The following is from an interview of Archbishop Hepworth leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion responding to rumors generated by a previous interview in the Catholic Record [as reported here] several weeks ago.
[Messenger Journal] “It is possible for a church to come into union with the Bishop of Rome, in which case it is known usually as “a ritual church sui iuris – that is a church with its own rite and canonical regulation. There are some twenty-eight of these churches, and they appoint their own bishops by synodical processes, and seek confirmation of the election from the Bishop of Rome.
Much of the Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion was designed to mirror the processes of a ritual church, a point noted by some Vatican officials. We have not anticipated that our present application would lead to this sort of structure – most of these rites are descended from ancient churches that have never been part of the Roman or Western rite. Of modern origin, however, are the Personal Prelatures and Apostolic Administrations that are essentially vehicles for specific groups to coalesce around their own episcopate for a particular pastoral reason.
We have taken the advise of those with whom we have been meeting, and not sought any particular structure. We understand that no existing canonical structure might prove appropriate. Since the idea of a Personal Prelature is itself a modern creation, dating only to the late Pope, from a structural point of view the Holy See is open to new forms of community within the Church.
We have simply asked, in the words of our letter, to “seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment.”
We have not sought to design something for ourselves. We have asked for the guidance of the Holy See, given the reality of our position and the mind of our episcopate.
We remain in quiet prayer, while growing our Communion in key parts of the world. We agreed, rightly, to allow the Holy See the opportunity to respond to the difficult problems that our letter undoubtedly caused. When there is a reply, I am committed to presenting it to a full meeting of our College of Bishops, and to formal meetings of each of the general synods of our churches that voted to support this initiative.”
It seems that Archbishop Hepworth, having violated his own promise to stay quiet until Rome speaks, wants to be clear that he is not lobbying or trying to influence the response of the Holy See. Whether his previous statements about a personal prelature were well founded rumor or lobbying by the TAC is unclear. What is clear is that Archbishop Hepworth doesn not want to jinx the situation.
We will keep watching.