Saturday, May 13, 2006

Read a 2001 interview with Archbishop Morse

I discovered an active link to an old interview, posted Dec 8th 2001 by David Virtue on his Virtuosity website. He had interviewed Archbishop Morse, something I was glad to read at the time, because I was thinking back then that Mr. Virtue had been making too much of the recent creation of the AmiA by saying (throughout much of 2000 and 2001) that Anglicans in America finally had an alternative to the Episcopal Church. I considered this to be most troubling, because the AmiA was a single issue movement in its inception, after the 2000 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, reacting against the Homosexualist movement in ECUSA, but seeming to ignore every problem that had led to the moral laxity of that 2000 General Convention; (moral laxity so hideous that the heresies of the 2003 General Convention were inevitable). Therefore, at the time that the interview was posted, I was very glad to see Mr. Virtue record the words of a truly Catholic leader in the Anglican tradition (and that was before I entered the APCK).

There is a typo in this interview, in which the 1978 Denver Consecrations read as having taken place in 1987. Some of the news has changed a bit since then, but, the position of the Archbishop and of the Province is clearly stated in the interview with frankness, good humor and deep conviction. In fact, much that is said in this interview has grown more relevant in the few years that have passed. It covers many subjects, including the Vagante problem, the relations between East and West, and the need for stability and growth.

Before you read the interview, let me add my thoughts about the vagante problem. The simple fact is we have Freedom of Religion in the United States, and in most of the Western world. Whereas this brings many good things, it also creates a situation in which any fool can start a church in his garage. His entire Diocese may cover all of North America, but his membership might consist only of his wife, his neighbor, his neighbor’s wife, and his dog. So, when his dog dies, he loses 20 percent of his church membership. The vagante may trace his orders through disreputable characters, sometimes involving the old practice of Simony. Some guys just want to wear purple shirts and pointed hats. The problem is, these jokers give a bad name to honest and valid bishops who are lumped in with them by some people who assume that all of the non-Canterbury Anglicans are cut from the same cloth. This is why I continue to emphasize the Affirmation of Saint Louis, which states the real basis for why we must exist as separate from ECUSA, and other corrupted national churches of the official Anglican Communion.


Anonymous said...

From the last two paragraphs . . .

Since this interview was conducted, the APCK has been in talks with the
Swedish Free Synod . . . These emerging parishes are entirely separate
from the Church of Sweden. Some Free Synod parishes will be able to
work overtly and also under cover with an emerging missionary diocese.

The APCK is also opening up conversations with the Nordic Catholic
Church. The Nordic Catholic Church is working towards having a local
bishop, and be an independent sister church to the Polish National
Catholic Church, to Forward in Faith-UK and to the APCK.

So what's happened since 2001?

Kevin D. Johnson said...

Yes, this is my question also. What sort of negotiations with other bodies are going on today?

>>>Kevin D. Johnson

Anonymous said...

Archbishop Morse has been interested in Swedish Church affairs since the 1950s. However, the last paragraph seems to confuse the "Free Synod" with the "Mission Province." The "Free Synod" is/was the Swedish equivalent of the "Episcopal Synod of America" back in the days before it affiliated with Forward-in-Faith. Effectively, it is today in a state of collapse or moribundity: a large proportion of its members seem, tacitly or explicitly, to have the view that "under no circumstances shall we ever leave the Church of Sweden" and have stuck to that view. Moreover, the patron and guide of the Free Synod, Bertil Gartner (b. 1924), Bishop of Gothenburg from 1970 to 1991 (and the last Swedish Lutheran bishop not to ordain women), although he more than once approached the breaking point with the CofS, especially in the years immediately following his retirement, eventually decided not, not ever, to do so, and is now seriously ailing.

The "Mission Province," on the other hand, does consist of a number of "free parishes" served by Church of Sweden clergy, or by Swedes ordained aboroad by Lutheran bishops in Balarus or Ingria (who were refused ordination in Sweden because of their opposition to WO). However, most of the clergy and laity in the MP are profoundly conservative Confessionalist Lutherans, with no attraction to Angicanism and certainly not to "Roman" Catholicism, Anglo-Catholicism or even American-style Lutheran "Evangelical Catholicism." The MP does contain a small penumbra of "Swedish Catholics" (the Swedish equivalent of Anglo-Catholics), but when the third bishop of the MP Goran Beijer, a "Swedish Catholic," was consecrated a few weeks ago (the first, Arne Olsson, is a Confessionalist Lutheran and the second, Lars Artman, more of a pietist Evangelical) it is significant that among his consecrators was a Norwegian Lutheran "synod president" (not even a bishop in name), Ulf Asp, while the Continuing Anglican bishop present, Paul Hewett ( a presonal friend of Beijer), was not able (tho' willing) to join in the layong-on of hands, but only gave a blessing subsequently.

Kevin D. Johnson said...

I don't mean to downplay the interaction with the Swedish church, but I was thinking more along the lines of development with other bodies either within the U.S., England, or Africa. Care to comment further?

Continuing Home said...


I've heard our (APCK) bishop state several times that there are conversations being conducted, but that it is not time yet for anything to be made public. An unsatisfying answer, to be sure, but one can imagine the situation.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

One disappointing aspect of the interview was the disparaging references by Abp Morse to the other 3 bishops first consecrated. The implication that he was the only Anglo-Catholic among them, the rest being Protestant or Papist was demonstrably false, as was the implication that he was the only one left at the time of the interview in a Continuing Church.

One of those other 3 was Bp Mote, God rest his soul, who only very recently passed away. Bp Mote was a Franciscan Tertiary and, when he could still drive, I am told used to pull out his Rosary Beads on a road trip and announce to the passenger that they would now say the Rosary together. This practice, along with certain other features of his driving style, apparently made these trips very interesting indeed! :-)

Anyway, all who actually spent any time with him and knew the man would laugh at the notion he was anything but Catholic.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking at the APKC, particularly as they have a new plant near where I live. On their web site, they list 57 parishes if you look under All States. From that interview, Archbishop Morse is quoted as saying "We have five bishops, about 70 congregations in total and more than 15,000 congregants." That was 5 years ago. I am really, really not playing "gotcha" here, but I was wondering at the apparent contradicion for what is called "one of the fastest growing Anglican provinces" in the same interview. DV does great work, but sometimes the details get missed.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

The brochure is way out of date. At the last count that i heard, we are up to 81 parishes and missions.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Great news, and thanks for the update! You might drop a note to the webmaster to get that updated, as that is how many people do their locating these days. You probably have more pull than I would. ;)


Fr. Robert Hart said...

If I look at what what was said in the interview, I don't see the Archbishop saying all the others were Protestants or Papists. One was very Protetstant, and one did become Roman Catholic. But, I think he was referring to Bishop Mote with these words: "one was an English romantic (a green fields of England type)." That is neither positive or negative, and indicates a memory of personal knowledge. One week ago today, Archbishop Morse said to me that he has no theological disagreement with the ACC. In what I have heard from clergy in the Province in general, the comments about the ACC tend to be positive.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I see these comments are not dated. One week ago today means Monday, May 8th, 2006.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Thank you for that clarification and information, Fr Hart.

The impression I had was due to the distinction that was made between his Diocese, as "committed to the catholic position" and the rest, since he describes the four originals as operating from "four basic positions", implying a theological difference between himself and Bp Mote if taken literally. However, it appears likely from what you have said that I am being too "picky" in my interpretation.

Hugh McCann said...

It appears that Virtue's interview of Abhp Morse+ is here: