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The Changing World of Anglo-Catholicism

The Changing World of Anglo-Catholicism

An exclusive interview with the Rt. Rev. Keith L. Ackerman, former Episcopal Bishop of Quincy. He is currently the bishop vicar of the Diocese of Quincy of the Anglican Church in North America. He lives with his wife Joann in Keller, Texas. He works part-time as a therapist, assists the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth (ACNA) and serves as vicar of St. Timothy's Church in Fort Worth.

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
April 16, 2018

VOL: I have been observing Anglo-Catholicism for more than 25 years, but it is only in recent years have I seen changes that make me question if the traditionalist movement has a future in light of both changes in the movement itself and the cultural changes in society that would appear to make the movement seemingly inconsequential, if not irrelevant. What do you see as the future of Anglo-Catholicism in North America and within the Anglican Communion itself?

ACKERMAN:Indeed, if I were observing Anglo-Catholicism for just over 25 years, I would have very different answers than the ones that I do have. In a somewhat widely distributed article I wrote years ago, at the request of a number of Anglo Catholics, "Why I am an Anglo-Catholic" I reflected on my short experience of 72 years. I call that a short reflection because for an Anglo-Catholic, we see ourselves as heirs of the Faith of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church - from the Upper Room, as it were, to what we now call Great Britain or the United Kingdom, and now, obviously, to the numerous places where Catholic Anglicans were and are engaged in Missionary endeavors. Anglo- Catholics do not believe that Henry VIII founded a new Church nor that the English Reformation was the same as the Continental Reformation. Anglo-Catholics see themselves, ecclesiologically speaking, as continuing in the Faith once delivered to the Saints and celebrated in "Great Britain" even before Pope Gregory sent St. Augustine to Canterbury. Admittedly, (to skip over numerous centuries that produced numerous saints) the 19th Century in England did produce a movement with which many people called Anglo-Catholics identify: the "Oxford Movement" or "Tractarian Movement." For Anglo-Catholics, it was reclaiming our heritage. You use the term "Traditionalist Movement" which is a very tricky and subjective word. There are quite a few Anglicans, for example, who advocate for the ordination of women, which is hardly a "traditionalist" position. Therefore, it begs the question: "What is a Traditionalist Anglo-Catholic?" Does it mean using Elizabethan English instead of contemporary English in Liturgies? Does it mean excluding modern music? In fact, it is difficult to say what a "Traditionalist Anglo-Catholic is." Therefore, in order to address your questions, I will be making references to a variety of markers along the way. The short answer is that the Anglican Tradition without Anglo-Catholics would be a tradition that denies its own roots and heritage. Nineteenth and early twentieth century Anglo-Catholics were greatly focused on the needs of broken people, and I cannot deny the fact that without proper theological grounding it is possible to place changing cultural demands above Theology. But then it wouldn't be Anglo-Catholic anyway, would it? It would simply be "High Church." That is, it would have the form but not the substance. (All dressed up and no place to go!) The vocation of Traditional Anglo-Catholics, in my mind, is to remind some Anglicans that there were, in fact, many good things happening before what some see as their "Golden Age of Anglicans" - a brief period, in terms of English Church history, which occurred in the mid-16th century. Most Anglo-Catholics do not subscribe to Papal Infallibility, so it is logical that they do not subscribe to Reformation Infallibility.

VOL: As I observe it, while Anglo-Catholics remain fervently opposed to women priests and women bishops, there is a dark side to the movement namely the acceptance of homosexuality and with it same-sex marriage that defies clear biblical teaching. At least three flagship Anglo Catholic congregations -- St. Thomas, New York City; St. Clements, Philadelphia and St. Paul's, K street have all rolled over in recent years. The new St. Thomas-Fifth Avenue rector, one Carl Turner, recently said he will permit the marriage of same-sex couples. His wife, it turns out, is also a priest. St. Clements in Philadelphia, had an openly homosexual rector for many years before he retired. He was flagrant about his homosexuality. St. Paul's K Street has, as its rector, a homosexual. Other parishes include St. Mary the Virgin in NYC, Ascension & St. Agnes in DC (they received a woman bishop), Advent Boston had a gay marriage and Mt. Calvary Baltimore stayed theologically solid, but then left for Rome. I could go on and on. What is your take on all this?

