

ed

Anonymous said...

Poetreader,

I claim no authority to speak for the RCC but I am putting forward the realistic boundaries to what Rome will agree to. This is not just my personal opinion, it is widely held by many others with far greater knowledge of the mind of the RCC on this matter, one of the best examples being Prof. William Tighe.

When I say Rome will not accept communion with an autocephalous "Anglican Catholic" body, it is based on examination of two millenia of Western Church history. Autocephaly for national churches has never been a feature of the Western Church, though autonomy in certain cases has (and is) eg. the Celtic Church, Apostolic Administration of St John Vianney.

My point is that autocephaly can't be a precondition for reunion as Rome will not play ball.

Also the points about limited communion with Orthodoxy and the PNCC are irrelevant in this context as Rome hold both to have valid Holy Orders and common positions on the sacraments. Also Rome would take exactly the same position with the PNCC with regards reunion as it would with TAC.

Conor

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Anti-Google dude,

Haven't you realised that your argument, which reduces to "Not submitting to Rome unconditionally is just obviously unCatholic and arrogant and the result of mere idiosyncratic private judgement!" would condemn the Eastern Orthodox en masse as well? And that such a condemnation would undermine the thesis itself by showing you are not dealing with the merely sectarian idiosyncrasy of a tiny rump?

LP said...

On Deerfield Beach


Okay, here's what I - as neither a member nor a partisan of either the ACA or the ACC (and, indeed, as someone who knows almost no one in either body, save some former APCK members) - just don't get.


As the ACC's publicly presented arguments make clear, their concern with D.B. - theologically - has to do with issues of ecclesial order, sacramental theology, etc. From the various statements available, those arguments are fairly clear.

I don't know what the ACA/TAC's "official" response to these theological issues is.

But all the responses I've seen (admittedly, several not from actual TAC clergy) - both in private emails and public posts - amount to, essentially, "get over it." I've seen none which actually address the specific theological concerns other than to dismiss them out of hand.

The ACC position has been described on this site as "crap". Pro-TAC writers have said "we're sick of hearing about it". The logic behind several responses seems to amount to "we're bigger, we're here to stay, so just get over it and accept us." And so forth.

The least "dismissive" pro-ACA argument I've seen to date has been "you can't keep holding old sins against someone -- if it's not a matter of heresy you can't justify schism." Yet as Fr. Kirby (I think it was) pointed out quite cogently, that argument actually supports the ACC's reservations about the formation of the ACA, rather than the ACA's contention that they now should be accepted without demure by the ACC.


Now, there's been a fair amount said - explicit and implicit - to the effect that the ACC is being isolationist, aloof, sectarian, etc. That their statements are simply masks for what is ultimately political/personal/egotistical/etc. I have no idea whether - or to what degree - that's true, having never been in an ACC parish nor witness to any of these exchanges. I - like all here - certainly don't condone any such failures of charity, regardless of the validity of the position they 'defend.' But that's a different point.



What I don't get is this -- the theological and ecclesiological concerns raised by the ACC are, as best I can tell, shared by the TAC/ACA, yet the ACC isn't taken seriously when they attempt actually to live up to these principles.


For example:

TAC/ACA members & partisans here have spoken about the need for episcopal discipline - and the problems attendent on the lack of such discipline. Some have been so concerned over this that they have left (or been forced out of) their former jurisdictions because of the actions of bishops. Yet the ACC is criticized for actually regulating and censuring episcopal misbehavior when it stands by its disciplining of Bp. Falk and the other former ACC clergy who helped found the ACA. (Caveat - I know next to nothing about the details of this discipline or the charges. I'm pointing to the principle of regulating clerical behavior, not the the specifics of this case.)


Similarly:

The ACC observes, as part of its reservations with the ACA, the canonical and sacramental issues related to the irregular "invasion" and "reconsecrations" which characterized D.B. Now - again regardless of the validity of the specifics of that particular event - it seems to me that the ACA/TAC shares these concerns with proper catholic procedure. Indeed, in looking toward Rome, the TAC is looking with approval toward a body which is even more "legalistic" in observing the traditions of the universal Church in these matters.


And so forth.

I don't think I need to ennumerate all the different points of congruence.


My point is that the principles based on which the ACC has reservations about the ACA/TAC are principles which the ACA/TAC shares.


Obviously, there is disagreement between the two groups about the specifics of the cases. Obviously the ACA/TAC thinks the ACC has misapplied some of these general theological principles.

But, this being the case, what I don't understand is why the ACA/TAC hasn't (at least as far as I can tell from what's available publically to a layman) fraternally engaged the ACC's concerns from this point of commonality.

Rather than dismissing the ACC's theological arguments as "crap" or saying "get over it" (and I should hasten to add, I think these 2 particular responses of which I'm thinking were made by pro-ACA clergy who weren't actually in the ACA), why doesn't the ACA respond with "we agree with you on the basics of catholic theology & ecclesiology which you are striving to uphold. We think you are mistaken in how you apply them to this incident in the following way..."

Surely if there is (a) agreement on the theological basics and (b) goodwill on both sides, it really shouldn't take that long for representatives of the two groups to sit down and hash things out once and for all -- particularly if the focus is not on "who was right in 1991" but rather on "how do we address and resolve all the issues which have been festering, unaddressed, in the 16 years since then, so that we can move forward toward a more effective anglocatholic mission and witness."


Now, I'm well aware that there may be lots of stuff going on behind the scenes and "off the grid" (or, at least, off the net) which a layman won't find. So perhaps these comments are irrelevant or obsolete.

Nevertheless, based on what I've been able to suss out in both public & private venues, I remain - frankly - utterly mistified at what seems to be a dismissive - even (in some cases) a contemptuous - attitude toward the ACC's theological concerns [whatever the personal failings on one side or the other] when these concerns are founded upon sound theological, sacramental, and ecclesiastical principles which the ACA/TAC presumably shares.

