Thursday, June 25, 2009

The ACNA and Abortion

The following was submitted to us from Archbishop Mark Haverland of the ACC.

Michael Heidt, commenting on the newly adopted Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) writes:

Title II…Canon 7…Section 3 may be breaking new ground. It syllogises: "God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death." There may not be a clearer, canonical statement against abortion and the culture of death in the Anglican Communion - certainly not in the West.

Father Heidt may be correct about the Anglican Communion. The problem, however, is that the Anglican Communion is so far gone from the Catholic Faith that its standard is useless. It is much more instructive to compare the ACNA canon with other, better authorities.

Canon 1398 of the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church is brief and clear: ‘A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latae sententiae [that is, ipso facto or automatic] excommunication.’ The Roman canon imposes the gravest of penalties for abortion or similar killings. The ACNA canon, in contrast is a moral exhortation, without sanction or penalty.

Canon 15.1.01 of the Canons of the Anglican Catholic Church is also clear and is more detailed than the Roman canon:

The defencelessness of the unborn entails a great responsibility on the part of every Christian, and especially on the part of each of his or her parents. The deliberate and willful abortion, directly procured, of any unborn child at any time from the moment of conception, is always an act of grave sin not only by the person who procures the same, but also by [any] person or persons who effectuate the same or acquiesce therein.

While no penalty is specifically stated here, the ACC’s law elsewhere incorporates the common law of the Western Church: and as so often in this case also the Roman canon simply codifies what is in fact the content of that common law.

By clearly stating that ‘every human life from conception to natural death’ is sacred, the position of the ACNA is vastly superior to that of the pro-abortion Episcopal Church. This is important for Continuing Churchmen, because in the United States the Minneapolis General Convention (1976), which brought in priestesses and the 1979 prayer book, also adopted a pro-abortion position. The moral premise of the ACNA on life is sound and is a major, welcome improvement over the innovative heresy and immorality of the Episcopal Church.

Nonetheless, there is a serious problem with the ACNA canon, apart from its merely hortatory nature. The problem is that the canon includes a formal element which largely empties it of content. A formal element in a moral principle or rule or law is an element in the formulation of the law itself which presumes what is in fact in question. The more specific content a rule has, the more questionable it becomes. The more formal and vague a law, the closer it may come to being true without exception. ‘Do good,’ is always a sound rule. But the real question is almost always, ‘What is good in this case?’

For instance, if a mother tells Johnny, ‘You must never push your sister,’ Johnny has been given a rule that has clear content. However, if Johnny’s sister is about to be hit by a car, Johnny should push her out of danger. The rule needs an exception because its specific content runs up against many conceivable circumstances and situations which would make it a bad rule.

‘It is wrong to murder’ is a formal norm and is true without exception. It is a ‘formal norm’ because murder is by definition wrongful killing. The rule is a kind of tautology: ‘It is always wrong to kill when the killing in question is wrong.’ The formulation itself assumes that we can correctly distinguish wrongful from appropriate killing.

The ACNA canon smuggles in such a formal element when it condemns as sinful ‘the unjustified taking of life’. The canons says, in effect, ‘when it is wrong to take life, then taking the life in question is wrong’. The canon is formally true, but in that respect is emptied of much of its content. I do not assert that the canon is entirely without content: as noted, its extension of the realm of the sacred to embrace all life from conception to natural death is very significant. But the smuggling in of the formal term ‘unjustified’ introduces a hole large enough to drive a truck through.

Incidentally, the Affirmation of Saint Louis on this particular matter is little better than the ACNA canon: ‘Every human being, from the time of his conception, is a creature and child of God, made in His image and likeness, an infinitely precious soul; and…the unjustifiable or inexcusable taking of life is always sinful.’ Yes. But what does or does not justify or excuse in this case?

In this respect the Canons of the ACC build on the statement of the Affirmation and add content to its correct but overly formal starting point. By using traditional terms of art from moral theology, the ACC canon in this case distinguishes direct from indirect acts of will, which distinction allows us to navigate complex moral situations in which the life of a mother is threatened by pregnancy.

