Thursday, January 31, 2008

Distinctive Anglican theology

I have not written anti-Roman tracts on this blog; I have written pro-Anglican tracts. The problem is, some Roman Catholics treat any defense of our position as an attack on theirs. Furthermore, due to the nature of that communion's teaching, they are in the position of having to defend their attacks on our claims to full Catholic validity against counter-attacks, since anything less does not give sufficient weight to their understanding of Infallibility. Like the extreme Low Church parties in modern Anglicanism, the ones who define their Anglicanism by every wind of doctrine that blows from the mouth of the zeitgeist, as well as those who imagine that their heritage is either Calvinist, or even Anabaptist (such as the confused bleating of Mr. Kennedy's unfortunate sermons), these Roman Catholic apologists are eager to portray Anglicanism as no different from Continental Protestantism of the other Reformations. They are eager to assert that our Ordinal and every principle established by law in the Church of England that preserved Apostolic Succession and Catholic order was a mere accident of history, imposed by Parliament on a group of "wannabe" Geneva Calvinists or Lutherans, or even Zwinglians. This is easy to do as long as one ignores the very deliberate and conservative writings of the bishops and theologians of the second wave of secession under Elizabeth I.

When it suits them , they speak of the "Elizabethan Settlement," but on every other occasion insist there was no settlement; that all were of like mind as Calvinists, with a few exceptions who were more Lutheran (and even fewer who were Zwinglian). Yet, somehow, the Church of England produced a Book of Common Prayer based on the Rule of St. Benedict, a service of Holy Communion that was a simple but dignified Catholic Mass, and an Ordinal that retained the three Orders of ministry (by declared intention in the Preface) combined with laws that required the Apostolic Succession. To prove that this was all an accident, done by mistake against their deepest convictions, quotations from the most radical to the most inquisitive individuals are trotted out, displayed, and triumphantly quoted as if they speak for the Church of England that, in all its laws, acted somehow quite to the contrary. The logic of this exercise has been repeated so often as to have become fact in the minds of these apologists, be they modern Evangelicals of the Anglican Communion, or Roman Catholics- strange bedfellows in a common cause.

This leads me to yet another problem caused by this misinformation: The problem of my fellow High Churchmen who are troubled by the sound and fury of this tale told by...well, others. Since my recent posts have led to questions about my own speculations or "inside information" about the TAC (which I simply don't have), I was not writing in direct response to what has been reported about that jurisdiction. Mainly, this is due to everything we do not know, and to the fact that from Archbishop Hepworth on down, the bishops (at his request) do not grant interviews. The entire episode is, at the present time, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, with all cards held tightly to the chest. The result, surprise, surprise, is an abundance of speculation. At this point I cannot even confirm the reported signing of the RC Catechism in Portsmouth, let alone try to explain to anybody what such an act would have been intended to convey.

Nonetheless, as an Anglican outside the TAC who has been a friend to that jurisdiction, and whose clerical friends are, almost all of them, in it, I have concerns. This report, all the way back in October, tells us as much as we are allowed to know about the thinking of Archbishop Hepworth. As reported in the B.C. Catholic Newspaper on October 29, last year:

When Archbishop Hepworth was in Ottawa last January for the ordination of two auxiliary bishops, he told Salt and Light Television that while many Anglicans have decided to become Catholics as individuals, "we would prefer to approach Rome as a community."

Archbishop Hepworth said he did not underestimate the difficulty of coming into union with the Holy See. "The saying of Anglicans is that if you don't have one Pope, everybody is a Pope, because everybody can make up their minds what is infallible."1

"What is important, and we are having to learn as a community, is to ask not what we think, but what the Church says, and five centuries of bad habits are going to die hard," he said, "but if you ask us if we accept the Magisterium of the Church, yes, and we all have the Catechism of the Catholic Church on our desks and many of us preach from it."

This does not sound like a desire to open discussions, but to submit. For those of us who believe that some of the bad habits of the last five centuries are just as much Roman habits as Anglican habits, and who believe furthermore, that we also have some very good habits of thought that should not be killed off, these words send up a red flag. If this announces a goal of submission, then he has a very big selling job to do among the people of the TAC, which cannot be accomplished by holding cards close to the chest in secrecy; otherwise, if prodded to move, the largest jurisdiction of Continuing Anglicans will not move together, but will simply break apart.

Nonetheless, it may be that the archbishop was saying something different, along the lines that follow.

Bad Habits

Bad habits exist among all of the major branches of Christianity, whether it is the sloppy customs of modern Roman Catholics or the libertine indulgence of Anglicans. One bad habit is acquiescence to disunity among Catholic Christians, and the refusal to enter into meaningful dialogue. However, dialogue requires a defense of important doctrines, and charity compels to honesty about theological differences in essential matters. Reunion can happen only when the conscience of every party is respected, and if a good defense is made of those truths we cannot abandon.

One bad habit we do not have, that the Roman Catholics and Orthodox have, is the delusion of self-sufficiency. Here is where the Branch Fact (that the Church is divided by human weakness, though one in Christ by the Spirit) lends us humility. We, Anglicans, know that we cannot say to other members of the Body of Christ, "I have no need of thee." In the case of the Magisterium in Rome, we need the moral clarity of their teaching. They alone have had the courage and diligence to study the changes of the modern world and its ethical challenges in a thorough manner, and their teaching about morality for this confused age is a goldmine we need to draw from. And, they in turn can learn from our wisdom about the central features of the Gospel, centering more on God's grace and a bit less on complicated religious legislation.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Unlike most Roman Catholics, I have read, and highly value, The Catechism of the Catholic Church that bears Papal Imprimatur from the days of Pope John Paul II. I agree with most of it, and find it a useful theological work for summarizing important doctrines of the Gospel, the sacraments and Church. But, that little word, "most" is a stumbling block for Roman Catholics who consider any deviation from the teaching of the Magisterium to be not only wrong, but a sinful gesture of license, granting oneself "Private judgment" in place of receiving what the Church has taught, what Peter has spoken.

And, they are wrong. I have already refuted the myth of "Private Judgment" for the Red Herring it is. Basing one's beliefs on the highest authority of Scripture as it has been received "always, everywhere and by all," with the clarity of doctrine consistent with the "Undivided Church of the First Millennium" is the very distinctive Anglican theology that we often forget, or claim not to possess. It is a paradox, because the only distinctive Anglican theology that exists is not distinctively Anglican; it is simply Catholic, and as such Evangelical. And, as I have argued before, it is more pure than the doctrine of Rome and of the Protestants because it is free from the innovations of both. The real via media gives no more room for a luxury of "private judgment" than does adherence to the Magisterium in Rome. It leaves the conscience no wiggle room in moral issues. So, to dismiss our stand on conscience as "private judgment" is just plain wrong.

The word "most" is significant. For, one of the things we cannot accept is the full blown theory of the Petrine See as that doctrine has developed after the largely symbolic, but very significant, date of 1054. This, all by itself, means that as a matter of conscience we cannot swim the Tiber as long as this teaching remains defined as is. This is not an anti-Roman position. It is the position that Anglicans have in common with the Orthodox, and with Protestants howbeit with a difference of kind.

I urge those who want to enter into Communion with Rome to value their Anglicanism for what it is. Do not despise it for what it is misrepresented to be, which is an easy and lazy way to shed both its challenges and its light. If discussion takes place, I pray that the best of the via media will be presented, and the pastoral love to save souls in both communions will be examined by the light of all that is best in each. That includes what is best in ours.
__________
1. I have never heard an Anglican say this in my almost 50 years.

41 comments:

An Anglican Cleric said...

Another well deserved "well said."

AC+

poetreader said...

Father Hart,

as a lay member of ACA, I have to (sometimes rather sadly) agree with all that you say here. We don't know what our hierarchy is doing in this matter, and we are being told that we should not want to know. It's been my observation (and I've said so before now), that if they do not want speculation they need to be forthcoming in telling us what actually is going on. Of course there is speculation under these conditions.

That being said, I am sincerely hoping that the objective is really something less than abject submission to Roman distinctives. I know that I am far from alone in finding a small part of the RC Catechism to be unacceptable and (dare I say) uncatholic, papal claims at the forefront.

Let us pray that it is the Lord and not the mistakes of men that carry the day.

ed

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

How do you find the time to produce the seemingly endless stream of pronouncements you post on this blog? Although you are obviously quite intelligent, I wonder how you've come to the apparent belief that your theological ramblings are definitive. I've never seen anyone refer more to their own arguments with such assurance that they leave nothing else legitimate to be said on the subjects addressed.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The brave Anonymous wrote:
I wonder how you've come to the apparent belief that your theological ramblings are definitive.

Isn't it obvious. I'm infallible you ninny.

An Anglican Cleric said...

"I'm infallible you ninny."

I laughed out loud upon reading that.

I wonder where he keeps his cathedra?

AC+

Tom S said...

"I have written pro-Anglican tracts. The problem is, some Roman Catholics treat any defense of our position as an attack on theirs."

Excellent point.

"This, all by itself, means that as a matter of conscience we cannot swim the Tiber as long as this teaching remains defined as is. This is not an anti-Roman position. It is the position that Anglicans have in common with the Orthodox, and with Protestants howbeit with a difference of kind."

A wholehearted agreement on that one. A little more respect for a persons conscience and I would add sincerity in disagreement.

Vatican I is cast in stone, there is no retraction. There is no doubt some Jesuit with 10 times the gray matter that I have,who will qualify the document to death and give the appearance that one does not have to comply with it's teachings, for the benefit of those in visible communion and those outside; that "solution" is IMO simply dishonest to both parties and violates everyones conscience since all are entitled to the truth.

Pope John Paul II seem to hint at using the papacy in a new way in Ut Unum Sint. He refers often to the bishop of Rome rather then Pope of the universal church, which I think was intentional. The papacy will always hold Vat I intact with those formally within the Catholic church, but clearly a different role will be needed in the bishop of Rome's relationship with other communions to achieve any visible unity.

I think a massive analysis of papal documents needs to be done and divest what was stated by the popes using various hats (patriarch, primate, bishop of Rome, or Pope). From about 800 A.D. onwards those various hats seem to be merged into one. This was in part I think to the fact that Antioch and Alexandria fell to Islam and held a feeble number of Christians over time and it's continued growing schism after the council of Trullo was rejected in the west.

And many Roman catholics today view all these documents as papal, but perhaps their more "authority" is more in the area of primate or patriarchial instead.

The bottom line for me anyway is not to have unity so I can share communion with Anglicans and Orthodox as much as that would be a great good; its for non-believers to see a united front as Pope John Paul II said:
"When non-believers meet missionaries who do not agree among themselves, even though they all appeal to Christ, will they be in a position to receive the true message?"Ut Unum Sint-98

Sandra McColl said...

Every Anglican a Pope, or every priest a Pope in his own parish: I've heard it, but generally from people (priests, actually) who are either on the point of apostatising or else who are so papalist that they are everything Fr Hart has been describing.

Nevertheless, there's truth in it. Especially we of recent Canterbury heritage are a rebellious lot. We were let down by our bishops and had to seek and find and choose the truth for ourselves. The papalists would say that's because there is no central authority or because Anglicanism has no authority. I say it's because the authorities that we had decided to turn their backs on the one Authority that matters. Something in the deep recesses of my nature tells me that bishops are people I should trust and obey. Sorry, m'Lords, but too many of your brethren have let me down. Put not your trust in princes . . .

Anonymous said...

Another fine essay, and it is a shame that the anonymous anonymous cannot distinguish between being infallible and simply being right most of the time!

It truly seems impossible for Rome to get around papal claims which we find acceptable for reasons Fr Hart has argued well. That is tragic. All the Popes of my lifetime (Pius XII forward) have been truly great Christian leaders, true men of God.
And what office is better situated to exercise genuine Biblical pastoral leadership? We should keep the Holy Father in our prayers, knowing that what seems impossible to us is truly possible to God. Something tells me that God has a future for the Bishop of Rome as the chief shepherd of His flock. But not until a few Biblical and historical issues have been cleared up.

As for the TAC project, I cannot take it seriously in the least.
Pure Australian baloney.

Laurence K. Wells

tdunbar said...

Taking this posting to be, broadly, about ecclesiology, I'd like to recommend to those wanting to read current Catholic thinking to look at a recently translated book by Maximilian Heim: Joseph Ratzinger: Life in the Church and Living Theology - Fundamentals of Ecclesiology with Reference to Lumen Gentium. Yes, does sound more like a dissertation title. The second edition/English translation (2007) has a forward by Pope Benedict XVI.

