Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Fish or Cut Bait

Some entertaining reading from the Catholic Herald:

Anglicans must choose between Protestantism and tradition, says Vatican
By Anna Arco
6 May 2008

The Vatican has said that the time has come for the Anglican Church to choose between Protestantism and the ancient churches of Rome and Orthodoxy.

Speaking on the day that the Archbishop of Canterbury met Benedict XVI in Rome, Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity, said it was time for Anglicanism to "clarify its identity".

He told the Catholic Herald: "Ultimately, it is a question of the identity of the Anglican Church. Where does it belong?

"Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium -- Catholic and Orthodox -- or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now, and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions."

He said he hoped that the Lambeth conference, an event which brings the worldwide Anglican Communion together every 10 years, would be the deciding moment for Anglicanism.

Cardinal Kasper, who has been asked to speak at the Lambeth Conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: "We hope that certain fundamental questions will be clarified at the conference so that dialogue will be possible.

"We shall work and pray that it is possible, but I think that it is not sustainable to keep pushing decision-making back because it only extends the crisis."

His comments will be interpreted as an attempt by Rome to put pressure on the Church of England not to proceed with the ordination (of) women bishops or to sanction gay partnerships, both serious obstacles to unity.

They have come at an extremely sensitive time for the Anglican Communion, as cracks between different factions in the church are beginning to show ahead of the conference in July.

Dr Rowan Williams faces rebellion from conservative and liberal Anglicans over homosexuality and women bishops.

The Rt Rev Gene Robinson, the Anglican bishop of New Hampshire, whose attempts to enter into a civil union with his gay partner have angered conservative Anglicans, plans to attend the public events of the conference despite the fact that he has not been invited by Dr Williams.

On the other side of the spectrum, rebel conservative bishops, headed by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, dismayed by the Archbishop of Canterbury's refusal to condemn homosexuality outright, plan a rival conference in the Holy Land in June.

Ecumenical dialogue between Rome and the Anglican Communion ground to a halt in 2006. Cardinal Kasper said at the time that a decision by the Church of England to consecrate women bishops would lead to "a serious and long lasting chill".

But last month the Church of England's Legislative Drafting Group published a report preparing the ground for women bishops, who are already ordained in several Anglican provinces.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,
It looks as though you can now deal with a "Real" apologist of the Roman Catholic faith. I do believe that Cardinal Kasper qualifies as an "officially" appointed apologist; not simply a "self-appointed" one. I think the question is excellent as posed. Which is it, are you going to fish or cut bait?

In Christ's Love,
Pat

Albion Land said...

Pat,

Twas I who posted this thread, so I assume you meant to direct your question to me. Note, it you will, that Cardinal Kasper was apparently directing himself to Rowan Williams and Associates, not to those of us here who belong to the continuing movement. But if you want an answer answer, I suggest you read the Affirmation of St Louis, which I somehow suspect you have not done.

http://www.anglicancatholic.org/affirmstlouis.html

Anonymous said...

Fr. Albion,
I am sorry for my confusion. I was actually referencing a post by Fr. Hart from May, 3 called, " To self-appointed Roman Catholic apologists" I was attempting ( probably very badly) to be a little funny. Fr. Hart had said that he did not want anymore of the RC standard and outdated arguments. I, for some reason, found it funny that you then posted this today. Again, sorry! I love and appreciate your site btw. I am indeed woefully undereducated about all the different Anglican communions.

In Christ's Love,
Pat

John said...

I thought we already had chosen between two things... chosen between Protestantism and Romanism. That was what the 39 Articles was about.

The problem is that the situation is not about choosing between The Catholic Faith and Protestantism, we choose Catholicism reformed rightly. The choice to be made is for those who have usurped control of the C of E, TEC, CoC, etc to decide if they are are Christian or pagan. Once that choice is made then they can think about becoming protestant or catholic.

As for the Anglicans who have not lost sight of tradition- If we wanted to become Roman Catholics we would just be choosing a different shade of Protestantism according to the Orthodox. So why suggest we choose between as two parts of one option? Does he really mean go become Protestant or Eastern Orthodox?

Seems a strange thing to suggest. As for me being in the Continuum I have no need of such a choice.

My choices are more accurately reflected by having the ability to cherry pick jurisdictions under redundant bishoprics and worry if the prideful squandering of resources will break the back of the laity or be able to continue for another generation.

Anybody for a game of Twister down at Dearfield Beach? The weather is fine if windy but the water is still chilly.

Maybe someday soon the blowhards will pass and we can all relax in chaise-lounges with a beer and lime wedge!

Albion Land said...

No problem, Pat, except it's Reader Albion and not Father Albion.

If I were a priest, though, they would want to call me Father Albion, because Father Land would sound a bit strange. Of coure, I believe there has been at least one Bishop Bishop in history, as I am sure there have been many a Father Bishop.

Sandra McColl said...

Somehow, I think the good Cardinal is asking Canterbury to shut the stable door about 30 years too late.

Albion Land said...

Sandra,

Even more, I am not sure the good cardinal is aware that there is actually another barn, where the door is tightly shut and the livestock safe. :>)

Nathan said...

Or perhaps the Good Cardinal is painfully aware of the Affirmation of St. Louis, and those who adhere to it, and rightly sees no reason to address us with an ultimatum. A statement addressed to the people of a certain South American country has nothing to do with the citizens of the Capital of South Carolina.

Nathan

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I agree with John.

My response to what Cardinal Kasper has said is from Article XIX:

"As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith."

Sadly, so have many churches in the Anglican Communion in the current time. However, what they have chosen is not the Protestant-Catholic Faith of the Church of England Reformers, but instead a new religion unknown to any of their fathers. So, the choice laid out by Cardinal Kasper is a false choice. We do not need to be thinking only in terms of the Two One True Churches-as in,"when you get to a fork in the road, take it." No. We are Catholic Anglicans, and therefore more true to Catholic Faith than anybody else.

The true Catholic Faith is what the Reformers were trying to preserve. As an Anglican I walk the middle way that avoids the innovations both of Rome and of Protestantism. The heresies of unbelievers in the Canterbury Communion is not relevant to who we are.

Neither could I become Orthodox, because right now too many innovators are hijacking Orthodoxy in the western countries where most of us reside.

Neither do we need to join either of the Two One True Churches, since the fullness of faith, doctrine and Sacraments is with us certainly no less than it is with them.

Neither do they, while divided from one another, possess the moral authority to call us into fellowship strictly on their terms.

The article says this:
[Cardinal Kasper] said he hoped that the Lambeth conference, an event which brings the worldwide Anglican Communion together every 10 years, would be the deciding moment for Anglicanism.

Is Cardinal Kasper attempting to be funny? This Lambeth Conference will probably mark the end of the Anglican Communion. Even ifit does not, it will be historically significant for being insignificant. For the first time, most of the world's Anglicans will not be represented at the Lambeth Conference, because their bishops will not be there. One Nigerian bishop could represent more people than all the bishops of the Episcopal Church put together.

John said...

It might do well to remember that this is the same Cardinal Kasper who got shot down for suggesting that there was no room anywhere in any way for 400 Traditional Anglicans to have some kind of relationship with the Roman Communion. He is a very liberal, very typical 'American' RC. And what he says must be viewed in that context. I would not be surprised if he is retired in the near future.

John said...

BTW

My wife attended a RC parish while visiting her mother recently and was given a handout entitled "The Missing" reprinted from the editors of Commonweal Magazine http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/article.php3?id_article=2171 which states that a solid third of American RCs have left the RCC and some reasons why including "refusal to even discuss ordaining married men or ordaining women to the diaconate [as] shortsighted".

This is Cardinal Kasper's RCC.

Why would any Anglican who understands tradition join such as this, especially if they walked out of that burning building TEC?

Sandra McColl said...

Albion,
To stretch the equine analogy, I think the good Cardinal has a blinker over one eye.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,
You state that:

"As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith."

I'm genuinely curious, with this statement in mind, if you can point to the places where your own teaching on essential christian truth is in error?

Does an individual christian, such as yourself in this case, really have the ability to always teach christian truth accurately, authentically and without error. I was not aware that you believed that such powers descended to one mere fallible man. It almost sounds Papal- but i know better, as I'm sure you do.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

John, did you mean to say 400? The TAC boasts 300,000. It may be less, but certainly more than 400.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The anonymous comment above is rather useful as comic relief. Anonymous seems not to know that I quoted Article XIX.

This anonymous asks:
'm genuinely curious, with this statement in mind, if you can point to the places where your own teaching on essential christian truth is in error?

