TAC ARCHIVE

May and June 2012

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News from South Africa

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The end came swiftly for Archbishop John Hepworth in Johannesburg when the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) College of Bishops accepted the resignation of their leader after a long battle with the wounded, self-inflicted Australian Primate who had sought entry for himself and his church into the Roman Catholic Church.

A majority of the TAC College of Bishops met at St. George Conference Center outside Johannesburg, February 28 – March 1, 2012 to discern a new direction for the embattled Communion. They elected Indian Archbishop Samuel Prakash as Acting Primate.

Twenty active bishops with 12 voting in session voted that the TAC would remain fully Anglican. A news release said that while it receives, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, the TAC College of Bishops has voted as a Communion to decline the invitation.

Before he left the US for South Africa Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh wrote VOL to say that he fully anticipated a course would be charted that is unambiguously Anglican and under leadership that will uphold and teach, by word and example, the faith of Christ crucified. “You may be certain that I will do my best to ensure that any decisions provide for the spiritual safety of God’s faithful people.”

Every Bishop and Vicar General in the Traditional Anglican Communion was invited to attend this meeting. Of the twenty active bishops, twelve voted in session. Nine of the twelve churches were represented.

This meeting of the College of Bishops was long overdue,” said the bishops. “Over the past two years, several members of the College of Bishops had requested of the Primate an urgent meeting of the College. Anglicanorum Coetibus or the Apostolic Constitution had never been discussed or debated within the College of Bishops. Meetings of the College of Bishops had, in fact, been scheduled at least twice over the past two years. Most recently, a meeting was called by the TAC Primate for mid 2011. This meeting was canceled abruptly by the Primate. Accordingly, the meeting in Johannesburg was voted to be the overdue meeting of the College of Bishops.”

The College of Bishops voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Hepworth as TAC Primate by resolution that states: “it is resolved that he cease to hold the office of Primate immediately. Archbishop John Hepworth vacates the Office he has held since 2003, along with the individual appointments which are the prerogatives of that Office. Such offices and positions are now vacant and subject to reappointment.”

Archbishop Samuel Prakash, as the senior active Metropolitan, was elected Acting Primate by acclamation. In so doing, the entire assembly expressed complete confidence in Archbishop Prakash, who was consecrated Bishop in 1984 and currently serves as Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of India. Archbishop Prakash was one of the original founding Bishops of the TAC.

Bishop Michael Gill of Cape Town was appointed Secretary of the College of Bishops. During its three day meeting, the College of Bishops passed several resolutions relating to the International Anglican Fellowship, Episcopal Oversight and Ecumenical relations between Continuing jurisdictions. The College of Bishops resolved to commit itself to Mission and Evangelism, recognizing that the central purpose of God’s people is to bring others to Christ.

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There’s more over at Virtue’s site. And I am sure the comments section will be full of the usual vitriol.

Among the many instances of spin or errors of fact in this story, the most egregious is this one:

“However Hepworth’s battle with Rome and his charges that he had been homosexually seduced by three priests hardly endeared him to Rome’s leaders.”

Virtue is out to paint Hepworth as a willing homosexual partner. Hepworth was raped as a minor. I guess Virtue would consider most of the cases of clerical sexual abuse as “homosexual seduction” where the victim is just as much to blame, no?

 

TAC College of Bishops in South Africa

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 1, 2012

THE TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

The members of the Traditional Anglican Communion (hereafter referred to as TAC) College of Bishops met at St. George Conference Center outside Johannesburg, South Africa between February 28 – March 1, 2012 for the purpose of transacting the business of the Church and of discerning a new direction for the Communion. The business was conducted strictly in accordance with the TAC Concordat.

The College of Bishops, the highest legislative body within the Communion, affirmed by resolution its faithfulness to the TAC. The TAC will remain fully Anglican. While it receives, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, the TAC College of Bishops has voted as a Communion to decline the invitation.