ACKERMAN: I find that those whose experiences are primarily with East Coast Anglo-Catholic "Shrine Parishes" often reach those conclusions. Sadly, they have or had spent little time in the "Biretta Belt" or in Anglo-Catholic parishes in the slums, in poor neighborhoods and in rural areas west of the Allegheny Mountains. In fact, Nashotah House trained priests for those very circumstances. To a large extent that is why Nashotah House had a 6-year program for so many years, where a man could live in community with collegians who travelled to nearby Carroll College for three years, and then spent three more years in the seminary program, graduating with a B.A. and a B.D at the end of six years. In the meantime, they, like those before them, founded Anglo-Catholic parishes throughout the Midwest "Biretta Belt." They nurtured them and they served there themselves. To this very day Nashotah House is still called "The Mission" by the locals, and many of those churches still stand. The first Nashotah House graduate to become a bishop was a Missionary Bishop in Asia. At one point in history, convents, monasteries, friaries, hospitals, treatment centers and hospice centers were founded by Anglo-Catholics. The heart of the Anglo-Catholic is ministry based on Biblical and Theological principles. When Shrine parishes eventually were not engaged in those endeavors for a variety of reasons, new identities emerged. Whenever Classical information, formation, and ministry are diminished, what is left can sometimes only be a reflection of what once was. Compassionate people can sometimes take a route other than the ones that formerly existed. I do not excuse that, but it is a part of what happens when the Church is squarely in the center of suffering. It is far more difficult to be a Traditional Anglo-Catholic where we will not compromise the Faith, nor "dumb down" Liturgy and Music while at the same time being in the conversion business, preaching the Gospel and feeding those in need on the Sacraments in a Contemporary world.

VOL: It seems to me that Anglo-Catholics can be divided into two camps. Traditional orthodox Anglo-Catholics (including Episcopalians) who live out their Anglicanism while remaining true to the dictates of their catholic faith, practice and order which first emerged through the 19th century Oxford Movement. Now, there are so-called "Affirming Catholics", who rejoice in the High Church liturgy of the Oxford Movement but have slowly jettisoned Gospel truths in practice, embracing a liberal/revisionist theology which includes women in the priesthood and the episcopate along with LBGT inclusiveness, openly promoting and endorsing same-sex marriage as well as transgenderism and full inclusion. What happened. How did this come about?

ACKERMAN:I have identified more than two camps, although I do not disagree with your context. There are numerous people who view themselves as Anglo-Catholics but are not in Communion with the See of Canterbury. There are numerous faithful Anglo-Catholics still in jurisdictions in Anglicanism that have departed from Apostolic Faith and Order. They often reluctantly remain in such places in order to feed the sheep entrusted to their care. There are Anglo-Catholics in jurisdictions which consider themselves to be "orthodox", but have no understanding of Anglo-Catholics. There are Dioceses which continue to struggle to maintain the Catholic Faith in some form. In many instances Anglo-Catholics are a type of underground movement. We keep being faithful where we are, looking for the day when we can reemerge. Since you have at least two groups of readers, David, -critical thinkers and people who are critical about whatever they read, the latter will see my last statement as foolish. A meeting with the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox tells me otherwise. I am not so important that I have a right to see how these ecclesiastical and ecclesiological wars are resolved in my lifetime; I am, however, bound to be a faithful part of that resolution as God wishes. Therefore, I appreciate the fact that you have listed categories in your question which are functionally helpful. I do not assign criticism to each group, but my cautionary words are, that compromise with an institution in error can lead to losing one's bearing and soul. Leading others astray carries with it a remarkable punishment, according to Holy Scriptures. I must say that those who call themselves "Traditional" must define the Tradition. Those who call themselves "Conservative" must define what they are conserving. Those who call themselves "Orthodox" must define the Truth they received and exercise orthopraxis.

VOL: What do you see is the future of Forward in Faith? Can this movement save Anglo-Catholicism in the US and UK?

ACKERMAN:Movements such as Forward in Faith are essential. Many Evangelicals need to learn timeless truths that are more than 450 years old and recognize that ecclesiology is an essential discipline to study if one truly wishes to connect with Two Thousand Years of the One, Holy. Catholic and Apostolic Church. The number of Protestants entering Anglicanism at this time is quite a surprise to me. I spend a great deal of time working with those who have discovered "Church" and are leaving the more entertainment style versions of Christianity. A new movement is quite obvious, and at times I feel as if there are numerous Nicodemuses quietly, but intentionally discovering the Catholic Faith in Anglicanism. As most of your readers know, my wife, Joann, and I purchased the venerable publishing company, The Parish Press a decade ago, and a significant number of the orders for our books, charts, DVD's and tracts are coming from Evangelicals who have determined the English Patrimony. This is the time for all Catholic minded Anglicans to be ready not to proclaim what we are against, but to teach what we are "for." The Patriarch of Moscow always makes the distinction between Protestants and Anglicans. Far too many Anglicans do not, and faithful groups need to be ready to share and defend the Catholic Faith contained in the English Patrimony of which we are heirs. If Traditionalist groups will be patient and focus on their strengths: Ascetical Theology, Sacramental Theology, Pastoral Theology, Transcendent Liturgy (which is a foretaste of Heaven), then we can allow others to exercise their interests in the politics of the Church. Anglo-Catholics have always been poor in the political realm: we have been busy feeding and caring for the sheep - preparing people for Heaven and helping to form saints. We are not anti-intellectual - quite the contrary. We have been formed in community in the Catholic Faith and informed by over 2,000 years of Truth. I sometimes fear that there are some Christians today who are "neo-Mormons": They act as if nothing of any value occurred after the death of the last Apostle until the Continental Reformers were born or some contemporary experts came along. Anglo-Catholics take seriously that an English Reformation occurred, but that it was a continuation of numerous reform movements that have often been forgotten. There must be groups like Forward in Faith who will pass on to the next generation the gifts that were entrusted to us.

VOL: Former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold claimed the mantle of Anglo-Catholic, but officiated at the consecration of Gene Robinson, an openly paired homosexual much to the delight of Griswold. (I personally observed this.) Do you believe he was/is conflicted himself over homosexuality?

ACKERMAN: Bishop Griswold is an heir of the Liturgical Movement which was Ecumenical in nature since numerous liturgical scholars participated in what some call Vatican Two Liturgical scholarship. As most know, the Liturgical revision in the Episcopal Church continued after the publication of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and produced numerous studies in the 1950's and 1960's which, to some extent, are reflected in the 1967 Liturgy of the Lord's Supper, which had elements of modern scholarship that were shared by several Liturgical Churches. Elements of that work can even be seen in the COCU Liturgy - an attempt to "merge" several "denominations." The next set of Prayer Book Studies which were published as the 1967 Rite was being used, and prior to the publication of "The Green Book," "The Zebra Book," "The Son of Zebra Book" (Sorry folks - that's what their nicknames were) resulted in the 1976/1979 Book of Common Prayer currently used by the Episcopal Church. There were numerous liturgical groups (too many to list) who were in the forefront of these revisions and applications. Fr. Griswold was actively engaged in this and when he became the Bishop of Chicago, he was seen as a type of Episcopal Patron of Liturgical Renewal. I don't know that he would refer to himself as an Anglo-Catholic, but (no offense intended) I believe when history is written, that he and Archbishop Rowen Williams will be seen as patrons, as it were, of the Affirming Catholic Movement.

VOL: Nashotah House has been the flagship Anglo-Catholic seminary for both Episcopalians and Anglicans in North America, but the institution invited former TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a rank revisionist theologically, to lecture, resulting in Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Iker resigning from its board. Later Nashotah forced out board chairman Dan Martins, the TEC Bishop of Springfield, himself an avowed Anglo-Catholic. In your opinion has this seminary lost its Anglo-Catholic roots and become more Affirming Catholic?

ACKERMAN: Everyone wants Nashotah House as its Trophy. The first graduate of Nashotah House was a Swede (Lutheran) who returned to Sweden and was historically significant in Swedish Church history. When Nashotah House was founded, there were General Conventions and the Senior Diocesan Bishop was the Presiding Bishop, but only the General Theological Seminary was the "official" Episcopal Seminary. Due to the friendships between Biretta Belt Bishops and primarily Russian Orthodox priests and bishops (Notably Bp. Charles Grafton of Fond du Lac and Bishop Saint Tikhon of Alaska and Russia) Nashotah House trained Orthodox seminarians until the Orthodox formed their own seminaries. This is reflected in the Concordat that exists between Nashotah House and St. Vladimir's Seminary. Local Roman Catholics have attended Nashotah House, and this is reflected in the Concordat between Sacred Heart Seminary and Nashotah House. For a period of time, (particularly before the ordination of women ended the decades long intercommunion - 1977) the Polish National Catholic Church used Nashotah House as one of their seminaries. The Old Catholic movement in the Wisconsin area that pre-dates the PNCC, also used Nashotah House. News reports, regarding the Schori visit, failed to take into account that this was a limited invitation, not confirmed by the Board of Trustees. Every Presiding Bishop except one has been at Nashotah House. Likewise, numerous bishops not in the Episcopal Church have spoken - from the Church of England, to the Canadian Church, to other Anglican expressions in North America. Academic communities often hear other points of view. Although I have my own opinions about the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, seminarians must be armed academically to refute error. Having served on the Board of Nashotah House for many years, I can assure you that the Bishop of Springfield was not "forced out." All Board members are elected and sometimes re-elected. Being present at that particular Board Meeting, I can say there was no conflict. There has been more time spent writing about the Schori event and the re-election of Board members than the time spent at the events themselves. Nashotah House is a Catholic Seminary and she serves everyone who seeks to be formed and informed. On campus there is very little on the political side, including seminarians, faculty and staff. I see more in print about all of this than I see in person. I am convinced that Nashotah House has the finest faculty I have ever seen, and I seriously doubt that any one of them would self-identify as "Affirming Catholic!"

