Official website of the Order of Corporate Reunion: https://www.orderofcorporatereunion.org
Prelate and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury in the OCR: The Most Reverend John Kersey, OCR, OA
Superior General, Bishop of Selby and Provincial of York in the OCR: The Most Reverend Robert Chung, OCR, SCR
The Order is incorporated with nonprofit status in England, UK, and California, USA.
This Notice has been issued to clarify several matters with respect to succession and rights within the Order of Corporate Reunion and to address the false claims and actions of Michael James Kline, Dario Caldarelli and Ben Wiltshire. The false claims made by Rodney Rickard have already been dealt with here.
When the OCR was founded in 1874, the head of the Order was not referred to as “Universal Primate”, as certain persons are currently claiming. Indeed, this title has no provable antecedence before the 1980s, and was used by a branch of the Order whose historical and jurisdictional claims have proved impossible to verify. Instead, the head of the OCR was referred to as the “Prelate” and “Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury” (doubtless in reference to his intended role as the guiding light in the unification of Rome and the Church of England). The founder of the OCR, +Dr Frederick George Lee served as the Order’s first Prelate and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury. Furthermore, historically since 1946, that position has been occupied by the presiding bishops of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, the church which has the longest unbroken formal relationship with the OCR, dating from 1933. It was only in 1998 that the joint offices of head of the AEC and the OCR were separated.
The Order has faced a number of conflicting claims as to authority and lineage during its complex history. Where these claims are based on false assertions, we believe it is in the interest of the faithful that this should be made known. We invite those who assert that Arnold Harris Mathew was secretly consecrated conditionally by prelates of the Order in 1909 (and thus continued rather than revived the Order) to put forward evidence to support that assertion. We have seen none whatsoever. We likewise invite those who believe that Friedrich Heiler and the Anglican bishop George Bell were ever “Universal Primates” of the Order to produce any evidence that supports these claims. There is none, and Bell’s papers in particular are extensively preserved. Lastly, we invite anyone with proof that the outlandish claims made by the late Diederik D.J. Quatannens, who again claimed to be “Universal Primate” of the Order, concerning his alleged episcopal consecration were true to produce them. Quatannens unfortunately appears to be the source of the majority of false statements and legends concerning the Order, which seem to have been part of his stock-in-trade as an arch-conspiracy theorist convinced that the Catholic Church was being controlled by secret para-church and Masonic bodies.
In 1998, Quatannens passed what he asserted was the “Universal Primacy” of the OCR to Bertil Persson, who in turn retired in favour of the late +Peter Paul Brennan in 2004. However, Quatannens’ tendentious claims regarding the OCR’s history were completely separate from the AEC’s representation of the OCR, which continued regardless of the 1998 separation and was never formally or otherwise merged in it. It is important to note that the AEC does not claim to continue Quatannens’ pseudo-OCR; rather, it holds that the events of 1998 were an error that gave rise to understandable confusion. During the time of the late +Peter Paul Brennan there was no need to raise historical and jurisdictional issues since it was universally held that Archbishop Brennan did an excellent job in leading the OCR. Indeed, we had hoped that this status quo would hold after Archbishop Brennan’s death in 2016, at which point he named no successor. Sadly, this has not proved to be the case. The AEC initially restated its position regarding the OCR during the aftermath of Archbishop Brennan’s death, and then formally acted upon this in 2017 with the support of all AEC clergy and the Emeritus Primate, Archbishop Francis Spataro.
The Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church is also Prelate and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury in the OCR. There is no such position as “Universal Primate” of the OCR and no historical basis for such a position.
Currently, the Presiding Bishop of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, and the Prelate and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury of the OCR is The Most Reverend Archbishop +John Kersey, OCR, OA. He was confirmed as Bishop and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury by Archbishop Brennan and past AEC and OCR primate Archbishop Bertil Persson (who installed him in office) on November 23, 2008, and succeeded as Prelate of the OCR and Presiding Bishop of the AEC on February 6, 2015.
The OCR as constituted under the AEC recognizes no other organization as legitimately continuing the Order, not merely because of lack of historical continuity, but because of the lack of respect of other organizations for the OCR’s clear and authentic mission as a bridge between Rome and the Anglican Communion. We dissociate ourselves completely from those pseudo-prelates who would use the name of the OCR as a front for ordination mills and attempts at personal aggrandisement.
THE POSITION REGARDING MICHAEL KLINE
When the late Archbishop Brennan passed into eternal glory on 2 August 2016, he did not name a successor to his position of Universal Primate of the OCR.
We do not accept the various claims made by Michael Kline to the effect that he was by rights the successor of Archbishop Brennan, or that he became so automatically by virtue of his position as an officer of the OCR’s corporation in Missouri. The falsehood of any such claims is shown clearly in Kline’s own words.
On 28 July 2016, four days before Archbishop Brennan died, Michael Kline circulated an email to senior OCR clergy in which he stated the facts clearly, “I had requested on 2-3 occasions that +Brennan appoint me as a co-adjutor or successor for the OCR, but he was silent on this matter…I would serve willingly as a manager of the OCR as Camerlingo [sic.] until a Primate is appointed.” This email shows not only that Kline was definitively not named by Archbishop Brennan as his successor but that it was also not expected by him or anyone else that he would succeed him as Primate of the OCR, still less that he would subsequently claim that such an office was his by right.
