Interview With His Eminence Patriarch Coadjutor David Smith

1 When did your spiritual journey begin?

I was raised in a family that had a distinctly distant relationship with the Church. However, even as a boy I was drawn to the Church and was formed in the catholic faith as both a Choir boy and as an Altar boy. I was moulded within a concept of the beauty of holiness quite apart from my family. Growing up with the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, the Psalter and the great music of the Anglican tradition was foundational to my spiritual growth and maturity. I spent much of my working life as an leading Canadian church musician and as a solo performer. Yet, Holy Orders always exerted a compelling call which was to be realized in later life.

2 How did you hear about the Anglocatholic Church?

In 2016, I was working as a Priest in a cathedral church in Toronto, Canada. Our relationship with our Archbishop suffered a severe rupture and thus we were in urgent need of a new traditional catholic church home. I was charged with finding a solution to this problem and began an intensive search which culminated, after a long and tortuous process, in reading online of the foundation of the Anglocatholic Church. Our treatment by Patriarch Heigo and ultimate reception into the fellowship of the Anglocatholic Church was in marked contrast to the discouraging treatment received from a large number of traditional catholic dispensations in North America. I felt that God had heard our prayers and provided us with a new home.

3 Why did you join the Anglocatholic Church?

I was personally searching prayerfully for a catholic body that remained true to the deposito fidei, and was loyal to the historic apostolic foundations and patristic traditions received from Christ our Lord Himself, traditions whose truth remains and must remain. As I came to know the Patriarch and other senior clergy I became convinced that in this Church was the spiritual home that I had long sought, the promised land in which to settle and become fruitful.

4 How do you feel ministering in the Anglocatholic Church?

I have found here a safe harbour, a place in which the ecclestical battles for the soul of the
contemporary world are not shipwrecked upon the altar of relativism but rather find their
solution in the quest for spiritual transformation, a renewal of the mind rather than a conformity to the present age.

5 How do you feel regarding your work in the creation of the Code of Canon Law of the ACC?

When Patriarch Heigo invited me to take over the task of the creation of the Code of Canon Law I naturally questioned my ability to undertake so great a work. A line from Psalm 119 came to mind Servus tuus, sum ego : da mihi intellectum, ut sciam testimonia tua. (vs 125, prayed daily at Sext. ) O Lord, I am thy servant, grant me that I may know thy testimonies. I also remembered a prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas that he used before he entered into his studies, the Creator Ineffabilis. The saint prayed Deign to pour into the shadows of my mind the rays of your glory….Instruct my beginnings, direct my progress and bring to completion my work. The task was of crucial significance to a new ecclestical foundation. My attempts to be a vessel of received tradition was equally important. The writing of the Canons required a process of detailed study, careful writing and critical assessment, this later furnished me by our Patriarch. It also required a discernment of that which was of essence and that which was secondary, for it cannot be nor was it intended to be a Summa. The test of time will tell the true story of this Code of Canon Law as will the ability of the Code to positively effect the growth and maturation of the Anglocatholic Church in the true faith that bears abundant fruit in the emerging kingdom of the Father.

6 Describe the results of the creation of the Code of Canon Law.

This Code of Canon Law is like a seed planted in the rich soil of the Anglocatholic Church. It is a potential waiting to be realized. Like a seed, its growth to fruitful maturity in the Church will be a slow and natural process. To be effective it must, like the corpus of the Scriptures, be read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested as suggests the Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent in the Book of Common Prayer. Sadly, it appears that many of our bishops have not thoroughly availed themselves of the opportunity to make the Canons known both to themselves and also to the clergy and laity under their pastoral guidance. As a Church, we have much to do in commending it to the faithful, both clerics and laity, and in creating a culture in which the realization of the contents and intent of the Canons become a joyful experience.

7 What in your ministry is bringing you the greatest joy?

For me, the foundation and the end of my ministry is the continuous and ever new quest for a relationship with the living God, my maker, my judge and my redeemer. Only when grounded in this primary relationship will I be able to give to others that which I have unworthily received. Thus, I find my greatest joy in a daily practice of liturgical prayer in the recitation of the Divine Office, in the study of Holy Scripture, in personal prayer and in the celebration of the Mass where as Aquinas suggests in his great Corpus Christi Hymn Adoro Te Devote, we come to gaze on Christ unveiled, and see his face. (Translated Bishop Woodford). As Benedict XVI taught in his Angelus Message of June 13, 2010 the priest is a gift of the Heart of Christ: a gift for the Church and for the world. The priest, as suggested the English school Master Matthew Arnold, exercises ‘ the waters priest-like task of ablution round earth’s shores. ‘ When and as often as I am enabled to do these things by God, my vocation ceases to be mine and by extension becomes some small part of the love of Christ the Good Shepherd and in this I experience joy.

8 What in your view is the future of the Anglocatholic Church?

Inasmuch as we are enabled by God to be a catholic church within the one Body of his Son, a church that prays, contemplates, seeks, listens to and attempts to hear, to love and to realize the will of Almighty God with all our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength and to make his great love known to a world that so desperately needs Him, we cannot fail. We are called, empowered and mandated to be as Simeon said a Lumen Revelationem Gentium, a light to the nations. May our light so shine before our fellow men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven.

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1 Response to Interview With His Eminence Patriarch Coadjutor David Smith

  1. Loved your interview, especially about the development of the Code of Canon Law. It is a great code that gives one everything they need in order to be a good Anglocatholic. I had Auxiliary Bishop Richard Dickerson read the entire Code of Canon Law and then asked him if he understood all the requirements of a bishop, accepted the beliefs and teachings of the Church, and still wanted to join The Anglocatholic Church, Diocese of St. Giles the Hermit, as my Auxiliary Bishop. He agreed as he liked what he had read in the canons. He has had to deal with progressives, liberals, modernists, and those accepting of homosexual lifestyles. These were all anathema to his beliefs and upbringing.

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