Looking for Some Virtue in this Story

I think it was the American writer and humorist Mark Twain who said, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." The same could be said concerning what's being reported about the Canadian Ordinariate. This story appeared, stating that "Rome has placed the matter of Ordinariates and dialogue concerning same 'on hold' until further notice." That is untrue. No Anglican Catholic bishop has said that. No one representing the Holy See has done such a thing.

What is true is that there are some unanswered questions about the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in Canada, and the bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) have decided to make a pause in the process so that certain issues which are important to them can be discussed and settled. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto, the CDF Delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in Canada, had appointed various mentor priests to visit the parishes. The ACCC bishops have asked that those visits be postponed temporarily.

There's still a desire among the ACCC folks to be part of the Canadian Ordinariate. If there are some things that need to be better understood by everyone concerned, there's no shame in taking a little time to do that.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

95 thoughts on “Looking for Some Virtue in this Story”

  1. It is just like what couples planning to tie the knot are asked and counseled to do. Take time to really think about it! We have a saying in my country that goes like this

    Marriage is not like hot soup which you can spit out!

    So take the time!

    And I don't think Rome would be the one to put the wedding on hold! Why do they always put it on Rome?!?!

  2. I used to really like David Virtue's reporting. On some topics – especially exposing scandals in the Episcopal Church – he has done very important work. However, his attitude towards the Ordinariates is not really objective. He doesn't seem to like the idea, and so he is very quick to print comments from other people who don't like the idea, almost always without checking his sources! He's printed several stories that have particularly made the ACCC look very bad, all without getting his facts straight, or getting quotes from the people involved. This is someone who used to be a serious journalist – sadly, it would appear no longer.

    1. My guess is David Virtue is of the evangelical branch of Christ's church; the 'Great Commission' branch. Most of you are coming from the unity and/or holiness perspective; the pure of the pure. Virtue's site is the only source we can get the whole Anglican news. A couple times a year I send him fifty dollars.

      This news is ACCC news. It isn't one of Virtue's editorials. We were told a couple of years ago by the ACA bishops that the Anglo-Catholic site was the source of all factual ordinariate news. I see very little discussion and mostly cheerleading. I have asked some of the serious questions on the laity's mind and felt like I was in the middle of a 'whack a mole video' game. You stomped on the 'doom and gloom' priest pretty good also.

      Why don't you just come clean? Someone knows something? Our little parish spent three years of turmoil with no answers. We lost members early and fast because no one was willing to answer the obvious questions. If you don't wish Virtue to control your news, then you must put forth as honestly and as best you can.

      1. J.M.J.

        Herb –

        What answers are you looking for? You come across as having made up your mind?

        I hear over and over that people have "questions," but no one ever says what these unanswered questions are.


        1. Well, since you asked…

          1. When will the American Ordinariate be erected?

          2. Will any liturgical rites other than the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, and the Book of Divine Worship, be permitted?

          3. Apart from the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, will there be a definitive guide to the ceremonies that will be required?

          1. J.M.J.

            Paul – I think the questions referred to were ones that would (supposedly) impact the decision to join the Ordinariate or not. That decision should be predicated upon being on the same page theologically as the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

            As Father Phillips pointed out in a comment on another thread we expect the Ordinariate to be canonically erected quite soon.

            Roman Catholic Dioceses were instructed to meet with parishes such as ours by May 7th to discuss how they can welcome and facilitate the transition into the Roman Catholic family, fully aware we are not under their jurisdiction, but, particularly in our case locally, they are most welcoming and offering to help, encourage, and promote the Ordinariate in any way they can.

            There is another deadline for some documents internally which comes on May 16th.

            (2) Yes – Father Phillips has already pointed out on another thread that it was announced in Rome that the Book of Divine Worship will serve as a template to work from, not as, the liturgy for the US Ordinariate.

            3) I certainly hope so, that is the best way to prevent sloppiness!


            1. I thought that we were referring to the Canadian ordinariate here, not the American one.


            2. Sean,

              Your response to Paul has me perplexed, and now I have some questions I'm hoping you can answer.

              First, regarding the RC dioceses being "instructed to meet with parishes", I have two questions: when were they instructed to do this, and by whom?

              Second, what internal documents are you referring to that have a deadline of the 16th?

              I look forward to any information you may provide.

              Peace and grace,
              +Ed Steele

        2. Sean, you are right. I'm not going. Our little house church left the ACA because the bishops couldn't give a straight answer and even they came to believe Hepworth flat out lied to them. As for myself, while still a member of the local TEC church back in 1998, once a month, I drove 120 miles to St. Mark's Anglican Church (ACA) Portland, OR replete with high altar, Mary's altar, incense, sung mass, chants, etc. My definition of high church Anglo-Catholic may differ from yours but is still valid.

          1) Was there any real need for the Reformation (Benedict is a reformer)?
          2)Other than a one shot deal with a priest with a wife, what exactly is the Anglican Patrimony?
          3)Why not do what Father Phillips did and start an Anglican Use parish?
          4)What is more important, the Great Commission or how many times the priest kisses the altar during mass (wounds of Christ)?
          5)Why isn't the Resurrected Christ, Christ the King, Triumphant Christ depicted once in a while with the empty cross? Why is it custom for only the crucifix?
          6)Why is this group of Anglicans so bent on being more Roman than the Pope?

          I have lots more questions. If you're so bent on going to Rome, go. Please go. But, please don't expect everyone to blindly follow. You have to answer their anxieties. You have to sell the laity.

          1. So Christ sold the people? Are we reduced to a carnival barher now?

            Herb, take your own advice and stay. Neither I nor any Bishop can convince you, only the Holy Spirit can do that. And per your own words the Holy Spirit has decided to leave you where you are to bloom. Why do you keep coming here? We are going to Rome, you are not. Your own words tell us you do not nor want to belong. So leave us in peace and go your way.

            Your fixation on us is strange to say the least.


