Saturday, April 19, 2008

Society of St Michael

The recent article on clergy education has brought to my attention the existence of an organization I previously knew nothing about -- the Society of St Michael.

Its website describes it as a "fraternity of Anglican clergy, organized as a society of apostolic life."

The site also says: "The Society of St Michael interprets the Catholic Faith in complete accord with the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

I would be interested to know who founded this society, when, and why. In particular, I am curious as to how Anglican clergy can be in "complete accord" with the CCC. If I were to find myself in such accord, I could imagine no reason why I should not become a member of the Roman Catholic Church.

I do not mean to be aggressive here, but I do not follow the logic.

23 comments:

Bob Catholic said...

For once, we agree. But allow me to add a small note and a question.

First: similar statements appear in the Catholic League manifesto. It represents the impossible position held by some (if not all) Anglo-Papists: if they believe the Church founded by Jesus subsits in the community gathered around the Successor of Saint Peter, why are they not in full visible communion of it? But note: SSM interprets the Catholic Faith in accord with the CCC. It does not (to a plain reading) believe that the CCC presents the Catholic Faith in its fullness. Here, I think, they separate themselves.

Let me take this one step further: what of the TAC College of Bishops that signed the Catechism? How are we to intrepret their actions? Further, what will happen if (when?) the TAC's approach to Rome is rejected or (as reported on this blog) put on the back-burner: when does communion with Rome become a moral imperative?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Joining the Catholic Church would mean no longer being autonomous. This way the Society can have its Catholic Catechism and still eat the cake of self-governance. This seems to be less about good logic than about owning a fief.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob,

The TAC College of Bishops did NOT in fact sign the Catechism. That was a piece of misinformation that was put out on Web to unnecessarily upset parishoners. My source for this correction is my Bishop.

acamusician

Canon Tallis said...

It is the same old Anglo-papalist mess and one of the reasons which have brought Anglicanism so low. If a Roman priest did anything similiar he would be shown the door almost immediately but from the days of the beginning of the Society of Saints Peter and Paul this poison has inflicted Anglicanism.
The Church revival in the Church of England and the American Church was based upon a full acceptance of the text of the Book of Common Prayer and obedience to same. When that obedience to the prayer book was gradually replaced by "advanced" churchmen with a slavish copying of Roman usage and Roman theology, it brought all of Anglo-Catholicism into disrepute. Why? The most simple reason is that it is dishonest. One expects that in the Roman Church, but it should not be acceptable in Anglicanism.
Bob Catholic is right in his asking that if they interpret the Catholic Church in this manner they have not simply submitted to the Roman See. Real Anglicans should know that if Bob Catholic's definition of the Church were correct it would be reflected in the text of the New Testament, the historic creeds and the canons of General Councils and it is not. Instead the myth (I could use a stronger word) of the Roman Church has been built upon forgeries and a dishonest editing of the writings of the earliest fathers. It is not a part of the common inheritance of all Christians from the first five centuries of the Church, but the invention of those who attempted to turn all the Western Church into an extension of the Cluniac monastic system.
I thank the contributers to this blog for the exposure and the warning.

poetreader said...

Canon Tallis,

I'm afraid you've misconstrued us a bit if you think our position is identical to what you've just presented.

I. for one, though not accepting of Rome's overblown claoms for itself, am not the least bit sympathetic to allegations that their position has been arrived at dishonestly or supported by deliberate falshood (as your veiled statement about a stronger term seems to imply).

I think it essential to recognize that even what we assume to be errors arise out of a real desire for the truth. The correction of such errors is not made by accusations, but by patient discussion. I believe that is what is underway, for instance, on the TAC/RCC talks.


There are AngloPapalists with whom you and I do not agree, who have a well-thought out concept and objective that deserves respect, if not acceptance -- and there are also those who do deserve criticism for not having moved along. A bit of careful examination distinguishes these easily.

I'm not the least bit in sympathy with Rome-bashing. Even though I believe there are serious mistakes in that communion, they are a sister church in a very close fashion.

ed

James said...

I came across the SSM a week or two ago and thought that statement was a little strange as well. After all, if they accept the CCC in its entirety, it is sinful to remain outside of the RCC for them.

Albion Land said...

Dear ACAMusician,

You say your bishop told you that they did not sign the CCC at Portsmouth.

I can tell you that I have it on the highest authority that it was intended they would do so. Given the source, I find it difficult to believe that what was intended did not happen. That being said, it is perhaps conceivable that a bishop or bishops declined to do so though, from the way my source described things to me, that would seen to be highly unlikely.

On balance, I would say there is much unnecessary secrecy here. And if my source is reading this, I would make that point to that source. Perhaps that source would like to contact me privately so that we can clear the air; I, as an outsider, and beginning to believe that perhaps there is some wool being pulled here, and wouldn't consider that to be particularly constructive.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The TAC College of Bishops did NOT in fact sign the Catechism. That was a piece of misinformation that was put out on Web to unnecessarily upset parishoners. My source for this correction is my Bishop.

I have tried to make this point too, more than once. But, the story simply will not die.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Albion:

ACA Musician's bishop was, last time we heard from her, +Rocco Florenza. His word is good enough for me.

John A. Hollister said...

I would wish, gently and I hope in a spirit of perfect charity, to take polite issue with Alice C. Linsley's comment that "Joining the Catholic Church would mean no longer being autonomous."

Most of us in the Continuing Church movement believe, and assert on every possible occasion, that we have **already** joined the Catholic Church, even though one of that Church's bishops, he of Rome, and the rest of the Roman Communion have neither administrative or other oversight of us or any formal relationship with us.

That last lacuna is, of course, solely the result of a choice that Rome itself made in 1570, a choice that in hindsight may well seem to have been improvident.

Ms. Linsley's usage, which may have resulted from haste in composing her comment, appears on its face identical to the Roman position, i.e., that the Roman Church and the Catholic Church are co-extensive.

Most of us, along with all of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, as well as the one small surviving Old Catholic community, reject that proposition.

John A. Hollister+

Death Bredon said...

I find the logic of the SSM to as odd as that of Anglicans who still accept John Henry Newman's Tridentine gloss on the 39 Artciles in Tract XC.

But, as incorporating the doctrine of Trent into Anglican doctrine is precisely the EXPRESS puurpose Missals Anglo-Catholics, I can't see how any Missal Anglo-Catholic can logically criticise the SSM -- its a matter of degree, not kind.

* * * * *

Note: Even the only living, independent, Medieval Latin Conciliarist jurisdiction -- the Old Catholics -- rejected the Council of Trent some time ago in the 14 Bonn Theses!

Death Bredon said...

The notion that the ACA as a body would officially sign off on the RC CCC without certain reservations strikes me as incredible. (But lets face it most Christians, even Pat Robertson, could sign off on the RC CCC with only few reservations!) Indeed, the ACA is just too moderate for such Ultramontagnism.

But, could the presiding Bishop of the TAC (as well as fellow reunion-minded prelates) accept the RC CCC whole hog and without reservation? Sure, I suspect so. But to quote Groucho Marx, let's burn that bridge when we get to it.

Scott Carson said...

Frankly, I can't imagine any reason why you, or indeed anyone else, should not be Roman Catholic. But, having said that, I must say that, if one is not a Roman Catholic, then claiming to hold beliefs that are in complete accord with the CCC is not much of a stretch, since it commits one to nothing beyond what the Church has always believed. As for that whole Papal primacy thing, well, that's easily enough interpreted in an Anglican was as nothing more than First Among Equals talk, since nowhere does the CCC commit one to a particular hermeneutical principal that says that one must take the statements of Councils literally. Vatican I may have said this and that about the Pope's office, but what they really meant to say was...etc. This is, after all, what all non-Catholics say all the time about this teaching or that. Oh, sure, he said "This is my Body", but what he really meant to say was "This represents my Body." Once one has adopted a principle whereby words may mean whatever one needs them to mean, then the fun is just getting under way!

