Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Not Clear

In what follows it is important to remember that each of the four of us who post here state opinions that may or may not be shared by the whole group. So, in this I am speaking only for myself in order to "share in robust, if polite, discussion..."

I appreciate the open statement by Archbishop Mark Haverland of the ACC (the Anglican Catholic Church) that was posted here on August 26th. The request for clarification from the TAC-ACA (the Traditional Anglican Communion, with its branch in the United States, the Anglican Church in America) is a positive and responsible approach by the Metropolitan of the ACC in what can be interpreted as a move toward unity. Nonetheless, we still have a problem of undefined standards, and apparent inconsistency in the application of principles. Furthermore, the ACC position on the subject of communio in sacris status with churches of the Anglican Communion symbolically " headed" by the See of Canterbury is shared with none of the other jurisdictions, as far as can be determined. As a result, the state of full communion between the ACC, the APCK (Anglican Province of Christ the King) and the UEC (United Episcopal Church), recently called "the circle of three," seems like a case of selectively applied principles, which still leaves us with the apparent selection of the TAC-ACA for exclusion based on principles apparently not extended to the APCK.

The APCK does have clergy who are still licensed in the Episcopal Church. I know of one of these men because his ministry preceded my arrival in Arizona. He served the people of the same mission church before I arrived. He is an Episcopal priest (a fine man who serves both God and his country by placing himself willingly in harm's way as a navy chaplain), and he has been welcomed and licensed to minister as a priest in the Diocese of the Southwestern States, Anglican Province of Christ the King for a few years now. He is not the only such priest ministering in the APCK.

If I understand the ACC's principles in this matter, they are not able in good conscience to be in a state of communio in sacris with any church body that is itself in a state of communio in sacris with any church of the official Anglican Communion. It does not matter if a diocese is under a bishop who is himself fully orthodox in doctrine, a man who does not "ordain" women or approve of any other heresies. Because that diocese is in a church of the official Anglican Communion, as the ACC appears to be saying, that bishop is treated as no different from the revisionists themselves. If a member church of the Anglican Communion has kept itself pure from revision, from all the trendy heresies of doctrine and morals, but is in communion with Canterbury, then the same principle applies to that entire "national church of the Anglican Communion." This applies to American bishops of the Episcopal Church, such as Bishops Iker, Ackerman and Schofield, and to whole churches such as the Anglican Church of Nigeria and its Primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola.

I do not consider myself qualified to judge the ACC in this matter, either to approve or disapprove. But, this principle that they have developed over the years was never agreed upon by the entire Continuum as a movement- which has never really agreed on anything that states principles since the Affirmation of St. Louis itself, written in 1977 with a clause that states the intention of remaining within the Anglican Communion and with the See of Canterbury specifically. Obviously, as that was written before the immediate rejection of the Continuing Church by then Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggin (who tried to kill the whole movement at its birth in January 1978), and before the Church of England itself approved the "ordination" of women in 1992, we do not expect any church of the Continuum to abide by that original commitment.

Nonetheless, the principle currently stated as a reason why clarification is needed from the TAC-ACA, should apply to the same "circle of three" that has agreed among its member bodies to be in a state of full communio in sacris with each other. How can the ACC be in the state of communio in sacris with a church that allows within its jurisdiction the ministry of currently licensed priests of the Episcopal Church, and yet claim to stand firm on this principle? Here I am making no judgment concerning the widely stated principle of the ACC, or concerning the APCK for allowing certain Episcopal clergymen to minister as priests within it. The purpose of writing this is to point to an area that needs definition and clarification beyond what Archbishop Haverland wrote, and some definition and agreement among the wider Continuum.

26 comments:

LP said...

A few relevant (hopefully) thoughts and considerations. (Those with greater theological education and pastoral experience [i.e. any] can correct me where I err.)



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DOCUMENTATION of the TAC situation (variously described elsewhere by Fr. Hollister and others)

There are links here:
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18902745&postID=6211782588581929935
which show the TAC's more or less "official" statements of intercommunion between the TAC and the Lambeth Communion (just above Fr. Hart's commentary on the same) to show some of the "facts of the case".

It would be helpful to see similar "facts of the case" on issues mentioned here -- at least, if that's appropriate.



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On PRESENT DAY ANGLICANISM

The situation of Anglicanism today is very different from the origins of the Continuing Church. The polarization is no longer a mainly American phenomenon, but one which has spread worldwide.

I think Fr. Hart makes a good point that the "absolute separating" of the C.C.s from the "Lambeth Communion" as a whole is an innovation, in the sense that it wasn't conceived in the 70s -- but I think others make a good observation that, in these changed circumstances, it's arguably desireable for such a clear and unambiguous division _should_ be made to help the Church's witness.

Rather than facilitating Anglicans in remaining in a disintegrating and increasingly apostate communion as their own "official" bishops quietly steal their parishes out from under them, perhaps it might be better to facilitate their departure while there are still people there energetic and informed enough to leave.


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On "THEOLOGY IN ACTION"

It is also, I think, dangerously unorthodox and uncatholic to act as if the jurisdictional identity of sacramental orders and acts is irrelevant or unimportant -- for a C.C. clergyman to move between a "Continuing" and a "Lambeth" jurisdiction teaches his congregations very clearly that jurisidictions, bishops and sacraments don't matter all that much: for it implies a protestant & congregationalist theology & ecclesiology which says that all that matters is what you, as an individual layperson (or a particular congregation), think and believe.


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On EPISCOPAL VS CLERICAL

In dealing with issues about communio in sacris between jurisdictions, we are dealing with bishops, not priests or deacons. After all, "where the bishop is, there is the Church"... it is at the episcopal level that catholic jurisdictions are or are not united. The sacramental authority of a priest is that of his bishop, not his own.

