The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada newsletter is out in three (pdf.) parts:
It is up-to-date and gives a good idea of where things stand for the TAC in Canada now.
Here is what Bishop Craig Botterill (Acting Metropolitan and Apostolic Administrator) writes:
Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
This is an exciting time for the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, the Canadian Province of the Traditional Anglican Communion. It is spring, and the theme of rebirth and new life that resound in the Eastertide message shapes the inertia and direction of our pilgrimage together. This is not a time to look back and to rehash decisions or mistakes of the past. This is a time to look forward with our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, and to boldly proclaim His redeeming love to the broken world in which we live.
Our mission in the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is to recall Anglicanism to its heritage, to heal divisions caused by departures from the Faith, and to build a vibrant church for the future based on powerful local leadership. The TAC seeks to uphold the Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Witness of the Anglican tradition within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. The Communion holds Holy Scripture and the ancient Creeds of the Undivided Church as authentic and authoritative, and worships according to the traditional liturgies of the Church. Along with the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, it is one of the three branches of the universal Catholic Church.
An exciting development in TAC was the conference held February 28 – March 1, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa by its international College of Bishops (COB). This meeting of the COB, the highest legislative body in the Communion, was the first since its Portsmouth, 2007 petition to Rome for Church unity. The College affirmed by resolution its faithfulness to the Traditional Anglican Communion. The TAC will remain fully Anglican. While the COB received, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, it voted as a Communion to decline the invitation, concluding that it did not represent a positive response to our petition for Church unity, but rather amounted to a requirement for Anglicans to make individual conversions to Roman Catholicism.
The College of Bishops accepted the resignation of Archbishop John Hepworth and elected a new Primate. Archbishop Samuel Prakash, as the senior active Metropolitan, was elected Acting Primate by acclamation. In so doing, the entire assembly expressed complete confidence in Archbishop Prakash, who was consecrated Bishop in 1984 and currently serves as Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of India. Archbishop Prakash was one of the original founding Bishops of the TAC.!! Bishop Michael Gill of South Africa was appointed Secretary of the College of Bishops.
During its three day meeting, the College of Bishops passed several resolutions relating to the International Anglican Fellowship (our overseas missionary fund), Episcopal Oversight and Ecumenical relations between Continuing Jurisdictions. A concordat of intercommunion with a major American Continuing Church jurisdiction was ratified. Several appointments were made by the new Primate, including my own appointment as Episcopal Visitor to the TAC parishes in the United Kingdom. Finally, and most importantly, the College of Bishops resolved to commit itself to Mission and Evangelism, recognizing that the central purpose of God’s people is to bring others to Christ. Several moving statements were made by members about the need to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world deeply in need of hearing it. A program of equipping the saints for the work of Evangelism was supported by the College of Bishops with enthusiasm.
These are indeed exciting times for our Church. I am heartened that the majority of parishes of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada have remained faithful to the Traditional Anglican Communion and that together our Canadian Province will play an important role in maintaining the historic Anglican expression of the Christian Faith. As I continue my round of parish visits across the country I look forward to working with each of you to accomplish our shared mission.
The newsletter continues, but going a little south:
To the recent statements that the ‘majority’ of the clergy and laity of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada are proceeding toward reception into the Roman Catholic Church, it needs to be stated that while that may be true in central Canada it is not true in the rest of the country (as the list above confirms). In the West (including British Columbia), the number of laity and clergy going to Rome do not constitute a ‘majority’. The same is true in Atlantic Canada, where in fact very few have decided to be received into the communion of the Roman Catholic Church.
As a result of the relatively small numbers of Anglican being received into the Roman Catholic Church, four “Anglican Use Parishes” (called ‘sodalities’) have been established (Ottawa, Kitchener, Calgary and Victoria) within the respective local Roman Catholic Dioceses under the authority of the local Roman Catholic diocesan bishop. While the new Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter in the United States (Monsignor Jeffrey Steenson) has stated that he envisions a “Canadian Deanery” within which these Canadian Anglican Use parishes or ‘sodalities’ would come together pending the erection of an Ordinariate for Canada, he has also stated that that decision will be determined by the Vatican in consultation with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Until then it remains four ‘Anglican Use’ parishes within the Canadian Roman Catholic hierarchy. This is very much the practice provided for in the 1980s for Anglicans wishing to join the Roman Catholic Church, and a far cry from what we were led to believe would be the outcome under Anglicanorum Coetibus.
