The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Monday, February 7, 2011

Official Statement from Archbishop Hepworth

Traditional Anglican Communion

Office of the Primate

Archbishop John Hepworth

7th February 2011

Statement on the situation in the Anglican Church in America

I deeply regret the action that has been precipitated by the three bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion in the United States. They find themselves unable to accept the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, and unable to support the unanimous decisions of the College of Bishops of the TAC to “come into the fullness of Catholic Communion”.

This need not and should not be the case.

I have been part of many phone conferences this year with the US bishops of the TAC. I have written to the three dissenting bishops urging them to accept the responsibility that their position entails. I have reminded them that it is not open to a bishop of the TAC to dissent on the major policy of the TAC and remain a member of the College of Bishops.

In a pastoral response to their difficulties, I have established with their consent a grouping of clergy, parishes and individual faithful who have made a firm intention to join the United States Ordinariate on its establishment. I have appointed Bishop David Moyer as my representative for this purpose, and have more recently appointed Bishop Louis Campese to the pastoral oversight of those coming from his Diocese into the Ordinariate.

This use of the Patrimony of the Primate was approved by all the bishops of the Anglican Church in America. It was agreed that those involved could stay in their own parishes, but under the episcopal jurisdiction of a bishop entering the Ordinariate. It is a strictly temporary device to allow those entering the Ordinariate, and those not yet entering, freedom to make their own plans without the canonical harassment that is now occurring.

I also note that ordinations in the TAC (in regions where Ordinariates are in formation) are only occurring at this time to satisfy urgent pastoral needs, and after reference to the Delegates of the Holy See where they have been appointed.

The facts of the TAC acceptance of the Apostolic Constitution in the United States are as follows:

  • Six bishops have submitted dossiers (the formal step to seeking ordination in the Ordinariate)
  • Sixty one clergy have made similar written submissions
  • Twenty-nine parishes have voted to seek membership of the Ordinariate when it is formed.

Read the rest of Archbishop Hepworth's statement at the English Catholic blog.

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