The TAC in England and the Nordic Catholic Church

Something is brewing – The Traditional Anglican Revival. A statement: from Bishop Ian Gray.

The TACB is an autonomous Continuing Anglican Church which is a member of the TAC (Traditional Anglican Communion), the largest grouping of such Churches in the world, and has a settled identity and purpose.

As announced in my recent letter in the Synod edition of the Clarion, the TACB seeks to enter into ecumenical discussions with Churches of a similar or analogous heritage, and thus is happy to respond to Bishop Flemested’s initiative via his representatives in England, and where appropriate, directly.

The TACB has been given to believe that the Nordic Catholic Church, enriched by its Lutheran history, aims to continue the Faith of the Union of Utrecht in the days of its orthodoxy via the Union of Scranton. We applaud this desire, which we have experienced ourselves with respect to our Anglican traditions.

In particular, the TACB would like to see a revival of the intercommunion which existed between Old Catholic and Anglican jurisdictions before the ordination of women became a divisive issue.

While it is clear that it must be at the level of the College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion and the equivalent within the Union of Scranton Churches that such an outcome would most appropriately be pursued, it is hoped that fruitful cooperation might develop in the United Kingdom, in mutually agreed ways, that would lead to the greater visible presence and the influence of classical Anglicanism.

The TACB welcomes Bishop Flemested’s interest in helping to ‘restore the Anglican mind’ and takes the view that the best way this could be done is by supporting the TACB’s efforts to become the Anglo-catholic counterpart of the evangelical Free Church of England in this country.

With the potential of the TACB and FCE working in tandem to represent the full range of traditions within the old Established Church, and with a restoration of intercommunion and cooperation between authentic Old Catholics and Anglicans, we could all look forward to a time when with God’s help, the assaults of secularism could be countered more vigorously, and the Gospel preached more effectively.

+Ian Gray

Bishop Ordinary, TACB.

November 2014.

I naturally wish them the best and encourage all efforts to unite churches and communities in Christ’s name. The project seems ambitious, but nothing is impossible for God. Does anyone have any independent information? It is interesting to note that this seems to be a local initiative and not one of the TAC as a whole.

This website is interesting, but the site appears to date only from November 2014 and is mostly “under construction”. There is also this brief introduction in English by Bishop Flemestad. The illustration of a modern-style Mass with a loaf of ordinary bread on the altar and everyone holding hands is disconcerting.

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65 Responses to The TAC in England and the Nordic Catholic Church

  1. Father Anthony

    As a lay member of the NCC in England I would like to thank you for your positive comments.

    I cannot comment further here and must leave the response to this initiative in the hands of + Roald Nikolai and our College of Priests.

    • It beats me why everything has to be so secret. We in the ACC don’t have this kind of secrecy. Obviously, discussions in our council meetings are confidential, but they concern matters which rapidly become public and above board. I have written before about a certain kind of culture of secrecy, and it is very unhealthy. For example, the French community of the NCC was all hush-hush, and in several years it has done practically nothing. When “the latest news is that there is no news“, it all leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and I have other things to do with my time.

      All the same, if it goes anywhere, then it has my blessing and prayers for the good of the Universal Church. If it’s a game of “hide and seek”, we need to grow up a little. I remember the “Waiting for Godot” game in the Hepworth days. Not nice memories. All very grandiose and a puff of gold dust that blows away in the wind…

      However, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.

      • Father Anthony,

        I agree with what you say about excessive secrecy. As regards the posting above, I do not have any information other than what is already in the public domain.

        My comment about leaving all of this in the hands of my Bishop and his priests arises from a posting elsewhere a few weeks back.

        Then I caused potential problems by inadvertent premature disclosure of information.

        I have accepted the friendly and well meant advice which was given to me.

        My own view is that the more information out in the open the better for all of us. I find excess of confidentiality decidedly counter productive and downright irritating!

        There must of course be occasions when matters have to be dealt with confidentially.

        This is an interesting development and I am an advocate of Christian Unity. Hopefully someone from within the TAC or the TACGB will answer your valid question as to whether this initiative is from the Communion or the Church in Gt Britain.

      • It’s OK, Neil. I’m not accusing you of anything, and I have a lot of esteem for Bishop Flemestad. I hope it will all work out, but I have my reserves. Like the years 2007 to 2011 and Adelaide, time will tell.

  2. William Tighe says:

    Two questions immediately come to my mind:

    1. What about the supposed move of the “Free Church of England” into the Union of Scranton?

    2. What about “the question of Anglican Orders?” (The PNCC has not recognized the Orders of any Anglican groups, including those of Continuing Anglicans, since 1978; and the NCC has followed the same “policy” ever since its origin.)

    • These are good questions, but no answer seems forthcoming. There seems to be a lot of wishful thinking.

      I was present at a meeting in 2012 in England involving Bishop Flemestad, another PNCC bishop from the US and some Church of England clergy. There was talk of the PNCC accepting Anglican Orders, but the fact remains that no Anglican Orders have been recognised by the PNCC. For churches that aren’t in the real mainstream club, the talks seem unending. Probably the sticking point is precisely that of Orders.

      Keep tuned. Perhaps Godot will bring answers when we’re all in bathchairs or dead…

  3. Dale says:

    I have had conversations with an Anglican priest who did enter into the PNCC several years ago, his take on the situation, he and his parish eventually left to become Western rite Orthodox, is that they are simply very modernist Roman Catholics and that in the United States they are lead by not too much more than married ex-Catholic priests of a very liberal bent. They have completely jettisoned the whole of the Roman rite tradition and have become simply a recreation of the Roman Catholic Church of the 1970’s; complete with clergy playing their guitars to a confused congregation. He also explained that, at least in the United States, they are very, very ethnic and were very opposed to traditional Anglo-Catholic worship, their own preference being for polyester and dancing old ladies.

    They are in the process of dying out in the United States and are now trying to encourage divorced Catholics, and Hispanics, very modernist in tradition as well, to join them.

    Personally, I fail to see how traditional Anglo-Catholics could be attracted at all to modernist liturgies and kalabasa.

    Oh, it gets better:

  4. In answer to Dr. Tighe I write as follows:-

    The complete answers can be found in the ‘Requirements for Communion with the Polish National Catholic Church.’ I will summarise some points.
    A Catholic jurisdiction seeking Communion ….. must be in conformity with and profess faithfulness to
    * the authentic teaching handed down by the Apostles as found within Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
    * a common celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary is truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist
    * the demonstration of an identifiable, valid and licit Apostolic Succession.

    Applicants must accept the Seven Sacraments, The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed,The Decisions of the first seven Ecumenical Councils, the Declaration of Utrecht and the Declaration of Scranton.

    In the absence of no valid and licit episcopacy full declarations of adherence to all of the requirements are required before the application can be considered.
    The Nordic Catholic Church, and Christs Catholic Church are in full communion with the PNCC in the Union of Scranton. Other jurisdictions are seeking entry. To enter the Communion all conditions of the Requirement would have to be met.

    • Thank you for the clarification, but in respect of Dr Tighe’s question, this does not answer the question of whether the PNCC accepts Anglican Orders. Perhaps it is sometimes “yes”, sometimes “no”, or something a little clearer.

    • William Tighe says:

      “The Nordic Catholic Church, and Christs Catholic Church are in full communion with the PNCC in the Union of Scranton.”

      “Christs Catholic Church” – what’s that (in this context)?

      • It appears to be the Christ-Katholische Kirche in Deutschland. This is quite strange since that is the name of the Swiss Old Catholic Church (Union of Utrecht) based in Berne, without “in Deutschland”. The Swiss Old Catholics have been the most “liberal” for many decades. I met one of their priests in Lausanne in the 1980’s, and he and his family went to the Moscow Patriarchate.

        According to the photos of the German Christ-Katholische Kirche, they are not at all traditionalist liturgically. I don’t know what rite they use but it all looks very “Novus Ordo”.

      • William Tighe says:

        Thanks, Fr. Anthony. While the Swiss OCC was perhaps the most “bourgeois liberal” of the Utrecht Union churches historically, they did not experience, as did those of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands from the 1970s onwards, an influx of discontented RC priests of the “Wojtyla and Ratzinger have betrayed the ‘Spirit of Vatican II'” sort, who from the 90s onwards, swung those churches over into accepting women’s purported ordination and the blessing of homosexual pseudogamy. The Swiss eventually went along with both of these, of course.

  5. Should not our regular reader and commentator Dale’s ‘Ye Olde Ye Blaste against Ye PNCC’
    have appeared in the Orthodox Blow Out Department?

    • No, it was in the right place. If this criticism is founded, then people have freedom of speech here. Perhaps Dale’s piece is a challenge for someone to show him to be wrong… That is your role. The NCC seems quite traditional and “medieval”. However, it can’t be denied that the PNCC is very “Novus Ordo” with a liberal Roman Catholic ethos, at least going by the videos.

    • Dale says:

      Why? I had no idea that the PNCC was Orthodox?

      • Stephen Elliot says:

        I have read this blog for several years, I recall when you were singing the praises of the Old Catholic Church in the United Kingdom. Now your affiliated with the Nordic Catholic Church, why two jurisdictions with differing theologies in a such a short period of time? Such instability makes one doubt your credibility when judging Dale’s comments.

      • To be fair to Neil, I can understand the clutching at straws when Christianity seems to be on its last legs in the place where one lives. If one wants to be a churchgoer, one has to find a church. The local Anglican or Roman Catholic? The non-conformists? The more exciting minorities have nothing anywhere near where you live, so it all becomes academic. Things become that much more exciting and less boring with secrets. The secret is so terribly stimulating, though to be fair with Neil he sees that things can become excessive.

        That being said, I think Dale’s comments stand unless they can be refuted on factual grounds.

  6. My understanding is that the PNCC have a more traditional liturgy also available. I really cannot see how the churches of the Union of Scranton can be described as ‘liberal’. I would say neither ‘liberal’ or ‘fundamentalist’. I would say also that use of the Novus Ordo most certainly does not mean that those using it are therefore ‘liberals’ in the sense which I suppose most catholic anglicans , orthodox Old Catholics and others would describe the term.

    I use the Novus Ordo and would not define my faith as either ‘liberal’ or ‘fundamentalist’. Just a mainstream believer who fits into the definition of catholicism given by St Vincent de Lerins.
    I have not the slightest problem with older liturgies.

    One aspect of the NCC and PNCC accepting the validity of Anglican Orders is the Joint Declaration of Unity in May 2006 with the RCC which built on the earlier agreements of 1993 and 1996.These placed the PNCC into canon 844 of the RCC.This similarly applies to the NCC.
    In these the Holy See recognised the validity of PNCC Orders and Sacraments. As I am addressing an informed readership I need not elaborate further.
    However I offer the view that this is by no means an insurmountable problem for catholic jurisdictions seeking to enter communion.

    I write here in a purely personal capacity. I do not purport to represent the views of Prime Bishop
    Anthony Mikovsky , Bishop Roald Nikolai Flemestad , the International Bishops Conference or the NCC Administration in England.

