The Updated David Virtue Story

As I suspected, the article on David Virtue's site about Bishop Wilkinson excommunicating the former rector was full of inaccuracies, some of which have been corrected.  Here's a link to the somewhat corrected version, which adds what seems to be the letter from Bishop Wilkinson to the former rector, with brackets that I assume are Fr. Stanley Sinclair's "fisking" of the Bishop's letter.  You can see the graciousness of Bishop Wilkinson in the letter.  It puts to shame the vitriolic reaction in the comments section over at Virtueonline.org.

Read the article and the letter (or part of it) below the break.

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Exclusives : Deep Divisions in Traditional Anglican Communion Erupt over Pope's Unity Offer

Posted by David Virtue on 2010/6/24 8:30:00 (2023 reads)

Deep Divisions in Traditional Anglican Communion Erupt over Pope's offer of Unity

Victoria, BC Cathedral Rector Dismissed by ACCC Archbishop

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
June 25, 2010

The former Rector of St. John the Evangelist, Canon Stanley Sinclair, has been expelled from the cathedral and excommunicated from his parish and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada based in Victoria, BC because he refuses to accept the Pope's offer of unity being promoted by the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Canon Sinclair was summarily dismissed from his post by The The Very Rev. Shane B. Janzen, who accused Canon Sinclair of "sowing discord", and "going behind my back to spread false information, fear and disunity."

In a letter to Sinclair, which VOL has obtained, Shane described himself as "appalled" and said Sinclair was "duplicitous" and accused him of "shredding his ministry, breaking friendship" and that "a clergyman of your years and maturity should have acted differently. I hope the ends justify the means," he said in a final blast at the priest.

In his response to Janzen, Sinclair said the church he has known has been taken from him and wrote, "It seems best to me that in the light of the excommunication, I should resign accordingly from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and express to you, to the Dean and Chapter and the membership of the parish the love and regard we have for all of you."

Janzen said he had contacted Archbishop James Eugene Provence (APCK) over the Ordinariate who said it was personal. "I faced the prospect of having no church connection, because of the terms of the Ordinariate, I also called an old friend, APCK Archbishop Robert Morse. Like all those clergy who have left the Anglican (Episcopal) Church, a period of discernment and consideration of the options preceded any notification of the diocesan, pending a decision.

"I have not urged anyone to leave St. John's, nor do I have any plans whatsoever. I had every intention of informing you well in advance of any decision on my part."

Janzen said the stress he and many have felt since the publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus has been profound. "In our estimation, and that of many others, our Church as we know it is being taken away from us, though for the noblest motives. We may be mistaken, but this is our earnest conviction."

"I never intended the hurt of anyone, and I still regard the publication of the Pro/Con as a necessary independent act. I am sorry that this was perceived as a personal attack or act of treachery."

Reaction to the Dean's sacking of Sinclair was swift and condemnatory. One parishioner wrote, "I did not join Saint John's to be a Roman Catholic."

"The meeting after Church was akin to union meetings I have experienced in logging camps; intimidation ruled, stand up and vote; it was not right. After reading the documents, especially the one dated March 12, 2010 to [Cardinal] Joseph Levada; I read what I sensed at the meeting, I am dealing with a stacked deck, this deal was done long before any lay people could vote. Synod in July will be no different.

"I am much troubled how a man of God could write a letter like you wrote to Father Stan. The man you first served under and then excommunicated, that is not the wisdom of God at work. Father Stan was thrown under the bus; did he not help build this Church?

"The Anglican Ordinariate will be a shadow of its former self. I believe the shepherds to be thinking not of the flock but of themselves. I believe our shepherd has misled us and God only knows why."

The parishioner concluded his blast saying that it made no sense why the powers that be at Saint John's would do this to what was started with five members in the congregation. [Is this about progress? power? acknowledgment? career decision? money?]

"It is with a very heavy heart that my family and I bid you and the Church goodbye; we can no longer attend Saint John's."

Prominent Lay Reader, Dr. Geoffrey D. T. Shaw summarized events leading to the parish schism.

"Several years ago our House of Bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church committing us to uphold the doctrines and dogma of the RC Church – without consultation with the clergy or laity. That was a breach of the various constitutions to which we belong.

"The Primate Archbishop Hepworth visited the church to answer questions of concern to members of the parish. The answers to these questions were not satisfactory and later were found to be misleading. The Dean announced from the pulpit that a vote would take place by the parish. Prior to the Synod of the Traditional Anglican Communion where our delegates would be sent to take part in a vote on acceptance of the terms of the Apostolic Constitution.

"A petition was drafted in strict accordance with the Societies Act, B.C. The parish council was asked to arrange a Special General meeting at which two motions would be tabled for a vote. 13 signatories of members of the parish were obtained.

"The petition was handed to the Dean Rev. Shane Janzen at a coffee break of parish members following Mass several weeks ago. The Dean approached some of the elderly Signatories and chastised them for adding their signatures. This intimidating tactic resulted in them saying they did not understand what they were signing.

"As Allan Singleton-Wood was the person who delivered the petition to him, he sent a letter to him with a copy to all signatories and members of the parish council accusing Singleton-Wood of telling untruths and falsifying information on the document. He resigned as a lay reader.

"It became increasingly apparent through conflicting statements by the Dean that we were not receiving an accurate picture of the bishops' plan for our church. Because of the absence of proper information, Canon Sinclair drafted a document of "Pros and Cons" of the offer by Rome and sent this to all members of the congregation. It was a very balanced document.

"At Mass the following week Canon Sinclair suffered the humiliation of a strong rebuke from the pulpit for producing a document from which the Dean dissociated himself.

"Canon Sinclair had a telephone discussion with Archbishop Provence, an old friend from a US Anglican Catholic Diocese. The Archbishop reassured him that if members of the church were left with "nowhere to go" he would help in any way he can with pastoral care.

"Singleton-Wood resigned from the parish. He explained to the Dean that he wished to remain an Anglican Catholic and does not intend to become a Roman Catholic. The Dean's letter of response informed him that he would also be removed as a member of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Traditional Anglican Communion (this despite the fact that the Synod of the TAC has not yet had its meeting on whether or not to "go to Rome."

In a Parish Newsletter, The Dean accused Canon Sinclair of lies and duplicity and distributing false information.

The Bishop invited him to lunch and made an offer to rescind the excommunication and reinstate his license on the condition that he withheld any further discussions with other churches until after the Synod.

Canon Sinclair refused and sent a letter to the Bishop accepting the excommunication. The Dean announced a formal meeting of the Parish to take place yesterday, 20th June.

At that meeting it was announced, despite Canon Sinclair's refusal to concede to the Bishop's request, that a reconciliation had taken place and that Canon Sinclair's license had been restored.

"When the bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church they agreed to teach us the RC Catechism, its doctrines and dogma commencing immediately. It also bound us all to uphold RC Canon Law (even though we were already bound by TAC Canon Law. The bishops were at that time bound by the constitutions of the TAC, ACCC and the constitution of the Parish of St John's. Those constitutions were seriously breached by this agreement and were further breached by making these decisions without consultation with the clergy and laity. The Apostolic Constitution will logically make those constitutions obsolete."

In the US, at least one ACA/TAC diocese has said it would not accept Rome's offer setting the stage for schism within the Continuing Anglican church body throughout North America.

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FOOTNOTE: TAC History in Roman Catholic Dialogue

In October 2007 the bishops of TAC formally expressed the desire to enter into full unity with the See of Rome and declared their adherence to the doctrines expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In a statement authorised by Archbishop Hepworth on 16 October 2007: In adhering to those doctrines (which include all the dogma) they undertook to teach them to members of the TAC thus seriously breeching the constitutions of the TAC, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, the parish constitutions and the Affirmation of St. Louis. Indeed they all became basically redundant at that time.

That was the start of the process of converting the priests and faithful to Roman Catholicism.

The Primate of the TAC, John Hepworth, insists that acceptance of the Pope's offer does not mean conversion to Roman Catholicism for Anglican Catholics.

