Thursday, September 10, 2009

Important odds and ends

First, with reluctance, we have to accept Sandra McColl's decision to resign as a blog owner here. Her decision was triggered by my recent post, Still I say, swim the Tiber without me. Fair enough. She believes I have misrepresented the intentions and beliefs of Archbishop Hepworth and other TAC bishops who are pressing for their own inter communion, or "Uniat" status, or Personal Prelature with the See of Rome. In particular, she found one comment to be over the top. Actually, she is right that the comment (of mine) was over the top. I went too far in that comment, and spoke of Rome as being like a woman with a social disease (gee, as we all know, it is simply off limits to remember Rome's sexual child abuse scandal. Hell, the little brats will get over it-right? Of course I don't mean that- I just thought to demonstrate what would be really insensitive...!). I followed up by identifying very real problems, and one ecumenical hindrance, that tend to be overlooked, when I continued by saying, "When Rome has demonstrated that new policies of internal discipline have cleaned up the homosexual clergy problem, and the pederast scandal, and is willing to come to a table to discuss old theological debates, she may seem a lot more attractive. But, time is required on all these points." While Sandra was a blog owner here, she had the opportunity to make every bit as loud a noise as I make, and it was my idea to give her that megaphone. She was given the same amount of floor space that the rest of us have, that is, virtually unlimited. Which means, we extended a lot of trust.

Second: What are we discussing?

However, as I have kept my megaphone, I will not apologize for choosing to use it.

Let us ask, what do we know about the purpose of Archbishop Hepworth? (The Archbishop may comment here any time without fear of editing or deletion; if he does not trust me, he may send his comment to Edward Pacht.) We are told that he wants to preserve Anglicanism's distinct rich heritage, and that he believes that without the strength of Rome it cannot survive. The internal pressures of the Anglican Communion disable it from that purpose, and the Anglican Continuum is too small and fragmented. At least, that is what he told me last Summer in our approximately ninety minutes of face to face discussion in Timonium, Maryland. There is, we must grant, a certain logic in that.

Anglicanism is not burdened by ambitious claims to be infallible, and therefore not excessively burdened by having to treat every specifically Anglican precedent as if it were part of the Tradition of the Apostolic Church. Neither are we burdened by a "One True Church" theory that limits the boundaries of God's Holy Catholic Church to our own little portion of it, indeed our own branch (yes, I said "branch"- branch, branch branch). However, Rome is burdened with every specifically Roman precedent, whether or not it can be drawn out of "the Faith once delivered to the saints" as understood through Scripture by means of Universal Consensus and Antiquity. And, Rome is burdened by its own version of the One True Church theory, i.e., that without the See of Rome an ecclesial group, or even a true particular church, does not possess the "fullness" of the Catholic Church.

Therefore, if Rome decided to come to the rescue of Anglican distinctives, that rescue would create a precedent that must be defended forever as having been infallible, unless a later decision, whether conciliar with papal assent, or simply by papal decree or "infallible utterance," overturns it, assuming it had never risen to the level of dogma (are you following this?). So, with great care taken by Rome, some measure of Anglican distinctives could be preserved; and, of course, with Rome's help, given its great strength and sheer size, Anglicanism would have a happy home.

Reality check

Here I will state my robust if polite objections.

Why would the See that produced Apostolicae Curae, which (on the basis of scholarship so poor that it does not rise to the level of pathetic), condemns Anglican orders as "absolutely null and utterly void," have any intention of preserving Anglicanism's rich distinctive heritage? If we have learned anything from the Anglican Use experiment, it is that even when Rome tries to be nice to us, they demonstrate a level of truculence and arrogance, or invincible ignorance, that is truly offensive to those who know and love the Anglican Liturgy. The evidence suggests that "Anglican" Use exists in order to disappear; not to disappear as something separated into a recovered unity of the Church; but simply to disappear. However, "Anglican" Use may well disappear for all we should care, for it is about as Anglican as Italian Opera.

I believe that the See of Rome is interested in absorbing Anglicanism, if only to make it disappear, by converting all of us one at a time if necessary. Frankly, given their doctrine of the Church, I expect this of them, and believe that the motivation of many individuals among their number is truly charitable. But, as the old prayer goes, "God save me from my enemies, and from my well-meaning friends." I know that the motto of those TAC bishops who follow Archbishop Hepworth is "inclusion, not absorption," and I am not about to argue that they are anything less than sincere. Of course, for all we know, this whole thing may prove to be merely academic anyway.

Because I said so

But, here is what I was addressing in the other post. I will quote, therefore, once again from an email I received:

"[This man] had been a delegate to the ACA Diocese of the Midwest Synod _this_ summer. This man has been an Anglican for many years and said he was simply, 'appalled' by the presentations at the synod. He stated they basically came out and declared Anglicanism a failure and that the Romans had it right."

The problem has less to do with communications between Archbishop Hepworth's trusted advisers and Rome than with what is happening on the home front. As soon as the TAC bishops had sent their 2007 letter to Rome, requesting Communion between their jurisdiction and "the Holy See," we were informed that no interviews would be given. I was criticized, along with others on this blog, for allowing speculation to be expressed. Some of that speculation was fearful, some was exuberant, some was apocalyptic and messianic about recovery of unity (as if a rearrangement further dividing the Anglican Continuum would be a fulfillment of John 17:21-as if that was a prophecy, which it is not, etc.), and some was even scornful and derisive. Nonetheless, just what did they expect? The command was sent through the ranks, right down to the laity, not to speculate; and that was entirely unreasonable.

I spent many years as a layman, and was a father of four before I was called "Father" by men old enough to be my father. I know how Anglican people feel about their churches and about the teaching and traditions that have been handed down, and that they want to hand down to their children and grandchildren. On that basis, I say that the order to laity in the TAC not to speculate was not only unreasonable, but unintentionally (I am sure) downright cruel. Anglicans, like the Eastern Orthodox, do not consider the Church to be the property of the clergy and hierarchy. The Church belongs to God, and belongs to all of us too. We do not "Pray, pay and obey." To condemn that, as some might, as "too Protestant" or "too democratic" is to condemn the love we have for our churches, for our children, for the truth and for God Himself. To conceal the details of a new model of automobile, or military plans, until it is time to reveal something completed, is understandable. But, the Church is none of those things; the Church is the people who belong to it, with their convictions, their practice of devotions, and their hope for the future. Blind trust and acceptance of "come what may" will never happen, and that should have been understood and foreseen two years ago. If such secrecy is required by Rome, does this not also show something that is, for now, more evidence of a measure of incompatibility?

What began turning up in my email and in my snail mail, was more than weekly appeals from various lay members of the ACA/TAC, to help them understand where their bishops were planning to take them, their churches, their children and their future. Well, I certainly had no answer that I could give to anybody. And then lines about "500 years of mistakes" and "a failed 450 year-old experiment," coming from Archbishop Hepworth himself, and from Bishop Langburg respectively, could not have been timed better by an absolute adversary to their cause.

The trap door

Furthermore, as if Anglo-Catholics have not been culpable in the last generation for spreading misinformation and ignorance (with help from the opposite side of the spectrum) about Anglicanism itself, even in general about the very meaning of words like "Protestant" and "Catholic," treating the See of Rome like the magic answer to the woes of modern Anglicans, has had, really, only one real effect in a Romewards direction: It has caused many individuals to leave Anglicanism due only to ignorance, and misinformation. I have observed that most of these people become miserable, and miss the richness they left behind. The real motion is not between jurisdictions and communions, but the motion of innocent people falling through a trap door that responsible parties need to nail shut.

Summary

If all this makes me come across as an enemy to the leaders of the TAC, let me say only that I am an opponent of what I perceive to be happening; but not an enemy. Furthermore, those leaders may have the floor to set me straight, along with other comment writers, if they choose. Indeed, they may send an essay to any one of us (I suggest to Ed). Essays and comments from bishops will be posted in their entirety. This is the issue right now in the Continuing Church, so we may as well discuss what is already on so many minds.

55 comments:

TC Knight said...

Let's be clear on this: If by "unity" we mean sharing in the Eucharist, the ONLY WAY Anglicans can have unity with Rome is by accepting papal infallibility and every other dogma of the Roman Catholic faith. Rome is NOT changing on this--it's one of those defined dogmas, not a mere theoretical notion. When Rome speaks of ecumenism, she means stressing the things she has in common with different religions and working together toward common goals. But when she speaks of true Christian unity, she means full conversion to Roman Catholicism. Until Anglicans do that--until they accept papal infallibility and all that the popes have defined--there can be no sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ. Rome will simply never allow it! So all the talk about what Anglicans can do to further the cause of unity with Rome is pointless. All you can do is become a Roman Catholic. You might be able to carry some of your Anglican customs with you, but you won't be truly Anglican anymore. Therefore, let's go back to Fr. Hart's point: Inform yourself about Anglicanism before swimming the Tiber. If anyone believes the papacy is a divinely established institution and that the pope is infallible when speaking officially on matters of faith and morals, then that person OUGHT to convert. But anyone who doesn't believe these things but converts anyway--for the sake of "unity"--is a hypocrite. TRUTH trumps unity! That's the way Rome sees it, and she's right on that.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that anyone has the right to join any church they wish. It is a matter of individual choice.

That said, I feel that at least here in the U.S., the door was opened for those Anglicans who wished to unite with Rome to do so, with dignity, and a good amount of liturgy from Anglicanism, through the Anglican Use Provision.

I guess as a layperson, where I would have a problem, is when a small group of bishops presume to make such a decision for large numbers of parishes and laity, without the input of the laity.

I think it is an abuse of the office of bishop to make such decisions without the support and the permission of the laity who paid for buying/building church buildings, and who support the church structure.

I have great empathy for the gentleman, who commented in a recent post, that when he went on vacation he was a member of an APCK parish, and returned a couple of weeks later to find his parish had been switched to the ACA/TAC.

I think that if individuals wish to depart for Rome, thats fine, and I wholly support them in their decision to do so as an individual according to their conscience.
But to make such decisions for parishes, or whole jurisdictions, without the permission of the members of those parishes is just an abuse of power.

BCP Catholic

Anonymous said...

I am genunely sorry to hear of Sandra's decision to leave the blog. She definitely has valuable insights to contribute, which I will miss, and she has been consistently gracious to me. I hope she will return, at least as an occasional commenter.

The objection that Abp Hepworth's intentions have been misrepresented puzzles me. The problem all along has been that his intentions are mysterious and elusive. "No, its not merger, no, its not uniate status, no, not this, no, not that." Even with the most charitable and sanguine constructions of what they are about, we wish Abp Hepworth nd the TAC bishops would be more up-front with all of us.

I can genuinely symphathize with Sandra and Ed. It must be exceedingly difficult to serve as apologists for an unusual project, one which reminds me of the Churchillian phrase I cannot quote exactly, the famoud line about a riddle, a mystery, an enigma. The spokesmen for the TAC have an unenviable task.
LKW

poetreader said...

Mr. Knight.

Your statements are not entirely accurate. Banning non RCs from the Eucharist is NOT a defined doctrine, but rather a strongly entrenched element of discipline. There is at present limited (very limited) permission for Orthodox to receive at RC altars and vice versa, and freer permission could be granted under current teaching by a disciplinary change. Though extremely unlikely, some form of intercommunion short of absorption is not impossible. What, unfortunately, IS a defined doctrine is the thought that, even if that were to happen, none of us would be considered as fully incorporated in the One Church without complete acceptance of every dogma.
Complete union, therefore cannot occur unless either we change our teaching (and unfortunately many have done so) or they change theirs (which, since I believe it to be God's will, I cannot call impossible, but yet I can see no way it could happen)

I'm hoping my Archbishop's intitiative (and that of our other bishops) will lead to some closer approach between the two bodies than has existed, perhaps to some kind of limited intercommunion, but without miraculous intervention, I see no possibility of an actual union in any foreseeable future. The rest of the program, such as it is, is doomed to go nowhere.

Meanwhile, I am one of many ACA members who is distressed at what seems to be going on and some of what seems to be proposed. If any or all of the bishops were to move in that direction beyond a certain point, I'm pretty well convinced that they would do so without most of the people.

My major concern at this point is that Anglicanism, if it is to be saved at all, needs to get past its stupid wrangling between (or among) jurisdictions, entirely cease treating one another as if enemies or even rivals, and together attack the real job of winning a nation and a world for Christ.

ed

Alice C. Linsley said...

It seems to me that the speculation about what Rome will or will not do in reference to Anglican catholics depends on Pope Benedict's vision of the Church. At this point Bishop Hepworth may have a better grasp on that than many of us who read and comment at The Continuum.

Sorry to see Sandra withdraw, but I respect her decision and pray for the Anglicans in Australia whose circumstances are increasing dire.

TC Knight said...

Ed,

You're right. A TOTAL ban on participation of non-RCs in the Eucharist is not defined dogma. I was not thinking of the rare instances in which Orthodox Christians are permitted to receive the Eucharist; I had in mind full communion. That's what I meant by "true Christian unity." The expression "sharing in the Eucharist" was somewhat misleading. Am I correct in my assumption that the Anglican Catholic Church doesn't place such restrictions on Roman Catholics and the Orthodox?

poetreader said...

I'm not sure, but I think that would apply to ACC. I know that it does indeed apply in my jurisdiction, ACA.

However, full communion, in the sense of interchangeability of ministry does not exist even among Continuing Anglicans, and that is a mess.

ed

Canon Tallis said...

I can not be sorry that this discussion and that in the last few post has stirred both strong emotions and a great deal of critical thinking. It may be uncomfortable for the moment (and no one could be sorrier for the departure of Sandra McColl than I), but in the long run it should for those of us who are really serious about Classical Anglicanism and the Catholic faith as handed over by the saints by means of Holy Scripture, the consensus of the Fathers, the Creeds and the General Councils result in an enrichment and deepening of our hopefully common and ancient faith.

As for the Roman See, its bishops, past, present and to come, as well as those who belong to what I believe should most accurately be described as 'Churches of the Roman Obedience' although God knows they are not always nearly as obedient as the curia might wish, we will simply have to wait and see. Western nations are not used to arresting and putting prelates of the Latin church on trial for various scandalous offences against the laws of their country or of the whole of mankind, but such a course just might be the beginning of necessary internal reform. The content of the Irish Ryan Report plus the recent precedent of a police raid on the chancery of a certain cardinal archbishop just might be an indication of what various civil authorities have come to believe must eventually be faced and done. It certainly would not have been thinkable a generation ago.

But that lies outside what we, as Anglicans, must do. Our job is to know the fullness of Holy Tradition as it has been expressed first in Scripture and then in the earliest Church. And knowing it, we must make it an incarnational reality in a way which I believe only we can do. What is going on in this blog and the comments which follow each post are baby steps compared to what must follow them as we attempt to express the fullness of the theology found in the prayer book in the lives of our parishes and missions and our spirituality as individuals. And to do that we must put away fantasy and fable as well as the fads, ecclesiastical and otherwise, of the moment and of the last century. Can we do it? I don't know, but I do know that we must attempt it if believe that we should follow and embrace truth where it is to be found.

Oh, and to the person who opined that Rome did not have a 'liberal wing', do yourself the favour of reading The New Liturgical Movement which complains very loudly of just such exercising too much power in the Roman Curia.

John A. Hollister said...

TC Knight wrote, "Until Anglicans ... accept papal infallibility and all that the popes have defined -- there can be no sharing of the Body and Blood of Christ."

I think this statement needs to be assessed in the light of the only two "relationships" between the Roman Communion and other Branches where there is some "sharing" of the Eucharist. (Why I put those words in quotes should become clear below.)

These two "relationships" are, first, with the Eastern Orthodox and, second, with the sole surviving actual Old Catholic body, the Polish National Catholic Church. In each case, the provisions for members of one communion to receive the Sacraments from the other are not even incorporated in a single document executed and issued by both sides. Rather, there are simply unilateral statements by each that, under limited circumstances and only in cases of necessity, it will communicate and otherwise minister to members of the other.

That's why I put "relationships" in quotes: a situation of simultaneous unilateralism is not what most people think of as "intercommunion" and the limited, ad hoc, and individual nature of these dispensations just highlights how little general relationship there actually is.

Even more poignant is the fact that Rome and Scranton achieved this level of mutual recognition more than twenty years ago but, since that date, there has been essentially no progress whatever, not even toward the issuance of a single document of mutual recognition.

I think this history rather tends to support TC Knight's thesis that, for Rome, as it is presently constituted and absent the sort of divine intervention Ed Pacht correctly implies is needed, there is no foreseeable real relationship other than submission.

In a later comment, TC Knight asked, "Am I correct in my assumption that the Anglican Catholic Church doesn't place such restrictions on Roman Catholics and the Orthodox?"

We can say with certainty that the ACC recognizes the validity of Roman confirmations and canonical Eastern Orthodox chrismations. If a member of one of those communions asks to receive the Sacraments in one of our parishes, that is a pastoral judgment for the priest there, in consultation with his Bishop. Where no occasion of scandal would be given by acceeding to it, I have never known such a request to be refused (although obviously I am not personally familiar with every one of those requests that may have been made since 1983).

