Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ACNA still "ordaining" priestesses

From their website:

Susan Freeman to be ordained to the priesthood

Posted: April 26, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 10 a.m. – Christ Church Sanctuary

The Rev. Susan Freeman will be ordained to the sacred order of priest by the Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit Anglican Church in North America...

Although it was written to answer a thesis in a paper by members of the AMiA (howbeit unauthorized), it would be good for those in the ACNA who still cling to this innovation to read the work that was done mainly by Fr. John Hollister in our series Priestesses in Plano. Oh, wait a minute! this is that same parish-they have jumped ship to the ACNA. Is that over the one issue of Women's Ordination?

As much as we would hold out hope for a Catholic reform, as we use that ancient creedal word, in the ACNA, at this time it does not look good. Such actions only vindicate the position taken by Archbishop Mark Haverland (ACC) last year.


charles said...

I would not make any hasty conclusions yet. Both ACC and ACNA have their share of problems when it comes to adhering to Anglicanism as defined 1534-1718. One comes from the "left", the other from the "right". Each has its own share of apparently intransigent, burdensome troubles.

ACNA remains a federation, so you are examining a certain wing of it. Don't lump them all together, especially when something might be a feature to a minority within. Likewise, St. Louis Churches are similarly non-merged, so we ought to be more specific about which 'party' or 'church' within the said federation or 'intercommunion pact' we are talking about, etc.. It's not AMiA that is promising, but the REC and factions within that are classically defined.

If ACC or APA could have joined, the scales would have been tipped against AMiA and Duncan. When Israel goes to war, all of Jacob should rally. What good is the lamp when it's placed under the bed?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I know that it is only a minority within the ACNA who approve of WO, but that does not stop the tail from wagging the dog. It is very easy to make sweeping charges like "their share of problems when it comes to adhering to Anglicanism as defined 1534-1718." But, about WO, we speak of something specific and factual. To "join in" with them at this time is to give some level of approval, or to create the illusion that WO is not a communion breaker, when we happen to believe that it is.

RSC+ said...


The trouble is, The Episcopal Church is, in many ways, a Federation of dioceses, and still more so is the broader Anglican Communion, of which the ACNA is a part.

If a bishop attempts to ordain a woman, one of two things happens. a) It simply fizzles. b) It fizzles and innovates. Those bodies that ordain women claim that they ordain men into the same diaconate, presbyterate, episcopacy into which they ordain women.

That is, if the Order into which bishops attempt to ordain women is an invalid one, it is equally invalid when those same bishops ordain men into that same Order. By not condemning it, one implicitly supports it.

We cannot, therefore, simply say, "Well, this is just what those people over there do."

Deacon Down Under said...

"If ACC or APA could have joined..." the ACNA writes Charles. The ACC has been around from the beginnings of the Continuum - solid orthodox Anglican Christianity with valid orders and sacraments. The ECUSA that ACNA came from not even 3 years ago has long been a schismatic ecclesial body with it's orders and theology degraded by women priests and other non-Catholic innovations.

Those Episcopalians who acted as if there was no orthodoxy in the US and set up the ACNA as a parallel jurisdiction to the ACC/which is the repository of Anglicanism within not only the US, but Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, India and Pakistan and more. At the least they should have joined APCK or UECNA if they somehow objected to the so-called "right" as Charles labels the ACC.

Those Episcopalians who formed the ACNA should have joined the ACC/UECNA or APCK instead of creating another Anglican jurisdiction that does not even grasp the utter impossibility of the ordination of women.

The ACNA is destined to go the way of ECUSA/TEC. Fr. Hart is right. Women's ordination is a breaker of communion because the action is schismatic and the theological premise underlying it is heresy - even though the majority of proponents of women priests use secular arguments about human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination are the basis for their arguments.

Canon Tallis said...

I do not quite understand how some fail to understand that when you fail on the first test of Acts 2:42, i.e., the apostles' doctrine, and yet expect to remain among those who call themselves Christian. When St Paul set the standards for ordination, standards that have been recognized by each and every one of the classical prayer books, including the one which ACNA has publicly declared sets their standard of orthodoxy. And yet we get these sorts of incidents in which present ideas of social equality are allowed to trump Holy Scripture and almost everything else.

It was precisely this nonsense which cause our fathers and ourselves to realize that the Episcopal Church had abandoned the doctrine, discipline and worship of the whole of the Catholic faith.

For all the shortcomings of the ACC, APCK, and ACNA as well as others of the Continuum thank God that they still recognize what Scripture commands of all of us.

