Toronto Archbishop Collins Named Liaison for Anglican Groups

Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins has been named the liaison with Anglican groups wishing to avail themselves of Anglicanorum coetibus in Canada.

I am delighted Collins will be playing this role.  Though I do not know him that well, he has always been accessible to me as a journalist, generous with his time, kind and forthright.  He is also a man of deep faith and joy, staunchly pro-life and unafraid to get out and mix it up in the public square, whether on a talk radio station or in a firm, but timely statement.

When a notorious abortionist was awarded Canada's highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada, Collins had a firm but blistering statement out within hours.  Seeing as it was a holiday, it was all the more unusual!

He is also extremely pastoral as well as deeply devout.  He rides the Toronto subway to work.  He has no airs.  Though I think he is shy by nature, he works at being present for people.

I remember several years ago, when he was still Archbishop of Edmonton, he was one of the Canadian bishops who was asked to make a presentation at the upcoming Synod on the Eucharist.

All bishops going to the Synod presented their five minute talk to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) plenary.  Now the CCCB plenary usually strikes me as a rather bureaucratic, administrative affair.  The sessions are set up business conference style in a big gymnasium, with rows of tables decked in hotel-bunting, thick binders, microphones — ZZZZZ, I know.  Not an environment where one expects goosebumps from any spiritual source, only from overactive air-conditioning.  (Though I have had the good kind of goosebumps over the years).

Well, Collins got up and gave his five minute talk on the Eucharist and his face lit up with joy as he presented.  It was like a mini-Transfiguration.  His face was radiant.  Beautiful.  After seeing that, I had a deep hunch he would get the nod for Toronto when Cardinal Ambrozic retired, and I was right.

As bishop of Canada's most populous diocese, he is an ex officio member of the CCCB's Permanent Council, the body that makes decisions in between the yearly plenary sessions.  Collins said the Permanent Council named him to this role.

He said his first task is to meet with various groups of Anglicans wishing to join an Ordinariate.  Then he would make a presentation to the CCCB's plenary, which will be held in late October.  He's been in touch with Cardinal Levada as well as Bishop Peter Elliott in Australia, who has long been liaison there.   He said Westminster Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes is the liaison for the United Kingdom.

As we spoke, I began to wonder if he saw the CCCB driving the process of the Ordinariate.  When I asked him about this, he said the CDF was driving the process, but one of the crucial steps was to begin working together as the Ordinary will be a member of the bishops' conference.

He has written Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Bishop Peter Wilkinson, who told me that he welcomes the appointment and hopes to meet with Collins as soon as possible.

Collins noted the TAC was not the only group in Canada.  We have no Forward in Faith, however, though we're already hearing from Anglicans who might consider jumping ship so he probably is, too.  There is a relatively new breakaway group called The Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) that is composed of mostly evangelical and charismatic Anglicans, folks I have a lot of sympathy with and for, but who would not want to be under the Pope's juridical authority and perhaps see the Eucharist as more of a table than an altar.

So, in Canada, we enter a new phase.  I get a sense though things may move more slowly than many of us in the TAC might hope for.  There are many, many things that remain to be worked out.

Myth #5: Anglican Groups Must Apply to the Local Episcopal Conference for a Personal Ordinariate

In her survey of media responses to the ACCC's formal request to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the implementation of a personal ordinariate in Canada, Deborah quoted a recent article by Austen Ivereigh in the liberal Jesuit publication America.  The disinformation contained in this piece has prompted me to return to our series of posts debunking the myths surrounding the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  I have reproduced the America article in full below.  My emphases and comments.

* * *

Romeward Anglicans: are local bishops being bypassed?

Executive Summary: Yes.

POSTED AT: 2010-03-16 06:20:33.0

The so-called Anglican Catholic Church in Canada (ACCC), which has about 45 parishes, has written to Rome to apply for an ordinariate. Its three active bishops propose setting up a governing council to suggest a terna from which the Pope can select the Canadian ordinariate's first ordinary or canonical head.

The wording and the method of proceeding proposed in the letter suggest that Rome has told them what to write. So that appears to be how it works: Rome appoints a governing council which then advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) whom to appoint as ordinary.

Do you get the sense that the author is likely going to be opposed to any "method of proceeding" that is determined by "Rome"?  Yeah, me too.

But hang on. Where does the national bishops' conference fit into this?

I thought that he just answered this question!  It doesn't.

When the ordinariate scheme was announced in London and Rome last year, the understanding was clearly that Anglicans seeking an ordinariate would apply to the local bishops' conference, who would then (presumably) get the go-ahead from Rome. This is not just a procedural matter. Negotiations over what is permissible and what is not in the liturgies of the ordinariates are be carried out with the bishops' conference, not with Rome. Ecclesiologically, that makes sense: the ordinariates, after all, will be part of the local Church.

