Another ACA Bishop Rationalizes the Violation of Oath

Bishop Stephen Strawn of the Diocese of the Missouri Valley has issued the following letter to his clergy in support of the already published missive from Daren Williams, Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the West.  In the letter, he rationalizes his vows to support full communion with the Catholic Church, implicit and explicit, at the time of his episcopal consecration.  Selectively quoting from the Portsmouth Petition (which he evidently only endorses in "portions"), Bishop Strawn would like us to believe that the TAC requested only some animal called "intercommunion" — a particularly Anglican construct apparently — but not full, visible communion under the earthly headship of Christ's Vicar, the Roman Pontiff.  How is is that Bishop Strawn missed this bit of the Petition?

  1. We accept the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, which is a ministry of teaching and discerning the faith and a “perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity” and understand this ministry is essential to the Church founded by Jesus Christ.  We accept that this ministry, in the words of the late John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint, is to “ensure the unity of all the Churches”.  We understand his words in the same Letter when he explains to the separated churches that the Bishop of Rome “when circumstances require it, speaks in the name of all the Pastors in communion with him.  He can also – under very specific conditions clearly laid down by the First Vatican Council – declare ex cathedra that a certain doctrine belongs to the deposit of faith.  By thus bearing witness to the truth, he serves unity”.  We understand that, as bishops separated from communion with the Bishop of Rome, we are among those for whom Jesus prayed before his death “that they may be completely one”, and that we teach and define matters of faith and morals in a way that is, while still under the influence of Divine Grace, of necessity more tenuously connected to the teaching voice of catholic bishops throughout the world.
  2. We accept that the Church founded by Jesus Christ subsists most perfectly in the churches in communion with the See of Peter, to whom (after the repeated protestation of his love for Jesus) and to whose successors, our Divine Master gave the duty of feeding the lambs and the sheep of his flock.
  3. We accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, which we have signed together with this Letter as attesting to the faith we aspire to teach and hold.
  4. Driven by these realizations, which we must now in good conscience bring to the attention of the Holy See, we 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 seek the guidance of the Holy See as to the fulfillment of these our desires and those of the churches in which we have been called to serve.

– October 2007 "Portsmouth Petition"

And, just like "you've read on the blogs," Bishop Strawn is most certainly seeking to "join the APA."  Which silly acronym graces the home page of the bulk hosting provider's rented web page matters very little.  The APA is the most latitudinarian and decidedly Protestant of the "Continuing Church" sects; alignment or "intercommunion" of any ACA bishop with this outfit is nothing more than a slap in the Holy Father's face.

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DIOCESE OF THE MISSOURI VALLEY
Anglican Church in America

September 23, 2010

Dear Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the Missouri Valley.

Just under three years ago the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) met in Portsmouth England, drafted, and unanimously approved a petition seeking “full and visible unity” with the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, since the Anglican Church in America (ACA) is a jurisdiction of the TAC, we too were included in that petition. While I was invited to attend as a bishop-elect, I felt it best to remain here as we were busily preparing for my consecration a week later. However, by all accounts it was a very good meeting, and the signing of the petition was a joyous occasion in which all in attendance felt the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding them as they took this historic action.

Indeed, a few weeks later, I was consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor for our diocese and ultimately became the Bishop Ordinary upon Abp. Falk’s retirement in January 2008. I remember, prior to the consecration, I was asked if I supported “full and visible unity with the Roman Catholic Church.” Of course, I answered that question with a resounding yes, thus joining myself with all of those who signed the petition the week before my consecration. After all, in the Affirmation of St. Louis it is clearly stated that “We declare our firm intention to seek and achieve full sacramental communion and visible unity with other Christians who "worship the Trinity in Unity, and Unity in Trinity," and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith in accordance with the foregoing principles.” Certainly this includes the Roman Catholic Church. Not to endorse the Portsmouth petition would seem counter to the expressed intent of that document. That is exactly why I could affirm and support the Portsmouth petition, specifically the portion that reads:

“…we must now in good conscience bring to the attention of the Holy See, we 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 seek the guidance of the Holy See as to the fulfillment of these our desires and those of the churches in which we have been called to serve.”

