I Told You Not to be Surprised

Writes Stephen Clark, an Anglican Priest in the Diocese of Adelaide, on his blog:

I think of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) as a faux church (some comments here and then again here ) I have commented more than once that I would like someone to challenge their use of the term “Anglican Communion” and indeed the word “Traditional” in juxtaposition.

There can only be one meaning of the expression Traditional Anglican Communion….and that is churches which see their roots in the Church of England and continue in Communion with that Church…and particularly as represented by its chief bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Clearly the so called TAC (which may see its roots in the C of E) has severed its communion with Canterbury…the most traditional link with Anglicanism!

Any way, it’s falling apart!

In the last couple of weeks a majority of TAC bishops have met and voted out their Primate (who happens to live within my parish boundaries) John Hepworth. Mr Hepworth (as the Roman Catholic Church of which he was once a member seems intent on calling him) along with his long term amigo John Fleming (a former Anglican priest who became a Roman Catholic) who has had his own troubles of late (see here..and then have a Google….but currently tied up in the courts)….well they have always been intent on claiming credit for the so-called Anglican Ordinariate (see a tangled web here)

Finally….Hepworth has been deposed.

Of course he claims that the majority of Bishops had no right to do it. But I was interested to hear conservative Anglican commentator David Virtue the so-called and self-declared “Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism” at least admitted on ABC Radio that the outlandish claim that the TAC had 400,000 adherents worldwide was always fanciful. He exposes some other bizarre issues here in his account of Hepworth’s deposition.

A great churchman once said to me about breakaway churches “Once they’ve broken away, it’s only a matter of time before they split and split again!”  These words have been proved to be very prescient.

Speaks volumes.

UPDATE:   Fr Anthony Chadwick comments on the above post:

Having got the heads-up from Fr Smuts’ blog, here is a nasty article on the TAC by an Anglican priest from the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide – I told you not to be surprised.

If the law is being broken in regard to Fr John Fleming’s reputation, the accusations come from that particular clergyman and I decline any endorsement of that position. I personally believe Fr Fleming to be innocent of accusations of sex abuse.

This message seems to endorse the “accommodation” position on which I commented in my previous posting. Making an absolute of the institutional Church against higher principles or the good of church members, when this principle is applied in secular politics, is nothing other than fascism. The Church cannot be wrong, therefore is not wrong, and therefore it has the right to crush anything that smacks of dissent or diversity of opinion.

The Anglican Church of Australia is unlikely to be operating according to such a radical position, but that is where it can go. On the other hand, this fellow describes a “great churchman” as saying about breakaway churches “Once they’ve broken away, it’s only a matter of time before they split and split again!“.

The events of South Africa seem to be very convenient for Fr Clark’s arguments, but of course there is still a meeting to come – that of Archbishop Hepworth and those clergy who are still with him. That meeting can go two ways – by adopting a credible “Rome but under other conditions” position or driving in the final coffin nail.

I have always found the issue of 400,000 adherents worldwide highly embarrassing. I have no idea who made that claim. The highest numbers in the TAC have been in South Africa and India. As probably most of the clergy and faithful from those two countries have formed the “New TAC” from those two parts of the world, I doubt we will ever hear that number mentioned again. It is hard to kick against the pricks.

These sneering postings are very hurtful, but unfortunately there is no smoke without fire. What is unfortunate is that whether this is Rome’s fault, that of Archbishop Hepworth through poor judgement, weakness or perverseness, that of Fr Fleming or anyone else, people are going to be alienated and may lose the faith. That is a terrible responsibility, especially on the part of a man of the cloth whose responsibility it is to gather, unite and rescue those in distress. I see little of a pastoral spirit in this blog post. On the rest of the blog, I am rather discouraged to find much of it concerned with the “gay” agenda and matters of little interest to many of us.

There I have simply told you the posting is there, and you can read it for the better or the worse. I just ask you not to shoot down the messenger.

Yes Father, how often does one not get shot blasted for being the messenger?! I still maintain that it is good to hear what others are saying, even if and when we do not agree. Rational debate can go a long way, especially since the truth is out there.



8 thoughts on “I Told You Not to be Surprised

  1. Speaks volumes, but gives himself away by appealing to Dr Rayner as ‘a great churchman’. He introduced priestesses into my home diocese. Hardly the measure of greatness in churchmanship.

    1. It is often good to read widely and hear what others are saying… Of course this does not negate using a fair measure of discernment.

      But then again, that old idiom comes to mind, you know, about wearing the shoe that fits?

      Here, it kinda fits both ways then…

      1. I hasten to add that my endorsement comes not from the historical fact of Pius V’s excommunication of Elizabeth I, but from comparison between schism within and schism from the Church. The events of the 16th century were, I believe, an example of the former. The destruction of sacramental order in the 20th, the latter.

    1. Dear Gordon (Barnier) & Others
      ( I realise that the substance of this argument is now 3 or years pst)) but
      if you insist on the rudeness of addressing me as “Mr” even though I am a legitimately ordained priest of the same church which ordained you(Mr Barnier)..then so be it. But it is <b) rudeness , not theology that establishes that .

      I happened upon this (now-little-used) blog only a couple of days ago where I discovered I, personally, was described as “nasty” for recounting the controversy over the deposition of the former “Primate” John Hepworth, and also noted the current woes of his ally and now besieged in the courts priest of the Roman Catholic Church, John Fleming. I did little but record the facts! [They get more fascinating day by day see]

      The Catholic Movement of the Anglican Church has always declared that the fullness of the Catholic Church continues in the Anglican Church beyond the (obviously political) excommunications of the Refoprmation; despite the fact that the Bishop of Rome from time to time may have thought otherwise.

      The Church of England did not become a breakaway Church…it was broken off by said Bishop !
      Catholic Anglicans continue to believe that a) there was a legitimate Catholic Church in the British Isles before the Bp of Rome sent his envoy to become a Bishop in Canterbury.(the Celtic Churches) and that b) the Church of England (as clearly defined in its documents and prayer books etc) continued (and continues) to be the English Catholic Church.

      You may disagree, but don’t insult others by belittling and degrading terminology; and face up to the realities of what has happened in splinter groups like TAC.

      I simply ask the question how can TAC continue to call itself either Traditional or Anglican….when it is clearly not in communion with the See of Canterbury. By its own choice. The two “Traditional” and “Anglican” hallmarks I would suggest.

      Resorting to rudeness is just petty!

      I don’t care if you call me Mr, I am habitually referred to as Fr. If you can’t do that then just call me by my <b)Christian name…Stephen

  2. The TAC is falling apart!??? Seen the Anglican Communion lately? ACNA, GAFCON, the Southern Cone, Sydney, …

  3. There should no doubt be a historical appraisal here, to just what is the history and formation of the Anglican Communion? In America, the Anglican history was called the “Protestant” Episcopal Church (yes, surely gone now, really). And even today, The Church of Ireland, is still mainly Protestant, at least historically. Though it is on paper in fellowship with Canterbury. I am sure there are still many parishes there that are classically Low Church and Evangelical. And too those that are Anglo-Catholic somewhat, but more in line with the older ideas perhaps. My point, is that all we hear since the Anglicanorum Coetibus, and TAC, since Hepworth (though he is gone now), is the Ordinariate! But yet, there are still plenty of old school and classic Anglicans! They just don’t make the headlines, etc. But yes, Anglicanism is in a bad way, as is really many historical churches in the West. Even the RCC is falling on hard times in Rome! (Lose of literal church buildings) And as I have maintained, and shouted really, it is the worst of postmodernity! I have extended family in Ireland, and all is certainly not well in Irish Catholicism! 😉

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