By their fruits ye shall know them . . .

Over at Fr. Smuts’ blog, the good priest is, as Father Z might say in one of his tag lines “Throwing a nutty,” over my continued support for Archbishop Hepworth.  Others are weighing in, calling me misguided and so on.

I must get some writing done today so I won’t have time to challenge each one of the assertions Fr. Smuts makes on his blog (with links to boot!  my goodness,  but what passion he brings to the matter, considering the time he took to add all the links!).

As I eat my breakfast this morning and prepare for the day, it occurred to me that those of us who remain thankful to Archbishop Hepworth can look around us to the joyful fruits of our steadfastness to his inspiring vision of unity with the Catholic Church–united but not absorbed.

We are living the fruits of that vision now.  Perhaps if it had only been the Church of England bishops knocking on Rome’s door and no TAC petition, Rome’s response might have been to expand the Pastoral Provision to the United Kingdom.  Would Australia even have an Ordinariate?  Would there even be ordinaries?  Would there be an international commission looking at a liturgy that has Anglican patrimony since the Church of England Anglo-Catholics were already worshipping according to the Roman Missal?

Perhaps without the 2007 petition and the signing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catechism would not be the standard for doctrine.   I am proud of that petition and its inspiring language.  I am proud of the old TAC and its College of Bishops who solemnly signed this on the altar.  I did not notice that Hepworth had a pitchfork aimed at the backs of bishops or a cattle prod or a firm grip on hands, forcing their signatures.  I am embarrassed so many of these men either did not know what they were signing or reneged on their signatures.

Granted, the fruit for those who turned away is bitter;  so is the fruit for what Fr. Anthony calls the shipwrecked in this venture, the “Left Behind”  because of canonical or marriage irregularities.  Hepworth tried to make accommodation for those not ready yet—-but alas, the others in the TAC were seldom good at followership.   Had we all stayed in unison, I imagine we would have much bigger ordinariates out of the starting gate, and happier relations between those still discerning and those inside ordinariates.

But where we are now, those who remained “in formation” with Hepworth’s vision, is no small potatoes.  It’s the sweet taste of the Kingdom of Heaven here and now.

I am thankful not only for Hepworth’s leadership but for the loyalty to that vision that bishops Robert Mercer, Peter Wilkinson and Carl Reid showed—and look where they are now and where we are now.   We are on our way to seeing Hepworth’s vision become reality as our priests begin their formation programs, and two of our former bishops will likely be ordained before Christmas.

What a joy to no longer be in the wilderness but to be unpacking our Anglican treasures within the Catholic Church, able to share them with one billion Catholics with whom we are now in communion.   Archbishop Prendergast said when he received our parish April 15,   how one of our former priests had remarked about how large the sacristy was in St. Patrick’s Basilica—that you could easily fit one of our parishes inside it–and then the archbishop told us that we were not invited guests in this beautiful basilica which you see pictured at the top of my blog, but this is our home.

This is a good thing, no?  This is something to praise God for the rest of my days and to be thankful to the man (and men) who risked everything to bring us here.  I am so thankful for the faithful catechesis and spiritual example of Carl Reid and our other former priests here—Kipling Cooper and Doug Hayman  (who will soon get his cake, wait and see!).

I also wonder what Fr. Smuts means by calling the individual who goes by the name Jay Walk (the name of the person who uploaded the video on YouTube of the signing ceremony),  “Gay” Walk  in his post.  Is he implying he knows the answer and assumes the person who did so is gay?

Is Fr. Smuts joining those who have accused Archbishop Hepworth of homosexual affairs and dismissed testimony he was raped as a 15 year old seminarian?  The Melbourne independent commission headed by a QC with years of experience handling abuse settlements found Hepworth’s claims credible.     Leaving aside the accusations against Msgr Dempsey, who must also get the benefit of the doubt under the principle of innocent until proven guilty,  the accusations against Fr. Ron Pickering, who racked up 104 victims, and Fr. John Stockdale, who died in a cubicle inside a gay club, were found to be credible by the independent QC who had years of experience in weighing the merits of sexual abuse claims and who had inside knowledge of these offenders’ modus operandi so as to know whether Hepworth was giving evidence that could have been gleaned from the public record, or had telling details that were known only to the investigators.

Is this how Fr. Smuts would risk treating a victim of horrendous sexual abuse?

As if he is a liar?  As if he were somehow seductive and therefore at fault for his victimization?  How would a person struggling with sexual identity issues and the temptation to same-sex attraction feel about coming to Fr. Smuts who so cavalierly makes snide remarks about someone’s sexual orientation, when he really has no idea who Jay Walk  is?  I like Fr. Smuts and I stop at his blog frequently, but his blind loyalty to the negative view of Hepworth and his eagerness to participate in the destruction of a man who is vulnerable and who has already lost most everything that matters through this process, is surprising.  Who made him the prosecutor, judge and jury?

