Tiber Crossings, Anglican Mass Conversion in Fort Worth?

5 Bob to: Midwest Conservative Journal:

Will the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth make the ultimate jump?

A delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth paid a visit to Catholic Bishop Kevin Vann earlier this summer, asking for guidance on how their highly conservative diocese might come into “full communion” with the Catholic Church.

Whether that portends a serious move to turn Fort Worth Episcopalians and their churches into Catholics and Catholic churches is a matter of dispute.

The Rev. William Crary, senior rector of the Fort Worth diocese, confirmed that on June 16 he and three other priests met with Bishop Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Catholic diocese, and presented him a document that is highly critical of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

The document states that the overwhelming majority of Episcopal clergy in the Fort Worth diocese favor pursuing an “active plan” to bring the diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church.

While declining to specify what that might mean, Mr. Crary said it likely would not mean “absorption” by the Catholic Church.

He cast the initiative as following Anglican and Catholic leaders in longstanding efforts to bring the two groups into greater cooperation, with the ultimate goal of honoring Jesus’ call in John 17:21 for Christian unity.

“These discussions between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion have been going on for 42 years,” he said. “We would like to bring these down to the local level.”

But other local Episcopalians interpret the meeting and document differently.

“There’s a very serious attempt on the part of Episcopal clergy in the Diocese of Forth Worth to petition Rome for some kind of recognition,” said the Rev. Courtland Moore, who is retired as rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington.

“They make it clear that they no longer believe there is truth in the Anglican Communion, and the only way they can find truth is reunion with Rome.”

Mr. Moore is co-chairman of Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, a group that wants the Fort Worth diocese to remain in the Episcopal Church. He obtained a copy of the document the priests gave to Bishop Vann and made it available to reporters.

Katie Sherrod has the document in question at her site. It is reproduced here in its entirety.

EIGHT CRUCIAL FINDINGS

1. We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional – Fr. Stainbrook
2. We believe a magisterium is needed desperately – Fr. Crary
3. We believe the Catholic Faith is true – Fr. Stainbrook
4. We believe the Anglican Communion shares the fatal flaws of TEC- Fr. Tobola
5. We believe our polity is in error-Fr. Crary
6. We believe we are not the only ones in our diocese – Canon Hough
7. We believe Pope Benedict XVI understands our plight – Fr. Tobola
8. We believe there is a charism which Anglican ethos has to offer to the Universal Church-Fr. Stainbrook

———————–
PREAMBLE – Fr. Crary

A. We appreciate your taking this time to meet with us.

B. Introduction of group by Fr. Crary. Fr. Crary introduces himself and then the group.

C. History: Our group met several times (with our Bishop’s knowledge) for the past year and a half. Out meetings arose because of the on going crisis in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

D. We shared our conclusions with Bishop Iker on April 10th of this year. He gave us his “unequivocally support” to proceed further by having this conversation with you.

E. We would like to share briefly with you our journey and our conclusions which we shared with Bishop Iker.

F. However, before we share our thoughts we would like to present you with this icon which was commissioned expressly for you and for our meeting today.

————————
PROPOSAL

We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide the guidance necessary so that we might “make a proposal” that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the See of Peter.

We believe this guidance is necessary for the following reasons:

1. We cannot adequately prepare such a proposal without input from those to whom the proposal is to be made.

2. Such guidance would help us through the complicated aspects of this proposal.

3. With this guidance, the Holy Spirit could affect more quickly the healing of this portion of the broken Body of Christ.

Should you consent, we gladly offer ourselves for this important work and stand ready to work with those you might designate.
————————-

A Presentation to
The Most Reverend Keven W. Vann
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
Given by
Members of the Clergy of
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

———————-

That they all may be one;
even as thou, Father, are in me
and I in thee
John 17:21
———————–

PREAMBLE

At 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008 in the Catholic Center of the Diocese of Fort Worth, four priests of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth made the following presentation to the Most Reverend Kevin Vann. We are grateful for the hospitality and charity which we received from the Bishop and his Chancellor, the Very Reverend James E. Hart.

