Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hope for priests who would marry

From the Washington Post-

One of the hardest things Ed Donaghy has ever done was leave his ministry as a Catholic priest. For months, he agonized over his conflicting desires to have a family and serve as a priest in the Sacramento Diocese.

In the end, Donaghy felt he had no choice. The priest, who served in Woodland, Calif., told his bishop that he had to leave.

That was four decades ago.

"It would have been wonderful to be married and be a priest," said Donaghy, 73, now retired as an insurance agent. "I loved the work and would have continued."

Donaghy is one of more than 75 men in the Sacramento area who have left active ministry in the priesthood to marry. Many of them, Donaghy said, "would have returned in a minute if the rules changed." That is not likely to happen soon.

But the likelihood of Catholics seeing married priests in the pulpit increased last month when Vatican officials announced an arrangement that welcomes Anglicans into the Catholic Church, including married Anglican priests.

Vatican officials have said repeatedly that celibacy will remain mandatory -- at least in most circumstances. But many observers say having married Anglican priests in the church is a "major move" toward the idea of married Catholic priests.

"It's significant," said Sister Chris Schenk of FutureChurch, a Cleveland group studying shortages of priests in the United States.

More here-

Cardinal Cormac: Let's welcome Anglicans, 'particularly if they've got a lot of lay people'

From The London Telegraph-

Has Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor had a change of heart and thrown his weight fully behind the Pope’s Apostolic Constitution offering special arrangements for Anglican converts? I nearly fell off my chair when I read this sentence from the fascinating transcript of Andrew M Brown’s interview with the Cardinal:

If these priests and lay people really want to become Catholics, then let’s have them, particularly if they’ve got a lot of lay people with them. Something like this is obviously going to be easier than receiving them one by one.

That’s a rather different message from +Cormac’s lukewarm response to the proposal just a few days before the interview, when he reckoned that only small numbers of Anglicans would take advantage of the Personal Ordinariates. If he has re-thought his position, then good for him. The Magic Circle won’t be pleased, but now that the Cardinal is joining the Congregation for Bishops, he really should sever his ties with that mafia of the mediocre.

Anglican archbishop to meet with pope

From the Washington Post-

Anglican archbishop to meet with pope
Two developments arose after the Catholic Church's surprising overtures last month to Anglicans. First, the Vatican has confirmed that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, will meet Pope Benedict XVI on Nov. 21.

The second development is a clarification issued by Catholic leaders about how the conversion of married Anglican priests will mesh with the Catholic tradition of celibate priest.
Catholic leaders issued a clarification that essentially says only current Anglican priests and seminarians will be allowed to become Catholic priests.

Is This Bishop Catholic?

From The New York Times-

As the archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, you are known as the leader of a conservative — and even ultraright — movement that was founded last year in a break from the Episcopal Church. Do you plan to convert to Catholicism now that Pope Benedict has opened his doors to Anglicans?
I wouldn’t characterize us as ultraright. We don’t beat up folks. We are sort of mainstream right. I am very pleased that the Vatican has done this, but my call now is to lead all those Anglicans who stand where Anglicans have always stood.

Have you had any contact with the pope?
I corresponded with him as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2003, when we had the first national gathering of Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans who realized they couldn’t go on with the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada.

Was this at the time that the Rev. Gene Robinson was being consecrated by the Episcopal Church as the first openly gay bishop?
It was between the time he was confirmed and ordained. He’s a likable enough guy, but the problem is he’s leading a whole generation astray. I don’t believehe should be a bishop.

You and Robinson were fellow students at the General Theological Seminary in New York.
Yes. That was in the early ’70s. He was living a heterosexual lifestyle at the time. He was married. Then he left his wife and later committed himself to a male partner. I don’t wish him ill.

More here-

New Anglicans taking their travails in stride

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

At the convention of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, which is appealing a Common Pleas Court decision that awarded its property to the smaller Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, there was laughter over the litigation and its possible consequences.

Archbishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and the new Anglican Church in North America, spoke of visiting a West Coast parish that lost its building to the Episcopal Church. Parishioners stuck a sign in the church lawn with a paraphrase of Hebrews 10:34, "We gladly accept the confiscation of our property."

The litigation stems from a 2008 split when the majority of clergy and laity at the diocesan convention voted to secede from the Episcopal Church, which they believed had failed to uphold biblical doctrine on matters from salvation to sexuality.

The new Anglican diocese and its 58 parishes are affiliated with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America and the new Anglican Church in North America. Before the split, some of the 28 parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh sued the Anglican diocese, saying that church law requires property of departing parishes to remain with the denomination. Last month's court decision dealt only with assets of the central diocese, such as endowment funds, not with parish buildings.

Last night the convention seemed to be taking the litigation in stride. The Rev. Mary Hays drew peals of laughter from the 335 clergy and laity when she preached on a passage from Isaiah that says, "He who has no money, come buy and eat."

"Hey, you who have no money, do you think Isaiah knew that our funds would be frozen?" she asked.

At a dinner people were given donor cards for the Staying Faithful Fund, which was set up to cover expenses related to the litigation. For every $2 given through the end of 2010 an anonymous donor will give $1, up to a match of $200,000 for donations of $400,000. About $18,000 has been given so far.

Today, the diocese is expected to receive formally four parishes from outside its original boundaries. Saying that "we want our new parishes to be fully equipped," Archbishop Duncan presented Terrible Towels to representatives of the parishes in Raleigh, N.C., Springfield Mo., San Jose, Calif., and Cleveland. While the others gave their towels at least a token wave, the man from Cleveland quickly set his aside.

Despite the collection for legal expenses, there were no pep talks about the likely success of the appeal. Instead, Archbishop Duncan said it was a sign of spiritual courage and that members of the Anglican Church in North America were prepared to give up their buildings if necessary.

In the great Christian revivals of St. Patrick's Ireland or John Wesley's England or East Africa today, "it isn't that they have money, it's that they have the Holy Spirit," he said.

Archbishop Duncan predicted that the 21st century will be an "Anglican century" because Anglicanism embraces evangelical faith in the Bible, tradition that stems from a Catholic heritage and a Pentecostal reliance on the Holy Spirit.

"Let's bless our enemies and move forward," he said.

Read more:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Priest exodus claims exaggerated, says bishop

From Worceste rnews.-

RECENT predictions that hundreds of priests might leave the Church of England for the Catholic church have been exaggerated, according to the Bishop of Worcester.

Dr John Inge spoke out in response to a decree from Pope Benedict XVI welcoming Anglicans to Rome.

The announcement, called the Apostolic Constitution, offers an alternative to disaffected Anglicans who are opposed to the ordination of women bishops.

However, Dr Inge said: “There has been much written about ‘the Pope poaching Anglicans’ in the last few days but this is entirely inaccurate.

“What the Pope has done is respond to requests from some Anglicans who are opposed in conscience to the ordination of women as bishops.

“It is difficult to be clear about how such people will react to this Apostolic Constitution since its terms have yet to be made public.

“Some may feel the draw to Rome and this is to be respected but estimates of hundreds of priests leaving the Church of England are wildly overblown. In the diocese of Worcester, the vast majority of clergy are wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supportive of women becoming bishops, as am I.”

Father Ian Pearson, priest at Old St Martin’s, the Cornmarket, said he believed his congregation would wait for details before deciding.

Traditional Anglican Communion of U.K. first to accept Pope's offer

From Catholic News Agency-

Members of The Traditional Anglican Church in Great Britain have announced that they will enter into communion with the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans.

According to the group's website, members met on October 29 for their October 2009 Assembly. They scrapped their initial itinerary for the meeting following the Vatican's Oct. 20 announcement that an Apostolic Constitution was being prepared in response to requests from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful wanting to enter into full communion with the Church. Instead, the assembly focused on what the news from the Vatican meant for the small group of Anglicans who are part of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Anglican Bishop David Moyer released a statement describing the October Assembly as “grace-filled,” noting that everyone in attendance became “aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit.”

“The bishops, priests, ordinands, and lay representatives were brought to a place of 'being in full accord and of one mind,' as St. Paul prayed for the Church in Philippi,” Bishop Moyer wrote.

During the assembly, Bishop Moyer as well as Anglican Bishops John Hepworth and Robert Mercer fielded questions about the Vatican proposal before the Assembly unanimously passed resolutions written to carefully “and clearly reflect TTAC’s corporate desire and intention.”

The resolutions state that the Traditional Anglican Commuion in Great Britian “offers its joyful thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his forthcoming Apostolic Constitution allowing the corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and requests the Primate and College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion to take the steps necessary to implement this Constitution.”

Bishop Moyer added, “All present realised that the requirement for the days ahead is patience, charity, and openness to the Holy Spirit.”

Though the Apostolic Constituion is not yet available, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith announced on Oct. 31 that it will be ready “by the end of the first week of November.”

Jane Black has died: broke ground for women in Episcopal church

From St. Louis-

In 1967, the Episcopal bishop of Missouri said it was time to put a stop to the church's segregation of women.
"There's no biological or theological reason why women" shouldn't serve, then-Bishop George L. Cadigan said. He urged that women be allowed as delegates at the church's General Conventions.

Three years later, Jane Black and 28 other women were officially seated as delegates to the 1970 General Convention.
Mrs. Black died Sunday (Nov. 1, 2009) at the Gatesworth in University City.

She was 93, and had been a resident of Clayton.
Jane Jordan was born in St. Louis in 1916. She watched Charles Lindbergh pass her house in a ticker tape parade after his 1927 solo flight over the Atlantic. She remembered placing second in a citywide dance contest behind classmate and friend Betty Grable, who left St. Louis to begin an acting career in Hollywood.

More here-

Priest to face charges in court

From Bethlehem PA-

Episcopal priest Gregory Malia did not injure anyone when he allegedly waved a handgun at his two daughters and their boyfriends outside a Jenkins Township tavern in July, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Attorney Nanda Palissery said there was no evidence the gun was loaded.

Jenkins Township police allege in arrest records that Malia, 44, of Laflin, waved a gun as his daughter, Marilyn Malia, 23, was being assaulted by Angela Sweet, 24, in the parking lot of the River Street Ale House on July 7.

After nearly two hours of testimony, District Judge Diana Malast agreed with Palissery, dismissing four felony counts of aggravated assault, the most serious charges, against Malia.

Malast forwarded six counts of reckless endangerment and two counts each of simple assault and disorderly conduct against Malia to Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

The district judge sent two counts each of simple assault and driving under the influence, and one count each of harassment and disorderly conduct against Sweet to county court.

Sweet, of Larksville, was one of two women with Malia inside the tavern when Marilyn Malia arrived with her boyfriend, Ron Romashko.

They were meeting her sister, Amanda Malia, and her boyfriend, Dennis Condusta, and did not know their father was there.

“I asked my sister if we should leave and she said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Don’t let him ruin your night,’ ” Marilyn Malia testified.

Marilyn Malia said she stood with Romashko on the other side of the tavern away from her father. As a band was playing, she testified her father was dancing with Sweet and intentionally bumped into her shoulder.

“I threw my beer in his face,” Marilyn Malia testified. “My boyfriend grabbed my arm and told me it was time to leave.”

More here-

Longtime Spokane priest chosen to be Minnesota bishop

From Spokane-

The Rev. Brian Prior has firm roots in the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane. He grew up in Prosser, Wash., graduated from Whitworth University, was a fifth-grade substitute teacher at Midway Elementary in Mead and has worked in the diocese ever since he was ordained a priest in 1989.

Those roots will be transplanted to Minnesota as Prior prepares to take his new role as the ninth bishop of Minnesota in February.

Prior, 50, received word Saturday that he had been elected to the position by the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota. “I was literally physically unable to speak,” he said.

Of the other candidates for the position, two were women, one was gay and one was Native American. In each of the five votes Prior was in the lead, and candidates withdrew their names as the process went on. The final vote was between Prior and the Rev. Mariann Budde, the pastor of St. John the Baptist in Minneapolis.

While electing a woman, a gay person or a Native American as bishop would have been historic, it didn’t seem that the diocese was looking at labels or categories during the interview process, said Prior. “I think they looked at us in terms of our gifts, not our gender or ethnicity,” he said.

The road to bishop began with Prior’s first position, as associate pastor of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the South Hill. From there he worked as the director of education and development for the Diocese of Spokane and also was executive director of Camp Cross, a church-run camp on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. He took the position as pastor of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane Valley in 1996 and has been there since.

More here-

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not an inkling of Anglicanism

From the Londodn Telegraph-

Last week I was in a thunderstorm in Medina del Campo when I read about Pope Benedict’s offer to accommodate some Anglican practices of those who wanted to join the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t want now to go on about the substance of the affair. What still intrigues me is the cultural incomprehension I found.

A parallel is Hallowe’en, which falls today. Anyone over 20 must wonder how the day has been overwhelmed so fast by cultural imports – pumpkin lanterns and spooks and the dreadful trick-or-treat.

If Hallowe’en puzzles older English people, why should we be surprised if Spaniards have not the first idea what an Anglican is? To them the prose of Cranmer means nothing. They may say Mea maxima culpa, or the Spanish equivalent, por mi gran culpa, but have never said: “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” Choral evensong on Radio Three is as unknown as Test Match Special. These things matter.

Of course, they are not the essence of Anglicanism, nor is Anglicanism confined to the Church of England. On that, I am sorry to say, many a Spaniard simply cannot credit that an Englishman could honestly believe that his was the “one Catholick and Apostolick Church”.

The Pope is a fan of John Henry Newman, but for most Spaniards it is hard to see what all the fuss was about. They may have stood in the High at Oxford on holiday and dodged the diesel buses, but of Holy Communion in a college chapel, and what it meant for Newman to banish himself from Oxford they have no inkling.

More here-

Married priests a challenge for poor communities

From Catholic News-

Pope Benedict’s decision to make it easier for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church could pose a financial burden for many Filipinos in poor Christian communities for some Catholics, Baguio Bishop Carlito Cenzon has said.

“We have some communities that cannot even support their priest, what more if the priest is married with a family and assigned to a poor community?” he asked, a UCA News report says.

“I view the Pope’s move positively, but I do expect … challenges,” says Immaculate Heart of Mary Bishop Carlito Cenzon of Baguio.

Anglican Church official Most Reverend David Tabo-oy also anticipates Catholics having problems with married clergy.

“I am sure that there are Roman Catholic clergy who could not truly accept married priests among them,” said the rector of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Resurrection in Baguio City.

On Oct. 20, the Vatican announced that the Pope would create provisions to “allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church.”

During the press briefing, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also said that an upcoming papal document on the matter would provide “for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy.”

More here-

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New bishop ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.

From South Dakota-

A Michigan native who believes his church can make a difference in the staggering rate of reservation suicides was ordained Saturday as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota.

Six hundred people gathered in the Sioux Falls Convention Center to witness the ordination and consecration of the Rev. John Tarrant in a two-hour ceremony.
Tarrant will succeed the current bishop, the Rev. Creighton Robertson, who is expected to retire at the end of the year.

Saturday’s pomp and circumstance was a mix of tribal nuances and high Anglican tradition – revealed in Lakota and Dakota music and the vestments of an Episcopal lineage that now counts Tarrant as the 1,038th bishop since the beginning of the church in America.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, chief pastor to the Episcopal Church's 2.4 million members in 16 countries and 110 dioceses, presided over Tarrant’s ordination.

There were eight other Episcopal bishops present as well, and a variety of other ecumenical leaders – Bishop David Zellmer of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop Paul Swain of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese, Bishop Deborah Kiesey of the United Methodist Church, and Ed Kauffman, executive conference minister for the Mennonite Church USA.

PITTSBURGH: Diocese releases 135 clergy


The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh said Nov. 3 that it had formally released 135 priests and deacons who have not been active in the Episcopal Church since October 2008.
Provisional Bishop Kenneth L. Price Jr. wrote to each of the affected clergy, which a diocesan news release said was its way of "making good on its offer to release the individuals from their licensed ministry in the Episcopal Church in a way that does not involve disciplinary action."

That offer came and concerns priests and deacons whom the diocese said have accepted letters of transfer to the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

On Oct. 4, 2008 a majority of the delegates to the diocese's 143rd annual convention approved a resolution by which the diocese purported to leave the Episcopal Church. The leaders who departed have said that they remain in charge of an entity they had been calling the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican) until recently renaming themselves the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The entity claims affiliation with the Southern Cone

The diocese will tell the church's Recorder of Ordinations to remove the clergy from the list of those licensed to exercise ordained ministry in the church, Price said in his letters to clergy.

The action, Price said, was "for causes which do not affect your moral character [and] does not affect your ordination, which is indelible."

"This is simply a way for us to gain clarity around the issue of who is licensed to practice ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church," Price had said in his Oct. 5 letters to clergy notifying so-called inactive clergy that they would be released unless they told the diocese they wanted to remain.

Price said Nov. 3 that the clergy may be reconciled to the diocese at any time.

"There are canonical procedures that can be followed to receive you and again license you to practice ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church," Price wrote, "and my door will always be open for such a conversation with you."

FORT WORTH: Texas diocese set to elect next provisional bishop

From Ft. Worth ENS-

Delegates to the 27th annual convention meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Nov. 13-14 will be asked to elect their next provisional bishop, to succeed the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. (Ted) Gulick Jr.

The Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas is the candidate, according to diocesan communications director Katie Sherrod.

Convention business will also include consideration of changes to diocesan constitution and canons, various resolutions, budget approval as well as election of leadership to diocesan offices.

Ohl retired from Northwest Texas on January 1, 2009 and lives in Norman, Oklahoma. He was selected by the diocesan Standing Committee in consultation with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

He was elected bishop of Northwest Texas in February 1997. At that time he was rector of St. Michael the Archangel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Rev. Fred Barber, Standing Committee chair, wrote to the diocese in a Nov. 1 letter that several other candidates for provisional bishop had been considered and "after study, prayer, and consultation with the Presiding Bishop's office, it was the opinion of the Standing Committee that Bishop Ohl would best serve the needs of the diocese at this time. It was also the opinion of the committee that this was God's choice for our diocese. However, the final decision rests with the Diocesan Convention."

If elected by the Fort Worth convention, Ohl, 66, will assume the office of provisional bishop shortly after the November convention. He has agreed to serve for a period of one year, but will be available for at least an additional year of service. As provisional bishop, he will exercise the same authority as a normally elected bishop.

He will maintain an office and residence in Fort Worth, and spend about two weeks there each month. He will also maintain his retirement home in Oklahoma.

More here-

Trinity dean again a bishop candidate

From Upper South Carolina-

Very Rev. Philip C. Linder is a candidate to lead Episcopal Diocese of Upper S.C.

The dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral is once again a candidate for bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina.

The Very Rev. Philip C. Linder had removed himself from the nomination process in October, shortly before nine candidates were winnowed to five.

But after a petition drive, he agreed to resubmit his name and now joins five other candidates, including two S.C. priests, a Minnesota priest and a Dallas priest.

The six are vying to succeed retiring Bishop Dorsey F. Henderson Jr. The election is Dec. 12.
Linder has been dean of the downtown cathedral for a decade.

In an earlier letter bowing out of the nomination process, he made it clear it would be difficult to leave Trinity to become bishop.

"We are at a critical moment in the history of our beloved Trinity," he wrote. Trinity, with a membership topping 4,200, is currently in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation of the historic sanctuary, he noted. "Today, the staff, vestry and laity of Trinity are worshipping, working and serving Christ at a level that I have never before witnessed," he said.
But in reconsidering, Linder told the congregation that much prayer and a lengthy discernment process "has led me full circle back to Trinity Cathedral, where I believe God, and I pray all of you, desire for me to continue to serve as your priest and dean."

Efforts Tuesday to reach Linder about his decision to re-enter the bishop selection process were unsuccessful.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese releases secessionist clergy from vows

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has given clergy of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh an unwanted gift: release from licensed ministry in the Episcopal Church.

The gesture is symbolic, since the Anglican clergy left the Episcopal Church in 2008, when the majority of voters at the diocesan convention chose to secede from the denomination. Leaders of the minority who remained Episcopal say they want to remove the Anglicans from their rolls without using disciplinary charges of "abandonment of communion," as was done elsewhere.

Yesterday Bishop Kenneth Price Jr., of the Episcopal diocese sent letters of release to 135 priests and deacons.

This release "was for causes which do not affect your moral character [and] does not affect your ordination, which is indelible," he wrote. Should any clergy desire to return to the Episcopal Church "my door will always be open for such a conversation."

While Anglican leaders say they appreciate the gracious tone of the offer, they believe it is a suspect use of a canon written for clergy who want to renounce their ordination. Few responded to the first offer that the Episcopal diocese made last month.

"It's unfortunate that we're in this situation, but it is asking us to renounce our vows, which we cannot do," said the Rev. Mary Hays, canon to the ordinary for the Anglican diocese.

"They're interpreting the canon in a way that it's not been interpreted before. We're all in a tough place, but our clergy have not abandoned their ordination vows."

The split occurred because then-Bishop Robert Duncan and most diocesan officials believed the Episcopal Church had failed to uphold biblical doctrines on matters ranging from salvation to sexuality. After secession the Anglican diocese joined the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America. Both the Southern Cone and the Episcopal Church belong to the 80 million-member global Anglican Communion.

The Anglican diocese also has joined the new Anglican Church in North America, which seeks recognition as a province of the Anglican Communion and which is led by now-Archbishop Duncan of Pittsburgh. On Saturday the Anglican diocese will vote on a proposal to affiliate solely with the Anglican Church in North America, while Archbishop Duncan would also remain a bishop of the Southern Cone.

Read more:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

African Anglicans reject union with Rome

From Kenya-

Saying it was a question of faith, Kenya’s Archibishop Eliud Wabukala rebuffed the olive branch extended by Pope Benedict to all Anglicans to join the Catholic Church.

The Archbishop, in an interview with the BBC, said it would not be easy for African Anglicans to enter into full communion with Catholics.

“The Protestant family understands faith in different ways, for example, the idea of the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the interpretation of ministry,” he said.

Splits among Anglicans worldwide over homosexuality and the ordination of women might have inspired the Vatican to take the opportunity and pull the discontented into their fold.

Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, echoing the Kenyan leader, said that African Anglicans still fit comfortably into the mainstream of their local Anglican churches, and see no compelling reason for a change.

Diocese Completes Non-Disciplinary Release Of Clergy

From The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh-

Today the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh formally released 135 priests and deacons who have not been active in the Episcopal Church since October of last year.

In letters being mailed today from Bishop Kenneth L. Price, Jr. to each of the affected clergy, the diocese is making good on its offer to release the individuals from their licensed ministry in the Episcopal Church in a way that does not involve disciplinary action.

“The Diocese will proceed to notify the Recorder of Ordinations to remove you from the list of clergy licensed to exercise ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church,” Bishop Price writes in his letter.

He continues, “I confirm that it was for causes which do not affect your moral character [and] does not affect your ordination, which is indelible.”

In the offer of release made last month, the clergy were told they can register their ordinations “with whatever entity you choose.”

Bishop Price’s letter today invites reconciliation with any of them at any time.

“There are canonical procedures that can be followed to receive you and again license you to practice ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church,” Bishop Price write, “and my door will always be open for such a conversation with you.”

Nothing in today’s announcement completing the release of these clergy from the Episcopal Church affects the legal status of the parishes where they serve. A 2005 Stipulation and Court Order provides a mechanism that the Diocese must follow in the event that a parish seeks to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church, and the Diocese announced separately on October 9, 2009 that it intends to follow those procedures.

Vatican issues 'clarification' of Anglican plan which does not rule out ordaining married laymen

From the London Telegraph-

The Vatican today issued a statement about its plans to create a personal Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans which discusses the possibility of ordaining married laymen on a case-by-case basis.

Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was seeking to quash speculation that the publication of the Apostolic Constitution had been held up by squabbles over the ordination of married men. Not true, he insists.

His statement makes clear that celibacy will be the norm for priests in the Ordinariate – but does not rule out the possibility of married seminarians becoming priests, so long as the local Ordinary, the bishops’ conference and the Holy See agree that an exception should be made. My reading of this document is that it does not completely close the door on the possibility of future married seminarians being ordained.

Here’s the press release containing the Cardinal’s statement in full. These things are difficult to interpret, so I’d be interested to hear what you make of it:

Its here-

Retired Episcopal bishop Vache dies at 83

From Southern Virginia-

Retired Episcopal Bishop C. Charles Vache, who championed women's ordination in the Diocese of Southern Virginia after first opposing it, died Sunday at Westminster Canterbury retirement community. He was 83.

Vache led the diocese, which includes Hampton Roads, from 1978 to 1991. His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth.

Vache was a priest at Trinity from 1957 to 1976. After retiring as bishop, he served in Jerusalem and also as interim priest at Church of the Good Shepherd in Norfolk. He lived in Portsmouth.

Clergy friends said that Vache, who was unmarried, was a scholarly, firm leader who was unafraid to make public his beliefs, even if unpopular.

When Vache was elected bishop, "he was adamantly opposed to the ordination of women, and a lot of people were upset," said the Rev. Richard Bridgford of Epiphany Episcopal Church in Norfolk. "He was seen as 'high church," that is, highly traditional.

But Vache soon surprised those critics. At a clergy conference, Bridgford recalled Vache saying, " On the ordination of women, I have been wrong, and all I can do is stand before you and acknowledge that. "

More here-

An unavoidable distancing?

From South Carolina-

The local Episcopal diocese says the national church is straying from biblical teachings and has taken steps to distance itself.

During a recent convention in Mount Pleasant, leaders of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina approved four resolutions opposing the Episcopal Church of the United States' decision to allow non-celibate homosexuals to ascend to the offices of priest and bishop and to permit Episcopal priests to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

The issue of sexual orientation has been a source of constant friction in the denomination since 2003, when the Rev. Eugene Robinson, a gay man living with a male partner, became the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

"We're (Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina) in a marriage where there has been serial adultery," said the Rev. John M. Barr III, rector of Church of the Holy Comforter in Sumter. "The husband (the national church) has not repented. The wife has gone to him again and again, and there has been no change. There comes a time when the wife no longer remains in the bedroom. At minimum, she has to move down the hall. It's not because she doesn't love the husband; it's because things can't go on the way they are. You can't be complicit in that type of unfaithfulness."

Barr, one of several deans in the South Carolina diocese, was a leader of the standing committee that drafted the four resolutions on Oct. 24. The diocese stretches from Sumter County to the coast and is led by Bishop Mark Lawrence.

Barr insisted that the passing of the resolutions — which he called "an act of civil disobedience" — was about the diocese's desire to stay faithful to Christian tradition as it has been interpreted since the time of Jesus.

More here-

NORTHERN MICHIGAN: Convention agrees on search process outline

From ENS-

Participants in the Diocese of Northern Michigan's 114th annual convention Oct. 30-31 set out the framework for conducting another search for the diocese's next bishop.
The convention, which met at St. Stephen's Church in Escanaba, passed a resolution saying that the process would form a search committee engaged in discernment that will build on the work done by the previous search committee (known as the Episcopal Ministry Discernment Team), be open to working with a search consultant, use a broad process of collecting potential candidates, intend to present multiple candidates to the electing convention, use a petition process for adding names to the slate, and communicate effectively with the wider church.

Agreement on a new process, which a diocesan news release said came after "lengthy discussions," was necessitated by the failure of the diocese's previous attempt to call a successor to Bishop James Kelsey who died in June 2007.

The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, chosen during a special convention on Feb. 21, 2009 to succeed Kelsey, came under intense scrutiny after his election.

Initially, concern centered on his status as the only candidate at the convention and the question of whether his practice of Zen Buddhist meditation has diluted his commitment to the Christian faith, making him unsuitable to serve as a bishop. That attention led to the internet publication of some of Thew Forrester's sermons and writings along with a revision he made to the Episcopal Church's baptismal liturgy, raising further concern among some about his theology.

Under the canons of the Episcopal Church (III.11.4 (a)) that apply for all episcopal elections, a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees had to consent to Thew Forrester's ordination as bishop within 120 days from the day after notice of his election was sent to them. On July 27, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori notified the diocesan Standing Committee that the necessary consents had not been received within the prescribed time period and therefore his election was "null and void."

More here-

Monday, November 2, 2009

Vatican clarifies celibacy issue for Anglican seminarians, priests

From Indian Catholic-

VATICAN CITY : Seminarians from Anglican communities who join the Catholic Church under new papal provisions would be required to be celibate as a rule, said the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office.

However, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, left open the possibility that there could be exceptions to this requirement in a statement issued by the Holy See Press Office on Oct. 31.

"With regard to future seminarians, it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned," the cardinal stated.

"For this reason," he said, "objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See."

The cardinal was responding to media speculation concerning the issue of celibacy in the forthcoming Vatican document on the creation of "personal ordinariates" -- similar to dioceses -- for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The American-born cardinal said there was "no substance" to press speculation that the delay in publishing the apostolic constitution was due to "disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision."

Married Anglican ministers may be allowed to become Catholic priests "on a case by case basis," as is the current practice, said the cardinal.

The Vatican cardinal said the delay in publishing the apostolic constitution "is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references."

More here-,-priests

Damien returns to Kalaupapa: Lifelong servant, eternal saint

From Maui News-

KALAUPAPA Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, gave a big mahalo to the residents of Molokai on Saturday while conducting a thanksgiving Mass in honor of recently canonized St. Damien.

"We gave him to you as a human being, and you gave him back as a saint," Danneels said during his homily at St. Philomena Church on the windswept coast of Kalawao. "For that, we thank you."

"It was here (Hawaii) that Damien was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Here he began his heroic journey as Father Damien. Hawaii can be proud, and the whole world along with it. Yes, here it is appropriate to be proud of this heroic man."

Danneels was the highest-ranking official in one of the largest gatherings of Catholic bishops ever on the Neighbor Islands. Joining Daneels and Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva were 11 bishops and one archbishop, all from California.

Shuttled to the remote peninsula from Honolulu and topside Molokai by a handful of chartered aircraft, the clergy joined residents of Kalaupapa and Molokai in celebrating Damien's canonization

"I thought it was beautiful," Bishop Silva said. "I thought the cardinal's words were very touching."

Kalaupapa resident Norbert Palea was on hand to share his aloha, baked goods and even a few choruses of "Chattanooga Choo Choo." He said the people of Kalaupapa have been on a high since Damien's canonization.

"It was a very happy day," Palea said. "We waited a long, long time. It was overdue."

As a resident of Kalaupapa for 62 years, the former Hansen's disease patient said Damien's message is as pertinent today as it was in 1873, when the young Belgian priest first volunteered to serve at Kalaupapa.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese Of Tenn. Dispute Heads To Court

From Chicago TV 2-

A court has been asked to decide who owns the property of a Nashville church that broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.

The diocese filed a lawsuit last week over the future of St. Andrew's Parish and its property in west Nashville, the Tennessean newspaper reports. The dispute has been brewing without a resolution for three years, before the diocese filed suit Friday to reclaim the church's property, according to the newspaper.

"Parishes don't have the option to leave the diocese," Bishop John Bauerschmidt told The Tennessean. "People can do whatever they want. But a parish doesn't have that option."

At issue is the St. Andrew's congregation's decision to leave the Episcopal Church and join a breakaway Anglican diocese based in Quincy, Ill. The Rev. James Guill, the rector at St. Andrew's, declined to comment on the dispute but said in e-mails to the newspaper that his congregation left the Episcopal Church in 2006.

Blakely Matthews, the church's attorney, wrote in a letter to the newspaper, "St. Andrew's left the Diocese of Tennessee in 2006, and established a relationship with the Diocese of Quincy."

The St. Andrew's congregation contends the deed to church property belongs to them.

According to the lawsuit, St. Andrew's parish leaders bought the church property from the diocese for $10 back in 1966. But church leaders agreed to abide by the diocese's rules on property ownership, according to the lawsuit.

Bauerschmidt said St. Andrew's is still an Episcopal church, and the property belongs to the diocese.

More here-

LI's new Episcopal bishop faces strong challenges

From Newsday-

As head of the Massachusetts Corps of Fire Chaplains, the Rev. Lawrence Provenzano spent five weeks at Ground Zero saying last rites over remains brought to a makeshift morgue.

Compared to that traumatic experience, he says, taking over as bishop of the embattled Episcopal Diocese of Long Island - where his predecessor stepped aside amid a battle with alcoholism and complaints about mismanagement - is nothing.

But weeks into his reign, Provenzano faces another challenge: The Vatican last month announced it is setting up a new structure to allow Anglicans or their entire parishes to more easily switch to the Roman Catholic Church. This would allow married Anglican priests to continue to operate within the Catholic Church.

The move appears aimed at attracting Anglicans - or Episcopalians, as they are known in the United States - who oppose their church's embrace of female priests and gay bishops.

Provenzano, 54, is taking it all in stride and says he is not taking any special steps to prevent defections. "This all becomes a distraction to us in terms of really doing what we are called to do, and that is preaching the Gospel, taking care of the poor, taking care of the homeless," he said. He added that "I don't think any parish in our diocese will take this invitation" by the Vatican. There are nearly 150 Episcopalian parishes in the Long Island diocese.

More here-

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Vatican and married ex-Anglicans: how far will Rome go?

From the London Telegraph-

Following Cardinal Levada’s “clarification” of the Ordinariate plan yesterday, which touched on the ordination of married ex-Anglicans without giving much away, I’ve been sent an expert commentary by a priest who is an old hand at interpreting Vatican documents. I found it helpful (though not encouraging for Anglicans who hope that the Latin Church is about to sweep away its 1,000-year-old celibacy rule). Note my contact’s references to the sensitive subjects of Anglican priests in second marriages and those who were born Catholics.

On the subject of the “irregularities” that might impede ordination mentioned by Cardinal Levada, the priest writes:

“Irregularities or other impediments” could include the fact that an Anglican bishop, being married, is impeded from being ordained a bishop according to Catholic/Orthodox practice. Also, an Anglican cleric in a marriage not recognized by the Catholic Church (such as a second marriage while first spouse is living) is impeded entirely from ordination unless at a future date the marital status is resolved. You can bet former Catholic priests now functioning as Anglican priests will also be considered to have “impediments or irregularities” (i.e., a promise of celibacy they took when Catholic) that will be difficult to overcome in order to again function as Catholic priests. I suppose, too, after this comes into force, a Catholic who left, became Anglican, was ordained, and wanted to come back as a Catholic priest would face special scrutiny (e.g. did he leave as an infant or as a 20 year old trying “to game the system”).

More here-

Pope offers olive branch after move to 'poach' traditionalist Anglicans

From The London Times-

The Pope is to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury this month, to ease controversy over the Vatican’s recent move to make it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism in groups as well as individually.

Today Pope Benedict XVI moved to reassure Anglicans and Protestants that he remained committed to ecumenical dialogue and “full and visible” Christian Unity. Dr Rowan Williams is due to visit Rome on November 20, and the Vatican said that the Pope would meet him the following day.

Dr Williams is coming to Rome to take part in celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Cardinal Johannes Willebrands of the Netherlands, a pioneer of ecumenical dialogue, who died three years ago.

Last week the Holy See said that its opening to Anglicans was a response to “numerous requests to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in various parts of the world who want to enter into full and visible communion.”

More here-

Lesbian does not make cut as new Minnesota bishop

From the Washington Times-

When Bonnie Perry's name was announced last summer as one of three candidates for the post of Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, there was talk of her possibly being the next V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop elected in 2003. Since then, the denomination has not allowed a homosexual into the episcopate until the Episcopal General Convention agreed last summer to allow more gay bishops.

This flung open the doors, as it were, and Ms. Perry, a Chicago priest who has a female partner of 22 years, was one of those nominated for bishop of Minnesota. That election was today and there turned out to be five candidates when balloting started. She was one of those who dropped out early on because of a low number of votes. The winner, Spokane priest Brian Prior, won on the fifth ballot. Read about it here on the Minnesota diocese's web site. Ms. Perry was always a dark horse, I thought, as Mr. Prior is vice president of the Episcopal House of Deputies, an exalted title in the Episcopal Church. When Ms. Perry ran for bishop of California (San Francisco) in 2006, she also did poorly.

Spokane priest to lead Minnesota Episcopalians

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune-

Minnesota's 22,000 Episcopalians will be led by a 50-year-old priest from Spokane, Wash.

Delegates at the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota's 152nd annual convention Saturday voted to name the Rev. Brian Prior as their next bishop.

In doing so, they sidestepped three potentially historic choices for the 106-congregation diocese's ninth bishop: a woman, a Native American or an openly partnered lesbian.

Meeting in a downtown Minneapolis hotel ballroom, alternately singing hymns and praying silently, nearly 500 clergy and lay delegates needed five ballots to pick Prior, currently pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in Spokane.

His closest competition came from the Rev. Mariann Budde, pastor at St. John the Baptist in Minneapolis. She would have been the diocese's first female bishop in its 152-year history.

In the final vote, Prior received 271 votes to Budde's 167.

Prior will succeed Bishop James Jelinek, who is retiring in February after heading the diocese since 1993.

More here-

Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to Leave Longtime Office

From The Living Church-

The Pittsburgh diocese led by the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan will soon leave its longtime office space in the Henry W. Oliver Building, which offers dramatic views of Trinity Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh.

The group announced on Tuesday that it will appeal a church-property ruling by Judge Joseph M. James of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, and it will now be known as the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Since leaving the Episcopal Church in October 2008, the group had used the name of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican).

Shawn Malarkey of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh said the name change is not related to legal strategy.

“Rather than bringing greater clarity to the legal case, it’s actually bringing greater clarity to our internal identity, and moving forward,” he told The Living Church.

He added that the diocese was resolving the awkwardness posed for reporters, who had to write about two entities claiming the name of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh is not renewing its lease in the Oliver Building, and will move on Dec. 1 to new office space in the Allegheny Center, Mr. Malarkey said.

Rich Creehan of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh reserved comment on whether it would move into the Oliver Building office space being vacated by Bishop Duncan’s diocese.

“We are waiting for a report from the Special Master regarding what is covered in this agreement,” he said.

Statements released by the two dioceses indicated that they are both prepared for a long-term legal battle.

“Our decision to appeal is for the purpose of protecting the mission of our fifty-one local congregations,” said a statement from the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Left uncontested, the award of all diocesan assets to the minority party, a group that comprises only a third of the parishes that were a part of our diocese when we withdrew from the Episcopal Church, would establish a precedent that we believe the minority would use to take steps to seize all the assets of all our local parishes.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh countered: Judge James found that the 2005 Stipulation and Order — that both sides agreed to before those former leaders left the Episcopal Church — clearly and unambiguously requires that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States be the rightful trustee of those assets.

“We stand ready to defend our position and the court’s ruling on appeal. At the same time, we will continue to cooperate in the orderly transition of diocesan property, and when the time is right, to engage in a dialogue on other issues between us that still need to be resolved.”

Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee sues to reclaim church

From Tennessee-

Bishop John Bauerschmidt of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee has been hoping that God would resolve a conflict between the diocese and St. Andrew's Parish in Nashville.

But the dispute is now headed to court.

At issue is the future of St. Andrew's Parish and the church's property at 3700 Woodmont Blvd. in West Nashville.

The Rev. James Guill, rector of St. Andrew's, says his congregation left the Episcopal Church and joined a breakaway Anglican diocese based in Quincy, Ill. They claim to have taken the deed to their property with them.

The bishop disagrees. He says that St. Andrew's is still an Episcopal church. Guill and church members can vacate the building and join any group they want, said Bauerschmidt, as long as they leave the church keys by the door when they go.

"Parishes don't have the option to leave the diocese," Bauerschmidt said. "People can do whatever they want. But a parish doesn't have that option."

For the past three years, the two sides have been at a standstill, with neither willing to budge. The congregation of St. Andrew's continued to worship in the building, while the diocese waited for a change of heart on the part of Guill's congregation. That ended Friday, when the diocese filed suit against St. Andrew's to reclaim the property.

More here-

Minnesota Episcopalians select Prior as bishop

From AP- and Living Church (below)

The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota says the Rev. Brian Prior has been elected its next bishop.
He was chosen Saturday over four other candidates, one of whom would have been only the second openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church if she were chosen.

Prior has been the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Spokane, Wash., since 1996. He said in a statement he was "overwhelmed and blessed."

The Rev. Bonnie Perry of Chicago, who is a lesbian, withdrew after the third round of voting.
The selection of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003 triggered a long-running controversy in the Episcopal Church as well as its worldwide umbrella church, the Anglican Communion.

Living Church Link