The blog has obtained the 2018 Synod Minutes from the Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS), were they discuss leaving the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to seek union with “Non-Papal Catholics” in the Polish National Catholic Church’s (PNCC) ‘Union of Scranton’. The full document is published at the end of this article, and answers many questions raised by our first article.
Clearly outlined in the texts is Bishop of MDAS William H Iigenfritz statements that “MDAS founding by Forward in Faith North America as an Anglo-Catholic diocese” and of the “larger epidemic of Anti-Catholic sentiment” in the ACNA. The minutes also covers the meeting with the PNCC by the Suffragan Bishop of MDAS, Richard W. Lipka, described as a “possible exit ramp”. Joining the North American Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter was believed not to be an option as Bishop Lipka is a former Catholic priest.
Many outsiders had the question what did it mean that the MDAS was unsustainable, which is answered in the minutes:
“Perhaps the most immediate threat to MDAS is the ACNA criteria of Sustainability. Sustainability is not based on the viability of the faith or faithfulness of a diocese but on the size and financial welfare of each diocese. According to ACNA rules, when a bishop retires or dies, the diocese must petition a committee of ACNA whether that diocese has sufficient attendance and sufficient budget to warrant a replacement bishop’s election. That would be a problem for MDAS with our small congregations and limited financial resources.”
This raises the question: is this talk of leaving genuine? Or is this a game of brinkmanship, threatening to leave unless the ACNA changes it’s criteria. Bishop Lipka was very quick to contact this blog after our first article to say:
“I want to be clear that we have not made any decision to leave ACNA. We have simply begun to explore relationships with other non-papal Catholic entities”
We have seen this time and time again with Anglo-Catholic leaders: drawing a line in the sand and then when it is cross drawing another and then another: prime examples is the so called Anglo-Catholic stronghold of London with the Anglo-Catholic clergy have accepted having a female bishop- it does not exactly scream integrity.
Although the bishops of MDAS have ruled out seeking union with either the Catholic Church or Orthodox Communion, members of it’s clergy have made individual inquiry’s with both. The Western Rite Vicarate of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia (ROCOR) openly appealed for MDAS clergy, and communities, to join them. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter on the other hand continues it policy of being open to inquires, but not accepting lone clergy: they have to either come over with a community or join an existing Ordinariate parish. Many commentators have issued conflicting statements whether the PNCC recognizes Anglican orders, and if MDAS clergy would have to be ‘re-ordained’.
In an upcoming article we will look at how the ACNA/MDAS affair has actually uncovered an active threat to various Anglo-Catholic communities which few have seen coming: we will be shedding light on it soon…..
The Synod Minutes: