Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Haverland on Church Unity

STATEMENT FROM THE METROPOLITAN OF THE ORIGINAL PROVINCE OF THE ANGLICAN
CATHOLIC CHURCH CONCERNING CHURCH UNITY

For the past twelve years, the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) has had an official policy of seeking unity among Continuing Anglicans in general, but of seeking it first with the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the United Episcopal Church of North America (UEC), which are the other two Churches that share our beginnings in the Congress of Saint Louis (1977), in the Affirmation of Saint Louis, and in the 'Chambers Succession' of consecrations of bishops in Denver (1978). In part, this beginning point rested on a judgment of principle, namely that the unfulfilled hopes of 1977-1978 should be realized as soon as possible. In part, this judgement rested in the practical expectation that Churches with so much in common might find it easier to unite than would bodies with less in common.

In any case, it seems to us now desirable to state firmly and clearly the following points:

1. The ACC believes itself to be in a state of full communio in sacris with the APCK and the UEC;
2. The ACC believes that anything which divides these three bodies from each other is regrettable and should be stopped or overcome;
3. The ACC believes that anything that undermines the internal unity and stability of any of these three bodies harms us all and harms the cause of unity among Catholic and Orthodox Anglicans. In particular we believe that one cannot serve the cause of unity by undermining or dividing any of the foundational Churches of the Continuing Church movement;
4. And, finally, the ACC believes that we cannot be in a state of full communio in sacris with any ecclesial body which is a member of the Lambeth Communion or which is in communion with any body that has such membership.

I now call upon the of bishops UEC and the APCK to join me in affirming these points. I pledge to assist them in sustaining their own unity and stability. And I pledge to work with them, quietly and patiently, in order to build full organic unity amongst ourselves.

The Most Reverend Mark Haverland, Ph.D.
Archbishop & Metropolitan
July 3, 2007. Athens, Georgia

86 comments:

Ohio Anglican said...

AMEN! As a member of the A.C.C., I am glad to see this sensible and faithful document published by our Metropolitan.

I agree wholeheartedly that we never be in communion with Lambeth; or any group that is either in communion with Lambeth, or is trying to be in communion with Lambeth; or groups being used by those currently leaving TEC to swell their numbers as they try to court Lambeth's favor.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

An Anglican Geek said...

For those who are curious, this letter was sent to the ACC's email list by the Rev'd Canon John A. Hollister and can be viewed here.

An Anglican Geek said...

This is a wonderful and welcome letter. Although it merely states the position that the ACC already maintains, I think a formal re-statement is a good thing, especially considering recent events.

I pray that the bishops of all three of these Churches move toward organic unity.

Ohio Anglican said...

I agree with all of Archbishop Haverland's points. However, number three is especially important, and its implications are obvious.

Archbishop Haverland, by this document shows that he supports, and is working toward, complete unity of the three "continuing churches."

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

LP said...

This looks like an excellent opportunity for the ACA/TAC to explicitly affirm -- assuming that such is indeed the case -- that while their membership in FACA and their affiliation with FIF is for purposes (and laudable purposes) of fraternal interaction with and support of fellow persecuted Anglicans, they nevertheless do not consider it "full communion"... because they recognize the same basic catholic principles about intercommunion which ++Haverland articulates here.

Certainly this wouldn't resolve all the differences between the ACC and ACA. That clearly needs some quiet, careful and thoughtful work behind the scenes.

But -- assuming that membership in FACA and affiliation with FIF really isn't considered by the ACA as "full communion" (and my impression [for whatever that's worth] is that it really isn't intended that way) -- this moment in the series of shifts which seems to be happening in the Continuum right now strikes me as a most opportune time for this issue to be clarified.

After all, if it really is just a matter of clearing the air, no reason not to!

And if the ACA really does consider itself in _full communion_ with the Protestants in the REC, APA, AMiA and Global South -- and thus in communion with the Lambeth Communion -- best to settle any doubts on that score as well.


It would be a real shame if the occasion of Archbishop Morse's retirement is marked not by honoring him with a renewed effort at uniting and reinvigorating the Continuing movement which he was so instrumental in establishing and shaping, but instead is marked by a retrenchment and solidifying of divisions along an ACA/APCK-E vs ACC/UECNA/APCK-W line.

pax Christi,
LP

Albion Land said...

Anglican Geek et al,

My profound apologies for not having sourced this letter properly. I was getting ready for bed when I saw it on the ACC List and was in too much of a hurry to get it posted. In particular, my thanks to Canon Hollister.

I add my prayer to those of others that the movements now underway might open the way to genuine steps toward unity within the continuing movement.

Sandra McColl said...

It's nice to see so many of you welcoming yet another statement from the ACC(OP) that makes it clear that the TAC is tainted by association just for the terrible crime of leaving a door open to bishops who remain within the legal structures of the Lambeth communion and (at least in the best cases) take their ministries across diocesan borders to those who cannot in conscience accept the ministry of the local diocesan. And also, more importantly, leaving the door open to the laity to find refuge when the penny drops and their conscience so leads them. Any thoughts, Ed? Sometimes I feel you're my only friend here.

poetreader said...

Sandra,

First, I welcome ++Haverland's statement. It is a fair and reasonably open-minded presentation of ACCs stance in these matters and does reveal them as a tad more open to others than they are often perceived to have. However, I'm also not pleased at his complete refusal to even admit in this context that TAC/ACA exists. If we are not working together to heal the divisions between groups of common heritage and at least 95% common belief and practice, we sin, and are terribly presumptious to expect the Lord's blessing. He may give it anyway, but so acting is, in effect, to ask him not to.

I happen to feel that we have made some mistakes both in our relationship with FIF and in our involvement in FACA, and, whiole disagreeing with the stance ACC has taken toward us, can understand where theor objections lie. What I cannot understand is their seemingly categorical rejection of us as 'Chambers succession' churches.

Guys, let's put in a concerted effort FROM BOTH SIDES toward healing this reprehensible rift.

ed

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Sandra,

I'm sorry that you do not approve of the ACC's position. However, it is important you understand the real position. We too are interested in "leaving a door open to bishops who remain within the legal structures of the Lambeth communion". We would welcome these men. But that "door" has to be an entry into the Continuing Anglican Churches and out of the Lambeth Communion. Why? Because by staying in the Lambeth Communion, they are not merely unequally yoked by "legal structures", they are to some degree "in communion with" churches they believe to be heretical (which is not permissable for Catholics). Indded, FiF explicitly says it wants to maintain the highest level of communion possible. Why?

But even if it can be legitimately claimed there has been some real diminution of communion, there is the problem that remaining in the structure gives a wholly different impression. The "we're only nominally in the same church with them" approach is not honest and gives a bad witness. The ACC believes it is asking these bishops and their people to act consistently with their Catholic beliefs.

Finally, I regret that you feel that Ed is your only friend here, though he is a wonderful fellow and we are very lucky to have him at our 'blog. I hope that, despite disagreements, we can all treat each other with courtesy and kindness.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Ed,

I understand where you are coming from. However, it is not that Abp Haverland is refusing to acknowledge the existence of ACA/TAC at all, just that such acknowledgement is not directly relevant to his purpose here. You see, while we acknowledge the TAC can mostly claim the Chambers Succession when it comes to tactile succession of orders, we do not acknowledge that the ACA has valid succession of jurisdiction, for reasons explained some time ago here.

In brief, the ACA was established to replace the ACC in the TAC when the ACC refused to organically unite with an episcopus vagans and his church. And this was done by the non-ACC part of the TAC and a small minority of ACC bishops, some of whom chose of themselves to abandon our communion. So, we have not been able to consider the ACA in jurisdictional continuity with the Continuing Church began at St Louis and Dallas. The non-ACC TAC's part in fostering the schism has thus inevitably informed our view of the whole TAC.

It is just a fact that we are already in communion with the APCK and UECNA and consider them sister churches, and don't wish anything to damage those churches. It is only natural that they have our ecumenical priority among Anglican Churches. Similarly, it is only fair to make clear to everybody that the ACC feels association with the Lambeth Communion is no longer tolerable for Catholics.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Any move by any continuing Anglican body towards unity with another is a good thing in my judgment, even though this letter does not include many of us.

Obviously the apparent thaw between the ACC and the APCK (though I see little coming from the APCK side) is partly due to the fact that former ACC archbishop +Cahoon is dead. When he was alive he told me (on numerous occasions) that there would never be any talks of unity and/or cooperation with the APCK, because of +Morse firing him and hanging him out to dry years earlier. In fact, when he was alive he was really only interested in working with the CEC (again, something he told me personally), but I presume under +Haverland that the CEC is not "pure" enough, and that all such talks or initiatives have been called off.

The ACC's position is, in my opinion, simply unrealistic. But time will tell if their stringency in such matters ("I will not be in communion with you because you are in communion with them") is right.

When Florence Li Tim-Oi was ordained a deacon and priest by the bishop of Hong Kong in the 40's in a time of great crisis, ECUSA did not break communion with Hong Kong, and the whole of Anglicanism was not shattered. The "catholicity" of ECUSA and Canterbury was not irrevocably shattered by their remaining in communion with Hong Kong.

LP said...

----
The ACC's position is, in my opinion, simply unrealistic. But time will tell if their stringency in such matters ("I will not be in communion with you because you are in communion with them") is right.
----

The thing is, this is the Biblical and patristic position. Look how the apostles reacted to Simon Magus. Look how the early Church reacted to the Gnostics and Arians. Etc.

It's not a question of "do we think it will work" or "is it politically correct" or "are we going to offend anyone if we suggest". It's a question of what our duty is under the authority of Scripture and Tradition.

To say that you are "in communion" with someone is to say that you approve of their theology and ecclesiology. Including their theology and ecclesiology about who *they're* in communion with.

A bishop who remains in PECUSA without complaint has, thereby, openly and publicly shown that he thinks the apostate teaching and practices of PECUSA aren't worth getting unduly worked up about -- not enough to make any firm stand against by leaving the jurisdiction. He's a bishop who, faced with the Arians or the Gnostics or the Mithraians or (these days) the Muslims thinks that "oh, those differences of belief and practice aren't that important -- we should all stay in communion and the same jurisdiction with each other." He's a bishop whom the Apostles and Fathers wouldn't have hesitated to excommunicate and depose.

If a FIFNA bishop is in "full communion" with such a PECUSA bishop, then he is saying by that full communion -- saying openly, publicly, and sacramentally -- that he doesn't think that PECUSA's bishops defective theology and ecclesiology is worth getting too upset about - not enough to break communion with; not enough to chose Truth over heresy and error and apostasy. He is saying, in effect, that he shares the same ecclesiology & disregard of theology as his PECUSA colleague does. He may differ with him over points of that theology -- but, ultimately, he shares the same "it's just not that serious" attitude toward theology & ecclesiology as the PECUSAns do. Told to chose between "life and death, blessing and cursing", he's asked for *both*, with a side-helping of PC niceness.

And if an ACA/TAC bishop is in "full communion" with this FIFNA bishop, then he, likewise, has openly and publicly -- by this association -- esposed the same casual attitude toward theology and ecclesiology. Said, in effect, that the Continuing Church movement was wrong to break with PECUSA in the first place.


Now, from what I've read, I don't think that the ACA/TAC formally holds itself in "full communion" with such folks. But I can't be sure. FACA's mission statement sure implies that it means that there is full or nearly-full communion between the APA/REC/AMiA (and thus the Lambeth Communion), but it doesn't, strictly read, actually say so. And though a Messenger article quotes (without demure) D.Virtue saying that the ACA is in "full communion" with Forward in Faith bishops, I haven't seen an official ACA/TAC statement to that effect.

But it's sure hard to tell. And it sure looks an awful lot like "full communion" to the casual & uninformed observer.


So I think the ACC is exactly right to hold up these catholic principles of "full communion".

If they're wrong to do so, then everyone might as well just go back to PECUSA right now because the Continuing Church has (by that same token) been wrong since the get-go.



Now, that having been said, just because you can't be in "full communion" with someone doesn't mean you can't talk to them. Doesn't prevent fraternal consultation. Doesn't prevent helping each other out with resources and advice. Doesn't prevent sending kids to the same summer camp. Doesn't even prevent, I imagine, having the priest from one jurisdiction filling in for non-sacramental duties for a neighbor in another jurisdiction, e.g. Bible Study or Morning & Evening Prayer.

And, in fact, the witness and support that such cooperation is a good thing. It helps out fellow Anglicans in their hour of need, it shows charity in action to the world.


But it is a witness whose effectiveness and message is masked if the differences in theology, ecclesiology and practice - often quite substantial differences - are all trivialized to the point of still remaining in "full communion".

For the message that sends to the world is "don't bother joining our little church -- it's not worth giving up your nice building and endowment and playground and large Sunday school classes, because we don't offer anything we think is actually worth separating over."



Granted, the issue raised by the "ambiguity" of TAC/ACA's affiliation with FIF and FACA is not the only obstacle between it and reunion with the other Continuing jurisdictions. Arguably it isn't even the central one.

But if it is just a case of ambiguity -- of the TAC/ACA viewing its affiliation with these other groups as the laudable ones of fraternal assistance and fellowship rather than more intimate relationship of sacramental unity -- then, in the wake of +Florenza's and ++Haverland's statements, now would seem the ideal time for the TAC/ACA to remove this ambiguity and correct any misunderstandings the ACC has about them on this issue.

To state, clearly and plainly, whether it stands, ultimately, for the principles of catholic belief and practice on this issue which not only is held by the ACC but is, in fact, the only justification for the Continuing Church movement at all... or if it teaches and practices, rather, with the Protestant ecclesiology of the Lambeth Communion.


My impression is that its clergy hold to a catholic ecclesiology, not Protestant or congregationalist one. That this really isn't an issue which divides them from the ACC (whatever else might) nor a subject which they would fault the ACC (or any catholic Christian) for giving due importance.

But if the concerns raised and confusion expressed in the blogosphere are indicative of the situation as a whole, then it seems (IMHO) high time for this confusion to be clarified, once and for all... even if it hurts the feelings of the Network types who assume the TAC shares their Protestant ecclesiology or who like adding TAC communicants to the "number of Anglicans we represent" figures they present to the media when making the case that their protestant, "moderate revisionist" positions (often quite different from the catholic beliefs & practices of the Continuum) are the natural (and only) alternative to and salvation from PECUSA's apostasy.


pax,
LP

J. Gordon Anderson said...

The PNCC was in communion with ECUSA and also in commmunion with Rome. That didn't stop Rome and PNCC from being in communion. Does that make Rome "protestant"?

The UEC has an intercommmunion agreement with the APA. That doesn't stop the ACC from being in communion with the UEC. Gee, I guess that makes the ACC "protestant".

And then there's whole story of Florence Li Tim-Oi that mentioned above. I guess that means that ECUSA and the rest of the Anglican Communion was "protestantized" back in the 40's.

You need to reevaluate your stance, because according to what you have said, these other bodies, including the orthodox, drifted into protestantism a long time ago.

LP said...

I'm not sure any of your counter examples (and is "theology by exception" a good approach anyway?) are valid.


---
The PNCC was in communion with ECUSA and also in commmunion with Rome. That didn't stop Rome and PNCC from being in communion. Does that make Rome "protestant"?
---

I'm not intimately familiar with the PNCC, but from their own site I find the following

1898: Fr. Hodur (then a RC) excommunicated

1904: Organization of the PNCC -- decision to make a clear break from Rome; Fr. Hodur elected their first bishop.

1976-8: Communion with PECUSA suspened and then terminated because of the ordination of women

1984: Dialogue with the RCs reopened

1996 (from another site): partial intercommunion with the RCs established


In other words, the PNCC was never in communion with both Rome and the Episcopal church at the same time, and that even now the PNCC is not (and never has been) in full communion with the RCs.

So that example isn't relevant.

---

My understanding about the UEC and the APA is that the APA set up its arrangement with the REC without consulting the UEC or other continuers and, upon discovery of the APA/REC-communion agreement, the UEC allowed its arrangement with the APA to lapse precisely because of the impossibility of a catholic to be in full communion with the REC.

I'm not sure if that's exactly right - I'm sure readers here can fill in the details.

At any rate, I take it that the UEC is now firmly on the same page with the ACC about these principles of intercommunion.

---

As for Florence Li Tim-Oi, darling historical example of Louis Crew and PECUSA's other revisionists, again I don't know the exact details. My understanding, though, is that this was done quietly (did PECUSA even know about it in the '40s?), was seen as an extraordinary exception, not a rule, and that the official teaching of the church wasn't changed at that point.

Individual of theology & practice can be found throughout all the ages -- that's not the issue. Jurisdictional relations and surity of sacramental validity are based on the official teaching and canons of the jurisdiction, not on the ideosyncracies or failures (or, for that matter, virtues or orthodoxy) of individuals.

PECUSA's moral theology on homosexual activity is apostate not because it has a homosexual bishop, even an actively homosexual bishop, but because it has officially, as a jurisdiction, abandoned Scriptural teaching and approved active homosexuality as permissable, even laudable, among its laity and clergy.

So I don't think your citation of the exception case of Florence Li Tim-Oi is relevant either.


pax,
LP

William Tighe said...

The PNCC was in communion with ECUSA from 1946 to 1976; there has been a limited "Eucharistic hospitality" between the PNCC and the RCC since about 1992, so the prior posting alleging a kind of "mediate communion" is without any foundation in fact -- and it is only because the PNCC so totally and utterly repudiated communion with ECUSA in 1976 (a repudiation which, btw, set the decisive precedent for the PNCC's repudiation of communion with various of its fellow Union of Utrecht Old Catholic churches as the latter embraced the "ordination" of women from 1996 onwards [Germany, 1996; Austria, 1998; The Netherlands, 2000; Switzerland, 2001] and which led to the PNCC's own expulsion from the Union of Utrecht on a "technicality" [with the deciding vote being that of one of the PNCC's own bishops, who had long advocated withdrawal from the UU] in 2003) that 1992 became possible. See:

http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=12-01-021-f

and

http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=17-04-056-r

for further details.

I admire the consistent scrupulousness about "Catholic Communion" with the ACC-OP has been wont to display.

poetreader said...

You know, I am quite convinced that when a theological or ecclesiological position is seen as 100% logical and consistent, that the very consistency requires a very deep questioning of that position. God created logic - that is, logic is a true reflection of an aspect of God's nature. God will not be illogical, but He is not bound to remain within the bounds of logic as we are able to know it, for his nature is more than logic. If a position is absolutely self-consistent, then, I am inclined to assume that that, in itself, is an evidence that some important factor of God's nature and workings has been missed.

Concepts like the Trinity, the dual nature of Christ, the Sacramental Presence, etc., etc., are incorporated in words that set limits to the concepts, but are simply unable to express the Mystery. I believe this has great applicability in eccesiology as well. Not everything can be tied up in neat and entirely comprehensible bundles. It is simply not so that FIF either is or is not in communion with ECUSA, nor is it so that ACA is therefore either in communion or not with ECUSA. I've been admitted to Communion at an ACC altar, with full knowledge of the priest. Am I therefore in communion with ACC or not? These things are not solved on cold logical grounds. That is the way of the Pharisees. Questions of this sort are pastoral and subject to a great deal of case-by-case judgment. The East, with its pronciple of Ekonomia seems to me to come far closer to the Mystery of Faith than does the developed scholastic emophasis of the West.

ed

Ohio Anglican said...

Father Anderson:

The UECNA does NOT have a communion agreement with the APA. They were considering signing one with APA, and would have done so, except in the mean time APA signed a communion agreement with the REC. For that reason, the UECNA did not sign the agreement with APA.

This was made clear by the ACC when the ACC and UECNA signed their agreement of communio in sacris.

If UECNA were in communion with REC, the ACC could not have entered into an agreement with UECNA.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

LP said...

---
If a position is absolutely self-consistent, then, I am inclined to assume that that, in itself, is an evidence that some important factor of God's nature and workings has been missed.
---

This seems to me to confuse two quite separate phenomena -- mystery and incoherence.

I quite agree with you that theological truths -- especially those which deeply reflect upon God (such as the Trinity and the two natures of Christ, which you cite) transcend logic. But just because they transcend it, doesn't mean they contradict it, any more than the fullness of Christ's divine nature cancels, absorbs, or contradicts his human nature.

Such a notion would be at odds not just with common sense, but with how the Orthodox themselves understand "mystery". Mystery does not mean that theology cannot be done or that intellectual/logical statements cannot be made, but rather than there is, as it were, a "boundary" beyond which the created (and fallen) human intellect is unable to pass.

The fact that the Trinity is a mystery doesn't mean that true and false statements cannot be made about God. It is true to say that He is "three persons" and "one God". Yes, this cannot be fully understood -- it is a mystery. But that doesn't mean that any-old statement or belief about the Trinity is acceptable, just because it's a mystery. It is still false - and heretical - to say that there are not three Persons, or that there are many gods, or that the divine nature of the Son is created. Etc.

The East's concern with the West's "over-analyzing" is not that the West analyzes, but merely that it (in their view) tries to take it a step too far, over that boundary -- e.g. rather than resting on the clear truth of the Real Presence, steps over the line and tries to legislate the mystery by dogmatizing "transubstantiation".


Your argument about communion seems to be, in essence, that "because the Trinity is a mystery, therefore we cannot hold some plain principles about jurisdictional communion." To argue, in essence, from mystery to incoherence. Which doesn't even make sense for the mysteries themselves, let alone these lesser matters.

Heck, I could as coherently argue that "because the Trinity is a mystery, therefore there is no logical consistency or intellectual certainty in Christian sexual morality therefore we shouldn't rigorously uphold it."

Yes, there are elements of mystery surrounding communion, even jurisdictional communion. What are the spiritual mechanics by which we are united by the sacrament into unity with one another through Christ? Etc.

But that doesn't mean that there are no plain truths and 'guidelines' about being in communion any more than the mystery of the Trinity means that there are no false statements about the Trinity.


Scripture tells us not to be yoked to unbelievers. Tells us to be separate from the temples of idols. That light should have no communion with darkness.

And the early Church, in her dealings with heresies (many of them far less faithless than the whole-sale apostasy of PECUSA) shows us how the apostles & their disciples wished these priniciples to be lived out in action, but the complete and unambiguous separation of jurisdictional communion.

The fact that some of what goes on in communion is "mysterious" doesn't absolve us from following these clear and "logical" principles of sacramental theology.


Mystery is one thing, and it transcends logic. Incoherence is quite another, and contradicts logic. The former is of God. The latter of the devil.

It's important not to confuse the two.


pax Christi,
LP

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Okay, I stand corrected with the PNCC. But the example of Florence Li Tim-Oi is relevant, because the issue at hand is that groups like the ACC are not going to be in communion with the APA because the APA is in a federation that includes the AMiA. That is like saying that ECUSA (from the 40's) is not going to be in communion with Canterbury because the latter did not suspend relations with Hong Kong. That is what I am talking about (maybe I didn't make that clear - I apologize if I did not). I thought that's what we were talking about.

And besides that there is the whole issue of the orthodox and how one body recognizes another, but that recognized body is not recognized by the one who did the recognizing (a mouthful.... blah, sorry.)

In any case, when I was in the ACC +Cahoon authorized an ELCA (who ordain women) minister to say mass at my parish when the rector and assistant were away. Now this minister was long ago an RC priest (for like a month, or something), so he did have apostolic orders. But he was happily serving as pastor of his own ELCA parish in Baltimore while being given ACC "faculties", or whatever. So, the ACC has a supposedly pure conception of orders and communion when it suits them (I think +Cahoon was hoping this guy would come into the ACC and bring his parish with him... he never did).

As for your remark about "theology of exception", I will address that later on my own blog, as it betrays, in my judgment, a high level of ignorance with how theology, doctrine, and praxis "develops" and comes about.

Sandra McColl said...

Fr Kirby, I'm going out on a limb a bit by suggesting that you don't take an overly legalistic or literalistic view of the FiF document that you cite. It's an old document, written at a time when there was still, I think, a fond belief that Lambeth (or parts of it) could be brought back to its senses. It was also, it would appear, something written from the 'two integrities' perspective, with an aim of appeasement, in the hope that we could take some of our property with us if the split ever occurred. Now, I realise that an attachment to property has brought scorn from continuing purists over the years, but an honest attempt to make the body you are leaving play fair and give you what you've poured your own money into over decades shouldn't be regarded with too much horror. Some of us have taken a long time to see the truth in all of this, and it has been with the help of the TAC that we have done so.

Further, 'the highest level of communion possible' doesn't appear to be very high any more. We need to remember that FiF has also been set up to provide cross-border ministry by faithful bishops--effectively enabling priests and people to hold only an administrative relationship with their local diocesan.

There is also a real tension between definitions of schism. On the one side, there is the belief that it is departure from Catholic faith and order; on the other, there is the belief that it is anything that diminishes the communion that you're already in. It's a principled tension, even though, in my mind, the latter position seems to start from the assumption that Lambeth is 'the Church'.

And I certainly hope I'm not being discourteous. I just feel at times that the TAC's being forced out into the cold is being celebrated in the combox, and I react when cornered.

Further, to you others, especially the Americans, my understanding has been that FiFNA has not been in any hurry to go along with the TAC. FiF isn't just FiFNA. There are differences of attitude both among the various national FiF branches, and within them. Even then, I don't think that FiFNA is in 'full communion' with all TEC/PECUSA bishops.

poetreader said...

LP,
What you say about the nature of mystery is, really, precisely what I am saying, but the latter half of your response is precisely the overanalyzing that you purport to oppose. St. Paul does indeed tell us not to be yoked to unbelievers, bujt does he tell us not to be yoked to those who are mistakenly so yoked? That is a hyper-logical extension of the thought, but one that I cannot justify from the text. Morevoer, the history of the Church is full of instances of those in communion with others, but pointedly not with all of their partners. Nothing has been more obvious in the recent history of Orthodoxy than the bewildering network of intercommunions and rejected communions. This to me is an example of straight Christian thinking. One judges one's Orthodoxy by his own teaching and practice, not by whom it is that has convinced him that they hold the same truth.

Your assertion of 'complete and unambiguous separation of Jurisdictional communion' is a claim for something that has never quite existed, and has not even appeared to exist during transitional times (loke the cirrent one) when heresies are being newly revealed or freshly encountered. Who was Athanasius in communion with at what time? That turns out to be a difficult question to answer. Relations between the East and Rome and even between the East and the 'Oriental churches' sometimes called heretical have been on-again and off-again both locally and in the wider sphere all through the centuries -- just as I would expect them to be, to the logical mind a tangled mess.

I'm not talking about self-contradiction, but I AM talking about the humility that recognizes that the farther my own logic carries me into any investigation, the less I really understand about what the reality is. I'm not that bright. Neither is anyone else.

ed

LP said...

ed - I'm glad we agree on the "mystery" thing then and that I read too much "anti"- or "un"- rather than "trans"- reason into your explanation.

---
St. Paul does indeed tell us not to be yoked to unbelievers, bujt does he tell us not to be yoked to those who are mistakenly so yoked? That is a hyper-logical extension of the thought
---

Three observations:

First -- I've noted in another thread on this blog, I think, that what seems to lack in many of the discussions between Continuing jurisdictions is a clarity of theology, leading to decisions or alliances being made on "personal" or "political" grounds rather than theological ones.

This might be a case in point. The ACC believes that "full communion" requires a certain set of beliefs not just by a given jurisdiction but also by those with which that jurisdicion holds itself, in turn, to be in full communion. Your position (which may be also that of the ACA?) does not.

This brings us back to the need for a corresponding statement from the ACA to clarify the situation -- to say, for example, either that they don't consider themselves in "full sacramental communion" with the APA/AMiA/REC/FIFNA bishops or that they do but don't consider themselves bound to be in communion "transitively" with those with whom these groups (in turn) are in full communion... or whatever.

Sure, such a definition might be rather different than the position which ++Haverland outlines in his letter. But at least it would generate some clarity and, if nothing else, make explicit what the ACA's position and definitions are. Defining a disagreement is the first step in addressing it.


Second -- one "new" thing which seems to be emerging in these last several decades is this notion of "impared" communion. I'm not familiar with such notions from previous centuries, but that my simply reflect my own ignorance.

At any rate, it's something which has come up not only in the contemporary Anglican context, but also with the PNCC etc.

So perhaps there is room here for some work and thought along these lines -- could one, for example, coherently have a category of 'in communion' which would be "less" than a transitive "full sacramental communion"? One which would recognize the validity of a bishop's orders and sacramental surity of his clerical acts, but not extend the same to those he is in communion with? A kind of "communion" which would work on a case-by-case rather than a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis?

I don't know if such a thing is logically coherent, or if it is consistent with Scripture and Tradition. But if it were, and if the ACA it talking about this kind of communion with the AMiA etc while the ACC is talking about "full sacramental communion", then perhaps the positions of the two groups (ACA & ACC) isn't mutually exclusive.

Again, I don't know. But it points up the need for clarification -- even if just by the ACA saying "we don't consider ourselves in communion with those with whom they're in communion" and the ACC saying "that's nonsense; 'communion' doesn't work like that." At least there's a starting point.


Third -- The issue may not be this 'transitive' one at all, anyway, the one which you say Paul doesn't require.

For example, you might argue "well, though Spong doesn't believe in the divinity of Christ, those bishops who are in the AMiA do believe in the divinity of Christ. Just because they are in a jurisdiction which is part of the Lambeth Communion which includes PECUSA doesn't mean that this heresy taints the AMiA bishops nor that they approve of it. Accordingly, if a TAC bishop is in communion with them, that 'taint' doesn't apply to the TAC bishop and so shouldn't be a barrier to communion with him either."

Thus, you might argue, if "belief in the divinity of Christ" is a prerequisite for "full sacramental communion", then the fact that the TAC bishop accepts it is enough, that you don't need to play the guilt-by-association issue.

But what if a shared understanding of the meaning of 'full sacramental communion' is a prerequisite to full sacramental communion?

In this case, the objection would not be on the grounds of the heresies of Spong but on the understanding of 'communion' of the TAC bishop. The heresies of Spong are relevant not in themselves, but merely as an 'example' of how the TAC bishop has a different understanding of "communion", which itself (not Spong's belief) is the actual impediment.


Again, this is all hypothetical -- I'm not saying that this is the TAC's actual position.

I just mean to point out -- which was the thrust of my initial comment as well -- that clarification (not as argument, just as statement) from all quarters would be useful.

++Haverland has stated the ACC's position, and called on the APCK and UEC to do the same. Wouldn't hurt for the ACA to make a similar statement of its own position (and clarify the FACA & FIF issue in the process). Not that this would solve, by itself, any obstacles. But it would be IMHO a profitable next step.


pax,
LP

William Tighe said...

Okay, let's discuss this example as well:

"When Florence Li Tim-Oi was ordained a deacon and priest by the bishop of Hong Kong in the 40's in a time of great crisis, ECUSA did not break communion with Hong Kong, and the whole of Anglicanism was not shattered. The "catholicity" of ECUSA and Canterbury was not irrevocably shattered by their remaining in communion with Hong Kong."

She was "ordained" in 1943 or 1944 by Bishop Robert Hall, a low church Protestant. Hong Kong was under Japanese occupation at the time, and communications were not easy between there and Britain (Hong Kong was an extra-provincial diocese under Canterbury). Hall wrote to the Abp. indicating his intention to "ordain" her, and proceeded to do so before he got a reply. I can't recall if Hall's letter reached Abp. Temple before he died, but it was Abp. Fisher who acted on it. He did nothing (beyond sending Hall a letter, that reached him only after the fact, trying to dissuade him from so acting) before the end of the War and Hong Kong was back under British control, and then he simply informed Bishop Hall that in ordaining her he had acted irregularly at best and most likely invalidly; and that if she did not cease the exercise of any ordained ministry and he no longer recognize her as a "priest" Hall would no longer be recognized as an Anglican bishop, he would not be invited to the 1948 Lambeth Conference and the question of his continuance as Bishop of Hong Kong would be looked into. Faced by this, Hall backed down: Lee Tim Oi ceased to function clerically and Hall expressed "regret" for what he had done. Strong sentiments were voiced in both Convocations of the Church of England that Bishop Hall had acted in contravention of "all the laws and customs of Christ's Church" and there was some sentiment (not acted on) to censure Hall and condemn his action at the 1948 Lambeth Conference.

