Monday, August 11, 2008

UPDATED! So. How do you feel about being Roman Catholic?

SEE STATEMENT BY BISHOP IKER AT END OF THIS BLOG.

And see the bridge in this photo? If you buy Bp. Iker's statement, I'd like to sell it to you . . .

The Brooklyn Bridge

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Sometime rumors are true. Remember the rumor about Bishop Iker trying to take the Diocese to Rome? Well, read on.

This document was put into the hands of the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians by a source who came by it legitimately. I have reproduced it exactly as I received it.

It is authentic. See this story in the Dallas Morning News. And this story in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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EIGHT CRUCIAL FINDINGS

1. We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional - Fr. Stainbrook
2. We believe a magisterium is needed desperately - Fr. Crary
3. We believe the Catholic Faith is true - Fr. Stainbrook
4. We believe the Anglican Communion shares the fatal flaws of TEC- Fr. Tobola
5. We believe our polity is in error-Fr. Crary
6. We believe we are not the only ones in our diocese - Canon Hough
7. We believe Pope Benedict XVI understands our plight - Fr. Tobola
8. We believe there is a charism which Anglican ethos has to offer to the Universal Church-Fr. Stainbrook

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PREAMBLE - Fr. Crary

A. We appreciate your taking this time to meet with us.

B. Introduction of group by Fr. Crary. Fr. Crary introduces himself and then the group.

C. History: Our group met several times (with our Bishop's knowledge) for the past year and a half. Out meetings arose because of the on going crisis in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

D. We shared our conclusions with Bishop Iker on April 10th of this year. He gave us his "unequivocally support" to proceed further by having this conversation with you.

E. We would like to share briefly with you our journey and our conclusions which we shared with Bishop Iker.

F. However, before we share our thoughts we would like to present you with this icon which was commissioned expressly for you and for our meeting today.

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PROPOSAL

We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide the guidance necessary so that we might "make a proposal" that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the See of Peter.

We believe this guidance is necessary for the following reasons:

1. We cannot adequately prepare such a proposal without input from those to whom the proposal is to be made.

2. Such guidance would help us through the complicated aspects of this proposal.

3. With this guidance, the Holy Spirit could affect more quickly the healing of this portion of the broken Body of Christ.

Should you consent, we gladly offer ourselves for this important work and stand ready to work with those you might designate.
-------------------------

A Presentation to
The Most Reverend Keven W. Vann
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
Given by
Members of the Clergy of
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

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That they all may be one;
even as thou, Father, are in me
and I in thee
John 17:21
-----------------------

PREAMBLE

At 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 16, 2008 in the Catholic Center of the Diocese of Fort Worth, four priests of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth made the following presentation to the Most Reverend Kevin Vann. We are grateful for the hospitality and charity which we received from the Bishop and his Chancellor, the Very Reverend James E. Hart.

The presentation was the result of two years of prayer and discernment regarding the future of our Diocese. At the conclusion of our discernment period, we shared our Findings with our Bishop, the Right Reverend Jack Leo Iker. Bishop Iker endorsed our report and gave us his "unequivocal support" to proceed with a presentation to Bishop Vann.

The clergy making this presentation are:

The Very Reverend William A. Crary, Jr., SSC, a founding priest of the Diocese with 32 years of experience in the Diocese, a member of the SSC (Society of the Holy Cross), Dean of the Eastern Deanery, and is the senior rector in the Diocese, serving St. Laurence for 22 years.

The Reverend Canon Charles A. Hough, III, SSC, a founding priest of the Diocese with 30 years experience in the Diocese, Canon to Bishop Iker for 15 years, a member of the SSC, Chair of our Diocesan Deputation to the General Convention of The Episcopal Church for 23 years, has served parishes in Granbury and Grand Prairie.

The Reverend Louis L. Tobola, Jr., SSC, a founding priest of the Diocese with 31 years experience in the Diocese, a member of the SSC, a founding priest for a new congregation in the Diocese, St. Barnabas the Apostle, has served as Dean of the Cathedral and Dean of the Eastern Deanery.

The Very Reverend Christopher C. Stainbrook, SSC, came to Fort Worth from New York in 1990 by invitation of Bp. Pope, has been Vicar of St. Timothy's since 1994, is Finance Committee Chair, Diocesan Historiographer, Dean of the Fort Worth East Deanery, and Special Liaison to the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth.

Before their presentation, a hand-written icon of Saint Gregory and Saint Augustine, commissioned expressly for Bishop Vann and this meeting, was given to him.

[Here a photo of the icon was reproduced.]

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EIGHT CRUCIAL FINDINGS

I. We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional

Unity with the Holy See is esse that is, essential for Catholic Christians (not bene esse, merely beneficial.) This is a concept which the Catholic Clergy in the Anglican Tradition have always believed (indeed it is one of the stated purposes of the SSC) but the rapid deterioration of the Anglican Communion makes it even more apparent now. The Prayer for Unity (John 17, that they all may be one) also compels us to pursue the possibility of reunion with Rome.