Brian said...

I think we'll see more and more overseas jurisdictions release their ACNA parishes into newly formed regional dioceses. (This is what happened locally with the new Gulf Atlantic Diocese, made up of congregations started under the auspices of several African groups.) These new dioceses will accept WO by default (as they see it as "not a salvation issue") and ultimately outnumber the non-WO dioceses by a considerable margin.

John A. Hollister said...

Shaughn wrote: "Those bodies that ordain women claim that they ordain men into the same diaconate, presbyterate, episcopacy into which they ordain women.

"That is, if the Order into which bishops attempt to ordain women is an invalid one, it is equally invalid when those same bishops ordain men into that same Order. By not condemning it, one implicitly supports it."

As George Bernard Shaw might have said, "By George, I think he's got it!"

Thank you, Shaughn, for putting it so clearly and succinctly. You have summed up precisely why the "Continuing Churches" now exist apart from the Lambeth Communion and why they can neither return to that present Lambeth Communion, or join in significant ecclesial fellowship with bodies that are in communion with that Lambeth body.

John A. Hollister+

charles said...

How is a non-involvement (on all levels-- e.g., refusing to send an observer to FACA), resistance to WO? It seems to me if a church is going to fight WO, they should be at the meetings and conferences and get a little dirty. Again, ACC might have tipped the scales. A unique opportunity was passed over. Oh well... We'll see how the WO contest pans out in ACNA with REC fighting basically alone. I suspect the conservatives will not tolerate it forever.

That said, I am not in the ACNA or REC. However, if I were in a position to help the REC (and Forward in Faith), I would certainly do more than pray but add some good works to my daily supplications-- namely, send a delegate to FACA. That would be a good start.

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

With respect to REC, what you regard as capitulation, I see as fighting. I think that's our difference. How can you fight if you have a ultra-policy of non-engagement? That's what I don't get.

AFS1970 said...

If the ACNA is merely a federation, why then choose he title of Arch Bishop and not Presiding Bishop for the top ordained leader? The title clearly implies a certain chain of command, that is not legally present in TEC.

I firmly agree that if those who recently left the TEC truly wanted to be orthodox, they would have joined any one of the continuing churches. Preferably a St. Louis based one, but if not one of the others. The fact remains that like so many schismatic groups, they were just fine with all but the most recent innovations. In my opinion the only reason to form the ACNA was that orthodoxy was the goal in name only.

Finally, to those that seem to think that WO can be ended in the ACNA and go away by attrition, I say this: that presumes that WO is nothing more than a legislative choice and not a matter prohibited by scripture and even if it were new ordinations like this mean that such attrition will take more that twenty years.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


If you infect your own bloodstream you can't give a healthy transfusion. I understand the idea of communication on some level that may provide the opportunity to help, but not joining in.

Canon Tallis said...

I can understand Charles's view even while knowing that it is ultimately mistaken. There is that wonderful little passage from Alexander Pope which at the moment I am simply too exhausted to look up, but which end "at last embrace" which is what happens to those who attempt to stay engaged with those who have already committed themselves to something so plainly against the will of God that it is, to be blunt, simply beyond discussion.

I remember quite a number of years ago someone attempted to found an Anglican equivalent of the Carthusians. He had no sooner set up that he was asked to lecture about it at Oxford. Instead of coming he sent them a letter saying that to have done so would have been a betrayal of everything which he was hoping to accomplish. This is, I believe, another one of those cases in which our Lord would have said, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them."

George said...

I just wanted to add the REC and APA (you got love all the abbreviations) have been in talks for while about merging the 2 bodies and they had roadmap/plan laid to do so. APA is an Affirming St Louis communion. However, it appears the process has slowed down in regards to the merger. I am not sure if this due the formation of ACNA or just taking the process slowly.

charles said...

A basic political observation-- conservatives in this country have been very good at withdrawing from institutions after a single defeat, handing committees, conferences, and chairmanship to activist minded liberals. The same has been done in the church, not just the anglican one, but all across the old protestant denominations. Now, here you have a situation in ACNA#2, where the ACC or any mid-sized continuing church could have easily tipped the scales, but romano-puritansim has kept them away from the fray.

You really believe the REC is pro-WO? Is FACA pro-WO too? Wow.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Nobody, to my knowledge, has closed the door to communication. But it does not help anybody to compromise our position by entering into a state of communion with them. When they are ready for a genuine infusion of Holy Orders, we must be there for them as well as for everybody else.

