Received into the Anglican Catholic Church

I have been quiet for a few days here on the blog, but not without reason.

The news is already out in different places on the Web about my reception into the Anglican Catholic Church (Original Province), Diocese of the United Kingdom. I have been in contact for some time with Bishop Damien Mead and have kept our dialogue and the preparation of this move under wraps. As the application process advanced, I resigned my place in the Traditional Anglican Church of Britain (TAC) and left the TAC in good standing with my prayers for their future ministry in England and elsewhere.

This step has not been taken lightly as many aspects had to be considered, especially that of the part of the world where I live. It has been, and continues to be, a long and hard journey in my priestly vocation and desire to work in the Lord’s Vineyard in whatever way possible in a world where the Christian Faith is nearly extinguished – and Churches are discredited by the media or their own sins.

As some formalities still need to be looked into with our Diocesan Board of Ministry, I have been issued with a Licence Pro Tempore by the Bishop which allows me to continue to exercise my priesthood in the Chaplaincy of Saint Mary the Virgin. I am grateful for this gift of continuity in my vocation as a priest in the Universal Church.

I will doubtlessly have other reflections to offer when my new mission in the Church of Christ has had time to sink in. In the meantime, I offer some photos and links to this happy event.

Only one thing marred this happy occasion – a slightly sprained but very painful left foot, with my ankle and bunion tendons on fire. My compassion went out to those who are truly handicapped and find walking difficult or impossible. Driving back to France was quite a stiff upper lip affair, as the clutch of my van is quite hard, and I had to push it with just the right part of my left foot! Well, I got home safely all the same.

The foot is much better now due to rest and the judicious use of paracetamol and I have seen no need to go to the doctor – for referral for an x-ray, a lot of waiting, uncertain diagnosis and a lot of ado about nothing. These things usually clear up on their own, as is happening this time.


My reception in Canterbury, Sunday 14th April 2013


Dinner in the evening before the Diocesan Synod


Communion of the clergy at the Synod Mass


Clergy present at the Diocesan Synod at Westminster Central Hall

Here are two links of sites run by our charming young deacon Rev. Jonathan Munn and long-standing e-mail friend, with whom I spent some very pleasant hours.

I also draw your attention to the excellent website of the Anglican Catholic Church.

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41 Responses to Received into the Anglican Catholic Church

  1. Andrew says:

    Many congratulations, Fr. They are “good eggs” as we say in Blighty. Hope to see you at Deacon Munn’s priesting.

  2. Stephen K says:

    Dear Father, I wish you all my congratulations and sincerest best wishes. The links you have provided are extensive and it will take me some considerable time to read them thoroughly. But speaking frankly, I think that this makes a lot of sense. I think that there is a special charism in the Anglican Church, in all its forms. But there is a special sense in which the Anglican Church IS part of the great Catholic church which transcends all countries, eras, styles and is a kingdom ‘not of this world’, and that part of the Anglican Church which sensitively maintains English tradition from the earliest times is important to foster. This seems to me to be where you fit and belong. The Ordinariate is not Anglican. It is, and will increasingly show that it will be, Roman in every sense except the use of the language of Albion. As the ACCC response says, the Ordinariate is for Roman Catholics who found themselves not formally recognised. The SSPX is a kind of Ordinariate-in-reverse, i.e. not approved. But in the end, to be Roman is not to be Anglican. Catholicism is the spirit that all subconsciously strive for, but it is above them all and the moment it is strait-jacketed as “roman” or “eastern” or even “anglican”, it ceases to be “catholic”. My very best wishes. I am very happy for you.

    • Thank you for this sensitive comment. Things have been hard for us all over the last few years, and the tendency with any of us is to panic or become aggressive when we don’t understand things. We need to learn to “let go” and put the past behind us. I find in my Diocese a manifestation of the Catholic Church in its fulness – even if other Churches don’t recognise us. If we live unity within ourselves, it will spread outwards – like the old Chinese proverb about peace in the heart which goes out through the family and the local town or village to the entire world.

      I believe the time of polemics is over, and that the way to Church unity is not becoming what we’re not but remaining what we are and recognising Christ in the other!

