Fr Dwight Longenecker on Bishop Tony Palmer

Fr Dwight Longenecker investigates the Anglican bishop friend of Pope Francis’ who brought the Holy Father’s message to the gathering of charismatic Protestants. Fr. Longenecker writes:

First of all we have to ask who “Bishop” Tony Palmer is. He is billed as a bishop in the Anglican Episcopal Communion. However, in an online search I couldn’t find such a body. This webpage lists the well over one hundred Anglican breakaway churches worldwide. For readers who do not know what an Anglican breakaway church is–it is a group of Christians who, for some reason or another, have split away from the official Worldwide Anglican Communion which has the Archbishop of Canterbury as its head. There is an Anglican Episcopal Church in the USA, and here is the webpage of the Anglican Episcopal Diocese of Europe. If this is the organization that Bishop Palmer belongs to, then it is one of the many Anglican schism groups.  Mr Palmer is also listed as a leading member of “EuroChurch” which seems to be a confederation of Protestant Evangelical leaders working in Europe.

At the EuroChurch page it says Mr Palmer is a member of the Anglican Episcopal Church of the CEEC (Celtic Anglican Tradition). CEEC stands for Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. The CEEC website is here and it seems this Anglican body accepts women as priests. Is this the CEEC that Mr Palmer belongs to or is it another one of the many Anglican styled groups, and what is the “Celtic Anglican Tradition” The CEEC website says they “stand in the Celtic and Anglican traditions.”

If by “Celtic” they mean that they affirm Celtic spirituality there would be nothing wrong with that, but I suspect they have embraced a bogus historical theory that has been growing in popularity in Anglican circles: this is the idea that there is a pure strand of British Christianity which dates right back to the Roman times when Coptic Christians brought Christianity to the British Isles along with Joseph of Arimathea who came to Glastonbury as a missionary. This Anglican legend has been promoted because they then claim that “from the beginning there was a pure British church that was not tainted by Roman corruption. This British Celtic Church existed in an autonomous way separate from Rome until the Synod of Whitby where Rome imposed her authority on this church. Therefore Anglicanism continues that same ancient strand of Christianity free from the dominance of Rome. The whole theory is completely and crazily bogus–rather like British Israelitism or the Mormon claim that the native Americans were the lost tribes. You can read my demolition of the loopy theory in an article here that I wrote for Catholic Answers some years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that the pope sent a heartwarming message of love to the Pentecostals, and I’m happy that he is friends with Tony Palmer, but we can’t be too starry eyed or sentimental about this.

Tony Palmer is clearly from one of these enthusiastic (and usually conservative and for the most part theologically orthodox) schism groups. If he is then I have a novel and potentially exciting proposal for him. If he is an Anglican bishop of sorts, and if he truly desires unity with the Holy Father, then he should join the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Bishop Palmer lives for a good bit of the year in Wiltshire in England. Why don’t he and his fellow clergy and people in the Anglican Episcopal Church join the Ordinariate?

Such a step would strengthen his claims to desire unity. It would also provide encouragement and a bridge for other schismatic Anglicans to come into full, corporate and recognizable unity with the Bishop of Rome in a way that they can still exercise their ministry and affirm their Anglican traditions.


Interesting.  But what Anglican traditions do the charismatic and evangelical Anglican groups adhere to?  The Prayer Book?  No.  Hymns?  Doubtful very many.


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51 Responses to Fr Dwight Longenecker on Bishop Tony Palmer

  1. “Interesting. But what Anglican traditions do the charismatic and evangelical Anglican groups adhere to? The Prayer Book? No. Hymns? Doubtful very many.”

    After browsing their website, I wouldn’t say that. Here is a link to their prayers, and they seem pretty standard Anglican, even a bit High Church. In the page of the House of Bishops, we even find a picture of Bishop Tony Palmer with mitre. This doesn’t look very ‘un-Anglican’ to me (unless one believes that is too High Church for Anglicans).

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  3. Russell Hale says:

    Fr. Longnecker, I am a priest in the CEEC and belong to the Diocese of Endorsed Chaplains as an active duty U.S. Navy chaplain. I will not be able to answer all of the questions you have posed, some of them Bp. Palmer will have to answer for himself. I can say that we, the CEEC are not in communion with Canterbury because we are biblically conservative orthodox in our faith: we do not ordain homosexuals, offer the Sacraments to animals, ordain women into the episcopacy, etc. We are in communion with CANA, ACNA, and many of the orthodox bishops in Africa. We do use the Prayer Book, my personal preference is the 1929 edition (occasionally I’ll use the 2004 Prayer Book from the Church of Ireland). As for hymns, well, we are charismatic and sing everything from Amazing Grace to choruses like Lord I lift Your Name on High. You see, we consider ourselves to be convergent in our theology.

    The Convergence Movement

    “Therefore, every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” – Matthew 13:52

    This Scripture summarizes the insight and discovery which has led to a fresh stream of thought and renewal throughout the wider Body of Christ. Described as the Convergence Movement, or “Convergence of the Streams,” this emerging movement appears to many, both observers and participants, to be another contemporary evidence of God’s continuing activity in history to renew, replenish and unify His people in one heart and purpose in Christ. Arising out of a common desire and hunger to experience the fullness of Christian worship and spirituality, the Convergence Movement (also referred to in the remainder of this article as “CM”) seeks to blend or merge the essential elements in the Christian faith represented historically in three major streams of thought and practice: the Charismatic, Evangelical/Reformed and Liturgical/Sacramental. An increasing number of local congregations and leaders from many backgrounds are finding “treasures old and new” in the spiritual heritage of the church universal.

    The following graph, developed by the leadership of Hosanna Church of the King located in the Kansas City metropolitan area, illustrates the essential elements and ingredients being drawn upon by the majority of those participating in the movement at this point:

    Paradigm of Ministry





    Biblical Foundation

    Five-fold Ministry
    and Government


    Personal Conversion

    Power of the Spirit


    Evangelism & Mission

    Spiritual Gifts

    Liturgical Worship

    Pulpit-Centered Worship

    Charismatic Worship

    Social Action

    Personal Holiness


    Incarnational understanding
    of the Church (based on
    theology, history, and
    sacramental elements of

    Biblical and Reformational
    understanding of the
    Church (pragmatic and

    Spiritual, Organic, and
    functional understanding
    of the Church (dynamic and

    The blending or converging of these traditions is seen by those involved as the work of God the Holy Spirit imparting a spiritual operation of grace best captured in the vision of Psalm 46:5,6: ” There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the Holy Place where the Most High dwells. ” Thus, the “city of God” is seen as the Church, the river as the action and flow of God’s Presence through His Church and the many “streams” as expressions of the one river’s life that have developed or broken off from the main river through history, all of which are necessary to enrich and make glad the city with the fullness of God’s life, power, purpose and Presence. These tributaries now seem to be making their way back toward the main stream. Anglican minister David Watson once remarked that, “This break with Rome (the Reformation), although probably inevitable due to the corruption of the time, unfortunately led to split after split within the Body of Christ, with the result that the mission of the Church is today seriously handicapped by the bewildering plethora of endless denominations … a torn and divided Christianity is, nevertheless, a scandal for which all Christians need deeply to repent” (David Watson, I Believe in the Church). This call to be one undergirds the desire of many in CM to see the streams of the Church come together. Wayne Boosahda and Randy Sly of Hosanna Church of the King, one of the key churches in the Kansas City area reflecting the impact of the movement, have expressed the conviction that, “out of the days of the Reformation, we see God’s heart now moving in a kind of ‘reverse reformation’ or restoration, of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” (catholic, here being used to refer to the wider universal Church of Jesus Christ).


    The convergence movement seems to have strong antecedents in two major areas of spiritual and worship renewal affecting the Church in this century: the contemporary Charismatic worship renewal and the Liturgical Renewal Movement, both Catholic and mainline Protestant. The Charismatic Renewal, began in the early 60’s primarily within mainline denominations. Those in the Renewal saw a blending of Charismatic or Pentecostal elements, such as healing, prophecy and spontaneous worship and praise, with the more traditional elements of mainline (and, eventually, Roman Catholic) liturgical and reformed practices.

    What some have called the “Third Wave” or “Signs and Wonders Movement” began about 1978 with the emergence of the ministry of John Wimber and the Vineyard Churches that arose through his influence. James Robison, Jim Hylton, Ray Robinson and other Southern Baptist leaders witnessed a Third Wave explosion in the “Fullness Movement,” primarily impacting the SBC. Peter Wagner and others from Fuller Theological Seminary formalized the movement through their writings and acted as a filter and focal point. The Third Wave has been described by some as an epilogue to the Charismatic Renewal, bringing together Charismatic elements of worship, experience and practice with the Evangelical tradition.

    The other key influence upon CM has been the Liturgical Renewal Movement, which arose originally out of France in the Roman Catholic Church and the Oxford or Tractarian Movement in the Church of England in the 19th century. The Liturgical Renewal caused a resurgence of interest in recapturing the essence, spirit and shape of ancient Christian worship, as practiced and understood by the early Church of the first eight centuries. Particular focus was given to the apostolic and Ante-Nicene Fathers of the ancient, undivided Church up until about 390 A.D. The discoveries and enrichment of the theology and practice of worship and ministry from that fertile era overflowed into the mainline Protestant churches and began to have major impact upon them, as well, from the 1950’s, on.

    A common component in the current CM, which came from these earlier movements, is a strong sense of and concern for unity in the whole of Christ’s Body, the Church. While not associated with the official Ecumenical Movement of the World Council of Churches, those involved in CM seem broadly gripped by the hunger and desire to learn from traditions of worship and spirituality other than their own and to integrate these discoveries into their own practice and experience in the journey of faith. Indeed, many leaders in the fledgling movement describe their experience as a compelling “journey” or “pilgrimage.” Many times, in very unsought-after ways, “sovereign” events, relationships, books or insights gave rise to an understanding of the church that was quite different from their previous perspectives and backgrounds. One case-in-point is Richard Foster, a Quaker by background, whose personal pilgrimage led him to write the classic Celebration of Discipline, in which he unfolds an integrated practice of spiritual disciplines drawn from five basic traditions of spirituality in the Church through history. As a result of his developing focus, Foster convened a conference called “Renovare”, which gathered in Wichita , KS . in 1988. The conference and intended renewal were direct precursors to the “Convergence of Streams” concept.

    Basically unheralded or openly recognized until about 1985, many in the movement have discovered others on the “journey” from various church backgrounds who had similar or identical experiences and insights. One by one congregations and leaders have found one another, underlining the sense that God is doing something on a grass roots level similar to an underground river about to break to the surface.

    Key contemporary pioneers shaping the awareness and thought of the movement are men like Dr. Robert Webber, author and professor of Theology at Wheaton College; Dr. Robert Stamps, former chaplain of Oral Roberts University; Peter Gillquist, former leader with Campus Crusade for Christ and now an Eastern Orthodox priest and evangelist; Thomas Howard from St. John’s Seminary; Thomas Oden, theologian and author from Drew University, Howard Snyder, theologian, author and Christian educator, Stan White, former Assembly of God pastor, now an Episcopalian priest; and others, such as the late David DuPlessis, Pentecostal minister and key instigator of the Charismatic ecumenical dialogue between Roman Catholics and Pentecostals; current Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey; the United Methodist liturgical Order of St. Luke and Peter Hocken, Roman Catholic theologian.

    These individuals range in background from Fundamentalists and Evangelicals to Anglican/Episcopalian and mainline Protestants; and Classical Pentecostals and independent Charismatics to Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. Although not all those named are involved directly in the CM, all have helped shape and influence the vision and thought and developing practice of those who are.

