TTAC Requests Personal Ordinariate for United Kingdom

The Traditional Anglican Church, the TAC province for England, Scotland, and Wales, and the first to signal the acceptance of the Apostolic Constitution in October 2009, has formally requested the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in the United Kingdom.  This is also the first formal request for the erection of a personal ordinariate by any Anglican constituency in the UK.

Here is the full text of the petition, which closely follows the model of the other TAC applications to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

* * *

The Traditional Anglican Church
Rt Revd David Moyer
Episcopal Visitor
C/O: Church of the Good Shepherd
1116 Lancaster Avenue
Rosemont, PA 19010

His Eminence William Cardinal Levada
Congregazione per la Dottrina Della Fede
Palazzo del S. Uffizio
00120 Vatican City

Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, 16th May 2010

Your Eminence,

The people of the Traditional Anglican Church in the United Kingdom (a province of the Traditional Anglican Communion) express their profound gratitude to you for your positive response of December 16th 2009 to our Letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of October 5th 2007 in which we expressed our desire to “seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment.”

We have read and studied with care the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus with the Complementary Norms and the accompanying Commentary, as well as the initial statement from your Dicastery at the time of your press conference with Archbishop DiNoia.

And now, in response to your invitation to contact your Dicastery to begin the process you outline, and in accordance with our unanimous synod vote of October 2009: which reads thus:-

“That this Assembly, representing the Traditional Anglican Communion in Great Britain, offers its joyful thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his forthcoming Apostolic Constitution allowing the corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and requests the Primate and College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion to take the steps necessary to implement this Constitution.”

We therefore request that:

1) That the Apostolic Constitution be implemented in the United Kingdom and a Personal Ordinariate be erected.

2) That we may establish an interim Governing Council.

3) That this interim Council be directed by the Holy Father to propose a terna of names for the appointment of an Ordinary in a UK Ordinariate.

While we cannot speak for other groups of Anglicans in the United Kingdom, we shall be delighted if others apply for acceptance under the terms of Anglicanorum coetibus.

With continued expressions of appreciation for the generosity of the Holy Father in gathering the Anglicans into the fullness of Eucharistic communion, we await your instructions,

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+David L. Moyer, Episcopal Visitor
+Robert Mercer CR, retired, assistant to the Visitor

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organized the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He is also the CEO of Three Fish Consulting, LLC, an Information Technology consultancy based in Orlando, FL. He can be reached via email at ccampbell at threefish dot co.

23 thoughts on “TTAC Requests Personal Ordinariate for United Kingdom”

  1. While I understand that the Anglo-Catholic body is still part of the Latin rite and the pope will be her patriarch, will this new body also, like the rite of Ambrose in Milan, have an overall patriarch or primate (or superior general) at the head of this 'sub'-rite?

    1. The Apostolic Constitution does not address the question of a primacy; indeed it does not even treat the subject of relations between the several personal ordinariates to be erected.

      From the standpoint of the TAC, these remain open questions. It certainly makes perfect sense for there to exist some sort of umbrella administration for the Anglican personal ordinariates around the world. The Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion provides the model for a primacy which has proven itself effective.

  2. According to the Apostolic Constitution, the power of each Ordinary is exercised in the name of the Roman Pontiff (vicarious power). It would seem, then, that the Pope himself will be the overall patriarch or primate of the Ordinariates set up in different parts of the world.

    1. Fr. Spilsbury:

      Yes, a good point. In lieu of the establishment of some unifying administration for the personal ordinariates, the ordinaries' immediate superior will indeed be the Roman Pontiff.

  3. So Father, would you would foresee a conference style church government, with a presiding officer over the rite much like in each country now (we have bishop's conference that has a president that serves for 3 years). So the model of a chief bishop at a particular see (i.e. Canterbury) running affairs would be abandoned? If that is the case, the question I would ask is isn't part of Anglican Church life having a primate handling its peculiar affairs and would that be one things the patrimony could easily give up?

    1. I am not sure what you mean by a 'conference style church government'.

      A personal ordinariate is governed by an ordinary, either a priest or a bishop, who exercises his authority in the name of the Holy Father. For matter appertaining to the personal ordinariate itself, he is essentially equivalent to a diocesan bishop. The Apostolic Constitution does not provide for any term limit for an ordinary (though this is not inconceivable). The ordinary is assisted by a Governing Council of at least six priests with whom he is required to collaborate before making certain important decisions.

