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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let Them In!

Archbishop Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a break-away Anglo-Catholic group hoping to be received into the Holy Catholic Church en masse, via the creation of an ordinariate under terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus, has written a letter to a Catholic colleague in Australia expressing his distress over the "deteriorating" situation in Canada for TAC members there who hope to do the same. Archbishop Thomas Collins of the Catholic Church in Canada is responsible for the creation of the ordinariate into which Canadian TAC member may be received into the Catholic Church and to that end has appointed various priests to TAC parishes in Canada who will visit and assist them in the process. Archbishop Hepworth is livid about how they will do it and expresses his anger in an absolutely splendid run-on sentence  that bristles with rage.
These priests are to announce, on behalf of Archbishop Collins, that the parishes will close forthwith, that the laity and clergy will attend a Catholic parish for from four to six months, that they will not receive the sacraments during this time, that they will be catechised adequately during this time since any catechesis from the Catechism of the Catholic Church done by the Traditional Anglican Communion is inadequate because only Catholics understand the Catechism, that the dossiers submitted by Traditional Anglican Communion clergy show an inadequate training since they have not attended Anglican Communion Theological Colleges, and therefore those selected by the Ordinary and approved by the CDF will have to attend a Catholic Seminary for an as yet unspecified time, at the end of this process, new parishes for Anglicans along the lines of the Anglican Use in the United States may be established, but not necessarily in the former Traditional Anglican Communion churches, and that during this process the Traditional Anglican Communion must cede its property to the Ordinariate.
Now breathe. In truth, I have great sympathy for Hepworth and members of the TAC. My immediate thought upon first learning of Anglicanorum Coetibus was that many in the Church would resist the wholesale admission of Anglicans, particularly the bishops for the ironic reason that because they are older they are more likely to be products of the horrid post-Vatican II reforms. Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand (real ones, not so-called "Affirming Catholics," secular humanists in vestments who play church and pretty music), want no part of the what passes for liturgy and music found in most Catholic churches these days. In fact, at the same time the post-Vatican II reformers were busying themselves despoiling Catholic worship, the Anglo-Catholics carefully preserved theirs, offering, then as now, beautifully and meticulously celebrated masses in concert with the glorious music for which Anglicans are justly renown. As a result, many of the old Catholic bishops have no truck with the Anglo-Catholics; they regard them as a threat.

I do not know in the case of the TAC of Canada whether or not the difficulties being imposed on them by Archbishop Collins are warranted but I do hope, as should all traditional Catholics, if they are, the Catholic Church, in Canada as well the United States and everywhere else, will be as accommodating as possible to them and other traditional Anglican parishes (within the bounds of canon law, of course). Their reception into Holy Church should prove a rich blessing, for the fact is the post-Vatican II reforms have run their course; the tide has turned against them (albeit seemingly glacially) and our Church could well use an influx of enthusiastic Anglicans who are more than willing to share their rich heritage with us, i.e. to show us how. Deo Volente.

A tip o' the hat to Inigo Hicks.

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