The very name of the first Pope, Peter, Petrus is the "rock" - and we have seen that it is the Petrine office which is important not the personality of an individual pontiff.

In April 2006 our Diocesan Bishop and several of the clergy made a pilgrimage to Rome. At that time we were blessed to have an informal visit with his Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law. At that meeting, Cardinal Law indicated that the Catholic Church was aware of the current difficulties faced by Anglo Catholics (and particularly the Anglo Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth) at this time and said, in essence, for us to "make an offer" that is, make a Proposal on how we might respond to the crisis in our branch of Christendom. After this pilgrimage, we began meeting with the full knowledge and support of our Bishop. We came to realize that, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, it is up to us to make the initiative to return to the rock from whence we were hewn. In essence, that trip crystallized for us the need for perusing unity with the See of Peter now. Since that time we have studied, we have met, we have prayed, and now we come to the Church with our conclusions.

As Anglicans we realize that Henry VIII, the monarch who wrote "Defense of Seven Sacraments" and who was granted the title "Defender of the Faith", never intended to make any substantive or permanent changes in the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Reformation itself was intended to be for a limited time only, "a season", as the book of Ecclesiastes would say.

We believe that it is now time for a new Season. It is perhaps, time for a church of Reformation to die and a new unification among Christ's people be born: Unification possible only under the Holy Father.

II. We believe a magisterium is needed desperately

"In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) This describes the day to day 'on the ground" reality in the Anglican Communion. Anglican "comprehensiveness" has no boundaries and no real center. For example, during the Reformation period under Elizabeth I, 1533-1603, there was an attempt to synthesize the Catholic and Protestant factions in the Church of England, resulting in the so-called "Elizabethan Settlement". Concerning the Eucharist, it was held that belief in the Real Presence of Christ was acceptable as well as the belief that the Eucharist was only a memorial or "remembrance" of something long ago. In essence the Anglican faith is what the parish priest says it is, and this varies widely with many contradictions. The Pentecostal/Evangelical/Charismatic expressions are just as valid as the Anglo-Catholic teaching. In most parts of the country, the parish priest is completely on his own.

Formerly, a single prayer book (the 1662 Church of England Prayer Book was the pattern for all national prayer books) provided some glue, but with the proliferation of endless trial liturgies even that has disappeared.

The lack of a teaching office has resulted in communicating un-baptized persons, same-sex unions and liturgical chaos everywhere. There are no boundaries and it is all uncontrollable. This is not theory but day to day reality. Anglican "comprehensiveness" has no boundaries. Previously this absence of a center seemed to work when the various ecclesiastical parties (Low Church/Broad Church/High Church) largely worked within their own circles. Low Church people did not attend High Church parishes and vice versa.

In looking at the disarray in the larger communion it is apparent that the Archbishop of Canterbury is incapable of providing decisive leadership. If there is a future, particularly for Catholic minded Anglicans, it is clear that a magisterium is absolutely essential.

III. We believe the Catholic Faith is True

The Catholic Faith is given - it is true.

The Epistle to the Ephesians reminds us that as Christians we believe in "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism". At the celebration of every Mass and in the recitation of any Daily Office we profess in the Creed "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". We have come to realize, to an extent even more fully than we had as Catholics in the Anglican Tradition, that our Blessed Lord has indeed founded only one true church: the Catholic Church.

Unlike so many forms of Protestantism, Catholic teaching does not change on a whim to suit the transient issues of the day. In addition, the Catholic Faith is not just one option among many. Anglican comprehensiveness with Catholics, Evangelicals and Liberals, all following their own paths, leads to the disintegration and disunion which we in the Diocese of Fort Worth find ourselves. The Protestant/Low Church teachings, the Liberals experiential teachings are just not true. The Catholic faith, the Catholic practice, the Catholic teaching - is true.

We know, and are living examples of the fact, that Catholic Witness has been present throughout the history of the Anglican Tradition. But it is now becoming weaker because of this idea, Catholic as one option among several. . . except here in Fort Worth, which is in so many ways unique (explored further in section VI).

IV. We believe the Anglican Communion shares the fatal flaws of The Episcopal Church

In our time of discernment, we have concluded that the difficulties we have faced in The Episcopal Church for the past thirty years will not be remedied by the Anglican Communion.

Those making this presentation have been members of The Episcopal Church since childhood. In this church we have been nourished by Catholic faith and practice. However, through the years we have witnessed the deterioration and marginalization of that Catholic faith. We believed that our call was to remain within our church as a remnant which could preserve the faith. Our expectation was that the Anglican Communion, in response to The Episcopal Church's continuing "innovations", would provide the stability and witness necessary for us to continue. However, it is apparent that the Communion is incapable of providing this stability.

It is our conclusion that the Anglican Communion has the same fatal flaws as The Episcopal Church. Without a magisterium the latest "religion" will continue to replace the historic teachings of our Communion. This erosion of Catholic faith and practice is heightened by the governing polity of the Anglican Communion. Bishops are elected by priests and laity of a Diocese. As the liberalizing culture enters another portion of the world, the Diocese there is deeply affected by it. Those who can be elected are only those who reflect the cultural shift that has occurred in that Diocese. We have seen this in The Episcopal Church and we see it now in the Anglican Communion.

