Friday, March 20, 2009

What we believe

I received this very useful summary of the Faith of the Church in an e-mail from Fr. John Hollister. He said in that e-mail: "I came across Archbishop Stephens' statement, 'What we Believe' on the ACC Provincial website. So I turned that into tract form, printed it, and stuck it in our tract rack. In case it might prove useful to you, who are each newly taking over a congregation, I am attaching a PDF file of that leaftlet."

This was prepared on behalf of the Anglican Catholic Church; however, I cannot imagine that other serious Anglicans would fail to agree wholeheartedly.

What We Believe

Let me review briefly with you what the Anglican Catholic Church believes.

We believe in the One, Holy, Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, and that most holy name is Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth. We believe that only through Him is the full revelation of God given to man and that we have the awesome responsibility to preach the Good News of salvation to all nations and tongues.

We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the authentic record of God’s revelation to man, a revelation that is valid for all men and all time. In the Bible we have God’s revelation of Himself, His saving activity, and His moral demands. We believe that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We believe the Catholic Faith as set forth in the three recognized Creeds of Christendom: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and that known as the Creed of St. Athanasius. We receive and believe them in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church.

We believe in the holy Tradition of the Church as set forth by the ancient catholic bishops and doctors, and especially as defined by the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church.

We hold dear the seven Sacraments of Grace, namely, the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance, and Unction of the Sick. We believe them to be objective signs of Christ’s continued presence and saving activity among us. We believe in the holy sacrifice of the Mass and that the body and blood of Christ is truly and really present in the Holy Eucharist.

We believe in God’s gift of the apostolic ministry to His Church, asserting the necessity of a bishop in apostolic succession (or a priest ordained by such) as the celebrant of the Eucharist. Furthermore, we hold that the Holy Orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons consist exclusively of men in accordance with Christ’s will and institution.

We believe in the sanctity of human life; that life begins at the moment of conception; and that the willful taking of that life in the womb by abortion to be a grave sin (Title XV, Canon I, 1.01of the Canons of the AnglicanCatholic Church).

We believe in the family, in the God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman. We profess that sexual activity is to be practiced only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

We believe that man is very far gone from original righteousness, is in rebellion against God’s authority, and is liable to His righteous judgment. We believe that all people, individually and collectively, are responsible to their Creator for their acts, motives, thoughts, and words, since we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

We believe it is the duty of the Church and her members to bear witness to Christian morality, to follow it in their lives, and to reject the false standards of the world.

Lastly, the Anglican Catholic Church acknowledges that rule of faith laid down by St. Vincent of Lerins: Let us hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all, for that is truly and properly Catholic. The Bishops of this Church are committed to seeing that the Faith of Christ is kept entire as it was given to this Church. Any assertion to the contrary has no basis in fact. We call upon all the communicants of this church to believe without reservation that deposit of Faith that has been given to the Anglican Catholic Church and earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

This short statement of the ACC’s beliefs was written in February, 1998, by the Most Reverend M. Dean Stephens, late Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church.

© 1998, The Anglican Catholic Church. All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous said...

It is a very, very fine statement, one which I concur with ex animo in every syllable. After I discovered it several years ago on the ACC website, it was a major factor in my decision to return, after many years, to the Anglican Catholic Church. It ought to be available for easy distribution in all of our parishes.

poetreader said...

It is indeed a very fine statement, ind certainly should be widely available, which is why I am somewhat annoyed that copyright is claimed for it. It is a statement I would be proud to see in the tract racks of my own church if a substitution could be made for the specifically jurisdictional church name. Our faith is identical, but the copyright precludes us from making use if such an excellent and clear statement.


Mike Otto said...

Is the faith of the TAC and the ACC identical? Excuse me, as this is a question out of ignorance rather than a contention, but it seems like the TAC is in agreement with Roman thought (Bishops signed the catechism)and most people that I know in the ACC are far closer to Holy Orthodoxy than anything Roman. Then again being in Anglican Exile here in Germany doesnt give me the chance to talk face to face with many people so I could be wrong about both groups. Maybe this is a better question on the "Diaspora" page.

Canon Tallis said...

It is indeed a splendid statement. But Anglican? Yes, in a sense but only because it is entirely Christian and Catholic in the most ancient use of that word. And that is what makes it so valuable for all of us.

I am glad that Canon Hollister and Father Hart have brought it to our attention.

poetreader said...

Mike Otto,

Rather than getting into what often becomes a protracted and tendentious argument, I'll simply reword that to say that, in the terms of this particular document, they are indeed identical.

Your observation would need to be highly nuanced, as there are those in both jurisdictions (for example: myself in TAC, and more than one priest I've met in ACC) who would fall on the other side of what you assert.


Albion Land said...


You say: "It isndeed a very fine statement, and certainly should be widely available, which is why I am somewhat annoyed that copyright is claimed for it."

I have a sneaking suspicion that the ACC isn't going to sue anyone for copyright violation if they use this as a statement of their own beliefs. I would think that, if Archbishop Haverland were contacted about this (presumably he hasn't seen this thread), he would say "be our guest." Of course, that is for him to say. Somebody contact him.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The copyright becomes almost a moot point once the whole thing has posted on the internet (which was done on the ACC website). I guess the reason for it, is so that those who quote it will have a harder time divorcing a sentence from its context.

Anonymous said...

Ed: you brought this up, so you will have to deal with it. I will allow others to address the question of why the ACC statement is copyrighted. But if I were you, I would not bet the rent money on your claim that ACC and TAC have "identical faith." The TAC bishops have had ample opportunity to say so, but have not.

The ACC bishops had the combination of scholarship and spirituality to produce this statement. Nothing similar has been forthcoming from any other Continuing Church. You gain nothing by claiming "me too, me too." Since your bishops have signed the CCC, why don't you encourage them to sign the ACC statement also? The copyright does not prevent that.

Anonymous said...

Since it has been claimed that signatories of the CCC ashare the faith of the ACC statement, I wonder if RC bishops could sign it in goodd conscience. From a RC persepctive, the ACC statement is woefully inadequate. It insists on exactly Seven Ecumenical Councils. Official RC teaching expands that list to include Trent and Vatican I. The ACC statement fails to affirm papal claims or Marian dogmas. Likewise Transubstantiation. An orthodox Roman Catholic would have to file a caveat on these points.

Compare the ACC statement to the "Credo of the People of God" issued by Paul VI. Quite a difference. You cannot have it both ways.

poetreader said...

Fr. Wells,

In the first place, you seem to have passed right over my second comment of clarification. ACA can affirm every part of that statement with as much fervor as can ACC, and it is no more than tendentious to deny that.

There are indeed claims at least that ACC and TAC differ in some matters of faith. I think it fruitless to tussle endlessly over these purported differences, which are far smaller than any differences that have existed within the church for centuries. If you know of any that are of such magnitude as to justify separation, let me know. I don't recognize that there are any.

But this kind of difference, even if real, is lightyears away from what I'm talking about. What I said is that the statement as quoted is one to which no one that I know of in either jurisdiction, would take exception. I know that I regard it as an accurate statement of what constitutes the Catholic Faith.

I don't see that there is anything there that an orthodox RC would fail to affirm either, though, as you correctly assert, they would want more affirmed than you and I would be willing to grant. There is no problem in agreeing on thewords there set down.

Please, you are grasping at straws in what you say about councils - we all (including Rome and the Orthodox) affirm seven councils. That's all the statemernt says. It simply does not say, "these and no others". I know ACC clergy who insist that Trent is authoritative in every detail, and I know a large number of ACA members and clergy who do not, including myself.

I've also talked with ACC clergy (at least one, and possibly others) who consider those with positions like Fr. Hart and you as being clearly heretical. They are wrong, but they do exist.

There are things that the statement does not specify that Romne insists upon, and our bishops certainly gave the appearance of accepting those things in addition to what is there written, when they signed the CCC, but some of them have said that they did not see this action as accepting all the disputed issues without a great deal of clarification and redefinition. I'm not quite sure how they juggle that, but they claim to be doing so.

At any rate, the one thing that is clear about doctrinal lines in the Continuing churches is that there is nothing clear about them. If we cannot quit the insane squabbling to which we seem addicted, our Anglican heritage will wither away, and under those conditions should wither away, and something of great value will have been lost.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Archbishop Haverland has sent me an e-mail saying, "You're free to report that if anyone asks permission to reprint the tract, I'm sure permission would be granted, with the proviso that the copyright notice be repeated and that brief, appropriate acknowledgment be given to the author. If the only things changed were the name of the ACC and a citation of its canons, the simple acknowledgement (such as 'reprinted with the permission of the Anglican Catholic Church') could include ''with minor changes in brackets' - or something of the sort.

"I certainly do think permission should be sought before someone else's work is reprinted. The fact of publication on the internet does not destroy the rights of an author or copyright holder."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ed wrote:

I know ACC clergy who insist that Trent is authoritative in every detail...

That is the worst news I have heard in a long time. Whereas there is no accounting for taste, an account must be given for bad theology.

Canon Tallis said...

If any who thing of themselves as "Anglican clergy" believe that the Council of "Trent is authoritative" then it is time for them to cease the delusion that they are Anglicans. No greater damage has been done to classical Anglicanism than the private and perverted elevating of the Council of Trent and the Missal of Pius V above that of Anglican theology and sound Anglican liturgical practice. It is the equivalent of wearing the enemy uniform or someone else's regimental or old school tie. First of all, it is dishonest and secondly, it is simply tacky to substitute for the faith and practice of the creeds, the councils and the first fifteen centuries of the church, the embroideries of the single most degenerate century of the Roman See. I am sure it was great fun for the "Brideshead Revisited" generation of English wacko's to "up yours" the bishops, deans and archdeacons of their own generation as the first step in self hatred but we of the Continuum need to be building upon a more solid and defensible foundation than that of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century angst.

To me the most attractive feature of the ACC statement is that even if it lacked the ACC name it contains a rock solid statement of the Orthodox and Catholic faith as it was held by the whole of the Western Church up until the Reformation. As Anglicans, we do not and should not have a "doctrine of development" when the very idea is precluded by St. Vincent's idea of "Antiquity, Consent and Universality." I, for one, am more than willing to put myself with that group of Anglican and Catholic loyalists who will have "No Truck With Trent."

poetreader said...

Canon Tallis,

As should be obvious from my ongoing comments, I pretty much agree that the decrees of Trent are badly flawed. However, I take serious exception to such statements as

"It is the equivalent of wearing the enemy uniform ..."

Rome is NOT our enemy. These are brethren by Baptism, by holding the core of the Catholic and Apostolis Faith, by commitment to the same Scripture, the same Creeds, and the same Sacraments.

Moreover, whether we like it or not (and I pretty much don't) history has left us as Catholic Anglicans in a somewhat uncomfortable fellowship of those who agree with Trent and those who do not. These are our brethren in the very same jurisdiction, and these are brethren who can agree with the content of this good statement, a statement which, wisely, does not unchurch those who have, wisely or not, chosen to believe more than is there contained. I do not accept the definitions of Trent. I do feel that those who hold to them are believing what is not precisely true - but. if they do not bind me with their mistakes, I will treat them as valued brethren, and engage in brotherly discussion of our differences.

To repeat, though I believe some of their teaching to be errant, ROME IS NOT OUR ENEMY, nor are the Papalists among us dressed in enemy uniforms. Perhaps something as mild as the 'old school tie' image might apply. Gentlemen from different schools, though having differences, are far more alike than not, and, though perhaps rivals, are in a very real sense brethren.

In that spirit, I do appreciate your closing paragraph, and find myself in substantial agreement with it.


Warwickensis said...

Canon Tallis,

please listen to Ed, if you don't listen to me.

As an Anglican Papalist, I am not out to destroy Anglicanism. That's not how I want unity to occur. That's the trouble with schism , it splits personalities and affections, and causes bitterness all round. As a matter of principle, I don't get into the argument of who split from whom.

I don't pretend to understand how it is possible to unite the Church and be true to both the Magisterium and to the Anglican Identity, but we English Anglican Catholics have been trying for quite some time in an attempt to end the spiritual pain of the division of the Church.

I'm not a theologian, nor a competent apologist for those Anglicans who have assented to the CCC. I'm just a little mathematician who happens to be a Reader in a small and quite heretical parish in England.
You may not consider me to be an Anglican, though as an Englishman I do have some historical right to the adjective, but I am not against you in anyway. Indeed we Papalists are not out trying to destroy anything that a faithful Anglican would stand for. Roman and Anglicans do have a common history in our country and still the effects of trying to tear the two apart are felt five hundred years later.

Fr. Hart has said that we are in error. I respectfully disagree. Personally it seems to me that Anglicanism existed before the BCP does indicate to my poor eyes that the BCP doesn't define what Anglicanism is. Yet, like an Anglican I find it an amazing and inspirational resource of liturgy, of form and function.

I am sorry if you feel that people like me are the enemy, turncoats or traitors. I certainly don't see you that way, but I do see someone intelligent of a gret integrity and love for Anglicanism who seems to have had a great deal of hurt as a result of the wicked rendering of the Anglican Church in the last few decades. I am sorry if any attempt by you to produce some form of a wake up call to the CofE failed. Believe me, I wish it had succeeded.

But please, please stop seeing me, the Papalists or Rome as being in anyway an enemy. It is the real Enemy who is splitting the church so that we cannot worship and pray together. It is the Enemy who has decieved a load of my own family and friends to follow heresy, and I suspect the same thing can be said of all of us who read this wonderful blog. If we continue to harbour bitterness and hatred, then the Enemy is winning.

I know that Fr. Hart argues against Anglican Papalism; while at times he can be a bit near the knuckle, I do appreciate and value his arguments from my side, and wish I could proffer a better apologia pro vita mea from mine. I do find him however to be very charitable and amenable.

Please, dear Canon Tallis, at least help to stop any further disunity by not thrusting out such bitterness and making the wrong assumptions. It does not really add anything to the ministry of a decent and well-respected priest.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

My disagreements with Rome have been stated in the clearest language, and I trust in the tone of polite theological discourse. No, they are not the enemy.

The problem is that Anglicans need to be converted to Anglicanism, which requires learning it, perhaps being catechized for the first time despite many years of membership, or even after many years as a clergyman. The way some Anglicans express their combined ignorance and inferiority complex embarrasses me. I am ashamed of them when they treat Anglicanism like a "mistake"or "450 year old experiment that has failed." They may be ashamed of our patrimony, because they know so little about it: but I am not ashamed of it.

Of course, there is the modern Non-Continuum problem. The official Anglican Communion, h-qued in Canterbury, presents a picture of pure chaos to the world, lacking in any theology and without any principles.

But, the statement "What we believe" sets forth a clear and certain sound; clearly Vincentian, Nicene, Apostolic and Catholic. It is truly Anglican,having no distinctive theology of its own, but only that of the Holy Catholic Church.

But the same cannot be said of the Council of Trent, which taught innovations, like the dogma of Transubstantiation, that were every bit as new, every bit as much of a departure from Antiquity and Universality, as the winds of doctrine in Pentecostal Holiness churches, or Quaker Meeting houses. Rome is genuinely Protestant compared to us, if we make use of the popular modern definition of the word: "Protesting" with innovative doctrines never taught by the Apostles and Fathers.

Compared to Rome, we are very conservative in our orthodoxy, and far more Catholic.

Nathan said...


Sandra McColl said...

Warwickensis: the problem is 'what is a papalist'? Many would regard me as a papalist: I'm TAC; I pray for the reunification of Christendom, with an expectation and hope that it will start, where we're concerned, with reunification with the branch of Christendom in the West from which we were more recently severed (with, I confess, much trepidation as to the degree of absorption that such reunification might entail); I concede that within the Western Church, the see of Rome has a right to primacy by virtue of being ancient and apostolic; and I rather like English Missal with full propers and (I confess) use the Anglican Breviary for my private devotions.

I say I'm not papalist, however, because I find, especially in the Forward in Faith circles from which I have come, a papalism that consists of: inflicting the hideous rite of 1969 on the people; clergy who close their Roman Missals and Breviaries, take off their Roman cassocks and snuggle up in bed with their wives (which is all that is left of Anglican culture); clergy who are just wetting themselves for the word from Rome permitting the use of the new translation of the Mass; clergy and people who think something's true because the Pope says it is; clergy (especially) who quote RC sources as illustrations or authority for every proposition; clergy who tell the people that Epiphany or Ascension are on Sunday 'because the Church in this country says they are' (you mean, Father, by 'the Church', the bishops of a communion that doesn't even recognise you as a priest?); St Patrick replacing a Sunday in Lent when his day falls on one; the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica replacing a Sunday after Trinity; St Bartholomew not replacing a Sunday after Trinity; statements to the effect that 'the Anglican experiment has failed'; cottas, lace doilies generally, birettas, statements to the effect of 'I couldn't preach the Gospel in a surplice'--well, I'm sure plenty of holy martyrs preached the Gospel most eloquently naked in the arena'; snide references to 'Mrs Cranmer's husband' as a reason why anything in the BCP is bad; the Jerusalem Bible ('I want you to be happy, happy in the Lord ...'), the Responsorial Psalm. I could go on.

I trust that no-one reading this will think that my view of Anglican as against Roman culture is purely aesthetic. Much of it is, because our outward presentation of our culture is important. Much of it, however, is also that we are simply not allowed (by some) to have our own heritage and to celebrate it. I argued very poorly with one of my elders and betters who asserted that, unless one is a papalist, whether Anglicanism is Catholic or Calvinist or something in between or outside those extremes is merely a matter of taste. If I'd thought more quickly, I'd be saying that papalism is also a matter of taste--largely bad taste. But, of course, it's more than that. It's a whole way of thought, with a large body of literature to back it up--if only we could trust our clergy to make themselves acquainted with it. (One recently complained to me that 30 years ago in an ostensibly Anglican seminary, he learned lots of Schillebeeckx and Küng, but alas no Andrewes. So we can't entirely blame the clergy for denying us what they have themselves quite successfully been denied.) And most importantly, and possibly despite most of what I have written in this paragraph, I believe that defining what we are as Anglicans should not always start from, or conclude at, defining what it is about Romans that we are not.

Sorry 'bout the rant. I've probably lost all the friends I had on both sides now, if I hadn't lost them already.

John A. Hollister said...

1. First, while I sent the statement to Fr. Hart for his possible use his new parish, I'm gratified that he thought it worth publicizing to a wider audience. For some years, I was as close to a personal assistant as Archbishop Stephens had and I count the times spent in his presence as the most productive and instructive, as well as pleasant, of any experiences life has given me.

While twice I have been in the presence of men who seemed to be possessed by personified evil, only once have I met someone who I was convinced was, in the more restricted sense, a Saint. That man was Abp. Stephens. Nor am I alone in that feeling, for there are clergy who knew him and who use him as the patron of a Black Letter Day.

2. Ed Pacht wrote, "I know ACC clergy who insist that Trent is authoritative in every detail.... I've also talked with ACC clergy ... who consider those with positions like Fr. Hart ... as being clearly heretical."

I know Ed is a truthful man and so I accept his report of his personal knowledge. I can only say that in the 26 years I have been a member of the ACC, I have met many (although by no means all) of its clergy and have yet to encounter one who holds -- or at least publicly admits to -- those views.

Of course, every church group has its eccentrics. It needed a great deal of self-determination and self confidence to leave the church of one's birth for a risky "start up", so the Continuing Churches have always had among their members an unusually high per capita representation of idiosyncrats and extreme individualists.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Ed, my brother in the Faith! I have read your statements carefully. I have no doubt that the ACC statement is an accurate description of your personal faith and therefore you COULD subscribe to it as fully as I do. I also believe the same is true of the great majority of clergy and people who belong to the TAC and several other jurisdictions of the Continuum. You have made that point quite well.

I am simply pointing out that the official doctrinal teachers of your jurisdiction, while they possibly COULD accept the ACC statement, in reality have NOT done so. Instead, they have chosen to sign another document, the CCC, one which is strikingly in conflict with the ACC statement.

The question I raise regarding "Seven Councils" or some twenty-odd is not "grasping at straws." (I could use that phrase for your objection to the copyright status of the ACC statement). The best study of the Seven Councils I have read is by a Jesuit scholar, who entitled his work "The First Seven Ecumenical Councils." In his final chapter he addresses the problem of how many Councils are held authoritative and acknowledges that this is an issue between Rome and EO.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Does the CCC contradict this statement, or does it simply exceed what we may determine from the actual revelation God gave to his Church from the beginning? I ask because I see the statement as having ecumenical potential. At least this much is common ground where we can begin discussions with Rome and with Orthodoxy (it has far less ecumenical potential with most Protestant churches, because they deny the importance or even reality of Holy Orders, and some have a very different view of other sacraments also).

When I was talking to Archbishop John Hepworth last Summer, I was trying to learn to what degree, if any, he sees a need to discuss theology in order to work out differences with Rome. Initially, it appeared he did draw some clear lines. Within a few days I found out that the whole matter remains shrouded in mystery. I cannot even begin, after ninety minutes of one on one conversation, to figure out what he has in mind.

Anonymous said...

"Does the CCC contradict this statement,..."

Unclear. What statement are you thinking of?

It seems to me self-evident that there is a serious difference between affirming seven councils and affirming some much larger and potentially expansible number of councils. If one Church affirms seven sacraments and another church afirms 23 sacraments, one might be tempted to ask if there is not some slight fundamental difference between the two.

If one yields on the number "seven" for councils, then the claim to hold the faith of the "ancient undivided church" becomes a joke and the Vincentian canon is turned on its head.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, consider it this way: they do recognize the same seven Councils. Therefore, instead of disagreement about what is said in the statement "What we believe," there is something to talk about from common ground. Rome has that much common ground as well with the EO Church. We consider Rome to have transgressed a boundary line by going too far; but we can agree on what is inside those boundaries.

That is why I see ecumenical potential in "What we believe." It could be used some day as a place to begin serious discussions.

Anonymous said...

"Well, consider it this way: they do recognize the same seven Councils."

Yes, but "recognition" means different things. In our Anglican tradition, we "recognize" the Councils because their pronouncements "may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture." The EO tradition (which I understand only imperfectly) is less interested in the appeal to Scripture and regards the Councils has having an almost inherent authority. They also emphasize, as we do, that there is a certain unchangeable quality in Conciliar teaching. While Rome accepts the Seven Councils, they are submerged into a much larger corpus of Papal pronouncements and later Councils.
That is bound to dilute and compromise the position of the Seven, especially through the notion of the "development" of docrine.

Suppose we added the Apostolic Fathers and all Christian literature written before ca AD 325 to the NT canon. That would not drastically alter the shape of Christian doctrine, but it would
quickly reduce the authority of the NT as we now possess it.

Anonymous said...

"We consider Rome to have transgressed a boundary line by going too far; but we can agree on what is inside those boundaries."

Unless we first agree on where the boundaries are, agreement on "what is inside" the boundaries may not be too helpful. Christians and Moslems agree that people should be faithful to their spouses and not commit adultery. But this "agreement" is not worth much when Christians insist on monogamy and Moslems permit four wives.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Remember, because I have been writing for Touchstone, and have written for New Directions, The Christian Challenge, etc., (I really don't remember them all) I have made it my business to be well informed. Therefore, I have read the papal documents of recent years.

It is clear that they work to justify everything they teach in the more recent documents (i.e. going back at least to John XXIII) "by certain warrant Holy Scripture." They quote the Bible over and over. If you told them they were not receiving the doctrines of Nicea, Constantinople, Chalcedon, etc., as thoroughly grounded in Scripture, they would put up an argument.

We can debate meaningfully with them only because of the things we do agree on, since that gives structure and rules to a debate.

Anonymous said...

Quite right. Roman Biblical scholarship is massive, and the Pope quotes the Bible like Billy Graham. While they stoutly deny "Scriptura sola," they frequently behave as if it were true.

John A. Hollister said...

Ed Pacht wrote about Abp. Stephens' statement: "It is indeed a very fine statement, and certainly should be widely available, which is why I am somewhat annoyed that copyright is claimed for it."

For one thing, in 1998 -- the date of that copyright notice -- the ACC was still being vigorously sued by five former bishops who had left to set up a new organization but who were telling the world that they WERE "the 'real' ACC" and that first Abp. Lewis, and then after his death his successor Abp. Stephens, and the majority of the ACC's bishops (who remained loyal to the duly-elected Metropolitan), were some schismatic, vagans sect.

These five were not only using the ACC's name and logos as their own, they were publishing ACC documents as though they were the originators of them. It was at that point that to protect its position, the ACC filed for Federal service mark registration on its name, coat of arms, certain "trade names" such as the name of its Provincial newspaper, etc. I suspect the claim of copyright in materials published on the website arose from the same concerns.

For another thing, not long into 1998, Abp. Stephens unexpectedly died (at the age of only 58) and was succeeded by Abp. Cahoon. From that point on, he could no longer be asked for his personal approval of any edits or revisions of his writings, so copyrighting anything he had written was way of preserving the integrity of his material.

It certainly was not intended as a hostile act directed toward any other group, not even toward the little group of identity thieves who were causing us so much trouble and expense. (All we wanted was for them to go away, leave us alone, and select their own name and identity. This they finally did, although only after being compelled to do so by the very court in which they had sued us. The name they then chose for themselves was exquisitely appropriate.)

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

1. Sandra McColl referred to "a papalism that consists of ... birettas...."

Boy did that remind me of some irritating conversations I've had with historically-challenged clergy. One in particular occurred after I had driven several hundred miles to attend the ordination to the diaconate of a young man who perfectly exemplified Will Rogers' dictum, "It ain't what they don't know that scares me, it's what they know that ain't so."

As I was lining up with a good chunk of the clergy of my then-diocese to process into the service, the candidate for Orders looked me up and down, the Mickey Mouse ears on his headgear bobbing precariously as he did so, then raised his eyebrows at my Canterbury cap and asked, "Father, don't you have a biretta?"

I answered, "I do, and I'm wearing it -- an Anglican one. I'll wear an Italian academic cap on the day I receive a degree from an Italian university."

2. Then Ms. McColl wrote, "Sorry 'bout the rant. I've probably lost all the friends I had on both sides now, if I hadn't lost them already."

Well, the good news is that she hasn't lost me. The bad news may also be that she hasn't lost me....

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

Thank you, Fr. Hollister, for the clarification.

That makes it clear that the copyright does not stem from an exclusivist attitude, and I am glad of that. My reaction stemmed from what is perhaps an oversensitivity toward the frequent use of secular legal instruments by Christian against Christian in apparent disregard of St. Paul's rather shocked injunction against the same.

I don't have awfully good answers to the thorny questions that events bring up, merely a niggling feeling that we've been asked to suffer wrong rather than to resort to such measures.


Brian Gold said...

This statement is fantastic and represents why I am so happy to be a member of the ACC. There's no No ambiguity, no pandering to the puritans, no Anglican fudge. Just the catholic faith.

By the way, ALL works under United States law AUTOMATICALLY hold copyright from "the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device"--in other words, by the time you see it anywhere.

Veriword is trackop.

Diane said...

Quoting Scripture does not show that the Church subscribes to the false notion of sola scriptura.

Part of the reason why The Catholic Church quotes Scripture so often because that is the only language understood by so many christians...many don't understand or accept any concept of tradition
...they can't wrap their minds around the fact that the Church existed before the NT.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Diane wrote:

...the false notion of sola scriptura...

There are many false notions of sola scriptura, e.g. the Pentecostal down the street (in any major town) who thinks the Spirit will guide him personally into a perfect and infallible interpretation. But, do the notions you consider to be false include what should be read in the Lectionary? Would the "Gospel" of Thomas be acceptable, or should the Lectionary be sola scriptura? Does the notion of sola scriptura from St. Thomas Aquinas hold up, or do you see his notion of sola scriptura (from which the term apparently comes) as among the false notions?

..many don't understand or accept any concept of tradition
...they can't wrap their minds around the fact that the Church existed before the NT.

But, does the Tradition include the development of doctrine beyond what is consistent with Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est? For, the definition of Tradition, along these very lines, is the major difference between us and the Roman Catholic understanding.

Canon Tallis said...


I did not write "Rome is our enemy," but I do find it very revealing that your response to what I did write was to reply "ROME IS NOT OUR ENEMY." Now why anyone would believe that a church, really the curia, would waver back and forth in her reaction to classical prayer book Anglicanism is something I am not going to speculate upon. I do not read minds, but I do read history. And that makes it very clear that Rome, in the best of cases, has not always been our friend or the friend of any who have failed to kiss the pope's toe. It was not enough that they should have conspired to murder Elizabeth I and send Philip's Armada to conquer and enslave the English, but they were also active in the political turmoil which resulted in the English Civil War and the judicial murder of Laud and Charles I. Or that they were still defending the murder of protestant missionaries in Mexico and Latin America in the period of my childhood.

But that was not my the point of my post. Rather I was complaining of the actions of those who have received Anglican ordination and in the course of same made the standard oaths to God and His Church to keep the "doctrine, discipline and worship" of the same but who instead have done everything they dared "more Romano" in the very mistaken belief that such was the only possible way of being truly Catholic.

Further, in pursuit of their delusions, they are almost always incredibly rude and dismissive of those - as in the case Canon Hollister reported - who choose to be "merely Anglican." I remember my own first experience at one of the great shrine churches of London where the preacher snidely railed at all such mere Anglicans because they - and he explicitly mentioned St Paul's Cathedral - did not understand or practice the art of processions as 'real' Anglo-Catholics understood them. And as I sat their listening to him, my eyes kept stealing to the monument on the wall of the nave to a priest who was the writer of one of the most vile pieces of homosexual pornography in the history of that genre, a piece that colors the view of Anglicanism of every police officer forced to deal with the issue of clerical predators upon young men.

And that, of course, makes me rejoice for all those Anglican clerics who remove their Roman cassocks to share the bed of their wives and even more so for the post of our very dear Sandra McColl. (Could she be related in any way to the very famous Canon Malcolm McColl?) I was also quite happy to see the posts of the Reverend Messers Hart and Wells as they pointed out the difference between the Anglican and Roman understanding of Catholicity, ours being based upon the inherent meaning of the word itself, "according to the whole" while theirs could more accurately be defined as "if we do it, its Catholic." But however great their Biblical scholarship may be at the present, it does not intimidate them from adding to the deposit of tradition or encourage them to prune the very not scriptural additions to what they declare to be de fide and "to be believed" by anyone who chooses to become a papist.

And no one should be deceived. It is the papal office and the papal claims which are the very heart of the Roman faith. Pius IX dared to say of himself "I AM the way, the truth, and the life." What Anglican bishop would dare do so? But when you can officially pronounce that "for every creature to be subject to the Roman Pope is altogether necessary to salvation" as did Boniface VIII, which words have never been withdrawn or denied, they remain part of the Roman understanding of the papal office and the Catholic faith. Given the words of the New Testament, it can not be ours.

And that brings me to Warwickensis whose blog I very much enjoy although I fear he has no understanding of what Anglo-papalism has contributed to the decline of the practice of Christianity in England and elsewhere. Yes, Rome is a very ancient see but anyone who carefully reads Romans must know that it was not apostolic in its origin and such is not claimed for it in the canons of the earliest councils. It achieved its primacy because it was the Church of the imperial city and for the longest period of time was absolutely orthodox in its faith. When the whole of the East was in theological turmoil, it remained solid. Would that it had remained so in the centuries which followed. But the truth is that it has not and the very fact that we laud Benedict XVI for new understanding of the doctrine of justification is plain evidence of the same. And we need to recognize that there remain a number of other theological issues which require Rome and the East to return to an obedient reading of the plain words of the New Testament.

But Warwickensis will be quite surprised to discover that I believe that Anglicanism existed before the Reformation and before the first Book of Common Prayer. As such it resisted the claims of those bishops of Rome who fowled the see and the Western Church with their sins against the Catholic faith and Christian morality.

It is no secret that Anglican papalists by the imposition of the most extreme of their views on ordinary English parishes drove the people away from the faith and from the Church. My friend, Michael Farrer, the secretary of the Anglo-Catholic Historical Society and himself a writer of histories of the Catholic movement in the English Church, has very honestly spoken of a whole litany of English churches closed by the antics of their clergy. And I personally remember many years ago speaking with the new vicar of St Mary Magdalen's, Paddington, who found his parish down to three old ladies as the result of the abuse of the previous priest. Is it divisive to suggest that it would have been much better for their people and for the Catholic faith for them to have kept the fullness of prayer book faith and practice without attempting to pile all the Roman garbage on top of it. Instead of giving their people what they, the people, wanted and needed, they gave them instead Brighton religion because they wanted to pretend that they and the Church of England were something which they were not. And in the very doing of the same weakened the teaching of the prayer book faith my making a way for nonsense like "Affirming Catholicism" and other heretical attitudes to gain a greater toehold in English Church and Anglicanism in general.

I realize that I am more than a bit of an Anglican fundamentalist. I like being an Anglican and am not ashamed of the prayer book or the greatness of its tradition. And I very much dislike having "let's pretend papalism" thrust upon me in a church which claims to be Anglican, especially as I came to realize that those with that mentality tended to create ghettos of pretended superiority and very little evangelistic zeal. They rarely built new parishes but captured ones created by others with frequent fatal results for the captured parishes. I do not want that to happen to the Continuum.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart beat me to it. I love pointing out that there is more than one interpretation of Scriptura sola.
A few years back, during the period of wild liturgical experiments in the RC Church, it was trendy to read
Time Magazine essays for the Epistle and Kahlil Gibran for the Gospel. (I know, I was on one occasion a reader.) The Congregation for Divine Worship came down on this practice like a ton of bricks. Only canonical Scriptures may be read, only the 4 Gospels for the liturgical Gospel reading. That indeed is one expression of Scriptura sola.
The Anglican "all things necessary to salvation" is another.

When Luther at the Diet of Worms in his "Hier stehe ich" speech said that he could only be convinced by Scriptural argument, he was not articulating any radically new principal, but one he felt, with good reason, represented the central tradition of the Church and would be acceptable to all parties.

poetreader said...

I'm not in fundamental disagreement with either of the two reverend gentlemen posting just before this. There are good points being made.

I am, however, very disturbed about the way such differences as really do exist are brought into discussion. There is a terrible tendency on all sides to sound as though those with whom we disagree are our enemies. Rome is not our enemy, neither are anglo-papalists our enemies, nor for that matter neither are Sydney style protestants our enemies.

Canon Tallis, even with your very welcome clarification, I would have made the same response, as your tone is often one that is most easily seen as angry denunciation and an excuse for separation. That may indeed be far from your intent, but I have trouble seeing anything other than that, even in parts of the latest. That may be a communication problem only, but it is a problem, as one cannot hear in such an approach any real effort to reach out to separated brethren to discuss differences reasonably. Yes, I do know that some very 'spiky' sorts love to poke fun at those who don't see things their way or do ceremonies and decorations as they do. So do Evangelicals, and so do BCP Catholics like yourself - in this very post, for that matter. If someone speaks disrespectfully of me, Matt 5:11 & 44 speak, in Our Lord's own words, to exactly that issue. To return good for evil is not just a nice idea, but a positive command.

Please, while we are strongly defending our views (as we should) let us do so respectfully and as gently as we can manage.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

If you want to see a perfect example of the kind of embarrassing foolishness that Canon Tallis complains about, just look at this bizarre website. It proves that real life beats satire every time.

I like the pro-life bit, and certainly approve of posting the Creeds. But, even in that they suggest we need Rome to know the truth. With all due respect, why do these people call themselves "Anglican" at all? (I would bet not one of their clergy has ever read the great Anglican works.)

Sandra McColl said...

Fr Hollister, you say the sweetest things! (Especially about Mickey Mouse . . .)

Mine's 'wingut'.

Canon Tallis said...


I am very sorry that what I have written comes across to you as aggressive. It may be. I have a military background among other things and as a cadet was bound by an honour code that decreed that "A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate a cadet who does." Intellectual dishonesty offends me because I have been over my long years too "up close and personal" with the folks who destroyed the Episcopal Church. I do not want to see that happen with the Continuum because for many of us - and I am one of them - it would not be possible for us to function as Christians in the Roman Church and very difficult for us to do so in Orthodoxy. Perhaps I take too literally our Lord's words about the little ones and the millstone. Sorry. But I suspect that you would be even more offended if I told you the really hard stories.

What i really like about this site is the writing of Father Hart with its absolute clarity and intellectual honesty. And you second that and pull no punches with the honestly of your emotions, something I have no trouble with. People do have emotions, even men although I suspect that our culture is very uncomfortable with that.

