Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I won't say "I told you so"

In the two posts, as you scroll immediately down, you will see the response of Archbishop Haverland of the Anglican Catholic Church, as well as very direct analysis from Rev. Canon Charles Nalls, concerning the Constitution that was promised on October 20. and released on Monday November 9. Looking at the actual words of the Constitution in Fr. Nalls' post, we see that Rome has actually offered nothing at all, that is, nothing except the long standing offer that has always existed: You may "convert" and join their church. You will have to renounce much, start over, and trust fully that their leadership will do right by you, and your children. In short, it is clear from the accuracy of our foresight (or perhaps, our information), that The Continuum blog has guided you well. This is where you read it back in October.

Generally, I am known for writing on issues of theology; but, we have from Monday's news also the real life consequences of good or bad polity to consider. Earlier, I pointed out that Rome has not earned the right to expect trust. I have been criticized heavily as meaner than Mean Mr. Mustard himself (who "always shouts out something obscene"). I would have preferred to see evidence that my critics know how to think rather than merely reacting with undue emotion. Warning my fellow Anglicans of the danger has brought on my head the charge often leveled at watchmen on the wall; but this is not about who can be nice and sound sweet (if not sugar-coated), and appeal to warm and fuzzy emotions. This is about the life or death of what we have sought to Continue since the big 1977 meeting in St. Louis. What kind of Christianity will we provide for our children, and, in general, to the next generation?

Polity dangers

In matters of simple polity, Rome's very thick bureaucracy stands between all Tiber Swimmers and the kind intentions of the Pope himself; and that bureaucracy shows no signs of mortality, let alone a speedy demise. The new Constitution reaffirms it on every level, and offers nothing to Anglicans who are accustomed to having a voice in the administration of parish business affairs, election of bishops, and matters that pertain to the pastoral care and education of their own children.

The sight of Cardinal William Levada presenting the news, on October 20, would have been ironic in a humorous way, if only this whole thing were not so very serious. His reputation in the United States is very bad, inasmuch as he shielded and reassigned priests who sexually abused boys; as did Cardinal Bernard Law. We have many reasons for saying to Anglicans who are Purgatory-bent on the Tiber, you are trusting a huge bureaucracy that has yet to set its own house in order. But, the most glaring reason of all, as to why such trust is misplaced, is that some of the same people who let the wolves loose on Catholic children (children who were Catholic by any proper standard), are still active in the system. Furthermore, even after the enablers are dead and gone, in spite of the Pope's most sincere desire to clean up the system, there remains evidence that Rome's inner corruption is yet unreformed, rather than signs of a better day ahead. The bureaucracy with all of its secrecy and corruption is, in many practical ways, unchanged.

Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) claimed that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, has promised that married men from among the Roman Catholics in the "Ordinariate churches" may be ordained in the future. The Constitution says the opposite. About the issue of married clergy, we see now that nothing other than the same old Pastoral Provisions will be offered. Anglican Church in America (ACA) websites have been telling their people that what Rome offers is inter-communion: But the Constitution offers no such thing; rather, it lays down the conditions for "conversion." Those conditions are unacceptable to to anyone who has true Anglican convictions. And, will the Traditional Anglican Church (the TAC church) in England now have to vote to back out of their recent vote to accept whatever this Constitution was going to say? Do they even now grasp what it does, in fact, say?

We, on this blog, saw clearly from the first day of the announcement on October 20. I feel like John Wayne in McClintock.

Someone ought to say, I told'ya so; but I won't; I won't...Like hell I won't.

83 comments:

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

"Here here" yet I will say "I told you so" as I did! I for one appreciate the fact that at least one Anglican Catholic sees the Apostolic Constitution for what it is and was indicated clearly by the original "Note" and now the subsequent "Norms". Thank you Fr Hart.

Cherub said...

Fr Hart says: "Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) claimed that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, has promised that married men from among the Roman Catholics in the "Ordinariate churches" may be ordained in the future. The Constitution says the opposite." You are wrong. Quite wrong. You have allowed your visceral objection to the Roman Catholic Church to get in the way. So let me explain.

I think the issue of celibacy is still to be determined. In VI (2) of the Constitution it says this:

§2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See."
That is, it does the usual Roman thing of stating the rule (pro regla) and then gives the grounds for the exceptions (he may also petition the Roman Pontiff).

What then are the "objective criteria"? We then look at the Complementary Norms.

"Article 6
§1. In order to admit candidates to Holy Orders the Ordinary must obtain the consent of the Governing Council. In consideration of Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice, the Ordinary may present to the Holy Father a request for the admission of married men to the presbyterate in the Ordinariate, after a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate. These objective criteria are determined by the Ordinary in consultation with the local Episcopal Conference and must be approved by the Holy See."
So my reading of the documents thus far says that the issue is still to be worked out. In short, for the forseeable future, it may well be that the "needs of the Ordinariate" have to be met and this could well mean that married men presenting for Holy Orders are the dominant group. I don't know, but I really think this is still to be worked out.
So enough of the lampooning of Archbishop Hepworth who has been courageous enough to put his own job on the line for what he considers to be the greater good of the TAC of which he is Primate. And I would caution you, Fr Hart, not to be too precipitous in claiming "I told you so" when you didn't and when, in any case, you do not yet have the final picture.

poetreader said...

I do agree with the formal content of what Fr. Hart writes above, but, as a co-host with him, I have to take very strong exception to the belligerence with which it is said. Sorry Fathers, but "I told you so," is almost never a constructive thing to say, It appears both self-serving and disrespectful. While I feel the text of the Constitution does reflect all I expected it to contain, I am NOT pleased to be correct, but deeply saddened. This document appears to be the best Rome can offer, and that is sad indeed. The object of ecumenism is to study out how much diversity is possible within unity, and to take action on that basis. Alas, Rome's answer at this time is that precious little diversity of the sort that has been under discussion between Anglicans and Romans is going to be accepted. On that I do not gloat, nor do I believe gloating is any more acceptable than the bureaucratic paralysis here represented. Got that off my chest. I don't want an endless discussion, but someone from Fr. Hart's "side" needed to express that such a way of proceeding is as offensive as the things being opposed, and perhaps more so.

Cherub:

I can't believe you don';t see the huge difference between as environment in which a married clergy is normal and celibacy an honored exception, and an environment in which celibacy is the norm and marriage a hard-to-achieve exception. There is no conceivable way to see the former in the Constitution or the Norms. It is not the mere permission for a handful of clergy to be married that will make an ordinariate magically preserve the "Anglican patrimony". The ecclesiastical ethos of Anglicanism revolves around an ordinarily married pastorate, and a rather different relationship of people and priest than one finds in the RCC.

Nothing could be clearer in the Constitution than its treatment of married clergy as a tolerated exception, and the general rule of required celibacy as the expectation.

ed

John A. Hollister said...

Ed Pacht wrote, "This document appears to be the best Rome can offer, and that is sad indeed."

I would have phrased that as, "This document appears to be the best Rome is willing to offer, ...."

John A. Hollister+

Brian said...

Ed,

As a regular reader and occasional commenter on this blog, I have to ask: Is all this carping about tone all the time really necessary? It never produces any change, is burdensome to the reader and comes across as unnecessary at best (we're all adults here) and downright petulant at worst. The only one who seems to have a problem with the way people comport themselves is you, so perhaps you should consider whether the you are being over sensitive.

poetreader said...

Brian, if we'd act like adults, I'd buy that, but that's just my point. I came to this board for reasoned and polite discussion of issues. I accepted my current role on that basis. And I'm not the only one who senses the difficulties I mention, perhaps one of the few that hasn't yet been driven away. I have trouble counting the number of people I've directed to this board, because I have felt they could learn a great deal here, who have found the tone and attitude impossible to put up with, and thus are not able to hear what is being said.

ed

Fr. John said...

Fr. Hart,

I commend your diligence and seriousness in facing this challenge to the very existence of Anglicanism. This is a situation that demands a strong clear response, and a strong clear warning as to the probable outcomes of accepting this offer.

It is our duty as Anglican clergy to warn the faithful about the extreme danger accepting this offer would place then in. Reminding people that your assessments were correct, and their assumptions were wrong, may be considered "gloating" by some, but in my estimation it is a powerful argument that brings into focus the pattern of this entire affair. Let me put it in old Southern, "We tried to tell 'em, they wouldn't listen." Maybe they will listen now. A shrill whistle gets attention, and a situation like the one we are confronted with needs the attention of everyone in the Anglican Continuum. Too much is at stake to give a tepid and low key response.

