Friday, June 25, 2010

From Virtue Online

My friend David Virtue has posted the following story on VirtueOnline.

Deep Divisions in Traditional Anglican Church Erupt over Pope's offer of Unity
Victoria, BC Cathedral Rector Dismissed by ACA Archbishop

By David W. Virtue
June 25, 2010

The former Rector of St. John the Evangelist, Canon Stanley Sinclair, has been expelled from the cathedral and excommunicated from his parish and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada based in Victoria, BC because he refuses to accept the Pope's offer of unity being promoted by the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Canon Sinclair was summarily dismissed from his post by The Rt. Rev. Peter D. Wilkinson, Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary, who accused Canon Sinclair of "sowing discord", and "going behind my back to spread false information, fear and disunity."

In a letter to Sinclair, which VOL has obtained, Wilkinson described himself as "appalled" and said Sinclair was "duplicitous" and accused him of "shredding his ministry, breaking friendship" and that "a clergyman of your years and maturity should have acted differently. I hope the ends justify the means," he said in a final blast at the priest.

In his response to Wilkinson, Sinclair said the church he has known has been taken from him and wrote, "It seems best to me that in the light of the excommunication, I should resign accordingly from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and express to you, to the Dean and Chapter and the membership of the parish the love and regard we have for all of you."

Sinclair said he had contacted Archbishop James Eugene Provence over the Ordinariate who said it was personal. "I faced the prospect of having no church connection, because of the terms of the Ordinariate, I called an old friend, Archbishop Robert Morse. Like all those clergy who have left the Anglican Church, a period of discernment and consideration of the options preceded any notification of the diocesan, pending a decision.

"I have not urged anyone to leave St. John's, nor do I have any plans whatsoever. I had every intention of informing you well in advance of any decision on my part."

Sinclair said the stress he and many have felt since the publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus has been profound. "In our estimation, and that of many others, our Church as we know it is being taken away from us, though for the noblest motives. We may be mistaken, but this our earnest conviction."

"I never intended the hurt of anyone, and I still regard the publication of the Pro/Con as a necessary independent act. I am sorry that this was perceived as a personal attack or act of treachery."

Reaction to the Archbishop's sacking of Sinclair was swift and condemnatory. One parishioner wrote, "I did not join Saint John's to be a Roman Catholic."

"The meeting after Church was akin to union meetings I have experienced in logging camps; intimidation ruled, stand up and vote; it was not right. After reading the documents, especially the one dated March 12, 2010 to [Cardinal] Joseph Levada; I read what I sensed at the meeting, I am dealing with a stacked deck, this deal was done long before any lay people could vote. Synod in July will be no different.

"I am much troubled how a man of God could write a letter like you wrote to Father Stan. The man you first served under and then excommunicated, that is not the wisdom of God at work. Father Stan was thrown under the bus; did he not help build this Church?

"The Anglican Ordinariate will be a shadow of its former self. I believe the shepherds to be thinking not of the flock but of themselves. I believe our shepherd has misled us and God only knows why."

The parishioner concluded his blast saying that it made no sense why the powers that be at Saint John's would do this to what was started with five members in the congregation. [Is this about progress? power? acknowledgement? career decision? money?]

"It is with a very heavy heart that my family and I bid you and the Church goodbye; we can no longer attend Saint John's."

Prominent Lay Reader, Dr. Geoffrey D. T. Shaw summarized events leading to the parish schism.

"Several years ago our House of Bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church committing us to uphold the doctrines and dogma of the RC Church - without consultation with the clergy or laity. That was a breach of the various constitutions to which we belong.

"The Primate Archbishop Hepworth visited the church to answer questions of concern to members of the parish. The answers to these questions were not satisfactory and later were found to be misleading. The Dean announced from the pulpit that a vote would take place by the parish. Prior to the Synod of the Traditional Anglican Communion where our delegates would be sent to take part in a vote on acceptance of the terms of the Apostolic Constitution.

"A petition was drafted in strict accordance with the Societies Act, B.C. The parish council was asked to arrange a Special General meeting at which two motions would be tabled for a vote. 13 signatories of members of the parish were obtained.

"The petition was handed to the Dean Rev. Shane Janzen at a "coffee break" of parish members following Mass several weeks ago. The Dean approached some of the elderly Signatories and chastised them for adding their signatures. This intimidating tactic resulted in them saying they did not understand what they were signing.

"As Allan Singleton-Wood was the person who delivered the petition to him, he sent a letter to him with a copy to all signatories and members of the parish council accusing Singleton-Wood of telling untruths and falsifying information on the document. He resigned as a lay reader.

"It became increasingly apparent through conflicting statements by the Dean that we were not receiving an accurate picture of the bishops' plan for our church. Because of the absence of proper information, Canon Sinclair drafted a document of "Pros and Cons" of the offer by Rome and sent this to all members of the congregation. It was a very balanced document.