I also have a great appreciation for beauty of all types. I suppose that also comes with the territory. Words and music, either separate or joined call forth a great response from me and the beauty of the words in the classic prayer books just as the words of the great English poets of the same age are a treasure that I am unwilling to give up. Likewise the beauty of babies, children, kittens and puppies. Or a long and excellent meal with good wine and even better friends. Simple things, but things to which most good men respond if offered the time and the opportunity. And these are things I know you also love and understand - and understand that what we are engaged in here is the defense of the greatest beauty, the greatest truth the world has ever known, the truth of the good news of our Lord and Savior as conveyed to us by the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which to the best of our ability we must keep unsullied from every vile and evil thing. So simple; so difficult and yet at the danger of making ourselves look complete and utter fools we attempt it for the love of Him who loved us into being from nothingness and into salvation by the very blood of His only son.

And if He so loved us, how can we not love each other?

poetreader said...

I've researched this so-called archdiocese and its prelate. What we have here, Fr. Hart, is not Anglican in any sense other than its use of the name. If one checks this Johnson fellow further, the story gets stranger and stranger. He's picked up on the name of a former and now nonexistent Continuing diocese without having any historical connection and has erected a largely imaginary fantasy world of his own. Such persons as these (of whom there are a multitude) are to be judged, not on specifically Anglican standards, which have no real application to them, but on more elementary Christian standards, and I fear they fail those.


poetreader said...

Canon Tallis,

Thank you for a wonderful and warm response. As I recently said to someone else, my concern is that the valuable things you have to say be clearly heard and considered, rather than obscured behind an appearance of anger. I'm very concerned for others of our readership when I find myself being tempted to ignore arguments because of the tone they exhibit. I do continue to appreciate the wisdom you bring to this site, and pledge that I will continue to be vigilant that it not be obscured by the tone that accompanies it. And, yes, I agree that Fr. Hart is indeed a real blessing.


John A. Hollister said...

Ed Pacht wrote, rather unkindly: "If one checks this Johnson fellow further, the story gets stranger and stranger."

Shame, shame, Ed! How can you not rejoice that a new Patriarchy has been erected among us, and cavail at little points such as that the previous Patriarchies were recognized by the consent of the whole Church, which until now has somehow overlooked the existence of this one?

Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, and Phoenix: doesn't it just roll off the tongue? And won't Moscow be miffed cross-eyed, eager as it was to be No. 6? Now it can't be more than No. 7....

And he even gives us a complete ecclesiastical pedigree, going right back to St. Peter! If you look up the website of the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, I'll bet HE doesn't list his tables of Apostolic Succession on a first-level link! Maybe ++New York should, tho', so the rest of us can be sure he's real.

And just look at who're the key links in these tables! All the best ecclesial ancestors: Arnold Harris Mathew; Charles etc., etc. de Wilmot Newman; His Grandiosity des Landes Berghis (the prelate formerly known as "Prince"). A Belgian by any other spelling is just as sweet.... The Patriarch of Glastonbury -- that must be the answer: the seat of the Patriarchy of Glastonbury has now been translated to Phoenix! Do you suppose the Phoenicians know how singularly they have been blessed to have such a one among them?

And he has his own corps of costumed knights! Of course, he doesn't say just who recognizes the sovereignty of this "Medical Order of Hospitallers"; silly me, I thought there was only one order of chivalry that was accepted as being a sovereignty (you know, its passports will actually get people across borders?), that one on the Via Condotti in Rome....

It is a great thing that Bishop H. Edwin Caudill's contribution to the Continuing Churches lives on, even if, like Lazarus, it had to be raised from the dead.

Mar Rutherfordus has the right idea! Let's each go out and start his/her own church! Dibs on the Holy Catholic Exarchate of East Trebizond! Dressups for everyone! Tea, sherry, and congratulations all 'round! I don't speak or read Latin; ancay myway Iissalmay ebay inway Iigpay Atinlay?

"Ourway Atherfay ichwhay artway inway Eavenhay, Allowedhay ebay ythay Amenay. Ythay ingdomkay omecay, ythy Illway ebay oneday, inway Earthway asway itway isway in Eavenhay...." It's just got that mysterious, liturgical lilt to it, don't you think, ay, ay?

John A. Hollister+

Diane said...

What flavor of sola scrip where you referring to? The one I'm referring to involves what you said about Luther being convinced only 'by scriptural arguement', which sounds radical to me if I'm a christian in the year 50, 100, or 200, etc. Gosh, not even the NT gives us the NT!

Anonymous said...

And if He so loved us, how can we not love each other?"

Perhaps sheep stealing is one good reason perhaps sheep stealing by a DAR bishop makes it worse.

As long as the view is to poach rather that evangelize there is a large mill stone in the way.

Consider Washington state and now Colorado. We are in the CC are apparently at war with each other and talk otherwise is merely for public consumption.

As Canon Tallis likes intellectual honesty perhaps he will speak to the problem that just divided a ACA parish in order to enrich the coffers of the APCK.

The Barking Toad Blog (linked here) has posted on this.

Ima Disgussed

Anonymous said...

This "diocese" of the Southwest has a recurring theme: they "use" Anglican liturgy -- that's it! They sort of piggyback on Anglican liturgy and have nothing else to show for it.

Baah -- give me the old school catholic Anglicans. If people don't like Anglicanism they should just become Roman Catholic, and at least be honest about their bent.

For me, I can't give up the evangelical dimension of Anglican faith and practice, it's as integral as the catholic dimension, and indeed perfects it.

St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Actually, the N.T. Canon in its present form is no different from what the overwhelming majority of Christians regarded as Scripture in the earliest parts of the second Century. A few churches held out for The Shepherd of Hermas, and a few had doubts about II Peter and Revelation. But, the majority received the 27 books of the N.T., and had already received the Jewish Scriptures called the O.T.

So, it might have semed radical to you to demand Scriptural proof for doctrine if you lived in those early centuries; but you would have been out of step with the Catholic Church.

John A. Hollister said...

Ima Disgussed challenged Canon Tallis (who so far as I know had nothing to do with the matter I.G. wrote about) to make some "intellectually honest" comment about "sheep stealing by a DAR bishop".

Well, who knew that the Daughters of the American Revolution had their own bishops? I'd always thought they rented them from the Episcopal Church.

(S)he went on to explain that "The Barking Toad Blog ... has posted on this ... [sheep stealing in] Washington state and now Colorado [where] the problem ... just divided a[n] ACA parish in order to enrich the coffers of the APCK."

While the Toad's two postings on this are less than completely clear, one can make out between the squawks that the B.T. is upset that one or two parishes in Pond A are considering picking up their water and pouring it over into Pond B. In the interests of the intellectual honesty I.G. prizes so much, I note that Pond A is now the Toad's own home pond where Pond B used to be the B.T.'s puddle of record, where for long he carried much water.

So why did our web-footed friend go to the trouble of composing two whole new rants against sheep stealing? Why didn't he just recycle the rants of outrage he posted just a short while ago when not a parish or two but an entire diocese of Pond B left that body of water and flowed over to Pond A, pads, flies, lilies, amphibians (including inter alia the B.T.), and all?

Oh, that's right: he can't reuse his comments and complaints against that earlier and larger sheepnapping because he never uttered any.

Lily ponds, like some streets, must have "One Way" signs on them. I guess it all depends on whose frog is being gored.

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

Touche, Fr. Hollister!

"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".

If we are Continuing Anglicans, of whatever stripe, our houses are all built of the most delicate scandal-stained glass. If we persist in tossing boulders at each other, we won't have anything left at all. It's time for us all to come in deep repentance to the Lord, each of us shedding tears about our own sin in facilitating this insane division


Diane said...

Fr. Robert,

The reception of the NT was not neat as you portray. There were many other manuscripts that were 'in the running' just those you mention (Clement's letters, the Didache, etc) and more than just a 'few chuches' were not unified in what was to be included. Canonicity was not cut and was not based on being written by an apostle (Mark and Luke), nor was canonicity established by date, with the Didache having been written around the same time as Revelation.

Bottom line, either the NT came to us complete with no questions asked or it didn't.

By your own admission, someone or something had to decide.

There have been threats to the canonicity of Scipture throughout time and they continue now. Luther, with his questioning of John 2,3, Hebrews, James, etc. We even have a baptist minister here in Houston that tells his congregation that 'we don't get our theology from Acts'.

It took and still takes authority to affirm the NT canon...that authority is the Catholic Church (you know what Church I'm talking about, even if we use different terminology to describe it).

The Church in action can be seen solving great theological issues in Acts (14,15?). The apostle to the gentiles himself, Paul, could not resolve the issue of whether or not gentiles needed to follow mosaic law to be saved. The authority of the Church at that time was domiciled in Jerusalem and so that's where the issue was resolved (by Peter )....all without recourse to Scripture. I think the first book of the NT was written after this event (Thess 1,2) in 50AD.

You can't argue with the fact that the Church DID preceed the NT. You may want to diminish this fact but you can't dispute it. The Church that compiled Scripture has dominion over it's interpretation...this is something that many can't understand and if they did, certainly would not accept. It is a hard truth for many to accept.

Canon Tallis said...