I'd like to read something comparable from an Anglican but wouldn't know where to find it. The situation is, in my opinion, much like that within Eastern Orthodoxy: After a lecture a year or two ago, I said to David Bentley Hart that I was looking forward to reading what he had to say about ecclesiology and he replied (not exact quote): I don't know if I have anything to say..everyone has their own opinion...

Which I found rather sad.

tdunbar said...

Wanted: a coherent and comprehensive setting forth of ecclesiology in an in-print book of 300+ pages with some right to authoritively represent contemporary Continuing Anglican understanding.

Wanted: a coherent and comprehensive setting forth of ecclesiology in an in-print book of 300+ pages with some right to authoritively represent contemporary Eastern Orthodox understanding.

Just a Thought said...

Fr Heart,

Thank you for another excellent article. Perhaps you have me in mind as your representative Catholic apologist and I am flattered if that is the case. Please understand that that RCC has a genuine problem with the Anglican claim to apostolic succession. The reason for this is primarily but not limited to the fact that there were no valid holy orders at all in the C of E between 1559 and 1662. This didn't bother the Calvinists who ran the church during that century - holy orders were one of the 5 sacraments they had thrown out. In their view holy orders and a sacrificing priesthood were Popish superstitions.

With the restoration of the monarchy (and the partial restoration of religious ceremony) the C of E brought back a form of holy orders in 1662. But the gap of a century meant that the apostolic succession had been broken. The intention of the break with Rome was further reinforced by the continued conviction and execution of Catholic Priests for the next 250 years or so (just a fact, don't wish to get into the who killed more debate). The intention was central to Anglican identity and was plain, the C of E rejected Rome and all the claims of the Petrine Ministry, which we believe is the source of our Authority tracing back to Christ.

Centuries later some Anglican Priests consider it more authentic to be ordained by Roman Catholic (or EOC) ordinaries who have separated from Rome, though why it should be considered any more so than an ordinary Anglican ordination is beyond me, but that's for another day. What no Church of England vicar can claim however is that this succession was unbroken within their own church. All Anglican claims of apostolic succession rely on the unbroken succession within and from the Roman Church which simply does not exist.

J. Gordon Anderson + said...

I am glad that you mentioned the matter(s) of conscience, and how we still have to grapple with doctrines such as papal primacy. Most (but not all) of the people I know who "swim the Tiber" do so for pragmatic reasons, not spiritual or theological reasons. (e.g. "Rome has a centralized authority which is better to resist heresy with, so I am going there.") The traditional theological issues separating us take a back seat to pragmatic concerns. That is a very "secular" approach to the faith life, if you ask me. Pragmatism is never a good reason to do anything.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells wrote:
It truly seems impossible for Rome to get around papal claims which we find acceptable for reasons Fr Hart has argued well.

I assume the good father meant "unacceptable," and this was a typo. Still, Papal claims that go as far as the second, third and fourth Ecumenical Councils, but do not go into claims we find to be exaggerated, are another matter.

tdunbar said:
After a lecture a year or two ago, I said to David Bentley Hart that I was looking forward to reading what he had to say about ecclesiology and he replied (not exact quote): I don't know if I have anything to say..everyone has their own opinion...
Which I found rather sad.


My younger brother (whom I grudgingly regard as the smartest of the three of us) has very clearly defined views. He finds efforts at ecumenism to be distressing, since he has witnessed the worst of the worst, and he spares no one, even in his own Orthodox Church, due share of criticism.

tdunbar said...

"efforts at ecumenism to be distressing"

However, I wasn't hoping for a book about ecumenism but rather about ecclesiology, with ecumenical concerns ignored as far as one pleased.

Surely there are many philosophical issues (sociological and political) regarding ecclesiology which call out for theological wrestling and purple prose without having to touch the ecumenical tarbaby directly.

Anonymous said...

Just a Thought said "All Anglican claims of apostolic succession rely on the unbroken succession within and from the Roman Church which simply does not exist.".

quick question....What is your thought on PNC orders being mixed into the Anglican Continuum lines. Obviously Rome thinks they are valid?
Deacon David Straw

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Just a Thought:

Please do not be offended in what follows. I know of no way to respond to the propaganda that you have been fed without being very straight to the point in a format (blog comments) that do not provide space for anything else. I undertand that you have not been reading The Continuum for very long, and if I did not already know that, your comment would demonstrate it.

Obviously, we believe that the RC attack on our Orders is a load of horse manure and historical hogwash, to put it mildly and politely. We are certain of these things: There was no gap at all, no break in the Apostolic Succession ever. The lines of valid succession were not broken, at least not until broken in some places in 1976 (which is why we exist outside the official AC). Look at the April 2006 archives, and you will see that we have dealt with these historical inaccuaracies from Rome since the beginning. Rome's position should not be repeated among honest men until they, Rome that is, can answer Saepius Officio, written by the Archbishops of England in 1897, which set straight the distortions of partisan historical fiction created by Rome from the late 16th century until the embarrassingly silly Bull of 1896.

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/
2006_04_01_archive.html

Furthermore, the claim that Calvinists ran the C of E between 1559 and 1662 is not true. Evidently, you have not read the Anglican authors whose names I have raised here, especially Richard Hooker, whose writings were on behalf of the English Church, rather than simply himself. He had nothing good to say about Calvinist ecclesiology. His chapter on "Calvin's Geneva Discipline" in Book I of his "Laws" was clear and to the point.

The Orders of the Anglicans have been defended against the very claims that you have repeated here, though in your simplistic way that indicates a naive streak. Furthermore, you have put forward an argument that Rome itself never made, because it is irrelevant. You said:

The intention was central to Anglican identity and was plain, the C of E rejected Rome and all the claims of the Petrine Ministry, which we believe is the source of our Authority tracing back to Christ.

So, you do not accept the Roman Catholic teaching about the Orders of the Orthodox, the PNC,and the Oriental churches. Interesting.

This is further complicated by the fact that Anglican Orders would have been accepted by Rome in 1976, by Pope Paul VI, if not for the violent interruption of "women priests" in some parts of the AC.

Oddly enough, at the heart of the standard RC argument is the subject of a sacrificing priesthood, rather than the order of Bishop itself. Writing in 1624, speaking for the Anglicans, a priest named William Bedell wrote about sacrifice:

"[If by it we mean] a memory and representation of the true Sacrifice and holy immolation made on the altar of the cross...we do offer the sacrifice for the quick and the dead, by which all their sins are meritoriously expiated, and desiring that by the same, we and all the Church may obtain remission of sins, and all other benefits of Christ's Passion."

On the matter of Intention, it is clear that this is another area in which Rome has revised its thinking in terms acceptable to Anglicans. That is, they came around once again to our way of thinking. Before that the "sacrifices of masses" in the plural, where each one was a sacrifice all by itself, was a popular misconception so vile that it amounted to false doctrine about the very Gospel of our salvation in Christ. Thank God for the Anglican theologians of those early years.

A good book to read is The Anglican Ordinal by Paul Bradshaw.

Also, you do not understand the wording of Article 25. The common usage of the phrase "commonly called," consistent with all of its usages in the Church of England, is an affirmation. The Catechism explains the division of our sacraments, that two are "generally necessary for salvation," and so have a special place. The "sacraments of the Gospel" were instituted by Christ, but the other five were redefined and re-empowered sacraments not of the Gospel, but from the pages of the Old Testament.

I hope you do not feel sucker-punched, and we can still be friends.

poetreader said...

Just a thought,

First, let me say how much your friendliness is appreciated here, even when you are advancing opinions you know we will hate. You are indeed welcome!

Having said that, I have to observe that you could do with some deeper research into just what the problems the RCC has with our orders actually are. We know that those problems exist, and, even though we are quite certain of our stand, we recognize that this is an issue that does need to be discussed and agonized over if the unity Our Lord prayed for is to be visibly achieved.

I've heard exactly the line you repeated above -- but not from any reputable and informed RC source anytime in the last forty or fifty years. It was current when I was a teen, but not since then. What an interesting feeling of deja vu you provided me!

There are indeed well-reasoned objections from your side of the Tiber, and, while we do not accept them, they are indeed matter fit to be discusssed on this board. Just continue to remember (as you have thus far) that you are carrying on this conversation in our living room, and (I don't think you need to hear this, but we've had other guests who do) keep the good manners that that entails.

Welcome, friend, and thanks for the good (if a bit prickly) company. Make yourself at home.

ed

rev'd up said...

Fr. Hart is right that Anglicans have a distinctive and, I would emphasize, valuable theological perspective. A theological perspective RC's would profit from.

I do grow tired of ignorant RC's trying to "convert" Anglicans and flatly pronouncing"Anglican orders are null and void." By their (or Leo XIII's) rationale, Roman orders are just as null and void as are Anglican.

Rome has always in essence said, "if it looks like a sacrament, then its a sacrament." But when it comes to the Anglican reformers it's all about what Rome IMAGINES were the REAL (sinister) INTENTIONS of Cranmer Et Al (though they can't produce a single piece of evidence in support of their fantasy). Can't they see the silliness of their argument? Is it Roman pride?

I certainly hope that the TAC bishops don't have in mind communion with Roman Catholics that what to cozy up to the Talmudic rabbis. To do so would be to violate numerous pronouncements of the 7 Big Councils not to pray with or otherwise associate with Jews. This is the clear teaching of the Fathers and doctors of the universal Church. (See this for more info: http://mauricepinay.blogspot.com/2008/02/something-is-seriously-wrong-here.html ).

It is repugnant enough that some continuing Anglican parishes hold "Lenten Seder meals;" which "meal" is a 7Th century AD invention of the rabbis--no relation to our Lord's last supper.

Anglicanism greatest strength has been its skepticism.

I think this is best illustrated by the Immaculate Conception of Mary, in which I personally believe; yet, I can see how in the minds of the weak this belief (when dogmatized) can lead to the preposterous notion that Mary is a "co-redemptrix" with Jesus. This is over-the-top (dare I say heretical) theology which is not uncommon among RCs. Just as preposterous, was that JP2 wanted to have celibacy declared a dogma of the Church!--so much for infallibility--all he needed was to read his Bible (Oops, Saint Peter was married).

The Greeks have similar issues. To name one, they have a UN-NATURAL infatuation with the epiclesis. When will they figure out that the consecration happens at the words of institution, not the epiclesis? (Oops, some Greek Church's don't use the words of institution; maybe they need to read their Bibles too).

Anglicanism's healthy skepticism has not always saved it's own rear-end, but it is a trait rarely practiced by, and from which, Greek and Roman would greatly benefit.

Sandra McColl said...

Fr Wells, would you are to step outside and explain the relevance of nationality to your opinion of the TAC's Rome project?

Carlos said...

Father Hart,
Right on!

I'm not an expert on the sacraments by any means, so pardon my ignorance on in this area. I did want to address this notion that keeps coming up about "Invalid" ordinations during the "Calvinist" time. It seems that everyone is hampered over this idea of sacrafice as a necessary component to an ordination, as though GOD will not imbue his grace just because we omit verbally certain phrases. But then again, I'm just a college student, so please, correct me where I am wrong. It just seems ridiculous, akin to a Yankee and Rebel arguing over whose side God is on...

- Carlos

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Rev'd up's tone is combative. I welcome open discussions with Roman Catholics on substantive issues.

I do not regard the Orthodox reverence for the Epiclesis as "unnatural." Supernatural, yes. But, the Orthodox belief in this matter is often misunderstood. They do not regard the Epiclesis as the point in which the elements are changed. To them it is impossible to find such a point of time in the Divine Liturgy, which they take as one long prayer with the Mystery that takes hold when it is offered. They do believe that the Epiclesis must be part of that Liturgy, and that without it a necessary part of the Form is missing.

Western Christians place the point of the change in the Words of Institution. Frankly, I prefer the Orthodox belief that it is the whole prayer that Christ uses to take the bread and wine into His own Person and give them back as His Body and Blood in a supernatural and mysterious way that defies all efforts at explanation.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, Father Hart, there is much muddled thinking in all the branches of Christianity, but I wonder if in speaking of doctrinally distinct branches, we don't lose sight of a profound teaching of St. Paul: that the Church is one Body and that Body is Christ's. He is surely speaking of an ontological reality that necessarily dismisses the self-sufficient attitude you observe.

poetreader said...

What a sad, sad, sad thing it is when someone who claims to be a Christian can only define his faith in terms of who it is that he must despise.

This, my dear Rev'd Up, is a thread about the positive values of the Anglican manifestation of the Catholic Tradition. It is not a thread about how horrible the Jews or the Papists or the Eastern Orthodox are. If what you want is a platform for the venom you wish to spew - this is not the place. Go play with your friends on those dreadful sites you keep trying to refer us to. If, on the other hand, you wish to discuss issues in a rational fashion, well, that is what we are here for. I've not seen any indication that that is what you are here for.

