Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Let's Back Off And Look At The Pattern

I hadn't really thought, until I reviewed the ACA's reversal on the House of Bishops resolution from January 10, 2012, that there was nothing new there. In that resolution, they said:
Almost two years ago, in anticipation of the erection of the American Ordinariate, the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church in America authorized the creation of an entity styled the Patrimony of the Primate. This entity was designed to be a temporary structure, something of a “holding tank,” for those parishes, clergy and people who desired entry into the Ordinariate. It was agreed that the Patrimony of the Primate would cease to exist once the Ordinariate was established. Given that the American Ordinariate was erected on January 1, 2012, the term of the Patrimony of the Primae has thus lapsed. Those who were formerly part of the Patrimony of the Primate must now make a decision regarding their future jurisdiction. Anyone, whether clergy or laity, who may now wish to return to the Anglican Church in America, should do so by contacting the diocesan bishop in their area. . . .

Now that the circumstances regarding the Ordinariate have been clarified, we welcome those who wish to return to the ACA and encourage them to communicate directly with their ecclesiastical authority. The process of return is designed to be as simple as it is pastoral. But, in any case, the Patrimony of the Primate has, with the erection of the Ordinariate, ceased its operations within the United States as of January 1, 2012.

But by June 2012, the ACA had decided it was in its interest to legitimize its seizure of St Mary of the Angels, and it "clarified" its earlier position:
[S]ince the HOB of the ACA had declared the said Patrimony to have ceased on the day the Ordinariate was created in the USA, as per the erms [sic] of the original agreement, the Patrimony of the rimate [sic] in the USA would have ceased to exist effective January 1, 2012. At that point, the COB affirmed that the Patrimony of the Primate in the USA ceased to exist on the date the Ordinariate was created and the Ordinary names [sic] (January 1, 2012). Further, COB unanimously affirmed that all clergy and parishes/missions of the Patrimony had reverted back to the diocese in which they are geographically located.

This may sound like it is in conflict with an earlier resolution of the HOB that stated that clergy and parishes/missions could “apply” to return to their ACA diocese should they desire. But the reality is that the resolution dealt with clergy and parishes/missions that desired to return before the Patrimony ceased to exist or after they had been accepted into the Ordinariate.

Except that said "earlier" resolution was dated January 10, 2012, after the Patrimony had ceased to exist, and it clearly referred to those parishes in the present tense -- "Given that the American Ordinariate was erected on January 1, 2012, the term of the Patrimony of the Primae has thus lapsed. Those who were formerly part of the Patrimony of the Primate must now [emphasis added] make a decision regarding their future jurisdiction." Words mean something. Beyond that, the ACA made no move to reassert authority over several other parishes that had in fact applied to join the Ordinariate but had not been accepted, including the Holy Cross Anglican Mission in Honolulu and the Church of the Holy Nativity in Payson, AZ, which were never listed on the 2012 list of ACA parishes in the Diocese of the West.

There's nothing unique about this, though -- the whole backing and filling over the Portsmouth Petition is simply the same script. With the exception of the few TAC bishops who signed the Portsmouth Letter and have actually had the integrity to become Catholic priests or laymen (and the two who were purged but haven't gone over), the great majority are still busy airbrushing history.

It occurred to me a while ago that, when I saw the numerous photos that reach the web of TAC bishops at their meetings, dressed up in their faux-cardinal cassocks and cummerbunds, these are little more than members of any fraternal group that dresses up and wears funny hats at conventions. Indeed, they're not much different from the sorts who go to Civil War reenactments and pretend to be General Sherman or Abe Lincoln, except that the Civil War guys have a much clearer picture of when they're play-acting.