Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Swim the Tiber without me

I would like to address some of my dear Anglo-Catholic brethren. Not so much the learned ones who appreciate their Anglican heritage, but the effeminate fussy ones whose inferiority complex toward the Italian Mission (i.e. the Roman Catholic Church) is quite inexplicable. Don't misunderstand. Roman Catholicism is not the enemy; it is a valid way of being Catholic, better than Protestantism in terms of the sacraments, but defective compared to your own heritage. At the end of the day, if you cannot see the truth of your Anglican heritage, I pity you.

Therefore, I am nailing to the door a few theses of my own.

1. An Anglican is fully Catholic by the standards of the Scriptures and the Patristic period.
2. Our orders have been preserved without defect, with all of the charisms and power Christ has granted through his apostles to his Church.
3. Our doctrine is better and more pure than that of Rome.
4. Newman was not all there, and his later criticism of Anglicanism is neither accurate nor wholly rational.
5. Newman's theory of Doctrinal Development is as dangerous as the Pentecostalist notion of "Progressive revelation."
6. The Pope is not infallible.
7. The Pope does not have Universal Jurisdiction.
8. The Pope is the bishop of Peter's See, but so is the Patriarch of Antioch.
9. The service of Holy Communion is a perfectly valid Mass or Eucharist.
10. Our Anglican fathers were not Calvinists or Lutherans.
11. "Protestant" is not the opposite of "Catholic."
12. Some Catholics are Protestant Catholics.
13. We do not need doctrines like "the merits of the saints" or a concept of Purgatory as "temporal punishment."
14. When the Articles say that "The Romish doctrine of Purgatory is a fond thing," this does not mean that we are supposed to be fond of it.
15. At the end of the day, if it is not in the Bible, it REALLY cannot be necessary for salvation.
16. Point 15 is classic Catholic teaching.
17. You should not care what the Roman See thinks of your status as a true church.

So, if you must swim the Tiber, do it quickly. Otherwise, learn to appreciate the wisdom of the Anglican Way.

129 comments:

Carlos said...

Father Hart,

Great post. Would consider C.S. Lewis' purgatory ("making one's self right before God..") to be a better understanding of this doctrine than Rome's? Also, in all the Anglican Catholic blogs I've come across, there is always the defense against Rome with ocassional refernces to Orthodoxy as an aid. However, at this point, Orthodoxy rejects the Branch Doctrine. I know Orthodox Bishops in the past have affirmed pre 1950's Anglican orders, but sites such as orthodoxinfo.com and orthodoxwiki, both suggest a repudiation of Anglican Catholicity. What points would you have suggest against a convert to Orthodoxy?

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

Would this mean that TAC does not truly understand Anglicaism?

Timotheus

Anonymous said...

Amen, Brother...Amen!
D. Straw, Evansville IN

Anonymous said...

I totally concur with all, but would tweak numbers 10 and 13. True, our Anglicans Fathers were not Calvinists or Lutherans, but for that matter neither were Luther or Calvin. And, Not only do we "not need" the notions of merit (other than Christ's merits) and temporal penalties or purgatorial suffering, but we truly need to protest such unBiblical novelties.
Laurence K. Wells

nonjuror2007 said...

Regarding point 11.

When I was at school, we were taught that the antonym to'Protestant was Papist.

Further to point 12.

In a petition sent to Parliament in 1791 the Roman leadership claimed themselves as "Protestant Catholic Dissenters."

I could just imagine the comments if the Anglicans had done this!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Timotheus

The best answer I can give to you is that I hope the leadership of the TAC see themselves as picking up where Canterbury left off. Yes, Canterbury still has the official talks with Rome, but they have no real goal, just as the talks with the Orthodox are also now purely academic and a mere formality. I hope the TAC means to resume those efforts with the goal of working toward true unity among real Catholic Christians. The fact that they have said this is not about "absorption" gives me cause for that hope.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Carlos wrote:
I know Orthodox Bishops in the past have affirmed pre 1950's Anglican orders, but sites such as orthodoxinfo.com and orthodoxwiki, both suggest a repudiation of Anglican Catholicity. What points would you have suggest against a convert to Orthodoxy?

Be careful about assuming that these new Orthodox, especially modern Americans who have converted, speak for the Orthodox Church. Most of them know less about real Orthodoxy than they do about rocket science. If you want to know what the Orthodox Church has always taught in its Tradition, consult Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, or my brother, Dr. David Bentley Hart. Don't consult Frederica Matthews-Green (who is good on social issues like pro-life), Perry Robinson, or Frank Schaeffer. I could name a few others who have caused nothing but confusion and misinformation. This new version of Orthodoxy is not Orthodox (or orthodox even), just knee jerk anti-Western non-sense. About Anglican-Orthodox relations, some of them are guilty of outright historical revisionism, which is always a cute way of saying, dishonesty about the past.

The talks between the Orthodox Church (the real one, with its Patriarchates, following the lead of the Oecumenical Patriarch- the real one in Constantinople) broke down after 1976 only because of women's "ordination." This was stated clearly at the conference in 1984 that you can read about in "The Dublin Agreed Statement" of the same year. Archbishop Athenagoras lamented right then and there (and it is in the official record) the fact that the talks were no longer to be held with the goal of uniting Anglicanism and Orthodoxy into one Church, and that this new turn of events was due to that one error. Until 1976, the road was clear (I have addressed this before right here on The Continuum).

This breakdown over WO did not have the retroactive effect of canceling what had gone before (beginning in earnest in 1922), but was instead a response to a heretical innovation. Since the TAC is based on the Afffirmation of St. Louis, I hope they will look in both directions, Rome and Constantinople, to restore what was lost. The hindrance of Women's "Ordination" is not present in the Anglican Continuum. We have rejected the same error that caused the breakdown of solid talks with the Orthodox Church.

As for the new western-anti-western convert version of Orthodoxy, why waste time with those people? They do not speak for their Church, and they have yet to learn its doctrines and history.

poetreader said...

I'm hoping and assuming that my jurisdiction (TAC) is working toward a way to be BOTH authentically Anglican AND in communion with the Roman See.

The only exception I would take to these theses is to the apparent slur against Newman. While I do not think his move to Rome to jave been necessary, nor agree with his doctrine of development, I revere him as both saintly and brilliant. Saints are no more infallible than the Pope, nor claom to be.

ed

Warwickensis said...

I'm afraid I agree with Ed on the point about Newman. Having read his work pre- and post-secession, I cannot perceive any sign of mental instability. Perhaps I'm wrong, but didn't he, as a Roman Catholic, oppose the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility?

I am also with Ed in thinking that we cannot say that Anglicanism doesn't need Rome any more than my hand has no need of my foot, and I think that an act of nailing up more theses does little to help dialogue between our positions.

It may clarify them just as His Holiness clarified the Roman Doctrine on other "ecclesial communities" but if that put a bitter taste in our mouths, then why do we need to reciprocate.

As an unlearned Anglo-Papalist I know that Roman and Anglican Catholicism need each other and must work to obtain full communion. I also accept His Holiness as being the chief Bishop in Christendom. I spend my theological ruminations trying to reconcile problems of doctrine and jurisdiction safe in the knowledge that they are reconcilable through the Grace of God. The solution exists, the problem is finding it. If I am to be pitied, then let me be pitied. However, I am an Anglo-Papalist, not a Romaniser.

An Anglican Cleric said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!

AC+

Carlos said...

I read earlier this year, "The Oxford Movement" by Richard W. Church. Previous to this, I had thought of Newman as rather a traitor (a little ironic since I attend a Newman Center at the university), but Church's book gave me the impression that Newman respected his fellow Tractarians and urged his friends to deeply consider their hearts before following to Rome and that it was his decision alone. Church's book gave me a new respect toward Newman. I don't know anything about Newman's Doctrine of Development but his Anglican stuff is good.

Paul Goings said...

At the end of the day, if you cannot see the truth of your Anglican heritage, I pity you.

I guess I'm grateful for your pity, Father, but I think you're wasting your time. I suppose that I'd number among the "effeminate fussy ones" that you mention, but I don't think of myself as having an ecclesiological inferiority complex; quite the opposite, in fact, as many my friends would be glad to tell you.

Your theses are interesting, but I'm not sure what the point is. Some specific comments:

1. This might be true, but begs the question of what authentic catholicity is.

2. Maybe. At least until 1974.

3. Which doctrine would that be?

4. Your (expert) diagnosis being based on?

5. So Chalcedon was wrong too?

6. Baseless assertion.

7. Likewise.

8. True, but a tautology. More importantly, the Supreme Roman Pontiff alone exercises the Petrine office, given to S. Peter by Christ himself.

9. True, under the usual conditions.

10. Some were. Some were worse.

11. Colloquially or definitionally?

12. Absolutely true.

13. See numbers six and seven, above.

14. Duh!

15. Where in the Bible does it say that S. Paul's Epistle to the Romans is in the Bible? Or that the "Gospel of Thomas" isn't?

16. Where in the Bible does it say this?

17. Why should we care what anyone thinks, if we are, ourselves, satisfied as to the authenticity of our catholicism? That said, this creates a small problem with your theses as well.

With respect to your final suggestion, I have no intention of making my submission for the foreseeable future, and I am also grateful that I need no one else's permission to consider myself an Anglo-Catholic, in the tradition of many who have gone before me in the way.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart. Bravo on your theses! Rome is a mixed bag, and we should pray for unity, but we needn't get all hot and bothered that we don't quack and waddle like her.

You're one of the finer Anglo-Catholic priests, and I thank you for your jermiad honesty.


St. Worm

Tony Ridsdale said...

I truly hope that Fr.Hart is right about the TAC, but I have my doubts. There is one Bishop here in Australia that I know uses the Roman Breviary and regularly used the Novus Ordo and had a picture of the Pope on his piano.

Tony Ridsdale
Queensland Australia

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Amen, amen, and amen.

rev'd up said...

This site is all about the pickle.

lukacs said...

It's rather unfortunate that you feel compelled to characterize all Anglo-Papalists as "effeminate and fussy." This is hardly the case, and it only serves to make you sound both insecure in your masculinity and homophobic in a manner that goes beyond a tolerant but conservative approach to the questions of gender and sexuality that bedevil our various jurisdictions. Honestly, relying on the old "gin and lace" saw is less than edifying.

Anonymous said...

A very fine post with which I have only one quibble. How can Rome be a Petrine See if Peter was never there? I realize that Peter being the first bishop of Rome is part of the papist myth, but is one which has been demolished by careful exegetes who choose to look at the evidence rather than accept Roman propaganda out of hand. Look at the beginning of Paul's epistle to the Romans: if St Peter was the first bishop, why was he not among those greeted?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Paul Goings:

I will gladly answer your questions:

1. Point one identifies the standards, so why ask this question?

2. But we have preserved the orders in the Anglican Continuum, no matter what the others have done.

3. Our doctrine is that of the Anglican Continuum, preserving the best of Anglicanism in the Affirmation of St. Louis.

4. This is my take on the man's whole theory of DD, and his reason for coming up with it. His neurosis and fears (always crossing himself before turning a corner in a manner more superstitious than reverent), as well as his effeminate affectations, are all historical fact. This does not mean that he was less than sincere, or that he was not a holy man with those same feet of clay we all have, or that he was not brilliant. But, he was also quite the eccentric, to put it mildly.

5. Comparing the unrestrained possibilities of Newman's theory of D.D. to the Pentecostals who believe in Progressive Revelation makes sense. Raising the issue of the Ecumenical Councils strengthens my point, as they are all of them a fixed part of the Tradition, and because each, in its time, defended what had been "believed always, everywhere and by all." None of them charted a new course, but rather safeguarded against new courses that would have been destructive.