I wonder, since it seems the new TAC is talking about their branch ecclesiology and their understanding they are already Catholic and merely seeking recognition of that fact by Rome.   They expect the Catholic Church to abandon the ecclesiology it has always held about Herself to recognize the Traditional Anglican Church as representative of the One True Church but a Western branch like the Orthodox Church is an Eastern branch?   Is unity for them contingent on the Holy See’s suddenly realizing, “Hey!  We were wrong!  You are Catholic!  We will add Branch Ecclesiology to the Catechism in our next revision.”  (and maybe the 39 Articles too!)

Let’s say I find out someday Hepworth is a liar and a fraud on this or that issue—-I would still be thankful for the vision that led us to this happy point of being an Anglican Use Catholic.   By their fruits . . .

 

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16 Responses to By their fruits ye shall know them . . .

  1. BCCatholic says:

    Your recognition of the inestimable benefit of leaving a microdenomination with no future for the safety of the Catholic Church does you credit, and it is right that you thank those who led you there, including John Hepworth. That is not the same as saying that he must be a great or even a good person, since God can use very flawed means to achieve his ends. One might, for example, admire the achievements of the Legionaries of Christ, but that would not mean that, since “by their fruits ye shall know them,” Fr Maciel must have been an admirable human being.

    • Foolishness says:

      This is a highly unfortunate comparison, BCCatholic. Fr Maciel was a serial predator and con artist who knew how to wrangle funds from rich widows by pretending to be orthodox. There is no evidence anywhere that Archbishop Hepworth ever engaged in any sexual predation himself, only that he was victimized. And if he “conned” anyone, it was merely to try to persuade them that the Catholic Church is who she says she is. Obviously, he was not terribly successful with his own flock. I

      Even Fr. Maciel produced good fruit, though, to your point that God uses flawed individuals to accomplish His purposes. Zenit, the National Catholic Register, are among them, as well as many good and sincere priests and lay people who had no idea what Fr. Maciel was up to.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Deborah,

        You wrote: Obviously, he was not terribly successful with his own flock.

        The primary problem there seems to have been intermediaries who were scheming to stage a mutiny. Negative propaganda about the Catholic Church and the potential for ordinariates where they don’t now exist probably were an effective tool to retain a following.

        Norm.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      BCCatholic,

      You wrote: … a microdenomination with no future…

      I’m not persuaded that such is a fair characterization of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) at its peak. At that time, it had over 400,000 members and was growing steadily. At her foundation, the Catholic Church was much smaller — just a small band of disciples led by eleven apostles — and each of the major Protestant denominations had an even smaller start.

      The organization that emerged from the mutiny against Archbishop Hepworth orchestrated by Archbishop Prakesh last March most assuredly has the “critical mass” that it needs in order to grow. Rather, the problem facing this organization now is its current leadership — duplicitous individuals focused on destruction of others rather than the proper ministry of the church. Until there’s a spiritual conversion of the leadership, most people will realize that the organization’s leaders are not worth following.

      Norm.

      • BCCatholic says:

        I very much doubt that TAC ever had 400,000 members. In any event, even TAC sources agree that India and Africa constituted 92% of the total. Verifiable membership,ie in North America, Australia and the UK, was more like 4,000. And it is entirely possible for a religious organization to start small and remain so, or dwindle: Shakers, Christian Scientists, and Doukhobors are three examples.

  2. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    You wrote: We are living the fruits of [Archbishop Hepworth’s] vision now.

    Yes, most assuredly!

    You wrote: Perhaps if it had only been the Church of England bishops knocking on Rome’s door and no TAC petition, Rome’s response might have been to expand the Pastoral Provision to the United Kingdom.

    That seems unlikely. It’s pretty evident, both from Archbishop Hepworth’s pastoral letters after the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus, which spoke of “delicate negotiations” about issues that were not yet resolved, and the manner in which erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham went down, that the Vatican’s dialog with then-bishops John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham, and Keith Newton of the Church of England was the primary driver for that process. The promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus and the erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham went forward because they, and their congregations, were ready to move when the Traditoinal Anglican Communion (TAC) was not.

    You wrote: Would Australia even have an Ordinariate?

    That’s a very good question. My guess is that it probably would not, as the “Forward in Faith” contingent in Australia does not seem to have had the “critical mass” needed to form a sustainable ordinariate.

    You wrote: Would there even be ordinaries?

