Early History of the Anglican Use

The Pastoral Provision for Roman Catholics in the U.S.A.

by Rev. Jack D. Barker

On August 20. 1980, Archbishop John R. Quinn of the Archdiocese of San Francisco gave the world the first knowledge of the existence of a "Pastoral Provision" which had been approved by Rome through the efforts of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The decree of the Congregation was approved by Pope John Paul II on June 20. 1980 and communicated to Archbishop Quinn as the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in its letter dated July 22, 1980. [Appendix A] This decree was for the benefit of Episcopalians seeking full communion with the Catholic Church in the United Stares. The effect of this decree was to allow a means by which Episcopalians could become Roman Catholic, while at the same time retaining some of their traditions in a "common identity," including liturgy and married priests. The response to the Archbishop’s press release was stunning. In private conversation, the night before the press release, Archbishop Quinn, when he had finished reading the decree said: "I’m not sure what all this means." It can be seen in retrospect that the Pastoral Provision may be viewed as a microcosm of the changes taking place in the Roman Catholic church today.

This momentous announcement has been poorly understood and has received mixed responses from both Roman Catholics and Episcopalians. A great deal of attention was given to the idea that some married Episcopal priests could become Roman Catholic priests and retain their wives and the married life. The possible effects of this decree are of far greater historical consequence than merely the issue of married priests. The approval of the Pastoral Provision raises questions concerning its effect on ecumenical relations in the post Vatican II world, not only between Episcopalians and the Roman Catholic church but also between Anglicans in England and the Catholic church. The advent of this decree also represents another development in the relationship between the Roman Catholic church in the United States and the Vatican. Depending on one’s point of view this decree may be seen as another event in the one hundred year old history of tension between conservative and progressive elements within the Catholic church.

To understand the context of the Pastoral Provision one should return to the nineteenth century. In the closing decades of that century, the "social gospel" was very much a part of Church life both in the Catholic Church on the continent and among Anglicans in England. This era is the time of Pusey, Keble and Newman who are part of the Tractarian 1 or Oxford movement in England. Several causes contributed to the growth of the Oxford Movement: the progressive decline of Church life and the spread of liberalism in theology. Among the more immediate causes were fears that the "Catholic Emancipation Act" of 1829 would lead many Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. Keble’s sermon on "National Apostasy" and Newman’s writings are usually regarded as the beginning of the Movement.

Oxford Movement

A review of the whole process by which Newman ultimately became a Catholic demonstrates that he became increasingly convinced that only one Church could claim historic catholicity and the Church of England should necessarily be a part of that historic Church. Newman’s Apologia Pro Vita Sua was his attempt to explain his conversion to a world which little understood why he had "Poped." It is also worth noting that Newman’s Development of Doctrine and Grammar of Ascent are classics which anticipated many of the teachings of Vatican II a hundred years later. Newman’s early days were spent at Oxford as the Anglican Vicar of St. Mary’s Church; it was here that Newman began to write tracts. The development of his thinking is seen in the tracts he began writing the most notable of which was Tract Number 902 The storm which this tract provoked brought the series of tracts to a close. By this time, not just Newman, but many Anglicans had come to hold to a catholic interpretation of history, doctrine and scripture. While this trend of catholic thought led to Newman’s conversion, others remained behind to work "from within" for the conversion of the Church of England to its catholic roots.

Among those who remained Anglican, but who were sympathetic to the "catholic position" were Edward Bouverie Pusey and John Keble. They were also a part of the Oxford movement It was from among these and similarly minded clergy that the Church Union, later the English Church Union, was formed. The English Church Union may then be seen as a child of the Oxford movement At the beginning of the 20th century this movement spread to the United States and the Church Union began which later became the American Church Union (ACU). These groups experienced rapid growth until the outbreak of the First World War. The intervening depression and the Second World War prevented significant further growth of the movement among the clergy. To broaden its base of influence the American Church Union opened its membership to include the laity during the thirties.

American Roots

After the Second World War, an Episcopalian priest, the Reverend Albert Julius DuBois, a chaplain in Patton's army during the war, and Rector of the Church of St. Agnes in Washington D.C., was elected to be the first full time Executive Director of the American Church Union (ACU). Father DuBois. a Canon of the Episcopal Cathedral in Garden City, Long Island, New York, led the American Church Union until his retirement in 1974. The ACU while not the only organization of catholic minded Episcopalians, was the largest and most active in the country; and, in fact, the largest unofficial organization in the Episcopal Church.

