Thinking Anglicans

from the archives

Bill Fleener Jr has drawn attention on his blog Est Anima Legis to some earlier cases which are of interest now in connection with two dioceses which have recently voted to leave The Episcopal Church.

Fort Worth moves from Devious to Hypocrisy

Quincy Hypocrisy just like Fort Worth


  • John Henry says:

    The truth will out eventually!

    The secession game is all about power, not defective theology.

  • Robert Ian williams says:

    What do you expect from two dioceses where the bishop signed the ” Jerusalem Declaration ” that affirmed the 39 articles which undermine their very understanding of Anglicanism?

    They signed up to the articles , condemning invocation of Saints, the Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic reservation and worship..and then went straight home to practice them!

    Furthermore the GAFCON Secretariat knew full well that they would do so…but that gave Sydney the opportunity to introduce Diaconal administration by the back door.

    And this from those who constantly moan about the lawlessness of TEC!

  • bobinswpa says:

    Thanks for the info Robert. I wasn’t aware that the Anglo-Catholics signed off on Benediction and Transposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the sacrifice of the mass and invocation of the saints. All these groups will fracture further because of the inability to accomodate differences. Give it time.

  • Columba Gilliss says:

    Anybody know how the courts ruled in either of these cases?
    Columba Gilliss

  • Ford Elms says:

    “And this from those who constantly moan about the lawlessness of TEC!”

    Sarcasm alert!!! But if God is on your side, nothing you do is lawless. Now, whether or not THEY are on God’s side is another matter netirely.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “All these groups will fracture further because of the inability to accomodate differences.”

    I can’t wait till they start accusing each other of marginalizing them and breaking promises and all that stuff. When the outward wrath turns inward. Sounds like a line from a Sankey Hymn.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    This account comes from the parish’s web site
    Internal Strife
    In the mid eighties, the Diocese of Fort Worth began to experience a great deal of turmoil concerning the leadership of the national church and, in 1989, the Bishop of Fort Worth was instrumental in establishing the Episcopal Synod of America and became its president. In the next several years, Father McCauley’s discontent with the Episcopal Church grew and, as he became more vocal in his discontent, he was successful in convincing a large number of parishioners, including the vestry, that they should leave the Episcopal Church. On October 2, 1992, the vestry voted to secede from the Episcopal Church and decreed that, henceforth, the church would be a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox faith. A law suit was immediately presented by the Bishop and the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to recover the church property. While the legal proceedings were taking place, the loyal Episcopalians of the Church of the Holy Apostles became a church in exile.
    Arrangements were made to conduct Sunday services at the All Saints’ school chapel. Father Brian Koehler served as interim rector for several months and was succeeded by Father Jim DeWolfe SSC who, at that time, had retired from All Saints’ Church. Although still in exile, the Church of the Holy Apostles’ celebrated the its 30th anniversary in June 1994, with a gala celebration at the Ridglea Country Club. Many previous members who had moved away, returned to Fort Worth to help celebrate, including Father Paul Clayton, the church’s vicar of 30 years ago, who spoke at the banquet.
    A Settlement
    The legal proceedings to recover the church property were quite lengthy and the presiding judge pressed for both sides to arrive at a mediated settlement. Finally, in June 1995, a settlement agreement was reached whereby the Orthodox agreed to vacate the Holy Apostles’ church site on December 31, 1995, and to return an amount of $25,000. The keys to the buildings were received at 4:00 p. m. on December 31st and the current Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker, celebrated the Eucharist on the morning of January lst, 1996.
    Father Christopher T. Cantrell SSC, then rector of Saint John’s Church, Brownwood, Texas was called to be rector in the Fall of 1996.

  • Cal McMillan says:

    Anglo-Catholics understand that the life-and-death ferment of the 16th century ensured that virtually all the formative documents were contrived to be patient of a number of interpretations. Thus, whereas a superficial reading of the 39 Articles might appear to condemn various catholic practices, a more careful scrutiny reveals considerable room for them to continue in the reformed church – as in small part they have, with toleration all round.