Gee, golly, let me tell you about all the error I deliberately teach, for example...

Does an individual christian, such as yourself in this case, really have the ability to always teach christian truth accurately, authentically and without error.

Goshdern! I never thought of that. Thanks. Now I see clearly. I am infallible and didn't know it. I am indebted to you Mr. Anonymous, for enlightening me. I used to think I was fallible, but I see now that I was wrong.

John said...

Yes i meant 400k. That is what I understand the TAC to claim. I had not heard the 300k claim. But then TEC is somewhere between 750k and 2,5 million depending on how you count and who you believe.

Oh and the hand out/newsletter also points to a local festival involving "100 local churches participating with evangelists, nat'l recording artists, "processional" skateboarders (har har I kid you not- I have to go to that RC parish to see that coming down the aisle) and professional wrestling".
Starring "The Sunday Smackdown" with the Russian Nightmare" I wonder if this guy is Orthodox?

Anyway Vatican II was all about processional wrestling wasn't it?

I love church newsletters.

Anonymous said...

Fr. hart,
I am sorry for not signing my post. I am the anonymous one who asked if you could point out your own error. My name is Pat. First let me say that I love your site and appreciate the opportunity to post. Second, after reading more thoroughly your profile I see that thanks are in order to your Parents for raising three children such as you and your brothers.

As for the point I am attempting to make; perhaps I should first clarify that I am in the wonderful position in the Body of Christ- The Church- of being nothing other than a simple believer. Consequently, my "primary" mission in the Body is not to lead and feed, but to be led and fed.( John 21) In short, I am a sheep of Christ's fold not a Shephard. When I survey the landscape of Christianity as it's presented today in all its forms and further when I study the Church in history I realize with simultaneous laughter and tears that the Truth of the Gospel can be known without error. At this point I would simply refer you to the words and sentiments expressed in the CCC #'s 888- 892. As a simple sheep in the Body of Christ there is a real sense in which I do not care which "Institution" these Truths reside. I simply know that our Savior Jesus Christ provides this in some institution in the visible world which I, as a sheep, live. With all due respect here the Anglican Church, in any form past or present does not claim that this kind of Church exists. It does not claim this for itself or anyone else. So, why would I trust your teaching on the Gospel since by your own admission it can only be held on a subjective foundation. Perhaps more pointedly, why do you trust yourself to "get it right" in these matters. From this layman's perspective it seems like the so called leaders are playing exegetical games. It's almost as if the whole thing is a matter of exegetical works righteousness. Or, my exegesis is better than yours. IOW, the disputes have no end. Everyone just goes to their own corner convinced that they are right and the others are wrong. This is silly and most obviously NOT Biblical. It seems rather obvious to me that the Church we see in Scripture definitely had a method to resolve disputes in a binding on all christians kind of way ( Acts 15) Anyway, thanks for allowing me to post. I apologize in advance for any nonsense and idiocy I have expressed in this post.

In Christ's Love,
Pat

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart noted that "The TAC boasts 300,000 [members]." I believe this is correct, so long as one reads "boasts" to mean "claims".

Where TAC partisans routinely refer to it as "the largest Continuing Anglican body", it would be helpful to have that aspiration verified by the actual numbers, country by country. To my knowledge no breakdown has been published at any time in the TAC's 20 or so years.

While some have tried to elicit this information from TAC officials during face-to-face conversations, the attempts of which I am aware were unsuccessful.

John A. Hollister+

Fr Odhran-Mary TFSC said...

ONCE MORE: There is no such thing as a woman bishop. And another thing: A homosexual male who is consecrated bishop is a bishop (albiet suffering from an objective disorder).
It's a matter of sacramental validity.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Pat wrote:

With all due respect here the Anglican Church, in any form past or present does not claim that this kind of Church exists. It does not claim this for itself or anyone else. So, why would I trust your teaching on the Gospel since by your own admission it can only be held on a subjective foundation.

Both of the things asserted here are wrong. Anglicans have always believed the Church to have spoken infallibly when the bishops gathered in Ecumenical Councils,clarified further by the Affirmation of St. Louis to include all seven of those councils. Therefore, the Faith, when taught with proper regard to the Scriptures, Right Reason and Tradition, is taught infallibly. Yes. I do believe that the teaching I pass on is infallible. That is because it is the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church.

