Friday, May 13, 2011

Ordinariate Watch: Ordinariate talks stall in Canada

As the ordinariate for England, Wales and Scotland makes progress, the TAC’s leader warns it could be the first and only such structure for former Anglicans in the world

As the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been gaining deacons in the last few weeks and continues to take shape, expectant eyes begin to focus on the other side of the Atlantic. A decree establishing personal ordinariate for the United States is rumoured to be announced any day now. Things are looking good for the further implementation of the Pope’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus which reached out to Anglo-Catholics.

But this morning we learned that the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion has thrown his toys out of the pram and warned that the British structure may well be the first and last ordinariate, as negotiations in Canada have come to a standstill.

Archbishop John Hepworth – a flamboyant and outspoken former Catholic turned Anglican who leads the TAC – wrote a letter to Bishop Peter Elliot, a former Anglican who is the Vatican’s appointed delegate for the Australian ordinariate, in which he accused the Vatican’s Canadian point man for the ordinariate of derailing the process. He said he would put talks with the Church on hold. He added that the Canadian development would have an effect on the potential establishment of ordinariates around the world, including in Australia. The TAC is the largest umbrella group for Anglo-Catholic continuing churches around the world who have broken with the Anglican Communion.

He wrote: “I warned you last July that the English Ordinariate may well be the first and the last. That outcome is now more certain.”

The Canadian situation, like the States, is somewhat complicated. Not only is it an alphabet soup of different acronyms for various continuing churches, but there is also internal dissent over the decision to take up the ordinariate.

Added to this, the Church has decided to adopt the process that was used for the ordinariate in Britain, namely requiring the clergy submit to its dossiers for approval and having the people begin a Eucharistic fast while receiving formation and asking them to worship alongside local Catholics. One difference between Britain and Canada (and the United States) is that many of the groups own their buildings, which understandably makes the idea of worshipping in the neighbouring Catholic parish less appealing.

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