Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Catholic than the Pope

The Acting Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church, Archbishop Mark Haverland, wrote the following article, which appears in the current issue of The Trinitarian.

METRO MESSAGE

The excellent ‘Continuing Church’ blog called The Continuum recently posted an article on C.S. Lewis and the Roman Catholic Church. The main point of the original posting by Father Robert Hart concerned the foolishness of Roman Catholic wonderment about Lewis’s Anglicanism. Books and articles by Roman Catholics periodically appear that ask, ‘Why didn’t Lewis become a Catholic? ‘ He didn’t become a Roman Catholic because as a well-instructed orthodox Anglican he firmly believed that he already was Catholic. This answer is so obvious that it wouldn’t need to be said if somewhat chauvinistic Romans didn’t keep ignoring it.

I received a recent invitation to Anglican clergy and people to become Roman Catholic. The invitation came in the form of a pamphlet from the Anglican Use Society (‘A Message from Members and Friends of the Anglican Use Congregations in the Catholic Church of the United States to other Christians of the Anglican Tradition on Restoring Communion with the See of Rome’). The pamphlet consistently uses ‘Catholic’ as an exact synonym for ‘Roman Catholic’, in a manner that surely grates on the nerves of the pamphlet’s entire intended audience. Likewise every Anglican clergymen referred to in the pamphlet is called ‘Dr.’ or given no title, so as to avoid, one supposes, any suggestion that Anglican ordinations were ever valid. I understand Roman Catholic theology fairly well, as I have a Master’s degree in the subject from a major Roman Catholic university. I have always said that anyone who can be Roman Catholic should be. But it takes no genius to see that rather gratuitous insensitivity to one’s intended audience will lessen the effectiveness of one’s appeal. Perhaps, since that is so, we should thank the Anglican Use Society for its tactlessness.

More disturbing than this insensitivity is something approaching dishonesty in the pamphlet. The problem will be apparent from a pair of quotations. First the pamphlet says,

Those of us who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church have taken with us our Anglican/Episcopal heritage of faith and liturgy, devotion, hymnody and scholarship developed and matured especially as a result of the Oxford Movement and the Anglo-Catholic Movement as represented by figures such as...Dr. Eric L. Mascall....

The implication seems to be that Mascall, and others who are named (including C.S. Lewis) were Anglo-papalists. This implication is firmly contradicted by a consideration of Father Mascall’s own writings on the Papacy. Consider this observation from Mascall’s book. Corpus Christi: Essays on the Church and Eucharist (London: Longmans, 1965. 2nd ed. Pages 17f.):

...the Church, as a visible and tangible society, living in the historic process, needs a visible and tangible organ of its unity, though that union is, as I have emphasised, an interior and mystical unity and not a moral or political one. The Church is a visible and tangible society, but it is a sacramental one, and the organ of its unity will be a sacramental organ. This is why, as I see it, the apostolic Episcopate precisely fulfils the requirements for such an organ, for the episcopal character is conferred by a sacramental act. And this is why it seems to me impossible to locate the organ of the Church’s unity in the Papacy, for the papal character is not conferred by a sacramental act at all, but by the purely administrative and organisational process of election. Whether the Papacy has, by divine providence, a unique status in the Church and, if so, what are the functions which rightly attach to it are, of course, important questions, but by its very constitution the Papacy does not, so far as I can see, possess the nature which is required in the organ of the Church’s unity. All that is necessary for the Church flows from a sacrament; the unity of the Church is necessary: therefore the organ of the Church’s unity must be the episcopate, not the papacy. This is the Anglican Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teaching, not the Roman Catholic.

A discussion ensued on the Continuum on the subject, ‘What would Mascall have done?’ given the ordination of women by the Church of England. It’s an interesting question, but rather beside the point. The point is that the clear and sensible theological principles which Mascall states contradict the theory of the papal office required of Roman Catholics since Vatican I. The troubles of an ecclesial body which has abandoned its own sound principles (Church of England) hardly converts the unsound principles of another body into admirable theology. Of course if one accepts papal claims, one should become Roman Catholic. But Father Mascall has explained above in clear and, I think, very sound terms reasons why those claims are false. So I’ll continue being more Catholic than the Pope: which is why C.S. Lewis and Eric Mascall and I - and most of you reading this - were not and are not Roman Catholic.

30 comments:

BillyHW said...

The pamphlet consistently uses ‘Catholic’ as an exact synonym for ‘Roman Catholic’, in a manner that surely grates on the nerves of the pamphlet’s entire intended audience.

The pamphlet uses the word "Catholic" in that way because that's the way the entire world understands it. It is unfortunate that reality grates on the nerves of the wayward Christians of the shattered remnants of the failed experiment known as the Anglican Communion, but one must speak the truth in love.

:)

When good ol' King Henry decided he wanted to kill his wife and then marry another (and then another, and another, and another, and another), the Catholics in Portugal did not suddenly take down the old signs in front of their churches and replace them with new ones containing the "Roman" prefix, just to please the English schismatics. Neither did the Catholics in what are today Spain. Or France. Or Belgium. Or Italy, or Germany, or Poland, or Lithuania, or Malta, or Ireland, or Croatia, or Lithuania, or the Netherlands, or Denmark, or Czech Republic, or Slovakia, or Ukraine, or Austria, or San Marino, or Luxemborg, or Monaco, or Switzerland, or Hungary, or Lebanon, or Mexico, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Jacque Cartier did not tell the Indians of Gaspe', as he planted a cross on the ground of the first province of New France in 1534, "Yesterday I was Catholic, but today I am merely Roman Catholic, just one branch of the Universal Church which also contains the the Eastern Orthodox Churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Church of England, under the divine and supreme headship of his manifest holiness Lord King Henry VIII, but certainly does not contain the Coptic Church, nor the Ethiopian Church, nor the Armenian Apostolic Church, nor the Assyrian Church of the East, and many others."

Fr. Hart, I have a few questions for you: Just what does it take to commit the act of schism from the Catholic Church? How do you define the sin of schism? What would a 'true' Anglican have to do to become a schismatic?

Was Thursday said...

For someone with a degree in Roman Catholic theology, it is strange that Abp. Haverland would render Mascall that way. No doubt the Episcopate fulfils the requirement of the sacramental organ of the church and those who argue for the papacy as the office are indeed mistaken (St. Ignatius and all of that).

But only ignorant Roman Catholics would argue that, and that is what Dr. Mascall was protesting. The Pope is the highest episcopos and the one who is trusted with Peter's seat. Mascall wasn't protesting what Roman Catholicism teaches, for he himself would catechise his congregation using the Penny Catechism. He was a papalist no doubt about that, just not an ignorant one.

Cheers,
Thurs.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Billy HW wrote

The pamphlet uses the word "Catholic" in that way because that's the way the entire world understands it.

The Orthodox Church has the same problem with this that we do.

...the Catholics in Portugal did not suddenly take down the old signs in front of their churches

Neither did the English.

(By the way, it was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth that the C of E was thrown out of the RCC.Henry was dead an buried.

"Yesterday I was Catholic, but today I am merely Roman Catholic...

Hey, they were still Catholic. We are not the ones trying to monopolize or claim a copyright.

Just what does it take to commit the act of schism from the Catholic Church?

True doctrine-assuming you mean Roman Catholic Church. Otherwise, it takes the arrogant attitude that the pope had in 1054 when he committed schism from the Catholic Church.

Was Thursday:

To speak of the papacy as the major organ of unity is very much in accord with RC doctrine, and to say so is not to demonstrate ignorance. So, I don't know why you would say such a thing.

As for Mascall, you may say all you want that he was a papalist. Most Roman Catholics easily mistake Anglo-Catholics for such. But, you need to weigh the final chapters of Recovery of Unity. It is very un-papalist.

Sandra McColl said...