Large segments of the American Roman Catholic Church despise Pope Benedict. They are literally waiting for him to die, as one of my liberal professors at the Catholic University of America told me on the day that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected.

If the ACA/TAC bishops are foolish enough to accept this "deal," then their clergy and laity need to take immediate steps to protect the property and autonomy of their parishes. Provincial property is also worthy of consideration as it is the fruit of parish tithes.

Brothers! Do not place your future into the hands of the American Roman Catholic bishops, you will truly be in the belly of the beast if you do.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Fr John for a fine post, which I agree with entirely.

Funny thing, I do not hear any mad rush to accept the offer. Even Bishop Broadhurst of FIF-UK issued a guarded statement, damning by faint praise. From those who were so jubilant over every junket to Rome, there is as deafening silence. One is reminded of Aesop's fable, The Mountain in Labor.
LKW

poetreader said...

Thank you, Fr. John,
There's a difference between "I told you so" and, "Reminding people that your assessments were correct, and their assumptions were wrong". The former sounds too much like calling people stupid, while the latter simply keeps earlier statements in view.

You've done a good, forthright, and strong presentation without the kind of confrontational language that causes ears to be shut. It's not milquetoast mushiness I'm advocating, but reasoned, precise, and non-insulting discourse.

You've raised some specifics that haven't been much mentioned and in a clear and factual way, clearly enough to be heard and, hopefully considered. That used to be what was regularly heard on this blog. I've had a lot of people telling me that we've changed in umpleasant ways.

OK. Enough of esplaining my "schoolmarmish" tendencies. Let's move on with the subject.

You are quite right that the pontificate of Benedict is only a temporary phenomenon. I'd rank him among the very best of popes, in fact, among the most reputable of Christian leaders. But he won't be around a whole lot longer (Grant him many years, O Lord!) What comes next? Will the favors being granted to "former Anglicans" continue past his reign? That is definitely up for grabs. All of it exists at the pope's pleasure, and large segments of the RCC are distinctly unfavorable.

Unless one is absolutely convinced of all the claims made for the papacy, and thus compelled to be under that institution, regardless of conditions, taking advantage of the Constitution would seem to put one on enormously shaky ground.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Cherub:

I cannot believe that you do not see a mere continuation of the Pastoral Provisions for what it is. The "case by case" basis is about former Anglican clergy "converting" to Rome. The "case by case" study is also about whether complete ordination or conditional ordination is appropriate. The rest of the constitution makes this clear. Nothing has changed.

You begin your quotation at Article 6.2; but you have conveniently overlooked 6.1

"· VI. §1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church."
-emphasis mine

The context of what you quoted is only about former Anglican clergy. Nice try, but no cigar.

Ed:

Our daily readership has more than doubled in the last month.

Shattering pleasant delusions provokes anger, but often only initially. I believe it is necessary to burst bubbles and rain on parades when people are walking into danger, especially when they are doing so with a smile.

All:

Here is a bit of verse:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

- Lewis Carroll

Shaughn said...

Right. So.

Now that we know where everyone stands on these matters, I propose that we focus on how we can better serve the folks around us. We do want people to join our church, right?

I'm not saying we should take a break from playing "Who's Really Anglican," as it's quite a way to pass time. But seriously. If all we care about is keeping people in, rather than going out and getting people to love Christ, we are toast. Our churches thrive in Africa because they take so seriously the call to bring folks in and train them to witness for Christ in a uniquely Anglican way, it seems to me.

How about a series on evangelism? An Anglican plan to establish niches for ourselves in college towns, cities, the military, FCA in secondary schools, and so forth (that is, where-folks-are)?

The folks who want to go elsewhere will probably go elsewhere, and Rome will probably keep on being Rome, and the East will probably keep on being the East. Let's build us the church, ladies and gents. :)

poetreader said...

Right on, Shaugn!
(doesn't look like a rhyme, but it is)
Thank you.

Ultimately, if some go off to Rome, no matter how far we think they've strayed from truth, and there put their effort into bringing sinners to Jesus; and some others remain as Anglicans, even as shamefully fractured as we are, and put our effort into bringing sinners to Jesus; well, then, sinners will be brought to Jesus. Isn't that the biggest hapf of the Great Commission?