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

BCP Catholic wrote:

But to make such decisions for parishes, or whole jurisdictions, without the permission of the members of those parishes is just an abuse of power.

For the sake of keeping the record straight, that is not what happened in 2007. Bp. Florenza never made any parish decide to follow him into the ACA. Each parish voted separately, and some stayed, with his blessing, in the APCK. Bp. Florenza is no tyrant.

Fr. Wells wrote:

The problem all along has been that [Archbishop Hepworth's] intentions are mysterious and elusive. "No, its not merger, no, its not uniate status, no, not this, no, not that."

Actually, at some point or other, every possibility has been ruled out. I have kept track of this apophatic exercise. I assume, it may be because overtime, one idea trumps another.

TC Knight wrote:

I was not thinking of the rare instances in which Orthodox Christians are permitted to receive the Eucharist;

Allowed to receive as far as Rome is concerned; but the Orthodox Church, on their end, does not allow their people to accept Rome's invitation.

Am I correct in my assumption that the Anglican Catholic Church doesn't place such restrictions on Roman Catholics and the Orthodox?

That is correct, yes.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Here is a post by Fr. Hunwicke that might spark interest in Fr. Hart (and others). It's titled "Anglicanism."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Truth U & D:

Actually, I am not bothered by the particular essay to which you have referred me. This time Fr. Hunwicke is using the word "Anglicanism" (with an emphasis on the "ism") not to speak of the same thing we mean when using the same word; and it is different for the folks in England then here in the U.S. They have a long history with their church, with the idea of an Anglican Communion as a sort of recent thing (150 years he says).

But, we are using the word to speak of that route to the essential truth of our Catholic faith in the Vincentian manner, free from everyone's innovations. In many ways it remains a goal, though in essential ways it is fully realized among us.

So, allowing for our different usages of the word, I can accept what Fr. Hunwicke wrote on this particular occasion.

poetreader said...

Allowed to receive as far as Rome is concerned; but the Orthodox Church, on their end, does not allow their people to accept Rome's invitation.

well, that's not quite accurate either. There are Orthodox and there are Orthodox, I would think most would say NO, but some permissions have been granted. Orthodox/Roman relations are exceeding complex and seldom understood even by those directly involved.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ed:

Remember now, my brother is David Bentley Hart; and he has assured me that no Patriarchate permits it. The case of Vladimir Soloviev, who had to undergo penance for taking communion from a RC priest in order to be restored to the ROC, is but one example.

RC Cola said...

When Rome means of true Christian Unity, She means conversion to Catholicism, but not necessarily to Roman Catholicism. It is possible to be a Catholic in 100% doctrinal agreement with the Roman Catholic Church without being a Roman. That is proven by the existence of the eastern Churches such as the Maronites, Ruthanians, Byzantines, etc. They are 100% identical to Roman Catholics in doctrine, but some quite divergent in discipline.

In that sense, there is no need for Anglicans of the Continuum to "convert" but to continue being what we are: Anglo-Catholics.

There is a place for a sui juris "English Catholic Church" within the Big Roman Tent. It will take some negotiations, for sure, but no relationship is beyond repair if both parties are willing to pray and forgive.

On the Roman side, I think a repeal of Apostolicae Curae is "do-able." After all, the Chinese Rites controversy decision by Pope Clement XI was more or less reversed by Pius XII. In this case the Jesuits were right and the Dominicans were wrong and fed the Pope "bad intel." The same could be said of Leo XIII and his decision in AC. There were definitely agitators who wanted, and got, a one-sided debate on the issue.

As a recent convert from the RCC to the ACC, the primary hold back for me was the issue of Holy Orders. Only by examining the background of AC (or should I say the "railroading"?) did I conclude it was "safe" to go to the ACC. Why not TEC? Because I cannot believe their orders are valid, since they ordain women--plain and simple.

What Anglicans of the TAC stripe can hope for best is simply recognition from Rome as being "real" Catholics. maybe it can happen, but doubtful. Sadly, that has more to do with the liberals in charge of the RCC than it has to do with non-Catholicism of the Anglo-Catholics.

Again, I will assert that the primary obstacle to TAC being accepted in the RCC as a sui juris Church with the BCP is not theology per se, but rather the opposition that the bishops have to allowing more orthodox Christians into the Church. They have spent the last 50 years using their apostolic authority to destroy tradition--do you think they really want another 100,000 traditionalists in the Church? The answer is not just no, but hell no. The liberal hierarchy want Canterbury Anglicans in the RCC so that they can get back the pretty real estate and have a fresh supply of heterodox neo-pagans to reinforce the ones who are dying out.

Cherub said...

I must say I am astonished at both the ignorance of (Roman) Catholicism exhibited by all who have contributed to this anti-Catholic diatribe, this attack on the man (Archbishop Hepworth), and the singular incapacity of so many of you to really deal with the essential arguments set out out by the TAC in its endeavours to seek wider Catholic unity. Archbishop Ramsey once spoke of the vocation of Anglicanism to disappear (Toronto). The TAC, it seems to me, are doing no more than bringing to a conclusion the movement of Anglican/Roman unity envisaged by Archbishop Ramsey and Pope Paul VI before the Anglicans decided, unilaterally, to ordain women and practising homosexuals. Anglicanism still has pretensions to be a branch church equal to Rome and the Orthodox. But it is not just Rome but also the Orthodox who do not accept the validity of Anglican orders. Whatever of Apostolicae Curae, the fact is that no Church in East or West can accept the ordination of women. In so far as Anglicans seem determined to hold onto the theologies of Calvin, Knox, and Luther as subsequently modified by current securalistic philosophies, no one should blame the TAC for seeking the union for which Christ prayed with the Rock whom Christ appointed as the Pastor Pastorum. Ignorance of Catholic teaching on infallibility cannot be excused no matter how vociferously it is proposed. It is always better to avoid rhetoric and to deal with argument. If Fr Hart et al do not accept Papal infallibility, well and good. But let them propose sensible arguments against it. That they do not wish unity with Rome is their decision. But they should not treat harshly Archbishop Hepworth and the TAC for taking the steps they have taken out of sincere conscientious belief. That they wish to see the beautiful heritage of English spirituality and liturgical expression should English Catholic tradition come as no surprise given their deeply felt attachment to all that is good within that tradition. So please, Fr Hart et al, less playing the man and more playing the ball and more treating with more respect those with whom one disagrees.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart:

It is good to know that the parishes willingly followed Bp. Florenza from APCK into ACA/TAC.

I wasn't really refering to that situation, as much as just making a general statement that it is wrong for bishops, in the playing of politics, and trying to stick it to each other, to involve parishes without their permission and assent.

While certainly not all continuum bishops play politics and engage in bad behavior, there has been a history of it in the continuum since the beginning. There has been enough of a history to tarnish all continuum bishops, even though all bishops are not guilty of it.

It is very unattractive and uncharitable, and I might as well say it, un-Christian. I think that such behavior is why Rome hasn't given an answer to TACs request, or any other continuum requests.

If I were the Pope, after studying the behavior of continuum bishops over 30 years, I wouldn't trust them enough to even give an answer, let alone have any kind of communion with them.

If I wwere the Pope, I would respect the laity for their faithfulness to the faith once delivered to the saints. But I would fear the past record of the bishops, and their behavior.

If the bishops were to stop fighting and playing mean politics, and achieve unity in the continuum - real unity - then Rome might think that there really has been a change and it would be worth considering a request.

So, I strongly agree with those who say unity in the continuum is the first priority.

BCP Catholic

Cherub said...

Fr Hart, you just don't get it do you? I have no doubt you will be both surprised and annoyed by an affirmative decision from Rome. But nothing can change the facts, as I see it, that Archbsihop Hepworth and the TAC are really genuine in their search for unity. Why not just hold off and wait until Rome's decision whatever it may be, other wise you may find yourself arguing against the Holy Spirit.

John A. Hollister said...

A rather uncherubic sounding Cherub wrote: "Archbishop Ramsey once spoke of the vocation of Anglicanism to disappear. . . ."

If this is the same Archbishop Ramsey who completely abdicated his duty to use the prestige and moral authority of his Office to oppose Lambeth Anglicanism’s slide into apostasy, why should we listen to him?

"[I]t is not just Rome but also the Orthodox who do not accept the validity of Anglican orders."

And that is their problem, not ours. Not only did Leo XIII trash his own Orders when he trashed (pre-1992) Anglicanism’s, but we have done our bit for church unity by recognizing their Orders.

"In so far as Anglicans seem determined to hold onto the theologies of Calvin, Knox, and Luther as subsequently modified by current securalistic philosophies, no one should blame the TAC for seeking the union for which Christ prayed with the Rock whom Christ appointed as the Pastor Pastorum."

1. You may call those who follow Calvin, Knox, and Luther "Anglicans", and the current tenant of Lambeth Palace may call them "Anglicans", but most of us who read this blogspot do not. That is why we are occasionally put to the trouble of, as they said in the ninth grade, "defining our terms".
2. No one of whom I am aware has "blamed" the TAC for seeking union with Rome. Some have pointed out that it is unlikely to get what it seeks; some have pointed out that if, by some miracle, it does get what it wants, it will almost certainly be disappointed in the outcome; and some have noted that the TAC's leadership has been remarkably cagey and ambiguous when informing the TAC's own membership about precisely what it is that it does seek.
3. "[T]he Rock whom Christ appointed as the Pastor Pastorum", huh? Well, that’s just the sort of contra-factual, historically unsupported, self-serving assertion that is going to keep the rest of us from knocking on Rome’s door. Now "Patriarch of the West" (which Rome itself so strangely has abandoned) and "Servus servorum dei" are titles I can heartily assent to.

"If Fr Hart et al. do not accept Papal infallibility, well and good. But let them propose sensible arguments against it."

No, it is not those who oppose innovations in church doctrine who must find arguments against them; they have stated a sufficient case when they have pointed out the innovative nature of the proposals. It is those who support such innovations who must propose sensible arguments for them, something which Rome, in the case of Papal Infallibility, has singularly failed to do. Nor is excommunicating the Faculty of Theology of the University of Munich what customarily passes for a "sensible argument".

John A. Hollister+

TC Knight said...

Unless I've misunderstood or been misinformed, none of the Eastern churches that have entered full communion with Rome have done so without formally accepting the primacy of the pope (and all that entails). And even if Rome formally acknowledged the validity of Anglican Orders--an action that would be loudly condemned by Catholic conservatives and traditionalists--Anglicans (again, unless my understanding is off base), before being admitted to full communion (as the Uniate churches of the East have been), would be required to formally accept papal primacy and papal infallibility. Perhaps they would not be "ROMAN Catholic" in name, but they would indeed be Roman Catholic in the sense that they will have voluntarily put themselves under the dominion of the Roman papacy. The same is true of the Eastern Rite churches. Unity for unity's sake is a mistake. TRUTH must be the basis of unity. I get the impression (and I could be wrong) that some who, on biblical and patristic grounds, rejected papal infallibility before decided to compromise and "accept" it for the sake of unity. Can genuine Christian unity be built on such compromises? My perception could be off base, but my point is a concern worth considering.

Bruce said...

Don't know how representative it was but my (ex) ACA/TAC Parish seemed to be employing a growth strategy which consisted of snagging mildly-observant Novus Ordo cafeteria Catholics by telling them it's the same thing as their church but with married priests. The result is a Church with the spiritual health of a typical Novus Ordo cafeteria-catholic Church, that is, very spiritually unhealthy.

I figure from the ACA leadership's perspective the well's run dry as far as Episcopals go. Not gonna get any more of them. Gotta look to other sources. I wonder if this is a deliberate strategy.

You lost us. And our 5 children and counting. For other reasons, yes, but this didn't help.

palaeologos said...

Cherub, in your haste to demonstrate the unity of apostolic churches against Anglicanism you omit to mention that the Orthodox don't recognize the validity of Roman orders either (although the Roman Catholic Church makes no such declaration about the Orthodox). Furthermore, you don't seem to understand that the Anglicans who post here are not part of the Anglican Communion--so your invocation of the ordination of women and Calvinist theology as Anglican defects doesn't really apply. Your audience here is for the most part high churchmen and Anglo-Catholics.

The Anglican Use is flawed. If the various Missals used by the Continuum can be criticized as "FrankenMasses," then a fortiori the Anglican Use is one. The jarring jump-cuts from Jacobean English to the ICEL translation of the Canon, the puzzling change of the general absolution from the third person singular (subjunctive) to the first person plural, the shoe-horning of the 3-year lectionary into a liturgy designed for a 1-year lectionary--these produce a grotesque and misshapen rite, no matter how many sacred ministers crowd the predella and no matter how exquisite their vestments.

And then there's the issue of the Holy See's commitment to continuing the Anglican Use. I don't expect it to long outlast the current crop of rectors using it; Rome will appoint standard Latin Rite priests to take over those parishes when their current men die or retire. The Latin Rite priests may or may not continue the Anglican Use, but I doubt whether they will ever have received training in how it is to be celebrated. Like TEC's Rite I, the Anglican Use is a stopgap, designed to ease converts into their new church with a minimum of fuss. In 50 years, all the churches now using it will be using the Novus Ordo (or the Extraordinary Form, if they're lucky).

For Rome, unity means uniformity. As long as that remains their ruling principle, there can be no true unity.

Canon Tallis said...

Cherub,

If you think anything in this thread was an anti-Roman rant, a real anti-Roman rant, then you have never heard one and if you had your ears would still be hurting.

I am guessing that you are either a papist or a member of TAC just panting to be taken into the Roman stable. Either way you certainly need to know a great deal more of the history of the Church from anno domini 33 until 1045. Or maybe 1054. And you need to read about same in the works of reputable historians and not Roman propagandists. It wouldn't hurt to also have read a great deal more of the New Testament and the Fathers - particularly of the first five centuries - and decrees of universally recognized General Councils. Then perhaps you would be in a position to come back and enter into the conversation.

Further allow me to recommend three books that you might find greatly enlightening. The first is The Petrine Claims by Richard Frederick Littledale and the second is F. W. Puller's 'The Primitive Saints and the See of Rome.' The third is Aristeides Papadakis's 'The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy.' But before doing so I would also suggest that you lay in a supply of very strong tranquilizers to help you through the process of reading something stronger than almost anything ever written in this blog or its comments.

Ed and the Reverend Messers Hart and Kirby of their very great Christian charity lean so far backwards in their efforts to be kind to Rome and Romans that one might almost accuse them of attempting some new form of levitation. Nothing in my family history or personal experience, a very long personal experience, tempts me to do so. I will not scandalize you or the others by giving you a list of the 'whys.' However I just might recommend that you go back and read carefully all of the recent comments made by RC Cola and then reconsider your remarks about TEC "decided, unilaterally, to ordain women and practising homosexuals."

I realize that i am not being very kind and am probably causing Ed great discomfort, but sometimes certain truths must be set forth even if you know that the effect is going to be very close to the things they make you swallow so that you will empty your stomach of poisons.

And while I am about it, let me also very strongly recommend that you read your way through absolutely each and every post by Fathers Hart and Kirby. They are an excellent antidote to almost everything you seem to think you know and believe about Anglicanism. And it wouldn't hurt to absorb Father Wells comments either.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The anointed Cherub that covereth wrote:

Archbishop Ramsey once spoke of the vocation of Anglicanism to disappear...

In the same sense that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy should also disappear with it, into one Church. That is what he meant. Unlike the two One True Churches, Anglicans are humble enough to say such things (which, by the way, is why our patrimony is the surest and quickest route to the Faith of the earliest Catholic Doctors and Bishops).

...this anti-Catholic diatribe, this attack on the man (Archbishop Hepworth)...But they should not treat harshly Archbishop Hepworth and the TAC ...

There has been no attack on Archbishop Hepworth here at all, and once again I have repeated our standing invitation to give the Most Rev. Gentleman the floor.

As for "Anti-Catholic diatribes," why we be anti-ourselves? We are Catholic too. If you mean anti-Roman Catholic, should we not be honest about matters of disagreement? About matters of public scandal, have we an obligation to ignore them? Public scandal is what it is; but submitting to the same See that has yet to take full measures against it, that still protects Cardinals Law and Levada? This subject is terribly painful and unpleasant; but it cannot be off limits until the day comes when we all agree thatit is no longer relevant.

But it is not just Rome but also the Orthodox who do not accept the validity of Anglican orders.

Wrong factually: See http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2006/05/orthodoxy-and-anglicanism-in-road.html

And irrelevant: See http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2008/11/worn-out-gotcha.html

Whatever of Apostolicae Curae, the fact is that no Church in East or West can accept the ordination of women.

And, that is relevant on this blog because...?

The TAC, it seems to me, are doing no more than bringing to a conclusion the movement of Anglican/Roman unity envisaged by Archbishop Ramsey and Pope Paul VI ...

My own essays almost two years ago proposed that this might be the case. I wish that it were. And, even so, a United Continuum would be stronger and more full equipped than one jurisdiction. Frankly, we all want the ecumenical progress of those years to be restored, and the Continuum as the Anglican body, united, rather than Canterbury and its confederation.