      Your original question goes to whether or not the several personal ordinariates will be knit together in some sort of federation. This is not addressed by the Apostolic Constitution.

      There are links to Anglicanorum Coetibus and the Complementary Norms at the top of the page. Consulting these texts should answer your questions.

    2. Re-reading your comment, I think I now understand your question, but I would again refer you to my initial answer. At the moment, it is unclear whether there will be any collaboration between the personal ordinariates at all. Insofar as the present Apostolic Constitution is concerned, they are entirely independent one of another. As such, they would not constitute a body similar to an episcopal conference.

      It does seem like the business of the several ordinariates ought to be coordinated and I do believe that we will see this happen, but, at the moment, there are no official details. As I noted, the TAC Concordat provides a sound model and our bishops intend to propose this when they meet with the CDF.

  4. To clarify my question how does the anglican church as peculiar church with it's own patrimony govern itself? Is having a primate in a particular city part and parcel of the patrimony? Or will the bishops of the ac church organize themselves like the usccb with a conference president? While I have seen alot of talk about liturgy, I have not seen alot of talk about how your bishops will interact with each other for the good of this particular sub-rite? Will something like a Lambeth conference every ten years going to happen with the ordinates? Is that even foresable or is that too far down the road?

    1. Yes, it is a way down the road (though hopefully not too far). Obviously the ideal would be for the personal ordinariates, knit together in a global administration, to one day evolve into a ritual church sui juris, with its own primacy, body of law, &c. For the moment, the personal ordinariates will occupy a unique niche in the Latin Rite, and while there might be some sort of "primate" or presiding bishop, he would not be equivalent to a patriarch or have his own independent standing. Such an institution would simply be another level of administration between the Holy See and the personal ordinariates. Regardless, it is certainly to be desired that the ordinaries of the several personal ordinariates develop fraternal relationships, official or unofficial, that will bring a cohesiveness and unity of purpose to those structures dedicated to the propagation of the Anglican Patrimony in the Church.

  5. Would Dr. Moyer be eligible to be considered for the appointment as Ordinary of this particular jurisdiction?

  6. Well, well, well, gone is the first request, made public on this blog and of which I have a copy. It was approved but never presented, it asked that Bishop Mercer be the personal ordinary, and it did not include Scotland. How did the Scots get into the T.T.A.C.? When did that happen? Passed under my radar.

    This letter conforms better with the spirit and letter of A.C., of course.

    I like the last bit about others, meaning the FiF, of course. It is right and good that the TAC body in the U.K. act now. If TACers wait for FiF there, they might all die of old age before any ordinariate is even requested. (Rome and Anglicans have one thing in common: they have long competed for who can do things slowest: it's like a race between two tortoises.) This is good news.

    There's something else, though. Article 1 of A.C. requires that ordinariates personal be established in each episcopal conference. Scotland has a separate episcopal conference, just as does New Zealand, Japan, Zimbabe, El Salvador, and Colombia. What a mess Article 1 is turning out to be.


  7. Initially, TTAC did include Scotland, and perhaps still does potentially. However, I do not think we have any members there, certainly no parishes, so the issue is academic. It had been a concern while TTAC was considering seeking charitable status that it is much easier not to include Scotland, which operates under different laws from England and Wales. However, we are now so aware of the harm that charitable status could do to us that even if we were not looking forward to the Ordinariate, we would be thinking how to avoid rather than gain that status. One of the many benefits which the Ordinariate will need from the English and Welsh hierarchy is advice how to protect itself from the Charity Commission!

    1. Thank you, Canon Gray, that is fascinating information. But how, I wonder, can this application get around Section 1 of Article 1? That Section says that an ordinariate is confined to the area of an episcopal conference. Scotland has a separate episcopal conference.


  8. Not accurate. Three priests from Scotland wrote to Cardinal Levada on the Wednesday before Holy Week requesting the AC be implemented in Scotland. This was a direct result of the meeting held at Kinnoull after the Chrism Mass celebrated by Bishop Edwin. I was one of those priests and I have no problem about being identified.

  9. I should add that all three priests are to be found in Crockfords and one is currently a Rector of a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Scotland is so much smaller in Anglican numbers and the destruction wrought by Holloway and his chums so effective that there is little of the Catholic tradition left. Only a small number of priests and only two FiF churches.

    1. I am delighted to read of this, Fr Crosbie: may I ask how matters now stand in Scotland? (Last I heard, the Cardinal had most kindly provided a chapel as a place of refuge for right-believing, we may pray soon-to-be-"incoming" Anglicans in Edinburgh.) I look forward to my next visit to Scotland sometime in the next few years, and by that time hope to be able to join you and your fellows for divine worship in full unity.

      1. Hi Joshua,

        All is fine in Scotland but it is a struggle. There are so few priests who believe anything left. My congregation in Dumfries has grown. We have faced terrible problems in Edinburgh with the liberal SEC bishop Brian Smith. FiF Scotland has 30 priest members but many are very elderly. Three want to be Orthodox. Five think they can remain Anglicans and four parochial clergy are fearful to come out in favour of the Ordinariate just in case their nice liberal SEC bishops discipline them. There is a good feeling around just now and I think all will be well in the end. We were greatly cheered by +Edwin's visit. The problem in Scotland will be size. We are very small. Say some prayers. We will need a minimum of six priests. Anyone interested in coming to the Missions in Scotland?

  10. We have this text of an e-mail from Archbishop Hepworth from

    Point 5 makes it very clear that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the standard of doctrine of the TAC.

    * * *

    To the clergy of the Traditional Anglican Communion in England.

    My Dear Fathers,
    When Cardinal Levada wrote to each of the Traditional Anglican Communion bishops last December, forwarding the documents which he described as “the definitive answer to your petition”, he went on to say that he was aware that the publication of the Apostolic Constitution on “The Gathering of the Anglicans” would pose difficult issues of discernment for the clergy and laity of our Communion. It could not be otherwise. This is the most significant issue to face the churches the churches whose communion with Rome was broken by the Reformation since those now far off days.

    May I make some things clear.

    1. We are in a process of discernment. Each individual, and each group, should be now endeavouring, in the deepest possible prayerfulness, the mind of God for the Church, and should also be studying the Constitution and those things that are being published by those actually involved in the discussions that led to it. I have published the text of the petition of the TAC bishops and a substantial Pastoral letter in order to facilitate this process. At the same time, I must warn you against the vitriolic publications of those who reject the Constitution.
    2. Both Bishop Moyer and I are happy to receive questions. I will be in Rome in the next few weeks, and already have a substantial list of questions that I cannot answer, and have referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I must say that each of my approaches have been met with great courtesy and an eagerness to solve problems.
    3. There will be at least one Ordinariate in England. I know we are very small, and the Church of England appears very large, but this is about truth, not brute force. I have indicated to the Holy See that I wish to discuss the situation in England at my current visit.
    4. It would be unwise at this stage to worry about issues such as re-ordination and re-confirmation. Please note what I say in the Pastoral letter about this.
    5. It would be very wise to become familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is the official doctrinal statement of our College of Bishops, and therefore of our Communion. We are not a Communion in which Synods vote on doctrine. The Church of England does quite enough of that.
    6. I stress that what we are doing is “Corporate Reunion” – not “individual reception”. We come as an ecclesial body whose petition made certain ecclesial statements, and an ecclesial request. The statements have been accepted, and the request granted. We are talking about “Anglican Catholics” – clearly differentiated in Personal Ordinariates with their own episcopate and diocesan structure. The Constitution and Norms explain how the bishop of the Anglicans relates to local Roman Catholic bishops, and how their ministries complement each other. Neither is superior to the other.
    7. Many details are absent from the published texts, and need to be designed. That is a significant part of our current work.
    8. In the meantime, we should be expending our energy on growing our communities.
    9. I will be reporting to you after our Rome meetings. You will be pleased to know that I have asked Bishop Mercer to accompany me.

    Exciting and historic times are always challenging. Please read again the prayer that Jesus prayed to His Father about unity, in the Gospel of Saint John. It is that prayer that has driven and sustained me for the past eight years as your Primate. I pray it sustains each of you and your people.

    +John Hepworth

  11. How can the TAC be part of this deal, when it only applies to members of the Anglican Communion, which they're not?

    1. Because specific replies have already been sent by Rome to the Archbishop and Bishops of the TAC in response to the letter of October 2007, and there are certain clauses in the Apostolic Constitution and the Complementary Norms that can only apply to the TAC. Secondly, if this in no way concerned the TAC, the Vatican would have never answered any communications from the TAC. It is clear from the context that this pastoral disposition applies equally to present and past members of the Anglican Communion. It also applied to people who have converted to Catholicism some time ago and who are of Anglican origin. Rome is not discriminating those who are current members of the Anglican Communion and those who belong to independent bodies such as the Continuing Churches.

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