The upshot of all of this is that what was petitioned for by the Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops at Portsmouth in 2007, and subsequently believed would be the case by the clergy and laity of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, namely corporate reception into full communion with the Catholic Church (See of Peter) as an entire and whole ecclesial body comprising clergy and laity, without the requirement for conversion to Roman Catholicism did NOT come about. Rather, Anglicanorum Coetibus requires and entails individual conversion to the Roman Catholic Church through the Rite of Reception and administration of the Sacrament of Confirmation by and at the hands of the local Roman Catholic bishop. On the part of clergy, it also entails the resignation of one’s Orders and jurisdiction, with only the possibility of absolute ordination (not conditional ordination) as a Roman Catholic priest and incardination in either the local Roman Catholic diocese or in the Personal Ordinariate (if and when one is established).
Anglicanorum Coetibus does not result in an “Anglican Rite” within the Catholic Church; it does not result in a “church within a church”; it does not result in a parallel ‘Anglican’ ecclesial body alongside of but not part of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor does it result in a person remaining an ‘Anglican’ or ‘Anglican Catholic’ in communion with the Catholic Church. Once received and confirmed, or ordained, as the case may be, that person becomes a “Roman Catholic coming from the Anglican tradition” – “a former Anglican” (as stated in the documents coming from Rome). In other words, it does not result in ‘unity without absorption’ but rather the exact opposite.
The divisions, the hurt, the acrimony, the disappointments, and misleading information which has accompanied the Vatican’s invitation for Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church is regrettable. Instead of greater unity among Christians there is now further disunity and further division. What has transpired is more than the actions of “arrogant, sinful people not accepting the generous offer of Rome” (as some of our former brethren have tried to characterize it), but it is the outcome of a flawed process requiring full and complete submission and obedience to the doctrines, authority and liturgical practices of the Roman Catholic Church; and, for us in particular, the splintering and division of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada and that of the world-wide Traditional Anglican Communion.
One can only continue to hope and pray for genuine Christian unity ‘without absorption’…
Click the above links for more.
UPDATE: Deborah Gyapong comments on the newsletter:
I wish these folks well and to tell the truth, the process has been flawed. These past two years were extremely painful and the way it rolled out did contribute to division and disintegration.
Yes, we did hope for more recognition of the importance of our ecclesial bonds, to be brought in more as families rather than as individual converts. In a way, how it has worked out in Canada is that we have been received as families and as individuals—there has been a corporate nature to our reception. And we’ve been noticing that once we “surrendered all” is the old hymn “I surrender all,” goes, and stopped making any conditions about ensuring our priests were ordained etc., the Roman Catholic authorities have been rushing in to be generous to us in every way possible.
In retrospect, though, had we been brought in “as we were” then all our underlying divisions would have come in with us, making perhaps for a weaker beginning to the Ordinariate. I don’t know. We would have been no less divided, perhaps, than the average Roman Catholic parish down the street but that’s not saying much.
My hope is that the little seedling “sodalities” will grow; that they will be attractive preserves of Anglican patrimony; and that we can unpack our treasures and feel right at home.
The big internal wrestling match I had to go through spiritual was this: I choose to trust Jesus and to surrender my will to Him. Is that the same thing as trusting the Catholic Church, the institutional Catholic Church, the one with the Pope exercising the Ministry of Peter? Especially when I see the sinners who make it up? (Now including me, horror of horrors!)
I asked the Lord for three signs, because it was not clear at all that trusting the Catholic Church was the same as trusting Jesus. He gave me more than three. Here I am. I am overjoyed now that we made it across and survived as a parish family. But it was extraordinarily difficult.
I too hope for genuine Christian unity without absorption, a flourishing diversity, but a common Catholic faith, under the Ministry of Peter.
It’s that Ministry of Peter which seems to be one of the main sticking points. I see now the wisdom in the name of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. I had originally found it a name that might be off-putting to Anglicans looking for a new home.
But now I see that if you do not “get” the Chair of St. Peter, you have not grasped what it means to be Catholic. This is not about absorption, but about unity. Peter is a sign of unity for the universal Church.