A Report from TTAC

This report was sent by Bishop David Moyer, the Episcopal Visitor to The Traditional Anglican Church, and it describes the recent meeting he had with the TAC clergy there.

A gathering of Brothers
by Fr Martin McManus, TTAC

Our journey begins across the border in bonnie Scotland, on the banks of the river Calder where we find the small village of Calderbank: famous for the production of the Vulcan, the first iron boat and for supplying the iron for the building of the Queen Mary cruise liner at the Clyde ship yards.

Then moving south to the banks of the river Skerne, we come to Darlington: on the line of the world’s first passenger railway between Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees.

Before too long we reach the rocky promontory of north Yorkshire’s largest seaside resort of Scarborough: I can hear the question you are all asking. Are you going to Scarborough Faire?

Continuing south and west we reach Llanandras, the church of St Andrew at 'the border of the meadow of the priests' or more commonly known in the English as Presteigne in Powys, Wales.

To the south and east, where in ancient days the temporal and spiritual thirst of many a pilgrim would have been quenched at Saint Anne’s Well: of course I speak of Stanwell in the borough of Spelthorne, very near to Heathrow.

Then to the Stone Age flint mines and Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring: where I hear you ask? Worthing of course, is my answer.

Following the south coast of England we reach the Sound between the rivers Plym and Tamar which was a major trading port in the Bronze Age and today the busy and major port of Plymouth.

This incredible journey ends with the sometime Bishop of Matabeleland (Worthing) and priest brothers (all over the country as described) of the Traditional Anglican Church in Great Britain, being joined by our Episcopal Visitor from the city of brotherly love, Φιλαδέλφεια (Philadelphia, largest and busiest port of the original thirteen American Colonies) at All Saints Pastoral Centre at London Colney just outside St Alban’s, England.

All Saints Pastoral Centre - The Comper Chapel

Built in 1901 by Leonard Stokes as the Anglican convent for the All Saints Sisters of the Poor, and with the addition of the chapel designed by Sir Ninian Comper (Architect, not registered) in 1927, the Pastoral Centre is the beautiful and spacious setting for our residential retreat.

Beginning on Monday 24th October, those of us who are well enough to travel, and have diaries free enough, begin to gather at 3pm: the sun is shinning, the sky is blue and clear, and there is an air of happy expectation at meeting the brothers. After being shown to our simple yet comfortable rooms, we meet cassock'ed but not biretta'ed, for coffee and to discover our timetable.

Throughout the following three days, we enjoyed our Anglican Patrimony to the full: the offices of Matins, Sext, Evensong and Compline sung to Anglican chant in the Comper chapel while seated in choir. The Communion Service, commonly called the Mass (BCP), read ad orientem on Tuesday by Bishop Moyer and read on Wednesday by Bishop Mercer, CR. The two devotional addresses delivered by Bishop Moyer concentrated on the priest as Pastor and the priest as Preacher.

On Tuesday morning following mass and on our way to breakfast as we walked the cloister, I giggled to myself saying ‘oh dear someone’s burned the toast.’ A grey haze was hovering one foot off the ground to the ceiling. When approached by two ladies wearing smiles and thank yous: I suddenly became aware of the aromatic nature of the haze hovering around us as yet more of our Anglican patrimony that had escaped the chapel and engulfed the cloister.

Feeding our souls on a diet of communal offices in choir, the Eucharist, and the fatherly instruction of our Episcopal Visitor, was hungry work!! However, our temporal needs were wonderfully catered for by the staff of the centre: attentive, discreet and so warmly welcoming, they really made our stay a joy. Moreover, all that singing, and the brotherly banter at meals, and walking in the aromatic haze of incense made us all thirsty. Again, the staff came to our rescue by manning a comfortable and cosy bar with adequate refreshments to maintain our Anglican patrimony in the best of cheer.

As we prayed throughout our stay, we remembered affectionately our Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth: we also remembered the Holy Father, Bishop Alan Hopes, and Msgr Keith Newton. Bishop Moyer and Bishop Mercer will be meeting with Bishop Hopes and Msgr Newton on Friday 28th October to discuss the way forward of the TTAC entering the Ordinariate of Our Lady Of Walsingham. We pray God’s blessing on that meeting.

As part of our encouragement we heard a presentation from Fr Murley about the mission of St Mary’s in Stanwell.

Coming from all four directions, gathering as brothers around the Lord: to pray together, eat together and be encouraging one to another in the ministry that we partake was a wonderful experience, one we hope will become a regular part of our annual calendar.

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.

30 thoughts on “A Report from TTAC”

  1. Thank you, Fr. Phillips, Bishop Moyer and Fr. McManus. I was very pleased to hear about the planned meeting of 28th October between Bishop Hopes, Mgr. Newton and the TAC, as I had been wondering what stage the discussions with the TAC had reached.

    I shall be praying for the success of this meeting and would encourage you to do the same.

    However, there is something else I feel I must raise on this day after the Pilgrimage of Reflection, Dialogue and Prayer for Peace in Assisi.

    I have been an avid follower of this website for some time but have become concerned with the link which the site has to the Lefebvrist Society of St. Pius X – especially today. Following the link by chance this morning, I arrived on the page of the U.S. District of the Society. You can probably imagine my shock when I saw that the Superior General had called upon Society priests to hold a public "Day of Reparation", "expiation and penance" for the "public and grave offence", "confusion, scandal and blaspemy" committed by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, in convening this day of interreligious witness, and presumably also by those who attended, including the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    I am afraid that this has once and for all disqualified the Lefebvrists in my eyes, who seem not to have progressed one millimeter from the negationist stance of the Archbishop himself so many years ago. (I had been tentatively hopeful that the Vatican might be successful in their current efforts to invite the so-called Society of St. Pius X back into full communion with the Church).

    If I understand rightly, this website is for those longing to enter into full communion with the successor of Peter, not to give penance for his grave sins!!

    Therefore, on the basis of this public insult of the Pope by the Society's superior, I must request that the link to this Society be removed from this website. I am confident that all readers will agree.

    Otherwise I would be consider myself obliged to view this site as a "Trojan Horse", enabling the infiltration of Lefebvrist beliefs into the Ordinariates, which must not happen. I would immediately remove the link to this site from my own website and regretably cease using this site.

    1. I am equally confident that all of our readers won't agree. Your use of the pejorative term "Lefebvrists" shows that you are ill-informed of the work and witness of the FSSPX. I am sorry that the Society has "has once and for all [been] disqualified […] in [your] eyes," but there are many of us who yearn for the group's full communion/juridical status — just as we do for the various Anglican communities to which this web site is dedicated. As another reader has pointed out, a hyperlink does not imply a total endorsement of the destination web site. I do not agree with many things I have read on the Vatican.va web site, but I haven't deleted this site's link to it.

      1. Do you realise what you are saying, Mr. Campbell? Am I really exaggerating or misrepresenting when I point out that the FSSPX are making "penance", "expiation" and "reparation" for the "grave offence" and "blasphemy" of the Holy Father? Yes, Ben (see below), I most certainly do consider this to be an awful thing. I do not understand how Mr. Campbell can compare the Anglican groups seeking full communion with Peter with those questioning the very legitimacy of the Pope himself?

        By all means support the aims of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, who are loyal to the Holy See.

        I must admit that I also have problems when the bishops of England and Wales are referred to as our "Roman overlords" (again Ben).

        Sorry, Fr. Christopher, for "misusing" my reply to bring up the matter of the FSSPX. I did not know where else to write my comments, but I certainly hope that at least you, Fr. Christopher, will sympathise with what I am saying. Because, if the members of the Ordinariates really do have a problem with loyalty to the Holy Father, then there is probably no place for me in the Ordinariate.

        1. I understand, Mr. Murphy. You should realize, however, that I am simply a contributor on this blog. It belongs to Mr. Campbell, and he is the main administrator, with the right to have whatever links he chooses.

          My experience with the SSPX locally has not been a good one, but I really don't know enough about them to make any general statement simply from a bad experience locally.

          I hope my own loyalty to the Holy Father and the Catholic Church is evident. I have been a Catholic priest for more than twenty-eight years, with not a day of regret!

          Whatever the mindset of the members of the SSPX, it is something outside my experience, although I pray they will find the same peace of mind and soul that I have found by being fully and unquestionably in full communion with the Church and in obedience to the Successor of St. Peter.

          1. Likewise, I do not have a comprehensive knowledge of the Society in the United States. It is my understanding, though I may be misguided, that there are a number of different mindsets in the USA district, and that sentiments on the question of restored full communion with the Holy See at this time may vary somewhat from place to place. I am pleased to report, however, that my experience with the FSSPX locally has been absolutely superb. And I pray fervently that the Society will be able — as a whole — to accept the recent offer from Rome on its normalization in the life of the Church. Just as the wider Church needs our Anglican Patrimony, She needs the witness to Tradition that the FSSPX has bravely — albeit sometimes defiantly — stood for these last forty years.

        2. Yes, Mr. Murphy, I do think that you are exaggerating — and that you have twisted Fr. Rostand's words to suit your own view. I have visited the web site of the USA District of the FSSPX and seen the post to which you refer.

          The post was calling — in advance — for acts of reparation for those offenses against God and His Church that may have been committed at the so-called "Assisi III" meeting. From past experience of the two previous gatherings, it has been admitted by many Catholic prelates and theologians — even by the Pope himself — that participants in this ecumenical gathering have overstepped the bounds of Catholic teaching, with inter-religious prayer and other acts of relativism and syncretism that violated the Commandments of God. And this year's meeting, whilst considerably toned down, was apparently also marred by such grave offenses. Have you seen this?


          It is a prayer chanted to an African deity — in the presence of the Holy Father and in the Basilica of St. Francis!

          The FSSPX's request was not a direct attack on the Holy Father. That said, I'm sure that it contemplated the potential error of the Pope's complicity in the Assisi gathering, but I fail to see how this is disloyal. The Holy Father is not impeccable. It is certainly possible that this gathering was simply not a good idea — as many loyal Catholics feel — and that the Pope made a serious mistake in participating in it. I, for one, hold this view. Does this make me a traitor, beneath contempt?

