Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins

Anglican ordinariate back on track after Aussie meltdown

By 
  • May 18, 2011

TORONTO - A leaked private e-mail between two Australian bishops that was critical of Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins briefly threatened to halt the process of forming a Catholic Anglican ordinariate in Canada.

The message from Traditional Anglican Communion primate Archbishop John Hepworth to Melbourne’s Catholic Bishop Peter Elliott accused Collins of “the wanton destruction of their (Anglican Catholic Church of Canada) communities, the absolute disregard for their ecclesial integrity, and the brutish manner in which these edicts are being communicated.” Hepworth said that he and Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Bishop Peter Wilkinson would immediately place “on hold” further steps toward creating an ordinariate in Canada.  

Collins has been put in charge of the processes of forming an ordinariate for ex-Anglicans in Canada under the terms of the 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

In a statement posted to the archdiocese of Toronto’s web site May 16, Collins said his job was to offer the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus to any and all former Anglicans, not just the Traditional Anglican Communion, of which the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada is a member.


Hepworth responded to Collins’ statement on the anglocatholic.com web site May 17 saying he was grateful for Collins’ clarification.

“I very much regret the publication of this letter (to Bishop Elliott).”

He also rescinded the suspension of talks with Collins’ representatives.

“I have today advised the TAC bishops of Canada to resume the mentoring visits by local Catholic priests,” Hepworth wrote.

The public statement of May 17 seems to be an about face from the private e-mail the week before in which Hepworth told Elliott, “I warned you last July that the English ordinariate may well be the first and the last. That outcome is now more certain.”

Part of Hepworth’s objection to Collins’ plans for the ordinariate stemmed from questions of property.

“New parishes for Anglicans along the lines of the Anglican Use in the United States may be established, but not necessarily in the former Traditional Anglican Communion Church,” claimed Hepworth.

“And that during this process the Traditional Anglican Communion must cede its property to the ordinariate.”

Collins said it was premature to be worrying over who will hold title on TAC-ACCC churches.

“I realize that there are complicated corporate and legal issues relating to property which must be resolved if the ACCC parishes seek to be part of an ordinariate in Canada,” Collins wrote. “But those challenges can surely be overcome.”

Hepworth said he was not expressing anger in his original e-mail to Elliott.

“Australian forthrightness is not to be confused with anger,” he wrote.

“The key reality is that Anglicanorum Coetibus offers a fresh beginning, a sign of hope, for any group of Anglicans who freely decide to be received into the Catholic Church,” wrote Collins.

The Traditional Anglican Communion represents about three-quarters of the ex-Anglicans who are considering entering the ordinariate in Canada.

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