As I see it, Mascall himself used the titles 'Prof.' and 'Dr' when referring to Anglican theologians. I believe it is, among the best British academic publishers, correct form. He possibly also only refers to RC authors as 'Fr' when they are religious, in accordance with much of Continental practice (but this might be because the only RC authors he cited tended to be religious anyway). Dr Mascall himself was quite politely referred to as Dr Mascall, even by Anglicans, although there would be nothing rude about addressing him as 'Father'. Indeed, how they are referred to in the third person, formally, and how how they are addressed, are distinctions that need to be made. Part of it comes, I think, from the practice of the Old Universities, of recognising but few titles and only their own doctorates, to the point that, on the Oxford lecture timetables, Sister Benedicta Ward was 'Dr Ward', Dom Alberic Stackpole was 'Mr Stackpole', and Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia was 'Dr Ware'. Therefore, whatever the deficiencies of the pamphlet, that wasn't one of them.

Oh, and the C of E as an entity independent of Rome wasn't founded by Henry VIII, but by Pius V. Get your history straight.

Sandra McColl said...

As to whether Mascall would have poped had he lived to see the Abomination of Desolation erected in the cathedrals of England, speculation is futile.

Nevertheless, for those who must speculate either way, it is useful to remember:

1. the Recovery of Unity predates the more ecumenical temperature of Vatican II;
2. he was a Thomist, which goes somewhat against the grain of the Bible and Fathers purist view of Anglicanism that is generally upheld here; and
3. if Mascall had poped, it would likely have resulted from that peculiarly English view (common among the Forward in Faith crowd today) that Anglicanism = the C of E = the Provinces of Canterbury and York = the national Catholic Church of England, but ceases to be national Catholic Church of England once the Provinces of Canterbury and York fall into heresy and schism from (rather than merely within) the Church.

The fact is, he didn't pope, but died Anglican, even though from a lifetime of reading and appreciating theologians of all stripes and thoroughly understanding everything the Romans were on about. If he had lived to see the Abomination (which he didn't) and had poped after that (which likewise didn't happen), it would not have been Rome's victory, but part of the fallout of the C of E's apostasy. Nothing to crow about there for the triumphalists, especially those who consider that acceptance of the papal claims is the only reason for poping: he had a whole lifetime in which to accept them, and didn't.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

If I may be permitted to demur from one aspect of my Metropolitan's article, I would not say that Mascall's theological principles necessarily "contradict the theory of the papal office required of Roman Catholics since Vatican I". I would prefer to say "contradict the theory of the papal office commonly accepted as the normative interpretation of Vatican I, especially as applied in Roman Canon Law".

I would say this because I believe Mascall's principles are basically sound but are not incompatible with every plausible interpretation of Vatican I and because I believe Mascall appeared himself to qualify his difficulties with Vatican I in just this nuanced way. For example, note the way he puts the key element of papalism to which he objects in The Recovery of Unity: "the absolute supremacy ... which is commonly claimed by popes and expounded by Roman Catholic theologians at the present day" (emphasis added). He calls attention to past Roman qualifications of papalism and shows how they have become progressively rarer or taken less seriously since Vatican I, but does not claim that they have disappeared or that they are absolutely intrinsically incompatible with Vatican I, especially since the "qualifying" quotation he gives (see p.205, 1958 edition) are post-Vatican I anyway. Mascall draws special attention to absolute-sounding parts of the Canon Law on page 204.

There are in fact a number of apparent papalist claims which are not properly necessitated by Vatican I but either commonly derived from it, or are implied by the way Vatican I has been put into practice historically and canonically, and so are worthy of criticism. I would number among these the following statements about papalism from Archbishop Haverland's wonderful book, Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice:

1. "[The Pope] claims authority and jurisdiction in every diocese of the world just as if he were the bishop ordinary of that diocese."

2. "The Roman claim is ... that divine inspiration will prevent him ... formally teaching ... doctrinal error to the whole Church."

3. "[T]he Pope can act entirely alone, even apart from the [other] bishops".

However, it is only fair to note that each of these positions has also been denied by Roman Catholic theologians and even Popes to be the right way to interpret the papal office. E.g., Ut Unum Sint section 95 undermines 3 above. A letter written by the German RC bishops in the 19th Century with the approval of the Pope undermines 1 and ARCIC denied the word "ordinary" in the context of Vatican I meant the same as "ordinary" as an adjective for the episcopal position of the bishop of a diocese. And 2 does not describe the more careful explanations of how ex cathedra statements are protected from error.

These facts do not mean the criticisms outlined are irrelevant, but that they do not necessarily constitute insuperable obstacles, in my hope-full opinion. :-)

poetreader said...

Fr. Hart references the use of "Catholic" as synonomous with "Roman Catholic" in that "Anglican Use" mailing, and comments that it appears offensive. Billyhw takes umbrage at Fr. Hart's comment.

Perhaps, from the RC view, the terminology is accurate, but is it polite, considerate, or wise? Is it, indeed, intended to be anything other than offensive? Remember that the authors are either former Anglicans or closely associated with former Anglicans. Assuming that they are also intelligent, can one imagine that they had no idea how such locutions would be perceived? That would be ridiculous. Of course they knew that, and yet insisted on doing so. I know I'm not alone in seeing an insulting and smug triumphalism in that, as in the pronouncements of the various RC polemicists (I'd like to say "trolls") that we see here.

I also know I'm not alone in ceasing to listen to arguments presented with rudeness and lack of consideration. If such people want to receive a hearing for their ideas, they would be well advised to make the effort to treat their hearers with respect. If they will not do so, the only conclusion I can come to is that their concern is only to build up their own ego, and not truly to win converts. I will treat such discourse accordingly.

ed

Was Thursday said...

Ms. McColl,

Your note about titles is correct and yet another evidence of the ignorance of some American Continuing Anglicans. Thank you for that.

Fr Hart,

I believe that your friend Fr Kirby is making the point I was trying to make. Furthermore, in Mascall's last unpublished book, "The Overarching Question: Divine Revelation or Human Invention" (found in the library of Pusey House), Dr. Mascall came to the conclusion that the Anglican Communion (or Continuing Movement) cannot work as it is founded on the same unsteady foundation of the Elizabeathan Settlement. He came to the conclusion that Gergory Dix and Aidan Nichols (particularly in his "Panther and the Hind") came to, which is that any true and lasting form of Anglicanism must exist in communion with the Holy See.

Cheers,
Thurs.

Was Thursday said...

"Perhaps, from the RC view, the terminology is accurate, but is it polite, considerate, or wise?"

Would you tell Bp Duncan that his priestesses are, in fact, priests? I understand the issue of sensitivity, but let's not get caught up in petty "offenses."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Thursday:

Dr. Mascall came to the conclusion that the Anglican Communion (or Continuing Movement) cannot work as it is founded on the same unsteady foundation of the Elizabeathan Settlement.

That is very typical of Anglo-Catholics, and reflects an in-house debate that is less significant than you may realize. Archbishop Robert Morse (retired Archbishop, APCK)says it all the time: "The Elizabethan Settlement has failed." For him that is the major reason for leaving Canterbury. In the context of Anglican thought, it is about the High and Low Church under one roof.

I disagree unless and until we come to the problem of Anglicans who so poorly misunderstand their own patrimony that they become Calvinists, or modern Evangelicals. At that point they cease to have a Catholic mind. They think they see their brand of Protestantism in our formularies, and that is due to the worst kind of ignorance: A very partial understanding.

Fr. Kirby points to possible reinterpretations by Rome, something that may happen some day. Such has been signaled, but has not become a firm reality, and so one cannot stand on it at present.

John A. Hollister said...

"Oh, and the C of E as an entity independent of Rome wasn't founded by Henry VIII, but by Pius V. Get your history straight."

As my young son would say in the contemporary argot, "Ms. McColl rules!"

John A. Hollister+

The veriword is "wellyz", which also seems to cry for some appropriate use.

Andrew Preslar said...

All that is necessary for the Church flows from a sacrament; the unity of the Church is necessary: therefore the organ of the Church’s unity must be the episcopate, not the papacy.

As to what makes the Pope distinct from every other bishop, as being in a unique way the "organ of the Church's unity," it is the same thing that makes a sacrament a sacrament in the first place (being more fundamental than they): Divine Institution.

It seems to me that EM's argument could be used with equal force against the necessity of Sacred Scripture, since it does not "flow from a sacrament" any more than does the papacy.

Sandra McColl said...

Thurs: I know some things, others know other things, and I have demonstrated my own ignorance of those other things often enough. I'd hate to think that any contribution I make to discussions of knowledge I've been fortunate to gain in the corners of the world I've been privileged at times to occupy would be interpreted as in any way showing the 'ignorance' of those who don't know it. My comment certainly wasn't made for that purpose.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Andrew Preslar:

Obviously, along with the Orthodox, we don't believe that the pope's office is of Divine institution except insofar as he is a bishop. And, of course, that is a sacrament. As for what makes a sacrament a sacrament, I have written a theological piece on that for this blog.

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2008/07/reposted-grace-of-sacraments.html

Sandra McColl said...

It's raining here this morning. I should've put my wellyz on.

BillyHW said...

If such people want to receive a hearing for their ideas, they would be well advised to make the effort to treat their hearers with respect.

It is not at all disrespectful to use your own preferred term when referring to yourself.

It *is* disrespectful to not use the preferred term of others when referring to those others, which occurs everyday on this blog with one, and only one, group.

Canon Tallis said...

I in particular want to thank Ed for saying much of what I would have written and in much the way in which I would have written it.

When Queen Mary was dying one of the last requests which she made of her sister, Elizabeth, was that she maintain "the Roman faith." In so doing I do not think that she was asking Elizabeth to maintain believe in Holy Scripture, the Creeds or the dogmatica and doctrinal teaching of the generally accepted General Councils, but in an institution which both we and the Orthodox believe lay outside those items, i.e., the papacy as distinct from both the bishopric of Rome and the Patriarchate of the West. What Rome refuses to accept is the position which the Councils allowed of her and no more.

John A. Hollister said...

Andrew Preslar said, "As to what makes the Pope distinct from every other bishop, as being in a unique way the 'organ of the Church's unity,' it is the same thing that makes a sacrament a sacrament in the first place (being more fundamental than they): Divine Institution."

There was a church congregation in Rome well prior to any visit there by any named Apostle -- just pay attention to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans; he was writing to people neither he nor St. Peter had ever visited but who were already made up a functioning outpost of the Church.

Nor is there anything in canonical Scripture that would place Rome, the city on the River Tibur, above any other place on the surface of the earth, at least from an ecclesiastical perspective. In light of that, and in light of the modern Romans' constant chirping about "the See of Peter", we must assume that this claim to divinely-instituted preeminence is rooted in something personal to St. Peter.

But if that were true, then it is more reasonable that the divinely-instituted Head of the Church, Successor of St. Peter, would be the Bishop of one of those places Scripture tells us were not only associated with St. Peter but where he actually either founded the local congregation or had a major hand in its early operations. The most obvious among these candidates are, of course, the Bishop of Jerusalem, where Peter first functioned as an Apostle, or the Bishop of Caesarea, where he first exercised an independent Apostolic ministry, or or the Bishop of Antioch, where he was joined with Paul and Barnabas in expanding another pre-existing Christian community, the one that was so important that it was where the name "Christian" was first used.

So move over, Benedict; the true heirs have been found.

John A. Hollister+

"nocili" -- I'm struggling against the temptation to use this one in the combox... be good, oh, be strong, resist, resist....

Sandra McColl said...

Successor to Peter? My old mate Malchus suggested to me that it could be old Luglopper Laud.

Pharmacotherapy said...

Fr. Hart writes (wearingly, for the umpteenth time...)
"Otherwise, it takes the arrogant attitude that the pope had in 1054 when he committed schism from the Catholic Church."