We know what happens in a church which lacks a magisterium and whose polity makes the continuing of a Catholic witness impossible. We have concluded the Anglican Communion provides not safe future for us. Our witness, rather than being honored, has been persecuted.

V. We believe our polity is in error

In the New Testament no congregation votes on its pastor! St. Paul would have been unelectable in all, except maybe Philippi! Without exception pastors are sent by higher authority.

It was not a convention of delegates, but only the remaining apostles that established the criteria for Judas' replacement. St. John Chrysostom said that Peter had the authority to make the appointment but did not. Drawing lots put the choice in God's hands.

In the United States, the democratic style of polity in The Episcopal Church, strongly resembling the legislative branch of the U.S. government (House of Bishops and House of Deputies, lay and ordained) has created doctrinal chaos. Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) the first American Episcopal bishop was fearful of having clergy and lay people voting on doctrinal matters. His fears were realized when an early General Convention put the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds up for grabs. The Nicene Creed was voted out, then back in; and then the Athanasian Creed lost the vote.

In regard to the ordination of women, the 1976 General Convention changed the matter of a sacrament, established by Christ himself, simply by voting. Bishop Robert Terwilliger, formerly Suffragan of the Diocese of Dallas called it "voting our collective ignorance"!

Candidates for bishop in the American Episcopal Church shamelessly campaign like the politicians they are. When elected they are indebted to the electors.

We are in desperate need of a polity modeled on the New Testament and the early church.

VI. We believe we are not the only ones

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth came into existence in 1983 when it was decided that the Diocese of Dallas, of which it represents the western 1/3 of that diocese, would divide. We believe the hand of God was present in this decision and that it was the work of the Holy Spirit to bring into existence a diocese where the overwhelming majority of clergy living and working in that part of the old Diocese of Dallas were Catholic minded clergy. We now see as truly profound this action of creating the Diocese of Fort Worth. It set up what has now culminated in a Diocese of the Episcopal Church where its clergy are overwhelmingly Catholic minded.

The Diocese of Fort Worth has been a leader in standing against the apostasy that has been taking place in the Episcopal Church over the last three decades. We have witnessed Episcopal diocese after diocese fall away from a traditional Biblical and Catholic practice of the faith. It has now become impossible for the Catholic minded people to exist and survive in the Episcopal Church. As a result of this, the Diocese of Fort Worth is working toward a realignment of itself into another Province of the Anglican Communion. We have chosen to join the Province of the Southern Cone in South America. We believe this arrangement is temporary. As the Anglican Communion attempts to reform itself, it is becoming more and more evident that this problematic at best.

The overwhelming majority of clergy currently active in the Diocese of Fort Worth are willing to work earnestly for what we consider to be the only solution, and that is full communion with the Holy See. The breakdown of numbers is as follows:

There are currently 60 active clergy
We believe 9 will opt to stay in The Episcopal Church
51 will remain in a temporarily realigned diocese with the Southern Cone
5 are not interested at this time in working for full communion
46 are truly interested. If we add our seminarians currently on the priesthood track and our retired clergy the number becomes 59.

Our best guess is that approximately 59 clergy are willing to pursue an active plan to bring the Diocese of Fort Worth or a significant portion of it into full communion with the Holy See, if this be God's will.

We believe these numbers are the result of the Holy Spirit actively working among us since the formation of this diocese. We also recognize that it will take time to bring the laity on board with this proposal. While the clergy have come to recognize the truth which it held by the Holy See, we have much work to do with the laity.

This fact needs to be noted and is to be understood as a recognized part of our proposal.

We would also like to point out that of the 59 clergy, 20 are under the age of 40. These young clergy are committed to seeking the truth that the Holy See possesses. They have come to this realization independent of the four clergy who are represented in this presentation. We have noted over the last few years that God has been raising up phenomenal young men in our diocese for priesthood. We now realize and believe the purpose of this explosion of priestly vocations at this time is to further help us understand the direction we must take. They are committed to teaching the truth of the Catholic faith and they have many years of ministry to give to accomplish what God began with us in 1983. We have seen many pieces of a puzzle come together over the years. We believe all of this is truly the work of the Holy Spirit and we continue to pray for guidance, courage and faith.

Finally, the Diocese of Fort Worth is the only diocese in the Episcopal Church that is strong enough to pursue the Proposal outlined below. We have a critical mass of clergy who are willing to bring the laity to support this proposal. There are many Catholics in the Anglican Tradition outside of our Diocese that look to the Diocese of Fort Worth for leadership. We believe the time is ripe for significant history making action on the part of the Holy Spirit. We believe the time is right and this is why we have come forward with this presentation.

VII. We believe Pope Benedict XVI understands our plight

Through his writings and his actions we believe that Pope Benedict XVI is sympathetic to our plight.

It is our belief that Pope Benedict XVI desires to uphold the Catholic faith whenever and wherever he finds it; especially in a world dominated by the super-dogma of relativism. It is this new dogma, this new denomination which motivates those who seek to remove the Catholic witness from The Episcopal Church.