Since this was all a "domestic matter" for the Church of England (Hong Kong being an extra-provincial diocese under the Archbishop of Canterbury) it had nothing to do with PECUSA and given Abp. Fisher's reaction to Bp. Hall's action, essentially threatening non-recognition and removal, this episode can in no way be stretched (or contorted) in such a way as to favor "communion:" indeed, if Abp. Fisher had not acted as he did, quietly but decisively, their "catholicity" would indeed have been "irrevocably shattered" -- as Abp. Fisher and many others recognized at the time.

LP said...

---
groups like the ACC are not going to be in communion with the APA because the APA is in a federation that includes the AMiA.
---

I think the issue is not the question of the "federation" per se, but rather concern over the nature of this federation.

I expect the ACC attitude (but clergy from there can correct this impression if I'm wrong) would have no qualms about a "federation" which is merely "fellowship" and "fraternal encouragement" between the ACA and the APA/REC/AMiA.

I think the concern is, rather, over the question of whether this "federation" is merely this sort of fraternal affiliation or if it's a statement of "full sacramental communion". That's the issue that's relevant to ++Haverland's letter which we're here discussing.


---
In any case, when I was in the ACC +Cahoon authorized an ELCA (who ordain women) minister to say mass at my parish when the rector and assistant were away.
---

This raises a good point, I think, and one relevant to the current ACC/ACA disagreements too (given its relevance to some of the FACA arrangements) -- i.e. what's required for a bishop in one jurisdiction to nominate a cleric from another denomination to celebrate in his diocese? Merely valid orders? Full sacramental communion with the jurisdiction to which he belongs? Something in between?

Would an ACC bishop appropriately let an APCK priest celebrate a full mass in one of his parishes? Or a deacon's mass? How about a UEC priest? An ACA? AMiA? etc.

But such questions are, I think, of secondary importance - or, at least, logically subsequent - to the principle one about the definition(s) of "full sacramental communion" between jurisdictions.


---
As for your remark about "theology of exception", I will address that later on my own blog, as it betrays, in my judgment, a high level of ignorance with how theology, doctrine, and praxis "develops"
---

This comment seems to me to imply your own rather elementary misunderstandings about the process and nature of this "development" itself.

You gave your list of 3 examples (at least 2 of which were erroneous) of "in communion" and said that, because of this, the ACC position [which, if I understand aright, is mutatis mutandis that shared by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox] should be rejected out of hand.

And objections to this 'argument' of yours is somehow a misunderstanding of "development of doctrine"? Poppycock.

Your argument "by exception" as I called it isn't on par with a historical "development of doctrine"; it is an 'argument' (mere rhetoric, really) which rejects a theological statement and position by grasping for exceptional circumstances (even exceptions based on substantial errors in fact) and then uses them to dismiss the theological position out of hand. Such an argument strikes me, frankly, as having much more in common with PECUSAn apostates' "arguments from experience" than it does with "development of doctrine" in any orthodox sense.


It was that approach to theological discussion in your post to which I objected as doing "theology by exception", not to the process of "development". I.e. I objected to an argument -- really, a lack of argument -- which said, in essence, "oh look, here's an unusual specific situation which conflicts [er, or, rather, looks like it conflicts when one lacks the actual facts] with your general principle, therefore your general principle is wrong."

Absurd.

Maybe the examples were wrong (as turns out to be the case in two, if not all three, of the ones you gave). Maybe the examples are irrelevant. Maybe they prove a failure of those responsible to live up to their proper responsibilities to implement the theology rather than disproving the theology itself.

The examples have to be examined (perhaps, e.g., they'll turn out to be mistaken), not just hand-waved-at. You can't just say "oh, look, here are some unusual examples, therefore let's dismiss your notions and base a new theological position on them." Maybe the examples are accurate and relevant. Maybe not. They have to be examined and considered, not just thrown out as if merely giving them is some sort of argument or proof. That's the attitude and approach in your post to which I objected.


Frankly, even in genuine cases of the development of a clearer articulation of doctrine and praxis, to which you allude, the Church doesn't work as you suggest.

Fourth century bishops didn't sit about and say "oh, well, here are examples of some bishops who believe Christ is homoioousios with the Father so I guess the homoousians are wrong" -- which is, in essence, the kind of 'reasoning' your initial post made.

Rather, even then, the differences were articulated, compared, debated, checked against Scripture and Tradition, discussed in council, etc.

Sure, there was lots of imperial politicing & church politics and so forth too. Bishops and theologians were then, as now, only human. But the issue -- even in the "development" of doctrine -- was decided and then codified by theological reflection and examination, not from wild jumps from perceived particular exceptions to sweeping generalizations.


Now one could, in theory, explore notions of different 'degrees' of communion, as I've just suggested in my last comment on this thread. (Don't know if it'll show above or below this one since comments don't always seem to show up in submission order). One could (as I think the PNCC already has) articulate a notion of "partial" communion which would be less than and different from the definition of "full sacramental communion" to which ++Haverland alludes here (i.e. the one shared by the majority of catholic Christians even today).

And those proposals could be weighed against Scripture, Tradition, reason and history to see if they made coherent Scriptural and theological sense -- just as (on the grander scale) differing attempts to discern a faithful "baseline" statement and understanding of the Trinity were proposed and examined and weighed in the course of the "development" of that doctrine.

But that process, too, would be -- if it were to have any merit or substance -- quite different from the kind of "argument by [often mistaken] exception" to which I was objecting in my earlier post.


pax Christi,
LP

poetreader said...

LP,

Actually, statements of the sort you ask have been made repeatedly by the ACA and TAC in other contexts, but perhaps not as clearly and directly as you would prefer. In entering intercommunion with FIF it was explicitly stated that we are NOT in communion with other Canterbury Anglicans. In joining FACA, again, it was made clear that this was not intercommunion. (I regret very strongly that the federations own documents are so written as to present an impression - though out of accord with the actual wording - that intercommunion exists). I would hope that real discussion could ensue in which these differing concepts would be openly considered, each side listening to the other, intently and charitably, a listening that, reprehensibly, simply is not occurring on either 'side'.

ed

J. Gordon Anderson said...

LP,

This has been a good discussion, and you have given me much to reflect on.

Briefly (for clarity's sake) in my previous post I mentioned something about the Orthodox with different bodies being in communion with some, but not all orthodox bodies. This is what I meant: for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Moscow and Constantinople were in communion with each other but Constantinople was not in communion with Bulgaria, although Moscow was. There is a clear precedent for such bilateral but incomplete communion of Apostolic Churches. (from "Philorthodox" blog) Again, I just mention that for clarity's sake. That's the situation I was referring to in my last post. The way I wrote it was very confusing!

Moving on, I think there is something to the "degrees of communion" idea that you refer to. If it could be articulated and discussed it would do the continuing church a lot of good. Honestly, I think it would do the federation good to address some of these issues and ambiguities, as they appear to sometimes create discord and strife among the brethren. I wish the ACC would be involved in the conversation to help clarify these issues and help bring about resolution.

As far as the "theology of exception" goes, I understand what you are saying, and can assure you that I am not suggesting we make our own personal experience and/or the "zeitgeist" the deciding factor in theological reflection. But what I am saying is that real life circumstances do have a way of influencing the development of theology. God reveals Himself through events; theology develops from these events and from these situations. You gave the example of the christological controversies. Those controversies took centuries and several ecumenical councils to finally resolve. All I'm saying is that when Arius and the others who came along later reared their heads, the church did not instantly have a response, but rather it took time for the orthodox position to be articulated. The church didn't start out with a creed, just as it didn't start with a bible. Meanwhile, North Africa and Palestine were lost to the Moslems because the Christian communities there were divided over these issues, and because heretics were not worthy of military help. And those areas have never been Christian again. So all I'm saying is this: yes, we need to do the theological wrangling and discussion, and seek clarity on issues of communion, and come to common doctrinal ground using the elementary sources of theology - there is no question about that. But outside the walls are the Turks, and while we're clarifying these issues amongst ourselves, we also need to be working together in various ways for the Kingdom of God and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And like you said in one of your earlier posts, that doesn't have to mean full communion (though it would be nice if it did, obviously). When I initially said that I think the ACCs position is unrealistic, I meant that they seem to want to have these complex theological issues that surround us today resolved instantly. All I am saying is that they cannot, in my opinion, be resolved quickly. They are complex, and they are also very emotional for people.

I applaud, BTW, +Cahoon for what he did at my old parish, and I think that what he did was an example of what I am talking about. There was a real life pastoral situation where the parish would go without a minister while the clergy were away, so he allowed this man (who was very orthodox) to serve. Yes, there are some lose ends, and it does raise questions about communion, and so on, but the bishop had a more immediate concern on his mind: the well-being of his flock. And those larger issues could have been addressed later on down the road if it came to that.

Again, I think that the official position of the ACC is a bit too exclusive, but that's just my opinion. I could be wrong, and time will tell if the ACC is right or not (and it may very well be that their stance is the right one to take). So thanks again for all that you have given me to reflect on and think about.

Pax,
JGA+

Laurence K. Wells said...

Abp Haverland is to be commended for a gentlemanly and statesmanlike response to a number of current developments. He says nothing whatever of a negative nature regarding jurisdictions other than
ACC, APCK, and UEC. If respresentatives of ACA and APA wish to fly into a posture of indignation, then all we can say is, "Oh, well."

The involvement of APA and ACA with FIF and various neo-Anglican consortiums is quite possibly symptomatic of deeper theological problems. But they are surely entitled to seek their own future wherever they feel led to go.

I do have a question about the APA's current level of commitment to the Affirmation of St Louis. The history of that body presented on their website, written by Mark Clavier (son of the Founder and Dominant Personality, Anthony F. M. Clavier, still the eminence grise of the APA)is at pains to emphasize that the APA is a "moderate" body, very different from other "extreme" groups. So the APA should not be surprised if we take them at their word.

shephard said...

To those that are wondering about APA- UECNA concordat

For clarity's sake let it be known that the concordat between the Anglican Province of America and the United Episcopal Church of North America has ceased to exist. This had already been communicated through an email to the Most Reverend Walter Grundorf of the APA from the Presiding Bishop of the UECNA dated May 28, 2007


From The Most Rev. Stephen C. Reber to the Kind attention of The Most Rev.Walter Grundorf


Dear +Walter,

Greetings!

You should have noticed by now the communio in sacris between the Anglican Catholic Church and the United Episcopal Church of North America.

At the same time we are aware that the intercommunion between APA and UECNA has been subdued. This has resulted from APA seeking communion with REC and the rest of the FACA. Due to our differing views, it would be my wish that the intercommunion between the two of us be revoked and that this also is reflected on the APA website.

I'm on the road but will be available after 5th of June on the phone. Would be glad to talk with you then.

Blessings

++ Stephen Reber
Presiding Bishop
The United Episcopal Church of North America

P.S: May I add that there has been no formal response to this letter from APA. But by APA's very decision go on its own, the intercommunion between APA and UECNA has ceased ipso factum.

poetreader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. Robert Hart said...

1) Simply to have a door of communciation open is not the same as being in communion; and that is all that one can "accuse" the TAC-ACA of doing.

2) Coming from an older jurisdiction than the whole CC movement, in fact the church from which a bishop came to assist +Chambers in 1978, it seems that I am excluded from ++Haverland's circle of three. On this Blog we stand by the principles of the Affirmation of St. Louis, with or without the Chambers Succession itself. That is good, because the +Chambers Succession was really the Chambers/ Pagtakhan Succession, and +Francisco de Jesus Pagtakhan was one of our bishops. So, we don't have the +Chambers Succession, and don't need it. But, we are outside this rather small circle of three, but we most certainly maintain apostolic faith and order.

3) As an Anglican, I must respect the Apostolic Succession and orthodox Christian Faith wherever I see it. This is a larger sphere than the circle of three.


4) Was this statement made to promote unity, or was it made to rebuke +Florenza (a good man who has my full support), and to, once again, remind the ACA-TAC that they do not really exist- or shouldn't? (Here I will accept Fr. Kirby's word).

Ken said...

Fr. Hart,

I don't think Archbishop Haverland was purposely "dissing" any other group. I note a couple of telling things in the first paragraph:

1) There are three criteria (or is that criterion?) that the three churches share: beginnings in the Congress of St. Louis, the Affirmation, and Chamber's succession

Since they share the same origin, values and succession it should be easiest for the three to unite. IOW, if these three can't overcome their problems then how can they be expected to unite with other groups. If anything, this statement by Haverland is telling the other two groups to put "their money where their mouth is". In a gentle way of course.

2) Haverland states that the uniting of the three would only be the "beginning". He mentions that this has been the policy of the ACC "for twelve years". You could say it was a lesson learned from the Deerfield Beach incident (1991). The fact that several former AEC parishes bolted from the ACA in 1995 may have motivated that policy too. I dunno, but again if they can't unite with the APCK and UEC then trying with some other group would seem even less likely.

As much as I hate to say it, there must be internal politics in each group that must be considered. If internal consensus can be achieved then surely any unity would be on a firmer footing. Perhaps "baby steps" are more important to the long term success of any unity between the groups.

poetreader said...

Apologies for my horrible typing above. That comment was nearly unreadable. Corrected version follows.

"...But they are surely entitled to seek their own future wherever they feel led to go."

That may be true in a strictly secular sense, but, as theology, it is a Liberal Protestant view. In other words, no one has the right to force someone to express truth, but truth is nevertheless truth. If I thought my own ACA was seeking its own future wherever it feels led to go, I would leave instantly. Contrariwise, if what we are seeking is Catholic truth, to accuse us of the above is a rejection of fellow Catholics, and a thoroughly schismatic act. I'm certain, however, that it is just a case of speaking without full awareness of the implications of the words.

LP said...

----
You gave the example of the christological controversies. Those controversies took centuries and several ecumenical councils to finally resolve. All I'm saying is that when Arius and the others who came along later reared their heads, the church did not instantly have a response, but rather it took time for the orthodox position to be articulated.
---

The question is, however, whether or not the current situation is analogous.

Yes, when Arius posed a "new" question in a "new" way, the Church took some time to respond. She did so not because she was "inventing" new beliefs, but because she was wrestling with how best to express the "faith once handed down to the saints" in these new more philosophic categories.

Once such was done and clarified, however, it was done. If a neo-Arian group now emerges and says "there was a when when He was not", there is no need to go calling for more ecumenical councils and more decades of debates and theological reflection to decide the issue. That issue has been established already.

To hold otherwise is to, ultimately, be a Spong or a Bennison -- to argue that you can rewrite the Bible or rewrite the basics of the faith just because old heresies have reared their heads in a modern guise.


Putting aside an examination of this fourth example of yours -- that which you pulled from the Philorthodox blog -- there's a prior question to be answered here: does Scripture and Tradition give an answer to what being "in communion" means and how it should be implemented? Is this some new issue the Church has not addressed before, or is this more analogous to the neo-Arian case?

I think Scripture and Tradition do give some clear answers -- and that the ACC's position reflects a faithful implementation of it.


Now, I think a reasonable discussion might be had about whether today - with denominations and situations not contemplated in the patristic period - there might not be space for some more nuanced definitions, for some gradiant between "full sacramental union" and "anathema". And obviously -- with both the PNCC and various Anglican groups -- efforts are being made in that direction.

But the orthodox and catholic approach to such "innovation" or "development" is to stick fast to tradition while these new principles are worked out -- not to adopt new practices and then try to retroactively invent a theology to fit and justify them. This latter course is precisely that the PECUSA revisionists & apostates took with BCP reform, women's ordination, and homosexuality.