...no one should blame the TAC for seeking the union for which Christ prayed with the Rock whom Christ appointed as the Pastor Pastorum.

Frankly, what makes you think that anyone wants to frustrate the will of God and the genuine unity of the Church? Aside from a theological disagreement with you (that the Son's prayer to the Father depends on us; or that that unity is not already as much a fact as the unity of married couple as one flesh, even when they fail to appreciate it), I have already asked how one jurisdiction coming under Rome could possibly be more of a significant achievement of unity than that same jurisdiction being fully united, once again, as part of the Continuum? It simply makes no sense to me to argue for a possible TAC/Rome merger on the basis of John 17:21.

That they wish to see the beautiful heritage of English spirituality and liturgical expression should English Catholic tradition come as no surprise given their deeply felt attachment to all that is good within that tradition.

"All that is good" except doctrinal principles that deserve to be kept.

Why not just hold off and wait until Rome's decision whatever it may be...

I can't tell you, yet, what facts I have been supplied with, nor from whom. But, unless a good argument is presented, and more action taken by Rome, I must repeat that this is a smokescreen and diversion from the real life unity that could actually be achieved.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I forgot to comment on this by Cherub:

...with the Rock whom Christ appointed as the Pastor Pastorum.

We do not accept that doctrine. Anyone who really knows the Book of Isaiah would also understand the Keys in Matt. 16 as related to a teaching office (rabbinical), that is very different from what Rome teaches about the papacy.

Canon Tallis is wrote:

The third is Aristeides Papadakis's 'The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy.'

My first ever Church History professor, in 1980.

Canon Tallis said...

I have chosen to be further annoying by pointing out that a consensus of the fathers rejected the interpretation which Rome has used for the last thousand years as a basis for her claim to be the 'the one true church.' This is the thesis of Puller's "The Primitive Saints and the See of Rome.' The Councils accorded to the Roman See a primacy of honour based upon its status as the church of the imperial capital, but nothing more than that. Gregory the Great rejected the idea of a universal and ecumenical pontiff when such a role was claimed by Constantinople only to have one of his lessor successors decide that such was exactly what the Roman See was. They then set out to forge such documents needed to make their case. Real truth does not need or require forged support.

poetreader said...

Since they've been mentioned a few times, I feel a need to say something about the Orthodox.

There is no one generally accepted view of the Orthodox Churches on the 'validity' of anyone's orders other than their own. This is because the East does not necessarily approach such questions in the same juridical and systematic manner as do Western Christians. Many would accuse us in our attempt to identify validity of individual ministers as making the Church to be defined by its ministry, while they want to identify the ministry (and all sacraments) as entirely dependent upon the Church, sometimes declaring that outside the Church (defined as Orthodox) there are no Mysteries (sacraments) outside the Church, or at least none with any spirtual effect. When most rigidly interpreted that even rules out Baptisms. However, there are Orthodox who are willing to consider other Christians (especially RCs and sometimes Anglicans) as perhaps in some way under the umbrella of the Church, and their sacraments (including orders) as putatively or even actually real.

All that is to say that what has been said about non-recognition of Anglican orders and even of RC orders is true in part, but that it is only some Orthodox who would be so rigid, while others recognize one or both.

Be that as it may, it is always licit, and sometimes done, to receive Christians already baptized (or even ordained) through recognition of the Church after the fact (called "ekonomia"), and such reception will be recognized by all -- but, on the other hand, it is also always licit to insist upon a redoing.

The whole thought process is quite distinctly non-Western, but, to my mind, very likely closer to what the Scriptures and the early Fathers would have recommended.

ed

Anonymous said...

Paleologos mentions:
"the puzzling change of the general absolution from the third person singular (subjunctive) to the first person plural"

I can explain that one, which is significant. Roman liturgists have long emphasized that the simple formulae which follow the Confiteor are not really Absolutions in the full sacramental sense but merely a pious wish. Hence the "us" instead of "you." See Joseph Jungmann SJ.

In the 1970's there were experiments with "Communal Penance," and "General Absolutions" became a big issue between traditionalists and modernists. So they were not about to let the Anglican Rite people smuggle in something that was part of our heritage since 1549, but a real no-no for Rome.

Just goes to show there are some real differences, which crop up in all sorts of ways.
LKW

acalayreader said...

Father Hart,

Votes were not taken in all the churches that Bp Florenza moved from the APCK to the ACA.

RC Cola said...

Those "experiments" of the 1970's became the norm for a while even into this millennium.

One problem with the GA was that RCs were using it to avoid the confessional. To make matters worse, the modern Confiteor eliminated the absolution, but you'll notice out of habit many RC still signing themselves (in the wrong place) because in the old days they would sign themselves during that absolution.

The NOM left the Misereatur more or less intact. It eliminated entirely the Indulgentiam calling it redundant, but I think it wasn't. The servers and faithful prayed the misereatur in the 1962 missal. Only the priest could pray the indulgentiam.

Yes, the first prayer is only an expression of desire or request for mercy. Whereas the indulgentiam prayed only by the priest was indeed a real absolution for venial sins.

I think Jungmann was mistaken. Whereas I think Anabale Bugnini and his cohorts were very consciously, gleefully and triumphantly dishonest.

The short form is: don't mistake the modern RC practice of GA as bearing any resemblance to the BCP GA. They are totally different species. The modern RC practice of group confession is the product of severe spiritual malaise and flat out laziness, not an admission that the Anglicans had it right.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

acalayreader:

I said "parishes" quite deliberately. Are you not referring to mission churches? At least, that is what I thought to be the case.

acalayreader said...

Father Hart,

Being a bit new to the Continuing church, I sometimes miss some of the nuances.

Please let me be a little plainer. There was no vote taken in my parish.

David said...

As an exiled Anglican who has joined the Continuum and the ACC, I'd like to share a little reflection, prayerful reflection on my journey and this debate.

I was raised as an Anglican in the Diocese of Tasmania, and had a clear belief as a child and as a teenager that this was Christ's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. My evangelical rector taught me that.

Introduced at age 12 to Anglo-Catholicism, a year after receiving a proestly vocation, understood in those terms, I was introduced to Anglo-Catholicism.

In this environment, of daily masses at the Cathedral, the sacrament of confession and confidence in the Anglican presentation of the Gospel seemed for me solidity and a spiritual rock.

Fr. Hart is correct in saying that Cardinal Law and others who toleratred, acquiesced and in some instances covered up the sexual abuse of children by boys in the Roman Church should be made to answer for their sins. The Roman Church has to answer some big questions - because a celibate priesthood is not to blame for pedophile priests.

The Anglican Church had it's own issue with this scourge, and it significantly touched my own life - sexual abuse by 4 priests, one of whom, I had some justice in sending to prison decades later. The end result of that trauma coupled with an inability to comprehend the changes within Anglicanism sent me fleeing to the Russian Orthodox Church at age 17.

While I managed to develop a love of Slavonic liturgy, a deep appreciation of Eastern monastacism, and could even read Church Slavonic enough to sing in the choir and get ordination as a sub-deacon, the knowledge of the validity of the Anglican way burned my soul, year after year.

I even thought that eastern spirituality - non Christian was an answer to my unresolved pain and alienation, caused by the abuse of the confessional by pedophile priests.

So my decision to return to Anglicana is in spite of those men. My decisionis because I believe the historic claims of the Anglican Church to be part of the Catholic Church.

The Anglican Continuum offers so much to the modern world, apart from sound liturgy. It offers Christ in the Word in a profoundly unique and deep way. It offers the humility of a Church whose mission always was to see Rome, the East and the English Churches united as the Catholic Church.

If one looks at the Eastern Catholic (Uniate) churches one sees the watering of Orthodox practice with Roman or Latin rite norms, whether it is pews in churches, western garbed nuns, beardless priests and said celebrations of the Liturgy similar to a low mass.

It may be that Archbishop Hepworth will get his wish of an Anglican rite, or personal prelature, but I suspect that Rome as it is is incapable of understanding the nuances and spiritual wealth that is found in Anglican Christendom.

To be honest I am at a loss to understand the basis for the "see" of acronyms that is the continuing Anglican Churches today, and cannot understand why we do not have one united jurisdiction. The comments made by one writer who said that perhaps Rome will respect the Anglican Catholic laity and be concerned about their bishops is accurate.

Surely the continuing diaspora must be united under the original fathers who led us from the St. Louis Congress, which I understand to be the Anglican Catholic Church - Original Province, + APCK.

Please forgive my lack of intimate knowledge of the Continuum in passing comment. For me it has been a journey back to my roots, to Anglican orthodoxy, to the faith of our fathers, and for me I have clarity about what it is to be Anglican.

RC Cola said...