Who is he kidding? The Ordinariate is a Roman Catholic Body reporting to Rome. It is bound by RC Canon Law.

The priests must be re-ordained as Roman Catholic priests. He says they must be – in order to perform Mass in RC churches if required.(the real reason is that they cannot administer the sacraments unless they are Roman Catholics).
They must agree to teach the Roman Catholic Catechism with all its dogmas and doctrines, including infallibility of the Pope and to be bound by Roman Catholic Canon Law
despite the claim by the Primate that the move of a parish into an Ordinariate is "corporate" and not "individual" the laity must apply in writing to join (an individual membership)

TAC members WILL become Roman Catholics. Why the TAC Bishops are not being honest about this defies all logic.

(signed)

Allan Singleton-Wood

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The PROs and CONs of the Personal Ordinariate written by Fr. Sinclair can be found at this link:
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=12807

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A letter from Bishop Peter Wilkinson

Dear Father Stan:

I can hardly believe that I have to write this letter to you whom I brought to Victoria and St John's [correction, it was Bishop Crawley, but of course Fr Peter concurred], a beloved friend for over twenty years. But your actions in regard to me have made it necessary.

As you know, at my consecration I was admonished to 'Protect the Bride of Christ, his holy Church.' That is why I wear a wedding ring. At my enthronement you and the clergy recognized me as your 'chief pastor and Father in God' [Yes, in fact I withdrew from consideration for the office of bishop in his favour] and pledged to me your 'true service and loyalty.'

However, your invitation to a foreign bishop to come and discuss options for providing Episcopal oversight in my diocese without my prior knowledge and consent is an act of disloyalty, and I must now inhibit you from the ministry of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and confirm the excommunication.

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About Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (www.annunciationofthebvm.org) in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

7 thoughts on “The Updated David Virtue Story

  1. From what I have read over the past year, there have been several accusations against Archbishop Hepworth, that he said that the TAC would just be in communion with Rome, but they would not be Catholics under the authority of the Pope and absorbed into the Church.

    This is not what the Archbishop and many other bishops signed on for when they signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This was done openly and I would think that anyone who could read would have understood what this entails. Yes they would be part of the Catholic Church, not just loosley attached to it.

    Canon Sinclair, whom I don't know and will not make any judgements about his sincerity, should never have gone to Rome with his concerns. This issue should have been addressed within the parish. These actions are the type that will have Rome looking twice at the Anglicans who do want to come into an Ordinariate as not unified. The Pope is already dealing with dissidents within the Church and doesn't need additional problems.

    The petition as to Pro and Con sounds very political to me at least. Why not just speak to the Dean beforehand and get permission to distribute it? When these things are done behind one's back it always appears to be related to a particular agenda.

    It is difficult to believe that anyone associated with TAC was not aware of the final goal and if they were not interested in Rome, why not join one of the many different Continuing Anglican groups who have no intention of becoming Catholic by accepting the Pope's offer?

    It is obvious that Satan is doing his best to destroy the Ordinariates before they are in effect, but the Holy Spirit has other plans. We must stand firm and not let these distractions take away our desire to enter into full communion with Rome, bringing our Anglican Patrimony with us.

    We must remember that we are not just discussing our earthly life but our eternal one and there will be many obstacles put before us as we travel the road to Rome.

  2. Division comes much more naturally to us than unity just look at the school yard. It is much easier to tear down than build up. There are those that are carefully trying to nurture the ordinariates through this minefield of human nature. May the Lord bless those that are working and praying for unity.

    "The Anglican Ordinariate will be a shadow of its former self. I believe the shepherds to be thinking not of the flock but of themselves. I believe our shepherd has misled us and God only knows why."

    The above quote from a parishioner of St John's is wishful thinking. The truth is that the Anglican continuers will be a shadow of their former selves and will be gone in less than a generation. I say this sadly but division ends in destruction.