In October, 2003, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and other Episcopalians throughout the United States met in Plano, Texas for a conference titled, "A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission". That conference was called to unite further those who opposed the ordination of a partnered homosexual as a Bishop in The Episcopal Church.

The highpoint of that conference was a letter from then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It reads as follows:

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Vatican, on behalf of Pope John Paul II

I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ's Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith to my own forebears in Germany.

The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is an unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcends the borders of any nation. With this is mind, I pray in particular that God's will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

With fraternal regards, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ
+Joseph Cardinal Ratszinger

Cardinal Ratzinger's letter was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Furthermore, in April, 2006 the four priests making this presentation, with our Bishop and two other priests of our Diocese, met with Bernard Cardinal Law at his residence in Rome. At that meeting we discussed our plight with him. Cardinal Law told us two important things. With regard to union with Rome he said, "What was not possible twenty years ago may be possible today." And, with regard to our moving forward he said, "Make us an offer". He told us that it was inappropriate for the Catholic Church to make an offer to another Christian body, such as ours, in distress. Rather, such an offer needed to come from us.

Pondering the words of then Cardinal Ratzinger and those of Cardinal Law, we entered our period of prayer and discernment.

Those making this presentation believe the Holy Spirit has brought us to this moment. It is a time when we who have believed ourselves to be priests of the Catholic faith, seek to become more clearly what we have always been.

VIII. We believe there is a charism which the Anglican ethos has to offer to the Universal Church

The Catholic Faith, as it has been lived in the Anglican Tradition, is a thing of great beauty. Why are we making a plea for it to continue? It is because the Catholic faith and practice, as lived out in the Anglican Tradition, is a unique charism well worth preserving.

Twentieth century Anglo Catholic authors like C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and earlier Anglican theologians such as William Law ("Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life") and George Herbert ("The Country Parson") have enriched and enlightened countless souls. The religious life, the devotional societies, the guilds, the priestly fraternities (like the Catholic Clerical Union and the SSC) all speak to an expression of Catholic piety which continues to be attractive to people in the twenty-first century and are worthy of preserving for future generations. To take but one (local) example: the large number of young men offering themselves for ordination in this Diocese speaks to this expression's ability to nurture vocations. Also the Catholic Liturgy in the Anglican Tradition is a thing of great elegance, holiness, of long antiquity and solemn reverence.

The icon presented to his Excellency Bishop Vann, an icon of both St. Gregory and St. Augustine, represents our desire to return hom to Rome our first and true spiritual home.

What is it that we can offer to the greater Church? We believe we can offer a Catholic expression which for too long has been separated from the Universal Church. This is a tradition of inspiring liturgy, devout spirituality, loving pastoral care and a living spirituality. We believe it has a special and unique witness to the Faith, which we humbly offer as a beautiful jewel in the Catholic crown.

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At the conclusion of our presentation, the following proposal was submitted to Bishop Vann.

PROPOSAL

We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide guidance and assistance as we look for a new way that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the Holy See.

We believe this guidance is necessary for the following reasons:

1. We cannot adequately prepare such a proposal without input from those to whom the proposal is to be made.

2. Such guidance would help us work through the complicated aspects of this proposal.

3. With this guidance, the Holy Spirit could affect more quickly the healing of this portion of the broken Body of Christ.

Should you consent, we gladly offer ourselves for this important work and stand ready to work with those you might designate.
-----------------------------

Having received words of encouragement from Bishop Vann, saying he saw in this presentation the hand of the Lord and the work of the Holy Spirit, the clergy retired to the Chapel of The Catholic Center for his blessing and a photograph.

[And here was reproduced a photograph of the four Episcopal priests and Bishop Vann, who is holding the icon.]

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A STATEMENT BY BISHOP IKER
ON ROMAN CATHOLIC DIALOGUES

I am aware of a meeting that four priests of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth have had with Bishop Kevin Vann of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth on June 16, 2008. After a year of studying various agreed statements that have come out of ecumenical dialogues between Anglicans and Roman Catholics on the national and international level, these clergy expressed an interest in having a dialogue on the local level and asked my permission to make an appointment to talk with Bishop Vann. The stated goal of these official Anglican/Roman Catholic dialogues (which have been going on for over 40 years) has been full, visible unity between the two communions.

The priests who participated in this meeting with Bishop Vann have my trust and pastoral support. However, in their written and verbal reports, they have spoken only on their own behalf and out of their own concerns and perspective. They have not claimed to act or speak, nor have they been authorized to do so, either on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth or on my own behalf as their Bishop.

Their discussion with Bishop Vann has no bearing upon matters coming before our Diocesan Convention in November, where a second vote will be taken on constitutional changes concerning our relationship with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. There is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church. Our only plan of action remains as it has been for the past year, as affirmed by our Diocesan Convention in November 2007. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth intends to realign with an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

By God’s grace, we will continue to work and pray for the unity of the one holy catholic and apostolic church.

