Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Women's "Ordination" a major factor in San Joaquin and Ft. Worth votes

Please, let us not be snobs. We turn our attention to a few points about current events in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion-those other Anglicans out there.

Earlier I reported how out of touch one blogger has proven to be in his declaration that women's "ordination" is a dead issue, and that "nobody cares" about it-to clean up the unacceptable language of Greg Griffith at Stand Firm. I know that a whole army of "conservative Episcopalians" believes that the realignment of one TEC diocese into the Province of the Southern Cone, and the move to do the same in Ft. Worth, is all about the TEC rejection of the Windsor Report, that is, all about the homosexual thing. In Pittsburgh, that is mostly true (though a deeper conviction about more than just one issue is involved there as well).

In the diocese of Quincy (which has delayed its first vote until their Diocesan Convention in 2008), where the leader of Forward in Faith North America (FiFNA), Bishop Keith Ackerman is the Ordinary, in the Diocese of Ft. Worth, and in the already (as of December 8th) realigned Diocese of San Joaquin, the foremost consideration that got the realignment ball rolling was their commitment to the principles of FiF, that is, to the all male priesthood of the Catholic Tradition as a theological belief, a conviction and matter of conscience. Because the rules of the Episcopal Church would make it impossible for any orthodox successor of these current bishops to be consecrated by the bishops of the Episcopal Church, it was necessary to leave TEC and seek realignment, in the words of Jack Iker, "with a Province that does not ordain women to the priesthood, or receive women priests." By "orthodox," Bishop Iker meant, specifically, someone who shares the theological conviction of FiF that only men can be ordained to the priesthood.

I will include more details about this and many other things in the upcoming issue of The Christian Challenge.

As much as it may grieve some of the people who think that only their one issue, the homosexual issue, has been driving realignment, the facts show that an orthodox understanding of the priesthood (and let us pray that a better understanding across the board of the Diaconate is forthcoming) was first and foremost in Quincy, Ft. Worth and San Joaquin, each of them committed to the principles we of the Continuum share with Forward in Faith. For now, anyone who chooses to doubt what I have written here can listen to the speech given by Bishop Jack Iker back in October, in England. I posted a link at the time in a piece called, "To Whom it May Concern."

Sorry G.G. You are simply out of touch. Women's "ordination" does matter to quite a lot of people, and right in your backyard where you fail to look.


Truth Unites... and Divides said...

That is superior reporting, Fr. Hart! Congratulations for providing in-depth analysis and journalism that other Anglican blogs failed to capture.

This is excellent news. Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

And one wonders why, if FIF is so opposed to female ordination, it insists at every turn in remaining in communion (directly or indirctly) only with those that have normalized women's ordination. I suppose the rule is communion with Canterbury is a superstitious and talisman that trumps catholicity. Mores the pity

Anonymous said...

We no longer have a problem with John Spong, ex-PC Griswold, Mrs Jefforts-Schori, or any of those people. They have been unmasked and we know them for what they are. The real enemy (I'm using words carefully here) now are the soi disant "orthodox" who use the blogosphere to tell us that priestesses are adiaphora and not a "salvation issue;" that we must make some kind of "common cause" with a bunch of happy clappies; that there is such a thing as "limited women's ordination" under
"male headship; that this is an issue that no one cares about anymore. I suspect that we will be pestered by this diluted orthodoxy for as long as the homo-ousians were pestered by the homoi-ousians. The filthy language e-letters which Greg Griffiths sends out to perfect strangers have become widely known. They truly reflect intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy on his part.
Laurence K. Wells+

Father Timothy J Perkins said...

Sadly, it appears that even some who claim to be 'traditionalist', demonstrate the same 'pick and mix',church-within-a church ,congregationalist mentality and post-modern hubris that led to divisions within Anglicanism, apostasy and schism. Neglecting Apostolic teachings and the failure of the bishops to remedy that neglect has led to an unchurched generation, where even the self-proclaimed traditionalists have a relativist and lax view of Truth.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Don't those FiFNA dioceses (as well as the ones in England) "ordain" women to the diaconate?

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Another hearty "well said."

Alice C. Linsley said...

Well said indeed!

Throughout my 18 years as a "priest" in ECUSA I had nagging doubts about women and the priesthood. I never felt free to discuss my doubts because dialogue in ECUSA on questions of gender and catholic orders was difficult and unfruitful. The question for me was never one of women's ability or civil rigths (we have none before the Almighty!), but rather God’s design for the sexes and how, as a faithful Christian, I am to understand that design and its boundaries.

Bishop Sauls' inhibition of me on the grounds that I had abandoned the Communion (ironic!) provided the occasion for me to study the priesthood as it is understood in the catholic Tradtion. This took about a year and I approached this from the perspective of theology and drawing on the tools of cultural anthropolgy. Once it became clear to me why women are not priests, I set aside TEC vows. I have no regrets and am thankful for how God led me out of the error.