    Robert Webber has written a number of key books on the history and practice of Christian worship, such as Worship Old and New, Worship Is A Verb and Signs of Wonder – The Phenomenon of Convergence in the Modern Liturgical and Charismatic Churches , all of which have been highly influential on those involved in the movement. His book, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail, describing a trend of Evangelical Christians moving toward liturgical churches and the reasons why, was one of the first discoveries for many who are now clearly operating in a convergence perspective.

    Greater public awareness of the new movement came through Stan White, a young fourth generation Assembly of God pastor from Valdosta, Georgia, who caused a major stir when he took his entire independent Charismatic congregation into the Episcopal Church. The story was written up in Christianity Today in September of 1990 entitled “Why the Bishops Went to Valdosta” and Charisma Magazine, the major voice for the Charismatic movement, followed in April of 1991 with a similar article on White’s remarkable journey toward a church that was fully Charismatic, fully Evangelical, and fully Liturgical and Sacramental.

    Peter Giliquist, a former Campus Crusade for Christ leader in the 60’s, left the campus movement with a number of other fellow leaders, searching for the real New Testament Church. Giliquist’s book, Becoming Orthodox – A journey to The Ancient Christian Faith, chronicled their fascinating journey of over 15 years of seeking, studying, and researching the early church. Their discoveries led them into full reception and inclusion by the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Two thousand Evangelical/Charismatic believers from various backgrounds who made up the membership of the fifteen congregations they had founded were also received into the Antiochian branch of the Orthodox Church.

    As news of these events and key materials began to circulate, others on the “journey,” as many began to identify it, caught wind and took heart that God was indeed at work. Various leaders and participants were, in fact, increasingly relieved to discover they were not the only ones thinking this way or being compelled by this vision. In a quite unexpected way God seemed to be confirming His call and initiation towards a vision of unity in the Body of Christ in conformity with the spirit of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and His statement in John 10:16, “I have many other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd”. It seemed to be a unity that would not only leap boundaries, but one that would lead to an enlargement and enrichment of the faith, vision, worship and practice of the fullness of Christ in the fullness of His Church.

    Three key clusters of local congregations and ministries that represent and reflect the vision, values and developing practices of CM are found in the metropolitan Kansas City area, in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma and a newly developed network of churches, The Evangelical Christian Church in the U.S.A. and throughout the West Indies. Hosanna Church of The King, founded in 1988 in the Kansas City area as an independent, Third Wave/Charismatic congregation, was instrumental in stirring interest and building relationship, locally and translocally, based on the convergence of streams awakening. Planted by Wayne and Stephanie Boosahda , the church is now pastored by Randy and Sandy Sly , who have worked together with the Boosahda’s to foster awareness of this fresh-work of God’s Spirit. Others in the K.C. area being influenced in the convergence direction represent Episcopal, independent Charismatic, Evangelical holiness and mainline Protestant congregations and leaders. Pastors Ron McCrary of Christ Episcopal and Randall Davey of Overland Park Church of the Nazarene represent two others in the metropolitan area impacted by convergence thought and practice.

    In Oklahoma City, pastors Mike and Beth Owen of Church of the Holy Spirit, originally a “Third Wave” Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and Dr. Robert Wise and wife Marguerite of Community Church of the Redeemer have, along with their congregations, made a formative impact on the OKC area, as they have shared their journeys with other congregations and leaders, especially within liturgical and Charismatic circles. They have developed strong ties with those in Kansas City , formalizing the national and transdenominational focus on the movement’s essential vision and values. These churches and leaders, together with a number of others across the wider Church of Jesus Christ are convinced they are involved in something of historic significance and promise for the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” of Jesus Christ in our time.

    The Evangelical Christian Church was a network of charismatic congregations with a liturgical base that was overseen by Dr. Russ McClanahan. The vision of the network was to build a relationally based group of ministries and churches that would seek to blend the streams of the evangelical, charismatic and sacramental aspects of the church. These churches along with a single congregation in the Fredericksburg, VA area were the initial congregations and ministries that later formed the Evangelical Episcopal Church.


    Those who are being drawn by the Lord into this convergence of streams are characterized by several common elements. While these are not exhaustive or in any order of importance, they seem to form the basis for the focus and direction of the Convergence Movement.

    1. A restored commitment to the sacraments, especially The Lord’s Table.

    Those from the Evangelical and Charismatic streams of the church have not really emphasized the sacramental dimension of the church. In fact, for some churches, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion have been seen more as ordinances than sacraments – commands by the Lord that must be undertaken by the church, but for no other purpose than that of obedience.

    From a more sacramental view, these two expressions of church life are seen as holy and sacred unto the Lord, a symbol with true spiritual meaning used as a point of contact between man and God. The Lord’s presence and power is released in these acts as the worshiper encounters Him through the elements.

    2. An increased appetite to know more about the early church.

    For many Christians, a vacuum has existed between the pages of the New Testament and the contemporary church. This has left a disconnected Body with no historic heritage. Like a boat adrift, the church can no longer explain who she is, where she came from, or why she exists. A recent shift in perspective has sent her searching for her roots, in order to find a common connection to the greater whole in God’s Kingdom.

    Studying the early church has given many an opportunity to see New Testament church principles being applied by those who were discipled by the Twelve, and their subsequent followers. These writings provide a window into an earlier time, explaining how the early church approached faith and practice, how they worshipped, and how they gave leadership to a growing movement. The bloodline of the Body of Christ can be traced through succeeding generations – seeing both the successes and failure in faith.

    3. A love and embrace for the whole church, and a desire to see the church as one.

    The various expressions of Christianity have remained very distinct for many years through sectarianism and denominational separatism. Convergence churches are looking beyond these artificial barriers to encourage, appreciate, and learn more about the uniquenesses found in the various bodies of faith. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 was for the church to become one… one as the Body of Christ, not through compromise of doctrine and dogma, but unity under the person of Jesus Christ – unity among our diversity. This sense of oneness does not require any church to dismiss their unique expression as Christ’s Body, but calls them to appreciate and embrace the variety and beauty of the church worldwide and throughout history.