I am glad that Canon Hollister decoded it because I checked the Barking Toad and couldn't make lily from lily pad of it.

From the point of intellectual honesty, I want those who call themselves Anglicans to provide sufficient evidence of same that if arrested and charged they would be easily convicted. No plea bargains or special deals, just open and shut. The problem with the divisions in the Continuum is that most of the priests and bishops who decamped in the seventies were so ignorant of the subject that they would never have been able to have passed one of Father Hart's pop quizzes much less the final exam. It would seem they read the wrong textbooks.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Diane wrote:

The reception of the NT was not neat as you portray. There were many other manuscripts that were 'in the running' just those you mention (Clement's letters, the Didache, etc)...

No, those books were not "in the running." Look at the list of books quoted as authoritative by men like Ireneaus, and you might notice a familiar quality. Except for the Shepherd of Hermas, there is nothing in addition to the 27 books that was seriously considered by any number of Churches back then.

...and more than just a 'few chuches' were not unified in what was to be included.

Let us say, a few regions. What was commonly accepted was mostly uniform, though it took a while for II Peter and Revelation to gain wide acceptance. Be careful; you seem almost ready to buy the nonsense of Elaine Pagels.

Bottom line, either the NT came to us complete with no questions asked or it didn't.

Meaning what? "Questions" are being asked to this day. Most of the Church recognized the exact same set of books, with only the three books questioned: 1) The Shepherd of Hermas (in or out?) 2) II Peter and 3) Revelation taking more time to become widely received. You have no authority to set some standard of your own: "either it did or it didn't" is not within your ability to assert. I reject this rule you seek to impose from your own mind.

It took and still takes authority to affirm the NT canon...that authority is the Catholic Church (you know what Church I'm talking about, even if we use different terminology to describe it).

If you are claiming that the Bishop of Rome decided what would be in the N.T. Canon, then I am going to fall off my chair laughing. The reception of the New Testament Canon was clearly vox populi, downright democratic in the sense of "we have the mind of Christ." That is, "we", not the Bishop of Rome in his magic chair.

The apostle to the gentiles himself, Paul, could not resolve the issue of whether or not gentiles needed to follow mosaic law to be saved. The authority of the Church at that time was domiciled in Jerusalem and so that's where the issue was resolved (by Peter )....all without recourse to Scripture. I think the first book of the NT was written after this event (Thess 1,2) in 50AD.

Paul clearly taught what the Apostles had all accepted and taught since Peter went to the House of Cornelius (with the addition of acting upon it more than the others, because of his calling). What you might not want to accept is that Peter, though having the revelation, was nonetheless confronted by his equals, the other Apostles, and rightly gave an account to them. It was their mutual recognition of the matter that settled the teaching in Acts 11, later defended by all of them (in full agreement) in Acts 15, where James clearly presided.

You can't argue with the fact that the Church DID precede the NT. You may want to diminish this fact but you can't dispute it.

We never argue against that basic fact, and it is an established Anglican doctrine. Neither would we seek to diminish it. But, the Church recognized more than merely consistency with Apostolic teaching (or Tradition) in the 27 books of the N.T.: The Church recognized the Word of God, the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It gave us the word "canon" which means measuring reed. So, if you want to be consistent yourself with the Catholic and Apostolic Church, you must recognize that the Canon has the highest place of authority, for there it is the voice of God himself that speaks. It is the Canon that measures truth and error. That is what the Church has said.

The Church that compiled Scripture has dominion over it's interpretation...

Not "complied," rather, received and acknowledged. "Dominion over its interpretation" my left hind leg! The Church receives to this day the Tradition from antiquity as a faithful steward, and must submit itself in all subjection to the Scripture as understood Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. This is why the innovations both of Rome and of various Protestants are inexcusable rebellion, and presumption.

Diane said...

Clement and others were most certainly in the running...esp. Clement, which was read in local churches for years and years.

I said compiled...not complied, which is what you said I said.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Clement was read in Corinth, to which it was sent. It had no serious "support" as equal to the N.T. books. I meant "compiled," and it seems very much to be the wrong word to use for something received, recognized and acknowledged.

Others, like the Didache, are not among books that were quoted as having the weight that scripture has. Onl;y the Shepherd of Hermas was thought by some to be scripture, and only God knows why. The voice of God simply cannot be heard in that book.

Anonymous said...


The writings of the apostolic fathers are such a blessing to read, and they have a genuine ring of truth to them. But surely you can see the stark difference between the Gospel of Matthew and the Shepherd of Hermas, no? The church receives and declares authoritatively the canon, but she doesn't create it as such, any more than the Jews could make the books of Genesis or Exodus canonical.

Apart from the doubted texts of II, III John, II Peter, Jude, Revelation, Hebrews, & James (antilegoumena), there is a distinct impression one gets about the character of, say, the book of Romans over against the book of I Clement. Both are apostolic in flavor, but the former breathes authority while the latter echoes it.

I think collectively the Church saw this and had no choice but to say, "The Word of the Lord!"

St. Worm

Diane said...

Fr. Hart,

The canon was the result of a process.

Iraneus left out Philemon, and Polycarp sites only 8 of Paul's epistles..even at the end of the 2nd century, Rev, Hebrews, James, Jude were still contested.
Clement was most certainly in the running, as was Barnabas and Apoc of Peter and others. It was Origen who supported the Didache as part of the canon.
Some didn't see the shepard as a contender (Eusebius).

I guess my bottom line is that while the Gospels and Paul's Epistles were accepted readily...there was much question about the rest. You want to make it seem as if these early Christians had the NT all locked up early...history just doesn't support what you say. My guess is that you want to negate the Church's authority in defining the canon (Rome 382 presided over by Damusus) after which the Africans shored up their canon to match Rome's (Hippo, Carthage) as did Gaul.

Also, Stephen didn't preside over the Counc of Jerusalem..he offered his input to round out what Peter had already made clear.

I guess I can see how you would attempt to deny Peter's authority here, but after hearing how your group says that the authority of the keys was meant for all apostles, I'm not surprised at anything from ya'll....all of it does come down to authority and your desire to make out the Bishop of Rome as merely important and not authoritative.

The Elaine Pagels comment was should know that although you and I disagree on some issues, we are pretty close overall considering what's passing for 'christianity' these days.

Additionally, it is Scripture that says the CHURCH is the pillar and foundation of truth. When you say that the canon is the highest place of authority, in a way, that's like those protestants that ship Bibles over to China and consider that 'building christianity'...Acts shows us that it takes specific, visible churches with presbyters, deacons and bishops to spread the faith in the way that our Lord wanted.

I know ya'll claim ties to tradition but you still put Scripture a cut above...the ancient church didn't and neither should the continuing anglicans.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...


We would have no objection to saying that the Church has authority in the interpretation of Scripture, and priority over private interpretation. In fact we say that kind of thing all the time, and Anglican statements to this effect can be found all the way back to the Reformation.

However, to say the Church has "dominion" over Scriptural interpretation has a worrying connotation, it seems to me. Dominion sounds too much like domineering power and too little like trustworthy but derived authority. "Power over Scripture" would imply an unlimited and perhaps arbitrary and willful freedom of interpretation, treating Scripture like it really is intrinsically a "wax nose" that we can and must "inform" with whatever presuppositions we deem appropriate. Dominion-language makes it sound like the relationship is one-way, in that the Church has no responsibility of obedience to Scripture.

The Church does not dominate Scripture. It is informed by it, receiving and certifying it as Divine Revelation, at the same time as it interprets it authoritatively by God's grace.

Diane said...

Fr.Kirby...i agree with you.

There has to be a body to authoritatively interpret it...same body that defined the canon when the canon couldn't define itself.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


The canon was the result of a process.

The Church was like the dalmatian on the old RCA label, who recognized his master's voice. The process was one of subordination to the Holy Spirit. It was vox populi, the Church saying where it recognized the Master's voice. No one ever said it was immediate.

The questions which a significant number of churches were asking mostly were about II Peter, to a lesser degree Revelation; Jude and Hebrews took more time than others also, but eventually Hebrews was recognized even though it bears no attribution of a writer. Obviously, it was not St.Paul, and obviously, it was someone in his band who allowed Timothy to take the lead (which Paul would not have done). Mainly, however, it boiled down, as I said, to questions about II Peter and Revelation. As for books not included, the one with any real significant "support" was The Shepherd of Hermas. But, the Church did not hear the Master's voice in it (and I can't figure out why anyone ever thought he did).

Earlier you wrote:

By your own admission, someone or something had to decide.

The things I wrote are never an admission, but a clear statement. Also, I would not have used the word "decide" about reception of the Canon.

My guess is that you want to negate the Church's authority in defining the canon (Rome 382 presided over by Damusus) after which the Africans shored up their canon to match Rome's (Hippo, Carthage) as did Gaul.

The Council of Rome in 382 is not an Ecumenical Council, and if it had been it would have been unique among them because it was presided over by the Bishop of Rome, unlike all Seven of the Ecumenical Councils. The New Testament Canon, however, had the universal consent of the Council of Nicea (325), without any statement to the effect of how it came to be recognized, inasmuch as such a statement was not necessary. The later defense of that well established Canon in 382 was not a "decision."

Also, Stephen didn't preside over the Council of Jerusalem..