"At Mass the following week Canon Sinclair suffered the humiliation of a strong rebuke from the pulpit for producing a document from which the Dean dissociated himself.

"Canon Sinclair had a telephone discussion with Archbishop Provence, an old friend from a US Anglican Catholic Diocese. The Archbishop reassured him that if members of the church were left with "nowhere to go" he would help in any way he can with pastoral care.

"Singleton-Wood resigned from the parish. He explained to the Dean that he wished to remain an Anglican Catholic and does not intend to become a Roman Catholic. The Dean's letter of response informed him that he would also be removed as a member of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Traditional Anglican Communion (this despite the fact that the Synod of the TAC has not yet had its meeting on whether or not to "go to Rome."

In a Parish Newsletter, The Dean accused Canon Sinclair of lies and duplicity and distributing false information.

The Bishop invited him to lunch and made an offer to rescind the excommunication and reinstate his license on the condition that he withheld any further discussions with other churches until after the Synod.

Canon Sinclair refused and sent a letter to the Bishop accepting the excommunication. The Dean announced a formal meeting of the Parish to take place yesterday, 20th June.

At that meeting it was announced, despite Canon Sinclair's refusal to concede to the Bishop's request, that a reconciliation had taken place and that Canon Sinclair's license had been restored.

"When the bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church they agreed to teach us the RC Catechism, its doctrines and dogma commencing immediately. It also bound us all to uphold RC Canon Law (even though we were already bound by TAC Canon Law. The bishops were at that time bound by the constitutions of the TAC, ACCC and the constitution of the Parish of St John's. Those constitutions were seriously breached by this agreement and were further breached by making these decisions without consultation with the clergy and laity. The Apostolic Constitution will logically make those constitutions obsolete."

In the US, at least one ACA/TAC diocese has said it would not accept Rome's offer setting the stage for schism within the Continuing Anglican church body throughout North America.



Anonymous said...

1. No ACA diocese has officially decided not to accept the Apostolic Constitution. The ACA bishops *have* come up with a plan to provide pastoral care to parishes that wish to remain outside of the ordinariate, while supporting those who wish to be received into the new structure.

2. I know that the bishops of the ACCC have been welcoming questions and encouraging discussion. They are trying to get as many people as possible to synod to allow a full discussion over several days. All members - and all points of view - are welcome. The hope is that people considering leaving will stay in until they've had this chance to hear a full presentation of what is being planned, ask all the questions they desire, and have a comprehensive discussion. They've been asking people to keep cool heads until then.

Fr.James A. Chantler said...

Fr.Sinclair is a good man and a faithful priest who is loved and respected by all except the cabal who have seized control of the Canadian Church.Even the minority of Canadian Churchmen who favour Anglicanorum Coetibus will be shocked to see how Canon Sinclair has been treated.

Canon Tallis said...

And given how much many of love Anglicanism, our particular Book of Common Prayer and our tradition, what else did these folks believe would happen? Did they really think thier folk would follow them over the cliff like lemmings?

Anonymous said...

Someone neeeds to tell these clowns (I refer to TAC bishops) that the time is long past when barbarian kings could order their armies baptized at spear-point. Less than a year ago, certain spokesmen of the TAC were boasting through the various media that they were about to deliver a huge number, somewhere between 400,000 and 700,000 souls, into the Roman Catholic Church. The huge number as never any more than a pure falsehood. But now, parish by parish, they are backing out. No one will be surprised, saved Bishop Hepworth and Cardinal Levada.

Colin Chattan said...

The accusations against Canon Sinclair came from the Rector of St. John's, Fr. Shane Janzen, not from Bishop Wilkinson.

John A. Hollister said...

Two statements from Mr. Virtue's article:

1. "In a Parish Newsletter, the Dean accused Canon Sinclair of lies and duplicity and distributing false information."

Well, as an avowed partisan of a policy that was foisted on the membership of the ACC-Can. without any Synodal action or vote by its clergy and laity, and given the context in which this dispute arose, few would be inclined to question that Dean's expertise in matters of lies, duplicity, and distributing false information.

2. "The Bishop invited him to lunch and made an offer to rescind the excommunication and reinstate his license on the condition that he withheld any further discussions with other churches until after the Synod."

In other words, there are no such thing as free speech or unfettered discussion in the ACC-Can. and, it seems, in the TAC in general. Attempt to debate the merits of a proposal from on high and the penalty for one's presumption is excommunication.

Usually, of course, those who suppress open debate do so because they have cause to fear what may come out during such discussion. What do you suppose is being hidden here?

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Colin Chattan wrote: "The accusations against Canon Sinclair came from the Rector of St. John's, Fr. Shane Janzen, not from Bishop Wilkinson."