    Convergence churches seem to appreciate the investment that the various streams of the Church provide. The call of CM churches is “be one,” move together in portraying a people united under Christ to reach a hurting world.

    4. The blending in the practices of all three streams is evident, yet each church approaches convergence from different bases of emphasis.

    A church does not necessarily have to change its identity when it becomes a part of a convergence movement. Most convergence churches have a dominant base — one particular expression of’ the church that regulates the others. They can still look very Episcopalian, Orthodox, Baptist, Nazarene, independent Charismatic, etc. while expressing additional elements of worship and ministry from other streams.

    With each church having a primary base, three different types of convergence churches seem to be most common today: blended churches, inclusion churches, and network churches. Blended churches have maintained their original identity, denominational connection and distinctives theologically. From this base they then are adding elements from the other two streams in their worship and ministry practices. While most common among Liturgical/Sacramental churches, blended churches are found in Evangelical and Charismatic streams as well. Overland Park Church of the Nazarene, in the Kansas City metroplex, is distinctly involved in convergence yet remains strongly identified with its denominational heritage.

    Inclusion churches are those that have gone through a metamorphosis in becoming involved in the convergence. Primarily from Charismatic or Evangelical backgrounds, these churches have found themselves so closely identifying with another stream of the Church that they have re-aligned themselves and many have even become a part of Liturgical/Sacramental denominations. Church of the King, Valdosta , GA whom we mentioned earlier in the article, is probably the best known inclusion church in recent years.

    Networked churches are independent churches who have become a part of the CM and have left their former associations but have chosen to remain independent. Their connections are based on strong relationships with other like-minded churches. Most of those who are networked churches have come out of the Charismatic stream.

    5. An interest in integrating more structure with spontaneity in worship.

    As God’s Spirit continues to move powerfully in the world, new wineskins (or structure) are required to contain the power and potential of His new wine. While most Christian futurists expected these new wineskins to be composed of more open and spontaneous churches with a de-emphasized structure, the spirit of independence present, especially in North American Christians, underlines the impression that this would be like pouring wine into a fish net.

    God’s holy fire is now being kindled in furnaces of faith where structures such as liturgical forms are allowing power to be imparted in churches without the fear of moving into error. Liturgies are being reintroduced into the church in order to bring a balance in worship among all the elements Scripture reveals as necessary for worshipping God in spirit and truth. The word “liturgy” literally means the “work of the people.” Through the implementation of liturgical elements, worship becomes the work of the body in praise, repentance, the hearing of the Word, and the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection. Within these forms room can always be found for spontaneous moves of the Spirit. The historic creeds of the church – the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, etc. – are once again giving the Body of Christ the foundational roots of orthodoxy. The Book of Common Prayer and other liturgical resources are also being blended with spontaneous praise and worship in convergence churches. The Lord’s table is being celebrated with a greater understanding of the sacredness of the event, and churches are following the Christian year and church calendar more consistently as a means of taking their people on an annual journey of faith. All of these expressions give local fellowships a greater sense of connection with the church worldwide and the church through history.

    5. A greater involvement of sign and symbol in worship through banners, crosses, Christian art and clerical vestments.

    The contemporary church has begun to reclaim the arts for Christ. In this move, the use of sign and symbol serves as a representative of a greater truth. While banners and pageantry have found a new place in the church, other symbols are showing up as well, as contact points for bringing together two realities: the outward sign or symbol and the inward or spiritual reality. Crosses and candles now adorn processionals in some churches that for years had felt pageantry would be a signature of the death of vital faith.

    Some pastors are now wearing clerical collars and vestments in various services, worship settings and celebrations of the church. The collar serves as a sign of spiritual reality in being yoked with Christ, identifying with and speaking to the church as a whole, prophetically saying, “Be one!”

    6. A continuing commitment to personal salvation, Biblical teaching, and to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

    Some who watch this “new direction” from the Evangelical or Charismatic sidelines are still skeptical. They are concerned that convergence churches are abandoning their heritage, and that the value of Biblical infallibility and personal conversion will be lost or compromised in the pursuit of the liturgical/sacramental side of the church. Often, this concern arises out of negative prior personal experiences with certain expressions of the church or an inaccurate stereotype. Those watching from the liturgical / sacramental side are usually as concerned about their churches embracing more conservative or fundamental expressions of faith and practice.

    This movement is definitely not the abandonment of a stream but a convergence. The work of God is inclusive not exclusive, bringing forth from each tributary those things which He has authenticated. Such issues as evangelism, missions, and the work of ministry by the power of the Spirit remain intact in this journey. His power continues to be released in marvelous ways in people’s lives, bringing about conversion, healing, release from bondages, and life change.

    The Church’s rich and vital Biblical heritage in the power and primacy of the Word has been more completely undergirded as churches give more time in worship to the corporate reading of the Bible. This fulfills Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and teaching.” Ironically, on Sunday mornings more Scripture is usually read in a traditional liturgical service than most Evangelical or Charismatic gatherings.


    The future of the church will be greatly impacted by the convergence movement. The walls between groups and denominations are already becoming veils which can be torn open, giving those from other branches greater opportunity to experience another’s faith and practice.

    As the convergence movement grows, mainline denominations will find their numbers reinforced and their churches refreshed. The huge influx of people, with various levels of contact in these churches, will bring a vitality for the ancient faith that is vibrant and strong. Their intense devotion for ancient forms will be contagious, caught by those who have lost their enthusiasm.

    Formal and informal educational tracks in the various streams can become much broader in scope, addressing issues that may be found in other sections of the church, such as sacramental theology and practices, rites of initiation, the work of the Holy Spirit, etc.

