Wednesday, April 21, 2010


According to a few different sources in more than one country, some of the bishops of the Traditional "Anglican" Communion (T "A" C) have banned this blog. One priest even suffered some penalty for having commented here (by name-which is how they knew). What can I say, except to quote our Lord? "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." We have shined nothing more than the light of truth, stating facts that contradict the spin of Abp. Hepworth and his followers. Nonetheless, the people of the TAC/ACA are not our enemies, and we hope that they will continue to turn to The Continuum for the truth, and that when their bishops have gone to the Tiber, they will know that there remains a home for them in the Continuing Church (see our essays on the new page).

On another thread, a commenter wrote the following:

"As a last desperate move Abp.Hepworth is now telling clergy that he will be departing for Rome to negotiate a further deal with the Roman Catholic Church. He further tells them that he is going to be made an Archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church, this is in contrast to what we feel is going to happen, i.e. he is going to retire. That would be logical taking into account the relevant canons of the Roman Catholic Church. Then there is the promise that TAC Clergy will be automatically accepted by Rome, don't have to be re-ordained and they can remain Anglicans. These promises clash with the contents of the Apostolic Constitution and can only come from an Abp, who is a politician, but not a clergyman"

At the time, I wrote this in reply:

"I would be more comfortable with some confirmation that Abp. Hepworth has made such a wild claim. I would not put it past him, but I must caution readers at this point that it is not yet verified."

But, now I can verify part of it, and from my own notes on the day in 2008 when I interviewed Abp. Hepworth in Timonium, Maryland. He did insist that we and others were wrong in stating that he would have to step down once the TAC was in some sort of formal relationship with Rome. He insisted that the leaders of the CDF liked him, and have said that he would remain the man in charge. The fact that after his ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood, and after his joining the Anglican Church, he was married, divorced (with an annulment) and married again, makes what he says about himself utterly impossible.

At the time, in 2008, he expressed willingness for the TAC/ACA clergy to be re-ordained (so to speak), in his words "to make our ministry available to the larger Catholic Church." If, concerning the part that remains unverified, he has made the promise to other clergy that they will be received in their orders, it is all of one piece. Neither promise is possible, not concerning himself, not concerning the other clergy.

Why, if Anglicanorum Coetibus is all they have tried to make of it (as opposed to what it really says), would further negotiations with Rome be necessary? To avoid re-ordination? To change the rules about impediments? Or, is the trip to Rome a paper tiger, meant to stall the laity while they think of something? Sadly, it would probably do the trick for a while.


Anonymous said...

According to a few different sources in more than one country, some of the bishops of the Traditional "Anglican" Communion (T "A" C) have banned this blog.

Fr Hart,

If you are going to print these statements, then at least have the decency to say which countries the TAC bishops have banned this blog. I can tell you that in my country this blog has not been banned. Also, I have not heard of bishops banning 'The Continuum' in the TAC - I for one would defend the individuals right to read your blog or any other blog of this nature, though I do not agree with your style of attack and depth of anger at the TAC or, any other Church Denomination. Blogs are dangerous places to be, especially when we read about information that can't be backed up.


FrEdBakker said...

Dear Father Robert et al,

As a former TAC Priest, who did not want to become a Roman Catholic and lay down his Anglican Orders, I did share the concern with my former Collegue Priests, that in some cases , according to the Roman Canons, they would be considered too old to be ordained as RC Priests , or they did not have enough education and further study would be required.It would be fair to say that a large number of TAC Clergy are in the older age group and certainly dont all have Master degrees in Theology. Lic.Theology, yes that they have.So if Rome applies the canons, which have not been changed for years and years, then it a lot of clergy finds themselves back in the pews. Archbishop Hepworth thinks that he can fix all this with Rome by organizing special deals, but let us face it, Rome does not do deals, Rome only makes an unconditional offers. Bear in mind that such statements made by Archbishop Hepworth also clash with comments made by the Auxiliary RC Bishop of Melbourne, Monsigneur Peter Elliott, who clearly states that clergy have to be assessed and possibly be re-ordained. There is no automatic acceptance.

Oddly enough Bishop George Langberg saw the light, he said that if he did not make the grade to become an ordinary, he would be happy to rejoyce in the chorus !

Let us be realistic, the way the Apostolic Constitution is put together would indicate that quite a few TAC Clergy would be " rejoycing " in the chorus."

I personally find that within the TAC they so readily use the word " moved by the Holy Spirit " a group of Bishops went to Portsmouth to sign the document accepting the Roman Catholic Cathechism and alligning themselves to the Holy Father. I have always felt that it was a political drive initiated by Archbishops Hepworth and Falk.

No doubt the two clergymen just mentioned also credited the " most generous offer" by Pope Benedict as the work of the Holy Spirit. But how can it be the work of the Holy Spirit, if one is asked to lay down one's valid Anglican Orders and one is only allowed to do their " Anglican thing " as a fully fledged Roman Catholic Priest.? How on earth can we label the Apostolic Constitution as Church Union? How much do we have to shake a person in order to convince them that it is basically a takerover bid?

Since the Apostolic Constitution came out, was it October last year? I have had a terrible struggle with my conscience, but thank God I left the TAC and thank God, the Bishop, who ordained me has followed his conscience as well and is leaving soon. ( No doubt I will get another slap on the hand for saying this - although overseas they seem to know all about it.

By the way, I know that many TAC Clergy read this blog, your Archbishop has only approved the Anglican Catholic blog, written by the Churchwarden of Orlando Cathedral. So you should not be reading my commentary.

It is all very well to say to your Clergy you are not allowed to read this blog or that blog or write on this blog, but dont we as Anglican Catholics have a conscience, which dictates us to write the truth?

Father Ed Bakker SSM
New Zealand

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

I am not surprised at your post here and God knows that you are on the side of the angels. Of course, neither the priests, deacons and laity in the ACA are enemies of any true Anglican. If anything, their situation speaks to our own in the days before the Congress of St Louis. They stand in a situation in which the places which they worship may soon simply vanish leaving them only with their prayer books and a memory of what was a refuge from the default of the Episcopal establishment.

On the other hand, the sort of tactics being used the TAC prelates are not unknown among the "partisan Anglo-Catholic" episcopate of the ACC. A recent blog has been shut down because the blogger wandered too close to the ideals of those who believe that the prayer book tradition is more nearly Anglican than that of those who use the missal and prefer the ornaments and ceremonial of the Roman Church since the pontificate of a member of my family who developed a very bad reputation. (How is that for skirting a genealogical issue?)

Since I firmly believe that everyone in the Continuum - or who even claims to be in the Continuum - should be reading this blog daily, I don't like the idea of a ban on ideas where the intent is on making us better Anglicans and better Christians. But that applies all the way around. But I suspect the bishop involved - and it is only one bishop - never bothers to read this blog, but I do want all of us to push for the highest standard of what a classical Anglicanism means in all the areas of our life.

John A. Hollister said...

Not to make a pun, I think Fr. Hart has put his finger on the heart of the matter. First, when "Anglicanorum coetibus" was issued, it was greeted by TAC hierarchs and representatives as the "answer" to the TAC's own requests to Rome and, at least implicitly, as everything the TAC desired or wanted.

Aside from the small fact that it now appears "A.C." was the answer to someone else's request to Rome, it is incontestible that the same ones who said it has given everything their hearts desired (again, no pun intended), are now saying its terms must be renegotiated.

Having recently taken my 9-year-old to another child's birthday party, this image pops into my mind of a kid ripping the fancy paper off a package and saying, "Thanks for the gift. It's something I really, really wanted! Oh, and now let's sit down and negotiate what you're really going to give me...."

John A. Hollister+
"dodde", as in "don't dodde; hurry up!"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

On the other hand, the sort of tactics being used the TAC prelates are not unknown among the "partisan Anglo-Catholic" episcopate of the ACC. A recent blog has been shut down...

