Rorate Caeli

More Papal moves towards unity
A Personal Prelature for the Traditional Anglican Communion?

The Catholic Australian weekly The Record publishes this week this most relevant report: the Traditional Anglican Communion could be received as a Personal Prelature of the Catholic Church before the end of the year.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church – a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.

TAC members split from the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams over issues such as its ordination of women priests and episcopal consecrations of women and practising homosexuals.

The TAC’s case appeared to take a significant step forwards in October 2008 when it is understood that the CDF decided not to recommend the creation of a distinct Anglican rite within the Roman Catholic Church – as is the case with the Eastern Catholic Churches - but a personal prelature, a semi-autonomous group with its own clergy and laity.

Opus Dei was the first organisation in the Catholic Church to be recognised as a personal prelature, a new juridical form in the life of the Church. A personal prelature is something like a global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop and with its own membership and clergy.

Because no such juridical form of life in the Church had existed before, the development and recognition of a personal prelature took Opus Dei and Church officials decades to achieve.

An announcement could be made soon after Easter this year. It is understood that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in the matter, has linked the issue to the year of St Paul, the greatest missionary in the history of the Church.

The Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls could feature prominently in such an announcement for its traditional and historical links to Anglicanism. Prior to the English Reformation it was the official Church of the Knights of the Garter.

The TAC’s Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth, told The Record he has also informed the Holy See he wants to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman, also an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, as a celebration of Anglican-Catholic unity.

Tip: American Catholic & T. Edwards


  1. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I am sure I reflect the hopes of all of us who are beneficiaries of the ministry of Anglican Usage parishes when I say: May this happen, and soon!

  2. As a Roman Trad, I say good. Let them be fruitful and multiply, and let them exert a good influence on the Novus Ordo parishes who will see their deportment, watch their liturgies, and hear their music. They will be an aid in extending the hermeneutic of continuity. Who knows...the trads may even decide to dabble in a bit of latin someday. :-) God Bless the Pope and grant him many years.

  3. Anonymous2:30 PM

    If this report is correct, which it clearly is not, it is extremely bad news. A personal prelature is exactly the wrong structure for the TAC. The TAC should be accorded a uniate Church, akin to those of the Eastern churches.

    What the Holy See might have in mind is not a personal prelature but a territorial prelature. The report falsely claims that a personal prelature is a structure which includes both clergy and laics. Really? Wrong. It includes ONLY clerics: "they are composed of deacons and priests of the secular clergy" (Canon 294); laics can be co-operators but would remain subjects of the local Latin Rite ordinaries (cf. Canon 296).


    We need to pray hard that the journalists are wrong as usual.

    What I suspect Rome may have in mind is a TERRITORIAL PRELATURE which is 'personal' in the sense that it is erected for persons of a rite "or some similiar quality" (Canon 372.2). A territorial prelature is equivalent in law to a diocese and does include lay subjects (Canon 368; cf. Canon 370). Opus Dei originally asked for an international territorial prelature; instad, it got a personal prelature.

    When the Campos structure was being discussed, the morons in the press said over and over and over again that it was to be a personal prelature. Fortunately, they were proved wrong. Then they said that the S.S.P.X was offered the same thing in 2000. In 2003, Bishop Fellay proved them wrong again.

    Let's pray to God that they're wrong yet again. Under Canon 297, a personal prelature cannot even operate in the territory of a diocese without the permission of the local Latin Rite ordinary. That would be a total disaster for the TAC.


  4. Anonymous2:42 PM

    O No ! Who WILL Kasper TALK TO KNOW. I pray this really happens.

  5. They are better in The Church than out of it. I have many Anglican friends and hope they will find the true faith once inside. The Church welcomes all who repent and desire membership of Our Blessed Lord's one faith and one body.

  6. Anonymous3:04 PM

    It sounds like a good thing. But I have to ask the question: Isn't the granting of private prelatures at least somewhat problematic? Even if they are identified by other more universal names and descriptions?

    In other words, there seems to be a bit of pride involved in those who request such things.

    And particularly (I don't know if this has ever happened) if a group wants a private prelature, by whatever name, and won't become members of the Holy Roman Catholic Church UNLESS they get their special hierarchy and administration -- well, doesn't this smack of pride?

    What is wrong with a parish of the 'Traditional Anglican Communion' identifying themselves instead as Roman Catholic? For example: Suppose in Leeds you have the parish of Saint Mary's. Why would one want this to be 'The Parish of Saint Mary's of the Traditional Anglican Communion' instead of 'The Roman Catholic Church of Saint Mary's'?

    The pastoral wisdom of the Roman Catholic Church is infused with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, and the Sacred Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pastoral decisions are charitable, merciful, and full of love. I am all in favor of pastoral decisions. And so yes, I can understand the reasoning behind why a 'Traditonal Anglican Communion' would be identified and brought into the Catholic Church in such a manner.

    But is this the best way to do it? Does this not fly a bit in the face of unity? Don't we look overly fractionated this way? The Holy Trinity and the Holy Roman Catholic Church are certainly Truths that are greater than any governmental, legislative, cultural, nationalistic, racial, or ethnic identity/authority.

    I welcome those in the Traditional Anglican Communion into the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and I wish you all the Peace of Christ. I am only asking these questions in order to generate some useful discussion, as these questions did come to mind, and so I thought they might be on the minds of others.

    - Keith

  7. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Crikey !

    All those married clergy - no thanks.

  8. Anonymous4:10 PM

    I understand Peter's points and basically agree with them: my implicit understanding in saying earlier that I hope this happens soon was more or less that the territorial prelature would be the structure.

    Keith may not have much of the background information in this area (and it somewhat arcane, so that would not be surprising), but the basic problem for the Anglican Usage as such has been that since the erection of a personal parish for the AU is entirely dependent upon the local ordinary, it has happened only rarely, and mostly here in Texas, where we are, of course, on the cutting edge of many things secular as well as religious [De acuerdo, ay Caramba!]. It has generally been assumed, by those of us who are AU aficionados, that the reluctance to erect AU parishes has been due either to the fear of liberal bishops that AU clergy and laity are closet trads (and of course there are many traditional, of a sort, features to the AU), but also the fear of conservative bishops either that married clergy pastoring a parish will be demoralizing for the celibate others, or that there will just be "confusion" among the laity, God forbid, about liturgical practices (for a parallel in the regular N.O. world, see, e.g., Birmingham and EWTN under the previous bishop).

    Thus the need for a structure which would allow some freedom of operation for the "Anglican ethos" group within the Church, while at the same time preserving adherence to faith and morals.

    I agree with what I think Peter is saying, that a sui juris church in communion with Rome, like the Melkites or Ukrainian Catholics, would be best, but I have always understood that it is just not in the cards due at least to (a) Anglicanism is considered to be a break-off from the Latin Rite and thus must return, in some fashion, to its roots [this is the 500 years is just a day kind of attitude, completely ifgnoring the implications for the role of providence in such a long split, but you hear it a lot from conservative real or supposed canonists], and (b) the Curia (not to mention, again, the Latin ordinaries) do not like the independence of the "Uniates" [the Melkites, Biz Caths, Ukies, etc. will foregive me for using this bad word, I hope] and consider that kind of thing nothing but trouble. As an aside here I would comment that it is precisely this attitude that guarantees no reunion with the Orthodox, as those folk all have very clearly in mind the kind of Latin homogenization drive that it represents (or as one Antiochian Orthodox priest said to me once, quoting from the old Dr. Who: "You cannot resist the Borg...").

    And perhaps taking off from my digression above, if Rome does wnat to further Catholic-Orthodox reunion (maybe made a little more possible due to the recent election of Patriarch KIRILL), they better make sure that the TAC reunion preserves all the worthy parts of the Anglican identity, while at the same time making it possible for the reunited TAC to flourish within the Church as a whole, and not just be another marginalized group like we AU folk have been.

    Oremus--and hard.

  9. I fear I have to agree at least in part with Keith: I know well one person who intends to be a part of this movement, in this country: born a Catholic, became a Protestant, now High Anglican: and this to him represents the "best of both worlds" - it doesn't represent a proper acknowldgement (to him) that the Anglican Church in which he is currently a "priest" is outside the Catholic Church.

  10. Anonymous4:34 PM

    I would like to see this personal preleature drop the Anglican name and make sure their members hold 100% of the CATHOLIC faith,this ain't protestanism they need to be reminded. Also why dont they use the litugies that were used in England at the time of the break by Henry 8th to show they have returned to a continuence with TRADITION , The Sarum Use and others perhaps

  11. Someone on one of the Anglican blogs raised this question: what will happen to Latin Rite vocations in the UK if the TAC are regularized? Why be a celibate priest when you can be married in the whatever-is-the-jurisdictional-end-result-of-the-TAC?

  12. Anonymous5:12 PM

    We should keep in mind that the TAC offered to accept whatever the Pope decided, so they are demanding nothing as far as we know.

  13. Anonymous5:41 PM

    If a personal prelature means they don't have to have the local bishop's approval to do their work, that sounds like a good reformation tool (and yes, a dangerous corruption tool, as in Opus Dei). FSSP, SSPX, and other TLM devotees could benefit from it. After all, that's pretty much what we do now out of "any just cause whatsoever" - FSSP excepted.

  14. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Firstly, as a Trad Catholic, I am overjoyed at the possibility of 400,000 souls being gently herded back home into the Ark of Salvation.

    This and the fruits of reconciliation with the SSPX and the TransAlpines and IBP have to be judged by all as fruits of a good tree.

    In none of these reconciliations is doctrinal clarity being thrown under the bus. And so, my hope in BXVI is growing! May St Malachi's prophecy of him as the GLory of the Olive manifest in the peace he is steering the Church towards.

