Friday, September 11, 2009

A few words from Archbishop Mark Haverland

The Metropolitan of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), who is also my Bishop, as in Diocesan Ordinary, has sent us the following.

Several matters have struck me about recent posts at the Continuum.

I am inclined to agree with Canon Kirby on the matter of our 16th century Anglican patrimony. It's been years since I read Jewel(l), but I distinctly recall him asserting in more than one place that all Protestants are in substantial agreement about all important doctrines save Eucharistic doctrine. That is, he identifies his own beliefs more closely with the Lutherans and Calvinists than with Rome, and that agreement includes items that I consider very dubious at best. We recall in turn Hooker's deep and frank debt to Jewel.

But while Jewel identifies heavily with the Continental reformers, and while Hooker praises Jewel, in fact there is multiplicity in Tudor theology, there is development from Jewel to Hooker and Andrewes, and again from Hooker and Andrewes to the Non-Jurors. Likewise we have to distinguish the private opinions of Tudor theologians from the official teaching of their Church.

I think efforts such as Father Hart's - to read the Articles and other 16th century English theological writings with care in order to show their essential orthodoxy - are useful. I too often quote the Articles. But I agree with the Spanish ambassador who found the Articles often 'patient but not ambitious' of Catholic interpretation. In a sense the Affirmation of Saint Louis finesses the whole question by asserting that all Anglican formularies are to be read through the lens of the great Tradition. Father Kirby is correct in noting that the ACC's formularies are silent about the Articles, while our formularies vigorously assert the authority of the Prayer Book , the Caroline Divines, and other large swathes of our Patrimony.

So, with Father Kirby and Father Hart I would agree that the Articles contain nothing heretical, but also that the central interpretative key for the ACC lies in the wider tradition. I see no reason to insist on positive approval of the Articles. It is sufficient to understand them in their context (a highly polemical and dangerous age), to appreciate their often winsome and succinct presentation of universally held beliefs, and to recognize that they for us are primarily of historical interest. I am glad for Father Hart to clarify the catholicity of the Articles where that may not be apparent to modern, casual readers. But the ACC doesn't have to demand enthusiastic affirmation of the Articles. The tent is big enough to embrace all those who affirm what we affirmed at Saint Louis.

I know of no ACC clergyman longing to be Roman Catholic or to use the Novus Ordo. The Prayer Book tradition embraces a fair amount of latitude, as in the placement of the Gloria in excelsis. The Missals are consistent with and enrich the BCPs that are authorized for use in our Church. The Missals are themselves authorized by the same Constitution and Canons that authorize the Prayer Book. Since the BCPs and Missals are authorized by the same formularies, I take it that they illuminate the proper interpretation of each other. Our clergy seem sensible, and I know no ACC bishop who would attempt to impose interpolations from the Missals on Prayer Book Catholic congregations. Such imposition would be unpastoral, unwise, and uncharitable. It is undeniable that over the years we've had some bumptious priests who seemed to delight in insulting our Anglican patrimony. I don't think there are many such priests now in the ACC.

Rome also used to have Low Churchmen (who went to the simple, said Mass early in the morning) and High Churchmen (who liked the Solemn High at 10 or 11 a.m.). So long as the doctrine is clear, such differences are a matter of taste, temperament, and time. The ACC's doctrine is clear, and secondary differences are less and less a problem.

My own often stated first ecumenical goal is to help to unite the Continuing Churches on a sound basis, and I recognize that that union should involve the TAC. The ACC's 2007 initiatives in that regard have not received the follow through adumbrated by Archbishop Hepworth's public responses to our 2007 public letters. This silence has not stopped the movement towards union within the Continuing Churches, but seems to have been part of a set of factors which have undermined the TAC from within. In the long run the Continuing Churches are not best served by such distress in one of our larger (though perhaps no longer our largest) bodies. If some or all of the TAC's bishops are going to submit to Rome - well, the sooner the better in order to clear the field for those who want to remain Anglican. If something else is to happen -- well, again the sooner the better for those priests and laymen of the TAC who are as confused as everyone else seems to be about what is going on and not going on.

If the ACC's principal goal were simply institutional growth, then we would welcome the TAC's distress. In that case I would say that for the ACC 'the later the better'. But souls are lost in the shuffle and Continuing Anglicanism as a whole is weakened by the current situation, however much one body or another may benefit.

Since Rome shows no interest in dialogue with the ACC, it makes sense to think that our second ecumenical priority after pursuing Continuing Church unity lies with the Eastern Orthodox, with whom we are on many levels already in deep theological accord. Whether anything in institutional terms comes from such dialogue is up to others as well as to us. If Rome is really going to fulfill the possibilities opened by Ut Unum Sint, it is probably more likely to do so in response to the Orthodox than in response to Anglican Catholics.

At the moment the ACC is basically passive. Rome shows no interest in us. The TAC and its clergy and members have to work out their own problems. What the ACC can do is continue to maintain a consistent, theologically-principled position which implies limits in our relations with Rome, the neo-Anglicans, and other Continuing Anglicans. Within those limits, we are, I think, genuinely open to dialogue and ecumenical progress. And the ACC remains a Church with a clear position that depends not on Haverland or any individual but on clear formularies and collegial leadership. Here we are, still willing to talk with those who want to talk.
+MDH

90 comments:

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I think efforts such as Father Hart's - to read the Articles and other 16th century English theological writings with care in order to show their essential orthodoxy - are useful.

And, as is evident by my labors in this regard, I would say also that this work is necessary. Both sides, at their extreme boundaries, make it necessary for reason of apologetics, and in order to clear up a great deal of confusion. And, for reason of apologetics it is necessary in order to know what the Articles are not saying. The GAFCON Reasserters elevate the Articles to the level of second in authority to the Bible, and the Anglo-Papalists dismiss them, wringing their hands. Clearly, both of these extremes, polar opposites, consist of people who cannot understand what they are speaking about, and so confidently asserting.

The 16th century was the climax in a time of theological breakdown in the west, as was the later part of the preceding century; that is, in the sense of theological inquiry and debate. That is because matters that had been considered worthy of debate within the framework of the Church's reason, were being settled more and more by the sword, the courtroom and the stake. The Articles were flexible enough to assist peace without giving in to any extreme or to any heresy.

Like the Archbishop, I find the Articles useful for teaching purposes, and what they teach is rather basic (when understood), and generally not the stuff of controversy. This is why I have found certain Articles, even that Oxford Maze of words in Article XXV, quite useful in teaching about the grace given to those who receive Holy Communion in the proper way. etc. Sadly, many see in it quite a lot of what is simply not there, and miss what is there (sort of like Supreme Court Justices, bless their hearts, trying to understand the Constitution).

The strength of the Anglican mind lies in the willingness to learn, to study rather than to pontificate, to investigate quickly in order to declare with the greatest amount of certainty. It is a safe and sure route to the mind of the ancient Church, often by what it leaves unsaid. The Articles were just eirenic enough, without being weak, to help establish that humble approach.

Anonymous said...

Someone should write a history of what place the Articles of Religion have held within the Anglican Churches. In the 16th century, the Puritans did not like them, for various reasons. Archbishop Ussher wrote a more thorough-going set of Articles in 1615. The Cromwell government first undertook to revise them and then decided to start from scratch, producing the Westminister Confession and Catechisms (documents which, whether you like them or not, show greater scholarship and theological craftsmanship).
On the other hand, King Charles I, revered as a saint by Anglo-Catholics, praised the Articles in "His Majsty's Declaration" in the most glowing terms.

The Articles were not included in the frst American Prayer Book, but only added in 1801, and then with some mutilation, such as the excision of the reference to the Athanasian Creed, and
also Article XXI. I strongly suspect that was at the behest of the Unitarian faction which held some influence in the American Church of that period.

At some point in the 18th or 19th century (I'm not quite sure when or why) the Articles became a lightning rod for party divisions. Evangelicals exalted the Articles, High Churchmen minimized their value.

I do not recall much discussion of their place in the era of St Louis. Once I brought them up in a conversation with Fr Carroll Simcox. His witty retort was to quote the text from 2 Corinthians, "five times I received 40 stripes save one."

It has been my observation that there are three distinct lines of objection to the Articles. (1) Anglo-Catholics understandably and rightly object to some of the 16th century rhetoric, such as "blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits." Such things I simply take in stride as historically conditioned. (2) And then there are those who take umbrage at the robustly Augustinian soteriology, in Articles IX through XVIII. While that section--the heart of the Articles--can be written off as "Calvinistic," it can also be defended as the product of a native English Augustinian tradition deriving from Anselm and Bradwardine. (3) And finally, there are the extreme Latitudinarians, who are hostile to all Creeds. Remember they managed to scrap the Athanasian Creed and in the proposed BCP of 1786, tried to zap the Nicene Creed also. They had no love for the Articles set forth "for the avoiding the diversities of opinions" (surely the most ironic line in the whole Anglican heritage.)

When I am forced to argue with a critic of the Articles, I try first to determine which category he falls into.
Many who hide in category 1 really belong to category 3. When I hear that Latitudinarian cliche, "We are not a Confessional Church," I respond, "Well, neither is the Southern Baptist Convention or the Society of Friends."
LKW

poetreader said...

When the archbishop's statement arrived in my email, I urged Fr. Hart to publish it. It's a well-reasoned and fair-minded statement that both ACC and TAC members should read carefully and consider. I'm hoping for a statement by my archbishop or one of the bishops of my jurisdiction.

ed

Alice C. Linsley said...

While we might argue that the Articles are within the bounds of Christian belief, we must admit that they are slanted against Catholic faith and practice, not just against the abuses and innovations of Rome. Protestants will more easily embrace them than catholics. When it comes to dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox the Articles of Religion will bring into focus just how far Anglicans are from Orthodox faith, practice and historical development.

I applaud Rome's interest in healing the division of East and West and think this deserves highest priority.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

While we might argue that the Articles are within the bounds of Christian belief, we must admit that they are slanted against Catholic faith and practice, not just against the abuses and innovations of Rome.

I cannot agree with that at all, and I have argued in many essays that this is not true. Unless I know what you mean specifically, I can only guess that it is about ground I have covered here before.

A lot of what we see was conditioned by the times, and even by emergency conditions. For example, what was the more important teaching of Catholic Faith and the more faithful practice? To gaze on the sacrament, or to receive it? They restored the more important Catholic practice of eating and drinking the sacrament instead of merely gazing.

Consider, at least, the Hezekiah Principle. He destroyed, you may recall,the Bronze serpent because the people were burning incense to it.

RC Cola said...

Archbishop Haverland is clearly a good man. His considerate and balanced writing here shows that he is truly an exemplar of traditional/historic Anglican faith and practice.

Anonymous said...

I will try to make my point more succinctly. Whereas now the Articles are a party badge for Evangelicals, once they were a party badge for High Churchmen.
Who moved?
LKW

Anonymous said...

Alice writes:

"While we might argue that the Articles are within the bounds of Christian belief, we must admit that they are slanted against Catholic faith and practice, not just against the abuses and innovations of Rome."

This speaks rather monolithically of "Catholic faith and practice," and ignores the bona fide claim of the Reformers to be a restoration of "Catholic faith and practice." It disregards the real differences between the "catholicism" of Leo, Gregory, Anselm and Aquinas and that of the Renaissance papacy and the Council of Trent.


"Protestants will more easily embrace them than catholics."

So how to explain the fact that the Cromwellites disliked the Articles, whereas Charles I and Abp Laud spoke highly of them?


"When it comes to dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox the Articles of Religion will bring into focus just how far Anglicans are from Orthodox faith, practice and historical development."

There is a gratuitious assumption here that EO faith and practice is the norm by which all others are to be judged.
I find that unacceptable. What if I said "Eastern Orthodoxy is within the bounds of Christian belief, but we must admit that it is slanted against the Biblical and genuinely Patristic faith of the Reformers?" How does that sound?
LKW

poetreader said...

Thank You, Father Wells. You bring forward some very basic thoughts about the Articles.

The Articles are timeless in what they say, and I am convinced that what they say is truly Catholic, truly Scriptural, and truly patristic. I'm also convinced that, if understood as they were intended, there is nothing they contain nothing (aside from what is said of the Bishop of Rome) that of necessity contradicts intelligently understood teachings of the Church of Rome, not of the Orthodox, differing rather in matters of belief and practice permitted but not required.