If Mr. Virtue's report is to be believed -- and he usually gets his facts right -- it was Bp. Wilkinson who acted on Fr. Janzen's delation by excommunicating Canon Sinclair.

And, according to the same source, it was Bp. Wilkinson who told Canon Sinclair that the price of his remaining in the ACC-Can. and the TAC was his submitting to being muzzled.

So, between Fr. Janzen and Bp. Wilkinson, which is wearing the (other sort of dog) collar and which is holding the leash?

John A. Hollister+

Canon Tallis said...

When people, even clergy, behave in this manner they are telling everyone that they know themselves to be in the wrong. It is something we have seen in TEO for a long, long time, but now to find it in the Continuum - last Sunday's epistle was only too much to the point.

What really is being done in the ACCC/TAC and the TAC as a whole? I hope this somehow comes to the attention of every cleric and layperson in the TAC and it wakes them up to a situation which I find so un-Anglican and unacceptable that it becomes harder and harder to believe that any of this could have been entered into in good faith.

Colin Chattan said...

As I've heard the story, Bishop Wilkinson did not excommunicate Canon Sinclair from the ACCC, rather, Fr. Janzen "excommunicated" Canon Sinclair from St. John's parish (the only parish of the ACCC in Victoria). Subsequently Bishop Wilkinson met with Canon Sinclair, but l don't know the substance of their discussion. Canon Sinclair then formally withdrew from the ACCC. As regards Bishop Wilkinson, Canon Sinclair and Fr. Janzen, if “Fr. Janzen “ is substituted for “Bishop Wilkinson” (and “Rector/Dean of St. John’s” for “Bishop/Archbishop”) down to and including the paragraph,
“Reaction to the Archbishop's sacking of Sinclair was swift and condemnatory. One parishioner wrote, "I did not join Saint John's to be a Roman Catholic"
David Virtue’s account more or less corresponds to the story as I’ve heard it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It boils down to this: An Anglican priest has been dismissed from his post for refusing to be a Roman Catholic. Life imitates a Salvidor Dali painting.

Anonymous said...

"It boils down to this: An Anglican priest has been dismissed from his post for refusing to be a Roman Catholic. Life imitates a Salvidor Dali painting.

Seems to me since the Bishop has declared his intention to convert to RC then he believes his orders are invalid and that he is a layman, in that sense it is only logical that his excommunication is as invalid as any other office he performs.

Why sweat it?

Would any other orthodox bishop consider this a valid act?

Veri: pigent

Colin Chattan said...

"It boils down to this: An Anglican priest has been dismissed from his post for refusing to be a Roman Catholic. Life imitates a Salvidor Dali painting." You're quite right, Father - I mean in no way to diminish the gravity of what has been done, I just wanted to get the facts straight.

I like and admire Bishop Wilkinson: he was one of the co-founders of the Victoria parish and in many ways has been a good spiritual and pastoral guide to the people of St. John's and the ACCC, and one of the sure pillars of the ACCC, right from the beginning. Like all the priests in our Church, he has made enormous personal sacrifices to stand with and serve us, even at the cost of his own health.

That said, I think his current course of action, starting with the signing of the RC Catechism in Portsmouth, is unwise and certainly unpastoral. The unswerving pretension that, in joining an Ordinariate, we'll be merely continuing to eat our Anglican sundae with the addition of a delectable topping of communion with the Bishop of Rome, simply doesn't bear scrutiny. No Anglican since the Elizabethan Settlement has been required to sign on to the peculiar Roman dogmas, such as those involving Mary and papal infallibility. To join an Ordinariate is to become a Roman Catholic with special, limited provisions for liturgy and administration (in Aristotelian terms, the former is the "essence" of the deal, the latter merely "accidents" - wait, have I just stumbled upon a new application of the doctrine of "Transubstantiation"!?!). How then can acceptance of the AC be rationally required of any continuing Anglican? Moreover, the bishops of the ACCC in particular, and, from what I can see, the TAC in general, have been following an unofficial but quite deliberate, comprehensive, and consistent policy of suppressing or, at least, actively discouraging, all rational dissent and debate - as evidenced by the treatment that Canon Sinclair received. The protracted efforts to maintain the Potemkin Village facade may impress, or delude, the Vatican, but they put those of us who wish to remain loyal and faithful to the ACCC as a continuing Anglican Church, built up through the sacrifice and toil of our illustrious forbears such as Bishops de Catanzaro and Woolcock, and Fr. Palmer, in an impossible situation. To my knowledge Bishop Wilkinson has neither officially repudiated Fr. Janzen's atrocious letter (which was either sent or received on Fr. Sinclair's birthday!) nor swerved from the policy of suppressing open dissension. The Harry Truman principle that "the buck stops here" applies just as much to bishops as politicians.

Colin Chattan said...

