In about 2010 and the following year, we were all speculating about Anglicanorum coetibus and whose petition it was answering. Mrs Deborah Gyapong has written Syncretism? Bait and switch? A look at reality in the Ordinariates for Catholics of Anglican Patrimony. There have been some comments on Facebook.
At the time, Archbishop Hepworth was telling us that it was all about the petition from Portsmouth of October 2007, which I witnessed as a simple priest under the Archbishop’s oversight in his Patrimony. Certainly, at the time, Rome was unaware that Archbishop Hepworth was a former Roman Catholic priest and divorced-and-remarried. We in the TAC were unaware that Forward in Faith and some individual Anglican Communion bishops has been approaching Cardinal Ratzinger at the CDF for a long time. If the Portsmouth petition had no influence in the emergence of Anglicanorum coetibus, it was an amazing coincidence.
Monsignor Andrew Burnham, someone I am inclined to trust has said:
The approach I made with Keith [Newton] was in 2008. Once AC had been published, (Nov. 2009), we were summoned to Rome. Keith went there in January 2010 and the three bishops (I.e. with John Broadhurst) went back in April 2010 for a larger scale meeting (without TAC). Jeffrey. Steenson, Archbishops Wuerl and Collins, Longley and Bishop Hopes were there too. Subsequent to that three-day meeting, the CDF called in the TAC.
The CDF called in the TAC? Certainly not Archbishop Hepworth. The only time Archbishop Hepworth met Cardinal Müller was in Canada, and the Cardinal treated him quite coldly. I can only imagine there would have been groups of priests and bishops from the TAC making approaches independently from Archbishop Hepworth. The latter was being strategically sidelined to avoid his canonical irregularity spoiling the whole thing for clergy who had never been Roman Catholics. In the end (2012) Archbishop Hepworth had to resort to almost blackmail by accusing Australian priests of having sexually abused him as a young man. Perhaps the accusations against two deceased priests might have been credible, but not the one against Monsignor Dempsey. It backfired, and that was the end of Archbishop Hepworth as far as Rome was concerned – and for the remainder of the TAC that didn’t join the Ordinariates.
These “repeated and insistent” Anglican approaches to the Holy See are the stuff we’d all like to read about in a book one day. In the meantime, thanks for helping make it happen!
Fr Barker is currently writing a book about this very matter! Looking forward to it very much.
I hope to read the book by Fr Barker, and I trust he found my material on the TAC Archive useful. My own blogging from the time (The English Catholic) could only be partial because I did not have the information in retrospect (as is beginning to appear now) – perhaps this naivety will give authenticity to my writings as a “raw source”.
The later facts would bear out such a theory: once Archbishop Hepworth was out of the way, a good number of bishops and priests joined the Ordinariate. I was left on the beach, and although the TAC in England took me in as a priest on Archbishop Prakash’s behest, I honourably resigned and joined the ACC. There was no point in my applying to Rome on account of my own canonical irregularities, and also because there is no Ordinariate presence in France (other than an Ordinariate priest in ordinary parish ministry in a Roman Catholic diocese). What did I believe in? I joined the ACC because it corresponded with my belief as a Catholic and offered me the possibility to go through life with my head high. I am grateful to Bishop Damien Mead and our diocesan Board of Ministry, and honoured to serve as a priest in my small capacity.
In the end, I don’t matter and there is no reason why anyone should care about me. I witnessed the whole thing, even though many bits of information were out of my reach. I am glad the Ordinariates came into being, and meeting some of the English prelates and priests in Oxford was for me an honour. They are good men and their ministry is fruitful. May God bless them… Some good TAC bishops and priests found their way “home”, and that can only be a good thing. Being in correspondence with Dr Timothy Graham, who attends an Ordinariate parish, was largely at the origin of my idea to set up The Blue Flower. In Oxford, I kept out of harm’s way, but they were cordial. Some have become quite stuffy, but others have mellowed and become more open to the continuing Anglican world. I hope and pray there will be more contact and dialogue, even though we the ACC and other continuing Anglican Churches will not go into communion with Rome.
I am presently reading Ross Douthat’s To Change the Church, Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, and it is quite harrowing as the author compares different interpretations of the present confusion and disorder surrounding the first ever Jesuit Pope. Catholicism is not an institution, but a Sacrament of Salvation, our faith in Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word and our communion that transcends all human barriers and intrigues. We are already in the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church is in us!