True. He was martyred back in chapter seven of the same book (Acts). Clearly, James, by stating his "sentence" (κρίνω) in Acts 15:19, is shown to have been the one presiding. Nonetheless, he merely stated what all of them had agreed on, and there is no indication that he was ruling over the Council, but rather that the apostles were there with the presbyters, in unity of mind against the new doctrine of the Judaizers. Look at vs. 24, 25: "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul." Notice the plural wording..."" Notice "...being assembled with one accord..."

I guess I can see how you would attempt to deny Peter's authority here, but after hearing how your group says that the authority of the keys was meant for all apostles...

Peter's authority to do what? To act as an Apostle, to restate what he had said ever since the day he went to the house of Cornelius? To state so perfectly the doctrine that has come to be called "Pauline"? At the Council he did all these things in a few words.

But, as for the equal authority of the Apostles, it is not us, but the Lord Jesus Christ who made this statement. Perhaps your New Testament has Matt. 16, and deletes Matt. 18. Our does not delete either.

"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matt. 18:17

This was not said not only to Peter, but to all of them. In context, it is clearly speaking to all of their successors (bishops) throughout all ages of the Church that would follow.

The Elaine Pagels comment was low...

In this day and age, on an open blog, I found it necessary to say something to counter any concept that there were "many" books "in the running." The times in which we live required clarification since anyone anywhere may read this.

I know ya'll claim ties to tradition but you still put Scripture a cut above...

So does your Catechism of the Catholic Church. Have you read it?

the ancient church didn't and neither should the continuing anglicans.

Then, if they did not, what exactly did they use to disprove Arianism at the Council of Nicea? What did they use to document Apostolic teaching of the revelation God had given the Church? Following that example, how should we document it now?

The answer is obvious: The Scriptures come from above; as the Papal Document Dominus Iesus says, "These books have God as their Author."

Anonymous said...

One gets the feeling if Pope Benedict were interacting with us he wouldn't be so squeamish about the priority of Scripture... but popular RC apologetics gets all bent out of shape. Why the gap between academic catholicism and internet catholicism? I can only surmise, but it's obvious and glaring to us "outsiders".

Also, where in Church history do we find the Fathers making little of the sufficiency of Scripture? I see many places where tradition secures apostolic teaching, but nowhere such language as, "watch out for folks who put Scripture first."

St. Worm

Sandra McColl said...

Diane, you come lumbering into this Continuing Anglican discussion room (which is, indeed, free to all) spouting your shrill Peter-was-the-only-apostle RC 'apologetics' and treating us as if we are fundamentalist Baptists who behave as if Christianity was invented when the Bible fell fully-formed from Heaven some time in the 16th century, and then you have the gall to say that a comment made in defence of his position by Fr Hart (who is one of the owners of this blog and is therefore 'at home' in this space) is 'low'. Now, Fr Hart is big and ugly enough to look after himself, and seems to be doing so pretty well, so I'm not saying this to defend him, just to give an indication that, as a frequent guest in this space, I'm finding your comments and your attitude extremely tiresome. Oh, and if you really agreed with Fr Kirby, you'd agree with Fr Hart, too.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Now, Fr Hart is big and ugly enough...

I see that Sandra has looked at my picture.

Anonymous said...

I don't pretend to know for sure Diane's educational pedigree when it comes to Church History, and my relatively surface readings on the topic (maybe 20,000 consecutive pages worth of Church History over the years) gives me only enough for impressions and outlines, so I'm only saying this as an observation and not as an expert:

When I hear Romanist, EO, or Protestant brethren mention specific facts from Church History (take our current discussion on the canon), and then dogmatically infer their communion's position without an ounce of epistemological humility that *MAYBE* their handle on the topic is after all superficial and subject to error, it sort of makes me cringe.

I'm all for "party" loyalty -- after all, it would be dishonest to be a Roman Catholic and *NOT* support Her claims -- but isn't there a way for a layman, who has just a modicum more of knowledge than other laymen (as you'll find in blogs like these -- not detracting from the education of real scholars in our midst, you know who you are), to express themselves with a measure of restraint relative to their knowledge?

Take the recent discussion. As an Anglican layman (I'm a shade tree amateur student of Scripture, Church History, and Theology), wouldn't it strike anyone here as odd if I spent lots of energy carrying out an Anglican jihad against Romanism proper with facts and figures I'm only acquainted with on the surface? If I said against my Romanist friends, "The papacy is a corruption because of the following four facts I read in a couple of history books" (I'm reading through Schaff's 8 volumes right now), am I *REALLY* representing my facts well and learnedly? Now as an Anglican I am quite firm in my rejection of the Roman Catholic paradigm (BASED ON MY LIMITED UNDERSTANDING), but is it reasonable for me to spout off Church History, in such a manner during a debate, as *if* I've got a real handle on the topic?

People would say, "That St. Worm is all smoke and mirrors. He's got a few phrases, facts, and figures down in his defense, but he's acting too big for his britches: can he really make so much noise with knowing relatively little?"

Now this is the case with our dear guest Diane. I don't know her history, education, or experience, but I get the *feeling* (could be wrong so I'm open to correction) that her zeal exceeds the knowledge base, and the litany of facts she has at her disposal lack a nuanced and careful presentation required for such bold and unmeasured dialogues. On the other hand, whenever we have learned Roman Catholic brethren like William Tighe show up (he's always a delight and very informative), I take something away because of the sheer depth of his knowledge base. He might at the end of the day be wrong on some of his views, wrongly inferred from certain historical facts we all can agree upon, but he has WARRANT for a certain kind of boldness and dogmaticism because of the real time and research he's invested into his art and science.

I guess all I'm asking for in these exchanges is for Roman Catholic laity to season their arguments with a bit more humility that matches what they actually know, as they would expect from their Anglican friends. I *MIGHT* be wrong (I don't believe I am) for being an Anglican, but I certainly don't feel the need to mow over my RC friends as if my Anglican narrative is simply a matter of presenting an air-tight case based on the right list of facts without nuance or proper understanding of the other side's case. The whole thing comes off as a laughable exchange from the vantage point of those who REALLY immerse their minds and hearts into understanding these matters -- and usually such people express much more humility than their e-pologist counterparts.

Perhaps more phrases like, "doesn't it seem...?" and "from what I understand," and "wouldn't it follow that...?" sprinkled throughout our dialogue would create a more humble environment without engendering a hopeless epistemology. As it stands, most RC/Protestant dialogue from a bunch of laymen is cluttered in abundance with phrases like, "you've conveniently neglected this fact," or "what you just don't get is," and "it's obvious to me, but you're not wanting to see it," etc.

Usually such exchanges (in my experience) are indicative of a sophomoric understanding of theology and church history most anyone with a high school education can gain by simply reading a couple of books.

My good friend Tim Enloe ( has long made this his platform, decrying phony internet debates as a substitute for real and careful interaction. I think such a message needs to be more broadly published.


St. Worm

Anonymous said...

Oops! In the interest of accuracy, my "boast" of reading 20,000 consecutive pages should read "2,000", and then various minor articles, journals, and smaller books.

I'll have read "20,000" when I digest the 38 volume Early Church Fathers.


Sandra McColl said...

Who's Malcolm McColl?

Canon Tallis said...

St Worm,

Let me be the first to applaud your post. Doing this sort of thing on the internet is so difficult because there is so much which has already been written on each of the issues and they are so difficult for some to come to any sort of grips with. Most of us have to rely on those who have read all the original documents extant, hopefully in the original language = that is until we can also achieve that elevated status ourselves.

Worse, even then our efforts to maintain charity are frequently affected by our own personal history, what we have seen and experienced in our own lives. And for many of us the majority of that can not be helpfully repeated in public or mixed company. so we simply have to let it go and love the folks for whom nothing which we can say or do is ever going to make any difference, not even any sense.

For me it is all wrapped up in an old Southern proverb: 'Hate the sin and love the sinner and see the gentlemen get their dinner." As the argument is never going to be resolved, the best we can do is be the best Christian possible, the best and most authentic Anglicans possible while never pretending to be anything else. If we fix our eyes and heart upon our Lord and his saving passion, knowing that he is the eternal Word, we shall be safe. St. Augustine said, 'Love God and do what you will' knowing that someone who truly loves God must follow his commandments.

As Anglicans, we must remember that Elizabeth I in her settlement of the faith of the English Church did not cut off communion with the Church of Rome. The canons even left room for an appeal to the Roman See under limited circumstances. It was Rome that found Elizabeth and the Church of England a threat and excommunicated them. We still recognize Roman orders because we define ours in the same way.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am exercising editorial privilege by posting Diane's latest comment in its entirety, but with my responses included in the body.

Diane said, Fr. Hart,1.You know I didn't mean to type 'Stephen'...I meant James.

Which does not change the fact that James gave the κρίνω. James presided, not “Pope” Peter (Peter himself would have been amazed and troubled at the thought of what RCs have made of him).

2. The seriousness with which the Clementine letters were considered as part of the canon is shown by the fact that some coptic-arabic churches have them as part of their canon.

So, now separatists who have been distant from the rest of the Church for 1600 years are your witness. The issue is not that some books were considered equal to the books that are in the Canon; but rather the degree to which your evaluation exaggerates that beyond what historians have always acknowledged.

3.I've got no problem with 'recieves' or 'compiled'.