As to specifics:

Yes, the Seder is a far later development than the time of our Lord, but it is built upon an underlying foundation of both Scriptural and traditional elements that Our Lord would have recognized. Moreover there are many elements that may well have been taken over from the practice of the early Jewish-Christian congregations, much research seems to hint at that. At any rate the structural and symbolic pattern shows it to be a very close cousin in ritual form to the Eucharist. To refuse its use, appropriately modified, as a teaching tool is to impoverish the flock by depriving its shepherd of the right to teach in that way. I'm not personally sure whether I would use it that way, but I would consider it appropriate in the right hands.

Where in Scripture, or in the tradition of the undivided Church is it specified that the Words are the totality of the Consecration? Whether correct or not, that is a notion developed in the West without consutling the East. Father Hart has that aspect right and I'm with him entirely, and he speaks in accord with classic Anglican thinking on this matter.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The current form of the Seder has elements added after the Jewish people could no longer offer sacrifice, so there is no lamb on the table. But, the Seder itself is the most ancient religious observance still practiced, older than all others. You will find the first Seder in Exodus chapter twelve.

Ed wrote:
There are indeed well-reasoned objections from your side of the Tiber, and, while we do not accept them, they are indeed matter fit to be discusssed on this board.

Ed, I am not aware of anything new in the criticism of our Orders or Ordinal from Rome, unless you speak of the same orders we ourselves reject; namely, the "ordination" of women and (I will say it before Fr. Hollister does) the orders that those orders contaminate.

poetreader said...

I simply refer to the long-standing objections (which are not nearly so bald as were expressed by JAT) to which Rome has committed iself. Unfortunately, part of the ongoing discussion has to include rehashing the reasoning on both sides over and over again until something finally happens.

I'm not aware of any new thinking either.

ed

Just a thought said...

Fr Heart, first your post on the Purification is very good, I am always struck by what Simeon said “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed” [Lk2:35], How this must have played on Mary’s mind over the succeeding years.

Anyway back to the more visceral topic of Anglican Orders. I am just going to make a few points

There was an answer to Saepius Officio but not from the Vatican but by E. C. Messenger in his The Reformation, the Mass, and the Priesthood (1937), It may not be what you expect but I don’t think that the Pope gets into public debate over such matters.

It surely has not escaped your attention that if you see Catholic objections to Anglican orders as an attack then you must surely ascribe the same to the EOC. It is the case that if an Anglican priest wants to be an Orthodox priest, he is reordained outright. (Avoiding the peculiar cases of conditional ordination) This however is not the same for Catholic or Orthodox priests changing Churches, their priestly chrism is not questioned, and indeed both Catholic and EO to would consider this sacrilege

I have looked at my remark and cannot see how it might give you the impression that I do not accept the Roman Catholic teaching about the Orders of the Orthodox, etc, are you just being mischievous?

Poetreader thanks for the welcome, I will not pretend to be as versed as yourself or Fr Heart in Anglican/Christian Apologetics that would just be silly, but in engaging in discussion it broadens my knowledge and I need your stone upon which to sharpen my sword. We have to take seriously that teaching of our church that a conscience is not enough, it must be informed.

rev'd up I have heard the claim we Catholics think of the Blessed Virgin as "co-redemptrix" before but I have yet to meet any Catholic holding that opinion (not that I make a point of asking every one I meet). Roman Catholics hold to the same position (I suspect you do) we have one Saviour Jesus Christ.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Just a Thought:

Sorry, but not true about the EOC.

Encyclical on Anglican Orders
from the Oecumenical Patriarch to the Presidents of the Particular Eastern Orthodox Churches, 1922
[The Holy Synod has studied the report of the Committee and notes:]
1. That the ordination of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury by four bishops is a fact established by history.
2. That in this and subsequent ordinations there are found in their fullness those orthodox and indispensable, visible and sensible elements of valid episcopal ordination - viz. the laying on of hands, the Epiclesis of the All-Holy Spirit and also the purpose to transmit the charisma of the Episcopal ministry.
3. That the orthodox theologians who have scientifically examined the question have almost unanimously come to the same conclusions and have declared themselves as accepting the validity of Anglican Orders.
4. That the practice in the Church affords no indication that the Orthodox Church has ever officially treated the validity of Anglican Orders as in doubt, in such a way as would point to the re-ordination of the Anglican clergy as required in the case of the union of the two Churches.


The above was restated in 1930. Frankly, it was not until 1976 that the Orthodox, due to women’s “ordination” stopped recognizing Anglican orders and allowing their members to receive the sacraments from Anglican priests. Until then when no Orthodox Church was nearby, the Orthodox, with letters from their bishop, were directed to go to Anglican churches and receive sacraments there. They were never allowed to do the same in Roman Catholic churches ever.

For Continuing Anglicans the implication is obvious. The Orthodox ceased to be in this state that must be called a limited “sacramental communion” with the Anglicans (since there is no other way to interpret it; and it is more than was ever the case between the Orthodox and Rome) for the same reason we are not in communion with many modern Anglicans.

Anyway, once again JAT brings up something we have written about and discussed before in great detail. I invite him to look at the archives, especially this.
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/
2006/05/orthodoxy-and-anglicanism-in-road.html

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I forgot to mention that the 1930 Christmas letter also goes a little further, drawing out point four in more detail to say that clergy "coming over to Orthodoxy from Anglicanism do not need to be re-ordained", just as converts "from Anglicanism do not need to be re-baptized."

Anonymous said...

Has there ever been an instance of an Anglican priest's being received "in his orders" into any EO Church? (I the of the case of Bp Robert Waggener, who was ordained ab initio into WR Orthodoxy, in the Antiochian
Orthodox Church.)
Laurence K. Wells

John said...

Just a thought said:

"rev'd up I have heard the claim we Catholics think of the Blessed Virgin as "co-redemptrix" before but I have yet to meet any Catholic holding that opinion (not that I make a point of asking every one I meet). Roman Catholics hold to the same position (I suspect you do) we have one Saviour Jesus Christ."