In the case of the sanctity of life, the ACNA has come more than half way back from the errors of the Episcopal Church and of most of the Anglican Communion. But in this case as in others, the journey back has not yet been completed. The ACNA is reinventing the wheel, but the new wheel isn’t as good as the one we are already riding on.

+ Mark Haverland

(The Most Reverend) Mark Haverland, Ph.D.

31 comments:

poetreader said...

++Haverland's statement bears very close reading. There will probably be some who react as I did intitally and come away thinking he is being harsh on the new jurisdiction. If you did as I did, do also as I did next, and read it again, carefully. I see criticism for the hype with which this is presented, yes, but I also see a great deal of praise. ACNA's statement is indeed a good one, es[ecially as compared with the environment they've just left behind, but, as he points out so ably, it could be even better, as could the statement in our beloved St. Louis Affirmation. ACNA, whatever we think about other aspects of its practice, is to be commended for the statement -- though we do need to be even clearer.

ed

Anonymous said...

The ACC has a wonderful Canon on this subject just as Archbishop Haverland pointed out.It allows for those times in which pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, and the loss of a fetus is a result of necessary medical procedures to save the mother's life, which in some cases might well keep other children from loosing their mother, becoming orphans.

The ACNA has drafted a much-improved Canon, none the less. I think that it is terribly early to be judging ACNA too harshly. They have a lot of the innovations since 1976 to try to remedy. We should give them time and our very sincere prayers.

Archbishop Haverland is to be commended for his kindness and understanding exhibited in this statement.

ACC Member

ACC Member

Fr. John said...

I think one point that can be drawn from the Archbishop's criticism is that the ACNA is trying, consciously or unconsciously, to recreate the Episcopal Church as it existed before the consecration of VGR. A situation guaranteed to bring the ACNA back to the point they have just recently departed from.

They seem to view the elevation of practicing homosexuals to the episcopacy as a cause of the TEC's degeneracy rather than merely a symptom, which is what it is.

These comments should be words of warning to the ACNA, but I doubt they will recognize that what they are doing now will ultimately lead them back to where TEC is today.

David said...

I would love to know how people in the Continuum feel about Met. Jonah offering unity with the ACNA given they meet conditions. I think most if not all of those conditions having already been met by Continuing Anglican Jurisdictions. Am I the only Orthodox Christian who knows you exist? I love the ACC, I have always felt that they and jurisdictions like them are Western Rite Orthodoxy. What am I missing? It has to be political right? Something to do with everyone wanting to be in charge?

Sorry to be off topic but I can't find any continuing Anglicans talking about this. Virtue online is the only place I know talking about it. I have sent correspondence to the OCA (my jurisdiction) trying to find out if the offer counts for the ACC, APCK, etc, etc.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

David:

We have lamented, on this very blog, that the necessary closing of the door by the Orthodox to the Anglican Communion in 1976, caused them to ignore us as well. They seem blissfully unaware of the Anglican Continuum, or unwilling to trust us, that we mean what we say. If Met.Jonah really believes what he said, then it is time for him to approach Archbishops Haverland, Reber and Provence. And, frankly, Archbishop Hepworth too, even though I have no idea how the TAC would respond to the Orthodox at this time.

However, I speak of why Met. Jonah is inconsistent. Some of his conditions require theological discussion, especially what he means by "the heresies of the Reformation." Some of what we teach as Biblical and Patristic, he might wrongly call heresy, and wrongly see as innovation rather than faithful Catholic doctrine.

However, perhaps not; he has listed "Calvinism, anti-sacramentalism, iconoclasm and Gnosticism" as what he refers to, and of course, adds the later problem of women's ordination, rightly seen as an innovation and heresy. If this list were applied to us, instead of this new ACNA, we would have to reply with these points right away: "Calvinism" requires definition; "Gnosticism" is irrelevant, as we have no such problem. "anti-sacramentalism" and "iconoclasm" would also be irrelevant. So, if these things are his list of "heresies of the Reformation," it seems that all we would need to discuss is what he means by "Calvinism." Frankly, I have learned so much that I find that word particularly useless.

The fact is, what he said to the ACNA is quite indefensible if he does not acknowledge that we are light years ahead of them on agreement with Orthodoxy; and this would beg the question of why he has not looked our way in all these years.

Albion Land said...

" ... and this would beg the question of why he has not looked our way in all these years."

The short answer is because he has only been metropolitan of the OCA for a few months.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing about the Continuum, regarding Metropolitan Jonah's remarks, how we already meet his criteria for intercommunion with the Orthodox. (By 'Calvinism', I just assumed he meant the whole monergistic, double-predestinarian TULIP theology thing, which of course fails Vincent's canon of "universality, antiquity, and consent".)

Doubting Thomas

charles said...

I am really looking forward to the next post on Bishop Jonah. I think for continuing Anglicans this is substantial news.

Though ACNA is heretical and risks invalidating her future Orders with women priestesses, this doesn't mean "dialogue" or even episcopal presence will infect us. The point being OCA saw opportunity to teach and influence, whereas ACC sees apostasy and disrespect. It is true ACNA is apostate, but they have made a move in the right direction, and now Bp. Jonah is encouraging them to go further, in a more catholic rather than protestant vector.

Could ACC do the same? Bp. Jonah gives us a model of how to approach apostate-heretical Anglicans in an orthodox and critical manner, yet give chance to expand discussion. Curiously, Bp. Jonah is not shy to point out their shortcomings and failures. He b-lines on Calvinism. He will likely b-line on other issues as well.

Anyway, it was an opportunity to be watchmen and help rescue a lost brother. Maybe another other time. It could have also turned into a three-way talk, opening a door between us and the OCA. Who knows?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The short answer is because he has only been metropolitan of the OCA for a few months.

Which means he has been among their clergy for many years. Nonetheless, if the OCA (to put it better) is represented by what he says, then dialogue with us is past due.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the OCA doesn't consider the continuum to even be big enough to bother taking time for talks.

ACNA already has a far larger membership in the US than ACC, APCK, UECNA combined.

ACNA already has 100,000 U.S. members, which would make them substantial enough for talks.

The last I knew, ACC, UECNA, APCK together only had about 1/5 of that membership in the US. Although its sometimes hard to tell because continumn churches never seem to wish to honestly disclose what the membership actually is, even to those of us who are members of their parishes.

It doesn't do much good for a whale to try to talk as an equal with a minnow.

ACC Member

David said...

I will continue to encourage my fellow Orthodox to consider who and what the Continuum is. I am almost embarrassed by either the ignorance or laziness of our theologians.

The Midland Agrarian said...

With due respect to Archbishops Haverland, I must offer some robust dissent. There are plenty of good reasons to criticize ACNA, this simply is not one of them. The plain succinct language seem to me to cover abortion, end of life issues, as well as the pastoral ability to deal with that rare medical crisis (life threatening pregnancy), under the "unjustifiable" term.

A plain reading of the text would show any reader we agree on this essential issue , why criticize the words we use to agree?

John A. Hollister said...

Charles asked, "The point being OCA saw opportunity to teach and influence, whereas ACC sees apostasy and disrespect. It is true ACNA is apostate, but they have made a move in the right direction, and now Bp. Jonah is encouraging them to go further, in a more catholic rather than protestant vector. Could ACC do the same?"

The short answer is that the ACC has already done the same, in the form of Abp. Haverland's charitably-worded, measured, and very clear letter to the ACNA's Bp. (apparently soon to be Abp.) Robert Duncan.

Read the letter, Charles. It has been posted on the Continuum. You will find that the Archbishop expressly congratulated Bp. Duncan for leaving the mire of PECUSA/ECUSA/TEC/T?C and also expressly suggested discussions about the seriously divisive outstanding issues such as women's "ordination".

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

ACC Member:

You seem to know more about the numbers than anybody else I know. I am, frankly, skeptical. The Episcopal Church was already rather small before the ACNA broke off, already less than a million in attendance nationwide each Sunday.

Nonetheless, if that actually is the reason the Os overlook us, it is unjustified from a moral and spiritual standpoint. I am thinking that the real issue may be more simple. Met. Jonah received an invitation to speak to them, and took the opportunity. Perhaps it is no more complicated than that, and my previous comment might have laid blame too heavily.

charles said...

Dear John,

We had an earlier discussion about this same letter a while back. In the letter it was Bp. Haverland who turned down the invite to be an observer not Duncan turning down ACC. You got to start somewhere, and I believe by turning down a request to attend the ACNA conference, we kind of snubbed them. OCA did not and Bp. Jonah turned it into a real opportunity. Maybe we can learn from his example? I am not so giddy to think any initial round of discussions will go anywhere on the constellation of issues ACC or OCA might have with ACNA. But I do think there is such a thing as planting seeds, and sometimes you have to go to them rather they coming to us. That's the whole idea of 'mission', right?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles:

I disagree.

For an Orthodox bishop to come to them from outside Anglicanism altogether, and give a message, cannot betray the pastoral responsibilities he has to his own people. For an Anglican bishop it is not so clean and easy. It would appear as endorsement, and send a message that there is more sacramental unity than the case allows.

charles said...

Oh well, it will all work out for the best. Probably, right now the most important thing is deepening ACC/APCK/UEC unity. ACNA has probably a longer road to go.

sincerely,
charles

Nathan said...

Further, Met. Jonah was invited to speak. Abp. Haverland was invited to observe.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think that Archbishop Haverland can be accused of a snub against the ACNA by not attending their convention.

He kindly, graciously (which is a trademark of him), stated his inability to attend. He further outlined the position of the ACC and like-minded Affirmation of St. Louis churches.

I think that he was really only stating the obvious. Those in ACNA remember the 1970s and the differences over the prayerbook and women's ordination issues. He was essentially reminding them, in a gracious way, of the differences that exist.

I think that letter was either purposely, or perhaps accidentally, made into something it wasn't by some. My parish priest told about the letter before I actually had a chance to read it. He characterized it as though Archbishop Haverland had lectured and "really told them" - implying that Archbishop Haverland had acted in a snub against them.

When I found the letter on-line, and read it myself, I discovered that it was simply not the case. Archbishop Haverland was gracious as always. I also believe that Archbishop Haverland left the door open for talks later, if they were able to work through some issues.

ACC Member

poetreader said...

As a TAC/ACA member, I am not beholden to Archbishop Haverland. That said, this man consistently impresses me with his ability (that I wish I shared!) to state his position firmly and clearly, yet with great grace and openness to those not in agreement with him. He has showed this in the two recent statements we've seen and in private correspondence with me. Anyone, supporter or foe, who sees in his statements either belligerence or dismissiveness, needs to go back and read them again. If everyone would approach these issues with his attitude, we;d find a way to solve these thorny differences. If REAL unity doesn't come, it won't be his fault.

ed

McCallester said...

There is no reason to be skeptical of the numbers for ACNA. Unlike the churches of the Continuum, which treat membership numbers as something like a state secret, ACNA has released a very detailed list of ASA by diocese. The total ASA is 69,167. Claiming "membership" of 100,000 based on that ASA is not at all difficult to believe. Follow the link...

http://acnaassembly.org/media/ACNA_-_Dioceses_and_delegates_-_June_2009_-_fact_sheet.pdf


I do think Archbishop Haverland could have attended as an observer without compromising himself. Was not Bishop Grundorf of the APA present as an observer?

Anonymous said...

Poetreader:

Archbishop Haverland is indeed a gracious and kind-hearted man. One can truly sense that his heart and soul are overflowing with God's love and compassion. That is the most important part.

