One of the many nice things about The Anglo-Catholic has been the ability of the blog to canvass a range of ideas and opinions about things Anglican. I have personally enjoyed contributing to the discussions on Anglicanorum coetibus (and other issues), and the fact that the web master allows the free exchange of different views. It is also to his great credit that he keeps us up to date about what is going on. He now refers to the new Pastoral Statement from Archbishop Hepworth to members of the TAC. His account of the “TAC narrative” is, I believe, not true to what I know to be the facts of the matter.
When I say “I know” it is because, although not a member of the TAC or any other Anglican group, I keep myself well informed from my sources in Australia, England (where I was once a Church of England priest), Rome, Canada, and to a lesser extent the US. Recent developments in the implementation process of which Christian Campbell may be unaware has seen a significant shift in the implementation processes. Moreover, I know that Father Christopher Phillips, fine priest as he is, is in touch with Archbishop Hepworth, and vice versa, to make sure they are working together for the common good.
The process of implementation has not been the same in all 4 countries where it is planned to set up an Ordinariate. The US is in many ways sui generis precisely because of the Anglican Use parishes which exist there and nowhere else.
What Archbishop Hepworth’s Pastoral Statement exemplifies is the strong and continuing commitment of TAC bishops to cooperate with the Roman authorities to see Ordinariates implemented while at the same time being strong advocates for “corporate reunion” and being willing to argue for it. Their concerns have been heard and acted upon. For example, Bishop Elliott has been very open to hearing from Archbishop Hepworth and is working well with him and the TAC to bring about an Australian Ordinariate. The same sort of strong cooperation between the excellent Catholic Bishop Delegates and the TAC is evident in Canada, the US, and England.
It is simply not fair to preempt a wider reading of this very important Pastoral Statement by sketching a partisan and hostile context within which it might be read.
As Archbishop Hepworth so wisely observes in his Pastoral Letter
"As we come to this moment of creating Ordinariates, we are bringing together groups of people who share the twin vision of achieving unity and of bringing the treasure of Anglicanism into the fullness of Catholic Communion. Some groups have been hostile to others."
He later goes on to give this piece of pastoral advice which all concerned should exemplify if their Christianity is to be truly lived out:
The diversity of Anglican groups now preparing to join Ordinariates is a miracle of grace. Charity and forgiveness are to be the hallmarks of the gathering of Anglican groups. Every group that approaches this with integrity has an equal right to involvement in the formation and development of Ordinariates. None of us owns an Ordinariate. We are each its servant. [emphasis added]
So let us read this very fine Pastoral Statement in a spirit that is free of prejudice and pre-prepared political positions and be truly glad that all concerned are working to further the unity of the Church for which Christ prayed. No pathway to unity has ever been free of difficulties. Thank God that the difficulties experienced by many have now been overcome.
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