            1. I'm called to be here to help you. Yes Christ is the greatest salesman of all time, a veritable fisher of men.

              I recall back in the '70s when the Leboneses were engaged in tearing the beautiful international city of Beruit to pieces in their civil war of Christians versus Muslims. A reporter ask one of the Christians who their missionary or patron saint was. His answer caught me off guard. Jesus! Maybe the See of Rome doesn't hold the keys to heaven for all.

          2. J.M.J.

            Herb –

            I was under the impression that these were questions to help decide whether to be part of the Ordinariate or not. That is not what these seem to be.

            "..1) Was there any real need for the Reformation (Benedict is a reformer)?"

            There were problems that were fully, completely and sufficiently dealt with by the Holy Council of Trent.

            2)Other than a one shot deal with a priest with a wife, what exactly is the Anglican Patrimony?

            As has already been pointed out, this term appear three times combined in the Apostolic Constitution and the Complimentary Norms. The Holy See has not defined it, but from context it should be fairly clear what is intended. I would encourage you to read the documents.

            3)Why not do what Father Phillips did and start an Anglican Use parish?

            The Apostolic Constitution is the Holy Father's wish for groups of Anglicans to enter unity with the Successor of Peter. This is made quite clear in the beginning of the Apostolic Constitution.

            The Ordinariates will be separate canonical structures set up for a specific purpose and with a means of providing for the future. Almost all, if not all, of the current Anglican Use parishes are coming to the Ordinariate because they see it as a better deal too – so why would one go against the direction of movement of the current Anglican Use Parishes?

            4)What is more important, the Great Commission or how many times the priest kisses the altar during mass (wounds of Christ)?

            I am not going to dignify this type of question with a response.

            5)Why isn't the Resurrected Christ, Christ the King, Triumphant Christ depicted once in a while with the empty cross? Why is it custom for only the crucifix?

            This seems a strange obsession. Once in a while this does happen, but not as the principal focal point.

            6)Why is this group of Anglicans so bent on being more Roman than the Pope?…"

            I am not sure what this means.

            None of these questions would be questions for determining whether to join the Ordinariate.


          3. "1) Was there any real need for the Reformation (Benedict is a reformer)?"

            Nonsense, in more ways than one. There was need for "a reformation" in the Catholic Church, as there had been in the 11th Century and the 8th Century — but not a need for "The Protestant Reformation," which, dogmatizing a multitude of heresies from Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide onwards, and, in the case of the English Reformation specifically, introducing that Erastian attitude which has been the debilitating fault of Anglicanism ever since, was a cure far worse than the disease it purported to cure. Also, "Benedict is a reformer," in the same sense that, say, St. Charles Borromeo or St. Pius V were, but not a "deformer" in the same sense as Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, or the great idol of the last, Henry VIII.

            "5)Why isn't the Resurrected Christ, Christ the King, Triumphant Christ depicted once in a while with the empty cross? Why is it custom for only the crucifix?"

            One reason might be that such "iconography" is not only nor part of the "Catholic patrimony" but neither part of the "Anglican patrimony." Depiction such as these (like pictures of "hands-clasped-in-prayer" or Holman hunt's "He stands at the door and knocks") are the product of sappy 19th-Century sentimental Protestantism, once many mainline Protestants got over their hereditary iconophobia.

            As far as the other questions are concerned, they have already been answered, or else are senseless, or trollish.

            1. Amen.

              The human part of the barque of Peter always needs periodic maintenance and repair. Despairing over that fact, and then abandoning ship, is nonsensical.

          4. I find question #5 perplexing. Certainly there are many, many images of Christ the King, reigning in glory in both Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic churches. Or is Herb referring to something else.

      2. When you're waiting for something to happen, it's easy for people to say to you, "What's really happening? What are you hiding?" And you really have nothing to tell them. And then people make up some explanation, and it's hard to prove it wrong.

        David Virtue printed a report that he'd heard third or fourth-hand. His story was exaggerated, and sort of politicized. He took an announcement that things are taking longer than expected, and that we're sort of in a holding pattern, and used that to suggest that we've changed our mind, that the whole thing is a dud, and that nobody's interested.

        What he didn't say is that he received his information from some people who left the ACCC, who are opposed to full-communion, and want to discredit the idea. He also didn't check his facts with anyone from the church.

        Let's say that this was a story about two continuing Anglican denominations uniting, and someone in the pews one Sunday heard an announcement that the project was experiencing some hiccups, and this information was repeated to someone else, who was very much opposed to the unity, who called a friend with a blog, who published a story saying that the merger was off – furthermore, that everybody had lost interest. Nobody called the priest to see what actually had been said. Would this be fair reporting?

  3. I believe one question is alluded to in the latest issue of the Annunciator, the newsletter of the ACCC parish in question. What would happen to me if I am still undecided, but all or most of the rest of my parish have been received into the Catholic Church and my rector has been ordained a Catholic priest? We are regularly reminded that one can still take up the offer at any time in the future, but this does not solve the immediate problem. Early in the process there was a promise of continuing pastoral care for such people, but nothing has been said about this recently.

  4. Mr. Perkins is right, this thread was originally about the Canadian Ordinariate, and so I retract my questions. It is confusing when we start to go off an tangents that do not pertain to the subject at hand.


  5. +Steele,

    As to your first question I can not answer. To your second. The May 16th deadline is for Anglican Clergy to forward their dossier to Cardinal Wuerl for consideration for ordination. As a former Anglican priest, now a Catholic layman, I am gathering my information. Usually Cardinal Wuerl gives us more time, the speed of this request is interesting in many ways. I take it as a good sign.


    1. I have heard that Tuesday, 31st May, was set as the time for submitting dossiers in Canada. I don't know if this is a deadline or a start date but, since this is about the Canadian ordinariate, that date might be more pertinent. Could someone comment on that date?

      In the mean time, let us simply pray for the good people in the Anglican-Catholic Church of Canada.


    2. J.M.J.

      Cardinal Wuerl wrote the Dioceses and Archdioceses instructing them to meet by May 7th. We were pleased to have a guest from our local Chancery office meet with Father and I last week.


