Monday, May 16, 2011

What is over? you may ask

It would be a fair question. What was I saying by stating that it is over?

Last week, the angry letter of Abp. Hepworth to Bp. Peter Elliot, concerning the situation in Canada, was the silent explosion inside the great dam. In Force Ten from Navarone, Robert Shaw (playing Gregory Peck-sort of) becomes quickly agitated when nothing appears to have happened, after risking his life to plant explosions in a dam. He demands to know, from Edward Fox (playing David Niven-sort of), why the damn dam did not blow up. "Wait for it," replies the calm explosive expert. As they watch, bit by bit, the dam leaks until it falls apart, and the flood breaks loose on a bridge down river (their intended target), destroying it entirely. The explosion was not noticeable from a distance, but after a few minutes it did its work.  

Such an explosion ocurred with the Hepworth letter. The proverbial it is over.

A comment was posted by one of our Continuum readers (who uses the handle AFS1970), part of which says: "Well it seems at the very least that the situation here in the US and the situation in Canada are different...Where the problem lies, and it appears that this is a big part of the Canada issue is that there are some who heard about Anglicanorum Coetibus, let others read it for them, then took those others at their word as to the contents of Rome's generous offer. For their part Rome seems quite surprised at what some folks think is in this offer."

I believe that diagnosis is right; but I would not apply it only to Canada. The same problem of misinformation about Anglicanourm Coetibus exists everywhere that the Hepworth spin has been sounded, and it is still fueled by those who will not stop repeating it.  The problem, however, is not and never was the Roman offer of Ordinariates in and of itself. And, although we who write for The Continuum have made it clear over and over that the target of our criticism was the misinformation rather than the Roman constitution, it seems that the spin meisters and their trusting followers have yet to understand what we have been writing and posting since September 2009.

What the Hepworth letter reveals is the true meaning of Anglicanorum Coetibus, and the fact that Hepworth is only now admitting something of the reality. His pretense, that he is surprised and angry, does not outweigh the revelation that Anglicanorum Coetibus actually means what it says. Simply put, it is just as Archbishop Haverland (Metropolitan of the ACC-OP) said

"This Constitution, as best one can judge from the Note, mainly will do two new things: First, it will extend internationally terms offered already to some in North America by the Pastoral Provision and by the Book of Divine Worship. The Pastoral Provision permits ordination as Roman Catholic priests for some married, formerly Anglican clergy who join the Roman Catholic Church, and this despite the general Roman demand for clerical celibacy. The Book of Divine Worship contains some liturgical forms which have sources in the Anglican tradition: the so-called Anglican Use."

On The Continuum we began to explain the details of what the new Roman Constitution actually says; and, it is exactly what Archbishop Haverland described. The reaction to our work was cries and howls of protest from Orlando, that is, from the Former Anglican blog (so dishonestly named The Anglo-Catholic), at the time used by Hepworth, and ACA bishops such as Falk and Campese when it suited them, and denounced by some when it did not suit them. 

How could we say that this new constitution offered no new terms for Anglicans seeking to be "reunited" with Rome? How could we argue that the Hepworth-Falk-Campese spin is wrong, and that all that the new constitution describes is simply the same old Pastoral Provisions established by Pope John-Paul II years earlier, with nothing other than an ordinariate to take away the option of diocesan bishops to block those provisions? How could we dare to argue that Hepworth et al's promises were the product of their own fevered imaginations? 

We made our argument because the language of that new constitution is perfectly clear to the educated reader. Furthermore, the references to Roman Catholic Canon Law contained within it remove any possibility of an alternative interpretation. The problem is that while Rome has simply made a little more room for their existing provisions, the Hepworth-Falk-Campese-Orlando bloggers version was as "creative" as a Rasil Bathrobe Sherlock Holmes movie (or was that Basil Rathbone?) or the Walt Disney version of Alice In Wonderland - that is, a version so corrupt that the author would never recognize it. The problem may be further complicated by any person, no matter how impressive his office, who claims to represent the Church of Rome by making his own personal promises of things that exceed the clear language in Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Singin' the One Trues Blues
Now, will some effort at establishing an Ordinariate in the United States come to a screeching halt? Will it even come to a screeching halt in Canada? Probably not. For some time to come the meetings and discussions will go on, inasmuch as the Roman Catholic denomination treats all other Christians as a mission field, to be converted to the Onest and Truest  of the Two One True Churches - and more's the pity since that basic misunderstanding of who we are blocks any potential progress to genuine unity in God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The tragedy is that some modern Anglicans, who fancy themselves "Anglo-Catholic" in sort of the same way some mental patients may fancy themselves to be Napoleon, also think we should all surrender to Rome's enormous claims, and accept both its good points and its bad points (including a few theological errors) as infallible. In fact, as long as Rome and Orthodoxy treat us like a mission field, that is as people who need to be converted to one or the other of the Two One Trues, they forestall any serious discussion.