    With this rationale, Fort Worth and Quincy would have no trouble just continuing to interpret the Articles as they always have. Their active assent however, certainly leaves them open to being later found out dissembling thus, before the face of their new literalist GAFCON cohorts.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “the Orthodox agreed to vacate the Holy Apostles’ church site”

    Well, if the Real Orthodox were able to vacate the premises, I see no reason why the modern Episcopalian Pseudorthodox ought not do the same thing. And, given that there’s precedent in Fort Worth diocese, if the current schismatics are so darned “orthodox” they can no longer be in communion with Anglicans, perhaps they should follow in the footsteps of their predecessors and join the Real Orthodox rather than doing what they are doing. But then, I’m sure the Antiochians would, in true Orthodox fashion, point out to them quite calmly and sincerely, that they are not really “orthodox” at all, and that any clergy among them will have to be reordained, and all the lay people will have to be Chrismated, since the Real Orthodox do not recognize self proclaimed “orthodox” to be anything of the kind, most especially when they are unable to affirm three of the Seven Ecumenical councils and therefor have a deeply heterodox Christology. They might even be required to repudiate their support for the Jerusalem Declaration! That might be a bit too much for them to bear, having people who are mainfestly NOT Evil Hell Bound Liberals tell them exactly the same thing the Evil Hell Bound Anglican Liberals have been telling them all along. It wouldn’t be comfortable for them to find out at this late date that, contrary to the line they have been fed these past number of years, “orthodoxy” is not actually defined by one’s position on sexual morality and hatred of liberals and gays.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    Thankyou, Martin, for giving us access to the web-site of Holy Apostles Church, fort Worth. What an amazing plethora of information about the trials and troubles of that Dicoese. Much as I do love good catholic liturgy, methinks this ethos veers rather to close to that which Robert I.W. might consider suitable for the Roman Catholic Church.

    One wonders how this will all blend in with the Calvinism of most of the Global South Primates and their dutiful acolytes in the newly reformed *Church of Confessing Anglicans* to be initiated in Chicago on 3rd December? What a widely open theological spectrum they will have to contend with – except that they will all be anti-women and anti-gay. Lets hope that all the different elements will be able to celebrate a common liturgy (centred around the Bible and the Pulpit) to inaugurate this colouful assembly.

  • Malcolm+ says:

    Cal is quite correct about the articles. In general, they tend not to define what we do believe, but rather to enumerate what we don’t. But even these semi-anathema’s tend to be subtly phrased.

    I am reminded of the story of Arthur Michael Ramsey, 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, who after his retirement, spent some time as an episcopal vistor at Nashota House.

    On one occasion, following a service where he had preached about purgatory, one of the students queried him, citing the 39 Articles to say that Anglicans do not believe in purgatory.

    “No, no, young man,” the ex-Cantuar is said to have replied. “The article just says that we don’t believe the Romish doctrine of purgatory.”

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Just a few pointers…..

    There was no Anglo-catholicism after the Elizabethan Church settlement.

    A high Church party did emerge which was firmly rooted within Protestantism. The Non Jurors who probably represent its highest form, could not negotiate a union with the Orthodox, because they repudiated icons, invocation, transubstantiation and the propitiatory understanding of the Eucharist.

    Anglo-catholicism, which now is divided between liberals like Ron and Conservatives like Iker developed in the nineteenth century with the introduction of Roman Catholic ritual and doctrines into Anglicanism.

    As for the Orthodox, thy have also departed from earlier positions on sexuality. They allow divorce and re-marriage and now most accept contraception.

  • drdanfee says:

    These case studies clearly help to demonstrate that the whole realignment business is really about insiders vs outsiders, with a huge, huge, huge tectonic bedrock of church life power issues.

    I predict two strategies will be used by Quincy and/or Ft. W to deal with the cases of themselves and past dissents or exits. The first strategy is simply that of studied neglect – heads in the realignment sands. If realignment leaders and believers simply do not see something, it cannot exist as all real or true sight or vision is solely the closed function of their realignment point of view. A second fav ploy is to find some one or other way to send the frames spinning, typically by presuppositional means. Then any and all past cases can be realigned into being categorized or classifications which by definition have nothing to do with one another.

    Thus the realigned exits and dissents of past cases are now nothing at all to the present exts and dissents of realignment in Quincy or Ft W.

    How far either strategy will actually go in working across the antiwomen and antigay gaps – well that is going to be the interesting one.

    As the evil emperor in Star Wars opines: I have seen the future and it is all proceeding according to my plans. Light candles for IRD, Chapman, and others on those accounts then.

  • ettu says:

    Assuming there is eventually legal action ( a safe assumption!!) then Drdanfee’s first prediction is unlikely – judges and lawyers tend to look carefully – and noisily-into precedents such as this “Holy APostles’episode”.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “As for the Orthodox, thy have also departed from earlier positions on sexuality. They allow divorce and re-marriage and now most accept contraception.”

    I knew they did this, but what are the “earlier positions” and when did the Orthodox depart from them? I was of the impression that their position on divorce goes back a long ways, perhaps even into the patristic period. I can’t find an exact date for the decision online. I did find one quote on an Orthodox site, in which John Crysostom says it would be:

    “better to break the covenant than to lose one’s soul”.