6. The Infallibility of the Pope is, to use your words, "a baseless assertion." Until 1870 no one taught such a thing anywhere. Only by replacing the Vincentian Canon with Newman's theory of D.D. (which Rome, oddly enough, did NOT do) can anyone justify this modern innovation. What has always been seen as infallible is the Church, and that by Conciliar process.

7. If the Pope had Universal Jurisdiction, I believe the Orthodox Patriarchs would have given their consent, and the Great schism would never have happened. Universal Jurisdiction was an innovation in its time, the 11th century. "First in honor" had never been understood this way.

8. Rome's understanding was never universally received, and therefore was a rejection of the Conciliar Process by destroying that process in one act of rebellion against the collected view of the other Patriarchs.

9. You agree with me on that one.

10. No, actually, the Church of England stood its ground against ideas of Calvinists (especially the Puritans in England) and the Lutherans on very real points right from the start- I mean the start of the permanent break under Elisabeth. Hooker was a better thinker (and freer) than Cranmer had been.

11. I arrive at this by correct definition, and by the usage of the times in which the Church of England was defining itself. "Protestant" comes not from "protest" (indeed, it is the other way around), but from two words that mean Pro-Testaments- being in favor of the Scriptures. It does not get any more Catholic than that.

12. You agree

13. If you believe you need the "merits of the saints" than you deny that Christ alone has the merits to save your soul (what we need is their prayers, as we do the intercession of all Christians). Show me Purgatory in scripture or in the Fathers, and I will take it more seriously. The idea of purification makes sense, but not of "temporal punishment," since the cross of Christ is sufficient for the forgiveness of all sins (I John 2:1).

14. "Duh," you say. Golly, I thought my line was funny.

15. If you can show me anything "necessary for salvation" that is not declared strongly and clearly in scripture, I will come anywhere at any price, just to eat my hat in front of witnesses.

16. Don't you believe in the Canon of Scripture as received by the Church? Or, do you simply fail to understand the distinction between this ancient Patristic (and therefore Anglican) teaching and modern Fundamentalism?

17. This last point creates no problem with my theses in any way at all. It is Rome that attacks the validity of everyone else. We simply defend the truth.

Nonetheless, I suggest reading this through more carefully, and with the BCP in your hand.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anonymous:

Peter eventually arrived in Rome, and he died there, crucified upside down. To say that the Bishop of Rome is his successor is not a problem at all. Rome is the See of Peter and of Paul. Antioch, however, is equally the See of Peter.

The real question is, why should we accept the RC interpretation of Matt. 16? It is far from obvious, far from evident.

Fr. S.J. said...

In regard to Newman, it has always seemed strange to me that so many Roman Catholics cite him to justify the "development" of doctrine which has occurred in their church. In fact, at times he seems to be the ONLY justification. Yet, when he wrote his book, he was still an Anglican who was trying to find some way to allow his mind to accept changing to Rome. So, the best defense of the "development" of doctrine in the Roman Church is provided by a special-pleading Anglican. Odd, I think that it is not better grounded in Roman Catholic sources.

AirForce_Padre said...

I see union with the Holy See as the only way Anglo-Catholicism can survive. The Anglo-Catholic movement was a noble movement founded by theologcal giants. They did well to restore Catholic doctrine and worship to Anglicanism. However, Catholicism cannot survive as an independent movement separated from the Holy See.

When the mainline Anglican Communion fell into heresy in the 1970's some very brave, couragous and holy men tried to carry on the Anglo-Catholic movement in the continuing churches. This was successful for a time but we see that falling apart. If we combined all of the major continuing churches in the United States we would less than 25,000 members and we are divided over silly matters that caused hurt feelings that some cannot get over. (ie. Deerfield Beach)

There is also no standard of liturgy within the continuum, even though all groups pay lip service to the 1928 BPC which most Anglo-Papalist (myself included) find seriously flawed. Most parishes in the continuum use the Anglican Missal which I find to be a bit of a schizophrenic liturgy as it mixes aspects of the 1928 BCP with that of the traditional Roman Rite, and to what extent this liturgy resembels the 1928 BCP or the Traditional Roman Rite is at the whims of the celebrant.

In areas of theology we are also not unified. I cannot accept the Holy Ghost stopped speaking to the Church through the Pope, Magesterium, and council after Nicea II. Surly if one is truly Catholic one must accept the decrees of the council of Trent.

The demographics in the Continuum are not a promising sign either. The Continuum is the only exposure that anyone under 40 has had to Anglo-Catholicism (and only if they are fortunate enough to find a parish). The average age in most continuing parishes is 70+. Most parishes have had only limited success in attracting younger people and most of those who do come for a while do not stay as they are not interseted in preserving romanitic memories of the 1928 BCP as this liturgy is neither modern nor ancient, but a corrupted form of the Roman Rite that reflect Cramner's theology. (Though I do not find this liturgy to be invalid - and still more theologically sound the the Novus Ordo).

Most Roman Catholic will vist us and will like what we do but will not join us as we are seen as schismatics. Roman Catholics who want a more traditional liturgy with the richness of English spirituallity are attracted to us and would join us if we were in communion with the Holy See. This is why it is imperative that the TAC (and other willing parts of the continuum) stive to be fully reunited with the Holy See.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Airforce Padre;

I am going to answer your points. Your words will be italicized for everyone's benefit.

However, Catholicism cannot survive as an independent movement separated from the Holy See.

That will come as a real surprise to the Orthodox. They have survived since 1054.

This [the Anglican Continuum] was successful for a time but we see that falling apart.

Maybe you see it falling apart; I see the numbers growing.

There is also no standard of liturgy within the continuum, even though all groups pay lip service to the 1928 BPC which most Anglo-Papalist (myself included) find seriously flawed.

First of all, not all groups use the 1928 BCP since many are not Americans. The standard of liturgy revolves around the BCP tradition, and has no more or less uniformity than practices among the Orthodox, among the Byzantine Catholics and among the Roman Catholics. If you don't know how much variation occurs in all of the Catholic churches, you have not been around. Frankly, Traditional Anglicans are more "uniform' than anybody. I do not share your idea that the BCP is flawed. It is no more flawed than what Rome uses- and is better in fact. Of course, I don't buy the standard nonsense that it is filled with either Calvinist or Lutheran content. That is because I can trace almost everything in the liturgy of the BCP to old Latin Missals, something that others seem not to know how to do, or don't want to see. I take it you are the victim of misinformation.

I cannot accept the Holy Ghost stopped speaking to the Church through the Pope, Magesterium, and council after Nicea II. Surly if one is truly Catholic one must accept the decrees of the council of Trent.

I am truly Catholic, as are my brothers. But, only one of the three of us accepts the decrees of the Council of Trent. I do not accept them (not all of them), certainly not the ones that lead to false doctrines that are contrary to the unified Church of the First Millenium. If you believe that strongly in all of the decrees of the Council of Trent, then we have points upon which we disagree. In saying this, however, you rebuke the whole Orthodox Church as well as all Anglicans who know their own tradition. But, I know that in many ways the Holy Spirit speaks to the Magisterium in Rome; He does not, however, speak exclusively to them. Nor do they hear everything He says, as the scandals among their clergy, most of which could have been prevented altogether, have proved.

In areas of theology we are also not unified.

Haven't you read The Affirmation of St. Louis? I think you will have a difficult time trying to distinguish between schools of theology in the Anglican Continuum. I think we are more unified among ourselves than the RCs and the Orthodox are among themselves: In fact, I know we are. Anybody out there in the Continuum who favors Women's "Ordination?" Any Calvinists? Any Zwinglians? Anybody question Baptismal regeneration, or the perpetual Virginity of the mother of God? I can go on and on. There is not much dissent among us at all.

The average age in most continuing parishes is 70+. Most parishes have had only limited success in attracting younger people...

Sounds like your own Parish is failing at evangelism. I know of several where this is simply not the case, where the young people and children are in great number, and where the average age is probably about 30 to 35. I suppose you really have no stats on this- nobody has.

Most Roman Catholic will visit us and will like what we do but will not join us as we are seen as schismatics.

Roman Catholics and Orthodox do not, in general, need to become Anglicans; just as we do not need to join their communions. Of course the RCs think we are schismatic. But, I am not prepared to solve that for them by joining their denomination. What is needed is unity at a higher level than anything a mere individual, parish or diocese can accomplish. I would like to see the TAC help to restore the efforts at unity that were lost in the 1970s, and not just with Rome- with Constantinople too.

Carlos said...

AirForce_Padre,

You make some excellent point. But what if negotiations stall? What then shall we do. I pray and hope that in the coming years, the Continuum in the United States will grow closer to one another and that we also seek out communion with the Orthodox. Perhaps, united with Orthodoxy, we can assist in dialogue with Rome.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Carlos and I will have to disagree on one thing. I think Airforce Padre's points are altogether completely wrong, as I have stated clearly. But, I have heard all of them many times, so I don't blame him for falling for these standard mantras. Many people fall for them, not because they have merit, but because they are oft repeated, and because not enough Anglicans know anything about their own heritage, and have been treated only to what very bad teachers have put forth.

Carlos and I agree on the rest. We need to be in serious communication with the Orthodox.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Of course the RCs think we are schismatic. But, I am not prepared to solve that for them by joining their denomination.

If I'm not mistaken, RC's object to anyone referring to the Roman Catholic Church as a "denomination."

And if I'm not mistaken, RC's would also regard Continuing Church Anglicans as "separated brethren".

And if separated brethren can be part of the visible catholic church, that's quite alright with me!

Tom said...

I must admit, that as a young man pondering a vocation to the Anglican priesthood and wondering about the merits of pursuing that call in Orthodoxy or Catholicism, I appreciate your skill in reminding me that the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Airforce Padre's logic leads to one obvious conclusion, and I am wondering why he hasn't taken the medicine he prescribes. Joining the RC Church is a very simple procedure; call your neighborhood RC parish and ask when their next RCIA class is scheduled. Takes only a few weeks. What's holding you back?

As I understand RC theology, if one has been granted the spiritual insight to grasp the truth of the Catholic (i.e. Tridentine) faith, it is a mortal sin not to submit to the Holy See. So for the good of their souls, those of Airforce Padre's persuasion had better do it or get off the pot.

But I must ask why he feels that the Continuing Churches are "falling apart." My own diocese grew by 27% in c.y. 2005. That was partly explained by the reception of new parishes, but the existing parishes for the most part showed growth. There are clear signs of reunion amongst several bodies, and much of the former acrimony is clearly fading away. So the "falling apart" remark does not comport with the facts of the Continuing Churches as we are today.
Laurence K. Wells+

John A. Hollister said...

Air Force Padre wrote:

1. "[W]e are divided over silly matters that caused hurt feelings that some cannot get over. (ie. Deerfield Beach)"

The only way you can define the issues raised by Deerfield Beach as "silly" is if you also regard the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils -- the ones the Affirmation of St. Louis declares to be normative for Continuing Anglicans -- to be likewise "silly". Of course, it is entirely possible that, as an Anglo-Papalist, you take this position because after the Council of Constance Rome began teach that its whim of the moment trumps conciliar decisions.

2. "Surly if one is truly Catholic one must accept the decrees of the council of Trent."

I would agree that the tone of the whole comment was somewhat surly but, putting that aside, there is absolutely no need for any Anglican to pay the slightest attention to the conclusions of Trent which was merely a local council of the Roman branch of the Church.

There were no Orthodox representatives present and voting, so it can, by no stretch of the imagination, be deemed an "Ecumenical" Council. Perhaps that is why, even if it was a Freudian slip, A.F.P. did not capitalize the word "council" when he gave it its title.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

Because I value your opinions, I would like to ask what your views are on Nashotah House as a good Anglican School to seek out a D.Min? I know they believe in WO but then again, I cant think of anyplace left in the Anglican Conservative tradition that does not.
Thanks.

Timotheus

poetreader said...

Father Hart,

Your 'theses' in support of an authentic Anglicanism are, on the whole, well thought out and valuable. However, they are seriously marred by the insertion into their heart of an ad hominem attack on an individual.

It is acceptable, in some respects even essential, to disagree with some of the thinking of Newman. It is not, however, sound argumentation to attempt to demolish such thinking by references to said person not being right in the head, nor does it help your case to try to defend such a statement by equating 'eccentricity' with 'neurosis'. If being eccentric is a culpable matter, perhaps I should be committed somewhere. I've been justly called that on many occasions. Not all of us think or behave in precisely the same way as 'the norm', and I firmly believe that to be directly in the center of God's plan for humanity.

By all means question the man's thought. By all means question his specific decisions. But, please, do so on the basis of the content of those thoughts and actions and not on such flimsy distant personal criticisms.

ex

andrew said...

This post exemplifies the hostility and defensiveness that characterizes how many traditinal Anglican clergymen that I know speak of the Roman Catholic Church.

The dismissive stance taken towards Anglicans who believe some distinctively Roman Catholic doctrines (e.g., transubstantiation, purgatory), but who cannot yet in good conscience convert, is also sadly typical.

When it comes to discussing Roman Catholic claims with fellow Anglicans, Anglican clergy tend to be pastoral failures (with one exception in my experience).

Although one must judge Rome on the merits of her truth claims (or lack thereof), this kind of Anglican invective towards her own children serves as an anti-testament to traditional Anglicanism's own unique ecclesiological position: thou dost protest too much.

Ken said...

re: Item #4

I always thought that Anglo Catholics had an abundant supply of "not right in the head" types.

An Anglican Cleric said...

Andrew wrote:

"The dismissive stance taken towards Anglicans who believe some distinctively Roman Catholic doctrines (e.g., transubstantiation, purgatory), but who cannot yet in good conscience convert, is also sadly typical. When it comes to discussing Roman Catholic claims with fellow Anglicans, Anglican clergy tend to be pastoral failures (with one exception in my experience)."

Fr. Hart's piece is not an attack on anyone nor is it hostile. Aside from the mention of Newman it is a clear and well thought out doctrinal statement. I watch EWTN from time to time and find a great deal more invective and misinformation about many groups of non-Roman Christians. Lutherans, Anglicans, and the Orthodox are continually misrepresented.

I, for one, find it lamentable when I hear Anglican priests simply confusing the laity and sowing discord among the clergy by claiming such things as "Anglicans believe such and such" in an authoritative and (no pun intended) pontifical manner when historically Anglicans have believed no such thing. They preach sermons on purgatory, or transubstantiation, or the Roman doctrines concerning Mary from the pulpit and claim "This is the Catholic Faith!" Any Anglican layman with any interest can go now to the internet (or the Prayer Book in their laps) can find out it isn't so. I applaud Father Hart for clarifying the issues.

Also, I've found that Anglicans who convert to Rome can often (but not always) be some of the most defensive and invective of folk when they do indeed cross the Tiber--they attack and attack and attack (your orders are invalid! without the pope their is no salvation! etc etc), but when one attempts to defend traditional Anglicanism it is this attempt at a defense that it claimed as "an attack."

Once again, thanks to Fr. Hart for pointing out the issues for clearly.

rev'd up said...

This thread has:

1. Lots of Anglo-aggrandizement: Oh, the Anglican church is sooo great. Sooo special. Sooo elite. Sooo exactly what Jesus wanted.

2. Lots of "Remember the Affirmation of St. Louis": As if to say, "if the Affirmation of St. Louis ain't catholic...then ain't nobody catholic."

3. Plenty of chest beating! I'm a philo-orthodox Anglican and my s--t don't stink! Who made the orthodox the standard of acceptance?

Andrew said it; "thou dost protest too much."

I think this kind of posturing is the result of frustrated men who have small parishes with small bank accounts and an aging-to-the-point-of-extinction congregation. Could it be that the Anglican Continuum is merely a burial society for prayer book types?

Truth is, few Americans go to church let alone continuing Anglican ones. For the serious family who is looking for a place to worship in a truly authentic, traditional way, one that is truly ancient, they may start with Anglicanism but when they learn a little bit about their other Western option (Rome) they'll be off to a FSSP or one of the many parishes taking advantage of the Moto Proprio. I can't say as I blame them.

Mark my words: if the Pope does not receive the TAC into the Roman Church, they will die by attrition within 10 years. And the TAC is the strongest of the CA jurisdictions. I'm sorry Fr. Hart but your "one parish johnny" situation in Maryland is not a model for success in the continuum. And Canon Hollister, your ACC is so putrid with the sin of pride (among other things) that any sane person would run in horror from it.

Anglicanism is quickly becoming a home for misfits. Gone are the days of John Mason Neale, William Burgess, C.S. Lewis, E.C.R. Lamburn, C.V. Stanford, and Dorothy Sayers. Very sad.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Timotheus:

Perhaps we should continue to discuss the subject of clergy education, as we have done a couple of times on this blog. Even though I have had reason to be disappointed with the APCK, I believe that one thing Archbishop Morse accomplished was the creation of a seminary second to none (even though it has not been used according to its own plan, with integrity, all too often). What is needed is the willingness to imitate his example, and to take the show on the road, so to speak. If he can do it, others can do it. However, unlike his example, it does not need to be costly, and it does not need to involve Real Estate, and it does not need to require that men relocate. We need to discuss ways to make such seminary instruction available in various local situations, and in a way that recognizes the need for evening and weekend studies, since men who are trying to become priests usually have families to support. This is an area in which my own bishop has taken an excellent approach; and it is bishops who must make a better way for clergy education to happen by cooperating with each other across jurisdictional lines.

But, as for Nashota House, it is corrupted both spiritually and academically by the poison of TEC. The standards of theological education there have taken a nose dive, like everything else in that apostate sect. It ain't what it used to be.

Albion Land said...

It's nice to see Rev'd Up chiming in so early in the new year with his/her customary vitriole. I was missing it for awhile -- not.

Perhaps he/she could finally tell us to what jurisdiction he/she belongs as, sauf erreur, I don't recall ever being told to where we many benighted souls should turn.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I accept the criticism about my comments on J.H. Newman. I have rewritten that thesis line, although I expect that some will still think I go too far. When I read Newman, especially the A.Ds. arguments, I see that he never actually grasped what Anglicanism taught, even though he was a C of E priest for years. He never hits an actual target, and when he waxes autobiographical it is very telling indeed.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I recommend again the reading of this book, available online. Put the whole URL in your address bar.

http://orthodoxanglican.net/
downloads/Anglican%20Life.pdf

JCL said...

I'm not an Anglican, but... it does appear to me that TAC is in FULL RETREAT along with the rest of Christendom in the West. If I'm wrong about that, then "thank God."

Are these micro denominations of "real christians" really the answer?

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

Father Chad said...

Dear Father Hart,

A 'hearty' Amen to your excellent post! Your 17 theses are a simply splendid summation of our Anglican and Catholic Faith. Traditional Anglicanism is the ancient orthodoxy of the Western Church - full stop. God bless you and keep you!

Chad+
www.philorthodox.blogspot.com

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Rev'd up

Wrong on all points, as always. At least you are consistent.

I am not a psychiatrist, but as an experienced exorcist, let me say to you, exorciso te....- to be taken literally, and internally twice a day.

jcl

I have no idea what you mean by "micro-denominations," nor your line about being "in retreat." I see growth and added numbers all around me, and I see advances made in other ways. Your remark does suggest hostility and a Satanic desire to gloat- that is, if only the Church could be overcome. If I misunderstand an attempt to make some subtle point, then please correct me.

Even if the "micro-denomination" line were true, I would only remind you that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction.

Father Chad:

Thank you. I appreciate your blog, especially because it aims to teach and edify the laity. More of that is needed in this internet medium.

Psalm ciii said...

Rev'd Up wrote: "For the serious family who is looking for a place to worship in a truly authentic, traditional way, one that is truly ancient, they may start with Anglicanism but when they learn a little bit about their other Western option (Rome) they'll be off to a FSSP or one of the many parishes taking advantage of the Moto Proprio."

Where are all these parishes "taking advantage of the Motu Proprio" (I assume you mean Summorum Pontificum)? The truth is, most RC bishops are fighting it tooth and nail, and RC priests are no better. I personally know of one RC priest who said he would leave the Church if required to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Face it, most RC clergy (especially in the U.S.) are (almost) as liberal as the TEC has become. That FSSP is about as available to RC's in the U.S. as any "Continuing" Anglican body. That leaves the scattered few parishes of SSPX and the sedevacantists.

Clearly, the "Roman option" is not always the best. Most RC's only have access to Novus Ordo parishes with horrendous liturgical practices (abuses abound) and priests who give motivational/political/social justice homilies.

Terrific post, Fr Hart.

Anonymous said...

As I always say......most RC sermons are the same as a Hallmark Card!

Fr Hart,
Have you ever read Stanley Jaki's writings on Newman "The Church of England as viewed by Newman" is a good one.

Timotheus

John said...

REV'D UP seems to have some idea that the CC is not going anywhere.

He did not come by that impression by visiting the parishes in our Diocese.

Our mission is growing nicely and we are finishing up on building out a chapel. We have new families and visitors are starting to come in regularly .

I suppose Rev'd up believes that if you say something often enough it is true, or maybe he has heard such things and believes them, regardless the ACA/TAC is growing rapidly and assuming our Bishops are not liars the idea is to continue the talks with RCC that were destroyed by ECUSA and the innovation of WO. ARCIC , now dead, was to do what the TAC is purportedly trying to revive. With the lack of clergy and closing of parishes nationwide the RCC might benefit more than the TAC in this country. Rev'd up might tell us if he thinks it a sin for one group of Christians to seek to talk to others.

As to size equating being 'right' the Biblical standard has always been the righteous minority sometimes only a handful, often only one.

With all of the scandals involving our independent evangelical brethren and the recent admission by WIllow Creek that their 'model' has failed to disciple surely has no negative reflection on the Continuing Church's 'model'.
Yes we have lots of folks who are 'Romish" but when I look back to TEC and it's recent spin offs I see the same kind of error going in the other direction. Denial of the Apostolic Succession, right Baptism, Real Presence, etc. Rather than "Romish" these folk are generally more akin to independent Baptists or Presbyterians.

Lets face it if there were someplace perfect to go we would all go but the grass is as green here as it is anywhere and rather than whine about the problems and differences we would all be wise to see how we can advance the Gospel and leave poor Humpty Dumpty (the western church) to God.

I am not a Papalist or a high churchman, I am a prayer book catholic, I do not care about the missal and I am not interested in banging tambourines and jumping about like an idiot, no extremes either way, but we are willing to accommodate as best we can peoples personal devotional needs be they 'high' or 'low'. Most in our mission feel the same way whether teenagers or elderly. I think the mean average age is about 40. Our most recent visitors were in their 20's.
We have several baptisms, confirmations and a fellow with a solid divinity education ready for the diaconate coming up soon. Two wonderful priests with about 8 or 9 degrees between them and not one from a TEC seminary or some quack "Anglican" internet seminary.

Ours is a place full of joy with both the Word and Sacraments. God has been good to us and His presence and guidance has answered our prayers on many occasions, such that we are often left on our knees with the knowledge that we have been given what we have asked for just as our Lord tells us.

God willing, we will build a new sanctuary within a couple years.

If that is the stuff of a dying church I'd like to know what's going on in your neck of the woods! All this without electric geetars and pull down screens.

Rev'd up I've seen your handle somewhere, might you be a member of the REC and did you not attend a Presbyterian Seminary or do I have you mixed up with someone else?

John

Somewhere in the ACA/TAC

An Anglican Cleric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

Father Hart,

10. "Our Anglican fathers were not Calvinists or Lutherans."

If I read you correctly you seem to be asserting that "Our Anglican fathers were not Calvinists or Lutherans" in the sense of not identifying themselves as to Calvinists or Lutherans. But this raises further questions.

Does this rule out "our Anglican fathers" as being individuals who, at various times, held to Calvinist or Lutheran doctrines. If so, this is an historically unsupportable assertion.

Pre-Tractarian Anglicanism contained within it Calvinist and Lutheran influences. These influences varied amongst different individuals, but their influence is beyond dispute. As Peter Nockles has amply demonstrated in his influential work, "The Oxford Movement in Context," the trend within Anglicanism to reject its Calvinist and Lutheran influences was a development out of Tractarianism and was not present prior to that, even amongst the most "Laudian" of High Churchmen.

Having said that, there is a need for clarification as to your exact meaning regarding point 10? Point 12, for example, states that "Some Catholics are Protestant Catholics." Is this an admittance that Calvinism and Lutheranism have been a part of Anglicanism?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Absolutely not.

Furthermore, I have known people who are RC who are, in their private opinion, Calvinists (rather Dominicans, since that Double Predestination stuff did not start with Calvin). Monks on Mt. Athos were influenced, once upon a time, by Calvin's doctrine having reached them all the way up there (the Historical Revisionists have cleaned that up).

Anyway, the issue is not that of individual's opinions,but of the Church's Formularies. And, since Calvinism was as much a problem of ecclesiology as anything else, Richard Hooker made it clear WHY the C of E had no room for Calvins' Geneva Discipline

John said...

AC

Just a question!

your defense suggests I was asking a loaded question. I simply wanted to know if he is the fellow I am thinking of having run across using this rhetoric describing the Continuing Church.

Let him speak for himself. He/she obviously is capable of expressing his/her thoughts.


While I have you... being trained outside of the REC, how are you getting around the REC's position on the Real Presence? Which, if I am up to date, is the same as the Protestants in that there is no Real Presence. Has this changed?

I really think the issue of 'losing' people to Rome is ridiculous as they are not 'lost' at all as Rome despite it's 'additions' is not a heretical church. For every man, women or child "lost" to Rome others are walking away from there and going to various other churches including the CC. There are lots of former Baptists and Roman Catholics in the Continuum. I know of families that have left the RCC over it's apathy in teaching the Bible to lay people and the many scandals that need no explanation.

BTW I do not think anyone can say the APCK is growing just the opposite. Very sad to watch it being run into the ground.

Tom said...

I've been considering Nashotah House for seminary, but I have been worried that it's too TEC, and Father Hart, your comment confirms my suspicions. The priest of my home parish (continuing Anglican, btw) is a "Son of the House", and would like me to go there, yet I'm unsure.

Where would I study if I don't go to Nashotah? If any members of the blog have some advice for me, I'd much appreciate it. My email is tomrichter (at) gmail.com

The young fogey said...

My tuppen'orth.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Some will swim the Tiber and may God use them in that mission field to confront the creeping modernism that must inevitably destroy the catholicity of Rome.

I love the Anglican Way, but couldn't find it expressed within a driveable distance of my home. (There are 4 Anglican congregations near my home, but the worship is largely contemporary and elements of catholicity are not affirmed.) However, the Antiochian Orthodox Church has met my every expectation.

An Anglican Cleric said...

John,

I deleted my comment on Rev'd Up because I realized it was uncharitable, but let me respond to your other comments.

I've spoken with APA, ACA, and REC priests who have had families leave their Anglican parish for Rome, and it still feels like a loss. I didn't imply that we'd lost them to the abyss. Actually, in the REC we lose more priests to Orthodoxy--and I don't mean that as "loss of souls" either, just that now we have fewer Anglican priests. I'm using the term loss in a numerical, not an existential, sense. Still, I think the reason for those that leave traditional Anglicanism is a misunderstanding of what Catholic means, that too many--even within Anglicanism--equate it with Rome.

I view the REC principles in the context of historic Anglican theology, so they pose no problem for me. I am a self-identified Anglo-Catholic, yet I am humble enought to admit that in the history of Anglicanism there were disagreements. While men like Andrewes and blessed Laud believed that the episcopacy was of Divine origin they never un-churched those that did not possess it--Andrewes himself said it was clear to him that the Church existed where they had no bishops. The REC does say that it does not see the the Episcopacy as of Divine but of Apostolic origin. The position taken by most in the REC is that the Episcopacy is not of the esse, nor of the bene esse, but for the plene esse of the Church: "We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ."

The REC principles state that the Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper is not a Presence IN the elements of bread and wine. There is only one thing being denied here, and it is not the Real Presence, rather the belief that this presence is a localized presence IN the elements, and this was the position of the Church of England up until and including the writing of some of the Tractarians (Peter Nockles' fine text "The Oxford Movement in Context" makes this clear). For such a position I can only appeal to the Anglican divines of the Caroline period as well as Thomas Aquinas: “That one body should be at the same time locally in two different places is not possible, even by a miracle. Therefore, the Body of Christ is not on the altar locally” (Scriptum in Sent., lib. IV., dist. 44, ques. 2, art. 2, ad quar.). “In no way is the Body of Christ locally in this Sacrament” (Summa, III. 76. 5.).

I actually agree with this comment from something describing the doctrine of Trent: “Not only may the body of Christ under the symbols be called a spiritual body, and Christ himself a spirit, but the body of Christ may be said to be under the symbols in a spiritual manner or spiritually, and not in a natural or corporal manner, that is neither corporally nor carnally” (Regula Fidei. Ed. Brunner, p. 108).

Similarly, Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple quotes Aquinas to make the same point: "He is not locally in the elements. ‘Corpus Christi non est in hoc sacramento sicut in loco’ is the explicit declaration of St. Thomas Aquinas. . .”

I agree with the Articles on the Real Presence as well as the homilies, which affirm that the Body of Christ is present with and under the elements of bread and wine, but I do not affirm that He is contained nor constrained by those elments. As Newman rightly noted, "when the Host moves in procession, the Body of Christ does not move." It is in this manner that I understand that portion of the principles. It poses no stumbling block to me when read in the context of traditional Anglican theology.

The principle on Regeneration not being inseperably tied to Baptism is based off of a misunderstanding of the time as to the definition of the word "Regeneration." Bishop Sutton of the REC wrote a fine book of historical theology explaining the historical circumstances of this disagreement and it was accepted and endorsed by the Presiding Bishop of the APA. Suffice it to say that the REC believes in Baptismal Regeneration as it is affirmed in the Articles and discussed in Browne.

When in the ACA we used Browne's Exposition on the Articles (published by the REC) for Dogmatic Theology along with C.B. Moss, so at that time I knew that if this was what the REC was teaching it wasn't the Geneva Gown bunch that many portrayed it to be. The doctrine of the REC (as taught by her bishops) is very much like that of Browne--pre-Tractarian High Church.

AC+

JCL said...

Fr Hart,
I'm not sure how you detected hostility or [amazing!]Satanic desires on my part. You must be a very spiritual man to detect those kinds of things.

My point is simply that TAC in the West is going backwards just like the rest of the churches.

What I mean by micro denominations are these groups formed by "the real christians" that have something like 10 congreagations in the entire church-- and yet still have the guts to claim that they represent true christianity.

Examples of micro denominations:

http://www.prca.org/

http://www.covenant-urc.org/urchrchs.html

http://rechurch.org/recus/recus/index.html

Thanks
JCL

An Anglican Cleric said...

John,

Indeed, both the APA and the REC have many from Baptist and "free church" folk who have discovered the historic Catholic teachings of Anglicanism. We also seem to get couples where one is RCC and the other Lutheran or Methodist looking for a "Via Media" church.

AC+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

John wrote:
BTW I do not think anyone can say the APCK is growing just the opposite. Very sad to watch it being run into the ground.

The loss of two whole dioceses in the last few years makes the APCK much smaller than it was. This does not mean, however, that the Continuing Anglicans have lost anybody. The APCK no longer has the churches that followed Bishop Florenza. But, the ACA does have them. From what I know, there is some growth in the Parishes themselves.

Tom:

I want our churches to work on a real clergy education solution, and that will require the efforts of the bishops. In all good conscience, I cannot recommend ANY seminary that is part of the Episcopal Church. It isn't that Nashota House is "too TEC." The problem is more basic; it is nothing but TEC- that's who Nashota House is run by, staffed by, and working for. No one else is in "the house" anymore. I ask the readers who are in larger jurisdictions to help answer your question about alternatives.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

JCL:

It was very difficult to know just what you were trying to say; it was cryptic and enigmatic. You seemed to be gloating over a perception that all "western" Christianity was, somehow, being defeated. I wondered if you were someone from Mt. Athos who had refused to change his underwear since 1204.

I do not see any evidence that the TAC is going backwards. They appear to be moving very far forward, perhaps to the regaining of lost ground that could help to heal old divisions. I see their numbers growing too.

poetreader said...

A note to Rev'd Up:

Sir, you've not provided any way to speak to you in private, which leaves me with the necessity to write this on the open board. I've prayed, and have felt a necessity to say these things, and this is the only way I can do it.

Sir, you show yourself to be a very unhappy man, laboring under a compulsion to inflict that unhappiness upon others. In all your postings I have seen not one expression of the joy of salvation in Christ, nor of the sincere love of other sinners for whom he died. I see no expressions of mercy or forgiveness, but only an unrelenting attitude of condemnation for nearly everyone.

You don't need to walk around in a constant cloud of gloominess and anger.

You said the following:

"Anglicanism is quickly becoming a home for misfits. Gone are the days of John Mason Neale, William Burgess, C.S. Lewis, E.C.R. Lamburn, C.V. Stanford, and Dorothy Sayers. Very sad."

In what way, my friend, do you resemble any of those you describe? Have you read the works of Lewis? His autobiographical "Surprised by Joy", or his Narnia Books, especially "The Last Battle". Have you meditated on the hymns of J.M.Neale? Anglicanism certainly does have room for eccentrics, but provides no support for those who wish nothing but anger.

I angered you once before by offering to pray for you. Well, sir, I will continue to do so. Jesus is the remedy for the unhappiness with which you inflict yourself and others. He is salvation. He is the peace that passses understanding. He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. May He touch your life in a way you have not known.

My email is clearl;y given in my profile. If you wish to contact me, I will be very glad of it. If not, this isn't the place to continue this conversation.

In Christ our Savior,
ed

John said...

AC
I did not assume your answer was uncharitable. Electronic correspondence sometimes sounds different than it was meant to be.

As to the "loss" issue glad to hear back from you on that, some folks apparently do regard the "loss" as into the abyss.

Glad to hear the explanation on the REC.

The "Esse" argument is a little over my head, I do personally think the AS is a direct institution from Jesus andis much more than an institutional invention.

I do have an amusing quote from Calvin and from Wesley (as quopted in C Grafton's 'Works Vol. II) regarding the Apostolic Succession...

"that the man was worthy of anathema who should not reverence it and with the utmost deference receive it" Calvin De nessitate, reformandea ecclesiea
"desired the introduction of Episcopacy into the Reormation Churches abroad" CALVIN TOPLADY, VOL. II., P. 153

"Wesley in his "Korah" sermon, scathingly censured those who would depart from the Apostolic Order, and Dr. Coke, one of the first Superintendents, as they were then called, of the Methodists in this country, made proposals to Bishops White and Seabury, that he and Mr. Ashbury (the resident Methodist Superintendent) should be consecrated Bishops, and proposed a reunion of Methodists and Churchman on a basis conceding a reordination of their ministers."

AirForce_Padre said...

First of all I wish to clear up some of my positions. I have a great love of the rich Anglican tradition as expressed in the traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgical forms such as the English Missal and Anglican Breviary. It is far more spiritual and has a greater connection with the traditional western fatih than anything one could find at the local Novus Ordo parish.