In addition, his doctorate from Duke, and fine educational accomplishments, in general, give a much greater legitimacy to the ACC than it normally could have because of its small size. He is well-spoken, well-written, and of such accomplishments that he could have been a bishop in any church with millions of members.

Sadly, many of the continuum bishops do not have university or seminary degrees, and are sorely lacking in education. Many "read for orders", which in many cases means memorizing the Cathechism of the Roman Catholic Church. Many tend to come off as arrogant and unkind, perhaps down deep they are not, but they come across that way.
Some of the bishops I have encountered couldn't have been ordained a Deacon in a major denomination because of their lack of educational degrees, unkind personalities, etc.

Archbishop Haverland has shown and set the standard for what the continuum must have in all future bishops that are consecrated. Only if we have gracious, kind-hearted, men of excellent educational standards will the continuum truly begin to carry out Christ's commission and grow and prosper.

If one truly studies the ACC, the only U.S. diocese that consistently grows is Archbishop Haverland's Diocese of the South. I think this is due to his inspirational leadership and his kind shepherd's heart.

If it were not for Archbishop Haverland, I would have left the ACC long ago, and returned to an Episcopal parish that uses Rite I from the 1979 BCP, or if lucky enough, find one of the rare ones that still uses the 1928 BCP.

ACC Member

Anonymous said...

Poetreader:

Looking over the archives, I can see that clergy education has been discussed here in the past, but probably merits more discussion as time and topics allow.

I mention this in addition to my comments about Archbishop Haverland. One of the reasons he writes and speaks so well and so diplomatically, in adddition to his upbringing and personality, is his fine education.

If the continuum cleans up our educational standards (ie actually begin to have some and enforce them), we could have a bright future. If we continue down the road we are on now, with some priests and bishops very poorly educated, we could become extinct.

There are many godly, devout men who cannot leave family and mortgage payments to go to a university or a seminary. They should read for orders and become a Permanent Deacon. However, no one should ever be advanced to Priest who does not hold a Bachelor's Degree plus a proper, accredited seminary, coupled with an apprenticeship under an excellent, well-educated priest.

Permanent Deacons can, with Episcopal permission of the Ordinary, distribute communion from the pre-consecrated Sacrament, and pastor a mission/parish. United Methodists and Episcopalians, and others, utilize this method to provide pastors for small missions/parishes who are unable to pay a Priest/Presbyter.

I honestly feel that we must stop ordaining priests who do not meet the educational standards that other churches outside the continuum require. If we are to be taken seriously, we must begin to implement such standards. Poorly educated men, whose theological knowledge goes no further than memorizing the RC Cathechism should not be our future.

There are many godly, devout men who have served as priest during the formation years who weren't able to meet such standards. We thank God for their dedicated service. We should respect and thank them for their service every chance we get. But in the future, such men should be Permanent Deacons.

ACC Member

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Clergy education standards need to be raised, and appreciation for Anglicanism needs to be augmented. I am tired of Anglican priests trained only in how to be good Roman Catholics. Their ignorance is inexcusable, and no wonder so many swim the Tiber. If they were truly educated they would value truth far too much to head to Rome. I have labored on this blog to reintroduce people to Anglican sources, and to correct misconceptions. Often, I have been working on converting Anglicans to Anglicanism.

About this statement from Archbishop Haverland: I do not see it as a criticism of the ACNA, but rather taking the opportunity, afforded by their current standing as a news item, to clarify a very important point about our pro-life position (indeed, God's pro-life commandments). As such, the statement is offered to the ACNA, and to others, to help strengthen the wording, and therefore the understanding, of all of us who want to make our position as clear as possible. It is significant that he found even the Affirmation of St. Louis to be in need of the same fine tuning.

Anonymous said...

I must agree with the educational standards. I was introduced to Anglicanism by way of the continnum, loved the worship and the comittment of those I believed were perserving the classical Anglican Way. However, I experienced some real limitations in the jurisdiction to which I belonged (at the time I was a Phd. candidate in theology, being trained for Holy Orders by someone who did not have any formal theological training). Because of this lack of theological training, many, not all of the ministers, engaged in unnecessary ecclesial politics (squabbles) and gossip to compensate for the lack of proper theological formation. This was almost decade ago. I often wondered if was just me or something that plagued the continuum.