We do not need conversion to either of them. We would like for them both to discuss theology with us on a serious level, to lay down their outrageous exclusive claims, and join with us and with each other humbly, and to do so with a desire to know the truth of the Gospel. Until then, we are not interested in seeking communion with either of them on their unacceptable terms. The need for clear communication still exists, not a headlong rush to some poor substitute for real unity. 

The big mismatch
One irony is that Anglicanorum Coetibus is not about unity at all, despite the Hepworth-Falk-Campese-Former Anglican hype, but about terms of conversion to Roman Catholicism. People convert to their church all the time, while people from their church join our church all the time too. None of that movement is the great grand Unity that allegedly fulfills the Lord's words in John 17 ("that they may all be one"). Some Anglicans go for the Pastoral Provisions and "Anglican" Use, namely Novus Ordo in Elizabethan English - which hardly amounts to "Anglican Patrimony." 

Another very big irony is the huge mismatch. The whole idea of Roman gestures to Anglicans, which includes the entire Pastoral Provisions and Elizabethan Lingo Use (to be more accurate), along with its extension through Anglicanorum Cioetibus, was because of the apostasy and heresy of churches in the official Canterbury HQ'ed Anglican Communion. They have women clergy, same-sex blessings, unrecognizable "liturgy" and every wind of doctrine. 

But, just what does any of that have to do with any church that professes the Affirmation of St. Louis? Continuing Anglicans do not need to flee anything. We did that in 1977. Application of Anglicanorum Coetibus to any church that claims, as the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) has always claimed, independence from that apostasy based on the stand taken at St. Louis in 1977, is an obvious mismatch. At best, it is like addressing the problem of slavery in Egypt to those who are already settling in the Promised Land. 

If people want to go on with the Ordinariate idea, they are free to do so. But, it should not be about their muddled notion of "Anglican Patrimony." It should not be with unrealistic notions that Rome will compromise its position on sacraments (even though their official notion about Anglican Orders is flawed), or that the new "Apostolic Constitution" promises all sorts of goodies that exceed its provisions. It should be with an accurate view based on individual belief in the doctrines of Roman Catholicism. And, it is entirely immoral for any bishop or rector to pressure people into joining the RCC through an ordinariate on the utterly false claim that it is necessary, somehow, for unity.

Married former Anglican clergy will, after each waits a while, continue to be "ordained" as Roman Catholic priests. Yes, some of the RCC representatives probably do intend to protect the real estate currently owned by TAC parishes; but, once the real estate becomes the property of the dioceses, neither the parishes nor the ordinaries (excluding Diocesan Ordinaries) will be able to control their fate. Guarantees have been made, we are told, by people who simply will not have the power to keep their promises. But, they very well may want to do what they promise. Yes, a bit of ordinariate stuff will go on.

Nonetheless, Rome itself has laid its cards on the table all along. Hepworth claims that he is only now finding out how that applies to Canada. More revelations will "shock, shock" the spin meisters and upset the heretofore gullible; but, what actually can happen is simply the extension Rome meant to provide for. That is all. It is not worth all the shouting down under. The dam has suffered a terminal explosion, a mortal wound. The spin is what cannot go on once the water floods the bridge. 


Sean W. Reed said...


Father Hart -

The issue as to whether this means Unity as our Blessed Lord intended is a factor of not sharing a common definition of The Church.

Because of this, there should be no surprise of the endless talking past one another that goes on.

We heading to the Ordinariate understand it as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church at #816 -

816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."

The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."

Fr. Wells said...

Now the Orlando bloggers acually have a statement from the Canadian RC Archbishop which they can publish! It is fascinating reading. Can't you just feel the love? Here are a couple of key statements.

After mentioning the "mentor priests" (whom ACCC Bishop Reid has barred from making visits) the RC bishop writes:

"These mentor priests have been asked as their first task to visit the communities, to get to know them, to respond to any questions, and to get a sense of the number of people who are interested."

In other words, the RC bishop is mistrustful of the extravagant claims advanced by the TAC hierarchy. But here is the kicker:

"I realize that there are complicated corporate and legal issues relating to property which must be resolved if ACCC parishes seek to be part of an ordinariate in Canada. But those challenges can surely be overcome."