    The Convergence Movement will also open up greater opportunities for shared facilities and ministry since the architecture and layout of churches will be conducive to the more common worship elements of the different churches. Approaches to ministry will also become more similar, allowing a greater variety of churches to work together for evangelism, discipleship, social action, and Body life.

    The final verses of the Old Testament close with a promise that the spirit of Elijah will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. While these verses have been used in recent days to characterize the need to return to family values, the hope also exists that a new spirit in the church will turn the hearts of this generation of believers back toward the apostolic fathers and others who formed and fashioned vital faith in the centuries following Christ’s ascension. They had envisioned and worked for a Christianity that was orthodox and durable, generation upon generation, operating in strict adherence to the revelation of Christ for His church. The church of the twentieth century is now eagerly looking back to these fathers of faith and discovering new life in the forms and structures God built in their midst.

    Be blessed.

    Fr. Russ Hale

    • Foolishness says:

      This is all very interesting! Thank you very much for posting here, Fr Hale.
      Now, why not consider the Ordinariate?

    • William Tighe says:

      Impressive, moving even – but the acceptance of WO reveals the hollowness, in practice, of such claims.

      • William Tighe says:

        Fr. Longenecker wrote:

        “At the EuroChurch page it says Mr Palmer is a member of the Anglican Episcopal Church of the CEEC (Celtic Anglican Tradition). CEEC stands for Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. The CEEC website is here and it seems this Anglican body accepts women as priests.”

        My recollection (from when I investigated and compared the CEC and the CEEC a decade or so ago) is that the CEEC ordained women to the diaconate and presbyterate, but not to the episcopate; or, rather, left the choice to ordain women or not to its individual bishops.

  4. John Howland says:

    I just finished watching the video on Youtube. I was Episcopalian but joined the Catholic Church back in 2003. What a joy to hear the words of Pope Francis! I was also fascinated to hear Bishop Tony Palmer tell his story and to hear the words of Kenneth Copeland. It seems to me that all Christians should be thrilled to see and hear this presentation. These are words of reconciliation. God willing, these words will help lead us all, brothers and sisters in Christ, into the unity for which Christ lived, prayed, died and rose again.

  5. Amatorem Veritatis says:

    Dear Father L.
    Always best to have a clear picture of your target before pulling the trigger. You seem to also have a forest and tree disconnect in your “investigatory journalism”. The Holy Father seems to have no problems with Bishop Palmer’s credentials, nor his commitment to returning his fellow separated brethren to full communion with The Church. Perhaps you did not actually take the time to listen to the full 45 minutes or so of the video…given your Pastoral duties, blogging responsibilities and “investigatory journalism”, but my guess is that most of us mackerel snappers found it remarkably encouraging…on many levels. Can not say the same regarding your snarky speculation.

    P.S. – Be sure to post the next video you are able to convince The Holy Father to provide.

    P.S.S. – Just downloaded your latest book. Enjoying it immensely. You are sooo much better than the above trash talk. Go to confession and pray at least one person is brought into the Church because of the video.

  6. Pol Llaunas says:

    As a Charismatic Spanish cradle Catholic and a follower of the actuality in the Ordinariates, that I admire greatly, I would love many brothers and sisters (or all) from this CEEC to come together into the Catholic Church, probably in the Ordinariate, with both their anglican and charismatic heritage. This is a good time, because Pope Francis is very, very Charismatic-friendly, he is going to be in the Charismatic Renewal meeting in Rome in a few months… first time ever for a Pope (Popes received charismatic renewal leaders in Vatican audiences but did not go to their meetings). This is the moment to think seriously about “That all they be one” and real Christian unity (in doctrine, in government and in worship).

  7. William Blair says:

    Amazed that a judgment/comment on Bishop Palmer is so complex. Jesus lived a simple life dedicated solely to our salvation. Our Holy Father LOVES everyone… that might be a vital goal for each of us. Worth thinking about ?

    • Michael L. says:

      Don’t be blind. It’s the simple ones that won’t notice his deceitful and untrue comments about the history of the Catholic Church and his complete lack of respect for doctrine. Your soul isn’t something to play around with, don’t be fooled. As for my fellow devout Catholics, who with the help of the Holy Spirit, saw right through this “bishop” Palmer immediately…we need to prepare ourselves now more than ever and be fervent and diligent in prayer. This is dangerous. I love you all and God bless you.

  8. Smells like a continuation of the reformation heresy, all pointed toward the disintegration of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Christ Jesus founded. The Convergence is a convergence into heresy for all. And this is what the usurpers of Vatican Council II had in mind all along. A false ecumenism diluting the Faith of the Fathers and Saints which had sustained the Church for 1962 years. We have had numerous warnings of how this will end. Prepare yourselves in the True Faith.

    • Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

      Could not agree more

    • “Smells like a continuation of the reformation heresy, all pointed toward the disintegration of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Christ Jesus founded.”

      Pardon, but, Mathew 16:18-“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

      Jesus with His church shall triumph in the end!

    • Benedict Marshall says:

      Isn’t Pope Francis so humble? He’s practically a living saint, being so tolerant and open-minded, only people like that end up on magazine covers. He’s the real deal, what Jesus was all about, being caring and nice.

      Feel free to start an armed uprising, once most people care.

      This sort of thing is what’s in right now, and all we can do is say something like “This is an outrage, the Church is falling apart, someone contact the bishop, let’s all pray, etc.”

      • Jimmy says:

        Uriah Heep might be closer – or even Uriah the Heep ? Just a thought.

      • twoheartswa says:

        “so tolerant and open-minded”. Have you read the story of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate? Not so tolerant there! Tolerant as long as it is charismatic or protestant. Pius orthodox Catholics, not so much.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: “so tolerant and open-minded”. Have you read the story of Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate? Not so tolerant there!

        Your allegation is predicated on ignorance of a few very significant details.

        >> 1. It was actually Pope Benedict XVI who inaugurated an apostolic visitation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate a few months before his resignation from the papal office. Pope Francis did nothing more than authorizing the Congregation for Religious to follow through with implementation of the recommendations produced by the team of visitors appointed by his predecessor.

        >> 2. There are several entities that account for far greater numbers of Traditionalists, and far greater impact within the Catholic Church, than the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, including the Personal Apostolic Administration of St. John Mary Vianney and the Fraternal Society of St. Peter (FSSP). If Pope Francis were really being intolerant of Traditionalists, most assuredly he would have gone after the largest organizations with greatest impact first.

        >> 3. There are also major indications in the public forum that abuse of the Tridentine form of the liturgy had become a source of division within the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, making some sort of intervention necessary to preserve the integrity of the order.

        Unfortunately, there are some Traditionalists who conveniently obscure these facts to spin the intervention by the Congregation for Religious as an attack on Traditionalists. In fact, it is not.

        You wrote: Pius orthodox Catholics, not so much.

        To be Catholic is to be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. You cannot be more Catholic than the pope.


    • So you are a sedevacantist, then (or just a protestant Catholic, choosing to ignore one of the councils you do not like)?

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: Smells like a continuation of the reformation heresy, all pointed toward the disintegration of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which Christ Jesus founded. The Convergence is a convergence into heresy for all.

      Not necessarily. A “convergent” theology that restores liturgy and the sacraments could bring many Protestant bodies closer to the fullness of Christian faith, actually facilitating their eventual reception into the Catholic Church. Of course, it will take some time for this process to work itself out.

      Incidentally, there’s a very significant nuance to this subject. Most Protestant bodies actually do not suffer from doctrinal positions that are heretical. Rather, they suffer from omission of some doctrine that is part of the fullness of Christian faith professed by the Catholic Church.

      You wrote: The Convergence is a convergence into heresy for all. And this is what the usurpers of Vatican Council II had in mind all along.

      No, I don’t think so. I don’t see anything in the documents from The Second Vatican Council which speak to ecumenism, or that anything but the Catholic Church would be the surviving entity. Further, such a position seems to deny the longstanding dogma that the Holy Spirit protects the magisterium of the Catholic Church from error in doctrine pertaining to faith and morals.


    • Alec says:

      We certainly couldn’t do without the immaculate conception, for example. What would all the Fathers who explicitly denied it think?

    • Makemeaspark says:

      I would ask you to put down your sword, Peter, for just a minute, while I heal this poor servants ear….

      You get more flies with honey, and NO ONE EVER joined a Church or came to Christ because someone argued or browbeat them into it. Have a little faith and a lot of patience please, the Tiber is wider in some parts than others and some may need an island in the middle to make the swim!

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You said: Have a little faith and a lot of patience please, the Tiber is wider in some parts than others and some may need an island in the middle to make the swim!

        There’s no need to swim, now that Pope Benedict built a bridge… named Anglicanorum coetibus.


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  10. Jane says:

    Does it truly matter that Tony Palmer is anything other than a follower of Christ who, for God’s good purpose, has been placed in the lives of Pope Francis and Kenneth Copeland. Only God could have arranged this. And, I am a Catholic who is friends with an Archbishop in the CEEC, who would be delighted to talk about how it came into being.

    • Benedict Marshall says:

      Take a look at his face when you ask: “Have you ever considered joining the true church established by Christ upon Peter and his successors?”

      He’d say “No.” I bet.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You asked: Take a look at his face when you ask: “Have you ever considered joining the true church established by Christ upon Peter and his successors?”

        He’d say “No.” I bet.

        Your question seems to assume that every Christian pastor should immediately come into the full communion of the Catholic Church, but there are circumstances in which that might not reflect the movement of the Holy Spirit in the current age.

        >> 1. Anybody who does not yet accept the whole of Catholic theology cannot come into the full communion of the Catholic Church. This is precisely embodied (a) in the “doctrinal preamble” to which Pope Benedict XVI said that the Society of St. Pius X must agree as a prerequisite to reconciliation and (b) in explicit provision in Anglicanorum coetibus that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the doctrinal standard to which the ordinariates erected thereunder must adhere. For those who do not yet accept the full doctrine of the Catholic Church, more formation and preparation is in order.

        >> 2. Also, the Holy Spirit may be inspiring pastors who wish to come into the full communion of the Catholic Church to bring their flocks with them, thus healing a line of schism rather than simply crossing it. Indeed, this is what will ultimately restore the visible unity of the Body of Christ. If a pastor who is open to coming into the full communion of the Catholic Church were to abandon his present flock, his replacement as pastor might not be of the same mindset and thus might lead the flock in a different direction, thus perpetuating a line of schism much longer than necessary.

        Each situation is different. Immediate healing of schism clearly is the Utopian ideal, but it takes time to overcome obstacles.


    • twoheartswa says:

      So said an unilateralist. I watched the video. The “bishop” said that when he came to Rome and would consider becoming Catholic, he would loose his faith. There is only One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. He rejected that One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In heaven all will be Catholic with capitol letter “C”.

      By-the-way, to which Apostle can the dear “bishop” trace his bishopric?

  11. Michael David says:

    It’s really rather funny. Something that I never would have imagined possible 20 years ago just happened. The Pope (albeit via a video shot on a cell phone) was a guest speaker at a conference of charismatic church leaders, who gave him a standing ovation and promised to pray for him. The same group of people submitted (quite happily, it seemed) to being lectured by one of their own on the need for them to rediscover liturgy and the sacraments, get over a mindset of defining themselves over against the Catholic Church, and to pray seriously for unity among all Christians.

    What do some of us do? Freak out about Tony Palmer, the convergence churches – are they actually Anglican, and don’t they have so far to come before discovering true Catholic unity? – and basically miss the whole point.