By supporting the petition I also felt I was affirming the portion that reads:

“Recognizing that obligation, and with great confidence in the Lord and in the power of the Holy Spirit, a worldwide community of Anglican Christians have united under the name “The Traditional Anglican Communion” for three main purposes:

To identify, reaffirm and consolidate in its community the elements of belief, sacraments, structure and conduct that mark the Church of Christ, which is one throughout the world

To seek as a body full and visible communion, particularly Eucharistic Communion, in Christ, with the Roman Catholic Church, in which it recognizes the fullest subsistence of Christ’s one Church and

To achieve such communion while maintaining those revered traditions of spirituality, liturgy, discipline and theology that constitute the cherished and centuries-old heritage of Anglican communities throughout the world.”

Since the delivery of the petition and my consecration, the consistent mantra had been that we are seeking full and visible unity with the See of Peter in such a way that we would be in “Eucharistic Communion” with the See of Peter while at the same time maintaining our own heritage, polity, and structure.

Last fall the Vatican released the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus making the last year a most challenging time for all of us, especially as we tried to determine the implications of the Constitution. Many felt this Constitution was the answer to our petition. Initially, I had reservations as to whether or not this was the case. Since then I have attempted to keep an open mind while listening to all the reasoning as to why it was. However, in the end, I have concluded that, while the Constitution uses some of the language of our petition, it does not appear to be a direct answer to our petition. Rather, it appears to me that Anglicanorum Coetibus may be an answer to the call for unity by many Anglican groups throughout the world, first and foremost, within the Church of England.

When I first read the Constitution, I felt that this historic document was offering much more than we had sought, certainly much more than Eucharistic communion. But the question I kept coming back to was, “is that what we really hoped for?” Everyone agrees that the Holy See has been very generous in forging a way for Anglicans to become “Catholic.” And I think therein lies the problem. I am already Anglican Catholic. Whether or not I become part of any Anglican Ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church will not change that. I have been an Anglican Catholic all of my life.

That is because Catholicism is our Faith and we practice that Faith in the Anglican Tradition. Make no mistake about it, those choosing not to join the Ordinariate will still be Anglican Catholic. Simply put, Anglicanorum Coetibus does not “create” Anglican Catholics nor does it recognize Anglican Catholics to the extent that full communion is realized, which was the intent of our petition. Rather, it allows a way for Anglican Catholics to become a part of the Roman Catholic Church while retaining elements of their liturgy and vestiges of their heritage. That is very generous for those who desire such union. However, Anglican Catholics who do not desire such and choose not to take advantage of that do not cease to be Anglican Catholics.

You may ask why I refer to Anglicans becoming Roman Catholics when they join the Ordinariate. We have been told repeatedly that this was corporate reunion and not absorption and that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was careful not to use the term “Roman Catholic” but Catholic only.  The simple fact is that the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize any other type of Catholic in the Western world. Therefore, every reference within the Constitution to becoming Catholic means, in their minds, becoming Roman Catholic.

That is why you see terms in the Constitution referring to our Clergy as “ministers” that will become Catholic Priests. They see us as “imitators” of the Catholic Church. Therefore, we have to become “Catholic” Clergy and the laity must become “Catholic.” But make no mistake about it, they mean Roman Catholic. This interpretation is consistent with everything that has been written by Roman Catholic theologians and those in authority.  Specifically I would note Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, a canon lawyer who serves as Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Bishop Arrieta presented a paper at the Anglican Use Conference last spring making clear his understanding of the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution.  With this concrete evidence as well as my own understanding of the Constitution, I have a hard time seeing Anglicanorum Coetibus as anything other than absorption. Indeed, the Vatican will develop some sort of liturgy that will have “elements” of Anglican liturgy in it. But it will be developed by the Vatican and it will be uniform liturgy throughout the Ordinariate.

So, while I am sure the liturgies we treasure will still be permissible for use until the Vatican develops an Anglican liturgy for the Ordinariate, once that is developed I would expect that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Missal, and/or American Missal will not be permitted.