However, the Articles are not timeless in their manner of expression. That was extremely time sensitive. They require considerable explanation to be understood as they were intended in this era, as both language and philosophic emphases have changed considerably, as has the religious scene which is vastly different from that of Reformation and close post-Reformation times. That is precisely why Fr. Hart has had to put so much effort into explanation. And it is exactly why as intelligent and thoughtful a person as Alice Linsley can see them in the light that she does. In this day, that is how they appear to the otherwise uninstructed reader. Instruction and explication is absolutely necessary if they are to be used at all.

Neither those who want to throw the Articles out nor those who wish to interpret them entirely according to current categories have actually understood the articles. In their day they offended "Papists" by condemning abuses, most of which have since been condemned by that communion itself, but they offended Calvinists and Radical Protestants even more, as they specifically denied cherished doctrines of them.

The Articles are immensely valuable, but so difficult that I feel them to be primarily of historical use in helping us to get grounded in our contemporary expression of what they once said effectively. It's up to us to bring those concepts to the people -- they won't find them unaided from the document. It's no longer a tongue understanded of the people.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"When it comes to dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox the Articles of Religion will bring into focus just how far Anglicans are from Orthodox faith, practice and historical development."

But, we know from history that the Articles were no barrier between the Orthodox and the Anglican Communion, that is, during better times (especially 1922 to 1976). The WO issue was the barrier that was erected in the Anglican Communion, and that destroyed a genuine process aimed at uniting the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Church as one Church. This is a matter of record.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

By the way, Ed's comment has hit the nail on the head. The Articles are abused by Reasserters and others (Pseudo-Calvinists like our pal Charlie), and trashed by Anglo-Papalists. Both, however, use their mistaken assumptions in a way that advances arguments by those who seek to discredit Anglican validity. So, the facts must be explained.

Anonymous said...

Ed is correct in pointing out something fairly important, that the Articles are
historically conditioned by 16th century preoccupations and (frankly) marred by
16th century polemic. In my enthusiasm for 16th century Reformation theology,
I am far from urging that they be used as any kind of theological test. Were that the case, I would have been excom-municated long since! I practice reservation and elevate the host and (on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) even carry the Blessed Sacrament around the church in procession. (That would have driven Thomas Cranmer crazy and probaby even shocked Abp Laud.)

Another point: It is not commonly appreciated how much of the Articles were polemics against the Radical Reformation. Articles XXXVIII and XXXIX, as well as the affirmation of Infant Baptism in XXVII demonstrate this. This goes to show that the Via Media was not between Rome and the Continental Reformation, but between Rome and the radical Reformation, the Anabaptists.
LKW

Canon Tallis said...

To me the one thing missing here is a bit of historical knowledge. A Romanist, Christopher Davenport, wrote a book in which he asserted that the Articles were consistent with the theological decrees of the Council of Trent. The Holy Office gave the book its official approval. So Rome in the seventeenth century agreed with Father Hart (and I) and not with Archbishop Haverland and the general run of Anglo-papists from the 19th century onwards. Rome would probably not agree now but it must be recognized that all during the 18th and 19th centuries they were undergoing a huge amount of theological turmoil including the invention of new doctrines for which there was neither a scriptural or patristic base. In the meantime, Anglicans were trying to shed the political and theological biases which prevented full obedience to the Book of Common Prayer and its tradition. Walter Howard Frere, C.R. addresses this question in his preface to "A New History of the Book of Common Prayer."

There is a mindset among Anglo-papalists in which Rome has done everything right while anything that is authentically Anglican is suspect and, oh G-d, 'PROTESTANT.' The result is that whenever you go to a big Continuum 'do,' you know that you are going to have a missal service with lace dripping servers thrust down your throat. You never get and probably never will a straight (Is that a double entendre?) prayer book service with the Gloria in its prayer book place and the ablutions done in accordance with the rubric. And that, among a number of other things, may be the reason why a large number of the people who left TEO at the time of the St. Louis Congress were unable to find a spiritual home in either the APCK or the ACC. From my point of view the ACC has solved most of those problems, but unfortunately not all. When, and if, it does I believe that it will experience growth of a rate and size for which it is currently very unprepared. And, believe me, I very dearly want to see that happen.

On this question I stand with Father Hart and, I believe, with Father Wells. We may continue to disagree on a number of liturgical questions, but the Catholic core of Anglicanism which the English government from the time of James II and William III attempted to destroy for different reasons must be maintained.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis wrote:

So Rome in the seventeenth century agreed with Father Hart (and I) and not with Archbishop Haverland and the general run of Anglo-papists from the 19th century onwards.

I think you may be misunderstanding Archbishop Haverland. Remember these words (above): "I think efforts such as Father Hart's - to read the Articles and other 16th century English theological writings with care in order to show their essential orthodoxy - are useful. I too often quote the Articles." Indeed, he does.

Also, "In a sense the Affirmation of Saint Louis finesses the whole question by asserting that all Anglican formularies are to be read through the lens of the great Tradition." That is what my efforts have been: To help modern readers see what they actually teach, both to set the record straight, and aid our understanding in contemporary times. Seeing what they actually teach requires a knowledge of the abuses they were correcting in their own time, and why those abuses were the real enemy of the Great Tradition (that GT phrase has been used by my fellow Touchstone editors in a significant way).

I would very much like to read Christopher Davenport's book, and I fear that it is probably among the great Out of Print collection.

Canon Tallis said...

I do not know what is happening, but in attempting to make a comment, I received a message in which I was told that my HTML was unacceptable although there was none in the comment.

I copied my comment and will attempt to post it again, but I believe that you need to be informed.

Thanks.

P.S. I don't think this is for posting unless you decide that others may have experienced the same problem.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart, I don't think I misread the excellent Archbishop but I do think that he is defending his flank - which I profoundly wish he didn't feel he had to do.

As for Davenport's book, I really wish I had the money to put you on a plane to London so that you could sit down in the British Library reading room and do just that. It, unfortunately would be the new one rather than the old which I so much enjoyed years ago, but still most worth while. I can not think of anyone who would gather more real worth from such an experience than yourself.

Or perhaps one might lock you in the library at Rochester Cathedral which has a collection of Anglican classics largely unknown to we poor Americans. But how would we extract you?

Canon Tallis said...

As for Father Wells, I think he has missed the point about the Article. It pointedly does not condemn what is done in the carrying of the sacrament, but rather wants the reader to understand that without the reception of same by the people, the reason for which it was given to us is not being done. The point of Holy Communion is not the priest's reception of the Sacrament all by himself, but that the Church as a whole be prepared for a proper reception of same and do so. Frankly I think if Cranmer saw the near universal reception of Holy Communion in our churches now, the only thing which would distress him would be the lack of serious preparation for doing so on the part of both priests and people. I know that I was shocked when one of my most favorite priests could not resist the temptation to celebrate a mass in the face of a large congregation in which he alone received communion. After it was done communion in one kind was distributed to the people but it simply was not the same. In some very real sense we had been excluded - from something - and in a way in which reception of communion afterwards did not entirely make right.

Canon Tallis said...

One of the things which Archbishop Haverland and others miss is that once you begin to deliberately change the communion service in imitation of the past or of another communion, you are ever so very subtly devaluing the tradition in which you claim to stand and should be practicing and defending. I know that he does not consciously intend to do so and probably would not if he realized the harm of so doing, but it was in that very way that the Church was brought to the point that the Oxford and Cambridge movements were necessary.

Think back to your words about the Supreme Court justices who frequently are only attempting to correct an injustice when they quite knowingly and deliberately violate the Constitution, but they have no idea of the unforeseen and unintended consequences of their actions. It is the same here and leads to the stuff which drives our pal, Charles. No one is or should be required to believe that the English reformers quite got everything right. But the direction in which they and especially Elizabeth I intended to steer the Church was right, and but for the theological and other violence of the times might have succeeded entirely. The same is equally true for all of us today and is, I believe, what this blog, the Continuum, the ACC and, yes, Archbishop Haverland is about.

We quote a lot of old and very true and valuable Anglican maxims. Here is another: "In essentials, unity; in non essentials, diversity; and in all things, charity. The problem is and will continue to be the distinction between what is truly essential in this and any time and what is not. The problem is that we may be called upon to give up somethings which seem innocent to us and others in the ship, but which make it seem less than entirely "sea worthy" to those whom we are intended to attract as passengers for the journey to our home port. I want to know the captain is honest and will not abandon the ship for another before his journey and ours is finished. If he seems to be seeking wiggle room in keeping the terms of the contract, that makes me nervous. It is plain that their are very good Anglicans who simply don't understand this and how their actions and attractions affect others. And good intentions will not entirely plaster it over. So, what do we do; how do we handle it?

William Tighe said...

An English translation of Davenport's work appeared in 1865:

http://umaryland.worldcat.org/search?q=no:025184340

http://umaryland.worldcat.org/search?q=no:028754490

My own recollection is, that in contrast with Newman's Tract 90, Davenport concluded that a few of the articles could not be reconciled with the definitions and decrees of the Council of Trent, and so would have to be changed or abrogated for reunion to take place. His book is also discussed in G. I. Soden's *Godfrey Goodman, Bishop of Gloucester, 1583-1656* (1953). Goodman was the closest Laudian approximation to an "Anglo-Papalist" and was a promoter of Davenport's writings.

By the way, Davenport was one of three sets of Seventeenth-Century English brothers (one of the others was Reynolds or Raignolds; the third I forget) one of whom ended up as a (R) Catholic priest and the other as a Puritan divine. John Davenport was the founding "minister" of the New Haven colony in 1640, a colony which rejected English Common Law and promulgated a Law Code based on the Mosaic Law. (The colony was merged with Connecticut in 1662.)

David said...

Archbishop Mark's comments to me show a genuine Anglican understanding of the Articles. From an Anglo-Catholic perspective, it is easy - too easy to write the Articles off as anti-Catholicism.

The emphasis by the Archbishop on the historical context of the Articles is important, because they were written perhaps more as time, place and circumstance appropriate than anything else.

It is also correct that they lack the authority of a General Council of the whole Church, but they do reflect the authority of the Church of England, in England at that time.

I suspect the Latitudinarianism may be as much responsible for dislike of the Articles as Anglo-Catholicism, as has been suggested. The Articles if nothing else sought to bring clear clarity about Anglican theology to the Church of England.

That modern Anglicans ordaining women, blessing homosexual marriages and rejecting 2000 years of Roman and Eastern tradition can still on paper subscribe to the Articles points to a key Anglican weakness in working out what we believe.

The St. Louis Affirmations which are so foundational to the ACC and other continuing Churches clarify in modern language the orthodox Anglican understanding of the relationship of the Anglican Church to authority, to order and tradition.

I agree that it is much more useful to see that the St. Louis Affirmations are a more useful exposition of the Anglican position than the 39 Articles.

The Articles remain useful for outlining the minimum standards of Anglicanism against the Continental Protestant heresies and the undoubted errors of the medieval Roman Church in matters of interpretation, a lack of lay communion etc.in the 17th century. Their value today is chiefly historic.

In regard to where the ACC sits, in ecumenism, the unification of the Continuum has to be THE priority for Anglican Catholics. Only then with a united voice can we expect to be given due respect and appropriate dialogue with Rome and the Eastern Orthodox.

Anglicanism in the 1920's came so close to having meaningful inter-communion with the Orthodox, when our orders were recognised by several Orthodox jurisdictions. It is my prayer that the ACC will continue this process anew.

I agree with the comment of His Grace that we should pray for the TAC to cross the Tiber sooner than later. For those of us who believe in the viability of the Anglican Catholic presentation of the Gospel, of it's unique contribution to the Church Catholic, better for Archbishop Hepworth and his "500,000" TAC members to make that journey which he says is an imperative fot them.

In regard to liturgics, I agree with Canon Tallis that there is more to Anglican Catholic life than lace and fiddleback chasubles. Liturgically the position of the ACC in which the missal and BCP are both respected and valued seems inclusive and honourable.

q

Anonymous said...

Canon Tallis: Not sure why you think I "missed the point" of the Article. Were you alluding to my sally regarding elevation, etc? I am indeed familiar with the spin which tries to legitimize such Catholic practice with the wording of the article. But I do not see how a strict construction of the Article would tolerate such things.

Evidently you have never been to a Pontifical Synodical Eucharist as celebrated in the DOS-ACC. A Missal Mass, but celebrated chastely, with decency and order, no fussiness. When Synod met at St Michael's, not a bit of lace in sight. The priest who was serving even forgot to ring the bell at the elevation.
LKW

Anonymous said...

A friend pointed me to this post and some earlier ones, in which "Canon Tallis" claims that the Catholic theologian Christopher Davenport's book "asserted that the Articles were consistent with the theological decrees of the Council of Trent. The Holy Office gave the book its official approval." ( Davenport was a convert.) The first part is over-stated and the second part simply wrong.



According to the entry on Davenport in the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04639c.htm), "Inspired with the idea of converting England by means of corporate reunion, he wrote a treatise to show that the Thirty-nine Articles were susceptible of an interpretation more in accordance with Catholic teaching than was usually supposed. This was the Paraphrastica Expositio Articulorum Confessionis Anglicanae, published as an appendix to his book, Deus, Nature, Gratia, in 1634. It offended many Catholics and was put on the Index in Spain , though a condemnation at Rome was averted by Panzani, the pope's nuncio in London ."



According to The Seventeenth Century Tradition: A Study in Recusant Thought, which can be found on Google Books, " Davenport 's method consists in seeking parallels or approximations in Catholic theological literature, both patristic and recent. Whenever he can find a resemblance between an article and some saying of an undoubtedly Catholic author, Davenport proposes a mild interpretation of the Anglican text, which makes it as Catholic as the wording of it can possibly allow." The author's exposition of Davenport 's argument shows several points at which he couldn't manage to argue for even his minimal standard of resemblance. The author later refers to Davenport 's "interest in verbal and superficial rather than real and fundamental agreement," and to Davenport 's view of his work, "what he knew to be an essay in paradox."



In other words, Davenport 's good-willed attempt did not "assert" the compatibility of the Articles with Catholic teaching, even on his own loose terms. And the book was certainly not approved by the Holy Office, more the opposite.



Davenport's example can't be invoked in defense of the idea that even the Catholic Church once accepted the compatibility of the two traditions. But for the life of me I can't see why an Anglican would want to. Robert Hart's approach makes much more sense. Anglicanism may be a decline from true Catholicism or a return to it, as he argues, but it can't be the same true Catholicism as that of the Catholic Church, even in the 17th century.

David Mills

Alice C. Linsley said...

The most important teaching of catholic Faith is this: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come into the world to save sinners such as me.

Anonymous said...

Alice: Without a doubt. Without a doubt.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I understand the gist of the Archbishop's words to mean that it is not the Articles that have been Affirmed (i.e. at St. Louis in 1977), but the BCP in which we find them, and therefore in which they are subject to a larger context that interprets them for us. And, similarly, the Anglican Formularies exist in the larger context of the whole Catholic Tradition, which interprets them for us (after those same formularies have directed us to that Tradition). We have nothing like the Augsburg Confession in Lutheranism.

I have been thinking about Fr. Wells' comment:

In my enthusiasm for 16th century Reformation theology,
I am far from urging that they be used as any kind of theological test. Were that the case, I would have been excommunicated long since! I practice reservation and elevate the host and (on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) even carry the Blessed Sacrament around the church in procession. (That would have driven Thomas Cranmer crazy and probably even shocked Abp Laud.)


This raises the importance of historical context. What would St. Augustine say about the same practices, or St. John Chrysostom? At the very least they would want to know what was meant by so strange a practice. Canon Tallis made a relevant point in reply: "[Article XXV] pointedly does not condemn what is done in the carrying of the sacrament, but rather wants the reader to understand that without the reception of same by the people, the reason for which it was given to us is not being done." Nonetheless, Fr. Wells is right that Anglicans from Cranmer to Laud would have viewed the practice as a return to the bad old days. I see the truth of what each of these priests, Fr. Wells and Canon Tallis, are saying in their comments here.

Meanwhile, we may also note that, with or without elevations and processions, St. Justin Martyr would be puzzled by the fact that none of our communicants bring little vessels to church, to take home a portion of the Sacrament to consume each morning as they rise from sleep and pray.

What is considered to be "Catholic" practice in one age is considered to be quite the anti-thesis to it in another. The Church exists among "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." (Rev. 5:9) To keep track of the consistent theological meaning among the practices of various times and places, of generations and nations, requires the gift of Interpretation of Tongues in order to see the unity of thought and intention.

Death Bredon said...

In this cyber-forum, the long-standing dispute between Missal and Prayerbook Catholics periodically flairs up. That this dispute is broader than matters liturgical, but also encompasses something as fundamental in Anglican history as the proper understanding of the meaning and place of Thirty-Nine Articles proves and important point: The underlying disputes turns on two discrete, inconsistent understandings of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. To put the dispute diplomatically, the Missal party understands catholicism to include uniquely western post-schism theology, whereas the Prayerbook party understands catholicism in a sense that precludes all uniquely post-schism theology and any liturgics and spiritual disciplines cobbled together to express the same.

Now, it is commonplace for commenters here to dismiss this dispute as illusory, and I think that Archbishop Haverland's post may be fairly classified as taking this purportedly"enlightened" view. But nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the notion that the dispute between catholic Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism is merely one of varied emphasis or mere ceremonial preference is historically and theologically incorrect.

Indeed, the dispute -- created by the belated rise of the Victorian Anglo-Catholic party within the C of E -- is now, and has always been, about whether Counter-Reformation thought and practice have any legitimate place in the public life of Anglicanism. Those answering in the negative are not limited to Puritans or Evangelicals or whatever appellation one prefers for the Low Church parties. To the contrary, the Old High Church Party and the Prayerbook Catholics have also answered in the negative. And unless we go so far as to dismiss either the English Reformation or the Counter Reformation or both
as insubstantial or matters indifferent, the position of Missal Catholicism is one of real controversy.

For those in any doubt about the historical revisionism implicit in the Broad Church Continuum position, I submit the following historical document passionately putting forth the Prayerbook parties' position:

http://anglicanhistory.org/cbmoss/as1931.html

poetreader said...

Mr. Bredon,

In lining up your rigid opposition of ideas, you entirely ignore a very common AngloCatholic position, the one to which I hold as do a good many ACs I have known and/or read.

In this view, the Counterreformation, Trent, and subsequent developments in the RCC do not have binding authority among us, and, indeed may have (actually have) erred in some ways, but that, being the thoughts and actions of the largest segment of Catholic Christianity, and under the leadership of so prominent a bishop, they are worthy of consideration among us, so long as they are not in contradiction to to the patristic tradition in which we stand.

Those who would despise the views of those who differ without such actual contradiction are, in actuality, doing precisely what Trent assayed to do, declaring a part of the amazing Catholic tapestry to be beyonf the pale. It matters little whether it is papalists or the more rigid Prayer Book Catholics who are being so dismissive. Either errs by their dismissiveness.

I, for one, am certainly not a Papalist, nor pro-Roman. My appreciation for Classic Anglicanism only grows with time -- but neither am I willing to reject the Roman Church as cherished brethren worthy of an ear, nor to insist on ways, beautiful though they may be, that have an unavoidable appearance of museum pieces, and reject ways which, though not English, have the merit of continuous use.

ed

Death Bredon said...

"In this view, the Counterreformation, Trent, and subsequent developments in the RCC do not have binding authority among us, and, indeed may have (actually have) erred in some ways, but that, being the thoughts and actions of the largest segment of Catholic Christianity, and under the leadership of so prominent a bishop, they are worthy of consideration among us, so long as they are not in contradiction to to the patristic tradition in which we stand."

Well said, Ed. That is precisely the classic Anglican point of view. Indeed, I am not rigidly dismissive of all things Roman and do think that they ought to be "considered" and evaluated against St. Vincent's Canon. But then again, I believe in truth in advertising. Indeed, once a person goes beyond considering Roman (or Orthodox or Protestant) things and moves on to the systematic adoption thereof, while merely tolerating the Anglican Formularies as historical documents that may be ignored or interpolated at will, then the question arises: Is that person still really Anglican?

And this question is the one faced by Missal Anglo-Catholics and historically put, not merely by rigid, BCP fundamentalists, but by also by patristic Anglicans who are willing to give a good bit of latitude and leeway in interpreting and applying the Anglican Formularies: Have not Missal Anglo-Catholics gone well beyond considering the wheat the Roman schema and, with varying degrees of intensity and comprehensiveness, moved well into the process of ratifying and adopting the theological, liturgical, and spiritual program of Pius V? Of course, for Formulary Anglicans, this is a rhetorical question, the plain text of the Missals and Ritual Notes, when compared to there Roman cognates, answer the question beyond peradventure.

And, I realize that, with perfect good faith, one may ask whether Missal Anglo-Catholics are correct reject Elizabeth for Pius V, the English Reformation for the Roman Counter-Reformation, the Prayerbook for the Missal. I also realize that intelligent, educated, pious, and reasonable men from history and today have answered that question in the affirmative. But, even so, is it not simply a matter of plain language and truth in advertising that once one ratifies and adopts the Tridentine formularies for the most part and, at the Anglican formularies for the least part, one is more accurately classified as sub-species of Roman rather than Anglican?

Of course, to put the Victorian Anglo-Catholic position in historical context, we should be aware that it could be considered an pious overreaction to the Evangelical parties' attempts to drive the C of E into pan-Protestantism. But regardless the motivation for leaving behind the "Via Media" for the "Via Three-Quarters or Seven-Eighths," the fact remains that Anglicans and Anglo-Catholics differ in basic kind or type, not mere degree or intensity. And as quality histories of the C of E relate, the reason the Communion tolerated the Victorian Anglo-Catholic party is a very English sense of fair play, as Evangelicals and Liberals, both of whom either ignored or distorted the Formualries, were already tolerated. Why in a post-established world non-Formualry Anglicans are so adamant about claiming the Anglican appellation and insisting that they are part of what their predecessors had always rebelled against is astounding.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Death's citation of and linkage to Moss's anti-Tridentine essay provides a perfect example of why the supposed irreconcilable contradiction between patristic/Anglican Catholicism and Tridentine Roman Catholicism amounts to little or nothing upon closer inspection, particularly since Vatican II.

When it comes down to specifics, Moss lists 3 things as the insuperable barriers of Trent. First, the belief that Tradition is additional/supplemental to Scripture as a fundamental dogmatic source. (Moss always comes to this, and little else, as his one specific example of Tridentine "heresy".) Second, that biblical fundamentalism's mandatory nature and the obligation of the Syllabus of Errors and anti-Modernist oath within RCism make it an implacable foe of intellectual freedom and honesty. Third, the Papacy's absolute centralism and total disempowerment of its constituent Provinces and national or sui juris Churches.

The problem with all of this is as follows: He is wrong about the first being the binding or only interpretation of Trent, as the history of the relevant decree shows, and as I have discussed before on this blog (in the post entitled "That Terrible Trent"). The second is completely outdated to the point of now being laughable. If anything, the RCC's present state of biblical scholarship trends far towards opposite errors, as I think Fr Wells has noted before. The third purported objection is not completely outdated perhaps, but has been trending that way with the deliberate decentralising since Vatican II and the commitment to reforming the Papacy's relationship with particular Churches given in Ut Unum Sint. Many Anglican Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have in fact thought that Rome should have used its central authority somewhat more in the relatively recent past to correct local abuses within its communion.

In all 3 areas Rome has moved closer to our position without having to deny Trent or any "irreformable" dogma. I tend to agree with the Roman Catholic who wrote online that Anglicans can sometimes be "sore winners".

On another issue, the orthodoxy or heterodoxy of some English Reformers, the follwing facts must be remembered. It has never been sufficient for Catholics to affirm only what Creeds or Councils have explicitly defined. The consistent, consensual and manifest teaching of the Church in general has always been similarly binding. This Catholic consensus up to and including the time of the English Reformation included acceptance of the necessity of ordination for the exercise of priestly ministry, and the legitimacy of prayer for the dead, invocation of Saints, use and honouring of images, and adoration of Christ present "in" the Sacrament, for example. These Catholic truths were explicitly denied by a number of influential English Reformers, including Cranmer and Jewel. Some of the explicit denials made it into documents of secondary, non-binding authority in Anglican Churches, particularly the Homilies. For example, the Homily against Idolatry is utterly committed to iconoclastism, and is thus materially heretical in rejecting the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, though it may escape formal heresy by misunderstanding the teaching of that Council and thus not recognising its actual status.

So, it is inescapable that genuine material heresies, by standards either patristic or Tridentine, were commonplace amongst early Anglican divines. Denying this does no good, and is not even necessary, for reasons I have explained before repeatedly (e.g., "Necessary Admissions" and "What was the Faith and Order of the Reformed Church of England?"). A "black-hat/white-hat" cowboy-style historiography in treating these portions of ecclesial history, where we are the obvious good guys and "they" are black-hatted evildoers is not intellectually viable, spiritually healthy or ecumenically useful.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Speaking of intellectually viable, I seem to have accidentally invented a new word --"iconoclastism".

