Concerning the "Pros and cons" document, and the news about the punishment inflicted on Fr. Sinclair, (formerly of the TAC church in Canada) simply for making it available, I am reminded of the standard "liberal" ideologues who hate the FOX News channel (FNC). They say it is radically right wing (and, in fact, some of its commentary programs do lean to conservatism), whereas, in fact, FNC seems to report the news exactly as they advertise, "fair and balanced." The same problem applies to this. That problem is, when people on one side of the issues are accustomed to having control over the flow of information, any fair and balanced presentation of the facts appears to be a form of advocacy for the other side.
Fr. Sinclair has presented both sides of the argument on some major points, though briefly rather than with the details we have discussed here. Yet, though his summaries have been brief, they have not lacked any essential details. He has presented the case for each side fairly and accurately, giving no more and no less balanced treatment to each side. Apparently, a fair and balanced, indeed rather nuanced, presentation is too much for the advocates of TAC submission to Anglicanorum Coetibus. Despite the sugar-coated tone of Bishop Wilkinson's statement (quoted unedited and complete below*), he opens his remarks by referring to the nuanced fair and balanced "Pros and cons" statement as "the unrelenting attack against the Apostolic Constitution and Norms by a former Rector and a few friends."
Furthermore, sugar-coating aside, the punishment inflicted on Fr. Sinclair is a comment much louder than the bishop's gentle "Statement." Deposition from sacred ministry and excommunication were the sentence carried out by a bishop acting as judge, jury and executioner. The offense was offering both sides of the argument for people who were supposedly allowed to take a decision, and who, therefore, needed information. Deposition from sacred ministry and excommunication are extreme measures that always have been reserved by the Church for issues of unrepentant immorality and heresy. Apparently, the TAC bishops in Canada inflict this punishment on Anglicans for wanting to remain Anglican. As of yet, these TAC bishops are themselves not in Rome; so, why do they do as the Romans?
*Statement from Bishop Peter Wilkinson
After swimming in the Anglican Continuum shark tank for thirty-seven years I had hoped to escape without attack. It was not to be. There are two causes of the recent little disturbance at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Victoria, BC.
First was the unrelenting attack against the Apostolic Constitution and Norms by a former Rector and a few friends. Last Sunday at a duly called meeting to discuss one Resolution — to seek full communion with the See of Peter according to the Apostolic Constitution and Norms, and to support the Bishops of the ACCC in requesting the formation of a Personal Ordinariate in Canada — the Cathedral parish gave it an overwhelming Yes. Those who wrote the Letter to Virtue were obviously disappointed.
Second, and connected with it, was the invitation by the same former Rector to invite an American bishop of the Continuum to come to Victoria (while all of us were at Synod in Vancouver) to discuss alternative oversight for those who could not accept the Ordinariate thus breaking his oath of obedience to the Ordinary. After meeting with him last Saturday, he and I were completely reconciled and the excommuncation lifted.
Then later the same day, after writing to the local clergy to apologize for what he had done and the distress he had caused his fellow priests, he wrote me to say that he now chose to remain excommunicated and resign from the ACCC. He wrote a gracious letter to me. To the Dean, Chapter and Members of the Cathedral Parish of Saint John the Evangelist he wrote:
Dear Friends in Christ:
Bishop Peter, in his usual gracious manner, has offered terms of reconciliation. I love all of you and do not wish to be on anything less than terms of Christian friendship with you. But after thought and prayer, I have decided to accept excommunication, knowing that we still remain united in the faith of Christ, which is our true basis of unity….
In this charitable fashion the matter should have ended. Unhappily it was not permitted to.
+Peter Wilkinson OSG
Editorial response: We do not present Bishop Wilkinson's statement as a statement of fact, but only as a statement from his perspective. The facts as he presents them are not, hereby, reported as true, for they are not confirmed to the best of our knowledge. It seems that Fr. Sinclair has exercised charity in speaking kindly of his former bishop, despite the offense committed by that bishop. It is obvious that Fr. Sinclair has chosen to remain excommunicated (from the TAC- whose episcopal acts have no authority in our churches) because of his conscience. In other words, the cost of relenting is too high. It is worded in Bp. Wilkinson's Statement, in a seemingly gracious manner, but it is a night stick over the head nonetheless; a velvet-covered night stick, but swung with force.