In 2006, Salt and Light TV, Canada's Catholic network, produced a 15 minute video on the Traditional Anglican Communion's quest for unity with the Bishop of Rome.
In it you'll see TAC Primate John Hepworth, Bishop Carl Reid from Ottawa, and our beloved retired Canadian Bishop Robert Mercer, who are people who get frequently mentioned, at least by me.
The ordinations in Jan. 2006–of Bishop Carl Reid and Bishop Craig Botterill as suffragans—took place in St. Basil's Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa. The Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais allowed us to use this venue since our cathedral is too small.
St. Basil's is a rather modern set up, built in the round, with no altar rail so that's why you'll see people receiving the Blessed Sacrament standing. Ordinarily for us, we would be kneeling.
I think it was about the time these interviews were done for S&L TV, that I first met Archbishop Hepworth. Also around then, I remember talking with our Metropolitan Bishop Peter Wilkinson about the Catholic faith, and he said something to the effect of "it's our deposit of faith, too. We have no other."
Then he told me about how his private correspondence with Cardinal Ratzinger had begun. He wrote him a fan letter, telling him how much he appreciated his theological insights, and how he had sent one of his books to a priest in Kenya. Since mail often gets stolen before reaching its destination, Bishop Peter wrapped the book in blue paper (need I say why?) and doused it in holy water, and sent it on its way. It arrived safely, Bishop Peter recounted. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote him back, sending him another book to replace the one he had sent to Kenya. That started a regular correspondence kept up until they had a date in April 2005 to meet on the Cardinal's birthday.
Well, the Cardinal suddenly had another commitment in the Sistine Chapel that day and had to break the appointment, but being the thoughtful and kind person that he is, he arranged for Msgr. Charles Brown to meet him for pranzo instead.
I still find it inspiring to go back and listen to Archbishop Hepworth and see how he was shepherding us four years ago (and before that I am sure) to think with the Church and to ask what the Church says rather than what we as individuals think.
Back then, as a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion working for Roman Catholic newspapers, I felt an amazing sense of welcome and generosity towards me and my communion not only from the many lay Catholics I met in the course of my work, but also from many bishops, not only from Canada but elsewhere around the world.
Anyway, I thought it might be instructive to take a look back and for those who have never met some of the cast of characters in this unfolding drama to see them in action.
* * *
Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss
, his personal blog!