Who, exactly, had this clear understanding of the initial — and evidently decisive — role of the local episcopal conference?  Did Mr. Ivereigh himself have this understanding? …because the previous report to which he links, a story on the October 20, 2009 joint press conference of the Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury, does not make such a claim!

Anglicanorum Coetibus itself is very clear:

I. §1 Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference.

It is the CDF itself that will erect a personal ordinariate.  This discastery will consult with the local bishops' conference as a matter of course, but the role of the Holy Office will be decisive.

And though the full text of Cardinal Levada's formal response to the TAC bishops who petitioned the Holy See in October 2007 has not been publicly released, I am able to confirm that the Cardinal's clear instructions were that all applications for personal ordinariates are to be directed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith alone.  Indeed, throughout this entire process, the TAC bishops have been assured by Rome that they would be dealing with the CDF directly.

And despite the author's warped view of the constitution of the Catholic Church, yes, the involvement of the national episcopal conference will be largely a procedural matter.  The bishops' conference does not constitute the "local Church" in any way, shape, or form.  The diocese is the local — the particular — Church, and while the episcopal conference "is to provide for the common good of the particular Churches of a territory through the collaboration of the sacred pastors to whose care they are entrusted (Apostolos Suos, 17)," it cannot substitute for the authority which the diocesan bishops individually possess.  It does not participate in the teaching authority of the college of bishops.  And it is certainly not a counterbalance to the authority of the Holy See.  The author's ecclesiology is nothing more than a product of modernist wishful thinking!  Ditto for "what is permissible and what is not in the liturgies of the ordinariates."  Even were the episcopal conferences to be involved in framing Anglican liturgical texts (which they will not be), their determinations would still be subject to the recognitio of the Holy See.

Far from there being a clear understanding that the national episcopal conferences would direct the process, faced with an Apostolic Constitution clearly designed to bypass the unnecessary obstacles to unity that history led the Holy See to expect from them, progressive/modernist bishops and their surrogates have been waging a campaign to subvert the manifest will of the Holy Father.

In a previous post reporting how a traditionalist Church of England bishop had been trying to circumvent the local Catholic hierarchy, I quoted Mgr Andrew Faley, the priest responsible for the negotiations on behalf of the bishops' conference of England and Wales. "The authority of the Church in working this out rests with the bishops' conferences and not with the CDF", he clarified.

Firstly, Msgr. Faley is not "responsible for the negotiations on behalf of the bishops' conference of England and Wales"; he is merely a spokesman for the CBCEW (which has been so bold as to appoint several bishops "responsible for negotiations").  Secondly, whatever the context of the provided quotation, Msgr. Faley is hardly a reliable source, having been for some time quite obviously engaged in a campaign of disinformation meant to lower expectations and contain the effects of the Apostolic Constitution.

Hence Australia, where Peter Elliot, a Melbourne auxiliary, has been appointed by the Australian bishops' conference to negotiate with Anglican traditionalists there over the terms of the ordinariate which the Traditional Anglican Communion has applied for.

Hence what?  The Australian bishops — who had evidently been receiving inquiries from Anglican groups — simply designated Bishop Elliott as a point of contact "to assist those who have approached individual bishops."  Their statement of November 27, 2009 does not suggest that any application should be made to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.  Bishop Elliot himself has not suggested that application should be made to any other entity besides the CDF.

But is this true of Canada? I've searched the Canadian bishops' conference website in vain for a statement on any application to the bishops by the ACCC. But there's nothing.

Perhaps the bishops there are more respectful of the Holy Father and his will as expressed in Anglicanorum Coetibus?

Perhaps I'm missing something.

Yes, Mr. Ivereigh, it's called the truth.

Deborah Gyapong Plunges into The Anglo-Catholic

I'm delighted that Christian has invited me to join the roster of The Anglo-Catholic.  Here's a little introduction.

I have been a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion's Ottawa Cathedral of the Annunciation for about ten years now.  I have a rather bizarre and convoluted spiritual journey that began with my Russian Orthodox baptism as an infant.  But I spent most of my teens and early 20s resisting spitefully any overtures from God.   Here's a link to my testimony that appeared in the National Post a few years ago.

I did have some tenuous links to Anglicanism in my childhood. My father called himself a "mercenary Episcopalian" because he got paid to sing in some of the top Episcopal Church choirs in the Boston area.  I would sometimes accompany him to the Church of the Advent but hanging around during rehearsals was a hardship and I was painfully shy around other children. But I grew up around the musical traditions of both the Russian Orthodox and the Anglican churches.