Canon Tallis:

I do not question your word at all, but my own experience has been entirely positive. Archbishop Haverland himself is also my Diocesan Ordinary, and never once has he presumed to run this blog or to take advantage of his position as either my bishop or as metropolitan.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Thomas wrote:

If you are going to print these statements, then at least have the decency to say which countries the TAC bishops have banned this blog...though I do not agree with your style of attack and depth of anger at the TAC...

So far Australia, Canada, and even, yes, the eastern United States- at least when a person commented by name (and that i know for sure). As for my depth of anger with the TAC, it is exactly none at all. Can you not perceive of disagreement and responsible truth telling without an emotional knee jerk reaction as the motivation? You sound like a Democrat politician.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart said......Can you not perceive of disagreement and responsible truth telling

Father - First you must know the truth, before you can tell the truth.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

How cute. Can I refuse to quote you on that?

Brian said...

I'm sure this ban will work as well as the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

Deacon Down Under said...

Dear Fr. Bakker - thank you for sharing the story of your experience within the TAC with us.

The bottom line with the AC and the TAC is that we have no credible evidence of the "all will be revealed soon" been put out by the TAC in relation to special deals for the TAC.

The AC is the AC. Take it or leave it. If one takes it, then know that you are denying Anglican priestly orders, denying our place in the Catholic and Apostolic Church. You cannot conclude anything else.

This wholesale abandonment of orders by those who embrace the Apostolic Constitution is a form of denial of God's grace and truth.

Why would Rome makes special provision for the TAC bishops and clergy and not Forward in Faith and other Anglican priests? Again, this makes no sense.

I can only pray that the Lord will draw Fr. Bakker and other TAC priests to the Anglican Catholic Church where we know our orders, sacraments and Catholic life are real.

George said...

How can you ban a blog? This sounds like book burning type stuff.

I thought part of being Anglican was having an open mind, to read, listen, and understand different perspectives. This doesn't me we have to agree or internalize what others say.

I'm a member of the ACA and this blog has pushed me to do a lot more reading on our "Anglican Patrimony". I went back read all of Hall's "Dogmatic Theology".

AnglicanContinuer said...

Anonymous said...

"Father - First you must know the truth, before you can tell the truth."

Thomas: From the days when my parish was affiliated with the ACA to now as an interested non-ACA bystander, I've continually encountered statements to the effect that those not in favor of the AC did not know the facts or the truth, but with no supporting statements as to what the facts are or the truth is. Please, Thomas, can you clearly and distinctly tell us what truth Father Hart is missing here?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"How cute. Can I refuse to quote you on that?"

Father Hart: I applaud your efforts to expose fallacies regarding the AC, but is condescension really the best type of reply (however deserved)?

A Continuer

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis wrote this comment, and we had cyber trouble posting it.

Father Hart,

I thought I hinted enough that it wasn't Archbishop Hart by my remark about a personal belief that the ordinary in question doesn't read this blog. I think we all know that the archbishop does read and even contribute to it in a positive manner. Indeed he is so the authentic Anglican that he tells the truth about himself and the ACC in a manner not entirely to it's or his advantage. And that is a man you can trust even when you still have issues about what is authentically Anglican and fear that what is being done lessens the evangelical impact of the ACC and the whole of the Continuum. I know that I am personally grateful that he is your diocesan and for your relationship with him. Why? Because it so clearly benefits us all. Considering what we began with at St Louis and subsequently at Denver the quality of our bishops have improved very impressively. But they are as yet not perfect nor should we expect them to ever be.

On the other hand, we have every right collectively and individually to expect their first loyalty be to the Catholic faith as we find it expressed in the traditional and historical formulas enshrined in the prayer book tradition. We now are in the process of seeing what happens when bishops and others whose love and loyalty lies outside our tradition. People who depended upon them, communities who have depended upon their ordination oaths are now finding themselves soon to be without a familiar and supportive worship or parish community.

John A. Hollister said...

George wrote, "[T]his blog has pushed me to ... read all of Hall's 'Dogmatic Theology'."