So, why would I trust your teaching on the Gospel since by your own admission it can only be held on a subjective foundation.

By my own admission my left hind leg! Where did you ever get such a crazy idea? Scripture, Right Reason and Tradition are not subjective, but most objective and based on publicly known data.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,
First let me say thank you for engaging in this discussion with me. You are kind to do so. Now, you said the following:

"... Scripture, Right Reason and Tradition are not subjective, but most objective and based on publicly known data."

Yes!, Finally we touch the foundation of all disputes in and between Christians. The Rule of Faith. Proper Authority. I hope to keep my question to you simple and straightforward in regards to this foundational doctrine. So, let me ask you, where does Scripture itself attest to the idea that, "Right Reason" is part of the Church's Rule of Faith? IOW, where is that in Scripture?

Pat

poetreader said...

"Right reason" thus formulated may or may not be a Scriptural proposition (though I find ample evidence of it there). However, one is hard put to f8ind theological expression in Scripture, in the Fathers, or in later theologicans that ignores the necessity of right reason. St. Paul does much very close reasoning, as do the Patristic writers. The Conciliar definitions of the Trinity and of the Dual Nature of Chrisy are very clear examples of the applicayion of reason to revelation, resulting in a fully auithoritative, though non-scriptural definition of the Faith. And, our RC friend, is there any example of a theological thinker more committed to right reason than Aquinas?

No, it may be an Anglican peculiarity to so phrase the reliance on Scripture, tradition, and reason -- but it is not an Anglican peculiarity to rely upon all three.

ed

Anonymous said...

Ed,
Thanks for the response. I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. But, if I may say, "So what?" My point would be that Right Reason is ultimately incidental and obvious. In fact, you noted Aquinas as an example of this. Of course this is the case for any thinking Christian. Every Christian Communion ( At least Historical and Classical Reformational) would naturally claim that they use Right Reason. IOW, the idea of Right Reason is too vague or unclear. Every group would believe themselves to use Right Reason. The idea of it as part of the Rule of Faith for any christian group is too abstract. How does this Right Reason get acted out in the everyday "physical"/concrete world? IOW, where does one locate the seat of this Right Reason? Or, does it just hang there in the abstract as an idea to be implemented by whomever has some kind of earthly church authority? It's too abstract to serve any useful, lasting, dare I say, permanent function in the Body of Christ-the Church. It leaves too much to chance and the arbitrary wills of Ecclesial Bodies who, of course, would believe that they are using Right Reason as they lead entire groups of sheep (souls) to either Heaven or Hell. How would a simple christian know the difference since the simple christian, in obedience to Christ (John 21), would follow the Leader, so to speak. Ultimately, this view turns on itself and becomes most unreasonable. In fact, I bet every Anglican/Episcopalian communion believes they are faithfully practicing this same Rule of Faith. Yet, the differences are obvious. So, a little more precise definition of Right Reason and where it is exactly located so as to be binding on all Anglicans through obedience (by Dogmatic definition at the very least) would be needed to clarify this element of your Rule of Faith. This seems "reasonable."

Pat

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

You said:

"Neither could I become Orthodox, because right now too many innovators are hijacking Orthodoxy in the western countries where most of us reside."

Could you elaborate on this a bit? Who are the innovators, and do you believe the canonical Orthodox Churches in this country will fall for the innovations in the same way much of the Canterbury Communion has? To put it a bit differently, do you see a "continuing Orthodox" movement in the future?

No challenge to your comment here, just a friendly and earnest inquiry.

Fr Ronald Drummond

Sandra McColl said...

Pat, in my limited lay understanding, 'Right Reason' is of necessity consistent with Scripture and Tradition. If you ask where in Scripture it is to be found, I'll hazard a guess at the story of the Creation of Man, made in the image of God. Further, my experience of the innovators in Anglicanism is that they don't appeal to Scripture and Tradition and Right Reason, but at the most to Scripture and Tradition and Reason, and tend to give the primacy to the lastmentioned, which, loosed from Tradition, tends to get swallowed up by contemporary secular arguments. A lot don't place any emphasis on Tradition (and probably don't know what it is). You will find that a lot of mainstream non-Catholic Christian groups (and certain Anglicans) have Scripture but no Tradition--they treat the Christian faith as if it had no history between the close of the Acts of the Apostles and the Reformation. Without Tradition there is no Right Reason. People might think they are reasoning rightly, but that's not what it's about. I close my ramblings with the words of Dr Pusey, as rightly reasonable a man as lived, I think:

