Monday, February 25, 2013

The ACC Bishops Weren't Fooled

by Falk's behind-the-scenes maneuvering in 1991.
In a meeting held in Deerfield Beach, Florida, in June of 1991, Falk and Bishop Connors of the ACC met with Clavier, Fr Frank Pannitti, and Fr Walter Crespo of the AEC, to discuss selections for potential bishops and priests to serve the TAC in South America. (pp 200-201)
Note that Falk, having created a superdenominational body in the TAC under his exclusive control, then proceeded to deal with the AEC outside the channels of the ACC bishops, who had (correctly) been expressing serious reservations about the dodgy AEC "Archbishop" Anthony Clavier.
An ACC priest from Colombia, Fr Victor Manuel Cruz-Blanco, tried to convince Falk that some of the candidates were unfit for their office, and noted that one of them had been denied the priesthood in the ACC due to some alleged moral misconduct while studying as a Roman Catholic seminarian, only to be ordained later into the AEC. Falk withdrew into a private meeting with Clavier and Connors, eventually returning to inform Fr Cruz-Blanco that the questionable candidates would be accepted into the TAC since, it was declared, the South American region was henceforth under their control. The next day they informed the Colombian priest that he was no longer to refer to himself as the Vicar-General of Colombia, that he was no longer to write letters to any of his fellow priests, and that all of his candidates for the priesthood were to be handed over to Fr Crespo's supervision. (p 201)
Once the ACC bishops realized that Falk had in effect appropriated their authority via the TAC and had been de facto operating a denomination merged with the AEC without their approval, they brought formal charges against him in August, 1991.
In other words (to many within the ACC), his actions gave the appearance of covert machinations of a man who was trying to take as many as he could from his old ecclesiastical body before he bolted for another. (p 202)
However, the September 1991 trial didn't take place, because one of the bishops on the court had to leave due to the death of his mother, leaving the proceeding without a quorum. According to Bess, the ACC then made a compromise, allowing Falk to take his diocese with him out of the ACC.
Falk attended the Deerfield Beach meeting in October, at which the Diocese of the Holy Trinity, a reported 70 percent of the Diocese of the South, and a smattering of parishes from both the ACC and other Continuing bodies merged with the AEC to form the Anglican Church in America (ACA)[.] (p 202-3)
I'm told that in the ACA, Falk kept the titles of Archbishop and Metropolitan of the West and added the title "Primate of All of the United States of America." (Clavier was allowed to call himself Archbishop, Metropolitan of the East, and "Primate of the Untied States of America.") The ACC majority met shortly afterward and elected Bishop Lewis as its new Metropolitan. But even before the October meeting, a new AEC scandal emerged involving Clavier, Crespo, and Crespo's priests in New Jersey.
[E]vidence emerged during the investigation that Clavier had unknowingly ordained a priest who had been a bigamist, but then had only mildly disciplined the priest for concealing the impropriety from his bishop. Worse still, Clavier had "supported" a priest who had been placed in a mental hospital for sexually assaulting young boys. (p 203)
We're seeing a pattern that will continue with Falk and his successors in the ACA-TAC up to the present: a willingness to work with and through priests who have records of scandal in other denominations, as long as they're useful to Falk and his successors. Falk himself, of course, has exactly that sort of record, so it shouldn't be surprising that he's not squeamish when it comes to others. The example of retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, though, suggests that memory is long in cases like this, and the ACA should beware of it. "Presiding Bishop" Marsh, wouldn't it be wise to get out in front of what could blow up regarding "Archbishop" Falk?