Anglican Bishop(s) – swimming?

From Damian Thompson’s blog Holy Smoke.

C of E bishop will defect to Rome
Thursday, June 26, 2008, 08:13 PM GMT [General]

At least one Church of England bishop will defect to Rome
soon after the Lambeth Conference, I gather from Anglo-Catholic sources. And there could be more to follow.

I can’t tell you much more than that at the moment, because the negotiations with Rome are so sensitive – and the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, who distrust Anglican traditionalists, are quite capable of throwing a spanner in the works.

It’s shaming to have to admit that the bishops of my own Church are the chief obstacle to a significant move of Anglo-Catholic clergy and lay people into full communion with the Holy See – but that’s the way it was last time, in the early 1990s, and it’s still the case today.

Fortunately, Pope Benedict XVI is more open to experiment than Pope John Paul II.  [YES!  And this is a good point.  He is open to new structures and ideas.] He is taking a close interest in the progress of the rebel Traditional Anglican Communion towards reunion – a process which is under the control of the Congregration for the Doctrine of the Faith, not the Vatican’s woolly-minded ecumenists.

I can’t betray confidences, but my advice is: look at the new church structures, such as Old Rite parishes, that the Pope is already encouraging, and ask yourself how those models might be adapted for the use of former Anglicans.

But I’ve already said too much…

What is going on here?

There is a huge conflict brewing in the Anglican Communion at the big meeting at Lambeth.  More on this later, though some of you well informed readers can chime and and start fleshing out the story, players and issues.

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  1. Augustine says:

    I do hope so Father! Please keep the Anglicans in your prayers.

    I can think of several who might be coming over, not least any of the four “flying-bishops”. I personally know one Anglican bishop overseas, who is fairly orthodox, but not at all Roman. I think it will be a very hard decision for such men when the English heirarchy (Catholic) seems intent on stripping the Anglicans of any kind of spiritual identity…

  2. Mary Ann, Singing Mum says:

    Oh, this is huge. I agree, Fr. Z, that Benedict XVI is incredibly innovative and resourceful as concerns structures in the Church. He is willing and able to steer around what comes down to false authority.

    Catholics of English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh background- pray even more fervently. St. John Fisher and all martyrs who gave their lives in Great Britain, pray for us- that this wound may speedily heal!

  3. Baron Korf says:

    From my understanding, the conflict is over the ordination of women bishops. That and a general disgust in the wide acceptance over homosexual relations, especially in the clergy. A recent Journey Home on EWTN had Dr. William Oddie on talking about this up and coming issue. One thing he said, and I don’t know the details, was something about the Anglican Bishops speaking with Rome directly and the possibility of some sort of parallel jurisdiction (i.e. separate rite) for them. This of course is in light of the statement he made that many of the Catholic Bishops in England wouldn’t take too kindly to these traditionalists being players in their diocese. I may have misunderstood him, but that’s what I got from it.

    That was the Journey Home on June 16, 2008.

  4. I think it’s great when Anglicans want to rejoin Rome.

    I also think it’d be great if some ex-Anglicans like Bp. Williamson would rejoin Rome, too!

  5. Jason says:

    I assume these men would need to be ordained as Catholic Bishops?

  6. Romulus says:

    Don’t know if this has anything to do with what DT is hinting at, but I’ve read the diocese of Liverpool is erecting a personal parish in the EF.

  7. James Garrison says:


    This immediately makes me think of the post you just made regarding the SSPX and the story of the prodigal son. I would not be surprised if the pope could make some concessions as groups try to migrate home. Running with open arms to greet them home.

    Of course, we will need to be careful, with the coming of clergy and especially Bishops.

    I will be praying for greater Christian Unity.


  8. Ggoose says:

    According to this some 250 Anglican bishops will not be attending Lambeth and many of them will be attending a different conference in Jerusalem to discuss what to do.

    Prayers certainly are in order.

  9. Thomas says:

    Is coming home a defection?

  10. John says:

    Damian said he had perhaps said too much but it would be a joy to see some Bishops and hopefully, priests come home.

    They have the Old Sarum Rite which is a Pre-Tridentine rite. It was used by recusant Catholics until it was displaced by the Tridentine.

  11. Calleva says:

    As Damian Thompson and William Oddie have mentioned, the chief obstacle to a mass influx of Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church is the Catholic Bishops in England and Wales. They are, to put it mildly, none too keen on traditionally-minded orthodox people coming over in large numbers and – God forbid – having an effect on life and worship. Dr Oddie in the ‘Journey Home’ programme mentioned two parishes who crossed the Tiber; by the following weekend both had been shut down by the ordinary. He suggested it was in part because he’d written gleefully about what a strong former Anglo-Catholic voice could add to the Catholic church in E & W. Over in the USA there are several parishes with their own approved rite of Mass – in present circumstances, this would not be permitted here. It’s a pity, because I fear that the moment could well pass. We should seize it while we can.

    So don’t expect any coming over in great numbers. First, Pope Benedict has to put his words into action by appointing the kind of bishop who will, for example, implement Summorum Pontificum and who does not talk of ‘too many masses’ in the cathedral.

  12. Franzjosf says:

    Jason: When Fr. Graham Leonard, former Anglican Bishop of London swam the Tiber, he had to be ordained a Catholic priest (not conditionally ordained); he was not made a Catholic bishop.

  13. JGKester says:

    If these Bishops coming over are married, I really don’t anticipate Rome consecrating them Bishops; it is one thing to ordain married men to the priesthood, another to the episcopacy. We in the Latin Rite haven’t done so since the time of the Fathers, and not even the East does this! Then there is the issue of territory and jurisdiction. Perhaps they can be made minor prelates (protonotaries apostolic ad instar once had the right to periodically pontificate) while ordaining them only to the priesthood.

  14. Ottaviani says:

    500 years ago, the greatest enemies of the Catholic church were Protestants

    500 years on, in 2008, the greatest enemies of the Catholic church are some of her own very bishops.

    Funny how things change…

  15. Augustinus says:

    Franzjosf – I’m more than certain that Graham Leonard was conditionally ordained in a private ceremony by Cardinal Hume.

  16. Bob K. says:

    Now if we could only get back Cantebury and York! A Cardinal Archbishop of Cantebury and a Cardinal Archbishop of York. Has a good ring to it!.

  17. Bob K. says:

    Or is that a Cardinal “Lord” Archbishop of Cantebury and a Cardinal “Lord” Archbishop of York. You need to have a deep English accent when you say it.He He!!

  18. Bob K. says:

    I know I sound retarded! But it does ave a good ring to it!

  19. Franzjosf says:

    Augustinus: I don’t doubt you have heard that, but I don’t see how that could be, given that Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican orders null and void. Every Episcopal priest in the US that has come over, including the one who gave me instruction, has been ordained, not conditionally. A C of E priest himself told me that from the RC prespective he could not confect the Eucharist. While I don’t have a perfect memory, I remember when Fr. Leonard came over, and I was told that he was ordained. But there could be some special circumstance of which I am unaware.

  20. Houghton G. says:

    Ottaviani, I think you miss something. 500 years ago, even 450 years ago, the lines had not yet hardened. What we now know as \”Protestants\” at the time seemed like either traditional reformist (Luther) or liberal reformist Catholics. Luther actually was very much like the SSPX or other Rad Trads–upset, rightly, with abuses. He eventually went into schism, after being unjustly treated by the Curia (who behind his and Cajetan\’s back were negotiating to have Elector Frederick of Saxony turn him over to Rome for a heresy trial while Cajetan was negotiating with him as a Catholic theologian who had erred or been rash in his theological opinions on a number of points but by no means beyond redemption). Luther had a chance, while still on this side of schism–just like the SSPX–to, despite his misgivings about the abuses (and Lord knows there are plenty of abuses in the Church that is in communion with the Bishop of Rome), affirm his loyalty to Rome. Provoked (that part is unlike the SSPX, where Benedict XVI has done anything but provoke), Luther went the opposite way, denounced the pope as the antichrist, began attacking sacramental and ecclesiological theology. At that point he became a Protestant. Before that, he was a reformist Catholic.

    The bishops of Great Britain, apparently, are like the \”liberal\” bishops of the 1500s–muddled and trying to have it both ways, all kinds of ways etc. The Anglo-Catholics always insisted they were not Protestants, but were Catholics in everything except communion with the Bishop of Rome. For them, the issue is fairly clear–they already affirm Catholic theology, they only face a choice about coming back to Rome.

    Liberal or progressive or laxitarian mainstream bishops are different–in theory they are in communion with the bishop of Rome but over the past decades, liberal Catholics have embrace a whole series of beliefs and practices that are sometimes barely Catholic. But because formally and officially, they are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, they aren\’t viewed as \”Protestant\” or schismatic. They are muddled, bundles of contradictions.

    The greatest enemies of the Church in the 1500s were the Bishops, some of whom eventually became \”Protestants\” but they were enemies long before the lines hardened, they were enemies precisely as Catholic bishops who either didn\’t know what to do or were afraid to do what they knew to do. Muddled and confused leaders are always inimical to the Church.

    So the liberal bishops are doing the same thing now as they did in the 1500s. But the Anglo-Catholics considering coming home are not Protestants and do not parallel 16th Protestants.

  21. Calleva says:

    Hey Bob, we’ve never had TWO cardinals!!

    First things first…..

    As to Anglicans in Holy Orders, many of them do continue as priests, even if married. If the wife dies, then the priest is not free to remarry. I know that Anglican married priests have been welcomed in the RCC and been fine priests. As to the possibility of large numbers crossing over women bishops and gay marriage, I just hope it will be possible. I know that Pope Benedict is very anxious to find a way forward for them, so a solution to the situation with bishops will be found. It may be that former Anglican communities will retain the pastoral service of their bishops. I long for the day when we will once again have unity – and Mass in our ancient churches!

  22. James W. says:

    This is good news in the sense that the Catholic Church is seen as the true Church by these bishops and priests. The Pastoral Provision brought a few dozen Episcopalian priests into our midst but never developed momentum. I think Episcopalian bishop Pope (yep that’s his name) from Texas made the swim only to cross back. I am not aware in the U.S. of any other examples of their bishops having ventured this far before. I concur with Franzjosf that these men will likely be ordained as priests but will not be made bishops unless some are of the celebate state.

  23. LCB says:

    A few points:

    1) The Anglicans who cross over would be traditionalists. No worries about women-priests, gay marriage issues, etc. Those are precisely the reasons they are crossing over.

    2) Ottaviani wrote, “500 years ago, the greatest enemies of the Catholic church were Protestants. 500 years on, in 2008, the greatest enemies of the Catholic church are some of her own very bishops. Funny how things change…”— Funny how things change indeed. Many I know (including myself) view the coming Anglican flood as a flood of reinforcements that are desperately needed to bolster Orthodoxy, Tradition, and Liturgy (esp. music!).

    3) It seems a variety of structures could be used for the Anglicans. One would be personal prelature (doubtful), the other would be treating Anglican liturgy as (juridically) one expression of the Roman Rite. This opens great doors in the area of ecumenism, especially with certain high Lutherans.

  24. Daniel Latinus says:

    If I recall correctly, Graham Leonard was ordained conditionally after he offered to show a “pedigree” of his orders, which included an Old Catholic ordination.

  25. Woody Jones says:

    First off, a small technical point. Like Augustinus I too have it on good authority that Msgr Leonard was conditionally ordained the Catholic priesthood. What Franzjosf (I love the name) is missing here is that after Apostolicae Curae many of the more Catholic-minded clergy in the CofE and US went out and had themselves ordained by Old Catholic or Orthodox bishops, whose orindatins are not disputed by Rome (the form of the ordination has not been really that much of an issue for quite some time as I appreciate it, the problem AC saw was that there had been a break in ordinations (due to lack or uncertainty of form) during the CofE’s really Protestant years under Edward VI and maybe Elizabeth I). Thus as I hear it (and we are privileged to be pretty close to the Pastoral Provision office) that incoming Anglican clergy do have the pedigree of their orders scrutinized, at least with a view to a determination whether the ordination will be conditional or uncodnitional. Other than Msgr Leonard, I have not heard of any other Anglican being conditionally ordained, however.

    The bigger picture is of much more interest here, however, and like another poster said above, the contrasts with the SSPX are somewhat striking. The Traditional Anglican Communion has, it is now known, acting through its bishops unanimously (and who first signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the altar), submitted a formal request to Rome to be re-united with the Holy See under the approach specified by Vatican II (or implementing texts), that of being “united, not absorbed.” The National Catholic Register carried a story about a week ago in which it was stated that it is understood that the discussions between Rome and the TAC are “nearing their conclusion”, but that the Archbishop of Canterbury has asked the Pope to make no announcements until after Lambeth (July 16-August 3). One certainly can read much hopeful implications intthis, but I have also heard well-placed clerics express doubt that something is really imminent in terms of an announcement.

    The TAC have been dialoging for a number of years with US Catholic bishops who are sympathetic, as well as with some already in the Anglican Usage of the Church, and so the TAC people, knowing the somewaht less than totally enthusiastic response that the hierarchy here in the US has afforded the AU, are working to obtain some kind of juridical arrangement like an apostolic administration or maybe a beefed up (from the Opus Dei model) prelature. I presume, but do not knwo, that this is what the talks are about in Rome, in large part, althoguh there are also personnel issues that will weigh on the process.

    The personnel matters always catch the eyes of most Catholic laity, and no doubt there are issues, starting with the Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, who is a former Catholic priest, twice married. He, however, seems to be a really fine man who has said publicly that if he is an obstacle he will step down as a bishop and “go sailing” (I guess just be a layman) upn reunion. There are no doubt other cases of not just married clergy (which the Church can and has dealt with) but divorced and remarried, etc. And the married bishops are new to the mix; I think Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP, suggested that those could even be accepted as bishops but only for “one episcopal generation” so to speak. Or maybe some other arrangement will have to be found. Presumably after reunion any newly ordained clergy would be celibate, as is now the case with the Anglican Usage parishes (all 4 or 5 of us).

    Meanwhile the possible reception is indeed an issue on the local scene. I saw the Journey Home show on which Dr Oddie (a former Anglican priest) appeared, and also have read his earlier book “The Roman Option” about the last time the RC bishops of England and Wales blew the opportunity to receive a large number of CofE clergy, in the mid 1990s, and it makes sense to me that the approach he mentioned is what the clergy desiring to come in would do. These men are not strictly speaking TAC, so it could be that their situation will be different, but my hope is that the TAC reunion will be used as a vehicle to accommodate all Tiber-swimming Anglicans into one big AA/prelature/whatever–and include us AU folks as well.

    Finally, the contrast with the SSPX (and I say this with all love and respect for the SSPX clergy and adherents that I know, who are fine people). I subscribe to the TACs publication, The Messenger, and find it very Catholic reading indeed, especially recently. There is no criticism of the Holy Father or the Council, rather there is an attitude of humble expectancy and desire. The latest issue has an article promoting the Divine Mercy devotion, and another on devotion to Our Lady. Most intriguing, perhaps, is the copy of Abp Hepworth’s Lenten sermon, in which he related that he is reading and meditating upon “Jesus of Nazareth” and refers to the Pope at least twice as “our Holy Father” and he favorably mentions apparitions of Our Lady at some TAC church in Australia, not forgetting to note wryly that she manifests herself as a light on a church wall, being somewhat restrained as the people are, after all, Anglicans (an in-joke about Anglican decorum, and so on, get it?). Seems a far cry from the spirit of obstinacy coming from Econe, I very much regret to say.

    Most accounts say the TAC had 400,000 or so adherents. The Church of England types are separate and would be an additional number, who knows how many? Again, much would depend on how they are to be received.

    I would humbly ask you and all of your readers, dear Father, to pray assiduosly for this other reunion, which may, as it now seems, be closer than to fruition than that of the SSPX.

  26. Woody Jones says:

    I always have combox problems on this blog, and so the many typos, but I would just correct the one: it is that the TAC “has” 400,000 adherents, not “had”.

    Another thing that needs to be mentioned: it has surpised and scandalized me no end to see how much hostility to Anglican reunions there is at or just below the surface from our brethren of Irish descent. Please, accept my humble apologies for all the wrongs done, and get over it.

  27. Matt of South Kent says:

    After this week, I caution not to get your hopes up.

    The conservatives meet this week and I think they are basically decided to form their own Anglican SSPX. I wish I could come up with a witty comment on the Tower of Babel/Division.

    We hear this rumor regularly. I wish Fr. Z would open a blog to come up with our favorite rumors. I know what mine is.

  28. Franzjosf says:

    Augustinus and Woody: Thank you for the clarification. The Old Catholic situation did cross my mind. Do you know if the applies to all TAC clergy?

  29. EDG says:

    Fortunately, Pope Benedict XVI is more open to experiment than Pope John Paul II.
    An interesting observation that I had never thought of before. I have been depressed – but not surprised – by what appears to be the intransigent attitude of the SSPX, and then I wondered what exactly what would have happened had they come back. After all, they would still have remained rather separate, and even if they had had to acknowledge that the rest of the Church was not sunk in heresy, it’s unlikely that they would have played well with others. But it occurred to me that this could also be said about the other extreme, the Neocats, who are like the essence of the immediate post-1970 charismatic liturgy and theology preserved in amber and very much maintain their own space. I think there are problems with their orthodoxy, but obviously Rome considers them orthodox enough for government work, so to speak. And they are loyal to Rome and ethically and morally ok. So I suppose the SSPX would have become another group like this, a little dubious in some areas, perhaps a little cultish and separatist, but fundamentally loyal to the Magisterium and Rome.
    If the Anglicans come in en masse, I assume this will be their situation too. Perhaps the Pope’s theory is that over the years, their differences will soften, or that over the years, one or another form will become dominant and these will become minor rites that maintain their own existence, but more as curiousities than anything else. Or perhaps the Pope’s theory is that we are about to face a major challenge, perhaps major persecution, and now is the moment to gather in all who are willing to make the basic acceptance and to get us into the barque of Peter together before the storm breaks.
    I don’t know. But Ithink it is very true that the Pope is obviously looking at all this in a different way.

  30. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    Mr. Jones,

    As soon as you release the six counties, all will be forgiven, and our revenge will be our children’s laughter. :) However, I think the animosity could spread more from the Anglicans being able to keep their wives. I have met more than a few married men that have felt robbed of their vocation to the priesthood, and resent the fact that clergy of another denomination can convert and be married.

    With regard to married men who are Anglican bishops being allowed to be Catholic bishops, I think Fr. Nichols is dreaming. A group of Romanians that had married bishops (this came about during the communist persecution) were allowed back in the Church as priests, but never Bishops. We have no tradition, at all, for bishops living in anything other than the celibate state. They may have been married, but once they became a bishop, they lived as brother and sister.

    Finally, I would ask you if you know if priests that were once Catholic and left the Church and became an Anglican priest are allowed to take advantage of the pastoral provision. It was always my understanding that they were not.

    I am praying that misguided Catholic bishops do not attempt to sabotage this move towards real unity, for the sake of the Ecumenical Movement.

  31. Woody Jones says:

    Mr Sarsfield,

    As an American, I do not think that we have control of the 6 counties (yet?), so cannot release them, unfortunately. I do think that the vector for them is into the Republic, which after all is the coming thing in Europe right now, anyway, so after the passions cool, maybe a reunion there.

    I agree with you, too, that the married clergy is perhaps the biggest issue, especially for the more conservative bishops and clergy. I could be wrong on this, though, and the place to watch for an indication of the reaction of the conservative hierarchs is San Antonio, where Archbishop Gomez (of Opus Dei derivation, and also a great man to whom I am proud to say I went to confession when he was just “Father Jose”) seems right now to be getting along well with the Anglican Usage parish and its married pastor.

    The other side of it is what is to us Romans less well known–the reaction of the wife to the priest’s coming over to Rome, with the usual loss of standing within the community and so forth; i.e. she goes from being the Vicar’s wife to just being Mrs. so and so. This should not happen if a “corporate reunion” of the TAC takes place, where the little communities will reman in place, but I have it on good authority that it is a big holdup in individual cases.

    I think you are right about the bishops and lack of precedent. This will be an interesting thing to see how Rome handles it. I have not had a chance to look into the books but my understanding on the ex-Catholic priests is the same as yours–once gone over to another denomination, they are not accepted back as Catholic priests. I suppose this is merely disciplinary and could be waived in the right case but again do not know what Rome will think best to do. I don’t know the extent of this phenomenon within the TAC.

    All the best.

  32. “Augustinus and Woody: Thank you for the clarification. The Old Catholic situation did cross my mind. Do you know if the applies to all TAC clergy?”

    Perhaps it does – they have Polish National Catholics in the “pedigree”… I suspect that would be good for discussing possibilities of “sub conditione” formulas at their ordinations… I am doubtful that any would be accepted on the face of such a claim.

    An interesting theory has recently been presented that some in the TAC would go and recieve outright re-ordination at the hands of the Polish National Catholics whose orders are considered valid, and then going to Rome and saying “Well, what will you do with us now, we are valid we want in!” Again, just speculation. (The thinking being that it is one less roadblock on to face if you can sidestep certain Catholic bishoprics like Liverpool which to date has ordained ABSOLUTELY NONE of the ex-Anglican ministers who have applied there!)

    We should all offer an extra Rosary this coming month for the conversion of these Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

  33. London Calling says:

    Here’s a quote from Graham Leonard’s memoir, as published in The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church (1999):

    So it was that on 6 April 1994 I was received into the full communion of the Holy Roman Church by Cardinal Basil Hume in his private chapel. Two weeks later in the same chapel I was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church. … All I had asked for in my petition to the Pope was that I should not have to deny my former mnistry and that I did not have to do. Included in the rite was a statement in the words of Vatican II recognizing my ministry as an Anglican and a prayer that it would be fulfilled in the Catholic priesthood. In my case, I was ordained conditionally because I had been ordained as an Anglican by a bishop who was in the Old Catholic succession, and on the Pope’s personal instruction I was ordained straight to the priesthood without having first to be ordained deacon. But the statement and prayer are included in the ordination of all former Anglicans … Cardinal Ratzinger said that Rome was not prepared to say that I was a bishop but was also not prepared to say that I was not one! This did not worry me as I had said in my petition that I did not want to exercise any episcopal actions.

  34. Virgil says:

    Bravi! to the readers for the excellent comments on this thread. It was a great history lesson to read them all.

    I place a lot of hope in this: both for the Anglo-Catholics in the UK, and also for the Anglo-Catholics in the US Episcopal Church. The TIME IS NOW, because at this moment, the traditional “triangle” of Anglican practice is breaking down.

    Typically, the Anglicans were a precarious balance among three factions:

    * LIBERALS, who look like most mainline Protestants. (And who look like most of the Catholic clergy in the UK and the US, frankly.)

    * EVANGELICALS, who look like the typical right-wing Protestant, all bent on a “personal relationship with Jesus.” (These are the folks meeting in Jerusalem on their anti-gay crusade, and boycotting Lambeth.)

    * ANGLO-CATHOLICS, who look like us. They have always been more-or-less comfortable to remain Anglican, so they could “have their cake and eat it too.” The liturgy was beautiful (moreso than most Roman liturgy, and with better music overall), and the theology pointed toward Rome, without actually taking on the responsibilities of full communion.

    What has happened to change this comfortable parity triangle?

    Sheer force of PR.

    The LIBERALS get news for ordaining women, divorcees, and partnered gay and lesbians priests. And they always get good press for political statements about global warming or human rights.

    The EVANGELICALS get news for objecting to what the Liberals are doing.

    The ANGLO-CATHOLICS are just disgusted with the whole thing. Generally, I find they are not so much disgusted with the Liberals, as they are with the Evangelicals. They could always live with the Liberals, because the Liberals respected them in the name of “diversity.” However, the Evangelicals are as downright hostile to the “Papists” as they are to the “homosexuals”.

    I think the English and American Anglocatholics believe that they could function well, even if the Roman Catholic bishops in the English speaking world are more of a Liberal bent. By becoming Catholic, they escape from the Evangelical nut-jobs.

    I suspect that a wider “Anglican Use” inside the Roman Rite will come into being. There are already a few personal parishes with Anglican Use, permitted under John Paul II. I wonder what Benedict will do? Theoretically, if a few celibate Anglican bishops came over, there may even be a personal prelature to oversee the Anglo-Catholics who have swum the Tiber.

  35. Mark M says:

    “There is a huge conflict brewing in the Anglican Communion at the big meeting at Lambeth.”

    Not just at Lambeth, Father. For a start certain Anglican Bishops weren’t invited to Lambeth because they were becoming too ‘liberal’. This didn’t satisfy everyone, so there was a GAFCON meeting of very conservative figures headed by Bp. Nazir-Ali in Jerusalem, which is now concluding. At first it seemed this would only be a temporary thing, but they have now stated it will be permanent…

    Oh my! ;-)

  36. MJL says:

    What great news. At last (I hope) one serving Anglican bishop who is prepared to show some real leadership. The last time this happened in the 1990’s, there were several Anglican bishops who “came over” (including Dr Leonard). All, however, waited until they had retired from their sees before making the move. Not one Anglican bishop dared to do the right thing while still serving. As usual, it was the priests who made the sacrifices.

    Over 1000 Anglican priests left the Church of England at this time: most were received into full-communion with the Catholic Church, where many were ordained to the Catholic Priesthood; some went to Orthodoxy and a very few lapsed from their faith.

