Breakaway Presbyterian Churches Pass 100 Mark

File:ECO Logo.jpg

A conservative Presbyterian breakaway network of churches founded as an alternative to the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) has passed the 100-membership mark, the Christian Post website reports today (January 14, 2014).

Founded just two years ago, the Evangelical Covenant Order (ECO) of Presbyterians passed the milestone late last year and continues to add more congregations this month.

In an announcement recently sent out to supporters, ECO hailed the passing of the 100-church mark as a “milestone.”

Church officials said they recently added four more churches to the network and added, “Welcome to these new ECO churches. We praise God for His Faithfulness and look forward to growing together in 2014!”


Wikipedia has more on ECO here.


The Russian Veto Against Francis and Bartholomew

The embrace between Rome and Constantinople is renewed. But a document from the patriarchate of Moscow freezes the discussion between Catholics and Orthodox on the powers of the pope over the universal Church…

Read on here.


Why Conservative Anglicanism is Doomed

On Friday, the Anglican Church announced that the next Archbishop of Canterbury would be the current Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby. This appointment is important, since the Archbishop of Canterbury is the highest-ranking bishop within the Anglican Communion. Archbishop-elect Welby is a complex man: he’s an Evangelical with an admiration for Catholicism, and a traditional-minded bishop who supports women’s ordination.

In a way, he reflects the complex situation that the Anglican Communion finds itself in. The Communion has two major factions. The liberal wing is pushing for women’s ordination, church blessings of same-sex relationships, the ordination of practicing homosexuals, and in some cases a rejection of the inspiration of Scripture and the historicity of the physical Resurrection. Meanwhile, there’s a conservative Anglican wing that’s fighting against all of these things, and trying to preserve what remains of Anglican tradition.

Unfortunately (and genuinely, I say this with regret), I believe that the conservative wing is doomed for failure. Conservative Anglicanism will either cease to be Anglican, cease to be conservative, or simply cease to be. As a movement, it is unsustainable, for the following reasons:

You can read those reasons here.


Hepworth Redux

A day ago someone in Australia who goes by the name ‘Jay Walk’ (no, that’s not Gay Walk) has conveniently uploaded a video which has been entitled: Traditional Anglican bishops sign Catechism Catholic Church Portsmouth UK October 2007.

Deborah Gyapong has today conveniently put it to good use, setting the stage for yet another blog post forming part of her ongoing series of  posts coming out in defence of Archbishop John Hepworth. Her blog remains the only sanctuary left for him on the blogosphere. Her loyalty, albeit so misplaced, is most admirable. Me? I’m tired of fighting the Hepworthian PR machine… All the lies that are so quickly and easily spread, half-truths, deceit, conduct unbecoming, schismatic behaviour, slander, an unwillingness to repent, collusion, failing to admit any accountability, the refusal to work with fellow Bishops, running off to the secular media (or anyone else who is willing to listen), endorsing Slipper, making unsanctioned press releases, using the TAC as a bargaining tool to orchestrate his hoped for glorious return to the Catholic Church, not following through on his own word, the promises (is he a Catholic layman yet, and if not, why not?), the arrogance, the self-pity… It has been a long and taxing fight that includes:

There’s so much more. It has, indeed, been a long, sick and sordid story. Unchristian. So what, I must ask, is the point Deborah? Archbishop John Hepworth has been charged and found guilty, sanctioned by a Church (TAC) that he in any event does not want to be in. What more is there?

It’s time, I’d suggest, to look forward. You have an Ordinariate. You are part of that. Those who wanted to go went. Others stayed. Why still bother with the TAC and her internal processes? Why the bitterness?

Not so long ago, I said:

The Archbishop is media obsessed and sadly has become somewhat infectious. Someone who is in error and is to be avoided as such.

And Fr Robert responded:

… this man [Hepworth] and issues should be a “dead” subject, lets all move on now.  The Lord will deal with him, in divine providence!

PS.  I’m only really left curious on one thing: Who is Gay Walk, oops, I mean, Jay Walk, the one who so opportunely posted the above lame, boring, soundless video to YouTube. Please, do tell us Deborah.

UPDATE:  See also, the impact of Bishop Hepworth’s handy work, here.

Episcopalians on Both Sides of the Schism Feeling the Pain

The Post and Courier reports:

Leaders on both sides of the Episcopal split in Charleston agreed on one thing Sunday morning.

It’s a painful time for everybody.

“There is a lot of hurt everywhere,” the Rev. Michael Wright, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, told about 150 people packed into Hanahan Hall for a special forum on the recent events involving the national Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina.

In recent years, the diocese, led by Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, had distanced itself from the national church, citing the church’s liberal leanings. Diocese officials said that the national church’s “indiscriminate inclusivity” has compromised the integrity of the institution, particularly after the national body ordained an openly gay bishop and blessed same-sex marriages.

After a series of back-and-forth actions that began in 2006, the national church on Thursday sanctioned Lawrence and restricted him from exercising his ministry. On Friday, the diocese officially announced its split from the national church.

Grace, a Gothic Revival cathedral on Wentworth Street that dates to 1848, will be staying with the national Episcopal Church.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Chuck Bender, a member of Grace, said before the forum started. “Some of these people have been in these churches all their lives, and now they may have to decide if they’re going to have to go somewhere else.”

St. Michael’s, which occupies a tourist landmark at Meeting and Broad streets as Charleston’s oldest church building, is siding with Lawrence and the diocese. The Rev. Al Zadig, the church’s rector, addressed the split during the 10:30 a.m. worship service.

“I cannot underestimate how painful this is to so many of us cradle Episcopalians,” Zadig said, reading from a letter that was available in the vestibule for members and visitors. “I know several clergy who have been in tears over this.”

The fact that the break has been coming for a long time doesn’t make it any less painful, he said.

“For many years there has been a split coming in the Episcopal Church over the core issue of the authority of Scripture,” Zadig read. “Do we have the freedom to rewrite the Bible to fit social trends, or do we rewrite our hearts according to the changeless word of God in Scripture? … The National Episcopal Church is changing Scripture according to social norms and in doing so has changed the core of the Christian faith.”

Wright said the Episcopal Church has always welcomed diverse opinions, and the issue was disregarding church law.

The diocese and most of its churches quit after a disciplinary board from the national church ruled Thursday that Lawrence had abandoned the Episcopal Church. A major issue was Lawrence allowing churches to declare that their properties were no longer held in trust for the national church.

“The break is clear,” Wright said during the forum at Grace. “What that means is still being worked out.”

What’s not clear is who now constitutes the Diocese of South Carolina.

“We are the Diocese of South Carolina,” said Wright, of Grace Episcopal Church. “Nothing is changing here. … We carry on as the Episcopal Church.”

Zadig, of St. Michael’s, said those who left are still the Diocese of South Carolina.

“How will it change our life?” he said. “Not at all.”

It’s not clear what body the parishes that left the national church will join. A special convention is scheduled for Nov. 17 “to iron out the necessary changes to our Canons and Constitution, and begin to discern the best way forward into a new Anglican future,” according to a notice on the diocesan website.

It’s also not clear who will lead the churches that remained with the national body. Leaders will start working out those details this week, Wright said.

The diocese announced its break from the Episcopal Church on Friday in a half-page advertisement in The Post and Courier.

Wright said “the remaining diocese” will make a similar public statement as soon as a new leadership structure is in place.

We reported on the above yesterday on the blog.


Bishop ‘Abandons’ Church Over Gay Blessing Stance

Bishop Mark Lawrence banned as disciplinary board finds he has abandoned church because he has defied the national Episcopal Church and made state diocese his church’s authority.

Via Goose Creek Patch:

An independent news blog for S.C. Episcopalians has reported that S.C. Bishop Mark Lawrence has been temporarily banned from acting as a bishop and priest since a disciplinary board found he has “abandoned” the Episcopal Church Monday.

Subsequently, the bishop revealed that he had plans to break with the national church.

The crux of the issue is over the national church’s more lenient stance on same-sex blessings, and the ordination of gay and female clergy. In reaction to this week’s news, a special convention of members of Lawrence’s Diocese of South Carolina has been called Nov. 17 at St. Phillip’s Church in Charleston. The convention will focus on whether or not the Palmetto diocese will remain with the bishop or within the fold of the national church.

Lawrence is the state’s 14th bishop and presides over the three diocese in the state and the state’s 30,000 parishioners.

While Lawrence has refused to follow the national church’s same-sex blessings, and ordinations of female and gay clergy, the church’s disciplinary board cited three reasons that show Lawrence has abandoned the church:

  1. His support of amendments to the S.C. church’s constitution that undermines the authority of the national church at 219th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina on Oct. 10, 2010.
  2. He oversaw the change in language for the Episcopalian nonprofit, which made the nonprofit no longer under the direction of the national church in 2011.
  3. In November 2011, Lawrence directed his Chancellor Wade H. Logan III to issue quitclaim deeds to every parish of the Diocese of South Carolina disclaiming any interest in the real estate held by or for the benefit of each parish.

The full report by the board can be viewed here.

The S.C. Episcopalians blog reported:

Lawrence has repeatedly insisted the Diocese of South Carolina is “sovereign” and the Church has no authority over him as it does other bishops. In essence, Lawrence maintains that he is not accountable to anyone…

More here.


This Is Where Dissent Leads: Communion Given to the Dog

The Age (au):

Father Greg Reynolds wants his church of dissident Catholics to welcome all – ”every man and his dog”, one might say, risking the non-inclusive language he deplores – but even he was taken aback when that was put to the test during Mass yesterday.

A first-time visitor arrived late at the Inclusive Catholics service in South Yarra with a large and well-trained German shepherd. When the consecrated bread and wine were passed around, the visitor took some bread and fed it to his dog.

Apart from one stifled gasp, those present showed admirable presence of mind – but the dog was not offered the cup!

Father Reynolds, a Melbourne priest for 32 years, launched Inclusive Catholics earlier this year. He now ministers to up to 40 people at fortnightly services alternating between two inner-suburban Protestant churches.

The congregation includes gay men, former priests, abuse victims and many women who feel disenfranchised, but it is optimistic rather than bitter.

Yesterday a woman, Irene Wilson, led the liturgy and another, Emmy Silvius, preached the homily. Two more passed the bread and wine around.

Father Reynolds – his only clerical adornment a green stole around his neck – played as small a role as he could.

Inclusive Catholics is part of a small but growing trend in the West of disaffiliated Catholics forming their own communities and offering ”illicit” Masses, yet are slightly uncertain of their identities. The question was posed during the service: ”Are we part of the church or are we a breakaway movement?”

Father Reynolds was a thorn in the side of Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart when he preached in 2010 that it was God’s will to have women priests. He resigned as Western Port parish priest last August and had his faculties to act as a priest in Melbourne removed.

He is still a priest, though now on the dole. Mary Fenelon, who usually worships in Abbotsford, comes to this Mass because ”these people are forward-thinkers, and the church is going backwards. This is inclusive and welcoming’…’

(HTFr John Zuhlsdorf)

Dissent, caused by sin, leads to disobedience. Disobedience leads to rebellion. And rebellion ends up in anarchy, a place where dogs are fed communion. Breaks in the Body of Christ, some big, some small, all through schisms and heresies.


Historian (and Anglican Deacon) Predicts Catholic Schism

The Washington Post has the details:

Influential church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch said he believes Christianity faces a bright future, but predicted the Roman Catholic Church will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.

“Christianity, the world’s largest religion, is rapidly expanding — by all indications, its future is very bright,” said MacCulloch, 60, professor of church history at Oxford University and an Anglican deacon. His latest book, “Silence in Christian History,” will be published in the fall by Penguin.

MacCulloch said in an interview that “there are also many conflicts” within Christianity, “and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican’s failure to listen to European Catholics.” He predicted that Catholicism faces a division over attempts by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to “rewrite the story” of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council by portraying it as a “minor adjustment” in church governance, rather than as a “radical move to change the way authority is expressed.”