The concern (whether right or wrong, I don't know) I sense from the ACC is that the ACA/REC/APA is following the PECUSA approach rather than the catholic one -- either being in "full sacramental communion" with groups that put them in communion with Lambeth [according to the 'catholic' understanding of 'communion'] or unilaterally implementing a new practice in an effort to get as many peopole signed up as possible without having a clear theology to justify it -- or at least without having made clear to its fellow Continuers what that theology is.


As to:
---
I applaud, BTW, +Cahoon for what he did at my old parish, and I think that what he did was an example of what I am talking about. There was a real life pastoral situation where the parish would go without a minister while the clergy were away, so he allowed this man (who was very orthodox) to serve. Yes, there are some lose ends, and it does raise questions about communion, and so on, but the bishop had a more immediate concern on his mind: the well-being of his flock.
---

I think you've badly conflated two things here -- the pastoral response to dealing with a parish's need and the episcopal responsibility to do so according to proper canonical procedure and orthodox & catholic theology.

To respond to a parish's need is a good and faithful thing. But that doesn't make every particular response a good and faithful one. He might, for example, have authorized this non-Anglican to lead Morning & Evening prayer, to preach, maybe even to do a deacon's mass using presanctified elements. Such responses would equally have met the pastoral need but without raising theological or jurisdictional impediments or problems.

Frankly, the "oh, we're meeting a pastoral need, we can worry about the theology later" is exactly the same argument used by those who have performed homosexual 'blessing' ceremonies before the practice has been officially addressed by their jurisdiction -- is, in fact, exactly the same argument used by those who uncanonically ordained the first women in PECUSA.


If one is prepared to violate catholic teaching and practice, even if in the "good cause" of trying to come up with a solution to a particular pastoral crisis, then one might as well admit that one is, fundamentally, a congregationalist.

(Which is, I expect, also the sort of thinking which lies behind the ACC's implicit criticism of +Florenza's "unilateral" declaration which appears to subvert the proper catholic procedures and collegiality of the APCK. Of course, as has been stated and implied in other postings on this issue, it may be the case that the actual situation "behind the scenes" is rather different that what they might appear to the uninformed observer, and may be the case that +Florenza's action was actually the catholic one in the situation in which he found himself. I don't presume to know one way or the other -- but I can, at least, sympathize with the principle from which ++Haverland is responding, whether or not it is actually applicable in this case.)


pax,
LP

John said...

lp,

"This brings us back to the need for a corresponding statement from the ACA to clarify the situation -- to say, for example, either that they don't consider themselves in "full sacramental communion" with the APA/AMiA/REC/FIFNA bishops or that they do but don't consider themselves bound to be in communion "transitively" with those with whom these groups (in turn) are in full communion... or whatever.'

I would like to point out that the AMiA does not have a 'sacramental' concept of communion. Another correspondent made the claim the AMiA does not ordain women with exception to young unmarried or married. The problem is that Rwanda does ordain women and this is seen as a backdoor loophole by many in the AMiA .
John

John A. Hollister said...

1. First, let me offer a bit of clarification regarding the actual current relationship between the PNCC and the RCC. At present, those two bodies are *not* "in communion".
What they achieved some years ago was mutual *recognition* of each other's legitimacy, Orders, and Apostolic Succession. As a result, many PNCC members can, at need, receive the Sacraments from RCC clergy and RCC members can, at need, receive the Sacraments from many PNCC clergy.
It has been authoritatively stated that because the two bodies are not *in communion*, there can be no concelebration among PNCC and RCC clergy.
2. There has been considerable discussion here about the problems created by the ACA/TAC's adherence to the FACA, and the effects of the FACA documents that state all adherents are committed to full recognition of each other's Orders. It is difficult to see how, at the end of the day, a commitment to receive another group's clergy without reordination is not functionally equivalent to intercommunion, but it may be that such a distinction is possible.
3. I am rather surprised that no one has commented on the oddity of the claim by FiF, in any of its branches, to be entitled to elect and maintain bishops for any purpose whatever, whether cross-border ministry or not. Up to this point, FiF has not been recognized as a church and only a church can properly have bishops.
Nor does it seem readily foreseeable that FiF will ever become a free-standing church so long as its membership is made up of individuals who simultaneously maintain their personal memberships in other church bodies.
4. While there has been commentary on the problems created by ACA/TAC's membership in FACA, another issue seems to have been completely overlooked. That is the definite appearance ACA/TAC gives of attempting to be, quietly but definitely, a part of the Lambeth Communion. For example, its most recent consecration of two bishops was conducted in conjunction with a diocese of the (Lambeth) Anglican Church of Australia and those two bishops were given nominal titles and membership in that Ang.Ch.Aust. diocese while simultaneously holding appointments in TAC.
At the risk of mixing metaphors, I would say this "neither fish nor fowl" status can only be viewed as "running with the hare and hunting with the hounds" (and, for purists, "swimming" and "flying", too). This is something else the ACA/TAC could very well afford to clarify for everyone else's better understanding.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

McColl said that "It's nice to see so many of you welcoming yet another statement from the ACC(OP)...."
I must confess I am confused by her reference to "the ACC(OP)". While it is true that Archbishop Haverland is the Metropolitan of the ACC's Original Province (it now has two Provinces), it is also true that, until the ACC acquires a third Province, he serves ex officio as Acting Primate of the ACC as a whole.
I saw nothing in the Archbishop's Statement that would justify the conclusion that he was writing on behalf only of those ACC Dioceses that comprehend territory in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Great Britain, Europe, or Australia and New Zealand, and was not also speaking, as Acting Primate, on behalf of those Dioceses that form the Second Province, which is also the old, original Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon.
So I am very curious why Ms. McColl would limit the constituency behind his Statement.
John A. Hollister+

Ohio Anglican said...

The UECNA has just affirmed Archbishop Haverland's excellent statement on church unity.

This is an answer to many prayers.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

John A. Hollister said...

"STATEMENT ENDORSING THE METROPOLITAN'S STATEMENT CONCERNING CHURCH UNITY

"We concur with Abp. Mark Haverland's statement and hope that this would be a great moment for all of our three churches to respond together to the exigencies of Anglicanism in the United States.

"The Most Reverend Stephen C. Reber
"The Presiding Bishop
"July 5, 2007"

John A. Hollister said...

Ed wrote that "[W]hile disagreeing with the stance ACC has taken toward [the ACA/TAC, I] can understand where their objections lie. What I cannot understand is their seemingly categorical rejection of [the ACA/TAC] as 'Chambers Succession' churches."

To put this as simply and objectively as possible, the problem arises from the events that surrounded the ACA's change of its name from the AEC to the ACA in November, 1991.

The ACC is committed, by its adherence to the Affirmation of St. Louis, to considering the Canons and decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Councils as normative for the life of the Church. So, too, is every other church body that declares that it accepts and adopts that Affirmation.

Under those Canons, the episcopal reconsecrations performed by Bishops Robert Mercer and Charles Boynton upon, firstly, the bishops of the AEC, and secondly, upon Louis Falk and the handful of bishops who followed him out of the ACC and into the AEC, were ineffective as sacramental acts but were effective as ipso facto excommunications of, at the least, Mercer, Boynton, Falk, and Falk's adherents who came with him from the ACC.

As a result, not only did the AEC bishops fail to acquire the "Chambers Succession" through these acts but both the Ang.Cath.Ch.Can. bishops and the former ACC bishops who took any role there forfeited the capacity to hand on the Sacrament of Orders in any form, and so lost the ability to hand on the "Chambers Succession" that they had theretofore possessed.

By voluntarily associating themselves with these excommunicated former churchmen, the rest of the TAC adopted and assumed for itself the same disabilities.

These Sacramental irregularities and invalidities have meant that the ACC has never recognized any orders conferred in the ACA/TAC after November, 1991 as being undoubtedly valid and Apostolic. Where the ACC cannot recognize Orders conferred in the ACA/TAC as Catholic Orders, it certainly cannot recognize the ministry used by those bodies as deriving from the "Chambers Succession".

If this seems harsh, it must be remembered that it is according to rules that the ACA/TAC itself says it abides by. That is, it all follows directly and solely from acts which were, in their nature, sacrilegious and otherwise forbidden by the ancient Councils. Thus these disabilities lie squarely at the feet of those who confected and participated in the acts which gave rise to them, not at the door of the ACC.

I trust this will answer Ed's question.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Father J. Gordon Anderson wrote that "In any case, when I was in the ACC +Cahoon authorized an ELCA (who ordain women) minister to say mass at my parish when the rector and assistant were away. Now this minister was long ago an RC priest (for like a month, or something), so he did have apostolic orders. But he was happily serving as pastor of his own ELCA parish in Baltimore while being given ACC 'faculties', or whatever. So, the ACC has a supposedly pure conception of orders and communion when it suits them...."

Fr. Anderson has just illustrated why the whole issue is so touchy and troubled regarding all Sacramental acts across jurisdictional lines, that occur in the absence of full communion between the jurisdictions concerned. They are always all too liable to being misunderstood, to giving scandal to the laity of one or the other jurisdiction involved, or to being incorrectly held up as examples of states of intercommunion that do not, in fact, exist.

In the example cited, Archbishop Cahoon's action in licensing a former RC Priest -- in his personal capacity, not in his institutional role as an ELCA minister -- would have been impossible had that man *not* had valid, Apostolic Orders which, for all the problems of the Church that conferred them, RC Orders certainly are. No ELCA minister who possessed no ordination but an ELCA one would ever be licensed to celebrate the Sacraments in an ACC Parish other than, in the most extreme emergency, possibly the Sacrament of Baptism, which, of course, a layman can perform.

That Priest's then-current ministry to an ELCA congregation was utterly irrelevant in that situation, so long as it would not result in the incorrect conclusion that there was some sort of institutional relationship between the ACC and the ELCA. Obviously, Abp. Cahoon evidently determined that there was not an unacceptable risk of that sort of misinterpretation.

Where the ELCA affiliation of the Priest so licensed was irrelevant, even more irrelevant was and is the fact that the ELCA "ordains" women. So, in more recent times, would likewise be the fact that an ELCA minister, male or female, is now eligible to celebrate in an ECUSA parish what passes in ECUSA as the Eucharist.

So the example used is a misleading one and as such sheds no useful light on the possibilities of inter-group cooperation among Continuing Anglicans.

John A. Hollister+

Sandra McColl said...

I give up.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Canon,

Does the ACC believe that it alone has sole, authentic jurisdiction in the U.S.?

JGA+

poetreader said...

If Fr. Hollister's novel and uncatholic reasoning with regard to in effect 'unbishoping' bishops as a result of what could be seen as an irregular action is typical of ACC thinking, then the intransigence of the ACC in the matter of reunion of the continuing jurisdictions is a larger problem even than it has appeared. I suspect (and hope) that he is overstating the case.

I think this supposition is made that much more likely by his bristling over the use of the term ACC-OP to refer to the entire jurisdiction. How else is one to make a rational distinction among various bodies called ACC (as in Canada and Australia)? Since Fr.Hollister's jurisdiction has labeled itself OP, what is the offense at Sandra McColl's use of that as a shorthand? I do the same, and will continue to do so. That was no more than pettiness, a taking of offense when none is intended.

Fr. Hollister's sharpness and inflexibility has succeeded in making a good and reasonable woman with deep concerns feel unwelcome here. That was entirely unnecessary. I seldom speak this sharply, but I feel this circumstance warrants it. This is not the way Christians carry on debate. Where there is disagreement, it does need to be expressed, but where it is honest disagreement among brethren as close as we are, it does not need this kind of expression.

Our Fr. Kirby, a staunch ACC advocate and I are often on opposite sides of much of this debate, but our discussion is of an entirely different nature.

Let us discuss in love, and with a transparent desire to heal these divisions rather than making them worse.

In Him who prayed that we be one,
ed

Ken said...

Ed,

While I agree that Fr. Hollister's comments were unnecessary, I do believe Mrs. McColl's comment that the Canon quoted was tinged with sarcasm. Certainly +Haverland's statement demanded a more charitable reading than Mrs. McColl gave in her first comment.

Be that as it may, I hope that Archbishop Haverland doesn't go around proclaiming the title of Metropolitan of the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Great Britain, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and Acting Primate of Earth.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fair dinkum, I go off sick for a while and the com-box explodes while I'm away!

Regarding Bp Florenza and his recent declaration, while Abp Haverland's statement obviously had that situation in mind, it should not be read as a rebuke "from the sidelines" of one man but as, among other things, a friendly exhortation for peace within his sister church, the APCK. Such restoration of peace will require a restoration of collegiality and patient dialogue within that jurisdiction. Fr Hart, is it fair to assume that only one "side" would need to make an effort in this regard? Or that Abp Haverland was suggesting this?

OK, regarding TAC orders, my view is different to Canon Hollister's, for reasons I have referred to before here and given at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~frmkirby/TAC%20Orders.htm

Regarding degrees of communion, I agree this is an important concept which many parts of church history force us to look into. And, don't forget, some explicit working out of this idea occurred at Vatican II. However, I think RCs and others would agree that what was said there was only the beginning of explicating this principle with theological precision (if such is possible).

I do not think FACA implies member churches are "committed to full recognition of each other's Orders" when read carefully. It says bishops from other churches MAY be invited to a member church's ordinations, not shall or must. It says clergy SHALL be "entitled to officiate transiently" across jurisdictions as clergy, true, but only "subject to the canonical requirements" of the receiving body. In other words, "We receive and recognise each others clergy, except when we don't". A marvellous Anglican truism that sounds nice but says little. The acceptance at communion of each others' laity is not qualified in the same way. If this is done in practice I have little objection. I have myself given communion to non-members of the ACC when I felt it was pastorally appropriate, that is, when the communicant was to the best of my knowledge orthodox, not a notorious sinner and seeking the sacrament in good faith. For example, I would prefer to gnaw my own arm off than refuse the sacrament to a RC who wanted it. (OK, the arm-gnawing might be an exaggeration.) However, to put it in writing is different than having clergy use common sense and using pastoral "economy". And, given the REC's position on the Real Presence in the past, an REC layman requesting the sacrament from me while isolated from their own church would have to reassure me that they did believe it was the Body of Christ I was delivering into their hand.

Finally, I should note that Abp Haverland's statement is intended to be read in conjunction with another document very soon to be released by the ACC, a letter written by its former Metropolitan, Brother John Charles. This letter has a broader focus than the UEC and APCK. Stay tuned.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Canon Hollister,

I think it unlikely that Sandra McColl was trying to make any kind of point in talking about the "ACC (OP)" rather than the "ACC". As I understand it, she is Australian and either a member of or friendly with the "ACC in Australia", which is sometimes called the "ACC" as a convenient abbreviation locally, so it would perhaps be natural for her to differentiate our ACC from that one in such a way. Also, I doubt very much whether the particular details of Abp Haverland's "acting Primate" role are well known outside the ACC, so if Sandra assumed he was speaking solely on behalf of the OP, that would not be a great surprise or cause for offence.

However, I doubt the relation of the statement to the Indian Province was something she or anybody else here had given much thought to before now. I know I hadn't. :-)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

it may be the case that the actual situation "behind the scenes" is rather different that what they might appear to the uninformed observer, and may be the case that +Florenza's action was actually the catholic one in the situation in which he found himself.

Indeed, his action is the only option that cares for the people of his diocese, and is the truly Catholic one.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

John Hollister wrote:

As a result, not only did the AEC bishops fail to acquire the "Chambers Succession" through these acts but both the Ang.Cath.Ch.Can. bishops and the former ACC bishops who took any role there forfeited the capacity to hand on the Sacrament of Orders in any form, and so lost the ability to hand on the "Chambers Succession" that they had theretofore possessed.

Mr. Hollister: That is simply very bad theology on your part. Orders are an indelible sacrament, and no complicated, inverted and orwellian reasoning can change the Catholic Tradition of sacramental theology (read Francis Hall). The TAC ACA did not embrace heresy, even if they acted irregularly and wrongly on that day (though obviously in good coinscience).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Excuse me. I see that others have called John Hollister "Fr." I was not aware that he has been ordained, so I apologize for not using the correct title.

