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MDAS Could Pull out of ACNA if Women's Ordination is Approved

MDAS Could Pull out of ACNA if Women's Ordination is Approved
Bishop Ilgenfritz considers "exit ramp" if ACNA formally accepts WO

By David W. Virtue, DD
April 9, 2018

Some bishops claim the goal of GAFCON and ACNA is to complete the Reformation. The Anglo-Catholic viewpoint and practice are being pushed out of the Church in favor of an evangelical Protestant viewpoint and practice.

The Rt. Rev. William Ilgenfritz, Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints, (MDAS) a non-geographic diocese of the ACNA. told delegates to their recent Synod that the ordination of women is symptomatic of deeper problems with the ACNA. "It is not the sole problem. I urge MDAS to keep the dialogue open for a possible exit ramp with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Nordic Catholic Church via the Scranton Union."

Ilgenfritz reported from the recent [ACNA] College of Bishops meeting on the Task Force Report on the Ordination of Women that the bishops requested a moratorium on the ordination of women to the priesthood in ACNA, as such ordinations are a divisive issue in ACNA. The request was rebuffed, he said.

"Orthodox bishops were told to 'love it or leave for Rome.' Furthermore, the Primate of South Sudan secretly ordained women contrary to his own constitution and canons in direct defiance of the moratorium by GAFCON and kept it secret for two years. Women's ordination is not the only problem with ACNA.

"Another objection is a Calvinist bishop, namely, one who affirms the sovereignty of God but denies the free will response of the sinner to God's offer of atonement through grace. Such a position claims that grace is irresistible." One congregation is practicing Credo baptism and denying infant baptism, he said.

The College of Bishops has not yet made a decision on Women's Ordination, also called "dual integrity."

This conflict does not bode well for unity in ACNA in the future. "I cannot defend ACNA anymore," said Ilgenfritz. "Which direction should we take to avoid the coming storms?"

"Perhaps the most immediate threat to MDAS is the ACNA criteria of Sustainability. Sustainability is not based on the viability of the faith or faithfulness of a diocese but on the size and financial welfare of each diocese. According to ACNA rules, when a bishop retires or dies, the diocese must petition a committee of ACNA whether that diocese has sufficient attendance and sufficient budget to warrant a replacement bishop's election. That would be a problem for MDAS with our small congregations and limited financial resources."

The Rt. Rev. Richard Lipka said that given the difficult problems with ACNA over Women's Ordination and Sustainability as a diocese when MDAS bishops retire or die, is an "exit ramp" for MDAS to consider joining the Union of Scranton with like-minded Non-Papal Catholics in the Polish National Catholic Church and the Nordic Catholic Church.

Two REC bishops presented a strategy to remain inside ACNA subsumed as part of the REC with "special protocols" to accommodate MDAS.

The REC retains its own constitution and canons as a provision in joining ACNA. ACNA's constitution and canons are based on the REC's constitution and canons.

"Women's ordination was never considered in the REC. The ordination of women is a major impediment to ecumenical dialogue. We cannot yet commune with each other, i.e. Eucharistic hospitality. Baptism is admission to Eucharistic hospitality.

"In the Catholic view, schism is worse than the ordination of women. Unity is very important. Independence is anathema to Catholics. Because of ACNA's global connection, we can have ecumenical dialogue with the Global South. The Vatican is recognizing a differentiated dialogue, namely, a coming realignment of Christendom, with those who believe in the Bible and those who don't--the received tradition of the historic 'faith once delivered'.

"The REC bishops have given a possible strategy to remain within ACNA while answering our objections to bitter controversies in the Anglican Church. It would be easier to divide than to stay together. MDAS could become a diocese in search of a church. The REC is a church NOT an individual diocese." The REC is 150 years old, he said.

Bishop Sutton said that in the end, the catholic voice will prevail. "Maintaining the REC constitution and canons preserves the historic witness. The REC can accommodate MDAS."


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