First the news, then a statement by Bishop Brian Marsh, then commentary-Fr.Hart
House of Bishops on the Anglicanorum coetibus
Orlando, FL - 1 pm EST - Bp. George Langberg
Released by the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America, Traditional Anglican Communion 3 March 2010
We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the "Anglican Use" Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.
At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
It should be noted that the statement needs to be placed in context. First of all, the ACA has not agreed in total to accept the constitution as presented by Rome. That would require the approval of the parishes through the Synod process. What it does is first to respond to the constitution as requested by the Roman Catholic Church. It addresses the process whereby those who choose to take immediate steps in the quest toward sacramental unity can move forward. For the ACA however, it seeks to establish a Council who can now look at the continuing conversation between us and the Vatican and answer the many questions that are being asked by the ACA. It should be noted this is only a first step in our response and does not commit the ACA to the terms and considerations as set forth by the constitution. For now, all things remain the same and our dialogue continues, but we have taken the step of responding to the CDF and opened the door for those who think an immediate action is necessary. For the rest of us, we will continue in a prayerful and careful consideration of the ongoing dialogue between us and our fellow Christians in the Church of Rome.
Your brother in Christ,
(FYI: The CDF is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Until he was elevated, it was headed by then Cardinal Ratzinger. It is now headed by William Joseph Cardinal Levada- yes that Cardinal Levada, whose reputation in the United States equals the reputation of Bernard Francis Cardinal Law, and for the same reason.)
This is not unexpected, and neither is the continued delay on the part of the American TAC body. Unlike the Australian Forward in Faith, the ACA is still working on the problems that remain, trying to work out some details. My own information is that they will not accept Anglicanorum Coetibus unless they get what they want, assurances about the properties concerning which we have been given so much assurance in several comments. Also, on their own Orlando based blog they have tried to give the impression that the information supplied here by our own Rev. Canon Charles Nalls has been corrected. They have informed their readers that local Diocesan bishops will not have the final authority to dispose of parish properties belonging to former Anglicans, but rather the Ordinariate will have this power, as if that makes all the difference. The issue is that the power will be completely in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church through an Ordinary who is not a former Anglican priest or bishop (at least while all the former Anglican clergy are laity). It is also known that each group of former Anglicans will have no special representation, and that not even those of each diocese will have it, but that one Ordinariate will be appointed for the entire U.S.
Yet, that is not the most significant issue. Rather, the issue is in these words by Bishop Marsh: "For the ACA however, it seeks to establish a Council who can now look at the continuing conversation between us and the Vatican and answer the many questions that are being asked by the ACA...our dialogue continues." Whether the questions are property questions or matters of Faith, the ACA is not ready. This raises questions, such as, what do they really believe? Did they even see the constitution coming, or did it take them by surprise?
Either way, if they ever conclude their "continuing conversation" what will they decide? Will all their talk of "joining the (as in the One True, Holy Mother) Church" be renounced? Will they content themselves with being a mere "ecclesial community" that might do some good, but come short of being the Catholic Church that we, believing Anglicans, already belong to, as we say in the Creed? Will they, if they decide in favor of the Roman option (from among the two One True Churches), carry with them this attitude of negotiation, and become the worst sort of Cafeteria Catholics?
Either way, the time has come to remove our link to the TAC/ACA from this Anglican blog. They have decided not to be part of the Continuing Anglican Church that adheres to The Affirmation of St. Louis. It is not our intention to direct people to Roman Catholicism, which they may find easily enough on their own without our presenting here what would amount to a seeming endorsement of conversion. We pray all will be well for them, and that they grow in God's grace.