  6. I think that the confusion comes from the article in VOl. It stated "Ordinariates" in the plural, not specifially the Canadian Ordinariate. I won't say that this was intentional, however David Virtue is highly against the Ordinariates and whether it was implying "all" the Ordinariates or not is unclear.

    I do wonder how these Bishops in the ACCC could not understand exactly what the Apostolic Constitution stated. It was very clear to me who is just a layperson. Also I for one do not follow any man, but research for myself what one is offering me.

    I say this as there appears to be much blame placed on a particular Bishop for all the confusion. I don't deny that statements were made that were misleading, however, one must use their own intellect and not just follow without a clear understanding of what the offer really entails.

  7. EPMS has some reasonable questions, and may have already thought of some possible answers.

    If most of his ACCC congregation and the clergy should enter full communion with the Church, EPMS would, first of all, be welcome to attend Mass with them.

    He would not be able to receive the Holy Eucharist in that Mass, generally speaking. On the other hand, canon 844 (4) does allow the Ordinary to grant individual exceptions to this rule, at his discretion, for a Christian not in full communion with the Church "if some… grave necessity requires it", under the following conditions: that the petitioner has no access to a minister of his own community, and makes the request freely, and manifests Catholic faith in the sacrament, and is properly disposed.

    Canadian Anglo-Catholics who do not enter the Ordinariate ought to discuss the question of continuing ministry; they may want to remain as a group in communion with other like-minded Anglo-Catholics. Depending on the size of the group, it may make sense for them to band together with the ACA or other bodies with the same convictions.

  8. While Virtue's reporting of this matter is sensational and inaccurate, I suspect that there is a kernel of truth in the report that some people who were once enthusiastic about joining the Ordinariate (when it should be established) are now not so enthusiastic, and I'll bet the Easter collection that I know why: marriage.

    This is the most important and least discussed dimension of Anglicans becoming Catholics, and it has gone unnoticed for far too long. Any Anglican who has ever been married more than once or who is married to anyone who was ever married before will have to have all of the previous marriages examined by a tribunal of the Catholic Church and declared sacramentally invalid (if such can be proven) BEFORE it is possible for them to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. This will apply without distinction to clergy and laity alike, including bishops. And if it is not possible for a declaration of invalidity to be granted to such persons, they will never be able to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

    This simple fact of Catholic faith and sacramental discipline has been all but totally ignored by so many Anglicans for so long that I believe many of them had talked themselves into believing that some sort of deal had been struck that would get them around this obstacle. But that is not so, and it is now finally coming home to those who cannot becomes Catholics that they will be left without an ecclesial home if their Anglican parishes/dioceses enter the Ordinariate. No wonder they are putting things on hold.

    1. Father, although that was probably true in the immediate time after the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus, I don't believe it to be so now. I have had the opportunity to get to know many within the Anglican communities, and it is known and accepted that marriage cases will need to be looked at by Catholic tribunals. Some communities, such as the ACCC, and (I believe) the ACA, have followed the same procedures that guide Catholic tribunals, and that should make the work easier — but everyone I speak with about this knows that these Anglican anullments will have to be looked at by Catholic tribunals.

      There are other issues, unique to the Canadian scene, which have caused this temporary hold. I am confident that things will be worked out, and that many in the ACCC will be joining with other Anglican groups in Canada to form the Ordinariate.

      1. If so, then God be praised. But the general mendacity which surrounds this issue — particularly by the clergy — is always a cause for concern precisely because the real reason for not approaching the Church is so seldom the reason given for remaining outside of full communion.

        1. Father Newman

          I believe you hit the nail on the head with both of your posts. As long as union with the Catholic Church was an abstract things were fine, but now that a Ordinariate has been established in England things are moving forward in other areas realization has set in and some are having second thoughts.

          1. Some may be having second thoughts because they think the Ordinariate as it is turning out to be is not what they thought it was going to be.

            1. In other words: we want to become Catholics on our own terms, and if we don't get what we want, well, then, p**s off Rome, and if we signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, we meant only that we'll sign something we don't really believe, so that we can get what we want, and if we don't get what we want, then we'll "reassess" our signatures.

              What honest, candid and Christian folk would do such a thing?

            2. …but they're going to make elliptical comments on websites instead of saying exactly what it is that doesn't match their expectations.

    2. Dear Fr. Newman,

      This isn't the issue in play in Canada. Our diocesan bishop is a vowed celibate. Our suffragan bishops have, to the best of my knowledge, been married only once. Our bishops have had a diocesan marriage tribunal for a number of years which uses the same standards for granting declarations of nullity as in the Roman Catholic Church, and would not allow an annulment that they didn't believe would be accepted by Roman Catholic authorities when the time came.

      In our liturgy, our sacramental discipline, and our formation of clergy, we have been seeking to behave exactly as what we aspire to be – a particular Catholic Church, of the Anglican Use.


  9. Whatever the reason is for this holdup, if it is second thoughts or some other reason, what of the parishioners who have decided to enter the Ordinariate? Are they to be left behind and abandoned?

    It was my understanding that the ACCC Bishops have been meeting with a Catholic Bishop to discuss the details. I might have misunderstood that this was the case. If they have been meeting with a representative of the Church, it does seem odd that at this time they have decided to put a hold on further discussions.

    My concern is not for the clergy, but for the souls who fill the pews. Hopefully as Father Phillips states all will be worked out. It seems that the evil one is having a field day working against the Ordinariate and giving fodder to those who are so opposed.

    1. We haven't decided to put on hold further discussions. There have, as I understand it, been some holdups in having those discussions between the bishops. We want them very much. Again, someone posts a story – third hand information at best – and everyone gets all worked up.

  10. Fr Phillips,

    I have one question:

    If "the bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) have decided to make a pause in the process so that certain issues which are important to them can be discussed and settled," then why have the ACCC bishops have "asked that those visits [of the mentor priests appointed by Archbishop Collins] been postponed temporarily"?

    Surely the mentor priests are the best ones to inform the parishes on outstanding questions, so that clergy and congregations and individuals are free to make informed decisions and follow (or refuse) the process prescribed by Archbishop Collins?

  11. Speculation about "second thoughts," theological issues, matrimonial issues, etc., is to go down the wrong path. The ACCC is a legal entity as well as a spiritual community. There are simply certain practical issues which need to be worked out in order for there to be a smooth transition. The desire to find something more tantalizing flows from the terribly inaccurate story which led to this post in the first place. Since that story is false, it's foolish to base theories of "what's happening" on information which is incorrect.

    1. So let me paraphase you ..
      As Canada will be the first Ordinariate based on a previous denominational structure still intact, it will be kind of a corporate merger by absortion. As usual in this cases, they are a miriards of small points to be settled/audited before the signing. Add to this the novelty of this kind of merger. The ACCC (or the CC in Canada) has found some points which need to be cleared before the process can start (finantial obligations, property issues, pensions, or the like I expect). So, nothing unusual in a merger.
      I know most of this question usually demand discrection, but I find unwise being too discreet, if it risk a situation like the one has provoked this thread

      1. This is a wildly inaccurate paraphrase. This is not a merger. There is no intention or expectation by the ACCC to retain previous denominational structures. It was not a "situation" which provoked this thread — is was a story on another blog which reported false information.

        This is a further indication that comboxes don't provide a good venue for trying to figure out things which are best left to those who are directly involved.

        1. Sorry Father if i did add more confusion. I understood your post as a hint that the delay is caused by prosaic (secular) "loose threads", and I could not avoid the analogy with some corporate events i've witnessed …

          I'm cleary aware that the Canadian Ordinariate will not be the ACCC in communion with the Bishop of Rome, but if i'm not mistaken, the denomination as such will enter the Ordinariate (one reason more to have "loose threads" in pure secular matters, and the "Perfect Dream" of a lawyer 😉

          1. I didn't intend to appear to be slapping you down, asshur — forgive me if I did!

            I'm sorry the original post even had to exist for the correction of false information. These things are best left to be sorted out by those who have a primary concern. The rest of us can't be much more than bystanders, commenting on things we don't understand, because we don't know the details.

  12. J.M.J.

    This is not absorption. If we would become part of the local Diocese, and a parish there like any other that might be termed absorption.

    The Ordinariates are a brand new canonical structure, without being under any existing jurisdiction save that of the Successor of Peter, they are served by former Anglican Clergy, not those currently serving in the RC Church, is led by an Ordinary who is former Anglican, and are filled with people who are former Anglicans.

    The only connection to the rest of the Roman Catholic Church, the very focal point of Unity for the Roman Catholic Family, is the Vicar of Christ.

    Hardly being absorbed.


  13. I for one accept the 'Great Commission' remark above as both in order and important. After all, what is the extra value that justifies these Ordinariates instead of the existing routes of individual conversion, Pastoral Provision, and Anglican Use? Is it really the standardization of sumptuous vestments, Coats of Arms, and liturgical precision? No? I urge you to leaf through the archives at this site and ask yourself what impression an inquirer would go away with.

    The Patrimony we are asked to bring with us is more than just the safeguarding of High Church English. It is, rather, a cultural mindset that the Church sees as potentially valuable in the evangelization of a world that is now ubiquitously secularized. Not that Anglicanism is some sort of magical universal sanctification pill– far from it– but that for many in the third-generation West, Anglican theological and liturgical expressions are the last Christian cousin they even vaguely recognize from their childhood. I have in mind the tens of millions who watched the recent Royal Wedding, but have never actually been to a wedding themselves, nor are likely to get married at any time in their life.
    This moment of faint recognition is fleeting. In a short ten to fifteen years — 180 months! — the last generation to understand faith in Christ as something normal will be quickly dying off. It will be just as quickly replaced by a generation now in its toddler years that will come of age with Christ as totally, metaphysically alien. God has much for us to do. Let's knock off the silliness and get to work!

    1. What is at the centre of the Anglican patrimony as far as I can see is the Anglican liturgical tradition. That encompasses a literature, music, ceremony and various other arts. the Anglican Liturgy happens to be a priceless cultural and spiritual treasure. At the centre of any Catholic Liturgy is the Mass; it is the Mass that matters. Therefore, one would think that we would know which Mass was on the menu. Bishop Wilkinson has not neglected this matter one whit. He has been at the forefront of efforts to have the form of the Liturgy decided. One year ago, he, together with his Primate and former Primate, and Lay Canon Woodman, went to Rome and delivered a proposed text at Pentecost. It would be lovely if Rome would at least make a decision on this: we approve it as is, we approve with the following amendments, we deny.

      No, I am not suggesting that this is the problem right now for the A.C.C.C. But settling the matter would go a long way towards easing this process. I'm sure that most Canadians in the TAC will not exactly jump for joy at the prospect of having to use a Book of Divine Worship based on an *American* (i.e. foreign) Prayerbook and the Novus Ordo Missæ. This problem continues to unsettle many, I'm sure. It needs to be determined *before* people jump into an ordinariate.

      As for the cause of the immediate problem, one hears rumours and then has the discipline not to repeat them. Prayer is the proper response on that. I am confidenct that His Holiness will ultimately (if need be) overcome practical problems in the process.


      P.S. Pentecost is coming soon and this Pope does tend to prefer symbolic dates ….

    1. There is at the very least an implicit requirement that the Ordinary be a former Anglican. Membership in the Ordinariate requires that one be a former Anglican or else married to one, per AC I §4, and Article 5 §1 of the Complementary Norms.

      Additionally, it would be difficult to fathom the Governing Council submitting names on a terna which were not from within the Ordinariate.