As events unfolded in the Episcopal Church, many members of the ACU became increasingly alarmed. Strong forces for change in a liberal protestant direction predominated in the governing bodies of the Episcopal Church. At the General Conventions3 of 1970 and 1973, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA) changed its canons regarding the Church’s law on divorce, refused to take a firm public stance against abortion, ordained women to the Deaconate, and pursued a wide spectrum of changes in its Book of Common Prayer. It was feared that the 1976 General Convention might proceed to the ordination of women to the priesthood and radical Prayer Book4 revision. Accordingly. Canon DuBois was asked to come out of retirement and lead the ACU once again. While the ACU continued with its own Executive Director, Canon DuBois worked closely with the new leadership in fund raising and also founded "Episcopalians United" (EU). Episcopalians United published a daily newsletter during the General Convention promoting a position of maintaining an option for catholic faith and practice in the Episcopal Church.

By way of background, it should be noted that Anglicanism has varieties of theological persuasions from liberal to conservative generally tolerated so long as unity of worship is maintained. The Elizabethan settlement had resulted in a Church that very much lived lex orandi lexcredendi.5 Without the teaching magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church the commonality of worship through the use of various Books of Common Prayer became the earmark of unity in the various Anglican Churches throughout the world, in the face of what would otherwise have been certain disunity. This theological diversity was possible as long as there was a degree of liturgical similarity guaranteed by the use of similar Books of Common Prayer. This was especially helpful in maintaining a unity which could not be enforced by authoritarian structures since each Province was autonomous.

It had always been the hope of catholic minded Anglicans that a full scale corporate reunion or intercommunion could ultimately take place between the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church. In short, it was hoped that the Church of England (now including the worldwide Anglican Communion) might once again return to the unity which it had experienced prior to the Reformation. Catholic minded Episcopalians kept in mind the 1200 years of Catholic history and teaching in England prior to the break with Rome, and this, therefore, was the basis of their hope for reunion.

General Convention 1976

Such was not to happen. The Episcopal Church proceeded with its agenda of change. The General Convention operated with a simple democratic majority to make irreversible changes to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. The objection of the ACU and of Episcopalians United (and its successor Anglicans United) to the actions of the General Convention was that these were based on a lack of proper authority, and that such moves would set back hopes for reunion with Rome indefinitely. The tide of change could not be held back. The Prayer Book revisions were seen as diluting its doctrinal base, and the ordinations of women were seen as not acceptable to either the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches and, therefore, would risk setting back ecumenical relations for years; even the position on abortion was altered arid weakened. It should be noted that every poll of Episcopalians showed that the majority were opposed to these changes. It was perceived that a Catholicism without Rome and opposed to Rome required too great a compromise of conscience; it was also thought that the new openness and renewal of the Roman Catholic church since the Second Vatican Council eliminated many of the previously held concerns of catholic minded Anglicans. For many it seemed that continued separation could not be tolerated.

Following the 1976 General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America (PECUSA), the daily newspaper of Episcopalians United called for a "Plan of Action" allowing catholic minded Episcopalians to find a source of unity outside the official structures of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. The possibility of some Episcopalians leaving "The Church" created a stir in the House of Bishops and upset some members of the ACU. Many individuals and whole parish groups began to leave the Episcopal Church following that Convention. The first entire parish to leave was St. Mary’s, Denver led by their Rector Fr. James Mote. For many, catholic conscience had been stretched beyond what was acceptable and hopes for catholic reunion were lost. It was unlikely that Rome would move so quickly on what many viewed as radical reinterpretations of ministry and faith. The sense of loss felt by many in the Episcopal Church at that time cannot be underestimated: some died of broken hearts," others retired, rather than face an uncertain future. Many were angered by what they felt had been a forced movement on the part of PECUSA away from its traditional role as the "Bridge Church" between Rome and Protestantism. Progressive members of the Episcopal Church were amazed that "Nigh Church" or catholic minded members would actually consider breaching the Church’s unity, especially in the light of widely held adherence to the "Branch Theory’ among these same Episcopalians, i.e. why leave one part of the catholic church for another since each part is incomplete without the other?

A cautionary letter which had been sent to the Episcopal Church by Pope Paul VI well before the Convention took place indicated that serious damage could be done to ecumenical relations if PECUSA proceeded with the ordination of women to the priesthood.

This letter, however, was withheld from the Convention delegates. Following the events of the convention, Rome released the contents of the letter to the press. Many in PECUSA felt betrayed and manipulated.

While still in Minneapolis, the site of the 1976 General Convention, Canon DuBois was introduced to sympathetic Roman Catholic clergy. After writing an initial letter to Rome, he was invited to go in person to visit the Holy See. Now the door was open to present both the dilemma and hope for finding a new home for priests and people. Many of the ACU clergy felt that Rome would either not give a positive response, or would take too long to respond to the pastoral need. Given that many of these clergy held to the "Branch Theory" of Catholicism. Canon Dubois was pressured to make contacts with the Polish National Catholic Church and the Antiochian Orthodox Church. Both of these churches had received Episcopalians before and as a result had existing procedures and structures in place for that purpose. Subsequent research substantiated that neither group would foster closer unity with the See of Peter.

Diocese of the Holy Trinity

As a consequence. the Diocese of the Holy Trinity was formed out of parishes who had already severed ties with the Episcopal Church. It was the presence of a "corpus" of laity and clergy which Vatican representatives made clear gave them a different status for the conversations concerning admission into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Presumably, any individuals or groups of Episcopalians who had not severed ties with the official Episcopal Church would be required to work through the already existing channels in the ecumenical dialogue between the Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church which operated out of the Secretariate for Christian Unity. Whereas, a "corpus" of those without official ties to the existing Episcopal Church were allowed to deal directly with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It should be noted, however, that the leadership of those seeking corporate reunion with Rome maintained cordial relations with the leadership of the Episcopal Church at the national level, meeting on more than one occasion with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and a special ad hoc committee of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. The leadership of the Episcopal Church recognized, as a result of these meetings, that those seeking reunion with Rome were doing so as a matter of faith and conscience and that they did not in any way wish to hamper the existing, official and ongoing ecumenical dialogue.

Pro-Diocese of St. Augustine of Canterbury (PDSAC)

Many other groups who had varying degrees of dissatisfaction with the Episcopal Church. were active at the same time. The umbrella organization for them was the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen (FCC). The Diocese of the Holy Trinity joined the FCC and attended its September 1977 meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. This meeting in St. Louis produced a loose amalgamation of several groups into the Anglican Catholic Church in North America (ACNA), and this was destined to become a new "Anglican" church in the United States and Canada Some of the members of the Diocese of the Holy Trinity identified with the aims of the FCC as it moved toward founding the ACNA. Canon DuBois and the Anglicans United (successor to Episcopalians United) did not. Those in the Diocese of the Holy Trinity who agreed with the aims of ACNA kept the name Diocese of the Holv Trinityand remained with them Those who desired reunion with Rome then formed the Pro-Diocese of St. Augustine of Canterbury (PDSAC) to act as the "corpus" for transitional jurisdiction to full unity with the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic life requires a bishop as the center of unity for a diocese. As indicative of the tension between the two factions of the clergy regarding the role of a bishop, a question was put to the bishop-elect regarding whether he be willing to pursue reunion with Rome. It was the strong negative response to this question which resulted in the splitting of the Diocese of the Holy Trinity.

Society of the Holy Cross

One of the groups supporting the FCC and that was important in these unfolding events was the American branch of the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC). This group, the oldest catholic minded clerical society in the Church of England, founded in 1855was designed to promote a higher standard for priestly life among the English clergy. In later years it was openly dedicated to corporate reunion with the Holy See. The Society has chapters throughout the Anglican Communion and its members are governed by a Rule of Life which includes the Daily Prayers of the Church (Liturgy of the Hours), annual retreats, regular confession and daily Mass. It may be said that such a concept was indeed a by- product of the Oxford Movement among Anglican clergy such as Pusey, Keble and Lowder, who remained behind when Newman converted. The American branch of the Society was led by Rev. James Parker, of Albany, Georgia, as its Provincial, while the Master of the Society was in England. In the days following the General Convention of 1976 at a Provincial meeting of the Society held at St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church, Park Ridge, Illinois, the members asked the provincial to contact the Apostolic Delegate of the Roman Catholic Church to see if it might be possible for married Episcopal priests to be received into the Catholic Church and still function as priests.

Fr. Parker was contacted by Bishop Bernard Law of Springfield Cape-Girardeaux, Missouri who said he would speak to the Apostolic Delegate to make it easier to get an appointment. he also referred him to Bishop Raymond Lessard of the diocese of Savannah, Georgia for personal contact It should be noted that both Bishops Law and Lessard were members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Ad Hoc Committee formed to deal with the question of receiving convert married ministers into the Catholic Church.7 Bishop Law was also the only American member of the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity. A meeting took place at the Archbishop’s residence in Washington D.C. in April 1977. At this meeting were Fr. James Parker, the Provincial of the Society, Fr. Larry Lossing of New Smyrna Beach, Florida representing southeast members of the Society, and Fr. John D. Barker of Los Angeles, California representing the west coast members of the Society. The meeting was to explore what possibilities there might be for receiving Episcopal priests of this Society into the Roman Catholic Church; the stated goal was to be able to continue to function as Roman Catholic priests, even if married. At the meeting Archbishop Jadot stated that ultimately this question would have to be resolved in Rome. The meeting held with Archbishop Jadot was reported to Rome and to the NCCB. In a chronology of events it is important to understand that the SSC group was the first to approach the American Roman Catholic hierarchy, whereas, the Diocese of the Holy Trinity (later PDSAC) was the first to approach the authorities in Rome.8 The work of the NCCB on this question became specific due to the requests of these two groups.