Roman Church has to answer some big questions - because a celibate priesthood is not to blame for pedophile priests.

Very true.

David said...

Typographical horrors - please note that what I meant to say in relation to pedophile clergy in the Roman Church was in relation to sexual abuse by priests of boys (and girls).

I think RC Cola's concern with Rome is something very valid. Moral bankruptcy in a large number of priests and bishops, the misuse of the sacrament of confession by scores of priest to obtain silence and all this in the context of a Roman Church in America and Australia in which theological liberalism is rife.

Somewhere Christian values of fidelity to Christ, fidelity to vows and understanding the sacred trust that is the priesthood went out the door. Anglicana has experienced the same issue - with pedophile priests, faithless bishops and heresy validated via liberalism en extremis.

The challenge for the Continuum is to rise above this moral and spiritual bankruptcy and to restore the dignity of Anglican orthodoxy through a return to Catholic discipline, a deep sense of humility and an understanding that sin and moral falldown is unenviably close.

The challenge for the continuing Anglican Churches is to unite at the feet of the Crucified Lord and present a united Church that is the rightful successor to the apostasy of Canterbury and all those jurisdictions that ordain women, marry homosexuals or prefer Calvinistic lay communion like Sydney.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For the record, my criticism was not that some RC priests have been bad men,since wolves wear sheep's clothing just about everywhere, but that the system of clericalist culture has shielded them. This clericalism is unique to Roman Catholicism, and quite possibly energized by the requirement of an appearance of celibacy, creating an "us and them" mentality, and limiting the field to a number of men so small as to be unworkable.

The continued sheltering of certain men who allowed the abuse to go on and on, shows a weakness even now. To trust that same system for leadership, to want to come under it, makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

David: The innovation of "lay presidency" is anything but Calvinistic. The Westminster Assembly's "Directory of Public Worship" did not authorize anything of the sort and even went so far as to restrict the reading of Scripture lessons to duly ordained "Ministers of Word and Sacrament." Historically, the Presbyterian and Reformed churches did not allow even their "Ruling Elders" to "serve the Lord's Supper." The Westminster Confession of Faith is quite explicit, "The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of 9institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and therefore to set them apart ..." So "lay presidency" seems to be an Australian invention, not Calvinist.
LKW

poetreader said...

Lay presidency would seem to have its roots in the Radical Reformation (Anabaptists, et al)who taught a kind of egalitarianism not found elsewhere in the Reformation period. The Continental Magisterial Reformers (Lutherans, Calvinists, and even Swinglians) seem to have been no less clerical in their operation than the Roman Church of the time. Though (as we would judge) misunderstanding much about the nature of Christian ministry and the effects of ordination, they were united in seeing ordination as conferring an authority not found in the generality of the laity.

ed

Anonymous said...

Not quite right, Ed! In the churches deriving from the Radical Reformation we do have, I admit, a theology of both sacraments and ministry which, from our perspective, is grossly inadequate. The sacraments are only ordinances. The ministry is quite different from the Catholic priesthood. This I grant.

But there is nevertheless a concept of "decency and order," in which the duly authorized ministers (styled bishops amongst the Mennonites, elders amongst the Baptists or Disciples) carry out the rite according to their own traditions.

That is a far cry from the Sydney notion that anybody at all can "preside," just as anybody at all can be a greeter or take up the collection.
Lay presidency is a distinctly Australian heresy.

I am losing patience with the incessant insults heaped on the Churches of the Reformation. Not every error originated with them.
LKW

poetreader said...

I'll respectfully have to disagree with Fr. Wells,

The notion (and practice) of lay presidency at the Lord's Table is not an invention of Sydney, nor do they appear to be advocating precisely what you claim.

If I understand Jensen and company correctly, they are advocating that all existing standards apply when there is a presbyter present, but want to make allowance for a responsible lay leader (presumably recognized as such by the bishop) to step in and substitute when there is not. That is a lot different from "just anybody at all", and pays great respect to order and decency, but without, of course, satisfying any part of Catholic order. Yhat is precisely the standard taken by any Baptist I've discussed the matter with -- i.e. anyone at all can, but good order determines who should.

I first heard lay presidency advocated about 1954, oddly by a Lutheran pastor, later in some disfavor in the Missouri Synod. He went so far as to declare it right and proper that a father give Communion to his family at home, without any further ecclesiastical oversight.

For some years I was a Pentecoatal pastor in a more tightly hierarchical denomination than most. We did insist that the Lord's Supper could not be offered by anyone other than a duly licensed minister, and I, for five years, though appointed pastor, as a lay minister had to call in an outside minister for the quarterly observance. Almost all of my Protestant friends outside the particular church thought that foolish, "You're a Christian, aren't you? Any Christian can do that."

No, Father Wells, there aren't any new heresies. I happen to be a great admirer of much about the Anabaptists, and am far indeed from wanting to disrespect them, but it remains true that the kind of egalitarian thinking on which lay presidency is founded, though not invented by them, found powerful expression in their movement, and is directly represented in the non-magisterial Protestant sects today.


ed

William Tighe said...

tesslim"Lay Presidency" has far more support in Lutheranism (or at least in Luther's own thought and ideas), than in Reformed Christianity or (as it is sometiles loosely termed) "Calvinism."

Luther believed and declared that all the baptized, women as well as men, had the capacity to carry out all the sacramemts, Baptism, Communion and Absolution (he wavered on whether Absolution was a sacrament or not), but Article 14 of the Augsburg Confession, with its insistence that a man had to be "properly called" to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments left it ambiguous as to whether this meant that ordination was a necessity or whether it was simply a "decent ceremony" for the purpose of preserving "good order," but not strictly necessary.

Most European Lutheren churches required, and some still do require, ordination as a prerequisite for these things, or at least for celebrating the Eucharist. (Some of the Scandinavian Lutheran State Churches allow bishops to "delegate" the performance of ordinations to "mere" pastors, but that is a different question.) In others, where the influence of pietism has been strong (e.g., the Church of Norway) or where Luther's own views have swayed actual Lutheran practice in these areas (e.g., many of the German "territorial churches"), lay celebration has been permitted in a variety of circumstances.

In America, almost all Lutheran churches have allowed "lay celebration" in some circumstances. The liberal ELCA, like its predecessor bodies, allowed it in a variety of circumstances, although in the run-up to the "Concordat" between ECUSA and ELCA (which ECUSA endorsed in 1997 and the ELCA in 1999) the Episcopalian side indicated its "discomfort" with the practice. The Missouri Synod made formal provision for lay celebration, by males alone, in a variety of circumstances, at its 1989 Wichita Convention. Smaller Lutheran bodies like the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) also allow it, and the long series of question-and-answer topics on the web page of the 350,000 person Wisconsin Synod (WELS) demonstrates that it not only allows "lay celebration" by males, but has on occasion allowed laywomen to celebrate "the Lord's Supper" for groups composed solely of women -- a practice on which it has declared a moratorium, due to the protests of the ELS, with which it is "in pulpit and altar fellowship."

Cherub said...

Canon Tallis has said: "those of us who are really serious about Classical Anglicanism and the Catholic faith as handed over by the saints by means of Holy Scripture, the consensus of the Fathers, the Creeds and the General Councils result in an enrichment and deepening of our hopefully common and ancient faith."
What is "Classical Anglicanism" and who gets to define it?" The General Synod of the C of E, The House of Commons, the Queen, various parts of the Continuum? From where would the definers of "Classical Anglicanism" get their authority to decide what is the truth?

John A. Hollister said...

Cherub asked, "What is 'Classical Anglicanism' and who gets to define it?"

Quite simply, Classical Anglicanism is made up of historical data which can be identified by anyone who choses to examine what Anglicanism believed, practiced, and taught between the 1530s and, perhaps, as late as the 1930s. One would probably wish to include the Bonn Concordat in that, so perhaps the end of the 1930s would be the earliest cutoff point one would wish to choose.

I myself would wish to include the magnificent family of editions of the Book of Common Prayer that developed as a direct result of the Episcopal Church of Scotland's BCP of 1929 and the C of E's "Proposed Book" of 1928, so perhaps 1963 would be my cutoff year for "Classical Anglicanism". Certainly I would cut it off prior to 1970, when the Lambeth Communion reversed its prior determination and admitted the Church of South India (along with the then-new Church of North India) into its membership.

John A. Hollister+
Veriword: "vokeye"

Canon Tallis said...

I must thank Canon Hollister for responding to Cherub in terms that I find entirely acceptable. It seems to me that the definition is largely self explanitory and began with Acts 2: 42.

Cherub said...