  14. Anybody who believes in the teachings of the Catholic Church but for whatever reason is presently outside full communion should seek that full communion immediately. There is no reason why people cannot come in as individuals and then, if they wish, join an ordinariate when it is established. Which is more important: the Catholic faith (which holds union with Peter as an absolute requirement) or congregationalism?
    After 27 years as a Catholic, I can say unequivocally that the Catholic Church is a good place to be – guitars notwithstanding. 😉

    1. That would be true as it stands if the Holy Father hadn't outlined a particular path for the establishment of the Ordinariates. Certainly, he's not minimizing the obligation to seek full Catholic communion — quite the contrary — but he's saying "This is how Anglicans may do it."

      1. AC and its complementary norms are chiefly not about how Anglicans will come into full communion with the Catholic Church, but rather how former Anglicans (desiring to maintain some Anglican patrimony) will live that full communion corporately within the Catholic Church. There is nothing in the constitution which says that those who know the Church's teaching do not have a responsibility to enter full communion in a timely fashion, but rather can delay for a period of years without any risk to their souls.

        1. I understand what you're saying, Mr. McFerran, and I certainly don't disagree with the fact that there is an obligation to enter into full Catholic communion as soon as possible after one's conscience is convicted of the truth of the Catholic faith.

          The dilemma, however, is found even in the title of the document: Anglicanorum coetibus, "groups of Anglicans." If the groups are lost, what will make up the Ordinariate? If the Anglican Patrimony is supposed to be preserved, how can that be done if the members of the group have melted into various Catholic parishes? Who will keep the physical property available to be brought into the Ordinariate? Who will support the clergy who have been laboring to bring their congregations to the threshold of the Church?

          There are all sorts of considerations, and I might be bold enough to suggest that God takes them into His divine account. These people have no desire to remain outside full communion, and will enter into it the moment Anglicanorum coetibus is implemented for them.

          It seems to me that the even more serious responsibility falls on the CDF delegates for each country, that they do their work a.s.a.p., because there are, indeed, souls at stake here.

          1. "If the Anglican Patrimony is supposed to be preserved, how can that be done if the members of the group have melted into various Catholic parishes?"
            This question is highly relevant in England.

  15. By Gum, this gets more and more confusing for those of us who are cradle Roman Catholics. I have been dipping into Anglo/Anglican-Catholics blogs for a while now and am more than a little distressed at some of the vitriol I find but it does seem to be a common theme for small groups whose horizons become narrower. I do not include this blog in my criticism – it is mostly hopeful and full of the best ambition for unity.
    The English and Welsh Ordinariate is still in the process of formation, with Deacons being ordained at this time and Ordinations to the Priesthood taking place around Pentecost. Let the first Ordinariate be up and running before you panic about any others. Patience, annoyingly, is one of the great Virtues
    A friend of mine is to be ordained as a Catholic priest in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on 8th June. He has been a Roman Catholic for 5 years, working as a Prison Chaplain; as a former Anglican priest, he was invited to apply for ordination through the Ordinariate. This shows that it is possible to be in communion now and be part of the Ordinariate later.
    It also shows that what didn't seem possible a while ago becomes possible rather quickly, so to my brothers and sisters in the ACCC and in the USA – don't worry. Take a deep breath and you will find that all will be fine – if you that is what you truly pray for.
    I look forward to my next visit to the States where I hope to celebrate Mass in one of the Ordinarite parishes and I will be there before the end of the year.
    By the by – I celebrated the funeral of my Anglican Uncle today – we had no organist due to lack of availability and the traditional singing was led beautifully by one of my old primary school teachers who can only play the guitar. It was beautiful – so you see, even guitars can lead the singing of Hail Queen of Heaven.

    1. I too have noticed the vitriol you speak of, however, from my experience it is coming from Anglicans who are not coming into the Ordinariate and are very unhappy that the Holy Father has given us such a gracious offer.

  16. As the diaconal ordinations continue in England and the priestly ordinations commence soon, one wonders where Bishop Mercer and his 24 TAC applicants for England are. He said at one point that they would join around Easter. The third Sunday after Easter will soon be upon us. I'm guessing that the prospect of offering the Novus Ordo or B.D.W. with N.O. Offertory in non-sacral English might be a disincentive. If I were a lay member of the TAC, I would likely not join the ordinariate until the liturgy was settled. There must be priests who feel the same way.

    I pray that Rome will approve the proffered TAC Mass text and approve it soon. One cannot help but wonder if the entire TAC is holding back. If I were in its shoes, I would be a bit distressed at this point: needing to come into communion with the Vicar of Christ but still not being able to bring my traditional liturgical patrimony with me, and this situation can only encourage those who want to scuttle any ordinariate. Canadians will not want an American Prayerbook, whether 1928 or 1979. They would want Prayerbook forms from their own 1962 Prayerbook (the same publication year as the Traditional Latin Mass, interestingly). We are told that the B.D.W. is only a template. Fair enough. But the fact remains that, as at this hour on 11 May, 2011, there is no approved text for any ordinariate except that three which can be inferred from A.C. This needs to be settled now. The A.C.C.C. people should never be required to offer Mass according to the N.O.M., an American text of any kind, or a Mass entirely in Latin. If the ordinariate were created today and they were to pass into it tomorrow, that is what they would be facing.


    1. When I am asked about the schedule for the Ordinariates in the US, Canada, etc., one of the things I mention about the delay, relative to the setting up of the Ordinariate of OLW in England & Wales, is precisely what Mr. Perkins writes about: the Liturgy.

      As is well-known, most Anglo-Catholics (the TTAC excepted) in England use the Novus Ordo. Those who have come into the Catholic Church via the Ordinariate in the last few months did not have to wait for an approved liturgy to be put in place, but could continue with the Novus Ordo, with their typically more precise and reverent churchmanship intact.

      For the TTAC and ACCC and US groups, the desire is for a liturgy based on the Prayer Book; we have already seen in the Apostolic Constitution that there will be one approved Anglican liturgy, not multiple ones. Doubtless, part of the delay is coming to agreement on a liturgy that will satisfy those who are currently using the 1928 & 1979 US, the BDW, the 1962 Canadian, or the 1662 English BCPs, not to mention the Missals or the Anglican Service Book.

