Updated again 8/12
Katie Sherrod of the Diocese of Fort Worth reveals an attempt by several clergy, with the apparent support of their bishop, to take the Diocese to the Roman Catholic Church. According to the document William A Carey, Charles A Hough, Louis L. Tobola, and Christopher Stainbrook, leaders in the Diocese of Fort Worth, claiming the Bishop Iker ‘gave us his “unequivocally support” to proceed further by having this conversation with you’, proposed to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth that the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth become a Roman Catholic Diocese.
EIGHT CRUCIAL FINDINGS
1. We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional – Fr. Stainbrook
2. We believe a magisterium is needed desperately – Fr. Crary
3. We believe the Catholic Faith is true – Fr. Stainbrook
4. We believe the Anglican Communion shares the fatal flaws of TEC- Fr. Tobola
5. We believe our polity is in error-Fr. Crary
6. We believe we are not the only ones in our diocese – Canon Hough
7. We believe Pope Benedict XVI understands our plight – Fr. Tobola
8. We believe there is a charism which Anglican ethos has to offer to the Universal Church-Fr. Stainbrook
PREAMBLE – Fr. Crary
A. We appreciate your taking this time to meet with us.
B. Introduction of group by Fr. Crary. Fr. Crary introduces himself and then the group.
C. History: Our group met several times (with our Bishop’s knowledge) for the past year and a half. Out meetings arose because of the on going crisis in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
D. We shared our conclusions with Bishop Iker on April 10th of this year. He gave us his “unequivocally support” to proceed further by having this conversation with you.
E. We would like to share briefly with you our journey and our conclusions which we shared with Bishop Iker.
F. However, before we share our thoughts we would like to present you with this icon which was commissioned expressly for you and for our meeting today.
We request that the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth provide the guidance necessary so that we might “make a proposal” that would lead our Diocese into full communion with the See of Peter.
We believe this guidance is necessary for the following reasons:
1. We cannot adequately prepare such a proposal without input from those to whom the proposal is to be made.
2. Such guidance would help us through the complicated aspects of this proposal.
3. With this guidance, the Holy Spirit could affect more quickly the healing of this portion of the broken Body of Christ.
Should you consent, we gladly offer ourselves for this important work and stand ready to work with those you might designate.
Read it all here.
Update: The Dallas Morning News reports:
A delegation of Episcopal priests from Fort Worth paid a visit to Catholic Bishop Kevin Vann earlier this summer, asking for guidance on how their highly conservative diocese might come into “full communion” with the Catholic Church.
Whether that portends a serious move to turn Fort Worth Episcopalians and their churches into Catholics and Catholic churches is a matter of dispute.
The Rev. William Crary, senior rector of the Fort Worth diocese, confirmed that on June 16 he and three other priests met with Bishop Vann, leader of the Fort Worth Catholic diocese, and presented him a document that is highly critical of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
The document states that the overwhelming majority of Episcopal clergy in the Fort Worth diocese favor pursuing an “active plan” to bring the diocese into full communion with the Catholic Church.
While declining to specify what that might mean, Mr. Crary said it likely would not mean “absorption” by the Catholic Church.
He cast the initiative as following Anglican and Catholic leaders in longstanding efforts to bring the two groups into greater cooperation, with the ultimate goal of honoring Jesus’ call in John 17:21 for Christian unity.
But other local Episcopalians interpret the meeting and document differently.
“There’s a very serious attempt on the part of Episcopal clergy in the Diocese of Forth Worth to petition Rome for some kind of recognition,” said the Rev. Courtland Moore, who is retired as rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arlington.
“They make it clear that they no longer believe there is truth in the Anglican Communion, and the only way they can find truth is reunion with Rome.”
Mr. Moore is co-chairman of Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, a group that wants the Fort Worth diocese to remain in the Episcopal Church. He obtained a copy of the document the priests gave to Bishop Vann and made it available to reporters.
Dallas Morning News: Episcopal priests from Fort Worth may be looking at Catholicism
UPDATE: 8/12 5:30 EDT
Statement by Bishop Iker:
Their discussion with Bishop Vann has no bearing upon matters coming before our Diocesan Convention in November, where a second vote will be taken on constitutional changes concerning our relationship with the General Convention of the Episcopal Church. There is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church. Our only plan of action remains as it has been for the past year, as affirmed by our Diocesan Convention in November 2007. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth intends to realign with an orthodox Province as a constituent member of the worldwide Anglican Communion
Read the whole statement here.