I like the part about teaching all things that he has commanded, and am committed to it, but it would seem that the first priority is to bring them in. It's a Christless world we are in the midst of, and that becomes our main job.

Fr. John said...

We still need to know how the story ends. What is the response from the bishops of the ACA? Did they get what they wanted? Are they preparing the paperwork for their applications to be ordained? For some this will be their third or fourth ordination, so I guess it's really no big deal for them, but the rest of us need to know, because, yes Shaughn, I do want those Anglican parishes not becoming Roman to return to the Anglican Catholic Church. It would be what John Paul II called a "positive ecumenism."

David Gould said...

The job at hand is indeed nothing less than the Anglican Continuum getting serious about evangelism for Christ. As Ed. says, we are in a Christ-less age.

Our job is to take Word and Sacrament to the unchurched, to those separated from God, to those hurting, to those following the false idols of materialism, consumerism and showing what real life is in Christ.

Our task is to do so convinced that within our life as Anglican Catholics that we have the fullness of Catholic faith, worship and Apostolic order.

Our mission will work when we have vocations to the sacred priesthood, when men and women come forward saying "yes" to God in monastic witness to the life-changing Gospel.

Our mission will work when we stop apologising for being Anglican Catholics, when we recognise the incredible mercy and gifts that God has given us in this tiny continuum of the witness of the saints of England.

Anonymous said...

@Shaugn:
For what is' worth I think the A.C. would simply gut our work. I am with a small but growing Continuing Anglican parish. We do evangelize, we discuss it and work at it. It's a constant, energizing, exiting theme.

We all got caught short 30 years ago- our paradigm was maintenance. We have all had to start from scratch at Evangelism in some way. But this all ends with the A.C.

What this means for the average small parish thinking of accepting the offer is that the entire parish will no longer have autonomy.

*will begin Roman catechism for 2 years, their clergy will step down and become laymen and will have to complete their education if lacking before being able to serve anyone; your buildings, if any, will need to be disposed of.

*you will be directed to a local RC Diocese since ours are far flung and overlapping many RC dioceses in between.

*you will likely be directed to a local RC parish (100 families is the minimum standard for a RC parish) for worship in the early am.

* you will be somewhat segregated from the RC congregation.

* your priest if he can past muster will be counted on to do Vatican II services as directed by the local Bishop (so don't count on the level of pastoral care you had before.)

*your children will learn Roman Catholicism, you will die, the Roman Church will go on as before an that will be the end of that.

Evangelism ends with this offer. We have a charism that is distinct and we reach people Rome cannot. We also reach people the Protestant churches loose as well (sorry for the generic use of 'protestant').

In all this is no offer at all but simply the same old same old. Want to go to Rome? You don't have to go far there is a RC Church with liturgy that sounds like the Episcopal Church, goofy music and psalter, nuns who want to be priests, churches full of liberals who are fine with abortion and other liberal social causes right down the street.

Your not getting a closed RC Church to parade around in - they can't afford it! If you believe you can attract former Romans scandalized by sexual misconduct consider the whole thing comes under the oversight of Cardinal Levada- end of story!

And if that is not bad enough consider the grating sound of returning to the response:

"And also with you"!

:-p

Alan

veriword "breeched"

Canon Tallis said...

If we are going to bring people to Christ and to Anglicanism, we must first know Christ and know and believe what Anglicanism is and is supposed to be as evidenced in its historic documents. Otherwise we will be seen primarily as a group providing an opportunity for clergy to continue to play at being something which they are not. But also which a significant number of the laity have no interest in being.

To me, the important fact about classical Anglicanism is that it is supposed to take the claims of Christian antiquity seriously. In short, in contrast to EO and the churches of the Roman obedience, Anglicans in the Continuum are supposed to be promoters of the doctrine actually to be found in the Bible as interpreted by the fathers and the General Councils. This was the reason for the English reformation and church revival which we not call the Tractarian or Oxford Movement. But just as we have always had our own fifth columns within the Church, persons who wanted positions and employment but who refused to accept what the Book of Common Prayer taught about personal Christian discipline and corporate worship who saw to it that the Church's public witness was denigrated and destroyed by their unwillingness to be honest about what their ordination obligated them to do and be.