The presentation was the result of two years of prayer and discernment regarding the future of our Diocese. At the conclusion of our discernment period, we shared our Findings with our Bishop, the Right Reverend Jack Leo Iker. Bishop Iker endorsed our report and gave us his “unequivocal support” to proceed with a presentation to Bishop Vann.

The clergy making this presentation are:

The Very Reverend William A. Crary, Jr., SSC, a founding priest of the Diocese with 32 years of experience in the Diocese, a member of the SSC (Society of the Holy Cross), Dean of the Eastern Deanery, and is the senior rector in the Diocese, serving St. Laurence for 22 years.

The Reverend Canon Charles A. Hough, III, SSC, a founding priest of the Diocese with 30 years experience in the Diocese, Canon to Bishop Iker for 15 years, a member of the SSC, Chair of our Diocesan Deputation to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church for 23 years, has served parishes in Granbury and Grand Prairie.

The Reverend Louis L. Tobola, Jr., SSC, a founding priest of the Diocese with 31 years experience in the Diocese, a member of the SSC, a founding priest for a new congregation in the Diocese, St. Barnabas the Apostle, has served as Dean of the Cathedral and Dean of the Eastern Deanery.

The Very Reverend Christopher C. Stainbrook, SSC, came to Fort Worth from New York in 1990 by invitation of Bp. Pope, has been Vicar of St. Timothy’s since 1994, is Finance Committee Chair, Diocesan Historiographer, Dean of the Fort Worth East Deanery, and Special Liaison to the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Before their presentation, a hand-written icon of Saint Gregory and Saint Augustine, commissioned expressly for Bishop Vann and this meeting, was given to him.

[Here a photo of the icon was reproduced.]

————————-

EIGHT CRUCIAL FINDINGS

I. We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional

Unity with the Holy See is esse that is, essential for Catholic Christians (not bene esse, merely beneficial.) This is a concept which the Catholic Clergy in the Anglican Tradition have always believed (indeed it is one of the stated purposes of the SSC) but the rapid deterioration of the Anglican Communion makes it even more apparent now. The Prayer for Unity (John 17, that they all may be one) also compels us to pursue the possibility of reunion with Rome.

The very name of the first Pope, Peter, Petrus is the “rock” – and we have seen that it is the Petrine office which is important not the personality of an individual pontiff.

In April 2006 our Diocesan Bishop and several of the clergy made a pilgrimage to Rome. At that time we were blessed to have an informal visit with his Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law. At that meeting, Cardinal Law indicated that the Catholic Church was aware of the current difficulties faced by Anglo Catholics (and particularly the Anglo Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth) at this time and said, in essence, for us to “make an offer” that is, make a Proposal on how we might respond to the crisis in our branch of Christendom. After this pilgrimage, we began meeting with the full knowledge and support of our Bishop. We came to realize that, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, it is up to us to make the initiative to return to the rock from whence we were hewn. In essence, that trip crystallized for us the need for perusing unity with the See of Peter now. Since that time we have studied, we have met, we have prayed, and now we come to the Church with our conclusions.

As Anglicans we realize that Henry VIII, the monarch who wrote “Defense of Seven Sacraments” and who was granted the title “Defender of the Faith”, never intended to make any substantive or permanent changes in the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Reformation itself was intended to be for a limited time only, “a season”, as the book of Ecclesiastes would say.

We believe that it is now time for a new Season. It is perhaps, time for a church of Reformation to die and a new unification among Christ’s people be born: Unification possible only under the Holy Father.

II. We believe a magisterium is needed desperately

“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25) This describes the day to day ’on the ground” reality in the Anglican Communion. Anglican “comprehensiveness” has no boundaries and no real center. For example, during the Reformation period under Elizabeth I, 1533-1603, there was an attempt to synthesize the Catholic and Protestant factions in the Church of England, resulting in the so-called “Elizabethan Settlement”. Concerning the Eucharist, it was held that belief in the Real Presence of Christ was acceptable as well as the belief that the Eucharist was only a memorial or “remembrance” of something long ago. In essence the Anglican faith is what the parish priest says it is, and this varies widely with many contradictions. The Pentecostal/Evangelical/Charismatic expressions are just as valid as the Anglo-Catholic teaching. In most parts of the country, the parish priest is completely on his own.