          1. Dear Mr. Campbell. We are not going to see eye to eye on this one.

            Yes, I did see the African chant LIVE, and felt it most unfitting in the circumstances. Yet I do not know whether the Church should do penance for this lack of consideration by others, which I do not think was intended as an offence. The words and demeanour of the Pope, the Ecumenical Patriarch, The Archbishop of Canterbury and many of the non-Christian speakers were a very potent corrective.

            Not agreeing with every action or word of the Holy Father is very different from doing public reparation for his actions, and I certainly do understand that intention in the various texts on the Society's website.

            But I hope I have not directed contempt at you or anyone else personally. You are, however, right that I am very sceptical about the Society of St. Pius X and their defiance and am much more comfortable with the Fraternity of St. Peter.

            I hope that we can now end this exchange. Fr. Christopher's words reassured me.

  2. Oh, please, Mr Murphy. A web link does not mean an endorsement in full. And of all things to get worked up about on the Society's website you choose a day of penance and prayer as if it is such an awful thing!

    On another note, why is a Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop attending this meeting? Is not Msgr. Newton the lawful hierarch? Was not Bp. Hopes simply a coordinator until the canonical erection of the Ordinariate of OLoW? Is he not a member of a foreign jurisdiction vis a vis the Ordinariate? Why do foreign prelates wield so much power in this jurisdiction?

    I am sure there are good reasons for Bp. Hope's presence–he is a good man, knowledgable about Roman ways, can speak from the perspective of the Roman episcopacy in England, etc. Nonetheless, it appears quite badly making our dear Msgr. Newton look like a modern King Herod, a nominal figurehead beholden to his Roman overlords.

  3. Thanks, Knight Hospitaller.

    I hope the comments won't go off on a tangent — I'd like to keep them open.

    I think the meeting Bishop Moyer and Bishop Mercer are having with Bishop Hopes and Msgr Newton is a cause for hope. We need to pray for the members of TTAC who desire to have a place in the Ordinariate of OLW, and this meeting may be a major step towards that.

  4. Surely two heads are better than one!

    The Ordinariate of OLW in England and Wales has very few resources that it can call its own, and hence does depend on the generosity of the dioceses for a host of practical matters. Then again there is the matter of formation for the clergy which is currently provided by Allen Hall in Chelsea.

    Bishop Hopes kick-started the whole process for the first wave at last Lent, and may have some knowledge of how it all worked of which Mgr Newton is not aware. Nothing odd about this, unless you have a predeliction for the conspiracy view of life!

    1. The formation for Anglican clergy joining the ordinariate is provided by Allen Hall, but now the ordinariate has a seminarian (not ex-Anglican priest, a "real" seminarian) who studies at St John's seminary, Wonersh. I believe it is intended that future ordinariate vocations will also be directed toward this seminary rather than toward Allen Hall.

  5. I am late coming into the Ordinariate. I haven't been in the loop. Why didn't the TAC group come in with everyone else in England?

    1. Mason,
      Honestly, nobody has a definitive answer. There's much speculation, for what that's worth. It is clear that the TTAC presented different issues than the CofE/FiF group, which may provide some explanation. From my experience, it is also entirely possible that there isn't really any reason at all (other than God's). With Rome, sometimes things just get moving in some areas until someone gets around to focusing on others. Whatever the case may be, I'm with Fr. Phillips in looking to the future, represented by today's meeting, rather than the reasons something did or didn't happen in the past.

    2. Mgr Newton has explained this more than once. The C of E convert clergy had all been through a reasonably rigorous training as part of their Anglican formation. There are also good records in the C of E, and consequently, it was easy for the Vatican to research the background of these men. The TAC has less good records and the training given to their clergy is varied and in some cases less rigorous. Consequently, the Vatican has had to do more investigations, and this has taken time.

      It seems that this process is complete, or nearly complete, so we can expect a move soon. In all probability the reception of TAC groups will coincide with the second wave of C of E groups. We must all hope that everything goes well for them.

      1. Church of England seminaries are not good, with Oak Hill and Wycliffe Hall being the exceptions. More and more Anglicans are turning to Heythrop.

  6. The pastoral center at London Colney would be a great headquarter for the ordinariate, and its Comper chapel a great principal church! Plus, it's not far from London… I think Mgr. Newton should ask Abp. Nichols this place for the OOLW.

  7. It appears that the issues in TAC are more complicated than those in FIF or in other areas who are waiting for an Ordinariate to be established.

    It is obvious from the many past reports that Rome is being careful before making any final decisions and once the particular difficulties within TAC are resolved, Rome will proceed. Speculation is not helpful, nor does it advance the entrance of TAC into an Ordinariate. I would expect the Church to be cautious as the Ordinariates are history in the making.

    1. Rome wants to be as inclusive as possible with the TAC in the UK – but is cautious about the backgrounds of its clergy, some of which require extensive enquiry. Rather than accept some and defer others it seems that all will have to wait until prudent decisions hasve been made on each case.

  8. Mr Campbell, Listing the FSSPX might be perceived as disloyalty. Why not list the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter? They at least are in Communion?

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