Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Personal Prelature?

Okay, let's see if we can "out Virtue" David Virtue.

A hitherto unknown reader of The Continuum who goes by the intriguing nickname of Invicta Veritas, posted this as a comment on the piece about Archbishop Morse. I thought it might be fun to highlight, though I'd be ready to bet a goodly sum that it's just wishful thinking on someone's part:

"Oh, and you might also spare a glance for Rome as well -- if that is true which I heard the other day, that at a meeting of the SSC clergy of the Fort Worth ECUSA diocese (together with Bishop Iker) with the RC Bishop of Fort Worth, Bp. Vann, the latter announced that Rome will soon be transforming the "Pastoral Provision" for "Anglican Use Roman Catholics" by erecting a world-wide "Personal Prelature" for Anglicans wishing to enter into communion with Rome."

I did a quick Google of Iker, Vann and Rome, and came up with the following tidbit from Chris Johnson at the Midwest Conservative Journal, posted in April:

"There's some interesting speculation in the Anglican world these days:

"Over the past week or so there’s been a spike in 'intelligence chatter' in the Anglican-Episcopal universe. From the sources I have been able to tap, along with those that have just fallen in my lap, I am reasonably well assured that a sub-group of some five dioceses within the Anglican Communion Network have cooked up a plan to hold hands and jump off the slowly-sinking ship that is the Episcopal Church and swim to . . . well, here’s where the intelligence gets sketchy--OK, non-existent.

"I don’t expect I’ll cause any tsunamis by predicting that I’m probably not going to like the details when I hear them. In the most charitable construction, a move of this sort represents a ’Plan B’ in response to last month’s resounding rejection of the Primates’ Pastoral Council/Primatial Vicar plan by the House of Bishops. A more jaded exegesis sees it as the most radical fringe of the Network exploiting the HOB’s ill-advised actions by making a run for something more like they would have wanted in the first place anyway.

"A commenter has heard things too. He suggests a possible destination for at least three of the five.

"But where to go? There was that curious meeting last September 6th in Newark, NJ, between the RC Archbishop of Newark, John Myers, who is the 'Ecclesiastical Delegate' for the Anglican Use Roman Catholics, on the one hand, and +Ackerman, +Iker, +Schofield and +Herzog. Well, we know now why Herzog was there, but what about the others? It would appear that +Clarence Pope kept a safe-full of documents relating to those conversations of ca. 1976-1980 with Rome that eventuated in the promulgation of the Pastoral Provision, but which were much more ambitious than that in their scope; and that among these documents were some interesting, detailed and favorable comments by one Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger -- and that these documents, or copies of them, were literally 'on the table' at that meeting. There is some well-founded thought that a document has been on the pope’s desk for some months, awaiting resolution, that would transform, or at least greatly widen the scope of, the 'Pastoral Provision' if it ever sees the light of day (but cf. the fabled Motu Proprio that is supposed to 'liberate' the old Tridentine Mass: it has been on the pope’s desk for well over a year without a final resolution, but now we are told to watch May 6th). So will it be, for the Forward-in-Faith bishops, a case of 'heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to Rome we go, with a steady gait and a cheerful noise, heigh-ho, heigh-ho?' Such a denouement would make some hearts glad, but others sad; and as 'anam cara' has said, there is also the Orthodox option.

"Is there anything to these rumors? It's hard to say. But this idea is not a new one. In 2003, Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett reported that an Episcopal diocese approached Catholic officials with just such a proposal.

"Just back from meetings in Rome, Archbishop Brunett revealed in an interview that Catholic officials have received a startling overture from Episcopalians who refuse to recognize Robinson.

"We were approached by a whole Episcopal diocese about coming into the Roman Catholic church, as perhaps Anglican Rite Catholics," Brunett said. He declined to identify the diocese."

"Stay tuned," said Chris.


Anonymous said...

Well, they do say that SSC stands for "Society of Secret Catholics." ;)

I am not going to hold my breath on this, but it says a lot about the state of TEC and the Anglican Communion that it can't be dismissed out of hand.

