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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Statement from Louis Campese, Bishop Ordinary Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family

14 February, 2011

Laudetur Jesus Christus!

Until a few days ago, when the web site of the Anglican Church in America was severely pruned to eliminate virtually every positive reference to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus and the engagement of the Province in the discernment process toward acceptance of full visible unity with the Catholic Church, the following notice appeared under the title "House of Bishops Update":
At a meeting on 1 June 2010, the House of Bishops and the Executive Council of the Anglican Church in America approved a unified approach designed to provide full support for parishes and clergy who have indicated their desire to enter the proposed Ordinariate, once established, while simultaneously providing for the ongoing pastoral care of all members of the ACA. The meetings were conducted and concluded in the spirit of mutual harmony and Christian love.

This short notice seemed to reflect what I, at the time, believed was a genuine and charitable unanimity on the acceptance of the notion that the House of Bishops would continue to act generously in accommodating the needs of those groups and individuals, both clerical and lay, who desired to transition to the anticipated Personal Ordinariate to be erected by the Catholic authorities in the United States of America. The idea that groups and individuals could remain canonically resident within their present circumstances whilst, at the same time, affiliating themselves with each other under the personal jurisdiction of the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, all the while remaining welcome members of the Anglican Church in America, seemed to be a creative compromise welcome on the part of the entire House of Bishops. Bishop David Moyer, Archbishop Hepworth's "vicar" to organize the Patrimony of the Primate in the USA Province of the TAC, subsequently set about his mission, and I remained Bishop Ordinary of the Diocese of the Eastern United States, with further work to accomplish before any of my parishes, missions, or myself could contemplate a move into the Patrimony.

In the last month, having reached an amicable and unanimous arrangement with my own diocesan Standing Committee, which of course represented interests within the Diocese hostile to the Apostolic Constitution, I stepped aside, allowing those parishes which did not desire to pursue the Traditional Anglican Communion's foundational goal of full communion with the Catholic Church to begin to reorganize the Diocese in accordance with their own perceived pastoral needs, and, with the blessing of the Primate and the majority of the ACA House of Bishops, I assumed jurisdiction of the newly-created Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family, an entity established (temporarily) for the express purpose of gathering those parishes, missions, and other groups and individuals which had declared for the Ordinariate (or were in the process of doing so). The new Pro-Diocese was conceived of — and recognized (albeit briefly) — by all parties involved as being both under the umbrella of the Patrimony of the Primate and the ACA.

Now, the ACA House of Bishops, through several of its chancellors, has released a statement denying the Pro-Diocese of the Holy Family any place in the ACA and rejecting entirely the notion of the Primate's jurisdiction and the legal concept of his Patrimony, despite general agreement on this provision in the past.

I regard this statement as grievously unfortunate...

Read the rest of Bishop Campese's statement on the blog The Anglo-Catholic.

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