Formerly, a single prayer book (the 1662 Church of England Prayer Book was the pattern for all national prayer books) provided some glue, but with the proliferation of endless trial liturgies even that has disappeared.

The lack of a teaching office has resulted in communicating un-baptized persons, same-sex unions and liturgical chaos everywhere. There are no boundaries and it is all uncontrollable. This is not theory but day to day reality. Anglican “comprehensiveness” has no boundaries. Previously this absence of a center seemed to work when the various ecclesiastical parties (Low Church/Broad Church/High Church) largely worked within their own circles. Low Church people did not attend High Church parishes and vice versa.

In looking at the disarray in the larger communion it is apparent that the Archbishop of Canterbury is incapable of providing decisive leadership. If there is a future, particularly for Catholic minded Anglicans, it is clear that a magisterium is absolutely essential.

III. We believe the Catholic Faith is True

The Catholic Faith is given – it is true.

The Epistle to the Ephesians reminds us that as Christians we believe in “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism”. At the celebration of every Mass and in the recitation of any Daily Office we profess in the Creed “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church”. We have come to realize, to an extent even more fully than we had as Catholics in the Anglican Tradition, that our Blessed Lord has indeed founded only one true church: the Catholic Church.

Unlike so many forms of Protestantism, Catholic teaching does not change on a whim to suit the transient issues of the day. In addition, the Catholic Faith is not just one option among many. Anglican comprehensiveness with Catholics, Evangelicals and Liberals, all following their own paths, leads to the disintegration and disunion which we in the Diocese of Fort Worth find ourselves. The Protestant/Low Church teachings, the Liberals experiential teachings are just not true. The Catholic faith, the Catholic practice, the Catholic teaching – is true.

We know, and are living examples of the fact, that Catholic Witness has been present throughout the history of the Anglican Tradition. But it is now becoming weaker because of this idea, Catholic as one option among several. . . except here in Fort Worth, which is in so many ways unique (explored further in section VI).

IV. We believe the Anglican Communion shares the fatal flaws of The Episcopal Church

In our time of discernment, we have concluded that the difficulties we have faced in The Episcopal Church for the past thirty years will not be remedied by the Anglican Communion.

Those making this presentation have been members of The Episcopal Church since childhood. In this church we have been nourished by Catholic faith and practice. However, through the years we have witnessed the deterioration and marginalization of that Catholic faith. We believed that our call was to remain within our church as a remnant which could preserve the faith. Our expectation was that the Anglican Communion, in response to The Episcopal Church’s continuing “innovations”, would provide the stability and witness necessary for us to continue. However, it is apparent that the Communion is incapable of providing this stability.

It is our conclusion that the Anglican Communion has the same fatal flaws as The Episcopal Church. Without a magisterium the latest “religion” will continue to replace the historic teachings of our Communion. This erosion of Catholic faith and practice is heightened by the governing polity of the Anglican Communion. Bishops are elected by priests and laity of a Diocese. As the liberalizing culture enters another portion of the world, the Diocese there is deeply affected by it. Those who can be elected are only those who reflect the cultural shift that has occurred in that Diocese. We have seen this in The Episcopal Church and we see it now in the Anglican Communion.

We know what happens in a church which lacks a magisterium and whose polity makes the continuing of a Catholic witness impossible. We have concluded the Anglican Communion provides not safe future for us. Our witness, rather than being honored, has been persecuted.

V. We believe our polity is in error

In the New Testament no congregation votes on its pastor! St. Paul would have been unelectable in all, except maybe Philippi! Without exception pastors are sent by higher authority.

It was not a convention of delegates, but only the remaining apostles that established the criteria for Judas’ replacement. St. John Chrysostom said that Peter had the authority to make the appointment but did not. Drawing lots put the choice in God’s hands.

In the United States, the democratic style of polity in The Episcopal Church, strongly resembling the legislative branch of the U.S. government (House of Bishops and House of Deputies, lay and ordained) has created doctrinal chaos. Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) the first American Episcopal bishop was fearful of having clergy and lay people voting on doctrinal matters. His fears were realized when an early General Convention put the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds up for grabs. The Nicene Creed was voted out, then back in; and then the Athanasian Creed lost the vote.

In regard to the ordination of women, the 1976 General Convention changed the matter of a sacrament, established by Christ himself, simply by voting. Bishop Robert Terwilliger, formerly Suffragan of the Diocese of Dallas called it “voting our collective ignorance”!

Candidates for bishop in the American Episcopal Church shamelessly campaign like the politicians they are. When elected they are indebted to the electors.

We are in desperate need of a polity modeled on the New Testament and the early church.

VI. We believe we are not the only ones

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth came into existence in 1983 when it was decided that the Diocese of Dallas, of which it represents the western 1/3 of that diocese, would divide. We believe the hand of God was present in this decision and that it was the work of the Holy Spirit to bring into existence a diocese where the overwhelming majority of clergy living and working in that part of the old Diocese of Dallas were Catholic minded clergy. We now see as truly profound this action of creating the Diocese of Fort Worth. It set up what has now culminated in a Diocese of the Episcopal Church where its clergy are overwhelmingly Catholic minded.

The Diocese of Fort Worth has been a leader in standing against the apostasy that has been taking place in the Episcopal Church over the last three decades. We have witnessed Episcopal diocese after diocese fall away from a traditional Biblical and Catholic practice of the faith. It has now become impossible for the Catholic minded people to exist and survive in the Episcopal Church. As a result of this, the Diocese of Fort Worth is working toward a realignment of itself into another Province of the Anglican Communion. We have chosen to join the Province of the Southern Cone in South America. We believe this arrangement is temporary. As the Anglican Communion attempts to reform itself, it is becoming more and more evident that this problematic at best.

The overwhelming majority of clergy currently active in the Diocese of Fort Worth are willing to work earnestly for what we consider to be the only solution, and that is full communion with the Holy See. The breakdown of numbers is as follows:

There are currently 60 active clergy
We believe 9 will opt to stay in The Episcopal Church
51 will remain in a temporarily realigned diocese with the Southern Cone
5 are not interested at this time in working for full communion
46 are truly interested. If we add our seminarians currently on the priesthood track and our retired clergy the number becomes 59.

Our best guess is that approximately 59 clergy are willing to pursue an active plan to bring the Diocese of Fort Worth or a significant portion of it into full communion with the Holy See, if this be God’s will.

We believe these numbers are the result of the Holy Spirit actively working among us since the formation of this diocese. We also recognize that it will take time to bring the laity on board with this proposal. While the clergy have come to recognize the truth which it held by the Holy See, we have much work to do with the laity.

This fact needs to be noted and is to be understood as a recognized part of our proposal.

We would also like to point out that of the 59 clergy, 20 are under the age of 40. These young clergy are committed to seeking the truth that the Holy See possesses. They have come to this realization independent of the four clergy who are represented in this presentation. We have noted over the last few years that God has been raising up phenomenal young men in our diocese for priesthood. We now realize and believe the purpose of this explosion of priestly vocations at this time is to further help us understand the direction we must take. They are committed to teaching the truth of the Catholic faith and they have many years of ministry to give to accomplish what God began with us in 1983. We have seen many pieces of a puzzle come together over the years. We believe all of this is truly the work of the Holy Spirit and we continue to pray for guidance, courage and faith.

Finally, the Diocese of Fort Worth is the only diocese in the Episcopal Church that is strong enough to pursue the Proposal outlined below. We have a critical mass of clergy who are willing to bring the laity to support this proposal. There are many Catholics in the Anglican Tradition outside of our Diocese that look to the Diocese of Fort Worth for leadership. We believe the time is ripe for significant history making action on the part of the Holy Spirit. We believe the time is right and this is why we have come forward with this presentation.

VII. We believe Pope Benedict XVI understands our plight

Through his writings and his actions we believe that Pope Benedict XVI is sympathetic to our plight.

