This was sent to me by Deborah Gyapong, a member of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and a long-time friend of The Anglo-Catholic.
On Sunday, our priests in the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) read out an ad clerum from our bishops, notifying us that Provincial / Diocesan Council met Nov. 26 and has found a creative way for us to move forward to unity, though at different speeds.
The ACCC, originally composed of one Province with only one Diocese (of Canada), has created a new diocese: the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham “whose mandate shall be to shepherd those parishes, clergy, and individuals who so wish, into full Communion with the Catholic Church.”
The Council also passed the following motion: "that this church (i.e. the Province, representing both dioceses) remains committed to seeking full and visible unity with the See of Peter, as confirmed at Synod 2010, and as articulated in the Affirmation of St Louis, which is part of our constitution”.
While remaining Metropolitan of the ACCC Province of Canada, Bishop Peter Wilkinson, with Bishop Carl Reid as his auxiliary, assumes the office of Diocesan Bishop of the new Pro-Diocese. Bishop Craig Botterill becomes diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Canada.
This is good news, both for those parishes like mine in Ottawa that are almost finished with our catechesis in preparation for entering the Catholic Church and for those parishes, mostly on the East Coast, that have indicated they are not ready yet.
It means we in the “first wave” will have a corporate way of moving into the Catholic Church without losing all our assets, and those who remain will still have a structure and spiritual oversight while they are in a period of discernment and perhaps form a “second wave” or more.
Following is a copy of the ad clerum and a follow-up email with emphases added.
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Provincial / Diocesan Council met via teleconference on Saturday, November 26, and while these meetings usually only deal with housekeeping matters such as approval of financial statements etc., this meeting included the introduction and passing of a Bill. Said Bill comes into effect immediately. The wording follows:
A Provincial Bill for the Creation of the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham, and consequential amendments to the Constitution of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada.
Diocesan Council, by virtue of the authority delegated to it by General Synod to pass such legislation as may be necessary to facilitate the entry of ACCC parishes into full Communion with the Catholic Church, enacts as follows:
- There is hereby created the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham to be a Diocese of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, Province of Canada, whose mandate shall be to shepherd those parishes, clergy, and individuals who so wish, into full Communion with the Catholic Church.
- The Rt. Rev. Peter. D. Wilkinson shall resign as Ordinary of the Diocese of Canada and is hereby appointed Bishop Ordinary of the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham.
- The Rt. Rev. Carl Reid is hereby appointed Auxiliary bishop of the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham.
- In Consequence of the Very Rev. Shane Janzen, having declined to accept appointment as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Canada, and in keeping with the order of succession set out in the Diocesan Ordinance of the Diocese of Canada, the Rt. Rev. Craig Botterill shall assume responsibility as Diocesan Administrator of the Diocese of Canada.
- Provided always that the Rt. Rev. Peter D. Wilkinson shall continue in office as Metropolitan of the Province of Canada, of which the Pro-Diocese of our Lady of Walsingham and the Diocese of Canada are constituent parts.
What does this mean? In plain terms, we remain as one Province of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, but now with two dioceses. These are not geographic dioceses, but rather based on whether a parish is intending to union with the Catholic Church under Anglicanorum Coetibus (the new Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham under Bishops Wilkinson and Reid); or, whether parishes are not currently intending to travel that route (the Diocese of Canada under the Apostolic Administration of Bishop Botterill). Bishop Wilkinson remains as the Metropolitan of the Province, now comprised of two dioceses. We will still have one pot of money, one newsletter, one Province – which is to say, little will change until such time as those parishes and individuals in the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham achieve their goal under Anglicanorum Coetibus.
We should have included an additional note (it was very late Saturday evening) with the ad clerum issued on the weekend, which might have helped, in terms of anticipating some questions that have surfaced.
There was a simple second motion passed that clarified how the Bill fit with our resolution at Synod last year. Said simple motion was ” that this church remains committed to seeking full and visible unity with the See of Peter, as confirmed at Synod 2010, and as articulated in the Affirmation of St Louis, which is part of our constitution”.
This applies to the entire Province (i.e. both dioceses), acknowledging that one part of the Province (the Pro-Diocese of Our Lady of Walsingham) is pursuing said unity in the “first wave”, while the other part (the Diocese of Canada) intends, prayerfully, to wait. Yes, of course, further details on splitting of assets etc. will have to be worked out at that time, and that was also discussed in Council with no suggestion that there will be any discord, but rather all will be accomplished in a spirit of charity.
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