In plain language, that means, You folks can get ready to sign a deed.
"Must" means "must."

If this utterance is read candidly, it will explain the wrath of Abp Hepworth and prove the reliability of David Virtue's reporting. We wait on the edge of our chair to see how the True Believers in Orlando and Omaha will spin the forthright words of Abp Collins.

Sean W. Reed said...


Fr. Wells -

There is no requirement either way concerning property in the Ordinariate.

It will be decided by the Ordinary and the members how it will be handled.

If a parish currently rents their space they will not be required to go buy some property, either.

Are you aware of the pilot program which will be starting this year, by the USCCB that will involve transferring title of property to parishes within the Catholic Church in the US?

Given the Ordinariate will be run by former Anglicans, and that there is no requirement from the Holy See concerning the property issue, I would be surprised for us as a group to decide we want to have central owenership of property, but that certainly would be an option.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sean Reed:

Why do you constantly invoke the Holy Family at the opening of your comments in what seems to be less than a reverent manner? I assume that is not your intention. And, yes we all know what the Catechism of the Roman Church says about its exclusive claims to be the Onest and Truest; it gets tiresome to be reminded. Really, such quotations give the impression that you expect us to be overawed or something. We are not even a little impressed with the One True claims by either party of that Odd Couple of Rome or Constantinople.

Nonetheless, I must express surprise that even a cheerleader like you could have written these words: "I would be surprised for us as a group to decide we want to have central owenership of property, but that certainly would be an option."

There are no options in the Roman Catholic Church to do with property, and there is never going to be. Either you just simply trust those over you, or you don't. The point is, parishes will lose all control, all options and all claim to whatever real estate they hand over. But, don't worry: You have a boatload of personal guarantees, in some cases from the same people who covered up the RCC priest child sex abuse scandal.

Have fun.

Sean W. Reed said...


Fr. Hart wrote:

"...The point is, parishes will lose all control, all options and all claim to whatever real estate they hand over..."

That is a false statement. The fact of the matter is that the owership of parish property will be determined by each Ordinariate.

The further fact is that there are now parishes in one particular diocese in the US who are will be having property titled to them from the Diocese as part of a pilot program.

You are making pronouncements on a topic that has not been decided.

Once the Ordinariate is canonically erected and the Ordinary is selected, it will then be on his agenda to decide if property will be held by a parish or not.

It is a clear and plain fact that if a parish currently does not own property but leases their space, there will be zero requirement, in either event to go buy some property to enter the Ordinariate.


Fr. Wells said...

Yes, Mr JMJ, it did not escape my attention that Ang. Coet. and other official documents are quite silent about ownership of real property. You do not need to point that out.

But we draw very different inferences from that deafening silence. Since those documents (which you read in a highly idiosyncratic manner) do not have anything to say about the Trinity, or Papal Infallibility, or Birth Control, or Just War theory, it seems reasonable to assume that normal Roman Catholic law will be in effect. When positive evidence to the contrary emerges, please let us know.

And yes, I had heard something about that pilot project. As I recall, it had something to do with making real estate harder for the courts to get at in the numerous lawsuits going on these days. That's a nice church you are joining, Mr JMJ.

Confessor said...

Surely Abp. Hepworth did not imagine the ACCC would keep their parishes in their name or allow them to remain under his control as a bishop or archbishop?

Surely he has studied RC canons and catechism and is aware the idiosyncrasies, irregularities and dangers lurking there?

Or is he like the young man about to marry a woman he hardly knows to escape his own family and the painful conflicts he has suffered with them. He is really in love with his/her own hopes and wants. In his neediness and pain, he is willing to shut his eyes to the woman's eccentricities, her demanding, self-seeking, domineering nature and the strange superstitions and behaviors of her family that are as much if not more dysfunctional than those of his own family.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart writes,

"And, yes we all know what the Catechism of the Roman Church says about its exclusive claims to be the Onest and Truest; it gets tiresome to be reminded. Really, such quotations give the impression that you expect us to be overawed or something. We are not even a little impressed with the One True claims by either party of that Odd Couple of Rome or Constantinople."

Pretty much what I was thinking as I read that quote from CCC 816. Got to the close quote at the end of it and said to myself, "So? Where's he going with this?"

Only to find that he went nowhere with it.

