The Anglican ceremony which was to take place on February 1, 2020 within the walls of a Catholic church in the diocese of Richmond, Virginia, with the permission of the bishop, was canceled due to the mobilization of the faithful who wanted to defend the Faith.
Msgr. Barry Knestout, Bishop of the diocese of Richmond in the state of Virginia (USA), believed he could make an ecumenical gesture towards “the Episcopalian Church,” a branch of the Anglican faith. So he decided to lend St. Bede’s Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA, for the “episcopal consecration” of a “woman-bishop,” Susan Haynes. To justify himself, he cited several documents from the Second Vatican Council.
This was without counting on the mobilization of the faithful of the diocese who, on January 7, 2020, launched a petition asking their bishop for the outright cancellation of the ceremony.
“This is highly disturbing given the fact that Ven. Pope Leo XIII solemnly declared Anglican ordinations to be ‘absolutely null and utterly void,’ and the Church has repeatedly reaffirmed the fact that women cannot receive the sacrament of ordination,” declared the petition which recalls the various canons of Church law censuring the holding of such a ceremony within the walls of a Catholic church.
With 3,207 signatures obtained in just a few days, the petition quickly achieved its goal. Aware of the disorder created, it was the Episcopalians themselves—not the bishop!—who canceled the event.
“It is with great sadness that I have received a letter from Bishop-Elect Susan Haynes stating that,…she has decided to find another location for the ceremony to take place,” the bishop of Richmond stated on January 17.
Let Bishop Knestout be reassured: this cancellation is in line with the traditional and constant teaching of the Church, which prohibits active and formal communicatio in sacris. For a Catholic, this consists of the organization of or participation in heterodox worship, a source of practical indifferentism in religious matters and a cause of scandal among the faithful.