And that was time very well spent, wasn't it? Not only is Hall remarkably easy reading, at least considering his subject matter, but I always come away from him with a firm sense of reassurance.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

The stray thought crosses my mind that trying to "ban" a blog is a remarkably silly exercise. I would love to ban the mosquitoes that cluster around my back door, but somehow they keep slipping into the house.

And how does one enforce one's wishes? I can't slap even one of those mosquitoes unless she flies near enough for me to get to her.

Similarly, any reader whose ecclesial overseers have "banned" this or any other forum could only be detected in evading that ban if (s)he posted a comment, and where the Blogspot software allows comments to be anonymous, that is all that is required to evade censorship.

Then, of course, there is the ultimate question: If no one from a particular body is reading this blog, how does any member of that body know that another has cheated on the ban? Hmmm? Isn't that a bit like the old Soviet Union, where many books and magazines were banned (from being read by ordinary folks) but members of the "Nomenklatura" could read them so as to be able to detect their dangerous thoughts???

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis wrote:

I thought I hinted enough that it wasn't Archbishop Hart...

Of course this was a typo, and he meant to say Archbishop Haverland. Or, I resist the attempt to put a curse on me.

Canon Tallis said...

Amen and amen. It may be taken for a typo, but ultimately I wouldn't be really unhappy if it came to pass. But our very good Father Hart is probably smart enough to know what a curse it might possibly be. I am sure that Archbishop Haverland does. But he has probably forgiven those who thrust it upon him.

Anonymous said...

"How can you ban a blog? This sounds like book burning type stuff."

Ever heard of King Canute?


Anonymous said...

Back in January I preached a sermon on authentic Church unity and subsequently posted it on my blog. Because I used the dreaded "A" word (absorption) to make a point, and that not even in a perjorative or sarcastic way which was clear from the context, I was subsequently contacted via e-mail and phone and told to remove the post. My point was simply that those taking up the offer in Anglicanorum Coetibus ought to be running toward a goal (becoming Anglican Use Roman Catholics, which means full acceptance of all that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches) and not away from present difficulties within Anglicanism itself. Is that really such an unreasonable train of thought?

Unfortunately, there seems to be no place for honest discourse within the TAC right now, and that is a terrible tragedy. Those of us, clergy and lay, who are 'left behind' (if we are graced with the fortitude to do so) will have quite a mess to clean up once the dust settles.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Wells wrote, "'"How can you ban a blog? ....' Ever heard of King Canute?"

The same thought had occurred to me but, while I am sure Fr. Wells knows the true story, that good King's actual behavior is too often forgotten. In fact, he is one of two of my favorite historical figures who are routinely tagged with supporting precisely that which they were protesting against. (The other is Douglas Corrigan.)

Canute's famous act of ordering the tide to halt was intended as a lesson to his sycophantic courtiers, who had suggested he was so powerful he could do anything his whim devised. So it wasn't the King who made a fool of himself that day.

And so, as Fr. Wells implied, banning a blog is about as useful an endeavor as is ordering the tide to halt. (In the Midwest farm country where I grew up, they had another way of expressing that same idea, only it involved male breeding stock of the porcine persuason.)

John A. Hollister+

RSC+ said...

I'm finding the whole mess Over There to be extremely disheartening for a number of reasons.

First, the repeated attacks on Archbishop Haverland -- referring to him as a Pope, referring to St. Stephens as "The One Holy Anglican-Catholic Church of Athens, Georgia," is absurd. Anyone who has ever met the Archbishop or read anything he's written with any seriousness knows this is so. Another fellow refers to the ACC as the "Anglo-Luther Catholic Church," which is also comically misinformed. Again, one need only spend about five minutes speaking with the Archbishop on Luther to know that this is so.

Second, they have this peculiar idea that this blog is, somehow, officially connected to the ACC, and that the positions of its authors represent the ACC's official positions. I don't think Frs. Hart, Kirby, or Nalls believe this. And I'm even more certain Bp. Robinson, whose addition contributions here are most excellent, believes it. Such an arrangement may well be the case Over There. I haven't a clue whether that is the case, and I could hardly care less.

