The L.A. Times on St. Mary of the Angels

There's a long feature about the ongoing troubles at St. Mary of the Angels in the Los Angeles Times that makes for interesting reading.  I pray the ordeal for these folks ends soon and that justice prevails.  (H/T Fr. Smuts).

St. Mary of the Angels is an Anglican parish embroiled in an odd sort of holy war.

On one side are the Rev. Kelley and his supporters, who say their rivals are resisting the parish's efforts to join the Roman Catholic Church. On the other: parishioners and Anglican authorities who accused Kelley of wrongdoing, took him to court, ran him out of the church and changed the locks.

Church quarrels are frequently decided in courtrooms, particularly when property is involved. A few years back, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles took a dispute with a breakaway parish all the way to the California Supreme Court.

But the St. Mary's saga is notable for its viciousness. The church has perhaps 60 members, and the bickering among them has been marked by incendiary accusations and screaming matches that often end with "God is on our side!" The parish itself became such a battleground that for a time community groups were shooed out and services canceled.

"Never in the annals of church history has it gone down quite like this," said Canon Anthony Morello of the Anglican Church in America, which has sided with the group trying to oust Kelley.

Traditional Anglican Communion Global News Roundup

St Agatha, Landport.

There have been several stories from the Traditional Anglican Communion over the last few days.  First there has been more news of the Anglican Church in America (ACA):

Three bishops of the ACA have issued a pastoral letter, following a statement by their chancellors, calling for an immediate separation between the ACA and the Patrimony of the Primate.  You can read the full statement at the ACA website.

In response to all of the recent developments in the ACA, Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, has given an extensive interview to Mary Ann Mueller outlining the situation as he sees it.  You can read that interview at Virtue Online.

And, while the internet was buzzing with these developments, other things were happening as well:

In Australia, Bishop Harry Entwhistle has given an interview to The Record saying it's "All or nothing for Anglican Catholics," with news of the recently completed festival in Australia and information on the upcoming festival in Perth.  Read the whole story at The Record.

Christ the King, Towson.

In the UK, Fr. Christopher Colven, former Anglican priest and Rector of Spanish Place in London, gave the sermon at the patronal festival of St. Agatha's Church, Landport.  You can read the entire sermon at Ordinariate Portal.

Finally, in the States, Fr. Ed Meeks of Christ the King in Towson, Maryland delivered a sermon titled, "The Ordinariate:  Where We Are Today,"  which reminds us all of the fundamental theological issues raised by Anglicanorum coetibus.  I recommend it highly to all who are considering entering the Ordinariate and as a good reminder to all who have decided to come.  The full audio is available on the Christ the King website.

The TAC Primate on the Anglican Church in America

Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Communion has released the following letter on recent developments in the Anglican Church of America:

7th February 2011

Statement on the situation in the Anglican Church in America

I deeply regret the action that has been precipitated by the three bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion in the United States.  They find themselves unable to accept the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, and unable to support the unanimous decisions of the College of Bishops of the TAC to “come into the fullness of Catholic Communion”.

This need not and should not be the case.

I have been part of many phone conferences this year with the US bishops of the TAC.  I have written to the three dissenting bishops urging them to accept the responsibility that their position entails.  I have reminded them that it is not open to a bishop of the TAC to dissent on the major policy of the TAC and remain a member of the College of Bishops.

In a pastoral response to their difficulties, I have established with their consent a grouping of clergy, parishes and individual faithful who have made a firm intention to join the United States Ordinariate on its establishment.  I have appointed Bishop David Moyer as my representative for this purpose, and have more recently appointed Bishop Louis Campese to the pastoral oversight of those coming from his Diocese into the Ordinariate.

This use of the Patrimony of the Primate was approved by all the bishops of the Anglican Church in America.  It was agreed that those involved could stay in their own parishes, but under the episcopal jurisdiction of a bishop entering the Ordinariate.  It is a strictly temporary device to allow those entering the Ordinariate, and those not yet entering, freedom to make their own plans without the canonical harassment that is now occurring.

I also note that ordinations in the TAC (in regions where Ordinariates are in formation) are only occurring at this time to satisfy urgent pastoral needs, and after reference to the Delegates of the Holy See where they have been appointed.

The facts of the TAC acceptance of the Apostolic Constitution in the United States are as follows:

  • Six bishops have submitted dossiers (the formal step to seeking ordination in the Ordinariate)
  • Sixty one clergy have made similar written submissions
  • Twenty-nine parishes have voted to seek membership of the Ordinariate when it is formed.

I have already indicated to the bishops of the TAC that I am calling a Plenary Meeting of the College of Bishops of the TAC immediately after Easter this year.  One of the purposes of that meeting is to discuss the ongoing pastoral and sacramental care of those not yet ready to commit themselves to membership of the Ordinariates that are now being developed around the world.  A further purpose of the meeting is to discuss the ongoing role of the Traditional Anglican Communion in post-Ordinariate Anglicanism.

