I promised to stop saying anything about the “old problem”, but have been following the threads of comments on Fr Smuts’ blog. When a step or two is taken back from the insult-hurling and black-and-white thinking, you get from time to time something that strikes home.
I have myself been hurt by Rome (or priests of that Church) to such an extent that I would never return to that communion. Perhaps that makes me an apostate, a schismatic, whatever. Most people in such a position would give up the Faith and cease to believe or pray. I cannot go that far, and can only seek to follow my little way as best I can as a “redundant” priest.
Now this is the last I will say on the subject: on one hand I cannot blame everything on Archbishop Hepworth and uphold the total innocence of the TAC bishops, and on the other hand I cannot avoid being aware of the ruthless manipulation from the part of some clerics in Rome. The KGB or Machiavelli couldn’t have done it better! I may be able to see that reasonably clearly, but am unable to take either side. I am exhausted by it all.
As you suggest yourself, taken to its extreme, your [Mourad’s] argument would be that any bishop signing the CCC could not in conscience wait for a reply, let alone for an ordinariate to be set up. Whatever the bishops thought they were doing–and I venture to suggest that even bishops can be carried along on the wave of the moment by a persuasive orator and a herd mentality–some of them I am sure did it without much thought for (or perhaps even knowledge of) what they were signing as a symbol of the hope of corporate reunion, no matter how vain that hope now seems to be. Corporate reunion wasn’t offered, and when the TAC bishops declined the invitation, they in fact declined an invitation that was not issued to the TAC as a body. And Hepworth himself hasn’t returned. Some folk out there blame Hepworth for daring to approach Rome at all. I certainly don’t. Others blame him for using the TAC for the purpose of legitimising his return to Rome–that’s another matter, and not without a few cigarette cards discarded and trampled underfoot on the way. For myself, I might yet wind up in the Ordinariate, and was headed that way until I stood at the edge and looked into the heart of the Roman bureaucratic machine and saw the corruption and cover-up ‘appearances are everything’ mentality and the flagrant disregard for the truth. Perhaps one day I’ll recognise that all communions have their sinners as well as their saints, but right at the moment I’m reeling from the horror I’ve experienced. We might’ve had our Hepworth, but what I see in Rome seems all the more hideous for being institutionalised. A lot of it is cultural, of course. I expect I’ll get over it, but persistent attacks on TAC bishops who appear to have done one misguided thing without really thinking and are now held to it by those who seek to defend the man who put them up to it and hasn’t himself submitted to what has been offered in his case don’t help me to warm to it.