"The true Catholic system is, of course, co-
extensive with Holy Scripture. It must embrace all which a partial system cannot grasp. It can reconcile the doctrine of predestination with Sacramental grace, the necessity of the entire conversion of sinners with Baptismal regeneration, deep repentance with Christian joy, the acceptableness of good works with the imperfection of the Christian’s best acts. It can combine forms of prayer with the freest and highest mental devotion, spiritual Communion with the intensest devotion for the Sacramental, inspired understanding of Holy Scripture with implicit submission to the Church, the superiority of the teaching of the Holy Spirit with deference for Divine learning. It is absolutely shocking to have to say that the highest eminence of good works leads but to a more implicit reliance on His merits Who gave them; that to holiness such perception is given of its own entire dependence upon Grace whence it sprung, and of the deformity of its remaining imperfections, that it must become the more intensely humble."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

So, let me ask you, where does Scripture itself attest to the idea that, "Right Reason" is part of the Church's Rule of Faith? IOW, where is that in Scripture?

Hooker says that this is what we must conclude from the Wisdom literature, e.g. the Book of Proverbs. Please tell me, how can a fool or a mad man understand wisdom and sanity?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Ronald Drummond asks:

Who are the innovators, and do you believe the canonical Orthodox Churches in this country will fall for the innovations in the same way much of the Canterbury Communion has?

The nature of modern Orthodox innovations is an emphasis on being anti-Western, to the point where they deny basic tenants of Christianity, so that they deny the Orthodox Faith, just to maintain this supposed difference. They are out of step with true Orthodoxy, and even many on the faculty of St. Vladimir's agree with with what I have said. My Orthodox brother has opposed this recklessness, only to have some of the more ignorant converts to Orthodoxy mistake him for the one who is out of step,when it is they and their favorite teachers.

Until self-loathing western converts stop trying to transform Orthodoxy, to match their personal rebellion against their family identity, this will go on.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I recognize this tendency as well. There is a popular podcast on "Ancient Faith Radio" on which I heard a program by a convert who was speaking to a retreat group involving Orthodox laity. He used some variation of the phrase, "The Western teaching on ______ is ________ but "we" in the East know that it's actually ________.

Between the gross generalizations of western thought and the mistaken notion that there is a completely homogenous theological vision in "The East," I couldn't bear to listen anymore.

How refreshing it is to read and hear teachers like Fr. Pat Reardon and your brother who, while unabashedly Eastern Orthodox, still "own" the Orthodox patrimony of the West. I believe Fr. Reardon once said his favorite Church Father was Ambrose, and Dr. Hart has written some outstanding things about Augustine.

It is in this stream of thinking that I think the most fruitful ecumenical work has been done and will continue to be done with Anglicanism.

Of course, this also means that we Anglicans must follow tenaciously our vocation to be "Orthodoxy" in the West. I hear we're having a bit of a problem with that lately (in the Canterbury cirle, anyway)...

Pax,

Fr Ronald Drummond+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Dr. Hart has written some outstanding things about Augustine.

And, in The Beauty of the Infinite (his first book), David explained why St. Anselm's actual writing (not the usual "Orthodox" caricature of it) is perfectly harmonious with the tradition of the Eastern Church, and really says nothing that cannot be found in St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart, Sandra,
Thanks for engaging on these issues and indulging me regarding the issue of Right Reason and its place in the Rule of Faith. Let me say first that I fully agree that right reason is Scriptural and an obvious aspect of the Rule of Faith. I am looking for how you, as Anglicans, locate this Right Reason from an Ecclesiological standpoint in the actual, concrete world. IOW, what is the physical address of the seat of Right Reason in Anglicaism so one could write a letter and get an actual reply that would be believed as authoritatively binding whether you understood it or agreed with it or not? What is the Hierarchical chain of command recognized dogmatically as binding? Where does the buck stop?

Pat

Steve Cavanaugh said...

I believe that John and Fr. Hart may have misread Cardinal Kasper here. He did not call upon Anglicanism (by which I'm sure he meant the Lambeth Communion, and not the Continuing Churches) to choose between Protestantism and "Romanism" (as John put it) but between, in his words, "the churches of the first millennium -- Catholic and Orthodox -- or...the Protestant churches of the 16th century". My understanding is that Anglicanism traditionally (as do the Continuing Churches today) regarded itself as "Reformed Catholicism".