    • This is a kind and candid message, and I thank you for it. There has to be diversity in Churches, not regimented uniformity. In the Continuing Anglican Churches, we are “Prayer Book Catholics” with dioceses and parishes using more of less the Anglican Missal and the English Missal or something closer to Sarum. We always use eastward-facing altars, except some dioceses in the TAC.

      The conservative Anglicans in union with the Southern Cone are generally Evangelical and/or use modern liturgies and altars facing the people. This seems to be the general “thing” in the Union of Scranton except in the former Lutheran parts. I don’t mind and I won’t call them heretical. They have made their bed and we have made ours. We don’t judge each other, but we could not conform to each other’s usages. I have been in the past attracted to Old Catholicism as to Western Orthodoxy, but there is something that repels me from both. That’s not to say they are bad, but they are not for me. I tend to be an Anglican in the way that French Catholics outside the Reformation / Counter-Reformation dialectic were Gallicans. There is a certain amount of diversity in my Church, which I expect in any other, and the PNCC / Scranton Union / NCC / etc. is no exception. That being said, they cannot claim now or in the future to be the only pukka and legitimate expression of “medieval” or “conciliar” Catholicism.

      If ever I were charged by my Bishop or Provincial Synod to take responsibility for a dialogue with the Union of Scranton, I would do so with an open mind, but with an insistence that nothing is “cloak and dagger” or secretive. If public knowledge causes a relationship of this kind to fail, then so be it. I don’t mind dialogue if it doesn’t involve too many meetings and expensive travel. I would want, as a pragmatic kind of person, to see results in a tangible time frame without dilly-dallying. But, that is speculation because I won’t be the man for the job.

      All in being tolerant and supportive of diversity, such as in matters of liturgical styles and rites, I find it a pity that these Churches are not standing out by upholding more traditional and “mystery” forms of liturgy rather than use modern forms like in the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Does it matter? Yes, to some of us it does matter.

      • Dale says:

        The, now, western rite priest who was with the PNCC’s stated that they were most certainly were not at all open to traditional liturgies at all and that the understanding, not always openly stated, was that their “Anglican rite” communities would eventually go novus ordo as had the rest of their denomination. When St Mark’s in Denver eventually left the PNCC one small group did remain with the PNCC’s, St Francis. And following the direction of the PNCC they are now totally liberal as far as liturgy is concerned: mass facing the people, liturgical dancing (this seems to be big with the PNCC for some odd reason), female altar services, guitars, hit and miss as regards to use of liturgical vestments et cetera. I fail to see why mentioning this reality seems to upset Mr Hailstone. If he finds this upsetting to mention, then why does he belong to them?

    • William Tighe says:

      “My understanding is that the PNCC have a more traditional liturgy also available.”

      My impression is, though, that it is hardly ever used, and if one looks through that “more traditional liturgy” one sees that it has as an alternative to the Roman Canon (which itself had been touched up by Bishop Hodur in a way that reflects some of his pet notions) a most bizarre alternative Canon, composed by Hodur himself, which consists mostly of various excerpts from the gospels, although with enough of the right stuff that it would be difficult to impuign its validity.

      • Dale says:

        “[W]ith enough of the right stuff that it would be difficult to impugn its validity”; but should this be the liturgical criteria of those who believe and follow the Catholic Faith? The bare minimum for validity? Personally, I should hope not.

        I am sorry, but for me, the novus ordo is not part of the old Catholic Faith, it is not within the continuum of a living tradition; it is a bizarre pick-and-chose liturgical monstrosity invented by those who wished to see the demise of Catholic Faith and Practice, and in this regards it has been highly effective.

        I fail to see how it is possible to worship according to the novus ordo and still profess to be a traditional Catholic, or any kind of Catholic for that matter.

      • I understand what you are saying. I think the original intention of Bugnini’s Consilium was something like the Synod of Pistoia, the Jansenists and Fr Jubé of Asnières. It was an purist attempt to get rid of the “accretions” and return to something “pristine”, and then that opened the way to “inculturation” including the western pop culture. There was also the reaction against rubricism. There were essentially two liturgical movements, that of the Benedictines and that of the “pastoralists”.

        We live in a free world, and churches have their liturgies, and most people are just not interested in church at all, but are not necessarily bad people or materialists. They are alienated. We too are alienated, as I am myself, except from my tiny little Church that fights the good fight as best it can.

        I could never go down that route of DIY ceremonies and pseudo entertainment round the table. No one except the right-wing conservatives are interested in the old liturgy, because it is their “banner”. We Anglicans of the ACC, at least in England, are much less political. It is easy to imply that our dogged attachment to the old liturgy is “anti-evangelical”, and so we carry our cross. Here in France, I am not Roman Catholic, so it doesn’t matter whether I use Sarum, the Sryo-Malabar rite or say Mass standing on my head in underpants! I have only the Angels at Mass and occasionally my wife.

        For me it isn’t even about “being Catholic” but just staying alive spiritually.

      • William Tighe says:

        Dear Dale,

        You seem to think that we’re in disagreement, when, if we are, we are only partially so. Our most important difference probably lies in the realm of ecclesiology; liturgically, we are probably not that much far apart. I do think, though, that the modern PNCC eucharistic rites outdo the Novus Ordo in their objectionability (even if the accoutrements of that rite are marginally more “old-fashioned” then those of the Novus Ordo) – and particularly in their minimalist and equivocating Eucharistic Prayers.

      • Dale says:

        Hello Bill,

        No, I do realise that we hold very similar views on liturgics. I do remember that once I had written that the best thing for the novus ordo was to simply retire it, and restore the old Mass in the vernaculars and that both you and Adam Deville, whom I also very much respect, did support this contention. That was when I stated that no amount of Tridentine tat could save the new rites.

        I also do agree that the PNCC’s version of the novus ordo is indeed actually worse than the one that Rome has. And in some ways because the decor of the churches, PNCC, remain more traditional, it actually makes the novus ordo look even more dreadful in some ways.

        I also realise that it might be a losing battle. But for me, I simply cannot understand how anyone can go through the old Roman Mass and then turn around and prefer, not only liturgically, theologically, but simply in the case of beauty, the novus ordo. But, I have always been out of date. But simply because it might be a losing battle, does not mean that one should retire from the fray. Our heritage is indeed worth making a few people think we are nuts or even at times, gasp, rude.

  7. For Father Anthony. Thank you for your help both here and behind the scenes over the years. I have learned from you in helpful ways.

    For Stephen Elliot. Thank you for your comment. Thankfully I have a very stable lifestyle and faith.I left the OCC UK after a serious problem arose with one of their bishops. I was much disquieted over the matter and departed. The OCC UK is an orthodox Old Catholic Jurisdiction and I have no current or recent criticism to make of it.My own departure was entirely amicable. I was not in personal dispute with the bishop to whom I refer whose departure could not be described as amicable. They are all in my daily prayers.

    In fact I had always wanted to become a member of the NCC since December 2010. After the announcement re the FCoE I no longer thought this would be possible for Anglo Catholics like myself worshipping in FIF/SSWSH. Thankfully it now is. It is a personal blessing for me to be under the authority of a hard working orthodox Old Catholic priest in whom resides my full confidence. I was able to sign the relevant statements with a totally clear conscience. I could not have remained in the C of E or have entered OLW with a clear conscience.

    For William Tighe. Thank you for your comments and all of the hard work you have done over the years. Personally I do approve of all modern methods of communication when we are engaged in youth work or evangelism. I detest guitars with the exception of the Vivaldi Concerto. If I came across their use during Holy Mass I would protest vehemently afterwards.

    For Dale. Thank you for your comments above and also for your contribution to this blog over the years. I found some of it decidedly food for thought. My Ye Olde etc comment above was meant as humour. Obviously very bad humour from the reaction which it provoked.

    To One and All. I have decided to resile from Sarum Use. I have been considering this for some time. I worship and attempt to live out my faith (too often failing) in different circles than most regular contributors here.

    I do wish everyone a Peaceful and Joyful Christmas.

    Warmly in Christ


    • Neil, you don’t have to “go”, and you are always welcome here, even if you get a bit of stick. Remember that written messages on a blog have no emotions, so humour can easily get missed and things misinterpreted. As I have said, I don’t mind the existence of modern rites, but I do mind when someone tries to make them mandatory and supersede the older rites. That’s what happened with Paul VI. I’m not accusing you. I’m perhaps over-sensitive from my own past life.

      You are free to comment and you are free to read and lurk out of everyone’s sight. It’s up to you, but this blog is what it has become, both myself and those who write comments.

      • Your comment is very kind and I appreciate it. I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with me, or now and then writing snotty responses. It was just a growing feeling that given the differences between the outworking of my faith and those around me on Sarum Use I was perhaps in the wrong milieu.
        I readily accept that other Catholics prefer to worship in different jurisdictions. I have no problem with the use of different liturgies. We are all worshipping the same Triune God.

        I am certainly a believer in Christian Unity. In my view best achieved by various forms of unity in diversity.

        Your comment has caused me to re-evaluate. I’ll certainly carry on reading. There are some interesting topics. I can say also that I have found quite a bit of help here from your articles and weighing up other peoples opinions. When the subject of Hell and eternal punishment was fully examined I did in fact somewhat alter my settled opinions. One good feature about Sarum Use is the challenge to consider our own opinions and then thoroughly test them for validity.

        I expect I will be unable to resist coming back with written comment concerning a subject of particular interest to me. Thanks for getting back to me about my decision.

      • ed pacht says:

        Neil, I’m glad you’ll be around. Fr. Anthony has managed to build a most unusual on-line community here, and I, for one, would be missing something vital if I did not check in. I don’t agree with everything that’s said in here — in fact, as some of my comments surely show, I can sometimes react a little angrily — a few of the commenters seem to know how to push my buttons (and I’m sure I do it to them) — and I have been on the end of some uncomfortable barbs, but there’s something about this peculiar bunch that seems particularly alive. I’m glad to have you around.

        And Fr. Anthony, thank you for bringing this place into being.

  8. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    If the PNCC joined the Union of Utrecht in 1907, they were ‘around’ when the Bonn Agreement transpired in 1931. Were they somehow exceptionally not a party to it and its full inter-communion? If they were a party to it, did that not include recognition of Anglican Orders? If it did, did the coming to be of the Continuing Anglican Churches affect this? Did the PNCC then recognize the Anglican Orders of the Continuing Anglican and the (‘Canterbury’) Anglican Communion, or did they choose one or the other? And what happened when the Old Catholic International Bishops’ Conference effectively expelled the PNCC in November 2003? Did the PNCC thereafter reevaluate its inter-communion and/or recognition of Anglican Orders? I see lots of ‘theoretical’ possibilities, but what are the facts?

    • William Tighe says:

      I am writing this response from memory, and so crave correction and supplementation, but the PNCC’s membership in the Utrecht Union under Bishop Hodur (d. 1953) was largely a “flag of convenience” for it to fly under (as well as a source for their Orders). Hodur’s views were liberal and heterodox: he was a universalist, and had a romantic/nationalist view of ecclesiology which well suited his “Polish Messianism;” and in his very strange book *The Apocalypse of the Twentieth Century* (1930) – a copy of which I sent to Fr. Chadwick some months ago – he indicates his belief in WO in a passing allusion about “the men and women of the priesthood of the future” (p. 219). He had to keep these views semi-concealed, since to blazon them would leave him open to RC attacks as a manifest heretic, deceiving rather than liberating Catholic Poles, as well as possibly resulting in his church’s suspension or even expulsion from the Utrecht Union (the European churches of which were firmly orthodox in those days, as witness the expulsion of the Polish Mariavite Church from the UU in 1924 after its Archbishop Kowalski’s ordinations of women became a matter of public knowledge).

      Bishop Hodur seems to have believed (a belief for which there is some evidence) that the Episcopal Church would have liked to “poach” discontented Polish Catholics (as they attempted to do with other “ethnic” Catholics), and also that it was the church of the upper class/capitalist exploiters of immigrants, and so he discouraged any contacts with Episcopalians, and seems to have taken no interest in nor notice of the Bonn Agreement. It was not until 1946 that the PNCC made an intercommunion agreement with the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada, and even after that date the PNCC leadership treated those agreements as entailing nothing more than occasional joint services, the access of PNCC faithful to Anglican sacraments when they could not have recourse to their own, and their bishops’ involvement in each others’ episcopal consecrations (which last occurred in 1971).

      As the Episcopal Church began to lurch leftwards from the mid-1960s onwards, the PNCC moved to the right, especially after the death of their second Prime Bishop, Leon Grochowski (who shared Hodur’s universalism) in 1969. As relations with the RC Church thawed from the late 60s onwards, it became regarded as a mark of “liberalism” within the PNCC to put ecumenical emphasis on its relations with Episcopalians, as well as to commend, or even to speak of, Hodur’s universalist views. (Indeed, the PNCC’s bishops formally disavowed “universalism” in the early 1980s, and insisted that the PNCC didn’t teach it.) This was true especially after the Episcopal Church formally adopted the pretended ordination of women in 1976. The PNCC’s Prime Bishop at the time, Thaddeus Zielinski, in response announced that the PNCC’s intercommunion with the Episcopal Church (as well as with the Anglican Church of Canada, which had voted in WO in 1975) was suspended; and at the PNCC’s 1978 General Synod it was formally revoked (not without some opposition, then and thereafter, from those in the PNCC who maintained a strong “los von Rom” stance, or who had cultivated close ties with Anglicans and didn’t wish to see them cease, or who [and there were such] looked with favor on the idea of WO [although such folk within the PNCC would usually only acknowledge favoring ordaining women to the diaconate]).

      From 1978 onwards the PNCC refused to recognize any Anglican Orders whatsoever, Canterburian or Continuing. It is telling no secrets to relate that after FiF/UK had put the discontented Norwegian State Church clergy of the “Samraad paa Kirkens Grunn” in contact with the PNCC around 1995, and after the conversations which led to the formation of the Nordic Catholic Church in 1999 under the aegis of the PNCC had come to the prospect of a successful conclusion, the PNCC insisted that there could be no sacramental sharing or intercommunion between the Nordics and Anglicans of any sort, FiF Anglicans included (before this, such “sacramental sharing” between FiFers and orthodox Catholic-minded Scandinavian Lutherans appears to have been common); and that this was a condition which had to be accepted if the PNCC were to oversee the NCC and ordain clergy for it – a condition which they accepted.

      I have never seen any written (or heard any sustained spoken) theological rationale for the post-1978 PNCC total rejection of Anglican Orders. In speaking with various PNCC folk over the years about this matter I have heard such things as “we now realize that Leo XIII was right in Apostolicae curae” or “we now realize that Anglicans are Protestant and no more Catholic than Lutherans, and so of course we don’t recognize their Orders” or (informally and off-the-record) “our future as a declining and dying body lies in an ‘honorable reconciliation’ with Rome, so why should we have anything to do with those sectarian ‘Continuing Anglican’ bodies and their Orders?” (And the PNCC rejected the opportunity presented to it in the seven or eight years beginning in 2002 to take into itself a small but respectable Continuing Anglican body after half of that body had been “assimilated” by the APA, by displaying great bonhommie to the representatives of that body that engaged in conversations with them, but never offering any concrete response to their requests.)

      It was the PNCC’s refusal to accept, recognize, or to be in full communion with those who practiced, WO that resulted in their effective expulsion from the Union of Utrecht (indeed, the PNCC refused to recognize the “Orders” of those women whom the European UU churches began purportedly to ordain to the diaconate from 1987 onwards, but the conflict only became acute in 1996, when the German OCs purported to ordain the first priestess in a UU church). There is some supporting sentiment for WO in the PNCC, although its expression is hardly encouraged, and such expression as it has usually comes from theologically-educated (and I won’t go into that, save that such education is generally imparted at RC institutions) laymen and laywomen; and is usually qualified by restriction to “the diaconate.”

      I did not intend to wax so prolix here; please pardon my comment’s great length.

      • Thank you for this. Then it looks as though the Free Church of England and the TACB will both have the same deal with the PNCC/NCC as with the Ordinariate – absolute re-ordination. Yeah…

      • Dale says:

        Thank you William,

        One issue you did not mention, and it is indeed odd, is that the PNCC theology of the Sacraments is truly “different” as well. They appear to believe in Eight Sacraments, but kept the official number at Seven as to not offend people in their early years. They have “preaching the Word” as a Sacrament, but to keep the official number of Sacraments at Seven, they combined Baptism and Confirmation into one Sacrament.