      That this hasn't been decided quickly, to me, is actually a hopeful sign; nothing is being rammed down people's throats, their concerns are being heard. I am well acquainted with one of the people I know to be working on the committee that is overseeing this work, and know of a few others; I am sure that they are working hard to present a liturgy that will maintain the Anglican Patrimony of worship that reflects "the beauty of holiness".

      An additional issue that bringing in the TTAC into the Ordinariate in England, and setting up the Canadian, US and Australian Ordinariates have to deal with are property issues. This was a moot point for the CofE Anglicans who are the first members of the Ordinariate in England. As CofE churches are owned by the State, there was no chance of their entering the ordinariate with property, and that didn't need to be taken care of at the beginning. But with the other groups, this needs to be decided ahead of time, and that requires not only consultation with the legal corporations, but also consideration of the laws in the individual provinces and states, as property laws tend to be local, not national. Dealing with these issues may seem less spiritual, and therefore less important, but these administrative tasks have to be done. As St. Paul reminds us, even administration is a gift of the Spirit:

      And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. I Cor 12:28-31

  17. Is there any truth to the latest David Virtue article "TAC Primate Hepworth Writes Angry Letter Blasting Canadian Roman Catholic Archbishop Over Ordinariate" or is this another gross distortion? Clarification please?

    1. The News about this is now spreading and is in The Guardian.

      I am not commenting on the details of what I know, for good reason.

      I would ask, however, that those who are critical of Archbishop Hepwoth hold their tongues, and their pens. There is a villain here and it definitely isn't he. He is 100% the good man here, as is the truly wonderful Bishop Peter Wilkinson, Bishop Ordinary for the TAC in Canada.

      I trust that the Pope will settle this little problem. There is no disaster yet. There is only an obstruction. Canadian TACers naturally want an ordinariate that is in no way American. Our country exists because it rejected the American Revolution, and Canadian TACers are attached to their own Canadian Anglican liturgical tradition. One suggestion out there that Canadians simply join an American ordinariate will go over up here like a lead balloon.

      The fear, at this point, is that spreding news of problems can only have the effect of driving some Canadian TACers back into continnuer bodies. That would be stupid. Nothing has been decided on the outcome for this Dominion. The best people here can do is to resort to prayer for the TAC in Canada. The Pope meant his apostolic constitution to be GENEROUS. I'm sure that he will see to it that a generous spirit will found an ordinariate for Canada.


  18. Thank you, Father Phillips, for your steady hand. Many of us know the need for "ut unum sint" but we must not jump the gun or settle for anything less than the full implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus. No bait and switch or someone will have some explaining to do before a big white throne some day! Many of us are at the point to jump principally because of the Apostolic Constitution. If there is treachery then many will not only NOT become Catholics but many will simply stay home. This is serious business. I concur, our beloved (I'm not being facecious) CDF needs to act. God help them to be righteous.

    1. I urge that gossip on this matter not be entertained here. Keep in mind that the situation in Canada right now is worrisome to many. This could cause some to jump the gun and defect to continuer bodies. The continuers are now organising in Victoria, the City where the TAC cathedral is. They have a new church and are bringing a U.S. bishop up here early next month. Let's not help them.

      There is no capitulation of the TAC. None whatever. Nil. No one should be making decisions on the situation right now. This is a time not for action but for prayer. The Holy Father intends a generous implementation of his apostolic constituion and the panzerpope usually gets what he wants in the end. So let's not spoil this.


  19. If Mr Virtue (via Archbishop Hepworth) is accurately reporting the position of the Archbishop of Toronto then this may be a reason for concern. (Though I'd agree that it's a big "if.")

    The English laity were expected to refrain from participation in the sacramental life of the church for the season of Lent, and not for four to six months. The (Church of England) bishops were ordained immediately and the rest of the clergy will be at Pentecost. The English Ordinariate is an established fact at this point. But did that happen because of unique circumstances that do not exist anywhere else? I suggest that it is neither unreasonable or uncharitable to think that it might be so.

    1. Well, you'd be mistaken. Look, some of you commentators here, who are not Latins as I am, seem to be incapable of imagining that not everyone among the Catholic bishops fully understands your situation. I'll say more because, as a Latin Mass supporter, I know more. Not all the Canadian bishops will be jumping for joy as traditionalist Anglicans come into Communion with the Holy See. Do you get the picture?

      But the Pope is jumping for joy. So we shall leave it at that for now.

      1. Well, insofar as your position is based in special knowledge that others are not in possession of, Mr Perkins, I can hardly disagree with you. And of course I realize that not all Latin bishops will welcome the erection of the Ordinariates. (And that's probably an understatement!) However, I think that it is a stretch for you simply to declare that I am mistaken. I certainly hope that the Holy Father and the C.D.F. will overrule the Archbishop of Toronto and his fellow travelers as necessary, but I do not believe that it is a fait accompli, despite what occurred in England.

      2. Mr. Perkins said: …having to use a Book of Divine Worship based on an *American* (i.e. foreign) Prayerbook and the Novus Ordo Missæ. This problem continues to unsettle many, I'm sure. It needs to be determined *before* people jump into an ordinariate.

        …If I were a lay member of the TAC, I would likely not join the ordinariate until the liturgy was settled.

        …Canadians will not want an American Prayerbook, whether 1928 or 1979. They would want Prayerbook forms from their own 1962 Prayerbook

        …The A.C.C.C. people should never be required to offer Mass according…an American text of any kind…

        …Canadian TACers naturally want an ordinariate that is in no way American. Our country exists because it rejected the American Revolution, and Canadian TACers are attached to their own Canadian Anglican liturgical tradition.

        If liturgy determines whether one chooses to become Catholic, I suggest you stay where you are or form a new denomination that suits your particular demands—or stay ensconced in a parish offering the EOF, Mr. Perkins. (Please see Messrs. Reed and Tighe’s comments above.)