Sigh. Checking and editing is your friend.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For example, the Homily against Idolatry is utterly committed to iconoclastism, and is thus materially heretical in rejecting the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, though it may escape formal heresy by misunderstanding the teaching of that Council and thus not recognising its actual status.

Although within a generation the Church of England was vastly superior in its Greek scholarship to anything in the west, at the time the homily was written the only manuscript they had for Nicea II was a very poorly translated Latin manuscript. It was not even good enough to be called a corrupt manuscript. It indicated that the images ought to be worshiped using a word that seemed to be a translation of the Greek λατρεία (latreia). What they rejected was not the actual teaching of the Council.

Death Bredon said...

I agree with Rev. Kirby that, since the "clarifications" of Vatican II, the Roman Communion is less out of step with patristic tradition than before. And I take it that this implies (and Rev. Kirby implicitly acknowledges) that, while Missal ACs were very disloyal to formulary Anglicanism before Vatican II, they might be much less so now, if only they put away their Tridentine Missals and kitsch Sacred-Heart statuary and reverently and with good faith implemented the liturgical reforms of the Council.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Very interesting bit of information. Thanks, Fr Hart.

How often poor skills with language stir trouble in the Church! I see this in the way that Aristotle is read differently in East and West. I wonder if Thomas Aquinas would have changed some of his ideas had he read Aristotle in Greek. His Summa Theologiae was left unfinished at his death. There is some question as to whether he may have changed his mind on certain points before he died. It is reported that on December 6, 1273 he had a mystical experience while attending Mass and thereafter wrote nothing more. His explanation was: “All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.” He died four months later.

palaeologos said...

I'm a bit confused by the mania for the BCP position of the Gloria in excelsis. Is there any precedent for this innovation of Cranmer's? Surely someone who values pre-schismatic practice (not to mention the Sarum Use) would prefer it in its ancient position?

At least let's clarify whether we are talking about returning to Prayer Book standards or to the rite celebrated by the unified Church. They are not the same thing, and to exalt the Prayer Book while engaging in polemic against Rome for innovating is to speak out of both sides of one's mouth.

poetreader said...

We are not returning to the rite used by the undivided church. In the first place, liturgy is not a matter of archeology, but of living practice, and, in the second place, there is no such thing and never was.

Liturgy developed in the local churches, finally forming into particular families of liturgy, all faithful to the instruction of Our Lord and the basic guidelines of Early practice, but each having its own very distinctive form. In the matter of the Gloria in Excelsis, there is no question of universal practice -- there is none -- this is a Western custom entirely, and, for that matter, a feature found only in some celebrations of the Liturgy.

Now, what liturgy are we using? If it be the BCP up to 1928, well, that liturgy has the Gloria occurring in one place (a novelty in 1552, but now with 450 years of use behind it), or if it be the Missal (which, like it or not, is fully authorized in the Continuing churches) it occurs in another. My preference for the earlier position (and other Missal features) takes nothing away from the power and awesome majesty of those preferring the BCP taken straight, and the contrary is as true. The existence of both patterns is a given among us, firmly recognized by our respective systems of Canon Law. It is certainly OK to advocate, even strongly, for the superiority of a particular view in such matters, but I believe it to be both unacceptable and rather disloyal to charge that doing what has been endorsed makes one less orthodox, less Anglican. We're in this together.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr.Kirby writes:

This Catholic consensus up to and including the time of the English Reformation included acceptance of the necessity of ordination for the exercise of priestly ministry, and the legitimacy of prayer for the dead, invocation of Saints, use and honouring of images, and adoration of Christ present "in" the Sacrament, for example. These Catholic truths were explicitly denied by a number of influential English Reformers, including Cranmer and Jewel.

I find this entire portion to have an appearance of being correct only by means of being extremely simplistic. Cranmer did not reject the need for episcopal ordination, but simply refused to pass judgment on other Reformed churches (i.e., as in, whatever others do, we won't budge). Cranmer, however, even annoyed the king by pointing out that only a bishop could make a priest (Henry wanted to know why a king could not!).

Adoration of Christ present in the sacrament was not the the issue in Cranmer's writings; the issue was gazing instead of receiving. In his day and age it was necessary to put an end to all those other practices in order to restore Holy Communion, to get the people to go to the rail and receive, which better fits the genuine Catholic and Patristic, Scriptural emphasis.

Show me anything, anything at all, about Eucharistic Adoration in the ancient writings; it is licit, but hardly the most important thing. And, in an era when that was all the people had thought to do, it was truly Catholic to dispense with the practice so as to emphasize receiving.

Cranmer's emphasis was right.

palaeologos said...

Well, Ed, that's pretty much the point I was getting at. I just don't get the constant activism against the Missal, as though we are still in the 19th century English Church. Those times are long gone; the canons of the continuing bodies don't prohibit the use of the Missal, and if we're going to argue, let it be about something that actually matters.

poetreader said...

I think we're pretty much in agreement, but the finger has to point both ways. There are indeed those who become incensed if the BCP rite is enriched or replaced by that of the Missal, even though the canons permit it.

However, there are also those who insist that the BCP is not fully Catholic. I know one ACC priest (most emphatically speaking only for himself, not for his jurisdiction) who insists that the Missal Offertory Prayers MUST be used as the BCP rite is 'deficient' and only probably valid. To speak painfully bluntly, I fail to understand why such a person sticks with a jurisdiction whose validity he doubts.

Our canons call for toleration of two distinct ritual patterns. I believe that is precisely what is required of all of us.

ed

Death Bredon said...

Ed and Paleo,

Victorian Anglo-Catholicism may be a settled issue in the Continuum -- and mores the pity if it is -- but the reason those wishing to continue authentic Anglicanism, as the St. Louis Statement purports, is fundamental truism: Lex orandi, lex credendi.

Indeed, the beliefs expressed by the Missal, Ritual Notes, and historically associated spirituality, and disingenuous reading of the Articles (Tract 90) is that of Trent, which is plainly inconsistent with formulary Anglicanism just as much as is Low Churchmanship, which all ignores the plain meaning of the Ornaments Rubric and contorts the 39 Articles into the Westminster Confession.

Our dissent is grounded on truth in advertising: Missal Anglo-Catholicism is no more continuing Anglicanism than is the oft encountered praise brand, holy-roller, Evanglical Churchmanship of the ACNA, or for that matter, the Affirming Catholicism ascendant in "The Episcopal Church." In sum, if the ACC, APCK, etc. quit claiming to adhere to the St. Louis Statement, which they don't, and quit claiming to be Continuing Anglicans, then we will have no dispute. Until such time, I for one will witness against revisionist history and the hijacking of the great mantle, "Anglican."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

That assumes that the Missal usages necessarily teach some different theology. I find that argument to be quite unconvincing.

Anonymous said...

There are those who have a problem in distingishing "Catholic consensus" from their personal predilections. So it is with the "adoration of Christ present IN the sacrament," and "use and honoring of images."

Eucharistic adoration (a perfectly commendable and unexceptionable practice in itself) is well established in western catholicism, although I would question its importance prior to AD 1000. But it is generally unknown in EO. Its equivalent there is freqiuently said to be the veneration of icons--practiced with an intensity unknown in the western Church (where religious art is regarded more as an educational device).

As far as Nicaea II is concerned, some forget that it distinguished between worship and veneration, and while it allowed the veneration of icons, it did not make such veneration mandatory.

Where such veneration had become superstitious or had been made into a commercial activity, it was surely not heretical to lay it aside.

If I felt that the founders of Anglicanism and authors of the original BCP were guilty of heresy formal or material (a rather precious distinction), I would surely know what to do about it. I would not remain one day in a Church or Tradition I truly felt was "heretical" in its foundations.

Heresy is a very serious charge. It is not a word to throw around casually. I recall Junior Seminarians who liked to huff and puff as they jurled out their sophomoric anathemas, but most of them eventually grew up.
LKW

palaeologos said...

DB, your reference to the 39 Articles is puzzling to me. They do not possess credal status in the Chambers jurisdictions, nor are they even mentioned in the Affirmation of St Louis. Furthermore, the 39 Articles never had that status in PECUSA prior to the schism, so I wonder what the point is in bringing in the 39 Articles. It's as if I were running to the GIRM for support in my arguments.

I'm also a bit mystified by the charge that we aren't supporting, or living up to, the Affirmation. I suppose it's something to do with the phrase "conforming to" with respect to the BCP. Since the various Missals incorporate the entirety of the BCP rite, and since many of the clergymen who formulated and signed the Affirmation were users of those Missals, that argument holds no water. You seem to be attempting to force an idiosyncratic interpretation on the Affirmation that its historical circumstances cannot support.

Canon Tallis said...

"Is there any precedent for this innovation of Cranmer's? Surely someone who values pre-schismatic practice (not to mention the Sarum Use) would prefer it in its ancient position?"

If it indeed it were all that ancient which to the mind of the reformers it was not. But if we look to the Gospel of Mark we will see a very good reason why it was placed and retained where it is in the BCP. Mark 14:28 "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives."

And Ed, The use of the Pian Missal was not "continuous," but dates from 1570 while the ceremonial preferences on which the English Rite party looks to is based upon the canons of the council of Nicea which is violated by the ceremonial invented by Alexander VI's Master of Ceremonies in 1502 which gradually worked their way into the rubrics of the Roman Rite during one of the most decadent centuries of the Roman See. Recovering what was ordered from 1559 onward makes some sort of sense, but can the same be said for copying the usage of a Church still as morally corrupt as it was in that century.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

I understand you feeling about the use of the missal not teaching another theology. Too many of us see it quite differently. We see it as primarily validating Romanism and Papalism over Anglicanism, in short for preparing Anglicans for the over, under or through the Tiber. It is like taking all the theological work that you are doing here and flushing it away because, as humans, we believe what we see well over what we hear, read or rationalize which is why magic shows are so successful.

When the Congress of St Louis happened, I would have thought that every Anglo-Catholic parish would have left for the Continuum, but most did not. They betrayed the Catholic, patristic and biblical faith for the few little Anglo-papalist nuggets tossed them in the '79 book. It wasn't the first thing which suggested to me that many of them were not really serious Anglicans or even Christians, but it certainly shoved me along the way.

David said...

Death Bredon is incorrect in his assessment of Missal Anglicans. The Missal use is time honoured within the Anglican Church, and in my mind in harmony with the 1549 Prayer Book in particular.

He writes: " In sum, if the ACC, APCK, etc. quit claiming to adhere to the St. Louis Statement, which they don't, and quit claiming to be Continuing Anglicans, then we will have no dispute." What evidence is there thatthe ACC and APCK are not adhering to the St. Louis Statement?

Fr. Hart is correct also in stating that there is no theological difference between the Anglican Missal and BCP use.

The use of the missal, Rital Notes etc by continuing Anglicans is only continuing what generations of Anglican priests and faithful have used.

At a time when many Roman Catholics are questioning the "must do" nature of sloppy celebrations of westerward facing masses by priests in pedestrian albs, accompainied by banal music and lay eucharistic "ministers" running the sanctuary there is no need for the Anglican Continuum to look for direction to the liturgical revolution of Vatican II.

There is more conformity and association between the straight BCP and Missal use Anglicans than there is between Tridentine Latin rite and the Novus Ordo use.

The Missal use amongst many Anglicans is for me a going deeper into the eucharistic mystery and an imperfect attempt to worship God with as much respect, awe and honour as possible. That same intent lies in the BCP fathers.

Death Bredon said...

Wow -- the Missals conform to the Book of Common Prayer, and Counter-Reformation spirituality forms people in the faith of the English Reformation?!

What's next -- the Council of Trent as an Anglican formulary (but not the Articles) and Pius V is an Anglican divine (but not Hooker)?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I have said nothing about the counter-Reformation.

We have been through this before: Using the Missal to embellish the Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer (i.e. adding things like the Minor Propers) does not create a Roman service. The differences are quite obvious.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Have not Missal Anglo-Catholics gone well beyond considering the wheat the Roman schema and, with varying degrees of intensity and comprehensiveness, moved well into the process of ratifying and adopting the theological, liturgical, and spiritual program of Pius V? Of course, for Formulary Anglicans, this is a rhetorical question, the plain text of the Missals and Ritual Notes, when compared to there Roman cognates, answer the question beyond peradventure.
...
I agree with Rev. Kirby that, since the "clarifications" of Vatican II, the Roman Communion is less out of step with patristic tradition than before. And I take it that this implies (and Rev. Kirby implicitly acknowledges) that, while Missal ACs were very disloyal to formulary Anglicanism before Vatican II, they might be much less so now, if only they put away their Tridentine Missals and kitsch Sacred-Heart statuary and reverently and with good faith implemented the liturgical reforms of the Council.
...
Missal Anglo-Catholicism is no more continuing Anglicanism than is the oft encountered praise brand, holy-roller, Evanglical Churchmanship of the ACNA, or for that matter, the Affirming Catholicism ascendant in "The Episcopal Church." In sum, if the ACC, APCK, etc. quit claiming to adhere to the St. Louis Statement, which they don't, and quit claiming to be Continuing Anglicans, then we will have no dispute. Until such time, I for one will witness against revisionist history and the hijacking of the great mantle, "Anglican."