    Having said that, I am apprehensive when I hear this TAC prelature will follow the non-Latin discipline of priestly celibacy. This would serve to eliminate Anglo-speaking celibate priests. Furthermore, how many of these clerics and their spouses will practice Catholic morality in the way of full openness to conception in their married lives? I understand that Eastern Rite Churches have this set up, but even they promote a celibate episcopate, which provides some incentive towards the divine state that priests are all called to.

    If we wish to honor St Paul the Apostle truly let us heed his words calling for priests to be celibate for the Lord. This is dogmatically the way it ought to be and the only way the Church will truly flourish.

    Deo Gratias et Mariae!

  15. Anonymous6:30 PM

    The Pope is a bishop concerned about the unity of the Church.
    How the TAC will be in the church, we dont know, only the Pope does and better so.
    The pope shows all the love and affection of the church with this action, as positive gesture towards the desire of Christ.
    It is up to us just pray!
    As we say here:
    Modlitba je nejlepší radu

    Analisk Karitmnikova

  16. Anonymous6:30 PM

    I welcome them.

    When I viait relatives, I attend an excellent Anglican Use parish. They do accept celibacy; this married priest thing (as many of our eastern rites do have) will not continue to be available for Catholic men wishing to partake of the two sacraments.

  17. "he wants to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome"

    He had mean: "to bring all the TAC's LAYMEN"?

  18. Anonymous7:31 PM

    Having said that, I am apprehensive when I hear this TAC prelature will follow the non-Latin discipline of priestly celibacy. This would serve to eliminate Anglo-speaking celibate priests.

    Face it: They are disappearing anyway.

  19. Anonymous8:05 PM

    The declaration said, in part: “We accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the Catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, which we have signed, together with this letter as attesting to the faith we aspire to teach and hold.”
    Why the verbosity?

    Another serious concern: why not their married bishops accept becoming married laymen if/when they join the Catholic Church?
    In all tenderness, please, Jesus was not married, so please no married clergy.

  20. Anonymous8:06 PM

    I hope that this issue is moving forward within the approved structures of the Church - and I leave that to the Holy Father to discern and decide.

    However, I just wonder what problems might emerge from Archbishop Hepworths' own canonical status. I am sure I've seen somewhere that he is a one-time Catholic priest, who left the Church to get married? How can this be resolved if he is to remain a bishop in the new structure? Just a thought, not a matter for polemical debate.

  21. Good news as long as: 1. They accept fully Roman Catholic Tradition. 2. They avoid "anglican" terminology. 3. They renounce to all proteststan doctrines. 4. Clergy receives ordination (real valid ones) with prior long process of catholic formation.
    Enough "protestantized" catholics on this side, within the NO church, to embrace a new buch of real ones...

  22. Anonymous10:31 PM

    I see a little knowledge from some on this blog and a lot of ignorance from others. Few seem to 'get it'.

    I don't think that it will be a personal prelature because the retarded journalists who reported this went on to contradict themselves when they claimed falsely that a p.p. includes laics. No, it includes ONLY clerics. The journalists, as always, don't actually know anything but have that stupid term, 'personal prelature', in their old notes and rattling around in their vacant minds. What I suspect happened is that they heard that the C.D.F. had rejected the idea of a uniate church and immediately jumped to the ludicrous conclusion that, therefore, it must be a personal prelature. Not.

    I suspect that what the C.D.F. has in mind is a territorial prelature for persons of a specific rite "or other similiar quality", cf. Canon 372.2. Far more likely, the C.D.F. is suggesting an international archdiocese for persons of a certain rite or other similar quality, again, under Canon 372.2.

    That would be about a trillion times better than a personal prelature but still not half good enough. What is needed is a uniate church. After all these, people have twelve national churches and over thirty bishops. They have eight dioceses in India with about 250,000 faithful in them.

    But if a uniate church is denied them, this will quite obviously be done to 'satisfy' the Arch-Druid Rowan Williams and his pro-sodomite friends in America, such as that Robinson creature and the Schorri Hag.

    Don't you people get it? Mainstream Anglicanism is splitting in two, the conservative GAFCON people creating alternate jurisdictions in far-left areas, such as Canada and the U.S.A. They are headed for division because you can't reconcilie buggery with Christianity.

    Entire Anglican bodies, forming part of the GAFCON group, are in the process of separation. The entire Anglican Church in Nigeria is a case in point. Now, should the Pope admit the TAC as an Anglican uniate church, this would create a locus for some of these GAFCON people to go in the future (many of them would not come over, as they are evangelical).

    The reason the C.D.F., headed by that incompentent, Levada, is not creating such a locus is œcumania gone nuts. It would be unfriendly and undiplomatic. You see, this Pope is still determined to treat Willians and Schorri as if they were Christians, which they are surely not. This Pope does not want to 'offend' these enemies of Christ. Why not? I'd do everything in my power to offend them. The more angry and disappointed Rowan the Druid is, the happier are the angels in Heaven. The more frustrated and livid the Schorri Hag is, the more content are the saints in the Beatific Vision.

    The idea that the TAC cannot have a uniate church since it's not as 'venerable' as the Eastern Catholics is just silly. I am getting a bit tired of seeing all the farcical posturing of these Eastern prelates in gold mitres who govern two or three dozen people apiece in Turkey and can't fill a callbox with faithful. It's risible. There is no reason why an exception cannot be made for the TAC, especially given the numbers which might join it in the future.

    But Levada and Re and the other liberals in the curia don't want millions of Anglicans coming over to the True Faith. Heaven forbid that the Church should grow again. How un-Vatican-Twoish. Just as they've told Orthodox bishops to 'stay Orthodox' when they asked to be Catholic, they want the GAFCONers to stay Protestant rather than to save their souls.

    This is nuts. I am praying that the TAC will find a more charitable response from Rome. It's time for H.H. to dump Levada. The man is worse than useless, as he proved in spades in San Francisco.


  23. Anonymous10:34 PM

    On remarks about their current Primate, John Hepworth. Forget him. He won't be the Primate under a Roman structure. I'm betting that the job will go to the unmarried Canadian TAC leader, Bishop Peter Wilkinson.

    The solution for their married bishops is to ordain them only to the priesthood and then allow them to govern their dioceses as apostolic administrators. Rome does it all the time.


  24. Anonymous12:35 AM

    I have seen it reported several places that Abp Hepworth has said that he will step aside if Rome needs that to happen, as I presume it will, so the issue of a married (and divorced and remarried) bishop should not be in play here.

    I have not heard anything about who would be the head of any kind of juridical arrangement for the TAC, but suspect that Peter's guess is a good one. Either that or another Anglophone, who conceivably could be either Abp Myers from Newark (ecclesiastical delegate of the PP), or the ex-Anglican RC bishop from Australia.

    A more interesting question will be what kind of arrangements are required for the individual parishes and faithful to complete this process. Of course the priests will have to be reordained, but hopefully for the 400,000 or so faithful, it will be something as simple as a communal profession of faith, with a further process perhaps for anyone among them who has marital issues or the like.

  25. Anonymous12:57 AM


    Thank you for your detailed explanation. However I still have a question, which I think you did not fully address: the Anglican schismatic churches came from England, which was only Roman in its rite, so why make them the TAC an uniate church?

    The fact some essentially empty Eastern Rite churches are nevertheless preserved as uniate churches is not sufficient to justify the granting of such a status to the TAC. Two wrongs do not make a right.

  26. Anonymous1:39 AM

    Dear Martin:

    This is not a matter of 'right' and 'wrong'. There is no golden rule saying that one must have an ancient rite in order to have a uniate church. And what of all the Byzantine Rite ritual churches? They all share the same liturgical rites and differ only in regard to national uses. So why should the Bulgarian Byzantine Catholics have a uniate church which is distinct from that of the Ukrainians and others? There is precedent for that, quite so, but one must consider the reasons for various structures.

    Before continuing, I add that I know a bit about the TAC people because one of their pro-cathedrals for Canada is situated in my City. One of their priests used to be the local Chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada (Victoria Branch). I have been a member of the League since adolescence. We work in the League to prevent the abomination of having to live in a republic.

    I also know their choirmaster fairly well. I can say that they are very close to us theologically and also æsthetically.

    Anyway, we need to take into account two important facts here. First, the TAC preserves some aspects of Western Catholic practice (sometimes specifically English, sometimes universal) which we lost during the counter-Reformation. Remember that they were never reformed by Trent even in those aspects of religion which were part of pre-Reformation Catholic practice.

    Secondly, since they have been separated from us for 475 years, they have developed some of their own traditions, although these are not originating in the Holy Ghost, of course.

    As a result of these factors, they are coming to us as an ecclesial community which is completely Catholic in doctrine but quite distinct in practices. They have their own tradition of prayer, of devotions, of governance, and even of canon law; and they have a very beautiful and well-developed hymnody which makes our nineteenth century popular religious songs look saccharine (I'm not referring to Chant, of course). Their hymnody alone is a treasure worth preserving. Natrually, such traditions must be conformed to what is properly Catholic, but they have themselves largely undertaken the task of deCranmerisation.

    So what is the structure which is most pastorally appropriate in these circumstances? They have a 'communion' of twelve national and regional churches comprising metropolitan and exempt archdioceses, and suffragan and exempt dioceses. What do we do? Put all these sees together to make one international archdiocese? Even worse, separate their people from their pastors and put them in a personal prelature, a structure which was devised to assure "an appropriate distribution of priests" (cf. Canon 294)?

    The circumstances call for the Pope to create the first uniate Western church. The sky will not fall if he does it, and this will provide the perfect locus to which entire GAFCON provinces and dioceses can be attached in the future; we need only glue them in place. They would go out of Anglicanism as provinces and sees and come into Catholicism as the same provinces and sees (but sometimes headed by apostolic administrators if their old ordinaries claimed the title of bishop and were married).

    Where there's a will, there's a way. But then there's Kasper and Levada and Re, who won't get out of the way.


  27. Anonymous1:45 AM

    The marital issues are a problem but there is a logistical problem which is also very great. Most of their members are in India and the Indian Anglicans simply don't have the cash to revise their Altar Missals. You see, they need to add the Roman Canon and Roman Offertory from the TRADITIONAL (not New) Latin Mass. Moreover, because Anglicanism is Erastian in its conception, every national church in Anglicanism has a distinct prayerbook which includes its Eucharistic Liturgy. That's a big problem because each of these distinct prayerbooks will need to be vetted by Rome and amended where necessary. But then someone has to translate the result into the languages of India: Hindi, Maharastri, Bengali, Tamil, Assamese, Tagalog, and so forth. Who on earth can pay for all of this? If you ask me, it's a nightmare which only the Pope has the resources to solve.

    I find it odd that, after all these decades of argument about doctrine and praxis, in the end, the major problems are purely practical and logistical.


  28. Anonymous2:36 AM

    The overlapping of territorial jurisdictions of the various Catholic Churches (Roman, Byzantine, and now possibly Anglican?) is a problem that will remain on the back burner for now, but it seems to me that it must be resolved, as it is a mess. Is there a scholar in the audience who can shed light on the history? I suspect its root is man-centered and thus essentially unimportant in the grand scheme. Roman (Western) Crusaders refusing to adapt to the customs and authority of their Greek hosts en route to the Holy Land? To my small mind it seems that in the USA, for instance, all Catholic dioceses should be Roman. Nevertheless, I see the advantages of a structure like that of the Knights Hospitalers (OSJ), erected during the Crusades by Papal bull as independent of any local bishop. Louis

  29. Anonymous8:37 AM

    "This is dogmatically the way it ought to be and the only way the Church will truly flourish."

    What absolute untheological, unhistorical, unmitigated rubbish!!

    If you want to honour St Paul, you'll accept that he documents that clerical marriage is an apostolic right: I Cor 9:5.

  30. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Dear PKTP,

    Thank you for having taken the time to answer in such a detailed and clear fashion. I readily admit that I do not know the inner workings of the TAC and that it would be an understatement to say that your knowledge in this regard vastly surpasses mine. Thanks to your message, I have realized that the situation is awfully more complex than what I had thought; in fact, I find this complexity to be further evidence of the intrinsic evil of the Anglican schism, as it has itself produced further division, along language lines in particular. This is indeed very tragic, but I am not convinced that doing more of the same (what you said about the necessity of sifting through all the various translations, verifying them, correcting them when appropriate, etc.) would make any good. What about a clear departure from Erasmism? This is the root cause of the problem, as it seems. I don't think Tagalog is any more suitable to liturgy than, say, French is.

    This being said, I understand your argument about the benefits of an uniate church in this particular context. But nevertheless, the granting of this status, which would be, as you wrote, the first Western uniate rite, is hard to swallow in terms of justice, when one considers how un-holy (to say the least) the real causes of the Anglican schism were (and remain).

    One last point: it seems that there are very many fallen Catholics in the TAC priesthood and episcopate. Do you agree that those would have to be laicized? Doing otherwise would be an injustice to the Catholic priests would have made and preserved their vows of celibacy.

  31. The NCRegister has posted that it is not going to happen:

    We have to wait and pray, but this time, there are many rumours, from different sources, and (almost) all of them saying that something IS going to happen.

  32. Anonymous9:23 PM

    On Martin's comments:

    I could indeed write a tome on this but there is little space or time for that. One of the large problems with the Anglicans has indeed been a lack of central authority. They have developed a democratic spirit (e.g. they elect their bishops from houses of bishops, clerics, and laics). They also have this Erastianism, which means that, for something to be applied to all, it must be agreed by all. They have a tradition of 'communions' of independent national churches.

    In the case of the TAC, they currently have twelve (perhaps fourteen now, with some recent African additions) national/regional 'churches'. They have made some improvement on this situation, giving their Primate some general power over all. It would work better if their Primate had the powers over his uniate church that an Eastern patriarch has over his.

    In regard to their clergy, yes, some are former Catholics. Some are former Anglicans who converted to the Catholic Church and then reverted to the TAC. Some are divorced but I don't think that any claim to be re-married (but I'm not sure). Some are former Catholic priests who are now Anglican 'priests'. Some have received a mixture of valid ordinations in the Catholic Church and invalid ordinations in an Anglican community (e.g. validly ordained Deacon, invalidly 'priested', as they say). They also have clerics who were ordained in their communities but whose ordinations are nevertheless presumably valid, since they used a valid ordinal (e.g. the pre-Reformation Sarum Ordinal) and included real bishops (e.g. Orthodox or Old Catholic) bishops in the ordination. It's a real mess.

    So, yes, they need to sort that out. But it is not as easy as consecrating as bishop those among their 'bishops' who are unmarried. We need to keep in mind that some of their married prelates have the respect and skill to lead and to inspire trust. For example, Archbishop Samuel Prakasth, their metropolitan archbishop in India, has that respect. He is a man of honour, having many skills; and he has suffered much.