We may also compare the expression "in accord with the CCC" to Kant's distinction between acting from duty and acting in accord with duty. Just as, in the Kantian case, the morally justified person is the one acting from duty, while the one acting in accordance with duty is merely fulfilling the external obligations without the requisite inner good will, so too, perhaps, those who form their views from the CCC can be distinguished from those whose views are merely in accordance with the CCC--the latter, clearly, are those who accept those parts of the CCC with which they agree, while the other parts are simply ignored on the grounds that they have not effect on one's outward practices.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Scott Carson wrote:
This is, after all, what all non-Catholics say all the time about this teaching or that. Oh, sure, he said "This is my Body", but what he really meant to say was "This represents my Body." Once one has adopted a principle whereby words may mean whatever one needs them to mean, then the fun is just getting under way!

I will say, without fear of contradiction from any Continuing Anglican, that Mr. Carson's words here are not in any way whatsoever relevant to any of us anywhere at all. I hope that is clear. Use that line on the Baptists, the Presbyterians, et al, where the shoe might fit. We wear a different size.

Just as, in the Kantian case, the morally justified person is the one acting from duty, while the one acting in accordance with duty is merely fulfilling the external obligations without the requisite inner good will...

Then let me say from my conscience, the teaching in the CCC about the papacy is one of only a very few places where Anglicans cannot agree with the content.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Death bredon wrote:
But to quote Groucho Marx, let's burn that bridge when we get to it.

Also appropriate from Groucho: "I refuse to join any club that would accept people like me as members."

Albion Land said...

Is there not a single member of the SSM among our readership who can speak to this?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Father Hollister, you are in the right to correct me. Of course I don't believe in autonomy from the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ. That would mean spiriutal death. My point was that the SSM seeks to be catechetically Roman without surrendering to Roman discipline. Is this not inconsistent?

Death Bredon said...

Albion,

I think the SSM only communicates in Latin! (tongue firmly in check)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am a little surprised that we have not been given an answer to Albion's question.

Albion Land said...

Well, this is comment number 20, and still no response.

I can only think of two possible reasons -- either no one from the SSM reads this blog or anyone who might have an answer does not have one consonant with Anglicanism.

Anonymous said...

Dear Albion, et. al.
At the onset of the "Society of St. Michael" it was as I understood it, instituted in order to provide a venue for clergy from the various jurisdictions to work toward eventual reunion amongst continuing Anglicans. At the onset only knew of two ACC priests that signed on. I was one of them. However, though I never contributed to their web site I read many of the posts. To me at least, it became obvious that the Society was rapidly becoming a Society for the advancement of the ACA position. I quietly requested to be dropped and was.
The Society was the brain child of the owner of the web site "Anglo Catholic Central" an ACA priest serving in Columbia Georgia (not as posted "Columbus. Ohio").
Frankly I am surprised at the postings regarding the Society, I had no idea that they seem to have become apologists for ++Hepworth's, et. al. unconditional reunion with Rome.
I do heartily agree with most of what I have read on this Blog regarding the rejection of that seeming effort to "Pope".
As some writers on this blog seem to conclude: those who are usually most anxious to "Pope" mostly display an ignorance of what it really means to be an Anglican.
FWIW,
Fr. DeHart, ACC priest

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!
"As some writers on this blog seem to conclude: those who are usually most anxious to "Pope" mostly display an ignorance of what it really means to be an Anglican."

And I might add, ignorance of what it is to be a Roman. My impression of the SSM, frankly, is that it is a poor imitation of the SSC.
Laurence K. Wells+

Fr. John said...

That's Columbus, Georgia.