The Sad State of the Traditional Anglican Communion
March 22, 2011 6 Comments
TAC: The Unhappy Anglican House of Archbishop John Hepworth
Confusion reigns over Pope’s offer of Anglicanorum Coetibus
A personal ordinariate offered by Pope Benedict XVI for traditionalist Anglicans has divided the American branch of the of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) – the Anglican Church in America – causing an irreparable schism in that body of Anglo-Catholics.
The Traditional Anglican Communion was formed in 1991. Archbishop Louis Falk served as its first primate. He was succeeded in 2002 by Archbishop John Hepworth of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia. The TAC exists in Africa, Australia, the Torres Strait, Canada, Central and South America, England, Ireland, India, Pakistan, Japan and the United States. The vast majority of its members are in India and the Torres Strait.
The TAC is not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is independent of the Anglican Communion. The TAC upholds the theological doctrines of the Affirmation of St. Louis (1977) with its members self-described as Anglo-Catholics in their theology and liturgical practice. Some parishes use the Anglican Missal in their liturgies. The TAC is guided by a college of bishops from across the communion and headed by an elected primate. TAC churches separated themselves from Anglicans principally over the ordination of women, liturgical revisions, the acceptance of homosexuality and the importance of tradition.
The Pope’s offer to orthodox Anglicans, however, has produced unintended consequences.
Five Church of England bishops with 800 former Anglicans and some 60 priests under their instruction have been the chief beneficiaries of the ordinariate. It also includes three SSM Sisters from Walsingham. There are also three more women who have joined them. Three former C of E bishops have been made monsignors. So far, there has been no mention of the Traditional Anglican Communion, even though they have been in the forefront of wanting such an arrangement with Rome.
The truth is, however, Rome is being very cautious with them. Archbishop Vincent Nichols recently invited Bishop David L. Moyer, who also doubles as a priest of the TEC Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, PA, and his wife to England for the Beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman in September 2010. However, he was politely given the brush off when he sought to be an Episcopal Visitor at the ordination of the English bishops to Rome when he was told that it was an “English” event where he would not be welcome. In a letter written to TAC clergy, Moyer described his feelings waiting on the sidelines as “frustrating” and “regrettable, but it is the reality”.
There is more reality to come. The Vatican has answered the requests of various Anglican groups for full communion by issuing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, thus opening the possibility of corporate reunion with Rome for some Anglicans. To date, it has not embraced the TAC even though overtures between TAC and Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the pope’s representative on the Ordinariate and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Roman Curia, have been strong.
The question is why? There are several reasons…
Whatever the future holds for the Traditional Anglican Communion and its Archbishop John Hepworth, Rome’s silence speaks volumes…
You can read on here.
It’s messy, speaks of schism and is, in reality, very sad!