This meeting of the College of Bishops was long overdue. Over the past two years, several members of the College of Bishops had requested of the Primate an urgent meeting of the College. Anglicanorum Coetibus or the Apostolic Constitution, for example, had never been discussed or debated within the College of Bishops. Meetings of the College of Bishops had, in fact, been scheduled at least twice over the past two years. Most recently, a meeting was called by the TAC Primate for mid 2011. This meeting was canceled abruptly by the Primate. Accordingly, the meeting in Johannesburg was voted to be the overdue meeting of the College of Bishops.

Members of the College met in a spirit of prayer and with a desire to discern God’s will for the TAC. A majority of active Bishops and Vicars General who hold voice and vote attended the meeting and made several decisions of immediate import to the TAC.

The College of Bishops voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Hepworth as TAC Primate by resolution that states: “it is resolved that he cease to hold the office of Primate immediately.” Archbishop John Hepworth vacates the Office he has held since 2003, along with the individual appointments which are the prerogatives of that Office. Such offices and positions are now vacant and subject to reappointment.

Archbishop Samuel Prakash, as the senior active Metropolitan, was elected Acting Primate by acclamation. In so doing, the entire assembly expressed complete confidence in Archbishop Prakash, who was consecrated Bishop in 1984 and currently serves as Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of India. Archbishop Prakash was one of the original founding Bishops of the TAC.

Bishop Michael Gill was appointed Secretary of the College of Bishops.

During its three day meeting, the College of Bishops passed several resolutions relating to the International Anglican Fellowship, Episcopal Oversight and Ecumenical relations between Continuing jurisdictions. Several appointments were made by the Acting Primate. There was a strong feeling among the members of the College of Bishops that a new direction had been taken by the TAC.

The level of attendance at this College of Bishops meeting was exceptional. Every Bishop and Vicar General in the Traditional Anglican Communion was invited to attend this meeting. Of the twenty active bishops, twelve voted in session. Nine of the twelve churches were represented.

Finally, and most importantly, the College of Bishops resolved to commit itself to Mission and Evangelism, recognizing that the central purpose of God’s people is to bring others to Christ. Several moving statements were made by members about the need to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world deeply in need of hearing it. A program of equipping the saints for the work of Evangelism was supported by the College of Bishops with enthusiasm.

 

Archbishop Hepworth responds via Australian article

  • ANGLICAN breakaway archbishop John Hepworth has been removed from his post as the global primate of the church at a meeting of bishops in South Africa.

Archbishop Hepworth, the Australian leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion, last year claimed he was raped by three Catholic priests nearly 40 years ago.

He had planned to step down at Easter after bishops in several countries lost confidence in him and opposed his attempts to reunite with Rome.

A statement issued by the TAC’s College of Bishops after the meeting in Johannesburg late on Thursday night also revealed the body voted to remain completely Anglican, despite Archbishop Hepworth’s successful attempts to reconcile the TAC with the Catholic Church in Rome last year.

“The TAC will remain fully Anglican,” the statement said.

“While it receives, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, the TAC College of Bishops has voted as a communion to decline the invitation.”

Archbishop Hepworth said yesterday he accepted his removal. “I was going anyway in four weeks’ time and all I’m doing is filing and putting our information in archives. . It’s a meaningless gesture and if it’s meant to upset, I am not upset.”

Of the 20 active bishops in the TAC, 12 attended the meeting in South Africa, constituting an official College of Bishops.

While the college voted against the Rome reconciliation, Archbishop Hepworth said a significant number of parishes in Australia, the US and Britain were already working towards reunification. “Union was never going to be achieved without friction and conflict,” he said.

“It was a divisive matter 500 years ago and those of us who suggested (reconciliation) were always going to get in trouble.”

 

The Avignon Primacy

Thus in the TAC, the concept of the anti-primate comes into existence, though Archbishop Prakash is merely styled Acting Primate, as if this were some provisional appointment pending a more permanent arrangement.

This following text (context) by David Virtue seems to ring true according to one way of looking at things:

What I think it means is that Hepworth will try and reconstruct TAC and will draw in those willing to stay under his leadership even though Rome is now out of his reach. He will not accept laicization and he is hardly likely to give up whatever is left of his church, so he will reformulate. I gather he has Falk (though he is retired), Campese and quite possibly Moyer still with him in the US. I gather Torres Strait are rethinking their options. He does not have India but he may have a few Japanese parishes. He is NOT the majority as he says. He is definitely a minority. Hope this helps.

The APA and ACA have been talking for some time and there is a real possibility that with the old guard going, the new younger Continuing leaders are beginning to talk unity again.

On the other hand, I am told that Archbishop Hepworth is simply wrapping up loose ends, and would reconcile with his Church of origin when he is ready. That seems to concord with the Archbishop himself saying that all he is doing is “filing and putting our information in archives“. That doesn’t seem to be talk about going back on good intentions in regard to Rome and the twitch on the thread.

The spectre of two rival TAC’s seems to arouse a sense of bathos. What is more likely to me is keeping informal groups together to maintain the Romeward trajectory and appealing with the authorities for different conditions. We are brought to think of the SSPX whose cat-and-mouse game with Rome has gone on for decades. While there is dialogue, there is hope – as long as there is both time and life. Personally, I don’t find Archbishop Hepworth’s intentions and position dishonest. Unlike the “Anglican sedevacantists”, Archbishop Hepworth is not someone to take himself seriously.

 

David Virtue vs. Lay Canon Cheryl Woodman

There is also an extended tape of just Virtue alone that is more easily accessible, alas, from that same site.

Here’s the blurb from the ABC Radio website about the program:

TRADITIONAL ANGLICANS REJECT VATICAN OFFER TO JOIN UP

Broadcast:
Wednesday 7 March 2012 5:50PM (view full episode)

In South Africa at the weekend, a group of bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) met. The TAC is made up of Anglicans who have broken away from the mainstream church, largely over the issue of women priests. In mainland Australia, the TAC is small, with about 20 parishes. But its leader, Archbishop John Hepworth, has been in the forefront of a push for traditional Anglicans to become part of the Catholic Church. And the Vatican has, to an extent, obliged, setting up the Anglican Ordinariate. But in Johannesburg on Friday, 12 of the 20 active bishops of the communion voted not only to reject the Vatican’s offer but also to remove Archbishop Hepworth as primate. (He was planning to stand down in May but he has been pushed out early.) David Virtue is a journalist who edits the conservative-leaning website Virtue Online — billed as ‘the voice for global Orthodox Anglicanism’ — and he keeps a close eye on developments within the communion. Meanwhile, not all members of the Traditional Anglican Communion accept the decision of the bishops meeting in Johannesburg, including lay Canon Cheryl Woodman, registrar of the TAC in Australia.

 

Article on the TAC

Knowing the Archbishop as I do, I doubt he has any intention of putting up an ecclesiastical jurisdiction, since he is retiring from the Primacy, but establishing some kind of group to discern the future in a different way. He positively encourages those who are so inclined to join the Ordinariates and seems not to be of a mind to adopt a “classical Anglican” position. It all seems woolly, but something makes sense to someone.

Anyway, here is the article What of the TAC? Read the whole article in its place.

The article clarifies what some of us have known for a long time, namely that the Roman Catholic Church is not buying second-hand cars, but will accept spare parts to build cars of its own brand. Of course, the analogy is not difficult to understand. Rome was not going to have the TAC, or any part of the Anglican Communion, but was prepared to accept individual priests and laity to create groups within RC jurisdictions – either Ordinariates where established or regular territorial dioceses. The concept is new, but it is as far as the RC Church was prepared to go. Previous RC clerics and those with matrimonial irregularities would be excluded as would be cradle Roman Catholics. I have said this before, and this fact is being confirmed ever more clearly.

Archbishop Hepworth is not a liar or a fraud, nor is he mentally ill. He just misjudged the whole thing from the start – unless he was deceived by persons unknown. But, I tend to avoid conspiracy theories. Whoever sunk the TAC-itanic or drove her onto the rocks, the effect is beginning to be seen in the light of day.

The Roman Catholic Church has decided to apply the rules rigorously – as it has the right to do so. That is not my problem, and I am far from the only person who can only reply that I do not care. Millions of people leave the Roman Catholic Church, whether they are not interested in religion and are materialists, or because they have been burned and are open to a different spiritual expression if ever they find one. The usual alternatives are tired out and trashed by usage. We can only wait and see. It is no use chasing after illusions.

Posterity is likely to scapegoat Archbishop Hepworth, as people believe of the Roman Catholic Church that it cannot be wrong, so therefore is not wrong. That is a clear travesty of justice. Those bishops who have now repudiated him think they will return to business as before, but the “New TAC” will not be like the old one as we all belong to in October 2007.

I frankly don’t believe any reflection group set up by Archbishop Hepworth and a few others not joining the Ordinariate and not belonging to the “New TAC” will have much influence, but we must keep an open mind. We must go to the bitter end, and then things will become completely clear. Perhaps by this summer, it would be time to call vocations and beliefs into question and plot other courses in life. Perhaps we need to look towards our origins and consider the prices of our “religious enthusiasm” and our “cultural roots”. The questions for some will become so fundamental that we may need that much more time for retreat and discernment. For some, the answers will not come this side of death, and this will be our Passion and Cross.

I have felt particularly “down” and lacking in energy since my return from England, though I was very encouraged that no one is going to be jumping into anything in a hurry. There were no clear answers at that meeting in England – just what I expected, since it was merely an exploratory session. The Anglicans wait for the final Synod vote in July and whether there will be provision for the minority, the test of comprehensiveness and unity in diversity. Otherwise they have to leave their Church, roots, jobs, homes and everything to graft onto a viable Church that would allow them to continue more or less as before.

It is an encouragement to find beautiful weather here in Europe presently, and I have already been sailing twice, and will be going again this afternoon. Lent goes on, and it is St Gregory the Great’s feast today. We approach that luminous part of the year when spring is just around the corner.

I still find comments a tad on the “dogmatic” side, when we should be more inward-looking and seeking to renew the grace of our baptismal commitment and our transition from the death of sin to life and holiness. In our heaviness and slowness, we wait on the Lord and watch the horizon as the lone sailor on the deck of his boat.

Another 4 weeks of Lent – make the most of it!

 

The Traditional Anglican Church in England

I have some information which I have to “fog” and paraphrase a little, but I relate in this posting the facts I have been informed about. I cannot at this time reveal my sources.

It is public knowledge that Bishop Mercer has gone over to the Ordinariate, and will soon receive Roman Catholic ordination to the priesthood. In fact, even though he is English, he is the retired Bishop of the ACCC in Canada and has merely helped out in the TTAC as a retired bishop. Until now, the TTAC has been under the authority of a Vicar General (Canon Ian Gray) and episcopally visited by Bishop David Moyer. Bishop Moyer has received a nulla osta, but not yet the required votum from the RC Archbishop of Philadelphia. Like Fr Hunwicke in England, he may have to wait a very long time for ordination.

The former Vicar General Fr Brian Gill has resigned to join the Ordinariate with his family and his flock. I understand also that Fr John Maunder has already gone over to the Ordinariate or is on the way. It would be ironic to see St Agatha’s in Portsmouth as the English Ordinariate’s flagship church! It is unclear to me which other TTAC clergy have received the nulla osta from Rome. As yet, I know of no other TTAC clergy on their way over to the Ordinariate.

What has transpired is that the TTAC Vicar General Fr Ian Gray considers himself to be under the authority of that college of bishops which is headed by Archbishop Samuel Prakash and Bishop Michael Gray of South Africa. Fr Ian Gray has recently reported to Bishop Gill that the TTAC website run by Fr Michael Gray (no relation with Fr Ian Gray) is “sticking to the Hepworth / Moyer line”.

This Pastoral is essential reading for an understanding of the crisis in TAC (and consequently TTAC). Bishop Moyer has authorised its publication here. His instructions are awaited concerning the recent meeting of some bishops in South Africa. Your attention is drawn to the final contribution from Brian Gill, our previous Vicar General, below.

Bishop Gill affirms that Fr Ian Gray is the TTAC Vicar General and that Bishop Moyer’s role in England has been “terminated”. Upon learning of this, Bishop Moyer said he would write a “farewell letter” to the English faithful.

If I have got this right, very few TTAC clergy are going to the Ordinariate, perhaps two in addition to Bishop Moyer. There used to be some twenty-two priests in the TTAC (I am not part of that clergy because I am directly under Archbishop Hepworth in what has been known as the Patrimony of the Primate for reasons of living in a country where the TAC does not have a diocese). We may find a new TTAC website coming into being as the present site is apparently no longer in line with the Vicar General, and that might indicate which clergy are going that way.

If the “Hepworth / Moyer line” finds itself without Bishop Moyer, I find it very difficult to imagine what lifebelt the clergy not following Fr Ian Gray to find to grab onto. There is a question of a meeting of bishops loyal to Archbishop Hepworth and the “old” TAC. The Archbishop has already mentioned this project of a meeting in a comment on this blog. As far as I am concerned, the “old” TAC continues until the outcome of that meeting.

 

TAC in sede vacante?

This site is maintained by Michael Gray but as I have been expelled from TTAC for following its policy there is no point in communicating with me about it.

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Fr Michael Gray (as distinct from Canon Ian Gray, the TTAC Vicar General) who has been running the TTAC site has this to say on the communications page.

Confusion worse confounded

It is believed that Archbishop Hepworth’s resignation is now effective, whatever may be considered to be the current situation in TAC. The webmaster is not now part of TTAC and is not able to make this a useful site for that body. He has urged Ian Gray to take over responsibility. Until this happens, the site will perforce remain incoherent.

It seems that the legitimate TAC is now under acting Primate Archbishop Samuel Prakash, or the “old TAC” is in sede vacante. In either case, it would seem that the Patrimony of the Primate no longer exists, and this was the canonical entity in which I have been licensed for the past six years.

 

Getting pieces back together?

Bishop Michael Gill said this in a recent newsletter:

Nothing is worse than the feeling of not knowing where one is going. Being lost is never a pleasant experience. Following press and news around matters within the Traditional Anglican Communion in 2011, some people have thrown up their hands and cried that all is lost. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Traditional Anglican Communion is emerging as a strongly unified and committed body of Continuing Anglicans, determined to carry the Gospel into the world with great vigour, the message enhanced by the beauty and grace of Anglican liturgy and worship and the use of the Book of Common Prayer.

The emerging leadership of the Traditional Anglican Communion is young and vigorous. The fellowship between the leaders, Bishops, Vicars General and Chancellors, is regular and congenial, and the commitment to growth and spiritual excellence is shared by all. The future for the TAC looks extremely bright. Many TAC leaders who were double-minded in terms of identity have indicated their intention to, or have moved on to Ordinariates, resulting in a more focussed, dedicated group of Anglican leaders now being in place. The sense of fellowship and inter-church co-operation is stronger than it has been for many years, and that bodes well for the future. The moment the leaders engaged in conversation and shared experiences and interpretations of events, a positive and dynamic interaction began. Soon it embraced the USA, Southern Africa, UK, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Church of Umzi Wase Tiyopiya, Central America, India, Canada and parts of Australia.

The remaining Bishops and Vicars General of the Traditional Anglican Communion are determined that all faithful members shall have pastoral and Episcopal oversight. No-one will be left isolated or alone, even if some of their clergy or Bishops have left for an Ordinariate. We will ensure spiritual care for all our TAC people, no matter how remote their location may be.

Part of the task of the Continuing Anglican Movement was the need to reclaim, or retake Anglicanism from the liberal and secular men and women who have it by the throat. We are determined to fulfil that part of our mission. We will offer those cast out by their previous spiritual homes a place of stability and solace. We will continue in the Faith of our fathers.

The World Consultation on Continuing Anglicans held in Brockton, Massachusetts, in November 2011, saw our friendships as TAC clergy further cemented and developed. Present at that Conference were TAC delegates from the USA, India, Central America and Southern Africa, with interest and apologies from Canada and the UK. The TAC input at that Conference was powerful and vibrant. It was obvious to all that we are a globally cohesive and focussed Communion, intent on spreading the Christian Gospel through our Anglican liturgy and worship and our preaching of the Word. Our fellowship with the other Continuing Anglican groups was warm and positive, with APA, ACC and FACA leadership all present. We were aware of a corporate mission and equally aware of there being room enough in Our Lord’s vineyard for all to be allowed to prosper, despite some of our differences.

It is sometimes necessary to cut back a plant to allow for renewed growth. I think most gardeners are familiar with this necessity? The current situation is that the Traditional Anglican Communion is poised for a brilliant and sustained period of growth. We have shaken off the shackles of our recent past, broken our “Cone of Silence” and we are very much “on the move”.

Although many Continuing Anglican churches in the developed world are filled with senior citizens, that is not the picture in the TAC in the developing countries. Here, our churches are filled with young people. Large numbers of young people are Baptised and Confirmed regularly, and the youth groups are overflowing. Youth Catechists lead worship and preach in the services and many “home-grown” young men are coming forward for Ordination and training for ministry. Women’s groups are flourishing and there is a lively interaction between countries and churches. The churches and parishes have vibrant men’s fellowship groups and there is a strong commitment to answering social problems such as poverty, teenage pregnancies and the scourge of HIV and AIDS. The future of the Traditional Anglican Communion is ensured and this energy will be carried into all parts of our Communion.

Brothers and sisters, we lose hope too quickly! We allow ourselves to be buffeted by negative moments in our own lives and in the life of the church. Our Lord will never forsake His people, and as long as we are faithful, diligent and obedient to His Word and commandments, He will continue to bless us!

I do hope that what you have read has warmed your heart. Whether you are in the cold of Alaska or the burning heat of Botswana, in a city or in the rural countryside, the Traditional Anglican Communion remains committed to your spiritual well-being, will provide you with ministry and the sacraments, and no matter what people say, will be there for you, your children and your children’s children!

God bless and keep you

Bishop Michael Gill TAC, Pretoria and Southern Africa

 

Another blow and the door is kicked in?

The Anti-Christ can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or of the truth, as the heretic is born from the Saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind, is to make people laugh at the truth, to make the truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from the insane passion for the truth (Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose).

Two new articles from the South African priest blogger, apparently one of Bishop Gill’s clergy, seemingly all-out to promote the ordinariate-or-bust trajectory. Read them for yourselves.

The first of these articles reveals a serious dispute in an ACA parish in California that has been all-out for the Ordinariate. There is an allegation of financial mismanagement, and Bishop Strawn of the ACA is being very heavy-handed about the whole thing. Who is right and who is wrong? Most of us would say we do not care – but this is a church, where people worship God and priests celebrate Mass – and people will be driven away from Christianity. Here is the other side of the story.

One problem is that the US Patrimony of the Primate clergy claim that the Patrimony continues to exist. The problem is that the Primate (Archbishop Hepworth) is now resigned and the Acting Primate Archbishop Prakash has presided over a meeting that abolished the said Patrimony of the Primate. Any Patrimony of the Primate now alleged to exist has no Primate to refer to. It was entrusted by Archbishop Hepworth to Bishop David Moyer whose application to be a priest in the US Ordinariate has been stalled, at least pending the outcome of the present litigation in the law courts about which I will not offer any comment. Bishop Moyer does not claim to be a Primate, and appears not to be any longer in the TAC. If a TAC exists outside the TAC headed by Archbishop Prakash, it has no Primate, no defined College of Bishops. Unless it becomes clearly manifest, I would say by the end of this month, it is a “phantom TAC”. I remain sceptical. A claim of a continuing Patrimony of the Primate is therefore something of a problem…

Of course, the problem is knowing who owns the building. That is what it always seems to be about in America. Who cares?

The other article is inspired by our Canadian Roman Catholic friend Peter Perkins and his scathing evaluation of the non-ordinariate-bound Canadian TAC. Some former ACCC parishes saw no end to the waiting endgame being played out with Archbishop Collins and the decision of two of the three Canadian bishops to go ahead anyway.