By the way, There is no reason in Catholic Tradition to condemn the attempt to regularize orders. The +Chambers Succession is irregular, since the third bishop was not present. In this case the consecrations are valid, but irregular. If the Deerfield Beach thing was about making them regular, then no objection can be made. In that case, no denial of validity would have been involved.

Albion Land said...

Someone who has signed himself as John submitted a comment on this thread an hour or so ago. As I have no way of contacting him in private, I must do so publicly.

John, you have raised in your comment some perfectly reasonable questions about orders and the self perception of a jurisdiction of the continuing movement. However, I will not publish it, as written, because it is engages in an ad hominem attack. That is one of the very few things that is prohibited here.

Please feel free to redraft the comment accordingly and I will give it fair consideration.

Sandra McColl said...

I am sorry, I didn't know that "ACC(OP)" didn't cover the whole ACC. My bad. Fr Kirby, whose chivalry I appreciate, has the right answer. I'd have thought that those within, even those within the US jurisdiction, and with a better command of acronyms than I have, might have been able to stretch their minds to work out what I was really saying. Not do do so reminds me of the conduct of litigators who eagerly take a point on every typo and unnecessarily waste the time of the Courts of which they are meant to be officers and run up costs for their own clients in the process. it takes a cheap (or, indeed, expensive) point but doesn't advance the argument.

Perhaps we could come to an agreement: I'll try not to speak Australian if you all try not to speak American.

Ken, I'm sorry if you think I was uncharitable. I was not responding so much to Abp Haverland (an article by whom I had read with great enjoyment on the weekend), but Mr McKee's triumphalist statement rejoicing in the anti-Lambeth stance. I don't know if sarcasm is quite the word for my tone. I'm not too good a literary categories, but I'd have thought irony (saying something when you mean the opposite?) would have been more appropriate.

Unfortunately, I lack the full intellectual equipment to deal with some of the matters being raised, but I'm afraid I detect from some of the ACC commentators that same desire for a tare-free paddock that I referred to in an earlier combox.

As to Canon Hollister's surprise that no-one has commented on the claim by FiF to be able to elect and maintain bishops for any purpose, I say I am not surprised:

1. because it isn't relevant to the present discussion; and
2. because I am sure that the way Canon Hollister chooses to describe the situation isn't the only way of seeing it.

I don't have a full understanding of the situation, but despite the irrelevance of the matter, I'll have a go (and probably dig myself into an even deeper hole in the process). I believe that the original 'election' of Bishops Chislett and Moyer was an attempt at forcing the Australian and US branches of Lambeth into the creation of a parallel jurisdiction similar to the one that exists in the Church of England, and which they are trying to set up as a 'third province'. As I understand it, these men were chosen by the group that found itself alienated and unable to accept the ministry of its local bishops, and proposed for consecration. I'm not sure of the chronology, and whether they tried to get the Lambeth bodies to make arrangements for consecration by orthodox bishops without the TAC being involved, but all I do know is that the Lambeth officialdom rejected them and the TAC took them up and, along with Bp Kapinga and Bp Davies representing the Lambeth side of the dotted line, consecrated them. It backfired, and in Australia (about which I know more), Bp Chislett was pushed out into the TAC. The motivation in this process, and in the subsequent acceptance by the TAC and consecration of Bps Robarts and Entwistle (two priests of whom Abp Hepworth wrote, that if the Anglican Church of Australia had not gone off the rails, they would've been bishops long ago) was pastoral. Indeed, the whole motivation for the muddle which is the TAC-FiF relationship is pastoral.

"I am the good shepherd": is that the statement of a pastor or a lawyer?

John said...

John, you have raised in your comment some perfectly reasonable questions about orders and the self perception of a jurisdiction of the continuing movement. However, I will not publish it, as written, because it is engages in an ad hominem attack. That is one of the very few things that is prohibited here.

Point taken, after a while one gets weary of sweeping claims made by people with little theological background and who is known throught the continuum even by newcomers such as me as being a one issue guy.

Begin Post




Mr. Hollister comments reinforce the perception of the ACC among other continuers; a seeming pharisaical approach to this subject .

Now I say Mr. not in disrespect or from a lack of charity, I use the phrase only because I simply am going to demonstrate what we all stand accused of in the same manner anyway and hold Fr. Holister to his own standard:

The Churches directly descending from the Councils of the undivided Church does not and never has included the ACC or any other recent splinter. Rome or the 'western church', who was present at those councils (which Fr. Hollister quotes and the ACC apparently models much of it's dogma/doctrine after), does not recognize any Anglican Orders any more than Fr. Hollister recognizes the ACA's and for much the same reasons he employs poorly against others. Do you not find it a bit strange that any Anglican could possibly deny the orders of another Anglican while having to know his own orders are in question by most Christians; when all our clergy are layman in the eyes of the largest Communion in Christianity based on the same arguments? Can any Anglican go to Rome without being reordained; does that not make all Anglican clergy 'vagante' in the eyes of Rome? Are all Anglican Orders invalid say after that unpleasant business back in 1500's or even after Pope Leo declared Anglican Orders invalid? O I know we will get the usual explanations, and I have books on the subject, but at the end of the day in Rome, and likely the Orthodox Churches, if you are Anglican you are only "Mr.".

What is apparent, through out the posts is the point of view that brings 'narcissism' know as 'ACC OTC' (one true church) to the minds of hard working lay folk. I also find the timing of ++Haverland's epistle interesting as he seems to be toting water for ++ Morse in trying to have the ACC run interference on Bishop Florenza and his diocese's desire to mend old fences by going back to the old play book of snubs and condescension. Looks like politics as usual. This is the defacto legacy of St Louis. This is why after 30 years the faithful emerging out of TEC, trying to find truth, look at the CC and see infighting and no charity and no forgiveness among those who claim to be the oracles and guardians of right faith. Even a person who has been seeing the light dimly through the 79 will know his Masters voice when he hears it- Jesus say's so. They don't hear His voice in any of this and it is plain to see why they look overseas. If your title is 'Father', what does that imply? What does Jesus teach about his relationship with his Father? What is his example to the Apostles and disciples as to his relationship with them? How about the one who preached in his name without Jesus consent... James and John wanted him dealt with. Perhaps this was the first VAGANTE! Jesus tells them to let him preach! Where is that example evident here?

Where is Jesus reflected in the argument against the ACA/TAC? I am reminded of what Jesus faced before the Pharisees! How can such arguments be catholic without this basic measure- reflecting Christ? Are we purely in the realm of 'LAW" or are we led by a 'father(s)' in Christ? Those who baptize, confirm or marries and buries the faithful or stands as a self appointed gate keeper with no pastoral interest? Without a real 'father', one who loves and shepherds, the 'law', be it doctrine or dogma, is nothing but an empty husk.

If Falk or any of the others (including FiF folks) that Fr. Hollister "attacks" have vagante orders than by the view of the vast majority of Christianity and same principles he argues, all of the clergy on this list are held to the same standard and have questionable orders. That is a true test of St Lerin's maxim: The ACC (and the APCK and UECNA (only 300-600 people!)) is a tiny sect with about 3-4k thousand people as opposed to Rome with 1.3 billion so the mind of the Church, by Holister and Co.s argument is that they are not really Ordained. 30 years to build something and look where it is- still swimming in bitterness and self righteousness with and aging flock... that is the measure of fruit here. When one makes argument against others and manage to condemn themselves without realizing it in the same effort it does not give reason for anyone to give serious consideration to the content or the source. Think of the judge who ordered the infant cut in half and consider who is who here.

How is that any better than any of the rest of us and how will we fulfill the Great Commission with "shepherds" absorbed in adaphoria?



John
A Christian, a husband, a father, a community volunteer, a youth group leader, a farmer, a business man, a Scoutmaster with 14 Eagle Scouts, and a church planter for the APCK (at least for now). I may not be known and that is ok, most Christians are not, but I do more than bloviate on blogs, I actually have organized a parish and that is more than most of our experts here can claim.

Fr Samuel Edwards said...

Again, two things:

(1) In his last comment John makes some of the same points that have occurred to me, especially as regards the result of applying Fr Hollister's standards to the question of Anglican orders generally.

However, the one that struck me most forcefully was, "30 years to build something and look where it is- still swimming in bitterness and self righteousness with and aging flock... that is the measure of fruit here." Probably this is because just yesterday it occurred to me that for too long have too many in the Continuum been willing to be content merely with fleeing the madhouse which is the Episcopal Church and its partners in the Canterbury Club - with setting up ceiled houses while the house of the Lord lies waste (Habbakuk 1:4). Is it any wonder that we have sown much and brought in little!

There is a real peril of doing what is in principle the same thing that TEC and so many of the mainliners have done in conflating the mystical body and bride of Christ with, and subordinating her to, the institutions which are designed to forward her mission and winningly present her to a needy world.

Institutional forms - including those in the Church - are to the mission of an organism as are clothes to the body: When they are working properly they tell something true about its mission. It is not enough to say that those in TEC and elsewhere have come to look more and more like something off the rack at Frederick's of Babylon if all one is going to do is replace it with another set and still confuse the clothes with the body - this is just another way of coming out of Babylon and building ceiled houses while neglecting the work for which we came out, which is the rebuilding of the house of the Lord.

(2) It might be of interest to some to know that probably by Canon Hollister's standards, I would probably be adjudged as invalidly ordained, since (a) it happened in ECUSA after 1976, (b) the 1979 ordinal was used at both services, and (c) I was made a deacon at the same service in which the ordaining bishop (Weinhauer of Western NC) purported to ordain a woman to that order (though I don't remember which of us had hands laid on us first). Of course I was priested at the hands of the wholly sound suffragan bishop of Dallas, Robert Terwilliger of blessed memory, but the time and the ordinal would be against me nevertheless.

Fr Samuel Edwards, ACA/TAC

LP said...

Hey John!

I know where you're coming from emotionally on all this.

But, to be fair to ++Haverland, while the _occasion_ of his letter may have been +Florenza's approach to the ACA, the _substance_ of it isn't anything different than they've said officially for some time now.

The idea of the ACC/UECNA/APCK merge is one which the ACA has had for a while now (you'll notice that the ACC/UECNA full communion statement, which came with a "shout out" to the APCK, predates +Florenza's letter), as does their concern with the ACA both over its origins and it's seeming too-close connection with the Lambeth Communion.

So while it's clear where ++Haverland's sympathies lie in the APCK-E vs. APCK-W division, it's also fair to say that the principles he outlines here - which principles lie behind those sympathies - aren't new ones which he has adopted to be a shill for ++Morse but are those which the ACC has had for some time now.

Again, maybe there's stuff going on behind the scenes in the ACC that I don't know about, things which would justify your more pessimistic take on ++Haverland, but if so, I don't know them... I'm just going on what's publicly known.

pax,
LP

LP said...

err... correction:

---
....The idea of the ACC/UECNA/APCK merge is one which the ACC has had for a while now (you'll notice that the ACC/UECNA full communion statement, ....
----

heh, even to those who know which acronym is which get lost in the alphabet soup sometimes!

:-)

pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Again, maybe there's stuff going on behind the scenes in the ACC that I don't know about, things which would justify your more pessimistic take on ++Haverland, but if so, I don't know them... I'm just going on what's publicly known.

Correct. ++Haverland has been in communication with Archbishop Provence, and so John Hollister drafted this statement for him. It was meant to isolate Bp. Florenza by presenting the ACC, APCK and the UEC as some sort of united CC, and the ACA as "outside the wall" (the place where our Lord was crucified as I recall). The irony is that the APCK has never given a tinker's damn about the UEC at all, and does not have any sort of relationship with them.

My source is completely reliable.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

BY the way, I welcome Fr. Samuel Edwards as a reader and feel honored that he has commented here. Please continue, Father.

LP said...

It's rather unfortunate that (or, at least, so I get the sense from comments in various forums [never the most reliable source of info])the election of the new APCK archbishop and the declaration by +Florenza are being seen as an opportunity to restate and harden the old ACC/ACA quarrel (whatever its merits) and ramp up the rhetoric and insinuations.

Perhaps this isn't what's going on "behind the scenes", but from the "outside" one gets (rightly or wrongly) that sense of things when reading between the lines.


As a Continuing Church layman, I'd be much more impressed and reassured if I got a firm sense that the ACC/APCK/UECNA/ACA bishops were all quietly approaching each other with a "well, we've had differences in the past, and there are still wounded egos on both sides, and there are some genuine and significant theological questions confronting us which need to be resolved.... but we are - in the greater scheme of things - comrades in arms and we should take this occasion to work together earnestly, energetically, fraternally and constructively, putting behind emotional recriminations, to solve these differences and move forward with all prudent speed, rather than being content - or even willing - to continue to sit about and hurl old accusations of 'uncatholic'/'schismatic'/'invalid' (ACC to ACA) or 'legalistic'/'Donatist'/'holier-than-thou' (ACA to ACC) at each other."


I swear, not that it's my place as a layman - and not that I've got anything like an adequate grasp of all the complexities of the situation - but having tried to read up on all this in the weeks since +Florenza's letter to figure out what is going on with my church (APCK) and what is going on in the wider Continuing world, I can't help but feel a primary-school-teacher-like urge just to take both sides by the ear, shake 'em firmly, and tell 'em to "apologize, solve your squabble, and be friends again!"


This is not to trivialize the issues at all, nor to take sides (truth to tell, I think my 'intellectual' sympathies are with the ACC and my 'pastoral' sympathies with the ACA... and my *personal* conviction is that the two sympathies are, ultimately, quite compatible) but just to describe the reaction of a layman who "gets" the basics of the history & theology.

How much more frustrated & disillusioned must be all those laity who don't know the minutia of the history & theology... but who just want a secure and Spirit-filled place to faithfully worship Christ and receive the certainty of sacramental grace?

If the laity of the Continuum see (rightly or wrongly) a hardening and entrenchment and acceptance of these divisions, rather than active and aggressive and humble attempts ON BOTH SIDES to solve them (and solve by listening to and taking each other seriously, not by posturing and repeating old mantras), it will be harder and harder to find the next generation of those willing to put their lives & livelihood on the line for such a broken reed... it won't matter who was right, or to what degree and in what ways each side was right, if in another 30 years there are no Continuing parishes left because the laity have been alienated and possible postulants scared off by the bickering.


Sorry if that's too harsh or overstated. But the more I learn about what's "really" going on out there, and the more I hear the aggressive rhetoric (both in what's said and what's left unsaid) from both sides, the more discouraged & disillusioned & pessimistic I get about the whole thing.


pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well said. Your thinking reflects our church tradition, described by C.S. Lewis as "the largest room in the house." If more people take a stand for cleaning up the mess, the quicker it will happen.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Yes, LP, well said.

poetreader said...

Actually, LP, I don't think you were nearly hard enough. I really do tremble at the thought of what Our Lord will have to say about all of us and our childish sniping at one another when we finally approach that Throne. I truly hope and pray it's not, "I never knew you." May our attitudes really show that we have met Him, and that we are listening to Him. Our attitudes (my own included) often show anything but.

ed

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

Your source may be "completely reliable", but he or she is also partly in error. Abp Haverland has informed me that, first, most of the Statement was his own words and the one paragraph of Canon Hollister's he did use he changed. Second, he does not want to isolate Bp Florenza in the sense of putting him into the penalty box, instead he wants RE-INTEGRATION of Bp Florenza and the other APCK bishops back into collegiality and unity. Hiving off a part of one CC to patch on to another does nothing for unity, especially if the body being divided and diminished is one of the original CCs. There is no desire to push Bp Florenza away, just the opposite.

lp, Ed, et al.,

The problem with the criticisms being levelled the ACC's way is the false but unspoken premise underlying them: That we are not desirous of resolving problems with the TAC and have made no real attempt to do so. I have shown on this blog before that this is precisely false. The ball is still in the TAC's court to respond to our official missive from years ago (which, remember, they said they would do!). You have also ignored my recent news given above about Abp John Charles' letter, which IS addressed to the wider Continuum who adhere to the Affirmation and DOES call for renewed dialogue on the big issues past and present. It can now be found here:

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6289

Its contents were approved by the present ACC Metropolitan and the College of Bishops.