    If Rome decides not to allow married bishops for them, the best solution, in my view, would be to leave men like Prakash in their current positions but as simple priests who are apostolic administrators. Rome can, for special and temporary reasons, separate episcopal fonctions from administrative offices. Once their married apostolic administrators retired, they would be replaced one-by-one with unmarried bishops.

    There is a reason for haste in resolving these problems but also a reason for caution. Getting it wrong is worse than not getting it at all. It may be that Rome will start with a territorial (NOT personal) prelature or else an international (arch)diocese and then 'grow' a ritual church one everything is in place.

    Perhaps this is the best course. The problems of ordinations and liturgies absolutely must be resolved. I consider the second problem to be the greater of the two. It would be anathema and unthinkably scandalous if one of their liturgies in any approved language suggested anti-Catholic dogma (even if open to a Catholic interpretation). Their books need to be thorougly deCranmerised but this must be done so as to respect the beauty and the glory of their tradition. It cannot be done in a day by some talentless hack from the I.C.E.L.

    Theologians and translators from Rome need to vet all their liturgies and official prayers in all the languages used. Its an gargantuan task. The TAC also needs to participate in this. I have sent one of them a draft common Eucharistic Liturgy for consideration. Without going into details, it largely preserves their liturgy but with Cranmerian tones removed, and includes the Roman Canon and the Roman Offertory from our so-called 'extraordinary' Roman Mass.

    The reason for a need for haste, on the other side, is that fact that they are dying and they NEED the principle of unity invested only the Pope. Moreover, other conservative Anglicans need to have somewhere to go and do not like the looks of NewChurch and NewMass. Who would? But a middle road might be to have three steps, so that they all feel that they are GOING somewhere and not simply treading water.

    There might be an initial period of discernment in which they get their house in order in terms of clerics and liturgies, but with input from a Rome which is still separate from them. They could make changes and submit them to Rome for assessment; and Rome could make suggestions for their consideration.

    Next, with an OFFICIAL agreement that they become a uniate church, that church might start its days as a single international archdiocese, headed by their leader, who is to be known as their Primate.

    The international archdiocese would consist of parishes and missions most of which would be grouped into deaneries. Most deaneries (and some parishes outside deaneries) would be grouped into archdeaconries and the final grouping would be one of regional vicariates. Some of their unmarried current 'bishops' would be consecrated bishop to become auxiliary bishops, and so forth. But there would be an established plan in place to return to whole ecclesiastical provinces and so forth.

    There could be a special way to name their diocesan bishops in the future (subject to the Pope's approval in every case) but I think that elections of laics really should go. Why keep what got you into trouble in the first place? The best course might be for a terna to be submitted to the Pope by the Primate.

    Whew! That's all for now.


  33. Anonymous9:45 PM

    Further to my last post:

    What is needed for the TAC is a uniate church. But this can begin as a single (arch)diocese or its equivalent, in which one of their unmarried clerics would serve as Primate. That means that the uniate church can start its life as a single archdiocese, diocese, apostolic administration, TERRITORIAL prelature, &c. What it absolutely may NOT be is a personal prelature because a personal prelature is not a 'particular church', equivalent in law to a diocese. What is needed is a structure which includes laics and clerics as one family and does not relegate laics to the position of 'co-operators'. The sheep must belong to the shepherd. This cannot be a hired hand shepherd herding the sheep of local Roman ordinaries. The traditions and disciplines of the TAC belong not only to their clerics but to all of them.

    I think that there should, first of all, be a period of discernment in which Rome forms a commission to work out their problems in regard to clerical suitabliity, liturgical form (presumably even their beautiful hymnals will have to be vetted even if only to remove and/or change three or four words out of a million), a constitution, and canon law.

    During this period of revision, they would conform their praxis to Catholic norms (e.g requiring confession once a year) and gradually ensure that their 'bishops' and other clerics would qualify as such in the Catholic Church. Since this is a period of conversion, I see no reason why Rome could not assist them financially in the task of revising their liturgical books. They definitely wil need financial help from us if this is to happen.

    When it's all done, Rome would sign an agreement saying that their uniate church comes into existence at the instant of [conditional or absolute] consecration of their Primate, done by the Pope himself at Rome, and using not the Roman Ordinal but the ancient Sarum Ordinal, but in Latin , the universal language of the Latin Church. This would take place at St. Paul-outside-the-walls, the old basilica associated with the Knights of the Garter. Co-consecrators would have to include some members of the English Catholic hierarchy, preferably those of recusant and not Irish or convert stock. I'm not suggesting in the least any problem with Irishmen but there could be an opportunity to suggest symbolically a *continuity*. Those few in England who rejected the Reformation and have never accepted it should be represented at this event (if they have any bishops: might have to go to Preston to find one).

    They would come into existence as one bishop (their primate), about 400,000 laics, and a indeterminate number of priests and deacons hose status as such is not yet recognised. Rome would then conditionally ordain auxiliary bishops for them from among their unmarried 'clerics' (agreed upon in advance) and then these would ordain their priests in accordance with agreed-upon lists, and so forth.

    It would be proper for their future dioceses to come into existence by divisio, as is done for us: the Pope carves out new territory from old sees and reorganises. I think that they should avoid keeping 'national churches' within their uniate church. While this model is possible, it is not advisable, especially given the history here.


  34. Anonymous11:29 PM

    Dear PKTP

    Thank you for this massive brain dump which helps me getting up to speed with the specifics of the TAC.

    Can you please (if you have time, I realize you have already spent quite some time answering my questions) clarify these few points for me:

    1. why did you mean by "going to Preston"?

    2. what would be the differences, other than in terms of prestige, of having a bishop who is not an archbishop as the primate of this hypothetical uniate church?

    3. in the case of a personal prelature, it is my understanding that approval of the (Roman or Eastern Rite) ordinary is necessary for the sending of clerics of the said prelature within the (territorial) diocese of said ordinary. Now, in the case of an uniate church whose territorial jurisdiction overlaps--or even, in contained within--that of a Roman ordinary, then how do things work?

    Also, I wonder: how did a lay (I assume this is the case, right?) Roman Catholic become so knowledgeable in Anglican matters? I have to confess that my despising of the Anglican heresy has not led me into spending many hours in studying the inner complications of the said heresy.

    In Christo

  35. Anonymous8:30 AM

    In answer to Martin's questions, I have the following responses:

    1. Preston, in North Lancashire, is the most populous recusant city in England. The recusants are those Englishmen who refused and have always refused the Reformation. They were down to 1% of the population by 1800, just before the massive influx of Irish immigrants. A good number of them intermarried and became largely Irish but some towns were not near the areas of immigration, and Preston is one of them. The people there are almost purely English and have always been Catholic. I imagine that they suffered much over t he last 450 years. There are famous recusant families, such as the Petres and, above all, the Fitzalan-Howards, Dukes of Norfolk.

    2. I think that I must have misstated my meaning on this one. I could have meant 'bishop' in the Sacramental sense, which includes archbishops and primates and patriarchs. The new primate of their uniate church would also presumably be an archbishop. Our primates in the Catholic Church are today only ceremonial, except for the one in Hungary (very limited supervisory powers over the metropolitan archbishops) and the Pope as Primate of Italy. The Primate of Canada is the Archbishop of Quebec; for the U.S.A., it's the Archbishop of Baltimore. But they rank after cardinals anyway.

    3. In a personal prelature (p.p.) within the Latin Church, the prelate would need the permission of the local Latin diocesan bishop to erect a parish or mission in his territory (Canon 297). In such a structure, the lay beneficiaries of the p.p. remain subjects of the local Latin diocesan bishops.

    In a ritual church or even an international archdiocese for persons of a certain rite (cf. Canon 272.2), the prelate or primate wouldn't need any permission from anyone to establish a parish anywhere in his enormous territory, which could even cover the whole world (except for Rome and the Vatican, and places were concordats might prevent it, such as France). The lay beneficiaries would be subjects of their own primate or archbishop.

    However, the local Latin bishops (and Eastern-Rite bishops) would have some de facto power because they control use of their own sacred places (churches, chapels) and the new structure would have few of these for many years. One of the great advantages of any unity with the TAC is that the poor--and I do mean that in the financial sense--TAC would finally acquire access to some decent places of worship. Most of them today worship on Sundays in funeral chapels, university chapels, military chapels, hospital chapels, community halls, and even house chapels. For example, the TAC in Canada has only ten places of worship for its some 60 parishes, and all its churches are tiny, seating around 100 people maximum.

    4. I know about the TAC because I am a member of the Monarchist League of Canada, an organisation which strives to prevent the unspeakable horror of Canada becoming a republic, like the U.S.A. and France, those Freemasonic abominations. I am a strict and zealous royalist and joined the League when I was only a boy.

    Our meetings here in Victoria used to be held in the basement of the TAC pro-cathedral, and one of their priests was the branch chairman. Most TAC members, as far as I can see, are royalists (at least in Canada) and archconservatives. I just love them. They even have the old Canadian Red Ensign in their church hall, just like the one I have at home. How I hate with passion that asinine Maple Leaf Flag. I note that they also have a crucifix in their hall with the corpus on it, and a splendid set of vestments.

    I also know their choirmaster fairly well and have corresponded at great length with one of their priests. You can find out more about them on the Internet. They have sites everywhere. For the U.S.A., their national body is called the Anglican Church in (not of) America. But the best way in is through their Canadian site. It has a good list of links to various national bodies. Go here:

    I'd really like to see these people become a uniate church. They are very much like us. Some people on this blog lack proper compassion for them. They have suffered much to resist the modern reforms, just as we did after Vatican II. Give them a break. However, I do insist that they deCranmerise their liturgies.


  36. Anonymous3:35 PM

    Anonymous wrote:

    If you want to honour St Paul, you'll
    accept that he documents that clerical
    marriage is an apostolic right: I Cor 9:5.

    1 Corinthians 9:5 gives no support for married clergy.

    In this verse of scripture, Saint Paul merely speaks of devout women who, according to the custom of the Jewish nation, waited upon the preachers of the gospel, and supplied them with necessaries.