Makes me think that "J.M.J." actually means "Jedi Mind Joke": "This isn't the Church you're looking for. Move along (to Rome). Move along. (Snicker.)"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

You are making pronouncements on a topic that has not been decided.
Once the Ordinariate is canonically erected and the Ordinary is selected, it will then be on his agenda to decide if property will be held by a parish or not.

SWR (or JMJ?), you may have a lot of personal guarantees from guys whose basic argument appears to be "trust me," but you have nothing in RC Canon Law, nor in Anglicanorum Coetibus, nor in the Norms, that guarantees that any of these extra diocesan ordinaries of ordinariates, will grant you anything you want. Most likely, they would not really be able to assert themselves very much.

You place a lot of confidence in an institution that kept Bernard Cardinal Law in his post in Boston for a few years after he had become a world wide living disgrace. And, he was the official guy in charge of the Pastoral Provisions that whole time, even though his name was associated with the scandal of notorious cover up. Now, you have another disgraced cardinal, and for the same reason, William Joseph Cardinal Levada, in charge of this whole process.

Any reputable institution would have sent both of these men out to pasture if only to repair their damaged reputation. But, the arrogance of Rome knows no shame.

I just don't understand why any of you folks trust them so blindly at this time in history.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart, you left Bp Moyer out of the equation of the big "Definite Maybe".

Over at Virtueonline a certain blogger did a write-up in the comments, which , albeit satirical, lays out the prospects of the Ordinariate bound faithful .

If only people will see it...................

Colin Chattan said...

Good analogy, Confessor. Whether or not it applies to Mr. Reed, it certainly applies to my own experience and bouts of "Roman Fever". With all the gut-wrenching, soul-withering turmoil we've been through in the Anglican world over the past 30 odd years the grass has often seemed so much greener on the other side of the fence!

On a facetious level, I am reminded of the story of the dreamy young man who was beguiled by the beautiful voice and stage performances of an opera star and fell madly in love with her. She accepted his ardent proposal. On their wedding night, as she removed her wig, glass eye, false nose, dentures and prosthetic arm, he cried "For heaven's sake, sing!"

The great 19th century French poet, Charles Baudelaire (who, while, apparently, losing much of his faith in God, never lost his awareness of sin and suffering) made a particularly perceptive comment in one of his prose poems in which he compared human society to a great hospital ward, in which every patient was sure he would feel better if he could just change beds with his neighbour!

I suppose we continuing Anglicans might take as our model the embattled prophet Elijah, although our circumstances pale in comparison to his. You know the story recounted in First Kings 19, how, after Jezebel (whose resemblance to a certain bishopess is purely coincidental – honest!) had threatened his life, poor Elijah, terrified and despondent, fled into the wilderness where he justified himself and, indirectly at least, reproached God: “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” And you know how God then manifested Himself to Elijah – not in the wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, but in the “still small voice” through which He indicated that He, not the human authorities who so preoccupied Elijah with all their power, arrogance, and bluster, was in charge. For me the “still small voice” amidst all the tumult and noise is still heard in the classical Anglican way, and especially in Morning and Evening prayer, Compline, and Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer. I have been distracted many times, but that “still small voice” has always called me back to repentance and forgiveness, peace and the presence of God, and a glimpse of the heavenly City. I cannot give it up.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart said...

'Most likely, they would not really be able to assert themselves very much.'

Seems to be doing ok here in the United Kingdom.

Fr. Wells said...

Let us grant, for the sake of the argument, that Mr JMJ (Joking, Mostly Joking) is quite right about the status of church real estate within the Ordinariate. Within the context of reality (in which most TAC "parishes" are house churches or rented storefronts) this issue is mostly academic anyway.

Archbishop Collins' Epistle is mostly concerned over the real numbers within that portion of TAC seriously ready to enter a structure as yet unveiled. That was the purpose of his appointing "mentor priests" sent to take a good look at these small congregations. As far as we know, these inspectors are still disinvited by ACCC Bp Reid. And Primate Hepworth's angry letter is still on the table, and Hepworth is still Mr JMJ's Primate.

The True Believers in Orlando and elsewhere are in a bad mood these days, since the whole concept is dead in the water. Whatever comes down in the next big meeting of the USCCB, there is not enough critical mass there is get this thing off the ground.

Sean W. Reed said...


Fr. Wells,

I don't know what your agenda is to keep repeating a false statement over and over that the Ordinariate is dead. We will see it here in the US by this fall.

In the US parish information was due by Dec 31, 2010, and there has been a clear job of communication with local RC Bishops as to the fact the Ordinariates are not under their jurisdiction.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Washington has been studious in insuring the path to the US Ordinariate is smooth, and without surprises.