    The point is that the group of people who Palmer were speaking to, a few decades ago, might have denounced the Pope as the Antichrist, and viewed the Catholic Church as the whore of Babylon. Now they’re praying for the Holy Father and seeing him as a force for Christian unity, a teacher they should listen to, and a great evangelist…

    Yes, there’s a long way to go… But still… 🙂

    • Foolishness says:

      Good points, Michael.

      I have found many in the Protestant charismatic world who are, because of their love of God and willingness to obey Him, intuiting things about sacramental theology and other Catholic doctrines. I have often said that it was an obscure charismatic Mennonite pastor from Upper State New York, Penn Clark, whose teaching on such things as authority and headship paved the way for my acceptance of Catholic teachings such as Apostolic Succession.

      In some ways, these Christians who have their heart in the right place even if their doctrine has a long way to go in terms of Catholic teaching, are more attractive to me than some of the Catholics who have all the doctrinal and liturgical items lined up properly in their minds, but seem to lack the love and the evidence of the life of the Spirit about them. Ideally, we see the Spirit guide all these separated brothers and sisters into all Truth and the Spirit remove the planks from the eyes of all of us already inside the Catholic Church.

      • Michael David says:

        Thanks. What I basically want to avoid is evaluating a person or group’s theology and ministry solely on the basis of where they are right now. Where they came from – and the direction in which they are heading – are also very important.

        For example, when in the late 1970s, the Anglican Communion began to deconstruct the sacramental ministry they had previously held on to, this was a terrible fall away from Catholic order and unity. But for many of these convergence groups, their members never had any concept of sacramental ministry or Catholic order until recently. So, you may have two groups who have orders and a theology of priesthood that have serious problems. However, while one group is moving away from the Catholic Church, the other is moving towards it…

      • Foolishness says:

        Good points, Michael.

    • TACit no more says:

      Sometime last year, I think, I posted a link in a comment on this blog, to a video clip of a conference of Catholics (including charismatics) and Evangelicals that took place in Luna Park in Buenos Aires, ‘CRECES’, in perhaps Oct. 2012. Cardinal Bergoglio was in attendance and a prominent speaker was Fr. Cantalamessa, the Preacher to the Papal Household. Another clip found here: is undated, and I am not sure it is the same conference, possibly it’s an earlier one, but it features Bergoglio prominently (start at 6:35), following addresses by Fr. Cantalamessa and others. Of course it is mainly in Spanish and Italian, which is why many of us English speakers might not have been aware of the depth of involvement in this reconciliation the present Pope already had, but his address subtitled in English to the charismatic evangelical group last week was in fact another in a long line of such engagements. Perhaps those interested in knowing what is said in the above-linked clip can find a Spanish-speaking Catholic, or evangelical, friend (shouldn’t be difficult!) to translate the addresses, which are quite uplifting.

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  13. Jim lonergan says:

    I am very impressed with the bravery Tony Palmer exhibited going into a Copeland event and challenging the group of ministers to rethink the “protest”. I agree with the statement that if Pope Francis knows him and trusts him I can too. He strikes me as one of the bridge builders he mentioned in his preamble. My son just married a girl whose family pastors a WOF church and my son has joined that tradition after being a very devout young Catholic boy. I have debated the theological differences with him for 3 years and interestingly enough one of my son’ shot buttons is unity. When we discussed the fact that we have had unity before but it got disjointed due to many colliding factors (not just Luther) he understood but could not grasp how a return to a Catholic Christian world is our only chance. With Tony’s explanation, challenge and willingness to raise his children Catholic ( not to mention his accepting his wife’s return to the Church) I see nothing but positive here. The proof will be with the response to the challenge – Evangelicals signing the agreement that “buries the hatchet”. We have a great Pope in Francis. We all need to pray for him every day. Fr. Longenecker – I read your book and respect you very much. Please reach out to Tony and meet. We need all the helpers we can muster and your background would serve the mission well.
    God Bless
    Jim Lonergan
    Austin, Texas

  14. EPMS says:

    A quick look at even a few relevant blogs reveals that the meaning of “unity” is quite complex. We see people of different denominations agreeing on many Catholic fundamentals, and we see people who are members of the Catholic church agreeing on almost nothing and accusing one another of representing everything that has gone wrong with her. So warbling “ut unam sint” at every opportunity, as if it were a simple call to order, and fetishising certain structural arrangements as the essence of “unity” stike me as shallow.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: A quick look at even a few relevant blogs reveals that the meaning of “unity” is quite complex.

      Canonically, there are two aspects to this: (1) what is necessary to create a schism or separation and (2) what is necessary to establish or restore unity of those who are separated. The latter is actually fairly easy: one comes into full communion by baptism, reception as a baptized Christian, fusion of a separated body with valid orders an sacraments of which one is a member, or sacramental absolution of the sin of separation. The canons that define the former, however, are less clear. In its original form that took effect thirty years ago, the present Codex Juris Canonici (“Code of Canon Law”) recognized that one could leave the Catholic Church by a “formal act” such as formally joining a non-Catholic religious body or simply telling witnesses that one was no longer a member of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, this provision became the source of extreme administrative difficulty so Pope Benedict XVI removed it. There is a pretty good consensus among canon lawyers that episcopal ordinations conducted without a mandate create a schism, as does exercise of ministry for which a cleric does not have proper faculties from a Catholic diocesan bishop or another ordinary who is canonically equivalent to a diocesan bishop. The consequences of adhering to, teaching, or advocating doctrinal positions that are not compatible with Catholic understanding of Christian doctrine, however, are far less clear.


      • EPMS says:

        i’m afraid this comment is a good illustration of what I meant by “fetishising certain structural arrangements.” I rather doubt that the application of relevant sections of Codex Juris Canonici was uppermost in Our Lord’s mind at the last supper.

  15. Chris Stansberry says:

    We live in exciting times! Come Holy Spirit and do your work in us, that the fruit of our lives will be to bring many with us into the Kingdom of God!

