Canadian Anglicans seek Rome

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

From the

CALGARY — A Calgary Anglican parish is the first in Canada to take up an invitation made by Pope Benedict XVI last year to return to the Roman Catholic fold.

After nearly 10 months of research, meetings and soul searching, 90 per cent of the 70-member congregation at St. John the Evangelist in southeast Calgary have voted in favour of the shift.

St. John the Evangelist has long been considered a traditionalist church, referring to itself on its website as a “centre of orthodox Anglo-Catholicism.”

This isn’t the Pope . . . poaching Anglicans,” [Exactly.] parish priest Father Lee Kenyon said Tuesday. “It’s the Pope actually responding to persistent requests from Anglicans for many, many years for full communion. But a communion which is united but not absorbed.”

The invitation, or Anglicanorum Coetibus, allows for the new converts to retain parts of their liturgy and traditions.

Kenyon said that while liberalizing forces in the Anglican Church that have resulted in the acceptance of women as ordained priests and a recognition of same-sex marriages may form an underlying disenchantment, the choice to join the Catholic Church is much more complex.

“We recognize those tensions that exist, those issues that do create division,” said Kenyon, who will be ordained as a Catholic priest despite being married with two children.

They may well be the causes for people leaving the Anglican Church of Canada, but they can never be the reason for people then entering into the Catholic Church. This move into the Catholic Church must be underscored by a personal sense of conversion. If it’s not about positively embracing something and celebrating something which is new and unique, then there’d be no point.[This guy is on the mark.]

Vera Reid, a parishioner and the people’s warden at St. John said the decision to accept the Pope’s offer was a natural progression for the parish.

“This parish has been an Anglo-Catholic church for many, many years, and basically the Anglican Church of Canada does not hold the same feeling as the parish does,” said Reid. “Did we move away or did they move away? That’s a very interesting question and I can’t answer for anybody else, but in my opinion, yeah, they moved away from the way I personally believe.”

The vote to return to Rome took place Nov. 21.

One of the first issues that will have to be settled is the ownership of the church in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood, just east of downtown. The church itself was erected in 1911.

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, Rt. Rev. Derek Hoskin, and Archdeacon Barry Foster did not return phone calls from Postmedia News.

But Foster told CBC the building was owned by the diocese.

Richard Harding, the rector’s warden at St. John, said that isn’t true.

“The title was placed in the name of the elected lay wardens of the parish,” said Harding. “It is parish property. The diocese may not be aware of that.

Harding said the ownership of St. John is unique; the diocese does own the majority of the property at other parishes. He said the membership at St. John definitely wants to hold on to the building.

We have parishioners who’ve been in that church for 60 years,” said Harding. “They certainly want to stay there.

It’s believed that other Anglican parishes in Canada are also contemplating the Catholic offer. They would join with the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, which split from the Anglican Church of Canada more than 30 years ago. It has two parishes in Calgary that share the All Saints’ church in Calgary’s Renfrew neighbourhood.

An Anglican ordinariate is to be established by the Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins. It will help convert Anglican priests and ordain them as Catholics.

Collins declined an interview request saying it is too early in the process to comment.

In England, five bishops, 50 priests and about 500 Anglican followers have formed an ordinariate that will ordain priests by June.

No timeline has been set for Canada.

Similar ordinariates are to be established in the United States and Australia.

The original motivation for all this was the Anglican Church, the Anglican communion as a whole, had begun to make all kinds of compromises, which were less and less acceptable if you wanted to stick by the original faith and order and morals of the church,” said Father Ernest Skublics, priest of the All Saints’ parish.

“The Catholic movement in the Anglican Church started (in the 19th century) and eventually produced a situation where those who were faithful to original Catholic roots of Anglicanism could no longer live with a church that had homosexual marriages and female priests and various non-biblical and non-traditional doctrines and customs.

“It has grown and matured into a desire for a proper conversion to the fullness of the Catholic faith.”

The Anglican Church split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TJerome says:

    Fabulous news. I guess you’re right on the money, Father Z, Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity!

  2. irishgirl says:

    Wonderful news from our neighbor to the north! Welcome home, Anglicans of Calgary!
    This priest IS right on the money! He’s got it!
    Pope Benedict XVI IS the Pope of Christian Unity!

  3. rfox2 says:

    “This isn’t the Pope . . . poaching Anglicans,” [Exactly.]

    Is there something wrong with the Pope “poaching” Anglicans…or Lutherans…or Presbyterians…etc.? If we love these people, shouldn’t we want the best for them? Holy Orders. Eucharist. Penance. These all come with being Roman Catholic. The language of “poaching” sounds very Protestant to me. These folks have chosen to come home, right where they should be. This is wonderful, and I pray thousands more will come home to Rome!.

  4. The flock is coming back to the fold.
    It’s the time.

  5. Given that this is Calgary, I think you ought to talk about a herd instead of a flock. So logically, the pope’s either called for a roundup or he’s rustlin’ Anglican cattle. :)

  6. ghp95134 says:

    Fr. Kenyon commented at the Calgary Herald site :
    frkenyon, 2:56 PM on November 30, 2010

    Just to clarify about ordination as a Catholic priest. Nothing is taken for granted. Any potential vocation to the Catholic priesthood – including my own – must first be discerned by the Church. The process for those in England taking this same step will last around 12 weeks, but *only* once their applications have been approved. Again, it’s not strictly correct to say that “I will be ordained”, since in spite of whatever *I* may desire, it’s ultimately not for me to decide!

    Fr Lee Kenyon
    Parish Priest
    St John the Evangelist, Calgary
    Read more:

    –Guy Power

  7. gambletrainman says:

    Can someone help me out, here? To my way of previous training, if, say an Anglican, or group of Anglicans were to return to the Roman Catholic fold, they would have to renounce every bit of heresy connected to Anglicanism. Yet, in this case, Anglicans are being reported to return to the Catholic fold, yet, are permitted to retain certain aspects of their “faith”, which was founded in revenge, so to speak, when Henry VIII broke from Rome, and his daughter strictly enforced with a blood-bath in England. What am I missing?

  8. There’s a difference between culture and faith. For example, the pagan Irish became Christian, but the Christian monks of Ireland carefully preserved pre-Christian mythology and legend among the books they wrote. (To the tune of occasional complaints in the margins from young monks who didn’t see the point of copying down all this violent occult pagan vernacular poetry about cattle raids, of all things.) No culture is totally bereft of the influence of the Holy Spirit, however erroneous their beliefs may be. The early Fathers loved to call this sort of thing “the spoils of the Egyptians”, even.

    Now, Anglicans and Episcopalians are an especially sticky case, because they preserve bits of medieval English culture from before the Reformation, and because they have also developed much culture of their own or that chimes with Catholicism or even serves it (among Anglo-Catholics, but also in other movements). So if they’ve got some of these good spoils, so to speak, why should they dropkick that gold to the curb instead of taking it with them, across the Tiber? No reason at all.

    Of course, if somebody like Queen Bess I was trying to join up, you would find the process a bit more rigorous. But these folks are going to be attending classes and stuff; they’re not just changing the signboard out front.

    But any renunciations of culture and customs that might be taking place wouldn’t really be comprehensible to those of us who’ve never been Anglican or Episcopalian, and aren’t our business. If you’re really curious, go volunteer over at the nearest Anglican Use Catholic parish.

  9. medievalist says:

    Between his work on the Irish visitation, and setting up the Ordinariate nationally, I hope we still get to see +Collins here in Toronto occasionally!

  10. adamFERG says:

    “heresy connected to Anglicanism,” this parish looks more Roman Catholic than my Catholic parish.

  11. jdcarriere says:

    The reunion to Rome of every Anglican parish runs into generations of souls. Given the magnitude of this and considering the state of things in our own parishes (and chanceries, come to it) I can’t see why anyone would want to quibble about any material heresy some returning Anglicans might inadvertently hold to. Unless you are proposing tribunals to burn for heresy the entire clergy and laity of, say, the Netherlands, I can’t see what we’re even talking about here.

    Additionally, the way these Anglicans are laying down their positions, property, and security for the uncertain and ill-defined situation they are offered demonstrates a kind of faith and true Christian obedience rarely seen. We are honoured to call them brothers.

  12. gambletrainman says:

    Okay, I see your points. I do know that St Dominic Savio, the 14-year old student of St John Bosco who died around 1857 (not sure of the exact date), had a vision of England returning to the Catholic Faith, and really became excited over that fact. Right now, only a handful are returning, but according to St Dominic, there should be a mass conversion coming down the road somewhere.

  13. JonM says:

    I think that Gambletrainman injects needed sobriety to these developments.

    Surely, we all want unity of the faith. Indeed this requires more than a sentimental feeling of togetherness; in order for their to be one body, its members must function together abiding by the will of its head (in this case Jesus Christ.)

    Reasonably speaking, no one converting or advancing in sacraments can have a perfect and complete handle on the faith. Contrary to the beliefs of extreme elements of the Church, the faith need not be so simple so that it can be grasped by the least educated in order that he be a superb Catholic.

    Modernists think we have to dilute the faith of substance supposedly to improve accessibility. Some on the right to be fair expect the average Mass goer to be an expert in the hypostatic union and random excerpts of Scripture in order to be ‘in good standing.’

    The truth is that the faith can be understood by a child: ‘It is the way the Savior of mankind set up so that we can be reconciled to Him. As such it has special and final authority to explain morality.’ The crux is that we are to submit to it. It knows better than us ultimately.

    The problem is that some fear the offer to Anglicans for unity is another Vatican II break from the past or even basic logic. Notable Anglicans going through this special vehicle have quite openly stated things like they are ‘not converting to Roman Catholicism’ and ‘not being absorbed’ as states Anglican Fr. Kenyon.

    These comments appear to go uncorrected.

    So, this is more than just being grinchy. Many former Protestants including at least one Anglican Bishop came freely and submitted to the Church without fanfare. We came to the Church on its terms, true terms, not with demands or a warped idea that we will retain our former affiliations.

    I think this is a needed discussion and too often is lost because we want to see only the positive. Hypothetically, what if this is simply an attempt to justify Vatican II? The collapsing structure of the Church and its influence since the midpoint of the last century is need of some victory, some good news that can argue for Vatican II’s success.

    In my view, a good starting point is to determine if these Anglican-Catholics accept the following:

    – The Pope, when teaching ex cathedra, is the final authority in all matters pertaining to the Church and morality. These teachings must be followed.

    -Mary as Mother of God is rightly due special veneration.

    -Anglican orders are null and void

    -All artificial birth control methods are sinful

    Instead of having Anglican leaders sign the 1994 Catechism that is, politely speaking, rather lacking, I challenge hierarchs to use a formula similar to the four points I listed.

    I believe, in my humble opinion, Anglicans are not being asked specifically on matters of holy orders and birth control because many will openly disagree. Clearly, some leaders have a distorted view on what conversion means.

    There is a fine line between generosity in seeking unity and intentional blurring to paper over critical differences.

  14. RichardT says:

    I love the last line of that article: “The Anglican Church split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.” Said in just the way the media would report something that had happened last week.

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