This is one reason why the Anglican Communion worldwide has reacted to the ordination of an openly gay bishop rather than the many openly gay priests and deacons which predated VGR, despite the fact that the Biblical violation is the same in both cases.

Accordingly, I think there is a significant theological difference between having a multi-jurisdictional priest and a multi-jurisdictional bishop. The priest can, as it were, wear two hats (two collars?) in a way a bishop can't wear two mitres.

Now, this isn't to excuse the clerical case, merely to point out a salient difference. If you, as a jurisdiction, really believe another jurisdiction to be apostate, eyebrows should be raised if you, nevertheless, entrust teaching and sacramental authority to a priest who, simultaneously, acts in the name and with the authority of an apostate bishop or jurisdiction to another congregation -- that could be quiet problematic.

But, at least logically, it's one thing to have a priest who exercises the sacramental authority of one bishop to one congregation and another bishop to another congregation -- it's quite another to have a bishop who exercises the same apostolic and sacramental authority in two supposedly discrete jurisdictions.


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On the WAY FORWARD

I think the issue of communio in sacris and clear jurisdictional separations is an important one -- and one of the places where the Continuum, if it is to remain at all relevant as more and more Anglican spin-offs emerge, BADLY needs clarity and unambiguous, well-enforced policies.

And I think the ACC's challenge is a good one -- particularly if it is understood as "here is something we need to, together, work to achieve clarity on" rather than as "here is something where we are right and you other people are wrong."

Even the APCK, for all that it may have multi-jurisdictional priests, supposedly "officially" rejects the sacramental validity of the Episcopal church's acts -- I believe it was at the same Pilgrimage which had the ill-fated hosting of ACC and ACA bishops that Archbishop Morse proposed and passed legislation that the APCK would, henceforth, regard all PECUSA sacraments (including confirmations etc) as invalid, requiring conditional readministration of them should new members join.


Perhaps now, as the Anglican Communion disintegrates and re-forms into several separate communions, it finally is the proper time for the Continuing churches to decide -- and make a clear and unambiguous statement in uncompromised teaching, polity and practice -- what sort of ecclesiology they believe.


pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I believe it was at the same Pilgrimage which had the ill-fated hosting of ACC and ACA bishops that Archbishop Morse proposed and passed legislation that the APCK would, henceforth, regard all PECUSA sacraments (including confirmations etc) as invalid, requiring conditional readministration of them should new members join.

Well, that has not happened in the APCK- and in the case of baptisms where the Trinitarian Name is used, it shouldn't. I tried to reason with the APCK bishop that I was under about the need to take a serious look at their 1979 Confirmation Rite, and he just didn't get it. I addressed a letter to all the bishops through him, and I suppose he just sat on it.

Fact- whatever was supposed to happen after that Fond du Lac pilgrimage has not happened. They accept ECUSA clergy as if they were validly ordained, and they have no provision for conditional Confirmation.

My point in the post is to ask for clarification in a matter where the ACC seems to be applying its absolute principle selectively and inconsistently.

poetreader said...

LP. You raise some really valid questions. Every single point you brought up needs to be discussed in the process of bribnging the scandalous disunity of the Continuum into a shape at least similar to the shape of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Yes, we are part of that majestic and mystical entity, but we seem to be doing everything in our power to mask that fact.

What I observe in questions of this nature, however, is that these are not questions of the esse of the Church, but of how the church should express its catholicity. So let's discuss them. For any fragmanted portion of the Continuing Church to make up its mind on its own and to judge everyone else by it, even if such decision is formally correct, is, in its essence and intent, approaching to the schismatic.

You made a marvelous statment:

And I think the ACC's challenge is a good one -- particularly if it is understood as "here is something we need to, together, work to achieve clarity on" rather than as "here is something where we are right and you other people are wrong."

I believe both ACC and ACA have erred in judging the other to be plain wrong. It's time to sort these things out and reconcile. That requuires willingness of both sides to be corrected in the process.

ed

R. Toad said...

Boys and Girls of the Continuum,

I'd like to weigh in here, if for no other reason then I haven't come up with a good piece for my own blog this week.

LP states:

Archbishop Morse proposed and passed legislation that the APCK would, henceforth, regard all PECUSA sacraments (including confirmations etc) as invalid, requiring conditional readministration of them should new members join.

No, LP-sorry. Deduct 200 points and lose the Majorcan vacation. The Toad queried a friend who was there at the time--both times, actually. It was the Pilgrimage before the "Fond du Lac Festival of Snub" that involved a vote of the APCK clergy (done to impress an aging but unfailingly affable Abp. John-Charles) not to be involved in ECUSA formal liturgy or to receive public Sacraments from those wicked evildoers no matter who they are. There assuredly was no pronouncement of a fatwa on ECUSA or CofE or any other "Canterbury Communion" Sacraments. If there were, the APCK would have a bit of 'splainin to do.

You see the notion in LP's post is contradicted not only by the example Fr. Hart offers, but by one Fr. Martin, an ECUSA (or is it TEC) priest who teaches at St. Joseph of Aramathea and says a Mass up there. He even has a little dinner for the Cal Crew team who rent the bulk of the joint to keep it afloat. (Bit of irony, that...rowers...afloat...)

This doesn't touch on the orthodox CofE priests who have been licensed to serve in the APCK over the years. Oh, yes, from whence cometh Bishop Morrison's holy orders? For that matter, wasn't the much claimed Bp. Chambers a (drum roll, please) an Episcopalian? Oh, but that was when they were good Episcopalians.

Even the anaethematized other bodies get in on the act. Good grief, I hear there is even a-gasp-ACA priest serving an APCK mission, as others have done in the past. Oh, my, how will UECNA take that when they hear? Looks like that concordat with the ACC will be on the rocks.

When we get down in the weeds, the issue of spotting the faithful, valid, orthodox priest is a bit harder than making a magisterial pronouncement on a particular date or body. (Note, if there is to be a magisterium, the Toad will go for a real one, and not one of the Athenian sort.)

Heck, it's a little bit like the Arian period, isn't it? don't we have to ally with the orthodox where we can find 'em? (A comment guaranteed to provoke a flurry among those with too much tome on their hands and a copy of "Arianism After Arius" on the bookshelf.)

So, let's play another round of "Spot the Donatist". Who will pass today's Ecclesiastic Reinheitsgebot? HINT: It won't be the APCK. Rawk, rawk, rawk!*

Yr. Obed. Serv.,

R. Toad, DD-VS (Very Specious), LSMFT
*The sound of one Toad barking.

LP said...

---
It was the Pilgrimage before the "Fond du Lac Festival of Snub" that involved a vote of the APCK clergy (done to impress an aging but unfailingly affable Abp. John-Charles) not to be involved in ECUSA formal liturgy or to receive public Sacraments from those wicked evildoers no matter who they are
---

Upon reflection, I relize you're right about the date.

I'm nearly certain, however, that one of the "examples" given as to what was "meant" by the legislation that was passed was that PECUSAn episcopal acts such as confirmation should be judged as invalid, or at least as uncertain.
I don't know if there was a "date" put on that -- e.g. whether it was confirmations/ordinations/etc _after_ the date of that legislation or if it was to be retroactive. Nor do I know how consistently or uniformly the legislation was adopted.

Anyway, my point was not so much about the minutia of the legislation (on which my own memory is fuzzy and my own knowledge is only 2nd hand), but on the more general point that this concern -- at least in theory -- with the "validity" of episcopal acts of PECUSA bishops isn't one which is unique to the ACC.

Whether the ACC, the APCK, or anybody else has been "consistent" in their application... well, you'd have to ask more informed and "in the loop" and "behind the scenes" people than this poor layman.


---
I tried to reason with the APCK bishop that I was under about the need to take a serious look at their 1979 Confirmation Rite, and he just didn't get it.
---

Very odd, particularly if I'm right in remembering that it was (or should have been) "on the books" since the meeting mentioned above that confirmations needed to be redone.


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For any fragmanted portion of the Continuing Church to make up its mind on its own and to judge everyone else by it, even if such decision is formally correct, is, in its essence and intent, approaching to the schismatic.
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Hm, for what it's worth, I'd personally moderate this by observing that in so far as any individual C.C. is applying the basic theological & ecclesiological principles of the Ecumenical Councils, it is not schismatic -- rather, it's simply living up to the foundational parameters outlined in the _Affirmation_.

Rather than saying any C.C. is "schismatic" for attempting, in good faith, to live up to those standards, perhaps we should simply say that the most eirenic and fraternal approach in attmpeting to move toward greater coordination and unity would be for the jurisdiction to consult with others about the proper _application_ of those shared standards in this day and age (along with a willingness to revisit and reevaluate its own practices)... even while each jurisdiction continues to apply these standards within its own walls as its bishops and councils have judged best.


----
Oh, yes, from whence cometh Bishop Morrison's holy orders? For that matter, wasn't the much claimed Bp. Chambers a (drum roll, please) an Episcopalian?
----

Um... am I right in thinking that even if a jurisdiciton is judged _now_ so apostate as to throw the sacramental acts of its episcopacy into doubt (as its bishops may be judged formally heretical for not having diassociated themselves from the apostates, as catholic ecclesiology demands), that doesn't invalidate its _former_ sacramental acts, such as confirmation or ordination?

So if a priest was ordained in 1997, and all PECUSAn episcopal acts judged to be invalid (or at least uncertain) after 2003, that wouldn't mean that the 1997 ordination was retroactively invalid, would it?



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Good grief, I hear there is even a-gasp-ACA priest serving an APCK mission, as others have done in the past. Oh, my, how will UECNA take that when they hear?
---

Does my "episcopal vs clerical" point fit into this discussion at all? Isn't it one thing to have an ACA priest serve in an APCK mission and quite another for the APCK to accept -- at the episcopal level -- full communio in sacris with the ACA? Or am I making far to fine or theoretical a distinction on that point?


---
Heck, it's a little bit like the Arian period, isn't it? don't we have to ally with the orthodox where we can find 'em?
----

Despite the theological clairities of Nicaea, the confused political and ecclesiastical climate which ensued for the following decades wasn't really clarified (at least for the most part) until Constantinople, when the issues and their ramifications had been generally sussed out, the shifting (and often ambiguous) relationships between the different "parties" clarified, and unambiguous delineations made between catholic and heretical.

Perhaps what we're reflecting on here is the sense that, if the _Affirmation_ represented the Nicaea for anglocatholics, what we really need now is the ecclesiastical unity, clarity, and distinctions (in both theology & jurisdictional affiliations) of a Constantinople?


Maybe, as the Continuum tries to pull itself together (so that genuine anglocatholicism can survive at all), part of the process will require that the various "nebulous" or "ambiguous" or "temporary" or "expedient" arrangements and practices of the early decades be clarified and regularized -- that more clearly demarkated practices and teaching be established (and lived out) where in the past (out of either necessity or expedience) such clarity hasn't been had?



pax,
LP

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

I'm afraid this whole discussion is premised on a false conflation of two quite distinct things. Whose orders a Church recognises as valid is a separate question to with whom it is in full communion. For example, the RCC recognises the Orders of the EOC but is not in communion with it.

That the APCK has accepted (at least some) ECUSA orders conferred after the lapse of ECUSA into heresy, whereas the ACC does not, is not news. It has been noted by Fr Hart and myself before on this blog. And it is an issue that will have to be faced. However, it is good to hear that the issue has been raised internally within the APCK already.

Nevertheless, what I have seen no evidence of so far is that the APCK is or has claimed to be presently in full communion with ECUSA, the C of E, other Anglican Provonces or subgroups within them such as Forward in Faith. That is the issue that divides the ACC, APCK and UECNA presently from the TAC, which does have full communion with FiF and other Anglican dioceses and provinces which remain in Eucharistic communion with the heterodox Province of Canterbury. The problem is not that this puts the TAC in mediate communion with Canterbury, but that it is in full communion with groups that do not subscribe to the same Catholic principle accepted by the RCC and EOC, and that led to the existence of the Continuing Churches in the first place. What principle? That it is not permitted to remain part of or in communion with manifestly heretical Churches.

Our friend the Barking Toad refers to further examples of ECUSA clergy licensed to officiate within the APCK without being conditionally reordained or leaving ECUSA. Again, while this is problematic in the ACC's view, it is not the same as recognising ECUSA or any part of it as intrinsically Catholic or Orthodox. A significant number of older ECUSA priests would have orders recognised by the ACC anyway. If a validly ordained and personally orthodox ECUSA priest maintains some connection, even if nominal, with that Church after joining the APCK, this is bad. But this would not imply recognition of ECUSA's proper ecclesiality by the APCK as such. (I would be interested to know whether the APCK bishops had a policy of receiving such men on the basis of letters dimissory from their previous bishop or simply on their own authority, treating the license they gave as effectively conferred ab initio.)

Another point being made by the BT, though somewhat abstrusely, is that the demand that the orthodox definitively separate from and excise from communion the heterodox was not followed strictly by many orthodox bishops during the Arian crisis, and that there was a transitional period of much confusion. This is true, and is well recounted in Puller's famous work "Primitive Saints and the See of Rome". However, what the BT and the many others who often almost reflexedly bring up this precedent forget is that it was precisely this temporary mess that convinced the Church to be much firmer later on.

So, Nestorianism and Eutychianism were given a sharper and clearer response. Indeed, it was one of the very canons resulting from the Nestorian crisis that was appealed to by Continuers in the beginning and that demanded clear repudiation of and separation from heretical hierarchies. Thus this is not Donatism, it is Catholicism. Also, part of the reason for the continued communion with "semi-Arians" by earlier orthodox (some canonised!) bishops was that it was not so clear then as it is now that Nicaea I was a finally authoritative "Ecumenical Council" --it was the first one, after all -- and the scruples of the semi-Arians about the wording of the Nicene Creed were, in the judgement of many Fathers then, more the result of ignorance or misunderstanding than genuine heresy. The situation is very different now. There is no doubt amongst orthodox Catholics that the ordination of women is excluded by the constant teaching of the "ordinary magisterium", as the RCs call it. And there is no doubt that, unlike in large parts of Christendom during the Arian crisis, Anglican Catholics have genuinely available alternatives to remaining under or in communion with heterodox bishops. There is no need for most orthodox Anglicans to remain in lapsed Churches wherever the Continuing Churches have established their jurisdiction, and there is no reason for otherwise orthodox Anglican provinces to remain in the Anglican Communion at all. On the contrary, their own principles demand the very opposite.

John said...

I am puzzled. Somebody help me out.

If ECUSA Bishop Albert Chambers were to rise up and walk into ++Haverlands office (stunned reaction aside) and say "I want to serve as a simple priest in one of your churches in need" would the ACC require him to be reordained? Could he take Communion from an ACC priest without renouncing his TEC standing which he did not do when he ordained the original four?

By my read even the Bishop who ordained the first Continuing Bishops no longer is pure enough to be in Communion with the Communion he helped create. An odd metamorphosis!

If the ACC would give him Communion their whole argument is dashed, if they would reordain him then ought they not themselves seek reordination by some other Bishop in some other Communion? If they refuse him do they not cast doubt on their own Orders. If they would recieve him without reordination or his renouncing of ECUSA, and he did not, how can they not recieve others?

Chambers was and still is an Episcopal Bishop dead or not.

John said...

LP says "This is one reason why the Anglican Communion worldwide has reacted to the ordination of an openly gay bishop rather than the many openly gay priests and deacons which predated VGR, despite the fact that the Biblical violation is the same in both cases."

I don't agree I think it was just pure embarrassment in front of the sects of Evangelicals. They want no change in doctrine and only aspire to be semi-orthodox. They simply want the Episcopal Church pre GC 03.

John said...

"Fact- whatever was supposed to happen after that Fond du Lac pilgrimage has not happened. They accept ECUSA clergy as if they were validly ordained, and they have no provision for conditional Confirmation. "

This must mean that the ACC accepts them as well through the new"circle of three" unity drive.
It all seems doubleminded to me.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I remind my colleague Fr. Kirby that I am asking for clarification and definition, not making a case. His reply presents a step in that direction. Still, we have a problem (and, by the way, the Episcopal priests serving in the APCK were ordained with the '79 Rite, and not very long ago). Acceptance of the ECUSA clergymen as priests of both communions, the APCK and the Episcopal Church simultaneously, rather than with renunciation of former orders and a break with the heretical church, is not in keeping with valid Catholic principles. This is acceptable to the APCK, but not to the ACC; in principle it is the same sort of thing that the ACC sees as a barrier to the TAC-ACA. The issue of when and by whom the orders were conferred is not the real issue here, rather ongoing acceptance of "dual citizenship." If "dual citizenship" is not formal full communion, it is full communion in practice.
The reason it is an issue here is because, as has been stated, it is an issue between the ACC and the TAC-ACA, but not between the ACC and the APCK.