It would appear that Canon Hollister is the fons et origo and infallible authority as to what is Classical Anglicanism. He uses these terms to provide his authority: "One would probably wish to include ..." and "I myself would wish to include ...". And since Anglicanism has long witnessed the holding of mutually exclusive views about everything from the sacraments to justrification by faith alone by its most celebrated bishops and theologians, as well as an extraordinary conflict in actual practice (Rosary, Solemn Mass, and Benediction on the one hand versus Solemn High Matins and the rejection of Romish views re the meaning of the Eucharistic celebrationon), it would seem that Classical Anglicanism should really be defined in terms of whatever I and my friends believe in from time to time. Oh dear ...
As for the definition being "self-evident", why then do so many Anglicans not agree with this definition? And why can we not say that the ordination of women is just the natural development of faith and practice which is in that oldest set of documents, the New Testament? Classical Anglicanism as defined by Canon Hollister surely does not preclude the ordination of women. If the Anglican Church has the authority to define doctrine and correct Roman errors, why can it not define the doctrine of the priesthood to include the ordination of women? Is it not the fact that the TAC are being consistent with what they see as the answer to questions about who has the authority to deefine doctrine? If you and your peopole stay where you are (and that is your right and it is to be respected), will you not in the end accept women's ordination if there are too few Anglicans left in the world with whom you can be in Communion. And after all, you have already claimed the authority to determine what is or is not sound doctrine. Or is ther something I have overlooked or misunderstood in your response. If s, I am open to correction.

John A. Hollister said...

Cherub wrote, "It would appear that Canon Hollister is the fons et origo and infallible authority as to what is Classical Anglicanism. He uses these terms to provide his authority: 'One would probably wish to include ...' and 'I myself would wish to include ...'."

This is uncharitable. I used the conditional throughout because reasonable men and women might differ about fine details but the question alone implied boundaries within which the answer logically fell.

First, people ofte discuss intellectual movements and past times as realities although their beginning and end points are debatable. When did "Classical Antiquity" begin and end? What are the boundaries of "the early Republican period" of Rome? When did "New Testament times" end? When did "the Renaissance" and "the Enlightenment" respectively begin and end?

Thus those who discuss such things usually explain what limits they personally use. I propose the 1530s as the beginning because it makes little sense to label "Anglican" the Church in England before it became, in its own eyes and those of others, a national church with a discrete identity, i.e., at the Reformation.

I offered 1963 as the endpoint as being the Church of India's adoption of the last traditional edition of the Book of Common Prayer.

Cherub further wrote, "Anglicanism has long witnessed the holding of mutually exclusive views about everything from the sacraments to justification by faith alone by its most celebrated bishops and theologians, as well as an extraordinary conflict in actual practice...."

All parts of Christianity have experienced diversity in private opinions among their office holders and scholars. That is irrelevant; what matters is what the Church has actually authorized and taught. "Lex orandi, lex credendi" and all that.

For Anglicans, such teaching has been encapsulated in its BCPs, which is one reason they are so extraordinarily important to us. From 1549 to 1963, the official BCPs expressed largely uniform teaching on the Sacraments, the requirements for the ministry, etc.

So it is incorrect to say, with Cherub, "it would seem that Classical Anglicanism should really be defined in terms of whatever I and my friends believe in from time to time."

"As for the definition being 'self-evident', why then do so many Anglicans not agree with this definition?"

(Continued)

John A. Hollister said...

(Part 2):

I do not know why; the answer lies rather in psychiatry than in theology. I do know that, from the perspective of the "Classical Anglicanism" to which Canon Tallis referred and of which I have here attempted to begin working toward a definition, there is substantial doubt whether such folk are, in any meaningful sense, "Anglicans" at all. We would not call "Christians" those who deny the reality of the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection (and, yes, I was thinking here of John Spong and David Jenkins).

"And why can we not say that the ordination of women is just the natural development of faith and practice which is in that oldest set of documents, the New Testament?"

Well, some officers of Christ Church, Plano TX think you can. (See yesterday's lead posting on this blogspot's home page.) The rest of us must wait and see if you can come up with some hitherto-unknown Biblical exegesis that is logically consistent and that does not do terminal violence to the source materials.

"Classical Anglicanism as defined by Canon Hollister surely does not preclude the ordination of women."

You and he must differ on that. For example, the Affirmation of St. Louis says the so-called ordination of women was precisely the key event that led the Continuing Church to opt for Classical Anglicanism over NeoAnglicanism.

"If the Anglican Church has the authority to define doctrine and correct Roman errors, why can it not define the doctrine of the priesthood to include the ordination of women?"

No; the Roman errors consist of unwarranted and idiosyncratic additions to the deposit of the Faith, not of denials of essential elements of that deposit. So R.C. teaching includes all that it is essential for Catholics to believe; it simply, although mistakenly, tells them that there are some other matters that they must also accept as dogma.

None of those other things contradicts essential Catholic teaching, however, so they all exist as personal and voluntary "pious opinions", even among some in the non-R.C. portion of Catholicism.

The "ordination" of women is utterly rejected by all parts of the Catholic world. Thus the T.A.C. may choose to merge into Rome and so accept as dogma those pious opinions, without losing its claim to Catholicity. Were it to adopt the "ordination" of women, however, and it would thereby vitiate its claims to minister valid Sacraments and so ipso facto and forthwith cease to have any color of claim to be "Catholic".

John A. Hollister+
Veriwords: "nosse", "nifighte"

Cherub said...

First, let me apologise to Canon Hollister. I certainly did not intend to be uncharitable towards him. I very much respect the measured way in which he enters the discussion. However, it still seems to me that Canon Hollister is his own authority of last resort.

He says: "For Anglicans, such teaching has been encapsulated in its BCPs, which is one reason they are so extraordinarily important to us. From 1549 to 1963, the official BCPs expressed largely uniform teaching on the Sacraments, the requirements for the ministry, etc."

I find it difficult to see how any reasonable person could say that the sacramental doctrine in the 1552 Prayer Book was "largely" the same as 1549. On the contrary it is explicitly anti-Real Presence, anti-Sacrifice of the Mass, and anti-priesthood as traditional Catholics would have understood it. The English Reformers may have seen themselves as renovators rather than innovators but the fact is that under the influence of the Continental protestants Cranmer went as far as he coulkd in their direction.

The second problem is that the Prayer Books, apart from significant differences in teaching between them, are often so ambiguously worded ("was not by Christ's ordinance etc") that one can in good conscience arrive at mutually contradictory positions on the same fundamental matter. It is true that Anglicanism maintained an orthodoxy on some very fundamental matters such as the Trinity, the resurrection of Christ and so on. But Anglican theologians and bishops give authoritative accounts of the meaning o the 39 Artilces and the Prayer Books. Lex orandi lex credendi here means: "I believe what I take the documents, in all their studied ambiguity, to mean."
Where women's ordination is concerned (and I personally oppose it probaly on the same grounds as Canon Hollister), it is difficult to say that Anglican documents authorised by Kings, Parliament, and Synods cannot be changed by the same Kings, Parliamets, and Synods. One cannot say that the authority of last resort [Kings Parliaments, or Synods] in the past had authority which they no longer have. So one is left with a choice - my account of what the documents say or what the authority of last resort says they mean, remembering that the authority of last resort has as much right to change existing faith and practice as theirpredecessors had. Again, my apologies if I seem to have been uncharitable. My concern is to get to the truth of the matter. The TAC has made up its mind: why attack them for that?

John A. Hollister said...

Cherub wrote, "I find it difficult to see how any reasonable person could say that the sacramental doctrine in the 1552 Prayer Book was 'largely' the same as 1549. On the contrary it is explicitly anti-Real Presence, anti-Sacrifice of the Mass, and anti-priesthood as traditional Catholics would have understood it."

Personally – and I cannot possibly speak for anyone other than myself – I do not find the 1552 BCP as completely and hopelessly Protestant as Cherub does, certainly not going as far in that direction as, for example, the rejected 1785 draft did (the one that was adopted in 1873 by the Reformed Episcopal Church). Further, the 1552 text was not in effect for even a year and when the next BCP appeared, that of Queen Elizabeth, we see the beginning of what was, for more than three hundred years, a consistent process whereby “Prayer Book revision” always meant going back and reappropriating more and more of the 1549 text.

Nor is it correct that "Anglican theologians and bishops give authoritative accounts of the meaning o the 39 Articles and the Prayer Books." The teaching of the Church is the teaching authorized by the Church and the unofficial opinions of theologians and Bishops are just that. The Roman Church, especially, has in recent decades had reason to be grateful for that fact.