After my journey into apostasy, through various forms of Gnosticism and then into an "it's just me and Jesus"  cafeteria Christianity, I found shelter in a seeker-friendly Baptist Church in the Ottawa area.  It is there, in the evangelical world, where I began to develop my adult Christian faith.  I am so grateful for the gentle shepherding I received at Kanata Baptist.  Had I plunged right into the TAC, I would have suffered the spiritual "bends."

"What?  No women priests?"   "What? All this vain repetition?"  "What? Creeds!"   I would have been done in by the Athanasian Creed, I am sure.  Thus I have great respect for the different ways the Lord woos us and am comfortable in a range of worship settings.  And I hope no one keels over when I say this, but I am so grateful for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

At a certain point in my spiritual journey, I shifted from being someone who had to understand before I could believe to adopting Anselm's Credo ut intelligam–"I believe in order that I may understand."

Thus came a yearning to have an Apostolic faith.  It was not long after that a chance meeting after a lecture brought me to our idiosyncratic little cathedral parish and I found I loved the kneeling, the reverence, the language.  I  already had an intuitive belief in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist.

And I loved the way our then Bishop Robert Mercer prayed the mass.  Somehow, his focus and sense of recollection made it impossible not to be lifted to heaven, to hear every word, to pray with him.  I started bringing friends and some of them stuck, too.

Every Saturday, we have breakfast after the Eucharist in our parish hall.  What an opportunity for one on one catechesis that was.

When I joined the TAC around 1999-2000, I was still working as a television producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Then I did a little stint as a communications officer for the then Leader of the Official Opposition.  Then I got fired when a new leader came in, and started my own little communications business.  I also polished up a novel that I had hoped would become a best seller and bring me a huge income I could retire on.  The Defilers won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award and was published in 2006. But, alas, it has sold terribly, though people who have bothered to read it have liked it.

Work in my communications business strangely dried up in 2004 and I tried about eight months of "living the dream" of being a full time fiction writer.  But the isolation of writing fiction full time proved to be not all I thought it would be.  I confess, I like the idea of being a writer more than I like being a real writer.  If you see any typos, you'll get my drift.  (I don't see them even if I look for them, sorry).  I love churning out first drafts.  Polishing is a chore.  And I needed to earn some money.  So when I spied the notice of job opening with Roman Catholic papers to be the national correspondent for a cooperative called Canadian Catholic News, I applied.

Being a Roman Catholic was not a requirement.  In my interview with several of the editors, I told them I loved the Catholic Church and I loved the Holy Father.  "I'm more Catholic than 85% of the people in the pews of the Catholic Church," I told them.  (Yet I didn't know even what a monsignor was.  I had a steep learning curve ahead of me.)

The editors traded meaningful glances and left to discuss the matter among themselves.  Then they offered me the job.

What an amazing ride it has been.  I jumped immediately into covering the same-sex 'marriage' debate then raging in Canada.  Within a few weeks, I was covering my first plenary session of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

Now I've covered six plenaries.  I've seen some beautiful renewal in the Catholic Church in Canada even in my short time covering the Church.  My position in the National Capital has been a great perch from which to observe the many signs of hope here.  And I often wonder if there was anything providential in my being a member of the TAC writing for Catholic papers at this time in our journey towards union with the Holy See.

Case in point.  When the Apostolic Constitution (AC) was announced, I fortuitously happened to be down in Cornwall, Ontario covering the last CCCB plenary.  I had gone to my room on Monday night, checked my computer and people were Tweeting me (sending me messages on Twitter for those who don't use the site) that something was going to happen the next day that involved us.   So I set my alarm early and first thing the next morning I checked my email and by 6:00 a.m. Eastern a friend of mine from Zenit had already sent me the texts of both news conferences.  So I went off and got about a dozen copies printed off to pass around.

Who should happen to be at the plenary that morning but the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Fred Hiltz!   I dunno, if I wrote a novel with all those "coincidences" in it, my critique partners would tell me it was just not believable.  Hiltz is a very nice man, but he didn't seem to think much of the AC.  When I interviewed him later that day, he said he did not expect many Anglicans would avail themselves of it.  The juridical authority of the Pope was the sticking point.

Last summer, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI.  I had flown over on the Canadian Prime Minister's plane to cover his first papal audience.  While the other journalists went off to cover the G8, I had to hang around in Rome for a few days. Poor me.

But a big scandal had broken back in Canada.  The Prime Minister, an evangelical, was accused of pocketing the Host during a Catholic funeral prior to leaving for Italy. He didn't, of course. But it sure made my life busy. The meeting with Pope Benedict took place on the day we flew home to Ottawa. I brought him greetings from Bishop Peter Wilkinson.

So here we are.