WRT Orders, Fr Hart's attempted justification (regularising problems with Dallas) of the Deerfield Beach consecrations has already been dealt with by explicitly by me at this blog and in the documents linked to from here, especially that sent to the TAC. Also, John's and Fr Edward's contributions need to be qualified by noting that many RC theologians in good standing think either that the official RC stance on historic Anglican Orders was wrong or that it is no longer relevant due to changes in the Ordinal and Old Catholic consecrators in the "lines of succession". Also, many EO churches recognised the validity of Anglican Orders until the ordination of women, which fact supports us but rebukes the official Anglican Communion. And, John, in the end, you have not shown at all that the specific principles Canon Hollister appealed to would result in undermining our Orders. Indeed, you have not even attempted to do so. Now, as it happens, I disagree with Canon Hollister on this anyway, as I have said before. And, importantly, neither his nor my view is obligatory in the ACC. Both are classified as opinions.

Finally, the accusations of "pharasaism" against the ACC's issues with aspects of the TAC's history and ecclessiology are too easy and shallow. They amount to mere abuse. LP has given an excellent set of reasons here why policies on who one is in communion with are potentially of great DOCTRINAL import. These matters, whether the ACC is right or wrong on them, are not trivial, unless the reason for the Continuing Church coming into being were trivial, which none of you are willing to grant, I'm sure. But here's the thing: the tone and content of what you are saying sounds somewhat like the accusations made against all Continuers (or beseiged orthodox laity in the parts of the RCC) by Anglican and RC "liberals". "Ah, you lot are fretting about a lot of theological blah-blah and stupid minutiae, you should be worrying about loving your neighbour and practising your faith by doing so. That's what it's really all about! Look how marginal a minority you are, anyway!" Am I claiming all the problems between us have deep theological roots? By no means. But some do, or seem to, to people thinking and acting in good faith. How about we all be patient with one another and avoid resorting to screaming out "Unity now or you've proved you're evil!".

LP said...

----
The problem with the criticisms being levelled the ACC's way is the false but unspoken premise underlying them: That we are not desirous of resolving problems with the TAC and have made no real attempt to do so. I have shown on this blog before that this is precisely false. The ball is still in the TAC's court to respond to our official missive from years ago (which, remember, they said they would do!).
----

For what little it's worth, from what I've been able to piece together in trying to figure out all this history in the last few weeks -- i.e. what I can find on the internet (which is, thus, probably grossly incomplete) -- it does indeed seem to me that the ACC has made more of an effort to reach out to other Continuers, including the ACA, while the ACA's priorities seem to have been more to reach out to the more protestant groups like the REC/APA and AMiA, and even to those who haven't separated themselves from the Lambeth Communion, to the neglect of the older Continuing jurisdictions.

But, knowing that what's "available online" is going to give an only partial picture, I've tried in both thinking and posting (as above) to avoid partisanship and keep focused on what 'needs to be done', rather than attempting to pass judgements on who's done what.

As merely an interested layman, I would very much like to know - to help balance the picture I've been able to piece together so far:

(a) What the ACA believes is meant by "full sacramental communion";

(b) How, more exactly, it views its somewhat ambiguous relationships with those in FACA and FIF -

(c) and, now, with Bp. Florenza -

(d) and how these relationships line up with the ecclesiological and theological issues of "communion", and

(e) in what good-faith ways it disagrees with (not just dismisses) the ACC's concerns about Deerfield as summarized in Fr. Kirby's letter.


FWIW, as I've noted before, I have a great deal of sympathy with the "pastoral" urge of the ACA and its efforts to pull people together as much as possible for mutual support and growth. But I also recognize that if this is done without due and explicit consideration of the relevant theological issues there's a real danger of building up a house on sand which will fall apart when the first storm comes along.

Yes, the sooner we can build the 'dining room' to hold everyone around the same table the better -- but if you build that room out over the air, rather than set firmly on the foundations of the theological basement (even if very few people go down there, except perhaps to bring up the wine), that whole room may collapse halfway through the meal. [Flash to Mel Gibson's pulling-down-the-house in Lethal Weapon II...]


pax Christi,
LP

poetreader said...

Fr. Kirby,
my rebuke is not meant specifically for the ACC or for any other specific 'jurisdiction'. It is meant as strongly for my own ACA as for any other. The most obvious thing (in a surface view at least) about the Continuum AS A WHOLE is its very loud fractiousness. I don't have answers to the problems that produce or seem to produce the divisions. I wish I did. But, as a loyal continuer, I cannot feel that Our Lord Himself sees our divisions as an acceptable thing, or that he releases ANY of us from the guilt of causing and maintaining it. Yes, there have been efforts made from several directions, but I'm seeing a lot more of sniping at each other than I am of putting any of those efforts into any kind of practical effect. We are in sin, all of us, by tolerating this situation. I find myself extraordibnarily thanful that Our God offers forgiveness. We need it.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

FWIW, as I've noted before, I have a great deal of sympathy with the "pastoral" urge of the ACA and its efforts to pull people together as much as possible for mutual support and growth. But I also recognize that if this is done without due and explicit consideration of the relevant theological issues there's a real danger of building up a house on sand which will fall apart when the first storm comes along.

I see no evidence that this would be an accurate assessment of what the ACA is doing.

LP said...

-----
I see no evidence that this would be an accurate assessment of what the ACA is doing.
-----

I'm not assessing the ACA. I don't have the information one way or another to do so.

This is why I carefully say "if", and why I prefaced my comments with the caveat about the limitations of "public" info -- knowing well that what one can suss out online is going to be partial and (occasionally) one-sided.


Thus I don't say that the ACA is proceding without a theological underpinning to its ecumenical relations, but rather simply that such a danger, in principle, exists.


With the ACC, whether or not one agrees with them, from the document prepared by Fr. Kirby (plus other statements) one at least knows where they stand theologically in terms of their reservations about the ACA and their ecumenical approach to other Anglicans. (And whether one believes those theological reasons are motivations or rationalizations, the fact remains that one knows what that theology is.)


With the ACA, as an interested "outside" observer to both ACC and ACA who has tried to figure out lately what the "lay of the land" is, I can find no comparable clarity.

That isn't to say that there isn't such clarity, just that I haven't been able to find it.

Thus my list of questions which I, speaking merely as an interested APCK layman, wish I had some answers to.


I don't mean to suggest that there aren't any well-thought out, clear, and explicit answers well-known to all ACA clergy and guiding their ecumenical actions, ideals and preaching -- merely that I (and, presumably, other similar observers) don't know what they are.... and, being aware of the danger "in theory" of action-without-adequate-theology, am looking for the reassurance that the ACA isn't falling into that trap.

NOT accusing them of actually falling into that trap, but rather looking for a degree of clarity (comparable to what is readily available about the ACC) to be reassured that they aren't so falling -- which is hardly an unreasonable question.

Indeed, it's the kind of fairly basic question which informed Anglicans searching for a new church home - as well as those wondering if and how the Continuum will pull itself back together - are quite likely to ask.


pax,
LP

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Robert Hart wrote:

"++Haverland has been in communication with Archbishop Provence, and so John Hollister drafted this statement for him. It was meant to isolate Bp. Florenza.... My source is completely reliable."

I don't know if it was a fortune cookie or Madame Kazaam peering into her ball, but don't take any tips on horse races from this informant.

Fascinating that someone out there knows more about my part in this than I do; I thought that was exclusively my wife's job description!

However, I am charmed by the picture of me as an "eminence gris" who can influence the policies of an entire church jurisdiction. Now if Fr. Hart's source could only convince the ACC's Bishops and Synod to agree....

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Ed, the "poetreader", referred to my "novel and uncatholic reasoning with regard to in effect 'unbishoping' bishops...." Fr. Hart seconded him by saying, "Mr. Hollister, that is simply bad theology on your part. Orders are an indelible Sacrament, and no complicated, inverted and Orwellian reasoning can change the Catholic Tradition of sacramental theology...."

Both Ed and Fr. Hart are perfectly entitled to criticize the concept of "'unbishoping' bishops", but I am not the author of it. So if they wish to address their complaints directly to its authors directly -- and there are several hundred of them -- they will need to do so on their knees, inasmuch as those worthies passed through the gates of larger life twelve to seventeen centuries since.

The first Ecumenical Council, Nicea, in 324 AD, declared that those who are ordained though lacking the qualifications for Orders are to be treated as though they had not been ordained (Canons 9 and 10). The same Council declared that if one bishop ordains the subject of another bishop, without the latter's consent, the ordination is null (Canon 16).

Similarly, the fourth Ecumenical Council, Chalcedon, in 451 AD, declared that if any man is ordained "absolutely", i.e., "without a title" meaning without being ordained to a specific cure of souls, then that ordination is a nullity (Canon 6).

The seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicea II, in 787 AD, adopted as normative the existing bodies of decrees and regulations, which included that compilation known as the "Apostolic Constitutions".

(Ecclesiastical Canon 1 of the latter states: "Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops", which ought to dispose of any nonsense about "regularizing" the 1978 Denver consecrations.)

Ecclesiastical Canon 36 of the Apostolic Constitutions states that when a bishop ordains within the territory of another bishop without permission, both the ordaining prelate and the ordinand are deposed. This was one, but only one, of the problems posed by the Deerfield Beach shennanigans.

Ecclesiastical Canon 68 of those same Apostolic Constitutions says that when a bishop, priest, or deacon who was validly ordained thereafter receives a second ordination, both he and his ordaining prelate are deposed. This was the other Deerfield Beach problem.

So if you don't like the rules that remove erring bishops from any exercise of their office, and that in at least some cases hold their actions to be nullities, don't complain to me, complain to the ancient Fathers who laid down those rules.

Also, to avoid any misunderstanding, permit me to make two comments about the application of those rules to present-day PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC/whatever. First, it has long been held that ordinations -- and some other Sacraments as well -- may be performed "sub conditione" *if* -- but only if -- there is a good faith doubt that they were previously performed at all or that their previous performance was sufficient in all respects.

This exception could not have applied to the Deerfield Beach reordinations of the four former ACC bishops because there was, neither then nor since, any good faith doubt about the validity of the Succession as received by the ACC/APCK in Denver.

Secondly, the rule striking with nullity the acts of a bishop who has invaded another bishop's jurisdiction has never been applied where the second bishop has lapsed into heresy. This exception is clearly implied in the "Synodical letter about the expulsion of the eastern bishops" issued by the third Ecumenical Council, Ephesus, in 431 AD.

Thus this is the rule to which Ms. Jefferts Schori has referred several times in recent months, when she has complained about African Provinces' "missionary bishops" in the US, but her references to it are misplaced. When a bishop has become a heretic, he loses his jurisdiction and it is the duty of any Catholic bishop who is able to take oversight of the heretic's leaderless flock. While I have grave reservations about the complete Catholicity of the missionary bishops concerned, the ECUSA/TEC bishops have already forfeited any right to complain.

Even at Deerfield Beach, however, the actors did not presume to accuse Archbishop William Lewis, the ACC's Bishop of the South whose territory was being invaded by Bishops Mercer, Boynton, Falk, Chamberlain, Conners, and Wilkes, of being an heretic. Thus while the AEC personnel were free to do whatever they wanted, with whomever they wished to do it, those who were, up until that moment, in communion with the ACC were not.

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

Father Hollister,

I could dispute many points of what you said, but I do not believe it would be appropriate to go on in that way. I won't continue that line of argumentation any further at all.

What you have done is to set up a scenario in which there is no way other than abject submission to remedy division that, no matter how it came to be, arose out of an intent to serve God in the Catholic Faith. Many in the ACA have made accusation, also quoting Fathers, against ACC, that, if true would present serious problems. I won't even repeat any of that. All such argumentation has as its object the continuance of division, and I believe the very pursuit of such a line of debate is inimicable to the purpose for which the Catholic Church was created.

To condemn one another for what has been done is, to put it bluntly, but as mildly as I am able, evil. We are called by Our Lord to find, here and now (and yesterday is not soon enough) the way in which we can work together to proclaim one faith in the love without which none of us can be saved.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Hollister, Your contribution to the statement was less than I had thought, but it has been confirmed as fact nonetheless.

Now, about your use of canons, it only proves to me that you misread the Canons of the ancient Councils. The issues of immorality, invalid orders, orders by heretics and, finally, the distinction between Church discipline and what you call "unbishoping bishops", has completely evaded you. None of your quotations are applicable to the subject at hand. You are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. What part of "indelible" do you not understand?

And, by the way, the Tradition is "three bishops" that must agree on the election of a bishop,and take part in the consecration, except in an emergency. This is why the +Chambers/ Pagktakhan succession is valid, but irregular. Therefore, if the motive at Deerfield was to regularize the orders (and I have never defended the actual consecrations themselves), no attack was made on validity. If you deny that this was the motive, your argument still does not work, because you cannot prove that the bishops became heretics. Only by those bishops becoming heretics and making the heresy the doctrinal basis for their acts, thus eliminating Sacramental Intention, could your charge stand. In fact, they did not become heretics, but maintained a solid Nicene/Constantinopolitan/Chalcedonian theology. Your new doctrine that denies the indelible nature of Holy Orders is, however, heresy.

John said...

"Ecclesiastical Canon 36 of the Apostolic Constitutions states that when a bishop ordains within the territory of another bishop without permission, both the ordaining prelate and the ordinand are deposed. This was one, but only one, of the problems posed by the Deerfield Beach shennanigans."

I would like to thank Fr. Hollister for supporting my earlier argument. Obviously Rome has just announced "Christian communities born out of the Reformation, which would include the Anglican Communion, “do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders.” Because they have failed to preserve the “integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery,” they cannot “be called ‘Churches’ in the proper sense,” the document concluded. In contrast the Orthodox branches constituted true churches, but they suffer from a “wound” because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope" which further supportrs my argument that the ACC's veiw is moot if we take Fr. Hollisters logic without a double standard.
Obviously, the first four Continuuing Bishops were 'consecrated' in the geographical jurisdiction of another Bishop without consent or permission. I assume this goes for Bishop Chamberlain as well. I have to say , I find the timing here very amusing!


As to Fr. Kirby's remark about "screaming for unity" I did turn up my PC and could hear nothing but a hum.... If I seem a bit impatient, along with most lay folk in the CC, I apologize. The best part of three decades is so short a time and I have been hasty to suggest that those of common belief and background have no excuse for being at odds for over a generation, after all God kept the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years, no doubt because it apperently takes that long for the intractable to die out,

ANyway it seems according to Rome, the largest body of Christians and therefore the body with the most Bishops outside the Continuing Church that my suspicions regarding the double standard I refered to earlier is quite true and nobody has orders so why all the fuss?

John

LP said...

Hi again John!

I know that those in the ACA don't agree with the argument presented by Fr. Hollister. And I don't know enough about the details of the history to judge its merits, nor would I want to attempt to assess its theology/ecclesiology without further reading.

But to simply dismiss it out of hand is, I think, not only unproductive but risks giving an implication of the kind of "cold shouldering" and "contemptuous dismissal" of another jurisdiction's good faith concerns which represents as much of a barrier to genuine unity and charity as does any "sanctimoniousness" or "holier-than-thou"-ness it purports to set itself against.


If the Continuing Churchs are, indeed, catholic, and if they do indeed uphold the Affirmation of St. Louis - and thus the standards and ideals of the seven Ecumenical Councils - then they have to take these sorts of considerations quite seriously.

Sure, Fr. Hollister's argument may be wrong. It may be right. It may have the thology correct but some of the facts of thie situation wrong. I don't know.

But to simply dismiss such concerns out of hand -- as your post almost sounds like its doing -- would be a protestant, not a catholic, response, and would suggest that one pays only lip-service to the Affirmation rather than taking seriously its call (often an inconvenient one) to be catholics after the fashion of the undivided Church.



Now, I'm not saying that this is what you intend. Nor am I saying that the ACA really does just dismiss these concerns out of hand. I know I have incomplete knowledge of the whole ACC/ACA situation.