Death,

The first paragraph of your quoted above suffers 2 main problems. One, it equates use of the Missal with the whole sale adoption of some "program" of Pius V, when the vast majority of Missal verbal additions pre-date this fellow (and even the East-West schism) by centuries. So, this is an error of false association. Two, it, like most anti-Anglo-Catholic, anti-Missal propoganda, takes refuge in generalisations rather than doing the hard work of proving the purported incompatibilities between the Missals and Anglican Formularies.

The second paragraph, in attempting to catch me in some kind of inconsistency, makes another strange association of use of the Missal with former deficiencies of RCism addressed since Vatican II, which Moss had listed and I had addressed above. But the 2 deficiencies in question were to do with Biblical scholarship and over-centralism, having little or nothing to do with the teachings or practices of the Missal. The only other deficiency I discussed, the consideration of Tradition as an independent extra-Scriptural dogmatic source, also had nothing to do with the Missal and I noted was not a necessary interpretation of Tridentine doctrine anyway!

Your third paragraph seems to paint you into a corner which involves self-refutation. If the RCC is not the real deal, Continuing Anglicans are not the real deal, neo-Anglicans are not the real deal, and you don't seem comfortable with becoming Eastern Orthodox either, what are you left with? Where is the proper Catholicism, the true Anglicanism for which you crave? It appears to subsist nowhere except perhaps in a Platonic Universe of ecclesial Forms inhabiting your head. For someone seeking to be genuinely Catholic, as I know you do, what more perfect proof could there be that your theory does not work than the fact that your ecclesiology results in no Church good enough to instantiate it?

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Cranmer did not reject the need for episcopal ordination, but simply refused to pass judgment on other Reformed churches (i.e., as in, whatever others do, we won't budge). Cranmer, however, even annoyed the king by pointing out that only a bishop could make a priest (Henry wanted to know why a king could not!).

No, Fr Hart, this is simply untrue. Cranmer wrote, in answer to the King's questions of 1540, "In the New Testament, he that is appointed to be a Bishop or a priest needs no consecration by the Scripture, for election or appointing thereto is sufficient". He even claimed there were historical precedents in Church history.

I will deal with the other criticisms of Fr Hart and Fr Wells, God-willing, tomorrow.

charles said...

Dear Alice,

What do you mean by saying, "When it comes to dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox the Articles of Religion will bring into focus just how far Anglicans are from Orthodox faith, practice and historical development."?

Are you referring to post-schism councils like Jerusalem or Jamina, various statements the Orthodox have made against Lutheranism and Calvinism? Do you include later speculative developments of iconodulism which equated icons to sacraments?

Or, do you mean with respect strictly to the first seven councils? If the first seven, in what sense are the 39 articles a violation of orthodox doctrine?

sincerely,
charles

palaeologos said...

That citation from St Mark strikes me as a rather limp argument for Cranmer's placement of the Gloria. In the 16th century, the Communio would have been sung after the administration; I know that in musical terminology this is an antiphon rather than a hymn, but in any case the intention is to give thanks for the sacrament just received. And of course, in the present day most of us sing a hymn following Communion, and then another at the end of the service.

According to the Liber pontificalis, the Gloria was sung after the Kyrie on Sundays and feasts of martyrs as early as the 6th century. That's a thousand-year precedent by the time the reformers were doing their work. So a thousand years doesn't count as ancient enough, but five hundred (in the case of the BCP) does? Again, I don't get it.

If I sound exasperated, it's because I am. I have had it up to here with professional fussbudgets whose practice of Anglicanism is confined to the Internet, yet whose authority is apparently so great that they are empowered to unchurch me and the majority of those in my and Fr Hart's jurisdictions. It tends to make a person a bit testy.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I believe in offending everybody equally, including myself. That way I stay objective.

At 9:00 AM on Sundays I celebrate straight BCP, Gloria at the end. At 11:00 AM it is near the beginning. Did you know that either way the words are the same?

Nathan said...

Seeing that in the 1549 BCP the Gloria remained after the Kyrie and later revisions placed it after the Thanksgiving, I would conclude that both positions are 'Prayer Book' traditions.

Nathan (leworbi)

poetreader said...

Just a brief comment that I've hinted at before. This may be rather subjective, but it seems extraordinarily disloyal for a Catholic Christian to speak of a form of worship specifically authorized by his own jurisdiction as a heretical document, or as one serving heresy.

Yes, we are allowed, and even encouraged to have a preference and to follow it, but, the last I heard, both ACC and ACA have specifially authorized both the BCP and the Missal. If one considers an official form of prayer of one's own church as heretical, isn't one declaring that one's allegiance is to a heretical body?

It cuts both ways. There are those who condemn the Missal as either heretical or tending to heresy, and (as I've heard on another board where I've posted) there are those who consider the BCP to be less than Catholic. Neither view is in accord with what their own churches have declared. Perhaps they'd be happier elsewhere.

ed

Death Bredon said...

Charles,

I shall try to find my copy of the only English-language work of which I am cognizant that compares the 39 Articles to Orthodox confessions -- it was penned by an Orthodox and concluded that nothing in the Articles was contrary to Orthodoxy. Of course, the author may have engaged in the same sort of precious reading of the Articles as Newman did and the Evangelical still do, but I plan to report on it on my blog.

As the Orthodox developments in spirituality and para-lirturgics (that is innovations moving away from the ancient norm), Alice is undoubtedly correct that the English Reformation and medieval and most contemporary Orthodox would not see eye to eye, due to the ascendency of the monastic party in Orthodoxy. Though some notable Orthodox scholars, e.g., , would probably be very sympathetic to central Anglicanism's
purging of certain accretions such of celibate clergy, uber-austere fasting regimes, mandatory auricular confession, etc.

Death Bredon said...

Fr. Kirby,

I must concede that, were the Missals used in a manner completely at odds with the express purpose and intent of their compilers, i.e., forming Counter-Reformation "Anglicans," then I would find their use merely quixotic and anachronistic.

Bishop Peter Robinson of the UEC has noted in various cyber fora that he has recognized a Missal-and-water segment in American, catholic Anglicanism in which the parish only seems to use the Missal and a touch of Ritual Notes solely as a totem of catholicism and seems completely unawares that Percy Dearmer's Parsons Handbook would really fit their aims much better.

And, I have encounter a few quasi-Missal parishes in which no Benediction and Exposition, no rosaries, no kitsch Sacred-Heart statuary, no Stations of the Cross, no genuflecting during the Creed, no Birettas, etc. are to be found. Rather, they call the priest "father," use Roman color sequences, incense on high holy days, and a few Missal interpolations -- such as the Centurion's Prayer in addition to the Prayer of Humble Access, and perhaps a few other Romanisms.

But, such parishes I regard as more confused than true Victorian Anglo-Catholic, Missal-Mass parishes. They just need a angel to strew some English-Use, Prayer-Book Catholic literature about for the priest and parishioners to stumble upon.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Charles,

The differences have to do with the continental influences exerted on the Church in England, which influences had less impact on Orthodoxy. Let us consider a few Articles:

Article II – “Original guilt” is not a view held by most Orthodox.

Article V – Of the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father AND the Son – big difference here.

Article VI – Of the Sufficiency of the holy Scriptures for salvation – Orthodox view Scripture as the liquid carried within the vessel of Holy Tradition.

Article VII – Of the Old Testament. This is one of the best of the 39 Articles, especially this part: “Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.”

Article VIII – Of the Three Creeds. Something Anglicans should treasure and which the Orthodox should heed.

Article IX – Of Original or Birth-sin - very Augustinian and Lutheran. Recapitulation to the nature before the Curse is more compelling and Scriptural, I believe. Sin leads to spiritual death, but death also leads to sin.

Article X – Of Free-Will. Again strongly influenced by Luther’s views, and one might conclude that the imprint of the Divine image is completely expunged.

Article XI – Of the Justification of Man. Orthodox take a more metaphysical rather than a juridical view. Jesus Christ is the ground of our very life so He certainly is also the only ground upon which we can stand before the Father.

Article XII – Of Good Works. Here these are but the "fruits of Faith" whereas the Orthodox view good works: prayer, fasting, alms and works of charity - as aids in the building up of faith and righteousness.

I find the Orthodox view consistent with St. Paul’s recognition that salvation by faith creates an opportunity for weak members to neglect practical love for one's neighbor, godly attitudes toward money and possessions, and the spiritual needs of new converts. Here are some of Paul’s teachings on this subject:

“It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God, not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit” (Eph. 2:8).

“It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God, not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.” (Eph. 2:8).

Christ has redeemed us “to purify for himself a people who are eager for good works.”

“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing good works, in order that they may provide for daily necessities” (Titus 2:14, 3:8 and 3:14).

“If a man cleanses himself,” he is “useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (II Tim. 2:21).

Unlike Torah, which defines righteousness as the fulfillment of the Law, Paul defines righteousness as being in Christ, and becoming Christ-like.

Rabbinic literature teaches that man was created to do good works. Abraham was the exemplar of good works because he entertained foreigners and conceded to his nephew the more fertile land. St. Paul hoped that Christians, like godly Jews, would “be careful to devote ourselves to doing good works” so that we may be seen to show forth the compassion of God in Christ. Paul expressly states this to be true for all people: “For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom. 2:13).

Paul urges us to “living works” that are good in themselves and also motivated by love for God.

Sorry, we haven't even come to the authority of General Councils and the Sacraments.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Alice,

The Articles' soteriology is certainly quite Augustinian in much the same way the Council of Orange was, and therefore not reflective of a dogmatic East/West consensus, but they cannot be considered heterodox on this account, just very much an expression of a permissible Western opinion. The only Article that might go beyond the phraseology and thought of St Augustine and those in his tradition is XI, but mention of justification by faith alone exists in the patristic corpus long before Luther, even if it can be successfully argued that he pressed the language further than they did. And the Homily on Justification specifically referred to for explanation in that Article defines the Justification it is talking about as the forgiveness of sins and transition from darkness to light: what Roman Catholic theologians are accustomed to calling "first justification" (even when talking about Christians regaining a state of grace from mortal sin) and what the East would consider one genuine aspect of salvation, and one to which works do not contribute at all, since all Christians accept that forgiveness is never earned but only accepted by penitent, living faith, just as the Homily teaches.

As for Article XII, you have added a "but" that isn't there. Not fair! Other spiritual benefits of good works are mentioned in the BCP Collects, which cannot be dissociated from the Articles in interpreting them. E.g., Lent I, where abstinence is said to be used to subdue flesh to Spirit (by grace) and enable obedience, and Sunday next before Advent, where the works bring rewards.

Article VI is entirely consistent with the statements of the Fathers and does not deny the necessity of Tradition as interpretive, which is asserted elsewhere in the Formularies.

As for the filioque clause in Article V, since a number of Orthodox have said in the past that the West need not expunge the phraseology everywhere in the case of Reunion, but must in the ecumenical Creed itself, and a number have also said the clause can be interpreted in an orthodox sense, there can be no justification for claiming this makes the Articles manifestly heterodox even by Eastern Orthodox standards. After all, over centuries the theologians who have held the more tolerant position have not been excommunicated for these statements, so their opinion is de facto permitted and so the East cannot legitimately point to any and all filioquist language as proof of heresy, as if they possessed a dogma excluding all such language absolutely and without exception.

So, whatever imperfections or excesses of emphasis the Articles may or may not have, you have not shown in your brief survey that they were ever an insuperable barrier between us and the EOC. As it happens, the ACC is not dogmatically committed to them anyway, but we do deny that they ever rendered Anglicanism heterodox.

Death Bredon said...

Alice,

The Articles, in their literal sense, are more vague than you guess. For example:

Article II does not say whether original guilt is ours -- it could be read as referring to Adam.

Article V is vague because the word "proceed" has no clear patristic meaning -- understood in the sense of "manifested by," the filioque is fully Orthodox.