The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker
Bishop of Fort Worth
August 12, 2008


You can read the statement here. All I can say is that Bp. Iker must not have read the statement -- which was partially written by his own canon to the ordinary -- very carefully. As in:

We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide the guidance necessary so that we might "make a proposal" that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the See of Peter.

As in:
The presentation was the result of two years of prayer and discernment regarding the future of our Diocese. At the conclusion of our discernment period, we shared our Findings with our Bishop, the Right Reverend Jack Leo Iker. Bishop Iker endorsed our report and gave us his "unequivocal support" to proceed with a presentation to Bishop Vann.

As in:
After this pilgrimage, we began meeting with the full knowledge and support of our Bishop. We came to realize that, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, it is up to us to make the initiative to return to the rock from whence we were hewn. In essence, that trip crystallized for us the need for perusing unity with the See of Peter now. Since that time we have studied, we have met, we have prayed, and now we come to the Church with our conclusions.

As in:
Furthermore, in April, 2006 the four priests making this presentation, with our Bishop and two other priests of our Diocese, met with Bernard Cardinal Law at his residence in Rome. At that meeting we discussed our plight with him. Cardinal Law told us two important things. With regard to union with Rome he said, "What was not possible twenty years ago may be possible today." And, with regard to our moving forward he said, "Make us an offer". He told us that it was inappropriate for the Catholic Church to make an offer to another Christian body, such as ours, in distress. Rather, such an offer needed to come from us.

Does ANY doubt remain of the small regard our leaders have for us?

40 comments:

airedale said...

Katie, I thought it was crazy when you first brought this to light. I still think it is crazy. If people wanted to be RC they would just do it, there are plenty of RC churches. I would move to ELCA before I would ever become RC. I do often wonder how these holy men can sleep at night knowing that they live and pray every day as anglicans with their fingers crossed.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I have no words.

That is almost as unimaginable as this. . . this . . . this . . . "proposal."

Scott Hankins said...

Good on you, Katie, truthteller.

John said...

Kaite,

As always your duplicitous findings goes past the working to restore the body of Christ and unity in the church. Instead you provide information that heads the unification to happen. You blatantly attack those in disagreement with your politics. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit will bring unity. But the movement of your group u care less about unity and more about proving yourselves right. I will pray for you and all members of the Diocese of Fort Worth. But act in love and charity instead of pride and politics. POlitics are the root of all bad things in a church body. I am truly saddened, not by the movement of some priests in your diocese but, with the movements the episcopal church will make and groups supportive to act without haste to kill the opposition.

Lisa Fox said...

Katie, is this really legitimate? It reads like a Swiftian "modest proposal."

If it is legitimate, I can't figure out why those guys don't just renounce their Anglican orders and become Roman Catholics. Why take the complex road of asking Benedict to welcome a diocese??

I am truly perplexed.

JCF said...

In April 2006 our Diocesan Bishop and several of the clergy made a pilgrimage to Rome. At that time we were blessed to have an informal visit with his Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law.

Ah, yes: they were "blessed" to have a meeting w/ the Sacred Protector of Boston Pedophiles. What more need be said, really?

Lord have mercy!

***

Personally, I don't think Rome will touch 'em w/ a 10-foot monstrance. They reeeeeeeally don't want to go down this path to (Totally Chaotic Bishop-Shopping) Perdition, do they? [As any Episcopalian starts counting RC parishes they know of, who might prefer being an (lay-empowered!) Episcopal parish, given the choice].

Nope, Rome has its hands full as it is: they wouldn't DARE step into this mess!

Malcolm+ said...

Curious. The Church of Rome I found would fit full well my constitution, and had become a Jesuit - but for the revolution.

It dies represent a shattering of the GAFFEPRONE shism into those who would create a Calvinist Communion and those who would go to Rome.

Rick+ said...

Are they under the impression Rome will recognize their orders? Not likely. I think they have a surprise coming.

Марко said...

These Episcopal clergy vowed to adhere to the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church. Seems like they have renounced that doctrine and discipline. If they feel that way (theologically) they should convert to the RC Church as individuals, but I doubt that an entire diocese is going to go with them. It also seems rather underhanded and dishonest to do things this way (to volunteer an entire diocese for conversion without asking the people what they want to do -- there is religious freedom in the USA). Perhaps they think that the RC Church will make Mr. Iker their bishop so they can keep him in charge. I just don't think Rome (with all of those costly financial settlements for child rapes by their priests) wants to get into a costly lawsuit with TEC over all of that real estate and the church buildings. I totally respect matters of conscience when it comes to faith. It is a violation of a person's conscience to volunteer them (to volunteer the people of an entire diocese) for a mass conversion to another church. I love you, Katie (I met you in 1999 at Beyond Inclusion in NYC). If I left TEC, I wouldn't presume to take the church building with me. This move seems rather desperate and sad.

SeekWisdom said...

Checking in here as a lifelong RC (very liberal!) with great affection for TEC, the Anglican Communion - and some acquaintance with at least one of these young priests they describe (but that was several years ago).