VOL: One solid phalanx of Anglo Catholics (though not recognized by Canterbury) has been the Continuing Church movement. Though historically divided, four of the larger groups recently established full communion (communio in sacris) with a pledge to pursue full unity. They have remained solidly Anglo-Catholic in sacramental theology, in liturgical practice and more. How do you account for that?

ACKERMAN: Formerly Ecumenism was a luxury. For Christians today, it is a necessity. Satan loves seeing strident denominationalism. Islam loves the divisions in Christianity. Catholic Christians today must maintain the Faith that has been entrusted to them, and as we know from history, there have been decades of time where division defined Christianity either by heresy, schism or politics. I see the cream rising to the top of numerous traditional Christian groups today, and in the end, I am convinced that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. We would be foolish to end communication with entire groups because we disagree with a particular percentage of that group/jurisdiction/denomination/Communion. If we take seriously our Lord's prayer that we all be one, then we must put extra effort into collaborating with Christians who essentially believe the same about the Historic Faith grounded in Jesus Christ who will judge the "quick and the dead." I have much more in common, personally, with the "unrecognized by Cantuar" Continuum than I do with some "recognized by Cantuar" people. We are charged not only to Defend and Propagate the Faith - we are charged to Preserve it. Many of the innovations adopted since 1970 simply do not lead to being called "conservative," "traditional," or "orthodox." I respect Christians who pass on to the next generation what they have received as a trust.

VOL: Over the past few years, Anglo Catholic congregations and priests have fled The Episcopal Church to the ACNA, the Ordinariate or directly to Rome. Any number of priests in the Diocese of Ft. Worth left without their parishes for the Ordinariate over the theological innovations in TEC. Many individual Anglo Catholics have simply gone straight to Rome, washing their hands of Anglo-Catholicism (and TEC) altogether. How has the impact been on Anglo-Catholicism that so many have fled to Rome?

ACKERMAN:Certainly, it is a major loss. That same loss was felt in England post-Oxford Movement. Ironically, when one studies English Church history, of the three prevailing Ecclesiologies, the Conciliar, the Magisterial, and the Confessional - some of the departures reflect either generosity on the part of the Roman Communion or the Antiochians, OCA, and ROCOR in Orthodoxy regarding receiving priests and people and/or disbelief in the dueling ecclesiologies demonstrated by many Anglican jurisdictions today. Anglo-Catholics (in Anglicanism) are more naturally inclined towards a Conciliar mode. The more recent emphasis by some in Anglicanism for a "Confessional" mode certainly creates difficulties. Ironically, our Ecumenical partners more often than not see Anglicanism in the Conciliar mode. I wish publicly to thank the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church for caring for so many of our priests, deacons and laity. Division is never a happy time, but judgmentalism, condescension, criticism and the dissolution of friendships does not glorify God. Leaving a Church is a matter of discernment and obedience to God's call upon our lives. I do not judge those who have left nor those who have stayed in jurisdictions where I am not welcome. Christ cannot be divided. We are living in a broken world and the world is watching our behavior as Christians. We need to be right with God, and we need to be righteous, but self-righteousness is a sin which we must confess.

VOL: You yourself left the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy and now belong to the ACNA. What was the tipping point for you?