The modern Western Anglican churches (TEC, CofE, etc) have been discarding the instruction of the 1572 Convocation that the Articles should be interpreted in conformity with the teaching of the Catholic fathers. The "Protestant" churches (please keep in mind that the Anglican Communion is considered unique among the Western communions that separated from Rome in the 16th century, at least in the documents of Vatican II) tend to be regarded as quite free from any binding Tradition. Despite some of the Continental Reformers knowledge of the Fathers, etc., the churches that sprang from them have been on a pretty consistent trajectory away from any form of Catholic Tradition. I'm sure most Lutherans would be scandalized by how "Catholic" Luther can sound in his writings.

Cardinal Kasper's point is that the contemporary Anglican Communion's abandonment of the Catholic Tradition in things such as order and morals will make continued ecumenical dialogue all but pointless. I think most of us in the RCC who hope to see the healing of the schism between our communions see more promise in the Continuing Churches, precisely because the members of your communion have continued their identities as Reformed Catholics.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

Regarding the exit of some from the RCC in the USA John noted that Commonweal's article (do consider the source!) said:
some reasons why including "refusal to even discuss ordaining married men or ordaining women to the diaconate [as] shortsighted".

Others include people who have divorced and remarried and refuse to abide by the Church's discipline on this matter, as well as others who, because they cannot abide the Church's general moral teaching (whether about abortion, homosexuality, etc.) leave for less "demanding" congregations.

And unfortunately, some leave for the simple reason that they were never brought to know Jesus in the parish where they grew up. They meet Jesus through an Evangelical Christian and join up. Quite understandable. Some eventually come home, realizing their one parish and its negligence of catechesis and evangelical preaching is not characteristic of the whole Church.

But this is hardly a problem for only the Catholic Church. Every communion with lots of parishes will have some that are closer and some further from the ideal. And even in the ideal parish situation, people have their free will to reject God's grace.

poetreader said...

Pat,
you asked this:

what is the physical address of the seat of Right Reason in Anglicaism so one could write a letter and get an actual reply that would be believed as authoritatively binding

I think you manage to put your finger on precisely what is so desperately awry about the RC approach. There is not and never has been a physical address where ultimate truth may be found, nor do I believe expectations that there should be such a thing to have a shred of support from Scripyure or Traditiion. Even if one interprets Matthew 16:18 in the most Petrine fashion (an interpretation far from universal among the Fathers) the promise is that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. How do I klnow when Scripture, Tradition, and Right reason are present and validate teaching and practice? Not by consulting any individual, but by observing the church and listening to the unified voice coming down through the ages.

My Lord's guarantee does not depend upon humanly recognizable mechanisms. To attempt to so confine it is to deny the living presence of Christ in the whole body.

I could go one, but, Pat, when you are debating with Anglicans. you need to recgnize that many of us find a question like that to be meaningless at best, and a serious departure from the real nature of the church at the worst. I have no answer to a question that neither has an answer nor should have one.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Let us look at Cardinal Kasper's exact words, and remembering that he was addressing those other Anglicans (the official Canterbury Communion).

"Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium -- Catholic and Orthodox -- or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now, and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions."

Frankly, if speaking about such bodies as the Church of England, or the Episcopal Church, they have rejected the entire Christian past-all of it.

The question is still misleading from our perspective. The object of the Reformers was not to reject the First Millennium, but to call the Western Church to return to the faith and practice of the Patristic and New Testament eras. Among the Reformed churches, the English Church, alone, managed to hold on to the sacramental validity of the Apostolic Church.

Nonetheless, the Cardinal's question does not fit reality. Some modern Anglicans are apostate, pure and simple. On the other hand, some are modern Evangelicals who have abandoned the 16th century far more than they know. Meanwhile, to try to be faithful to the first millennium by means of faithfulness to what the English Reformers intended, is quite reasonable.

PAT

IOW, what is the physical address of the seat of Right Reason in Anglicaism so one could write a letter and get an actual reply that would be believed as authoritatively binding whether you understood it or agreed with it or not?

In addition to Ed's answer, let me suggest that you will understand this better if you read my post from a few months ago entitled: "No checks and balances here."