I've always been struck by how evangelicals stress the authority of Scripture but ignore the reality that the sacerdotal priesthood presented in the Bible and which is the only priesthood that was known to the Apostles, was for males only (and not even for every male).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Bishop Iker’s address also included these words: “Co-operation with the bodies [of the Common Cause Network] which do ordain women or receive women cannot extend to communio in sacris, but we will co-operate with them in every way possible in a state of continuing impaired communion…leaders of both the Anglican Communion Network and the Common Cause Partnership are fully committed to undertaking a substantial theological study of the question of the ordination of women, once the structures are in place and we have relatively settled in. We will have a chance, in other words, to bring those who now accept this innovation to reconsideration of their decision in the future.”

The fact is there are degrees of clear understanding. FiF needs educational help from us concerning the diaconate, and the CCP needs help from both FiF and us. I am in favor of keeping channels of communication open between ourselves and every Christian out there who seeks to know the Lord, and serve him. So, I cannot agree with any suggestion that these lines of communication ought to be cut.

Being "in communion" is another matter. We see the subtle difference between the thinking of Communion or Canterbury Anglicans and Continuing Anglicans, as to how one is "in communion" with others. It is clear that Bishop Iker speaks of communio in sacris (sacramental communion) with the idea of either a diocesan or provincial dividing line; and up until now he has lived with a diocesan one. I can see why arguments can be made on both sides of this idea, rooted in the ancient recognition of the episcopate for those in a local church body. I see stronger arguments against the diocesan dividing line than against a wider provincial one. But, for those who are still in the Anglican Communion, there are clear lines between different churches of the Communion. Essentially, considering +Jack Iker's exact words, even now the Diocese of Ft. Worth has a relationship both with TEC (for a few months more) and with Canterbury itself that "cannot extend to communio in sacris." That makes perfect sense to them, because of how strong in fact they regard the boundaries to be.

As a theologian, I do not see any proof that the boundaries are not that strong; the precedents and writings of antiquity suggest they may very well be.

Anonymous said...

The Anglican Continuum, whether it be the Chamber's succession or the whole shebang stands on the need for valid sacraments: Only real bishops can ordain; only real priests can offer the others.

The Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen got the Continuum rolling and stands on the faith as received (rather than as made-up since 1976).

As a member of the board of that fellowship, I know for sure that the subject of WO is not dead, and there really is no such thing as WO.

W E Bauer

GK Chesterton said...

Does the Diocese of San Joaquin have a position on the diaconate?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

We were told by the former chancellor (now a bishop of the Province of Kenya, Bill Atwood- Kenya does "ordain" women to everything), that "at this time" the Southern Cone does not ordain women at all to anything.

William Tighe said...

Yeah, well, he may have told you that, but here's an e-mail from Abp. Venables of the Southern Cone of Nov. 9, 2007 on SF, in response to a question from me there (before I was banned):

I have retained in my archives the following response of November 9, 2007 from Archbishop Venables, who was replying to a query that I placed on Stand Firm:

Gregory just responded to the entry you subscribed to at:
Stand Firm

The title of the entry is:
Telegraph: Anglican leader (++Venables) offers haven to US conservatives

You can see the comment at the following URL:

William Tighe
In the S Cone women are ordained to the diaconate but not as priests or
bishops. We passed a resolution on Tuesday keeping the subject on the agenda for
ongoing study and dialogue.

It won't be a problem regarding dioceses leaving TEC.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, we never heard back about this from ++Venables himself. I had the chance to ask the archbishop himself on Wednesday, and forgot until it was too late. We know what the former chancellor (now Bishop Atwood) of that province said in May, and that was what I related above. But, he disappeared until he was suddenly, to our surprise, a Kenyan bishop.

However, I do not take it for granted that SF was really getting comments from ++Venables himself.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Could we get clarification on this? Is the Southern Cone ordaining females as deacons with a liturgical role or as "deaconessses" with a non-liturgical role of service to the Church? The second is being revisited by the Eastern Orthodox, the first has no precedent in Scripture or Tradition (East or West).

Anonymous said...

I am honored to report that I (a lowly worm nowhere in the league of bloggers extraordinaire Tighe and Hart) also have been banned from SFIF, apparently at the behest of its great Calvinist divine Matt Kennedy. This came as a surprise to me, since I have refused to use their services since Dec 10, when Dr Tighe was banned. Perhaps I was banned at the same time; that would elevate the honor to a huge degree. But the potty-mouthed GG had something unusually silly to say, when he brought up CC fractiousness on a thread relating to the current presidential election. (How off-thread can you get?) That broke my resolve never to speak on SFIF, and then I discovered that I too had become the object of their tender affections. Rejoice with me, O ye righteous; great honor and blessing hath come to my house.
Lauence K. Wells

William Tighe said...