Sure, the ACC may be wrong about the ACA. I, personally, have no idea, not knowing the details.

But the principles which cause their reservations (at least as presented by papers such as this open letter) are sound, and the ACC's attempts to be faithful to them ought to be met - IMHO - with approval and (where necessary) fraternal correction... not dismissive condemnation.


pax Christi,
LP

poetreader said...

LP,

I'm an ACA layman, one who finds ACA definitely preferable to ACC.

You've basically asked some very sound questions, really precisely the issues I keep trying to bring up. Thank you.

What ACA and ACC need to do is to sit down together and discuss what it is that we believe NOW. There may be issues in theology and somewhat different ways of looking at things, but the fact remains that we are far closer to agreement with one another than certain segments of the Roman Church are with certain other segments. We need to find and celebrate our commonalities and find ways to overcome whatever differences there are. That is an imperative.

What keeps it from happening? Well, one of the things is the constant hashing over the past. 1991 is past. Deerfield Beach is over and done with. Whatever errors were committed cannot be made never to have happened. If we can be in agreement as to what to teach and what to do today, then none of that matters. Just as for all our personal sins, Christ forgives -- and He doesn't demand that we fully understand every detail of the moral law when we repent, merely that we ask forgiveness as best we know how and determine with God's help to do it right this time.

I do get very upset at interminable discussions of Deerfield Beach and other mistaken or abusive actions committed in the past. I simply won't go there. However, the theological issues that may have emerged from all that are indeed things to be considered and acted upon here and now. If we can stop shouting at each other about how we hurt each other then, and get down to real theological business now, I'm convinced our differences will evaporate. If we continue as we have, they will harden.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

What Archbishop Haverland has done in his statement, regarding DB, is not to rehash it as a past event; he has, instead, asked what it may imply about the future. He has raised the question in a responsible and reasonable way, and this implies a hope for reconciliation coupled with a need for trust. I cannot find fault with such an approach.

LP said...

If I understand it correctly, the ACC's position about D.B. is that there were genuine sacramental defects in the establishment and early ordinations of the ACA. From what I can tell, some ACC priests appear to believe that ACA orders are, consequently, "valid but irregular"; some appear to believe them fully invalid.


Now, in one sense, D.B. is over and done with. Absolutely. People have moved on; new clergy and parishes have joined or grown up in the ACA in good faith. An ACC approach which says "pretend the ACA never happened" would be silly. I absolutely agree w/ Fr. Hart (& Fr. Nalls and others) on this point.


There were, presumably, faults on one or both sides of the events at D.B. I have no idea which side(s) or what - heck, 6 months ago I didn't even know what "Deerfield Beach" signified. But insofar as there were personal failings then, those are a matter (it seems to me) for private reconcilliation behind closed doors. Quietly put that past to rest -- be reconciled beore approaching the altar.


And if any ACC clergy are simply using a claim of "invalidity" to mask some sort of personal vendetta against certain ACA clergy, that too should be quietly fixed... just as if any ACA clergy are using a claim of "Donatisim" or "isolationism" to avoid dealing with hard or personally inconvenient issues which the ACC is actually raising, this pretense too must be quietly and privately cleared away. (I have no idea if there is anyone described by either of these categories -- I present them as logical [and psychologically understandable] possibilities, not as anything I know - or even have reason to suspect - to be fact.)



On the other hand, unless folks in the ACC are simply lying about their theological reservations, there are also - as Abp. Haverland has indicated - present ramifications of those concerns.

For example, suppose Fr. X. believes - based on a catholic obedience to the teaching and practice of the undivided Church - that the orders of certain ACA clergy are, objectively, invalid because of the sacramental issues stemming from D.B.

He has confessed his own failings (if any) which are related to D.B.; he has forgiven his brother ACA clergy theirs (if any). In that sense, he has left D.B. behind. But he still -- in good conscience -- believes that, because of objective defects, certain ACA orders are invalid.

Now, in these circumstances, Fr. X cannot - in good, catholic conscience - move forward in sacramental or jurisdictional union with the ACA without abandoning his own catholic beliefs by accepting men he honestly believes to be laity as clergy.

He is in theological agreement with the ACA, even on the matters of ecclesiology; he earnestly wants the ACC and ACA to move forward toward jurisdictional and sacramental unity (assuming other issues - such as the relationship with the Lambeth Communion - are resolved)... but he genuinely believes that some of the ACA "clergy" are actually laity and their sacramental acts invalid.

For him, yes, D.B. is over and done with - questions of fault and mistake and sin are left behind - but the theological issues and ecclesiology remain -- and remain an impediment.


Now, were this is a circumstance the ACC and ACA find themselves in -- if the questions of (a) attitude toward Rome; (b) sacramental communion & relationship with the Lambeth Communion; (c) theological & ecclesiological understanding of proper ordinations were resolved -- do you think that the ACA (especially considering the conditional reordinations marking its origin) would be willing - for the sake of the "weaker brother" - to quietly, without fanfare or public todo, to conditionally reordain those clergy in its ranks with whom the ACC in good conscience has reservations?

Or is the ACA's position more likely to be that any resolution will require that all ACC clergy -- even those (assuming there are any) who believe based on honest, charitable, reasoned, and good-faith convictions, rooted in shared principles of catholic ecclesiology and theology, that certain ACA clergy are, objectively, laymen -- to capitulate on those pious convictions & consciences and accept as ordained all ACA clergy, even those they honestly believe to be laymen?


I'm not saying that the ACC is right; I'm not saying that, upon meetings and reevaluations there even would be such dubious cases; I'm not saying that there might not be some ACC clergy who dishonestly claim doubts where they actually don't have any.

All I'm asking is that IF, at the end of the day, in charity & good-faith & honest striving after orthodoxy and orthopraxis, some ACC clergy have genuine doubts about the validity of the orders of some ACA clergy - based on that shared commitment to orthodoxy & orthopraxis - would the ACA be willing to consider quiet, private, "utilitarian" conditional reordinations?