“Conflict in religion is inevitable and usually healthy — a religion without conflict is a religion that will die, and I see no sign of this with Christianity,” MacCulloch said. “But the stance of the popes has produced an angry reaction among those who want to see the council continue. No other church in history has ever made all its clergy celibate. It’s a peculiarity of the Western Latin church, and it looks increasingly unrealistic.”

The Vatican’s refusal to allow Roman Catholics to talk about married or female clergy was “not the reaction of a rational body,” MacCulloch said.

MacCulloch, a specialist in early modern history and a fellow of the British Academy, co-edits the Cambridge-based Journal of Ecclesiastical History and was knighted in early 2012 for services to scholarship.

Among numerous awards, he was the 2010 recipient of the Cundill Prize in History from Montreal’s McGill University for his 2009 book “A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years,” which was accompanied by a BBC television series.

Now read how a Catholic Deacon deals with the above:

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Church historian and anti-Papist, has gleefully predicted schism in the Catholic Church due to ‘bad’ Pope John Paul II and ‘Bad’ Pope Benedict not listening to Europe’s Catholics. (This is Diarmaid MacCulloch’s ’1066 and all that’ childish version of contemporary Church history)

‘MacCulloch said in an interview that “there are also many conflicts” within Christianity, “and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican’s failure to listen to European Catholics.” He predicted that Catholicism faces a division over attempts by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to “rewrite the story” of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council by portraying it as a “minor adjustment” in church governance, rather than as a “radical move to change the way authority is expressed.”

“Conflict in religion is inevitable and usually healthy — a religion without conflict is a religion that will die, and I see no sign of this with Christianity,” MacCulloch said. “But the stance of the popes has produced an angry reaction among those who want to see the council continue. No other church in history has ever made all its clergy celibate. It’s a peculiarity of the Western Latin church, and it looks increasingly unrealistic.”

The Vatican’s refusal to allow Roman Catholics to talk about married or female clergy was “not the reaction of a rational body,” MacCulloch said.’

Protect the Pope comment: No doubt the BBC will commission another anti-Papist TV series from Diarmaid MacCulloch based on this uniformed and childish account of the modern history of the Catholic Church.

Just one example of how dumb Diarmaid MacCulloch is, is his claim that ‘No other church in history has ever made all its clergy celibate’. Obviously this ‘informed’ commentator on the Catholic Church hasn’t heard of married permanent deacons. After all we’ve only been around nearly 50 years.

And to write that ‘popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have tried to “rewrite the story” of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council just shows Diarmaid MacCulloch to be a card carrying member of the ‘hermeneutic of discontinuity’ fraternity.

Apparently Diarmaid MacCulloch  was knighted in early 2012 for services to scholarship. The Queen should ask for it back. Horrible Histories has more credibility.


Confidential: Former TAC Archbishop Hepworth Seeks to Regroup

Exposed: Openly schismatic behaviour…Subversive and so unChristian. What kind of men are they?!

Virtue Online:

My Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sister,

For some weeks, a number of us (including our founding Primate Archbishop Falk) have been praying and working on a response to the activities of the minority of our brothers who have seized control of our Communion and seek to pervert it to anti-catholic ends. Their actions are already destroying much of our work over the past twenty five years. Our Roman Catholic friends (and there are many, including the new Australian Ambassador to the Holy See) have been dismayed.

The document that is attached is the result of our efforts. (An identical document is attached in two versions of Word.)  Neither Archbishop Falk nor I seek to lead this body. We are simply asking two things:

1. Your preparedness to attach your name so that the document can be published among our communities and more widely, and to seek the concurrence of your clergy and people in whatever way might be appropriate to take this proposal to the next stage.

2. To attend a meeting, with a clergyman and lay person from your Diocese or community as appropriate, in England from 9th – 11th October this year, to determine the shape, life and leadership of the Fellowship.

The Rev’d Dr. John Fleming, a long time friend of many in the Traditional Anglican Communion, and in his third term with the Vatican-based Pontifical Academy for Life, has been suggested as an ideal person to be the mentor mentioned in the document.
Each of us needs to commit ourselves to the prayerful defense of each other at this time. The Roman Catholic Church needs to know that there are Traditional Anglican Communion bishops still committed to the promises of Portsmouth.