Right Reason does not come from anywhere. Either you have right reason within you, or you do not. If not, it will be impossible to recognize truth, tell fantasy from reality, or learn anything at all from any objective source. It is a Roman Catholic and Orthodox concept as well as Anglican. The objective sources that can communicate only with a mind that reasons rightly are Scripture and Tradition.

Even an infallible utterance, filled with teaching authority, would be wasted on an irrational mind.

Anonymous said...

Ed,
Thanks for responding. Somehow I do believe that you yourself are actually in existence in the physical world as you make your claims. You do have a physical address and indeed a body with a mouth from which you speak what you believe to be the Truth. And,you manage to do this as ONE man in the Church (Go figure). This is most Pontifical of you. Or, are you just giving your opinion and recognizing that it might not be the Truth on the matter. IOW, you hold your Faith on this issue (along with those who happen to agree with you) based merely on your subjective opinion(s) about the matter.

Let me add that I am without a doubt biased toward there being a locatable seat of authority in the Church. I believe it exists. I am BIASED. I mean this in all seriousness mind you. So, can you admit, Ed, that your biases against this idea are in play. You see, it is entirely impossible to escape the question and to realize if you are merely being biased. The only reasonable answer to escape this reality ( speaking of Right Reason) is that Christ's Church is indeed divinely constituted with unified spiritual authority so that a admittedly biased christian who is subject to error himself can locate the truth from Christ's properly established authority.

Finally, You said the following:

"There is not and never has been a physical address where ultimate truth may be found, nor do I believe expectations that there should be such a thing to have a shred of support from Scripyure or Traditiion."

Seriously Ed, you can not really believe this the way you stated it. Precisely because our Lord became flesh and dwelt among us. To make this statement you would inadvertently be denying the Incarnation. As for Scripture demonstrating this principal, again you must read a different Bible than I do. According to you the Church in Antioch would have no way to settle a dogmatic issue regarding Salvation. They would be left arguing for ever I presume and would never have considered sending Paul and Barnabas to the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem to see about this matter. And, since we know that this indeed happened if those in Antioch still wanted to maintain a right of private authority they would have not received the letter from Jerusalem as anything other than a mere opinion of men. But, Scripture indicates that the letter was not only sent with binding authority but received as a binding authoritative letter which resolved the dispute. Furthermore, the history of the Judaizers then gets lost and can not be traced Scripturally. IOW, Scripture doesn't tell us if the Judaizers then set up their own Ecclesial Communion.

Pat

Sandra McColl said...

Pat, Right Reason isn't about private authority. I can't just make the faith up for myself. I don't just read Scripture and the Fathers in my room and hope I've got it right. That's why we have the apostolic succession--it's just that it's collegial. And it doesn't mean every bishop is right, or even the majority--once upon a time the majority of Christendom was Arian. Neither does it mean that every last jot and tittle is finally agreed--there is room for debate such as Frs Wells and Kirby had in a previous thread without mutual anathematization (and without the ordinary sheep having much clue as to what they were on about, anyway, so it wasn't likely to do much harm). The apostles and elders at Jerusalem were not singular. As Eric Mascall wrote, Peter was the chief of the apostles, not the only apostle. The Councils thrashed out details of the Faith (and often absolutely central doctrines) collegially. Truth resides with God. The Church is a community.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Pat:

Let us accept your paradigm for argument's sake. let us say, the Magisterium has presented an Infallible doctrine in Humanae Vitae. But, without right reason the fool and the madman can neither of them understand it. This is, simply, the moral and intellectual quality that must be present to receive the communication of objective teaching.

John said...

Steve said:
"But this is hardly a problem for only the Catholic Church."

Steve I would not deny your point and did not mean to infer the RCC is the only church suffering losses from various means of which one is plainly entertainment based consumerism. Certainly protestant churches, even 'Megachurches' such as Willow Creek have admitted their 'experiment' has failed to produce the discipleship they claimed to engender on mass scale. So the Protestants clearly do not have the answer to either member loss or musical chairs-church hopping either.

What I am trying to convey is that Roman apologists on the web tend to try to twist the past so as to give some justification (false) for Anglicans to submit to the Roman Communion. Many paint a unrealistic but rosy picture- take the 'Lipton Plunge'- my point is that while we certainly have our own serious problems it makes no sense from my perspective to trade our current problems for yours and have to adopt medieval accretions in the process.
Roman apologists generally fail to see how their 'pitch' betrays their own rather sad reality (readily available in the media) and do little to address the problems and never publicly admit that Catholicism exists outside the Roman Communion much less reach people you simply can not.

As to what drives Romans out of their communion there many answers as there are people. I have heard most of them- clergy who steal millions, the sex scandals, failure to teach basic bible knowledge, abusive hierarchy. I know a lot of ex Romans and they are some very confused people. I am not making the point to beat up anybody, in fact it ought make us allies in trying to bring them back to some catholic part of the Church, but most of what I read and hear from Romans gives impression that emphasis is not to reclaim lost sheep but rather to win arguments with Anglicans as if on a trophy hunting expedition looking for a mantle piece. This is akin to Nero's fiddling.

As to Cardinal Kasper- I did not misread the article but let's be honest ARCIC was off the rails with the first ordination of women in 79. Cardinal Kasper is no traditionalist Roman Catholic and has no sympathy towards traditionist inside or outside your communion.

Fr Richard Sutter said...

I think there is a misunderstanding about the nature of Reason in this triumvirate. Reason is not itself a source of authority, as Scripture and Tradition are, but rather is simply the means by which Scripture and Tradition are applied.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Reason is not itself a source of authority, as Scripture and Tradition are, but rather is simply the means by which Scripture and Tradition are applied.

Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart & Fr.Sutter,

"Reason is not itself a source of authority, as Scripture and Tradition are, but rather is simply the means by which Scripture and Tradition are applied.

Exactly."

This is exactly what I am getting at with the issue of The Church's Rule of Faith. To me the RCC's Rule is more clearly identifiable. IOW, once we realize that Reason is not itself a •SOURCE• of authority as Scripture and Tradition are [sources of authority] then it is unclear to the average christian where to •ultimately• appeal and locate this Right Reason in order to achieve the full unity Christ calls us to. After all, more than just one Ecclesial body claims Right Reason (or to be more specific, to be the ultimate center), yet there remains differences regarding essentials of the Faith. What further relevant distinction could be made to tighten up the Rule? Of course, this very question presumes that it needs tightening. Those here may not think this is true. As a RC myself it seems like tightening is in order. I say this because, beyond my biases I can not see how someone is prevented from claiming Right Reason which, as you agree, is simply the means by which scripture and tradition are applied. For example, I know and believe that you guys here are honest sincere christians and I know and believe that many RC and EO are likewise. I believe that all three of these groups use Right Reason, yet there are very real Doctrinal differences. So, is there no other way to resolve these very real differences other than the current separations? Especially since all three use Right Reason (and claim to have legitimate Apostolic Succession)?

Pat

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Especially since all three use Right Reason (and claim to have legitimate Apostolic Succession)?

The only way to achieve unity is to begin with the common ground we share.

Let me back up a minute. When Hooker appeals to Right Reason he is not speaking, primarily, of interpretation of doctrine. He was actually addressing matters of polity where no clear direction has been granted by revelation. For example, the Church is commanded to "do this in remembrance of me," but not given a clear and detailed commandment from God as to how we "do this." We have every reason, therefore, to trust the Church in providing a basic form that establishes Intention, that requires the right minister (a priest or bishop), and that is in complete harmony with God's revelation. Whether we call it the Mass, the Holy Communion, or the Divine Liturgy, the essentials are present, accounting for its uniformity even in its diversity of forms.

Arguing with the Puritans, who wanted to overthrow the polity of the Church of England and establish rules from scripture alone (here we see the kind of sola scriptura rejected by Anglicanism, and that prevails today among modern Evangelicals and some Charismatics), Hooker wrote that many of the things we are commanded to do are not spelled out in detail in the scripture. But, we can trust that men have handed down a tradition that, not conflicting with scripture, was produced by Right Reason, which is not different from the wisdom that scripture says we have. Furthermore, this is a promise and a spiritual endowment in Christ, the promise that we have the mind of Christ.

Right Reason gives man the ability to order the Church wisely even when no commandment from God covers details. "Differences in administration, but the same Spirit" causes differences to be recognized as valid, not breaking communion, such as the Church of Rome recognizing the validity of Eastern liturgy and customs.

Right Reason fills in the gaps of revelation, where God gives men authority to establish polity. That is how it was actually used in the triad: Scripture, Right Reason, Tradition.