To LP:

Sorry, but no matter what ++Morse and his bishops discussed at Fond du Lac that year, nothing of the kind has even so much as begun in practice. If it was discussed, or even enacted as "legislation" it was immediately forgotten. They ain't doin'it!

LP said...

----
If ECUSA Bishop Albert Chambers were to rise up and walk into ++Haverlands office (stunned reaction aside) and say "I want to serve as a simple priest in one of your churches in need" would the ACC require him to be reordained?
----

There are several quite logically and theologically distinct issues which need to be kept clear in the mind.

I'm not trying to approve or disapprove of any of these, nor to argue merits or cases, but merely point out the distinctions.

Someone please correct me if I've erred.



(1) Validity of sacraments then vs now.

If the Continuum were to decide that the Lambeth Communion is apostate since 2003 and all episcopal acts done within PECUSA since then invalid (or dubious), that doesn't per invalidate episcopal actions before that date.

Thus the orders of a priest or bishop ordained in 1993 would not be in doubt the way those in 2004 would be.


(2) Validity of orders vs validity of acts

Among the conditions required, in the traditional orthodox & catholic understanding of sacraments, is for both there to be, to speak colloquially, both a proper "performer" and "context" for the sacrament.

As Fr. Kirby has pointed out, it's possible to accept the validity of a jurisdiction's orders but not of its sacraments -- as the RC does toward some other groups. In this case the "performer" is acceptable but the "context" isn't.

Thus if Bp. Chambers were to offer to serve as a priest in the ACC, since his orders are valid (see #1) and since the "context" would then be appropriate (an orthodox rather than a heterodox jurisdiction), there would be no need for reconsacration.

This does not mean, however, either that present-day PECUSA ordinations are, ipso facto recognized as valid, nor that its sacraments are. Maybe they are; maybe they aren't. That's irrelevant to the determination in this thought experiment about whether to let Bp. Chambers transfer into the ACC as a priest.


(3) Approval of an individual vs approval of a jurisdiction

It's one thing to judge an individual "orthodox" in their personal beliefs.

It's a second thing to invite a priest from one jurisdiction to transfer to a new jurisdiction.

It's a third thing to invite a priest from one jurisdiction to serve simultaneously in another jurisdiction.

It's a fourth thing to affirm full communio in sacris with another diocese or jurisdiction.



pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It's a third thing to invite a priest from one jurisdiction to serve simultaneously in another jurisdiction.

It's a fourth thing to affirm full communio in sacris with another diocese or jurisdiction.


Theologically, and logically, point 3 and point 4 cannot be "another thing." There is no practical application of this distinction possible in real life.

LP said...

----
Theologically, and logically, point 3 and point 4 cannot be "another thing." There is no practical application of this distinction possible in real life.
----

Can't they?

I agree that, in real life, the distinction becomes somewhat meaningless -- and it is, in any case, a very poor message to send to the orthodox laity.

For if the heterodox jurisdiction really is heterodox, and if its flaws are upon sufficiently substantial and essential theological matters so as to justify a new jurisdiction, then to have a priest of the "orthodox" jurisdiction continuing to function in and support the heterodox one is, it seems to me, both confusing and deeply troubling.


Nevertheless, theologically/logically, it's not the same as communio in sacris, is it?


Consider: from the point of view of the "orthodox", if the episcopal acts and sacraments of the heterodox jurisdiction are void because of that jurisdiction's apostasy, then the acts of the priests in them are also void and thus, in a sense, "irrelevant".

Take the case here in southern IN, where PECUSA has a bishopess. Even a validly-ordained and personally orthodox priest in this diocese cannot administer valid (perhaps one should say "assuredly valid" or "jurisdictionally valid" or something?) sacraments -- not only is the jurisdiction apostate, but local clergy are not under the authority of any bishop, since the "bishop" of the diocese is, in point of fact, a laywoman.

Accordingly, what such a priest does in his PECUSA parish is non-sacramental. (At least re the Eucharist.)

Thus if he were to be quietly functioning under the authority of an actual bishop, in the Continuum, at the same time, the issue of communio in sacris wouldn't come up, because there'd be only one parish which had sacraments, i.e. the Continuing one.

This is a very different case from one in which a Continuing jurisdiction stated that it was "in communion" with a Lambeth diocese & bishop -- for in that case, that C.C. jurisdiciton, by its very recognition, would be explicitly stating as valid and acceptable the Lambeth diocese/bishop's present teaching and sacraments -- which it doesn't do in the former case.



Now, I"m not saying I think that such dual-citizenship priests is smart policy, especially for what it teaches the laity.

And while one could come up with various "exceptional" scenarios in which such an arrangement might be considered as a temporary expedient, I can't help but think that there would be, in most if not all cases, _better_ solutions which would preserve a better sacramental witness.

For example, if there's a startup Continuing parish which has no local clergy but a willing (and personally orthodox - er, insofar as that's possible - PECUSA priest), why not have the bishop supply him with a set of preconsecrated hosts and have him do a deacon's mass? Etc.


Nevertheless, while I certainly agree with you (for whatever that's worth) on the "practical" side of things, it seems to me (also for whatever that's worth) that on the theological level that there is a genuine and significant (though perhaps abstruse) difference between the two scenarios.


pax,
LP

MassAnglican2000 said...

As an observer of the CC for a few decades I am curious about the position of the ACC/APCK/UEC not to be in a state of communio in sacris with any church of the official Anglican Communion because that jurisdiction can change. Churches are dynamic, not static and we should all hold out hope for repentance and amendment even at the institutional level. It would make more sense if they were to reject being in a state of communio in sacris with any ecclesiastical body that ordains women to the priesthood, or consecrates unrepentant fornicators to the office of a bishop, or name the heresy. But to reject the "Anglican Communion" smells like bigotry. It is also ironic that the "Anglican" Catholic Church and the "Anglican" Province of Christ the King seek to distance themselves from Anglicans worldwide. "Episcopal" is blacklisted, I guess "Anglican" is next.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

LP

The danger in your comment is that it may lead us to think that we can separate theology from "the real world." I know that is not what you are saying; still, we live in the real world, and it is in this real world that the Word was made flesh.

MassAnglcian2000:

I don't know that it's bigotry. I ask, rather, if it is a shade too legalistic and simplistic. For example, knowing the orthodoxy and the fight of the FiF people, I cannot agree with the ACC that communion with them is communion with the revisionists. I say that it is no such thing. They are our allies in the same fight.

John A. Hollister said...

I suspect that the Toad already knew he answer when he asked, "from whence cometh Bishop Morrison's holy orders? For that matter, wasn't the much claimed Bp. Chambers a (drum roll, please) an Episcopalian? Oh, but that was when they were good Episcopalians."

However, even if his quesion was in reality merely rhetorical, some others obviously took it seriously. So, here goes.

When Bp. Chambers went to Denver in January, 1978, there joined with Bp. Pagtakhan to consecrate the first four Bishops for the Continuing Church, his personal episcopal Orders long predated the theological doubts about PECUSA's Orders that were the ultimate cause of the Continuers withdrawal from PECUSA and the Ang. Ch. of Canada.

Even more to the point, Bp. Chambers' acts in Denver were not done on behalf of, or with the authority of, PECUSA. Quite to the contrary: they were bitterly denounced by PECUSA, which did everything it could to prevent him from doing them in the first place.

So those four consecrations were not appeals to PECUSA's jurisdiction or authority, or acknowledgements of PECUSA's legitimacy. Instead, they were acts of schism -- although a very necessary schism -- from ECUSA. (Let's not take out time and space here to hash over the distinctions between "schism within the Church" and "schism from the Church", which are irrelevant to this particular argument.)

It is precisely that objective rejection of PECUSA's authority that rendered those consecrations unquestionably valid because it acknowledged and certified that PECUSA was in the process of departing from the Catholic Faith.

Now, if that same Bishop Chambers had consecrated a Bishop or ordained a Priest in January, 1980, for and on behalf of PECUSA, and using PECUSA's 1979 "Ordinal", I would have grave doubts about whether that consecration or ordination was unquestionably valid. This doubt arises not because Bp. Chambers did not possess the episcopal Orders to do it, for indeed he did. Instead, it arises because with the adoption of the 1979 "Prayer Book"
and related legislation, PECUSA jettisoned the old Apostolic ministry and substituted therefor a new, unisex ministry of its own creation.

Thus, after that date, EVERY ordination within PECUSA and authorized by PECUSA, whether of a man or of a woman, has presumptively been to this new, self-created ministry, not to the old Apostolic one. After all, PECUSA itself says that the newly-ordained men and the newly-ordained women are all being installed into the same ministry and we know a priori that the women can't be admitted into the old one. So, taking PECUSA at its word, we must assume that both are now being admitted into the new one. That is why we can have no confidence in any "Orders" conferred by PECUSA after the critical dates.

John A. Hollister+

Albion Land said...

A notice to Rev'd Up:

Your latest comment, made on this thread, has been rejected.

Another one like that, and you will be banned.

Albion Land, blog owner

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

I must disagree with the following:

"If "dual citizenship" is not formal full communion, it is full communion in practice."

Full communion between churches, as is generally acknowledged, must include (at least) either the following explicit acts by those churches or the stated intention to do them when opportunity or need arises:

1. Each church allowing any of its members in good standing to access the Most Holy Sacrament ministered by the other church freely.

2. Clergy, acting as representatives for the distinct bodies, concelebrating the Liturgy.

3. Each church participating in the other's episcopal consecrations.

Accepting clergy who have not renounced the jurisdiction they have been serving is certainly not enough to prove one is in communion with that jurisdiction. It is enough to prove a disappointing refusal to force issues that should be forced with incoming clergy when the other jurisdiction is heretical. However, as I hinted at above, if the APCK accepts and licences such men without any reference or deference to their ECUSA bishop, they are not recognising ECUSA at all, though they are allowing the clergyman to continue to do so, which is wrong, as we both agree.

And we agree that the clergy you refer to should have been conditionally ordained, and that the APCK has in practice accepted the certain validity of present ECUSA orders when they are in fact of doubtful validity. (I should note at this point that the very Western argument against validity based on deficient intention, put forward by Canon Hollister and many others before him, is one I find unconvincing for various reasons. But that is a somewhat moot point, since I think a more Eastern analysis leaves validity doubtful anyway, as shown in the Athens Report of 1978.)

Now, the evidence clearly indicates that conditions 1 to 3 are satisfied by the TAC's relationship with Forward in Faith and with certain dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion. It also indicates, to the best of my knoweldge, that 1 to 3 are not satisfied by the APCK's position with respect to ECUSA, Forward in Faith or other churches in the Anglican Communion.

John A. Hollister said...

massanglican2000 wrote,

"I am curious about the position of the ACC/APCK/UEC not to be in a state of communio in sacris with any church of the official Anglican Communion because that jurisdiction can change. Churches are dynamic, not static and we should all hold out hope for repentance and amendment even at the institutional level....

"...

"It is also ironic that the "Anglican" Catholic Church and the "Anglican" Province of Christ the King seek to distance themselves from Anglicans worldwide."

