False claims regarding the late Archbishop Caudill on the website of Rutherford Johnson

Our attention has been drawn to the website of one Rutherford Johnson and specifically to the reproduction therein of a photograph from this website without permission. The photograph appears on the section of this website devoted to the Apostolic Episcopal Church and may be viewed here.

False information added to our photograph

Johnson reproduces our photograph with the addition of wholly false information about the bishops pictured, all of whom are now deceased. This may be seen in the screenshot below taken from https://www.statopontificio.org/irc/

Johnson falsely identifies the consecration with these words, “Consecration of former Bishop of the See of St. Stephen, Coadjutorship of Rome and Apostolic See of the Gallo-Russo-Byzantine Catholicate and Anglican Patriarchate of Rome; H. Edwin Caudill by Macario V. Ga; Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church, and Bishops Frank Benning and John Hamers. 21 October 1993, Holy Cross Polish National Catholic Church, Brooklyn, New York.”

The actual facts about Archbishop Caudill and the photograph

The late Howard Edwin Caudill (1932-98) was a Continuing Anglican bishop. He was born on 9 January 1932 in South Charleston, West Virginia, USA, and was ordained to the priesthood in the Protestant Episcopal Church by Bishop Hubbard on 22 April 1956. In 1976, he left the PECUSA. He was received into the Anglican Catholic Church, a Continuing Anglican denomination, on 11 October 1980, and served that church as rector of Good Shepherd Church in Oklahoma City between 1980 and 1983. On March 26 1983, he was consecrated bishop by Robert Condit Harvey of the American Episcopal Church, assisted by Anthony F.M. Clavier and John M. Hamers. After this he served as bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest, which had originally been part of the Anglican Catholic Church, but had subsequently become independent. In 1984, Caudill took the Diocese into the American Episcopal Church, but withdrew from that jurisdiction in October 1988 to become independent once again. In 1993, Caudill joined the Apostolic Episcopal Church, a church with Anglican patrimony and strong connexions with Continuing Anglicanism, and became its Archbishop of the Central Province of the USA on 21 August 1993. He was additionally appointed as Archbishop of the AEC Western Province of the USA on 1 March 1998, and died later that year.

The Apostolic Episcopal Church is in full communion with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent (Catholic) Church), which is a member church of the Anglican Communion  and the Union of Utrecht of the Old Catholic Churches, and has been associated specifically with the faction (approximately half) of that church that remained loyal to Obispo Maximo Macario Ga y Vilches (1913-2002) (today renamed the Archbishopric of Metro Manila and the entire Philippines of the P.I.C.C.). It was in the context of this relationship that the consecration of 21 October 1993 occurred. The photograph was taken by Bishop Francis C. Spataro, who between 1998 and 2015 was Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church. The original of the photograph is preserved in the Archive of the Apostolic Episcopal Church maintained at the Office of the Primate in England together with other photographs taken on the same occasion.

The consecration of 21 October 1993 was undertaken in and for the communion of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and for no other body. At no time was Archbishop Caudill “Bishop of the See of St. Stephen, Coadjutorship of Rome and Apostolic See of the Gallo-Russo-Byzantine Catholicate and Anglican Patriarchate of Rome”. These are fictitious titles invented by Rutherford Johnson, who has never had anything to do with our communion or with the late Archbishop Caudill.

Further falsehoods in a claimed “Apostolic Succession”

Johnson goes on to list a claimed Apostolic Succession at https://www.anglicanritecatholicchurch.org/apostolic.html

We have had cause to comment previously on aspects of this succession and reproduce the contents of our memorandum on this subject below.

HOLY ORDERS DERIVING FROM RONALD D. NOWLAN

Preliminary observations

1.     It has been asserted that Ronald D. Nowlan (also Nowland), quondam archbishop of Christ’s Apostolic Church of North America in Long Beach, California, was consecrated on 3 February 1997 by Robert R. Johnson, who was in turn consecrated by Jean Balland, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lyons, on 19 March 1969.

2.     In a 1999 press article, Nowlan is quoted as saying, “I got my orders through Utrecht, through Brazil, and through the Church of Antioch”, but does not mention his claim of succession from a Roman Catholic archbishop. The article goes on to say, “Nowland, a former Roman Catholic, said his church does not “differ all that much from the Roman Church,” except, of course, in the areas of papal infallibility, the indissolubility of marriage, the teaching on artificial contraception, and the ordination of women.”

3.     The circumstances of this lineage are of relevance principally because of the consecration of Paul Victor Verhaeren (Patriarch Stephanos I) (1939-2011) and Wayne Moore Hay by Nowlan on 21 November 1998. These two men founded the Anglican Catholic Byzantine Orthodox Church in Poughkeepsie, New York, which has subsequently been renamed Saints Cyril and Methodius Church. There are many bishops today who claim successions deriving from this consecration. The Apostolic Succession information on the website of Verhaeren and Hay can be viewed here.

Cardinal Balland

1.     Jean Marie Balland (1934-98) was ordained priest in 1961 and was on faculty of the Pontifical Gregorian Seminary 1962-68. In November 1982 he was appointed Bishop of Dijon by Pope John Paul II and consecrated bishop on 12 December 1982. He was Archbishop of Rheims 1988-95, Archbishop of Lyon 1995-98 and appointed Cardinal Priest 1998, dying in the same year.

2.     Balland was not consecrated bishop in 1969, so the claimed succession above is easily established as blatantly false. In fact, he was not consecrated until 1982. The Roman Catholic Church does not record that he ever consecrated a Robert R. Johnson. Indeed, investigation has been unable to establish that the said Robert R. Johnson ever existed. The only bishops to be consecrated by Balland served in the Roman Catholic Church, which Balland never left.

3.     Notwithstanding its patent falsehood, this succession (whose fabricated line also includes several bishops claimed to be ancestors of Cardinal Balland, but who are listed over a century after their death, with fabricated details of their episcopal appointments) continues to appear and be claimed by a number of groups descending from Nowlan.

Readjustment

Since the exposure of these facts, the following adjustments have taken place.

1.     It is now claimed that Nowlan’s consecration on 3 February 1997 was not by Johnson but by one Gerald Gates, who it is asserted in turn was consecrated on 2 November 1972 by Agusto Montez-Silvieri, who stands in the Duarte Costa lineage deriving from the Roman Catholic Church. Investigation has been unable to establish that the said Gerald Gates ever existed.

2.     Verhaeren and Hay have asserted that Irwin R. Young, Jr. assisted as co-consecrator at their consecration by Nowlan on 21 November 1998, and their lineage has since also been traced through him. However, another source has said that Young consecrated them after their consecration by Nowlan. Young claims a lineage through documented Independent Catholic bishops. If this lineage can be verified, it would be the only valid lineage held by bishops in this succession.

Opinion of the late Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan

In January 2010, Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan, Universal Primate of the Order of Corporate Reunion, was consulted for advice on those claiming episcopal orders in successions deriving from Nowlan. Archbishop Brennan responded to us as follows;

“This succession is all bogus…. not at all real. Nowlan  was either never consecrated or made up a very bad and poorly constructed lineage…. Beckertz, D’Autel and Balland are actually names from a previous century — bishops long dead before the quoted consecrations.  I had a [Roman Catholic] expert in successions look at this and he clearly said it was a fake…Any Nowlan succession is unfortunately bogus.”

Commentary

Where a succession is found to be false and another set of facts is put in its place by parties who have a considerable interest in the outcome, that alternative history will require more than usual verification for acceptance. In this case, the successions in question rely on claims of consecration by bishops whose very existence is unknown to standard references and concerning whose existence, activities and claims no evidence has been put forward by those who claim to stand in their succession.

Any independent bishop whose concern is with the truth should recognize that the Nowlan “successions” are unsupported by evidence and are based on falsehoods that are easily exposed. By associating themselves with these successions, they place their validity and credibility in doubt.

Conclusion

Despite the wish of our communion, which is that we should enjoy peaceful ecumenical relations with our fellow Christians, whatever differences there may be in our churchmanship, from time to time individuals believe that they can steal our intellectual property and lie about our communion without there being appropriate consequences. This notice may serve as proof that this is not the case.