Additionally, many other questions concerning provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus have been raised. We have tried to get answers to those questions. Initially we were told that we need to understand how Rome writes such documents and that we essentially have to “read between the lines.” Since that time we have been told all sorts of things about the Constitution and how it would be applied to the TAC. We have been told that they would be highly flexible in applying both the Constitution and the Norms. We have been told to just trust the CDF, if there is an issue, they will make it right.

It was almost as if we were being told that they will ignore some provisions of their own Constitution and their own Canon Law because the Pope wants this to work. I just do not understand how this can happen. In the end, it seemed that any explanation and/or answer to one question seemed to generate more questions. It also seemed that more and more we are getting conflicting information. What was explained one way on one occasion would be explained completely differently at another time.

There has also been an unexplained secrecy that has surrounded this process.  Rome has issued documents and statements, but we have been asked to keep silent.  I have followed this directive from Archbishop Hepworth until this time.  Now the time has come to be forthright and speak, explain our actions and future plans.

As you know, the House of Bishops met in March in Orlando. We all agreed to request the implementation of the Ordinariate in this country and the ACA joined hands with the clergy and parishes of the Pastoral Provision (Anglican Use Roman Catholics). All Bishops signed the letter to Cardinal Levada requesting the formation of an Ordinariate in the United States. I have been asked why I would sign something if I were opposed to it.

First, let me say that I am not opposed to the implementation of the Ordinariate and at the time I had not made any decisions as to what I would do with respect to joining the Ordinariate. Secondly, even if I were not to go into the Ordinariate, I would never stand in the way of those who desire to do so. I still feel that way today. Also at that meeting we generated a list of questions that have come from all over the world, many of which you have asked.  We were told that only the formation of an Ordinariate would allow these questions to be answered fully.

These questions were to be covered when the delegation from the TAC met with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). We were told by Abp. Hepworth that the CDF had set aside a whole day for such a meeting. It was in that meeting that I, and others, hoped to finally get many of our questions answered. We were very disappointed that the group only had one hour with the CDF, thus very few questions were answered. The ones that were answered, I shared with you at Synod last June. But even some of those answers have changed since. As a result the many questions you had asked regarding the implementation of the constitution remain unanswered to this day.

I have decided to stop waiting for answers and start seeking my own. So I started with the Vatican itself. I didn’t have to look long before I found the above mentioned paper written by Bishop Arrieta.  In reading this text, and talking with others who are far more knowledgeable on this document; I have concluded that my first impression of Anglicanorum Coetibus appeared to be the most accurate assessment. Based on what I know as of today, the only determination I arrive at is that the Apostolic Constitution is not the answer to our request to be in communion with, but an answer as to how Anglicans can become Roman Catholic while retaining elements of their liturgy and polity and vestiges of their heritage. It does not appear to me to be what we were seeking at all.

Therefore, at this time, I will not apply for entry into the Ordinariate. I simply do not believe that Anglican sacramental acts or our Holy Orders are invalid. I cannot deny my orders. I know it has been said that we don’t have to deny or renounce our orders, but to submit to absolute ordination would have the same effect.

Additionally, there remain elements of Roman Catholic Dogma which are not found in God’s Holy Word, the Bible that is unacceptable for me to hold or to teach as necessary for salvation. While I do use the Roman Catholic Catechism as a teaching aid, I do not subscribe to the entirety of its teaching. It has been said that many Roman Catholics do not either. But to be ordained into the Roman Catholic Church without accepting all of the Catechism in its entirety would not be something I could do.

For these reasons, I must announce that I intend to honor my commitment to the ACA and I will remain as Bishop of the Diocese of the Missouri Valley (DMV) and continue as servant leader of the people within this Diocese and the ACA at large. For those whose conscience leads them to remain with me in the DMV/ACA, it will be time to refocus on the Mission of the Church. The Apostolic Constitution and discussion concerning the implementation have been an enormous distraction to our work as we seek to proclaim the Gospel. It is now time to start focusing on our common life of greater commitment to our Lord with respect to stewardship, ministry and mission.

It is also my intent to join other Bishops of the ACA, who also will not be joining the Ordinariate, not only in maintaining our National Church, but in moving toward the reality of a mission minded Church. We simply cannot maintain the status quo. We have to find ways to move forward to ensure the future of the Church.

It is apparent that the ACA House of Bishops is divided on this subject. Some are ready to enter the Ordinariate as soon as it is formed as are some clergy and parishes. I certainly support their decision to follow their conscience and it is my intent to do all that I can to continue to minister to them until they begin their new ministry within the Ordinariate. I also pledge my support and assistance in helping them make the transition to the Ordinariate in any way I can. I also want you to know that the House of Bishops is committed to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone out of respect to all those to whom we have ministered, whether they will join the Ordinariate or remain in the ACA. Many years of work, ministry, and prayer have gone into building the ACA. Indications are that only a small number of clergy and parishes will be joining the Ordinariate, so we want to ensure the continuation of the ACA.

At the same time, the ACA must continue to seek unity where possible. This may be the time when we will be able to focus on the question of unity with like minded Anglicans who share the same theology, Tradition and practice. Perhaps once we accomplish that, we can seek unity with larger bodies in Christendom.

Now regardless of what you have read on the blogs, I am not “joining the APA.”  However, it is my desire to begin the process of unity of like minded Anglicans now. I plan to join with other ACA Bishops in proposing intercommunion with the Anglican Province (APA). We hope that the full House of Bishops will support this proposal. As many of you know the APA was once a part of the ACA, leaving about twenty years ago. It seems logical that any unity effort we seek begins with the APA. It is my hope that once we achieve this intercommunion, reunification of the ACA and APA will follow at some point in the future.

While we are working towards greater unity among Anglicans and we will seek unity with other Anglican bodies, I also want to reassure that this is in no way an attempt to undermine the effort to establish an Ordinariate for Anglicans that desire to enter it. In fact, I pray that it will be established soon. However, I do join with my fellow brother Bishops who desire to support and minister to those who wish to remain in the ACA with appropriate Episcopal oversight and work to heal the divisions in the Continuum.

This letter may surprise some of you, others it will not. It may even anger some. I hope and pray that this is not the case. It is not my desire to criticize any of the decisions you have made with respect to the Ordinariate, rather I want to respect those decisions and move forward in love and charity as we seek to serve those to whom God has called us to minister. I can assure you that I did not come to this conclusion of my own accord, but after much prayer and study.   I have also informed the Standing Committee of this conclusion. Many will agree with my assessment. Some will not, but I hope we can agree to disagree while loving one another as brothers and sisters. I do ask for your prayers and you may be assured of mine now and in the future.

In the Service of Christ and His Body the Church

+Stephen D. Strawn

II Bishop of the Missouri Valley (ACA/TAC)

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About 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.

19 thoughts on “Another ACA Bishop Rationalizes the Violation of Oath

  1. The key phrase, it seems to me, in Bishop Strawn's letter is when he asserts that the goal of the ACA and TAC was communion with the Holy See, "while at the same time maintaining our own heritage, polity, and structure." That Anglicans seeking unity with Rome would want to maintain their Anglican "heritage" (which I take to be essentially the same as the often discussed term "Anglican patrimony") is a given. But to assume that the polity and structure of the ACA would be preserved without change seems neither true, historically, as part of the Portsmouth petition's intent, nor very sensible.
    Bishop Strawn, echoing his brother bishop's earlier letter, writes, "The Apostolic Constitution and discussion concerning the implementation have been an enormous distraction…" The feeling of relief that comes through as he now turns away is palpable. "Thank goodness we're done with all that!" But a bishop is not ordained just for his diocese, but as part of an apostolic college that requires he be concerned with the unity of the Church. In showing that he has no such concern, Bishop Strawn shows he is no kind of Catholic whatsoever, despite his protests to the contrary; rather, he displays that congregationalism writ large which has been a perennial problem with Anglican eccesiology.

    Did the bishops of TAC really think they were the only Anglicans who were attempting to pick up where ARCIC I left off after the Canterbury Communion veered away from Catholic practice in orders and moral teaching? Had they not heard of the other Continuing churches, of Forward in Faith, of the Pastoral Provision parishes? Did they think that if TAC was in, these would be left out?