While corporations have at various times been formed to represent the OCR in various local jurisdictions, those local organizations of the OCR did not at any point represent the entire unincorporated worldwide OCR membership organization as constituted under Archbishop Brennan. Therefore, the Missouri corporation established by Michael Kline could not represent the entire OCR, despite his claims to the contrary put forward after the death of Archbishop Brennan. Rather than revert to historical precedent, or call a vote of the membership, Kline instead asserted that his Missouri corporation constituted the entire OCR and that he, as its owner, had been confirmed in office as Universal Primate of the OCR by its two other corporate officers. This was notwithstanding the fact that prior to Archbishop Brennan’s death, not a single member of the OCR held membership in the Missouri corporation or had been appointed to office in the OCR through it. Indeed, it might well seem with hindsight that Kline had formed the Missouri corporation purely as a vehicle for his personal advancement.
THE POSITION REGARDING DARIO CALDARELLI
In June 2021, Michael Kline retired from his representation of the OCR, appointing Dario Caldarelli, of Rome, Italy, to succeed him. We hold that since Kline was never the legitimate successor of +Brennan, he does not possess anything to pass on to a successor so far as the OCR is concerned.
According to documentation in the possession of the OCR, Dario Caldarelli was ordained deacon on 13 September 2012 and priest on 13 September 2013 for the Igreja Católica Apostólica da Redençao, an independent church in Brazil, by its archbishop Dom Edivaldo dos Santos. He was consecrated bishop in this church by the same Edivaldo dos Santos, assisted by bishops Osiel Luiz dos Santos and Genival Martins de Oliveira on 15 September 2013. Research indicates that Osiel Luiz dos Santos and Genival Martins de Oliveira were both themselves consecrated by Edivaldo dos Santos. There is no mention of any co-consecrators at these consecrations.
Edivaldo dos Santos was consecrated on 18 December 2012 by José Milton Cabral dos Santos, who in turn was consecrated on 11 September 2011 by Emmanuel Milingo. There is no mention of any co-consecrators at these consecrations.
The former Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo undertook a number of episcopal consecrations which have been declared illicit by the Holy See and in consequence of which he and a number of the bishops concerned incurred latae sententiae excommunication. Archbishop Brennan was one such bishop. Such canonical penalty, however, has no bearing on the validity of the consecration concerned. The OCR considers the episcopal consecrations conducted by Archbishop Milingo prior to and following the declaration of the Holy See of his excommunication on 26 September 2006 to be valid but illicit in accordance with Roman canon law.
A different situation, however, applies to any ordination or consecration conducted by Emmanuel Milingo after 17 December 2009, on which date the the Holy See Press Office in a statement announced that Milingo had been dismissed from the clerical state. The statement explained the effect of the action as “loss of the rights and duties attached to the clerical state, except for the obligation of celibacy; prohibition of the exercise of any ministry, except as provided for by Canon 976 of the Code of Canon Law in those cases involving danger of death; loss of all offices and functions and of all delegated power, as well as prohibition of the use of clerical attire. Consequently, the participation of the faithful in any future celebrations organized by Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is to be considered unlawful.”
It is clear that the Roman Catholic Church will not consider any consecration by Emmanuel Milingo after 17 December 2009 as valid. This observation therefore applies to the consecration of José Milton Cabral dos Santos by Milingo on 11 September 2011 and to those who derive their succession from him, including Dario Caldarelli.
The OCR, being primarily concerned with issues of validity according to Roman canon law, cannot recognize the clerical status of men who have received Holy Orders that have been the subject of a pronouncement of the Holy See as to their definitive invalidity. It therefore cannot acknowledge truthfully that it accepts Dario Caldarelli as holding the ordained state validly, purely because the Holy See has made it clear that it does not do so.
We also note that within a short time, Kline has purported to retract his retirement because of disagreements with Caldarelli. These matters do not involve the OCR proper under our leadership and we do not intend to become involved in them, noting only that they are typical of some of the worst aspects of the smaller church bodies and bring no glory to the Body of Christ.
In discussions with Caldarelli, he has referred to placing the matter of the headship of the OCR before an “international court”. The OCR recognizes no “international court” and no tribunal save that of the Holy See itself.
In discussions with Caldarelli, he has claimed to have a document in which Archbishop Brennan appoints Kline as his successor. He has been repeatedly challenged to produce this document and has failed to do so. Our position is that it is either non-existent or false.
For several years now, Kline has posted repeated personal attacks and hatred on social media directed against Archbishop Kersey, the Prelate of the OCR and Primate of the AEC. In January 2022, Kline raised two men from the lay state to the episcopate in the space of three days (surely a record for the independent sacramental movement). One of these men, Ben Wiltshire, has now made common cause with Kline and engaged in public controversy. Our response is simply, “by their fruits shall ye know them”. It is inconceivable that any bishop of a mainstream communion would be permitted to behave in such a manner, and through these actions, these men show amply their unsuitability for any form of ecclesiastical office. We have no intention of being deflected from the Order’s purposeful and successful mission by the behaviour of gadflies.
For over six months, senior members of the OCR were engaged in extensive and detailed negotiations with the generous assistance of an experienced bishop as an independent third party to bring about a position of peaceful co-existence between the OCR as represented under us and the Kline/Caldarelli group. A full agreement was prepared after these negotiations but Kline refused to sign it and it has now also been rejected by Caldarelli who has dismissed those who tried to negotiate peace from membership in his group. In the circumstances, we do not intend to pursue the matter further, but simply to state our case and allow any who are interested to form their opinions accordingly.
If OCR members and those interested have any questions concerning this Notice, please contact us at email@example.com
The Most Reverend +John Kersey OCR
Prelate, Bishop and Rector Pro-Provincial of Canterbury
The Most Reverend +Robert Chung, OCR, SCR
Superior General, Bishop of Selby and Provincial of York