  3. Second shoe drops in Anglican-Catholic melodrama:

    As readers of this blog already know, there was a petite rebellion in Anglican Catholic Cathedral of St. John over by Swan Lake here in Victoria even as the parish’s delegates, including pastor Shane Jensen and Archbishop Peter Wilkinson (the primate of the Canadian church) were in Vancouver at the Canadian synod, voting with the huge majority of delegates for joining the Roman Catholic church.
    Now the dissidents are back, frankly engaged in attracting more straying sheep.

    Retired pastor Stan Sinclair circulated a list of pros and cons for the move to Rome, leaning heavily to the cons. He also asked a bishop from a different Anglo-Catholic breakaway church in the U.S. if he would become bishop for the dissenters from the march to Rome.

    This was what provoked his excommunication by either the pastor with Archbishop Wilkinson concurring or by the archbishop alone. It’s one thing to dissent, and another to go behind your bishop’s back like that.

    They were reconciled, Sinclair apologized, was reinstated, then decided he just couldn’t stomach Rome and pronounced himself re-excommunicated: all in a day!

    He had a few supporters at St. John’s but when the move was put to a vote of the parish, most supported it.

    Now what? Now an ad has appeared in the Times Colonist declaring “Traditional Anglicans Come Home!” It announces a mass at St. Anne’s chapel, the descralized Catholic chapel attached to St. Anne’s Academy on Humboldt, for 5pm this Wednesday.

    Archbishop James Provence of the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) will celebrate the mass, and doubtless those seeking to organize a new Anglican Catholic parish, i.e, with no interest in going to Rome, will be on hand to sign up prospects.

    However, no contact names or numbers are to be found in the ad.

    The APCK was formed like the Anglican Catholic Church in Canada and the U.S. by defectors from the Anglican-Episcopalian churches in the 1970s. The last straw back then was the priesting of women.

    Both groups belong to the “high” Anglican or Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism but the ACCC and the ACCA attracted those interested in eventual union with Rome while the APCK, it seems from their web page messaging, have no interest in Rome. They won’t even have “Catholic” in their name and don’t even mention Pope Benedict’s 2009 invitation to all Anglicans to come to Rome en masse, retaining Anglican forms and usages.

    I once interviewed a Canadian bishop of this group and was regaled for what seemed longer than half an hour with a spirited defence of the APCK's claim to the apostolic succession and a just as spirited debunking of the ACCC's.

    The pro- and anti-Rome division seems definitive, but in small places like Victoria, there aren’t enough dissenting ex-Anglo Catholics to support two parishes, so they are probably mixed together at St. John’s.

    Now that push has come to shove on the issue of joining Rome, some have jumped ship, invited in a rival archbishop and staged an elaborate mass to attract others to do the same.

    Steve Weatherbe blogs on religion in Victoria BC from a conservative Christian perspective at faithvictoria.wordpress.com

  4. Traditional Anglicans form new Victoria parish for those not Romeward bound

    More about the mass at St. Anne’s for “traditional Anglicans.”

    I attended the mass, with Fr. Stan Sinclair presiding and with James Provence, the archbishop of the Anglican Province of Christ the King, in from California, at St. Anne’s chapel.

    There’s a big irony here. The chapel is old-school Roman Catholic, of course, desacralized now, but beautifully renovated and adorned with statuary and art, expecially a nice fresco behind the altar with the Blessed Virgin Mary to the fore.

    But the group staging this affair, including Bishop Provence, are those traditional Anglican Catholics (code for High Church, bells and smells, vestments and signs of the cross) who don’t want to join the Roman Catholic church, even if they would get to keep their liturgy, 35 or so of their 39 Articles, and their married priests.

    So they really dig the ornamentation but no Pope thank you, and yes to Mary the Mother of God but hold the Immaculate Conception, please.

    What happened was that Bishop James admitted the newly-created parish of St. Mark the Evangelist into the Province of Christ the King, and Sinclair was ratified as the new pastor.