      Our Church is not perfect, and I don’t expect it to be. We are very small and marginal. But we are what it says on the tin lid. We don’t exaggerate numbers or play games. We are just what we are, and then we can make progress.

  3. ed pacht says:

    Much as I (as a member thereof) prefer what I find in TAC (at least in its US version, ACA), I think you’ve made a wise choice. My impression of the English diocese of ACC is highly favorable. I’ve taken note of the good it has been for my friend, Dcn Munn and the fulfillment he seems to be finding after so many years of betrayal by his birth church. BTW, I am made jealous to hear of the personal contact between two men I want so very much to meet in the flesh. That must have been pleasant indeed. Congratulations, Father Anthony, may God bless your ministry for many more years.

  4. Michael Frost says:

    God grant you many, many years! As regards–“my priestly vocation and desire to work in the Lord’s Vineyard in whatever way possible in a world where the Christian Faith is nearly extinguished. … when my new mission in the Church of Christ”–we pray God grants success and uses you to help bring Light & Truth back to a secular Europe.

  5. Brian McCord says:

    Will you be permitted to continue your use of the Sarum liturgical books, Father?

    • Yes, in my own chapel. I have been plain with the Bishop in my intention of conforming to local usage (ie: using the Anglican Missal with either the 1549 or Gregorian canons) when celebrating a public Mass elsewhere or when receiving visitors used to the usual standard ACC way of doing things. This is simply pastoral common sense.

  6. CredoUtIntelligam says:

    Congratulations, Father! I and my family have been flourishing in our ACC parish here in the U.S.. I hope you find the ACC as good a home as we have found it.

  7. Congratulations Father! The ACC is better place with you in it. I am also glad to hear that room has been made to allow a liturgy not tainted by the Reformation for use in your own chapel. One day I hope to return to my beloved European shores and perhaps will find time to visit Northern France 😉

    Gregory Wassen +

    • Michael Frost says:

      Fr. Gregory, Your comment–“a liturgy not tainted by the Reformation”–had me wondering, you mean the Sarum liturgy celebrated by a celibate priest entirely in Latin using only the pre-Tridentine Latin Vulgate?

      Whatever might be said about the Reformation and liturgics, worshipping in the vernacular, communion under both kinds, married clergy, Bible translated out of the original languages into the vernacular seem pretty valuable for most worshippers in most places?

      • No. I meant a liturgy not compromised by Cranmerian ambiguity with regard to the Eucharist.

      • We all argue from our own points of view. It remains to be said that we trust the Churches we belong to and come to some kind of compromise – or we have no business belonging to that Church. No Church has remained “pure Sarum”. One could give up entirely on Churches, and then we shoot ourselves in the foot and have no ecclesial mission for the exercise of our priesthood. It is a difficult one. The Diocese I belong to (and I presume all the others) uses a rite that is substantially the pre-Vatican II Roman rite in English. That rite removes ambiguity and gives complete theological orthodoxy to prayers taken from the 1549 Prayer Book (or American 1928 or whatever is the custom in a given country).

        I prefer Sarum, but I will use the standard Anglican Missal when pastoral circumstances warrant it. Also, we in the ACC are Anglicans.

      • Dale says:

        And please let us not forget that the St Tikhon’s Mass of the Antiochians is almost straight “American” 1928 BCP mixed with the traditional Anglican Missal rite! I sincerely doubt that they would have approved a “compromised” liturgy (well except for perhaps Dean Hallam’s opinions; which seem to be only his opinions).

        On a more personal note: congratulations Fr Anthony; I truly believe that the Anglican Catholic Church will greatly benefit from your scholarship in both liturgy and music.

      • Michael Frost says:

        Dale, Don’t forget that the AOC’s Western Rite’s eucharistic canon is modified from the 1928 ABCP. Subtle but significant. And in comparison to late medieval and Counter-Reformation RCC and FOC Lutheran eucharistic theology, EO’s pre-medieval theology and our emphasis on the “mystery” of the real presence means our theology is inherently more “ambiguous”.