The first discussions among the American Roman Catholic Bishops specifically relative to receiving married Episcopal clergy took place at the Conference of Bishops meeting in May 1977. The NCCB discussed this idea, nevertheless, the authority for the final decision on the Pastoral Provision had to come from Rome. Past requests from the NCCB to ordain married convert cleric had been denied by Rome. (See Endnote 7)

Rome 1977

In the Fall of 1977, Canon DuBois, Ecumenical Officer of PDSAC was to have met with the SCDF. Due to illness, Fr. W.T. Brown as Deputy Ecumenical Officer and Fr. Jack D. Barker, as President of the Clergy Senate, represented Canon DuBois in Rome. While en route, these representatives met in England for extensive conversations with Bishop Owe, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).9 In addition, meetings were held with the representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. The talks at Lambeth and with Bishop Howe were to explore the possibility of some parallel jurisdiction for catholic minded Episcopalians within the Anglican Communion.

As a consequence of the meetings in England, it became apparent that the Anglican Communion had taken steps away from its commitment to a traditional understanding of the authority of scripture, tradition and the recognized Councils of Catholic history. The Right Reverend John Maurin Allin, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, had indicated in conversations with Fr. Brown that some sort of parallel jurisdiction might be possible for those Episcopal priests, people and parishes who had left the jurisdiction of PECUSA. But, after the London meetings, it was concluded that such a parallel jurisdiction was not possible.10

Upon arrival of the delegates to Rome, meetings were held with: Cardinal Franjo Seper, Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF); other Cardinal Prefects of Congregations; the Apostolic Nuncio to Italy; the Vicar-General for Vatican City; a representative of the Secretariate for Promoting Christian Unity; and the President of the Works for Religion. The delegates were graciously received in every case.

The principal conversations were held with Cardinal Seper at the offices of the Congregation near St Peter’s Basilica. The substance of the meetings with Cardinal Seper was a proposal for consideration of what later became the Pastoral Provision, i.e. the possibility of Episcopalians returning to the Catholic Church while retaining something of their Anglican heritage. This proposal was presented to Cardinal Seper at the second meeting held at the Holy Office. The proposal kept in mind as much as possible the faith position of those whom were represented; i.e. complete agreement in almost all areas of Catholic faith and morals, with incomplete agreement on the so-called Petrine and Marian dogmas. The proposal was received by the Cardinal with great interest. The restoration of separated western Christians was an idea very dear to the heart of Cardinal Seper.

Before leaving Rome, confidential letters from the delegation were mailed to Bishop Albert Chambers, the retired Episcopal bishop of Springfield, Illinois, and Fr. James Mote, bishop-elect for the Diocese of the Holy Trinity. Bishop Chambers was scheduled to be the chief consecrator at the ordination to the episcopate of four Episcopalian priests, including Father Mote, which would inaugurate the new Anglican Catholic Church in America as planned by the FCC. In those letters both were advised of the results of the Rome meetings and that Rome would see those planned ordinations as a serious obstacle to reunion.

Two weeks after returning from Rome, the delegates spoke at a joint synod of the priests of the Anglican Dioceses11 of the Holy Trinity and Christ the King, on December 15, 1977. Bishop Chambers presided at this meeting and allowed less than ten minutes for the report on the meetings held in England and Rome. It seemed apparent to all present that the bishop was not interested. For example he said: "Your people don’t want to be Roman Catholics." This sentiment was echoed by bishops-elect Mote (of Denver) and Morse (of Oakland). Bishop Chambers continued to plan for the consecrations to take place in January 1978.12

Chicago 1978

Bishop Bernard Law invited Frs. Barker and Brown to meet with a canonist in Chicago to explore together the form of an Anglican "common identity" in the Catholic Church. In addition to the above, representatives of SSC and the Evangelical Catholic Mission (ECM) 13 were also invited by Bishop Law. The three groups met with Bishop Law’s Canonist at the Hilton Hotel at O’Hare Airport. The Anglicans present favored the proposal on structure modeled on the Military Ordinariate, but the small number of parochial communities, the death of Cardinal Seper who had taken a personal interest in this cause, together with the reluctance on the part of the American Catholic hierarchy mitigated against such a possibility.14 The report which came out of that meeting was submitted to Bishop Kelly (Secretary of the NCCB) by Father Bowen, the canonist. Bishop Kelly, in turn, submitted the report to the Vatican; the report also served as the basis for discussion at the executive session of the NCCB which followed in May 1978. It was at this meeting that Bishop Law spoke favorably to the question. It has been reported that the bishops of the NCCB likewise gave a favorable response. The PDSAC was informed by Bishop Law that the President of the NCCB, Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco, would now be the liaison for the NCCB relative to the Pastoral Provision.15

It was necessary to clarify the desires of those Anglicans seeking union with the Holy See. Given that the positive conversations held with the SCDF was predicated upon the premise of an existing corpus. an international synod of the Pro-Diocese was convened in February 1979 at San Antonio, Texas. The conversations in Rome also made it clear that those seeking reunion needed to be clear about their legitimate patrimony; therefore a symposium of Anglican and Roman scholars was held at the University of Dallas in June of the same year. The features of an Anglican patrimony were the subject of that symposium.

