Statement of rep of Traditional Anglican Communion

The rep of the TAC or Traditional Anglican Communion has a statement about the news from Rome about the ordinariates for Anglicans who want unity with the Catholic Church.

With the help of VirtueOnline we read this with my emphases and comments:

Statement of the Primate
of the Traditional Anglican Communion
20th October 2009

I have spent this evening speaking to bishops, priests and lay people of the Traditional Anglican Communion in England, Africa, Australia, India, Canada, the United States and South America.

We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. He offers in this Apostolic Constitution the means for “former Anglicans to enter into the fullness of communion with the Catholic Church”. He hopes that we can “find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to us and consistent with the Catholic faith”. He then warmly states “we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith”.

May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity[This is a key point to keep in mind when considering what Pope Benedict does.] It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours[This is very interesting.   What the Holy See did exceeds their expectations.]

While we await the full text of the Apostolic Constitution, we are also moved by the pastoral nature of the Notes issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. My fellow bishops have indeed signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and made a statement about the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, reflecting the words of Pope John Paul II in his letter “Ut Unum Sint”.

Other Anglican groups have indicated to the Holy See a similar desire and a similar acceptance of Catholic faith. As Cardinal Levada has indicated, this response to Anglican petitions is to be of a global character. It will now be for these groups to forge a close cooperation, even where they transcend the existing boundaries of the Anglican Communion[hmmm… even beyond the Anglican Communion.]

Fortunately, the Statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury reflects the understanding that we have gained from him that he does not stand in our way, and understands the decisions that we have reached. Both his reaction and our petition are fruits of a century of prayer for Christian unity, a cause that many times must have seemed forlorn. We now express our gratitude to Archbishop Williams, and have regularly assured him of our prayers. The See of Augustine remains a focus of our pilgrim way, as it was in ages of faith in the past.

I have made a commitment to the Traditional Anglican Communion that the response of the Holy See will be taken to each of our National Synods. They have already endorsed our pathway. Now the Holy See challenges us to seek in the specific structures that are now available the “full, visible unity, especially Eucharistic communion”, for which we have long prayed and about which we have long dreamed. That process will begin at once.

In the Anglican Office of Morning Prayer, the great Hymn of Thanksgiving, the Te Deum, is part of the daily Order. It is with heartfelt thanks to Almighty God, the Lord and Source of all peace and unity, that the hymn is on our lips today. This is a moment of grace, perhaps even a moment of history, not because the past is undone, but because the past is transformed.

Archbishop John Hepworth



Thinking… thinking…

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  1. JoeGarcia says:

    This is good. Very good. To quote the legendary Fr. John Hardon, SJ…”To Gode be all the glory. ALL the glory.”

  2. tjtenor2 says:

    Very encouraged by this, perhaps even more so than by the statement from Rome this morning. I’m extremely excited about the prospect of our brethren of a more traditional Anglican mindset (including the TAC) coming home to Rome.

  3. Tominellay says:

    …hope-filled, thoughtful statement…

  4. TNCath says:

    Hmmm. Consider this scenario:

    A Catholic priest leaves the priesthood, marries, and becomes an Episcopal priest. He later joins the Traditional Anglican Communion that reconciles with Rome. Would he then be able to continue to function as a priest in communion with the Holy Father?

  5. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    This is all very good news, but there will, in individual cases, be problems to address. Dr Hepworth, for example, is a former Catholic priest who left the Catholic Church for the Anglican Church in Australia and subsequently the TAC, married, divorced, and married again. How he would be permitted to exercise his priestly ministry will need some thought, unless he is willing to accept laicization for himself in order to further the cause of reunion. Then the canon lawyer in me begins to wonder: what if he was only suspended a divinis when he attempted his first marriage? Then that marriage would have been invalidly contracted because of the impediment of Holy Orders (canon 1087). If he was subsequently laicized ad poenam for defecting from the Catholic Church, he could have validly contracted his second marriage because the impediment of Order would no longer apply (depending on the wording of the decree of laicization). Might he not then be readmitted to priestly ministry under the new Anglican Ordinariate?

  6. Jack Hughes says:

    Blessed be God Forever

    and I remember when people were saying that the Holy Father would a stop gap Pope!!!!! Surely the work he has done over the past year means that he is GREATER than JP2 ever was

  7. Rachel says:

    That statement lifts my heart. It’s a good day!

  8. DCtrad says:

    Much of the language the Archbishop used was beautiful. But I am confused. How traditional is Traditional Anglican Communion? Are now “some priests” in the Roman Catholic Church aloud to get married if they come from England? I am also for lack of historical education confused on Anglican liturgy is it like the NO or TLM. In short how “”Trad”” are Traditional Anglicans.