        Mr. Perkins, your battle scars are showing again, and the manner of your posts discredits you.


        P.S. It would appear we should add “anti-American” to Mr. Perkins list of causes.

        1. If liturgy determines whether one chooses to become Catholic …

          (sigh) Another victim of The Banished Heart.

          More to the point, these people are already Catholic, as they share our faith. The question is whether we can have unity in the Eucharist, a question which is most decidedly about the liturgy, and the total lack of respect it gets in so much of America.

  20. A similar story by Anna Arco is now at CatholicHerald.co.uk. Why does the ACCC never get ahead of the story? We have had days of destructive speculation and backbiting based on partly-inaccurate reports in unfriendly media. Meanwhile "What's New" on the ACCC website remains at March 7, 2011 and the latest on "Rome and Anglicans" is dated 2010.

    1. They were hoping that this news would not get out. Damage control is now in effect and for good reason.


      1. "Hoping that this news wouldn't get out"? This is not an encouraging indication of the perspicacity of the leadership.

  21. To those who would find any joy in the difficulties and confusions which arise, and to those who are discouraged by these things, I would suggest two brief scripture verses:

    Genesis 50:20 “…you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…”

    Romans 8:28 “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

    1. I suppose we should have expected such difficulty, as is the case for anything truly worthwhile. The Enemy wouldn't waste his time on anything inconsequential. A lack of difficulty is what should give us pause. A completely smooth path to unity would have been truly shocking. While God certainly "smooths the way" at times, His glory more manifest when obstacles are overcome, rather than never surfacing. Please God that, in the end, we all will have occasion to sing the Te Deum and Non Nobis — with true appreciation for His goodness, and His Mother's intercession, in restoring England and her children to the Catholic family.

    2. A slightly shorted version of A Beautiful Prayer by Joanne Gobure for Anglo-Catholics everywhere and especially our dear friends north of the border.

      I asked God to grant me patience.
      God said, No.
      Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
      It isn't granted, it is learned.

      I asked God to give me happiness.
      God said, No.
      I give you blessings;
      Happiness is up to you.

      I asked God to spare me pain.
      God said, No.
      Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
      And brings you closer to me.

      I asked God to make my spirit grow.
      God said, No.
      You must grow on your own,
      But I will prune you to make you fruitful.

      I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
      God said, No.
      I will give you life,
      So that you may enjoy all things.

      I ask God to help me love others, as much as He loves me.
      God said… Ah, finally you have the idea.
      This day is yours! Don't throw it away!

      To the world you might be one person,
      But to one person you just might be the world.

  22. Although a former Anglican- now Roman Catholic, I have been encouraged by a high ranking clergyman in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada to stay the course towards the Ordinariate, despite reports from unfriendly media and vitriolic reports from Mr. Virtue. I will not comment on the letter from Archbishop Hepworth to Bishop Elliot. This is not the time to give up, but to remain firm in our resolve to see the Ordinariate through, in some form, in Canada.

    1. Paul, your post is a welcome bit of good news. I hope it is an indication of what will take place in Canada. I pray for the success of the Ordinariates every day. Along with other members of my family I converted to catholicism over 50 years ago. My younger sister and I had to go through a much longer peroid of instruction than other members of the family due to our age and it was frustrating, but we have never had any regrets.

    2. Thank you! I have heard exactly the same thing and from a similar or identical source. The situation is hopeful despite any temporary problems.


  23. The problem with TAC clergy lacking in seminary training is I believe quite serious. This has to be sorted out since it really will affect the reception of groups of Anglicans into the RCC. I just wonder when TAC approached Rome, didn't they ever look into this situation?

    1. Ben, I am sure they did.

      One thing of interest. As I have been lead to believe, once a man's vocation is approve in the Church he does not pay for seminary. I know the local diocese plans to let me take classes locally with out cost if I need them.

      Protestant churches, to include Anglican (especially continuing Anglicans) do not or can not pay. Some do not even have seminaries or have something set up and call it a seminary. Who pays for this education? The seminary student.
      Talking with a young man last Sunday night, his brother is attending a TEC seminary in New York. Except for some scholarships, which amount to very little, he will pay for his education. The cost $32000. Unsure if he meant total or yearly. So this TEC priest will have a $32k student debt upon ordination.
      I have a $20k student debt I am paying off.

      Most continuing priest are older men with families who maynot have access to a seminary or could not quit their secular job and take their family to seminary. Many were trained with education and on the job training from a mentor priest or recieved an education from seminaries or colleges through distant learning, much like you see with the College of Phoenix for business. Yes some got to a brick and mortar building, some did not. Some went to a completely anti-catholic seminary like the one I briefly attended Reform Theological Seminary. Very calvinistic.

      So will there be training or retraining? Sure. I would be more concerned with priests with a TEC degree from the last 30 years than some of the continuing Anglicans. We all know to the depths the TEC has fallen and except for Natosha House, most have fallen away from training a man in the gospel. Just look at some of the mainline anglican sites to verifiy this. Story after story telling us.

      All this to say, Anglicans and especially break away or continuing Anglicans have had to search for orthodox seminaries. I know Anglican priests who have graduated from Baptist Seminaries. So we anglican clergy, current and prior, know we will have to be retooled. and I am sure Rome already has it in place/mind how to do it. At least my local Diocese has a plan in place for training former protestant clergy to be catholic clergy. The issue maybe be what to do in the mean time. The process could and I say could fall apart if an Anglican Use parish has to do with out its priest for years of training.

      I have faith in the Holy Father to do what is correct. I now have a secular job that takes me away from my family for weeks at a time, is dangerous and the pay is not great. If Rome tells me to go back to seminary for 1-4 years, I am sure there will be something in place to ensure it can happen. I have found the local catholic clergy very interested in making sure my family is provided for and well taken care of. I believe the Holy Father to have the same attitude.

    2. Hi Ben,

      I would like your opinions on some issues. If you care to contact me at my e-mail address please do so. bernadette44@hotmail.com.

      I value your charitable posts and at this moment with all the confusion hope that we all can place our concerns in the hands of the Holy Spirit.

    3. TAC seminary training, from what I've heard, is better in Canada than elsewhere. Enough said.


  24. I'm not sure why Hepworth or any ACCC bishop (assuming they agree with Hepworth) would be in a position to determine whether an Ordinariate is established in Canada or not. The Holy See could just establish it, and those who are interested could join it, and the Church could be patient with the reluctant. I wonder if someone isn't overplaying his hand just a little. My hope is that everyone involved decides to behave like reasonable people when it comes time to talk turkey.

    1. The reason is that all but one of the applicant groups in Canada is a TAC community. So Archbishop Hepworth and Bishop Wilkinson would have a small effect, no?


      1. All but two. St John's Calgary (ACC) and the Anglican Use group of Toronto (AU) are not part of the ACCC. And 2 Priests from the ACC (including the parish priest of St John's Calgary) intend to join.
        But it is true that the ACCC is the elephant in the room. We hope it will not become the elephant in the china shop, and the French saying says.
        + PAX ET BONUM

        1. Sorry, I'd never heard of any A.U. group in Toronto. I was under the impression that the Pastoral Provision was restricted entirely to the U.S.A. How many people are in this A.U. group, I wonder?


          1. Henri can only be referring to the Toronto Ordinariate Group (www.torontoordinariate.wordpress.com) which is, along with my group, the only other non-ACCC group in Canada hoping to enter the Ordinariate.

  25. This whole thing reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles where Headly Lamar is with the Mel Brooks during a meeting of the council and gets everyone worked up and they all sit around the table saying "hurrmph, hurrmph". Getting worked up over scant information (and that given twisted to Headlys advantage), wrong information and a suggestion of what may happen with out any proof or facts.

    Sorry to say, after emailing with David Virtue, VOL, stand firm and Titus 1:9 have turned into the old pravda of the USSR. Or that guy during the Gulf War who keep spreading Hussiens lies even as the US tanks surrounded his building. David Virtue is in league with the likes of Robert Hart. Both want the ordinariate to fail. so please take what you read from guys like this with a big dose of salt.

    We have had ACCC laity, one who I believe attends the Cathedral, and they have said it did not happen. One who was at the Mass/meeting wrote on VOL saying what is being report did not happen. The VOL response…….don't let the truth get in the way of a good anti-ordinariate story. David Virtue does not vet his stories. He just runs with them. Most on his site dislike the TEC and the Ordinariate. So the stories are anti TEC and Anti Ordinariate.

    For example have we read anything on VOL that is positive about the Ordinariate in England? Any positive Ordinariate stories? NO. That should warn you.

    The Church is wanting and is preparing a place for us. Let us pray for our Anglican brothers and sister…even when they refuse to pray for us. I entered the Church this Easter. This Sunday I will be a MC and will help distribute the Eucharist at the Sunday Mass. Already approved. I have been asked to teach the Catechism for adults. The Bishops office called to offer a letter of recommendation for me to Cardinal Wuerl and discuss future lay ministry prior to my hopeful ordination. Last Sunday after compline, numerous priests and religious surrounded me to pray for my vocation, the Ordinariate, Anglicans and Catholics.

    Brothers and Sisters, let not your hearts be troubled. The evil one is getting desperate and is increasing his attacks against us. Let us fall to our knees and pray even harder for St Michael to protect us, The Blessed Mother to pray for us.

    1. Best reply of all. God bless you, Mark, and I wish you all the best for your future ordination. May it be soon.

  26. As others on this thread have said so wisely, the best thing we can do — in fact the only thing we can do that will accomplish anything — is to pray that that all Anglo Catholics in Canada will resolve whatever difficulties there might be and come together in a new ordinariate.

    What caught my eye this morning was Anna Arco’s comment that “Archbishop Hepworth’s railing seems unlikely to derail American progress.” A glance at Shane Schaetzel’s excellent map on this site provides some hints as to why I believe this may be true. First, there are the seven existing Anglican Use parishes, whose clergy and faithful are already Catholic: so there will be no issues involving priestly formation or catechesis of the laity. Second, there are ten other communities affiliated with the Anglican Use/Pastoral Provision, including one from TEC, which are now in the process of formation or reception. Their circumstances vary; but I think their transition to ordinariate parishes will not be difficult, if for no other reason than most are now “under the wing” of a Catholic diocese. These seventeen communities by themselves can, if needs be, form the initial nucleus of the U.S. Ordinariate.

    This leaves forty-two American communities coming from jurisdictions not yet in union with the Church. Such matters as clergy formation, catechesis and property issues will have to be faced, just as they were faced by the Pastoral Provision parishes. Archbishop Hepworth was right on the money when he said that the English ordinariate would be first; but he was totally off base when he predicted that it would also be the last.

    1. Yes, it is true that the TAC is not the only game in America for an ordinariate. The situation in Canada is entirely different. Liberalism is more advanced in Canada, and most of the truly traditional Anglicans have been in the TAC. Those who no longer are have defected to continuer bodies.

      But the TAC is well-organised in Canada and self-sufficient. It has about sixty communities, perhaps down to fifty by now. There may be more in Canada than there are in the U.S.A. Remember that, thanks partly to politics after the American Revolution, only 2% of Americans were Anglican, wheras more than 12% of Canadians were. That's a big difference. In contast, we have a much smaller contingent of Baptists and Congregationalist up here as a per centage of our population. The Congregationalists went to New England to escape the Church of England. They couldn't do that in royalist Canada.


  27. Mr. Perkins,
    You and I seem to have something in common, we both like statistics. You indicate the TAC has 60 communities (or maybe 50) in Canada. The Anglican Catholic Church in Canada's web site only lists 30. Or there others not in the ACCC? This is a sincere question not meant to be argumentative.

    1. to MRNJ: yes in this case: AC 1.1 says "Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops". Typically bishops' conferences do have territorial boundaries that correspond with those of their host countries.

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