Wednesday, July 11, 2007

We Are Not Church: Vatican

Made public today (July 10) was a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: "Responses to some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church." It is dated June 29, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, and bears the signatures of Cardinal William Joseph Levada and Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., respectively prefect and secretary of the congregation.

"Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council (Vatican II) and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of 'Church' with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

"Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'Churches' in the proper sense.

Read it all here.

32 comments:

andrew said...

That's news to me.

Ohio Anglican said...

Rome has never considered Anglican Holy Orders, official communion or the Continuum, to be valid.

Rome never will accept Anglican Orders as valid. To do so would set a precedent to encourage schism from the Church of Rome. They cannot and will not set up a model to endorse schism.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Thomas said...

Actually, the situation is a bit more complicated and nuanced than that. (I am speaking as an RC theologian, orthodox in doctrine, who thinks the timing and wording of this document much to be lamented.) Rome affirms the validity/apostolicity of the orders of many churches with whom RCs are not in full communion - all of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, plus the so-called 'Oriental Orthodox' (Armenians, Assyrians, Copts, etc). So schism is not the determining facor. The validity of Anglican orders was rejected by Rome in the 19th century due to the removal of references to sacramental priesthood in the ordination rite itself. Many would consider that an open theological question, but others (including the current pontiff, who has had a "bee in his bonnet" about Anglican orders for many years) claim that this rejection is an "infallible teaching". Lastly, the situation is even more complicated from a Roman point of view by the fact that many, many Anglican clerics have two historical lines of orders - one Anglican (rejected by Rome) and the other Orthodox (affirmed by Rome) due to occasional Orthodox participations in Anglican ordinations over the years.

poetreader said...

Well, Brian, that may not be entirely true. Rome does recognize the validity of Orthodox orders, while considering them schismatic, as well as of the 'Oriental Churches' that have even been deemed heretical. It moreover recognizes the sacramental validity of Old Catholic orders (prior to the ordination of women) and of many of the Vagans groups. Rome will recognize Apostolic succession as inhering in ordinations that fulfill their definition of what is necessary.

Rome has, however, painted itself into a corner by denying as a matter of dogma that Anglicanism did indeed preserve the succession. It probably can't get past that one, but many RCs now believe that the participation of Old Catholics in the consecration of Anglican bishops (the famous 'Dutch Touch') may have restored that succession to us.

That being the case, in terms of this document, if we have 'restored' the succession, we would be counted by them as 'churches'. If not, then we would be to them mere 'ecclesial communities', but yet valued Christian brethren. Thus we are betwixt and between.

The document says nothing at all new. What it expresses is precisely what has been said since Vatican II. What is new about it is the warmheartedness I sense.

At the same time that liberals are tearing institutional Christianity to pieces, traditional and conservative Christians are finding an increased level of commonality. Maybe, after all, there is hope that Our Lord's prayer for unity is being heard.

ed

Ohio Anglican said...

The current Pope, though I respect many of his views, in past statements, made it clear that the only way for reunion is for all to submit to the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

This Anglican, for one, could never do that. If I were willing to submit to the authority of the Bishop of Rome, I would have joined the Roman Catholic Church.

Papal Infalibility is something I think most Anglicans in the pews will never accept. Some of our Continuum clergy seem to be willing to do so, but in so doing they would loose their flock.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Ohio Anglican said...

I truly believe only God can rightly judge the validity of any church, or the validity of any church's sacraments. Only God can decide if He will accept as valid the sacraments performed by any church.

The Pope has the right to say that in his human opinion, that certain churches may or may not have valid Holy Orders. We have the right to agree or disagree with his human opinion as well.

But no human being can take the place of God, Himself, and try to judge whether a church or sacraments are valid and acceptable to God.

Even in the obvious lack of Apostolic Succession, no human can say that God will not honor the sacraments performed by a clergyman lacking Apostolic Succession. We can't be sure He will; but we can't be sure He won't either. Only God's opinion even matters in this regard.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

poetreader said...

OK Brian, are you then suggesting, as the more rigid RCs (particularly before V2) have done, that therefore, in the face of such obstacles that someone is not Christian, and that therefore our opinions of each other don't really matter? In the light of Our Lord's prayer for unity, it would seem that we are bound to seek and to work for solutions to such barriers, rather than letting them ossify into impreganble walls. It is His will that we be one. Therefore it must be our will. If we are not, we need to find out how this objective may be approached, rather than canstantly lookong for reasons that it can't be.

ed

poetreader said...

Well, you got another comment in while I was typing. That was for your earlier not. This is for the latest.

Perhaps the ultimate judgment of validity is byond us humans, but the Church, as a visible earthly entity has been entrusted with the keys to the kingdom (Rome gives that to Peter, while I believe it is more widely given), with the assurance that what is bound on earth will be bound in heaven. The Church is visible, and visibly has custody over the mysteries of God. Whether we are competent to judge matters of order or not, we must do so. That is our commission.

You wrote: "But no human being can take the place of God, Himself, and try to judge whether a church or sacraments are valid and acceptable to God."

True, but church order can only exist when it is administered by mortal men doing their best to serve God. Such judgments MUST be made, in deep humility, the humility which says both, "Lord I am not worthy" and, "You, Lord, have told me to do so nonetheless."

Maybe God will honor the attempts of those lacking the Succession who work to administer His Mysteries. I can't judge that. God may do as He will. But the Church can and must determine where the Word and Sacraments are assured to be present.

I, for example, won't receive Communion from even a very godly and otherwise orthodox ECUSA priest who happens to have been 'ordained' by a lady bishop. Possibly God still gives His Body to some through that man, but I must adjudge him not valid as he does not fulfill minimum standards.
Formal validity matters. When we differ about it, that is just one more of the obstacles we must overcome.

ed

Ohio Anglican said...

We presume that in valid Apostolic Succession the sacraments are going to be valid. However, as we have dicovered many times on this Blogsite that they are many disagreements on just who has valid Apostolic Succession.

The Bishop of Rome has just declared all Anglicans to not have valid Apostolic Succession. We in the Continuum, at least, believe we do.

Many in the Continuum have continually argued on this Blogsite that the REC does not have valid Apostolic Orders. Some have argued that they do.

Ultimately, God is the judge of all of that, and He will be the One to sort it out. God, alone, decides whose sacraments He will honor.

We as humans can't make that call; only God can decide what is valid in His eyes.

I am simply saying that the Bishop of Rome does not have the right to make decisions for God any more than you or I. He is a human the same as we are.

For the Roman Catholic Church to declare itself the ONLY VALID CHURCH and demand that all submit to its authority is arrogant, uncharitable, and unChrist-like.

If one were to follow your logic, Poetreader, we should be in the process of having communion with ECUSA. It's interesting that you shun ECUSA, and, yet, are unwilling to see that Rome has changed and created doctrine and practice to its own whim just as ECUSA has done.

Or is it simply that you like the issues on which Rome changed doctrine more than you like the idea of priestesses. That may yet come in the Roman Catholic Church when Benedict dies and a "baby boomer" becomes the Bishop of Rome.

If that prayer for unity applies to Rome, then it must apply to ECUSA as well.

I believe that we, as Continuing Anglicans, are a legitimate church. We are every bit, if not more, legitimate than Rome.


Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Ohio Anglican said...

Poetreader:

I think communion between Rome and Continuing Anglicans would be wonderful.

It is not Continuing Anglicans who are not cooperating.

The TAC apparently has a request for meetings on the table with Rome. The ACC has also approached Rome. It is Rome that has not answered, or even bothered to reply.

It is Rome that has made the statement that we are not a valid church.

It isn't my fault, your fault, or any other Continuing Anglican's fault that there is no communion.

I don't believe we should have jurisdictional unity with them as long as they insist on Papal Infalibility and other doctrines that they hold.

Brian McKee, nO/C.G.S.

Sandra McColl said...

The document says nothing about the Old Catholic Churches. The Anglican Church (as an entity separate from the Roman one) was not 'born out of the Reformation' in the manner of the Lutherans, for example. The schism occurred in the 16th century, and reformation theology infected it, but it kept its bishops. Therefore, I would say the document could be regarded (by us, if not by them) as actually leaving the question about the Anglicans and the Old Catholics unresolved, apart from Leo XIII's embarrassing little tirade. And, indeed, God decides what's 'valid', but we need, with charity and humility, to discern as well as we are able to do.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I have taken time that I do not have to prepare a detailed response. It is too much for a comment.

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2007/07/papal-bull.html

Thomas said...

Earlier today, Ed wrote that "Rome has, however, painted itself into a corner by denying as a matter of dogma that Anglicanism did indeed preserve the succession."

This is not a matter of dogma, which, from an RC perspective requires either a conciliar definition or an extraordinary ex cathedra statement. Romans may debate whether the "invalidity of Anglican orders" is a consistent and universal teaching of the "ordinary magisterium," and therefore, infallible. (Personally, since the argument hinges almost entirely upon historical circumstances and requires the interpretation of the motives of persons long dead, I think it a bit difficult to place it in this category. Benedict XVI disagrees.)

Anonymous said...

I am (for the moment anyway) a deacon in a continuing Anglican jurisdiction. I must say that most of you are suffering from the same delusions that have plagued continuing Anglicans for years. We are all, for the most part, members of what can only be objectively described as tiny splinter groups born of schism. And yet we walk around with our noses in the air and our chests puffed up with the certainty that we're the "true Church" and that we have it all right because of our supposed theological purity and our intellectual and liturgical superiority.

Wake up! Continuing Anglicanism is on life support and it's time for the plug to be pulled. Most jurisdictions are aging rapidly and shrinking just as rapidly and all this excited talk of unity is a complete pipe dream.

Yep, that's right. We're more legitimate than Rome. We're growing and RC is on the decline. Any day now, the Vatican will close down and we'll all look to a united Anglican Continuum for orthodox catholic leadership. Rome has painted themselves into a corner and the vast and powerful continuing Anglican coalition is going to deliver the final righteous blow that will expose Rome as a fraud from the very beginning. And finally - that's right, Rome is just like ECUSA, only they went off the reservation before ECUSA into pure heresy.

Sad, sad, sad.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Two points:

1) Thomas is both right and wrong. Yes, the 1896 Roman Catholic position on Anglican orders is not dogma; but Pope Benedict XVI is one of those who has made it very clear that it is not dogma, so he does not disagree (see my post on this).

2) Mr. Anonymous has said something based on a different perspective than mine. The Continuing Anglicans, joined by others of an Anglican Diaspora (a phrase I would like to see catch on), are only growing in number. The fact that the people need established orthodox Anglican churches for these growing numbers is one main reason why the old divisions must cease. Nonetheless, the "circle of three"- a limitation I do not recognize as anything more than pure hogwash- may find themselves to be increasingly irrelevant if they remain in their divisive "one true church" mentality.

And, frankly, I am tired of hearing about the +Chambers Sussession. What we believe in is Apostolic Succession, which is not limited to one tiny little stream.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

On what evidence do you base your assertion that the "Anglican Diaspora" is only growing. I was told for years that the jurisdiction I'm currently in was growing. It was pure hogwash. Frankly, I'm no longer satisfied with anecdotal accounts of growth from anyone in any continuing Anglican jurisdiction. Let's see some real evidence.

Sandra McColl said...

Thank you, Fr Hart, I have been scratching my head and searching my Bible and Fathers for reference to this 'Chambers' from whom all valid orders flow--in vain.

Thomas said...

Fr. Hart, I don't mean to be contentious, but Benedict XVI has pubicly stated that the "invalidity of Anglican orders" is one example of an infallible teaching articulated by the "ordinary Magisterium," (as opposed to the "extraordinary Magisterium - conciliar definitions and ex cathedra statements). When I wrote, "Benedict disagrees" I was saying that he clearly disagrees with my position that matters of historical circumstances (as opposed to purely doctrinal questions) probably cannot be subject to such teaching. Unless he disagreed with that premise, he would not be able to urge the "invalidity of Anglican orders" as one example of an "infallible teaching." I hope I am not being opaque.

Thomas

John said...

Oh boy!

Let me point out that I agree with anonymous that the CC is smaller than any jurisdiction is willing to let on. Wit the closely help parochial reports.

As to Anglican Orders being invalid because a Pope said so let me point out this...

During the period betwee HENRY VIII departure and Elizabeth 1 being excommunicated by Pius V, There were 6 Popes who never questioned the Orders of Anglican Orders and never believed or made accusation that a "new" Church had been formed by Henry .

The problem Rome has with it's inconsistantcy is that either Rome left millions of souls in the hands of infidels and vagantes, without so much as a word of dispute thus committing a heinous crime and sin or it's Popes who claim infallability are contradicting one another. Pope Benadict reinforces this problem because if he is saying Anglican Orders are invalid he is saying 6 Popes abandoned millions to an invalid church. Unthinkable! THE SUCCESSORS TO ST. PETER LEAVING THE FAITHFUL TO A FALSE CHURCH!

Think about it. We may be pathetic as Continuing Church man but we did not abandon the faithful, how ever few, to the Episcopalians in the 70's and as a recent 'convert' I am thankful to have a place to worship that is as close to the right way as I can understand.


John

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Thomas

I regard your latest comment as a clarification; so, we are on the same page about what Pope Benedict XVI was saying. Now, on a related topic, when Graham Leonard was being conditionally ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, then Cardinal Ratzinger, based on the Old Catholic Infusion in the case of the consecrator of the former Church of England Bishop of London, has been reported to have said (by a witness I know to be always truthful) "why are we ordaining this man to the priesthood when he is almost certainly already a bishop?"

Of course, that is another subject, since the whole history of the Infusion begins in 1930, well after 1896.

Thomas said...

If true and accurate, Fr Hart, this anecdote about then-Cardinal Ratzinger's comments at Graham Leonard's 'ordination' is quite distressing. Why? Because if that is his opinion, why on earth would he promulgate this recent document with no reference to the issue at all? At best, it is ham-handed, and at worst, it shows an intolerance for theological nuance. (Frankly, after 20-odd years of weighty, profound, and poetic encyclicals, I am feeling this week as if we're living through the Cliff Notes Pontificate.) Btw, I'd like to continue this dialogue (which doesn't seem to be of interest to many here) offline, if you can tell me how to reach you.

Thomas

Sandra McColl said...

Thomas, I'm sorry you find the present Pope disappointing. I find him quite refreshing, and, apart from his ecclesiology, in many of his writings quite Anglican. I also think he's in a bind. I think he suspects that Anglican orders are valid--and not necessarily because they were validated in latter days by the OCs (which might satisfy a Roman, but would make me ask why I bother to remain in such a tradition, if some of the best bits of it were invalid), and I think he's not alone. But while, since the time of Paul VI, Rome was working on a way of accepting the truth that Leo XIII was wrong and recognising Anglican orders without losing face, the Anglicans went and did something very silly which gave Rome reason to call the whole orders thing back into question, and no incentive to progress the reconciliation issue. The omission of specific mention of Anglicans in the latest document (and OCs as well) leaves us with some hope that some serious thinking is still going on in Rome. If the Pope has a bee in his bonnet (or perhaps a mozzie in his mitre) about Anglican orders, perhaps it's because he's basically an honest man with a well-schooled conscience who knows that a way needs to be negotiated delicately out of the position of intellectual dishonesty in which Rome finds itself.

William Tighe said...

"During the period between HENRY VIII departure and Elizabeth 1 being excommunicated by Pius V, There were 6 Popes who never questioned the Orders of Anglican Orders and never believed or made accusation that a "new" Church had been formed by Henry."

This is simply flat-out mistaken, historically, from start to finish. No pope has ever, after 1550, recognized "Anglican Orders." Two papal bulls of Pope Paul IV, "Praeclara Clarissimi" (June 20, 1555) and "Regimini Universalis" (October 30, 1555) laid down that all clergy in the Church of england who had been ordained under any rite other than that of the Catholic Church (i.e., the Pontifical) were to be reordained absolutely. Previously, Cardinal Pole had hesitated between requiring them to be ordained, de novo and absolutely, and requiring only those ceremonies prescribed by the rites of the Pontifical but which had been omitted from Cranmer's Ordinals of 1550 and 1552 to be conferred. And Pole's previous hesitations about reordaining those "prdained" under Cranmer's Ordinal were NOT shared by those fellow-bishops of his who had gone along with Henry's break with Rome and then been deprived and imprisoned under Edward for their refusal to accept or use the Prayer Book and Ordinal. To quote from a private letter sent to me some years ago by my friend Fr. John Hunwicke of Forward-in-Faith/UK: "The claim that "they [the Marian Catholic bishops] do not commonly depose ... for the sole reason of their having been ordained according to the Ordinals of 1550 or 1552" is absurd: "A Profitable and Necessary Doctrine" (1556), written by Bishop Bonner and one of his chaplains, a series of homilies ordered by Pole to be read in the Diocese of Gloucester in 1555), speaks of "the late made Ministers ... in the new devised Ordination, having no authoritie ... to offer ... these late counterfeited Ministers ...." Without going through all the evidence again I feel confident that Messinger and Co win that argument conclusively" (concerning the constant non-acceptance of Anglican Orders by Rome).

William Tighe said...

"If true and accurate, Fr Hart, this anecdote about then-Cardinal Ratzinger's comments at Graham Leonard's 'ordination' is quite distressing."