      • It all depends on how we understand “ambiguous” and “clear”. There is every difference between “undefined” EO theology, the cut-and-dried scholasticism of the Counter-Reformation RCC and the diversity between the various “churchmanships” of Anglicanism. Quite frankly, it bothers me much less than it does for someone who might like to categorise Anglicanism as “bogus Catholicism”. We believe as we pray, and remember that the Mysteries are beyond reason and human understanding – and we respond with a heart big enough to love.

      • Michael Frost says:

        So true… the rule of prayer is the rule of belief and vice versa! (I’m usually castigated by my fellow EOs for greatly preferring our mystical, apophatic style while also trying to understand, appreciate, and show respect for the eucharistic theologies and liturgies of the Reformation, esp. Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Calvin, Cranmer, Laud, the Non-jurors, and Wesley.)

      • and vice versa?

        The reversibility of the old maxim Lex orandi, lex credendi – or more accurately Legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, according to Prosper of Aquitaine is a dangerous notion. If Rubricarius is reading this, he is certain to chip in, as he has studied this question. If the law of prayer is governed by doctrinal trends of the day, it opens the liturgy to arbitrary change. There is controversy on this point concerning Pius XII’s encyclical Mediator Dei in the comments of this post. Not being Roman Catholic, I keep out of this argument.

        Our reflections on doctrine should be determined by the prime locus theologicus (alongside the Scriptures), the liturgy. In such a way, we stick to tradition and are reticent to receive novelties lightly.

      • Michael Frost says:

        Father, As regards the vice versa and your statement (“If the law of prayer is governed by doctrinal trends of the day, it opens the liturgy to arbitrary change.”), do keep in mind that of course I’m only talking about orthodox belief and orthodox prayer. So right prayer leads to right belief; right belief leads to right prayer. Wrong prayer tends to lead to wrong belief and wrong belief always leads to wrong prayer. My former Orthodox priest (who was first a Lutheran pastor and then an ECUSA priest) used to discuss this in regard to the filioque; he was always on the look out for “creeping” filioque-ism in things like the 1940 Hymnal, medieval prayers, etc. 🙂 But the same holds true for Gnosticism, Arianism, Nestorianism, Pelagianism, Monophysitism, and Monotheletism. And any other erroneous “ism”.

        And divine liturgy as the common work of the people over time in specific places always has a natural element of maturation, adaptation, and inculturation. The only thing that doesn’t change on earth is that which is dead or inanimate to begin with? Liturgy shouldn’t be dead or dying.

      • @Michael: They don’t want to hear the Gospel Kerygma, or anything really Pauline, and certainly NOT anything Reformational! Talk about “compromise”, that’s the nature of most of the visible churches today, especially the so-called High Church! But, as you know for me, its the “Ecclesia semper reformada”! (And I hope and pray the REAL version!) Aye, another “ouch”, I believe our Lord taught us “the truth” will actually always somewhat hurt, but in a good way! 🙂

      • Fr Robert, I’m familiar with your style and convictions – and your comments on other blogs. I am not going to have reams and reams of obsessive comments from you and those responding to you in long drawn-out threads. I’m going to be firm about this.

        You are low church and I respect your beliefs. In our turn, we high church people, or those in the RC and Orthodox Churches, don’t want the Reformation rammed down their throats.

        So, I have to keep you on moderation. Please don’t “preach” at us, but be a respectful house guest.

      • @Fr. Anthony: Yes, I have had a belly-full of liberalism and compromise of late (with others), not to mention these so-called negative Cranmerian comments. So I should apologize, but indeed this is NOT my place to be, so I will move on. Best to you!

        In Christ,
        Rev. Robert K. Darby
        D.Phil, Th.D.

    • As an ACC priest I use the Anglican Missal daily. I agree with what Fr. Anthony said. However I just think that the Reformation did a lot of damage to liturgy of Sarum. The bare essentials of the BCP is just that and it is ambiguous. I did not think that was controversial. I also do not think that all the fruits of the Reformation were bad, but some I think definitely were. I have used the Anglican Breviary (companion to the Anglican Missal containing all propers from the BCP) for years and I try to blog on it when time allows me to help others find their way around the Anglican Breviary.

      Sorry Fr. Anthony I did not intend to divert attention from your great news.

      Back to lurking and reading your blog.