I am an Anglo-Papalist because not only do I love our Anglican heritage, but I am also commited to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. I see Anglicanism as schismatic (as well as the Eastern Orthodox) and that we need to be reconciled with the Holy Father in Rome.

The reason why I have not jumped ship and gone over to Rome already is that I feel it is my duty to remain within Anglicanism and encourage those in traditional Anglican circles to accept fullness of the faith so that we may be reunited with the Holy Father.

I have no reason to believe that Abp. Hepworth or any of the other Bishops of the TAC are lying to us when they say that unity with the Holy See is possible in the near future. I believe that Benedict XVI and Abp. Hepworth have a truly "Eccumenical Spirit" and believe in uniting the church.

An Anglican Rite or Prealature with Roman Catholic Church would be very beneficial to both Anglicans and Roman Catholics. It would serve to unite Anglicans to the Holy See and commit all Anglicans to the all of the Dogmas of the Catholic Faith (not just the ones they choose ie. The Immaculate Conception). It would benefit the Roman Church as it would allow Roman Catholics the opprotunity to worship at a traditional English liturgy.

I hope that this explains why I am committed to the Anglo-Papalist movement.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

John:

In his chapter on "Calvin's Geneva Discipline" (Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book 1), Richard Hooker expressed the view that the form of government in the Church of England (episcopal, and without any deviation from the practice - by law - of continuing the Apostolic Succession) was the only one found both in scripture and in the ancient practice of the Church. The only way to interpret this intelligibly is conclude that he was arguing that it is of Divine origin by way of apostolic origin as commanded by Christ.

Airforce Padre:

If you believe that the Roman Catholic Church possess the fullness, then according to their teaching you are in a state of mortal sin by delaying your Tiberian plunge yet another minute. If you wish to convert Anglicans into Roman Catholics, you will have my continued opposition in such an effort, and so I pledge.

But, I see you as the victim of misinformation, not as much about Rome as about Anglicanism, and about the true teaching of the Undivided (mostly) Church of the First Millenium. We, the Anglicans, have a far more faithful adherence to the Fathers and the Councils then Rome does. Rome and Protestantism suffer the defects of innovations that have caused them to err, while we travel the via media and thus avoid the errors of these extremes.

Alice C. Linsley said...

God bless you, ed pacht. Bitterness does not serve the Lord.

Albion Land said...

Okay, I have to ask: Is there something about the Orthodox Church that has deviated from the doctrine of the undivided church? If so, what is it? If not, then should we not all feel obliged to swim the Bosporus, or at least be focusing our energies not on rapprochement with Rome but with Constantinople?

An Anglican Cleric said...

My two cents: Hooker's Book Five of the Ecclesiastical Polity should still be required reading for those studying for Holy Orders in the Anglican jurisdictions. It's an excellent text. His approach to the Incarnation and his relation of this approach to the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist is still very powerful.

Anonymous said...

Airforce Padre: Thank you for a well stated and irenic explanation of your position. But it reminds me of a wry joke that went around back in the 1950's: "An American Zionist is a Jew who feels that other Jews should move to Israel." There is something seriously contradictory is praising
the Anglican tradition for its fine spirituality and way of worship, even superior to "anything one could find at the local Novus Ordo parish" (did you mean to sound so condescending to the Church you so strongly recommend?) and then turning around and describing Anglicanism a schismatic? Seems like we are left with a real dilemma: either we must accept an inferior kind of Christianity or else we must be schismatic.

Actually, Padre, I agree with you on a lot of things. In a perfect universe we would have a visibly united Church with the Petrine Successor as its chief pastor, as primus inter pares in a college of bishops, all affirming the Biblical and Patristic Catholicism which Fr Hart's theses and Dr Tarsitano describe very well. I don't think we will have to wait for the Parousia for something like this to exist. But (here I must be blunt)
there are real doctrinal issues with Rome which Fr Hart grasps and you do not. I do note your statement: "I have no reason to believe that Abp. Hepworth or any of the other Bishops of the TAC are lying to us when they say that unity with the Holy See is possible in the near future." Well, I don't think they are "lying" either, but I do strongly suspect they are indulging in a lot of wishful thinking. The exuberant predictions of the TAC bishops are balanced by the deafening silence of the Holy See itself. Finally, if you wish to influence others to swim the Tiber, you will be most effective if you lead by example.
You also mention your acceptance, apparently unqualified, of "all" RC doctrines. Does that include Apostolicae Curae (1896)? If so, do you continue to function as a priest?
Laurence K. Wells

An Anglican Cleric said...

Albion,

I agree with you. From the Caroline divines to C.B. Moss we have always had more in common with the East. Bishop Jewel in his Apologia admonished the Roman Church to return to the ways of the East (on many issues of practice they have so returned, albeit after many hundred years).

The sticking point for me is on Augustinian theology--I take his work very seriously in regards to the Pelagians issues. I can't see throwing him overboard.

AC+

An Anglican Cleric said...

P.S.

I would love to see a continuing group sit down with one of the Orthodox jurisdictions that take the Western Rites seriously and make the same movements that TAC/ACA has made toward Rome.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I've found nothing that deviates, Albion. In fact, Orthodoxy reminds me of the way Anglicans were in the 19th century. Here I find reverence for God and the things of God. The Blessed Mother of our Lord is shown reverence and the sacraments and priesthood are upheld in accordance with biblical ordinance. There is great respect for the Tradition of the Church and for the wisdom of the Church Fathers. Were Cranmer alive today he would feel more at home here than in the Church of England.

poetreader said...

I do think that very strong effort should be made toward rappochement with Orthodoxy. There are indeed differences, which need to be explored as to their gravity. It is not as easily discussed as with Rome, as the differences in style and in the way of approaching theology are widely different, but the effort needs to be made, and would ultimately, I am sure, reveal that there is little difference of real substance between the East and traditional Anglicanism.

AF Padre says of a union with Rome in some kind of prelature

It would serve to unite Anglicans to the Holy See and commit all Anglicans to the all of the Dogmas of the Catholic Faith (not just the ones they choose ie. The Immaculate Conception).

That manages to leave me out. I have grave questions of some of the doctrines of the RCC, particularly the Immaculate Conception and the doctrines regarding the Papacy. If I am required to accept these doctrines as prerequisite to communion with Rome, I cannot do it -- if that be the case, I would need to be convinced first before I could swim.

Further, If I now accepted these doctrines, I'd already be there.

ed

Pierre Bélanger said...

AirForce_Padre said...

It is far more spiritual and has a greater connection with the traditional western fatih than anything one could find at the local Novus Ordo parish.


Right. Hold on to your tradition. The Novus Ordo will hopefully be dead in 50 years.


The reason why I have not jumped ship and gone over to Rome already is that I feel it is my duty to remain within Anglicanism and encourage those in traditional Anglican circles to accept fullness of the faith so that we may be reunited with the Holy Father.

I'm traditionalist cradle RC and I support you. An anglican rite uniate church would be a tremendous witness to the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church.

I have no reason to believe that Abp. Hepworth or any of the other Bishops of the TAC are lying to us when they say that unity with the Holy See is possible in the near future. I believe that Benedict XVI and Abp. Hepworth have a truly "Eccumenical Spirit" and believe in uniting the church.

Union seems possible.Benedict XVI has made ecumenism a priority and is well aware of the TAC file. It is also noteworthy that Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and recipient of the october TAC request for full ,sacramental and corporate union, was involved as a translator in the negotiations resulting in the pastoral provision of the 1980s.

An Anglican Rite or Prealature with Roman Catholic Church would be very beneficial to both Anglicans and Roman Catholics. It would serve to unite Anglicans to the Holy See and commit all Anglicans to the all of the Dogmas of the Catholic Faith (not just the ones they choose ie. The Immaculate Conception). It would benefit the Roman Church as it would allow Roman Catholics the opprotunity to worship at a traditional English liturgy.

Amen. It's a win-win proposition.

AirForce_Padre said...

My question then becomes for all in the TAC at least is: What do you do if Abp. Hepworth and Benedict XVI bring the churches into communion? An Anglican Rite/Prelature will not exist if we refuse to affirm the dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. All of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches must be in complete union with the Holy See on issues of faith and morals, Anglicans if a rite is formes will have to accept this.

An Anglican Cleric said...

"An Anglican Rite or Prealature with Roman Catholic Church. . . would serve to unite Anglicans to the Holy See and commit all Anglicans to the all of the Dogmas of the Catholic Faith (not just the ones they choose ie. The Immaculate Conception). It would benefit the Roman Church as it would allow Roman Catholics the opprotunity to worship at a traditional English liturgy."

This is again the confusion of what is "Catholic." The fact that many Anglicans teach the Immaculate Conception as part of the Catholic faith (even though it is unknown in the East and rejected by the Old Catholics) is part of the problem of the lack of theological education among many Anglicans in Holy Orders. How can a doctrine, such as the Immaculate Conception, that is rejected by the East and was questioned by someone of the status of Thomas Aquinas, be considered as being accepted "always and everywhere?" The same can be said of transubstantiation, purgatory (penal purgation in a legalistic sense), indulgences, and papal infallibility. The fact that all of these are part of the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church makes most Anglicans question the possibility of union, for it will always be on Rome's terms. Indeed, ++Hepworth's claim that there are no substantial doctrinal differences between Rome and the TAC is still an puzzlement in my mind.

How can doctrines unknown during the first thousand years of Christianity be considered properly Catholic? The Roman answer is because "Rome saith." It is not a persuasive argument--it lacks both historical and theological coherence.

AC+

An Anglican Cleric said...

The previous argument boils down to part of Fr. Hart's theses:

15. At the end of the day, if it is not in the Bible, it REALLY cannot be necessary for salvation.
16. Point 15 is classic Catholic teaching.

Pierre Bélanger said...

Psalm ciii said...

Where are all these parishes "taking advantage of the Motu Proprio" (I assume you mean Summorum Pontificum)? The truth is, most RC bishops are fighting it tooth and nail, and RC priests are no better. I personally know of one RC priest who said he would leave the Church if required to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Face it, most RC clergy (especially in the U.S.) are (almost) as liberal as the TEC has become. That FSSP is about as available to RC's in the U.S. as any "Continuing" Anglican body. That leaves the scattered few parishes of SSPX and the sedevacantists.


There are approximately 600 locations in North America where the traditional mass of the Roman rite is celebrated. (numbers fluctuating to the upside) 236 of them are diocesan-approved, 164 are independent (caveat emptor), 65 are sedevacantists (caveat emptor) and 136 are SSPX.

John A. Hollister said...

"rev'd up" asked: "Who made the orthodox the standard of acceptance?"

The answer is, of course, that if one wishes to be orthodox, whether an orthodox Anglican or an orthodox anything else, then what has been believed always, everywhere, and by all other orthodox Christians IS by definition "the standard of acceptance". "Catholic", after all, means simply "universal".

IF by chance "rev'd up" was referring not to the orthodox, i.e., to those who believe what the Church has always taught, but instead to the Orthodox, i.e., those who give their obedience to the Eastern Patriarchates, then the answer would be slightly different.

In this latter case, while the Eastern Orthodox have their problems, they are always a useful check because if they do not accept a particular doctrine, then that doctrine is unlikely to have been characteristic of the original undivided Church of the Apostles.

Thus Anglicans, in particular, often find it helpful to test doctrinal propositions by comparing the positions of both Rome and Constantinople on those propositions. The results of such comparisions, while not necessarily dispositive in themselves, are always enlightening.

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

If TAC manages to work out an accord with Rome less binding than that to which the Uniates have been subjected, I, and the membership of TAC will be overjoyed with the ensuing communion with Rome. This appears rather unlikely at this juncture, but, after all, we do believe in a God of miracles. I can't rule it out. However, if an accord comes about based on submission and the acceptance of all the problematic doctrines, It appears to me (from my limited vantage point) that only a vocal minority of TAC would be able to accept it, and that I would not be alone in trying to figure out what next in the effort to go on as a 'continuing Anglican'.

ed

Carlos said...

I appologize in advance if this sounds like a whiney rant.

Unfortunately I’ve missed a lot of this debate from the power outages that have been in my area. This very same debate was made incarnate when my friend and I drifted to these waters at our breakfast today. My friend is a presbie convert to Rome. He felt called there and I respect his decision. Both he and I are part of a Newman Campus Ministry. [Unfortunately there is no “Anglican” (I say that because the Episcopal group I was apart of is in cahoots with the Lutheran campus ministry and they do stuff like worship female Icons of Christ) group on campus.] So he pulled the old Newman one out on me today (Newman converted… why haven’t you.) So began an hour long debate about the role of the papacy and why I should remain apart from the Roman Church. I was using a lot of Orthodox arguments against the papacy and eventually the conversation turned into a defense of Constantinople on my part (which by relation was a defense of Anglicanism). Yes we should all be one, but at what expense? The Primus inter pares didn’t go very far. Then again, I’m no theologian, but the question became, if the Pope is “first amongst equals” and should be the “tie breaker” in a debate, where do we define the limit of what the pope has. Honestly, I didn’t have a response. Where do we draw the line for how much authority the pope has? In one sense, do we want a weak office like the Archbishop of Canterbury? I don’t know the extent of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s authority, but it doesn’t seem like much either. I suppose I’m just confused and beaten from this debate.
He sees this grand encompassing church, and I look at Rome, and I don’t see that. I see a half maintained cathedral with duplicity abound. I’m glad more people here have been speaking about union with the Orthodox. The more and more I learn about Anglican history and the ethos of the tractarian movement, the more and more I see Byzantium. As western Christians, I suppose Rome is the target of our slings. It always seems Anglican apologists are defending against Rome or comparing our catholicity to Rome. I’m tired of this Rome centric view of the Catholic faith. I believe the Anglican reformers were looking back to something they knew not or were not aware of (I don’t know how much they knew about the Eastern tradition). The church they built in many respects parallels the Orthodox Churches. It’s as if the Anglican Church was filling the role or niche of the Eastern Church in Western Christendom.
The one thing I cannot shake is the Eastern liturgy. It’s a very beautiful thing, but sorry as I am to say, I feel better connected with the Roman masses and Anglican rites. Now this may make me a whiney wannabe Orthodox as Timothy Ware says… but I believe (like Orthodox due) liturgy is an important part of our faith. If I can’t render due praise to God, what good is it then to sit in a liturgy. This is why I don’t go to Lutheran and Methodist liturgies (aside from the fact I don’t think their valid Eucharistic rites).
After today, I believe more than before, we should have serious talks with the Orthodox Churches. I would like nothing more than for us to be in communion with them, AND THEN approach Rome. It’s unfortunate, but Rome with infinitely more adherents, can dictate the conversation a lot more than a small raft of Anglicans.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thank you, Carlos. You have personalized our challenge.

Anglican Cleric asks a pertintent question: "How can doctrines unknown during the first thousand years of Christianity be considered properly Catholic? The Roman answer is because 'Rome saith.' It is not a persuasive argument--it lacks both historical and theological coherence."

It takes a certain faith to believe that something is because "Rome saith" and many find security in that faith. But is it ill-placed? There are no perfect churches, but the Body of Christ is an ontological reality testified by Holy Scripture. Rome's claim that it alone is this Body lacks the same Scriptural testimony.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It’s as if the Anglican Church was filling the role or niche of the Eastern Church in Western Christendom.

Carlos:

That is more true then most people realize, especially since the time of Lancelot Andrewes, but even before. And, in the West, for centuries Anglican scholars were the only scholars to know the writings of the Greek Fathers. Even Newman lamented, after "converting" to Rome, the sheer ignorance that surrounded him concerning the Eastern Fathers.

Unfortunately, far from the watchful eyes of the Patriarchs, many Americans (and other Westerners) who convert to Orthodoxy have created their own version of it, far more anti-Western than truly Orthodox. A lot of outright revisionism and misinformation abounds among many of them who seem all too much like self-loathing "westerners" trying to escape their own skin. Orthodoxy is far more profound than that. And, to appreciate our common ground, take a look at the Liturgy of St. Tikhon the Western Orthodox Rite approved for use by the Antiochene Archdiocese (himself a personal friend of Bishop Charles Grafton of Blessed memory and an incorruptible- which shows that Anglicans have saints too).

I have come to value the understanding of my brother, Dr. David Bentley Hart, of Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, and lately through her correspondence with us, Dr. Alice Linsley. So, I know that we have some learned converts to Orthodoxy who do not misrepresent their Church, but understand it well.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I have great respect for Father Reardon's insightful exposition of Scripture and for David B. Hart's excellent analysis of western and specifically American culture.

My name doesn't belong with their's. (And I do not hold a doctorate.)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I thought, Alice Linsley, that you held a doctorate. Nonetheless, you have demonstrated that you are a true scholar.

Warwickensis said...

It's interesting that at Oxbridge in the 19th Century, any teacher at the University was referred to as "Doctor" even if they only held a Master of Arts.

In a very proper sense, Alice, you hold a very worthwhile doctorate that is worth more than the pieces of paper called doctorates that they give to revisionists, modernists and champions of heresy.

Shame we have no power to hand out Lambeth-style degrees. Fr Hart, any way we can get the Continuum to award academic honours? ;-)

Warwickensis said...

Fr. Hart, for an unlearned chap such as myself would you please reconcile your statement:

"If you believe that the Roman Catholic Church possess the fullness, then according to their teaching you are in a state of mortal sin by delaying your Tiberian plunge yet another minute. If you wish to convert Anglicans into Roman Catholics, you will have my continued opposition in such an effort, and so I pledge."

with Paragraph 818 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers. . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."

Thanks.

poetreader said...

May I venture to anticipate Fr, Hart in this one, as I found not contradiction here?

I seem to have the impression that the far more open statements of the RCC since V2 did not change the fundamental assumption. It was always held that being raised in "ignorance" not by one's own fault removed the aspect of wilful sin from the equation, but it still is held that to know the truth and to refuse it is mortal sin. If, therefore, one has come to accept the RCC view that the Church in its fulness, exists only under Papal authority,one, by virtue of that knowledge, is no longer excused by the existence of "invincible ignorance". If I could accept Papal Infallibility and certain other of the Roman teachings, I would perforce be there already, even if I had to hold my nose to enter

ed.

John said...

"There are approximately 600 locations in North America where the traditional mass of the Roman rite is celebrated. (numbers fluctuating to the upside) 236 of them are diocesan-approved, 164 are independent (caveat emptor), 65 are sedevacantists (caveat emptor) and 136 are SSPX"

Very interesting! I have read that if you combine all the various Anglican jurisdictions there are about 700 churches nationwide. That means we Traditional Anglicans outnumber Roman Traditionalist Parishes in the USA. Who would haver guessed!


I recently read Bishop Charles Grafton's opinion on union with the Orthodox Churches circa early -mid 1920's. What hope he placed on that work which was just beginning. He also felt that the Anglican Church had more in common with the Eastern Orthodox than with Rome.

It seems that everybody has a different opinion on what the TAC is trying to achieve- I have been told by my Bishop that the effort embodied in the "letter" to Rome is not about absorption. As a member of the ACA I have made it clear to my priest and Bishop that if 'Communion" required adopting man made dogma's or traditions which can only be regarded as pious belief (which are already a stumbling block between Rome and all of the rest of Christianity) that our parish will not go. Hepworth's rhetoric about what we (Anglicans) believe aside I think he is a bright enough fellow to understand he would be inviting another fracture in the Continuing Church if he is being less than honest about intent.
However I think any effort to bring Christians together on the basics of the Faith Once Delivered is time well spent.
One thing is for sure if a response from Rome is to take generations which is normal for the RCC on most matters, it will say that Pope Benedict's desire for a real ecumenism was not heart felt. Think about it, besides the Continuing Church where could a group of Christians have more in common through our Catholicity with either Rome or the Orthodox than traditional Anglicans? Baptists? Methodists? Charismatic Assemblies of God folk? Just who was Benedict thinking of when he proposed such relations with other Churches? Surely the Orthodox, but that would be a much more complex undertaking than with a CC jurisdiction.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

warwickensis wrote:
Fr Hart, any way we can get the Continuum to award academic honours? ;-)

Not without having the Barking Toad come after us- that guy is ruthless.

As for the serious question that followed, Ed answered it dead on.

John:

The people I know in the TAC-ACA give me reason to trust their motives. Of course, with Lou Tarsitano+ having departed this life, all of the ACA folks I know personally were in the APCK with me only a few motnhs ago. Nonetheless, I trust Fr. Nalls, and I trust Bishop Florenza and the others. Not to seek unity in the larger Catholic Church would be a failure to pick up the ball that Canterbury dropped.

Nonetheless, I would still like to see something going on with the Orthodox too.

John said...

Fr Hart,

Two difficult questions:

Considering the article how do you see "unity" with Rome manifesting based on the reasons you state you have not yet swam?

If your reasons, which are my reasons, are the same as they have been more or less in the Anglican Way for centuries what real expectation is there that engaging in 'talks' for the sake of talks is nothing more than more of the same that went on before. If Rome will not set aside it's inventions and we will not set aside our reasoned views of them what is there to discuss? Does this not in the end mean somebody at the table has to say "we are wrong" even if they are not and abandon their principles?

Surely no one thinks Rome is going to admit the issues you have pointed out are errors on their part. Where does that leave such a 'dialog'?

2

I have been misled myself by the best of intentions and misplaced faith in leaders who had the same in others on too many occasions over the years. The blind leading the blind. I have seen an entire Church led into the ditch. I see people claiming to be leaders for the current exodus from TEC blind to the plain read of Scripture yet claim to be 'orthodox'. I see people with a right understanding banned from conversation with these people. I (for much the same reasons) have been physically assaulted (sucker punched from behind by a priestess's 'wife') while she and the rest looked on, and ostracized by those I trusted in a church and community where 4 generations of my family worshipped. I have seen you and others used and abused like so much firewood on somebody else's 'hearth' by 'trusted' individuals. All these people were led by well meaning people or those who though they were on the right path. Is that enough?

I am not making a case for being disobedient or overly suspicious but rather a case for placing faith in those who prove to be trustworthy, and there has been little stability over the years to base a blind trust on.

I hold reservation on any thing secret. Secret things tend to be secret for a reason, that reason could be to prevent misunderstanding or to prevent understanding; until I know which...

Maybe that makes me a dumb sinner, maybe it makes me a little wiser than I was 5 years ago or 10 or 15 years ago.

Leads me to the next question (with due respect and love):
If such trust be the norm, why does your small jurisdiction/Bishop not trust my Bishop and join the ACA thereby achieving in part what you seem to be endorsing on a larger scale in your comments (unity among Christians)? Waiting to see what happens? If you trust them in what they say and do and they have the same BCP and theology, etc., why are you separate and yet defending the TAC's ambiguous endeavor and advising trust on my part while not leading by example?

Respectfully,

John

Fr. Robert Hart said...

John:

I am in no position to make certain decisions, nor to relay what I know about behind the scenes discussions among bishops who are working to go forward, that is into the future, in a unified effort to get on with Christ's mission. In other words, sorry, I can't reveal certain things, except to say I am encouraged.

As for what happened to me last year, the reality of sin among CC heirarchs does not invalidate the Affirmation of St, Louis we hold to. Such problems are recorded in the New Testament. III John is a brief epistle mainly about one rather bad bishop. It did not make the "Johanine Community" less than fully apostolic.

But, the first question I can answer better. Rome has been changing and showing signs of a new humility and willingness to lay things on the table previously guarded and locked up. This has included, in recent years, the meaning of Universal Primacy (that is, not redefined as yet, but available for discussion).

With Rome (and Orthodoxy- if we can only see something start up again in that direction) nothing happens fast. They are less likely to abandon or repudiate anything than they are to redefine it, and to keep redefining it until it means what it always should have meant. For example, in one of his homilies in God is Near Us, then Archbishop Ratzinger (not even yet Cardinal when he wrote it), now Pope Benedict XVI, defined the meaning of "transubstantiation" in a manner that is quite Anglican indeed. Never contradicting Trent, he simply wrote on a deep and significant theological level.

Miracles do happen, even among bishops. I don't know that talks are pointless.

Alice C. Linsley said...

John, It is terrible that you have been treated so badly (sucker punched), but count yourself blessed when you are reviled by those who distain God's Word. May God bless you richly.

Fr. Hart is right. Nothing happens quickly with Rome or Orthodoxy. And nothing happens without prayer! Speaking personally, I'm just rediscovering how to pray after a period of spiritual dryness in TEC. There are two petitions that all Christians should regularly make before the throne of God: the peace of Jerusalem and the unity of the Church.

Psalm ciii said...

Carlos wrote, The church [the Anglican reformers] built in many respects parallels the Orthodox Churches. It’s as if the Anglican Church was filling the role or niche of the Eastern Church in Western Christendom.

This is an observation made many times in the past, which, when stated simply, boils down to the statement that

"The Anglican Church is the Western Orthodox Church."

Intending no disrespect, I think there is a lot of silliness in the Western Rite movement, especially when you consider that they are mostly converts from the Episcopal Church. I understand taking refuge from the diseased Episcopal Church, but IMHO, refuge can and should be taken within one of the orthodox Anglican jurisdictions, and not within the Eastern Churches. If all faithful, orthodox Anglicans did so, the "Continuum" would be stronger for all the souls now residing in Orthodoxy and the Church of Rome.

I firmly believe that the Anglican Church, divided as it now stands, is the true (to borrow a term from Orthodoxy) Western Orthodox Church.

I do not intend to denigrate our brothers and sisters in Orthodoxy (Eastern or otherwise), or in Rome for that matter, but I wanted to restate that the Anglican Church is indeed an orthodox Church, and is becoming more so in the Continuum, as previous ambiguities are jettisoned.

poetreader said...

Psalm ciii

I am a Continuing Anglican. I am that by conviction and do not hanker to be anywhere else. In fact I gave up a great deal to come over from my former Protestant pastorate.

However, convinced as I am, I have to admit that it is not an easy thing to justify this choice and this affiliation.

I am convinced that Anglicanism has kept a solid hold upon Catholic truth through all its checkered history, but it remains true that that history does present one with problems of interpretation, and that throughout that history there has been a toleration (even though in opposition to official formularies and liturgies) for doctrinal stances that are hardly Catholic.

Now that the heretical strain has emerged and has seized control in many 'official' Anglican churches, the inherent centrifugal force has produced division. This has become necessary. Catholics simply cannot remain. Some still hold on. Some have formed separate jurisdictions. Some have gone elsewhere (RCC or the East).

I do believe the Continuing Churches potentially to be the answer to the mess thus produced. That's why I'm here, but it is not hard to understand why so many have chosen otherwise. We are divided in a way that can only be called bizarre. There are anywhere from three to umpty-ump St. Louis jurisidictions (depending on who is counting), to say nothing of the newer Evangelical outfits. These jurisdictions overlap one another, are sometimes in communion and sometimes not, sometimes friendly and sometimes squabbling. They question one another's orders, argue over hurt feelings from the past, and, all too often, mismanage their own affairs.

I am convinced that this dreadful (and sinful) disunity is only temporary. I am convinced that we are the bearers of an expression of the Catholic Tradition that is unsurpassed elsewhere, both in our historic teaching and in the glories of our liturgical heritage. This thing is worth keeping. It's worth preserving. It's worth resurrecting.

I love the Anglican tradition. But I can certainly understand how a cleric or a member could become discouraged and feel unable to survive in the Continuum. Frankly, it takes a strong man (or a weak sheep who doesn't really care about things like unity and brotherly love).

Until we have made the Continuing Church into what God intends it to be, we just need to expect a lot of leakage. And those who must go -- God go with them. Someday Our Lord's prayer will finally have its fulfilment.

ed

John said...

Hi Alice,

Ah it was nothin' my granny had a better arm and she would look you in the eye!

After trying to intimidate me for an hour through the whole service and getting nowhere he through his elbow between my shoulder blades when I turned to leave (he sat right next to me thinking his antics would be of some effect) )with all he had. I turned around and smiled at him. It was the beginning of the end for the priestess. He was ex military and as lib as one can get-weird. Nobody came to my defense but everybody saw what was on his face and that revealed a lot to those who refused to see before the incident. He flipped me the bird passing me on the highway soon after... this is the kind of people who are running TEC. Satan ain't picky.

Yes nothing happens quickly, but context demands consideration of Benedict's own words. He made the opening bid regardless of the TAC's intent. The fact that the declared desire for a new relation with other Christians is not a Vatican thing but a personal thing expressed by the Pope himself- in his opening homily if memory serves. If Rome drags feet or takes the usual couple of centuries I think it says he was either insincere or ineffectual as a leader of his own Church. After all if the Pope, who claims to be the supreme leader of all Christians, can't follow up on his own declaration what does that say about his office and the institution? If he is the successor of St Peter than he ought be able to make a decision. If his own institution can't back him up then do they really believe him to be a successor of Peter?

Either Benedict meant what he said or he was blowing smoke. If he meant it HE needs to demonstrate his intent not some other Pope down the road, maybe , sort of.

poetreader said...

Well,
If the Pope does have the capability of doing what he pleases, all by himself, then the worst of Ultramontaine opinion becomes accurate, in which case I would want nothing to do with it. I hope the process goes slowly. It needs to. It would be pleasant indeed if it were to come to pass during this papacy, but, given HH's age, that seems unlikely in the extreme.

ed

John said...

Ed,
The Pope is the center of leadership in his Communion I do not think anybody can dispute that. The claims of Papal authority over and beyond the borders of Rome are part of history.

Knowing what his abilities and limitations are he made a claim. This Pope is a man with formidable knowledge of the office and the institution. Either the claim was real or it was not. Either he knew what he was saying and what it would take to back it up or he is insincere or incompetent.

I believe he knew what he was saying and intends to make it so.
As you say time will tell.

poetreader said...

I agree, but the fact that the Pope, though theoretically able to act alone and suddenly, practically never does, says volumes about a basic respect for tradition and for the thinking of the entire church. I will be far more comfortable with a decision arrived at slowly with that kind of respect than I would with a decision pushed through quickly and unilaterally. Regardless of the theoretical power of the office, collegiality is of vital concern in such matters as this.

ed

AirForce_Padre said...

The idea that the Pope act willy nilly of his own accord in making infallible proclamations is absurd. Only twice has an infallible statement been made by the Pope (ie. the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption). Both of these dogmas had a long history before Pius IX or Pius XII made the infallible ex cathedra proclamations.

This anti infalliblity non sense is just a way for some Anglicans to maintain the every priest a Pope tradition that has plagued Anglicanism for the last 500 years.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Airforce Padre wrote:

This anti infalliblity non sense is just a way for some Anglicans to maintain the every priest a Pope tradition that has plagued Anglicanism for the last 500 years.

Anti infallibility nonsense? In 1870 this new doctrine came along without precedent, without a history other than Rome-approved RC catechisms with papal imprimatur teaching that it was not Catholic teaching; and it came at that late date with no support from quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. And, for the second part, I now doubt that you are or ever have been an Anglican. Otherwise, you would not confuse the Anglican approach to clergy with that of the Southern Baptists.

poetreader said...

AF Padre,

You may have noticed that the sudden acting willy-nilly comment came up as a direct answer to a commenter's desire that action be taken quickly. In 1870 some of the extreme Ultramontanes wanted the poopes to have such a capability. Blessedly the definition (wrong as I perceive it to be even as is) allowed no such claim. Precisely no one in this thread has implied that Benedict or his Church make any such extreme claim. For myself I expressed pleasure in knowing that it does not work that way, though I am a little uncomfortable about how easy it is to misinterpret the unfortunate statement of 1870 to say that.

I would recommend reading what is before you with a bit more care before you start rantuing about non sense.

ed

Anglo-Cat said...

I am sick and tired of protty anti-Catholic crap. This thread does nothing to further Catholic unity and on top of which, misrepresents Anglicanism. Good job.

poetreader said...

Anglo-Cat

Interesting that you should read a long post and 98 comments on it (some of them almost as long) while considering it to be "crap". Either you're an awfully good time waster, or you delight in finding someone to insult, and someplace to grump, "Oh shut up!"

This is a place for reasoned discourse, a place where gentlemen (and ladies) can express honest disagreements and the reasons for them. If this is what you intend, you are more than welcome. Who knows, you might even convince someone to agree with you. If, however, you regard this as a manure pile (as you said), it would probably be better for your vaunted purity not to soil yourself by playing in the "crap" with us.

ed

Anonymous said...

Dear All, to return to 'reasoned discourse', the cause for unease behind Fr. Hart's list, and some points I made earlier elsewhere ;
If the TAC College of Bishops did not mean to signify at their synod in Portsmouth, England, that by individually signing the copy of the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' ,placed on the high altar, they were assenting to all Roman Catholic doctrine contained therein, what did they think they were doing, and why has no explanation been forthcoming ?

CCC

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This was not anti-Catholic, but a defense of Anglicanism. Frankly, real Anglicanism, much closer to Rome than Continental and modern Protestantism, does have differences with Rome, which should go without saying, but in some circles does not.

An early comment made a good point. Rome attacked us many times, and has caused some of our own people (in an inexcusable state of too much ignorance), to doubt our validity, and to have unnecessary conflicts of conscience. When we defend our position, they fire back by saying we are the ones who attacked. But, we are merely the defenders against Rome's offense (in both senses of the word).

I will continue this defense, and will continue to say that our own clergy need to stop teaching RCIC classes under the guise of Anglicanism, learn the value of our theology (yes, our theology), and teach it to their people.

poetreader said...

CCC,
Good questions, but presently unanswerable. I am a member of TAC. I support, and strongly, the concept of intercommunion with Rome. This, in fact, is one of my most heartfelt desires. However, I too have a lot of questions. I can't answer for what the bishops precisely intended, and, for whatever reasons, they aren't saying. I can't speak for them. However, I can speak for myself. The bishops, though bishops of my church, in signing individually, did not sign for me, I wasn't consuilted (which is not surprising), and, if I had been asked, would have answered, "NO". Reluctantly, I have to admit that there is a small percentage of what is there stated that I cannot accept. I could have signed a statement that I am in substantial agreement, however. I suspect that a large number of our layfolk and a considerable number of clergy would find themselves in a similar position. Since nothing has been done to officially bind the TAC, I'm content to let it lie there for the moment, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

ed

Fr. J. said...

Whatever the faults of the Catholic Church, it is not subject to the theological calumnies of WO, Gay Matrimony, or the ego driven jumble of conflicting jurisdictions of the Continuum.

If the Anglican Continuum is the height of Christianity, to hell with it all.

As has been said. In churches without the pope, everyone is a pope.

Please excuse my tone, it was inspired by the post.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"If the Anglican Continuum is the height of Christianity, to hell with it all."

I don't care where you look: You will see the frailty of the human condition in sin and death. That includes the Anglican Continuum, and the Roman Catholic Church too. For example, the well known sex scandals of the RCC have made many people turn away from God altogether.

Albion Land said...

Fr Hart,

I don't think you read Fr J's comment very closely.

He said that, "whatever the faults of the Catholic Church, it is not subject to the theological calumnies of WO ..."

Ah, so what are a few faults, I ask you, in a theologically pure institution? Well to be sure, father, untold numbers of priests and religious -- drunks, womanisers, pederasts, rapists and emotional bullies and tyrants -- have been cast, or will be cast, into the depths of the sea with millstones ties around their necks for the irreparable damage they have done to untold souls, but by golly Holy Mother Church isn't tainted by the heresy of wimmin priests!

Oh, how relieved I am.

Forgive my unbridled sarcasm, Fr J, but to gloss over the shame of a church that recruits, ordains, promotes and protects such monsters as these, however few they may be, is just a bit too rich for my taste.

I will be the first to defend the vast, and I mean, vast majority of Roman Catholic clergy and religious who live normal, if not even exemplary, lives. But save your triumphalist twaddle for another venue.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Albion, is that smoke I detect coming from your keyboard? God bless you! That did need to be said.

Father Hart, the differences between the Roman Catholic way and the Anglican way are significant and you have done a good job specifying what some of the differences are. There will always be people who refuse to see the differences, or who impose their interpretations of the differences. Some people simply have had no experience of the Anglican Way and so the speak from ignorance. This is especially true of people who came into TEC after 1980. This blog is doing and important work by continuing the conversation with sensitivity to people in each category.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. J. referred to "the ego driven jumble of conflicting jurisdictions of the Continuum" as one of the drawbacks of Anglicanism.

But what about the Roma-ego-driven Great Schism from the Eastern Churches in 1054, or the Roman-ego-driven refusal to recognize the truth of most of Luther's critiques in 1517 and after -- which created the modern "jumble of conflicting jurisdictions of Protestantism" -- , or the Roman-ego-driven schism from the Church of England in 1570, or the Roman-ego-driven schism from the Old Catholics in 1870?

Are these the sorts of things that are supposed to make us non-Romans believe that the Patriarch of Rome has some special charism that is essential to the unity of the Church?

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

Pride, i.e. ego, is the mother of all sins, the real source of all the seven deadly sins. It is the conviction that my desires or my perceived needs outrank all other considerations, including the expressed will of God. It can be grossly obvious, or it can be very subtle indeed. I know myself well enough to know how far short my own motivations fall, how often it is some form of pride that I follow. I've been told that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Consequently I try very hard to avoid accusing anyone on the basis of motivations. Mine aren't pure. I can indeeed, and even must, judge whether one speaks truth, or whether one's actions are in accord with truth, but only God is qualified to judge motivations. Thus I do have to speak to the unnecessary attack by Fr. J, and the well-intentioned riposte by my good friend Canon Hollister, in that each described the other side as ego-driven. We might suspect that, but we don't know that, and the unprovable is never a safe basis for an argument. Albion was right (if heated) in making it clear that there is a great deal to be said about abuses in both camps, (and, though I have criticized the choice of words, I thank Canon H for his statement). There are abuses, lots of them, and I find it arguable that there are also errors of teaching in both camps. Maybe we can get back to a real discussion of issues, which has characterized this thread, instead of hurling insults and shouting "to hell with it all." Fr. J, you are welcome to make a rational case for your position, but if this kind of invective is all you have to offer, please go elsewhere.

ed

Anonymous said...

The patristic church...this is the worst kind of anglican fudge, reinventing a supposed past and confidently proclaiming one' uniquely faithful adherence to it. Horsefeathers!

Puzzled said...

It seems to me that the Prayer Book is quite far from what appears to me to be the neo-Platonic syncretism of the Eastern Roman church.

Perhaps this is the wrong thread, but I have seen rejections of Lutheran doctrine (which Lutheran doctrine?) and I don't know, apart from the Calvinist double-predestination that might be read into the 39 Articles, or the lack of a strong affirmation of Real Presence in the same, that is different between Lutheran and Anglican beliefs. (TEC is no more Anglican than ELCA is Lutheran)

I also wonder what differences of substance exist between these two and the Patriarch of Seleuca-Ctesiphon-Chicago, which even has maintained the canon of Scripture for all of these centuries, whose sacrament of the altar is recognized as valid by Rome, and where the Chalcedonian issue has been resolved these past 10 years.

That doesn't mean I'm not missing something. Rather, I want to know what it is that I am missing.

Polly Prim said...

Thank goodness, some intelligent debate about Anglicanism. From where I was sitting the debate was beginning to resemble a radio talk show with two jocks, one a reappraiser and one a reasserter.

I'm looking forward to working my way through these thoughtful (long) comments.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Puzzled:

When you speak in terms of reading into something a lack of something, you puzzle me. The 39 Articles are not the whole of Anglicanism, and they were written to keep a level of peace in a troubled violent era.But, they are neither Calvinist nor Lutheran.

Anonymous wrote:

The patristic church...this is the worst kind of Anglican fudge, reinventing a supposed past and confidently proclaiming one' uniquely faithful adherence to it. Horsefeathers!

Any other period of history you wish to deny? How about the Colonial period in America? Personally, I would like to deny the entire Renaissance. I've decided it just didn't happen. But, when it comes Horsefeathers, I love Horsefeathers, and Duck Soup, and all those Marx Bros. movies. Furthermore, the worst kind of Anglican fudge has to be peanut butter fudge cooked by an English lady.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Have a look at early conciliar documents. Look for references to the "patristic" Church, and compare the number of references to the Catholic Church. Start, for example, with Nicaea.

The "pc" is a post-reformation ex-post-facto justification for doctrinal innovation.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anonymous:

Excuse me, but so what? Do you have any idea why we use terms for historical periods? Do you suppose that people in Medieval times were calling themselves "Medieval Europeans?" If you're going to make a point then make a real one.

Anonymous said...

The point is very simple. The "pc" is a very poor attempt to trademark one's own view of doctrinal purity contra the Catholic Church. The latter has the advantage over the "pc" of having existed. And still does.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anonymous:

You are wise to remain anonymous. I have never before used the word "stupid" on this blog, but your point is stupid. The Patristic era existed in the history of the Church. Is that too complicated for you?

During that time the churches under the five patriarchates were all united as the Catholic Church. A certain Patriarch, namely the one in Rome, got a bloated and puffed up notion of his own importance, and destroyed that outward and visible unity, and in the centuries that followed his successors invented weird new doctrines never held by the Church when it was united.

Anonymous said...

What happened to my last comment?

I guess I'm not allowed to call this:

During that time the churches under the five patriarchates were all united as the Catholic Church. A certain Patriarch, namely the one in Rome, got a bloated and puffed up notion of his own importance, and destroyed that outward and visible unity, and in the centuries that followed his successors invented weird new doctrines never held by the Church when it was united


the Anglican Myth on this blog...well, keep up the one-sided invective, then!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I answered this person's last comment, as everyone can read.

You see this folks? A commenter thinks it proves something that supposedly undermines our position by pointing out what we all have always known, that the Church has always called itself Catholic. Obviously, that must mean the pope's denomination with all of their current practices and doctrines, and nobody else. If you don't believe it, just read the signs on the front of the church buildings. That proves it.

Boy, do I feel like dummy for not getting it sooner. Golly, gee whiz, and doggone.

Anonymous said...

You're missing the point. In fact, what you call

our position

is based on a myth. The "pc" myth, which you elaborated very well in the comment above. Beautiful elaboration does not imply conformity with reality, however.

FYI: I attempted to post a comment which seems to have disappeared. Perhaps during server/supervisor downtime.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

What you're calling a myth is a whole era of history. The Patristic period is not an Anglican invention. You will find it in RC and Orthodox books. You will also find the medieval period, in case you think we made that up too.

I am not wasting anymore cyber ink on this. If you want to say something that makes a real point that will be different.

Anonymous said...

What you're calling a myth is a whole era of history

Really? well, once upon a time...

During that time the churches under the five patriarchates were all united as the Catholic Church. A certain Patriarch...

Let's interrupt the story for a second with a little homework question for you, Father. When was the successor of St. Peter first styled "patriarch"?

2nd homework question: are the patriarchies scriptural?

Anonymous said...

I am very friendly towards Rome--even sent my kids to World Youth Day in Cologne--but when I attend actual services here in California (and I have attended them in a number of cities), I am distressed, nay grieved, at the banality, aimlessness, disjointedness, and cheesy touchy-feeliness of it all. And I am in awe of the stalwart faithfulness of my Catholic friends who week after week are fed such thin gruel and incoherent homilies, yet love the Church and raise their families in it.

I was reared Congregationalist, and was a member of Presbyterian and Assemblies of God congregations. When I stumbled upon an Episcopal church using the 1928 BCP I was stunned. Where had they been hiding this beautiful, intelligent, worshipful, passionate liturgy?

I don't care that at fifty I'm one of the young uns. I'm not interested in demographics. If the ship goes down, I'm going down with it, because I believe God honors the faithfulness of His people. Meanwhile, my job is to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, and be faithful and strengthen that which remains, and bring others to the gospel of Christ.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It seems obvious that the last two Anonymice are not one and the same. To the second, I don't know if the ship referred to is the official Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church, or faithful Traditional Anglicanism of the Continuum. If it is the latter, it is a ship that is not sinking.

But, to the first, I don't know about patriarchies, but since you have no idea what the Patriarchates are, and their history, you ought to be asking questions with the attitude of a student instead of presuming to debate where you are in way over your head. You are, to be blunt, not educated; so, you should assume a more humble attitude.

Anonymous said...

Father, on reflection I think it would be fairer of me to lay out my criticisms of your myth now that you've gone to the trouble of elaborating it.

First of all, there's the counting issue. The 3 patriarchates originally so-called were customary usages deriving (in the case of Rome) from the flattering appelation of Theodosius and in the case of Alexandria and Antioch, from the importance these cities achieved due to the imperial diocesan reforms of that noted church reformer, Diocletian.

Jerusalem and then Constantinople the self-proclaimed were later additions to this select list, by which time it might almost have been forgotten that patriarchates were (contra your myth) in no way constitutive of the Catholic Church.

Apart from your counting problem and the anachronism just described is the scriptural basis for your myth, which is of course non-existant.

Perhaps you might regard the successor of St. Peter as the victim of mythical accretions but with a few handy scriptures and early Fathers the like of Ignatius to chime in, I'll warrant that myth has much sturdier legs to run on.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Then argue with your own RC Church for accepting the Patriarchates as listed in the Ecumenical Councils of Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon. You have, in your zeal, denied the teaching of Rome. Then argue with the Orthodox, whose ancient Patriarchates you have insulted with your weird and unique (as far as I can tell) view of history. Argue with every historian whose work touches on the Church. Your views are yours alone, and no Roman Catholic historian, scholar or theologian would agree with you (or even take your ideas seriously).

And thanks for setting straight the record that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem has no claim to antiquity. I guess St. Luke had it wrong, and Pentecost really happened at the Vatican in St. Peter's Square.

Bruce the Anglican said...

I keep wanting to replace "swim the Tiber" with "cross the Rubicon" but since the latter was a hostile action, I guess the analogy isn't apt. Still, "alea iacta est" might describe the resulting situation. One you're in communion with them, will you ever go back?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

There will be no more approval of anonymous comments about whether or not the Church had five Patriarchates in ancient times. Nobody could be as stupid as this fellow pretends to be, and I think my leg has been pulled one time too many by someone trying to get my goat.

Stephanie said...

I gasp! I swoon a bit, even! Yes, yes, a thousand times yes to that whole list! Thank you! From the old tome _Church Teaching for Church Children_, "The opposite of black is white. The opposite of papist is protestant. The opposite of catholic is heretic."