By the way, I notice that David Virtue has posted the "Pro/Con" document to which I referred in a previous comment at:

It is, in my view, well worth reading in its entirety and it is as balanced and fair a presentation of the issues as you're likely to find - and was only prepared by Fr. Stan because the bishops of the TAC refused to allow any open consideration and debate on such vital issues to take place. But because it doesn't tow the "party-line" Fr. Janzen determined that Fr. Stan had to be frog-jumped out of the church.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This was sent by a link. Bishop Wilkinson has offered his version. You may decide for yourselves whether or not to believe him.
-Fr. Hart

Statement from Bishop Peter Wilkinson

After swimming in the Anglican Continuum shark tank for thirty-seven years I had hoped to escape without attack. It was not to be. There are two causes of the recent little disturbance at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Victoria, BC.

First was the unrelenting attack against the Apostolic Constitution and Norms by a former Rector and a few friends. Last Sunday at a duly called meeting to discuss one Resolution — to seek full communion with the See of Peter according to the Apostolic Constitution and Norms, and to support the Bishops of the ACCC in requesting the formation of a Personal Ordinariate in Canada — the Cathedral parish gave it an overwhelming Yes. Those who wrote the Letter to Virtue were obviously disappointed.

Second, and connected with it, was the invitation by the same former Rector to invite an American bishop of the Continuum to come to Victoria (while all of us were at Synod in Vancouver) to discuss alternative oversight for those who could not accept the Ordinariate thus breaking his oath of obedience to the Ordinary. After meeting with him last Saturday, he and I were completely reconciled and the excommuncation lifted.

Then later the same day, after writing to the local clergy to apologize for what he had done and the distress he had caused his fellow priests, he wrote me to say that he now chose to remain excommunicated and resign from the ACCC. He wrote a gracious letter to me. To the Dean, Chapter and Members of the Cathedral Parish of Saint John the Evangelist he wrote:

Dear Friends in Christ:

Bishop Peter, in his usual gracious manner, has offered terms of reconciliation. I love all of you and do not wish to be on anything less than terms of Christian friendship with you. But after thought and prayer, I have decided to accept excommunication, knowing that we still remain united in the faith of Christ, which is our true basis of unity….

In this charitable fashion the matter should have ended. Unhappily it was not permitted to.

+Peter Wilkinson OSG

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Former Anglican has attacked the honesty both of David Virtue and Fr. Sinclair. Notice, in the above comment, Bp. Wilkinson's term, "...the unrelenting attack against the Apostolic Constitution and Norms..."

So now, defending Anglicanism is something that TAC clergy must relent from doing. Refusing to subject oneself to Rome and its terms of surrender is some sort of treason, punishable by excommunication-excommunication from an alleged, or self-proclaimed, Anglican bishop for refusing to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Remember folks, the main ingredient for tarts is pepper.

W.A. Whitestone said...

Councils and all men err. The RC, despite many strengths and beauties, has its full share of errors in doctrine and practice. Their Catechism teaches a compromised Faith. Besides the doctrinal errors you named in the article above, the RC Catechism #841 gushingly affirms a despicable murderous religion and names it as as the first religion after Christianity. This has proven to be a dangerous and metastasizing error, one that has opened the door to more errors of syncretism and pluralism in many minds and hearts in the RC and beyond, giving place to the devil in the Church.

As you pointed out in the

W. A. Whitestone said...

My apologies. Somehow, I did not scan my entire comment into the little box...(and I think this comment would have been more appropriate if posted at Fr. Hart's post above)

As you (Fr. Hart) pointed out in his comprehensive arguments above, the Roman church has decided she is without peer and is the arbitor of Christendom and has thus operated without submission to or benefit of the counsel of the whole Church. On her own recognizance, the Roman Church has created dogmas and doctrines and practices (not to mention thousands of saints) based on complex in-house eisegesis and her own rubrics that are not congruent with the whole counsel of scripture or with the mind of the whole Church through history. The result is an idiosyncratic theology that has as many unseemly and excessive additions as Rococo architecture (especially the Germanic versions).

Through the centuries, when she has acted politically and violently, shedding the blood of other Christians to vaunt or maintain her own power and self-interests, she has made herself not a church, but a political state and part of the world system. The actions and dealings of the Roman Church in the centuries after Constantine onwar, through the Crusades, with Emperors and Kings, with Nazi Germany, in Croatia, on to the present as the sexual abuse and Maciel scandals have exposed her political and reprehensible acts. In doing all these things, the Roman church has, in fact, acted sinfully and schismatically. She has willfully departed from the Church Universal. For the Roman Church to reunite with the Church Universal on earth would require Rome to undergo great grief and Godly sorrow and in humble repentance renounce these actions and errors.

May the Lord be merciful, grant her the grace and humility to face the truth, to engage in true sorrow unto complete repentance. Amen