  16. says:

    I am saddened by the lack of discernment of so many. The religion emanating from Rome has little in common with the Apostles church. To use not-so-subtle intimidation to get all “believers” to become part of a single established religion is dangerous and an attempt to reverse centuries of men’s efforts to return to Biblical teaching. One world religion is right out of prophecy and a warning to the honest student of scripture. Be sure you know your God.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      To use not-so-subtle intimidation to get all “believers” to become part of a single established religion is dangerous and an attempt to reverse centuries of men’s efforts to return to Biblical teaching.

      You obviously do not read the gospel very carefully.

      The unity of all believers is our Lord’s will, clearly expressed in John 17:20-23. The fracture of Christianity into many denominations is thus clearly contrary to God’s will, and those who seek to sustain this fracture, and even to further fracture Christianity, are utterly diabolical.


      • says:

        “Diabolical?” So now we resort to name calling? The first sign that one has let passion get ahead of reason is name calling. Surely you know that Jesus said most “believers” he never knew. So my question is which established religion should we all migrate to?

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: “Diabolical?” So now we resort to name calling?

        No, we resort to statement of fact. The word “diabolical” comes from the Greek: “dia-” (meaning opposite or apart) + “ballein” (“to throw” or “to cast”) and thus means “casting apart” or “separating.” Indeed, Satan is the one who tries to separate or divide — that is, separating Christians from one another and from God.

        You asked: So my question is which established religion should we all migrate to?

        Christianity, in the purest form that we can recover through rigorous studies of the history of the church and in a form that not only tolerates, but embraces, legitimate differences in style of worship and in pastoral practice while preserving what is essential for true unity. Note, here, that there is a difference between unity and uniformity!

        While seeking a deeper understanding of Christian faith, especially through the perspectives of other denominations, we should work to heal all lines of schism within the Body of Christ. Whenever two Christian denominations can unite and proceed together as one, we come closer to our Lord’s will.

        At the end of the day, the plain reality is that the Catholic Church encompasses over 90% of the world’s Christian population, and thus is most likely to be the surviving organizational entity when all Christian denominations merge into one — but she also might not look anything like the Catholic Church of today. Already we have a glimpse of what is the most likely future of a united Christendom in the sui juris ritual churches of Eastern European, Asian, and African origin that have returned to the full communion of the Catholic Church while retaining their distinctive liturgical and pastoral practices, and now in the west with the establishment of ordinariates — that is, a separate hierarchy — for those who wish to retain their Anglican form of worship and other aspects of their Anglican heritage. If the whole of the Anglican Communion were to reconcile with the Catholic Church, it likely would become another sui juris church with the See of Canterbury becoming its major archbishopric (canonically equivalent to a patriarchate). The Vatican has already stated that it sees the present ordinariates as a model also for Protestant bodies who seek full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining their distinctive worship and pastoral practices.


      • says:

        While studying history, perhaps we should look at how Roman Catholicism dealt with schisms – using extreme measures to eradicate resistance to her rule. In your other arguments, I note the lack of Bible wording concerning what we should strive for, such as “… preserving what is essential for true unity…” What ever happened to “buy the truth and sell it not,” even for the sake of unity. I still say there isn’t much in the Roman church that represents what I see in the New Testament church. Extra-Biblical wording is the beginning of extra-Biblical thought.

      • Rev22:17 says:


        You wrote: While studying history, perhaps we should look at how Roman Catholicism dealt with schisms – using extreme measures to eradicate resistance to her rule. In your other arguments, I note the lack of Bible wording concerning what we should strive for, such as “… preserving what is essential for true unity…” What ever happened to “buy the truth and sell it not,” even for the sake of unity. I still say there isn’t much in the Roman church that represents what I see in the New Testament church. Extra-Biblical wording is the beginning of extra-Biblical thought.

        Being formed by the Word of God is, of course, a central element of authentic Christian faith.

        That said, you might want to do your homework regarding the history of the Christian scriptures. The bible, as we know it, did not come into being until the late fourth century when St. Jerome collected scrolls containing the text of scripture, translated them into Latin, and bound the translations into a single volume for use by Latin-speaking Christians in Rome. Prior to that time, few Christian communities had a complete set of scriptures, and many scrolls passed from community to community within a geographical region so that each community could read a larger selection of scripture over some period of time. Further, there were very few believers who could obtain their own copies of the scriptures until the invention of the printing press in the later middle ages.

        I do believe that private study of scripture is important, but it is NOT the practice of the early Christians — and the scriptures themselves are quite clear about this. Note, for example, Acts 2:42-47.

        They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

        Nowhere does this text say that they devoted themselves to the private study of scripture!


  17. Mike Nelson says:

    Arguments and fear abound. Jesus said “I will build my church” and later “by their fruits you will know them”. As an avid amateur historian I can see God’s hand throughout history. I am confident in Him. Let us all be confident and look for the ‘fruits of the Spirit’.

  18. Mariel says:

    The Episcopal church, and the parishes which have been a part of my experience and membership, are largely Laodicean. There are sincere Christians present, even sometimes in the ministry, but they have largely gone away from Biblical Christianity. I really sad about that, no victory speech here. Just loss and longing for Jesus’ return.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: The Episcopal church, and the parishes which have been a part of my experience and membership, are largely Laodicean. There are sincere Christians present, even sometimes in the ministry, but they have largely gone away from Biblical Christianity. I really sad about that, no victory speech here. Just loss and longing for Jesus’ return.

      And there are three personal ordinariates within the Catholic Church that would be very happy to welcome you to a situation that is true to scriptural theology while maintaining worship consistent with the Anglican tradition, in which you would feel welcome and at home.


  19. EPMS says:

    Usually people who talk about “Biblical Christianity” are not fans of the Catholic church. It is not a phrase I hear much from Catholic pulpits, although “Irish Anglican/Fr Robert” might find it congenial.

    I will Pray, that at the moment of his death, Tony Palmer recognized The Christ, in all His Glory.

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