    This leads me to believe Orthodox toleration of divorce as part of the Divine Economia goes back quite a ways, but I don’t have anything concrete. Could you clarify?.

  • Kurt says:

    Facts never get in the way of Robert Ian Williams.

  • PeterK says:

    Robert Ian Williams wrote: “There was no Anglo-catholicism after the Elisabethan Church settlement.

    A high Church party did merge which was firmly rooted within Protestantism.”

    There was always at least a catholic minimum in the Anglican Church. The AC never lost her catholic roots.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    Kurt, the fact is that the old High Church party were as oppposed to the emergence of Anglo-Catholicism as the Evangelicals……as for the Orthodox, I find them in many ways more anti-Catholic, than many evangelicals……Rome’s ecumenical view of them is flawed thinking.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “Western culture no longer regards heterosexual marriage as the only socially acceptable form of expression of sexual love, and many Christians in same-sex relationships are searching for ways to live out their commitment to one another with faithfulness and integrity.” Art. ‘Tablet’ 21/11

    For Robert’s information, the wrtier of this article published today in RC Church paper ‘The Tablet’, is also aware of present difficulties in the areas of marriage, divorce & re-marriage, and how to deal with same-sex relationships.

    Perhaps Robert, and other Roman Catholic visitors on this site ought to have a look at what is going in in their own patch, before criticising what the Anglican Church is doing in these areas -or at least, let us know more precisely where your mercurial sympathies actually lie.

    Fort Worth’s present difficulties are nothing compared to what is coming up for the Roman Catholic Church in the matter of where future vocations are to come from – in the face of a ‘magisterium’ which refuses to countenance debate on women and gays in ministry, and the recognition of same-sex relationships.

    I deplore derogatory comments about problems within Anglicanism, when they come from converts who once valued our Church, but now (having scuttled from what they obviously perceived to be a defective Church) have decided to criticise it from outside, from the platform of Romanism.
    What is to be gained by this enteprise?

  • I do commend to RIW a study of the tenth-century Benedictine reforms in England.

  • RIW makes an interesting point, though – that it is always possible so to define ‘true church’ as to exclude anyone you don’t want to share the faith with. Ultramontane Romanism can do this as effortlessly as Westminster Confession zealotry: it’s all about definition….. Not much to do with catholicism, though.

  • Kurt says:

    “Kurt, the fact is that the old High Church party were as oppposed to the emergence of Anglo-Catholicism as the Evangelicals……as for the Orthodox, I find them in many ways more anti-Catholic, than many evangelicals……Rome’s ecumenical view of them is flawed thinking.”–Robert Ian Williams

    Rubbish. Actually, a good case can be made that the Catholic Revival in Anglicanism had much of its beginnings in the American Church, where the old High Church party led the way.

  • Ford Elm says:

    “as for the Orthodox, I find them in many ways more anti-Catholic, than many evangelicals”

    I find this a very interesting statement. How so?

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    Ford, I think Robert means more anti-Roman Catholic, than merely anti-Catholic. Interestingly though, the present Pope is making some fresh overtures to the Orthodox – both of whose Churches seeming to favour retrospection rather than current Gospel inititiatives.

    Mistake me not. I have a great deal of sympathy for both the Orthodox and Roman Churches. It’s just that some of their adherents seem to be a little bit hazy about their understanding of Anglicanism, and therefore defensive in their protestations of doctrinal purity.

  • BillyD says:

    Ford, I think that Fr. Smith is on the right track. Some EOs, especially some Russians, can be virulently ant-RCC.

  • Ford Elms says:

    Fr. Ron and BillyD,
    I know the antipathy of the Orthodox to the “two horned Devil of Rome”, as the previous Pope was called when he went to Greece. It extends to all Western Christians, who they consider to all be Roman in some sense, even those as virulently anti-Pope as the Orthodox themselves, since all Western Christians are “a”, whether it be “a+”, like Rome, or “a-” like the Protestants. The Orthodox are “b”. (I’ve been reading Kallistos Ware). But, antipathy to Rome is not antiCatholicism, it is merely antipathy to one diocese of the Church Catholic. Granted, it’s a diocese possessed of such hubris it has claimed for itself power over the entire world, but the Eastern bishops refused to let them get away with that nearly a millennium ago. The Catholic Faith is not the Roman Catholic Church, so, anti-Rome, yes indeed, ostentatiously so. Anti-Catholic? I need more evidence, they seem like uberCatholics to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *