Anglicanorum Coetibus gets underway in Australia

Many predicted that the first moves to establishing an Anglican Ordinariate would come in Australia. The Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion has already indicated readiness to accept the Holy Father’s offer in Anglicanorum Coetibus (no surprise there – they were the ones who petitioned for just such an offer), but now the first group of Anglicans currently still in communion with Canterbury have accepted the offer – the Australian branch of Forward in Faith. Astoundingly, news of this broke first in the English press (in the Telegraph), rather than in our own local press despite it happening right under their noses (you’re slipping, Barney!).

The Anglocatholic has published the full text of the resolution:

Forward in Faith Australia has just published the following statement regarding the special general meeting held this past Saturday. Note the joint working group with the TAC. More on that later. The FiF Australia National Chairman is Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and Bishop of the Southern Apostolic District in the TAC.


A Special General Meeting of Members of Forward in Faith Australia Inc. was held on Saturday 13 February at All Saints Kooyong in Melbourne to consider the following recommendations from the National Council regarding the future direction of the Association.

1.That this Special General Meeting of FiFA receives with great gratitude the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” of Pope Benedict XVI and directs the National Council to foster by every means the establishing of an Ordinariate in Australia. And furthermore this Special General Meeting reaffirms its commitment to provide care and support for those who at this time feel unable to be received into the Ordinariate.

2.That we warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Peter Elliott as delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the project to establish a Personal Ordinariate in this country.

3.That we note the formation of a working group with Bishop Elliott comprising Members of Forward in Faith Australia, the Traditional Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Church of Australia, to set in train the processes necessary for establishing an Australian Ordinariate.

4.That we give notice as to the establishing of Friends of the Australian Ordinariate and invite members of Forward in Faith Australia and other interested persons for expressions of interest by provision of names and addresses at this meeting, or by contacting the Chairman, noting that this does not commit interested persons to joining the Ordinariate.

The Meeting passed each of these Resolutions unanimously. The Right Reverend David Robarts OAM. National Chairman.

The Telegraph report fills this out a little more with background information.

The Rt Rev David Robarts OAM, chairman of FIF Australia, said members of the association felt excluded by the Anglican Church in Australia, which had not provided them with a bishop to champion their conservative views on homosexuality and women bishops.

“In Australia we have tried for a quarter of a decade to get some form of episcopal oversight but we have failed,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “We’re not really wanted any more, our conscience is not being respected.”

Bishop Robarts, 77, said it had become clear that Anglicans who did not believe in same-sex partnerships or allowing women to be ordained as bishops had no place in the “broader Anglican spectrum”.

“We’re not shifting the furniture, we’re simply saying that we have been faithful Anglicans upholding what Anglicans have always believed and we’re not wanting to change anything, but we have been marginalised by people who want to introduce innovations. We need to have bishops that believe what we believe.”

Crossing over to Rome under the new scheme would give the group the chance to retain their Anglican culture without sacrificing their beliefs, he said.

On Feb 13th the group unanimously voted to investigate setting up an Ordinariate – an ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church – in Australia.

It has formed a working group with a Catholic bishop, Bishop Peter Elliott, along with the breakaway TAC and the national church, ACA, to “set in train the processes necessary for establishing an Australian Ordinariate”.

…Forward in Faith Australia, which is based in Melbourne, has up to 200 members, but not all are expected to convert. The group said it was committed to providing “care and support” for anyone who felt unable to be received into the Ordinariate.

Bishop Robarts said his group was the first FiF branch to “embrace” the Pope’s offer so strongly. Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England have welcomed the opportunity but are waiting to see whether they will be given significant concessions on the introduction of women bishops – such as a “men-only” diocese – before deciding whether to cross the Tiber.

The Anglican Church of Australia ordained its first women priests in 1992 but so far its governing body, the General Synod, has failed to approve legislation needed to introduce women bishops. [Is this right? The Anglican dioceses of Perth and Melbourne already have women bishops.]

“It’s the first step on the road, saying thank you, we are going to go along this particular track because the door has been closed to us by the Anglican Church of Australia over a long period of time,” said the bishop. “I love my Anglican heritage, but I’m not going to lose it by taking this step.”

In other breaking news, Damien Thompson reports that

The former assistant Bishop of Newcastle, Paul Richardson, has been received into full communion with the Holy See, I am pleased to reveal. Richardson – also a former Anglican bishop in Papua New Guinea and diocesan bishop of Wangaratta in Australia – was received into the Church at the chaplaincy at Durham University last month.

A certain Ukrainian Orthodox reader of this blog, who has served as an Anglican priest in both the PNG and Wangaratta could probably tell us more about Bishop Richardson. I did have it today, from an Anglican source in Wangaratta, that the current bishop of that see is moving the diocese away from its Anglo-Catholic tradition towards more “Liberal Anglicanism”, and has set about ordaining women as deacons and priests.

On another note, there appears to be some mud thrown around by opponents to Anglicanorum Coetibus in the press in England. See:

Andrew Brown “The Cloak and Dagger Catholics”

Commented on by Damian Thompson “Revealed: Anglo-Catholic bishop in talks with CDF to stop English bishops ‘smothering’ Pope’s Anglican plan”

And further analysed by Christian Campbell at the Anglocatholic in “The Smoke of Satan”

I think that Thompson has it right when he concludes:

This email was leaked by an enemy of the Pope who timed it to throw Anglo-Catholics into confusion just before their day of prayer on Monday. They mustn’t let that happen.

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27 Responses to Anglicanorum Coetibus gets underway in Australia

  1. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Enemy of the pope, smoke of Satan, cloak and dagger — what is this, a draft for the next Dan Brown novel? Sure sounds like it.

    As always, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church, The Catholic Church.

  2. Peregrinus says:

    When we examine them under the microscope, politics are rarely pretty. Ecclesiastica politics are no exception.

    While there’s plenty of mud being thrown around in the articles you link to, none of it is being thrown by [i]opponents[/i] of AC. On the contrary, some extremely plain speaking is being indulged in by people who have a very particular view of AC, who assume – without any evidence that I can see –that the pope shares their view, and who in that confident belief enthusiastically advocate AC.

    It’s telling that Damien Thompson thinks that the e-mail must have been leaked by “an enemy of the Pope”. I would have thought that it has fairly obviously been leaked by an enemy of Andrew Burnham’s. And it’s pretty clear that Dr Burnham thinks that what he has been up to might [i]not[/i] meet with pontifical approbation; he anticipates that he may have to defend his correspondent from the wrath of his superiors [i]in the CDF[/i].

    But what is interesting in all this is not the complaint that the hierarchy of England and Wales are unenthusiastic about AC; that’s hardly a new grouse. It’s the evidence of the divisions [i]within[/i] the Anglo-Catholic movement.

    This should hardly surprise us. There are practically as many Anglo-Catholic, um, “ecclesial communities” as there are Anglo-Catholics. One aspect of their protestant heritage which they have [i]not[/i] abandoned is the fissiparous tendency to form, split and reform multiple churches and provinces.

    And this tends to reinforce a suspicion that has been growing for some time; that the Anglo-Catholic movement seeking reunion with Rome may be more akin to a clerical society than to a (local) church. An awful lot of chiefs; not too many Indians. Dr Hepworth’s recent letter to his own communion put a good deal of effort into persuading readers to accept the necessity and desirability of unconditional reordination, but not a word was said about the obviously equal necessity for re-confirmation. Does this tell us something about who Dr Hepworth expects to read his letters? About the concerns that have been voiced to Dr Hepworth by those he represents?

    Are we really dealing here with a bunch of disaffected [i]clerics[/i], more than with a bunch of disaffected Anglicans, or with a coherent Anglican community?

    • Joshua says:

      Candidly I see your point: but it remains the case that this generous offer from the Holy Father is really meant to help people, and to slight it and seem to imply that it really shouldn’t have been offered is a bit mean-spirited. After all, even if it only assists old parsons to come into full communion, wouldn’t that be a good thing in itself?

      From my own experience, having met TAC clergy and laity, I feel very sympathetic for them, and wish to help and assist them in whatever way I can. Let’s be positive – Perry, why not contact Entwistle et al., stretch out the hand of friendship to the TAC folks in WA (you can find their website and from that the details of their church and contacts), just as I did over a year ago, before AC, and thus help in the great and good work of effecting corporate reunion, be it only for a remnant of Israel?

      • Peregrinus says:

        Hi Joshua

        I don’t mean to imply that AC shouldn’t have been offered. On the whole I’m quite enthusiastic about it; what bothers me is the attempt of the Thompsonistas to hijack it in the service of their obsessive young fogeyism.

        After all, even if it only assists old parsons to come into full communion, wouldn’t that be a good thing in itself?

        Yes, but less of a good thing if we pretend that it’s something else.

        AC is designed for the reception of Anglican congregations. If there aren’t many congregations taking it up, and we end up with an Ordinariate that looks something like a religious order, only without the common life or the celibacy, that will mean that AC has been misdirected. That would be unfortunate, because I think you generally only get one chance to get these things right.

        Perhaps I’m oversensitive at the moment, but I have been reading the stomach-turning report of the response of the Archdioces of Dublin to allegations and incidences of of clerical sexual abuse over the past thirty-five years or so. I’m not a fan of clericalist culture at the moment, and the pretence that an organisation of clerics is, or is what matters of, a “church” or a “province” or a “communion” strikes me as feeding a potentially very dangerous delusion.

        • Joshua says:

          Sorry, I misunderstood you.

          The TAC et al. are precisely frightened of the worst excesses of RC clerical culture (i.e. philistinism, plus doctrinal and moral deviation with a nasty tendency to cover up crimes), and want protection from it!

  3. Joshua says:

    I know you can’t be positive about this, PE, but do you have to make mealy-mouthed comments? It’s poor manners I’d have thought.

    And please, no tirade about Rome, we can all go look up your previous postings in this vein rather easily.

    Next we’ll have Christine carrying on like a pork chop. I do wish Protestants wouldn’t protest so much.

  4. matthias says:

    It seems to me that Australia ,if not australians are at the forefront of the TAC and FiF reuniting with Rome. Is this indicative that the Anglican church of Australia will be made up of the Low(Evangelical) Church and the liberals in the near future? Pastor Mark at “Glosses from an old manse” worked out that by the year 2061 Anglicans will be Evangelicals linked to sydney diocese and the remainder of Australian Christians will be -sorry PE – members of The Catholic Church ,yes the catholic church!! Which says a lot for the Bapto/Pentecostals as such.

  5. William Tighe says:

    I believe that Paul Richardson was the last-bishop-but-one of Wangaratta, and that it was his successor who began the process of “dumbing down” the diocese. Elected as a purported “orthodox Anglo-Catholic” (a description that fits his wife perfectly) he soon fell out with the local branch of FIF/OZ and than began to allow those few of his parishes that “like that sort of thing” to import women clergypersons to celebrate on occasion. Later still, he began to “ordain” female “deacons.”

    His mission completed, he “had his reward,” becoming Vicar of Arundel (Sussex) in the Church of England a year or so ago.

    Two comments, one from St. Augustine, the other adopted from St. Thomas More: “Acceperunt mercedem suam vani vanam,” and “What profiteth it to gain the whole world and to lose one’s soul — but for Arundel, Plusdavid, for Arundel?”

    I understand that the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat is sliding down a similar slippery slope, in that case under the tutelage of a former Catholic Franciscan friar as its Anglican bishop. One wonders if David Silk will “do a Paul Richardson” in due course.

    • Schütz says:

      David Silk is a top chap. I knew him when he was president of the Victorian Council of Churches and I was the Lutheran rep on the Executive. Do you know where he is now?

      • William Tighe says:

        In England. He attended Graham Leonard’s requiem at St. Aloysius, Oxford, a few weeks ago; and from what I gathered of his conversation there and thereafter I concluded that hen may think that his quondam brethren may have “chosen the better part.”

  6. Christine says:

    Next we’ll have Christine carrying on like a pork chop. I do wish Protestants wouldn’t protest so much.

    Joshua, that was delightful — you’ve made my day :)


  7. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Great grilling Judas on the patio, I must have missed this bit of acculturation during my years of rooming with “Crocodile Dundee” in grad school, or forgot as it’s been a while — what is it to carry on like a pork chop?

  8. Matthias says:

    PE it means to be a pain in the butt ,or for us Aussies a pain in the bum-much like Luther was to the papacy or Wesley to High church Anglicans

  9. Christine says:

    “pain in the butt ”

    Matthias, thanks for the clarification :)

    I cheerfully acknowledge to being same on more than one occasion!


  10. Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

    Great Judas the Butcher, what did pork chops ever do to become a metaphor for a pain in the, uh, rear, how’s that? Surely there is a cultural story here.

  11. matthias says:

    No PE Judas if he was Jewish would not be touching the Pork chop and if he did he would be carrying on about it ,and being a pain in the bum/butt.
    Joshua for linguistic purposes perhaps using the term ” pain in the neck ” would be easier to explain. or perhaps he ‘s gone fair troppo he has

    • Joshua says:

      Hmmm, I’m not sure where this comes from… (goes to the dictionary…) no luck… (googles…) From the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the ANU:

      pork chop: carry on like a pork chop

      “To make a fuss, to behave in a silly or excited way. This is an elaboration of the standard phrase ‘to carry on’. The pork chop is an Australian addition, and some people suggest that the phrase derives from the fact that frying pork makes an especially loud spitting noise. The Australian phrase may have been influenced by the expression like a pork chop in a synagogue, meaning ‘out of place’ or ‘unpopular’.”

      • Terry Maher (Past Elder) says:

        That’s it then, explains it, thanks!

        Btw, anyone who thinks being Jewish means you won’t even touch pork needs to spend some time hanging out with Reform Jews.

  12. Schütz says:

    Deary me. One day we must get all you guys into the one room together: PE, Christine, Josh, Matthias. We could have some real fun…

  13. matthias says:

    Deveny you mean ? PE . now there is a real lady for you-NOT.

  14. Christine says:

    the phrase derives from the fact that frying pork makes an especially loud spitting noise.

    Aw shucks, Joshua, my husband would attest to the fact that I make “especially loud spitting noises” from time time — especially when I disagree with him!

    One day we must get all you guys into the one room together: PE, Christine, Josh, Matthias. We could have some real fun…

    David, of that there is no doubt whatsoever :)


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