Another blow is my being informed about the reality of the TTAC in England. Some months ago, I published a letter from Canon Ian Gray that informed his clergy that if they were ordinariate-bound, they would be out of the TAC by a given date. That leaves those clergy who have not received the nulla osta from Rome in canonical “limbo”. Canon Gray’s argument would be that the TAC had to move on and cannot tolerate divided loyalties. There are no regional deans, because they have left. The priest who runs the TTAC website has gone, as has Fr Michael Silver. Fr Ian Westby discerns his future. Fr John Maunder I understand has gone to the Ordinariate. What is there left? The best and youngest clergy are writing to me with their tales from the Gulag!

I am informed about seven English priests waiting for a decision to arrive from Rome. That number is added to the small number of those who have received a nulla osta from Rome and are acting on it or have refused to go ahead to the Ordinariate and have not remained with the TAC. The information I received spells out the bleak future of the TAC in England: it is left with ten clergy, five with “life limiting conditions” (which we all have but relatively) and two are elderly. No priest now remaining is under the age of 60, and my informant’s prognosis is that there will remain no more than 4 priests within 2 years.

If this version of events and developments goes unchallenged, then the future is bleak and it is “game over” in England, but the scandal and pain caused to those involved will not cause them to feel forced to go to the Ordinariate, or the local RC diocese, or the traditionalists or whatever. Their hearts are broken and they will most likely not go anywhere.The triumphalistic RC apologists think they can win converts by convincing them that they have nowhere else to go, with their doloristic and unhealthy theology of sacrifice. They more they kick down people’s doors, the more they will break hearts and destroy faith – and be judged for it.

I do not have a personal issue with Canon Ian Gray, as I have never been under the jurisdiction of the TTAC, but I remain to be convinced that he is acting for the good of his charge.

Can one collaborate in this work of destruction? There seems to be no way to deny the notion that the TAC is irremediably broken except in those countries where the ordinariate movement was never an option, like in the African Continent and India. I have a tremendous amount of esteem for Archbishop Prakash and Bishop Michael Gill. Bishop Craig Botterill has been pastoral in his dealings with his clergy and faithful in Canada, and that separation between the ordinariate-bound and those who wish to remain Anglicans has been ordered, charitable and peaceful (though some would dispute me on this). Perhaps he will use his authority (he is named Episcopal Visitor to the TTAC to replace Bishop Moyer) to save the situation in England – that is up to him to decide. There has been heavy-handedness in Canada, but it would seem that it occurred as a result of extreme provocation. I will not attempt to judge. I am not in the USA, but I cannot approve everything I have been hearing about how things are managed there.

Attempts are made to force consciences just like the RC apologetics zealots. I do not believe that anything based on cruelty and heavy-handedness will be blessed by God, whether from the RC side or the intolerance being shown to the divided loyalties and uncertainties of those stuck in impossible situations.

And so, the best any of us can do is wait. We will be told that our priestly ministry is “not valid” if we are not under episcopal oversight. Not so, if we have charge of souls and the malfunction in the Church is not our fault, there is a canonical concept called a “state of necessity” or epikeia, expressing in legal terms what Christ said about performing works of mercy on the Sabbath. Doing the right thing is better than the literal observance of the law and going against its very purpose. For decades, there have been independent priests ministering to the faithful on a provisional and “emergency” basis, in the precise situations in which they find themselves, without episcopal oversight or proper licence or auctoritas. It is a violation of church order, but church order is being used to break hearts and cause loss of faith. Some are justified. Others are not. God will judge (or will he?).

For priests who do not have a pastoral ministry, perhaps it is fitting to refrain from anything other than absolving and anointing a person at the point of death, and celebrating Mass privately with the intention of being united with the universal Church. That is just about my fare.

Something will stir in the darkness, and Christ’s gentle light will shine. But, perhaps the consolation is not for our lifetimes. As I don’t think I will have any more TAC information to post, I should go back to hiatus status – let the commenters fight it out between yourselves. And may the best man win!