Thursday, 29 January 2009

Traditional Anglican Communion Update.

The TAC Cathedral of the Annunciation, Ottawa.

DAMIAN THOMPSON has news which the New Liturgical Movement took from an Australian newspaper concerning the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC). John Hepworth, their Archbishop, suggests that there will be a personal prelature for them in the Roman Catholic Church. Massinformation have a good precis of what a personal prelature is, many of you will be familiar with the concept as this is the status Opus Dei enjoy within the Roman Catholic Church.

Will this happen? Who knows, there has been surprising news recently about other groups, notably the SSPX, but I fail to see how a group with no RC background, which has married Bishops and Priests and which is of Anglican heritage can be offered a personal prelature and be in any way recognisable as what they are now. However, I do not make the rules! Married Bishops would seem to be an obstacle which would take an incredible amount of manoeuvring to overcome. If they stepped down, who would lead this new Prelature?

In a way, of course, the TAC are in a good position to move to this suggested home as there will be no legal battles over property, they own their own Churches, unlike traditionalist Anglicans in the CofE. Unfortunately, in the UK, most of their Churches are in bedrooms or dining rooms of houses and have been for sometime, with the notable exception of Saint Agatha's Portsmouth. Have a look HERE for information of times of Mass etc, but note the lack of the addresses of the Churches. I understand that in Canada and Australia that the TAC have a far more structured Church which is well attended, so good news there. Once again, I think that part of the problem for us here in the UK is that continuing Churches have never really got much of a foothold, we in Forward in Faith have remained strong and grown because we are a recognisable part of the CofE, we are ordained by their Bishops, pay our quotas, engage in Deanery and Diocesan talks and have CofE Churches to which people have an emotional attachment. Indeed we are the truest expression of a continuing Church because we are just that - continuing within the Church the tradition of that Church in the buildings and with the ways people are used to and attached to.

What the future will hold for any of us, I do not know. I pray that it may be Godly and that His will be done. But a personal prelature for a group which has married Bishops and, at least, an irregular history? I don't know, but it seems unlikely.

If this does go through, then it will be interesting to watch how the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales react and what provisions will be made for the TAC in this country. It should raise fascinating questions, firstly because one of the conditions imposed on Opus Dei, the only other Personal Prelature, is that they have to be invited in to a Diocese which they wish to operate within. If the TAC already have established Churches and congregations, will they have to close down and then ask for admission and what will happen, as happened with Opus Dei in a number of places, if they are subsequently refused entry?