The Scarlet Letter
Volume I, Number 2 | October 1993
From Br. Bill Heidrick
It looks good, but there are some errors or omissions in the article "En Messe: (A very brief account of the E.G.C.)"
1) Bishops are not "Recognized" unless they have been "Consecrated". It's consecration that makes a Bishop. Recognition is only a practice of accepting that a Bishop has been consecrated and is in some manner accepted into the congregation or synod of the recognized body.
2) O.T.O. incorporated as a (primary purpose) fraternal organization in
March, 1979 e.v. In 1982, the O.T.O. articles of incorporation were amended
to make the primary purpose of the O.T.O. corporation to be that of a religious
organization instead of a fraternal organization. That change was made after
we found that O.T.O. met the legal definition of a Church or Religious
3) The incorporation of an E.G.C. outside O.T.O. was done for the reasons noted, but it is important to remember three additional points:
A) The E.G.C. within O.T.O. was not effected by this external incorporation in any way.
B) The particular E.G.C. incorporated outside O.T.O. never included the great majority of E.G.C. Bishops, who have never been members of O.T.O. or of this separately incorporated E.G.C.
C) This separately incorporated E.G.C. has been defunct for more than five years.
4) The paragraph beginning "Just a few years ago..." is unfortunately garbled owing to the confusion of Recognition with Consecration. Ordination is used in places where either "ordination by O.T.O." or "ordination outside O.T.O." would make the meaning come through. There is also a confusion about E.G.C. within the Order and without. To be honest with you, the paragraph makes no sense at all. I believe that I understand what seems to be intended, but I'm not entirely sure.
It's important to remember that any E.G.C. Bishop can ordain a priest or priestess and consecrate another Bishop—although the oldest traditions require three Bishops to consecrate a new Bishop to insure that at least one of them has his papers straight! O.T.O. does not deny the validity of any of these ordinations and consecrations. O.T.O., more specifically the E.G.C., which has always been a part of O.T.O. since the early decades of the 20th century, reserves the right to accept (recognize) or not accept (not recognize) previously ordained or consecrated persons as a part of the E.G.C. synod or congregation of members under Holy Orders within O.T.O.
There are several thousand ordained and consecrated persons in the E.G.C. outside the O.T.O. who have no connection to either O.T.O. or the form of E.G.C. that was incorporated in external harmony with O.T.O. some years back. E.G.C.. existed well before O.T.O. or Thelema itself manifested in the 20th century.
E.G.C. still exists independently, ultimately drawing apostolic succession from the Dutch Old Catholic schism of Utrecht in 1739 e.v.—prior to that date, the line was Roman Catholic. The E.G.C. which is within the O.T.O. is Thelemic, but the great majority of those E.G.C. bishops who are without O.T.O. are Christian.
The apostolic succession of the E.G.C. which was absorbed into O.T.O. in the early 20th century is important for two reasons, in my strictly personal opinion:
A. by this succession, a lineage is established directly to the pre-Christian clergy of ancient Rome which gave ultimate form to the clergy and structure of the Roman Catholic Church (some titles of higher clergy, Pope from the Flamen of Jupiter, other Bishops as flamines of other deities, etc.).
B. as a historical curiosity and inheritance on the level of a button hook that grandma used to use—if button shoes ever come back it would be useful.
Otherwise, quite good indeed!
Bill Heidrick, Fr. [Aleph Teth Tau]