It is our belief that Pope Benedict XVI desires to uphold the Catholic faith whenever and wherever he finds it; especially in a world dominated by the super-dogma of relativism. It is this new dogma, this new denomination which motivates those who seek to remove the Catholic witness from The Episcopal Church.

In October, 2003, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and other Episcopalians throughout the United States met in Plano, Texas for a conference titled, “A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission”. That conference was called to unite further those who opposed the ordination of a partnered homosexual as a Bishop in The Episcopal Church.

The highpoint of that conference was a letter from then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It reads as follows:

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Vatican, on behalf of Pope John Paul II

I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ’s Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith to my own forebears in Germany.

The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is an unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcends the borders of any nation. With this is mind, I pray in particular that God’s will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

With fraternal regards, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ
+Joseph Cardinal Ratszinger

Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Furthermore, in April, 2006 the four priests making this presentation, with our Bishop and two other priests of our Diocese, met with Bernard Cardinal Law at his residence in Rome. At that meeting we discussed our plight with him. Cardinal Law told us two important things. With regard to union with Rome he said, “What was not possible twenty years ago may be possible today.” And, with regard to our moving forward he said, “Make us an offer”. He told us that it was inappropriate for the Catholic Church to make an offer to another Christian body, such as ours, in distress. Rather, such an offer needed to come from us.

Pondering the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger and those of Cardinal Law, we entered our period of prayer and discernment.

Those making this presentation believe the Holy Spirit has brought us to this moment. It is a time when we who have believed ourselves to be priests of the Catholic faith, seek to become more clearly what we have always been.

VIII. We believe there is a charism which the Anglican ethos has to offer to the Universal Church

The Catholic Faith, as it has been lived in the Anglican Tradition, is a thing of great beauty. Why are we making a plea for it to continue? It is because the Catholic faith and practice, as lived out in the Anglican Tradition, is a unique charism well worth preserving.

Twentieth century Anglo Catholic authors like C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and earlier Anglican theologians such as William Law (“Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life”) and George Herbert (“The Country Parson”) have enriched and enlightened countless souls. The religious life, the devotional societies, the guilds, the priestly fraternities (like the Catholic Clerical Union and the SSC) all speak to an expression of Catholic piety which continues to be attractive to people in the twenty-first century and are worthy of preserving for future generations. To take but one (local) example: the large number of young men offering themselves for ordination in this Diocese speaks to this expression’s ability to nurture vocations. Also the Catholic Liturgy in the Anglican Tradition is a thing of great elegance, holiness, of long antiquity and solemn reverence.

The icon presented to his Excellency Bishop Vann, an icon of both St. Gregory and St. Augustine, represents our desire to return hom to Rome our first and true spiritual home.

What is it that we can offer to the greater Church? We believe we can offer a Catholic expression which for too long has been separated from the Universal Church. This is a tradition of inspiring liturgy, devout spirituality, loving pastoral care and a living spirituality. We believe it has a special and unique witness to the Faith, which we humbly offer as a beautiful jewel in the Catholic crown.

—————————–
At the conclusion of our presentation, the following proposal was submitted to Bishop Vann.

PROPOSAL

We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide guidance and assistance as we look for a new way that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the Holy See.

We believe this guidance is necessary for the following reasons:

1. We cannot adequately prepare such a proposal without input from those to whom the proposal is to be made.

2. Such guidance would help us work through the complicated aspects of this proposal.

3. With this guidance, the Holy Spirit could affect more quickly the healing of this portion of the broken Body of Christ.

Should you consent, we gladly offer ourselves for this important work and stand ready to work with those you might designate.

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21 Responses to Tiber Crossings, Anglican Mass Conversion in Fort Worth?

  1. ultraguy says:

    in a word: wow.

  2. Keep an eye out for some interesting announcement to be made at the beatification of John Henry Newman.

    Folks who know folks who know folks maintain an important announcement (vis. Romeward-looking Anglican-types) is going to be offered.

    They remain in my prayers.

  3. Fr. J. says:

    SS, has the date for the beatification been announced?