    Or did they think that if the others were included, those other groups should abandon their "polity and structures" and accept those of the ACA/TAC? And Bishop Strawn talks about "absorption"? It's as if his attitude were, "If I have to change it's absorption; if you have to change it's communion." Isn't that a bit arrogant?

  2. This blog has been very useful in bringing to light what is going on and exposing the reality to the public eye. The comments have been hard hitting, and justly so in my view. I do not know how these guys thought they would get away with it. The fact is that these men, put in positions of authority in the TAC and given the task of leading and teaching, have lied not only to us, but to God, and on the altar! This is no longer about any profound principle of Christian Unity, it is about elementary honesty and integrity. I do not see how any Christian body could want to bring in such men now that the truth is plain to the world. I also do not see how the other ACA and TAC bishops cannot take action against them, lest we see more headlines like “The Anglican Church in America Rejects Anglicanorum Coetibus”. If they “just couldn’t do it”, then resign with honor rather than trying to lead a rebellion again the teachings of your own church. Any future ministry they will have will be stained by perjury and betrayal. Is it really worth it?

    This statement is full of nonsense like “While I do use the Roman Catholic Catechism as a teaching aid, I do not subscribe to the entirety of its teaching.”, written after having fixed his name to the statement, “We accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, which we have signed together with this Letter as attesting to the faith we aspire to teach and hold.”

    These men bring dishonor and shame on all of us.

    Roast ‘em.

  3. As a priest under Bishop SDS, I see exactly what he is saying. Milton said it first, in book I, l.263 of Paradise Lost

    "Here may we reign secure, and in my choice / To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell. / Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven."

  4. Since the delivery of the petition and my consecration, the consistent mantra had been that we are seeking full and visible unity with the See of Peter in such a way that we would be in “Eucharistic Communion” with the See of Peter while at the same time maintaining our own heritage, polity, and structure.

    In other words, "communion" with a condom on.

    Forgive the crass imagry, but the parallel to the contraceptive mentality is what immediately came to mind.

  5. If I understand correctly; he was for it before he was against it, but he's for it, except that he's against it because it was very generous, but it didn't tell him he is who he thinks he is.

  6. Here is the real issue:

    "Additionally, there remain elements of Roman Catholic Dogma which are not found in God’s Holy Word, the Bible that is unacceptable for me to hold or to teach as necessary for salvation. While I do use the Roman Catholic Catechism as a teaching aid, I do not subscribe to the entirety of its teaching. "

    In other words, he is, by definition, a Protestant!

  7. I'll be the Rodney King and say "Can't we all just get along?" These are our brothers and though they are wrong, can't we say they are wrong without the personal attacks? Whether we are from the Continuing Churches, or more recently part of the Episcopal Church, we have all experienced bitterness and spite from others we called our colleagues and brothers and sisters in Christ. Has any of our bitterness in reply served us well, or served to make us better servants of Christ or better priests? I'll admit that it was partly my former pastor labeling TEC apostate and telling me that my further service to it was a danger to my own soul and threatened to lead young people to hell that finally set me on the course to leave it and become Catholic (he converted to Orthodox). The point being that these words were spoken in private; spoken publicly they may just have turned others away from the Church and the paths he and I have taken. I pray these bishops and the flocks they lead will have change of heart and follow us back to the Church our forefathers forsook. I just don't think that calling them "Judas", liar, coward, etc. will help change their hearts.
    Then again, how in the world they get on the road to the promised land and then cry out for the garlic and fleshpots of slavery in Goshen, I just don't understand. Maybe, it will take two more generations before they can come over. I hope our example will be a beacon to them.

    Meanwhile, maybe this Gospel passage is germane:
    And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. Matthew 10:14

  8. I think that this letter is a better letter than the one from the other bishop. It is meatier and has some detailed objections. I do wish though that he added a bit more detail. For instance, I wish that he had added a "such as" after this sentence, "Additionally, there remain elements of Roman Catholic Dogma which are not found in God’s Holy Word, the Bible that is unacceptable for me to hold or to teach as necessary for salvation." What elements exactly is he referring to? This is a great opportunity for a quick dependent-clause teaching or even a few sentences but this bishop missed it.

    The overwhelming feeling I get from this letter is that he just does not like or trust the Catholic bureaucracy. For instance, there is this sentence: "So, while I am sure the liturgies we treasure will still be permissible for use until the Vatican develops an Anglican liturgy for the Ordinariate, once that is developed I would expect that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Missal, and/or American Missal will not be permitted." I do not know what basis he has for that expectation except distrust of the Roman Catholic Church. Is there evidence for this?

    Another example of his lack of trust is this paragraph:

    Additionally, many other questions concerning provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus have been raised. We have tried to get answers to those questions. Initially we were told that we need to understand how Rome writes such documents and that we essentially have to “read between the lines.” Since that time we have been told all sorts of things about the Constitution and how it would be applied to the TAC. We have been told that they would be highly flexible in applying both the Constitution and the Norms. We have been told to just trust the CDF, if there is an issue, they will make it right."

    And he doesn't trust. How can anyone join the Catholic Church without having that needed trust or without being willing to take a leap of faith? I took that leap; it was heart-wrenching. I am saddened that this bishop cannot take that leap.

    The Catholic Church is trying to do something new here. There is nothing in Catholicism quite like the Anglican ordinariates. There are the Eastern Rite churches and personal prelatures. Most applicable is the 30 years of experience with the Pastoral Provision and Anglican Use parishes. None of those are exactly on point.

    For us, the Church has re-written her laws. I am greatly honored. They have shown the great flexibility that the bishops mentioned, and they have pledged more as we more forward. I take them at their word. I trust. If this bishop cannot, then he either must take a leap of faith or choose a different path. I am saddened that he has chosen the latter but I hope that he will keep his heart open. Maybe he will come to trust the Church.

    1. Mr. Hall writes:

      "For instance, there is this sentence: 'So, while I am sure the liturgies we treasure will still be permissible for use until the Vatican develops an Anglican liturgy for the Ordinariate, once that is developed I would expect that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, Anglican Missal, and/or American Missal will not be permitted.' I do not know what basis he has for that expectation except distrust of the Roman Catholic Church. Is there evidence for this?"

      Of course there is. Take a look at the Book of Divine Worship. Does that look like 1928 or one of the Missals to you? Don't get me wrong, I know that Fr. Phillips and the other AU pioneers did their best during the process that engendered the BDW, and that there is potential for a more robust Anglican Use liturgy in the future, but for now there is ample ground for skepticism when it comes to liturgical books.

      1. Do you still use the, 1549?, the earliest BCP? I know of no one that does. How many versions or editions of the BCP and Missal do we have?

        I am a 1928 BCP man. I love it. But I love and trust the Church more! I have seen, numerous times, the Mass on Fr. Phillips site. I love it also and have no problems with it.

        I think we Anglicans can become like the KJV only crowd if we are not too careful. And yes I was once one of those too. Here in Pensacola we have bastions of fundies who think Jesus himself spoke in Kings James English and if the original Greek, etc differs from the KJV, the Greek is wrong.

        I like my KJV and my 1928. But I love and trust the Church more.

        You're right, it is about trust. The question is do you trust the Successor to Peter and the Church Christ gave us? A question we each need to answer.

        Fr. Mark

      2. What struck me is the formulation "I would expect that … will not be permitted." Of the three different options towards these books — approval, neutrality, suppression — he "expects" suppression. He expects the Vatican to take the least charitable, least loving, least pastoral option. Why does he "expect" the Vatican to act in that way?

        The bishop could have been more charitable, more trusting. He could have said that he has concerns about the liturgy and that he thinks the current BDW has serious flaws, but that he has been told that such concerns will be addressed, that he trusts the Vatican, and that, therefore, he would take a leap of faith, seek to join the Ordinariate, and hope to influence the new liturgy (after all everyone has been expecting the BDW to be revised from the very moment it was approved since it is first attempt.)

        But he didn't say that because he doesn't trust the Vatican. All his objections boil down to that — his lack of trust. If he trusted and believed in the Vatican, he would be joining the Ordinariate. He doesn't and he won't be. And as a result of his lack of trust, he makes statements like this that is a possibility but only a possibility, and possibility that I think is unlikely given the history of this Pope and the Pastoral Provision. But then again I trust the Vatican.

  9. Fr. Bill, A sensible, timely reminder. I hope that I have struck the right tone in all my posts but I am afraid that I may not always. Thank you for helping us keep our minds and words on the right side of civility and charity.

  10. It appears to me that from the very beginning members of TAC were divided in where they were headed. Since I am not privy to what was said in their meetings I can't place the blame on one side or the other.

    Why it has turned into what seems like a political game, meaning which side will bring the most into what I want, rather than what is best for all. We must let this bickering go and just make our own decisions based on where we feel the truth is.

    We can disagree, but if one is on the outside looking in, we seem to be no better than the others. Yes there will be many who choose not to enter the Ordinariate, but what bothers me more is some of the comments made, although both sides are heated up at this point we must not be so angry that we lose souls.

    I read some comments today that were personally attacking one of our leaders, the exact type of garbage you read in the National Inquirer or one of these rags. It was enough to make me sick and I don't want to see this type of rants being thrown at anyone.

    We have put our trust in the Catholic Church and now must just leave behind those who oppose this and let them go on their own way. What is important now is to be united as one, holding no animosity towards our brothers and sisters who are traveling another road. If some have been deciteful and dishonest that is going to be between them and our Lord. Let us not go down the same path with our emotions, let us move on to furtile ground for our spiritual lives. I think we forget in the moment of hurt that Satan is enjoying every moment of this division and every word that is posted whether against the Ordinariate and its members or we not following Christ's words to turn the other cheek.

    I am not saying we cannot discuss all the issues factually, but let us not give others the opinion that we are uncharitable and not forgiving.

    Yes we stand firm in the faith and in a way which will bring others to know because of that faith we love as Christ has asked us to and charity and love is what draws people to us, not anger, whether justified or not.

  11. As a Cradle Catholic looking in, I can say that we too have "trust issues." In an Archdiocese like mine, for example, where the writ of Rome has not applied for over a quarter century — but where we are about to have a change in management — it is quite easy to understand. Similarly, since my first memories are of priests and nuns trashing everything they were supposed to defend — and allegedly at Rome's behest — it is particularly easy for me to understand. Many of my Traditionalist brethren simply cannot trust Rome, given the treatment they have received over the past decades.

    That being said, however, it is too easy for the Devil to tempt us with our own legitimate pain and fears, and unite them to our pride — the Milton quote was VERY apposite, and the SSPX are having to deal with this right now. Indeed, every crisis of the Church has brought forth this problem (remember the Donatists, Luciferians, and Petite Eglise).

    Certainly, this is a winnowing process; apart from personal marital and other problems, there is at base an irreconcilability between Protestantism and Catholicism that the whole Anglican project obscured but could not eradicate (although in the attempt to create a "bridge Church," it preserved some very fine elements — the Patrimony!) But the contradictions inherent it Anglican ecclesiology have been made manifest. Those who wish to "freeze" the situation in about, oh, 1950, are far closer to Mrs. Schori than either would like to admit.

    In any case, without a heartfelt conversion, they would be unhappy in the Church, and it is better they not join until and unless that happens. Although, given the Bishops' positions and history in the ACA, annoyance and feelings of betrayal are fair reactions, it really is better that they do this now than afterwards.

    1. I agree. Trust is not a minor issue. It is really the heart of the matter. Do you trust in the Holy See because you believe that Benedict XVI is the successor of Peter, as the Holy See understands that phrase? If one trusts that the Holy Ghost will ultimately protect the Church, then one can put up with all sorts of things from uncertainties and poor behavior to injustice and scandal. If one trusts, then one says "I don't know how this will all work out but I will join the Ordinariate trusting that it will be OK, eventually." If one doesn't trust, one raises objection after objection, worries that this and that might happen, and does not join.

  12. Don't make the mistake of Lot's wife, move forward and do not be discouraged. Our prayers are with you. Once you are Catholic, you will see the spiritual battle that you have been in.

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