I am prepared to collate the signatures and circulate the document with names attached for you to publish. This is urgent.

I should also wish you to know at this time that Lay Canon Woodman is seriously ill as a result of the stress of the vicious attacks on her and her property by the group led by Samuel Prakash.

This is being sent to the following, all of whom are invited to indicate support: the bishops names will appear as a block, followed by Traditional Anglican Communion clergy and laity; it is not intended to name our Catholic supporters in the published document, but we value knowing you are with us:

Lay Canon Woodman, Dr. John Fleming. Archbishop Falk Bishops Moyer, Entwistle, Hudson, Banzana, Kajiwarra, Nona, Garcia, Campese. Dr Labusga (Argentine), Father Kinmont (VG Australia), Father McManus (England), Father Chadwick (France) And to our former brothers in the episcopate Father Robert Mercer, Peter Wilkinson and Carl Reid, seeking their prayers, understanding and fellowship (will Peter please inform Robert?)

With every good wish,

Archbishop John Hepworth P.O. Box 746 Blackwood SA    5051 Australia


Dissident TAC Group Forms Saint Benedict Fellowship

June 11, 2012

We are bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion who signed the Portsmouth Petition and the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the altar in the midst of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. We understood then, and continue to understand, that our signatures had the sacred nature of an oath.

We are bishops who rejoiced at the proclamation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus by Pope Benedict XVI, which so amply fulfilled the dreams we had dared to express in our Petition, and the dreams that others had expressed to the Holy Father.

We number among us the bishops and Primates who commissioned, led and supported the cause of Anglican/Roman Catholic unity over the past thirty years, who were supported by their clergy, laity and synods, and who sustained isolation, ridicule and hardship.

We have experienced the difficulties and trauma of the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution, and understand the hurt and frustration of many of our brothers and sisters at this time.

We accept the responsibility bestowed on us by the vows taken at our Episcopal consecration, and will continue to do all that is required of us to sustain those entrusted to our care. We will defend them against those who have chosen to reject those things to which we committed ourselves and our Communion at Portsmouth.

This rejection deeply saddens us as we are confronted with a breach of collegial trust, commitment and unity. We are committed to leading the people entrusted to us for as long as that might be necessary, understanding that our own future is not and must not be a consideration in our leadership.

We resist the temptation to form yet another church among the myriad and scandalous world of Continuing Anglicanism. Equally, we cannot in conscience allow those who now repudiate all that we have sought and achieved to go unchallenged.

We have formed ourselves into a sacramental fellowship, under the patronage of Saint Benedict, in order to minister to and sustain each other and those Anglicans who share our desire for the full, global implementation of the Apostolic Constitution.

We pledge to do only those ecclesial actions necessary to sustain our dioceses and communities, to strengthen, enrich and sustain the Anglican treasure that is our heritage and that is so warmly endorsed in the Apostolic Constitution, and to take council amongst ourselves and amongst those whom we lead.

We pledge to sustain the warmest bonds of Christian love for those who have already come into “the fullness of Catholic Communion” under the Apostolic Constitution.

To this end, the bishops, with representatives of their clergy and people, who seek to create this Fellowship will meet in the Northern Autumn. It is our intention to invite a mentor acceptable to us and to the Catholic Church to assist us in our deliberations. This first meeting will determine the minimal structures necessary for the faith, good order, sacramental life, communication and mutual support within the Fellowship.

Fr Anthony Chadwick - who is clearly involved – now laments: Loose Lips sink Ships.

Some weeks ago, Archbishop Hepworth called me and outlined an idea to me, of some way of “surviving” for those clergy who had received no response from Rome or a negative answer. I submitted some ideas, and above all something of a foundational purpose or reason for going about such a thing.

I kept all this to myself, but corresponded privately and confidentially with an English priest who had the same feelings, and he suggested this Saint Benedict Fellowship could be what I would term a kind of “palliative care unit” for former TAC clergy either in the “waiting room” or preparing for conversion to or reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church (the spiritual Green Mile?). It seems to be in line with the entire Romeward drive of the TAC over the past few years.