Albion Land said...


If we gave awards at The Continuum, one would be for you: the fastest I have ever seen a comment turn up after posting a new item. Couldn't have been more than two minutes!

As I said, I wouldn't bet my socks on this -- but then I prefer sandals.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like wishful thinking on one side, and not the Roman one. For my part, I hope that the reconciliation of orthodox Anglicanism with Rome (which I consider to be a necessary component of a necessary movement towards repairing the broken Body of Christ on Earth) comes from a movement within the Continuum. As Alice Linsley commented a while ago, only the Continuum really cares about the Prayer Book tradition (I hope that isn't too much of a misquote). I don't know what SSC is like in the USA, but in Australia it all seems to be about priests who close their Roman Missals, Breviaries (sorry, they don't even call a breviary a breviary any more, do they?) and Catechisms and go off home to their wives, which would appear to be the only element of distinctly Anglican tradition left. Rome might well ask what patrimony we bring with us to justify any special treatment.

And if anything such as Bp Vann has predicted arises in the short term, I bet it will involve priests and people undergoing RCIA, before being confirmed, married (if they had the misfortune to marry an RC in an Anglican ceremony), and, of course, ordained--all unconditionally. That doesn't sound like any sort of special treatment to me. Anything better than that will take many, many years.

Anonymous said...

I googled up "Invicta Veritas" and here's what I found:

It's a good moniker, for sure.

Abel was hanged, drawn and quartered alongside two other Catholics, Frs. Heatherstone and Powell, for the treason of denying the Supreme Headship of Henry VIII over the Church of England. At the same event, three Protestants, Barnes, Garrett and Jerome were burnt at the stake for heresy. Now there's a "via media" for you!

Anonymous said...

I can at least confirm these rumors.

My parish priest is a prominent member of the SSC in the Diocese of Fort Worth and the rector of one of the most (if not the most) Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Diocese. He brought up Bishop Vann's comments this morning.

Also, I met with Fr. Allan Hawkins of St. Mary the Virgin (an Anglican Use parish) in Arlington on Monday who had just returned from a meeting in Rome, and he seemed to be of the opinion that a Personal Prelature was in the works, although the Vatican is keeping quiet about it for now.

I gather, however, that Bishop Vann's comments were geared mainly towards reassuring the SSC clergy of the Diocese that Fort Worth is on Rome's mind. In other words, the Vatican is watching...and interested. Sympathetic, even, to our situation.

What a true and dear friend Anglo-Catholics have in our Holy Father.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand it sounds like a good idea and I can understand the desire to be united with the See of Peter, on the other hand...

if one truly believes that the Bishop of Rome is Christ's Vicar on Earth and that the Church of Christ fully subsists in the Roman Catholic Church why not go ahead and convert like Fr. Kimel did?

Perhaps some want to have their cake and eat it too?


Anonymous said...

What's especially strange (at least to me) is the fact that a "personal prelature" is essentially a raw exercise of papal power, derived from the universal and immediate jurisdictional authority the Pope says he possesses.

Now certainly to be Anglican is to reject that, isn't it? Were not there some things the Reformation got right? And isn't the rejection of Papal "superpowers" one of them?

Anonymous said...

Ken, the reason why some of us don't 'just convert' is that we consider that merely hating and abjuring all we've been (well, I know you don't do that out loud, but having to take Christian Initiation classes and getting re-confirmed in a triumphalist ceremony at the Easter Vigil is a pretty sure sign that everything you've done as an Anglican was just pretending) is that we don't think the breaches in the Body will be healed by individual 'conversions'. What we want is a corporate reconciliation that recognises and respects our integrity, and also something that allows our tradition to continue for more than just the present generation (which, I understand, the Anglican Use is designed to do). Doubtless I could get pinged for pride by saying this, but I like to think there's also principle wrapped up in it.

Anonymous said...

See this

on the difference between a "Personal Prelature" and an "Apostolic Administration." The latter would seem better able to prevent malicious or disruptive interference from unfriendly RC bishops or clerical bureaucrats.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Not gonna happen. Why...