Do you think the general tone of your replies reflects Christ in your example and actions?


Fr. Robert Hart said...

A reader named Robert Ian Williams is having some sort of trouble with the internet. He asked my to post this via email.

I can't get my google account to work......

At least your blog, allows critical comment.

The fact is Rome are disappointed that there are no real takers from the Anglican Communion. out of 7<300 parishes in TEC only three have signed up. In Canada out of 1,700 Anglican Church of Canada parishes there is only one. Thats 0.05 per cent.

Two of these parishes are embroiled in multi million property law suits. No wonder Rome are warey of the likes of Bishop Moyer.

Another fact is that over 90 per cent of membership of the existing Anglican Use is cradle Catholic.

The Ordinariate has no takers in Wales, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa..amongst Anglican communion parishes.

By the way TAC in the UK is a "potemkin" church with less than a hundred members.

Kindest regards

Robert ( could you publish this )

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"...out of 7<300 parishes in TEC..."

Now that I have posted his comments, I need someone to translate this. I suppose it means out of 300 parishes, and the 7 is a typo altogether.

Anonymous wrote:

Seems to be doing ok here in the United Kingdom.

Well, if after all these few weeks, Anonymous, a man we all trust and admire, says everything is ok, who am I to argue with that?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Robert Ian Williams sent this clarification:

It should read 7,300. Sorry.

As for the Ordinariate in England and has no representation in Wales, 20 people in Scotland and about 880 in England. Virtually no representation in the North of England. Some of these are former Catholics. Looking at the photographs they are mainly middle aged and older. There about 61 clergy..which means one cleric for every 15 laity.

The Church of England has 27, 000,000 baptized members, of whom 1 milllion are regular communicants. So the percentage is 0.01 per cent of Anglicans.

There are 26,000 clergy listed in Crockfords for the British the clerical percentage of convert clergy is 0. 2 per cent.

Fr Tom said...

Fr Hart, I think Robert Ian Williams meant to say,
"out of 7,300 parishes in TEC..."
but he accidently hit the shift key.

CT said...

Well, it looks like Abp. Hepworth has expressed regret for at least the tone and the unplanned publication of his letter to Bp. Elliott, has said he appreciates Abp. Collins clarification, and has asked for the mentor priest visits in Canada to resume. So I guess it ain't over till it's over?

As I have said elsewhere, I don't think that either Abp. Hepworth or Frs. Hart and Wells have accurately conveyed the meaning of Anglicanorum Coetibus. It is neither an offer for full corporate reunion as a sui juris church, nor merely a warmed over invitation to individual conversion with the possibility of the Pastoral provision to allow for married clergy. It is an offer extended to *groups* of Anglicans (first and foremost parish or local groups, not diocesan or provincial ecclesial structures) with their clergy to become part of a new Ordinariate which would have all the powers of a diocese, and which would be governed by former Anglicans relating directly to the Holy See.

Property issues presumably will be settled within the Ordinariate, which could mean that the Ordinariate ends up owning the property directly, or it could be left in the hands of the parish group. Since the ordinary will be one of the former Anglican clergy who has joined the Ordinariate, operating in conjunction with a priests council of fellow convert clergy, one presumes that property issues will be handled sensitively. This will not be a case of TAC parishes being expected to sign their property over to the local diocesan.

Similarly, the liturgy will likely be much improved from the Book of Divine Worship. In addition to the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite liturgy, and the ability to use the BDW on an interim basis, it seems that there is likely to be a revised Anglican Use liturgy approved drawing on the Prayer Book and English Missal traditions. Msgr. Andrew Burnham is apparently chairing the work on this in the UK, and the TAC has also submitted a proposed liturgy for approval to Rome. I suspect problems with the existing BDW, like the clunky Novus Ordo English offertory and the 1979 Prayer Book language, will be rectified in the new liturgical rite or rites.

The Ordinariates will have much more authority than mere Anglican Use parishes - the ability to incardinate priests or erect seminaries or religious institutes, the ability to regulate the liturgy within the ordinariate, etc. And the Ordinariates will relate directly to the Holy See, so will not be governed by the local episcopal conference. We have already seen in the UK that the CDF has been quite willing to push back on the local bishops to accommodate the Ordinariate - pushing back on the proposed one year minimum time for the ordination of convert clergy, for instance.