      • Thank you, Father, for this. I absolutely agree, and Anglicans over the centuries looked starry-eyed at the pre-Reformation Church and tried to do different things about it. The prevailing tendency in Anglo-Catholicism has been to take inspiration from the Roman Catholic Church. This has been discussed a lot when we brought up Anglican Patrimony in the old Ordinariate discussions of about three years ago. The other tendency is to revive Sarum style church furnishings and vestments, but to adhere strictly to the Prayer and Reformation formularies.

        I would like to make the Use of Sarum better known, but I can’t impose it. I can only make it available for those who have curiosity or a desire to know this local Use, which was one of many others in England, the other British Isles and the rest of the European Continent.

        I also stress the importance of a pastoral attitude to offset a certain debilitating “purist” attitude. We deal with people who are well-disposed but who are not liturgy enthusiasts and have difficulties in understanding many things we liturgists take for granted. That is why I have to be flexible. No one is asking me to “do” 1662 or the Novus Ordo – which are not approved rites in our Church. Sarum can claim the primacy of immemorial custom over law, but this can’t be pushed against harmony in the Diocese and pastoral sense.

        You are welcome to comment – just a question of anticipating other people’s reactions! I too have to tread carefully.

    • Dear Father Anthony, I totally agree with the comments of my valued Facebook friend, countryman and fellow Priest ….. congratulations and prayerful good wishes. As a former TAC Priest I have totally understood the difficulties of your past journey. As Priests we belong to Christ, but we also need to belong to His Body the Church.

      Father Ed Bakker ACC/OP
      Bendigo Australia

      • Many thanks, Fr Ed, you have been a great support to me. We have all taken flak and been faced with bleak choices. We need to take this gift we have received from God with humility – and take up the challenge. Perhaps those who have been the most hurt are the least triumphalistic! Our Church is small, tiny – but every bit as real as a community in which the Universal Church fully subsists as any Catholic and Apostolic Church of the East or the West. Let us keep confidence and conviction.

  8. Congratulations and best wishes Father in your new Church home. I also hope your foot feels better soon.

  9. Fr. David Marriott says:

    I seem to have to go to familiar prayers to express my great pleasure to see that in the ACC, Diocese of the United Kingdom, you have found safe lodging and a secure home: ‘Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants as might be most expedient for them’…. and so after divine ‘due diligence’, the desires and petitions are fulfilled… David+

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  11. Dale says:

    On another note, I know that you Fr Anthony are rather a tall fellow, yet Bishop Damien towers over you!

  12. AbpLloydOSJV says:

    Truly our hearts (plural) were warmed to read this news and I am certain that you may well have found a secure and stable “home” with ACC DUK. It has been to the benefit of my own edification to know you, Dcn Munn and meet Bp Mead and I am certain that this, together with the rest of the Diocese, will be a happy and mutually beneficial situation for you all. Be assured of our (again plural) keen prayers for a happier future together for you and all in ACC DUK.

  13. Rdr. James Morgan says:

    Fr. Anthony, I’m happy you have found your home port! Long voyage, choppy seas, but safe harbour now. And from what I’ve seen, you’re not the only coracle there! My continued prayers for you and your compadres!

    Rdr. James Morgan

    • Strangely enough, I could do with a long sea voyage in a sailing yacht. A boat is usually better off staying at sea in bad weather and not taking the risk of putting into port when the conditions are too rough. The time for putting in is when the weather is calm and the ship simply needs supplies.

      Anyway, the seafaring analogy is only an imperfect analogy, just like crossing rivers. Thank you for your prayers, and be assured of ours.

  14. Neil Hailstone says:

    Congratulations and Best Wishes Father Anthony.

  15. Andrew says:

    God bless, father. To move out of the TAC as presently constituted is a good thing. May you find a stable home in the ACC for your ministry in France.

  16. Andrew , I do agree very much with first line of your comment.
    Father Ed Bakker

  17. Simone says:

    My heartily congratulations, Father! I hope you finally found the loving and caring spiritual home you have longely been looking for. Ad multos annos!
    If you would provide more background information about ACC (are there links with the Scranton union?) it will be greatly appreciated on my side, as I’m not at all very familiar with continuing anglican traditions.

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