    Yes. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham would have come into existence even without the TAC. It’s likely that an effort to realign the “Anglican Use” congregations formed under the “pastoral provision” here in the States into an ordinariate would have followed, especially with additional parishes of The Episcopal Church expressing an interest.

    You wrote: Would there be an international commission looking at a liturgy that has Anglican patrimony since the Church of England Anglo-Catholics were already worshipping according to the Roman Missal?

    Yes, most assuredly.

    All of the “Anglican Use” parishes that have come into the Catholic Church outside of the United Kingdom apparently followed the “prayer book” tradition of worship, so an adaptation the Book of Divine Worship similar to what you are now using in Canada (basically substituting the wording of prayers from that country’s version of the Book of Common Prayer for the wording from the U. S. version) would have been quite satisfactory. It is the distinct liturgical tradition of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham that created the need to form the present pontifical commission.

    Norm.

  3. Pingback: By their fruits ye shall know them . . . | Catholic Canada

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  5. Hello Deborah , interesting comments. You dont seem to understand the workd ” Unity”, this means that two or three dominations worship in one Church. You dont cease to be what you were, but you are united in Christ. You have abonened the Anglican Church and became a Roman Catholic. That is not unity, that is one denomination being absorped by the other. Father Smuts talked about a Lutheran Ordinariate, that will be the same story, once Lutherans joins, they become Roman Catholics even though they are allowed to do their Luthern thingy, but they cease to be Lutherans. But if you are happy , well that is fine with me indeed. O yes , there is no further news from the TAC , see http://www.revdedbakkeropr.blogspot.com
    Have a good day
    Fr.Ed Bakker

    • Rev22:17 says:

      fatheredbakker,

      You wrote: You dont seem to understand the workd ” Unity”, this means that two or three dominations worship in one Church.

      No, this is not the Christian sense of the term. Note our Lord’s words (John 17:20-23).

      “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

      This does not describe two or three congregations worshipping in the same building, or even in the same service. It means that there are no denominational boundaries.

      You wrote: You dont cease to be what you were, but you are united in Christ.

      Again, “united” means fused together to form one body — the one true Body of Christ.

      You wrote: You have abonened the Anglican Church and became a Roman Catholic. (sic)

      I presume that you meant “abandoned” rather than “abonened,” but that seems rather strong. Your point here is valid, though: individuals or parishes moving from one denomination to another does not heal a line of schism. It merely moves it from one side of those individuals or parishes.

      There clearly was a hope, on both sides of the divide between the Catholic Church and the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), that the entire TAC would come into the Catholic Church. The fact that this did not happen is a major disappointment, to be sure.

      You wrote: That is not unity, that is one denomination being absorped by the other.

      Actually, those coming into the Catholic Church to form the new ordinariates for the “Anglican Use” are much less “absorbed” than you suggest. They retain substantially their own liturgy and customs and they have their own hierarchy within the Catholic Church. Note that the three “ordinaries” are fully the equals of diocesan bishops, excepting only that they cannot ordain: the Catholic Church has made a deliberate decision to adhere to the Orthodox discipline of ordaining only married men to the episcopacy rather than introducing potential complications into ecumenical relations with the Orthodox Communion, which has shown tremendous progress toward real unity.

      You wrote: O yes , there is no further news from the TAC…

      Many of the clergy of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (ACCA) seem to be listed as contact points for the Pesonal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, the formation of which is still very much a work in progress. Bishop Robarts is not on that list, but it appears that very little of the ACCA will remain at the end of the process.

      What will happen to the Church of the Torres Strait is also less than clear. Notably, its bishop did not attend the meeting in Johannesburg that staged the mutiny against Archbishop Hepworth’s leadership and I have not seen any clear indication of its direction, bearing in mind that those coming to the ordinariate are generally functioning within the TAC until the eve of their reception into full communion. If the Church of the Torres Strait elects to come into the Catholic Church, it probably would become substantially a territorial deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.

      Norm.

  6. Hello Norm , thanks for the long response. In this part of the world we have the Uniting Church, i.e. Presterians and Methodists forming one body. This is a step of Church Union. Your theory is very much focussed on the Roman Catholic Church being the one and only true Church founded by Jesus Christ alone and I beg to disagree. By becoming a Roman Catholic you cease to be Anglican even though you might have Anglican forms of worship. The RC does not even recognize our orders as valid. To me, it is definately absorption by Rome. But having said that , if it is your choice or Deborah’s choice, I wish you well. It is just not my choice.
    Yes , I believe the TAC here in Australia is finished
    All the best
    FrEdBakker

    • Rev22:17 says:

      FrEdBakker,

      You wrote: In this part of the world we have the Uniting Church, i.e. Presterians and Methodists forming one body. This is a step of Church Union.

