Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More news and more to come

From VirtueOnline, update to recent reports. Below the documents here published, I written an editorial. Also, please note: The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) body in Canada calls itself the Anglican Catholic Catholic in Canada (ACCC), even though it is not part of nor in communion with either province of The Anglican Catholic Church (ACC). The two provinces of the Anglican Catholic Church are the Original Province and the Second Province headquartered in India.

TAC History in Roman Catholic Dialogue
(a letter by Allan Singleton-Wood)

In October 2007 the bishops of TAC formally expressed the desire to enter into full unity with the See of Rome and declared their adherence to the doctrines expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In a statement authorised by Archbishop Hepworth on 16 October 2007: In adhering to those doctrines (which include all the dogma) they undertook to teach them to members of the TAC thus seriously breeching the constitutions of the TAC, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, the parish constitutions and the Affirmation of St. Louis. Indeed they all became basically redundant at that time.

That was the start of the process of converting the priests and faithful to Roman Catholicism.

The Primate of the TAC, John Hepworth, insists that acceptance of the Pope's offer does not mean conversion to Roman Catholicism for Anglican Catholics.

Who is he kidding? The Ordinariate is a Roman Catholic Body reporting to Rome. It is bound by RC Canon Law.

The priests must be re-ordained as Roman Catholic priests. He says they must be - in order to perform Mass in RC churches if required.(the real reason is that they cannot administer the sacraments unless they are Roman Catholics).

They must agree to teach the Roman Catholic Catechism with all its dogmas and doctrines, including infallibility of the Pope and to be bound by Roman Catholic Canon Law
despite the claim by the Primate that the move of a parish into an Ordinariate is "corporate" and not "individual" the laity must apply in writing to join (an individual membership)

TAC members WILL become Roman Catholics. Why the TAC Bishops are not being honest about this defies all logic.


Allan Singleton-Wood

(The Pros and Cons statement is posted below on The Continuum, and was first posted on VirtueOnline-Fr. Hart)

A letter from Bishop Peter Wilkinson (including comments by Fr. Stanley Sinclair in brackets)

Dear Father Stan:

I can hardly believe that I have to write this letter to you whom I brought to Victoria and St John's [correction, it was Bishop Crawley, but of course Fr Peter concurred], a beloved friend for over twenty years. But your actions in regard to me have made it necessary.

As you know, at my consecration I was admonished to 'Protect the Bride of Christ, his holy Church.' That is why I wear a wedding ring. At my enthronement you and the clergy recognized me as your 'chief pastor and Father in God' [Yes, in fact I withdrew from consideration for the office of bishop in his favour] and pledged to me your 'true service and loyalty.'

However, your invitation to a foreign bishop to come and discuss options for providing Episcopal oversight in my diocese without my prior knowledge and consent is an act of disloyalty, and I must now inhibit you from the ministry of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and confirm the excommunication.

[Notes: St John's, as St Athanasius', was originally under the aegis of Archbishop Morse, to whom I wrote. I contacted him, and he put me in contact with Archbishop Provence, because I wanted to be under a continuing Anglican bishop, if the Synod supported the Ordinariate. Archbishop Provence's invitation was for AFTER the Synod and predicated on the need. I might add that virtually all the clergy of the Anglican Catholic Church perforce had to contact bishops of the Continuum whilst remaining priests in the Anglican or Episcopal churches, and did so for moral support as well as to seek another way in which to fulfill their ministry if they could not conscientiously accept the changes in faith and order. So I have done what we all did when in the former church connection. However, I would have informed the Bishop after the Synod, if results warranted further action. Father Shane precipitated this, after he somehow got hold of an e-mail between the Archbishop and me.]

However, there is an alternative course of action.

The right thing to do would be to cancel your search for another bishop, stay quiet, and wait until after Synod. Then, if Synod affirms the Apostolic Constitution and Norms (which you find unacceptable), discern your future over the next few months.

We will try to come up with an acceptable pastoral oversight for you and others. But should you find our arrangements to be unacceptable you would then be free to resign from the ACCC and TAC and make your own alternative arrangements for pastoral oversight. I would still help in whatever way I could.

Would you please follow the latter course of action, so that I don't have to follow the former.

If (as I pray) it is the latter course, I also ask you to contact by letter or e-mail before Sunday those to whom you have previously written on this matter to set the record straight. * [Note. What "record"?]

* E.g. [the letter] I am pleased to announce that after talking to the Bishop this morning I have been restored as a priest in good standing in the ACCC. I apologize for the sorrow and distress I have caused to the Dean and my brother priests whom I did not intend to wound in any way.

[Note: I had apologized for "distress" to the Bishop and the Dean after the storm of anger that followed the mailing of the Pro/Con, but not for the content. No one has apologized to the many clergy and laity who have been in one degree of anguish or another since the Apostolic Constitution was issued, and all was kept under wraps, except, eventually, for the explanations of the Archbishop in his swing through the country, which, however, left many people just as upset or confused.]