I think there is an honest desire on the part of these priests for unity. Indeed, I myself feel the pain of the disunity of the church - both in TEC/Anglican Communion as well as within all of Christianity.

That being said, the question about why they want to do this ostensibly as a diocese bears looking into. Perhaps they imagine that if a whole group is willing to enter the RC fold, they will somehow get some type of "power" or "fame" in doing that. Not. Gonna. Happen!!! My guess is many hoops will be placed in their path. And that Rome will be concerned that a group's strength and willingness to go against their own ordination vows does not bode will for their "obedience" to Rome down the road.

As a lifelong RC who feels as comfortable in a the Anglo Catholic wing of TEC, I also think these priests are in for a shock when they find that huge numbers of believing RC's are NOT filled with conservative zeal and indeed disregard the pope and the hierarchy and simply go on praying and doing good works, while using their own heads and consciences in conformity with the gospel of love.

I can totally understand, mind you, how disconcerting this would be - to find that your pastors are packing for a move and getting a bus ready, wanting to take all of you on their journey - when that is not how things are done in TEC!!!!

On the other hand we in the RC are desperately in need of priests! Married priests would go a long way to alleviating concerns about pedophilia. And the intellectualism of TEC would also be a great help! I can't imagine Rome taking a whole group without vetting each and every one separately, without making clear their placement in a parish will be without their consent, without demanding fealty up the wazoo. They'd have to study and go through some kind of "process" and at the end of it is endless provision of sacraments while ministering to flocks so huge they would not know names and hardly faces.

I pray for the Church - the whole Body. Good luck with your part of the mess!

Fr Craig said...

I notice they didn't bother to mention the fact that likely all those Episcopal priests are married - some probably divorced and re-married. I can't imagine Rome is interested in a bunch of married, Texan (sorry, Katie!) high church Anglos showing up. What would that do to the existing RC clergy? And what happens to all the parishioners?
These guys are probably more roman than the RC priests down there. Rome won't touch this - and I love the '10 ft. monstrance!'

WSJM said...

As Arte Johnson on "Laugh-In" used to say, "Verrry Interesting!" (That dates me, doesn't it?)

Thank you very much for this, Katie. A lot of us really appreciate all you do, though we are very remiss in telling you so.

Somebody will no doubt make a political campaign ad out of this. It is certainly more fascinating than Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

I had the same reaction JCF did---Bernard Law?!?!?!?

Katie---is there something bad in the water down there?

Pax,
Doxy

Gregory of Langres said...

This is exciting news for those of us who are being pushed out of the Church of England because of our views on the ordination of women. We have waited with baited breath for a response to the TAC letter to Rome - that all pails into insignificance.

Why do people oppose unity? Is it because they are the ones who have fought for truth to be recognized merely by a majority vote and now they might be in a minority? I wonder.

Thank you for posting this useful information.

binxin11237 said...

I am under the impression that anyone/all who desires may enter the Church of Rome as individuals without titles or property.

If your heart is in Rome so should your soul and body be, you just can't take the Right Reverend, or Reverend Father or Reverend Mr. or Reverend Brother or Sister with you when you go, all that you were is left behind, beause you are to become a new creature in Christ, along with leaving the property, and the liturgy, so loving tended and protected in the past.

Brian said...

Fantastic news!!! The last true faithful Bishop with the balls to act!

May Bishop Iker and the truly faithful clergy and laity of the Diocese be blessed in their new journey. I only wish I could be a part of it.

Joan R. Gundersen said...

So these clergy think that they can lead their congregations into converting to catholicism? What makes them think laity are all so maaleable? If they really wanted to be RC, there's nothing stopping them from walking right over to their nearest RC church now. Of course, they could be in for a shock when they find out what a central hierarchy can really mean: clergy reassignment, parish mergers and closings without consultation, etc.

Karl Julian said...

Like many others, I wonder whether dear beloved Iker and his colleagues will find it hard if they're not allowed to keep their titles. If I recall correctly, the RC don't recognize Anglican orders. So, in the eyes of the Roman church, they're not priests, deacons or a validly consecrated bishop. Would Iker be willing to give up the miter and the crozier "for church unity"?

And I don't think Iker understands that the Roman Catholic hierarchy would be too keen on allowing married priests in an "Anglican rite" collection of parishes. If they were consecrated as RC priests, they may be permitted to be married, but it would be an exception, not a rule. Would that interfere with the loads of seminarians they have who probably would not be allowed to marry? Would vocations diminish in number? Who knows.

I wonder how this will affect CANA and the assorted "Anglican" bodies in the US. How will Venables take it? Will they see Fort Worth's act as treasonous?

While I wish for church unity (and I think Anglicanism, in general, is the best expression of Catholic tradition), I'm suspicious of Fort Worth's sudden interest in church unity.

SeekWisdom said...

Already married ordained individuals, if they convert to RC, remain married. It's happened a bit in other countries. I'm not sure if the ordination is recognized by Rome (though Anglicans originally left Rome with validly ordained bishops - so to me it's valid... but I'm not the Pope!). No titles would translate - not sure they would recognize a bishop.

While there are some Eastern rites that have longstanding places within the RC, I simply can't envision that the current extremely conservative RC hierarchy would allow a group to be RC but not directly under an already ordained RC bishop. As for seminarians, if not married, they wouldn't be able to marry and be ordained RC. And they might be told to change to an RC seminary.

Sounds to me like this group wants to have their cake and eat it too. Retain their separate "identity" and polity (?!!!!) but be recognized by Rome. Sounds extremely far-fetched. But what do I know? I think I know that Rome is unlikely to budge and will expect them to do all the changing. Heck, if Rome changes for them, why not for me??? (think of rebellions that would cause!)

J. Michael Povey said...

The statement is breath-taking in its audacity!

I wonder "who are the revisionists now?"

1662, that most Protestant of Liturgies as a mark of orthodoxy??!!

But I doubt that G-d is concerned. She has a huge world to sustain and nurture.

J. Michael Povey

A Simple Sinner said...

"Ah, yes: they were "blessed" to have a meeting w/ the Sacred Protector of Boston Pedophiles. What more need be said, really?"

You just can't help yourself can you?

Tasteless or not, in your world, when it comes to making a crack about Rome (which deserves all the abuse you can offer) really, ANY crack will do.

Hey, it might be tasteless, but these deserve it anyway, right?

"Are they under the impression Rome will recognize their orders? Not likely. I think they have a surprise coming."

Straw men aside, I doubt they are under any such delusion as to date NO ONE of the 200+ who have made the journey have. Why would they? If these reports are true, they would be going in with eyes wide open... So why make an issue of it?

For some, if they percieve Rome to hold unto truth, that trumps attachment to current/previous ecclesial realities. For many, the "but my orders won't be recognized" card just no longer trumped the advantages they saw in communion with the Holy See.

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional.

If the priests presenting this really believe this, then why did they serve in TEC in the first place? What it should read is "We now believe the See of Peter is essential not optional, but we didn't before!"

Just renounce your orders, convert to Roman Catholicism, and leave the keys on the desk when you go.

Gregory of Langres said...

There really is complete lack of charity here.

What is the problem?

The people who the liberals hate are looking to go to Rome - that leaves the liberals to have their party... and yet, they are the ones kicking and screaming the most.

Catholics are serious about ecclesiology and serious about Christian Unity. The actions of TEC and, to some extent, the rest of the Anglican Communion have affected both - see Cardinal Kaspar's address to the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

Whatever we think about the actions involving the Bishop of New Hampshire, we can all agree that it has created many significant problems. Whatever we think about the ordination of women, we can all agree that is has created many significant problems.

You cannot expect people who have been told their church has no place for them to just sit and wait to die out. Get a grip and show some love.

John said...

As usually Katie, you dont comment you just sit back at your desk thinking up new ways to scare the world into believing everything the way you do. As stated before, I will pray for you TEC and your diocese. But if they want to move forward. YOu and your cohorts will be safe in TEC wonderland with no worries of losing you building or anything. My friends in Fort Worth have told me you all are making a big stink. The problem is, unlike TEC, the Bishop has said to all that you TEC's can have your churches if you so choose to leave the Diocese. I would ask for you to show some love and compassion. YOu also have to remember you are not a reporter any longer.

Ann said...

seekwisdom - don't count on married men to stop RC pedophilia - most pedophiles are married heterosexuals.
We love them - we just think they are trying to have their orders and their bigotry.
I wonder tho if it is not the terror of having Venables - a known evangelical - low churcher - as their primate is splitting the clergy from the "plan"

A Simple Sinner said...

"the Bishop has said to all that you TEC's can have your churches if you so choose to leave the Diocese."

From what I can see, there is enough animosity in enough parties that many in TEC would be just as satisfied to see parishes closed rather than move Romeward or to an alternative Anglican jurisdiction... So it goes.

Non-Catholics & non-alternative Anglicans can contact me for some info on church buildings for sale in my neck of the woods. Snake handlers, condo-developpers and folks looking for a new mosque should apply. Catholics and Anglican traditionalist groups? Not so much...

A Simple Sinner said...

'What it should read is "We now believe the See of Peter is essential not optional, but we didn't before!"'

Is that how the folks who are in TEC and now affirming all the innovations found therein are prone to discuss the modern & innovative new stances advanced by Dr. Schori & company?

I suppose it cuts both ways. God bless you, Reverand, if you come from a long line of people who never reconsidered their stance and always and everywhere have believed the same thing. One wonders, what counties in England are home to the greatest number of Srameks who always were Anglicans...

So yes, some minds have been changing... Seems that is respected only if and when the minds change a certain direction these days.

wyclif said...

Ann wrote:

"Most pedophiles are married heterosexuals."

I'd really, really like to see some academic substantiation (or any substantiation) of that assertion.

I predict the RCC aversion to married male priests with loving families and homes will continue to be a huge albatross around their collective neck. The priest shortage has created such massive staffing problems that you'd think they would explore it. But no.

SeekWisdom said...

Thank you, Ann. I am unacquainted with Venables. Now I get it!

All along I figured these folks would have a huge infight once they all got together! That's what happens when you exclude yourselves and call yourselves the "elect' or the "orthodox" or whatever it is they've defined themselves as.

You're right about pedophiles. They come in all stripes.

RevMama said...

It seems to me that the last time a bishop of Fort Worth swam the Tiber - admittedly without his diocese paddling behind him - he found the waters distinctly cold. Clarence Pope thought Rome would make him a bishop but was disappointed. He came back, soggier and sadder if not wiser, and was given his pension by the TEC.

David Thomas said...

Thank you so much, Katie, for your leadership in helping to bring this out into the open. Try not to pay too much attention to those who trash you for reporting the truth. Iker and his minions have thrived for years by feeding people mis-information and keeping them in the dark. Anybody who knows the truth is a threat to them.

I can't really see the Diocese of Ft. Worth jumping in the Tiber to swim over to Rome anytime soon. Besides, Iker would leave Catholicism just as soon as he finds out that Rome won't bow down to his commands. Iker's ego may win out in Episcopal Ft. Worth, but it's no match for the Roman Church.

A Simple Sinner said...

"Clarence Pope thought Rome would make him a bishop but was disappointed. He came back, soggier and sadder if not wiser, and was given his pension by the TEC."

Where is he these days?

Doesn't a bishop deserve his pension either way? Would PECUSA have withheld his retirement from him?

Katie Sherrod said...

Yes, any priest or bishop who is vested in the Pension Fund will get his or her pension whether or not he or she is still part of the Episcopal Church.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Is that how the folks who are in TEC and now affirming all the innovations found therein are prone to discuss the modern & innovative new stances advanced by Dr. Schori & company?

Sort of like that "modern & innovative" Peter, who threw up the dietary laws that were foundational to the faith of Jewish Christians? And that "modern & innovative" Paul who threw circumcision out the window as well?

Simple Sinner---you seem to have missed the point. We don't WANT conservatives to leave. We've begged them not to go. We've created the girl-free enclaves they demanded as their price for staying. We've told them over and over again, "You don't have to have gay priests or women priests if you don't want them." We've given them the bishops they asked for.

Forgive us if it bothers us to see people declaring us to be "pagans," "apostates," and non-Christian, and fleeing from having to kneel at the altar rail with us.

As a Catholic, you are probably used to hearing those sorts of epithets from ignorant Protestants---but I imagine they still sting, since unfair and inaccurate slams never feel good, even when you know them to be false.

Pax,
Doxy

Reynaldo said...

Yes brothers and sisters you can have your cake and eat it too, if the Church grants you an Anglican Rite like our Eastern Catholic Churches. When you return home we will celebrate with a fatted calf on your return. Peace be with you all.

Roll Tide said...

Here is a response from the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=13515

It might be worth noting that several Episcopal parishes in Texas have converted en masse to Catholicism in the past, and have been allowed to maintain their traditions through the "Anglican Use" Mass. There are at least two other bishops in England that may bring their parishes into the Catholic Church en masse in England, and of course, the Traditional Anglican Communion, which has approximately 400,000 members, that has formally asked to unite with the Catholic Church.

Roll Tide said...

In response to Wyclif about the Catholic Church needing married priests:

1) The Catholic Church *already* has married priests. Most of the Eastern Catholic Churches allow them without restrictions, and exceptions have been made in the Latin branch, usually for converts. There are more than 100 married Catholic priests in the US today. Since this is only a discipline within the Catholic Church, it is a rule that could be changed at any time.

2) Allowing married Catholic priests will not solve the priest shortage. The Orthodox have always allowed for married priests, and yet they ALSO have a priest shortage featuring similar numbers.

3) The great irony is that the rule of celibacy was originally imposed as a *reform*, due to the numerous problems involved with married priests. By the early 11th century, there was a great deal of corruption involving simony and nepotism surrounding children of priests, and families taking more than their fair share from the collection plate. This was addressed by the Cluny Reform Movement, which cleaned up much of the corruption in the church before it re-emerged in the 1400s.

NAB said...

I don't think it is so easy to cross the Tiber as many here think. And I am sure those priest and bishop Iker knows all the most important facts.

As they ssay themselves. They have recognized that the Catholic Faith is true. So they have recognized everything it says about them. And they are willing to comply.

As about taking the diocese with them. It is sad that no one thought about it, but it is more about love for their people than pride in themselves. Think about it. They have been pastors of that diocese for +/- 30 years, If they have find the truth, they would surely want their people to find it too. They are not the first ones. I have heard of many other converts pastors who try to convert with as many of their people as they can. They fill it is their duty and part of their pastoring job. If people expect to learn from them so it would surely be a bettrayal not to take your family with you if you claim that you have found the place of eternal life.

God bless

airedale said...

nab, I prefer to choose what I believe is the truth rather than let priests and bishops who say mass with their fingers crossed choose for me.

A Simple Sinner said...

"I prefer to choose what I believe is the truth "

FULL STOP.

No further qualification is really needed.

Good luck with your choices!