Thursday, April 26, 2007

Affirmation of St Louis and Doctrine

I draw readers' attention to a post over at The Confused Papist, in which host Marco Vervoorst asks some questions about the place the Affirmation of St Louis holds in the doctrine of the continuing churches.

He asks three questions:

1. How does one consider the AoSL in the wider context of the Church and Continuing Anglicanism? Also, is Anglicanism a confessional movement which is continued in a confessional movement, Continuing Anglicanism?

2. Where does the AoSL set as a standard the the ecumenical Councils pre-1054?

3. With reference to the AoSL's statement that "We acknowledge that rule of faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins: ;Let us hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all, for that is truly and properly Catholic,;" he asks:
"What does acknowledge mean? The AoSL does not affirm, endorse, or set as a standard, the Rule but only acknowledges!"

I must confess that I do not feel qualified to answer his questions, but would hope that my clerical co-hosts would be in a position to do so. As a matter of courtesy, I would ask that anyone commenting do so on the original post.

1 comment:

Fr. Robert Whitaker said...

The Affirmation of St. Louis was never intended as any kind of confessional document. Rather, it was a declaration of those fundamental principles that led Anglicans and Episcopalians in the 1970s who wanted to preserve the apostolic ministry and the Prayer Books to leave the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada and form a new jurisdiction. This kind of thing was so unprecedented in Angican history that it was felt necessary to have a document providing the underlying rationale for so radical a move.

The Affirmation of St. Louis might best be understood as a Declaration of Independence for those othodox and traditional Anglicans and Episcopalians who could no longer in good conscience stay within the Established Churches in the USA and Canada, but who wanted to preserve their Anglican tradition and identity and hence "continue" Anglicanism. As its conclusion, "Continuation, Not Innovation," states, "In this gathering witness of Anglicans and Episcopalians, we continue to be what we are. We do nothing new. We form no new body, but continue as Anglicans and Episcopalians."

Tradition was but one component in "The Essentials of Truth and Order," along with Holy Scripture, the Creeds, the sacraments, Holy Orders, deaconesses, the duty of bishops, incompetence of Church bodies to alter truth, and unity with other believers. It was believed that Tradition, especially in terms of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, had provided the rationale for separation from bishops and ecclesiastical governments that had gone into heresy.