That’s the word on the current state of a Personal Ordinariate here is South Africa, according to Virtue Online quoting an e-mail recieved from our Bishop, Michael Gill, as a ‘news exclusive’ (emphasis mine):
The Southern Africa Bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Rt. Rev. Michael Gill, says there will be no Ordinariate in Southern Africa, and that the only route open to those wishing to join the Roman Catholic Church would be that of individual conversion, requiring, “…in some cases going back to Baptism…”.
Following revelations that the vast majority of traditionalist Anglicans (Anglo-Catholics) around the world do not want unity with Rome, including the majority of the Anglican Church in America (ACA), Bishop Gill wrote VOL in an e-mail to clarify his church’s position.
“In September of 2010, I met face to face with Archbishop George Daniel of the Roman Catholic Church specifically to discuss Anglicanorum Coetibus. (He is one of the senior men in Anglican/Roman Catholic conversations in Southern Africa and is himself a convert from Anglicanism). I did this precisely because of the amount of speculation that was flying around as to the implementation of the document Anglicanorum Coetibus. It is not a document open to interpretation. It is what it is.
“It was made very clear from the outset that there would be no Ordinariate in Southern Africa, and that the only route open to those wishing to join the Roman Catholic Church would be that of individual conversion, requiring, and I quote, “…in some cases going back to Baptism…” I had not expected to hear anything different, having actually read Anglicanorum Coetibus.”
Bishop Gill said there was nothing uncharitable in the discussion with the archbishop, “it was simply the facts, honestly put, according to the document. I have reported on this meeting to my Diocesan Standing Committee. The matter will be raised when we next have a Synod. I think that puts our ‘not applying’ for an Ordinariate in perspective?
“That the Anglican Church in America has called on Archbishop John Hepworth to resign is the opinion of their Bishops and clergy meeting in their Synod. I do appreciate the pastoral tone of what could have been a far more hostile statement, but it does need to be said that Archbishop Hepworth has been making retire/resign noises for the past three years, citing a variety of reasons.
“Archbishop John Hepworth has exposed some of his deeper thoughts on Anglicanism in recent interviews and these are indeed cause for concern, as he has publically declared the Roman Church as his first love and alluded that his commitment to Anglicanism was never wholehearted. He is, sadly, no longer supplying any spiritual leadership to his Bishops or the people of the TAC, and the silence from the Office of the Primate has been deafening. Many of us have had almost no indication of life from that quarter for the past three years, let alone leadership. To resign or retire will have to be his decision, although I doubt it should be a difficult one, given his current circumstances. What is abundantly clear is that the time for new vision and drive in the Traditional Anglican Communion has come.”
To the above, I would simply like to add that ‘individual conversion’ has always been ‘open’ to anyone (and for Clergy, specifically under something similar to the pastoral provision made for former Episcopalians in the United States). It is well known that there are former Anglican Clergy who have become married Catholic priests outside of an Ordinariate and minister in Roman Catholic parishes. But the hope in this instance really was always for some kind of corporate unity.
What is however abundantly clear is that the Traditional Anglican Communion is a divided Communion globally, split and stumbling over the Ordinariate, with Bishops openly at odds with one another; which is, I suppose, befitting those Churches born of the Reformation. And if there is no unity within such a Church, how could there ever be unity with the Church that stands as the visible, historical, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church apart from ‘individual conversion’? To date, not one Clergyman from the Traditional Anglican Communion (in the world) has been accepted into an Ordinariate. And with the Primate (John Hepworth) now embroiled in a repulsive and embarrassing sex scandal, one doubts that there will soon be, leaving ‘individual conversion’ indeed, as the only way home to Rome.
That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
- St John 17:21
But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:17
UPDATE: African Bishop Michael Gill joins John Hepworth resignation push here.