14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
One of the things I discovered about the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada when I first entered its doors about ten years ago was that it was part of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), which had already been in informal but serious talks with the Holy See about coming into full, sacramental and visible unity with the Bishop of Rome. This was no secret more than a decade ago when I joined, and had been true since the TAC's formation in the early 1990s.
And since 2007, when the bishops (and vicars general in dioceses where there are no bishops) signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and its Compendium on the altar of St. Agatha's in Portsmouth, England, and sent a formal Petition to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the CCC has been the official doctrine of the TAC.
Synods did not have a vote on the matter, since doctrine is not decided democratically but is a matter for our bishops, but nevertheless, in 2007, synods all around the world endorsed our bishops making an official request to Rome before that historic letter was brought to the CDF along with the signed catechism.
So it occurred to me that it is kind of odd for a small but vocal group of people who worship at TAC churches — clearly a minority at our Synod — now to be saying that they can't agree with certain doctrines like Papal Infallibility, or the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, or the Petrine Ministry and therefore they won't join an Ordinariate.
They are already attending a church which professes and teaches what an Ordinariate will teach and has been doing so officially for at the last three years, and unofficially much longer than that.
If they think there are theological differences between the ACCC and the Catholic Church, they are sadly mistaken. They are also sadly mistaken if they think the ACCC is a congregational church where they get a vote on theology.
There are a number of stories out on the blogosphere about this parish hiving itself off in Australia, or the dissident priest in Victoria, B.C. setting up his own little church under a bishop in another continuing Anglican body. I'm not even going to link to those stories. They are easy enough to find on David Virtue's site for those who are curious. This blog is not about division, it's about an historic move towards unity, a move that makes me feel so much joy that I can scarcely contain it. And it is so wonderful that we have here a community of folks from within the Catholic Church and from Forward in Faith — in addition to us TACers — eager to take part in this historic event unfolding before our eyes.
It is very, very easy for a focus on dissent to magnify its negative effects so that what might have been ripples on a pond begin to seem like white caps and crashing waves. I'd rather focus on the majority opinions of gratitude and thanksgiving that our bishops have been receiving from across the land for leading us this far.
So today, I thank God for Bishop Peter Wilkinson, Bishop Carl Reid, my Ottawa bishop, and Bishop Craig Botterill, our Halifax bishop and ACCC Chancellor, for their wise shepherding thus far. And I thank God for Archbishop John Hepworth, the TAC primate and I hope all of you will join me in lifting him and all our TAC bishops up in prayer. And let us pray for the Holy Father who has answered our request with such graciousness in the Apostolic Constitution.
"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it," says Psalm 127.
I think we can be serenely and joyfully confident that the Lord is building the Ordinariates and the anger, dissent, and rebellion within and without are all signs of how much the enemy of our souls does not want this to happen. We can be exceedingly glad rather than perplexed by this sign. It is also a call though to be charitable with people who may not realize the source of their anger, stubbornness and rebellion. We war not with flesh and blood.
So let's maintain our peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit and move quietly forward, enjoying this gestational period for the Ordinariates that the Lord is creating through frail human beings like us.
Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog!