Saturday, November 08, 2008

The voice of infallibility

E.J. Bicknell explains Article XIX* as follows: "The latter section justifies the breach with Rome by denying her infallibility. As she has erred in the past, so she may err again at the Council of Trent. The allusion is to such events as the acceptance of by Pope Liberius of an Arian creed, the acquittal of Pelagius by Pope Zosimus and the lapse of Pope Honorius into Monothelitism."

We have been told that this is wrong due to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the papacy, one which we must call a theory. The theory goes like this: If a pope commits heresy he is not really the pope. It has never been explained whether or not this means that he is not bishop of Rome, but apparently not (according to the theory), since to be bishop of Rome a man is also the successor of Peter, and therefore the pope. Nonetheless, who decides if a teaching disqualifies a man as a true pope? The answer is the Universal Church. Therefore, according to the theory, it is the Church that is infallible, and not any given man who happens to occupy the chair in the See of Peter. We must conclude from this that the Roman Catholic doctrine of the papacy is incoherent and self-contradictory.

*The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. 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.

36 comments:

The young fogey said...

Yes but what of church infallibility, which Rome, the Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox and the Ancient Assyrian Church of the East each claim for themselves? Without that, and it seems Articles XIX and XXI repudiate it, even with the creeds, the episcopate and the Mass you're not Catholic. (Or why the official Anglicans are where they are now: their church is fallible therefore fungible, an Erastian institution the Crown could order around, a very different conception of 'church' from the Catholic churches, Carolines, Tractarians and Anglo-Catholics notwithstanding.)

Also Pius IX hadn't defined the claimed infallibility of his office (not his person) when the Articles were written so the meaning seems plainly Protestant.

Was Thursday said...

I think it is interesting that this blog continually brings this issue up again and again, usually with simple refutations such as the one provided. It seems almost like the blog authors must continually remind each other of their stance on this issue in order to continue their particular version of Anglicanism.

"Oh yeah, its not true, is it?" "Nope. We are fully in the Catholic Church no matter what the others say. See they're wrong on this issue and that issue as well." "It doesn't matter that we are only a few thousand people collectively, who aren't even in full communion with each other much less the millions of Orthodox who don't recognise us or the billions of Catholics who don't either."

What might be more helpful and interesting (and respectable) is rather than posting a brief polemic quote or assertion inside an essay every now and then, is to compare Bicknell or Pusey to Newman (what he wrote and not just an assertion about how horrible the Development of Doctrine is), Clark or Ratzinger.

Cheers,
Thurs.

Just a Thought said...

It is true that St. Athanasius was condemned by Pope Liberius though he was the leader of the defenders of orthodoxy against Arianism at the time. Pope Liberius was a weak man (the first Pope after St. Peter never honored as a saint) and he was imprisoned and most probably had been tortured to force him to support the Arian heresy, at the time he condemned St. Athansius. He was therefore obviously acting under duress, as St. Athanasius pointed out when he refused to accept the validity of the excommunication. Though Pope Liberius did condemn St. Athanasius under heavy pressure from his captors, he refused to sign a clearly Arian statement of faith, but did sign an equivocal statement which could be interpreted either in an orthodox or an Arian sense.
The infallibility of the papacy was therefore preserved even under Liberius' weak leadership.

No serious historian pretends that, if Liberius signed the equivocal Arian formulæ in exile, he did it freely; consequently no question of his infallibility is involved. It is admitted on all sides that his noble attitude of resistance before his exile and during his exile was not belied by any act of his after his return, that he was in no way sullied when so many failed at the Council of Rimini, and that he acted vigorously for the healing of orthodoxy throughout the West from the grievous wound. If he really consorted with heretics, condemned Athanasius, or even denied the Son of God, it was a momentary human weakness which no more compromises the papacy than does that of St. Peter.

But Popes are not infallible when making excommunications, or any disciplinary judgment, for they are limited by the information they have on the individual or situation in question. They are only infallible in making doctrinal pronouncements ex cathedra. It is vitally important always to remember that the Pope has two kinds of authority, magisterial (when he is speaking ex cathedra, that is, in a way intended to be binding on the faithful), in which he is infallible; and administrative, as head of the Church appointed by Christ to govern it (which would include excommunications).

The Pope is not infallible when exercising his governing authority, but still must be obeyed when he does so, as long as his orders apply clearly to the Church rather than to temporal affairs, for the Pope's authority over the Church is God-given and there is no appeal from it on earth.

I deny that any Pope was ever a heretic and have researched each case where that is claimed, and will be glad to answer and refute any claim that any Pope ever committed himself or called upon the faithful to hold any heretical belief.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Young Fogey:

Of course you are right that the Article did not address Papal infallibility, since the doctrine was not invented yet. The difference between us and the Two One True Churches is this: Anglicans- and I mean our kind who have remained orthodox- have always had the humility to know that we are not the whole Church by ourselves alone. So, we make no claim to infallibility "for ourselves" without the rest of the Church (about dogma). That is why talk of the Infallibility of the Church must be about the Universal Church. We have never said that we have no need of the rest of the Body.

Was Thursday:

...rather than posting a brief polemic...

Nothing that either Fr. Kirby or I have written about Anglican-Roman C. matters has ever been this brief, even though "brevity is the soul of wit."

The only reason I bring this up every once in a while is because a thousand blogs out there champion the post conversion ideas of Newman every day, and therefore some corrective needs to be posted to help Anglicans learn why their own patrimony is fully Catholic and valid. I do compare our writers to the men you named, and do it constantly. Newman does not impress me at all, and I find his entire way of thinking (when he wrote his post conversion opinion of Anglicanism) to be part confusion and part sophistry.

Your remark about numbers is irrelevant and based on nothing factual that I am aware of. Your second paragraph is not quite true: The Orthodox have rendered no judgment at all about the Continuing Church, and therefore we can presume that the former recognition of Anglican validity should apply to us still, since it was withdrawn only due to WO. That is, once they get around to noticing that we exist.

Just a thought:

You wrote:
I deny that any Pope was ever a heretic...

The you place your private judgment over that of the Catholic Church as taught clearly in an Ecumenical Council that is, according to the Catholic Church including the Magisterium in Rome, infallible. The Church has spoken infallibly, and the pope of a previous era agreed, that Pope Honorius strayed into heresy.

You have recited an interpretation of history made necessary by the innovation of 1870, an interpretation with which I am very familiar. You have not addressed my point. If the pope can potentially prove not to have been a real pope, by the theory often put forth, the real authority is with the Universal Church, and the pope is subject to that authority. Therefore, he cannot dictate to the Universal Church. This reveals a self-contradiction in the Roman concept of the papacy.

Now, if we considered Universal Primacy in the terms of Ephesus and Chalcedon (first in honor, first among equals, etc.), and if we defined infallibility as the final stage of the Conciliar process, we could all make enormous ecumenical progress.

Canon Tallis said...

You would think the papists have enough blogs of their own that they shouldn't have to hang around others. Or that there would be enough undone good works to keep them busy adding to he merits of the saints and of the church, but here they are again.

What is it about the history of the Western and Latin Church is there that it has produced people who behave in this manner? Have Anglicans ever sent men out to assassinate the bishop of Rome? Or sold Romanists whom they have captured in war to the Muslims as slaves? Or have Anglican nations ever produced dictators and tyrants such as Mussolini, Hitler or Franco to say nothing of the likes of Peron, Casto or Chavez? Just who are they to give themselves such airs?

I think what we are hearing is indeed "the voice of infallibility" which unfortunately cannot be squared with that of Holy Scripture or of the seven general councils especially in questions of morality.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Nonetheless, I am glad to have Roman Catholic readers and their comments. This is an "in-family" disagreement we have with them.

John A. Hollister said...

The Roman Catholic theory, that if a pope commits heresy he is not really the pope, reminds me of an ancient Chinese political dictum. That said that rebellion against the Emperor was impious and could never succeed, because the Emperor held the mandate of Heaven.

(However, if a rebellion should succeed, then that just showed that the mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn from the overthrown Emperor.)

In other words, it is the victors who write the histories.

John A. Hollister+

Was Thursday said...

"Your remark about numbers is irrelevant and based on nothing factual that I am aware of."

It is not irrelevant if one's claim to the fullness of catholicity is in question. It is a fact that the multitude of Continuing jurisdictions are all not in communion with each other and that they are tiny compared to the Canterbury Anglicans. If inter-communion is a mark of catholicity (and history demonstrates it is), then this is not irrelevant.

"Your second paragraph is not quite true: The Orthodox have rendered no judgment at all about the Continuing Church, and therefore we can presume that the former recognition of Anglican validity should apply to us still, since it was withdrawn only due to WO. That is, once they get around to noticing that we exist."

Without commenting on irony of the last sentence, the Orthodox have never claimed that Anglicans were a part of the Church; they have always claimed to be the Church in toto. They may have recognized our orders (I've read statements to that affect) but never have included us as a part of the Church. From their eyes, as from Rome's, Anglicans are schismatics (and many parts of the Canterbury Communion are schismatics as well as heretics).

Cheers,
Thurs.

poetreader said...

Canon Tallis,

Ad hominem agrument is always nonsense and seldom accurate anyway. While it is true that the Roman Church has included and sometimes even encouraged some of the abuse you outline, but it is no more a part of Roman teaching than the extreme and unusual defuinit98ion of chattel slavery in Anglican lands or the widespread mistreatment of native peoples by Anglican colonial officials.

Unless we fairly and severly judge our own actions, we have no license from Our Lord to give this kind of judgment to other churches. We do have a mighty beam in our own eye.

Now, if you stick (as you usually do) to doctrinal matters, there is a lot of rather negative stuff to say about Rome, and I'll often (though not always) cheer you on.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Was Thursday wrote:

It is not irrelevant if one's claim to the fullness of catholicity is in question.

First of all, we don't know what the numbers are. Second, the gate is strait and way is narrow, and wherever two or three are gathered in his name...not two or three hundred million. Also, it is not true that the Continuing jurisdictions are not in communion with each other. Questions are legitimate about whether or not the TAC currently has an archbishop who believes he can lead his people out of Anglicanism (which they certainly will not allow), but those questions remain unanswered (even though I am fairly close to people who know as much as anyone can). And, we have a few things that make the APA different, things that probably could be resolved with theological discussion. But, the fact is that even with that, even aside from the very real ACC-APCK-UEC unity, there is still an underlying unity and shared ethos among Continuing churches.

Nonetheless, your comments surprise me all the more now that you have identified yourself as Anglican. You should know perfectly well that we are the only ones with the big picture, the Catholic Church of which we are merely a small part. If we claimed to be the whole enchilada, as the others claim for themselves, I could better know why you think these things are so essential. As it is, I don't know why you think they matter so very much. The Church we belong to includes the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. They are the ones who have a tendency to say to other members of the Body, "we have no need of thee." They ought to learn from our example.

The fact is they do need us, if only to clarify and correct doctrinal excesses.

(From your comment I wonder what your experience of the Continuing churches may be. Last week I was in North Carolina, celebrating and preaching to a filled church, with people of all ages and three races. Next week I will be doing the same in a Virginia church that is very similar, where the average attendance is around 100every Sunday. The following week I am supposed to assist and preach in another Virginia church that needs three services every Sunday for its 350 members. This does not seem uncommon in the ACC.

The caricature of aged and dwindling congregations is not what I see.)

poetreader said...

My experience in the Continuing Church is that there is effective, though limited intercommunion. While there is some difficulty between 'jurisdictions' in the licensing of clergy to officiate, there are no barriers to the reception of sacraments, nor to the sharing of common worship. We act more like a bunch of squabbling siblings than like strangers, rather like Corinth - not at all good, but not novel either.

My own Diocese of the Northeast ACA does not fit the picture of aging and dying congregations, while we do have a few struggling little groups, Anglicanism is alive and well here. My parish averages a bit over 100 weekly, with ages from babe-in-arms to nonagenarian, has an active Sunday School, a thriving Youth group, and a fledgling outreach program. We are not atypical. Our diocesan youth camp is a vibrant ministry, and, in editing our diocesan newsletter, I am pleased with the reports and photos of youth activities that come my way. We could do much better, but, Thursday, we ain't a-dyin' -- that's for sure.

ed

Was Thursday said...

"We could do much better, but, Thursday, we ain't a-dyin' -- that's for sure."

Ed & Fr Hart,

I don't think I ever said that the Continuum is full of dying people, just that it is actually many splinters of the larger Communion with too many bishops that have authority and power-control issues. I also said that neither the Orthodox nor the Catholics recognize your particular group (or the fifty? others) as a part of the Church.

Part of the Apostolic teaching is that we be in communion with the Apostolic Sees, not operating on our own (as in the Donatist case, for example).

Cheers,
Thurs.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...just that it is actually many splinters of the larger Communion with too many bishops that have authority and power-control issues.

If you mean the Anglican Communion, we are neither "many splinters" nor part of that communion. How many bishops do you think we have? I am in a diocese that has one bishop. What "power control issues" are you talking about? Please explain this enigmatic diagnosis.

I also said that neither the Orthodox nor the Catholics recognize your particular group (or the fifty? others) as a part of the Church.

Just what the Orthodox recognize or don't recognize is impossible to say (we have no reason to believe that they have made a statement about us that contradicts the clearly stated recognition that existed between 1922 and 1976, and which should, logically, still extend to us if they still so needed). "Fifty other" what? The lie that there are over forty jurisdictions merely annoys us. It is utter non-sense, no matter how often it is repeated. The numerous vagante groups are simply a symptom of Freedom of Religion, not our doing, not our fault, and not us. There are a few polity issues (not theological) to be ironed out between the only valid jurisdictions we list here; they are not as many as the polity issues that have never yet been resolved among the Orthodox; nor are they tainted with the hostility that is obvious among the different churches under the Papal discipline.

Part of the Apostolic teaching is that we be in communion with the Apostolic Sees, not operating on our own (as in the Donatist case, for example).

What is "an Apostolic See"? Do you mean a Patriarchate, one of those entities established for convenience when the whole world was smaller, before the Great Schism (1054 to now), and under the power of an empire that has not existed for centuries? What revelation from God is this whole ecclesiastical-political concept based on? It worked at a time when such a polity was in accord with Right Reason; but, it is not an eternal or essential element of the Church. If it were, then it would have been revealed. Never did the Church make a claim to any such revelation. Rather, what we know from revelation has been preserved as doctrine. We possess the fullness of Catholic Doctrine, valid sacraments, and the charismatic power of Apostolic ministry.

What we know from revelation is that the charismatic reality of the Apostolic Succession is passed on sacramentally. We trace our origins with no problem at all.

Furthermore, when (or if) the Two One True Churches fully acknowledge each other as having the fullness of the Catholic Church, then maybe some mutual opinion about us will no longer seem wholly unimpressive. Citing some mutual non-recognition of the Two one True Churches concerning us (which is not a clear cut fact by the way, and which contradicts the history of Anglican Orthodox relations) as authoritative or as proof of something, looks ridiculous at best. They don't recognize such a fullness in each other, so we aren't worried that they don't see in us what they also don't see in each other. That is not an agreement they share, but rather an extension of their outward disunity with each other as "east and west." So, they are not in agreement about us, not really; they simply don't recognize each other.

Furthermore, if you think that the CEC is part of the Continuing Church, then you do not know who we are. You don't understand our unity and common ethos, so you think it is not real. But, we who are on the inside know that you are mistaken. It is quite real, and more of a true commonality than the divisions of eastern and western Catholicism and the various denominations of Orthodoxy.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

I think it is only fair to note that the view Fr Hart criticises is something like my own "defence" of Vatican I, NOT the one usually employed by Roman CAtholic apologists.

And I do not believe this view is incoherent, although it can be accused of reducing Vatican I to a useless tautology: "The Pope can never define heresy as dogma, but if a bishop of Rome believed and taught heresy at all, he would have ceased to be a member of the Church and therefore Pope. So, a Pope who has not unpoped himself through heresy will never teach heresy." However, such a rendering ignores the fact that the default position would always be that a Pope manifestly defining doctrine in the name of and for the infallible Church was a true Pope. So, Vatican I has teeth, but does not prove every apparently papal statement satisfying certain outward criteria characteristics must be received automatically without any reference to the discernment of the Church.

The problem with JAT's and others' defences of past purported papal heretics is that often the goalposts are moved. For example, it is not hard to find papal statements that were materally heretical or erroneous in doctrine. Honorius did say Christ had "one will". He did mock and forbid the use of the phrase "two energies". But often the reply will be "Well, that statement may be verbally wrong, but you can't prove he really meant it exactly as it sounds, there are other plausible interpretations that are orthodox in intent. Anyway he was not formally heretical as either the doctrine had not been defined at that stage or he was not aware he was teaching inconsistently with what was in fact the consensus of the Church, but believed he was teaching in accord with that consensus." But exactly the same things can be said of those all Catholics accept to be heresiarchs, such as Nestorius! And that is precisely why the Councils treated Honorius as they did Nestorius, and condemned Vigilius' defence of the orthodoxy of certain theologians' writings as doctrinally wrong and dangerous and briefly struck him off the diptychs.

John A. Hollister said...

Was Thursday wrote: "Part of the Apostolic teaching is that we be in communion with the Apostolic Sees, not operating on our own...."

I agree with everything Fr. Hart has so trenchantly said about this proposition. However, unnecessary as such communion may be, we would in fact have it, were it not for the personal decision of a rabid Dominican Inquisitor named Antonio Ghislieri. (He, by the way, is the one who expelled the Jews from the Papal States, among other Christian acts.)

So don't blame us for what is someone else's fault, not ours.

John A. Hollister+

just a thought said...

Fr. Hart


You respond to Young Fogey – “since the doctrine was not invented yet”. Doctrines are not invented and well you know it, this misrepresents the nature of doctrinal development within the tradition of the church. Papal Infallibility like the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin were not ‘Invented’ but were the formalisation and official recognition of persistent and unchanging beliefs held by the faithful and past on by successive generations of Catholics.

And to suggest that I place my private judgment over that of the Catholic Church is rich coming from, as it does a (very small) branch or Christianity where every one is their own pope. Even toward the end of his life Luther began to see the ecclesiological and hermeneutical anarchy his revolt had created. He saw each man as having become his own prophet, his own rabbi, his own pope, his own church. He saw that people were living as they so desired, using personal interpretation and conscience as their defence. This whether you accept it or not is your heritage, so you will understand if I ignore that particular slight.

Ok that said the solemn declaration of Papal Infallibility by Vatican I on July 18, 1870 was not an innovation, a novelty or an invention it was the instantiation of what had always been understood as the authority underpinning the succession of Peter. The fact it happened when it did has to be understood in the context of the time. Europe was drowning in the anarchy of the Enlightenment; the Church gave out this beacon of hope to a world gone mad, a lighthouse in a storm if you like. Italy had declared war on the Papal States and the Italian Army, reached the Aurelian Walls and placed Rome under a state of siege. Germany under Bismarck and Adalbert Falk started to enact some of the most anti Catholic legislation in its history and not withstanding the act of unification. In France and Belgium the spirit of atheism and immorality spread through society, increasingly draconian anti Catholic laws had been passed from 1858 under the disastrous Second Republic of Napoleon III who insisted on maintaining and expanding the vexatious Organic Articles. The situation got worse, if that were possible with the Third Republic after the defeat by the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War. Even in England with the reestablishment of the Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy in 1850 there was a frenzy of anti-Catholic riots often stoked by newspapers.

Catholics were being attacked everywhere and on all sides, in this atmosphere of fear and persecution the Pope in union with Episcopal collegiality and the magisterium and under daily threat of death himself reminded Catholics the world over that they were members of the one Church of Christ and that they were not abandoned. If proof were needed of the efficacy of this action at the time an increasing awareness of their own identity among Roman Catholics worldwide was detected, and the numbers of converts to Catholicism as well as the numbers of vocations to the religious and priestly life increased, along with clearly pro-Catholic political activity of Catholics in their native countries.

Was it universally accepted, no, was it new, no, did it change the belief of the Catholic Church from that which had gone before, no; was it needed, undoubtedly yes.
Not sure what you mean by “If the pope can potentially prove not to have been a real pope”, The Church has had more than one claimant to the Throne of Peter, I believe the record is four at once, these are called anti-Popes but if you mean Honorius lets deal with him now and I hope not to disappoint Fr Kirby with my moving goal posts.

The charge against Pope Honorius is a double one: that, when appealed to in the Monothelite controversy, he actually taught the Monothelite heresy in his two letters to Sergius; and that he was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council, the decrees of which were approved by Leo II. But in the first place it is quite clear from the tone and terms of these letters that, so far from intending to give any final, or ex cathedra, decision on the doctrinal question at issue, Honorius merely tried to allay the rising bitterness of the controversy by securing silence. In the next place, taking the letters as they stand, the very most that can be clearly and incontrovertibly deduced from them is, that Honorius was not a profound or acute theologian, and that he allowed himself to be confused and misled by the wily Sergius (a convinced Monotheist) as to what the issue really was and too readily accepted the latter's misrepresentation of his opponents' position, to the effect that the assertion of two wills in Christ meant two contrary or discordant wills. Finally, in reference to the condemnation of Honorius as a heretic, it is to be remembered that there is no ecumenical sentence affirming the fact either that Honorius's letters to Sergius contain heresy, or that they were intended to define the question with which they deal. The sentence passed by the fathers of the council has ecumenical value only in so far as it was approved by Leo II; but, in approving the condemnation of Honorius, his successor adds the very important qualification that he is condemned, not for the doctrinal reason that he taught heresy, but on the moral ground that he was wanting in the vigilance expected from him in his Apostolic office and thereby allowed a heresy to make headway which he should have crushed in its beginnings.


It is true that Pope Honorius was condemned; it was even retained in the lessons of the Breviary for 28 June (St. Leo II) until the eighteenth century. Difficulties made themselves felt when, after the Great Western Schism, papal infallibility began to be doubted (you see not new). It has to be borne in mind that Honorius did not define anything ex cathedra and rather than being condemned for teaching heresy, he was anathematized for gross negligence and a lax leadership.

Again you use emotive language referring to the Pope ‘dictating to the Universal Church’, nonsense upon stilts.

Read the words of Pope Pius IX, 1854, in Ineffabilis Deus, defining the Immaculate Conception:

The Mind of the Bishops

Although we knew the mind of the bishops from the petitions which we had received from them, namely, that the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin be finally defined, nevertheless, on February 2, 1849,[27] we sent an Encyclical Letter from Gaeta to all our venerable brethren, the bishops of the Catholic world, that they should offer prayers to God and then tell us in writing what the piety an devotion of their faithful was in regard to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. We likewise inquired what the bishops themselves thought about defining this doctrine and what their wishes were in regard to making known with all possible solemnity our supreme judgment.

We were certainly filled with the greatest consolation when the replies of our venerable brethren came to us. For, replying to us with a most enthusiastic joy, exultation and zeal, they not only again confirmed their own singular piety toward the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin, and that of the secular and religious clergy and of the faithful, but with one voice they even entreated us to define our supreme judgment and authority the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. In the meantime we were indeed filled with no less joy when, after a diligent examination, our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the special congregation and the theologians chosen by us as counselors (whom we mentioned above), asked with the same enthusiasm and fervor for the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.

Now read the words of Pope Pius XII, 1950 in Munificentissimus Deus, defining the assumption of Mary.


9. In this pious striving, the faithful have been associated in a wonderful way with their own holy bishops, who have sent petitions of this kind, truly remarkable in number, to this See of the Blessed Peter. Consequently, when we were elevated to the throne of the supreme pontificate, petitions of this sort had already been addressed by the thousands from every part of the world and from every class of people, from our beloved sons the Cardinals of the Sacred College, from our venerable brethren, archbishops and bishops, from dioceses and from parishes.


12. But those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed as bishops to rule the Church of God"[4] gave an almost unanimous affirmative response to both these questions. This "outstanding agreement of the Catholic prelates and the faithful,"[5] affirming that the bodily Assumption of God's Mother into heaven can be defined as a dogma of faith, since it shows us the concordant teaching of the Church's ordinary doctrinal authority and the concordant faith of the Christian people which the same doctrinal authority sustains and directs, thus by itself and in an entirely certain and infallible way, manifests this privilege as a truth revealed by God and contained in that divine deposit which Christ has delivered to his Spouse to be guarded faithfully and to be taught infallibly.[


41. Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, and since the bishops of the entire world are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith-this truth which is based on the Sacred Writings, which is thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful, which has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times, which is completely in harmony with the other revealed truths, and which has been expounded and explained magnificently in the work, the science, and the wisdom of the theologians-we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived.


This to me looks very much like your desired “infallibility as the final stage of the Conciliar process”, and think anything else is just a straw man argument.

John A. Hollister said...

Just a Thought said, "Papal Infallibility like the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin were not 'Invented' but were the formalisation and official recognition of persistent and unchanging beliefs held by the faithful and past on by successive generations of Catholics."

If these theories were, indeed, persistent and unchanging beliefs held by the faithful and passed on by successive generations of Catholics, then they must be propositions of considerable antiquity. (You know the old saw, "Antiquity, Ubiquity, Universality"?) So I have three questions:

1. Can J.A.T. produce even _one_ example of any theologian who proposed Papal Infallibility at any time prior to, say, 421 AD (that is, a century after the Creeds began to be formulated)?

2. Why, today, are these theories not accepted as dogma by the other great branch of the Church, the ancestors of which were certainly around at that period and would have known that these were part of the Universal Church's heritage?

3. Why are we continually bombarded with uniquely Roman local formulations when this is an Anglican venue, devoted to Anglican, not Roman, concepts? J.A.T. is not going to convert us by repeating Roman propaganda and we, quite apparently, aren't going to convert him by reciting the facts. So what purpose do these discussions serve?

John A. Hollister+

Was Thursday said...

I made a post interacting with Fr Hart immediately preceding my note to both Ed and Fr Hart, but it isn't here. Did it get deleted? If so, why? I will try interacting with it again, so here goes:

"Second, the gate is strait and way is narrow, and wherever two or three are gathered in his name...not two or three hundred million."

I never said anything about judging individual's salvation, just about where the boundaries of the (fullness of the) Catholic Church lie.

My point I made--in the missing post before--is that I find it rather strange for one who rejects Newman on the charges of sophistry to accept William Palmer's theory as de facto. The regula fide--under whatever form of his Branch Theory you might use--requires assent by both East and West, but the assent granted by both East and West is that Anglicans are not a part of the Church. But you will not accept that one ruling from them, but will for everything else they agree upon?

"Also, it is not true that the Continuing jurisdictions are not in communion with each other."

Are you telling me that the APA is in full communion with the TAC or the fifty other jurisdictions? (Yes, there are probably something along the lines of that many: http://anglicansonline.org/communion/nic.html

Unless, of course, you have a particular kind of narrow definition of 'Continuing' Anglican (i.e, only those who came out of the Affirmation of St. Louis era). Which means that there are really much fewer, and then what to do with all the other 'radical schismatics'...

Cheers,
Thurs.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

JAT wrote:
You respond to Young Fogey – “since the doctrine was not invented yet”. Doctrines are not invented and well you know it, this misrepresents the nature of doctrinal development within the tradition of the church.

Actually, doctrines are invented all the time, which makes them false. This applies to the doctrine in question. If you have read my criticisms of Newman's theory of Doctrinal Development, then you should expect me to dismiss the weight you attach to it.

And to suggest that I place my private judgment over that of the Catholic Church is rich coming from, as it does a (very small) branch or Christianity where every one is their own pope.

I think you mean "his own pope." I really don't like mixing plural and singular. Now, just who are these people in a "very small" sect with so many self-made popes? Obviously, you are writing from the recesses of your imagination. Anyway, it has nothing to do with us.

This whether you accept it or not is your heritage, so you will understand if I ignore that particular slight.

IN context- you refer to Luther. No, we are not Lutherans; so, again you are missing the target by a wide berth.

If proof were needed of the efficacy of this action...

The historical examples of what followed prove nothing of dogmatic or doctrinal significance. History rarely does.

Finally, in reference to the condemnation of Honorius as a heretic, it is to be remembered that there is no ecumenical sentence affirming the fact...

Well, yes there is, and so it is an infallible decision of an Ecumenical Council.

The sentence passed by the fathers of the council has ecumenical value only in so far as it was approved by Leo II...

Well, him along with all the others.

not for the doctrinal reason that he taught heresy...

And yet as a heretic. Very interesting, these methods of
deflection.

It has to be borne in mind that Honorius did not define anything ex cathedra...

So what? The whole idea of ex cathedra definition did not then exist.

...rather than being condemned for teaching heresy...

It was for heresy. Even negligence can cause a man to endorse a false doctrine, and that endorsement is doctrinal in nature.

Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth...

The Church of Rome and those who submit to it define themselves as "the Universal Church." But, this is not universally accepted by the Church.

This to me looks very much like your desired “infallibility as the final stage of the Conciliar process”, and think anything else is just a straw man argument.

If we could honestly define that particular collection of bishops as an Ecumenical Council you would be right. But, we cannot.

Was Thursday wrote:

I never said anything about judging individual's salvation, just about where the boundaries of the (fullness of the) Catholic Church lie.

Yes, I knew that, and that was what I addressed.

The regula fide--under whatever form of his Branch Theory you might use--requires assent by both East and West, but the assent granted by both East and West is that Anglicans are not a part of the Church. But you will not accept that one ruling from them, but will for everything else they agree upon?

That is not at all an example of agreement between them. It is merely an extension of their disagreement with each other (didn't I say this already?). Furthermore, that disagreement is based on each of the Two One True Churches' own self-proclaimed "dogma" of an exclusive claim to Catholic Fullness. The example you cite (of so-called agreement) merely rules out the claim of each, and begs the Anglican solution (as well as proving it).

Are you telling me that the APA is in full communion with the TAC or the fifty other jurisdictions? (Yes, there are probably something along the lines of that many:

Hogwash. That website lists every ridiculous vagante group it can, including pseudo-Orthodox and pseudo-Old Catholics. I could add to the list if I chose. This has nothing to do with the Continuum. It is about Freedom of Religion and man's unlimited imagination. The hostile bunch who associated all these sects with the Continuing Church had no valid or true reason to do so, but rather a hostile drive to tell a lie (not unlike some twit who wanted us all to believe that the Governor of Alaska did not know that Africa is a continent). There is always someone who needs to slander people, and one way is to suggest guilt by false association.

Unless, of course, you have a particular kind of narrow definition of 'Continuing' Anglican (i.e, only those who came out of the Affirmation of St. Louis era). Which means that there are really much fewer...

By George, I think he's got it.

Carlos said...

Or have Anglican nations ever produced dictators and tyrants such as Mussolini, Hitler or Franco to say nothing of the likes of Peron, Casto or Chavez?


Was that called for? Without further elucidation... it seems like a nasty jab...

Sandra McColl said...

"Questions are legitimate about whether or not the TAC currently has an archbishop who believes he can lead his people out of Anglicanism"?

Out of Anglicanism?

I thought you were better than that. Alas, I am a fool.

Was Thursday said...

"That is not at all an example of agreement between them. It is merely an extension of their disagreement with each other (didn't I say this already?). Furthermore, that disagreement is based on each of the Two One True Churches' own self-proclaimed "dogma" of an exclusive claim to Catholic Fullness. The example you cite (of so-called agreement) merely rules out the claim of each, and begs the Anglican solution (as well as proving it)."

One cannot (epistemically speaking) provide a theory to solve a problem if one has not yet proven that there is a problem to be solved. On what authority do you give 'the Anglican solution' and who is to say that this is indeed 'THE' Anglican solution?

Let me try a more basic route: Since it is a fact that the East and West disagree over who is in the One True Church, it matters not what they say negatively from your perspective (as you've so eloquently pointed out). Therefore, since your ecclesiastical theory requires East-West agreement for epistemic justification and no agreement exists among them, then the theory is bunkum from the start.

And without addressing the irony of the last statement I'll say for now,

Cheers,
Thurs.

rev'd up said...

Excellent work Fr. Hart! It seems your Romish opponents have guilty consciences.

In light of the political upheaval of 19th century Europe, I marvel that the Papacy dogmatized things not clearly taught in Scripture. More to the point, since the Pope hasn't taught "ex cathedra" that baptism is necessary; is it?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sandra:

The only reason the questions remain is simple: The man himself (Archbishop Hepworth) speaks enigmatically, and never gives a reassuring answer that is plain, direct and to the point so that a dummy like me can know what he means. I thought that I had finally gotten such answers from him myself, but then he wanted the whole post removed, and qualified every reassuring answer he had given me in a later interview with David Virtue.

He could end the confusion and worry, and make all such questions disappear in five minutes. He needs to do it, because his own people aren't sold on the whole venture. This is actually friendly advice.

Thursday wrote:

One cannot (epistemically speaking) provide a theory to solve a problem if one has not yet proven that there is a problem to be solved.

Right. The Great Schism is not a problem. The divisions of the Church are not a problem.

That's good, because it means that the Patriarchate system as a polity did not outlive its usefulness.It keeps the unproblematic division of Christ's Church alive and well, obviously a necessary function.

Let me try a more basic route: Since it is a fact that the East and West disagree over who is in the One True Church, it matters not what they say negatively from your perspective (as you've so eloquently pointed out). Therefore, since your ecclesiastical theory requires East-West agreement for epistemic justification and no agreement exists among them, then the theory is bunkum from the start.

On dogma there is agreement, or else there could be no creed that is said universally. Otherwise, we have no problem correcting their foolish and respective claims to being the One True Church.

John A. Hollister said...

Sandra McColl wrote, quoting a prior remark of Fr. Hart's:

"'Questions are legitimate about whether or not the TAC currently has an archbishop who believes he can lead his people out of Anglicanism'?
"Out of Anglicanism?
"I thought you were better than that. Alas, I am a fool."

I interpret this expression of her reaction as meaning that she took Fr. Hart's comment as a "slam" or criticism of the TAC and/or its current leadership. While I realize that her views of the TAC and mine differ in some details, I certainly did not read those words as having that negative a connotation.

First, it definitely has been announced officially that the TAC is seeking some arrangement with Rome and, while details of the proposal have ranged from sparse to non-existent, the contexts and wordings of what have been said seem to be implying some sort of merger or administrative conjunction.

Second, in the history of about 23 such transitions from independence to places under the Roman ombrellino, when, for example, an Eastern Orthodox group has come under Roman oversight, it has thereupon ceased to be Eastern Orthodox and has become, instead, Eastern Catholic. It may well have preserved its prior form of liturgy, but it has definitely left the Eastern Orthodox Communion. Vide the Ukrainian Catholics, the Byzantine Catholics, etc.

So, following that historical precedent, it would seem that an Anglican group which unites itself to Roman, even if it retains an Anglican liturgy (which at present seems rather doubtful, anyway) has ceased to be "Anglican" in the sense of its prior communion affiliations and to have become "Roman, with a [more or less] Anglican form of liturgy".

In this setting, it does not denigrate the Ukrainian Catholics to say they are no longer Orthodox; it simply recognizes the reality of their shift of allegiance. Although it is also true that the Ukrainian Catholics, as just one example, have been able to preserve a great deal more of their historic liturgies than at least the precedent of the "Anglican Use" suggests any Anglican group will be permitted to.

All that said, transfers to Rome (and, indeed, back out of Rome) have been a known phenomenon for a very long time now and imply no criticism or negative judgment on the group so repositioning itself. (Just think of the Carpatho-Russians' response to Rome's attempt to deny them their historic married parish clergy, or the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops' resistence on the same issue; some of us would even call those admirable.) Every group is free to find and form the affiliations with other churches it finds suitable and, in the case of the TAC's venture, at least the target Communion is one of the Catholic ones, which is a great plus.

John A. Hollister+

Just a Thought said...

Hi John A. Hollister, OK I’ll answer your questions. But when I do, (and this is my question to you) will have the humility to admit maybe, just maybe those Catholics don’t make up doctrine on the hoof and that they have sound justification, going back to the earliest of the early Church fathers, for their doctrinal position on the Pope.

Now you asked for ‘even _one_ example’, this is correct, yes? instance of a declaration of papal Infallibility before 421 AD.

Cyprian of Carthage: "Would the heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?". "The Lord says to Peter; ’I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt 16:18-19])…On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e. apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built can he still be confident that he is in the Church? (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Now I hope you don’t intend to play the game, ‘but it doesn’t say the word Infallible’ because if this doesn’t mean Infallible then we are speaking different languages. So that is the ‘even _one_ example’ you asked for, there are a few others also dating before 421 AD you didn’t ask for but just to make the point.

As men received clearer understanding of the teaching authority of the church and the primacy of the Pope, they also got a clearer understanding of the Pope’s infallibility. For example, quoting from the early Church Fathers:

Pope Clement I: "Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us… Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret… If anyone disobeys the things which have been said by him [God] through us [that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger… You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy…" (Letter to the Corinthians 1:1, 58:2-59:1,63:2[A.D.80]).

Ignatius of Antioch: "… to the Church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

Ignatius of Antioch: "… Where the charismata of the Lord are given, there must we seek the truth, with those to whom belongs the ecclesiastical succession from the Apostles, and the unadulterated and incorruptible word. It is they who …are the guardians of our faith…and securely expound the Scriptures to us" (Against Heresies 4:26:5, 180-199 AD).

If you ask I can also provide further quoted evidence from: Irenaeus, Tatian the Syrian, Tertullian, The Letter of Clement to James & The Clementine Homilies, Cyprian of Carthage, Firmilian, Pope Stephen I, Ephraim the Syrian, Ambrose of Milan, Pope Damasus I, Jerome, Augustine, Council of Ephesus, Sechnall of Ireland, Pope Leo I, Council of Chalcedon.

Still not enough well how about the Eastern bishops who wrote to Pope Symmachus (342) or the 250 Eastern bishops who signed the Formula of Pope Hormisdas (268; this number eventually climbed to 2500 Eastern signatories). And all of this ignores the early Popes themselves who are, by anyone's standards, considered Fathers of the Church and who add their witness to this choir: Damasus (238), St. Siricius (239), St. Zosimus (253-4), St. Celestine (255), St. Leo (261-4), St. Felix (266), St. Gelasius (267), St. Hormisdas (268), Pelagius II (269, 348), St. Gregory the Great (270-1), St. Simplicius (301), and St. Agatho (276).

Shall we just agree that there is plenty of evidence form the early Church Fathers (Theologians if you like) of the doctrine of papal Infallibility. That’s the problem with setting up Aunt Sally', someone will come and knock them down.

You second question.
The Catholic and Orthodox Churches were united until the Great Schism of 1054. When, in theory at least both Churches held the same position on the Pope,

In 2003 a Vatican-hosted symposium considered the question of Primacy. The Orthodox were asked -- by Metropolitan John of Pergamon, among others -- to recognize that when they speak of their patriarchs as being "first among equals" and of the "synodal" governance of their churches, they cannot pretend that their patriarchs have no real authority or power. Nor can they expect that the pope would have none. "For the Orthodox there is no primacy without synodality," the metropolitan said, "but there also is no synod without a primate," who must call the bishops together to make decisions. "Orthodox are learning that primacy is a matter of the essence of the church, a dogmatic matter," he said.

A joint commission of Orthodox and Catholic theologians in 2007 agreed that the Pope has primacy over all bishops. The Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue reached the agreement in a meeting in Ravenna, Italy October 2007. The commission agreed "that the bishop of Rome was therefore the 'protos' among the patriarchs." "Protos" is an ancient Greek word meaning "first.", more importantly “this means that there is also a Primate; according to the practice of the ancient Church, the first bishop is the bishop of Rome," Now you can check this out if you don’t believe me. So is Papal Infallibility denied by the Orthodox Churches, watch this space.

You third question.
This does smack a little of being very defensive at best and just intolerant ant worst. If a group of Anglican Clerics wish to publish a blog on the internet – can a forum get more public? And publish posts which, shall we say are not wholly in support of the Roman Catholic Church, surely the question should be why the article are not refuted more vigorously and more widely. Now if you follow, and are firm in the Anglican Faith and hold to Christian Charity then surely a little healthy debate cannot cause you any alarm, can it? If you want a strictly private debate with invited guests only, set up a private server.

Anyway John, hope that helps.

John A. Hollister said...

Odd that none of those reams of quotes either uses the word "infallibility", or the word "indefectability", or even forms of words that must necessarily be read to mean what those two words now mean. And they certainly do not add up to an assertion that the Primate may promulgate dogma on his own individual authority.

That in the Patriarchial Sees one may find "the unadulterated and incorruptible word" merely means that there, as should be true in all congregations, one may find "a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly administered according to Christ's ordinance."

When Cyprian writes that "all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord", he is writing of a collegial Apostolate, such as the early Church knew, not an individual one such as the post-1870 Roman concept.

The rest of the material quoted is, in this particular context, simply mattress stuffing. It reminds me of the law exams I used to read that were written by my poorer students: when they didn't know what to write in answer to a particular question, they tried to write everything they'd learned in the entire course, over the whole semester.

The laddy doth protest too much, methinks.

And while I have no personal interest in honorifics, and most of those to whom I have been introduced face-to-face do in fact address me solely as "John", this form of address coming from someone I have never met is an interesting clue to the writer's unconscious prejudices. That is, it tends to suggest that he has a priori "unchurched" the Communion in which I am an ordained clergyman. Or does he call all Roman priests "Fred" or "Joe" on first encounter?

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

JAT:

St. Cyprian would never suggest that we should accept any teaching that contradicts the witness of antiquity and scripture. The reputation of Rome for its orthodoxy and clarity broke down at the Second Council Of Constantinople.

"… to the Church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans..

Do these words of St. Ignatius actually suggest Universal Primacy to you? Don't words like "location" and "country of" suggest a limitation?

The next quotation from Ignatius is one of our favorites, because it teaches the Anglican doctrine of Apostolic Succession and places authority in the Episcopate of the Church (Conciliar). Are you trying to make your case, or ours? Because, you argued our case, not yours.

As for St. Clement, his Epistle was addressed to the Church in Corinth that had just deposed all its clergy in a rebellion, and was being run by laymen. Even so, he appealed to them: "Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret…" It simply does not make your case. There was no bishop, presbyter or deacon there who had the people's attention.

If you ask I can also provide further quoted evidence from....

You left out my favorite one: St Maximos the Confessor. Oh, please DO include him...pretty please.

Your comments on the 2003 symposium are of particular interest to me, and my brother presented a paper at a similar such meeting (http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=14-08-054-r)

What you don't understand about that symposium, or about the 2007 meeting, is that the Orthodox were contrasting modern RC doctrine about the papacy against the "first in honor" status that is recorded in the First Council of Constantinople, then in Ephesus and then in Chalcedon (but was never mentioned again, related to the whole Honorius thing). An ideal restoration of unity in their eyes would be possible only if Rome modifies its teaching on the subject.

A joint commission of Orthodox and Catholic theologians in 2007 agreed that the Pope has primacy over all bishops.

Funny. I have not seen the Orthodox Patriarchs leaping into the Tiber-not even Moscow on the Hudson. Perhaps you fail to understand that too. It is what I said above, a call for Rome to change so that the Pope can once again take his place of "first in honor." This is not what Rome has been teaching in its "development of doctrine" since 1054.

poetreader said...

JAT.

I've resisted answering your comments in this way, but I think this is far overdue.

Your quotations would seem to merit discussion. Your attitude, however, leaves one disinclined to answer you. How dare you demand humility from a man you are arrogantly attacking? How dare you address him with phrases like "I hope you aren't playing the game ..." Where do you show the slightest trace of that humility you demand?

Sir, You need to remember that you have insinuated yourself into a blog where your viewpoints are certain to be a hard sell. People here simply do not agree with the views you hold, and feel they have studied the matter as thoroughly as you have. Now, you are welcome to question our views. You are welcome to present your own. You are welcome to try to convince us that we are wrong. We will do our best to answer you. Most of us are willing to listen and consider opposing views, and may even be affected by them. That is what discussion is about.

What you are NOT welcome to do is to treat us like stupid children. Now, if we were to come to your blog, knowing your views, and write the way you have writen here, we would expect to be treated with less respect than we have given you. But this is our place, and we have standards of behavior. May I be blunt? Keep them, or go away. You may present all the arguments you desire, but you may NOT present them sneeringly or disrespectfully.

If you sincerely desire to lead us to change our views, may I say straight out that you are pursuing a self-defeating course. No one wants to hear you out, let alone agree with you. I, for one, have often modified my views when I've been gently shown an error in my thinking. I have precisely never done so in response to a shout or a sneer, because I've been unable to hear what the other is saying.

Again, you are welcome, even invited, to present your disagreements with us as cogently and as strongly as you like, provided you can do it in a respectful and mannerly fashion. You've not done so and have not merited a hearing, but rather a spanking.

I would have prefered to answer privately, but, since you have not given us that opportunity, this is the only available method.

ed

Sandra McColl said...

Canon Hollister, your courteous response to my piquey outburst deserves a similarly courteous and considered response. I thank you for hosing me down. I'm afraid that I can't do Fr Hart's comment in response to mine justice without betraying confidences, and that is something I endeavour not to do. On the TAC-Rome matter, I consider it fair to say that too many confidences have been shared, and possibly not always properly designated as such, and too many people have behaved as if they have a right to know, and disseminate, everything. Information management would probably score an F minus, but that's not a moral failing, just a failure (or absence) of the kind of systems that larger, more well-heeled organisations tend to cultivate.

I'll try to respond to you both, nevertheless, in one jumbled comment.

Yes, I do detect an anti-TAC bias forming here, and it also appears that open season has declared on Abp Hepworth, even though it is known that he reads this blog (and, by the way, he's the Primate, not a pope, and he's not alone on this venture), and it won't be cured by recruiting an ACA priest, not least because he probably won't be an ACA priest for any longer than is convenient to him, such is the condition to which circumstances have brought us.

Canon Hollister, you paint a very bleak picture or attempts to get cosy with Roma. The problem I find is that history can be used as an excuse not to try. Perhaps TAC people will go for the ride and then be glad they have the ACC to come running back to when they get swallowed by the monster and the wheels fall off, or perhaps they'll go off to the ACC and its satellites before the leap is made, as Fr Hart appears to be predicting. Perhaps not--we don't know. Further, we don't know what Roma's thinking because we haven't received her considered reply yet. While the effect of an attempt of becoming 'united but not absorbed' isn't yet known, I think it unfair to say call that attempt taking a road out of Anglicanism.

Posts which use the 39 Articles as means of reminding us of the peripheral doctrines on which we differ, or at least are allowed to differ, with the Romans, which (as I said in an earlier comment) are defining Anglicanism by what it doesn't believe, don't help. Neither does dooming the TAC to failure from the start.

The result is a bunker ecclesiology, which considers that the only way Anglicanism can be preserved is in isolation from the Romans, and also, perhaps, from the Orthodox (although I am confining myself to Western questions). While Fr Hart has suggested that numbers don't matter, it needs to be pointed out that:

1. Anglicanism is a phenomenon of Anglophonia and the Pink Bits on the Map--you just can't get it in Cyprus, for example, as Albion has found, and the same would go for large parts of the RC world as well;

2. sacramentally valid Anglicanism is hard to get even in large parts of Anglophonia and the Pink Bits, as a result of events of recent decades, making it even harder to practise anywhere.

Perhaps you may believe that overtures to the Romans could be renewed once the Continuum has built itself up--perhaps it could be considered that the TAC is taking things too quickly. But that would lose the momentum and the memories of the early days of ARCIC--and those who still remember.

The bunker mentality worries me, as also, if I may digress, does the tendency towards congregationalism. Congregationalism enabled congregations to maintain orthodoxy and sacramental validity in the face of the far greater mischief of heresy and the destruction of the apostolic succession. Bishops have cited the Athanasian example as authority for going into the territory of other bishops and taking over congregations, all with a view to maintaining validity and orthodoxy.

On the other hand, people have found themselves having to leave buildings hallowed by the prayers of their ancestors, and even I have witnessed the unedifying spectacle of Dr Schori stretching her tentacles over property to stop it being taken by the congregation that will otherwise leave it deserted.

The Affirmation of St Louis responded to this situation, but I have seen in a combox long past a comment that suggested that, in doing so, it appeared to have elevated real estate to an article of the faith (at least, it suggested that the writer was more concerned about what the Romans would do with TAC property if the unity scheme ever succeeded, than about anything else). God forbid! We have got ourselves into a position where it is normal for a congregation who is unhappy with one bishop to forsake him for another, taking its whole kit and kaboodle with it. We've entrenched congregationalism, and the fact that there are numerous (if not all that many) valid Continuum jurisdictions makes it so easy. It's like getting married with a pre-nuptial agreement, the escape plan all worked out in advance. I believe such marriages are defective in intention, and also, on a similar basis, that if we aren't prepared to trust our bishops, and love them, and pray for them diligently, God won't give us the bishops we'd never dream of deserting. (I say that as a naturally rebellious type who wouldn't trust a bishop as far as I could throw him--but at least I recognise it's something about me that needs fixing.)

I think Anglicans of the Continuum need to take a long look at what they have created, and to assess whether their responses to things that happened in their Lambeth days deserve to continue now the mischief is cured.

We also need to take a long look at our bunker ecclesiology, perhaps to become more confident about the gifts our heritage has given us and about our ability to preserve them in closer communion with a larger ecclesial body. We need to trust God.

That said, I'm not saying that I'll definitely sail up the Tiber with the TAC, especially if the arrangement is merely a kind of mass lemming leap. I can do a lemming leap any time. But if the TAC can be the means by which the excommunication of the Anglicans by Pius V can begin to be repaired, and by which Anglicans can be reconciled to Rome with some degree of honour and with respect for the heritage that they bring, I'm all for it. Whether it will be the one thing, or the other, is something I think nobody knows.


(By the way, my word verification as I write is 'jewables', a word that is crying out for definition.)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sandra:

I have too much respect for you to patronize you with anything less than a very honest answer.

My articles about the Articles are not about "what we don't believe." They bring out what we have in our own patrimony, and why we have a thoroughly Catholic and Patristic base of doctrine that deserves better appreciation than many Anglicans have expressed. Some of this must be stated defensively, or to correct mis-perceptions, only because our tradition is attacked everyday in the "blogosphere."

About the TAC: I have friends in the TAC, especially one priest who is working closely with Archbishop Hepworth. For the sake of these friendships I went out of my way to give Archbishop Hepworth the floor, and let him quench rumors and misunderstanding. He seemed to do so, but only for three and a half days.

My comment was simply that questions remain, that is, they remain unanswered. The rumors, misunderstanding, worries and concerns that come my way from TAC people (including clergy who write to me) only intensify every time something is said by the man himself. The answers cause more questions, and no one seems to understand them. Or, they fear that they do understand them, and worry that Anglicanism itself is not appreciated or valued.

It is not my business to advise Archbishop Hepworth. But, I think that when answers only make a thing more confusing, and for some people more scary, that a good Public Relations guy is needed. People who read David Virtue's interview were made to panic all over again. I have been asked (and I am not at all the right person to ask about these things), based on that interview, that is, on one of Archbishop Hepworth's own answers, if all their clergy will have to be "re"-ordained, and all the people "re"-confirmed. And, to be honest, I can see how his words could be taken that way (and also that they may not mean that at all). Either way, unless these moves are sold to the people, it will not matter how well they work it out with Rome. This requires a two way sale.

I am stating the obvious, and not as an enemy.

poetreader said...

Sandra,

I'm an ACA/TAC layman. I have reasons, which I simply will not discuss (as such a discussion only feeds disunity) for preferring ACA over ACC, IF the choice is there to be made (which should not be the case). I am one of the "amigos" (as Fr. Hart puts it) who host this board, which means, quite distinctly, that this is NOT an ACC board, nor is it anti-TAC. Though, with Albion's departure, I'm outnumbered 2 to 1, nonetheless I am here, and (as I have just had occasion to note) I am able to have influence over what happens here.

Fr. Hart could be speaking for me in describing the questions that ++Hepworth and those working closely with him have allowed to cloud whatever it is that is actually happening. I'm a member, and I think I have a finger on the pulse of my jurisdiction, and I am confused. There are rumors and appearances and apparently contradictory reports of the approaches to Rome. Of course there is uncertainty. Of course certain fears are brought to be.

You may note that I have sometimes been tentatively critical of my own Archbishop. I'd rather that were not so, but I find myself unsure of where he is leading and what kind of relationship with Big Sister Rome is being sought. Until there is a clear picture available there will be confusion and a bit of discord. That is unavoidable. If it really is impossible to give clearer leadership at this time, the Archbishop and hierarchy are going to have to put up with the negative effects of the situation. That simply is as it is.

Obviously Christ's Church needs to be one. It is still a huge question as to how that goal can be reached.

ed

John A. Hollister said...

Ms. McColl:

Thank you for your considered and patient response.

All I was trying to do, at perhaps excessive length, was to say that as I read it, and given the context out of which it arose, it seemed to be a "geographical" comment on institutional self-positioning, not a qualitative judgement.

I agree with you completely that we need to peer out the door to our bunker and I have no problem with anyone's talking to the Romans; after all, they comprise 50% or so of all Christendom. That I'm not real sanguine about the prospects for such discussions, as you noted, is no reason not to undertake them, just a reason not to hold one's breath while the talking goes on.

Also, I admit, I wrote partly out of concern that we not be deprived us of your interesting, insightful, and often unique comments. As just one example, your summation of the problems facing Anglican-leaning inhabitants of the "pink bits" was wonderfull.

John A. Hollister+

How about "triess"?

Sandra McColl said...

Ed: I agree with you 99 per cent of the time, and I'm very much in agreement with most of what you write here.
Fr Hart: I think we're substantially in agreement over the information management issue. If more people had heeded the official TAC calls not to speculate at the time, and if more people, many of them not in the TAC, had been content with a little less feeling of an absolute entitlement to know everything, we'd all be better off.

As to the circumstances of your pulled post and the Virtue post, I can't say anything about those for reasons already stated.

In respect of the substance of the Virtue post, I would volunteer, however, that my 'bottom line' is substantially above an arrangement that would require wholesale re-ordinations or re-confirmations (not to mention other sacraments that might have to be repeated from scratch)--for the moment, at least, unless and until I find myself in an Albion-like situation and can't get a proper sacramental life otherwise.

In my business, one doesn't disclose one's bottom line until one's reached it. I think that any premature disclosure of the TAC's bottom line (if, given the number of bishops alone that we are dealing with, there is such a thing as a single bottom line, or one has been presently agreed) would be highly unfortunate and prejudicial to negotiations.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I think that any premature disclosure of the TAC's bottom line (if, given the number of bishops alone that we are dealing with, there is such a thing as a single bottom line, or one has been presently agreed) would be highly unfortunate and prejudicial to negotiations.

I can't blame speculation or rumors, but rather very alarming quotations.

But all the worry could vanish if a few simple reassuring words could be heard. How about a simple line like, "we are committed to Anglican principles?" Or, how about simply a restatement of one thing I quoted him on (before he wanted it removed) when he affirmed his faith in Anglican orders? Things like that would reassure people. And, he needs to stop his bishops from making more comments about a failed 450 year old experiment, and all that.

These unfortunate expressions are why questions remain. It's not my fault, nor is it due to allegations or the alligators themselves.

Sandra McColl said...

Fr Hart, I didn't attribute the 'bottom line' issue to speculation. I also wrote about confidences too readily shared and too readily blabbed.

"And, he needs to stop his bishops from making more comments about a failed 450 year old experiment, and all that."

Remarks about the 'failed experiment' have caused me to be sorely tempted before today to commit acts of violence against clergy, so I quite agree that such remarks are quite out of place from a bishop. But blame (and name and shame) the man who said it, not the man who failed to 'stop' him. In my experience, bishops do not readily submit to external control, and I don't think that primates are in any better position than we are. The funniest game of all is chess: can you imagine telling a real bishop that he's only allowed to travel on squares of the same colour as the one he's currently standing on?
Priperne!