We keep telling ourselves that diversity is a good thing, but it simply confuses people about what both Scripture and the Church are supposed to believe and teach. Not every mission or parish needs to have elaborate music and ceremonial, but there needs to be an essential unity in the words used so that the teaching is the same and that which be identified as "the apostles' doctrine.'

Shaughn said...

Fr. John,

I suggest we in the ACC should do our level best to welcome whoever decides not to swim the Tiber with open arms. This isn't to say there won't be catechesis involved, but these two sentences communicate the same information in two different ways:

1) "We'd love to have you. We have a little catechesis where you'll meet with the rector a half dozen times to go over some nuts and bolts, and we'll have you on board in short order."

2) "Before you can join our church, you need to be catechized, confirmed sub conditione when the bishop comes by next April. 'Till then, please don't receive at the rail."

I see a heck of a lot of #2 in these parts, and usually not with that level of courtesy. We need more of the rhetoric in #1. I don't know how to put it more plainly. We want folks in the church. We want them to hear the hymns -- "Alleluia, Sing to Jesus," "Hail Thee, Festival Day," "The King of Love My Shepherd Is" (sung to St. Columba, don't you know) and on and on. We want Cranmer's words and the Authorized Version to work into their very bones so that they, too, have to laugh a bit when they hear, "This is a true saying and worthy of all men to be received!" And we want folks to know, without any doubt, that this is what we want for them. The hoop jumping should be a means to an end -- a sanctifying end. I don't want folks to join my little club, but Christ's Body.

Let the Romans go on being Romans. Really, really -- Let 'em go. They are convicted in a way that logical argument simply doesn't gel. They have taken Kierkegaard's leap of faith. Some other irrational impulse might send them right back, but who knows? Right reason doesn't work on people who aren't convicted by reason.

Let us focus on love of God and love of our neighbor, on the path of sanctification, on prayer. I grow weary of the tut-tutting, folks. Let us dig into what we have that is good and beautiful and share it with folks.

Veriword, by the way, is "obbit." Poor Frodo lost his aspiration.

Albion Land said...

I´ll say it again, as the spider said to the fly:

Come into my parlor.

Cherub said...

Poetreader says: "Cherub:

I can't believe you don';t see the huge difference between as environment in which a married clergy is normal and celibacy an honored exception, and an environment in which celibacy is the norm and marriage a hard-to-achieve exception. There is no conceivable way to see the former in the Constitution or the Norms. It is not the mere permission for a handful of clergy to be married that will make an ordinariate magically preserve the "Anglican patrimony". The ecclesiastical ethos of Anglicanism revolves around an ordinarily married pastorate, and a rather different relationship of people and priest than one finds in the RCC. "

Well, I do see it Poetreader and it concerns me. But I do not see that that has been ruled out ... yet. That's all. I suspect that a married clergy will be a central part of the Anglican Catholic thing for some time, but I may be wrong. Havingcome from a "Rectory family" I have experienced that part of Anglicanism. But let's be fair about all of this, and I think Poetreader you are a fair man. The Anglicans introduced a novelty at the Reformation when it allowed priests to marry. The ordination of already married men was usual, but priests diid not marry in the early Church. The result of this innovation has been the spectacle of Bishops and priests marrying again after the death of a spouse or even after divorce. Moreover the Anglican ethos over time took on the character of a married ministry to the discouragement of celibacy, with men, particularly in the C of E, getting married to get on. And not all is rosy in the married Anglican clergy garden. Terrible books have been written by "Vicars' wives", bitte at their lot, divorce, adultery and so on. The provision for a married priesthood and his material needs varies from the good and generous in the US (at least that is what I have been told), to the execrable in the UK, Australia and elsewhere. The consequence of this is that the wives of priests must work outside of the home even when they don't want to.
Getting a balance is difficult, I readily concede. What is optional celibacy when parishes demand a "married man with childrn"?
Leaving aside these interesting questions, the fact is that the TAC came to the Catholic Church without conditions. The Catholic Church has responded. No one can reasonably complain about the response who wanted to come into visible Communion with the Catholic Church without conditions. Those who have another agenda and see Rome differently will not want to be part of this. But in our evauations I plead with everyone to try and be as objective and fair about this as is humanly possible. "I told you so" might be an understandable response from a child. It is not worthy of any adult, let alone a priest.

poetreader said...