Indeed, hearing Augustinian, Lutheran, or Reformed tone in the language is not the same as reading in such sectarian meaning -- though, admittedly, this became a very popular, self-serving game among the Evangelicals after the Restoration. Indeed, equating tone or language with content is the same fallacy that some Prots commit when they equating the early Councils with Hellenism because of their vocabulary.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Adoration of Christ present in the sacrament was not the the issue in Cranmer's writings; the issue was gazing instead of receiving. In his day and age it was necessary to put an end to all those other practices in order to restore Holy Communion, to get the people to go to the rail and receive, which better fits the genuine Catholic and Patristic, Scriptural emphasis.

Show me anything, anything at all, about Eucharistic Adoration in the ancient writings; it is licit, but hardly the most important thing. And, in an era when that was all the people had thought to do, it was truly Catholic to dispense with the practice so as to emphasize receiving.

Cranmer's emphasis was right.


Fr Hart,

I agree that a change in emphasis was needed. Your argument parallels that of the BCP Preface “Of Ceremonies”, where we are told some potentially orthodox ceremonies have been so abused dispensing with is better than reforming them. This is not the problem. The problem is that in non-binding writings some English Refomers went further. It is instructive to read Darwell Stone's great work, A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, wherein many of the relevant Anglican divines are quoted extensively in Volume Two. In these citations and in the original, but never properly authorised, “Black Rubric”, clearcut denials of the Real Presence and implicit wholesale condemnation of Eucharistic Adoration of Christ present “under” the forms of the Body and Blood may be found.

In Volume One patristic evidence of Eucharistic Adoration is presented as well, with Ss Ambrose, Augustine and Chrysostom among those quoted. It is quite true that this was not emphasised at that time, but it was certainly practised within the Liturgies themselves.

Please note that I did not say some of the English Reformers merely argued for the cessation of certain practices on Pastoral grounds, such as Eucharistic Adoration, but that they denied outright their “legitimacy”, that is, their orthodoxy and validity. That is where they crossed the line. Also note that I am using the term “English Reformers” broadly to include all the divines or other influential churchmen who supported the separation from Rome, and argued the case for and conformed to the Church of England at that time. Among this group it is simply incorrect to say that all opposition to prayer for the dead or invocation of saints, for example, was limited to a conditioned, qualified protest against certain forms of the practices. As for the use and veneration of icons, the problem with the Homily “Against Peril of Idolatry” is not that it rejects the Seventh Council as having taught adoration of icons, which is simply an error of fact regarding that Council's teaching. After all, if the Council had taught that, it would undeniably have been heretical. The problem is that the said Homily argues for a complete destruction of imagery and that no kind of honour whatever can be given icons without the sin of idolatry. Additionally, it is argued attempted images of Christ are sinful because they show only his manhood, which is the same as the Iconoclast argument centuries before. All this is in direct contradiction to the true, not just the misinterpreted, teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. It is therefore materially heretical.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

(cont'd) ...

What do I mean by “materially heretical”? That the opinion so described is objectively opposed to a truth which has been revealed by God and thus has been consistently taught by the Church Universal as part of the Christian faith. What do I not mean by “materially heretical”? That the person holding such an opinion must have committed the actual sin of heresy, which is to KNOWINGLY reject what the Church has so taught. Only if the erroneous opinion is held in conscious defiance of the Church can the person holding it be considered a formal heretic. At least, these are the conventional definitions, as I understand them and in relatively simple terms.

So, if the author of the iconoclastic Homily believed the teaching of the Iconoclastic Council of Hieria was that which was truly Catholic, and that Council properly General and Orthodox, as he seemed to, perhaps he was not a formal heretic. Though how he could treat as anti-Catholic something he presumably knew represented the all but universal teaching of East and West for centuries since these Councils and controversies is a challenge to the understanding.

Similarly, Cranmer claimed to adhere to the patristic and ecclesial consensus and to be willing to submit his teachings to a free General Council, but not to Rome. For this very reason he said he could not be a heretic properly speaking.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Eucharistic adoration (a perfectly commendable and unexceptionable practice in itself) is well established in western catholicism, although I would question its importance prior to AD 1000. But it is generally unknown in EO.

Fr Wells,

My memory is that Eucharistic adoration is practised within the EO Liturgy after consecration, and has been for many centuries. It is true the East has no specific extra-liturgical devotions involving such adoration.

As far as Nicaea II is concerned, some forget that it distinguished between worship and veneration, and while it allowed the veneration of icons, it did not make such veneration mandatory.

Where such veneration had become superstitious or had been made into a commercial activity, it was surely not heretical to lay it aside.


Agreed, but as noted above in my response to Fr Hart, some Reformers, including the author of the Homily discussed therein (Jewel I think) went much further than the pastoral discretion and avoidance of scandal to which you refer. It was not the omission of certain practices but their unconditional condemnation to which I referred in my first comment. While the Homily was never binding (since the Articles only say the Homilies “contain” orthodox teaching, not that they are infallible or definitive) and contradicted other statements and practices even in the Elizabethan reign, it does represent a clear example of objectively heretical opinions among the Reformers.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

(cont'd) ...

If I felt that the founders of Anglicanism and authors of the original BCP were guilty of heresy formal or material (a rather precious distinction), I would surely know what to do about it. I would not remain one day in a Church or Tradition I truly felt was "heretical" in its foundations.

Given that the early Anglicans who contributed to the development of the Formularies were such a large and theologically disparate group, the fact that a number held erroneous opinions in matters of Faith is not troublesome in itself unless these opinions were imposed definitively on the Church. They were not. As for the BCP, given that Cranmer was not the sole author, that he drew mostly on pre-existing orthodox materials, and that he knew it was to be used by people who did not hold all his opinions, his heterodoxy in certain areas would not necessarily undermine the book itself. Indeed, no-one can be sure that every single prayer in the ancient liturgies was originally composed by someone of perfect orthodoxy, without a hint of doctrinal error, and it doesn't matter anyway. It is the Church authorising the rite that provides the necessary context for its interpretation, not the idiosyncrasies of individual authors.

The foundation of Anglicanism is not to be found in the 16th Century anyway, as the Reformers were adamant that they continued the same Church as before, withits spiritual, doctrinal and institutional roots in the Apostolic, primitive Church and the teaching and practice of its Fathers and Doctors, to which they appealed. This is part of their fundamental self-understanding and epistemology, and this is part of the worthy “wheat among the chaff” which we preserve. What the English Reformers (from Henry's reign to 1662), insofar as their beliefs informed the Church itself, got right was to point not to themselves but back to Christ, the Scripture, and the consensual Catholicism of the undivided Church. This general principle was not all they got right, but it is the key for interpreting everything else and for asserting our continuity with them.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

(cont'd) ...

Heresy is a very serious charge. It is not a word to throw around casually. I recall Junior Seminarians who liked to huff and puff as they jurled out their sophomoric anathemas, but most of them eventually grew up.

I have little doubt that in various ways I am less mature than many others contributing to this weblog! Quite apart from being, I suspect, younger than most, I have never been married and have not travelled a great deal. And there are other contributing factors too, probably.

However, citing material heresy among Cranmer, Jewel, et al., is not in itself really a sign of my immaturity, since I am hardly the first Anglican Catholic to do this. Even the 19th Century moderately High Church scholar, Sir William Palmer, one who was rather suspicious of the Tractarians, was willing to admit such serious objective errors in his Treatise on the Church, though he defended Cranmer's subjective or intentional orthodoxy.

If I had not drawn the distinction between material and formal heresy, which I can't help but consider to be “precious” in a different sense to you, then I think your criticism would have been fairer. Heresy IS a very serious charge when formal heresy in a person is the accusation. It is, however, no crime for a Catholic to describe manifest error in matters of Faith, where the Church's teaching has clearly been violated, as material heresy.

P.S.

I acknowledge that for avowed “radical” Protestants who reject any kind of infallibility of the Church, but in good conscience adhere to all that they believe God to have revealed in Scripture, the ascription “heretic” is unfitting just because they reject what they know is a consistent and widespread teaching of the Church. I am not sure this caveat is necessarily relevant to the case we have been considering.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

No citation or quotation has been provided. All I have seen in the above series of comments is charges without quoting anybody. But, if we assume that teaching against idolatry somehow infringes on Nicea II, then it is the Ecumenical Council itself that is coming under fire, and suffering misrepresentation. I don't know that I can blame that on the second Homily. But, I will revisit the homily itself for closer analysis, noting for now only that it never says anything against the Council, and is addressed to the problem of idolatry in the 16th century. So, at the moment, I am able only to agree with Fr.Wells about the intended meaning of the homily; his comment perfectly fits what I recall.

However, citing material heresy among Cranmer, Jewel, et al., is not in itself really a sign of my immaturity, since I am hardly the first Anglican Catholic to do this.

Again, they come out looking a lot better when we read them in the context of their own time, and work a little harder at understanding what they were addressing, as opposed to how it sounds in our ears in our own time. The charge of heresy cannot be weighed by modern Anglo-Catholic tastes, or by modern definitions. It must be substantiated against the Great Tradition.

Alice C. Linsley said...

I'd like to make one more comment and then I will be silent.

Theological precision on fundamentals of the catholic Faith is essential. There is a place for ambiguity when painting with the broadest strokes, as we find in the so-called Athanasian Creed here: “The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.” This statement does not support the filioque and since the Church is as yet divided on this matter, and this “creed” articulates the catholic Faith, the ambiguity serves a greater purpose than theological laxity.

C.S. Lewis in his Introduction to St. Athanasius’ treatise On the Incarnation writes, “St. Athanasius has suffered in popular estimation from a certain sentence… ‘Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly’… the author is not talking about unbelievers, but about deserters.” That being the case, none may say about those who uphold the filioque that they are deserters.

Anonymous said...

"Cranmer wrote, in answer to the King's questions of 1540, "In the New Testament, he that is appointed to be a Bishop or a priest needs no consecration by the Scripture, for election or appointing thereto is sufficient".

This statement, as quoted in isolation by Fr Kirby, seems indefensible. But there is a larger context to this "gotcha."

In the first place, there has not been a theologian in all Christian history who has not at some point or other made rash or ill-considered statements. It is unfair and unscholarly to grab such things and use them to make a case against the man. (How many Church Fathers defended the persecution of Jews and heretics?)

In the second place, Fr Kirby needs to consider the real condition of the episcopate in Thomas Cranmer's time. It is easy to believe in apostolic succession as de esse in the Church when we have bishops who are godly, learned, devout and competent. But in Cranmer's time, many, if not most, if not nearly all episcopates were obtained through simony by horribly ungodly men. The office of bishop as sold for cash and boys as young as 10 were "consecrated" as bishops.
The debauchery of the Church, from the papacy right on down to the parish clergy, is well documented. It is sad to find anyone defending such disorder as representative of "orthodoxy." So bringing up this statement of Cranmer's strikes me as revealing a rather superficial concept of orthodoxy and heresy.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Alice, I concur in your over-all point, but as I read the Symbol of St Athanasius (which as we all know originated in the West, was written in Latin not Greek by somebody other than Athanasius), it seems to support the Filioque. I am away from my library and cannot supply the quote, but I will surely do so,

The question before us is whether "orthodoxy" is truly centered in the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, or has the center been moved to less central things like prayers for the dead, veneration of icons, eucharistic devotions, etc.

I respectfully submit than when less important things take the place of the Trinity and the Incarnation, we have moved from heresy right into idolatry, the worship of orthodoxy as such. "This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I think Alice Linsley meant for this comment to go to this thread rather than to my sermon for Trinity XIV-Fr. Hart She wrote:

Father Kirby, I never suggested that the the Articles "rendered Anglicanism heterodox." I simply said that there are significant differences between their historical context and that of most Orthodox. Further, I made little of the difference on Justification because there isn't a big difference. It should also be obvious from what I wrote that I'm not attacking the Articles, since I lifted up some of the tidbits that I regard as treasures to be embraced by all Christians.

Charles, I hope that I provided an adequate response to your question.

Death Bredon (Lord Peter is one of my favorite characters, BTW) - You said, "The Articles, in their literal sense, are more vague than you guess." Anglicans are too comfortable with ambiguity, I think. This can be an excuse for theological laziness or grounds for heterodoxy. Are you suggesting that the Articles are more Anglican fudge?

You offer as examples Article II, which you suggest could be taken to refer to our original guilt or to Adam's. So which is it? Or is this a matter of such small importance that Anglicans don't care? I've posted on this topic recently here: http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2009/09/original-sin-or-ancestral-sin.html

You also give as an example Article V "because the word 'proceed' has no clear patristic meaning -- understood in the sense of 'manifested by,' the filioque is fully Orthodox." The word procession has a clear meaning in classical Greek philosophy which the early Fathers knew and which is made clear in St. John's Gospel. Were the filioque the universal position of the Church, there would be no argument over it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This statement, as quoted in isolation by Fr Kirby, seems indefensible. But there is a larger context to this "gotcha."

To take this sentence on its face value would contradict other things Cranmer is known to have said. Besides, it is not Scripture that consecrates a man.

Anonymous said...

Another thought on how Fr Kirby can continue as an Anglican when he believes certain key figures Anglican history were guilty of "material heresy." If I understand his answer, it is that in spite of the alleged heresies of Cranmer, et al., the English Church, her liturgy and other key documents were somehow saved from that heresy.

That being the case, what is the value of bringing up these alleged heresies now? This is somewhat like the scandal-monger who brings up the fact that St Augustine of Hippo sired an illegitimate son (St Adeodatus). If the heresies of Cranmer et al. had no lasting effect, what is your point, Fr Kirby?
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr.Kirby:

I have had little time to pay attention to this blog for a couple of days (reading a paper all the way up in Delaware and then driving back here to N.C.) and have not said all I have to say. I cannot nod in agreement with you on these matters, because I find your dismissive attitude toward the English Reformers all too typical of the kind of Anglo-Catholicism that I long ago repented of. It is a partisan version of the Oxford Movement, and it lacks authority.

You mentioned the "Black Rubric." I am the man who defended the actual meaning of the Black Rubric (having only its words to go on), even though I acknowledge that it was printed against the stated orders of the Bishops, Parliament and the Crown, that is, not only without authority, but against explicit orders. And, I do not like it. But it is not heresy; it is simply too subtle for most people, insulting to the intelligence of those who are educated, and a distraction from devotions. But, to call it heresy is quite wrong. I gave my reasons, including reasons why the current Pope has said, in his own words, the same thing. Here is the link:
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2008/11/transubstantiation-and-black-rubric.html

I wrote that essay, knowing it would generate cries of anguish among Anglo-Catholics; not cries of anguish because I cleared up confuision and misunderstanding; but cries of anguish because I removed a pet peeve that justified their cherished sense of inferiority and their psychotic desire to be members of a dysfunctional family, a desire that real Anglicanism simply cannot fulfill. But, I wrote it anyway, because it provided a perfect example of how knee-jerk reaction has no place in serious discussion of theology, inasmuch as it reduces everything to a level of simplistic thought and discussion. The result is that "heresy" means anything we do not like.

You wrote:

No, Fr Hart, this is simply untrue. Cranmer wrote, in answer to the King's questions of 1540, "In the New Testament, he that is appointed to be a Bishop or a priest needs no consecration by the Scripture, for election or appointing thereto is sufficient". He even claimed there were historical precedents in Church history.

King Henry demanded to know why his word, as king was not enough. Cranmer, a fast thinker, knew how to keep his head, literally. His answer dealt with form, subtly changing the subject (i.e. the Accipe Spiritum Sanctum followed, of each Order, by words of Scripture that identify the Order). He evaded the question altogether.

But the authority of the king was the basis of the question. Do you know why? because it was about the King vs.the Pope. This was the position of Rome at that time:

"A man is not made Bishop by consecration,
but is pronounced so at Rome in Consistory ; and he has no jurisdiction given him by
consecration, but only the rights of his Order, namely, consecrating of children, et caetera." It was stated by William Warham (c. 1450 – 22 August 1532), Archbishop of Canterbury, a loyal Papist.

In this argument between Rome and the King, Archbishop Cranmer had to give answer. In no way was either position a denial that the sacrament of Orders (i.e. the consecration of a bishop) was necessary for the charismatic nature of the ministry itself,and for the continuation of Apostolic Succession. The end of this story is that Cranmer pulled up his courage, and finally told the King that only a Bishop, not a King, could make a priest. He managed to keep his head by saying it very softly, almost appearing to compromise. But, he won.

Which means that, when the Ordinal was composed, and later the Preface, the Church of England restored true Catholic doctrine, that Orders with all their charismatic power are conferred in the sacrament, not by decree later on. Here too, Rome followed, a story you should find familiar.

And, we could go on and on with these details.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Hart,

Are you referring to the original or the modified Black Rubric? The original denied adoration of a "real and essential presence" rather than a "corporal presence". Do we really need to attempt any justification of this, since it is manifestly unCatholic and never had authority. Yes, it was the real presence of Christ's "natural flesh and blood" denied, but such a denial is still erroneous since the Body and Blood present in the Eucharist are the very same Body and Blood crucified and arisen. Denial of a natural presence would have been orthodox, but that is not what the original Rubric said. It is the mode of the Presence that is not natural. Although Christ's humanity is now glorified, he still retains a body "native" to Him and natural in that technical sense relevant here.

As for the relative absence of quotations, given the vast amount of material available, the fact that isolated sentences can almost always be explained away till you see the whole passage from which they come, and the fact that I cited the best Anglican compendium available, I must leave people to read the copious sources for themselves. Darwell Stone, the acknowledged Anglican authority, had no trouble admitting that effective denials of the Real Presence were common among the early Anglican churchmen, and he was hardly an Anglo-papist or ignorant of the historical context to which you refer.

Regarding your defence of Cranmer, you seem to forget that it was not just Cranmer that was asked or that answered. Some other divines accepted a King might make bishops in extreme emergency, others solidly denied this. But only Cranmer denied the normative necessity of episcopal consecration ab initio in the Church. What forced him to go even beyond what the King might have wanted to hear, when all others were far more careful and theologically honest? And what about the fact that some historians have inferred that Cranmer probably encouraged the asking of the questions in the first place?

Your memory of what the Homily against the Peril of Idolatry says is rather different to my own. And rather different to C.B. Moss' explanation of the same in his essay on the Seventh General Council, which can also be found online. Is anybody going to try to make him out to be an Anglo-Papist or ignorant of English Reformational history? I doubt it.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Wells,

You ask: "what is the value of bringing up these alleged heresies now?" Partly in order to maintain strict accuracy in our apologetics, so that those who oppose our existence cannot get their own "gotcha" moment by citing such serious errors when we have claimed too much. Partly in order to emphasise the fact that fault was not all on one side, for the sake of honest and constructive ecumenical progress.

You seem shocked that I show such disrespect to some of the Reformers by citing their errors, as if this would undermine Anglican ecclesial identity. But I have also noted in the past similar material heresies among Roman Catholic writers of that age and before. Although I have Thomist tendencies myself, like C.B. Moss I cannot help but think the Angelic Doctor's recommendation and defence of adoration of the cross and crucifix was materially heretical and a "vindication" of idolatry. (Moss thinks he was probably not aware of what the Seventh Council taught, so he cannot be charged with formal heresy.) Aquinas is, I think we all agree, a pretty important figure for understanding mediaeval Western Catholicism, and the Council of Trent for that matter. Do I unchurch the RCC by pointing out these things? If others point out material heresies in the words of Popes, even in quite authoritative contexts, as has been legitimately done on this weblog, would this unchurch the RCC? If not, why are you so sensitive about shining the same searching light on some of our own divines?

I respectfully submit than when less important things take the place of the Trinity and the Incarnation, we have moved from heresy right into idolatry, the worship of orthodoxy as such. "This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

I can't help but feel that, given the context, this was aimed at me. However, given our past history and my mistakes in controversy with you, it may be that you are only giving me what I deserve. So, I will "pass" on the umbrage and move on to the substance of our disagreement, if disagreement it really is, since I am not sure what you fundamentally want to affirm of the Reformers I really want to deny, or vice-versa.

While I agree with you that the Trinity and Incarnation must always remain "central" to considerations of orthodoxy vs heresy, I do not believe that only these two central doctrines of the Creeds are mandatory for Catholics. And if there are other things that, while less important and needing to be put into context by the great central core of evangelical and creedal Truth, are mandatory beliefs, then denial of them does constitute heresy in objective terms. For example, although not central Creedal truths, the moral teachings of the Church against extra-marital sex and abortion I believe to be de fide and heresy to deny. And I cannot believe that you would really disagree with this.

Anyway, I think I will let you and Fr Hart have the last word. I have read the attempts to acquit Cranmer and Jewel of doctrinal error, and read what they wrote, and remain unpersuaded that the attempted vindications of their orthodoxy in all important areas succeed. I also remain persuaded that such an admission does not destroy our ecclesial identity, for exactly the reasons I have given repeatedly before.

Pax et bonum,

MK+

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Correction: strike the word "similar" in the second paragraph above.

poetreader said...

A quick note:
If heresy be an overemphasis on a truth to the extent that other truth is contradicted, as was the case with Arius, with Nestorius, with the Monophysites, and with the Iconoclasts, then all sides in the Reformation period, in their overreaction to each other, were materially expressing heresy, and none of them were entirely orthodox. As at every time in history, one needs to listen to all the voices, and to weight them against each other in order to find where truth actually resides.

If I do not recognize the infallibility of the Pope, of Aquinas, of Trent, and of the Counterreformation theologians, I also fail to see how our Anglican divines, though they deserve our high respect and our attentive ears, can be deemed to be infallible, nor how disagreement with even the best of them makes me less than Anglican or less than Catholic.

I am far more likely to to be in agreement with Frs. Hart and Wells on any point of doctrine than otherwise, but I'm as disturbed by the oversensitivity to suggestions that it is proper to point out errors in these cherished authorities. I do believe they did err, sometimes seriously, but also that they did not veer as far from the historic Catholic consensus as the Roman majority had done and continued to do.

What marks Anglicanism is not the full extent of reaction to errors, but the seeking of balance in theology,

Thus I would far rather see a discussion of the issues themselves than an attempt to either justify or condemn any individuals, however authoritative they may be on the whole.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Kirby:

The first version of the "Black Rubric" was sneaked in under the radar and against orders, as was the second. And Queen Elizabeth herself forbade it during her reign. It was never authorized, even though the second version was "grandfathered in" by precedent.

You wrote:
Yes, it was the real presence of Christ's "natural flesh and blood" denied, but such a denial is still erroneous since the Body and Blood present in the Eucharist are the very same Body and Blood crucified and arisen.

Avoid Impanation then. Hooker went out of his way to make it clear that the body of Jesus is glorified and in heaven. Therefore, whatever we mean by Real Presence cannot be natural, because the contrast between natural and spiritual is one of those obvious points, or between natural and supernatural. What they denied, as I think is clear, was Transubstantiation, as understood in England to be wholly carnal and material.

Darwell Stone, the acknowledged Anglican authority, had no trouble admitting that effective denials of the Real Presence were common among the early Anglican churchmen...

So, how do you define Real Presence? For any definition, what is the Biblical source, and when exactly did the Church declare its Universal consensus? Did any Ecumenical Council explain this to us?

It is fairly obvious that they taught, clearly, that by eating and drinking the sacrament with faith, the supernatural saving grace of the sacrament is imparted. That this was, for them, the true meaning of what we now call Real Presence, is more than evident in the Homliy: "AN HOMILIE OF THE worthy receiuing and reuerend esteeming of the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ." I quote:

"But thus much we must be sure to hold, that in the Supper of the Lord, there is no vaine Ceremonie, no bare signe, no vntrue figure of a thing absent ...When thou goest vp to the reuerend Communion, to be satisfied with spirituall meates, thou looke vp with fayth vpon the holy body and blood of thy GOD, thou maruayle with reuerence"

This is interpreted further by Article XXVIII, which says, “the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.” What we call the Real Presence was, for them, a practical doctrine that helped them urge the people to come forward and receive in a worthy manner.

They expressed belief in the supernatural power of it, whether to salvation or to judgment. Beyond their emphasis, what is the revelation and where is the Universal Consensus of the Church? They denied that it is a bare sign of a thing absent; they taught to look up and behold our God in it.

But only Cranmer denied the normative necessity of episcopal consecration ab initio in the Church.

As I already demonstrated, what Cranmer did was to repeat the teaching of Rome itself. Until then, this was the doctrine everyone had grown up with. But, he did not deny the "normative necessity of episcopal consecration" at all. He meant nothing more than what had been said a generation earlier by Archbishop Warham: (once again) "A man is not made Bishop by consecration, but is pronounced so at Rome in Consistory ; and he has no jurisdiction given him by
consecration, but only the rights of his Order, namely, consecrating of children, et caetera."

What forced him to go even beyond what the King might have wanted to hear, when all others were far more careful and theologically honest?

