A Prayer for Canada

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.]

Author: 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.

8 thoughts on “A Prayer for Canada”

  1. To date only two groups are ready to take the offer of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada, as far as Archbishop Collins is concerned. The parish of St. John the Evangelist in Calgary and the Toronto Ordinariate Group. These are the only two groups that will go forward in the Fall. Thus, there will likely be no Canadian Ordinariate in the immediate future. This was made quite clear to us in Toronto at a meeting held with the Archbishop on July 10th, 2011. These two groups either will become Anglican Use Roman Catholic parishes under the Pastoral Provision, or will join an American Ordinariate, until numbers warrant the creation of a Canadian Ordinariate. Right now the number stands at less than 300, as far as the Archbishop is concerned, and this does not warrant the creation of a Canadian Ordinariate. The ACCC, because of concerns over corporate issues will not be ready to move forward until these issues are possibly resolved. Anyone who attended the July 10th meeting is welcome to correct me, if I have my facts wrong.

    1. Mr Nicholls is quite correct in his report of the Archbishop's statements. I would like to add that the Archbishop also stated that the decision (as to whether the initial two groups would subsist as Anglican Use parishes or as part of a single North American Ordinariate) would not be made by him, but by Rome.

    2. Weren't there some groups in the United States who since 2009, i.e. between the issuance of Anglicanorum Coetibus and today, have joined the Latin Rite without waiting for an Ordinariate to be set up? I remember something about that, near Washington, D.C. perhaps.

      I see nothing wrong with setting up AU parishes in Canada for groups that are ready to join the Catholic Church now. I don't see the benefit to making them wait for other groups who have much more complicated issues (say around property). What benefit is there to making the groups with simpler cases wait — in limbo — for the complicated cases? I don't see why that is charitable.

      Of course, there will be those of ill will who will try (and have tried) to take any event or statement and turn it negative context. They will try to divide. They will throw bombs. They will whisper and gossip. That's our human nature.

      Charity requires that we adjust our plans to the separate needs and conditions of different people and different groups. Canada is not the U.S., the U.K., or Australia. Toronto and Calgary are likewise unique, different cases. There is nothing wrong with providing for their needs in a different way as we move forward with the very complicated process of building ordinariates to serve Anglican Catholics around the world. (Don't forget those of us who are not in "the big 4.") That seems to be good pastoring.

  2. I am surprised that Christian has had to write this, since the stance that he is criticizing can only be described as insanely uninformed. The Catholic Church does not accept the Validity of Anglican Orders, AND THIS INCLUDES THOSE OF CONTINUING ANGLICANS IN GENERAL AND THOSE OF THE ACCC IN PARTICULAR. I regret this use of capitalization which I do not only almost always eschew but find annoying in others, but since "AMPisAnglican" has had the audacity to put up a comment on a previous posting the first paragraph is mistaken in every particular, it needs to be said, and said, and said again:

    (Here) in Canada the Ordinariate is NOT the "Anglican Catholic Church of Canada" — nor is the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada the Ordinariat.

  3. “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).”

    Not quite sure what is meant by this…

    I will say that I have tremendous respect for the Canadian bishops for keeping their church together these past two years. They were able to stop the rebellion on the protestant side. They now have the enviable problem of taking the remaining bulk of their congregations from the ACCC into the Ordinariate. They want to be there, and it seems like the Catholics want them too (whatever you may say, these guys are basically it, with the noted exceptions), so the problem lays in the details of how to make that happen. That is not up to the laity, it is up to those bishops. The ones that want this to fail have shown that are not friends of the Catholic faith. Let’s have some faith this will work out among men of good will.

    When you contrast to the U.S. situation, there the Ordinariate bound have been forced to leave from their former structures, so this discussion can not even come up. That could be part of the reason why things are moving a little bit faster (did I really say that? Faster?)

    1. They were able to stop the rebellion on the protestant side.

      This is a serious overstatement, Andrew. The faithful remainder of the ACCC is much smaller than is generally realized. We are now only talking about a few hundred souls (and this is pushing it). A number of congregations have been lost, as I understand. I fear the bishops (some domestic, some foreign) have done more harm than good. I know Bishop Wilkinson is doing his very best, but others are causing the ACCC to essentially refuse to play ball.

      I believe that the position of some of the ACCC/TAC leadership will be ultimately shown to be "protestant rebellion." My post is not reflective of a lack of faith: it was intended as a critique of — and warning against — an arrogant, self-centered policy that eschews unity for the sake of secular concerns and pride of place.

      Truth be told, many in the ACCC were unprepared for the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution, despite how outsiders perceived Canada as being so advanced, "having their act together." In San Antonio, Bishop Botterill told me plainly that, as his people were not prepared to be "re-confirmed," that some "intellectual dishonesty" was appropriate in shepherding (duping) them into the Church. He also insisted that the future ordinariate should "subsist in" in ACCC which would simply transform into the new Catholic jurisdiction.

      The bottom line is, in fact, that the future prospects for a Canadian ordinariate grow slimmer by the day — and this can be laid at the feet of a handful of the ACCC leadership who refuse to face the facts.

      See Mr. Nicholls comment above.

  4. Maybe the Canadian parish and the Toronto group could affiliate with the US Odinarate, like the 12 people who joined in Scotland affiliated with the English ordinariate.

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