Because, if not, it seems to me (as someone who has no stake in either camp nor even an informed opinion about who was 'right' [if any] at D.B.) that what the ACA would be asking of the ACC would be, essentially, capitulation. Asking them to set aside good faith and pious and honest attempts to uphold catholic belief and practice for the sake of a jurisdictional convenience.

And it seems to me, that if you've got clergy willing to surrender their beliefs (and beliefs you share!) for the sake of convenience - even for sparing others' feelings - then you've got clergy you really wouldn't want to trust the future of Anglicanism to.


I don't know if, upon review, any ACC reservations would stand up. I don't know if the bulk of ACC priests are genuinely convinced of any invalidity in ACA orders or merely use that as a catch phrase. And I don't mean to pretend otherwise in asking the question. All I'm trying to ask is that - if the possibility of jurisdictional reunion came down to having either (1) to require some ACA clergy to accept conditional reordination or (2) to require some ACC clergy to violate their consciences by acting in a way they honestly believed to be unorthodox (or, at least, unorthopractical) - do you think the ACA would be willing to accept the "ignominy" of those reordinations as the lesser of the two evils?


pax,
LP

poetreader said...

Yes, Father Hart,
I neglected to mention that the Archbishop's treatment, while I'd still rather not go there, was very much different from the rehashing I've been seeing. There is actually something more than mere grousing over past abuses here. I have some disagreements, but no complaints with this letter. If this be a sign of the direction discussions are finally taking -- klet's do it.

ed

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

LP wrote:
...would the ACA be willing to consider quiet, private, "utilitarian" conditional reordinations?

I don't see in Archbishop Haverland's statement that the ACC, at the highest level, doubts the validity of those orders as they are now.

poetreader said...

If serious doubts of the validity of one's ordination, in accord with a sound ecclesiology and sacramental theology exist, then it becomes a matter of charity and humility to allow those doubts to be removed by a quiet and simple conditional ordination.

That, as I and many others believe, does apply in the case of the REC, where there is (in the past, though perhaps no more) either the reality or the appearance of flat denial of the Catholic teaching about Holy Orders.

However, if orders be recognized as 'valid, but irregular', reordination, even conditionally, becomes a very questionable thing. Frankly, even as a member of ACA, I find that to be a real problem with regard to DB itself, and it would be a repetuition of the same error to do so now. It's precisely what Clavier's vagans buddies are doing all the time.

If there were serious doubts, soundly founded, that would be a remedy, but I believe there are not. I see no evidence that the ACC at its highest levels believes that there are. Those that do express a view that ACA orders are not valid, on the other hand, seem to me to be doing so on the basis of a seriously flawed ecclesiology, one that approaches the idea of undoing ordination by a subsequent mistake. To accept conditional ordination as a result of such an opinion is to recognize the opinion as acceptable. That is not a proper determination.

What should happen? I believe my own jurisdiction should simply admit that the DB events, though well-intentioned, were mistaken, and the ACC should openly declare that our clergy are ordained. Then, recognizing that the status quo actually exists, we can leave the past behind and honestly discuss present and future matters.

ed

John A. Hollister said...

Michael asked, "[C]an anyone enlighten me as to Haverland's 'Acting Primate' title? It sounds as though it's not a temporary position (since he refers to Archbishop John-Charles as 'our former Acting Primate')."

When the ACC was established as a group of former Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans, its leaders predicted that the problems then emergent in North America would soon appear elsewhere, requiring other withdrawals from official Lambeth Provinces. Therefore, the Constitution and Canons of the new body provide the structure for an international, multi-Provincial communion.

Under these, the "Original Province" (essentially the Western Hemisphere with some additions elsewhere) was later joined by the four surviving Dioceses of the historic Church of India, i.e., the four Dioceses that refused to join either of the pan-Protestant mergers in the Subcontinent, the Churches of South India and of North India. Therefore, that original Church of India (also titled the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon) today forms the Second Province of the ACC, under its own Metropolitan, Archbishop John Augustine.

We still await the formation or accession of a Third Province. When that happens, a new Church-wide level of governance will automatically come into being, above the Provincial level, composed of a Primate and a Holy Synod. The Primate will be elected by the Metropolitans of the constituent Provinces and the delegates to the Holy Synod will be elected by the respective Provincial Synods, just as the Metropolitan of each Province is elected by that Province's Bishops and the delegates to each Provincial Synod are elected by the respective Diocesan Synods within tht Province.

Until that higher level of governance comes into being, the Metropolitan and Synod of the Original Province are, as the military would say, "double-hatted", serving as the Provincial governance of the Original Province but also, ex-officio, in place of the Primate and the Holy Synod which have not yet been called into existence.

Thus each Metropolitan of the Original Province has been, in succession, ex-officio the "Acting Primate" of the whole Anglican Catholic Church.

It was these pre-existing arrangements for an international communion that made most within the ACC scratch their heads and wonder why further institutional duplications could be either wise or necessary when, in the late 1980s, the ACC's then-Acting Primate proposed the creation of a new entity, outside of these structures and virtually without structure of its own, which he dubbed the "Traditional Anglican Communion".

It was that lack of faith in the need for any such body that led the ACC to raise no protest when that former Acting Primate wished to take his creation with him as he exited the Church.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Mr. Pacht asked, "Hasn't the Eastern Church already been admitted to a limited status of intercommunion [with Rome]? It is, at this point limited, but any permission at all is vastly different from the position that such permission simply can't be given. My understanding is that the Polish National Catholic Church [PNCC] in the USA has been given a similar limited permission."

What the Roman Church did in about 1991 was essentially to place the PNCC in the same status as the Eastern Orthodox. That is, Roman Catholics, at real need, may receive the Sacraments from EO and PNCC clergy and EO and PNCC members may, at real need, receive the Sacraments from RC clergy.