1. Most of the aforementioned bishops get a large amount of their support from decidedly low church evangelical types who want nothing to do with Rome.
2. No priestesses need apply...
3. No clerical wives
4. If there is any body in the world that moves more slowly than Anglicans in making decisions its the Vatican Curia. It would take them fifty years to draw up a memo suggesting the issue be discussed. And another twenty years to agree on the correct translation into Latin.
5. There is already a body of committed Anglo Catholics who are actively lobbying Rome to be received in communion as a Anglican Rite Church (sort of Anglican Uniate). The Traditional Anglican Communion. No low church or womyn priestess issues there.

Anonymous said...

i've been asked the same question 'anonymous' posed many times. why not just convert?

as i was formulating an answer, i scrolled down and read your response sandra. very well done. you took the words right out of my mouth.

you have to understand that anglo-catholic christians are just as in love with their expression of catholic faith as you are. and part of that is being attached to the liturgy we've known for the entirety of our individual lives, but, more than that, the anglican communion has known since its beginning.

this presents a significant problem however. the fact of the matter is, all of us at heart know something's missing--our connection to the one, true Church. what do you do when you have a completely legitimate manifestation of catholic christianity, but lack one chief component?

imagine there were one thing that the latin rite lacked to be truly whole. one seriously important thing. how hard would it be for you to say, i hereby turn my back on everything i've known, everything i've experienced?

you have to understand that anglo-catholic christians lament our separation daily--hourly. we mourn that we cannot finally "be one as the Father and the Son are one."

the best possible solution, however, could never be to simply abandon all that we knew. in short, yes, we want to have our cake and eat it too. is that so bad?

Albion Land said...

Robert (or Roberto?),

How well you put it.

Anonymous said...

Ad Orientem,

It is going to happen, but what the results will be, time alone will tell: the proposal went from the CDF to the Pope last November and has been approved by him; although there appears to be some doubt about whether to promulgate it formally now, or to wait until after next year's Lambeth Conference. I have heard, and had confirmed, the story about Bishop Vann's talk to the SSC people in Dallas, and I have also had it from two separate sources wrt its being discussed at the Anglican Use conference in Washington a couple of weeks ago.

The dealings of the TEC with the Vatican are stalled, and will remain stalled as long as +Hepworth remains its primate (and as long as the alienation between the ACA bishops, on the one hand, and +Hepworth and the rest of the TAC bishops, on the other, continues). In any event, the proposals seems primarily aimed at Catholic-minded dissidents within the Official Anglican Communion, such as Forward-in-Faith and, in particular, dioceses such as Fort Worth, San Joaquin and Quincy here in the USA, and The Murray (and those in dioceses such as Ballarat and Wangaratta that found that they had inadveretently lumbered themselves at their most recent episcopal elections with bishops whose opposition to WO is weak, and steadily weakening) in Australia. I would not be too surprised, in fact, if the first Prelate of the new arrangement proves to be Cardinal Pell of Sydney.

Anonymous said...

"in short, yes, we want to have our cake and eat it too. is that so bad?"

No, so long as you realize that by sticking to this position you are not going to get anything whatsoever from Rome or from the Orthodox. But if you are happy about that, fine.

Anonymous said...

Invicta Veritas,

You appear relatively well informed. I wonder if you might add a bit more detail about the tension between ACA bishops and Hepworth. Feel free to contact me directly if you like at mtn at newsomecpa dot com.

Anonymous said...

But it would be great.
You have my poor prayers for this intention.

Anonymous said...

i can't speak as authoritatively as invicta veritas about this, but in response to william, i'd like to ask why he's so sure the vatican won't do everything in his power to reconcile like-minded christians back into the fold?

if anything, i would guess that now is the perfect time for something like this to happen. benedict is just the right person to build bridges between our traditions.

after all, he did stop john paul from infallibly declaring the blessed virgin our co-redemptrix simply because he knew it would serve to widen the gap between the Church proper and us anglicans who hope one day for reunion.

his holiness benedict xvi is a friend to anglo-catholics.