George said...

Anyone I have ever talked to in the REC are not pro-WO (this laymen and clergy).

charles said...

I guess, Fr. Hart, all things will work out for the best.

Deacon Down Under said...

Charles the ACNA position is non-different from the TEC/ECUSA. If you are orthodox, then tolerate the ordination of women, but keep your own judgement and maybe run with that judgement in your own Diocese if you must.

There can be no communion with bishops who ordain women. The ordination of women irrevocably fractures communion, places the ordaining bishop in schism and the ordination is invalid anyway.

It is a wonderful idea - tip the scales of the ACNA with the ACC-APCK-UECNA. In order to do so one has to accept impaired communion that is just not possible.

Charles the whole basis on which the ACNA was set up is flawed. Bishop Duncan and the others should have been received into any one of the legitimate orthodox Anglican continuing Churches because there was no need and is no need for the ACNA.

The answer is simple. If you are an orthodox Anglican within the ACNA opposed to the ordination of women, and the liberalism and enmeshment with the values of the secular world that this represents, then leave and come to the continuing Church which is real Anglicanism.

John A. Hollister said...

Charles asked, "How is a non-involvement (on all levels-- e.g., refusing to send an observer to FACA), resistance to WO? It seems to me if a church is going to fight WO, they should be at the meetings and conferences and get a little dirty."

The answer, I think, is found in Abp. Haverland's letter to Abp. Duncan, declining the latter's invitation to the ACNA's organizational meeting. If I understood this letter aright, it could be summarized (without Abp. Haverland's deftness and felicity of phrase) as "We're concerned that if we come to a public event, we will appear to support the insupportable, but at any time we'd be happy to talk with you one-on-one."

In other words, he very definitely left the door open to meaningful talks and included an implicit invitation to such.

It may be that Abp. Haverland has received a response from Abp. Duncan, taking up that implicit offer and encouraging such one-on-one talks, but if he has, I've never seen anything published about it. If he hasn't received such a response, then that would suggest that the ACNA/FACA groups are not at this time interested in substantive discussions about real underlying issues.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me if a church is going to fight WO, they should be at the meetings and conferences and get a little dirty."

I used to think that myself. My parish and I have been around for nearly 30 years, as old-line Continuing Churchmen. When the neo-Anglican movement came along about 7 years ago, I accepted several invitations to attend various gatherings, planning sessions, etc, in those circles. It was made quite plain to me that WO for them was non-negotiable and not up for discussion (not unlike a certain blog we all know of where the word priestess is verboten). It became obvious that their goal was to pick off CC parishes and sign them up for whatever entity they were creating. When I made it clear that we were not for sale, and would have no truck with priestesses directly or indirectly, the invitations abruptly ceased.

One elderly couple affiliated with our parish when it became obvious to them they would not find traditional worship in the neo-Anglican congregation their small parish was merged into. They have been subjected to quite a telephone and e-mail campaign from that quarter, warning them about the "divisiveness" and other evils of the old-line troglodyte Continuers.

My conclusion has been to remain on polite terms with these people, but keep them at a distance. I have no crystal ball to predict what will become of the Neo-Anglican groupings. But my bet is that their future will be similar to the Methodists after the Wesleys were dead. A completely Protestant or sectarian revivalistic movement, with a few trappings of Anglicanism, but nothing more.

The only positive thing which came from my brief foray into neo-Anglicanism was a friendship with one theologically sound TEC clergyman. He prefers to live in his well-fortified catacomb in TEC, rather than getting involved in a group of (his description) "a group of rabble-rousers who have no theology beyond Rick Warren and a dislike for VGR." We do not need allies like that.


charles said...

Dear everyone,

I accept your analysis. My problem is not what you describe but that it doesn't characterize the entire ACNA. ACNA was formed by a number of founding members. You keep describing the "neo" kind. What about those who represent genuine conservativism? We keep lumping the "neo's" in with REC and FinF. I don' think that's a fair way to approach the subject.

I am not saying ACC should be in "communion". Given the ACNA constitution isn't even ratified, I question just what kind of "communion" is the ACNA. But I would like to see the ACC at least 'talk'. REC has invited ACC numerous times to sit on FACA. The ACC won't even do that although the ACA sits on it. In contrast, look at how the OCA took advantage of the ACNA Bedford Conference. What did Bishop Jonah's speech compromise other than harsh criticism against both neo and orthodox Anglicanism?

AB Haverland's statement, "We're concerned that if we come to a public event, we will appear to support the insupportable", did not stop ACC from being present at Bartonville or Fond du Lac. It also didn't stop the ACC from declaring intercommunion with the Diocese of Ballarat while pursuing on-and-off talks with AEC for merger (while AEC sought intercommunion with TEC in 1983). Furthermore, how else to read Section V of the St. Louis Affirmation except as engaging orthodox bishops who might be within WO ordering bodies for talks? Haverland's policy is a recent one in light of past history. I also think it's a mistaken one given the flux of the moment. Scales could have been tipped, and all...

Also, David, I am not a member of REC or ACNA#2. I have visited parishes a number of times, but this was really for the sake of investigating the ACNA/WO question. Right now I am sadly between Anglican churches. I don't even know if I would join REC... I kind of like small "troglodytes".

However, I think an attempt at 'fairness' in needed. The ACNA is not 'homogeneous', especially when REC is conveniently edited out of the description. I also think fraternalism with FACA (rather than with ROCOR) would keep the ACC closer to classical categories, being healthier in the long run to Anglican identity. ACC is not beyond 'observing' an event. As I quoted, she's done it in the past, and more...and she could leverage like REC and OCA today.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fond du Lac? The ACC remains in a concordat with the Province of Christ the King. I don't see the connection between that and the ACNA event (and it was before the ACA sent their letter to Rome). And, again, an OCA bishop is enough of an outsider to be present at an ACNA event without sending the wrong message by it.

But, what communication may be taking place behind the scenes we just don't know.

Anonymous said...

Charles seems a little naive in what he wants the relationship between St Louis Continuers and the Neo-Anglicans to be.

It is a much their responsibility to come to us as ours to come to them. We would have to meet half way, on neutral ground.
I would have no objection to such a meeting.

Several years ago my parish hosted a Synod for our Continuing Church diocese
(we were then temporarily in the Diocese of th Holy Cross). Both Bishop Hewett and I felt it would be nice to invite the local leader of the Neo's, "Area Dean" he was called. He failed to return Bp Hewett's phone call, but when I reached him, he said he was unavailable that day but added pointedly that he would send his assistant, "Mother So & So." I managed to explain politely why this was not acceptable, but his message was very clear. There were plenty of male priests around whom he might have sent.

As long as there is one female deacon in that body (bodies?) and until the heresy is formally repudiated with Anathemas, meaningful communication is not likely to go anywhere.

charles said...

What is a 'neo-anglican'? Is it someone who supplements the 28 with roman Missal devotions? Or is it the revisionist 79? If ACNA was indeed neo-Anglican at its core, it would be a vain enterprise. What persuaded me was the stats Faber at Christian Challenge provided regarding the various constituencies that make up ACNA#2-- amongst these are fellow Anglo-Catholics in Fif as well as the REC. Are the latter "neo-Anglican"? If so, in what respect? Is FACA considered 'neutral ground', ACA and APA already sitting upon it? I see a lot of other alternatives to 'impossiblism' or non-engagement which do not necessarily require any kind of communion with WO bodies...!

charles said...

A lot of stats can be read here,
Reaction to ACNA by Spaulding not Faber (excuse me for that mistake)

Anonymous said...

"Neo-Anglican" has become the moniker for people who prefer the 1979 liturgy or none at all, accept (either actively or passively) female clergy, yet claim to be orthodox, based mostly on their disapproval of VGR and all he represents.

The term is analogous to neo-Conservative and neo-Orthodox. These things look Anglican, or Conservative, or Orthodox at a distance but upon closer inspection turn out to be otherwise.

Another definition of neo-Anglican would be the attempt to be orthodox without being traditional.


+ Peter said...

What makes me extremely wary of ACNA is its "Italian Socialist" personality. The old joke being

Q: "What do you have when you have six Italian Socialists"
A: "Seven different policies"

ACNA encompasses a variety of conservative and neo-con jurisdictions within a not altogether coherent structure. This makes it very difficult for them to get beyond good feeling, and sort out the nuts and bolts of a future neo-con Anglican Church in the USA.

Even in my most optimistic moods I have to say my naural reaction to ACNA is "wait and see." We really do not need to import another load of instability into the developing relationship between ACC, APCK, and UECNA. I think the vbest way of dealing with ACNA for the time being is to maintain friendly informal contacts with sympathetic groups within ACNA, but wait and see how it develops before we consider any sort of formal relationship.