Rome 1979

The same leadership of the DHT which had been to Rome in 1977 were invited back for another series of meetings in the fall of 1979.16 17 A formal meeting took place at the SCDF on October 30, 1979. In attendance at the meeting were: Cardinal Seper, Prefect, Archbishop Jerome Hamer, Secretary, Monsignor Bovone who was under-secretary, Fr. William Levada (now Archbishop of Portland, Oregon) as translator and English speaking secretary to the cardinal, each representing the SCDFand representing PDSAC Frs. DuBois, Barker, Brown, Tea, and Hamlett. The delegation was told that documentation was now complete and that the Holy See was now prepared to receive a petition for reunion. The petition for reunion was prepared and subsequently signed on the altar of the North American Martyrs at the North American College during a concelebrated Mass on the Solemnity of All Saints, I November 1979. Those who signed the petition went to the church of St. Gregory from which St. Augustine had been sent to England, and offered prayers for the reunion of the Church. The petition was hand delivered to the residence of the Cardinal Prefect on 3 November. [Appendix B]

Canon DuBois died in June 1980 with the dream of corporate reunion yet to be realized, although it should be noted that he was individually received into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church prior to his death. During his illness private assurances were received from Rome that the petition would be approved.


At a private meeting, hosted by Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco at his residence in San Francisco on August 19, 1980, the leadership of the PDSAC was informed that he intended to make a public announcement the following day. This announcement would state that Rome would make pastoral provision for former Anglicans thereby ensuring their identity and the preservation of elements of their worship and would consider for Roman Catholic priesthood even those Anglican priests who were married. The Archbishop read portions of the cover letter addressed to him together with the text of the Decree sent to him by the Holy See. The leadership and people celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in Los Angeles the next evening.

Ecclesiastical Delegate

In March 1981 Bishop Bernard Law of Springfield-Cape Girardeaux was appointed the Ecclesiastical Delegate to the Holy See for the Pastoral Provision. Bishop Law them met with PDSAC leaders at the chancery offices in St. Louis, Missouri on May 12, 1981 to discuss the implementation of Rome’s decision. In an effort to provide pastoral leadership for PDSAC, Bishop Law visited Los Angeles July 14—16, 1981. During this visit he celebrated Masses at both St. Matthias and St. Mary of the Angels, PDSAC parishes. Bishop Law preached at the Solemn Mass concelebrated by five priests of the PDSAC on July 14, and after all the masses spoke informally to both clergy and laity. After a meeting between Bishop Law and the Standing Committee of PDSAC, it was anticipated that the two Los Angeles area parishes would have little difficulty in becoming "personal parishes" of the pastoral provision in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was also anticipated at that meeting that some form of national unity would exist for all pastoral provision clergy, people and parishes. Bishop Law indicated a concern for sensitivity toward ecumenical relations with the Episcopal Church as the pastoral provision was implemented. At a meeting held July 27 and 28 with Cardinal Seper in Vancouver, Canada, the leadership of PDSAC was assured that ecumenical relations would not hinder the implementation of the pastoral provision.

Bishop Law convened a meeting for the pastoral provision October 11-14 held at Holy Trinity Seminary, Dallas, Texas. In attendance were ten priests of the Pro-Diocese and several Episcopal clergy from around the country interested in becoming Roman Catholic priests among whom were members of the Society of the Holy Cross. During the conference, three priests of the Pro- Diocese concelebrated a Votive Mass of the Chair of Peter, using a proposed pastoral provision Liturgy. The delegates at the conference agreed on the pastoral necessity of maintaining a pastoral provision liturgy which allowed for traditional as well as modem English. It was also agreed that Fr. John Gurrieri, Associate Director of the Bishop’s Committee on Liturgy of the NCCB and Fr. Brown should work together on the pastoral provision Liturgy, which was to include the Eucharist. the Calendar the Daily Office (Liturgy of the Hours), Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Marriage, Unction, Communion of the Sick, Viaticum, and rites in connection with the Burial of the Dead. The completed proposals relative to the liturgy were forwarded to Bishop Law before his November 6th meeting with Cardinal Seper, to Fr. Gurrien, and Cardinal Seper.


Eventually the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship authorized the Book of Divine Worship (BDW) for interim usage in 1984, with final approval on 20 February 1987.19 This document allowed elements of the older Prayer Book of 1928, but the Eucharistic liturgy was taken only from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer with the use of the Roman Eucharistic Canons and the ancient Sarum Canon (with the modern English "Words of Institution" from the Novus Ordo Missae inserted).

