Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Update on Ft. Worth

This clarifies what was reported yesterday. The points of debate are, nonetheless, worth having made, and deserve continued discussion.

A Statement by Bishop Iker
on Roman Catholic Dialogues

I am aware of a meeting that four priests of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have had with Bishop Kevin Vann of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth on June 16, 2008. After a year of studying various agreed statements that have come out of ecumenical dialogues between Anglicans and Roman Catholics on the national and international level, these clergy expressed an interest in having a dialogue on the local level and asked my permission to make an appointment to talk with Bishop Vann. The stated goal of these official Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogues (which have been going on for over 40 years) has been full, visible unity between the two communions.

The priests who participated in this meeting with Bishop Vann have my trust and pastoral support. However, in their written and verbal reports, they have spoken only on their own behalf and out of their own concerns and perspective. They have not claimed to act or speak, nor have they been authorized to do so, either on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth or on my own behalf as their Bishop.

Their discussion with Bishop Vann has no bearing upon matters coming before our Diocesan Convention in November, where a second vote will be taken on constitutional changes concerning our relationship with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. There is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church. Our only plan of action remains as it has been for the past year, as affirmed by our Diocesan Convention in November 2007. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth intends to realign with an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

By God’s grace, we will continue to work and pray for the unity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
August 12, 2008


Anonymous said...

A very careful statement. It takes pains to stress that such Anglican-RC dialogue is nothing new, and that the goal of such discussion has always been the restoration of full communion. It also makes clear that nothing is on the table yet, that the diocese will follow through with their plans to join another province. That doesn't contradict the previous report, however. The affiliation with Southern Cone is seen, I think, as a temporary "emergency" measure. Fort Worth doesn't want to simply be an independent jurisdiction. But, once outside of TEC, Fort Worth would have the freedom to determine its own ecumenical relationships, and they want to see what is possible in terms of unity with Rome, hence the request for advice in "making a proposal". It is likely that if and when such a time came, they would seek the involvement of other parts of the Anglican Communion.

poetreader said...

It has turned out to be a valuable discussion, but its inception illustrates something about the downside of this internet age. At the first report, before ink would have dried on a newspaper, there was a sudden rush of reactions, almost a panic, rushing forth in the mad desire to say ... something ... quick. When that happens there is almost always some important part of the story yet untold that puts a very different complection on things. So it was in this event. There's an old quip that seems applicable: "Put brain in gear before engaging tongue." I'm frequently guilty of ognoring that advice, and so are many others. Can we manage somehow to be a little more temperate, a little more patient and wait for the whole story before we get excited? I hope I'm learning from this.


Anonymous said...

I'm learning, Ed. I've said nothing.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


It was and is legitimate to respond to what these four priests have written. I am glad Texas Jack was not a party to it, but I am glad also to have a discussion going about what those priests wrote.

poetreader said...


The feeding frenzy, which I don't hold you responsible for, was in assuming that it was a whole-diocese action. All the reports I was getting, whether from Anglican or RC direction were assuming that and assuming some kind of immediate action.

Now, what they said did need a response - if only to expose its silliness, and your response was, briefly and without exaggeration, magnificent.


Anonymous said...

Even if it was the whole diocese, and they wanted to do something quick... these things take a long time. Nothing involving church politics or ecumenism is ever quite as exciting as people hope or fear... it would be fun to be proven wrong once.

That doesn't mean it isn't a major statement... the four clergy were particularly well placed individuals. Three of them were current or former rural or cathedral deans. One is canon to the ordinary. And they got pretty specific about the number of clergy and seminarians who would support such a move.