Many predicted that the first moves to establishing an Anglican Ordinariate would come in Australia. The Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion has already indicated readiness to accept the Holy Father’s offer in Anglicanorum Coetibus (no surprise there – they were the ones who petitioned for just such an offer), but now the first group of Anglicans currently still in communion with Canterbury have accepted the offer – the Australian branch of Forward in Faith. Astoundingly, news of this broke first in the English press (in the Telegraph), rather than in our own local press despite it happening right under their noses (you’re slipping, Barney!).
The Anglocatholic has published the full text of the resolution:
Forward in Faith Australia has just published the following statement regarding the special general meeting held this past Saturday. Note the joint working group with the TAC. More on that later. The FiF Australia National Chairman is Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Australia and Bishop of the Southern Apostolic District in the TAC.
FORWARD IN FAITH AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED
A Special General Meeting of Members of Forward in Faith Australia Inc. was held on Saturday 13 February at All Saints Kooyong in Melbourne to consider the following recommendations from the National Council regarding the future direction of the Association.
1.That this Special General Meeting of FiFA receives with great gratitude the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” of Pope Benedict XVI and directs the National Council to foster by every means the establishing of an Ordinariate in Australia. And furthermore this Special General Meeting reaffirms its commitment to provide care and support for those who at this time feel unable to be received into the Ordinariate.
2.That we warmly welcome the appointment of Bishop Peter Elliott as delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference in the project to establish a Personal Ordinariate in this country.
3.That we note the formation of a working group with Bishop Elliott comprising Members of Forward in Faith Australia, the Traditional Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Church of Australia, to set in train the processes necessary for establishing an Australian Ordinariate.
4.That we give notice as to the establishing of Friends of the Australian Ordinariate and invite members of Forward in Faith Australia and other interested persons for expressions of interest by provision of names and addresses at this meeting, or by contacting the Chairman, noting that this does not commit interested persons to joining the Ordinariate.
The Meeting passed each of these Resolutions unanimously. The Right Reverend David Robarts OAM. National Chairman.
The Telegraph report fills this out a little more with background information.
The Rt Rev David Robarts OAM, chairman of FIF Australia, said members of the association felt excluded by the Anglican Church in Australia, which had not provided them with a bishop to champion their conservative views on homosexuality and women bishops.
“In Australia we have tried for a quarter of a decade to get some form of episcopal oversight but we have failed,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “We’re not really wanted any more, our conscience is not being respected.”
Bishop Robarts, 77, said it had become clear that Anglicans who did not believe in same-sex partnerships or allowing women to be ordained as bishops had no place in the “broader Anglican spectrum”.
“We’re not shifting the furniture, we’re simply saying that we have been faithful Anglicans upholding what Anglicans have always believed and we’re not wanting to change anything, but we have been marginalised by people who want to introduce innovations. We need to have bishops that believe what we believe.”
Crossing over to Rome under the new scheme would give the group the chance to retain their Anglican culture without sacrificing their beliefs, he said.
On Feb 13th the group unanimously voted to investigate setting up an Ordinariate – an ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church – in Australia.
It has formed a working group with a Catholic bishop, Bishop Peter Elliott, along with the breakaway TAC and the national church, ACA, to “set in train the processes necessary for establishing an Australian Ordinariate”.
…Forward in Faith Australia, which is based in Melbourne, has up to 200 members, but not all are expected to convert. The group said it was committed to providing “care and support” for anyone who felt unable to be received into the Ordinariate.
Bishop Robarts said his group was the first FiF branch to “embrace” the Pope’s offer so strongly. Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England have welcomed the opportunity but are waiting to see whether they will be given significant concessions on the introduction of women bishops – such as a “men-only” diocese – before deciding whether to cross the Tiber.
The Anglican Church of Australia ordained its first women priests in 1992 but so far its governing body, the General Synod, has failed to approve legislation needed to introduce women bishops. [Is this right? The Anglican dioceses of Perth and Melbourne already have women bishops.]
“It’s the first step on the road, saying thank you, we are going to go along this particular track because the door has been closed to us by the Anglican Church of Australia over a long period of time,” said the bishop. “I love my Anglican heritage, but I’m not going to lose it by taking this step.”
In other breaking news, Damien Thompson reports that
The former assistant Bishop of Newcastle, Paul Richardson, has been received into full communion with the Holy See, I am pleased to reveal. Richardson – also a former Anglican bishop in Papua New Guinea and diocesan bishop of Wangaratta in Australia – was received into the Church at the chaplaincy at Durham University last month.
A certain Ukrainian Orthodox reader of this blog, who has served as an Anglican priest in both the PNG and Wangaratta could probably tell us more about Bishop Richardson. I did have it today, from an Anglican source in Wangaratta, that the current bishop of that see is moving the diocese away from its Anglo-Catholic tradition towards more “Liberal Anglicanism”, and has set about ordaining women as deacons and priests.
On another note, there appears to be some mud thrown around by opponents to Anglicanorum Coetibus in the press in England. See:
Andrew Brown “The Cloak and Dagger Catholics”
Commented on by Damian Thompson “Revealed: Anglo-Catholic bishop in talks with CDF to stop English bishops ‘smothering’ Pope’s Anglican plan”
I think that Thompson has it right when he concludes:
This email was leaked by an enemy of the Pope who timed it to throw Anglo-Catholics into confusion just before their day of prayer on Monday. They mustn’t let that happen.