Reception Begins

Reception of former Episcopal priests and their laity into the pastoral provision was done in a manner specified by Bishop Law’s office. First, application was made to the local Catholic diocese for admission of the clergy and their people if a congregation was involved. The application process included preparation of dossiers which included information on spouses for the married priests. After approval of the application, oral and written examinations were administered to the candidates by a review board of priests selected by Bishop Law’s office. When these procedures were completed and final approval was received from the SCDF, then bishops were free to proceed to ordaining the candidate to the Deaconate and then Priesthood.

Specific questions concerning procedures and particular cases were submitted by Bishop Law to Rome. One example was that the SCDF determined that former Episcopalian clergy being ordained priests in the Roman Catholic Church did not have to be admitted first into the offices of Lector, Acolyte or Candidate, nor would it be necessary for the time spent in the deaconate to be lengthy if there was a group of faithful dependent on the pastoral care of the person in process. It should be noted that the average time spent as a transitional deacon was one or two months prior to ordination to the priesthood. At the priestly ordination, the ordaining bishop received the laity and canonically erected a parish of the Pastoral Provision. Thus these parochial communities were established as personal parishes of the Dioceses in which they were located. which was in keeping with the recommendation of the NCCB.

In an attempt to proceed in a uniform way with the implementation of the pastoral provision, each of the diocesan bishops who were scheduled to have pastoral provision parishes at that time, met with Bishop Law. Present at this meeting, which was held at the home of the bishop of Reno-Las Vegas, Nevada, on 4 July 1983 were: Bishop John Ward representing Cardinal Manning and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Bishop MacFarland for Nevada, Archbishop Patricio Pores for San Antonio and Bishop Law. Bishop Ward’s presence at this meeting indicated a continuing willingness on the part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to consider the implementation of the pastoral provision for the two parishes which had made such a request. However, both Bishop Law and the Ecumenical Relations Committee of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had made it clear that sensitivity to ecumenical relations would be paramount in the carrying out of the pastoral provision. It is well to note that the ecumenical relations committee was adamantly opposed to the erection of a pastoral provision parish. It has been subsequently demonstrated that this policy has perdured in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, for no parish of the pastoral provision has ever been erected for that area despite the fact that the group of laity there was the largest of any of those in the nation which had been received in other dioceses. It was in October 1984 that Bishop Ward, in behalf of cardinal Manning, reported to PDSAC clergy in Los Angeles that no parish of the pastoral provision would be allowed in the archdiocese and that both clergy and laity would have to be received into the Catholic Church on a strictly individual basis through their local latin rite parish20. Meanwhile, dates were set for the first ordinations and establishment of parishes in various dioceses. They were as follows: 15 August 1983, Fr. Christopher Phillips and Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, Texas; 10 September 1983, Fr. Clark A. Tea and St. Mary the Virgin, Las Vegas, Nevada; 25 February 1984. Fr. Joseph Frazer and St. Margaret of Scotland, Austin, Texas; 7 April 1984, Fr. James Moore and Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston, Texas: 13 April 1984, Fr. David Ladkau and Good Shepherd, Columbia, South Carolina.

These pastoral provision parishes and a significant number of individual priests, most with families, are now a part of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. This amazing development has its roots in the history of Anglicanism and Catholicism; its present is in the life of the Church today and yet not widely known; its future remains to unfold as the Church moves into the new millennium. Its meaning for the larger church is yet to be fully understood. But, it is here and the decree from Rome leaves it open so long as it serves a need, with a timeframe which is ad tempus non determinatum.

Appendix A The Decree



Roma, July 22, 1980

Prot. N. 66/77


His Excellency

The Most Reverend John R. QUINN

Archbishop of San Francisco

President, N.C.C.B.

Your Excellency,

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its Ordinary Session of June 18, 1980, has taken the following decisions in regard to the Episcopalians who seek reconciliation with and entrance into the Catholic Church.

I.              General Decisions:

1)             The admission of these persons, even in a group, should be considered the reconciliation of individual persons, as described in the Decree on Ecumenism "Redintegratio Unitatis", n.4, of the Second vatican Council.

2)             It will be appropriate to formulate a statute or "pastoral provision" which provides for a "common identity" for the group.

II.            Elements of the "Common Identity":

1)             Structures: The preference expressed by the majority of the Episcopal Conference for the insertion of these reconciled Episcopalians into the diocesan structures under the jurisdiction of local Ordinaries is recognized. Neverthless, the possibility of some other type of structure as provided for by canonical dispositions, and as suited to the needs of the group, is not excluded.

2)             Liturgy: The group may retain certain elements of the Anglican Liturgy; these are to be determined by a Commission of the Congregation setup for this purpose. Use of these elements will be reserved to the former members of the Anglican Communion. Should a former Anglican priest celebrate public liturgy outside this group, he will be required to adopt the common Roman Rite.

3)             Discipline: (a) To married Episcopalian priests who may be ordained Catholic priests, the following stipulations will apply: they may not become bishops; and they may not remarry in case of widowhood. (b) Future candidates for the priesthood must follow the discipline of celibacy. (c) Special care must be taken on the pastoral level to avoid any misunderstanding regarding the Church’s discipline of celibacy.

III.           Steps required for admission to full communion:

1)             Theological-catechetical preparation is to be provided according to need.

2)             A profession of faith (with appropriate additions to address the points on which there is divergence of teaching between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church) is to be made personally by all (ministers and faithful) as a "conditio sine qua non".

3)             Reordination of the Episcopalian clergy, even those who are married. shall be allowed in accord with the customary practice, after the examination of each individual case by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

IV.           The statute or "pastoral provision" will not be definitive, but rather will be granted "ad tempus non determinatum".

V.            Particulars regarding the execution of the decision:

1)             The contents of the statute or "pastoral provision" are to be determined with the agreement of the Episcopal Conference. In what concerns the liturgical aspects of the statute, the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship will be asked for its accord. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will keep informed of any developments both the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (the latter in view of the possible influence on the particular dispositions for ecclesiastical celibacy among Eastern-rite priests in the United States).

2)             A Catholic ecclesiastical Delegate, preferably a Bishop, should be designated, with the approval of the Episcopal Conference, as the responsible person to oversee the practical applications of the decisions here reported and to deal with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in what pertains to this question.

3)             These decisions should be implemented with all deliberate speed in view of the waiting period already undergone by the Episcopalians who have presented this request. These decisions were approved by His Holiness Pope John Paul II in the audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation on June 20, 1980.

The complexity of the above decisions, Your Excellency, recommends early contact between yourself and the Congregation in order to discuss the details and procedures for their implementation. Given your knowledge of the matter, it would seem ideal that, even after your term as President of the Episcopal Conference has expired, you might remain as Bishop- Delegate (cf.V,2) responsible for overseeing the admission of these persons into full communion with the Catholic Church. Permit me to express the hope that, if convenient for you, you will contact the Congregation for the purpose of initiating the necessary discussion of this question during your stay in Rome to participate in the 1980 Synod of Bishops.

Finally, I am enclosing a letter which I would be grateful to you for forwarding, after you have taken note of its contents, to Father John Barker of the Pro-Diocese of St. Augustine of Canterbury, informing him that their petition has been accepted in principle. Since you will be in the best position to know what publicity may be deemed unavoidable or suitable, I would like to leave in your hands the manner and timing of any communication about the fact or nature of the decisions here reported. I am sure you will have already noted in the decisions as reported a concern for the sensitive areas of ecumenism and celibacy.

You will no doubt want to inform Bishops Law and Lessard of the above mentioned decisions, since they were so closely involved in the negotiations during various phases. Since the group in question involves a certain number of English clergy and faithful, the Congregation will undertake to give the necessary information to the hierarchy of England and Wales.

With every best wish for Your Excellency, I remain.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

sig//frano Card. Seper, Pref.

Appendix B The Petition

Most Holy Father,

We the representatives of the Pro-Diocese of St. Augustine of Canterbury whose names are hereto subscribed, being of diverse nationalities and races, yet as one in our desire to return to our holy mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church, and sharing a common debt to those portions of the Anglican Tradition that have remained loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church, with a humble yet hopeful heart submit this petition to the Chair of Peter.

We pray and beseech your Holiness to receive and accept us into the Roman Catholic Church, for we are sheep not having a shepherd and would return to the care of that Holy Apostle singularly commissioned by the Divine Lord to feed his sheep.

To this end we dare to pray that Your Holiness may cause to be undertaken those steps which will lead to the elimination of every defect which may exist in our priestly orders; to our being granted the oversight, direction, and governance of a Catholic bishop, to the determination of that polity and use that would be ours to follow in obedience to and in union with the Holy See; and to the removal of all doubt which may be found to exist in regard to our understanding of and fidelity to the fullness of Catholic doctrine, discipline and worship.

We tender in return the unfeigned allegiance of our whole hearts and minds and souls, offering with that allegiance the Anglican patrimony that has been ours in so far as it is compatible with, acceptable to and an enhancement of Catholic teaching and worship. We offer also our firm conviction that many others of that Anglican Tradition are ready also to return to Peter once the pastoral care of the Chief of the Apostles has been manifest in restoring to his bosom his prodigal Anglican sons and daughters.

We humbly beseech our Lady, the Ever-Blessed Mother of the Church, to lay our prayer before the throne of her Divine Son in Heaven, even as we are bold to lay that same petition before the throne of Peter here on earth.

In witness whereof we have set our signatures on the Solemnity of All Saints being the first day of November, in the one thousand nine hundred and seventy ninth year of our Lord and in the second year of the pontificate of Your Holiness.

