‘Is Christ divided?’ (1 Cor 1:13) – But then don’t bother looking for the Name of Christ in this post, for you’ll not find it. How it saddens the heart to see a brother priest contemplating (‘offer ideas’ about) further division in an already uncertain and difficult time, instead of working for and pushing towards unity with all that lies within (Eph 4:13).
While in the TAC, there are clearly two ‘groupings’: Those who are Ordinariate bound, or who are waiting to become members of the Roman Catholic Church, and the remaining Anglicans – members of the TAC who are left to continue with the worship of God, the proclamation of His Word, to pray, to love and help one another, and to spread the Gospel while building the Church – and this sadly without the former ‘grouping’.
To the above, Fr Anthony Chadwick lamentably now adds a third ‘grouping’, a so-called ‘pro-Catholic’ group. Its affiliates are identified as the incumbent Primate ‘Archbishop Hepworth as Bishop of Australia and perhaps most of his present clergy’, ‘Bishop Botterill and his group in Canada’, two or three English priests’ and ‘the Torres Strait group (unless Bishop Elliott makes them an offer they can’t refuse), maybe twenty or so American priests and a couple of bishops and perhaps a couple of Indian bishops if they don’t agree with Archbishop Prakash’. The tone is clear. And the ‘we’, one must assume, includes the author of the post, Fr Anthony.
Now what I fail to understand is why this further division? It is unwarranted with the view or goal being unity in the Body of Christ. While Fr Anthony would have us believe that the ‘future of the TAC depends on whether the “sedevacantist-conclavist” continuing Anglican model or the “pro-Catholic” model will be adopted’, the Affirmation of St Louis, to which the TAC subscribes, clearly states that we ‘continue in the Catholic Faith’. That has not changed (at least not that I know of).
We have the TAC and we have the Ordinariate. Each one of us, of free will and conscience, chooses one or the other. The problem is that the Ordinariate will not have all of those who wished to be a part of it – or at least, not on the level of expectation they held. May I be as bold as to suggest that this is where Fr Anthony’s ‘third grouping’ fits? Exactly. Men with impediments or who (for whatever reason), cannot be part of an Ordinariate (like that there are no Ordinariates on offer). So instead, they now turn around and ask: ‘Is there anything of the TAC worth saving?’
From the comments already coming in, you’ll see that it is actually schism that is being planned. Further division. Suggesting PNCC/NCC oversight while the TAC has competent, godly Bishops who can and are more than willing to provide Episcopal oversight? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves! And yet these are the same said individuals who have the gall to go around frightening others with the use of anarchist words like ‘coup d’etats’, when all those TAC Bishops who thus far have had the courage to speak up, have done so in order to protect the integrity of the TAC and of her members who are not Ordinariate bound?
Which brings me to another point: Playing the victim card. It is not the fault of the continuing TAC that not all those who indicated that they wanted to go to the Ordinariate cannot (again, I emphasise, for whatever reason that may be). But your willingness (indicated in writing to Rome) to go, should be amended, and asking you to indicate (in writing) your intention of now not going and/or staying in the TAC is not wrong. The TAC has every right (just like the Roman Catholic Church exacts) to demand allegiance and loyalty from its Clergy. And I have yet to hear of any such request to continue functioning as a TAC Clergy being rejected all because an individual felt at some point that the Ordinariate was going to be home. Reconciliation above all must be the goal. That is the Christian way. Every proactive step towards the Ordinariate was done with little consideration of those who would be left behind. Pro-dioceses established at will. There Bishop Mercer is gone without as much as a goodbye. So stop perpetuating this view. You are not victims. There is no ‘enemy’, there is no ‘fire and flames’ and ‘bloody nose dripping on the carpet’. Deborah Gyapong, I’m looking at you. I can tell you that I have had some of the most nasty comments from Ordinariate ‘pro-Catholic model’ persons on this blog. Even though they are filtered off by the comments moderator, I can tell you that they still make for shocking reading.
What we need now, most, is peace and unity. Put all this talk of division away and go before the altar, which is our common bond of charity in anticipation of eternal life, and seek unity. Sacrifice self. It is not about what we want, or what we can get out of it. It’s about Jesus. Bickering, gossiping and disunity amongst Christians is a sin. I simply cannot believe that joining hands in the love of God is something too hard to be asked for? Please.
‘And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them.’ (Rom 16:17)
‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ (Psalm 133:1)
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ (Acts 2:42)