By David W. Virtue
May 11, 2011
The Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) Archbishop John Hepworth has written a letter to Melbourne Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott blasting Canadian Roman Catholic Archbishop Thomas Collins for derailing Ordinariate discussions and has put talks "on hold" indefinitely.
In a letter VOL has obtained, Hepworth described the situation in Canada as "deteriorating" and said the precipitating issue is the impending visit by Catholic priests appointed by Archbishop Collins to Traditional Anglican Communion parishes in Canada in the next two weeks.
"These priests are to announce, on behalf of Archbishop Collins, that the parishes will close forthwith, that the laity and clergy will attend a Catholic parish for from four to six months, that they will not receive the sacraments during this time, that they will be catechised adequately during this time since any catechesis from the Catechism of the Catholic Church done by the Traditional Anglican Communion is inadequate because only Catholics understand the Catechism, that the dossiers submitted by Traditional Anglican Communion clergy show an inadequate training since they have not attended Anglican Communion Theological Colleges, and therefore those selected by the Ordinary and approved by the CDF will have to attend a Catholic Seminary for an as yet unspecified time, at the end of this process, new parishes for Anglicans along the lines of the Anglican Use in the United States may be established, but not necessarily in the former Traditional Anglican Communion churches, and that during this process the Traditional Anglican Communion must cede its property to the Ordinariate," lamented Hepworth.
"This corresponds in large part to what Canon Woodman and I heard in a private meeting in Toronto with Archbishop Collins, and in his private and public remarks during the Toronto Ordinariate meeting.
"As a result, with my explicit consent and approval, albeit given with a full consideration of the likely impact on Ordinariate formation in every other part of the world, including Australia, Bishop Wilkinson is writing to Traditional Anglican Communion clergy in Canada informing them that the process of forming the Canadian Ordinariate will be placed on hold, and that the visits of Catholic clergy scheduled for May will not proceed."
Hepworth opined, "It is just on thirty years since these Canadian Anglicans left the Anglican Church of Canada in support of Catholic teaching and the continuation of the ARCIC dream. After so many years of sacrificial work, the wonton destruction of their communities, the absolute disregard for their ecclesial integrity, and the brutish manner in which these edicts are being communicated, are powerful disincentives to unity, in stark contrast to the clear language and intent of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus".
Hepworth said he had written at length to Cardinal Levada (and yourself) in the past year about the proper interpretation of "Personal Ordinariates for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner."
"I have also written of the crass cultural insensitivity of the sudden rediscovery of the term "Roman Catholic" by Catholic bishops, in contrast to the culturally sensitive wording of the Apostolic Constitution itself.
"These and many other matters remain unresolved, just as most of my correspondence, and that of my fellow bishops, remains unacknowledged by the CDF.
"The Canadian decision, about the probability of which which I warned you on several occasions, will have two immediate effects. It will give great support to anti-Catholics (especially in the Anglican Communion) who are already putting intolerable pressure on our clergy and people. There will be further losses in a Traditional Anglican Communion already disadvantaged (deliberately?) by the CDF process of implementation. And other Provinces of the Traditional Anglican Communion, including Australia, the Torres Strait, Central America, India, Africa and the Unites States, are already considering supporting the Traditional Anglican Communion in Canada by a similar suspension.
"I warned you last July that the English Ordinariate may well be the first and the last. That outcome is now more certain."
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And, from the Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Archbishop Thomas Collins:
May 16, 2011
Statement re: Implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada
ProgramWith regard to the public discussion concerning the process for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada, I would like to make the following statement:
Canada is a vast country, and widely scattered across it are small groups of Anglicans who have expressed an interest in entering full communion with the Catholic Church through the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus. As Delegate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution, I have asked certain priests in different regions of Canada to serve as "mentor priests", to work with these small groups of Anglicans in their geographical area. These mentor priests have been asked as their first task to visit the communities, to get to know them, to respond to any questions, and to get a sense of the number of people who are interested.
Certainly, the experience of pastoral relationships and ecclesial structures such as those of the ACCC must be honoured with respect and gratitude. But the ACCC is not the only grouping of Anglicans in Canada. A fruitful implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus requires that all groups of former Anglicans be equal within the new ecclesial structure, and each individual Anglican considering entering full communion with the Catholic Church through Anglicanorum Coetibus be fully informed and freely decide whether or not to proceed.
I realize that there are complicated corporate and legal issues relating to property which must be resolved if ACCC parishes seek to be part of an ordinariate in Canada. But those challenges can surely be overcome. The key reality is that Anglicanorum Coetibus offers a fresh beginning, a sign of hope, for any group of Anglicans who freely decide to be received into the Catholic Church, accepting the faith articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and forming within the Catholic Church communities in which some elements of the distinctive Anglican patrimony flourish and enrich the whole Church.
For more information on the process of implementing Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada, please refer to the article on that subject which has been on the website of the Archdiocese of Toronto for several months (www.archtoronto.org).
Archbishop Thomas Collins
Archbishop of Toronto
Delegate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada
TAC Primate Backs Down, Says RC Priests Can Mentor TAC Parishes
17th May 2011
Statement from Archbishop Hepworth
I am grateful that Archbishop Collins has published a statement clarifying the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada.
My letter to Bishop Peter Elliott was a private communication on the eve of his current trip to Rome. Besides being the Delegate for Australia, Bishop Elliott has been requested by Cardinal Levada to liaise with me on Ordinariate implementation concerns of the Traditional Anglican Communion,
I very much regret the publication of this letter and the anguish caused to many of those involved in the process of discernment that confronts each of us as the Anglican Ordinariates are formed.
Australians engage in robust debate with each other. Bishop Elliott and I had an exchange of letters in July last year concerning almost identical issues to those that have recently arisen in Canada. Australian forthrightness is not to be confused with anger.
My task is to ensure that those in the TAC "who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner" (Introduction, AC) can do so. I must also ensure that the integrity of assets and trusts that have been gathered with great sacrifice by those departing from the Anglican Communion in the past thirty years are dealt with legally and in conformity with the intentions of those who administer them.
As Archbishop Collins notes, the TAC in Canada has a corporate and ecclesial structure. It has bishops and pastors who are responsible in conscience for the souls committed to their care. Until the Ordinariates are proclaimed, the TAC bishops and the CDF Delegates have to discover working relationships in each country where they are seeking an Ordinariate. Far more significant than issues concerning assets is the pastoral responsibility of the present pastors for their flocks.
As unity becomes a reality, new and potentially challenging relationships must be formed. In a number of countries, TAC bishops and clergy are having to discover concrete ways of sharing their responsibilities with Catholic Bishop Delegates, priest mentors and a wider public that is following the evolution of Ordinariates with emotions ranging from admiration to alarm.
Each of the Ordinariates being formed at present poses unique problems. The Torres Strait, where the Bible is still being translated into the three indigenous languages and where decision-making is a long and detailed process with whole Island communities, is not Canada. And Australia, whose constitution forbids the "establishment" of any religion, is not England, which has an Established Church.
I should also make clear that in the original memorandum on which the Canadian bishops sought my advice, most of the matters raised by the priest-mentor in question were entirely fair and in accordance with Anglicanorum Coetibus. The difficulty was created by quite specific points.
Doubtless there will be further details that need clarification in the months ahead.
I have today advised the TAC bishops of Canada to resume the mentoring visits by local Catholic priests.
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