Fr. Hart, I think that your doubts about "Gregory" being Venables are unfounded. He has posted numerously on one or two recent SF threads about "to attend Lambeth or not to attend" and, to give the devil his due, just as they went to some length at the time when "Bishop Iker" first began to place the occasional comment on SF to assure their readership that it was the "real thing," so they did some time ago in "gregory's" case.

Also, Auburn Traycik told me more than once that Venables and his fellow bishops of the Southern cone do indeed purport to ordain "women deacons" (and not "deaconesses").

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Bill Tighe:

The mystery is, what was +Atwood (then Atwood+) thinking back in May? I don't have an answer. Nonetheless, as far as I am concerned you have answered the questions to my satisfaction. That includes verification of the SF blog comments- I just don't take their word for anything.

Auburn Traycik and I have a few fresh quotations for The Christian Challenge from Archbishop Venables, so people will have get a subscription ($$$ DING!) to read them. But, I have been kicking myself since Wednesday for not getting the question out on specifics about W "O" on time to be answered.

But, I think we know from your research.

PTB+ said...

In 2004 the Vice-Presiding Bishop of the REC, Royal Grote, received Holy Communion "consecrated" by a woman priest while he was in the Southern Cone for a conference. I was a presbyter in the REC at that time and Bp. Grote told me this first hand.

Paul Beutell+

Anonymous said...


And the Pope is a sinner too. So what?

Ken said...

On a side note, I read in the comments of another blog (not SF) that Rev. Kennedy has concluded that women's ordination is an error.

Anonymous said...


Well, then, perhaps the "genuine principles" of the REC and the APA are more congruent than some have thought.

William Tighe

PTB+ said...

To death bredon:
My comment about the REC's bishop was not directed to his actions. It was directed to the presence of a woman priest in the Southern Cone.

Paul Beutell+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Rev. Kennedy has concluded that women's ordination is an error.

Which Fr. Kennedy is that? Matthew or his wife?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Paul Beutell+:

You only said it happened "in the Southern Cone." Are you saying, in addition to the geographical reference,
1) Under the authority of the Anglican Province itself, and
2) In some service involving the Archbishop?

It is important to be clear. At this time we have verified that that province neither "ordains" nor receives women "priests" (And, the deacon matter is bad news).

PTB+ said...

Fr. Hart:

You only said it happened "in the Southern Cone." Are you saying, in addition to the geographical reference,

1) Under the authority of the Anglican Province itself

It was a Province-sponsored event.
Several REC bishops were invited by ABp. Venables to speak at conferences throughout the Southern Cone. At each of the conferences there was a Holy Communion service.

2) In some service involving the Archbishop?

My conversation with Bp. Grote lead me to believe she was a priest from that Province, but I cannot say for certain (understanding it is important in the context of this thread).

Please excuse my lack of clarity. I will strive to be more clear in any future posts.

Paul Beutell+

Anonymous said...


Thanks for clarifying. Know I get it.

Ken said...

Fr. Hart,

Here is the link:

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart wrote:

"[T]he Diocese of Ft. Worth has a relationship both with TEC (for a few months more) and with Canterbury itself that 'cannot extend to communio in sacris.' That makes perfect sense to them, because of how strong in fact they regard the boundaries to be.

"As a theologian, I do not see any proof that the boundaries are not that strong; the precedents and writings of antiquity suggest they may very well be."

My questions, then, would be:

1. When and how did the Diocese of Ft. Worth declare or assert that there are such impermeable boundaries in place between it and the rest of TEC?

2. Since those boundaries were established, when a man has been ordained within the Diocese of Ft. Worth, has he taken any oaths or promises to abide by the doctrine, discipline, or worship of TEC, or to be bound by its Constitution and Canons?

It seems to me that if the Bishop of Ft. Worth has been requiring his ordinands to swear allegiance to TEC's doctrine, which includes both women's "ordination" and sodomy, or to its Canons, which expressly accept women's "ordination" and, as interpreted by TEC's hierarchy permit and promote sodomy, then it is utterly irrelevant whether members of that Diocese choose or decline, as an individual matter, to receive communion at the altars of other TEC Dioceses.

But I'm no theologian, so I await enlightenment on this from others.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Hollister wrote:
It seems to me that if the Bishop of Ft. Worth has been requiring his ordinands to swear allegiance to TEC's doctrine, which includes...

If they use that '79 book and its rite of ordination, there is no such requirement in the service of ordination to the priesthood. The ordination rite for deacons says something a bit more pliable. "Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of
Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in
accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop
and other ministers who may have authority over you and
your work?" The heresies and innovations of TEC are not "received" from the Tradition going back to Christ. And, the obedience he asks for is to him and the rectors he has approved, the Bishop of Ft. Worth and those he has licensed in his diocese. I can see how he has no problem with what he asks of them, and why it does not extend to TEC in its state of heresy. It may be possible to argue against his take on it, but not possible to show him as inconsistent or hypocritical.

If +Iker has been using the real Ordinal (I don't know which he uses) the only question would mention "this church." That would also be subject to serious interpretation.