ACKERMAN:As I approached retirement, having been the Diocesan Bishop for 15 years, I spent an increasing amount of time with my people listening carefully to their fears and concerns about the future. The Diocese of Quincy existed before there was an Episcopal Church Center and it was the Pom Pom on the Biretta Belt. In the 1930's, the first Quincy Resolution was to delete the word "Protestant" from the title of the Church, but that did not occur until several decades later. The Bishop of Quincy was referred to as the Catholic Bishop of Quincy at numerous General Conventions. The second major Quincy Resolution occurred when, in 2003, we asked the General Convention via Resolution B001 to adopt a statement that would articulate the most basic teachings in Christianity, many of which were to be found in elements of the 39 Articles. It was defeated by the General Convention and soon countless people saw that as a clear signal of what lie ahead. Not long after, a group was sent to the Diocese to force our leadership to propose the names of female candidates for Holy Orders whom I would then be expected to ordain. The church in which we were meeting had been struck by lightning and gutted by fire just days before and there were still smoldering embers. The group that was sent was more interested in who we ordained than they were in the lives that were affected by this terrible loss. In the end, for most of us in the Diocese, Jesus' Agenda was more important to us than the Episcopal Church's Agenda. My personal hierarchy is easy: 1. Christian 2. Catholic 3. Anglican 4. An Anglican Jurisdiction

VOL:The Church of England is reeling from sexual scandals, mostly priests and Bishops involved sexually with young men. An evangelical leader wrote this to me: "Sussex is full of Anglo Catholic clergy whose natural expression of lust is towards young males." That's a terrible indictment to make. What is your response to this?

ACKERMAN:Frankly, although I had taught at the former theological college in Chichester, I am always suspicious of such bottom line statements. I always ask people to quantify for me what they mean by "full of...". Does this statement mean celibate or non-celibate? Does it mean chaste or not chaste? Single priests today face a great challenge. If they do, in fact, have same sex attraction and have never acted upon it - are they to be condemned? I subscribe to Biblical mandates about all sexual behavior. There can be no sex outside the bonds of Holy Matrimony - between one man and one woman. I, likewise, have strong opinions about divorce and remarriage and inappropriate heterosexual behavior. As you have noted, I am also a therapist, and the number of people whom I have counseled over the years - clergy and lay - only reinforce my Biblical, Christian views. But, it also brings me to a pastoral point where I am in the conversion business and I spend countless hours in a Confessional Booth weeping with people who sin and are seeking God's Absolving Grace with an intention to sin no more. When people make bottom line subjective, judgmental statements, I first look in their eye to see the beam, and then I make my own confession, lest I see myself as superior to them

VOL: The former Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, claimed the mantle of Anglo-Catholic, was sympathetic towards ALPHA, but allowed practicing homosexual Anglo-Catholic priests with their "lodgers" to go unchallenged. There seems to be something very hypocritical here for a man who claimed the Anglo-Catholic (perhaps conservative might be a better word) mantle. On his watch, the diocese became dominated by "partnered" clergy whose lifestyle was all too public. His theology paved the way for a woman bishop! What happened?

ACKERMAN:I am very fond of Bishop Chartres and I am delighted that Nashotah House will be granting him an Honorary Doctorate in May. He is an extraordinary man, and although very much on the Traditional side on all matters, shows kindness and pastoral care to ordained women and Evangelicals in his role as a member of a State Church. I read and hear many things about people whom I respect and admire and if I hear something that I cannot corroborate, I pick up the phone and call them so that I might ask them directly. Since Bp. Chartres and I have not had this conversation, and since I believe only part of what I read, without direct knowledge and without quantification, it is difficult to respond. The innuendo that exists among many anti Anglo-Catholic statements made by people who reach conclusions without experience is that many Anglo-Catholics are homosexuals. Maybe that is true and maybe it is not, but the behavior of illicit sexual relations and the judgmental statements by those who think they know are not Biblical principles.

VOL:There have always been historic tensions between Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics, along the lines of "sacramental theology" versus a more "reformed theology," do you think they can ever be resolved?