My own attitude was to keep an open mind, wait and see – but someone sent a copy of this letter, a revision of 11th June 2012, to David Virtue. It is now published as Confidential: Fellowship: Former TAC Archbishop Hepworth Seeks to Regroup, and those who send comments will certainly have a feast day. I find it deeply regrettable that this idea has been made public before it had time to mature and define its purpose more precisely.

My own concern was that its only justification was as a kind of metaphorical lifeboat for shipwrecked bishops and priests. It protests the way a significant portion of the TAC episcopate held a meeting in South Africa and took advantage of the resignation of Archbishop Hepworth announced for Easter 2012, now effective. Certainly, the Archbishop has in mind the way those bishops proceeded with his suspension from office as a TAC bishop in Australia, and further, wrote of its intention to take further action. I quote Archbishop Prakash’s recent ad clerum letter, which is a public document – “It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that further steps against Bishop Hepworth are being considered in the light of a document sent out by Bishop Hepworth openly advocating schism within the TAC“.

It would seem understandable that Archbishop Hepworth would reject a portion of the TAC that has rejected him. I am not going to enter the polemics, and I am tired of the “You’re either for us or against us” of blog enthusiasts. Having lived through all this over the past few years, I can only express being happy to live in a country that has emancipated itself from clericalism!

What is at the bottom of all this is a complete misunderstanding of the way Rome responds to requests for intercommunion or corporate union. In the case of Anglicanorum coetibus, it involves a total filtering of the clergy through a simple mechanism of receiving the men as laymen considered not to be validly ordained and then their being considered according to Ordinariate norms for ordination. Those in Roman Catholic orders would simply be offered reconciliation with their Church on condition of laicisation. There are no mitigating circumstances for leaving the Roman Catholic clerical state. Once you’re out, you’re out. The Anglican Communion will at its discretion accept Roman Catholic priests, as was the case with Archbishop Hepworth, and many years ago, Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew. There are hard cases, but all are equal in the eyes of Rome. As you see in Italian law courts – Le legge è uguale per tutti.

Archbishop Hepworth made allusions to sacrificing his episcopate for the interests of unity with Rome. He came public with his harrowing experience of sexual abuse at the hands of two or three Australian priests in the 1960′s and earlier. It didn’t wash, and the stories sickened most of us. We empathised with the Archbishop in his personal suffering but knew it would not save his priestly vocation. Rome does not deal with persons but with laws – they are applied every time.

I can understand the instinct of trying to form a group, as there are several priests and bishops in the “old” TAC who incurred canonical irregularities from having been Roman Catholic clerics. I am one of them. Whilst I have not received any communication from Rome, some have, and the letters were negative, as for a priest in Canada who had been a Roman Catholic seminarian. It is painfully simple, we can be Roman Catholic laymen (or laicised pariahs), join another mainstream Church or found something new. The “something new” is what is usually termed a pseudo-church consisting of its founding clergy, themselves termed episcopi vagantes. We sometimes come across the oxymoron Vagante Churches.

If the justification of the Saint Benedict Fellowship is to continue as a priest or a bishop in spite of having failed to be accepted into the Ordinariate or wider Roman Catholic clergy, then the foundational purpose has no more credibility than any vagante group. Some vagante groups, however, are committed to extraordinary forms of pastoral ministry and are worthy of praise. The tree is judged by its fruits. But, if we read of men full of their self-importance as major primates, metropolitans, cardinals, or even popes in a few cases – and they just dress up and have fancy web sites, then I have other things to do in life! I am not remotely suggesting that Archbishop Hepworth fits into this category, but I doubt that a clear idea has yet emerged, whether it involves some form of contemplative life, educational apostolate or pastoral ministry.

The harrowing reality now faced by Archbishop Hepworth is that of a Zweifrontenkrieg, a war on two fronts. Rejection by Rome of his aspiration to return to the Catholic priesthood and rejection by a significant part or even a majority of his own college of bishops. Setting up anything resembling a new jurisdiction would only make things worse, whether it is called a communion, a church or a fellowship. Distinctions will not be made.

The Archbishop wisely says – We resist the temptation to form yet another church among the myriad and scandalous world of Continuing Anglicanism.

There is a seed of a foundational purpose in the words – in order to minister to and sustain each other and those Anglicans who share our desire for the full, global implementation of the Apostolic Constitution. Is this a kind of temporary clearing house in the hope that Rome will come up with dispensations from the rigour of the law and allow some “fallen” Catholic priests to be reactivated in spite of having married after ordination and joined another Church at some time? My big question now would be – What is left after the exodus to the ordinariates of many of our bishops, priests and laity and the formation of the significant part of the TAC that re-formed around Archbishop Prakash and Bishop Gill in South Africa?

One thing that has occurred to me, with my experience of Rome and being a product of the Institute of Christ the King’s seminary at Gricigliano – the Anglicanorum coetibus process was precisely designed to prevent irregulars from finding their way back in along with the thousands of laicised and non-laicised married ex-priests in the world. It must have been a headache for Rome, but the Pope is no spring chicken. As Prefect of the CDF, he had long experience of dealing with “ratlines” coming in from the cold of the former Soviet Bloc. Could it be that the ordinariate process is not Roman fiddling or fumbling, but a precise and clever plan for giving exactly what was asked for with generosity and pastoral care? But, for genuine cradle Anglicans who have never been Roman Catholics – no false-flag “ratlines”!

If you read the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Bishops and Priests Ordained Secretly in the Czech Republic of February 2000, many things will become clear. I find it tragic that for some, there is no solution, and the drama is essentially the issue of clerical celibacy and the problem of priests who left their ministries and got married. Rome has gone a long way by granting case-by-case dispensations from celibacy – as long as marriage precedes ordination. Open the flood gates at this point, and you have all the other “inclusive” agendas following behind. So you keep the flood gates tightly closed and allow the occasional leak. The Roman Catholic Church is in a position of having to justify its clerical monarchy in the face of a world that would sweep both it and faith itself from the world. The problem for the Pope and Roman diplomacy is terrible and unenviable. That is the real issue.

The now publicised letter speaks of a meeting this coming autumn. I would hope that it can be kept quiet and private, and not be surrounded by a hubbub of screaming polemics. I could see a legitimate little fellowship for the purpose of education and contemplative life, and pastoral ministry where priests have a handful of lay faithful, engage in “niche” ministry or visit hospitals, etc. Will it happen like that?

Still, a lot can happen in only a few months. Only recently, I come across a contradiction in the case of Bishop Robarts in Australia who writes in support of the Ordinariate, yet who is claimed by Archbishop Prakash to be a bishop in the service of the TAC. Many things can only be verified by the crucible of passing time. I don’t want to make accusations, but there are still smoke and mirrors here and there, and face-saving…

I find it unjust to accuse Archbishop Hepworth of fomenting schism, as he simply seeks to gather the elements of the TAC who can neither join the ordinariates and be priests and who disagree with the Archbishop Prakash college of bishops in their decision to reject Anglicanorum coetibus and continue as a continuing Anglican church.

There are too many square pegs in round holes, and this project having been made public hardly helps matters. I have personally had to try to find my way in this morass, and find that I become increasingly alienated and detached. The ordinariate process continues, but I am not part of it. I am nominally under the Traditional Anglican Church in the UK – but I haven’t the foggiest idea of what is left of it. The website had been abandoned, and the priest who kept it has himself left the TTAC. I could be part of this Fellowship. But, to what end? There are still a few things to be waited out – the completion of the ordinariate process to see who will be on the beach after the 15th June, just three days from now. There is then the final Synod decision in England about women bishops which will define groups staying in the Church of England or leaving it to form alliances with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Union of Scranton. That option is up in the air. Becoming Orthodox has only been something extremely marginal and has become something of a stale joke except with a few American zealots.

Indeed, the dust has to settle, which it is doing. Lacking subjects for discussion, blogs and forums debate whether laymen should be using the Anglican Office as in the BDW or the Roman liturgy of the hours! It all floats in as I receive e-mails during my day of doing my translation work.

Well, something good will come out of this or it won’t. Time is the judge, and what happens will be plain for all to see. I live through an alternation of wrenched gut and hope in the future. And I make a few explorations of my own. We will see…

Rome elected to have nothing to do with Hepworth (lest he become a layman) and of these his factious minions. After this foiled and unsuccessful attempted act of rebellion, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s decision has been more than justified. Now Hepworth lives to sow and create nothing but confusion and havoc amongst the faithful!

I see everything that they do. They can’t hide anything from me. Their wickedness can’t be hidden; I can see it – Jer 16:17.

See also: Traditional Anglican Communion Australia in Disarray.

So let’s see if we can summarise this. A segment of an Anglican group falls out with the leadership over, not least, allegations of financial irregularities. Rather than reconciling they seek to set up their own mission body in their own right. For some reason it sounds hauntingly familiar…


The Anglican Mission: Officially Going it Alone?

Stand Firm:

There’s no mention of Rwanda, no mention of Congo, no mention of any bona fide Anglican Communion oversight:

SPECIAL NEWS June 4, 2012

The Anglican Mission Society for Mission and Apostolic Works Commits to a Vision for the Future

The Anglican Mission passed a milestone today and is now only one step away from finalizing the Society for Mission and Apostolic Works. Clergy and lay leaders gathered for a Convocation held in Chicago and committed to four “Rs” designed to expand mission and ministry in North America. The group embraced a modified purpose statement geared toward recognizing, recruiting, resourcing, and releasing leaders for planting and serving churches in the Anglican tradition for the next generation of Kingdom leadership in the Americas. The day was marked by a strong sense of vision designed to reach, ever more effectively, those outside the faith in an often hostile, post-Christian culture.

Research indicates that adaptive change is necessary for evangelism in today’s world, and while evangelism through church planting is highly effective, the need for adaptive shift in model and method is essential for success. Twelve years ago, the Anglican Mission embarked on a pioneering and risk-taking journey with a vision for a new way of “being Anglican” in North America. Over the last decade, that vision has been embraced by a number of entities on both sides of the ocean, which has affirmed theAM’s original call. It has been said that “today’s challenges are based on yesterday’s successes.” With the formation of a Society for Mission and Apostolic Works, the Anglican Mission is adopting a model rooted in history that also represents an adaptive shift geared toward expanding Kingdom ministry for current and successive generations. Our adaptive challenge now is to continue to reflect theologically, strategize and work collaboratively within our Mission Society to effectively evangelize in local contexts through church planting.

The primary and most significant shift is systemic as the Anglican Mission adopts a vocational model of mission reflecting the Celtic approach of St. Patrick. History has demonstrated, and the experience of many mainline denominations has confirmed, that a system encumbered, rather than served by, institutional “machinery” undermines missional endeavors. As a Mission Society, theAM can focus all of its energy and resources on preparing leaders and planting churches for Kingdom mission and ministry.

Operating as a Mission Society ensures consistency balanced and enriched by new components (the Constitution reflects that approximately 75% of what we have been and done remains unchanged while 25% will be adapted or added). The Mission will retain and continue to celebrate a pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit, a passionate and unapologetic embrace of the three streams, creativity and collaboration – missionally, theologically and strategically. Changes include oversight by a College of Consultors, rethinking networks and their role, developing specific episcopal portfolios for bishops and a vision for “hub churches” that will drive our commitment to equipping leaders and planting churches. TheAM will be streamlined for efficiency and effectiveness, and we are committed to improving the nature of our coaching and support for new church plants as well as existing congregations who may be experiencing a plateau.

Adoption of a provisional Constitution today allows for the Anglican Mission to operate until leaders meet for an Inaugural Assembly in Atlanta later this summer. The Assembly will begin with opening worship on the evening of July 31 and continue the next day with its business. At this time, we will formally adopt the Constitution and Statutes for the Anglican Mission as a Society of Mission and Apostolic Works. This will complete a long process that began in May 2011 and included a eight collaborative and evaluative meetings of leaders to discuss, assess and plan specifics of the Mission Society, with an end result that reflects the best thinking of our lay and ordained members.

No mention of Anglican Communion oversight in this draft of its new Constitution and Canons, either.

And as one fellow well comments over there:

Toxic. Deadly. Cult-like. Run for your lives!  This will not end well.



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