“Compiled” is not nearly as accurate as “received.”

4. Yes Scripture is from God...(never stated otherwise), as is the Church... Also, let me know what paragraph in the CCC states that Scripture has authority higher than that of the Church.

Read the entire section on Holy Scripture, and ask yourself what it says.

The problem here is recognizing who is the Lord, and who is his obedient bride. The problem is that either the Church “dominates its interpretation,” as you said, or submits to her Lord by faithfully teaching and obeying what it hears as his voice. The difference is very real. A group of young RC priests were discussing theology with my brother, an old geezer RC priest sent by the bishop to guide their understanding. When discussing the Lord as having no sin, one of the young priests said that if Jesus was on earth today, he would “obey the Church.” My brother laughed out loud, and asked “Do you have any idea what the word ‘Lord’ means?”

5. Yes, I know that the Council of Rome was a local one, but it was significant in that it was the first council to name the NT canon as we have it today.

Wrong. Nicea I recognized the N.T. Canon. Furthermore, they recognized it as an established fact.

6. If only Scripture was needed to conclude the Arian heresy, no council (of the Church!) would have been needed...."just get out the NT, read it, and then we are all of one mind"....not.

Actually, the bishops were of one mind except for Arius’ lone episcopal supporter (condemned with him, one Eusebius-no, not that Eusebius), and actually, they did rely on Scripture, with Athanasius (a deacon then) being the most eloquent spokesman for the orthodox position. Of course any use of Scripture required the Tradition of which it was a part to guide understanding (Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est)-as we have always maintained.

7. Yes, the Pope frequently speaks using 'we'. He is sure of his authority and doesn't need to rub our noses in it with dictatorial language or anything....he likes to soft-shoe his authoritative role....sits better with people who bristle at the very thought of it.

I acknowledge his authority too-as Bishop of Rome. I don’t live in his diocese.

8. Yes binding and loosing was given to all apostles, but not the keys...I already know what you will say about the keys and in advance of your statement, I disagree!

Binding and loosing means what the keys do. Matt. 18 gives this to all the Aposltes.

9. The Elaine Pagels comment was simply your swipe at and I both know that she backs as manuscripts 'in the running' those that would have given Christianity a totally different complexion....I was not doing what she was doing. I was giving real examples of who backed texts other than the Shepard to show you that manuscripts other than those you mentioned were very much 'in the running'.

Well, that is simply not the standard take of Church historians about the importance of those books relative to the N.T. Canon. You seemed to be trying to minimize the importance of the N.T. itself, as if it somehow is weighed against the authority of the Church. You seem unable to see these, Scripture and Tradition, as interdependent and inseparable.

We don't have to go on and on from here....heading down to our disagreement over papal universal jurisdiction and authority, as always.

Others: I've seen this angle before...I disagree with her views and the triumphalism in her tone, so let's knock her down a notch for not speaking like an academic...I can handle it.

The problem is, your history appears to come from bad apologetic sources, not from real historians.

Ms. McColl: as for 'lumbering', speak for yourself and exersize restraint before firing direct and personal putdowns toward others.

Oh, I don’t mind being called ugly. But, thanks anyway.

As for Dr. Tighe, I've seen ya'll gang up on him before when he has asserted the primacy of his Church.

Bill is a pro, a heavy weight, and can handle the criticism that Fr.Kirby wrote of comments he had made.

All: Take care and have a productive Lent!

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

No doubt I am coming in too late to the debate on the Canon's formation, but it seems to me an important fact of Church history has not been mentioned by anyone yet.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council, once one includes all the other letters of the Fathers, Canons of local Councils, etc, it lists as authoritative by implicitly recognising the Trullan Canons, gives 4 different Canons (of the whole Scripture). Interestingly, those that include all 27 NT books also include at least one of the Deuterocanonicals. None of these lists is identical to each other, and none are identical either to the Tridentine or Protestant Canons. The Canonical list of the Third Council of Carthage comes closest to the Tridentine, but does not specifically mention Baruch. The Athanasian list is closest to the Protestant Canon, but omits Esther (placing it in what we would call the Deuterocanon) and includes Baruch. The latter two lists both include prohibition of inconsistent lists!

Additionally, two of the four lists abovementioned were decreed after the Council and papal decree to which Diane refers, but they did not cite it at all, let alone as authoritative. It should also be noted that many scholars believe the Canon ascribed to the Roman Council of 382 under Pope Damasus is actually a much later pseudepigraphical addition.

However, most of the disagreement discussed above was over the precise scope of the Old Testament, with a large majority of Churches accepting all 27 books quite early, and treating this as assured by the Church's consensual recognition, not as assured by any particular conciliar or papal decree. Indeed, where the lists are given authoritatively they are given as a kind of "report" on the existing practice and belief considered as binding in itself. The discussions of the issue by both St Augustine and St Athanasius make this quite clear.

Canon Tallis said...


The Reverend Canon Malcolm McColl was a priest of the Church of England in the 19th century and an ally of Prime Minister Gladstone. He is one of the few people who gave good evidence that he had read all of the state papers of the Reformation period and the author of two books on the Reformation Settlement as defined by the Elizabethan prayer book.

I rather like him in the fact that he was prone to write that while he had discovered copies of the repeated orders and payments for the copes required by the canons, he was unable to find the copes or any evidence of what happened to them. While I had read him before I was in the Abbey after the discovery of the two cloth of gold (twenty six pounds each of it) copes made for the coronation of Charles II, it made it much easier to realize how ten of the twelve made could disappear while two could be put in a closet not to be opened for a couple of hundred years.

Sandra McColl said...

Sorry, Diane. I retract 'lumbering' and substitute 'tiptoing daintily'.

Sandra McColl said...

Thank you, Canon Tallis. No relation, I fear. My forebears were, so far as I can tell on the McColl side, Glasgow working folk. If only I'd known about 'cousin' Mal, however, I could have raised him when once a parishioner at a snooty inner-city 'high' church asked what I was doing at an Anglican church with a name like McColl. Strange, but the Russians never questioned my right to drop in on their liturgy, even after the catechumens had been shooed away.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I could have raised him when once a parishioner at a snooty inner-city 'high' church asked what I was doing at an Anglican church with a name like McColl.

Gee, how about a name like Ibeanu, Akinola, or Kwaza? Most of the people who identify themselves as Anglican are black and live in Africa. A few Mcs here and there are hardly an anomaly or an enigma.

Sandra McColl said...

Akinola's o.k., but McAkinola would belong down the road among the Prezzies.

palaeologos said...

In re the Barking Toad & sheep-stealing : I have met two clergy and a few parishioners of the Parish of St Mark in Portland (the sheep who, in Toad's mind, were "stolen"). According to them, it was they who approached the APCK, and not the other way around. I'm not sure that you can really claim sheep were stolen if they let themselves out of their enclosure and went elsewhere.

Canon Tallis--something about the allusive use of innuendo in many of your posts sticks in my craw. If it is germane to the discussion that such-and-such a priest at such-and-such a church is a pornographer, I can't see how it serves the point to refuse to name him or his work; to me, this comes awfully close to being praeteritio. We understand that you don't quite approve of Roman Catholicism, or of Rome-leaning Anglo-Catholics, and you've made your reasons clear. It really doesn't seem honorable to link the notoriety of a smut-writing priest with the churchmanship of an entire group of people, especially when you're unwilling to provide any facts that can be independently verified; what we're left with is a vague innuendo that leads nowhere.

And finally, I have no doubt that you have personally known some Roman & Anglo-Catholic clergymen who should never have been ordained, or who are notorious and unrepentant sinners. So have I. I have also known many Roman and Anglo-Catholic clergymen who were as close to saintly as I have ever met. The bottom line is that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", and your personal knowledge of a few clerical perverts does not condemn the entire class, or invalidate the institutions they serve.

Jack Miller said...

Fr. Hart... I am curious how there can be a statement of Anglican faith and doctrine with no mention of the 39 Articles as our Anglican confession, which for several centuries was subscribe to by all ordained Anglican clergy? Dating back to the very early years of the English reformation, it clearly sets forth and expands on the fundamental tenants of The Apostle's and Nicene Creeds, as well as the statements of confession regarding justification, Scripture, the Lord's Supper, etc.

The BCP expresses those very doctrines in the liturgy, prayers, and every part of that book. Not to mention, the articles are in the BCP as a statement of doctrine and faith, as a clear "creedal" anchor for our Anglican catholic faith.

I would certainly be interested in your thoughts on this omission.

Best regards,

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Jack Miller,

This statement follows the Affirmation of St. Louis, which clearly includes those things; as do other statements of the ACC.

I believe that the bishop was deliberately ecumenical in a trans-Catholic way.

MikeB said...

One thing about the St. Louis Affirmation has always bothered me.

In regards to the three creeds, what is meant by "We receive and believe them in the sense they have had always in the Catholic Church"?

Must I believe that the Easten Orthodox (who reject the filoque) go off into literal "everlasing fire" at Christ's second coming (because that was the "sense" in which certain statements in the Athanasian Creed may have been understood in the 9th century)?

C.S. Lewis has been called "a well instructed, Orthodox Anglican," and I don't think he believed this (in fact, I doubt he believed in literal fire.)

What exactly do we mean when we say that we receive and believe the Athanasian Creed in the sense that it has always had in the Catholic Church?