Yes, a jurisdiction can change and yes, we do hope fervently for repentence and amendment. And, if one of the currently Lambeth-affiliated Provinces or Dioceses were to reject the heresy of women's "ordination" and the other heresies contained in, for example, the 1979 "Prayer Book", and were to sever its relationship to the Lambeth Communion, I am sure the "Circle of Three" would welcome it with open arms and would work with it to solve the Sacramental problems that had arisen by virtue of its affiliation with Lambeth between 1992 and the date of its departure.

No, the ACC, the APCK, and the UECNA do not seek to distance themselves from other Anglicans. What has happened is that "official" Anglicans, those who are franchised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, have distanced themselves from the traditional Anglican expression of the Faith and from that Faith itself. Therefore they have also distanced themselves from those who continue to hold that Faith.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Kirby

Your point 2 comes very close to the situation. The ECUSA priests licensed in the APCK are not concelebrating at a single Mass, that is, representing both bodies in the same service at the same altar. But, what is happening is almost the same thing, and in very practical terms it may as well be. The message to the congregation I was trying to teach and pastor had been clear- Episcopal Church and APCK, six of one half a dozen of the other.

The ACC has defined what it sees as full communio in sacris, and by that definition the APCK may very narrowly fit through the crack. But, that crack looks a little too much like a loophole to me, and the result is still enough to confuse people. But, at least we have arrived at a clearer definition of the ACC's position, and have demonstrated the obvious fact that it is not shared by the APCK.

I still find it impossible to think of the people in FiF as one with the revisionists, since their entire existence is for the purpose of upholding the very principles in our own Affirmation of St. Louis. They have taken their stand to fight for the preservation of sacramental validity against the heresy of women's "ordination." Whatever formal ties may exist between them and Canterbury are simply part of the realities of this confusing time, and their effort to steer a course through it all. I believe they have no future with Canterbury unless a miracle happens and the AC repents (there are precedents, so I do not rule that out). They need to see that for themselves. But, that hardly makes their sacraments invalid.

PrayerBookCatholic said...

I still find it impossible to think of the people in FiF as one with the revisionists, since their entire existence is for the purpose of upholding the very principles in our own Affirmation of St. Louis. They have taken their stand to fight for the preservation of sacramental validity against the heresy of women's "ordination." Whatever formal ties may exist between them and Canterbury are simply part of the realities of this confusing time, and their effort to steer a course through it all. . . . But, that hardly makes their sacraments invalid.

Unless one holds a highly mechanical, super-Scholastic, and extreme Roman Catholic view of the sacraments and of sacramental grace ex opere operato, which surely no one in the ACC could possibly hold! :)

LP said...

----
The danger in your comment is that it may lead us to think that we can separate theology from "the real world." I know that is not what you are saying; still, we live in the real world, and it is in this real world that the Word was made flesh.
----

The Word made flesh, yes, but "not by the conversion of the godhead into flesh, but by the taking up of the manhood into God."

The fact that we live in the "real world" does not destroy theology -- we should not say "practicalities first, and theology only a distant second" any more than we should, neoArians, say "humanity first, and divinity only a distant second."

We cannot separate the "in the world" and the "theological", no, no more than one can separate the two Natures within the one Subject, but neither can we, monophysites, destroy one nature by the other.


Yet to say "this looks very similar in the real world, therefore the theological distinction is irrelevant" is to do precisely this.

By the same token, one might argue that -- because it looks the same "in the real world" or "to the secular eye" -- a man divorced from a secular, non-sacramental, non-Christian marriage and a man divorced (secularly) from a sacramental, Christian marriage should be treated the same: both allowed to remarry sacramentally or both forbidden. Yet the two cases are quite distinct - and Scripture itself permits the former to remarry but condemns the latter as an adulterer should he do so.

That theology is not made irrelevant just because the situations are superficially similar "in the real world".


Now, mind you, I'm not approving of the two-jurisdictions-simultaneously priest approach. I think that's both muddled and confusing as anything other than a temporary expedient in the most unusual cases, for all the reasons cited here, scandalizing & confusing the laity being chief among them.


But the theological fact is (at least if I understand it aright) that there is a significant difference between one individual serving in two different capacities under two different bishops (or supposed bishops) in two different jurisdictions, and the "acceptance" at the episcopal level of one jurisdiction or diocese by another.

Are the issues related? - yes. Are there, in cases, similarities "on the ground" in their application? - yes. But the two cases remain, nevertheless, theologically distinct.



So if we are going to have a theological discussion about the question of communio in sacris and jurisdictional relations, then I do not think we can casually throw out key theological distinctions just because, in practice, different cases appear similar to the untheological observer -- for that would be at least as dangerous and 'monophysitical' as to determine the strict theological parameters and then apply them as an unreflective straightjacket without considering how they might best be applied (with both integrity and compassion) to particular circumstances.



pax,
LP

LP said...

----
They have taken their stand to fight for the preservation of sacramental validity against the heresy of women's "ordination." Whatever formal ties may exist between them and Canterbury are simply part of the realities of this confusing time, and their effort to steer a course through it all.
----

So has the ACA. So has the ACC.

The question is not one of intentions, but of theology.


The basic question is "how does one 'preserve sacramental validity'?"

This is an essential question, for if one group's approach to do so inadvertently undermines that very validity, then their witness is dangerously corrupted - for they offer (unwittingly) a false hope and pretense of such preservation which, by that very misguiding, can be worse than actual honeset rejection of it.


The first basic question -- before getting into "cases" of "who's right" etc -- is this:

1) What is required for a jurisdiction to have valid sacraments?

And, closely related, is:

1A) What official changes to a jurisdiction's teaching or practice will, ipso facto, invalidate its subsequent sacramental acts?