  9. Charliebird says:

    Wow! I have been reading the other posts today and wanted to comment, but then read this one, which gives me even more chills! Te Deum, laudamus! Imagine, one day, going into a Church of the “Anglican Rite Catholics” (perhaps named) and attending Mass and receiving Communion with no-longer-separated brethren! Keep praying…

  10. Tominellay says:

    Is Benedict XVI bringing about the ‘aggiornamento’ that John XXIII had expected?

  11. stephenocist says:

    I’d also suggest that folks take a look at the very nice statement issued by the Church of England Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough, who seem to have known what was coming and to have a timeline in place. These are two of the four “flying bishops” who minister to traditionalists within the Church of England

  12. nhaggin says:

    For those who are speculating on how men can game the system to be married priests, or on how the provisions for receiving clergy will be applied to certain persons (such as Dr. Hepworth), I don’t think it’s worth worrying about. The ordination of these Anglican clergymen will not be automatic; the Church will have to examine each man who requests ordination and determine if he should receive it. Remember also that the married bishops (which Hepworth is) among the various traditional Anglican groups promised to step aside.

  13. chironomo says:


    Dr. Hepworth would still be able to be a Priest…just not a Bishop, correct? Strangely, the intitial discussion on the Apostolic Constitution speaks of “Ordinariates”, and that the Ordinary could be either a Priest or a Bishop (correct me if this has been found to be wrong). Might this not effectively allow a married clergy to serve as a “Bishop”, even if not by title? I’m just asking and could very well be wrong about this.

  14. PJ says:

    Rachel – I agree. Very warming news indeed.

    If all goes well, I wonder if there is any chance of something coinciding with a certain canonisation coming up next year?

  15. becket1 says:

    God Bless these Anglicans. They will offer allot to the Anglican Use parishes, and the Catholic Church as a whole. But more importantly, they now have a permanent home. God Bless them all!!. Welcome Home!!.

    Parry Anyone!!. Maybe a little John Rutter music is now in order.

  16. Fr Martin Fox says:

    Folks would do well to accept the fact that there will be a bit of messiness and degrees of inconsistency about the discipline of celibacy. As a celibate Roman Catholic priest, I made my decision freely and that’s it. I am not resentful, nor do I cast a longing gaze at how “lucky” someone else may be. That makes no sense to me. Meanwhile, if making “pastoral provisions” for other folks gets them home, why should I complain? Recall the story of the Prodigal Father and his two sons…

    If it happens that large numbers of Anglicans resume communion under this provision–and that remains to be seen–it will, it seems to me, simply mean the end of the schism that arose under King Henry VIII–because as the orthodox Anglicans “pope,” the more quickly the rump of the Anglican Church will tip over into craziness. The Episcopal Church (USA) is going to start tipping very quickly now.

    A key question for me is where the leading clergy in the UK sort out. Where will Rowan Williams end up? Will he remain behind when he sees things tipping–or might he, himself, swim the Tiber?

    Of course, that all assumes a significant response to this invitation. Much remains to be seen.

  17. Mario Bird says:

    Do we all holy rites;
    Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum;’
    The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
    Cross we the Tiber; and onto Peter’s dome:
    Where ne’er from England sailed English home.

    Henry V, IV.8

  18. nhaggin says:


    Hepworth could be ordained a priest through the new provisions, but given the promise of the TAC bishops to step down, as well as his history outlined in an earlier comment, I doubt he would be ordained.

    I won’t speak to the administrative structure of the ordinariates until the apostolic constitution is promulgated.

  19. Geremia says:

    The Anglican Communion is not the same as the Traditional Anglican Communion. The latter broke off of the former. I believe the latter are the ones who originally requested communion with Rome in October 2007. I am confused why what goes on between the Archbishop of Canterbury, i.e., the Anglican Communion, and the Holy See even applies to the TAC.

  20. chonak says:

    It’s going to take several years to build all this, and there will be some interesting ecclesial events to attend along the way.

    There will be issues to resolve such as finding places for these congregations to worship. Some own their own buildings already, but many meet in the sanctuaries of other Protestant churches. (A few even meet in Masonic lodges: ahem!) Perhaps they can take over disused churches from our dioceses, or buy up disused TEC churches, even. (Hm. That’s wishful thinking, eh?)

  21. Geremia says:

    With Summorum Pontificum and now the union of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) with the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI is sending a clear message: a reverent liturgy, with continuity to tradition, is key to a unified Church. Deo volente the SSPX will follow suit. Together with TAC and SSPX, the Institute of Christ the King and the Fraternity of St. Peter parishes will continue being the much-needed leaven in the Church. Deo gratias and thank you Pope Benedict!

  22. robtbrown says:

    Dr. Hepworth would still be able to be a Priest…just not a Bishop, correct? Strangely, the intitial discussion on the Apostolic Constitution speaks of “Ordinariates”, and that the Ordinary could be either a Priest or a Bishop (correct me if this has been found to be wrong). Might this not effectively allow a married clergy to serve as a “Bishop”, even if not by title? I’m just asking and could very well be wrong about this.
    Comment by chironomo

    I’m not sure how all of this would apply to him because of his background.

  23. Geremia says:

    Sorry, in my post on 20 October 2009 @ 4:06 pm, I meant to say: “I am confused why what goes on between the TAC and the Holy See even applies to the Archbishop of Canterbury, i.e., to the Anglican Communion.” I suppose it is because the Anglican Communion is worried about losing all its members…

  24. thereseb says:

    “I suppose it is because the Anglican Communion is worried about losing all its members…”

    I don’t think they would lose all their members – there is a strong evangelical, very protestant, “low church” presence who think that Catholics are Mariolaters, and Rome is Babylon. They would be left head to head with the “liberals” on the gay thing – and if they left, would head towards the non-conformist/presbyterian hills. There would also be left people who were “high church” but whose divorces meant they could not take Communion as Catholics, unless they went through a Catholic Annulment process. There are a lot of divorcees out there – even among some clergy. They are in a very difficult position.

  25. Geremia says:

    In case you were confused about all this, as I initially was, read this clear article from the Italian La Stampa.

  26. Henry Edwards says:

    DCTrad: How traditional is Traditional Anglican Communion?

    Perhaps sufficiently traditional that a waggish cynic might wonder why they would want to join the One, Holy, Apostolic and Roman Church in its present condition. I know nothing personally about them, but have heard that some use a beautiful English translation of the Tridentine missal, some actually use the Latin. Perhaps someone who knows more can elaborate. Although not directly familiar with the Anglican Missal, I have some past experience with the Anglican Breviary, which is a beautiful English translation of the old (circa 1955?) Roman Breviary.

  27. Henry Edwards says:

    As a postscript, the hieratic English used by traditional Anglicans in liturgy might be illustrated with the Te Deum in the form that I assume was on Ab. Hepworth’s lips today:

    Te Deum Laudamus
    WE praise thee, O God : we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
    All the earth doth worship thee : the Father everlasting.
    To thee all Angels cry aloud : the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
    To thee Cherubin and Seraphin : continually do cry,
    Holy, Holy, Holy : Lord God of Sabaoth;
    Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty : of thy glory.
    The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
    The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
    The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
    The holy Church throughout all the world : doth acknowledge thee;
    The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
    Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
    Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.
    Thou art the King of Glory : O Christ.
    Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
    When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man : thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
    When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death : thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
    Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
    We believe that thou shalt come : to be our Judge.
    We therefore pray thee, help thy servants : whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
    Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.
    O Lord, save thy people : and bless thine heritage.
    Govern them : and lift them up for ever.
    Day by day : we magnify thee;
    And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.
    Vouchsafe, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.
    O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
    O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us : as our trust is in thee.
    O Lord, in thee have I trusted : let me never be confounded

  28. thecrazedorganist says:

    I have invited the choir of the local TAC parish to chant vespers with my Schola during the nine nights before Christmas, chanted before the Blessed Sacrament. The response from the parish was instant and favorable. I see this as a *very* good thing.

  29. Norah says:

    Hepworth could be ordained a priest through the new provisions

    How could this be? He was a Catholic priest – left the priesthood – married i.e. he married after he was ordained (a priest is a priest forever). As far as I am aware neither the Orthodox – with whom we are desiring reunification – nor the various rites of the Catholic Church permit a man to marry after ordination.

    As I write this I am aware that permanent deacons who are also ordained are not supposed to marry or remarry after ordination but, no surprise, exceptions have been made. This was obviously going to happen once the male members of the laity received permission to become permanent deacons.

  30. Sixupman says:

    In the UK the CofE was, at one time, stratified thus: Anglo-Catholic [from which wing Cdnl. Newman and others emanated]; High Church; Middle and Low Church. Generally, as far as I am aware, Anglo-Catholicism has morphed into a Novus Ordo form of worship. Indeed such and High Church celebrations would put the run of the mill Catholic N.O. celebrations to shame.

    Real Anglo-Catholic clergy operated churches which were identical to the Catholic parish churches of the time. The clergy ministered to the the poorest, the ‘educated’ and the gentry and those in the poorest [dockland, mining and slum] parishes sacrificed their health to the cause. Usually the clergy were celibate. My late grandmother warned me, when first going to London, to make sure when I went to Mass it was a Catholic Church – the mistake was easily made.

    My current parish church is more middle CofE than Catholic. Promotion of lay equivalence, (lay/married) diaconate, criticism of The Pope, et al. Recently, with the PP on holiday, the priest from an adjacent parish was ex CofE clergy and criticised The Magisterium. So what might we expect?

  31. nhaggin says:


    My bad; I had somehow forgotten while composing my reply that Hepworth was a priest before and left.

  32. MClare says:

    This has all been developing. In the fall of 2007 the TAC sent a letter to Rome asking how they should proceed with their desire for full unity.

    Here is Cardinal Levada’s letter of response.


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