Fissures show in the land of ACNA

There’s a new member of the all-male bishops club in ACNA*. The Rt. Rev. William H. Ilgenfritz will continue as Rector of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Charleroi, PA, in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. But his consecration creates a non-geographic diocese for Forward in Faith congregations across the country.

ACNA’s Pittsburgh diocese permits and supports the ordination of women to the priesthood although the ACNA canons do not allow women to become bishops. Some dioceses in ACNA do not women to enter the priesthood. It’s a point on which ACNA has agreed to allow for differences of opinion over a matter of — to coin a phrase — “bound conscience” between the Evangelical and the Anglo-Catholic wings of ACNA.

Ilgenfritz’s consecration is a sign of the balancing act that is ACNA. It is significant that he is the first bishop consecrated since ACNA was formed. In order for ACNA to cohere at the outset the Anglo-Catholics had to be given the opportunity to infiltrate dioceses of ACNA that do not adhere to FiF principles. But that also increases the credibility of a threat to exit the Anglo-Catholic wing not get its way in future negotiations in ACNA.

Bishop Iker welcomed the consecration of Bishop Ilgenfritz:

The new bishop previously served here in the Diocese of Fort Worth as Rector of St. John’s Church in Brownwood from 1990 to 1994.

It is important to recognize that this first consecration was of a Forward in Faith Bishop and that it creates a new diocese for FIF congregations across the country. This new Missionary Diocese of All Saints begins with about 13 congregations and is charged with planting new churches for traditional anglo-catholics in the United States and Canada. Bishop Ilgenfritz continues to serve as Vice-president of Forward in Faith, North America.

This consecration fulfills the vision of the Episcopal Synod of America, formed in 1989 here in Fort Worth, to create a non-geographic diocese or province for congregations upholding the faith and practice of the historic catholic church, including the tradition of an all-male priesthood.

Read Iker’s letter here.

*One wag has said ACNA suffers from chronic miterosis. Another called it chronic miterology. Suffice it to say there are a lot of purple shirts; ACNA’s BPC (bishop per parishioner coeffient) is quite high. You need at least one bishop for every faction, plus more purple shirts for deserving VIPs.

Addendum from the comments: “It’s worth noting that not all Anglo-Catholics will accept Fr. Ilgenfritz’s consecration; some within Forward in Faith have told me that ++Duncan is a dubious consecrator as he also ordains women.” – Derek Olsen

Addendum 2. FiFNA’s press release is revealing.

Past Posts