That is NOT "intercommunion", limited or otherwise. As one example of this, Roman clergy are expressly forbidden to concelebrate with EO and PNCC clergy. As another example, in a "mixed" wedding, either an EO/PNCC clergyman must officiate (with the cognizant Roman Bishop's indult having first been given to the RC spouse), in which case a Roman clergyman can take some limited part in the service, OR an RC clergyman must officiate, in which case an EO/PNCC clergyman can take some limited part in the service.

Either way, there is a clear definition of "who is in charge" and sufficient separation of functions to make it obvious that there is no "joint" supervision of the rite.

Now I say all that because I believe that the actual current status of relations between Rome, on the one hand, and churches (small "c") that Rome recognizes as Sacramentally valid, on the other hand, is important for understanding how those relationships can move forward, if they can.

To put it another way, we must remember that no one who is not under Roman jurisdiction has yet achieved actual intercommunion with Rome, even when Rome recognizes their Orders and Sacraments as valid. That, I think, has important implications for any Anglican aspirations Rome-ward.

Similarly, I think we must all take note of the facts that (a) it took 20 years for the PNCC and the RCC to reach just the point of mutual recognition, and (b) for the past 16 years, and despite continued regular meetings, there has been no further movement between them that an outsider can discern. And all this where Rome and the PNCC separated only in 1897, not in 1570.

These small technical points made, I heartily agree with everything Mr. Pacht wrote in that posting.

John A. Hollister+

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Canon Hollister,

One problem with your account of the creation of the TAC (and its apparent inconsistency with the original self-understanding of the ACC) is as follows. Something like the TAC had already existed de facto before Abp Falk's official formation of the TAC by virtue of the communion between the ACC and the ACC-Canada, the latter never having been under the ACC's jurisdiction once it was properly formed, though its original members were served by ACC bishops and Bp Morse as Episcopal Visitors until that time. Therefore, whatever the original intentions for the ACC's structure, they were not universally accepted by those with whom we were in communion from very early in the piece.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Kirby noted, with regard to my account of the origins of the TAC: "Therefore, whatever the original intentions for the ACC's structure, they were not universally accepted by those with whom we [the ACC] were in communion from very early in the piece."

True, but two things must be remembered in that connection. Firstly, I was explaining why Abp. Haverland is at present the "Acting" Primate of the ACC, not the "Primate". The structure over which that Primate will preside does exist, in the form of two united Provinces, it just hasn't yet expanded to include the third Province that will call into being the permanent form of inter-Provincial government.

Secondly, it was the choice of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada to form itself, not into what would then have been the second Province of the ACC (and which now, therefore, would have achieved the three Provinces necessary for its Holy Synod and permanent Primate) but into a completely independent body. The ACC per se was, nevertheless, perfectly willing to maintain a relationship of intercommunion with the ACC-Can., based solely upon the organic state of communion that arose through the ACC and APCK's bishops' participation in the consecration of the first Bishop for the ACC-Can. and, instead of formal documents or structures, relying upon comity, good will, and the personal integrity of the persons concerned.

The same pattern was replicated with the slightly later formation of the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia.

What the ACC's then-Acting Primate proposed in about 1989 or '90 was to broaden this ad hoc, informal arrangement beyond these two cases and to make it the normative pattern rather than the one that is foreseen by the ACC's pre-existing structures and that had, by that time, already been implemented in the case of the Church of India.

The ACC was still in the process of assessing this proposal when that Archbishop left the church. The occasion and manner of his leaving, and the breach of comity and failure of good will that were necessarily involved in the participation by the bishops of the ACC-Can. in those events, would have been less likely to have occurred under a structure of mutual accountability.

Therefore, that experience rather confirmed for most of us our previous doubts about the wisdom or soundness of the informal TAC as an alternative to the ACC's formal Constitutional provisions.

John A. Hollister+

PrayerBookCatholic said...

The attempt to establish a worldwide Church body, and the use of a new Constitution and Canons as the mechanism for doing so, was a point of much contention among the Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans who answered the call at St. Louis in 1977. It was one of the reasons for the serious divisions among them almost from the beginning.

Bishops Robert Morse and Peter Watterson, two of the original four bishops consecrated for the Continuing Anglican Church, and their followers refused to ratify the ACC Constitution and Canons at Dallas in 1978. Meanwhile, the Continuing Anglicans in Canada formed themselves into the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and went their own way organizationally, while maintaining communio in sacris with the ACC in the U.S. as well as with those who followed Morse and Watterson into the Diocese (now Province) of Christ the King.

Thus, there never was agreement and consensus in those early days on the appropriate canonical approach and structures for the new Continuing Anglican Church. Nor was there input into them from Anglicans outside the U.S. and Canada since the ordination of women hadn’t yet spread beyond North America.

It would seem that it’s one thing to set up an international, multi-Provincial communion under a single set of canons, quite another to shepherd this communion into being and keep it together. For one thing, it’s never before been done in Anglicanism. And it would appear that unless the originating group can somehow maintain very tight control under such a system, those churches formed in other nations might ultimately choose the more familiar national, autocephalous model.

Perhaps this is partly what led then-ACC Archbishop Louis Falk, in the late 1980s, to create the TAC, which seems to follow more of a national, autocephalous model than that of the ACC.

At any rate, both the ACC and the TAC exist in the world today. The question is, can the two bodies find enough common ground to join together in genuine ecumenical friendship and dialogue? Archbishop Brother-John Charles raised the question, and Archbishop Haverland has now made an overture to TAC to begin this process. It will be interesting to see how the TAC responds. Let us pray for God’s blessing and guidance on these efforts and for a good and divinely guided outcome.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Nor was there input into them from Anglicans outside the U.S. and Canada since the ordination of women hadn’t yet spread beyond North America.

A small detail: The "ordination" of women did not even begin in North America. Rather, it spread to North America. It is true, however, that in the U.S. and Canada it made its biggest splash.

Anonymous said...

From someone in the UEC looking into the ACA it seems a little strange that the ACA is strongly seeking unity with http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm

and can sign a FACA agreement with

http://www.cambridgechurch.org/app/

I agree with Fr. Hart. any unity is likely incomplete without the ACA. However, the ACA needs to make some decisions about what it really wants.

David Straw Evansville, IN

LP said...

My sense of the ACA (which may or may not be fully accurate) is that for a while they've intentionally cultivated a certain "ambiguity" in an effort to be more appealing to more people.


The problem with that approach, IMHO, is that what is needed now is clarity and an unambiguous stand, not obfuscation or non-commital fuzziness.

And, frankly, nothing is served by such ambiguity save to generate more confusion. These issues have to be clarified sometime... and putting off such clarification merely serves to build on sand -- in the long run it doesn't attract or keep more people as it sets the stage for disillusionments and divisions down the road, when the issues _are_ finally clarified.


Now, if you look at the FACA terms, you'll see that everything is left up to the choices/policies of each affiliated organization... there's nothing mandated of them. So the ACA could well simply see their involvement as a matter of fellowship -- not sacramental or even theological identity -- by opting out of clergy transfer, sacramental unity, shared theological education, etc.

But this does raise the question: if membership is merely for fellowship, and the ACA "opts out" of most of the practicalities for the sake of being genuinely anglocatholic, then what's the point of being within an association the whole purpose of which is to move toward closer jurisdictional cordination and unity? And if it's for more than that, how can the ACA be "catholic" when sharing sacraments and theology with such protestant (even, in some cases, anti-catholic) groups?


Likewise, their position vis a vis Rome. On the one hand there appears to be an express desire, at least in some quarters, to unite. On the other hand, most signs seem to be that this would be something that wouldn't be considered at all seriously by Rome for many generations, if at all.

Meanwhile, plenty of other anglocatholics -- who view Roman claims to supremacy (rather than primacy) and infallibility as un-Biblical un-patristic revisionism -- are alienated from the ACA because of this (perhaps mistakenly) perceived desire to sacrifice a genuine Anglican identity for the sake of becoming a small (and perhaps unsustainable) pocket of ideosyncratic Romans.



My sense is that one of the ACC's challenges to the ACA & TAC in its letters (and an appropriate challenge) is to ask them to take a stand one way or the other. Is the ACA going to be an anglocatholic body in the continuing Church tradition, or is it seeking to be a "high church" affiliate of the angloprotestant AMiA.


It can't be both... and I think the ACC is right to suggest that the time for a studied ambiguity or hedging of bets is over.


Now, it may well be that the ACA does have firm and unambiguous answers to these questions, and that the confusion many observers (even fellow "continuing churchmen") is a matter of perception, rather than fact.

But, should that be the case, it ought to be simple enough for the ACA to make a few clear statements to solve those problems of perception -- which (or so it seems to me) are sufficiently wide-spread as to require the ACA's/TAC's attention.


pax,
LP

LP said...

---------------------------------
EDITORS -- Pls. post this version instead... I clicked the wrong thing and submitted the previewed draft not the edited version
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My sense of the ACA (which may or may not be fully accurate) is that for a while they've intentionally cultivated a certain "ambiguity" in an effort to be more appealing to more people.


The problem with that approach, IMHO, is that what is needed now is clarity and an unambiguous stand, not obfuscation or non-commital fuzziness.

And, frankly, nothing is served by such ambiguity save to generate more confusion. These issues have to be clarified sometime... and putting off such clarification doesn't, in the long run, attract or retain more members -- rather, it merely serves to build on sand and set the stage for disillusionments and divisions down the road when the issues _are_ finally clarified (as they ultimately must be if there's to be any coherent future).


Now, if you look at the FACA terms, you'll see that everything is left up to the choices/policies of each affiliated organization... there's nothing mandated of them. So the ACA could well simply see their involvement as a matter of fellowship -- not sacramental or even theological identity -- by opting out of clergy transfer, sacramental unity, shared theological education, etc.

But this raises the question: if the ACA's membership is merely for fellowship, and the ACA "opts out" of most of the practicalities for the sake of being genuinely anglocatholic, then what's the point of being within an association the whole purpose of which is to move toward closer jurisdictional cordination and unity? And if it's for more than that, one has to ask how the ACA can be "catholic" when sharing sacraments and theology with such protestant (even, in some cases, anti-catholic) groups?


Likewise, their position vis a vis Rome. On the one hand there appears to be an express desire, at least in some quarters, to unite. Yet most signs seem to be that this would be something that wouldn't be considered at all seriously by Rome for many generations, if at all.

Meanwhile, plenty of other anglocatholics -- who view Roman claims to supremacy (rather than primacy) and infallibility as un-Biblical un-patristic revisionism -- are alienated from the ACA because of this (perhaps mistakenly) perceived desire to sacrifice a genuine Anglican identity for the sake of becoming a small (and perhaps unsustainable) pocket of ideosyncratic Romans.


My sense is that one of the ACC's challenges (and an appropriate challenge) to the ACA & TAC is asking them to take a stand one way or the other.

Is the ACA going to be an anglocatholic body in the continuing Church tradition, or is it seeking to be a "high church" affiliate of the angloprotestant AMiA and Global South?


It can't be both... and I think the ACC is right to suggest that the time for a studied ambiguity or hedging of bets is over.



Now, it may well be that the ACA _does_ have firm and unambiguous answers to these questions of identity and policy, and that the confusion many observers (even fellow "continuing churchmen") is a matter of perception, rather than fact.

But, should that be the case, it ought to be simple enough for the ACA to make a few clear statements to solve those problems of perception -- which (or so it seems to me) are sufficiently wide-spread as to require the ACA's/TAC's attention.


pax,
LP

Anonymous said...

LP said "Is the ACA going to be an Anglo-Catholic body in the continuing Church tradition, or is it seeking to be a "high church" affiliate of the angloprotestant AMiA." This is a good question and it deserves an answer.

TEc has tried to be all things to all people and look where that has gotten them. As I have said before on this blog...Anglicanism is headed for three denominations. The remnants of the Unitarians in vestments led by KJS and Williams. The mega-church wannabes led by AMiA Chuck Murphy and CANA Minns types...and finally a true Catholic and Traditional church. The ACA is quickly finding themselves with a foot in all three camps. They are a member of FACA, have dually ordained clergy in communion with the ABC and KJS, and they are also complaining about how they are treated by the ACC, APCK, and UEC...The problem is that it's hard enough to straddle two camps...let alone three.

D. Straw Evansville, IN

Fr. Robert Hart said...

How do we hope to guide pre-Catholic Anglicans home (those who need to become truly Catholic) if we treat them as lepers who are to be outside the camp? An innocent association and willingness to communicate should not be mis-characterized as a state of communio in sacris. It is nothing more than an open door for discussion; that is all. The TAC/ACA is not in communion with churches that "ordain" women, etc. Their willingness to keep a door of discussion open is, in a purely Catholic sense, evangelistic.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart:

I will give the ACA one thing. I think it is a little unfair to make such a big deal about the D.B. incident and the validity of your orders. I hear where the ACC is coming from I just don't think it's as concerning as the other issues...Plus, things like this can always be worked out.

As the parent of two young children I pray for a united and strong Continuum. One where the ACC, ACA, UEC, and the APCK can truly be one. Let's face it... the ACA does have much more in common with these bodies than they do with AMiA... or even Rome for that matter.


D. Straw Evansville, IN

Fr. Robert Hart said...

D. Straw:

I appreciate Archbishop Haverland's willingness to have his statements posted on our blog, and wish others would do the same (++Provence, ++Hepworth...). In all fairness, among the major jurisdictions I tend to lean on the TAC-ACA side.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart said, "An innocent association and willingness to communicate should not be mis-characterized as a state of communio in sacris. It is nothing more than an open door for discussion; that is all. The TAC/ACA is not in communion with churches that 'ordain' women, etc."

I have no doubt whatever that Fr. Hart made this statement in good faith. However, it appears to be at odds with certain facts:

-- The TAC/ACA appears to hold itself out as being in communion with at least one, and very possibly two, Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia;

-- The Ang. Ch. Aust., in many of its Dioceses, "ordains" women and moreover is in communion with Canterbury, which likewise "ordains" women;

-- Canterbury is in communion with each and every provice of the Lambeth Communion that "ordains" women, including PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC;

-- Two of the TAC/ACA's most recent consecrations of bishops took place (according to witnesses, using the Ordinal of the 1979 "Prayer Book" and with the assistance of accolettes) with the participation of one or more Bishops of the Ang. Ch. Aust. and

-- The men so consecrated were immediately appointed to official posts within at least one Diocese of the Ang. Ch. Aust.

So to an outsider, it is difficult to come to any conclusion other than that the TAC/ACA is "in communio in sacris" with the revisionists.

As Abp. Haverland pointed out in his letter to Abp. Hepworth, it would be most desirable to have some official clarification regarding these concerns.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

-- The TAC/ACA appears to hold itself out as being in communion with at least one, and very possibly two, Dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia...

The Anglican Church in Australia, like the Episcopal Church in the United States, has dissenting diocesan bishops. The parallel is to Bp. Jack Iker (and no, he does not "ordain" women), or Bp. Keith Ackerman.

-- Two of the TAC/ACA's most recent consecrations of bishops took place (according to witnesses, using the Ordinal of the 1979 "Prayer Book" and with the assistance of accolettes) with the participation of one or more Bishops of the Ang. Ch. Aust....

Again, would not these be dissenting bishops? And, what '79 book? If that was in Australia, then I assume it refers to an Australian book from the same year as the unfortunate American book.

-- The men so consecrated were immediately appointed to official posts within at least one Diocese of the Ang. Ch. Aust.

By whom? Was this part of the plan?

So to an outsider, it is difficult to come to any conclusion other than that the TAC/ACA is "in communio in sacris" with the revisionists.

This outsider can come to no such conclusion. Who are the sources? Who are the C of A bishops in this story?

Nonetheless, my comment was intended to clarify the situation between the TAC-ACA and such groups as the FACA. A comment implied that this was full communion, and I know for a fact that such an allegation is completely unfounded.

LP said...

I've been able to find nothing in a websearch about how the ACA/TAC views its "relationship" with the other Anglican bodies in FACA. Perhaps I've missed something... but, if not:

It's clear from FACA's articles that any member organization may "opt out" of any portion of the organization, and so that by its membership the TAC/ACA isn't actually obligated to anything by its membership, which may well thus simply be a gesture of fellowhip.

Nevertheless, the fact is that the very first goal of the group (admittedly one of five) is:
---
Furthering mutual understanding of its member Provinces, Jurisdictions and Ministries with a view to eventual union when and if deemed practical...
---

Given this context - and the confusion it clearly generates even for some members of the ACA/TAC, not to mention fellow anglocatholic churches - surely it wouldn't be inappropriate for the TAC to make a clearer explanation of its understanding of FACA, rather than leaving the issue to be a matter of speculation and misinterpretation?


As to communio in sacris (esp. orders and Eucharist) with the Lambeth Communion, I'm afraid -- at least (again) from what I"ve been able to discover as an "observer" -- that the ACC is right on the money on this one.

The following two links are from the TAC's official magazine, _The Messenger_, and according to them, the TAC remains in full communion with parts of the Lambeth Communion (which, in turn, is in communion with the rest of it either directly or transitively):

http://www.themessenger.com.au/MessengerPDFs/FiFAResponse%20to%20Carnley.pdf

http://www.themessenger.com.au/news01_02%202005.htm

Now, these statements may be dated (being from about 2 years ago), but they are the most recent explicit statements I could find, after a fair bit of searching, on the issues.


In this context I think the "burden of proof" now lies on the TAC to show that -- despite these clear statements to the contrary as recent as 2 years ago (and which described communio in sacris with the Lambeth Communion as a reality from the very start of the TAC) -- this is no longer the case.

I think the ACC's questions on this matter are quite legitimate and well-founded, and reflect not some arbitrary paranoia on its part but rather a reasoned reaction to the TAC's own explicit statements, actions and policies.


pax,
LP




Some excerpts from the links above:

Forward in Fatih's statement
---
INTERCOMMUNION AND INTERCHANGEABILITY OF MINISTRIES ARE, IN FACT,
REALITIES THAT HAVE EXISTED IN THIS COUNTRY BETWEEN THE ANGLICAN
CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA (“ACCA”) AND OTHER AUSTRALIAN
ANGLICANS GOING BACK TO THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE ACCA IN 1987
WHEN BISHOP JOHN HAZLEWOOD RECEIVED ARCHBISHOP LOUIS FALK OF
THE USA PUBLICLY AND LITURGICALLY “AS A BISHOP IN FULL COMMUNION
WITH THE BISHOP OF BALLARAT”. THIS COMMUNION RELATIONSHIP WAS
PUBLICLY EXPRESSED IN ARCHBISHOP FALK’S CONCELEBRATING THE
EUCHARIST IN THE DIOCESE OF BALLARAT AT THAT TIME AND EVEN IN A
CONCORDAT ISSUED UNDER BISHOP HAZLEWOOD’S SEAL.... FURTHERMORE, THERE ARE MEMBERS OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF
AUSTRALIA IN MANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHO CONTINUE TO EXPRESS
ACTUAL INTERCOMMUNION AND INTERCHANGEABILITY OF MINISTRY WITH THE
ACCA (AND VICE VERSA).
---


Abp. Hepworth's statement (showing communio in sacris of both orders and Eucharist between the TAC, Forward in Faith, and the Australian Anglican church):
---
Bishop Chislett will remain parish priest of All Saints in Brisbane. He will serve as Assistant Bishop to our Australian church, with a particular focus on Northern Australia. He will also be the bishop to that special ministry to Traditional Anglicans in this country being negotiated by Forward in Faith and us with the bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia.
---


Letter from the bishop of Murray (a diocese in the Australian Anglican church) detailing his participation, together with both Lambeth Communion and TAC bishops, in the ordination of these "dual citizenship" clergy:
---
I will be participating in this Consecration with other diocesans and also with retired bishops of the Anglican Communion alongside Archbishop Hepworth and bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion. My actions, which I am advised do not contravene the Constitution or Canons of the Anglican Church of Australia are undertaken to ensure that the Consecration is seen as having credibility in the Anglican Communion and as my public statement that it is essential that we have alternative Episcopal oversight.
---
These ordinations, (including that of then-Fr. Moyer along with the 2 Australian priests), were done in the U.S. and (at least according to what I've heard) used the order of service from the American 1979 BCP.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

(The consecration of +Moyer was done by FiF, although I believe he has moved into the ACA since then.)

The ACC has laid out its position, but the wider Continuum has not. The APCK has clergy licensed to function within it who are priests in the Episcopal Church at the same time (this I know for a fact). This is still going on. But, the ACC is in full communion with the APCK. So, to an outside observer, the ACC is in obvious communion with the revisionists.

It seems that what the ACC is saying is that it applies this rule absolutely, but selectively.

How far do we take this? To be in communion with members of the Canterbury Anglican Communion is deemed by the ACC as being in communion with the revisionists, even though these same people in something like the C of E, the Australian Anglican Church, or the Episcopal Church, have the same objections to the same heresies. They seek "alternative oversight" because they wish not to be in communion with or subject to a heretical bishop. Actually, if that is possible there is good precedent for them to believe it is enough to set them free from the stain of evil association.

Since the only document that all of the CCs have agreed upon is the Affirmation of St, Louis, and since there exists variations among the CCs, and even among the "circle of three," we have here a case of undefined and unwritten rules.

Fr Richard Sutter said...

I wish to state at the outset that I do not presume to speak for anyone but myself, although I am a priest of the ACA/TAC.

I did some digging about Deerfield Beach (please suppress the groans, there you at the back) and discovered on page 5 of the July 1991 issue of the Trinitarian, the official newspaper of the ACC, a page titled "Debate Over Unity."

There is quite a bit of unpleasant reading there, but in the centre are two call-out boxes, one labelled "The Indianapolis Resolution" and the other "The Archbishop's Resolution." I will duplicate them here.

BEGIN QUOTE

THE INDIANAPOLIS RESOLUTION
The following resolution was endorsed by 10 Anglican Catholic bishops at a meeting April 24-25 in Indianapolis, Ind., for consideration by diocesan synods:

WHEREAS it is the express will of Our Saviour that His Church should be one, and
WHEREAS the Anglican Catholic Church has maintained stability in Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and traditional morality as mandated in THE AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS and has welcomed parishes, clergy and laity from kindred groups and
WHEREAS the Anglican Catholic Church has provided the means to achieve unity with entitities larger than parishes under its Title III, Canon 8, now therefore be it
RESOLVED that the ___th Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of ___ does hereby memorialize the IX Provincial Synod of its urgent desire for full unity among all those who hold in common the essentials of Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and traditional morality in their Anglican expression as set forth in THE AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS (in its entirety), and as may be established under the Canons of the Anglican Catholic Church.
Approved by the synods of the Diocese of the Holy Trinity, the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic States, the Diocese of the Midwest, the Diocese of the Pacific Southwest, the Diocese of the Resurrection, the Diocese of the South and the Missionary Diocese of New Orleans. (South and New Orleans amended the resolution to delete the third paragraph with its explicit reference to Title III, Canon 8.)