To go beyond what that King wanted to hear was probably impossible. But, that he had to be more careful than others was due to his Archbishopric. Others could get away with a lot more. Henry rarely killed people outside his close circle.

(cont. below)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

And what about the fact that some historians have inferred that Cranmer probably encouraged the asking of the questions in the first place?

Considering the fact that to Henry VIII, this was a bone of contention, part of his struggle against the papacy, it is unlikely that any encouragement was needed. Also, please consider what I said. Cranmer dodged the question (no doubt to keep his head). Am I alone in noticing those extra words "consecration by Scripture"? He turned it, by his answer, into a question of Form. He turned it into a question about the specific part of the Ordinal that begins with "Accipe Spritum Sanctum." This was very clever. He did not deny the need for consecration, but only the need for a specific Form.

That subtle shifting of the question to one of Form ought to have been a major consideration of everybody all along; especially in its historical context with that bloody and dangerous King.

Let the above serve as an example: I am very likely to notice when the standard interpretation by historians comes up short. Many have simply failed to dig deep enough; or they have ignored words, and sometimes whole sentences.

Anonymous said...

Fr Kirby, my dear brother priest and gnesion teknon en pistei, writes,

"While I agree with you that the Trinity and Incarnation must always remain "central" to considerations of orthodoxy vs heresy, I do not believe that only these two central doctrines of the Creeds are mandatory for Catholics."

The Reformers were accused by the Romanists of teaching a parity of sins--that all sins are equally heinous. The Westminister Larger Catechism (Questions 150 and 151) went out of its way to declare that some sins are more heinous than others and give general rules to determining the relative seriousness of particular transgressions or omissions.

I bring this up because you seem to be asserting a parity of errors, in which all errors of doctrine or morals are labelled "HERESY!" In response to my strenuous objection to your labelling Thomas Cranmer a heretic, you offer as a sort of olive branch the soothing assurance that you have labelled St Thomas Aquinas a heretic as well. (How did he make it past the Devil's Advocate in the canonization process?) I wonder where your painting with the broad brush will lead. "If thou, O Father Kirby, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Father Kirby, who may abide it?" When the term heresy is flung around so freely, it becomes trivial. Is there any theologian in all history whom you consider to be exempt from the label of heresy?

I would not suggest that the Trinity and the Incarnation are the ONLY necessary doctrines. But just as moralists distinguish between mortal and venial sins, can you not be merciful, and allow a distinction between heresy and mere error?

If every theological faux pas, every unguarded statement, every sally in thinking aloud, is to be treated with an outcry of HERESY! then we would be better not to do theology at all.
LKW

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Wells,

I was happy enough to allow you and Fr Hart to finish the conversation, but you have asked questions that appear not to be rhetorical. That is, you seem to want my answer to them. To wit:

Is there any theologian in all history whom you consider to be exempt from the label of heresy?

You do not seem to have carefully read what I said. Cranmer and Aquinas both taught material heresies. This is not the same as saying they are heretics, simpliciter. I made the necessary distinctions fairly clearly. At the risk of repeating myself, let me put the same point again in a slightly different way: a person has not automatically become a heretic properly speaking, that is, become guilty of the sin of heresy, merely by holding one or more opinions that are in fact opposed to the settled teaching of the Church as to what is of the Faith, and therefore materially heretical. They have to hold these opinions fully aware that they are so opposed, otherwise they are not "formally" or genuinely heretics. None of the Fathers or Doctors were formal heretics. Many probably never wrote any material heresy. Especially since whatever errors may have crept into their works were more often than not in areas where there was no manifestly binding or consensual teaching yet or, indeed, where there may still be no such certainty in the Church. Such errors, even in important matters, cannot be even material heresy.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

(cont'd) ...

I would not suggest that the Trinity and the Incarnation are the ONLY necessary doctrines. But just as moralists distinguish between mortal and venial sins, can you not be merciful, and allow a distinction between heresy and mere error?

Of course. As I have said, the only errors that count as material heresy are those manifestly opposed to a (contemporaneously) settled teaching of the Church, whether the teaching has been settled by general, consistent consensus or official, conciliar proclamation. Both are binding. (On the other hand, I also accept the concept of a "hierarchy of truths", and that some heresies are much worse than others.)

E.g., The doctrine that the Eucharistic elements become the Body and Blood of Christ in a real though mysterious and ineffable sense, despite the fact that all the natural physical properties of the bread and wine are unchanged, is the clear consensus of East and West. (Cf. the relevant statement in the Bucharest Agreements between Anglicans and Orthodox, which would also be accepted by the RCC, and is reflective of the ancient, patristic consensus: "In the Eucharist the bread and wine become by consecration [metabole] the Body and Blood of our Lord. How? This is a mystery.") Any denial of this would be material heresy, and a fairly important one, even in the 16th Century.

(As an aside, I am surprised that my use of the preposition "in", with regard to the Real Presence, has been interpreted in this thread as an assertion by me of a physically localised mode of Christ's presence, or presence by way of simple addition or impanation, when such words as "under" and "in" have been common in orthodox theology of the Real Presence, and always understood as analogical as a matter of course. Nevertheless, if I had meant to use that preposition literally, it could fairly be argued that such a position was materially heretical.)

No image or cross is ever allowed to be given the veneration of latreia, other wise idolatry is performed. This teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council is and was binding. Contradiction of it is materially heretical.

However, in each case, stating a heretical position does not make one a heretic as such unless one knows the position is opposed to the Catholic Church's position.

The definitions I am using of these words are not my own. That is why I am mystified by the reaction to these statements, a reaction that presents me as introducing some extremist, marginal idiosyncrasy of my own in the use of the word "heresy". This is despite the fact that both as to general principles and specific application, my statements have hardly been out of step with what most RC, EO and Anglo-Catholic theologians have said, using the same terminology when discussing the same points.

Fr Wells, if I understand you correctly, you wish to restrict the word "heresy" to only those errors offending against the Creeds themselves. This is not the normal practice, but I freely acknowledge you probably have Abp Laud on your side here, and some of the other Caroline Divines as well. I think a plausible argument could even be made that there is something of this kind of differentiation in a letter of St Basil (Ep. 188) regarding the degrees of separation from the Church. There he limits the word heresy to the more fundamental errors regarding God. However, the word has generally been used more broadly than that.

I have no great objection to either the broader or narrower definition of the necessary subject matter for heresy, mainly because I take the distinction between material and formal heresy so seriously instead. Apart from terminology, are our positions really so different?

Anonymous said...

Fr Kirby: Although I am coming to like you and to enjoy you as a partner in dialogue, I think we have some signficant differences (which do not have to be personal or acrimonious).

Let me confess my complete ignorance, up til now, of the distinction between material and formal heresy. Although I have read more than one theological books, many by Roman Catholics, that distinction has so far eluded my studies.

I found it only in the Catholic Encyclopaedia. The "Oxford Distionary of the Christian Church" (perhaps significantly) does not even have an entry for the word heresy. Can you educate me further with the name of an Anglican theologian who employs this distinction? I'm sure there is one, so my question is not facetious.

As I gather from you and from the Catholic Encyclopaedia, formal heresy (the really bad sort) is willful. If an unlettered peasant imagines that Christ was a high-ranking Archangel named Michael, that would be material heresy, right? But if a man trained in historical theology decides that Arius was right after all, then he is guilty of formal heresy. Did I get that right?

So the distinction between material and formal turns out to be a judgment not of the heresy itself but of the heretic. The advantage of the distinction here is that it places a premium on ignorance. Better not to know than to know!

I have a problem with the concept of someone "willfully" deciding to be a heretic. Personally, I hold to a number of beliefs, all centering around the Ecumenical Creeds, all based on my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. But I cannot think of a single belief which I willfully chose.
Between l956 and l964, I was dragged, kicking and screaming, very much against my will and my common sense, into the faith and fellowship of the Anglican tradition. I have paid a huge price for it. So I did not "willfully" become an Anglican. I doubt that Servetus "willfully" denied the Trinity. No one gets out of bed in the morning and says, "I think I will subscribe to a heresy today."

Roman Catholic moral theologians have opined that the official definition of mortal sin is so constricted that it is almost impossible to commit one. I agree. And if the "willful" rubric in this definition of heresy is applied seriously, then "formal heresy" is almost impossible. Unless I have grievously misunderstood it, the distinction is (like most RC manualistic theology)meaningless and of no real value

Enough for today.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

No rational person would claim that any individual is infallible; and to attribute infallibility to Anglican Reformers and Divines would itself contradict their teaching. I have merely broadened the context of the examples sent my way in these comments, because I have not found them to be heretical in and of themselves.

It does not surprise me that the sources were not Anglo-Catholic or High Church, inasmuch as there exists a pseudo-Reformed (pseudo-Calvinist) school of modern Anglicans who are very much like the Reasserters. They make strange bedfellows with Roman Catholic apologists who seize isolated statements by Cranmer, Jewel, Hooker, etc. to try to prove that they lacked Sacramental Intention. For the RC polemicists the motive is clear; for the pseudo-Reformed it is also clear, and quite the opposite: They want to prove that Anglicanism differed in no way from the Continental Reformation[s]. Both schools are selecting the evidence in such a way as to get everything wrong.

That is the monster you really do not want to feed.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Can you educate me further with the name of an Anglican theologian who employs this distinction? I'm sure there is one, so my question is not facetious.

The Rt Revd R.C. Mortimer (d. 1976),
Bp of Exeter,
Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford University

See his The Elements of Moral Theology for an excellent discussion. This was the first Anglican work I took off the shelf and checked last night. No doubt there are others.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I was familiar with this distinction in moral theology, and if heresy is a species of sin (as I agree it is) it would apply. But I continue to point out that this is more an assessment of the heretic personally, rather than of the heresy itself. As you were using these terms with reference to Cranmer, et al., you seemed to be applying them to the doctrines taught, not the man teaching. Can you read a book (written 400 years ago) and say "that is formal or material heresy," when you have not
met the theologian in the confessional?
Since this becomes a matter of personal judgment, we need to be all the more careful. Your strictures on Cranmer turn out to be a moral judgment on the man himself.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Fr Kirby: Having re-read your earlier comments, I am all the more certain you are applying the "formal/material" to doctrines taught, not the person holding them. So your appeal to a textbook in moral theology does not answer my question.
LKW

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Fr Wells,

All heresies, as to content, are only material heresies in themselves. They are formally heretical only if they subsist in a certain kind of act of human will. Heresy is a moral category, strictly speaking. The "form" of heresy (which is a sin) is that certain act of will, not the false doctrine itself, which provides the "matter" for the sinful act.

Thus all the errors I talked about, whether in Cranmer, Jewel or Aquinas were heretical as errors due to their objective opposition to binding teaching. None of them, as they subsisted in the proposers, were necessarily constitutive of the sin of heresy in the subjects.

At least this is the tradtional Western usage, which I have used throughout.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

When fellow scholars and priests are thrown off by a technical term, I suggest the term is too technical for practical use.

Anonymous said...

So if all heresy as such is material rather than formal, what were you talking about? The distinction is simply without point. These highfalutin words sound impressive at first blush, but upon examination turn out to be only window-dressing.

I am not sure I agree with you about heresy as a "moral category." It is hard for me to conceive of someone saying "I think I will commit heresy today," in the same manner that he might say, "I think I will commit adultery, rob a bank, or build a golden calf." Even Arius was not guilty of a "willful" transgression. Heresy is, to my way of thinking, evidence of the noetic effects of the Fall, a horrible example of the darkness of the reprobate mind which Paul speaks of.

It should be recalled that even the worst heretics, even John Spong and KJS, are acting in good conscience, not in "willful" disobedience. I agree with Vatican II and CCC that this conscience, even if malformed, must be respected.

I forgive you for blurring the distinction between the heresy qua heresy, and the heretic himself. But if that distinction has been observed, it would have saved us all a lot of time.
LKW

Anonymous said...

I do not recall the author or the play, but I do recall the dialogue, in which the Puritan governor of Massachussetts says to Roger Williams, "Williams, I have proved to you that your doctrine is wrong. I have proved it beyond the shadow of a doubt. But you persist in your heresy. You are an arrogant, willful sinner. Therefore you are exiled from this colony."

Fr Kirby's notion of "formal heresy" as an act of the will reminds me of this. And if heresy is willful (which is equivalent to voluntary, right?), then we would be justified in punishing it with torture, exile, and stronger measures. Why not? The Inquisition was a good Catholic institution and survived the Council of Trent. It is the logical extension of Fr Kirby's concept of heresy.
LKW