Catholic parish will not host Episcopalian consecration

Richmond, Va., Jan 17, 2020 / 11:30 am (CNA).- The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia will no longer hold an episcopal consecration and ordination at a Catholic parish in Williamsburg, following an internet petition signed by over 3,000 people objecting to the event. 

“It is with great sadness that I have received a letter from Bishop-Elect Susan Haynes stating that, due to the controversy of the proposed use of St. Bede Catholic Church for her consecration of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, she has decided to find another location for the ceremony to take place,” said a statement from Bishop Barry Knestout of the Catholic Richmond diocese on Friday, Jan. 17. St. Bede Catholic Church is located within the diocese. 

A statement from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia said that the consecration will now take place at Williamsburg Community Chapel. The Williamsburg Community Chapel’s website states that it is home to an “interdenominational family of faith.” 

“The decision to change the location from St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg arose out of concern and respect for the ministries and leadership of both the Catholic parish and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond,” said the unsigned statement from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, released Friday. 

“Learning that its intended use of the building was causing dismay and distress, the Episcopal Diocese withdrew from its contract with St. Bede.”

The statement from the Episcopalian diocese cited 1 Corinthians 8, which warned against “pursuing behavior that might cause problems for others within their community.” 

Episcopal Bishop-Elect Haynes wrote a letter to Knestout and Msgr. Joseph Lehman, pastor of St. Bede, announcing the decision to change the location and thanking them for their prior willingness to host the event. 

“I am writing to withdraw from our contract to use the lovely, holy space of St. Bede for my upcoming consecration as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia,” said Haynes. “We have so appreciated and admired your grace and courage in extending this hospitality and abiding by your invitation even under fire from those within your own flocks.”

Knestout had defended the decision to grant permission to the Episcopal diocese to consecrate an Episcopalian bishop in the Catholic parish, citing various Vatican Council II documents on the importance of ecumenism and hospitality. Permission was first granted to host the event within the parish church in December 2018, well before Haynes was elected as bishop.

In the statement, Knestout said that his diocese “look(s) forward to continuing our ecumenical dialogue with the Episcopal community, and to working with Bishop-Elect Haynes in fortifying the long standing cordial relationship between our communities and our joint service to the poor.” 

Knestout said that he would be praying for Haynes and the Episcopalians of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, and encouraged the Catholics in his diocese to pray for them as well.

“Pray that the fruits of the Holy Spirit, along with humility, kindness, gentleness and joy, be expressed and strengthened in all our faith communities,” he said.

The Episcopal Dioceses of Southern Virginia, Southwestern Virginia do not have a cathedral, and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, which covers the northern part of the commonwealth, has only a “cathedral shrine.” Past episocpal ordinations for the Diocese of Southern Virginia have occurred either in Episcopal parishes or in other, non-Catholic locations.

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  1. Having seen the headline, I was about to congratulate Bishop Knestout for doing the right thing in the end, albeit under pressure. The story makes it clear, though, that he stands by his original decision and looks forward to working with these post-Christian degenerates. Notice his statement mentions possible collaboration in aidting the poor, but says nothing about strengthening the family, restoring Christian morality to society, eliminating abortion, etc. I think everyone can guess why.

  2. Never forget that Barry Knestout was Wuerl’s errand boy in DC and gave Father Marcel Guarnizo the news that he was being run out of town for refusing to give Holy Communion to the lesbian buddhist Barbara Johnson attempting to make a circus out of mother’s funeral back in 2012. Knestout is simply a disciple of Annibale Bugnini not Jesus Christ.

  3. We read: “Knestout had defended the decision to grant permission to the Episcopal diocese to consecrate an Episcopalian bishop in the Catholic parish, citing various Vatican Council II documents on the importance of ecumenism and hospitality.”

    “Various Vatican Council II documents”? Selective blindness. Instead, “Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false conciliatory approach which harms the purity of Catholic doctrine and obscures its assured genuine meaning” (Ecumenism, n. 11).

    The ordination of an Episcopalian female bishop in a Catholic Church: doubly double-speak. First, under a determination by Pope Leo XIII (Apostolica Curae, 1896) historical alteration of the wording and intent of such ordinations/ consecrations ruptured the Apostolic Succession and, therefore, is null or invalid. And second, as for the radical arbitrariness of female priests and bishops, what does this do to Alter Christus, especially at the altar and the wording of consecration: “This is my body”? Ecclesiastical transgenderism?

    The redeeming factor (so to speak) in this episode is the very gracious and hospitable withdrawal of Susan Haynes to another site, thereby cancelling the earlier and lame acquiescence (under so-called “fraternal collegiality”?) of brother bishops and their priests (who are extensions of their respective bishops).

    From further back in history, non-amnesiacs will recall that during the 4th-century Arian controversy (corrected by the Nicene Creed) the vast majority of bishops were at first implicated.

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