    - Keith

  37. A Mr Louis is making a parallel between this anglican issue and something he calls Knights Hospitalers (OSJ).

    In the Holy Roman Church there as no such thing. What he refers to is something illegal, a fake self-styled group of "climbers". The is only on Sovereign Military Hospitallar Order of Malta (SMOM). We are a religous Order for lay-men. Sovereign as on independent state but at the same time a religous Order under our beloved Holy Father.

    Even if we have our own priorats and national association we are members (active servants is a requirement) of our local parishes and dioceses. However our spiritual lifes as all members of an religious Order directed by our priors and regents.

    I cant see any similarities between SMOM and the anglican communion. However I would be more then thankful to His Holiness if we could see a move towards some sort of path to welcome them back to the Holy Roman Church.
    /MLGR Knight of Malta

  38. Anonymous11:29 PM

    An altered interpretation of 1 Corinthians 9:5 may mislead some into thinking that St. Paul, who was single, was declaring clerical marriage as apostolic right as posted by Anonymous 08:35. The background for the said epistle must be taken into consideration when interpreting 1 Cor 9:5 so we avoid spreading falsifications. St. Paul was actually explaining to all why Barnabas allowed his wife to follow them wherever they go. St. Paul was explaining the right of a man to support a wife and was not advocating a clerical right to enter into the state of matrimony for that will contradict what he said in the other epistles.
    Soli Deo Gloria

  39. Anonymous5:10 AM

    Question to Familjen on the Knights of Malta:

    I have always known that they are the only sovereign nation having zero territory. But when I was in Rome I was told that they have an embassy there and in some other countries,and also a hospital in Rome. I've also heard that there was a plan some time ago to return to them a fort in Malta which would then become their sovereign territory. Is this so and how did that go?


  40. Anonymous5:51 AM

    Dear PKTP,

    Thank you for these clarifications. I understand better the situation of the TAC thanks to these explanations, and I hope that other readers also benefited from your hard work (typing detailed explanations in comment box is rather tedious indeed).

    A few comments and questions:
    1. monarchism: well, we are certainly on the same side on this issue as well. However, do you really think that the current state of affairs in the English monarchy makes a real difference with that of a republic? Do you really see the contemporary United Kingdom as being less of an abomination than, say, the ripoublique (private joke for French monarchists) of France?
    Moreover, speaking of masonic abominations: if I am not mistaken, the British aristocracy and royal family are not exempt from ties with freemasonry (euphemism), and this has been true since--at least--before the American Revolution.
    So, to sum up: Vive le Roy!, but do modern, protestant monarchies really differ from their masonic republican counterparts?

    2. poverty of the TAC (in financial and estate terms): why? Is it because the mainstream Anglican "communions" were able to rip off the traditionalists when they separated from the mainstream?
    What comes to mind here is the familiar (to trad Catholics) image of sneaky liberal lawyers.

    3. de-Cranmerization: can you please elaborate? Thank you.

    In Christo

  41. Thanks P.K.T.P. for your comment.

    Yes the Sovereign Order of Malta have territories in Rome. Palazzo Magistrale on via Condotti and the Villa Malta on the Aventine our both under the full sovereignity of the Order.

    The hospital in Rome is run by the Italian Association of the Order. We have such institutions all over the world however not part of a sovereign territory. Only our embassies have such status outside Rome.

    The Order have diplomatic relations with almost 100 states. Also to UN and EU we have our ambassadors with their diplomatic passports.

    The Order is like a state and its sovereignity is part of the agreements from the Vienna Congress. However UK never returned Malta to the Order as the king first had agreed on. In the 19th century the protestant campaign started in Malta where the brits falsly accused the Knights of Malta that they had treated the population ill under their reign. On the contrary the Knights of Malta had secured with its naval strength protected against the muhammedans both the population and their economic welfare as well securing a unique hospital service and a high spiritual standard on the island. The latter of course not very popular among the british protestants invading these catholic islands.

    In 1999 in connection with the 900-years celebration of our Order a settlement between the republic of Malta and the Order gave the Order the right of Fort Sant Angelo in Valetta. This is a 99 year lease and the Order must in return make sure that we always have at least one professed knight - a Knight of Justice settled in the fortress.

    /MLGR Knight of Malta
    Promotor of the extraordinary mass in South Sweden

  42. Anonymous2:17 AM

    Dear Familjen:

    You say that, outside Rome, only your embassies have full status as diplomatic territory of the Order. Does the hospital in Rome also have this status or only the other two properties you mention?



  43. Anonymous5:38 AM

    "In this verse of scripture, Saint Paul merely speaks of devout women who, according to the custom of the Jewish nation, waited upon the preachers of the gospel, and supplied them with necessaries."

    NOt true - the original Greek makes this quite clear. Cardinal Humbert, who laid the decree of excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia, records that this was the understanding of that passage at the time, too.

    Besides, you might want to do some research into Master Gratian, the father of canon law, in this regard.


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