This post originated as a reply to a comment on the story "And for Some Slow Learners…" which attributed to the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC/TAC) the status of the Personal Ordinate in Canada. I hope that I will come across as gently and charitably as I intend in this response, but it is precisely the sort of ignorance or presumption in the original comment that is hampering the establishment of an Ordinariate in Canada, a goal for which we all ought earnestly pray.
There is presently no Personal Ordinariate in Canada (as elsewhere in the world outside of the UK). There is a small, but historically solid and faithful, "Continuing Anglican" (TAC) ecclesial community in the country (though one unnecessarily diminished by the woeful course of action taken by the ACCC to-date and described in this comment). Many of its leaders and people would like to see the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada enter the Catholic Church, and some had conceived (and unfortunately continue to conceive) of this as an ecclesial union whereby the ACCC "would [simply and without institutional disruption] come into full communion with the Catholic Church."
This union scheme came to be understood in the context of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus as the TAC province simply "becoming" the Canadian Ordinariate. Apart from the Traditional Anglican Communion's desire to be taken seriously as a "Church" (properly so-called; cf. Dominus Iesus) and a "partner" in "negotiations" with the Holy See, it was also argued that this wholesale integration of the ACCC as a future ordinariate was necessary to protect church property and legal trusts from those within the organization who would invariably balk at the church's move to Rome and that, ultimately, most of the "converts" to the Catholic Church would be coming from the existing denomination anyway.
The Catholic Church seems to have made it very clear that this reunion scheme is not on the table. If there is to be a Canadian Ordinariate it will be denominationally-neutral; no one should be hesitant to join because of the jurisdiction's basis in the ACCC. Those wishing to enter an Ordinariate must be willing to put the good of the Church before their attachment to their old denominational structures, titles, and perquisites. While, God willing, the majority of the initial converts in Canada will come from the ACCC — which has provided, these thirty some odd years, a faithful witness to Our Lord's solemn command for Christian Unity — as our esteemed Father Phillips has noted on several occasions and here quite plainly on The Anglo-Catholic, the ACCC (like all of the interim Anglican structures which have been striving to keep the faith in the wake of the apostasy of the "official" Canterbury Communion) must die so that the Ordinariate might live.
In the past year, as Archbishop Thomas Collins, the delegate for Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada has attempted, with generosity and respect, to reach out to the TAC province, the relations between the Catholic Church and the ACCC have been unproductive and confusing due to the latter's misguided conception of itself as the Anglican end-all and be-all in the country, for which the Apostolic Constitution should be especially adapted. The denomination's less-than-humble stance has led to mentor priests sent from the Catholic Church being summarily "uninvited" from local parishes, public and unseemly disagreements and discord between the ACCC leaders and the collaborators of Archbishop Collins, and now, at least it seems, very little progress towards an understanding is being made.
Here in the United States of America, we look joyfully to the Autumn, when we have been promised the canonical erection of a Personal Ordinariate for this country. We pray, too, for our Canadian friends who do not yet have any assurance of their deliverance. What a shame it would be were there, in the end, only a single North American Ordinariate! Here in the United States, in Canada, and all across the world, Anglicans must learn to humble themselves before Holy Church, which, arguably, while certainly not lowering Herself in any way, has made to us an extraordinary and strictly unnecessary accommodation in the interests of Christian peace and unity. For this we ought to be eternally grateful and willing to compromise our preconceived notions of what such unity might entail.
[I should add that (obviously) opinion varies from parish to parish, and indeed bishop to bishop in the ACCC. Not all of our Canadian Anglican friends are still laboring under a misguided and unworkable notion of corporate reunion. It is simply our prayer that all come around to the reality (and goodness) of the circumstances, and, united in a common goal, accelerate the pace toward, and probability of, the erection of a Canadian Personal Ordinariate. But time is short, and discord may spell disappointment for the legitimate aspirations of the good people of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. The view in Rome is presently being colored by the apparent inability of substantial numbers of the Anglicans of Canada to come together under the guidance of the CDF's appointed representative there.]
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