Anglican Catholic Church consecrates two bishops

By  Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
  • February 11, 2007
OTTAWA - The primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) Archbishop John Hepworth consecrated two   auxiliary bishops for the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC) Jan. 27 at a ceremony in Ottawa.

The ceremony took place in St. Basil's Roman Catholic Church, loaned by the archdiocese of Ottawa for the occasion.

Hepworth, of Adelaide, Australia, heads a worldwide movement of continuing or traditional Anglicans that has been in informal talks with Rome for the past 12 years, seeking communion with the Holy See. The ACCC is part of this movement, as are churches in 41 countries around the world.

The Very Rev. Carl Reid, dean of the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ottawa, and the Rev. Craig Botterill, the ACCC's chancellor and pastor of St. Giles parish near Halifax, were the two candidates. They will assist Bishop Peter Wilkinson in serving the diocese of Canada. Reid will cover Ontario and Quebec, while Botterill will cover the Atlantic provinces. Wilkinson, who is based in Victoria, B.C., will cover the Western provinces in addition to his diocesan duties.

Hepworth said the dreams of unity with the Holy See began in the late 1960s after the archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsay went to Rome to meet with Pope Paul VI, launching the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission talks that Hepworth participated in as a young Anglican priest, as did some of the present TAC bishops.

However, those dreams were shattered when parts of the Anglican Communion began ordaining women, despite warnings from  Rome that doing so would be a "grave impediment" to unity.

"It became clear to us that in many parts of the Anglican world people were supporting the ordination of women in part to avoid unity with the Holy See," Hepworth said.

The church has been able to handle immorality and heresy throughout history, but changing a sacrament ordained by God was schismatic and put into doubt the means of grace in any other sacraments a woman priest might perform, Hepworth said.

In 1977, Anglicans concerned about changes to the sacrament of Holy Orders gathered in St. Louis and drafted the Affirmation of St. Louis, the foundational document of the TAC.  Wilkinson was the first Canadian Anglican to leave the larger Anglican Communion. He brought with him to St. Louis a young Carl Reid, a civil engineer, who was among the candidates consecrated on the 27th.  Reid said in an interview that had the Anglican Communion tried to change any of the other seven sacraments, there would have been the same reaction. "You don't change a sacrament ordained by God by democracy," he said.

Talks with Rome began in 1992, when a delegation of bishops and priests, including Hepworth, went to the Council for Promoting Christian Unity in  Rome to "explain to them our dreams."

Hepworth said the TAC, with the help of Roman Catholics in various parts of the world, is now in the final stages of preparing a formal document to present to Rome that will explain "who we are, what we are and why we wish to have an intimate relationship."

During the ceremony, Hepworth noted the consecration is taking place in a "moment of history" when "what is old is despised and neglected and what is new is pursued even to the point of destruction" and that some openly despite the treasure they have received or "seek to ignore or to innovate."

"To this wilful age, the Gospels are a mark of contradiction," he said, noting that the new bishops will "do the reminding" of the Gospel and speak out against sin.

He described human cloning as the "beginning of a new age of cannibalism," as men and women search for health and eternal life in the wrong places. 

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