Here's the news we have been waiting and hoping for: the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia has endorsed their bishops' request for an Ordinariate.
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Australian Synod votes on Anglicanorum Coetibus.
The Synod of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (one of two Traditional Anglican Communion Provinces in Australia – the other being the Church of Torres Strait) met at Saint Stephen’s College, Coomera, for four days from 27th – 30th July.
The Synod worked through a series of seminars on “Power and Trust in the Church”, “Child-safe environment: reporting child abuse and neglect” and “Occupational Health and Safety” in response to changing legislation in Australia. A representative from the Synod insurers, the Catholic Church Insurances Ltd, was present for two of the sessions of Synod.
These seminars were conducted by Lay Canon Cheryl Woodman, who has just completed four years of Masters–level study in order to be qualified to head the Professional Standards work of the Australian TAC. She is also a Chaplain (working mainly with sex offenders) at South Australia’s principal prison.
Also on the agenda were resolutions designed to move the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia further along the path of accepting and implementing the Apostolic Constitution. Many Synod members were clearly unsure at the outset about the need and value of Professional Standards, but were scarcely into the first seminar when the importance became obvious. This work on three mornings of Synod laid the groundwork for a church intending to grow. And surrounded by the two thousand students of the first College founded by the TAC in Australia, that message was hard to ignore.
Archbishop Hepworth celebrated the opening Mass of the Holy Spirit, preaching the same sermon as he had the previous week at the Canadian National Synod.
His charge set out the global problems facing the Church, and reflected on the unique moment in Anglican history in which the Synod was meeting.
Two afternoons were spent studying the Apostolic Constitution and debating the resolutions arising from it. Every member of Synod took part in the discussion.
At the end of a debate that went into the evening to allow everyone the opportunity to speak, Synod passed six resolutions. One was a technical endorsement of the suggestion for an Interim Governing Council in the letter of ACCA Bishops to Cardinal Levada responding to his invitation to start the Ordinariate process. Another was a carefully worded technical resolution designed to protect the assets of the ACCA in the process of founding the Australian Ordinariate.
The four remaining resolutions passed with six dissenting votes in a Synod of 56 voting members:
That this National Synod endorses the action of its Archbishop and Bishops in requesting the establishment of an Anglican Ordinariate in Australia under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, and that the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, in the words of the Apostolic Constitution, desires to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner*, thereby achieving the status of an Anglican Ordinariate.
That this National Synod welcomes with joy the partnership of Forward in Faith Australia and all other Anglican clergy and people who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner* through the Anglican Ordinariate in Australia.
That this National Synod strongly endorses the application of the Bishop of the Torres Strait to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for an Ordinariate of the Torres Strait.
That this National Synod requests the Primate to communicate to the Holy Father its gratitude for his Apostolic Constitution, ands warmly thanks him for his continued protection of faithful Anglicans and their tradition, and assures him of our prayers at every celebration of the Eucharist for his ministry of “caring for all the churches”.
There was an overwhelming sense of joy and relief among members after the vote. Years of longing and praying for unity had borne fruit.
Bishop Entwistle celebrated a Votive Mass for Unity on the Wednesday of Synod, and gave a homily on faith and belief that was quoted by many of those who spoke in the debate.
Bishop Robarts celebrated the Synod Requiem for deceased members and benefactors of the ACCA. He preached a moving homily on holiness and stillness in our quest for God. Three sermons, three bishops, a feast of biblical preaching.
This was a tough Synod. The issues were emotionally and spiritually demanding. There were more than a few tears. Even the readings at Morning Prayer conspired to move us.
The Anglican Catholic Church in Australia is a daughter church of the Anglican Catholic Church in Canada. Its first bishop was consecrated in Ottawa. Archbishop Hepworth observed how appropriate it was that the two National Synods should have met within a week of each other, and together accept the offer of Pope Benedict to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner*.
* Anglicanorum Coetibus, Introduction, Paragraph 5
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