Saturday, June 9, 2018

The "Anglican Catholic" Nightmare

Yesterday's court session for some reason brought me to a greater recognition that the St Mary of the Angels saga is central to the whole question of "Anglican Catholics", a subject Patrick Madrid addressed on his radio program that I linked here. Mr Madrid felt, I think correctly, that it wasn't separate from other questions like episcopi vagantes, and as I noted in my post then, he calls it a "nightmare".

Thus we have the sometime episcopus vagans and "Anglican Catholic" Mr Chadwick taking out after this blog with some regularity. What do Mr Chadwick and Mrs Bush have in common, when you get right down to it, other than a certain opposition to Mr Bruce? I think it goes to the basic question of what an "Anglican Catholic" purports to be, and this takes me back to the quote at the start of Allen Guelzo's history of the REC, that I referred to last month:

You are an Anglican if you think you are. The terms are comprehensive. You are most incontrovertibly an Anglican if you have been confirmed by an Anglican bishop and go regularly to an Anglican church. . . . But you are just as much an Anglican if you go regularly to an Anglican church, unconfirmed; or if you go intermittently; or if the church you would go to if you ever went is Anglican; or if it is an Anglican church that you go to for rites of passage, or that others look to on your behalf. . . . It [the Anglican Church] is already unhostile to departures from doctrinal orthodoxy.
But it isn't quite that simple. The basic point for Mrs Bush, after all, is that some Anglicans are not as good as others, and Fr Kelley, the vestry, and the members in good standing of the St Mary's parish are definitely not as good, to the extent that she will litigate endlessly to prove her point. Notwithstanding the St Mary's parish left its original Anglican denomination 40 years ago and has left two others since, she clearly feels there's a "right" denomination it belongs to, and she's a member.

So one part of this brand of "Anglicanism" is that it isn't actually live-and-let-live, no matter it's unhostile to departures from doctrinal orthodoxy. This applies as well to Mr Chadwick. Several people have brought me up to date on his wanderings and departures. By his account

I became a Roman Catholic in 1981 through the traditionalists, and immediately wanted to become a priest. After some unplesant experiences, I studied theology at university level at Fribourg in Switzerland and joined the Institute of Christ the King in Italy, in which I remained for five years. I was ordained a deacon in 1993 in the seminary chapel by Cardinal Pietro Palazzini. I was assigned to parish work in France in an extraordinarily difficult situation and left in 1995.
He is conveniently vague on what "left" means, but we may assume he left the Catholic Church as this is generally understood. He was ordained a "priest" in 1998 by Bishop Raymond Terrasson, who was consecrated by Clemente Dominguez Gómez, a bishop of the Holy Palmarian Church, "a small schismatic Catholic church with an episcopal see in El Palmar de Troya, Spain". Chadwick's account continues,
This ordination was recognised as valid by Archbishop John Hepworth when he accepted me into the Traditional Anglican Communion in 2005.
Another visitor points out, however, that Chadwick omits from his current biography that he was "consecrated bishop" in 2000 by Bishop Lucien-Cyril Strijmeersch, who was consecrated by Jean Gérard de la Passion Antoine Laurent Charles Roux - the very bishop Chadwick maligns in his essay here.
Jean-Gérard Roux is someone who has caused a tremendous amount of harm to the movement of independent traditional Roman Catholicism. Wherever he has been, a trail of destruction has been left: people cheated out of sums of money, but more importantly, he has left scandal and bitterness among Christian believers and clergy alike.

Though I have learned a certain amount concerning his sordid personal life, that information is of no interest to me, and will certainly be of no use to my readers. What is important is that he is going around telling people that he was consecrated a bishop directly by Archbishop Ngô-dinh-Thuc in 1982. If the Archbishop really did consecrate such a person, that would mean that the Vietnamese prelate was worthy of no credibility on the part of honest Catholics, having already made prudential errors, particularly in regard to the Palmar de Troya sect.

A visitor concludes that Chadwick had reason to believe that the Roux sub-lineage from the Thuc lineage is suspect. He only asked to be regularized as a priest by Archbishop Hepworth, both because he doubted whether his consecration was valid (even within the standards of the sort of people who accept the Thuc lineage as valid) and because he did not want to function as a vagantes bishop.

It's worth noting, though, that he attached himself to Abp Hepworth for only about as long as he attached himself to Palmarians, dissociating himself from Hepworth with bitterness not much less than he exhibits with Roux. Now he's with the ACC, for however long that will be.

In the quote above, Mr Chadwick apparently speaks for "independent traditional Roman Catholicism", whatever that is, though it definitely seems to involve episcopi vagantes and at least allegations of sordid personal stuff. (The odd thing is the off-and-on relationship Chadwick himself seems to have with it.)

And whether or not he was a real Catholic deacon for a couple of years and subsequently some sort of "independent traditional Roman Catholic", he now seems to identify as an Anglican again, since he's a priest in the ACC. So this is the position of authority from which he tells John Bruce to piss off and change his diapers!

The bottom line, though, is that the "Anglican Catholic" project is full of soi-disant authorities ranging from Mrs Bush to Mr Chadwick -- but including, I fear, not a few priests and candidates for ordination in the OCSP. People like this are "Anglican", or "Catholic", or "Anglican Catholic" if they think they are (although what they think is subject itself to change!). Somehow they reason from this that they're authorities and can decide who else is a good one, whatever a good one is at that moment. I would say that the visible arbitrariness of ordinations in Houston contributes to the picture among people attracted to "Anglican Catholicism" that the Church is endorsing their position.