If the ACCC becomes a Personal Ordinariate and the Bishop is unable to provide a home for those who cannot accept it, then I will resign from the ACCC and TAC and be free to seek alternative pastoral oversight. 'Behold how good and joyful a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.'

I think you have a copy of my reply. If not, let me know.

[Further note: this was of course written after I had distributed my letter with a copy of the Dean's letter of excommunication, so it was a gentle and diplomatic approach, but its objective was to calm things down after the Dean's letter, with the parish meeting taking place on the Sunday.]

Since I accepted my excommunication and resigned from the Church, instead of my letter, the Bishop simply reinstated me as though I had complied with his directive.]



A Message From The Rt. Rev. Peter D. Wilkinson, OSG

Dear Friends,

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada [ACCC] has submitted a short petition to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [CDF], requesting that we proceed to the next step in setting up an Ordinariate in Canada.

As we stated in an accompanying message to our clergy, "Several compelling reasons have encouraged us to do so, even before Synod: "the Primate's tour across Canada enabled him to meet with some 4 to 5 times as many people as we might anticipate would be in attendance at Synod; and, his presentations have essentially accomplished that which we promised three years ago - that any response from Rome would be presented to the national churches of the Traditional Anglican Communion [TAC]; "acknowledging that there are still some across the country who have some doubts; and, a few others who will not agree to communion with Rome under any circumstances, there certain other reasons that compel us to take the next step somewhat expeditiously; "in the nearly five months since the release of the Apostolic Constitution [AC], the rumour mill and the Internet world of bloggers have clearly had some success in implanting fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of TAC individuals.

To some extent this has, in the minds of these people, pushed backwards a primary stated purpose since our inception, of the "visible unity" now being offered us in the Apostolic Constitution, as clearly articulated in the Affirmation of St Louis; "we recognize that several of our sister TAC churches worldwide (England, Guatemala, Australia, the United States) have all moved toward the next step of endorsing the AC and/or requesting the formation of Ordinariates; "we further recognize that, here in Canada, some small groups of Anglicans, currently not ACCC, have already approached local Roman Catholic bishops and are preparing to submit requests to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that Rome freely acknowledged that the TAC was forefront in precipitating the AC, we would prefer to fall under the direction of an Ordinary here in Canada who has been part of the process heretofore.

"Therefore, your College of Bishops have undertaken to submit a letter to the CDF, requesting that the next step be taken towards the setting up of an Ordinariate here in Canada. This does not displace further presentation and discussion at Synod in July, as the Primate will by then presumably have received certain TAC-specific clarifications on the actual implementation of the AC. We look forward to seeing you all at this historic Synod in July, and with the Primate and Bishop Mercer to acclaim our endorsement of the AC by our Canadian membership."

And following is a copy of the petition to the CDF:.

+Peter Wilkinson, OSG
Bishop and Metropolitan
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (i.e. TAC)

Editorial by Fr. Robert Hart
June 30, 2010

Perhaps it would have sufficed, since this story broke, to have referred readers to VirtueOnline rather than taking up our own space with the details. But, as this is very much an issue directly related to why The Continuum blog was created, we could not be true to our own purpose without providing a forum here for discussion. We always wanted The Continuum blog to serve the purpose of reestablishing unity for all Christians who own the Affirmation of St. Louis. However, owning the Affirmation and giving it mere lip service are not the same thing.

Bishop Peter Robinson, shortly after joining us, defined the Continuing Anglican Churches as the Anglican Catholic Church, the United Episcopal Church (where he is himself a bishop) and the Province of Christ the King. These were not church bodies he chose at random, but are the churches that have made their concordat with each other a formal reality. Within a very short time after Bishop Robinson's essay was posted, the TAC made its intention clear, or rather the majority of TAC bishops made their intention clear: They have elected to lead their people, or drag them kicking and screaming, into the Roman Catholic Church. It became obvious at that point that Bishop Robinson had defined the reality for us; the TAC link was removed from this blog.

Removal of the TAC link was not malicious. It was not a reaction born from hostility. It was a reluctant and unhappy recognition of the choice and direction taken by their bishops. They are already Roman Catholic in their stated beliefs, having accepted in their own hearts and minds the claims of the Church of Rome and all of its doctrines. This is a decision every individual has a right to make, a decision we can respect when taken with integrity, which means a decision based on genuine conviction that outside the communion of Rome and its Papacy, there is no Church in the "full" sense of the word.

Those who go to Rome accept certain doctrines as infallible, others as fully authoritative but subject to change as doctrine "develops" under papal leadership, and they accept all of the requirements of Roman Catholic Canon Law. The fact that many members of the Roman Catholic Church fail to obey and believe these things is obvious, but it does not provide a right to dissent. Those who dissent are a large number, perhaps the majority in some countries; but, for those who seek to enter the Roman Catholic Church, whether through the soon (?) to be established ordinariates, or by walking down the street to join through a local congregation, no options can be chosen. They elect to place themselves under a system that is defined in every major detail.

The official Roman Catholic position about church bodies outside of their communion is well known. Some are called by Rome "true particular churches," and others are defined as "ecclesial" groups or communities (a name that makes no sense, since "ecclesial" refers to the Church). The latter are not recognized as churches because they lack Apostolic Succession and a valid Eucharist. The position Rome holds on Anglican Orders is not a dogma of Rome, that is, not an infallible doctrine by their standards. The real reason then Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned the Roman position on Anglican Orders in Ad Tuendam Fidem, was to distinguish it as less than dogma, something that could be rescinded. But, it stands to this day (most likely not rescinded as Pope Paul VI planned to do, because women's "ordination" got in the way in 1976).

A doctrine that is less than dogma, but still taught as authoritative by Rome, requires adherence both in belief and obedience. In fact, in that we begin to see the problem with Rome and its "Doctrinal Development," since the people are told, in effect, this is true, must be believed as an article of Faith, unless and until we say otherwise. Revelation itself becomes so tangled up in Canon Law and Papal pronouncements that Reason must call the whole system into question.

The system thus called into question is not the revelation of Christ as known in all ages and places, as recorded in Holy Scripture and passed down from the beginning. The system thus called into question is the Roman concept of what dogma is, how it is known, by whom and through what means it is defined, and its separate existence from eternal verities. This problem has a direct effect, as history shows and as current Roman doctrine clearly demonstrates, on a true understanding of the Gospel, and on the souls of individuals who need some firm ground to stand on so as to rely on Christ for salvation from sin and death.

Rome's rejection, also, is not limited to the validity of Anglican Orders, but to the Churches in the Anglican Continuum. Our churches are regarded as sects cut off from the Church, the invalidity of our Orders, by their faulty logic, flawed history and false doctrinal standards, a mere consequence.

The problem with the TAC, therefore, with or without the seeming patience of the Roman Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) who wait while the TAC bishops and churches deliberate, is that they are disingenuous as converts. They have stated belief that they cannot live with honestly at the present time, remaining an unchurch with unclergy and unsacraments if the See of Rome, to which they pledge obedience and whose doctrines they affirm, is everything they assert it to be. They live, with or without Doctor Who, in a religious TARDIS that is currently outside the time-space continuum. The problem is, that existence is possible only in science fiction. The people caught in the cross-hairs of their ideology are trying to live in the real world with real sacraments in a real church.

What Bishop Wilkinson and the TAC bishops have said, more loud and clear than ever by the reaction to Fr. Sinclair's honest, fair and balanced efforts, is simply this: "Shut up!" That is, in itself, even more perplexing than "pray, pay and obey," the terms of full surrender that may follow-or never follow as they flutter about outside the time-space continuum.


Colin Chattan said...

The approach of the TAC bishops reminds me of a bumper sticker that we used to see - usually on trucks past their best before date - in Alberta: "Get in, shut up, and hold on!"

Michael said...

The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada became its own diocese during the breakup of the original Anglican Church in North America, and it has tried very hard over the years to remain in communion with the various parts of the American continuum. The name predates the formation of the TAC by about a decade, and the split in the Anglican Catholic Church (in the US) by about 15 years.

Of course, Canadian churches always change their name when there's a split, merger, etc., in an American churc

Mike said...

John Hepworth's claim is disingenuous at best. Of course Anglicans who become members of an Ordinariate will be Roman Catholics, albeit Anglican-Use Roman Catholics - the Anglican Use being envisaged as a Use within the Roman Rite.
Moreover, even though AC employs the softer term 'reconciliation', conversion is certainly what is implied.
I have tremendous respect for the Holy Father's initiative, but am afraid it will lead to very little indeed.
The reason for this is precisely John Hepworth's kind of would-be clever, interminable game-playing. I doubt if he can be trusted on anything. Let's not forget that in terms of AC's Complementary Norms art. 6, § 2, John Hepworth himself could only be received into an Ordinariate as a Roman Catholic layman.
Does anyone really believe that he'll throw in the dustbin his purple shirts and assorted rings and mitres at this point?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Let's not forget that in terms of AC's Complementary Norms art. 6, § 2, John Hepworth himself could only be received into an Ordinariate as a Roman Catholic layman.

Not as a layman, technically, but as laicised. In effect, no different from a layman.

Colin Chattan said...

Fr. Hart,

I like your new mug shot!

Deacon Down Under said...

Which must mean that His Grace Archbishop Hepworth has an extra-ordinary faith in the (Roman) Catholic faith to accept relegation to a laicised status by virtue of walking away from his life and ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Alternatively he has facts that we don't know which will see him in some episcopal role - maybe even a red hat role within the Ordinariate.

All speculation I know. I hope that those TAC people who want to remain meaningfully Anglican Catholics will come to the ACC.

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

It would appear at "the other place" they're finally facing reality...