The Reverend Canon Albert J. duBois

The Reverend John D. Barker

The Reverend Harold Buckley

The Reverend Leslie Hamlett

The Reverend William Turner St.John Brown

The Reverend Clark A. Tea

The Reverend Burket Kniveton

Dr. Theodore Lee McEvoy

Mr. Brian George Minto


1              Tractarian is the name for the earlier stages of the Oxford Movement within the Church of England, which aimed at restoring the High Church ideals of the 17th century. The name derived from the use of Tracts or pamphlets written to disseminate Church of England principles "Against Popery and Dissent."

2              Tract 90: "Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles." This tract was designed to give an explanation of the "39 Articles" of the Church of England from the theological viewpoint of one who holds to catholic doctrine. These articles were doctrinal formulations accepted by the Church of England to define its dogmatic position in relation to the controversies of the 16th century.

3              The General Convention is the legal arm and constitutive body of the Episcopal Church in the United States and determines it's policies and polity.

4              The Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church in the United States is both a sign and source of unity of worship for the entire Episcopal Church.

5              The law of worship is the law of belief

6              The Branch Theory of the Church is an Anglican idea that came out of the Oxford Movement. It holds that Rome, Canterbury, Constantinople and the Apostolic Sees are "branches" of the One church of Christ; valid branches are churches which maintain Apostolic Succession of ministry and the faith of the undivided Church. The acceptance of this theology was implicit in the original "Plan of Action."

7              In 1967 an enquiry from the American bishops regarding a married Lutheran minister received a negative response from Rome. From 1967 to 1975 the question of ordaining convert married ministers was considered inopportune.

The issue was raised again at the Administrative Committee of the Conference of Bishops a: its September 1976 meeting, at which time an "Ad Hoc Committee" was formed to study the question of receiving convert married ministers.

8              It should be noted that Canon DuBois did have a meeting with Archbishop Bernardine of Chicago prior to the 1976 General Convention Church in which he informed him of the increasing interest among catholic minded Episcopalians of becoming Roman Catholic.

9              The Anglican Consultative Council consists of member Bishops from all of the Provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion of churches. It is perhaps the most powerful guiding body in Anglicanism even though it has no direct juridical control over the member provinces.

10           The representatives were told that the Anglican Communion could no longer be a proper home for the faith they and their people professed.

11           Anglican Dioceses are those belonging to the new ACNA formed by the FCC; it refers to their heritage, ministry and sue of worship and not to any direct communion with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury from whom they have no official recognition at this time.

12           The reality of such an anti-catholic stance should not have been surprising. During the 19th century some Anglicans argued that Catholics. who were considering the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. worshipped Mary. In his 1851 lectures, Newman referred to this as an example of how deeply ingrained were the prejudices of the English, including Anglo-Catholics, against Rome.

13           The ECM group was composed of about 35 Episcopal Bishops and over 100 priests and over 1.000 laity, led by Fr. Clarence Pope of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They were organized as a "loyal opposition" to the changes in the Episcopal Church. At the Chicago meeting, a priest representing Father Pope, stated that retention of married bishops was a necessary feature for Anglican-Catholic reunion.

14           The decree on the pastoral provision which later came out leaves open the possibility of alternate forms of structure to the one which was recommended by the NCCB consequent to the report of this meeting.

15           PDSAC maintained contact by mail with the SCDF in Rome. as requested by its Prefect. but the deaths of two Popes in late 1978 curtailed meaningful exchange with that congregation.

16           Present at that meeting were Frs. Barker and Brown. Canon Albert DuBois, Ecumenical Officer. Fr. Clark Tea, Secretary of the Standing Committee, Fr. Burkett Kniveton of San Diego. California. Deputy Ecumenical Officer for Great Britain, Fr. Harold Buckley of England. Dr. Lee McEvov, President of the Laymen’s League of PDSAC; also present were Monsignor Richard Schuler of S. Agnes Church, S. Paul, Minnesota and Fr. Milan Mikulich, OFM of Portland, Oregon, both of whom had been at the meetings held with the SCDFin 1977.

17           Each day the Pro-Diocesan clergy con-celebrated Mass together, attended by the laymen representing PDSA C. Altars for these celebrations were provided by the Catholic church.

18           Cardinal Seper had requested the leadership of PDSAC to keep him directly informed.

19           The decisions on liturgy made by the Congregation on Divine Worship were based on principles established by the SC’DF. Several years earlier the SCDF had been involved in the reuniting of separated Anglicans in Amritsar, India. This precedent established that liturgies for reunited brethren were to contain elements of their liturgy consonant with catholic faith and in current use among the official churches of those brethren, together with and completed by elements of the Roman Rite.

20           No reason was given by the Archdiocese for its negative decision after such a long period of time, but it has been suggested that ecumenical relations must figure prominently; in addition, the press had branded the clergy leaders as rebels, and the parishes had been involved in civil litigation with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles over real property, a lawsuit which the diocese ultimately lost and which may have been an embarrassment to Catholic officials.

© 1993