Fr. Hart, if you have not yet learned this (and I can't belive Bill Tighe hasn't corrected you), the Pope did NOTHING in 1054. In 1054, legates of the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople mutually excommunicated one another (and history shows it was the Patriarch who was the provocative one). The legates actions carried no weight at all, as the Pope had, unknowingly, died, and so their authority had ended with his earthly life.

1054 is a date that became larger than life in later times. Even in the 11th century it was not considered a big deal...it was 1204 that caused a real rupture between the Eastern and Western Churches, and the Pope had nothing to do with that, except to excommunicate the Venetians and crusaders who had ransacked the New Rome.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

I believe that the passage that is the source of so much consternation here is being misread.
"Those of us who have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church have taken with us our Anglican/Episcopal heritage of faith and liturgy, devotion, hymnody and scholarship developed and matured especially as a result of the Oxford Movement and the Anglo-Catholic Movement as represented by figures such as...Dr. Eric L. Mascall...."

This is not saying Mascall, or Lewis, or any other members of the Anglo-Catholic movement were anglo-papalists or crypto-Catholics, or any other such thing. It is saying that those Anglicans who have entered the full communion of the Church have not had to abandon the very many fine treasures of sprituality, scholarship and liturgy with which they had grown up.

Consider this: a person who walked in off the street into the Chapel of St. Theresa of Avila Church in West Roxbury on any given evening for Evensong or Mass would hear the sonorous words of the Prayer Book, Anglican Chant, and a well-prepared sermon. The hymnody would be from the 1940 hymnal.

That same person, taking the train into downtown Boston, might go into the Church of the Advent one night. There he would encounter a very similar service, using the same words and hymnody. He might very well think he was in a parish of the same Church.

But one is Roman Catholic (Anglican Use) and one is Episcopalian.

If y'all want to keep arguing over the pamphlet sent out in August, that's well and good (this is the second time this has been blogged on here) but I don't think you're doing yourselves much credit arguing against a point that neither the author of the pamphlet nor the leadership of the Anglican Use Society had in mind.

Respectfully,

Steve Cavanaugh
editor, Anglican Embers

poetreader said...

Pharmacotherapy (I forgot who you really are - you accidentally used this moniker again),

You're getting a bit picky in this comment:

Fr. Hart writes (wearingly, for the umpteenth time...)
"Otherwise, it takes the arrogant attitude that the pope had in 1054 when he committed schism from the Catholic Church."

Fr. Hart, if you have not yet learned this (and I can't belive Bill Tighe hasn't corrected you), the Pope did NOTHING in 1054....


Do you imagine that Fr. Hart is so ignorant of history? Haven't you noticed that 1054 has been shorthand used by Anglicans, RCs, and Orthodox for generations? Such a use is much shorter and easier than saying each time, "The whole long chain of events that led, at last, to the definitive separation of East and West." I use it that way, in full knowledge that it is imprecise, but that it does convey what I want to express.

You've been very good indeed at presenting us with incisive questions that need to be addressed. Please keep that up - we need to be challenged. However, this present comment does not add to what you've done here, and appears to be an attempt at an end run to avoid discussing the point Fr. Hart is making.

This kind of detail picking for the umpteenth time is also very wearing.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

Dear Poet Reader,

Sorry about the "pharmacotherapy" moniker. I did catch it for my second post.

True, 1054 can and likely is used as shorthand for, as you put it "The whole long chain of events that led, at last, to the definitive separation of East and West."

But your shorthand does not assign blame. Fr. Hart was certainly assigning blame when he says the Pope "committed schism." And even if the mutual excommunications of 1054 were an instance of schism (which they were not perceived as at the time), that would have ended with the mutual lifting of those bulls of excommunication by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. Sometimes our shorthand terms can confuse the issue more than shine a light on it. It seems to me that this use falls in that category.

And yes, I certainly do know that Fr. Hart is far too well-read in history not to know it. That's why I always find it so jarring. But as a guest, I should likely not be so blunt...it was not polite, and I apologize for the manner of my expression.

poetreader said...