ACKERMAN: The short answer for me is "probably not in my lifetime." I was raised in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and in my youth, we acknowledged Low Church (the majority of parishes), Broad Church (a substantial number) and Anglo-Catholic/High Church (two) -the one in which my wife and I were married 50 years ago and the other one in which I served as Rector for 13 years. I do not recall any Evangelicals in the 1950's in Pittsburgh. I suspect that some might say that Dr. Sam Shoemaker of Calvary Church in East Liberty was, but probably those people who say that had not met and spoken with him. Low Church meant Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month and Morning Prayer the rest of the month, unless there was a 5th Sunday, in which case it was Morning Prayer, Litany and Ante-Communion. We all used the same Book of Common Prayer and the same Hymnal. The churches did not pick and choose sections of the Prayer Book that they wished to use or omit. The Low Churchman wore a Cassock, Surplice and a colored stole, unless the priest was older and still wore a Tippet and Academic hood with war medals on the Tippet. Anglo-Catholics were tolerated by the Low Churchmen, but we were never elected to any Diocesan positions. We knew "our place." The term "Evangelical" was only used when talking about preaching style. Since the '50's just as you have enumerated different types of "Anglo-Catholics", there has been an emergence of Evangelicals who have been greatly influenced by various Renewal Movements. In Pittsburgh, the addition of some English and Australian Anglicans, a seminary and a Bishop greatly influenced by these movements was the first time that the term "Evangelical" became a dominant descriptor. What I have said is not meant to be negative or judgmental but historically descriptive. Frankly, "Reformed Theology" was not a subject that was discussed much in those days. Mutual respect is essential and not adopting non-Anglican innovations, terms and styles will go a long way in healing those tensions - from an Anglo-Catholic's perspective.

VOL: Most of the Global South is solidly evangelical, but some provinces like Tanzania, to name one, have strong Anglo Catholic ties. Recently the Province of Sudan ordained a woman to the episcopacy in defiance of the GAFCON primates position. Is this a deal-breaker in your mind?

ACKERMAN:The Consecration of a woman in South Sudan, which did not become publicly known until recently, has set us back considerably. In my mind it was a breaking of trust. Most of my childhood and early adult years were spent being mentored by Anglo-Catholic African leaders. In those days, the Archbishop of Capetown was a major voice for Anglo-Catholics. If anyone reading this has never heard of Bp. Frank Westin of Zanzibar, then he needs to pause and read what this valiant Anglo-Catholic Bishop did there! The incredible missions of the Mirfield Fathers, the Order of the Holy Cross, SPCK, various Societies of Mission Priests, etc. are all matters of public record and most serious Anglo-Catholics have diaries and books regarding these luminaries and others not here mentioned. Once again, we must be well informed, knowing where we have been, where we are and where we are going. I hope that everyone has read the life of Bishop Robert H. Mize, an American priest who served as a Bishop in several Dioceses in Africa before being exiled, returning to the USA and serving a Mission in the Diocese of San Joaquin. He mentored me. He rode a bus from California to Illinois to be a co-Consecrator and con-Celebrant at my Consecration and Enthronement in 1994. He is a saint and his experiences in Africa were very different from some others that are recorded. He knew the Catholic face of Africa.

VOL: What future do you see for Anglo-Catholicism in Africa?

ACKERMAN:I believe that there must be a return to more classical forms of Theological training. The Anglo-Catholic expression is consonant with many of the classical African customs and traditions, where an emphasis is placed on all five senses being engaged in worship, rather than just several. Rapid growth is remarkable, and we can learn so much from those who are so successful in growth, but there must always be serious theological underpinning. Some of the greatest heroes in our lifetime live in Africa and they have shed their blood for Jesus. They have shared their remarkable gifts with us and we must humbly share our gifts with them. What Anglo-Catholics can share with other Anglicans is our sense of the absolute Holiness of God and the necessity to have Devotional Societies which have been an integral part of Anglo-Catholic life. We can also share Religious Orders once again and help people with a Rule of Life that they can live in the world in conjunction with Franciscans and Benedictines and others who live in the world but gather from time to time for community. As churches, that are planted, begin to mature both here and abroad, Anglo-Catholics can share 2,000 years of piety and spirituality that have shaped countless saints. We can also share the strength of the feminine as we give appropriate honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose example of obedience is essential for all Christians.

VOL: John Henry Cardinal Newman finally succumbed to the siren call of Rome and said this as his Anglican life ended; "I am going to those whom I do not know, and of whom I expect very little -- I am making myself an outcast, and that at my age." It was a sacrifice in which he felt "no pleasure." Is that the fate of Anglo-Catholicism in time?

ACKERMAN: If I were to dream and hope - the Reunion of Christendom is essential in the sinful world in which we live. These reunions must be done, in my mind, by not negating or ignoring the unique contributions that have been made. For me this means the Reunion of all those who call themselves Orthodox and Catholic. I will pause here, because this is where people begin their judgmental statements. I simply turn it all over to God. Once again, I am not important enough to see how it all turns out, but until my last breath I will work with those who embrace a Traditional, Conservative, Orthodox Faith and witness to those who do not.

VOL: Thank you, bishop.

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