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Deep Divisions in Traditional Anglican Communion Erupt over Pope's Unity Offer

Deep Divisions in Traditional Anglican Communion Erupt over Pope's offer of Unity
Victoria, BC Cathedral Rector Dismissed by ACCC Archbishop

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
June 25, 2010

The former Rector of St. John the Evangelist, Canon Stanley Sinclair, has been expelled from the cathedral and excommunicated from his parish and the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada based in Victoria, BC because he refuses to accept the Pope's offer of unity being promoted by the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Canon Sinclair was summarily dismissed from his post by The The Very Rev. Shane B. Janzen, who accused Canon Sinclair of "sowing discord", and "going behind my back to spread false information, fear and disunity."

In a letter to Sinclair, which VOL has obtained, Shane described himself as "appalled" and said Sinclair was "duplicitous" and accused him of "shredding his ministry, breaking friendship" and that "a clergyman of your years and maturity should have acted differently. I hope the ends justify the means," he said in a final blast at the priest.

In his response to Janzen, Sinclair said the church he has known has been taken from him and wrote, "It seems best to me that in the light of the excommunication, I should resign accordingly from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and express to you, to the Dean and Chapter and the membership of the parish the love and regard we have for all of you."

Janzen said he had contacted Archbishop James Eugene Provence (APCK) over the Ordinariate who said it was personal. "I faced the prospect of having no church connection, because of the terms of the Ordinariate, I also called an old friend, APCK Archbishop Robert Morse. Like all those clergy who have left the Anglican (Episcopal) Church, a period of discernment and consideration of the options preceded any notification of the diocesan, pending a decision.

"I have not urged anyone to leave St. John's, nor do I have any plans whatsoever. I had every intention of informing you well in advance of any decision on my part."

Janzen said the stress he and many have felt since the publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus has been profound. "In our estimation, and that of many others, our Church as we know it is being taken away from us, though for the noblest motives. We may be mistaken, but this is our earnest conviction."

"I never intended the hurt of anyone, and I still regard the publication of the Pro/Con as a necessary independent act. I am sorry that this was perceived as a personal attack or act of treachery."

Reaction to the Dean's sacking of Sinclair was swift and condemnatory. One parishioner wrote, "I did not join Saint John's to be a Roman Catholic."

"The meeting after Church was akin to union meetings I have experienced in logging camps; intimidation ruled, stand up and vote; it was not right. After reading the documents, especially the one dated March 12, 2010 to [Cardinal] Joseph Levada; I read what I sensed at the meeting, I am dealing with a stacked deck, this deal was done long before any lay people could vote. Synod in July will be no different.

"I am much troubled how a man of God could write a letter like you wrote to Father Stan. The man you first served under and then excommunicated, that is not the wisdom of God at work. Father Stan was thrown under the bus; did he not help build this Church?

"The Anglican Ordinariate will be a shadow of its former self. I believe the shepherds to be thinking not of the flock but of themselves. I believe our shepherd has misled us and God only knows why."

The parishioner concluded his blast saying that it made no sense why the powers that be at Saint John's would do this to what was started with five members in the congregation. [Is this about progress? power? acknowledgment? career decision? money?]

"It is with a very heavy heart that my family and I bid you and the Church goodbye; we can no longer attend Saint John's."

Prominent Lay Reader, Dr. Geoffrey D. T. Shaw summarized events leading to the parish schism.

"Several years ago our House of Bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church committing us to uphold the doctrines and dogma of the RC Church - without consultation with the clergy or laity. That was a breach of the various constitutions to which we belong.

"The Primate Archbishop Hepworth visited the church to answer questions of concern to members of the parish. The answers to these questions were not satisfactory and later were found to be misleading. The Dean announced from the pulpit that a vote would take place by the parish. Prior to the Synod of the Traditional Anglican Communion where our delegates would be sent to take part in a vote on acceptance of the terms of the Apostolic Constitution.

"A petition was drafted in strict accordance with the Societies Act, B.C. The parish council was asked to arrange a Special General meeting at which two motions would be tabled for a vote. 13 signatories of members of the parish were obtained.

"The petition was handed to the Dean Rev. Shane Janzen at a coffee break of parish members following Mass several weeks ago. The Dean approached some of the elderly Signatories and chastised them for adding their signatures. This intimidating tactic resulted in them saying they did not understand what they were signing.

"As Allan Singleton-Wood was the person who delivered the petition to him, he sent a letter to him with a copy to all signatories and members of the parish council accusing Singleton-Wood of telling untruths and falsifying information on the document. He resigned as a lay reader.

"It became increasingly apparent through conflicting statements by the Dean that we were not receiving an accurate picture of the bishops' plan for our church. Because of the absence of proper information, Canon Sinclair drafted a document of "Pros and Cons" of the offer by Rome and sent this to all members of the congregation. It was a very balanced document.

"At Mass the following week Canon Sinclair suffered the humiliation of a strong rebuke from the pulpit for producing a document from which the Dean dissociated himself.

"Canon Sinclair had a telephone discussion with Archbishop Provence, an old friend from a US Anglican Catholic Diocese. The Archbishop reassured him that if members of the church were left with "nowhere to go" he would help in any way he can with pastoral care.

"Singleton-Wood resigned from the parish. He explained to the Dean that he wished to remain an Anglican Catholic and does not intend to become a Roman Catholic. The Dean's letter of response informed him that he would also be removed as a member of the Anglican Church of Canada and the Traditional Anglican Communion (this despite the fact that the Synod of the TAC has not yet had its meeting on whether or not to "go to Rome."

In a Parish Newsletter, The Dean accused Canon Sinclair of lies and duplicity and distributing false information.

The Bishop invited him to lunch and made an offer to rescind the excommunication and reinstate his license on the condition that he withheld any further discussions with other churches until after the Synod.

Canon Sinclair refused and sent a letter to the Bishop accepting the excommunication. The Dean announced a formal meeting of the Parish to take place yesterday, 20th June.

At that meeting it was announced, despite Canon Sinclair's refusal to concede to the Bishop's request, that a reconciliation had taken place and that Canon Sinclair's license had been restored.

"When the bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church they agreed to teach us the RC Catechism, its doctrines and dogma commencing immediately. It also bound us all to uphold RC Canon Law (even though we were already bound by TAC Canon Law. The bishops were at that time bound by the constitutions of the TAC, ACCC and the constitution of the Parish of St John's. Those constitutions were seriously breached by this agreement and were further breached by making these decisions without consultation with the clergy and laity. The Apostolic Constitution will logically make those constitutions obsolete."

In the US, at least one ACA/TAC diocese has said it would not accept Rome's offer setting the stage for schism within the Continuing Anglican church body throughout North America.

CORRECTION: When I first wrote this story I was told that it was Bishop Wilkinson who deposed Fr. Sinclair. I received later word that that was not the case. It was the Dean. I regret the error and we have set the record straight.

*****

Statement from Bishop Peter Wilkinson

by Deborah Gyapong
June 26, 2010

After swimming in the Anglican Continuum shark tank for thirty-seven years I had hoped to escape without attack. It was not to be. There are two causes of the recent little disturbance at the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Victoria, BC.

First was the unrelenting attack against the Apostolic Constitution and Norms by a former Rector and a few friends. Last Sunday at a duly called meeting to discuss one Resolution - to seek full communion with the See of Peter according to the Apostolic Constitution and Norms, and to support the Bishops of the ACCC in requesting the formation of a Personal Ordinariate in Canada - the Cathedral parish gave it an overwhelming Yes. Those who wrote the Letter to Virtue were obviously disappointed.

Second, and connected with it, was the invitation by the same former Rector to invite an American bishop of the Continuum to come to Victoria (while all of us were at Synod in Vancouver) to discuss alternative oversight for those who could not accept the Ordinariate thus breaking his oath of obedience to the Ordinary. After meeting with him last Saturday, he and I were completely reconciled and the excommuncation lifted.

Then later the same day, after writing to the local clergy to apologize for what he had done and the distress he had caused his fellow priests, he wrote me to say that he now chose to remain excommunicated and resign from the ACCC. He wrote a gracious letter to me. To the Dean, Chapter and Members of the Cathedral Parish of Saint John the Evangelist he wrote:

*****

Dear Friends in Christ:

Bishop Peter, in his usual gracious manner, has offered terms of reconciliation. I love all of you and do not wish to be on anything less than terms of Christian friendship with you. But after thought and prayer, I have decided to accept excommunication, knowing that we still remain united in the faith of Christ, which is our true basis of unity....

In this charitable fashion the matter should have ended.

Unhappily it was not permitted to.

+Peter Wilkinson OSG

FOOTNOTE: TAC History in Roman Catholic Dialogue

In October 2007 the bishops of TAC formally expressed the desire to enter into full unity with the See of Rome and declared their adherence to the doctrines expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In a statement authorised by Archbishop Hepworth on 16 October 2007: In adhering to those doctrines (which include all the dogma) they undertook to teach them to members of the TAC thus seriously breeching the constitutions of the TAC, the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, the parish constitutions and the Affirmation of St. Louis. Indeed they all became basically redundant at that time.

That was the start of the process of converting the priests and faithful to Roman Catholicism.

The Primate of the TAC, John Hepworth, insists that acceptance of the Pope's offer does not mean conversion to Roman Catholicism for Anglican Catholics.

Who is he kidding? The Ordinariate is a Roman Catholic Body reporting to Rome. It is bound by RC Canon Law.

The priests must be re-ordained as Roman Catholic priests. He says they must be - in order to perform Mass in RC churches if required.(the real reason is that they cannot administer the sacraments unless they are Roman Catholics).
They must agree to teach the Roman Catholic Catechism with all its dogmas and doctrines, including infallibility of the Pope and to be bound by Roman Catholic Canon Law
despite the claim by the Primate that the move of a parish into an Ordinariate is "corporate" and not "individual" the laity must apply in writing to join (an individual membership)

TAC members WILL become Roman Catholics. Why the TAC Bishops are not being honest about this defies all logic.

(signed)

Allan Singleton-Wood

*****

The PROs and CONS of the Personal Ordinariate written by Fr. Sinclair can be found at this link:
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=12807

*****

A letter from Bishop Peter Wilkinson

Dear Father Stan:

I can hardly believe that I have to write this letter to you whom I brought to Victoria and St John's [correction, it was Bishop Crawley, but of course Fr Peter concurred], a beloved friend for over twenty years. But your actions in regard to me have made it necessary.

As you know, at my consecration I was admonished to 'Protect the Bride of Christ, his holy Church.' That is why I wear a wedding ring. At my enthronement you and the clergy recognized me as your 'chief pastor and Father in God' [Yes, in fact I withdrew from consideration for the office of bishop in his favour] and pledged to me your 'true service and loyalty.'

However, your invitation to a foreign bishop to come and discuss options for providing Episcopal oversight in my diocese without my prior knowledge and consent is an act of disloyalty, and I must now inhibit you from the ministry of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, and confirm the excommunication.

[Notes: St John's, as St Athanasius', was originally under the aegis of Archbishop Morse, to whom I wrote. I contacted him, and he put me in contact with Archbishop Provence, because I wanted to be under a continuing Anglican bishop, if the Synod supported the Ordinariate. Archbishop Provence's invitation was for AFTER the Synod and predicated on the need. I might add that virtually all the clergy of the Anglican Catholic Church perforce had to contact bishops of the Continuum whilst remaining priests in the Anglican or Episcopal churches, and did so for moral support as well as to seek another way in which to fulfill their ministry if they could not conscientiously accept the changes in faith and order. So I have done what we all did when in the former church connection. However, I would have informed the Bishop after the Synod, if results warranted further action. Father Shane precipitated this, after he somehow got hold of an e-mail between the Archbishop and me.]

However, there is an alternative course of action.

The right thing to do would be to cancel your search for another bishop, stay quiet, and wait until after Synod. Then, if Synod affirms the Apostolic Constitution and Norms (which you find unacceptable), discern your future over the next few months.