Thank you, Steve, for a gracious response. I'm doing comments this weekend as Fr. Hart is away. On an issue like this one, there is plenty of blame to go around. Christians, both East and West erred greatly both before and after 1054 to produce a schism which, however one wants to attribute its origin, still persists, and to my view (and I am certain Fr. Hart's, persists because of the continuing errors of both sides. We would regard the schism originating in Tudor times and still persisting between Anglicans and the papacy to be similar in both origin and constitution. To my mind the ascription of blame is a total irrelevancy. The reality is that differences do exist, that this situation is not ultimately acceptable, and that we need to be approaching one another in true brotherhood with a sincere attempt to find solutions for the differences.

In this board we have been discovering an approach by RC "apologists" or better "polemicists" that is anything but reconciling and have tended to lose patience. It's time to stop snuipoing and to reach out instead.

ed

Steve Cavanaugh said...

Ed,

I agree that assigning blame is not the best way forward in seeking reconciliation among Christian brethren separated one from another. But the need to refrain from sniping needs to come from all sides in a conflict if reconciliation is to be pursued. Some of the RC posters here may come across snarky, but believe me, so do some of the Anglican posters. Our esteemed moderator in far off Cyprus and yourself are certainly always irenic in your comments, and I appreciate it.

Those RCs, who like me, visit here, obviously do so because we seem some value in the Continuum. If folks were just fishing there are far bigger ponds; and if it were to correct errors, there are far more egregious ones leveled against the Church than anything we might take umbrage at here. Jack Chick is still publishing, after all.

Despite the reception here of the pamphlet that started this whole discussion thread, the Anglican Use within the Catholic Church is a significant ecumenical advance, and while I understand the reasons that the Continuing Anglicans here feel that it is not for them, consider what it does represent: an initial welcoming for Reformation era Christians that allows for much of what they have come to treasure to come with them. It is a recognition on the part of Rome that there is a legitimate spiritual patrimony among the Christians in the various bodies that separated from Rome in the 16th century.

The Anglican Use pastors and people (among whom I am somehow numbered, despite my unremarkable Irish Catholic background) certainly do not think that every aspect of the Pastoral Provision or the Book of Divine Worship is perfect. But it is a living example of a way of being reunited and without being absorbed.

Would any Anglican, no matter how strong their convictions, look at the first thirty years following 1535 and think that the leaders of the Church of Engand, both royal and episcopal, had got everything right up to that point?

England was an important part of what you would call the Roman Catholic and I would call simply the Catholic Church up to the mid-16th century. Pope Benedict XVI has noted this himself in recalling the evangelization of Germany by English missionaries. Being part of an Anglican Use parish has allowed me to enjoy some of the gifts that God bestowed on the English Christian nation while remaining in communion with the successor of Peter. The Roman Church was deprived of many valuable spiritual goods because of the various schisms; the Anglican Use repatriates, in a small way for now, some of those goods. It is certainly my hope that future generations will see more substantive instances of this in reunion of now separated brethren.

poetreader said...

Steve,

If all the conversation here with RCs was as gracious as yours has been, the prospects for ultimate reunion of our traditions would indeed be very bright. Unfortunately that is not the case. I really wish some of the more polemical RC posters would recognize a couple of elementary things.

This is an Anglican blog, run by Anglicans and intended primarily for communication among Anglicans. We aren't exclusivist. Non-Anglicans, including RCs are welcome here, but we would prefer that they remember that they are, after all, guests. If I post on an RC board, or a Protestant one for that matter, I make a point of remembering whose turf I am on, and, while presenting my views forthrightly, make a real effort to do it in a polite and respectful way. I also make a real effort to keep within the conversation going on, neither subverting it to another subject nor monopolizing the conversation. Am I wrong in expecting this kind of behavior from guests on my blog?

