A letter from the Vicar General of Traditional Anglican Church in Britain sent by yet another unnamed source to the usual spot. Given that it is now public, it does give us some insight as to what is going on over in the UK as far as TAC matters go.
Since I last wrote to you in September, there has been a substantive development concerning our College of Bishops, with particular regard to the status and position of the Primate and the future direction of our Communion.
The College, by a unanimous majority of all of those eligible to vote have called for the resignation of the Primate with immediate effect. The Primate has indicated that he will resign as such at Pentecost 2012. The College has rejected this as unacceptable and has indicated that it will within the next six weeks determine the Primates status.
With reference to Bishop Moyer our Episcopal Visitor, Bishop David has received his nulae ostae, and will shortly be leaving for Rome.
Bishop Robert Mercer has already left for Rome.
The current leadership of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is firmly committed to assisting the TTAC and Episcopal oversight will be maintained thus enabling us to remain faithful to the Anglican way, with the provision of transparent and faithful support.
Regarding those of you who responded to the questionnaire that I sent to you in September, may I thank you for your time and consideration in responding.
Twelve priests indicated their desire to continue as TTAC/TAC priests and many members of our laity, the following points do not apply to you and you need take no action.
To those of you who did not respond and have submitted personal dossiers to Rome the following applies directly to you.
As we now know, the petition that was agreed at the Portsmouth Synod of the College Of Bishops and duly sent to Rome. The Petition did not receive an offer of “intercommunion or unity between us” from the Holy See, but an offer to us requiring personal individual conversions to become Roman Catholics. That offer has been rejected by our College of Bishops.
The Motion that was agreed and passed by the Assembly of the Traditional Anglican Church in October 2009, in pursuit the offer made by the Holy Father has also been firmly rejected by the College of Bishops and will not be implemented. The current leadership of the College of Bishops have authorised me to state the following; “that in effect those who have submitted dossiers for personal conversion to Rome have by their own actions indicated their decision to leave and have in effect left the Communion”.
Those of you who have submitted personal dossiers and may now wish to reconsider your position to return to the TTAC/TAC should do so by contacting me directly in writing by February 3rd 2012.
A Diocesan Assembly will be held in March 2012 in Lincoln, notices/agenda etc will be sent out in February. A revised clergy and parish list will be circulated in February.
Perhaps it’s just as well that I’m off to a Parish Youth Evening (yes, we have youth) so I don’t have the time to get into the above letter. But you can decide for yourself:
- Is the Vicar General protecting the Church by asking those who would have gone and are now not going for whatever reason (which usually is that the offer was not good enough or they face the very real prospect of being asked to join the ranks of the laity because of the impediments they carry), or
- He’s being harsh and uncharitable towards those who would have dropped the TAC and left for the Ordinariate in a flash, had their applications to Rome been successful?
The fact that the College of Bishops has to deal with a Primate (Archbishop John Hepworth) who was most eager to go back to Rome and now is not, all because he cannot face the prospect of the loss of his clerical state (laicization is the end result of abandoning the Catholic Priesthood and what made him so special to think that he would be accommodated otherwise?) and instead settles now for second best (the TAC), places the College, in my opinion, in an even more difficult position than Fr Ian faces with his clergy.
And if people don’t want to go (again, for whatever reason) let them be reconciled, reorientated, and helped so to do.
But we have to move away from the notion of the TAC being a ‘cheap’ Communion, where you can come and go as you please; where we pick up all sorts of men who have done a little theological training (completed it or not) and ordain them; where we accept those who have been kicked out of other Churches, men who carry clear impediments, and ordain them; and where vows of canonical obedience mean precious little before God or man.
Perhaps then, and only then, will we be seen as more than ‘rebel traditionalists who have left official Anglicanism’.