        When Fr Joseph Angwin of Incarnation, which also went western rite Orthodox, started conversations with the PNCC with hopes of bringing the parish to them, he was rather off put by their lack of theological training. As an example one of their demands was that in the Anglican Missal rite every time that the word “cup” appeared in the Mass it had to be changed to “Chalice.” But what he found very difficult, besides their lack of theological formation, was their incredible ethnocentrism; which they now seem to be shedding in hopes of some type of growth since the new Polish immigration is strongly R.C. and the older generation, or younger, simply has very little interest in a denomination whose only reason to exist seems to be nationalistic. Hence, their new approach to Hispanics and divorced and remarried modernist Roman Catholics.

        Oh, even Fr Angwin admitted that he felt that their concession to use an Anglican rite was only going to be temporary at best. In this, with only one of the Anglican parishes actually remaining, in the end, with the PNCC and it has gone completely modernist liturgically, he was proven correct. When he was in contract, they were still using a fairly odd rendition of the Roman rite, but were in the process of embracing the novus ordo.

        When there was a Polish Pope, they went completely gaga over this and expected an immediate return to Rome; but in the end, Rome would only re-accept them under its own terms, which makes sense; so in the end, all property would have to be given over to the local RC diocese and all married clergy who had either gone PNCC in adulthood or who had been RC clergy and married would only be received in a lay state. The same offer recently made to Anglicans.

        On paper, it would appear that Continuing Anglo-Catholics and the PNCC would be a perfect match; but because of their liturgical leanings and the fact that the last time a number of Anglican parishes did join,and were treated rather badly, I sincerely doubt it would work. And although the Nordic Church seems liturgically sounder, it is also novus ordo with older trappings, but they do not celebrate traditional Northern western rites at all (similar to the “Anglican” Use of the ordinariates).

      • William Tighe says:

        Dale wrote:

        “When there was a Polish Pope, they went completely gaga over this and expected an immediate return to Rome; but in the end, Rome would only re-accept them under its own terms, which makes sense; so in the end, all property would have to be given over to the local RC diocese and all married clergy who had either gone PNCC in adulthood or who had been RC clergy and married would only be received in a lay state. The same offer recently made to Anglicans.”

        I’m not *quite* so sure about the property: when in 1999-2000 it looked for a time that one PNCC diocese might secede from the PNCC over the election of two “bad bishops” (former Polish RC priests who had left the RC priesthood to marry and then came to the United States, but who had not seem fit to inform the PNCC Prime Bishop when they entered the PNCC, in 1968 and 1981, respectively, that the women to whom they had gotten married were divorcees) and some parishes from other dioceses might join them, there was talk that the congregations might retain control of the property, so long as it was made clear that the parishes would not be able to be taken out of the communion of the RC Church once they had entered into it.

        The Polish Pope had a cousin who was a priest of the PNCC, Bronislaw Wojdyla, who apparently found “stability” difficult, and was eventually sent off to serve the PNCC’s Brazilian community. When his cousin was elected pope he got himself consecrated by episcopi vagantes, thereby becoming one himself. For many years he ran “The John Paul II Catholic Center” out of his residence in Chicago; cf.:

      • William Tighe says:


        I’m not *quite* so sure about the property: when in 1999-2000 it looked for a time that one PNCC diocese might secede from the PNCC over the election of two “bad bishops” (former Polish RC priests who had left the RC priesthood to marry and then came to the United States, but who had not seem fit to inform the PNCC Prime Bishop when they entered the PNCC, in 1968 and 1981, respectively, that the women to whom they had gotten married were divorcees) and some parishes from other dioceses might join them, and then go on to seek “reconciliation and reunion” with Rome, there was talk that the congregations might retain control of the property, so long as it was made clear that the parishes would not be able to be taken out of the communion of the RC Church once they had entered into it.

      • Dale says:

        “[T]here was talk that the congregations might retain control of the property, so long as it was made clear that the parishes would not be able to be taken out of the communion of the RC Church once they had entered into it.”

        Bill, I would posit that the above is simply semantics.

      • ed pacht says:

        Not quite the same thing. If the bishop (as corporation sole) owns the property, he can do with it as he likes, including (as is being done to many RC church properties in my area) closing it down and selling it off. If the parish retains title, there are positive restrictions on the actions he can take. — but, yes, in the event of schism the property would then revert to the diocese and nor follow the leaving parishioners. The Lutheran Church in which I grew up had almost identical provisions. When it ultimately left the Missouri Synod for another body, the Synod could have insisted on that, but in the event did not.

      • William Tighe says:

        I believe that ELCA congregations can vote themselves out of the ELCA without any restrictions (except, maybe, to hold two votes, and to have their “synod bishop” come and address them between the two votes) if they are leaving the ELCA for another Lutheran body, but that a more complicated and restrictive process comes into play if a congregation intends to become independent or to leave for a non-Lutheran destination.

        The PNCC has experienced similar problems. About 14 years ago I was almost called upon to give testimony as an “expert witness” in the case of a couple of PNCC parishes in the Los Angeles area that had voted to secede and become independent (IIRC, the parish priest was undergoing a process of discipline that might have led to his removal, but he was popular in the [two?] PNCC churches which he served, and so they voted to leave to protect him), but before the case came to trial the PNCC abandoned the suit as unlikely to succeed. I think that that cousin of Pope JP II whom I mentioned in a previous comment, the PNCC priest Bronislaw Wojdyla, was involved in a similar process revolving around the former PNCC Holy Cross parish of Brooklyn, NY, which voted itself independent in 1972 and got its pastor consecrated a bishop by episcopi vagantes; Wojdyla, although living in Chicago, got himself to be the successor of that pastor as “Bishop of the Holy Cross Diocese of the PNCC,” as it termed itself.

