Saturday, May 5, 2018

"Continuers" Retrench, Maybe

A visitor sent me a link to the address by the Rt Revd Paul C Hewett, SSC to the Synod of the Diocese of the Holy Cross on April 27, 2018, at Columbia, SC. The most interesting part is below, emphases mine.
We have to spend time on our structures, clearing a pathway toward convergence with other traditional orthodox Anglicans, and, beyond, with groups like the Union of Scranton. And then within this structure, the new wineskin for the new wine, we let the Holy Spirit fashion the new life that reveals the new head of the new human race, in the new creation. This is the substance that fills the structure, and as the old saying goes, “form without substance is the shell of the serpent’s egg.”

We all know the need for skeletal structure, for backbone, to give us a future. None of our groups in the G-4 and beyond has long-term viability. The Polish National Catholic Church does not have long term viability. The world is in flames and we do not have a lot of time to forge a common life and witness. If we do not hang together, we shall surely hang separately, as our patriot forefathers said of the 13 colonies in the late 18th century. So we have a relationship with Forward in Faith, and have gone on to lift the lid on what a membership in the Union of Scranton would be like.

The Union of Scranton is comprised of the Polish National Catholic Church, the PNCC, based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the Nordic Catholic Church, the NCC, based in Oslo, Norway. The NCC has now spread to England and many parts of Europe. Each member has complete self-governance, but each holds itself accountable to the other in matters of faith and morals. Until 1977 we were in communion with the PNCC, which has two special charisms: orders recognized by Rome, and theology recognized by Orthodoxy. Last March, Archdeacon Boccabello and I, and other Anglicans, attended a Convocation in Dublin, Ireland, to get some more fire going, to reach out, and look ahead, for a converging path, that would include our Diocese, and others in the G-4, and others who would like to be part of this convergence.

Meanwhile, the PNCC has well-established contacts with the Greek Orthodox, just as we do, and we aim to connect all this. Last September Bishop Kevin Donlon, Father Geoffrey Neal, Bishop Roald Flemestad, Bishop Kyrillos and I attended a week-long meeting of the Society for the Law of the Eastern Churches in Debrecen, Hungary. We now have a rough-draft sketch of how we can proceed on converging paths, not to join one another, but to enjoy the communion, the reciprocity, the perichoresis, that brings new vision and riches and strength to us all

Next week Bishop Chad and I, and other bishops in the G-4, are meeting for two days in Amherst, New Hampshire, to plan our next joint synods, for January of 2020. We want to give our church a name, and work on the kind of polity we will have, and on our canons, and to look beyond, to relationships with others of like mind. The Lord is preparing His Church and gathering His faithful ones, and it is all happening rather smartly — that is to say, at a fairly brisk pace, no doubt because of the world’s crying need for healing in Christ.

Hewett's reference to "G-4" presumably refers to the intercommunion agreement among the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), the Anglican Church in America (ACA), the Anglican Province of America (APA) and the Diocese of the Holy Cross (DHC) signed last fall.

Hewett is going farther to indicate these groups are going to pursue union of some vague sort with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Nordic Catholic Church. In the context of observations earlier this week, it seems as though these groups are trying to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which David Berlinski summarized as "things go from bad to worse", or otherwise, "In all spontaneous processes, the total entropy always increases and the process is irreversible."

Hewett says, "We want to give our church a name, and work on the kind of polity we will have, and on our canons. . ." -- by 2020?? His remarks that neither the "continuers" nor the PNCC have long term viability strike me as remarkably forthright -- but then to suggest these groups are somehow going to pull together when their entire history has been a series of pullings apart strikes me as completely unrealistic.

I suspect that what this means for St Mary of the Angels is that the ACA will move on to other preoccupations.