This may not be the creation of a separate ritual church, as some in the TAC may have hoped for, but nor is it merely individual conversion and throwing yourself at the tender mercies of the local bishop or episcopal conference. It is not becoming of Fr. Hart and others who would have had no interest in the Ordinariate anyway for deeply held theological reasons to suggest that the offer is less generous than it actually is.

Fr. Wells said...

Mr JMJ asks:

"Do you think the general tone of your replies reflects Christ in your example and actions?"

Do you have a mirror in your home, Mr JMJ?

Fr. Wells said...

Mr JMJ imposes on our credulity with his request that we believe there is still life in the Ordinariate proposal. The can is kicked down the street again, with some momentous announcement about to come
"this fall."

To be sure, meetings and pronouncements will probably drag on for years. ARCIC produced some interesting theological essays but no concrete results. Theoretically, it is still alive. We can recall COCU, which originated in 1963 but has yet to bear any fruit. For all I know, ecclesiastical bureaucrats still meet periodically.

Rather than promising some grandiose statment at some unspecified moment in the future, perhaps JMJ would address the question Rome is looking at, and that is the poverty of numbers of the Ordinariate group.

We recall how Arnold Harris Mathew deceived the Old Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht about some fictitious number of Englishmen ready to become Old Catholics. The Archbishop quickly discovered that he had been duped. Rome will not be amused by the misrepresentations from Wannabe RC's.

Colin Chattan said...

Sorry, CT, but you've set up a completely false dichotomy. No one will get into an Ordinariate without personal conversion into the Roman Catholic faith, including swallowing as dogmas papal infallibility, the existence of purgatory, and the immaculate conception and bodily assumption of Mary - and repudiation of much that they've known as Anglicans, e.g. the unqualified doctrine of justification by faith, the validity of every eucharist, confirmation, and ordination, and the branch theory of catholicism. As Archbishop Haverland has said, Anglicanorum Coetibus offers nothing new theologically. It seems only to appeal to individuals without clear and coherent theological convictions and/or to aesthetes who idolatrously put the language and form of liturgy above doctrine.

I personally have no problem - although I obviously disagree - with individuals who convert to Roman Catholicism because they have sincerely come to believe in its dogmas - but they don't need Anglicanorum Coetibus for that. I have personally a big problem with individuals who try, in consequence of their own delusion or through deliberate deception, to sell Anglicanorum Coetibus as offering a way to be both Anglican and Roman Catholic and who, in the process, ruthlessly and viciously hijack, divide and destroy churches that were founded and built by far better men than they, who actually, unlike them, really believed in the truth of classical Anglicanism.

Anonymous said...


Where are you getting "Since the ordinary will be one of the former Anglican clergy who has joined the Ordinariate,"? All I can find is:

IV. A Personal Ordinariate is entrusted to the pastoral care of an Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


It appears that you have not read the things written here since Sept. '09, or you have forgotten anything you did read. We have always acknowledged that Anglicanorum Coetibus is an extension of the Pastoral Provisions beyond North America, and that it removes the power of local bishops to stand in the way. You seem to be without any appreciation of that fact. But, you seem also to be unaware that the invitation to groups of Anglicans is not new, but was always part of the Pastoral Provisions in the so-called Anglican Use.

As for matters of property and liturgy: The Romeward roaming former Anglicans need to understand one and only one point about property: Those who own parish real estate will own it no longer, and that means they will completely lose all control of it. Anyone who promises or guarantees that their interests will be protected may as well promise everyone a long life; for it boils down to nothing but well meaning good wishes at best. The personal sincerity of RC PR men is not under attack from us; but neither would their sincerity give them the power to make genuine guarantees.

As for liturgy, who knows what will happen? However, to judge from what has been done before, we have reason to be less than optimistic. The existing "Anglican Use" is downright insulting to those of us who prize our Prayer Book tradition.

On theological principle, I find it utterly appalling that Rome found it necessary to remove the following words from their so-called Anglican Use:

"Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world"

Apparently, for all their claims to "cherish" a thing called "Anglican Patrimony," up to now the Church of Rome has been unwilling to permit a simple, direct and thoroughly orthodox statement of Christ's once for all atoning sacrifice of Himself on the cross. Why? Are they still clinging to the error of "the sacrifices of masses" -with all the double plural suggests? I can think of no other reason for removing those perfectly good words.

Maybe they will come up with a better liturgy. I won't predict that they will not; but, neither will I hold my breath until they do.

No, I think we have been quite accurate about the degree of generosity involved.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

SWR asked Fr. Wells: "Do you think the general tone of your replies reflects Christ in your example and actions?"

And, have you ever read about what Jesus did to the tables of the money changers? It seems that Jesus was not being very Christ-like, as some define that term.

Fr. Wells said...

It has been my observation that when internet warriors run out of rational arguments and find the facts to support the other side, they immediately start whining about the "tone" of the opposition. "Vitriol" is a euphemism for "My case is hopeless." Funny that Mr JMJ have never complained about the "tone" of Abp Hepworth's angry broadside. Maybe Australian vitriol is okay with him.
Mr JMJ could perhaps profit from reading the latter part of Luke 11. But his attempt to join the tone police will get nowhere. I recall when he described me as "clueless" in another forum.

Sean W. Reed said...


Father Hart wrote:

"...Those who own parish real estate will own it no longer, and that means they will completely lose all control of it..."

Please support your allegation. I ask because I know you can't.

You can speculate. That is all you can do.

The property ownership issue will be determined by each Ordinariate.


Fr. Robert Hart said...


No, you support your confident assertion, and do so from Anglicanourm Coetibus, not from someone's personal guarantee. For, I have the full weight of RC Canon Law to back up my words.

Sean W. Reed said...


Fr. Hart there is no canon law to back up your assertion concerning property in the Ordinariate.

It will be decided by each Ordinariate. It is not determined by either canon law or Anglicanorum Coetibus.

In fact, we discussed the very point in our meeting a couple of weeks ago with the representative of the local Archdiocese, a distinguished Canon Lawyer, trained in Rome, concerning the property issue.

It came up as we discussed how the litigation from TEC against our parish is of zero bearing on admission to, and participation in, the Ordinariate. There is also no requirement that a parish own any property. They may lease their worship space.

this is not a weekend warrior canon-law opinion, but the considered opinion of one trained as a RC canon lawyer in Rome, and who has done quite a bit of research on applicable canon law and how property issues will be handled in the Ordinariate.

It is no longer a given in a regular RC Diocese that parishes will not own property, as is clear from the pilot program starting in the US.

You are making an assertion you can not back up. You are the one making the claim "I have the full weight of RC Canon Law to back up my words."

Please provide the cication from the Code of Canon Law that provides the "full weight of RC Canon Law" to back up your words.

The plain fact is that until each Ordinariate is canonically erected, and then decides how property will be handled, it is undetermined.


Fr. Robert Hart said...


I asked you to justify your assertion from Anglicanorum Coetibus, not from someone's personal guarantee. You have answered, in effect, with someone's personal guarantee.

Everyone knows that RCC property is under diocesan control. To what extent that will be worked out in ordinariates is yet to be seen. Furthermore, I said that parishes that hand over property will lose all control of the same, and all you answer with is that they lose it to the ordinariate rather than the diocese. How, then, is that a refutation of what I said? Either way, they surrender their property to someone else's control; in this case, within an unknown structure yet to be figured out.

As for Canon Lawyers, we have our own expert. You really ought to look at the archives before asking us to say something. Most likely, you will find, we have done so already.

Fr. Wells said...

It is amusing to observe which questions Mr JMJ ignores and those which he comes back to. Will a TAC parish which joins the Ordinariate have the same title to real estate which it enjoyed while under the Affirmation of St Louis and trhe Canon Law of the ACA? MrJMJ seems to think so, or at least that "The property ownership issue will be determined by each Ordinariate." At least he tacitly admits that, in his view, the matter is yet to be decided.

I would suggest to Mr JMJ that he read, once again, that famous document, Anglicanorum Coetibus. While the question is not directly dealt with there, he should count the number of times this document uses the phrase "according to the norms of Canon Law" or the equivalent. It is pracrrically an antiphon or leitmotiv occurring in almsot every paragraph.

While the Ordinariates, should they ever materialize, will possess some sort of trans-jurisdictional jurisdiction, they will be under the very same body of Canon Law. We all know what is the case in American RC Churches. It is only logical to assume the same will be true in the Ordinariate. Mr JMJ is either indulging in wishful thinking or else he is attempting to mislead.

Sean W. Reed said...

Fr. Hart -

It is a plain fact that there is NO Canon Law regulation protery in an Ordinariate - Period.

Additionally, the pilot program here is the US is transferring property from the pilot RC Diocese to a parish corporation who will own the property.


Fr. Robert Hart said...


Here is what Anglicanorum Coetibus says:

"This power is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms."


"XII. For judicial cases, the competent tribunal is that of the Diocese in which one of the parties is domiciled, unless the Ordinariate has constituted its own tribunal, in which case the tribunal of second instance is the one designated by the Ordinariate and approved by the Holy See. In both cases, the different titles of competence established by the Code of Canon Law are to be taken into account."

Furthermore, constant references are footnoted, many of which are in a form beginning with "cann." after "CIC."

This myth of ordianriates entirely free from the normal Canon Law is just silly, as is the notion of total independence from a diocese. The entire constitution derives its authority from previous Vatican documents and from the Canon Law of the RCC.

And, what you have objected to you have yet to refute (are you related to Mr. Bulver?). Parishes currently enjoying their own control of property would lose it. Does it matter that they would lose it to a system where the ordinariate's power is exercised jointly with that of the diocesan bishop? Parish control will still be lost. You have simply confirmed that, apparently because you assume that ordinariate control and parish control would amount to the same thing, and that joint authority (or "power") with that of the diocesan bishop means nothing at all, that it is all just words on paper that you can afford to ignore.

It seems we are down to nothing at this point but your personal guarantee, and that in stark contrast to the actual provisions of the constitution.

AFS1970 said...

So the RCC canonical norms are that property is owned by the diocese. Where as in any continuing church the normal situation is that it is up to the parish to own or rent or otherwise provide for property. It would seem that these two standpoints are at odds with each other.

The best one can hope for in the ordinariate, is that parish control might not be taken away, under a USCCB pilot program that has not even started yet. However those that assert this hope, will also be quick to tell you that the USCCB will have no authority over the ordinariate, so how can they extend their pilot program to it?

A pilot program is just that, something small that is being tried out. Is it possible that this program will be a success and eventually extend throughout all of the RCC? Sure, about as possible as anything, but with no timeline, will this be in time to save parish property in any soon to be formed ordinariate? I doubt it.

I am glad someone else brought up that this pilot programs is just a way to insulate diocesan property from certain lawsuits. I am no lawyer but I have can't see this working all that well except for new lawsuits and frankly I think most that were going to sue already have. That is a mixed blessing, in that without more lawsuits, it will be hard to judge the success of the pilot program at all. If no one seeks to take the property, how do we know if a move to safeguard it really worked?

Sadly for them, I think that such matters will already be decided in the ordinariate before any pilot program will be able to effect it. Oddly enough this could have the eventual effect of the ordinariate deeding back to the parish property that it originally owned and deeded to the ordinariate. What a tangled web, that would be.

Confessor said...

A couple more letters have been posted at Virtue Online.

From Abp. Hepworth:

Commentary from Rev. Dr. David Virtue:

FrEdBakker said...

Hello Sean,
You and I had a number of disussions on the Ordinariate. What really surprises me , that you make statements that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true Church, why is it then that you cannot become a Roman Catholic straight away. As a forme TAC Priest, I could never ever endorse the catachism of the RC Church, let alone support the dogm that Salvation is only obtained through the Roman Catholic Church.The title of Father Hart's blog was " What is over? you may ask". The answer is this part of the world - down under - will most likely be that Hepworth retires from the scene ( Soon Lord! ) No Australian or New Zealand Anglican will join the ordinarite and the few remaining TAC'ers will be left in the learch.In Australia very few TAC Priest have applied to join the ordinariate , hoping it will be in place by Pentecost, they are still waiting, waiting.
I saw the AC coming, did not like it and resigned. Bp.Chislett tried to talk me out of it and labelled me too hasty and lo and behold a few weeks after I left he resigned himsef. Father Hart has done an excellent job for many months making it clear and clear that we are NOT talking about Unity, but absorption by Rome. He must feel sometimes like knocking a few gullible Clergy and laypeople with their heads against the well. Why dont you open your eyes Sean and see things as they really are.
Father Ed Bakker OPR
HCC-WR Missionary Diocese of NZ and Australia.

FrEdBakker said...

By the way, I must now get rid of this title SMM behind my name. The Anglican Catholic Society of Saint Michael made up by TAC and ACC/OP clergy and a few others, until the AC was announced and everyone went into the state of attack. Fr.Nalls was wise to resign from the list,I should be doing this to, if the list still hangs in the system.
Father Ed Bakker OPR

Anonymous said...

Hello: Let me see if I get this. The RCC has issued an offer to certain anglicans to become a part of an ordinariate the specifics of which are not in writing as to certain spcifics such a real property. While I am not a caonon laywer, I am an attorney with many years or contract drafting and negotiatng. Until all the particulars are in writing and signed by the partes nothing is for sure.