Up until I heard this heresy with my own ears and eyes out of the mouth of RCC clergy on two occasions on EWTN I always assumed it was a slander by extremist protestants. The presentation on EWTN was up front and blunt not insinuated. The Priest in one show was Philippine. There was no qualification regarding the 'personal views' of the program content from EWTN. This was about a year ago.

This cult does exist and many suspected John Paul of either sympathy or more.

I have no ax to grind with you or anybody on this and rarely agree with "Rev'd Up" but on this rare occasion he has a factual point.



pax,
John

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells:

You asked about Bishop Robert Waggener. Though consecrated to the episcopate by the bishops of the APCK, Archbishop Morse presiding, his ordination the priesthood was in the Episcopal Church, and I believe well after 1979. I think, too, that the Patriarch of Antioch would not know the APCK from Canterbury Anglicanism.

The patriarchs decided that any additional ordination, conditional or flat out, was not necessary, and so they stated in 1922 and 1930. However, I know of no cases between 1922 and 1976 when any Anglican clergyman moved to Orthodoxy. Kallistos Ware, contrary to
popular belief, was never an Anglican clergyman, though he was raised Anglican.

What we know for a fact is that the Orthodox bishops, openly and with full consent from the Patriarchs and Archbishops, allowed Orthodox laity who lived too far from an Orthodox church to attend Anglican churches and receive all of the sacraments from Anglican clergy. This followed, of course, the statements recognizing Anglican orders between 1922 and 1936, and stopped abruptly in 1976 due to women's "ordination." At no time since 1054(or maybe 1204) has any Orthodox Christian been permitted to receive the sacraments from Roman Catholic priests. Vladimir Soloviev did receive Communion from a Roman Catholic priest, and was forced to repent in order to be allowed back into the Orthodox Church.

If not for women's "ordination" the process of trying to join the Anglican Communion as one Church with the Orthodox Church would have continued. Archbishop Athenagoras made this clear in his remarks in 1984 (The Dublin Agreed Statement, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press).

These are historical facts that some people try to deny. Some Roman Catholics refuse to accept the facts, and Orthodox Christians are embarrassed by them. The latter may have something to do with the embarrassment we feel when people mistake us for Episcopalians (in the U.S.) or some other kind of official Canterbury Anglicans.

Frankly, looking to resume talks with the Orthodox would make a lot of sense.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

By the way, Bishop Robert Waggener, now called Fr. Alban Waggener, called me in late May 2005, seeking to weigh my thoughts in the balance as to whether he should become Orthodox or Roman Catholic. In the conversation I did learn that he shared my irritation with modern converts to Orthodoxy who are bent on the trendy anti-western kick.

Before the call he did not know I was about to enter the APCK to be a vicar in the Phoenix valley. When I told him he had some very discouraging things to say about "life in the province." But, all I could recommend was taking a deeper look at Anglicanism, and not leaving. However, the Western Rite is almost completely identical to the Anglican Missal Mass. There are two differences. The Creed without filioque, and more emphasis on change in the Epiclesis (surprise, surprise).

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

JAT,

You said "The reason for this [denial of validity of orders] is primarily but not limited to the fact that there were no valid holy orders at all in the C of E between 1559 and 1662. This didn't bother the Calvinists who ran the church during that century - holy orders were one of the 5 sacraments they had thrown out."

Have you ever heard of or read the writings of Hooker, Bp Andrewes, Abp Laud, Abp Bramhall, Bp Forbes, et al., these and many other anti-Calvinists being some of the most significant spokesmen for and authorities in the C of E for much of that period? Or even acquainted yourself with the basics of the C of E's history in that period? Did you know that Abp Laud was martyred because of his opposition to Calvinists? That Calvinists a little later took over the country precisely in order to get rid of bishops and form their own church, among other things? Have you read what the Anglican Ordinal of that period actually says about Orders in its Preface? Were you not aware that the Prayer Book, far from throwing the other sacraments out, had forms for Confirmation, Marriage and Penance? And that there was only a denial they were "sacraments of the gospel" -- i.e., directly instituted by Jesus -- "generally necessary for salvation", i.e., universally necessary for the salvation of each Christian individual. Or that the other rites were still called sacraments in broader sense either in official documents of the Church or statements by their representatives? Since most of this is basic assumed knowledge for discussion of this period, wouldn't it be better to have read a bit more before you make such statements?

Then you said: "The intention of the break with Rome was further reinforced by the continued conviction and execution of Catholic Priests for the next 250 years or so (just a fact, don't wish to get into the who killed more debate)."

It is difficult to tell what the terminus a quo for your 250 years is, 1559 or 1662. Either way are you really saying priests of the Roman obedience were executed up till either 1809 or 1912? I would be most interested to have you back that up with evidence. Were you not aware that none of those priests who actually were executed in the 16th century were executed for heresy or on any religious charge at all, but for treason? So what does that have to do with the C of E or its sacraments or policy?

Finally, you said: "Centuries later some Anglican Priests consider it more authentic to be ordained by Roman Catholic (or EOC) ordinaries who have separated from Rome, though why it should be considered any more so than an ordinary Anglican ordination is beyond me, but that's for another day."

What RC bishops separated from Rome and ordaining Anglicans are you referring to? What are you talking about? Are you talking about Old Catholics? Were you not aware that those OCs involved in Anglican co-consecrations in the 20th century had never been RC bishops? However, even ignoring that, since you have argued the Form for Anglican Orders was acceptable by 1662 but an acceptable Minister was not available, how could the renewed presence of an acceptable Minister by your standards NOT make a difference by your principles? Do you understand the theology of the sacraments, including the concepts of Form, Minister, Intention, Matter and Subject?

John A. Hollister said...

1. Just A Thought stated it is "the fact that there were no valid holy orders at all in the C of E between 1559 and 1662."

While this is the position that was adopted, on the basis of no credible evidence whatever, by Leo XIII and his mendacious advisers, it is obvious that no serious Anglican places the least credence in it.

And, even if it had some intrinsic merit, which it does not, that does not address the situation that existed, even in those Roman eyes which remain open, between 1617 and 1662. (1617 was, of course, the year in which the "Dalmatian Dubbing" was administered to the Church of England by the R.C. Archbishop of Spalatio, Marco Antonio de Dominis.)

In simple terms, this "argument" or statement commits the fallacy of assuming the truth of the matter that was to be proven.

2. J.A.T. also founded his position, at least in part, on what he claims was "the continued conviction and execution of Catholic Priests for the next 250 years or so". If we consider the period in question to have started in 1549, that would mean these executions were continuing down to 1799, a date at which we know Roman commissaries lived openly in London and pursued their functions unmolested by the English authorities.

If we begin the period of English persecution of Roman clergy in 1570, which is the date at which the Roman Pope successfully raised Roman Catholicism from religious nonconformity to state treason, then by J.A.T.'s reckoning these executions were continuing as late as 1820, a period at which Roman Catholic empancipation from the Penal Laws was an open subject of political debate in Britain -- scarcely the climate in which the populace could have been expected to tolerate autos da fe in the public squares of English towns.

So, get real, J.A.T. What was the last date on which any Roman Catholic suffered execution in Britain on account of his or her fate, and was that still within a time frame that can fairly be regarded as the penumbra of the "national security" threat created by the Roman Pope's purported excommunication of Queen Elizabeth in 1570?

John A. Hollister+

Just a thought said...

Crikey that’s put the cat among the pigeons.

John A. Hollister+ Thank you for the beating, I typed 250 years, I meant to type 150 years, I was thinking 150 years and typed 250, a dissonance between the fingers and the brain, a conniption of coordination, Oh the onset of early senility, what joy and in one so young too. (Getting real John, Getting real)

To answer one of your questions, Paul Atkinson, the last of the confessors in chains, died in Hurst Castle, after thirty years' imprisonment, 15 Oct., 1729 condemned to perpetual imprisonment for his priesthood. The first Martyrs on the Scaffold in 1534 were Elizabeth Barton (The Holy Maid of Kent), with five companions: John Dering, O.S.B., Edward Bocking, O.S.B., Hugh Rich, O.S.F., Richard Masters p., Henry Gold p., 1537. Ok so what’s that, 195 years mmm.. Over my intended estimate but not far short of my mistake. England did not have the uto-da-fe, the Inquisition was never established even under Bloody Mary (With her pyromaniac Majesty at the helm it didn't need to be).


Fr Hart, ignoring the Nags Head nonsense, Parker's consecration was legally valid only by the plenitude of the royal supremacy; the Edwardian Ordinal, which was used, but which had been repealed by Mary Tudor and not re-enacted by the parliament of 1559. The RCC maintains that the particular form of consecration used was insufficient to make a bishop, and therefore represented a break in the Apostolic Succession. I know that the CofE rejects this, arguing that the form of words used made no difference to the substance or validity of the act. So you say it was valid, Rome says it wasn't, I’ll take the Popes Opinion.

Fr Matthew Kirby, you really don't take prisoners do you, you asked a boatload of questions (disguised as accusations), in a rather patronising and very uncharitable manner but we’ll let that pass here’s the answers

Heard of or read the writings - yes and not all
Even acquainted yourself with the basics... - Yes but probably not from the same sources you use.
Abp Laud was martyred because of his opposition to Calvinists, - Ahh the long parliament, I remember it well. What ever happened to the Act of attainder, oh yes it was renamed Internment and used against Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland from 1971 by the same houses of parliament, No never heard of it!
Get rid of bishops and form their own church, .. Yes
Have you read what the Anglican Ordinal of that period actually says. You have me there, no.
Were you not aware that the Prayer Book, far from throwing the other sacraments out, had forms for Confirmation, Marriage and Penance? .. Which Prayer book would that be the 1549 version or the reformed revision in 1552 or the modified version of the 1552 book published in 1559 or the final major revision published in 1662. So many books so little time

Anyway I’ll see your Hooker, Bp Andrewes, Abp Laud, Abp Bramhall, Bp Forbes, et al and raise you Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603), John Rainolds (1549-1607), Robert Browne (1550-1633), John Flavel (1628-1691), John Smyth (1554-1612), William Perkins (1558-1602), Paul Baynes (c.1560-1617), Arthur Hildersham (1563-1632), Thomas Gataker (1574-1654), Joseph Hall (1574-1656), William Ames (1576-1633), John Davenant (1576-1641), Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), William Twisse (1578-1646), William Gouge (1578-1653), James Ussher (1581-1656) , John Ball (1585-1640), Joseph Mede (1586-1638), John Preston (1587-1628), Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646), Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), Edward Reynolds (1599-1676), Hanserd Knollys (1599-1691), Tobias Crisp (1600-1643), Edmund Calamy (1600-1666), Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680), John Trapp (1601-1669), Joseph Caryl (1602-1673), John Lightfoot (1602-1675), John Milton (1608-1674), Thomas Brooks (1608-1680), all Calvinists, all Calvanists that controlled the Edwardian, Elizabethan and Republican Church in England.


Well anyway enough of the grilling I think. I corrected the 250 years see above.

On the subject of execution, it had to be treason because a catholic cannot be a heretic from Anglicanism but the reverse can be true. Please don’t repeat that rubbish about Jesuit hit squads out to kill the Queen Its like the Jew and Muslims of Spain, they were never convicted under Heresy because they were not of the faith. They could be convicted of not leaving the country (or pretending to convert) the conversos.

What RC bishops separated from Rome and ordaining Anglicans are you referring to? You can read all about the Old Catholics here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Catholics

In 1925 the Old Catholics recognized the validity of Anglican ordinations, and from 1932 they have been in full communion with Anglicans, alternatively you can read The Old Catholic Churches and Anglican Orders. C.B. Moss. The Christian East, January, 1926.


John
I accept what you say about EWTN but you should know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 963 onwards defines what we believe regarding the Blessed Virgin. Anything contradicting, adding or subtraction form that is wrong, whoever says it. Now that is not to say some flowery language may be use to explain matters but nothing changes it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Just a Thought:

If you want to be taken seriously then you must make better distinctions when dealing with details of history. Listing a group of names that includes the very Puritans themselves who killed Archbishop William Laud and King Charles I, whose attacks on the structure of the Church of England made them enemies to both Church and Crown, whose doctrines had been the target of Hooker's apologetics officially on behalf of the Church of England, and who wanted to establish Presbyterianism, by saying that these were the men who "controlled the Edwardian, Elizabethan and Republican Church in England," is not worth bothering to refute. You may as well argue that Jeff Davis and Robert E. Lee were part of the American Government with Abraham Lincoln and General Grant, as if there was no distinction to be made at all.

Please don’t repeat that rubbish about Jesuit hit squads out to kill the Queen ...