      Certainly worshipping together and other forms of collaboration in ministry can be a step toward unity, but it is not the real deal. Real unity exists only when the denomenational organizations are merged into one.

      Incidentally, you might not be aware that this sort of thing is not completely foreign to the Catholic Church. In 2001, the sui juris Chaldean Catholic Church, which constitutes the Chaldean Rite of the Catholic Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East, both of which now exist largely as diaspora (the patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East is now in political exile in Chicago, Illinois, here in the States), entered into an agreement of mutual pastoral care, including sacramental ministry, for each other’s members, and members of each body who are not near a parish of their own church routinely worship and receive the sacraments in the other. There is not yet full unity, however: the Chaldean Catholic Church values her communion with the Bishop of Rome, while the Assyrian Church of the East values her historical autonomy.

      You wrote: By becoming a Roman Catholic you cease to be Anglican even though you might have Anglican forms of worship.

      I don’t understand how a member of an ordinariate is any less Anglican than a member of a “continuing Anglican” body such as the Traditional Anglican Communion. If, in this context, one understands “Anglican” to mean a member of the Anglican Communion, in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, neither is Anglican. Conversely, if one understands “Anglican” to mean that one celebrates the liturgy according to substantially the Anglican form and that one preserves a spirituality that’s distinctly Anglican and other elements of Anglican patrimony, it would seem that both are Anglican.

      Having said that, I realize that there is a unique situation in the principal church of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross. Its pastor, as the ordinary, is often away on weekends in connection with receptions of incoming parishes and ordinations of incoming clergy. Since no other clergy of the ordinariate are currently available to celebrate mass according to the Anglican form for that parish, the ordinary decided to use the Roman form of the liturgy during this interim period. As a result, that parish is not yet a true picture of what the ordinariates will be.

      You wrote: But having said that , if it is your choice or Deborah’s choice, I wish you well. It is just not my choice.

      Hey, I’m a “cradle Catholic” trying to provide helpful information to people who need it.

      And I’m sorry that the ordinariate is not your choice. In any case, I absolutely respect both your decision and your right to make that decision. Of course, I pray that you will be open to the possibility at a later date, when the ordinariates turn out to be something far more Anglican than you expect.

      You wrote: Yes , I believe the TAC here in Australia is finished

      And of course, I also wish you well, wherever you might land.

      Norm.

    • William Tighe says:

      You have every right to disagree, Fr Bakker — but those TAC bishops who signed the documents at the Portsmouth Synod in October 2007 forfeited any right to disagree by the very act of signing them, which indicated their acceptance of the claims that the Catholic Church makes about itself. Or else, by continuing to disagree, they forfeit any claim to intellectual honesty and rational faculties that they might previously have been entitled to.

      • Thanks for your input William.I could not comment on that aspect. What I do want to say is ” if you dont agree, you dont sign”. Perhaps plus John had such a hold over them , that they were scared to risk their position in the Church? In the past we have seen that some clergy who begged to disagree with the AC were removed from there jobs.
        Father Ed Bakker OPR

  7. Foolishness says:

    There is a difference between a bishop disagreeing with the primate, who, from what Sandra McColl points out, had no juridical power over his brother bishops like the pope has, and a priest disagreeing with his bishop and the doctrines of the TAC. I would be most curious to know what the doctrines of the TAC are now, because upon the signing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that became the official doctrine of the TAC. What is it now? Anglican? What part of Anglican, pray tell? From what I have seen of the minutes of that historic meeting, the TAC College of Bishops had several days to mull over their signature on the petition, which accepts the ministry of Peter, aka the Pope, and they could easily have formed a block of opposed bishops and scuttled the request. Fr. Bakker, do you believe bishops should be responsible for faith and morals, or should priests be their own popes and chuck out this or that teaching and not face the disciplining of their superiors?

    • Hello Sandra,
      To answer your direct question whether Priests should be their own popes and chuck this or that teaching out and not face the discipling of their superiors, then my answer would be NO.I am a strong believer in not signing anything I dont agree with and I have said all the way along , that everyone , who signed ( hopefully) most have known what they were signing. I agree , that if anyone had had second thoughts in Portsmouth,they could have pulled out. But is that not a matter of courage ?But no-one had the courage and they went along for the ride.
      As soon as the AC came out, and it becasme obvious that I would have to become a Roman Catholic I submitted my resignation to my Bishop. My Bishop told me that my action was premature, but shortly afterwards resigned himmself.
      I am no longer involved in the TAC as you know. Perhaps Father Smuts can comment on the doctrine part or what part of the Anglican Church they are.
      Have a good weekend.

      Father Ed Bakker OPR

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