Thursday, September 02, 2010

New questions

Will the unhappy Anglican Church in America (ACA) bishops (The Rt. Rev. Brian R. Marsh, The Rt. Rev. Stephen D. Strawn, The Rt. Rev. Daren K. Williams) break from Abp. Hepworth?

If they do, will they try to remain independent, or seek Reunion with the Chambers Succession churches (ACC/UECNA/APCK), or will they turn to Presiding Bishop Walter Grundorf of the Anglican Province in America (APA)?

Concerning the last question, it appears that inherent hierarchical ACA/TAC sentiments could lead them to avoid the Anglican Catholic Church by any means necessary, even though no good reason seems to justify this built-in reaction. But, can they expect their rank and file to go into the APA willingly? It is a better option than Rome, for those who wish to be Anglican. But, would it not merely delay or prevent the ultimate unity among the Chambers/St. Louis churches that has been overdue for decades?

At this time it seems obvious, no matter what else may come, that Abp. Hepworth has sold them his last bill of goods.


Anonymous said...

Did anyone ever write a biography of Bp Chambers?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Fr. Hart for focusing the attention of the Conintuum where it should be--on itself. For those in the Continuum who want to be Roman Catholic, I say goodbye and best wishes; end of discussion of that topic, period. As for those who wish to continue, what better place to vet ideas that at the Continuum; beginning of discussion, ellipsis ....

AFS1970 said...

I am not sure joining the APA will simply delay reunion with the ACC/UECNA/APCK if for no other reason than that there are some in those bodies that do not recognize bodies once removed from the St. Louis churches as legitimate continuing churches. Given this, I do not think that reunion with the APA is possible right now. So As much as I am an advocate of the continuum coming together, I realize that there are different definitions of continuum that will for the foreseeable future prevent that.

I also think that there is a lingering effect of all the splits we have seen in the continuum, almost despite the reasons behind them. While reunion should be the goal, we have already resigned ourselves that full reunion is not going to happen. In the start reunion with Canterbury was desirable, now it is not. However I think that once we realized that we were truly on our own in that regard, it became so much easier to justify existing as small groups. Sadly the longer we live like this, the harder and harder it is to find other orthodox bodies, as even Africa is beginning to fall.

So I think that the majority of jurisdictions do not see unity as all that critical and the older groups do not always see the younger groups as worthy of that unity. ACA seems to fall somewhere in the middle of those two categories.

Fr. Steve said...

My question is this. Why AREN'T we in talks with the APA? And why do those Bishops and their people need to go to the ACC? The APCK and the UECNA that are viable options as well. If they cannot get along with the ACC corporately, then why not join another group who has communion with the ACC, while not having to live under their canons?

The problem I see is that we are not working hard enough towards unity. We don't HAVE to all join as one under the ACC banner. In fact, it might be best if we just did away with the three jurisdictions altogether in favor of starting missionary dioceses in each state that has continuing churches, and having them call one of the Bishops we already have as their leader. Once all of that is established, then a "national" or even "international" church polity can be established.

In other words, instead of working from the top down, start from the bottom and work up. It just makes more since.

John A. Hollister said...

Clearly, Fr. Hart has received some particular inside word regarding the three ACA Bishops he named and especially regarding why they are, at this particular moment, unhappy.

If he can share any of that without breaking any confidences, such as if there have been pastoral letters circulated or newsletter or bulletin notices posted, expressing concern about the Romeward impetus, it would be useful and interesting to know those things.

John A. Hollister+
veriword -- can you believe it? -- "shisms"

John A. Hollister said...

I just reviewed the "Frequently Asked Questions" ("FAQs") posted on the ACA's website following the ACA Bishops' meeting in March, 2010.

Those FAQs say that the ACA's Bishops "requested the implementation of the Ordinariate" in order to have something with which to dialogue, that "Anglicanorum coetibus" provides only a general framework that must be fleshed out, and that they expect to negotiate with any such Ordinariate on details satisfactory to the ACA.

Since the Romans appear to expect that Romeward-inclined Anglicans will join the Ordinariates, not dicker with them, and seem to believe they have provided final answers to all questions in the Apostolic Constitution and its accompanying General Norms, one wonders whether they are aware of the ACA's interpretation of the tentative, mutable status of these documents?

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Anon - Are you volunteering to write Bishop Chambers' biography?


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Steve:

The problem is that such an alignment (with the APA), though better than any Roman option, is not reconciliation and reunion. It is just another way of avoiding it. Furthermore, your proposal about dismantling our internationally organized church amounts to nothing more than the disintegration of an existing church body (which has been in place since 1978). This would create chaos, not a force for good. The idea is, basically, a proposal that we commit suicide.

AFS1970 said...

The idea that joining with either the APCK or UECNA is a viable option to avoid being part of the ACC and under their canons is a poor reason to join either body. They are viability stands on it's own not in opposition to another.

As unity progresses, at least with those three bodies, any eventual merged body will likely contain canons brought over from the individual churches. The leadership will likely be made up in some form from the leadership of the individual churches. While I am no fortune teller and can not tell who will fill what role or which canons will survive the transition, I can say that a merger will consist of those that elect to merge.

So anyone that joins one in the hopes that they will not have to join another, will in the end find themselves having to work against the unity that is already in progress. That is a position that non of us should ever hope to find ourselves in.

George said...

Fr. Hart,

I am curious what your source is for the 3 Bishops that are not happy etc..? As I am a part of one of these dioceses and i am curious what the Bishops who are not interest in the Roman option (like myself) what there plans are.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

A writer named Michael has left one of those comments that is best treated as if it were a conversation. It is posted below in its entirety, and with my responses.

M: If unity with Rome is anathema to you - unless it is on your own terms - then how can you fault people who will not be united with you except on their terms?

RH+: To reduce theological debate, especially concerning established and centuries old issues, to accusations that anyone on either side is demanding his "own terms" is childish. If you want to discuss this seriously, then cut out the silliness.

M: If it is not an imperative for the Catholic Church as a whole to be reconciled in one corporate body, then how could anyone logically see unification of the Anglican Continuum as such an imperative?

RH+: Because the first is goal that cannot be achieved in our life times; and if there is any chance of it, it will not be with little tiny splinter groups. And, about the Continuing Church, it is far more unified than you realize. Also, it is time for the Romans and for the Eastern Orthodox to see that their talks with Canterbury are a waste of time. They ought to be talking with us instead.

M: Disunity begets disunity.

RH+: If you would be realistic for a moment, you would have to apply that premise to the division that has existed between the Two One True Churches since 1054. If you saw the value of restoring true Anglicanism, which requires our fidelity to truth, you would be realistic in seeing that most easily through the Anglican bridge is real progress likely to be be made. By real progress, I mean more than the superficial and symbolic gestures that alone have survived 1976.

M: If I do not have to be united with any sort of universal primate (such as the Bishop of Rome), then I can certainly think of no reason why I must be united with any sort of Anglican primate - whether in the Anglican Communion, or the Anglican Catholic Church.

RH+: The idea of a Universal Primate has never been universally accepted--ironic, isn't it? The first time it was tried in practice, which was in 1054, it was rejected by four entire Patriarchates. Later, they were joined by a fifth, namely Moscow. The separated existence of the Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism, in schism from each other, shoots down the whole idea. Universal Primacy remains a doctrine unique to Rome, and has never existed as a real or workable fact.

As for you, why indeed should you come under an Anglican Primate? Unless you are an Anglican, it is a pointless question.