That meeting remains the appropriate venue for forming (and challenging) the policies of our Communion.

I must remind everyone of the following:

  • Christian Unity is not an option for the Church.  It is the will of Jesus Christ, made clear in the Gospels.
  • For Anglicans, the healing of the separation from Catholic communion at the Reformation must be the first act of Christian Unity.
  • The Church is a living entity: the Spirit-filled Body of Christ, with the means and the mission to discern and proclaim the truth revealed in Jesus Christ.
  • Anglicans do not, in and of themselves, possess that means.
  • The renewal of the ARCIC conversations and the ongoing work of the Orthodox/Roman Catholic Conversations are evidence of the acceptance of the need to find unity by the historic churches of East and West.
  • To be truly “catholic” demands that one is in Eucharistic Communion with the Church led by the successor of Peter.  From the most ancient times, that has been the understanding of  “all the churches”.  The tragedy of Continuing Anglicanism – and indeed of the Anglican Communion – is the absence of Eucharistic Communion with anyone but itself.

It was to carry the dreams unleashed by the first ARCIC conversations that the TAC was formed.  Eventually, it grew in grace and maturity sufficiently to petition the Holy See for the fulfilment of those dreams.  The petition, with the petitions of other Anglicans, was answered.  Anglicans, with their unique Patrimony but with true unity of faith, are now gathering in unique structures.

No one need gather quickly.  The gathering will be long, and sometimes arduous.  But gather we must.

Each of us can turn to those ahead of us on this journey into truth and unity, and seek help.  We can turn to those behind us, and offer help.

It is Christian to help.  It is not Christian to hinder.

John Hepworth, Primate

Anglican Use Conference: Final Report

The second and final day of the annual Anglican Use Conference began as the first day did, with Morning Prayer according to the Book of Divine Worship in the crypt chapel of the Cathedral in Newark. On this Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Father Davis delivered a moving and powerful sermon lamenting the absence of Our Lady from the devotions of Anglo-Catholic churches.

The final session of the conference on Saturday morning began as Dr. Anne Barbeau Gardiner, Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York, presented a fascinating history of great literary beauty on the English convert kings of the 17th century.

In response to a question about publication of the papers delivered at the conference, Steve Cavanaugh again confirmed that they would be published in Anglican Embers, the quarterly journal of the Anglican Use Society, and that in addition some of the material would be provided on the Society website.

The conference continued with a question-and-answer session with Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, introduced by Msgr. Sheehan. This was a follow-up to the Bishop’s canonical discussion of the personal ordinariates as presented to the conference the previous evening. Among the questions presented were two from Fr. Bergman, one relating to the status of individuals originally baptized outside of the Anglican tradition, but fully initiated through Confirmation within the Pastoral Provision. The second question concerned the manner in which Church real property might be held under the ordinariates, specifically, would church property be held in the name of the ordinariate, or in the name of the local diocese, or in some other form? Bishop Arrieta was thoughtful and gracious in his answers, and took the occasion to underscore the importance of cooperation between the personal ordinaries and the diocesan ordinaries, but it was clear that these and other details have yet to be worked out.

Bishop Arrieta was warm, friendly, and sincerely interested in the concerns of both the Pastoral Provision community and the Anglicans who are discerning reconciliation. As a curial official in the Holy See, Bishop Arrieta may be in a position to make the pastoral concerns of both groups better understood in Rome. Mr. Blake, Archbishop Myers and Monsignor Sheehan were farsighted and prudent in inviting the Bishop to participate in the conference. And in his partcipation, Bishop Arrieta demonstrated that he is more than a scholar and canonist, but is also, as befits the grace of his orders, a kind and thoughtful pastor of souls. I pray that the Bishop will be consulted by the Holy Father and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Before the conference adjourned, the final appearance was by the Traditional Anglican Communion Bishops. Archbishop John Hepworth, Bishop Carl Reid and Bishop David Moyer, who had been present throughout the conference, stood before the assembly while Archbishop Hepworth spoke with feeling, describing the way in which the churches of the TAC (ACA in the United States of America) will proceed as the ordinariates are established. (Archbishop Louis Falk had been present throughout the first day of the conference but was unavailable during this session.)

This is not the proper forum, and I am not the proper reporter, to interpret the Bishops' intent. There are important pastoral issues to be considered as these Bishops work with their people, and it is clear that the Bishops will do this work with great love and great sensitivity. I hope it will be sufficient in this forum to say that the conference was most favorably impressed with the remarks of Archbishop Hepworth, and that the conference expressed a clear message of approbation and welcome with an enthusiastic standing ovation for these Bishops that was the concluding event of the conference. Clearly this is a time of great hope and great promise for the people of the Traditional Anglican Communion and for the cause of Christian unity.

Following the adjournment of the conference, the Anglican Use Society conducted its annual meeting, which was open to all present. Then, at noon, the concluding Mass of the conference was offered in the crypt chapel of the Cathedral Basilica.