Well, I have never heard of this anecdote, and until I can trace its source I won't believe it. What I have heard (and that on very good authority indeed) is that Graham Leonard agreed to ask Rome to look into the question of his presbyteral orders only, and left the question of his episcopal orders aside. Rome came to the conclusion that he might have made a compelling case for his episcopal orders (based entirely on the "Dutch Touch") but that there was a more slender possibility (based on the same "touch") concerning his priestly orders, and so on that basis they allowed his priestly ordination to proceed sub conditione. (And note that the other three C of E bishops who became RC afterwards, Rutt of Leicester, Klyberg of Fulham and Meyers of Dorchester, who could make the same claim as GL about their presbyteral orders but NOT about their episcopal orders, were ordained absolutely to the RC priesthood). It bears repetition again and again that the only basis (in Rome's view) for ordaining ex-Anglican clergy sub conditione relates to the Dutch Touch -- except in the case (if it ever comes to that) of Clarence Pope who, when he was consecrated Bishop-Coadjutor of Fort Worth around 1983, made sure that among his consecrators was the former ECUSA Bishop of the Rio Grande, Richard Trelease, a man who had to take early retirement for philandering, but who, at his own consecration in 1973, had the unexpected experience of having the then RC Archbishop of Santa Fe, Joseph Davis or Davies, who had been invited as an "ecumenical guest" for the occasion, come up and join in the act of consecration (praying the consecration prayer, laying-on his hands and all) as fully as if he had been one of the ECUSA bishops acting as consecrators.

William Tighe said...

"I think he suspects that Anglican orders are valid--and not necessarily because they were validated in latter days by the OCs (which might satisfy a Roman, but would make me ask why I bother to remain in such a tradition, if some of the best bits of it were invalid), and I think he's not alone."

You may entertain any "suspicion" that you like, but as one who can say that he has read everything that Ratzinger has ever said about Anglicanism or Anglican Orders I find no evidence whatsoever to support your "suspicion" -- and from English RC clergy friends (one in particular) who has worked closely with Papa Ratzi in the past I have gathered that the only basis whatsoever on which he has discussed the possible validity of the Orders of some Anglican clergy is precisely the "Dutch Touch" (and other analogous "touches" if such there be, as in the case of Clarence Pope).

As far as "the omission of OCs" from the document is concerned, there is a simply explanation for that: the Polish National Catholic Church is regarded and treated by the RC Church to all intents and purposes as though it were an Eastern Church; and the remaining Union of Utrecht Old Cahtolic Churches, having adopted both then pretended "ordination" of women and (most of them) the "blessing" of same-sex "partnerships" as well, no longer are viewed by Rome (any more than "Canterbury communion" Anglican churches) as anything other than bodies with whom one maintains polite diplomatic relations and theological conversations, but with no more prospect of sacramental communion than with,say, the Church of Sweden.

William Tighe said...

"... perhaps it's because he's basically an honest man with a well-schooled conscience who knows that a way needs to be negotiated delicately out of the position of intellectual dishonesty in which Rome finds itself."

Or perhaps (and more likely) it's because you simply don't know what you're talking about.

Anonymous said...

What is the Church: BCP (1928 American)

"Question. When were you made a member of the Church?
Answer. I was made a member of the Church when I was baptized.
Question. What is the Church?
Answer. The Church is the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head, and all baptized people are the members.
Question. How is the Church described in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds?
Answer. The Church is described in the Creeds as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.
Question. What do we mean by these words?
Answer. We mean that the Church is
One; because it is one Body under one Head;
Holy; because the Holy Spirit dwells in it, and sanctifies its members;
Catholic; because it is universal, holding earnestly the Faith for all time, in all countries, and for all people; and is sent to preach the Gospel to the whole world;
Apostolic; because it continues stedfastly in the Apostles' teaching and fellowship."

All of these issues regarding the nature of the Church and who is part of it have been rehashed countless times over the past five centuries (since the Reformation) as well as countless times before that. It would behoove those of us who are Anglicans to know what our tradition says about such matters. Would it be too much to suggest sources such as the historical, classical, Cranmerian Books of Common Prayer as well as the great Anglican divines of the 16th and 17th centuries (Jewel, Hooker, Andrewes, etc.) as a starting point?

Fr. Robert Whitaker (ACC)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

No Roman Catholic theologian can make a public statement that denies the official teaching of the Magesterium, and especially not a bishop, and especially not the Pope (who has less wiggle-room than anybody, contrary to what most people think).

What I have pointed out, however, is that most people have misunderstood the whole point of his refence to Apostolicae Curae in Ad Tuendam Fidem. He was, as subtle as it may seem to have been, distingushing a teaching that is binding on all faithful Catholics (in the RC sense) from a higher kind of teaching yet, absolute, revealed dogma that can never change. I made this point in the post directly above this one (with the deliberately provocative title "Papal Bull"), and do not want to do so again. But, I believe firmly that only one reason remains as to why Apostolicae Curae has not been, and cannot be, rescinded (and the only reason why it was not rescinded by Pope Paul VI, in fact).

The 1896 Bull is an elephant in the living room, and so to ignore it is impossible. But the same can be said for the current state of apostate Anglicanism in the Canterbury Club, which does cause a problem for Rome. Once women were being "ordained" how could Rome simply recognize Anglican orders? Even we do not recognize many Anglican orders, which is one reason why we are in exile. And, with the C of E, TEC and other notorious national churches going out of their way to make fools of themselves in the eys of the whole world, by embracing heresies that even atheists find ridiculous, how could Rome rescind anything that keeps their people out of the wrong pews?

But, whatever one may think of the TAC's ecumenical efforts with Rome, it is clear that Pope Benedict is not hostile to orthodox Anglicans like us.

Jim said...

I will concede to Mr. Tighe that I may be wrong, but it does seem that, notwithstandng Apostolicae Curae, Rome has some questions of the validity of Anglican orders. If not, why would Cardinals Murphy-O'Connor and Kasper think that it was necessary to warn the Church of England last year that consecrating women as bishops would be a barrier to unity? If there were already no valid priests or bishops in the Church of England, then a woman 'bishop' would be no less valid than a man. The only difference would be that a man could be ordained by Rome, while the woman could not.

William Tighe said...

Jim,

I think the reason is that Rome had tacitly concluded that Anglican churches were Catholic in "structure and intent," even if Anglican Orders were/are invalid, and that either they could be rendered valid through the "Dutch Touch" or else, if sacramental reconciliation seemed a realistic prospect, that Anglicans might be willing to accept conditional reconsecrations, at least at an episcopal or archiepiscopal level, to obviate Roman doubts or scruples on that matter. It may be, in all this, that Rome underestimated the strength of both "Liberalism" and "Evangelicalism" in Anglican churches (just as the Orthodox, in the heyday of their "good opinion" of Anglicanism from the 1920s to ca. 1970, seem to have thought that the dominant element in the Anglican Communion was, and would remain, the "non-papal Western Catholic" one), but I think that it was a noble and generous "conversion of heart" ("iconized" by Pope Paul VI's giving his episcopal ring to Archbishop Ramsey) on Rome's part -- and one on which the churches of the Canterbury Communion effectively spurned by their embrace of WO and "theological libertinism" generally (or else, in reaction, embracing firmly Evangelical views). If Rome feels that "it was had" (or that "it allowed itself to be gulled") by Anglicans, is it any wonder, both that it would be radically unwillling to repeat its mistake and that it has a case of "confused counsels" about Continuing Anglican churches?

Victor said...

what is the current state of the Continuing Church? I see that an "anonymous" asked about numbers in the CC that goes unanswered-- also, it seems to me (with everything I am reading on this blog and others) that the CC is really in a struggle right now-- seems like a lot of personal politics and power struggles going on at the moment.

Furthermore, as someone considering the CC, I am really not so sure, I may not necessarily like the modern liturgies of Rome, but seems to me that they are much more stable than any in this sea of Acronyms--ACC, ACA, APCK, AMIA, FIFNA, UECNA, TAC, et. al

How much of the separation from Rome deals strictly with REAL and TRUE issues of theology and how much is due to this sense of Anglo-Nationalism (ie pride)-- which is something I seem to find is predominant in CC parishes and clergy?

How many of you have read the Apologia Pro Vita Sua by Cardinal Newman? Seems to me that he had a lot of this stuff right over 100 years ago.

Preparing to Swim the Tiber,

Victor

Fr. Robert Hart said...

My own reasons for not swimming the Tiber are as follows: It would require that I believe what they teach on Universal Primacy, Papal Infallibility, and their status as the One True Church. I do not believe in any of these things, and neither do I believe in such things as indulgences, even by the modern definition. In fact, the idea of "merits of the saints" that produces credits applied to sinners, based on the error of supererogation, does deny the suffiency of Christ's "once for all" offering of Himself as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Furthermore, all of these things are still RC dogma, and found in their otherwise excellent Catechism.

To answer another point:
Whether or not the big CC jurisdictions are growing, the Anglican Diaspora is. If we are as orthodox as we say, then it is our duty to clean up our house and then go to the shore to welcome the life boats.