    The official figure for those clergy who left in the 1990’s, given by the C of E, is something like 250. This is misleading because the figure is based on the number of clergy who received the miserable “compensation package” designed to salve the consciences of Parliment and General Synod. The conditions for this were that the cleric should have been ordained over 5 years and be under the age of 50yrs. For the over-50’s, they could take early retirement with a reduced pension. For those ordained under 5 years (like many of my friends) they left with nothing. Either way, only those receiving the compensation are counted in the official figures. Hence the discrepancy in the figures. I know that the real figure was over 1000 because I was one of those who was part of a “Forward in Faith” working party whose job it was to ring round every Anglican Deanery in the country to get names and dates.

    The young Anglican priests who came into full communion with the Catholic Church back in the 1990’s willingly paid the price that their former shepherds should have paid with them. They lost everything – job, home, identity, income. But what a prize – coming home to Peter and the Church founded by Jesus Christ. It was worth it and I’ve certainly never once looked back!

    To those who may be thinking about coming-over, I say: do it now. But forget pastoral provisions and Anglican-Use arrangements. What’s the point? There’s a warm welcome awaiting you – don’t feel you need to bring your old baggage. Jump into the big pond and start to swim!

  37. Spiggle says:

    It’s worth pointing out that the Gafcon lot meeting in Jerusalem are, by and large, not Anglo-Catholic but evangelical. As for the Liberal and Anglo-Catholic wings it’s also important to note that to see either as one straightforward bloc is a vast over-simplification.

    The Anglican communion (most particularly in England) has always been a careful exercise in broad consensus, about keeping both SSPX equivalents and outright protestants on board – there seems a strong possibility that this is finally about to fail (of course, over the years lots of groups have gone their own way, not only the TAC and a bunch of similar groups but also the Western Orthodox lot, who managed to hook themselves up with the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in some way).

    It’s also a mistake to think the Anglican Communion is the same around the world. The groupings and shape of the communion in England, and the attitude of ordinary parishioners, is not the same as that in the US, and the Africans are different again.

  38. Al says:

    Best comment thread in ages. Thanks to all for taking time to share their wonderfully varied insights and experiences. This is all real cutting-edge stuff – history in the making.

  39. Tim says:

    Let us all pray that this wonderful opportunity to heal Christian divisions is grasped. For myself, I saw the writing on the wall for the Anglican Communion some time ago and have never stopped giving thanks for my reception into the Catholic Church. I pray that other Anglicans will come to know the same joy. Ut unum sint.

  40. They have the Old Sarum Rite which is a Pre-Tridentine rite.
    If you mean that Catholic-minded Anglicans curently use this rite, that’s highly misleading – vanishingly few ever do, and there’s been no unbroken record of its use since the reformation. I found that the Forward in Faith lot (many of them staunchly orthodox, brave and good) almost made it a dogma to use the Novus Ordo (or variations thereupon). Alas for the good old Knott “English Missal”!

    All, however, waited until they had retired from their sees before making the move. Not one Anglican bishop dared to do the right thing while still serving.

    Er, MJL, how could they not resign their see before being received?

  41. MJL says:

    Er, Benedict Ambrose, that’s exactly the point I was trying to make. They retired in the usual way (ie. got to 65 or 70yrs, pensions intact) then were quietly received into full communion. The really courageous and prophetic thing would have been to have resigned their sees prematurely and then be received with their priests and people. Like their priests did.

  42. Woody Jones says:

    “They retired in the usual way (ie. got to 65 or 70yrs, pensions intact) then were quietly received into full communion. The really courageous and prophetic thing would have been to have resigned their sees prematurely and then be received with their priests and people. Like their priests did.”

    Dr. Jeffrey Steenson, formerly TEC Bishop of the Rio Grande (seat in Albuquerque–an ironic reverse imperialism from the days when the Texans tried to retake New Mexico in “The Wah”), who is in his 50’s, did come over recently. Interestingly, he and his wife were received at Santa Maria Maggiore in Roma by none other than Cardinal Law himself. Unfortunately, he could not come with his priests and people, but that is the way these things work out rather often. He is going through the Pastoral Provision process now and will be speaking at the Anglican Usage Conference in San Antonio July 10-12. There are also three other former TEC bishops who have “Poped” in recent months and are going through the PP process. Please pray for them.

  43. Apologies, MJL, you’re quite right, of course – I’m clearly having a reading-for-meaning lapse today!

  44. Sid Cundiff says:

    Vigil’s correct division of Anglicanism into Liberals, Evangelicals, and Anglo-Catholic is the current form, respectively, of Broad Church (Latitudinarian), Low Church, and High Church. And often one finds the “Liberals” to have quasi “High” liturgy mixed with decided Liberal theology.

    My point: As the Anglican triangle is falling apart, the Catholic one might be forming:

    HIGH: The Mass in the Extraordinary Form;

    BROAD: The Ordinary Form, poorly translated, the Ordo sometimes treated with negligent, the music insipid, no altar rail, Communion in the hand allowed, the tabernacle sidelined, some aspects of dogmatic and moral theology soft-pedaled, no silence, etc;

    LOW: Charismatics, hand-holders at the Pater-Noster, other add-ers to the rite, Sandalistas, “teen masses”, liturgical dance, coffee-donuts-dialogue, and the emotionalism of Evangelical-Pentecostal Protestantism.

    One could square the triangle and throw in ETHNIC, which means Latin Americans in the USA and Poles in the UK.

    To return to the Anglicans: One could argue that High Church and Anglo-Catholic began to drift apart after 1688 and certainly by the latter 19th C. One group became the the High Church Proper became RITUALISTS: i.e. High in Liturgy, Broad in theology.

    The other group, the Anglo-Catholic, could be grafted into separate positons on a line running from Canterbury:

    1. Those who held to the VIA MEDIA, that the CofE is a middle way incorporating Protestantism and Catholicism: Hooker the most articulate, Elizabeth I, George Herbert, John Donne, and C.S. Lewis.

    2. ANGLO-CATHOLICISM PROPER: Those who hold the CofE to be Catholic, yet wish to keep the 1662 Prayerbook and the 39 articles: Andrewes, Laud, Charles I, Charles Williams, T. S. Eliot.

    3. TRACTARIANISM, those who also wish to keep the Prayerbook and the Articles, yet interpret them in a Catholic way. Newman’s Tract 90 represents the ne plus ultra of this position. Using the Four Notes of the the Church from the Creed – “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic” – this position argues that Rome may have better preserved the unity and catholicity of the Church, but that the Anglicans and Orthodox have better preserved the Apostolicity of the Church by following more closely the Fathers Froud, Pussey, Newman until 1841. (The Oxford Movement in fact began modern Patristic studies. And when Newman discovered that Rome had preserved indeed “apostolic”, he became Catholic)

    4. ANGLO-PAPALISM: going up just to the west bank of the Tiber, but not swimming.

  45. Franzjosf says:

    London Calling: Thank you for the quotation. I would love to read the memoir. I’ll look on the internet, but if you see this post, could you give the exact title?

  46. Father Z,

    Do you know are there any plans to expand the pastoral provision to some of the break-away Anglo-Catholic churches or churches in the Anglican tradition? (I believe TAC is in that line…) It would seem that a more generous application of the provision would help stem some of the tide of the Anglicans who are swimming the Bosphorus for Western-rite Orthodoxy.

    For instance, the Charismatic Episcopal Church also has valid orders through Brazil.

    God bless,

    Father Deacon Daniel

  47. Woody Jones says:

    One last thing before I get back to work and cease over-using this thread. I applaud MJL’s perspective and courage in coming over as he did, and in fact that is the way most Anglican clergy do it, for various reasons, including the fact that the PP does not exist anywhere except in the US, and also as I understand it there is a more favorable attitude toward the Novus Ordo among English Anglo-Catholics than perhaps their American counterparts (probably in part due to the fact that the English seem to celebrate the N.O. in a more reverent fashion more often than the Americans do–of course I say this based only on experience at the Brompton Oratory so could be wrong about elsewhere in England/Wales).

    The main attraction of the Anglican Usage for those of us in it is the liturgy, which in its Rite One form (most often used, priest ad orientem) is much more reverent and employs better translations of the Latin originals, than the current ICEL Novus Ordo. In fact, the Vox Clara retranslations are going to be much closer to the AU translations already in use, albeit without the Elizabethan word forms. And in passing I would note that from my own experience, it takes anyone with a little intelligence about 2 months to acclimate to the different texts, using the missalette provided, so the cries of the Trautmans and Mahonys about the faithful not being able to adjust are really without valid basis (I don’t doubt they have a basis, but it is not a valid one IMHO).

    The problem is that the AU liturgy is only available, basically, in AU parishes/communities, so in order to offer the AU liturgy for a wider public, an Anglo-Catholic priest would have to bring his people (or at least a number of them sufficient to justify establishment of a “community”) with him. If he does not do this then he is absorbed into the regular run of things within the Church, which is not bad, but just does not make the AU liturgy available to the people. There are a lot of delicate issues for an Anglo-Catholic priest in trying to persuade his people to “Pope” with him, including just the fact that he would be reported to the higher ups in the TEC if he starts agitating for this, so it is a kind of minor miracle when this happens, as it did with Fr. Eric Bergmann and his community (now called “St Thomas More”) in Scranton.

    Of course, things could be done differently if the diocesan and Roman authorities were interested: there are a number of groups of people, some former Anglicans, some not, who wish to form an AU community in various cities (e.g., New York, Charlotte, Washington, DC, Nashville or Memphis (I forget which)), but since they do not fit the pattern described above, they seem to be out of luck for the moment, as there seems to be no interest at the episcopal level in trying something just a little different. This is one of the most frustrating things for some of us in the AU, and this kind of “strict reading” of the PP is what leads us to urge the TAC to work to get a better juridical arrangement in place in order to avoid the same unhelpful restrictions.

    This in fact is scandalous to me, because if one posits that the people are at least intelligent enough to know or sense that the AU liturgy would help them get closer to God than their current N.O. situation, the restrictions on its availability are hurting them, and it is hard not to conclude that the reasons for the restrictions are grounded in the worst form of clericalism (i.e. that the bishop is thinking only of himself and what his other priests think about this, rather than working for the good of the souls of a small group in his flock).

    The readers of this blog will at least know better than to use the bogus “unity of worship” argument in response to my comment above. Or should we discuss the Byzantine, Ukrainian, Chaldean, Maronite and Melkite Catholic churches, and the other uses of the Roma Rite, of course including the EF?

    We shall have to see what happens, of course.

  48. Woody Jones says:

    Father Deacon Daniel brings up another excellent point: under Metropolitan PHILIP of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the Western Rite Orthodox have continuously grown, being up to about 20 parishes or so now. They present the most attractve alternative to Rome for an Anglo-Catholic priest and his people, I would think, made the more so by the obvious fact that PHILIP is sympathetic and promotes them, rather than the seeming reverse process that, judging from results, seems to exist with the PP.

  49. RBrown says:

    As a convert from Anglicanism (US style), I am much in favor of Anglicans swimming the Tiber.

    But I wonder: Is their desire to become Catholic a true conversion, pf faith in the true Church? Or is it like Catholics changing parishes over a disagreement with the priest? Would they still want to be Anglicans if the women clergy and homosexual problems didn’t exist?

  50. RBrown says:

    BTW, I had a classmate in Rome who had been a member of the clergy of the Episcopal Church of Scotland. He retired and was using his pension to pay for Roman education before being ordained to the priesthood.

  51. Sid Cundiff says:

    From today’s “Sunday Times” on the Evangelical Jerusalem Conference, which the Times calls “schism in all but name”:

    “The fellowship will draw up its own Book of Common Prayer, devoid of what it sees as the liturgical inanities embraced by many modern Anglican service books. Instead it will be loyal to the original formularies outlined by Thomas Cranmer, the 16th-century Archbishop of Canterbury and incorporated into the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

    The fellowship will also decree an orthodox approach to reading the Bible and will draw up a universal catechism, a feature central to Roman Catholicism but lacking from modern Anglicanism.” [emphasis added]

  52. CTrent1564 says:


    In the last two months, two former English Anglican priests
    Fr. Peter Geldard and Prof. William Oddie have appeared on
    EWTN’s Journy Home with Marcus Grodi, who himself was a former
    Presbyterian minister. Both of them were of the Anglo-Catholic
    wing of the Church of England, heavily influenced by the Oxford
    movement, i.e. the Tractarians. Both saw themselves as front
    line troops who wanted to help bring about the corporate re-union
    of the CE and Rome. When the CE started the road towards women’s
    ordination, which lead to the move for women bishops in the
    late 1980’s, many of these men began to come to the realization
    that apostolicity of the CE was no longer there, even if they
    thought in the past, it was. Thus, according to Fr. Geldard
    some 750 former Anglican clergy converted to Rome (including some 4
    Bishops), and of those, about 450 were ordained as Catholic
    priests, 150 or so of those, as married priests.

    What was interesting is Fr. Geldard’s interview (he was one of
    the three Anglicans who discussed Anglicans coming over to Rome)
    dislosed the process that was agreed to at the time. It was
    clear that Pope John Paul II was involved, along with Card.
    Hume, but what was agreed to at the time is that there would
    not be an Anglican sui juris Church, as historically Rome was
    seen as the Mother Church for Cantebury. The option for a
    personal prelature, similar to what is being offered to SSPX
    was discussed but was not something all parties thought at
    this time was the way to go. Thus, all Anglicans who were recieved
    into Catholic Communion with Rome would be ordained and serve
    in parishes that offer the Novus Ordo form of the Roman Rite.

    Now, given Pope Benedict’s desire for restoring all legitimae
    Rites of the Church, perhaps a personal prelature might be
    something in the future since the Anglican Use Liturgy draws
    its origins from the Sarum Use of the Roman Rite, which I think
    would have been retained at the time of the Council of Trent
    similar to the Ambrosian, Mozabaric, etc since it was in-place
    some 200 years before Trent, which of course codified the
    variations of the Roman Rite into what we now know as the
    Extra ordinary form of the Rome Rite, but still retained
    the Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Carthusian, Dominican, Benedectine


  53. RBrown says:


    I realize that a lot of Anglican clergy have cross the Tiber (Rubicon?), but that’s not the same thing as absorbing an entire parish as if it’s a real estate deal: Sign here. Auguri, you’re all now Catholic.

    I think most of the Anglican clergy who converted had to go through a program because they were ordained.

  54. RBrown says:

    should be:

    “crossed the Tiber”


    “program before they were ordained”

  55. “Father Deacon Daniel brings up another excellent point: under Metropolitan PHILIP of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, the Western Rite Orthodox have continuously grown, being up to about 20 parishes or so now.”

    But how receptive is the wider communion of nation-state churches that comprise Orthodoxy?

    See: Western Rite Orthodoxy?

    I don’t see a future there. The growth has NOT been stunning, the congregations have remained small, finding older congregations is not easy to do even though this experiment has been approved for some time…

  56. Patrizia says:

    I have a question about a comment above about Anglicans who desire to come into the Catholic Church but retain the 39 Articles. How is this possible given Anglican dogma(?) on the Eucharist?

    Article XXVIII:

    “… Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
    The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.
    The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.”

  57. JD Treat says:

    As an Anglo-Catholic convert and someone who knew the left, right, and center of Anglicanism fairly well, I got asked about these things quite often, so I wrotw this piece about three years ago. It might be of interest to some of you.

  58. IS says:

    I’ve not had time to read through all comments. Woody Jones seems in the know and has all the information I’ve had. This hasn’t been a quick thing and has been on the cards for years – since Arch Hepworth became leader of the TAC.
    He is a very good man and I’ve had conversation about the work of Fr Fortescue with him…

  59. Jacob says:

    For anyone who’s interested, I culled from the comments at TitusOneNine some helpful news on the TAC situation, though they aren’t too specific.

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