Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Must reads

The "Pros and cons" post immediately below is long, so I want to point out to readers that there is great value in scrolling down for recent postings by Fr. Nalls and by Bp. Robinson. We had also our weekly bulletin insert from Fr. Wells, among other things. It was a busy week here on The Continuum.

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.


Anonymous said...

Oh, for goodness sakes. The tone of your commentary is so vitriolic. You have declared yourself against entering the Ordinariates--fine. Why not just remain in charitable quietness about those who have chosen that path? "See how these Christians love one another." The tone of your commentary is as bad as Romanist triumphalism.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The tone of your commentary is so vitriolic.

It appears that the anonymice are coming apart at the seams. My "tone" can be much more sarcastic, much more blunt and much more insulting. In fact, I didn't have any fun writing this one.

Fr. John said...

Yeah Fr. Hart, why get upset at all? There's not much at stake here.

It's not as though life and death decisions were being made, about where we will spend all of eternity. It's not as though the very existence of Christian orthodoxy hangs in the balance. It's not as though Anglicans who do go to the U.S. and Canadian franchises are entering a sheep fold filled with ravenous leftists social revolutionary wolves wearing clerical clothing, is it?

Canon Tallis said...

Strange, Father John, but a friend of mine from military days whose chose to leave the service and join a Roman missionary order found himself within a decade seeking Rome's permission to leave that particular order precisely because he found it filled "with ravenous leftists social revolutionary wolves wearing clerical clothing." And that may have been the reason that Rome allowed him to leave that order and join another.

Now while I expect that you were being sarcastic, I believe that Father Hart has been almost too restrained in reporting the problems connected with the actions of the TAC bishops and others. Charity, in this case does not and can not consist of being quite while the wolves ravage the flock of Christ. If we have any brains at all, we should all know that what is going to happen to the laity and the clergy of TAC is not going to be pretty and most of them, in the end, will find themselves without churches or priests, because the local ordinary will have taken their buildings and ornaments with out allowing the re-ordination of their clergy.

Canterbury Anglican said...

While I can understand the desire of those looking to embrace AC to maintain unity within their Church groups, a more radical and honest approach would be to create a dialogue with other Continuum bodies to discuss care and oversight of those who would wish to remain continuing-Anglicans.


Fr. John said...

Throughout the discussions surrounding the A.C. offer from the pope, my own comments have centered on the sorry condition of the U.S. branch of the Roman Church. While I have high praise for Pope Benedict, I know from personal experience that the leftist political juggernaut that destroyed the Episcopal Church is running full steam through the U.S. Roman Catholic Church. I have presented various examples here of the extreme left wing politics of the Roman Church in her various institutions, and have warned those faithful Anglicans thinking of accepting the pope’s offer that they will truly be in the belly of the beast if they hook up with the Roman Church under the present terms offered by the A.C. Even if all of the doctrinal disagreements were settled and issues surrounding the validity of our clerical orders were satisfactorily settled, I would still agitate against such a union with the present power structure of the Roman Church in America knowing that they embrace the same world view as the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church. Those who enter into the life of a Roman diocese will have to endure much more than an occasional “Folk Mass.”

One area I have not commented on very much is the leadership and actions of the TAC/ACA. The posting by yet another “anonymous” chiding Fr. Hart and by extension the rest of us in the Continuum, for making noise while our brothers and sisters in the Continuum are being seduced prompt me to write.

The sense of personal and corporate betrayal that I feel from the bishops of the TAC/ACA is intense. In their taking leave of the ACC, in which they refused to appear before the larger church and give an account of their actions, these men needlessly created a schism over the likes of Tony Clavier. In their pride they maintained that separation despite letters and messages from the Anglican Catholic Church requesting to open a dialog. Now they propose to lead a significant portion of faithful Anglicans into a union with an organization that is shot through and riddled with the worst kind of far left extremists, the kind of people that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called Social Revolutionaries or SRs for short.

I can’t shout “don’t do it!” enough. It is a trap that will further wreck the efforts of the Continuum to create a viable orthodox Christian Church so that Christ may find faith on the earth when he returns.

To accept the Roman offer is to enter into the civil war that the RC Church fights across the globe today. Any Anglican reinforcements going to the Pope’s aid in that civil war will be caught up in that conflagration for decades to come. They will, in effect, be reenacting scenes from the struggles of the 1970’s in the Episcopal Church. They will also be lost, in a corporate organized form, forever from the Continuum where they could be of much help in erecting the orthodox fortress that we desire the Continuum to become.

This is why we cannot be quiet.

AFS1970 said...

Who provides pastoral oversight to the remainder of the TAC greatly depends on who is left when the AC dust settles. I actually think that there may be enough for them to remain a separate body.

If they do seek to join with a continuum group, there is no guarantee that they will all want to join the same body. I fear that as the various TAC parishes make theses choices, it may draw attention to the differences between continuing churches instead of assisting with true unity.

As with Canon Sinclair reaching out to the APCK, I think any overtures will be based on personal relationships and not so much on specific issues. However all it will take will be a couple of Bishops who stay behind and there will be little corporate need for such overtures.