The pope did send an assassin to kill the queen. I find it to be embarrassing to all Christians everywhere that our fathers, in the West, tried to kill each other, and did kill each other (under both Mary and Elizabeth) thinking they were doing God service. Nonetheless, there is a difference. The truth is, Guy Fawkes was a loyal Papist who took his views to the extreme, yes, like modern extremist Muslims (the difference being that Christianity does not teach violence). If his treachery were not so embarrassing, he might be on the sainted martyr's list himself.

The "holy maid of Kent" was executed before the Act of Supremacy in 1534, and that was for treason, prophesying against the King publicly. Do you suppose the King of Spain (that is, the pope's master in those days) would have done differently? Or any monarch of the time? The fact is, it is the pope who caused the death of the English papists, for he actually did require of them that Elizabeth be overthrown (as in executed), which means he required sedition on the part of the faithful. By the standards of that time, when the Pope was a foreign prince in addition to (or, as part of) his Ecclesiastical title, this really did create a situation that made the loyal papists (not a derogatory term) into a fifth column. He forced them in to the position of committing treason as a matter of conscience. The blood of those people is every bit as much on his hands as anybody's.

About the Form used for Archbishop Matthew Parker's consecration, I have referred everybody to Saepius Officio many times. It is the official Anglican statement, and is as yet unrefuted by Rome (a mention of it not counting as refutation, even by the standards of Ezekiel Bulver). I will add to its excellent apologetical statement that since Rome has contradicted itself about what constitutes the correct Form, and has done so more than once and in a manner directly relevant to the subject at hand, their opinion is empty, absolutely null and utterly void of any significance. But, as I have said before, the true mark of Infallibility is the power to overturn an Infallible teaching for a newer Infallible teaching, Infallibly.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

One thing I forgot. "Just a Thought" began by denying the legality of the Consecration of Archbishop Parker under the Laws of England. The Queen had sufficient authority to make it legal, and that was her position on the matter- case closed. But, why would this point of English Law and the theory of English Law, matter to a Roman Catholic? This has always been a real grasping for straws.

John said...

Thanks JAT but a Catechism is meaningless if it is not required of clergy to believe it, especially those who broadcast to millions. And as you agree, they prove by the broadcast they are not.

Your "Article" is meaningless if EWTN is teaching heresy unopposed, TV is more powerful than books unfortunately.

If your Church does not see fit to intervene in the broadcast of clergy who teach and believe Mary to be the fourth person of the Godhead then it is tacit approval. After all many of the faithful will watch and believe it to be doctrine because it is on EWTN unopposed and certainly you did not care to bring up EWTN's transgressions when Rev'd up mentioned the heresy, you knew it, but rather than admit it you kept up your 'front'. EWTN is run by a lot of ordained RC clergy who answer to somebody! But nobody denies the broadcast or silences them That is more powerful than some "Article".

I know many RC's who have left your Communion to go to so-called 'non denomination' protestant churches because they are scandalized by teachings like this yet you wish to argue about Anglican Orders.

Your churches are full of 'episcopagan' (never mind the child molesters and homosexual seminaries) clergy teaching mush and nuns wanting to be ordained and working to hold back young men from entering the priesthood in order to create a need for WO.

I know this because your communicants tell me so. You may be surprised to know that I exhort them to return and remain roman catholic but I cannot overcome there view that the RCC has 'lied' or withheld the truth. Our church runs an info booth at several Fairs and we hear this time and time again.

As Anglicans we are acutely aware of this problem (clergy advancing beliefs not in either catechism).

I see you are well versed in arguing other ages propaganda even though the act only hardens positions rather than remove stumbling blocks. What do you suppose to gain by clanging your cymbal?

While you are trying to impress us with your dates your brothers and sisters are leaving your Church for same poor teaching or heresies we suffer from and rather than make common cause you seek to rehash other peoples lives rather than live your own.

Maybe you ought to try to help RC's stay in good conscience by working to rectify your communions many short comings.

Seems silly to regurgitate old arguments that only convince those making them when your own members do not believe your churches teaching (including the necessity of a priesthood- I have heard this right from the mouth of Roman Catholic lay people- after a lifetime, no generations in your church they see no difference between priests and ministers of protestant denominations) or lack there of.

Why would I become RC if RC's are leaving for the same reasons I left the Episcopal Church?

The one thing you cannot argue is the conviction of Anglican clergy and lay people who know Christ through the Sacraments they receive. Receiving is believing. I have been to 'communion' in the Protestant denominations and it is only a memorial, not so in ANglican Churches where right teaching and intention are manifest. Personal knowledge is enough for us, that living experience trumps any argument you may concoct. When I receive I know it is 'valid' I know and see the change in me, so do others; I see it in those around me. I see it in the faces of our clergy, I hear it in the Word they preach, I know it when a priest anoints with oil and the anointed awakes from a coma. I see the work of God in the life of our church, many times. If God does not listen to you why should we?

I see none of this Grace in your argument.

John

Fr_Rob said...

At some point I'm going to post something I wrote nearly 20 years ago about sacramental validity in relation to Holy Orders. The bottom line is this: in a world in which the Church is divided into separate communions, it simply doesn't make sense to talk about universal "validity" of orders. Validity of orders is always determined by the ecclesial community in which a given ministry is to be exercised. The only time it becomes an issue is when mutual recognition of different communions is proposed, or when a minister in one communion wishes to serve in another.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

From an Anglican perspective the defense of the validity of our orders (Saepius Officio, 1897) says all that needs to be said. It corrects the historical errors of Apostolicae Curae by drawing from many ancient sources. The idea of one correct form for ordination is rendered meaningless by the facts.

Even so, the two versions of Accipe Spiritum Sanctum (for bishop and priest respectively) were used at least as early as the 13th century. Anyone who knows the Bible knows that this form (in both cases) identifies the specific order. It is one of many forms used long before the Church of England separated from Rome, which is why the Anglican Ordinal simply translated it from the Latin.

Matt Nelson said...

Excellent post -- especially the point about the fact of schism among Christians. We must remember that Christ prayed that ll his disciples would be one and St. Paul likewise exhorted that the Body ought not be divided. But neither scriptural passage makes any sense if it is literally impossible for schism in the Church to occur but only schism from Church, as some RCs and Orthodox. Why would our Lord and St. Paul pray and preach against the literally impossible?

Of course, the scriptures I have referenced also plainly puts an onus upon us not to be satisfied with the Branch Fact. But we cannot deny that is has happened and its possibility was foreseen by Christ himself.