Bruce said...

I have a very basic, theological question. Is it accurate to state that "every human life from conception to natural death is sacred?" Historically, Christians seem to have recognized that, for example, capital punishment is valid in some circumstances (from St. Paul's epistle to the Romans discussing the sovereigns role in punishing wickedness?). What about soldiers in war? If every life is "sacred", destroying of life would always be a grevous sin as is, say, blasphemy against God.

poetreader said...

Bruce,

There are differing views, but let me put it this way: If one can justify capital punishment or "just" war (and arguments can plausibly be made, and have been), one still ends up with a very basic challenge. Jesus very clearly instructs us to love our enemies. Can we truly and honestly love someone at the very point where we are killing them? If not, we are in direct noncompliance with his direct command. Yes, human life is sacred, and, even if we must take it, it is not optional that we have full regard to that sacredness. Instead, what I have seen is a huge upwelling of hate directed at military enemies and at condemned criminals. Bluntly, that is sin, even if the act itself were justifiable.

ed

Shaughn said...

I hate to further a tangent, but as someone enrolled in a seminary, I feel obliged.

As I've described elsewhere, Emory's system has the potential to work. There are ACC parishes nearby, and Emory's Anglican Studies program plops us in one of our parishes for three years' experience, requiring 10-15 hours of being productive somehow in the parish per week. It's also very useful because we learn the arguments of our cousins in the more liberal (by their own description) protestant traditions.

I'll be in Anglican Theologians this semester, and we're starting off by reading Hooker's Lawes, Book V, unfortunately not the Keble edition, and some stuff by Jeremy Taylor right from the start. It looks promising.

A program like Emory's (from which I assume Duke and Vanderbilt wouldn't differ terribly much), if the seminarian is under close supervision by the local parish, has the potential to work very well. Fr. Hart isn't very far at all from Duke; I recall there being a parish in Nashville, too.

Why don't we plot to carve a niche for ourselves in these places? :>

--S.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Archbishop Haverland has sent this to me by e-mail:
.
.
Some points arising form discussion in the blog about my paper on the ACNA and abortion.

1. If every life is sacred, what about capital punishment and killing in just wars? The ACC canons, again, make the relevant, traditional distinctions between innocent and not-innocent life and between direct and indirect taking of life: 'the wilful, intentional, and direct taking of any innocent human life is murder'. A murderer is not 'innocent', and capital punishment is not murder; whether it is prudent or not is a political and prudential, not theological, matter. So too the tradition permits killing in the course of just wars, with qualifications - the chief of which is immunity for noncombatants.

2. Clergy standards. The quality of the clergy in my diocese is high and has risen during my time as a bishop. My impression of the ACC as a whole is that our clergy standards in general are fairly good. The occasional priest without a graduate degree who was ordained after reading for orders is usually either someone coming from another ecclesial body by conditional ordination or someone who is going to spend his ministry in a single parish where he is well-know and liked. Things, I think, are getting better, not worse, in regards to our clergy educational standards.

3. Bishop Duncan replied courteously to my letter, which he describes as thoughtful and honest. He looks forward to establishing a dialogue with the ACC, as we do with the ACNA. Though the ACNA holds to or permits a number of things that helped drive us from the Episcopal Church, the context is important. As C.S. Lewis wrote, the road into the City and the road out of the City are the same road - what matters is the direction one is traveling. If the ACNA continues to move away from the heresies of the official Anglican Communion, it will move closer to the ACC and other 'Continuers'. Dialogue may encourage that movement. But the point of dialogue is not to decide what of the Affirmation or our Faith we can compromise or abandon, but rather is to persuade others of the wisdom of the central Tradition of Christendom. Our job is to be faithful, not to compromise essentials, and to persuade with reason, kindness, and gentle persistence.

4. The ACC has shown consistent interest in dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The ACC continues to have that interest, of which fact some in Orthodoxy are aware. It is entirely appropriate for Metropolitan Jonah to seek to steer a new and perhaps significant group such as the ACNA back towards the central Tradition. Again, as we all move closer to the Center, we will also draw closer to one another.

+MDH

charles said...

What can the Continuum do to help ACNA move to orthodoxy?

http://covenant-communion.net/index.php/forums/viewthread/754/

"He (william wantland--Assisting Bishop of Fort Worth) reminded me that 22 of the ACNA’s 28 dioceses do not allow female priests. It’s a system known as “dual integrity,” dioceses that differ on a question where Scripture can be read both ways agree to respect and live with each other’s views.

I asked him if he wanted the ACNA to eventually outlaw ordaining women entirely.

“Of course. That’s our mission,” he said. “Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. The priest at the altar is an icon of Christ. What image is that if the person at the altar is a woman? It’s a lesbian relationship.”
"
Good for Bishop Wantland!

RC Cola said...

ACC Member,

I'm latching onto the education tangent.

It will take a lot of time to build clergy who are educated to the level or in the way that you have suggested is suitable. I think we may need another two generations. At least.

I hope to keep this brief, but....here it goes.

If the ACC had its own seminary, would you allow only young men, only older men or mix them?
--Where will you get the younger men?
--How will we support the older men?
--What about the social issues of mixing older married men with young er single men?

I'd like to see an ACC seminary but this project requires very thorough planning, a full-time paid faculty of PhDs, very deep pockets full of cash that mysteriously remain filled no matter how much is spent. Right now the ACC lacks all three.

One advantage RCs have is that they do not have to pay a priest enough to support a family, and two or more can live in one rectory. The ACC does not have this luxury. Not by a long shot.

Since many (most?) ACC priests must support themselves with a job Monday through Friday, how do you propose we pull them out of a career for three full years of seminary, pay them enough to support their families, and then expect their employer to hire them back after a three-year absence? Let's say you take a guy out of his job at the prime of his earning years? That will end up hurting the ACC in the long run.

It's one thing to ask a man to make sacrifices, but you cannot ask a man to undermine his family if we are not able to give something in return. That's just a fact. We can say that if he isn't willing to give up his job for seminary that he "wasn't meant to be a priest anyway," but I think that is grossly unfair. By taking him away from his prime earning years, you are undermining his family--and we have enough marriage problems without trying to impoverish men and their families to serve us. It would be one thing if we got men young and debt & obligation free. We do not have that luxury.


Also, would you want this school accredited by a regional agency? Then we have yet more time and money. I helped to found a school in 1996. It is not easy. We began with two students and 13 years later have two schools each with over 100 children. It's not easy, and accreditation is difficult to get and harder to maintain. And without accreditation, you may as well not have a school, because no one will respect it.

I'd like to see the ACC build a network of schools. Montessori for elementary. Single-sex middle and high schools, a college similar to Christendom or Thomas Aquinas College, and a seminary that has two programs: residential for young men fresh out of college and distance education with the same academic requirements and parish apprenticeship for married men with careers. (Believe me, as a working man who does a lot of distance education courses from real schools, it is sacrifice enough.)

It will take YEARS to build this because we'll need to find men who can dedicate themselves full-time to academic work just to get the seminary off the ground. Two to four scripture profs, one patristics, one or two dogmatic/systematic, one moral, one liturgy/music, one or two for languages, and one accounting. Yeah, I said it: accounting. Plus a Rector, Dean, Procurator, etc. (They can, of course, double-up positions.)

This also means that men in our undergraduate school would have to study philosophy to prepare them for theology. Any orthodox Anglican philosophers lying around?

This is an issue about which we should spill more ink. I have some ideas, but usually keep them to myself as it is not my place to dictate educational policy (or any policy for that matter!) I hope that some time we can have a thread dedicated to discussing how to overcome our educational difficulties.