The second basic question is this:

2) Does mantaining and practicing full communion with an apostate or sacramentally-invalid jurisdiction violate catholic teaching and practice?

From which follow several important considerations:

2A) If so, is maintaining such communion sufficient to throw doubt upon the sacraments of the in-communion-with-the-apostates jurisdiction? (I.e. is this part of the answer to #1 above?)

2B) What rules or practices (sacramental, ecclesiastical, canonical) constitute, implicitly or explicitly, "maintaining and practicing full communion"?


Only then might a reasoned and objective answer be given, useful to particular cases and relationships, to the question:

3A) By contrast, what rules or practices don't rise to that level, but are inadvisable on other grounds (e.g. a confused witness to the world or the scandalization of the laity)...

3B) ...and what rules/practices in attempting to reach out to the laity trapped in those other jurisdictions are commendable?



None of this -- particularly questions in the 1 and 2 group -- is up to us to "make up".

Rather, these are issues and questions which have already been considered and adjudicated by the Church.


A reflective theological & historical discussion of 1 and 2 (avoiding all heated particulars of what this or that Continuing or Anglican jurisdiction may or may not have done), based upon those authorities which all the Continuing Churches confess -- Scripture, Tradition, and the consensus of the Fathers -- might help set the stage for a more fraternal subsequent examination of those particulars.

Perhaps a new thread -- undertaking this non-Continuum-specific theological discussion and review (and avoiding all "is the ACC right" or "is the ACA right" or "is FiF coherent" questions) -- would be appropriate?


pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

That theology is not made irrelevant just because the situations are superficially similar "in the real world".

Why are you inverting the meaning of my words? The fact that Word took created nature into His uncreated Person means that every truth of theology invades the reality of this created world, and that nothing escapes the effect. Theology must invade the areas we call "practical" and overwhelm them; I do not mean in academic terms, but rather by the working of the Holy Ghost, even or especially in those places we, as sinners, would rather not invite Him.

But the theological fact is (at least if I understand it aright) that there is a significant difference between one individual serving in two different capacities under two different bishops (or supposed bishops) in two different jurisdictions, and the "acceptance" at the episcopal level of one jurisdiction or diocese by another.

How so? If one jurisdiction is heretical and the other orthodox, how can this be?

Are the issues related? - yes. Are there, in cases, similarities "on the ground" in their application? - yes. But the two cases remain, nevertheless, theologically distinct.

How can they be theologically distinct when, in every practical way, they overlap? Theology, as "Queen of the sciences," is reality. Like medicine, its academic side is inseparably joined to its practical side.

LP said...

----
How can they be theologically distinct when, in every practical way, they overlap?
----

If I understand it correctly, the difference boils down to this:

Suppose you, a Continuum bishop, believe a bishop in the local PECUSA diocese to be heretical/apostate - or even not a bishop (e.g. bishopesses).

You therefore believe that the supposed "sacraments" within that PECUSA diocese are invalid. There is no surety of sacramental grace in the eucharists offered at those parishes. Indeed, you believe that it is a fact that there are NO true eucharists offered at those parishes (e.g. in a diocese with a "female bishop"), though of course there may well be lots of good prayer and fellowship in many individual parishes.

Now suppose you, as a bishop, accept and license into your jurisdiction a man who is a priest in such a local PECUSA diocese, a man whom you feel to be validly ordained (e.g. pre-1979) and orthodox in his preaching. You send him, bearing your sacramental authority, to offer _valid_ eucharists in one of your parishes.

By doing so you are not, ipso facto, saying that you think that his PECUSA diocese is acceptable or its eucharists sacramentally valid. "Theologically" the non-sacramental things he does there are as irrelevant as would be his "day job" if he were a doctor, lawyer, primary school teacher, or truck driver.

Now, _practically_, this is a very bad witness to people, for it sends all the wrong messages and _implies_ an acceptance of that other jurisdiction. For that reason alone, it would be better to come up with some other expedient -- e.g. deacon's masses from pre-consacrated hosts until he steps down as PECUSA priest.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that to give him your episcopal authority to serve as one of your priests does not, ipso facto, say you believe his "simultaneous" jurisdiction to be valid. It may _imply_ it. It may give the impression that the priest thinks both to be valid. It may send grossly misleading signals to laity in both congregtions. It may be a foolish and ill-conceived decision. But it doesn't actually necessitate either an implicit or explicit acceptance of that other jurisdiction.

That was my case "third thing".


My "fourth thing" - recognition by one bishop of another bishop - differs because it _does_ require such acceptance -- indeed, it _is_ that acceptance itself.

This "fourth thing" says, perforce, that you believe that other diocese to be sacramentally valid, and that you believe the eucharists offered in that diocese to be valid. That if you take on a priest from this diocese to function in your parish in addition to his earlier parish, that you believe him to offer a valid eucharist in _both_ dioceses and parishes, not just your own.


It's this distinction -- a genuine theological difference, even if looking "similar" on the ground (just as the two divorced men in my last post's analogy looked "similar" on the ground despite the vast sacramental differences in their two situations) -- which is why I discriminated between "third thing" and "fourth thing" in my list.


I agree with you that the kind of double-parish/bishop/jurisdiction situation of case "three" is inappropriate, misleading, and probably not even the best temporary expedient in most cases.

Nevertheless, it does not require a recognition of the other diocese/jurisdiction's validity, nor does it establish communio in sacris, the way the recognition of one bishop by another does.


At least if I understand the theology of the two cases correctly.



pax,
LP

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, the cases that have to light are not "for instance," or "what if?" or any sort of theory. If the TAC-ACA were to do the same thing as the APCK, it would be presented as a reason for keeping apart- in fact, cases that are almost similar have been treated so already.