We will try to come up with an acceptable pastoral oversight for you and others. But should you find our arrangements to be unacceptable you would then be free to resign from the ACCC and TAC and make your own alternative arrangements for pastoral oversight. I would still help in whatever way I could.

Would you please follow the latter course of action, so that I don't have to follow the former.

If (as I pray) it is the latter course, I also ask you to contact by letter or e-mail before Sunday those to whom you have previously written on this matter to set the record straight. * [Note. What "record"?]

* E.g. [the letter] I am pleased to announce that after talking to the Bishop this morning I have been restored as a priest in good standing in the ACCC. I apologize for the sorrow and distress I have caused to the Dean and my brother priests whom I did not intend to wound in any way.

[Note: I had apologized for "distress" to the Bishop and the Dean after the storm of anger that followed the mailing of the Pro/Con, but not for the content. No one has apologized to the many clergy and laity who have been in one degree of anguish or another since the Apostolic Constitution was issued, and all was kept under wraps, except, eventually, for the explanations of the Archbishop in his swing through the country, which, however, left many people just as upset or confused.]

If the ACCC becomes a Personal Ordinariate and the Bishop is unable to provide a home for those who cannot accept it, then I will resign from the ACCC and TAC and be free to seek alternative pastoral oversight. 'Behold how good and joyful a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.'

I think you have a copy of my reply. If not, let me know.

[Further note: this was of course written after I had distributed my letter with a copy of the Dean's letter of excommunication, so it was a gentle and diplomatic approach, but its objective was to calm things down after the Dean's letter, with the parish meeting taking place on the Sunday.]

Since I accepted my excommunication and resigned from the Church, instead of my letter, the Bishop simply reinstated me as though I had complied with his directive.]

SRS.

*****

A Message From The Rt. Rev. Peter D. Wilkinson, OSG

Dear Friends,

The College of Bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada [ACCC] has submitted a short petition to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [CDF], requesting that we proceed to the next step in setting up an Ordinariate in Canada.

As we stated in an accompanying message to our clergy, "Several compelling reasons have encouraged us to do so, even before Synod: "the Primate's tour across Canada enabled him to meet with some 4 to 5 times as many people as we might anticipate would be in attendance at Synod; and, his presentations have essentially accomplished that which we promised three years ago - that any response from Rome would be presented to the national churches of the Traditional Anglican Communion [TAC]; "acknowledging that there are still some across the country who have some doubts; and, a few others who will not agree to communion with Rome under any circumstances, there certain other reasons that compel us to take the next step somewhat expeditiously; "in the nearly five months since the release of the Apostolic Constitution [AC], the rumour mill and the Internet world of bloggers have clearly had some success in implanting fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of TAC individuals.

To some extent this has, in the minds of these people, pushed backwards a primary stated purpose since our inception, of the "visible unity" now being offered us in the Apostolic Constitution, as clearly articulated in the Affirmation of St Louis; "we recognize that several of our sister TAC churches worldwide (England, Guatemala, Australia, the United States) have all moved toward the next step of endorsing the AC and/or requesting the formation of Ordinariates; "we further recognize that, here in Canada, some small groups of Anglicans, currently not ACCC, have already approached local Roman Catholic bishops and are preparing to submit requests to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that Rome freely acknowledged that the TAC was forefront in precipitating the AC, we would prefer to fall under the direction of an Ordinary here in Canada who has been part of the process heretofore.

"Therefore, your College of Bishops have undertaken to submit a letter to the CDF, requesting that the next step be taken towards the setting up of an Ordinariate here in Canada. This does not displace further presentation and discussion at Synod in July, as the Primate will by then presumably have received certain TAC-specific clarifications on the actual implementation of the AC. We look forward to seeing you all at this historic Synod in July, and with the Primate and Bishop Mercer to acclaim our endorsement of the AC by our Canadian membership."

And following is a copy of the petition to the CDF:.

+Peter Wilkinson, OSG
Bishop and Metropolitan
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada

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