Thus, for example, when in 1928 the British Parliament – legislating solely for England, not for Scotland --, for the second time, refused to pass the Bill that would have enacted the “Proposed” BCP, the Church of England, by a decision of a majority of its Bishops, that is, officially, permitted its use anyway. So which was the authentic expression of the mind of the Church of England, the negative vote in a political assembly by largely Nonconformist MPs or the decision of the Church’s Bishops?

"It is difficult to say that Anglican documents authorised by Kings, Parliament, and Synods cannot be changed by the same Kings, Parliaments, and Synods." So far as England goes, I think the case of the 1928 "Proposed" BCP is apposite. Even more importantly, after 1789, with the establishment of official intercommunion between the mutually independent Church of England and PECUSA, Anglicanism was no longer confined to the Church of England. However ecclesiastical decisions are arrived at in England, those decisions reflect only the mind of those two Provinces, not those of Anglicanism as a whole.

The consensus of "Classical Anglicanism", in Canon Tallis's phrase, is to be found in the formularies that were broadly accepted by all Anglicans during Anglicanism's classic period. Chief among those formularies were the BCPs – in the U.S., for example, the status of the 39 Articles was always questionable, and a very strong argument can be made that those Articles were never actually doctrinal standards even in England because the laity were never required to assent to them.

The U.S. series of BCPs, from 1789 through 1892 to 1928, clearly reverted ever more strongly to the 1549 model and the same was observable after 1928 elsewhere. That is precisely why I proposed 1963 as the later boundary of the classical period: the 1954 South African and the 1963 Indian BCPs are the finest examples of the 1549 tradition ever developed.

"The TAC has made up its mind: why attack them for that?" In this instance, I wasn't attacking the TAC, although I have been ready enough to do so at other times and on other issues. Here I was merely using the TAC as a convenient example of the effect acceptance of the peculiar Roman dogmas would have on a group's Catholic credentials. That's not an attack, that's a discussion of what the effect will be of a potential future event.

John A. Hollister+
Veriword: "adletion"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I agree with Fr. Hollister. The 1552 BCP is mostly known by a caricature of the same, not by what it truly is. And, Lex Orandi Lex Credendi means exactly what it says. The law of prayer is the law of belief-like a scientific law. When you pray, you believe accordingly.

Also, I disagree with Cherub on this:

"Where women's ordination is concerned (and I personally oppose it probaly on the same grounds as Canon Hollister), it is difficult to say that Anglican documents authorised by Kings, Parliament, and Synods cannot be changed by the same Kings, Parliamets, and Synods."

Matters of doctrine and practice are not authorized by Kings, Parliament or Synods, but by God and his unchanging revelation. That sinful man tries to interfere, and causes division, is a universal problem, and one that has been consistent in history.

And, since when has the TAC made up its mind on this Rome business? From my perspective it is obvious that Archbishop Hepworth and a few other bishops have decided one thing, and the people have decided something else. Meanwhile, Rome has not decided anything (and will not).

poetreader said...

It's even questionable just what our bishops have actually decided. They have signed the CCC. but according to a formula full of weasel words. Whatever their actual intent, calling it the "most complete" statement (words to that effect, I'm working from memory)of the Catholic faith is not declaring acceptance without reservation.

ed

Cherub said...

Dear Fathers
Actually I know the 1552 BCP very well indeed. Ands doctrine is clearly antithetical to what you believe. The BCP, whether 1549, 1552, 1559, 1662 were all authorised by the state. That is historically a fact. When St Edmund Campion was in debate with the representatives of the then state religion, the 1559 BCP and the 39 Artilces, it was clear that the doctrine being officially propounded by the C of E was clearly protestant. No Church in the whole of Christendom had eucharistic liturgies like these. 1552 had a much longer lasting influence in England where most Anglicans live than did 1549. The anglicans in the United States are rather small beer when compared to England and Nigeria. The fact is that the Anglican Communion generally are in the line of the 1662 BCP and 39 Articles. That in some ways North America is not in that line is intersting but not important when deciding what Classical Anglicanism is or is not. In the end, a few Amercians, venerable, holy, and in many ways right minded as they may be, are but a blink on the Anglican landscape.

Fater Hart says: "And, since when has the TAC made up its mind on this Rome business? From my perspective it is obvious that Archbishop Hepworth and a few other bishops have decided one thing, and the people have decided something else." Can you please give me evidence that the people of the TAC think differently from their leaders. And here we would need to take account of the people in Africa, India, Australia, Canada etc as well as the US. I may be wrong but I was under the impression that the various synods of the TAC had decided the matter in favour of Rome. And why does it bother other members of the Continuum. If you are right no doubt you will have an influx of new members. On the other hand, if the TAC are right they may attract some of your members. Is that possible?

poetreader said...

Cherub,

Seldom are things as simple as a surface reading would seem to indicate. 1552 that was used for a year and a half, and even then, apparently, did not receive general acceptance, does indeed have its problems, and does appear to have been constructed so as to allow interpretation of a much more Reformed nature than even Cranmer actually intended. However, 1552 as it stood was not revived after the Marian interlude. The rather odd (and I would say, unfortunate) structure of the Eucharistic liturgy indeed was carried over into Elizabeth's 1559 and into 1662, but close examination will reveal that the apparently small changes made render Elizabeth's book and subsequent versions far closer in theology to 1549 than to 1552. I too know 1552 quite well indeed, and also 1662, and I find the differences to be extremely striking.

Evidence that Some bishops in TAC have made decisions that the people do not accept? Well, I am evidence, in and of myself, that this is true for some. And here again, you've taken a surface view of something much more nuanced. As I said just above, it is by no means certain that their signing of the CCC necessarily signifies absolute and total acceptance of everything there contained. I have reason to know that this is not the case for all participants. The relevant documents are very carefully worded in such a way that entire submission is not there stated.

ed

Cherub said...

Dear Poetreader
Thank you for that. The problem is that the 1552 struycture and wording did indeed remain. 1559 excluded the Black Rubric and added in the 1549 words for the Administration of Holy Communion. Nevertheless, any sense of "offering the Sacrifice of the Mass remained excluded. And there was still no "Amen" after the words of consecration. The 1662 BCP added an "Amen" after the prayer of consecration and required some manual acts, but it restored the Black Rubric and still refrained from adding any sense of "offering" to the Consecration prayer. Classical Anglicanism remains essentially protestant in many key areas, including justification by faith alone.

In response to your reemark about yourself, I can only say that one swallow does not make a summer. Moreover, I believe we should take the document signed by the TAC at face value. If Rome does not then I dare say they will not agree with it and refuse it short of any further clarification. But, as I read it, the TAC have signed on to the fullness of the Catholic Faith, including the infallibility of the Pope. If I am wrong then Rome will object and there the matter would end.

I appear not to have your inside sources, but inside sources not cited are not, as any academic knows, not sources at all.

Bottom line - the TAC clearly does not accept the view of the Americans. But the rest of the Anglican Communion has nevcer accepted that American Anglicans are the fons et origo of all things Anglican. In fact the arrogance of PECUSA with all of its money has been a root cause of the disruption of communion between the member Churches of the Anglican Communion. They have forced the pace and from 1976 have single-handedly disrupted the ARCIC process. Where the Continuum is concerned, I ask the Americans not to fololow the poor example of PECUSA, the rock from which they have been hewn, and listen to those closer to the English protestant heritage as to what constitutes the limits of plkurality of doctrine and practice within the Anglican community. In that way, discussion with other Churches will becomemore meaningful. But since Anglicans cannot agree among themselves as to where the limits of plurality lie, perhaps the best option is the TAC approach.

poetreader said...

I'm not citing secret sources, and, in fact, am very uncomfortable with the appearance of secrecy that has been given. There is sufficient evidence on the surface to give at least plausibility to my observations. I mention myself as one example among many. Though I am sure some exist, I have not talked with a single thinking layman in my diocese that would affirm the statement the bishops made, if it be taken to require complete acceptance of the papal claims. If Rome can find no way to loosen up on their insistence on such submission, the deal is not going to fly. (Yes, it is a miracle that is required, a change in Rome itself beyond reasonable expectation, against all conventional wisdom and apparent probability - but I continue to pray to the God of miracles that He grant one. He can.)

As to interpreting the statement of the bishops -- it is very carefully and precisely worded, in a way typical of Anglican statements (of any "party") so as to be amenable to more than one interpretation. To take it as necessarily signifying entire agreement with the CCC is to ignore the way that Anglicans have approached such matter. From the BCP, through the Articles, and in a host of more recent documents, wording is constructed to say no more than what the actual words require one to take them as. In this case, the signing was not said to indicate entire agreement (though some bishops may have intended it that way), but merely recognition of the document as the best existing. If Rome understands it otherwise, Rome is misunderstanding it, and will be attempting a kind of absorption that will not ultimately happen.

ed