THE ARCHBISHOP'S RESOLUTION
The following resolution was sent by the Most Rev. Louis W. Falk to selected persons for presentation to their diocesan synods:

WHEREAS it is the express will of Our Saviour that His Church should be one, and this divine imperative supersedes all lesser obligations, whether administrative, canonical or institutional, and
WHEREAS lack of visible and organic unity among Christians is justified by, and only by, genuine differences with regard to the essentials of Christian Faith, Order and Morals, and
WHEREAS in the official formularies of (at least) the Anglican Catholic Church and the American Episcopal Church it is impossible on a fair reading to discover any genuine differences with regard to these Christian essentials in their Anglican expression,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the ___th Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of ___ does hereby express its urgent desire for full unity among all Continuing Anglicans who hold in common the essentials of Catholic Faith, Order and Morals in their Anglican expression, and likewise its firm resolve to participate in such action.

Approved by the synods of the Diocese of the Missouri Valley, the Diocese of the South and the Missionary Diocese of New England. (South amended the resolution to delete the entire third paragraph with its reference to the American Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev. William O. Lewis, Bishop Ordinary, qualified his assent by stating that the resolution must be seen in the context of the bishops' canonical oaths and the Constitution and Canons of the ACC.)

END QUOTE

I believe that here we see in July of 1991 the difference that still obtains in September of 2007. The portion of the ACC that backed out of the unity process and now constitutes the ACC(OP) seems to say (please correct me if this is a misreading) "unity is important, but not as important as our canons--if you want unity, come join us." On the contrary, the portion of the ACC that followed through with the unity process and now together with the former AEC constitutes the ACA, all together with the TAC (all of whom came together in the unity process), say "unity is important and supersedes all lesser obligations, whether administrative, canonical, or institutional."

In fact, I would say that with regard to relationships with FiF/NA, FiF/Australia, FiF/UK, and of course the Holy See, the TAC position is still the same: that unity is of utmost importance, as our Lord said, and that lack of visible and organic unity among Christians is justified by, and only by, genuine differences with regard to the essentials of Christian Faith, Order and Morals.

I stand ready to be corrected by my betters if I am in error.

BHpk said...

I've tried to understand the jist of this blog, but I keep getting confused by the same things which have confused me for 30 years, since I left the old PECUSA. Since then, I've seen so many splinters of the "continuing Anglican movement" and never quite understood what the differences were, they seemed so illogical. I'm sure that some people saw the logic. But in an age when the Apostolic Succession could be proved so easily, why is that still a reason for disunity?

Many Episcopalians stayed in their church to try to effect change from within. The result is obvious. Staying within did nothing to change the heresy of that church. But splintering has had it's problems as well. Today we see the stiffness of communication between the ADD and the TAC. One must wonder why the TAC cannot list its objections to ACC policy or whatever; personally, I've had my own questions of the TAC sidestepped. I wonder what is the true reason for silence? Invasion is one thing, but continued silence by bonafide parties carries a slight smell which isn't very attractive.

There are basic differences between Anglicans, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics. It is my opinion that a person who is a member of one, based on spiritual and historical understanding, cannot be a member of either of the others. Why?

Apostolic Succession: male in character. But why so many Bishops in the splinter movements? Is membership in one splinter to be achieved with the goal in mind of advancing from priest to bishop?
Early church teachings versus modern understanding by man.

Liturgies: Changing the wording invites change in meaning, to wit: "by the Holy Ghost" is not the same thing as "by the power of the Holy Spirit". Changing liturgy wording is like changing the basic membership requirements so you can accomodate more people who don't believe just as you do ("dumbing down"). If one cannot accept the Incarnation as God the Father taking human form, in the manner related by the Bible, then one cannot believe that Jesus Christ is one's Savior (unless one decides that the First Commandment really isn't serious). If one can't believe in the Virgin Birth, one has no business telling anyone that he is a Christian. And one has no business working within an Anglican church, unless one is working to become a true Christian!

Human Sexuality: While it's not precisely clear, the jist of biblical teaching is concerned mainly with males, and that jist is clear that men shouldn't do the things we call "homosexual". If the early church fathers considered it an abomination, who are today's men to have better understanding, except through arguments of Man? Besides, if one examines the earliest ordinations of females to the priesthood, and then checks into their sexual orientation, how many will prove to be lesbian? With clergy of that persuasion, is it any wonder that the door to homosexuality has been flung so far open? We cannot question a person's confessions to Almighty God, and the steps he must take toward forgiveness. We must accept him as forgiven if he has passed what tests are required of him to be a priest. If he indeed is homosexual and cannot change that; and if he has obtained his forgiveness and is not a "practicing homosexual", then he may well be acceptible as a candidate for holy orders. However, if he still practices non-celibacy, and worse, if he promotes it, then he has lied to his god from the beginning. And if 'he' is 'she', it's the same thing...

And if any member, if any splinter, feels that it is acceptible to be in sacramental communion with any other body which accepts these violations of the early church, then they have a problem with the True Church, and so do we! We have a problem with them!

I don't really know what the true answer is, because since Man is in charge of all these groups - splinters, branches, orthodox, traditional, Eastern and Western - things aren't likely to change in our lifetimes. So I look to one which is the least troublesome of them all.

One fine priest in my experience once told me that he searched through all of the "religions" and settled on the Anglican one, because it had more answers for him. Then, he had to leave the Episcopal Church because of the changes in theology. He often said that the Episcopal Church was the thinking man's church. And well-said that was!

Now most of the thinkers have already left TEC, and the trouble today is with those who continue to accept female clergy while not accepting practicing homosexual clergy.

Personally, I cannot convert to Roman Catholocism or to Anglicans who cavort with Lambeth, nor can I convert to any of the (Eastern) Orthodox branches (and certainly not to Islam). I can pray to my Heavenly Father and our Savior just as easily in my back yard as I can in a church building. But I find that I won't! So I stay with my church and try to figure out why we fight and argue so, why there are so many other "Christian" groups, and (more importantly) why the Anglican church cannot grow as much as some of these modern "mega-churches". I just don't know!

But I am tired of all the arguing and refusing to communicate, to answer legitimate questions.

BHpk