The third point relates, in a way, to the second. Some folks have a hard time disassociating official documents from unofficial opinions. For the same reason that the writers here are not the official representatives of this or that body, the various folks opining about the Ordinariate are not, either. We here have responsibly stuck to the texts themselves, which is the sensible thing to do until the Vatican releases more documents. As I've said many, many times -- the ball is entirely in their court, and I pretty much trust them at face value.

Recently someone spoke about the "spirit" of the Vatican documents. Paul would be perplexed at such a usage. The "spirit" of Text A does not ever equal the opposite of the letter of Text A. So, for example, the Vatican documents place very clear terms about the manner in which folks are to hop over (to whom I say, again, "Godspeed!"). Anything which plainly contradicts those terms must be some kind of a special arrangement.

Again, the sensible thing to do is look for official documents from the Vatican and to accept them at face value. This act, I think, is the faithful thing to do, and it is what we, for our part, have striven to do.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Two points about what Shaughn has said:

1. Such an arrangement may well be the case Over There.

It is the case Over There. Mr. Campbell is Abp. Hepworth's main man, his chief contact, in the U.S. This gives him a strange sort of power over the ACA bishops. The ACA website recently asserted that it was the only official website of their church; but Campbell's blog is far more reflective of Hepworth.

2. Again, the sensible thing to do is look for official documents from the Vatican and to accept them at face value.

Exactly. That is what we have done with Anglicanorum Coetibus, while the TAC/ACA spin has been to add promises to its contents that contradict what it really says.

Michael said...


The reference to the "Anglo-Luther Catholic Church" that you saw in a comment on The Anglo-Catholic should have read "Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church", and refers to an actual (albeit small) Lutheran jurisdiction, which has appealed to the Holy See for unity with the Roman Catholic Church.

BTW, never heard anything about the blog being banned. Guess I'll find out... midnight call from the bishop... ahh... how does he know what site I'm on... he's in my head... ahh... save yourselves from the evil TAC purple carde... Save me...

(You guys have obviously been drinking too much coffee.)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Oh, "obviously." The information from my sources has not a thing to do with it.

Canon Tallis said...

Excellent post, Saughn!

But I am wondering, don't the ACA bishops or whoever know anything about reverse psychology? Both of my grandfathers told me that I wasn't allowed to read certain books and it was years before i discovered that they really intended for me to read them. It worked on my own children as well which makes me wonder if they might not actually want all of their clergy to actually be reading this blog. I certainly want all the clergy in the Continuum to read it. Maybe we could get Archbishop Haverland to ban it as well. It is certainly worth thinking about.

John A. Hollister said...

Shaughn wrote, "Recently someone spoke about the 'spirit' of the Vatican documents. Paul would be perplexed at such a usage. The 'spirit' of Text A does not ever equal the opposite of the letter of Text A."

Indeed, prior to 1970, one would have thought not. However, for decades after that date, in Roman Catholic circles in this country (the USA) and, for all I know, abroad as well, all one heard was how "the 'spirit' of Vatican II" authorized, nay, even demanded, innovations and changes that the Council's own texts never countenanced.

In fact, in the case of the uninspiring and inaccurate ICEL English version of the Novus Ordo Missae (and, I am told, similarly some other vernacular translations into other languages), that flew directly in the face of Vat. II's direction that the Mass is and must remain in Latin.

So, rational as Shaughn's position is, for the past 40 years it has not been what one actually encounters on the R.C. street. Now, "the spirit of X." appears to be an accepted Roman hermeneutic for contradicting whatever the text of X. really says. Thus one can hardly blame the TAC representatives for falling right in line with four decades of their new masters' implicit example.

John A. Hollister+

RSC+ said...


Re - Anglican Lutherans - So it is. Mea Culpa. More power to that body, I suppose. Carry on.

Ken said...

FWIW, the AngloCatholic blog is saying that there is no "secret deal" in the background but just communications with the CDF about practical considerations for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution.

Also there was a veiled reference to bishop(s) that have been concecrated since the 2007 catechism signing and their responsibility to the path that has been taken.