    Fr. Sinclair was until last month past of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Catholic Cathedral parish. The Anglican Catholic Church in Canada voted, at their national synod in Vancouver last month, to accept Pope Benedict’s invitation and join (or rejoin after 400 years or so) the Catholic church, Fr. Sinclair decided to jump ship and solicit Archbishop Provence’s support for a new parish. The ACCC’s archbishop Peter Wilkinson excommunicated him.*

    About three dozen people showed up, some reportedly from a sister parish in Vancouver, mostly elderly, and many not quite that traditional –few signed the cross, for example. A second priest, David Marriott, was listed in the program as “gospeller and assistant.” I think it was he who sang the gospel, the first time I’d heard that done, I believe. But then I’m a Catholic.

    How many were attracted from St. John and how many from the Anglican Church of Canada I don’t know.

    A Times Colonist story on the mass missed entirely Sinclair’s excommunication but explained nicely that Sinclair’s beef with the Pope’s offer was that priests would have to be re-ordained (or “re-ordinated” as she put it). This, says Sinclair, creates a second class of Christians. But Rome has never accepted Anglican orders, have they? I believe the Anglican Catholics who are accepting Benedict’s offer believe their orders are not invalidated by the ordination, or, rather, that they are not accepting that the second ordination means they are accepting that their orders are invalid. They are doing it to reassure the Romans.

  5. Having only seen this story and the unfolding commentary a couple of times, perhaps, as the subject of the original story, I might be permitted some comments of my own.

    Firstly, the Bishop, the Dean, and the other clergy knew of my reservations about the Apostolic Constitution long before the "Pro/Con." The "Pro" arguments in my little booklet were all indirect quotations from the Archbishop, our bishops, the dean, and others; and I thought that they were all good arguments on their part. The "Con" arguments were drawn from many sources, including prominent Anglicans' reasons for not "going to Rome," as well as from standard historical sources.

    My concern re-ordination (not a surprise except that there had been expectations of some accommodation) was that anyone who continued to administer the sacraments on an "Anglican basis" would be denying the validity of those sacraments at the same time; and that re-ordinationwould mean our parishioners had not received the authentic grace of God.

    The actions taken against me before the Synod, which had originally been the time of decision for me, suddenly precipitated the actions which have led to the creation of a new Traditional Anglican parish. I contacted an archbishop of another province of "continuing Anglicans" to find out their intentions, to express my concerns, and in the event that the Synod approved the Ordinariate, to find another spiritual authority, since I could not conscientiously undergo re-ordination. In this my actions were like those of most Anglican and Episcopal clergy who sought out bishops in the TAC and other bodies under whom they might serve.

    St John's, with which my wife and I have been associated since I became rector 19 years ago, will no doubt go happily into the Ordinariate. The future of St Mark's, like that of all churches, is in God's hands. I pray a blessing on both. The people of St John's are still beloved, including the clergy.

    The reaction against my little booklet and my own unwillingness to join in the Ordinariate was momentary and emotional, and I hope by now has dissipated. I received a kind e-mail on the day of St Mark's inaugural from Canon Birch, informing us that St Mark's had been the intention of the mass on that day.

    The saddest part of this business is that the cause of Christian unity–which obviously we do not all view in the same way–should have led to so much anguish for so many people. My wife and I have been involved in ecumenical affairs, including membership of an ecumenical order, over many years. We have had wonderful associations with clergy and laity of the Roman Church and admire the spirituality expressed in the lives of many holy men and women nurtured within it.

    If the Ordinariate is truly of God, as was said so long ago, then it will achieve great things for Him. As for those of us who cannot accept the Apostolic Constitution, we desire to serve Him in the fullness of the "Anglican patrimony." I believe that we not only can be, but must be, united in Christ by mutual love for all who follow our blessed Saviour. We may not all accept the same dogmatic positions in all things, but we are one in Him by faith and baptism.

    1. Thank you for your reasoned response. We know that re ordination will be a major stumbling block for some.

      I believe your kind statement is true.

      If the Ordinariate is truly of God, as was said so long ago, then it will achieve great things for Him.

      My hope(confidence) is that " it will achieve great things for Him." The great things will be in our lifetime or beyond as hope does not disappoint.

      Unity will cause suffering and anguish for those that sacrifice for it. Christ told us that it would be this way. God bless you Father Sinclair.

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