On the other hand, I've yet to find any sort of reasoned and theologically-based position articulated by any ACA clergy comparable to Fr. Hollister's and Fr. Kirby's.

This isn't to say there isn't one, just that I haven't found it.


But if I thought that the _offical_ ACA response was, indeed, simply to shrug off the genuine, good-faith theological concerns (be they right or wrong) of a fellow continuing group then I would indeed start to have grave doubts about the depth of the ACA's true commitment to genuine catholic polity.


Thus I still would, very much, like to see an explanation of the ACA's understanding of its relationship (in tems of both sacramental theology and ecclesiology) with the APA/REC, the AMiA, FiF and the Lambeth Communion (especially given the status of bishops Moyer and Chislett), and would like to see its good-faith response to Fr. Kirby's letter which outlines the "official" reservations the ACC has with the ACA.

Perhaps this is out there and I just haven't found it. Or perhaps these questions touch on issues which are being addressed at an episcopal level and not yet suitable for public commentary and scrutiny. I don't know.


What I _do_ know is that, judging from what I've been able to find so far, the ACC seems more _theologically_ credible than the ACA, at least in terms of making a genuine effort to outline a theological position (even if, arguably, a flawed one) on which it bases its ecclesiology, polity, and ecumenical efforts.


Sure, one can engage in ecumenical efforts without a thoughtful grounding in such theology. But that is, ultimately, a protestant, not a catholic, approach.

And, indeed, I think one of the underlying reasons for the divisions in the Continuum is precisely that it _has_ been too protestant -- temporary alliances or pointless splits being the result of personal conflicts or ungrounded fears, both of which assume much greater urgency when there is no explicit theological & ecclesiological standard of belief & practice to which to make recourse.

To just dismiss the efforts of those who are _trying_ to establish and clarify such standards is, I think, ultimately to contribute to the continued cultivation of Continuum divisions rather than their healing.




On the specifics of your post, I'll only venture two points:

First - the Continuing Churches are, in fact, in the category of the Orthodox rather than of the Protestants... because of the "refreshment of orders" through episcopal lines recognized as valid by the Vatican, and because of the Continuum's clear belief in the Real Presence and its catholic understanding of the priesthood.

If one, as a "catholic", really did believe the Continuum to have invalid orders, then one ought not only ought to be in a Roman or Orthodox church next Sunday at the latest, but one ought never to receive any of the "false" sacraments of a Continuing parish because of the 'scandal' and 'offense' such would represent.


Second - whether or not Fr. H. is correct in his analysis of Deerfield, there is a fundamental difference (and one to which he alluded) between the Deerfield situation and that of the origins of the Continuum at St. Louis.

In the latter case, the ordinations were - following patristic & catholic principles - of bishops to "replace" heretics. PECUSA, the nascent Continuing Church believed, had fallen into heresy. Thus, by those very ecumenical canons which Fr. H. cites, the catholic responsibility was to ordain new bishops to the sees thus vacated by heresy. The Continuum bishops were not being ordained in another bishop's jurisdiction without his consent - rather, they were being ordained to fill sees which were _vacant_, having been made vacant by the heresy & apostasy of their former (i.e. PECUSA) bishops.

In the Deerfield case, by contrast, (at least as Fr. Hollister argues) the former-ACC bishops who were leaving the ACC to join with the AEC and create the ACA were not accusing their ACC bretheren of heresy. Thus they _were_ operating within the jurisdiction of a bishop whom they recognized as legitimate... an action condemned by those same patristic & catholic principles which required the St. Louis ordinations. The two cases are (pace Fr. H) fundamentally different on this essential point.

Now, I'm not saying that I agree with Fr. H. on this. I don't know if this history & analysis is right or wrong, because I simply don't know the facts of the case well enough.

But whether or not one agrees with Fr. H., one should at least _understand_ what his argument is (even if then going on to debunk it) -- and I think he makes a reasonable case that the ordination of the first 4 Continuum bishops was the proper "catholic" response to the situation (i.e. heresy of PECUSA) which the Deerfield conditional-reordinations were not.



Believe me, I share with you and all the laity the impatience with the divisions in the Continuum.

But I firmly believe that if our claim to be "catholics" has any meaning whatsoever, than those divisions are going to have to be healed by -- in part -- a constructive engagement with -- not a facile dismissal of -- the theological & ecclesiological aspects of these questions.

To act without clear theological grounding based merely on politics, personality or expediency is not catholic, it is protestant -- and it is also, as I opined (perhaps bloviated?) in a previous post, building on sand or thin air.


Again, I'm not saying that the ACA is guilty of this. I don't know. But I do know that Fr. Hollister & Fr. Kirby & Bp. John-Charles & the ACC -- whether or not their positions & arguments are accurate -- should be praised rather than condemned for recognizing the necessity of addressing these questions as part of a genuine, secure & catholic reunification of the Continuum.

The constructive & catholic & fraternal response - the response which will lead to that unity we all desire - is not to mock or dismiss or contemn these efforts, but to charitably engage them.


pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

On the other hand, I've yet to find any sort of reasoned and theologically-based position articulated by any ACA clergy comparable to Fr. Hollister's and Fr. Kirby's.This isn't to say there isn't one, just that I haven't found it.

There was no finer Anglican theologian in modern times than the late Fr. Louis Tarsitano, of the ACA.

As for Fr. Hollister's points, there is nothing very Catholic in any sort of thinking that denies the indelible charisms of Holy Orders. I have called it both "bad theology" and even "heresy." Well, the shoe fits- both of them in fact.

LP said...

----
There was no finer Anglican theologian in modern times than the late Fr. Louis Tarsitano, of the ACA.
----

Did Fr. Tarsitano write specifically about the ACA's affiliation with the APA/REC/AMiA/FiF in a way that would answer the concerns the ACC has raised about them? Or about the issue of "being in communion" in general? I did a quick google search but didn't immediately find anything.


---
As for Fr. Hollister's points, there is nothing very Catholic in any sort of thinking that denies the indelible charisms of Holy Orders.
---
Yes, I think there's an equivocation in Fr. Hollister's posts between a bishop being "deposed" (as the patristic canons which he cites say) and the "removal" of orders. These two are not necessarily equivalent, are they? E.g. if a bishop suspected of being an Arian was "deposed" and then later re-instated, he wasn't re-ordained, was he?


As I"ve repeatedly said, I'm not evaluating - pro or con - Fr. Hollister's or Fr. Kirby's arguments. I'd need more familiarity with the material before venturing an opinion.

What I siad, rather, was that the _effort_ to discern and follow clear theological guidelines in ecumenical efforts is the _right_ and _catholic_ thing to do, as well as requisite for genuine and stable unity, and that (to date) I've run across more evidence of the ACC doing so than the ACA.

Not that this means that the ACA isn't doing this, just that I haven't been able to find comparable material for the ACA than the ACC.

This is why I keep asking not so much for evaluations of Fr. H's arguments (though those are interesting & productive) as for comparable "programs" and "explanations" for the ACA's side of things -- both it's reaction to the ACC's "official" position in Fr. Kirby's letter [as opposed to individual reactions to Fr. H's "opinion" as he himself calls it] and also its theological explanation/understanding of it relation to the REC, AMiA, FiF, etc.

I'm not defending or accusing anyone here. I'm not pro- or anti- Fr. Hollister's opinion (which I don't know enough to evaluate anyway).

I'm just trying to get a more balanced picutre.


pax,
LP

John said...

Hey Pitt,

You say (among many other similar statements)... "But whether or not one agrees with Fr. H., one should at least _understand_ what his argument is (even if then going on to debunk it) -- and I think he makes a reasonable case that the ordination of the first 4 Continuum bishops was the proper "catholic" response to the situation (i.e. heresy of PECUSA) which the Deerfield conditional-reordinations were not."

You spend a lot of time pointing out "what you do not know" and then make value judgement on whether certain conclusions are reasonable or not. So what? If it is wrong and sounds reasonable we are in the realm of Episcopaganism. Ditto regarding the ACA's relationship with Faca and whether or not Fr. Hollister has properly accused it's clergy and bishops of being 'debishoped' and with invalid orders or , as Fr. Hart has pointed out, whether Hollister committed heresy himself regarding his novel teaching on indelibility of Orders. Rome says we are all vagantes. So what.

My comment are somewhat absurd - and that is the point! Maybe the ACA is so sick of all this they just are not paying any attention - now that sounds reasonable to me but I do not have a crystal ball.

One thing you have not questioned is whether or not Fr Hollister has the education or training to make the judgement calls regarding the early councils he sites as 'proof' of his position or is just another armchair theologian/historian. Why should anybody assume he knows what he is talking about? Simply because he belongs to the ACC? Is he a church historian? Does he have a degree as such? I do not even know if he has been to a proper Seminary. How much of what we Continuers debate is generated by just another back seat blogger, who considers himself infallible (a very protestant habit), and prefers a technical, legal, institutionalized Churchianity that provides cookie cutter answers (pharisaical) to real street corner/ store front church evangelism and the pastoral experience to handle real life Christianity because the former is much safer and easier than the latter. As for me I am going to eat with the sinners and I may not wash my hands first! How bout that?? guess i am a heretic huh.

As you know, (assuming you figured out which 'John" I am) we were together at Fond Du Lac and witnessed the self righteous snub aimed at those ACA folk attending Holy Communion. I saw the demeanor of those that left- it was not one of ponderous questions of Catholicity it was a sneering and steeping anger that got up and walked out. No reason to mince words. There was no charity in that 'demonstration'. It was planned and 'sprung' to inflict a 'point' and one that only a few think is worth this much ink.

Bishops, lawyers and clergy are not necessarily anything else although many prefer to make sweeping generalities outside their field of expertise rather than consult others who may be more knowledgeable and less biased before they burn the innocent at the stake of internet opinion. Maybe a good idea would be to identify some Continuers from the various jurisdictions that have the academic credentials and mental firepower to form a body, with binding deliberation on all parties to make a final determination on this issue and put it to rest. I nominate Canon David Rodier- he is fluent in all the ancient languages of the Bible and is well acquainted with the early church. As head of the Religion and Philosophy Dept of a major university for decades he is one of the few in the CC with the mental firepower and credentials and charitable temperament to conduct such a proceeding, assuming you could talk him into it. And assuming he does not hurl me under a moving train for making such a recommendation (maybe I should sign this 'anonymous"). Matthew is clear on how to conduct oneself when a problem arises in the Church- I have seen no effort by any of the original Bishops to follow the example of Scripture to resolve their differences and so I find this whole Deerfield thing quite pretentious. Their is no Apostolic authority without Apostolic belief and in order to have belief you have to practice what you preach- where is the evidence of that in the last 20+ years?

Funny how many would rather hurl invective and accusation than take a chance on giving up some personal power to a living church council finding them wrong.

Anyway hope thinks are well in the NW.

PAX,

John "The Unknown"

LP said...

Ioanne "Agnoste" --

=grin=

----
You spend a lot of time pointing out "what you do not know" and then make value judgement on whether certain conclusions are reasonable or not.
----

The only point I was trying to make there - or, rather, point out that Fr. H. had made - was that the two cases (Continuers leaving PECUSA; proto-ACA bishops leaving ACC) aren't parallel because of the issue of "heresy", so that one may consistently think that the St. Louis ordinations were appropriate and "catholic" and that the Deerfield ones were not.

I.e. you can't logically say vs. Fr. H. that if you accept the one you have to accept the other. That's the connection I was taking issue with -- but I realize, from what you say, that perhaps you were just being rhetorical when you suggested it. :)



I don't know whether or not Deerfield was okay - and I keep repeating that fact because really don't want to get into (or continue) arguments about it per se. That wasn't my point.

My point was, rather, that these issues need to be addressed theologically & ecclesiologically, with due respect for the norms established by the Affirmation, and that the ACC -- even if it's completely wrongheaded and off base about the ACA and Deerfield, even if it's just a rationalization for an emotional decision -- does at least seem to be making such an effort.

I'm sure the ACA must have an equally cogent theological understanding of what it has done & is doing what it is doing (vis a vis the ACC on the one hand; the REC/AMiA/FiF/Lambeth etc on the other)... I just want to know what that understanding is.

It's a fair question for thoughtful laity to ask.


---
we were together at Fond Du Lac and witnessed the self righteous snub aimed at those ACA folk attending Holy Communion. I saw the demeanor of those that left- it was not one of ponderous questions of Catholicity it was a sneering and steeping anger that got up and walked out.
---

Yeah, I remember being at that Pilgrimage with you -- but I was completely clued out on any of the politics. Heck, I didn't even know what "Deerfield Beach" refered to until a few weeks ago. So I was completely oblivious to the ACA/ACC tensions there.

Certainly, I, like you, wouldn't condone hostility & uncharity. Whether or not the ACC bishops there were being "self righteous" or simply acting on principle, I'll leave up to others to judge.

But even if they were snarling and foaming at the mouths and stormed out, such misbehavior would be irrelevant to the validity (or invalidity) of the theological/ecclesiastical position one way or the other.


---
One thing you have not questioned is whether or not Fr Hollister has the education or training to make the judgement calls regarding the early councils he sites
---

For highly nuanced questions of theology or ecclesiology -- yes, you're right, we need to turn to the experts.

But the basic questions and issues aren't some sort of "gnosis" reserved only for the elite -- they are open and obvious to all believers. C.S.Lewis once said (I paraphrase) that if we can't explain our theology in vernacular every-day language, then we don't really understand it.

I think anyone smart and educated enough to engage these questions intelligently can pose these questions and be respected for it -- and challenged right back (e.g. my last post wondering if Fr. H. is correct to equate the "deposing" in the canons with an undoing-the-sacrament de-bishoping.)


One of the complaints I know some have levelled at the APCK over the years (rightly or wrongly, IDK) is how "secretive" it has (or is said to have) been about everything. And small organizations can't survive long without the transparency & trust such secrecy destroys.

Well, that holds for matters of basic theological polity too. To say "oh, well, unless you have a PhD you can't ask about it" would just another form of that trust-destroying secrecy.


So, no, I don't know Fr. H's educational background. For all I know he majored in underwater basketweaving at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople. Doesn't mean his question is - ipso facto - unreasonable or that his appeal to following the norms of the Ecumenical Councils vacuuous.


----
a technical, legal, institutionalized Churchianity that provides cookie cutter answers (pharisaical) to real street corner/ store front church evangelism and the pastoral experience to handle real life Christianity
----

I think one of the great challenges of catholicism is that one has to do both.

I certainly agree with you 110% that there's a real danger of theology and "legaleese" inappropriately becoming the be-all and end-all of one's faith -- the substitution of churchmanship for Christianity -- with the result that the Great Commission and the street-corner evangelism withers.

But, to be fair, there is an equal danger of getting so caught up in the "pastoral experience" and the "real life" mindset -- and real life in a fallen world! -- that one starts to cut corners and compromise until one is left with Unitarianism, everything else having been discarded, ignored, or condemned for the sake of expedience.

(E.g. one can easily wind up jettisoning -- as most Protestant denominations have -- everything that Christ Himself has to say about marriage for the sake of "expedience", not wanting to "offend" folks by actually maintaining the ideals about pre-maritial sex, divorce and remarriage which Scripture itself enjoins.)


The challenge for catholic Christians -- and I'd say in particular for Affirmation anglocatholics -- is the need *both* to hold on to the theological guidelines and ideals (without getting unduly caught up in them) *and* to focus on living out and witnessing to the Christian life in the real world without sacrificing those ideals and principles.


So I'll certainly join my voice to yours in criticizing those who want to turn religion into a Pharisaical legalism which kills its vibrancy and street-corner presence.

But I'll also join my voice to those who criticize the turning of religion into nothing more than mushy-headed "situational ethics" which scoffs at theology and ecclesiology and at those who take them seriously.



---
Maybe a good idea would be to identify some Continuers from the various jurisdictions that have the academic credentials and mental firepower to form a body, with binding deliberation on all parties to make a final determination on this issue and put it to rest.
---

I agree with you 100%. Well 90% -- they'd come up with a study paper, argument & analysis etc and then give it to the bishops of each of the jurisdictions, who are the ones who have the actual authority as to whether or not to accept it.