        It doesn’t seem to me at all unreasonable that if a group enters the “papal communion” bringing property with them, which means that they have recognized the “papal claims” and the claims of the papal communion to be what it claims to be, that they can’t decide to sashay out with it if they decide that the table d’hote is not to their satisfaction. Lutheran bodies are in both theory and practice, to an extent, congregationalist in their ecclesiological presuppositions; the “papal communion” is most definitely not so. Whether (as it seems to me) American Anglican jurisdictions (including the Episcopal Church before the notorious “Dennis Canon” of 1979) might best be characterized as congregationalist in practice, although not in ecclesiological theory I had best leave to others to thrash out.

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Thank you very much for such a detailed answer!

  9. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I have been told by someone knowledgeable that in the Dutch Society for Latin Liturgy there are those ‘dedicated’ (so to put it) to the Latin NO, and others as strongly to the EF, but few who are equally ‘appreciative’ (again, so to put it) of both. This seems odd to me, who have experience of reverent (largely) Latin NO Masses, and next to none of EF, but read a lot in old Missals. I am always happy to make the acquaintance of an unfamiliar use, such as the modern Ambrosian, or (though only by seeing the film on YouTube) the Sarum Candlemas celebration in Merton Chapel.

  10. There are indeed a group of women within the PNCC who agitate for WO. I have just had 25 years of this as an Anglo Catholic in the Church of England. So far as I can tell they are small in number in the PNCC.

    I’m not going through all of that again. Apart from any other considerations I am sick to death of ecclesiastical politics. I am equally sick to death of every last manifestation of fundamentalism in all of its various forms. Particularly within the Christian Church whether liberal or traditionalist. Similarly with politics.Also with liberal secular and islamofascist fundamentalism.

    There are times I’m so pissed with the whole thing. I will never abandon my belief in the Incarnation the Atonenement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Apart from that I am at the point where all of the narrow minded fundamentalists, intellectual poseurs, the vast numbers of pseudo intellectuals, polemicists and assorted bores can all get stuffed!

    • William Tighe says:

      “Fundamentalism,” like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder; perhaps even to a more considerable extent than beauty. It would help me to understand your thinking, Mr. Hailstone, if you would make it clear what you mean by that term.

      • I don’t quite know what Neil Hailstone understands by this term, but it is something I have confronted myself. Historically, it is a movement among conservative Presbyterians and Baptists in the USA. The term was coined by a collection of books from the early 20th century about “five fundamentals”: inerrancy of scripture, virgin birth of Jesus, Christ’s death was the atonement for sin, the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the historical reality of the miracles of Jesus. Conservatives upholding these 5 fundamentals came to be called “fundamentalists”.

        Fundamentalism is also a term used to express an idea similar to that of intégrisme in French or integralismo in Spanish referring to the early 20th century movement against theological modernism. Modernism is also an ambiguous term englobing men as diverse as George Tyrrell and Loisy. The reaction against modernism is equally ambiguous and includes a range of positions from simply upholding “orthodoxy” to full-blown political and religious fanaticism.

        Another characteristic seems to be strict literalism in the interpretation of biblical texts. By extension, we find the same attitude in regard to texts like those of the Popes, Ecumenical Councils, canon law and other expressions of authority. In particular, as found in historical intégrisme, there is the tendency to seek a clear sense of identity and group distinctions (“us and them”). Non-fundamentalists tend to use the term “fundamentalism” to describe those who emphasise “purity” and a return to the past or a previous and obsolete ideal.

        One problem with “Tweedledum” and “Tweedledee” is that “liberals” are themselves fundamentalists for their own principles. The term can be applied by analogy to any religion and even to atheism. It is also a characteristic of political ideologies of the left and right. Ultimately, it is simply intolerance with its roots in psychological insecurity.

        I think that the lesson to be learned is to be generous with others, less worried about “keeping the truth” to ourselves, and perhaps mildly skeptical. We all mature in life and mellow…

    • William Tighe says:

      There is a clerihew that runs along the lines of “I am devoted, you are zealous, he is fanatical,” and I have often had cause to think that the term “fundamentalist” is one of those “bug’s words” (to use a 16th-Century phrase) which is censorious in connotation while vague or vacuous in denotation, and often can be rendered as “more conservative/ more ‘orthodox’/ more dismissive of contemporary cultural or social mores, or of prevalent social ethics” than the deployer of the term “fundamentalist” is prepared to be. Indeed, sometimes it seem to mean no more than “orthodox,” with a disparaging spin.

      • I can also understand those who have been exposed to “hard” conservatism or “stingy orthodoxy” and react by wanting a “middle-of-the-road” kind of churchmanship. I once believed that “true” Old Catholicism was something like the medieval or 18th century Gallican setup – what was swept aside by the French Revolution and Ultramontanism. Its origin is in the Liberalism of Montalembert, Lamennais and some of the German Romantics. In such a perspective it could only go the way of other Catholic expressions including Anglicanism and Rome. I can understand the inviting illusion, but which always lacks substance – lots of claptrap but nothing practical.

        I can only conclude that both “fundamentalism” and “anti-fundamentalism” are both “fundamentalist” in the meaning of French intégrisme. See Sodalitium Pianum. We can have a legitimate problem not with credal orthodoxy and the desire for traditional liturgical forms, but the hardness of ideology and intolerance. I am not of the school that measures the quality of a good army officer by the number of soldiers who hate him!

  11. Just one parting thought. Do those ( they are not all who appear here) narrow minded people who post here do the following. Bring the Good News to others. Lead our young by example. Comfort the bereaved. Give hope to those lost in utter despair. Stand alongside the poor and suffering and feed the hungry. Or are they simply engaged with finding fault with Christians who do these things following the Teachings of Jesus Christ.
    I’m done.

    • Dale says:

      Nah, personally I prefer running over the poor, and the blind, with my automobile, then backing up over them if they appear to still be moving around. Running over the blind is really the most fun, especially if they have little dogs. See, I am not narrow minded, I run over the obese as well.

      • Stephen Elliot says:

        As an old friend often said, “I’m not prejudiced, I hate all minorities equally”. Your vehicle must have many “scars of war”. The morbidly obese can really wreak havoc on a shiny hood ornament. Clean-up is very messy, I should know, I personally ran over two indigents in the parking lot of the local Catholic hospital today. I would have hit the sister who was assisting them but she was too fast. The short habits do have their advantage.

    • Neil, I’m sorry, but what makes you think that commenters on my blog are not involved in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy? Is it because they comment? You comment, or have been commenting. I trust you do the things you say others should do if they are Christians. I don’t like ecclesiastical politics and Pharisaism any more than you do. Are you not setting yourself up in judgement of those whose lives you know nothing about? I simply invite you to think of all that. Perhaps the only ones who can set themselves up in judgement are the atheists and materialists, but they have their own questions to answer.

      • ed pacht says:

        I suspect that those who post here do indeed do those things Neil inquires about, and likely more. I do, however, understand where his feelings come from, and think it proper that he raise the question. I myself, pretty ‘conservative’ in my politics as well as in my theology etc., have run into altogether too many who name the name of Christ and yet refuse to live by Matt 25 or by the Sermon on the Mount, exhibiting a great disdain for those who do not measure up to their standards. Conservative Christians (at least in the US) — or many of them anyway — have well earned the label of ‘nay-sayers’, loving to oppose things and seldom advancing ways to administer to the needs. Jesus, after all, was called, ‘the Friend of sinners’. I think we, those with whom I am closest, and myself as well, need to learn more of His spirit. Being correct doesn’t keep us from being Pharisaical.

    • Dale says:

      Stephen, laughed out loud! Now I know why I distinctly dislike nuns in short habits!

  12. If you could include some of the more prominent bores who look down upon ordinary christians like myself in your homicidal activities I would consider rewarding you with a case of decent wine.

  13. Father Anthony,

    I have thought about the words you have written towards the end of the many comments which this article produced. Some of my language has been intemperate. I do not presume to set myself up in the judgement business. In exasperation I have done so here. I do seek to live a Christian life and the works I listed above are of course important. Yes I do have a strong aversion to ‘fundamentalism’. Your comments on that term set out an analysis with which I agree.

    I really am not in the judgement business and of course some of the commenters here are living better christian lives than I have so far managed.

    • Neil,

      Thank you for your candidness. Intemperateness is in the nature of blog comments, passionate people and the lack of emotion or normal human interaction in the written word. I don’t think anyone is more or less Christian in terms of virtue, charity, doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. I found Fr Dale’s sarcastic joking comment a little immature, but I let it ride.

      In my own experience, I find a vast difference between plain orthodoxy, upholding traditional doctrine, liturgy and devotional life – and the spirit of intolerance in regard to “liberalism”, the ideology of wanting to force other people into such orthodox belief and praxis, generally by political means.

      It’s not easy. We can only answer everything with love even if we have sometimes to defend what we hold as dear to us. We are in the week of the Ember Days, the Rorate Golden Mass, the great O Antiphons and some very beautiful Advent prophecies. These days are precious. Much to reflect…

      • Dale says:

        But Fr Anthony, now does one reply to such self-righteous blather?

      • Humour is often the only way, and that’s why I didn’t touch your “priceless” comment. It reminds me of the very bad-taste concentration camp joke. I won’t mention who were to play hopscotch on the minefields, but the joke also quotes the SS officer “Und tomorrow ve vill play squash: I shall personally drive ze steamroller!” 🙂

        I do what I can to respond kindly but justly. We have been in correspondence for a long time. I know where you’re coming from and many others don’t. Life is too short. Our priority, even when everything seems to be lost, is just to carry on with what we believe is right.

  14. Hugh Roberts says:

    A very interesting blog! I read that the NCC was having discussions with respect to the so called Free Church of England with respect to a form of intercommunion and mutual recognition of orders. Wouldn’t that be dangerous when the FCE does not believe in the Catholic faith and could put at risk RC and PNCC recognition of the orders of the NCC as the FCE have heretical views. The FCE was crowing recently that the C of E recognised their orders as a sign of their legitimacy. What a joke! The C of E has lay presidency at its so called Mass through its purported priestesses and bishopettes! Any thoughts anybody? Even if the NCC insisted on re ordination whether conditional or absolute, wouldn’t they be in the position of “ordaining” heterdox heretics in the FCE? Wouldn’t that affect their own orthodoxy and validity?

    • Gerard Barry says:

      This is something that has been exercising me somewhat as well. We have two local FCE parishes (I live in Blackburn, Lancashire), and they are determinedly low church, professing only the “Divine Institution of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Last Supper”. Surely they cannot be seen as proper partners of the Nordic Catholic Church. One of the local churches has just ordained as Deacon a former altar server from the parish I was in whilst I lived in Rochdale. 8 years ago he was trying to get accepted for training as a Roman Catholic seminarian, but his divorce and other matters got in the way. It would be a nonsense for his orders to be validated.

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