More Grave Digging

Further to my post of a couple of days ago asking what was going on, Mr Bruce has just sent in a new posting, The Patrimony That Won’t Die!

This new posting really convinces me that there was never anything to report. The only information about the erstwhile Patrimony goes back to 2012. There is nothing new. All that remain are semantics over meanings of words and whether this or that canonical act had any validity.

The real issue is about a priest who was a part of this Patrimony, was deposed by the present hierarchy of the TAC in America, and who is claiming St Mary of the Angels church in Hollywood against the claim of the ACA. This dispute has been grinding through the American legal system for years, and is as boring as watching paint dry. I have no vested interest in the matter or any independent opinion.

I see no evidence that Archbishop-Emeritus Hepworth is doing or claiming anything. There is nothing to report.

It would seem that the ACA and the TAC tribunal held in South Africa acted irregularly in regard to the TAC’s in-house rules. Now, it seems hardly to matter, when history is changed and old memories are buried, unresolved. That is life in this unjust world.

As far as I am aware, Archbishop-Emeritus Hepworth has no standing in any known ecclesial body. He works for an educational association, and it would seem that he still uses the title of Archbishop. I am told that he still has a chapel in Adelaide, and I can only suppose that he continues to celebrate Mass. I would doubt that he submitted to Rome to be a penitent layman in the Archdiocese of Adelaide. I think we should now leave the matter in silence and in the hands of God, to coin a cheesy cliché.

I resent the insinuations of Mr Bruce about what is canonical or not. It pleased him to be a continuing Anglican at one time. His understanding of ecclesiastical law is highly arbitrary, as are his criteria for extending the courtesy of ecclesiastical titles. All one can say is to wish him good luck in what he has freely embraced, which is run-of-the-mill American Roman Catholic parish life. That particular Church has long ago abandoned the characteristic positions of conservatives, and now dialogues with anything “mainstream” and in tune with modern world affairs and institutions, and with secular tenets.

That’s it as far as I am concerned. No other information has come in, so this particular conspiracy theory can be killed stone dead.

* * *

He’s still shaking the rat! So, Can Samuel Prakash Actually Dissolve The Patrimony Of The Primate?

Maybe the Patrimony of the Primate was not formally dissolved, but it is de facto. There is no one in it. Nobody claims to lead it or belong to it. I belonged to it, but as soon as Archbishop Hepworth was out, I considered myself as belonging to the diocese in England of the TAC, which was confirmed by letter by Archbishop Prakash. This was because I had become an “ecclesiastical orphan”. I since resigned from the TAC in England to join the ACC, and therefore left in due form and on good terms. Any claim to its continuing existence is as absurd as claiming that France is still a kingdom!

What could possibly come out of the woodwork would be Archbishop-Emeritus claiming to be leading a “Patrimony”. If he were doing so, he would be putting it on the internet or publishing something – and we would know about it. This is not so and the whole thing is a product of the fertile imagination of Mr Bruce.

This silly hypothesis has nothing to do with the present hierarchy of the TAC.

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4 Responses to More Grave Digging

  1. Mr. Bruce is, at this point, demonstrating an irrational, meddling interest in a cause that no longer directly concerns him. He says repeatedly on the one hand that he has “moved on,” and joined a diocesan parish in the Roman Catholic Church. On the other hand, he disparages the Continuing Church movement and the Ordinariate whenever possible. I’ve had parishioners like Mr. Bruce before; they reach a point where they are not happy unless they are unhappy, they meddle and stir and write breathless e-mails, and they seldom stay in one place for long.

  2. ed pacht says:

    I think that to be a pretty accurate assessment. The sad thing is that such an unhappy person, though having taken himself out of the situation in question refuses to leave it alone until he has done considerable damage. before moving on to another similar battle. May the Lord deliver us from such damage, and, perhaps as important, may he deliver Mr. Bruce from the spiritual harm he is doing himself. The Scripture I am reading in the Daily Office has a great deal to say about self-righteousness, and this whole thing is leading me to examine myself and make the same prayer for my own deliverance.

  3. D says:

    The most important aspect of this truly tragic matter is conveniently ignored. The Concordat of the TAC does not sanction a body known as the Patrimony of the Primate. It was, and still is, an illegal structure, formed with, probably, the financial advantages to the individuals concerned, in mind. It had no life expectancy – ever………….

    • In pre-Ordinariate times, the Patrimony of the Primate existed in a quiet little way. When I was accepted as a priest into the TAC in 2005, I was licensed in the Patrimony because there was / is no TAC diocese where I live. I could have been in the English diocese like I am now in the ACC, but Archbishop Hepworth thought at the time that I should be in his Patrimony. I trusted his judgement, since a priest is used to obeying his Bishop in all things other than sin. A few other clerics outside geographical dioceses of one or another Church member of the TAC were also licensed in this way. It didn’t bother anyone, and I had no one saying at the 2007 meeting in Portsmouth that I was not truly a TAC priest for the reason of not being in a geographical diocese. The Patrimony seemed almost to be a “personal” diocese, just like the Roman Catholic concept of the ordinariate (not only the one for former Anglicans but also the Armed Forces and other special situations).

      The problem came as soon as there was a conflict between the American ACA episcopate and Archbishop Hepworth. There were extreme reactions on both sides, as I witnessed through my involvement with “The Anglo Catholic” blog run by Christian Campbell.

      As far as I can see, the Patrimony went from being a little harmless entity for odd clergy like myself to being what you describe. I became increasingly embarrassed to belong to the same organisation as those who were ordinariate-bound and in conflict with the ACA Bishops who saw that the whole thing was based on the obscurantism and dilly-dallying of Rome and Archbishop Hepworth telling different and contrary things to different people. Any claim of the “Patrimony” still existing is absurd, because the former Primate is no longer Primate or Archbishop of anything.

      The ACC has the Office of the Metropolitan which looks after all cases of jurisdiction not falling into the normal dioceses. However, when I applied to the ACC, I did so through Bishop Damien Mead and the Diocese of the United Kingdom. My Bishop accepted me, living in France, with special permission from Archbishop Haverland. I have a Chaplaincy recognised by the Diocese and I attend Synod each year and am on the Bishop’s Council of Advice. Fortunately, we have a code of canon law that is very thorough and logical. It does reduce scope for the arbitrary!

      As a final note, I have to admit not being able to find any Patrimony of the Primate in the TAC Constitution as it stood in the 2000’s. However, it was recognised by the bishops of the ACA until 1st January 2012:

      10 January 2012

      To the Bishops, Clergy and Laity of The Anglican Church in America

      Dear Friends,

      As most of you now know, the American Ordinariate was erected on January 1, 2012. Ordinariates have been established by the Vatican to receive Anglicans who wish to convert to the Roman Catholic Church while retaining elements of their worship. Some within our jurisdiction have sought entry into the Ordinariate and have been accepted. Clergy, for example, who have received nulae ostae will now begin the process toward Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church. Lay participants will complete catechetical instruction in preparation for Confirmation according to the requirements of that jurisdiction. We wish those who will become part of this new structure within the Roman Catholic Church all the best.

      Almost two years ago, in anticipation of the erection of the American Ordinariate, the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church in America authorized the creation of an entity styled the Patrimony of the Primate. This entity was designed to be a temporary structure, something of a “holding tank,” for those parishes, clergy and people who desired entry into the Ordinariate. It was agreed that the Patrimony of the Primate would cease to exist once the Ordinariate was established. Given that the American Ordinariate was erected on January 1, 2012, the term of the Patrimony of the Primae has thus lapsed. Those who were formerly part of the Patrimony of the Primate must now make a decision regarding their future jurisdiction. Anyone, whether clergy or laity, who may now wish to return to the Anglican Church in America, should do so by contacting the diocesan bishop in their area.

      In a separate but related matter, an entity called the “Pro Diocese of the Holy Family” is operating in the southeastern part of the United States. To the best of our knowledge and belief, this body exists outside any official jurisdiction. The Anglican Church in America does not recognize or maintain any relationship with this organization. It is also not sanctioned by a College of Bishops meeting of the Traditional Anglican Communion. From information available to us, it appears that the Roman Catholic Church also has no relationship with this body. Accordingly, the Anglican Church in America and, by extension, the Traditional Anglican Communion, disavows any connection to this errant organization.

      Now that the circumstances regarding the Ordinariate have been clarified, we welcome those who wish to return to the ACA and encourage them to communicate directly with their ecclesiastical authority. The process of return is designed to be as simple as it is pastoral. But, in any case, the Patrimony of the Primate has, with the erection of the Ordinariate, ceased its operations within the United States as of January 1, 2012.

      +Brian R. Marsh
      Presiding Bishop

      Source It is not honest to say that it never existed. It had became a canonical Frankenstein’s monster: priests could belong both to the Patrimony and their diocese. This is unheard of in canon law! I was in the Patrimony because I was not in a diocese. To this day, I don’t know if the TAC has a code of canon law. I suppose that is a matter for each local member Church. Indeed, Bishop Gill mentions the Constitution. The way it was used latterly in America and maybe other countries was totally irregular in any interpretation or notion of canon law and ecclesiology.

      To this day, I think the body of the TAC’s bishops could have been more critical and decisive at the 2007 meeting in Portsmouth. It would have saved a lot of heartache. Too many bishops were under Archbishop Hepworth’s spell up to about 2011 and some into 2012. No one handled the issue of the Ordinariate completely honestly. Rome obfuscated (only Cardinal Kasper was up front about the Ordinariate concerning the former Church of England bishops who founded the UK Ordinariate – and only individuals from the TAC), Archbishop Hepworth told different people what he thought they wanted to hear, and the remaining TAC bishops failed to react in a timely way and according to clear rules. This responsibility has to be accepted. History cannot be changed.

      However, sins can be forgiven and the humble can always have an opportunity to rebuild their lives, turn the page and move on.

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