  4. Fr. J. says:

    CNA said in April that it would be “later this year.” http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12435

    But, the usual date, the date of death, has passed. Other significant dates to the man are also possible. He converted on Oct. 9. Would that be just too in your face?

    With beatifications now taking place in home countries instead of Rome, somebody must be doing a lot of running around. We just beatified our founder and it took close to 18 months to plan.

    If the rumors are right, the date may be held until the full package on TAC, CofE etc is ready. So, perhaps next Aug 11?

    Even with this announcement of the 59, Iker is keeping his mouth shut on his talks with Rome, if there are any.

  5. […] Tiber Crossings, Mass Conversion in Forth Worth? […]

  6. Nan says:

    Too in your face as compared to baptizing a Muslim at Easter?

  7. Fr. J. says:

    well put, Nan. BTW, nice to see you around again : )

  8. SS, has the date for the beatification been announced?

    Not to my knowledge… But I do know that his body is being exhumed to be placed inside the Oratory chapel…

  9. […] As an Anglican watcher I have noticed a distinct pattern on most Anglican blogs.  Whenever something positive about the Catholic Church is posted there is a strong and bitter reaction among many of the commenters.  Antipathy toward the Catholic Church is deeply ingrained in the minds of Anglicans and protestants from an early age.  So it erupts almost without reflection whenever the moment calls for it.  It has been particularly heavy in the wake of word of talks between some Diocese of Fort Worth Episcopal clergy and the local Catholic bishop. […]

  10. John Schuster-Craig says:

    I can’t imagine that this will happen. Conservative Roman Catholics will not want to absorb significant numbers of married clergy — it undermines Rome’s insistence on clerical celibacy. And liberal Roman Catholics (a not insignificant number in North America) will not want to see significant numbers of conservative clergy absorbed by Rome. There are already married former-Anglican clergy in the Roman church, and Anglican-use parishes, but I seriously doubt that Rome wants to see that population increase.

  11. Fr. J. says:

    John, thanks for commenting.

    Of course it could be viewed the other way around. Liberal Catholics may welcome married clergy and conservative Catholics may welcome conservative clergy. It can work both ways.

    If you look at Catholic commentary on the net, you will notice that it is all positive.

    We are not as threatened by married clergy as you might think, either. We already have them in the Eastern Catholic Churches.

    And, if the Vatican didn’t want Anglicans to come over, why has it gone out of its way to approve a liturgy and engage in protracted talks with TAC?

    And since when did the Vatican care about what liberal Catholics think? It sure didnt mind bringing back the TLM.

  12. John Schuster-Craig says:

    Fr. J., interesting points.
    To look at the Fort Worth situation specifically, from what I’ve read, I get the sense that the four Episcopal clergy who met with Bishop Vann envisioned something more than individual priests and laity becoming Roman Catholic. And that will run into problems.
    First, I don’t think that many of the laity in the US are going to make that move (there are more than a few divorced, former Catholics, sitting in Episcopal pews). Second, attempts to move an entire parish from TEC to Catholicism will run into property disputes, and I don’t think Bishop Vann wants to end up in court with TEC arguing over property.
    There will indeed be clergy and laity who will find a new home in the Catholic Church as a result of the wars over sexuality. But I doubt that, logistically, an entire diocese, or even the better part of one, will be able to make their way there.
    Perhaps it will be different in England.

  13. Fr. J. says:

    John,

    Yes, there will be complications. However, the legal problems over property diminish enormously when the bishop favors the move, and Bp. Iker likely will. Not that there wond be payments… Still, a parish is not a building …

    Yes, there are lots of remarried exCatholics everywhere. Most have never attempted an anulment. Never the less, I dont expect many of them to return–though most likely could.

    As for individual priests coming over, well, if 90% come over, that is pretty much a diocese by anyone’s count.

    I know it is hard to imagine. But it has happened before. Whole religious communities have come over together (Greymoor) and whole dioceses have returned to communion with Rome in the East.

    Even if folks come over individually rather than corporately, the prospect of a new structure beyond the Anglican Use is still in the offing which may lead to future structural reconciliations with other groups, Protestant and Orthodox.

  14. John Schuster-Craig says:

    “The propsect of a new structure beyond the Anglican Use….” — intriguing. If something like this were in place in England, I could see quite a bit of movement.

    “Legal problems over property diminish enormously when the bishop favors the move…” — not in the United States. The national church will fight aggressively to retain property, as we have seen in San Joaquin. And Bishop Iker’s most recent comments seem to favor realignment with a more conservative Anglican Province.

  15. Fr. J. says:

    I do realize that Iker will go to another Anglican province and that is a good move for him. I could see him president of GAFCON or the new primate. All that is good. But TEC is fighting uphill legally when a bishop himself takes his diocese out of the denomination, as I understand it. And if he takes out DioFW, he could easily arrange for the AngloCatholics to take their churches–but again, it doesnt matter so much. The church is not buildings.

  16. John Schuster-Craig says:

    “…he could easily arrange for the AC’s to take their churches” — not so sure; legal battles so far have been inconclusive (positive for Virginia dissidents, but that was at the parish level).
    “The church is not buildings” — I could not agree more.
    I’ve been involved in Anglican/Catholic dialogue for decades now; in a way, sad to see that reunion, of a sort, has the potential to take place under circumstances far different from those we envisioned in the heady days of ARCIC I.
    Let’s talk again a year from now; peace.

  17. Fr. J. says:

    yes, Anglican-Catholic dialogue sure isn’t what it used to be, but maybe it is where it needs to be. Many Catholics are looking now at personal prelatures as the new age of ecumenism. Yes, we should talk again a year from now, and five years from now.

    God bless

  18. The national church will fight aggressively to retain property, as we have seen in San Joaquin. And Bishop Iker’s most recent comments seem to favor realignment with a more conservative Anglican Province.

    And let Doc Schori et al have the stones.

    The damndable attachment to stones and scenic property is too much for me to understand at times. The day will come when they can buy back these churches as they close… But honestly if they want old stone and dark wood, all the departing congregations need to do is call a realtor and pick from the manifold Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian parishes (and even Catholic ones!) that are on the market. In my city there is a huge suburban Lutheran parish (complete with Sunday school classrooms that could be turned into a real grade school if there was a desire to) that has been on the market for months now… Ditto for some closed Methodist and Presbyterian Churches built in the 30s to look like they were built in the 1430s.

    Father J and I have run the numbers before… If 5000 households left TEC and each one committed to $20 per household bi-weekly, at the end of 60 months, they would have (provided they could invest at an interest rate of 7%) $15,998,555.93. Let’s call that $16M. For congregations that average 200 persons or less, that could be the endowment or building fund for a significant number of parishes.

    Methinks the bricks and mortar are either an excuse, or an unhealthy obsession.

  19. John Schuster-Craig says:

    As reported on Thinking Anglicans:

    Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2008 9:42 PM
    Cc: Bishop Iker
    Subject: Ad Clerum: Statement

    To the clergy,

    The following statement has been released jointly by Canon Charles Hough, Fr. William Crary, Fr. Christopher Stainbrook, and Fr. Louis Tobola in reference to the document released earlier this week concerning a June meeting between them and Bishop Kevin Vann.

    Bishop Iker and the Standing Committee have asked that it be conveyed to you via Ad Clerum. It will be sent to all convention delegates and alternates as well.

    Suzanne Gill

    +++++

    From: Fathers Crary, Hough, Stainbrook, and Tobola
    Date: August 16, 2008
    To: The Clergy and People of the Diocese

    We wish to emphasize:
    1. That the documents and our conversation with Bishop Vann solely ever represented the four priests named.
    2. In retrospect, we regret our choice of timing for starting these conversations.
    3. We deeply regret the phraseology of the document which has caused hurt and division.
    4. We remain fully committed to the goal of this Diocese, as plainly stated by Bishop Iker, to realign with an Orthodox Anglican Province.

    Respectfully submitted,
    The Very Rev. William A Crary, Jr.
    The Rev. Canon Charles A. Hough, III
    The Very Rev. Christopher C. Stainbrook
    The Rev. Louis L. Tobola, Jr.

  20. Matt says:

    wow! lets hope.

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