But, yes, I think it's long past time that this albatross be dealt with once and for all, and I think it would be a very encouaging sign -- especially to all the laity -- if they saw their bishops committed to proactively addressing and healing this breach ASAP.


pax Christi,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

LP

Perhaps I misunderstood your point. No, Lou Tarsitano never wrote anything that I know of about Deerfield Beach. Frankly, he was above that sort of crap.

John

Fr. Hollister is a lawyer, and he seems quite capable of suing people. This is not exactly a theological background.

About what happened at Fond du Lac that year, I assume that it is not characteristic of the ACC everywhere, since the behavior of those ACC clergy who were present was disgraceful.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Oh, BTW, yes Canon Rodier is the one man with the temperment and erudition to take on such a task. But, he deserves no such unpleasant fate.

John said...

Fr. Hart

Glad to hear you are getting over the pneumonia.

I am aware that Fr. Hollister is a lawyer and I believe a chancellor of some sort for the ACC. Whether or not being a lawyer contributes to his views or rigidity they do remind me a little of the intractability of the many lawyers questioning Jesus... He always seemed to be a target of their legalisms. I don't mean to be unkind but it seems little ever changes.

I am not making any sweeping statements about individuals in the ACC or any jurisdiction. I have met and been welcomed into a number of ACC parishes when out of town. Many fine folk.

Interesting thing though they always ask the same questions we find ourselves pondering here... 'what's going on in your neck O' the woods' and 'why are we still separated''?

Please don't rat me out to the Canon!!! John "the known" might get me some lumps! He carries a shilally which actually further qualifies him to be on a deliberative body.

I never met Fr. Tarsitano but I have read his sermons and heard many stories about him- all good. I hope if the Continuing Church actually survives another generation of myopia it can produce a geberation of clergy such as he.

Time for the CC to stop being the "Anglican" protest party and start leading by example. One thing the CC has going for it is having survived 30 years! Where will the AMiA etc be in 30 years? The wilderness was a preperation for the Jews I hope it is such for us as well.

I think that in light of these conversations I am concerned that instead of "Continuing" Anglican faith and practice (I assume until heresy is defeated and order restored) that some of the players we are discussinbg actually may have intent to found their own denomination and that may be the real reason for a desire to derail unity. It would also prove the lessons of history in that many protest movements and their leaders often become the very thing protested.

If so pass the kool aid.

John

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart feels that I misread and misapplied the Canons of the ancient Councils regarding the treatment of those who ordain, or are ordained, in violation of the Church's rules of good order.

He has also suggested that I do not understand the theory of the indelible nature of the Sacrament of Order.

As to the Canons of the ancient Councils, it might be best for each person to read one or two of them for himself or herself and then to decide whether Fr. Hart or I am correct.

As just one such example, "But if anyone dares to steal away one who belongs to another and to ordain him in his without the consent of the other's own bishop among whose clergy he was enrolled before he departed, the ordination is to be null." Canon 16 of the Council of Nicea, 324 AD.

Considering the central importance in the Church of the Creed that First Ecumenical Council began the process of drafting, I presume Fr. Hart still regards it as authoritative. But in that case, what part of "null" doesn't he understand?

"If any bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, receives a second ordination from anyone, let him be deprived, and the person who ordained him, unless he can show that his former ordination was from the heretics; for those that are either baptized or ordained by these, can be neither Christians nor clergymen." Ecclesiastical Canon 68, The Apostolic Constitutions (late Fourth Century).

Now as a practical matter, it does not actually matter whether the "nullity" declared by the Council of Nicea was intended to mean that no "character" _was_ impressed on the soul of the erring ordinand or merely that, as was suggested by several of the Canons of the Apostolic Constitutions, the Church is to _treat_ the offending ordinand as though he had never been ordained.

For if the authoritative rule in the Church is that the Church normally refuses to recognize the ordinations of those who have ordained unlawfully, then the distinctions between "invalidity" and "gross irregularity" -- which are often very difficult to make in real cases -- simply, as my old Calculus instructor used to say, "merge at the margin".

And where Our Lord unquestionably conferred on His Church the power, and the responsibility, to be both the administrator and the judge of His Sacramental system, it is certainly within the Church's prerogatives to decline its recognition to any questionable Sacrament.

Also, I should point out, both the term and the issue of "unbishopping" were not mine, but were raised by the poster to whom I was responding. Nor did I ever previously go into the question of "indelibility", so I am tempted to regard Fr. Hart's insertion of that into the discussion, in the fashion in which he did it, so as to question my orthodoxy, as a bit of a straw man.

Oh, and should we ask to be favored with the curriculum vitae of the gentleman who wishes to question my education and training? Not only does he display a touching faith in the indefectability of formal academic credentials -- virtually all of PECUSA's erring bishops are seminary graduates, many with advanced degrees -- but back when I was enrolled in institutions of tertiary education, his would have been called an "ad hominem" argument. Perhaps that, as so many other things, has changed over the past four decades.

And as to my being a lawyer, it's been several weeks since I sued anyone, so I'm probably not too dangerous just at this moment. Of course, an irresistable forensic impulse may overtake one at any moment....

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

One of the Johns wrote:

"[W]e were ... at Fond Du Lac and witnessed the self righteous snub aimed at those ACA folk attending Holy Communion.... [I]t was a sneering and steeping anger that got up and walked out.... It was planned and 'sprung' to inflict a 'point'...."

And, the same or another John later wrote: "About what happened at Fond du Lac that year ... the behavior of those ACC clergy who were present was disgraceful."

From these oblique comments, I assume that the John or the Johns are referring to the fact that the ACC Bishop and Bishop-elect who attended the APCK's Grafton Pilgrimage did not there receive communion from Abp. Robert Morse while various leaders of the ACA/TAC did.

If that be so, then it is only fair to note that from prior experience the ACC's bishops knew that Abp. Falk and his cohorts would probably go up to receive communion at that time. I myself have seen them, at what was billed as a "unity" meeting, receive communion from a post-1976 ECUSA bishop who had celebrated according to the heterodox 1979 rite, back at a time when the ACA/TAC was still taking the public position that it was not in communion with ECUSA.

So knowing that predisposition, and well prior to the Pilgrimage itself, members of the ACC communicated privately with Abp. Morse's personal staff to point out that if Falk & Co. followed past practice, that would put the ACC people present in an intolerable position. While they would normally receive communion from Abp. Morse, or almost anyone else in the ACPK, as a matter of course, given that Falk and a number of his close associates are actually ACC clergy under disciplinary sanctions, they could not give in public the appearance that the ACC is in communion with him or them.

That problem was created by Abp. Falk, not by Abp. Morse, and it was recognized that if Falk & Co. presented themselves at the rail to receive, Abp. Morse might well feel unable to refuse them in order to avoid unseemliness. At the same time, it was stressed, for ACC Bishops to receive communion alongside ACA personnel, in a public setting where the respective institutions were being formally "represented", would cause intolerable scandal to the ACC's ordinary membership.

Thus, it was explained, if what was feared did happen, then the only response that would be available to the ACC people was to refrain from communicating. That, it was stressed, had wholly to do with reservations about the ACA people and not with Abp. Morse himself or with anyone in the APCK.

And that is how things actually fell out.

The Johns, however, appear to feel that receiving communion is not a Sacramental act deeply concerned with the integrity of the individual who receives as well as with the institutional setting in which that reception takes place but instead is some sort of generic political statement or symbol of back-slapping fraternal good fellowship, and that therefore everyone present is somehow obligated to take part, just as they would be expected to sing "Kumbaya" or "We shall overcome" at a secular rally.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr.Hollister has once again invoked the Canons of a council in a misleading way. For a bishop to steal someone away and then presume to ordain him was considered a reason to disregard the whole ordination (as in the Nicene Canon quoted). First of all, that is not relevant to what happened at Deerfild Beach, inasmuch as the men who were allegedly consecrated there were already bishops (and, again, I am not arguing in favor of what happened, nor would I want to do so). Somehow Fr. Hollister is invoking this Canon in such a way as to justify his doctrine about Holy Orders being, in some way, a sacrament that can be erased from the man who has received it, very different from the discipline of being deposed from the ministry.

His second quotation is a Canon about a cause for deposing a man from ministry. Again, this does not justify his earlier statement that the bishops of the ACA had lost the sacramental charisms, a statement that still does no more than deny the indelible nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Furthermore, he cannot prove that it really does apply to the bishopsof the ACA (since I am not in either of those jurisdictions, I have no axe to grind, but look on with complete disapproval for the current state of disunity).

As for the rest of his argument, he has really argued against two things: 1) The right of the Church of England to separate from the oversight of Rome, and 2) the right of the Continuing Churches to separate from the Episcopal Church. That is the conclusion of irresistable logic that flows from his premise.

However, I agree with him on his separate point, that the question of his theological education seems to have been quite unnecessary.

In his comment that follows he has related an alleged fact that is unknown to all of the bishops of the APCK, from what I have given to understand. Fr.Hollister has stated: "That problem was created by Abp. Falk, not by Abp. Morse, and it was recognized that if Falk & Co. presented themselves at the rail to receive, Abp. Morse might well feel unable to refuse them in order to avoid unseemliness." This is not at all what the bishops of the APCK were given to understand. The celebrant was Bishop Florenza, and he, along with ++Morse, et al, had been given every reason to expect that all present, from the APCK, ACA and ACC, would receive communion together; the ACC clergy surprised them all. Golly, you can even ask me how I know.

Finally, he writes: "I myself have seen [+Falk and ACA clergy], at what was billed as a 'unity' meeting, receive communion from a post-1976 ECUSA bishop who had celebrated according to the heterodox 1979 rite, back at a time when the ACA/TAC was still taking the public position that it was not in communion with ECUSA." I have no knowledge of this event, and can only assume that he is relating some long distant fact. I would ask him to tell us, if he can, what exactly it is in the 1979 Eucharistic service that was used (since there are several in that silly book) that renders that sepcific Rite "heterodox." Also, just which "post 1976 bishop" was celebrating. Also, how certain is he that by the year of the joint Fond du Lac pilgrimage ++Falk would still consider it appropriate to do the same? Here we are in murky waters that require theological reasoning, not simply a vague charge filled with excitable language.

poetreader said...

Well, a lot more has been said since I last looked into this thread. Canon Hollister, I need respectfully to say that I am being driven further and further from the ACC position as I read your arguments, even without hearing arguments from the ACA. Why is this? It's a matter of a revealed attitude that is in itself s rebuke to Scriptural and Patristic Catholicism. We are not talking about a bunch of declared heretics here, such as in the Arian controversy. No, we are talking about Catholic Christians who are in agreement on almost everything, but a wrangling over procedures, over misunderstandings of what was done to a good end, amd perhaps should not have been done, and of who did what to whom.

For what it's worth, my perception of the matter, and one of the reasons I came into ACA and was not able to enter ACC, is that in the latter body I sense a great deal of effort being put into ways to justify not uniting with other Catholic Christians. Even if the arguments offered should prove to stand, in the lack of distinct and serious heresy (which I do not see to be the issue at all) they would only indicate the existence of a sinful schism which both sides need to approach with urgency to repair, both sides approaching the other - I do not mean telling the other side to approach. If that is the way ACC sees it, then ACC is obligated to use maximum imagination and a warm attitude of welcome in finding ways to overcome the barriers they see.

Was Deerfield Beach right or wrong? I don't need to answer that. (I'd tend to think it a well-meaning mistake) The Christ-honoring question is as to how the breech produced can be overcome. A while back I made a comment to the effect that there are two views of which jurisdicition inherits the original ACC. ACC/OP says one thing, and ACA says another. I encountered sheer hostility and an assumption that I was too dumb to know what I was talking about. There are two views, each side considering itself correct. My view is that the solution to that is impossible to prove one way or the other, and that a turf fight is an unworthy pursuit for Christians.

In the case of the Grafton pilgrimage, there was at least the perception of ACC clergy leaving with a show of anger. At the very least that means that they did make their leaving obvious. Opinions being what they are, I can understand that clergy may not feel they should communicate at the altar with one another. That's tragic, but, if it is seen as necessary, is there not a quiet and loving way to do that?

When arguments are dominated by legalities and anger instead of by a reaching out as far as possible in love, I become reminded of the words of Our Lord. He spoke of the Pharisees as those who sat in Moses' seat and advised doing as they said, but he constantly thundered out at their attitudes and actions. It was these, the proper religious authorities who were pretty much the only recipients of Our Lord's anger. Let's turn thus thing around before we get to that place.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ed has mentioned the Grafton pilmigrage in Fond du Lac. I want to go on record as saying that Fr. Hollister's version is at odds with everything I know about that affair. ++Falk and the ACA were expected to come forward to receive communion, and the ACC were expected to join them. ++Morse was not worried about ++Falk presenting a dilemma.

We should thank Hollister+ for demonstrating why, as Anglicans accustomed to having our orders doubted, that such sectarian thinking is, after all is said and done, nothing to fear.

John A. Hollister said...

When I previously stated that, prior to the 2004 Grafton Pilgrimage, members of Bishop Morse's staff were informed in advance that the ACC Bishops and Bishop-elect present there would not be able to receive communion at the same rail as the bishops and clergy of the ACA/TAC, Fr. Hart responded by calling that statement "an alleged fact that is unknown to all of the bishops of the APCK, from what I have given to understand."

Viewing that response in the most charitable possible light, I can only consider Fr. Hart to have been inadequately informed. Were I in a contentious mood, I would be tempted to read it as his questioning my veracity.

I am the one who telephoned one of Archbishop Morse's staff members made sure that information was transmitted. Thus so far as I am concerned, it is not an "alleged fact", it is an "established fact".

Since I wrote that earlier post, I have learned an additional fact that was previously unknown to me. That is that, again well prior to the actual Pilgrimage, the ACC Bishops and Bishop-elect who would be attending _wrote_ to the APCK clergyman who was actually "on the ground" and organizing the Pilgrimage, telling him the same things.

Thus everything reasonably possible was in fact done to assure that what should have been obvious anyway was fully understood by the APCK's officials in good time before the actual services.

In a later post, Fr. Hart wrote that "The celebrant was Bishop Florenza, and he, along with ++Morse, et al, had been given every reason to expect that all present, from the APCK, ACA and ACC, would receive communion together; the ACC clergy surprised them all."

According to the published accounts of the Pilgrimage, Bp. Florenza was the celebrant on Friday of that week and Abp. Morse was the celebrant on Saturday. The ACC Bishops and Bishop-elect attended both services but received at neither, for the reasons that had been explained in advance to the APCK.

Whether the APCK's internal communications failed to pass that information around, or whether Fr. Hart was simply not in the APCK's interal episcopal information loop, I am unable to say. However, I would find it astonishing if the two separate officials who received those communications, the oral one from me and the written one from our Bishops, would each have taken it upon himself to suppress the one he received and not have informed at least Abp. Morse of it.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sorry, but due to my time in the APCK, and among its clergy, I have known only a very different story from the above comment. To put it another way, that's not what they say. At this point, Fr.Hollister's disagreement is not actually with me, but with the bishops, and many of the clergy, of the APCK.

Two important facts emerge from that weekend: 1) the APCK did not see the UEC as significant, and 2) they did see the ACA as significant. One obvious point of having the ACC and ACA present was to heal a division even though it was not an immdediate concern or responsibility of the APCK. But, obviously, they did not bring these two jurisdictions together, especially in a Mass, so that one could demonstrate its condemnation of the other.

So, I simply cannot make any sense out of this version, new to me as it is. However, I am not sure how realistic the Council of Bishops in the APCK is. They seem quite capable of convincing each other and themselves of anything they wish to believe. So, John Hollister may be the one telling the truth.

If so, the truth does not put the American clergy of the ACC in a good light at all. It only gives different details about their unreasonable condemnation of other orthodox Anglicans in the Continuum. I remain unimpressed by the whole petty thing.