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New bishop raises questions about the ACNA’s commitment to Anglicanism: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 27, 2010 p 6. August 27, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Church of England Newspaper, Ecclesiology.
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Bishop Derek Jones

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Charges the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) has abandoned the historic episcopate by receiving a bishop from the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC) without re-consecrating him are unfounded, the traditionalist province-in-waiting tells The Church of England Newspaper.

On July 31, American church commentator Robin Jordan charged the ACNA with having abandoned the historic episcopate when its Provincial Council of Bishops voted on June 9 to receive the Rt. Rev. Derek Jones as a bishop in good standing.  Formed in 1995, the CEEC is an American Protestant denomination that has found a niche blending charismatic worship with liturgies drawn from the Book of Common Prayer, and is not normally numbered among the Anglican breakaway churches in the United States.

However, a review of Bishop Jones’ episcopal antecedents by the CEN finds that while a number of his consecrating bishops would not be recognized by Anglicans, his descent from a Brazilian bishop whose episcopal orders were recognized by Pope John XXIII places him within the apostolic tradition.

Mr. Jordan charged that Bishop Jones “was irregularly if not invalidly consecrated,” adding that the CEEC’s “episcopal line of succession is derived from Eastern Orthodox and Old Catholic lines of questionable validity.”

The ACNA’s newest bishop was therefore an episcopi vaganti he said, adding that Bishop Jones’ reception violated traditional Anglican teaching on the episcopate as stated at the 1958 Lambeth Conference.  Resolution 54 of Lambeth 58 stated the Anglican Communion “cannot recognize the Churches of such episcopi vagantes as properly constituted Churches or recognize the orders of their ministers’.”

The reception of Bishop Jones further appeared to violate Article I Section 3 of the ACNA constitution which states “the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.”

Mr. Jordan concluded the ACNA was perhaps “no longer pursuing Anglican Communion recognition” or was moving “away from Anglicanism to become a Convergence church.”

The Rt. Rev. Bill Atwood, the chairman the Episcopal Task Force for ACNA, told CEN the objections to Bishop Jones were “superficial.”  The ACNA required a “significant standard concerning Christian testimony, character and manner of life, Biblical qualification, evidence of call, and demonstration of apostolic fruit for any candidate that is considered by the College of Bishops.”

Bishop Jones told CEN his journey to the ACNA began in 2007, when he was contacted by Bishop David Bena of the Church of Nigeria’s Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) and asked to endorse a CANA chaplain for the US military.  As a “recognized Endorsing Agent with the Department of Defense  [I] had agreed to help CANA,” he said.  In 2009, Bishop Bena and CANA head Bishop Martyn Minns “spoke with me privately about a jurisdictional transfer” to oversee CANA’s chaplains.  A review that year by CANA of his episcopal orders indicated there would be no ecclesiastical difficulties in bringing him on board, he said.

Bishop Jones said he was released by the CEEC in 2009 and “made application to CANA” to be received as a bishop.  “However, since only the House of Bishops for the Church of Nigeria could approve an Episcopal reception and their full attention was on the retirement of Archbishop Akinola, the idea of working my reception through ACNA was championed as a more appropriate course,” he said.

Bishop Jones stated that “once I had officially left the CEEC, I no longer performed any Episcopal duties, that is, until such time that I was approved for reception into the ACNA House of Bishops” on June 9, 2010.  “This was to specifically avoid the type criticism” raised by Mr. Jordan, he said.

A review of Bishop Jones orders finds that while some of his antecedents are episcopi vagantes, succession through the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil would validate his orders.  As defined by the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church episcopi vangantes are “persons who have been Consecrated bishop in an irregular or clandestine manner or who have been excommunicated by the Church that consecrated them and are in communion with no recognized see.”

Several of Bishop Jones’ lines of succession, as Mr. Jordan has charged, pass bishops whose orders have been rejected by the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, including Joseph René Vilatte and Arnold Harris Mathew.

However, the episcopal orders of one of his consecrators were accepted as valid by the Vatican.  In December 1959, Pope John XXIII received a married ex-Anglican priest consecrated as a bishop of the schismatic Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira into the Roman Catholic Church.

Married with seven children, Bishop Salomão Barbosa Ferraz was not re-ordained upon his reception and upon being named Titular Bishop of Eleutherna on May 10, 1963 was not re-consecrated.  Active at the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Ferraz consecrated Manuel C. Laranjeira for the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira in 1965.  While the orders flowing from the Laranjeira consecration would be considered irregular by the Vatican, they would not be void.

Comments

1. Canon James Rosenthal - August 27, 2010

As Conger puts it well, irregular consecrations are part and parcel of the many many small continuing or other churches that go there own way but do not take the need for 3 bishops properly ordained (the ordinal remained intact after the Reformation in England) to consecrate their “bishops”. Indeed in some parts of the world our Methodist friends have “Bishops” but they nor Anglicans would see them as bishops in the apostolic succession. ACNA is on the brink of being another Protestant sect rather than a catholic church. Their choice.

2. Rev'd Richard M Bruton - August 27, 2010

I agree with Canon Rosenthal, it is their choice to go their own way and embrace Convergentism. It is important for Anglicans abroad to understand that the ac/na apple hasn’t fallen very far from the TEC tree. The foreign Primates are being played like a cheap fiddle by these guys.

Chuck - September 3, 2010

I would rather hear sound doctrine played on a cheap fiddle than a symphony of Hersey on a Stradivarius.

3. kevin cook - February 15, 2011

Anglicans are “fops” and blowhards.The CEEC has more valid lines of apostolic succession than the Church of England! As a matter of fact,the Pope in 1898 said there was no such thing as Anglican apostolic succession.The same could NOT be said for the CEEC.Case closed!!!


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