While I don't consider AU to be an adequate answer to the problems of disunity, I do respect it, and plan at some future date to visit St. Athanasius' in Boston. (It's only a couple of hours away and meets in a chapel where I prayed more than once as a teen, back in those ancient days when I lived in nearby Roslindale.) I fully expect to enjoy it when I do.

However, I share Fr. Hart's offense at the mailing and its choice of terms. There's nothing wrong with a cradle RC speaking of his church as he always has, with the undadorned "Catholic". Though that tends to grate on me a little (since I think it is inaccurate) I'm a big boy. I can handle that. However, such a use by an AU person when addressing Anglicans cannot but be seen as intentionally offensive. The writers are either former Anglicans or friends of former Anglicans and most assuredly know how offewnsive and demeaning that usage sounds to their audience. Common decency would seem to require, in such circumstances, the choice of less offensive terms, which could easily be done at no cost to the clarity of their message.

We are not in the business of attacking Rome on these pages. Believe it or not, Fr. Hart has no such intent. He sets about a/to present classic Anglican theology as clearly as possible, b/to clarify just what the differences may be with late medieval and Counterreformation developments in Continental theology, and c/ to answer objections brought, sometimes sneeringly, by sometimes unfriendly guests. Is there any of that that should not be done in a determinedly Anglican environment? We field enough harsh and aggressive comments that sometimes the strength in our replies is a bit more than is actually wise. Is anyone surprised under the circumstances?

By all means continue to question our assumptions. By all means engage us in debate. We really do welcome that. However (speaking not so much to you, Steve, as to some of your fellow RCs) we respectufully ask that this kind of conversation be seasoned with politeness and respect. Is that too much to ask?

ed

Steve Cavanaugh said...

Ed,

of course not. The Internet is all to commonly peppered with impolite words. One would hope that any board that is hosted and frequented by Christians would be polite.

I'd be happy to have you visit us sometime, and glad to know you'll not get lost...I think too many visitors do, I certainly got lost on my way to St. Theresa's my first time. We're having Lessons & Carols on November 30th at 5 p.m. While Fr. Bradford won't be there (he's on vacation until the middle of that week), we will have the typical Anglican service...though led in this instance by our oft-time helper, Deacon Michael Connolly of the Armenian Catholic Church.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For clarification, of course 1054 is a largely symbolic date; but, it seems that only Anglicans are criticized for using the symbol. On the other hand, it has at least one bit of substance: The event demonstrates that Universal Primacy lacked universal consensus.

I agree whole-heartedly with Archbishop Haverland's point. We recognize Roman Catholics (a term that should seem like a badge of honor for real believers in the See of Peter doctrine, as their belief in it is all that the term signifies) as fellow Catholics, members of the same Holy Catholic Church as ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the same Body of Christ, partakers of the same Holy Spirit, heirs of eternal life.

Unfortunately, they often treat us as a mission field, infidels and gentiles who know not God, and who need salvation. The message seems to be, in quasi-Baptist terms: "Accept the pope as your Personal Pope-with every head bowed and every eye closed-and you too may be saved."

We are not a mission field, and we are not separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Father Hart,
Your comment about the Anglican church being viewed as a mission field explained something I have been wondering about ever since finding your site. Why do Roman Catholics and some Eastern Orthodox feel they need to come out of the woodwork every time you raise a theological difference between their communion and the continuum? I never once got the feeling that anything on this site was directed to convert them. I thought you were writing to bring people like me to a deeper understanding of our own Catholic and Christian faith. By raising differences, you explain why we are not Roman Catholic--or Baptist for that matter. This is catechism for those of us in the pews. Sometimes, the comments annoy me. It is the same way I would feel if someone barged in and interupted my parishes liturgy, a homily or or Sunday school to tell us we were wrong.

I read a few RC and EO sites. I never see where Anglicans surf over to those sites and point out the errors of Rome or Antioch.

Richard

Mr Cavanaugh,
You are a welcome exception to the above.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Actually, I used to argue with Fr. Alvin Kimel on his own "Pontifiacitons" turf all the time. Even so, I was only defending Anglicanism at the time.