Published July 24, 2015 in the Church Times (UK)
TWO retired C of E bishops attended an inaugural traditionalist congress in the United States last week.
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, a former Bishop of Rochester, and Dr John Hind, the former Bishop of Chichester, joined 350 clergy and laity for the first International Catholic Congress for Anglicans (ICCA) in Forth Worth. It was organised chiefly by Forward in Faith North America.
The organisation’s president, the Rt Revd Keith Ackerman, spoke of “bishops, priests, and people from multiple jurisdictions beginning to work together towards a common, Catholic vision of the Church.
“My prayer is that Forward in Faith North America will be part of an emerging orthodox coalition that reclaims our Catholicity as part of God’s holy Church.”
In his address to the congress, Bishop Ackerman said: “A deficient and aberrant ecclesiology is not simply a result of the present crisis in Church and culture, but is rather a primary cause for the current crisis, and deserves the attention of all Catholic Christians.”
He painted a picture of a “Holy Synod” of orthodox Anglicans, made up of those who had broken away to form groups such as the Anglican Church in North America, and also those who had stayed and “hoped for the best in the church homes of their youth”.
He spoke of “assaults from without, such as virile secularism, militant Islamic persecution, sexual confusion, and the redefinition of matrimony. . . From within there are departures from a biblical, Catholic faith and order; heresy; liturgical chaos; and failure to call for repentance from sin.”
The answer, he said, was “a truly ecumenical council of the whole Church to address contentious issues facing Christians and churches, and to strengthen the faith of the Church”.
He concluded: “This international congress invites all Anglicans throughout the world (a) to a re-examination of the doctrine of the Church; and (b) to a further consideration of areas of continuing ecclesial contention. . .
“This is necessary so that there may be a revival of Catholic faith and order, and a return to a biblical, credal, and conciliar fidelity. Only through honest discussion, ongoing prayer, and ultimate agreement will faithful Anglicans discern fully what God is doing in the great realignment taking place globally.”