To make a categorical statement as to what was the marital practice in the "early church" is probably unwise. We simply have nom way of actually knowing. St' Paul adiced that a bishop or a deacon should be the husband of one wife and tied that to the raising of children -- yet he did not bind himself to that pattern, in fact, at times praised celibacy highly for the first couple of centuries we do know that at least some bishops and presbyters and deacons had wives. I don't know of any solid references as to whether they were married at ordination or not. Was St. Paul so intereted as to fobid a widowed cleric from remarrying? In the early years I know of no evidence. It is clear that, in the course of time rules did develop that gradually came to forbid marriage in the West, and came close to demanding (before ordination)it for non-monastic clergy in the East, and forbidding it after. All this is disciplinary and has varied from place to place and time to time. In the West the highly unnatural and arguably unscriptuaral prohibition resulted in a strange anomaly of a toerated and sometimes recommended clerical concubinage, wherein many, perhaps most, parish clergy, many bishops, and even certain popes kept a woman in a stable relationship that we today would call common-law marriage, but were forbidden to make it sacramental marriager. If Cranmer had merely brought his woman home and established her in his palace (and his bed) no eyebrows would have been lifted. But he married her. The reformers, then, took a recognized but sinful institution and regularized it by allowing concubinage to be replaced by real marriage. All that is, at least, one plausible outline of the historical development

Are there pluses and minuses in the existence of a married clergy. Well, yes, there sure are. Are there pluses and minuses in the insistence on a celibate clergy? Well, yes, there sure are. Is celibacy a part of the Roman ethos, and does it establish a style of pastoral ministry in that ethos. It certainly appears that way. Is a married ministry part of the Anglican ethos, and does it establish a style of pastoral ministry there? That also certainly appears true. In the light of that, I find a permission to retain "Anglican patrimony" that does not include the concept of marriage as the normal state to be a rather hollow permission.

That aside, the TAC is more than its bishops. Yes, the bishops, or at least a goodly chunk of them, seem to have approached Rome in that manner, but they did so in the full knowledge that a large portion of their people would find such an approach unacceptable. I spent a good part of the time they were negotiations in secret trying to find out what they were planning. No one would come clean. No one implied that an arrangement remotely like the Constitution might result. I'm sure Rome responded clearly to what they thought was being asked, but I'm also sure Rome had its own typical viewpoint (in spite of the clear teaching of V II) that only the hierarchy really matters. That also is not how Anglicans do things. Many of the bishops may accept these terms, there may be many clergy a number of laity, and some parishes that do so, but these will be individual conversions and will not be an incorporation of a church whose right to make a corporate decision is not even recognized.

I'm sorry, Cherub, but, while I recognize Rome as having behaved honorably, I can't see that anything here is an action by TAC. It looks a lot more like a hijacking from above, and an abandonment of a good part of the flock. I am, repeat, no upset with Rome, but I am deeply upset with those bishops who have engineered this. And, since they cease to be bishops, don't talk about my obligation to follow God-ordained leaders. They are abandoning the right to make such a claim.

ed

andrew said...

I am an Orthodox priest of almost 30 years, who had some connection with continuing Anglicanism 1976 - 1980 before entering the Orthodox Church, and who was involved in modest discussion between some continuing Anglicans and some Orthodox in the early 80s. As I write this, at home, I am listening to a lovely CD of Music for Compline (Tallis, Byrd, Sheppard). I often listen to various Healy Willan CDs at my office in the parish center. About this time of year I am thinking, and singing under my breath, An Advent Prose . The Psalter I carry with me as I travel is a pocket Revised Psalter (pointed for use with Anglican chants) that I've carried with me since 1979. At home I often use the Coverdale Psalter (and very am happy to know that a form of Coverdale has been officially adopted for use by the Russian Church Abroad).

You might think that I have no standing or right to an opinion in this current situation. No horse in this race. And that would be true, save that I most devoutly long to see a unambiguous place for whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report in the life of the Church. And I think that an awful lot of traditional, classical Anglicanism, and especially the Caroline - Non-Juror -High Church - Anglo-Catholic continuum is precisely of things recommended by the Apostle. So I make no apology when I think on these things.

My initial thought on the potential Roman reception of some Anglicans was that at least under the Roman umbrella someone somewhere would continue something of this tradition, perhaps not as robustly and fully as one would like, but since the Anglican Communion as a whole is busy subverting, ignoring, denying, dismissing all that is characteristic - dogmatic, liturgical, aesthetic (indeed true)- of real Anglicanism, any port in a storm....

If you will allow me the use of a troubling word, I prefer my heterodoxy in real Anglican form, rather than in various liberal, progressive, feel good, permissive, shallow, worldly forms. I thought that I had rather encounter some degree of authentic Anglicanism under the Roman umbrella than official Anglicanism in its current degeneracy. (It is an interesting question: what kind of heterodoxy is one most comfortable with?)

On the other hand, I am increasingly impressed with the Anglican Catholic Church and its spokesman as reflected on this list. If - miracle of miracles! - I were asked about ecumenical conversations with Anglicans I would say that the Orthodox should converse with this group of continuing Anglicans. They are, from what I read on the internet, the only really serious Anglicans around, the only ones with theological depth and conviction.

I don't accept the branch theory, of course, but Anglican Catholics do. But if they do - if *you* do - then why is some of the recent language so colourful and heightened about the dangers of entering into *full communion* with Rome? Surely if Rome is recognized as a really a branch of the Church Catholic, then belonging to that branch is not in itself a threat to salvation?

Not my problem, but perhaps this business is like Michelangelo's reflection on sculpture as a stripping away what ultimately doesn't belong.

Every best wish, as I dream about what I might do pudding-wise for stir-up Sunday ...

Archpriest Andrew Morbey

Alice C. Linsley said...

My Australian friends who are Anglo-Catholics and marginalized by the Anglican Church of AU are thrilled about the Personal Ordinariate and are calling it "a most unique moment of grace." It is for them, but Fr. Hart and others seem unable to accept that for some Anglicans this is a blessing. Why not be gracious about it and say "God's speed" to those who seek this and meet the requirements?

Does the Continuum feel threatened by this development?

It waits to be seen who will take up Rome's offer. Some will want to be where they no longer have to fight over women's ordination and the other innovations that have caused Anglicanism to splinter.

Cherub said...

Poetreader said: "To make a categorical statement as to what was the marital practice in the "early church" is probably unwise."

I don't think we are in disagreement. By early Church I meant that which obtained after the first couple of centuries. Before that I use the nomenclature "primitive church". This is a common usage in sholarly circles where I live. I was referring to the Council of Elvira in the first decade of the 4th century (300-306). In Canon 33 it says: "It is decided that marriage be altogether prohibited to bishops, priests, and deacons, or to all clerics placed in the ministry, and that they keep away from their wives and not beget children; whoever does this, shall be deprived of the honor of the clerical office." I agree with you that the position is a much more controverted one in the "primitive church". I am sorry about the confusion arising from my use of terms which I should have defined.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, as a long time reader of this blog and an Episcopal and Anglo-Catholic priest who was considering joining the ACC and/or any solid Continuing Church, you guys sound like a bunch of whining children. The Pope's response to the TAC is a generous response to them. Of course it is not the perfect response to all the Anglican and Catholic issues facing our two churches, but when has there been a breakthrough a big as this in any recent history? I think I was wise to slow down and watch this Continuing movement. Here is my prediction, you will all disintegrate soon unless you unite. That's my I told you so!

Anonymous said...

Wonder what kind of deal will be offered to aliens if discovered? Personal Prelature or Sui Juris?

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hf92aHEwYT87J1XPP4JrIusKBT-AD9BSTO1G1

Mark VA said...

From the Roman/Traditionalist perspective:

I believed that any Anglican concerns regarding Rome's offer would be more, shall we say, of the theological nature. Thus, it is rather surprising to me that it is the issue of married clergy that seems to be the main concern here. Cherub is right, in this regard a real cultural difference has developed between us since the Reformation. Seems that the Reformers knew human psychology well.

Nevertheless, all roads lead to Rome - here is one for certain Anglicans:

An Anglican wanted to go to Rome by rail,
but the train tickets weren't on sale.
No thank you, he said to the ticket master,
I'll walk, and get there faster.

(Tuwim - paraphrase mine)

Fr. John said...

Dang! And to think, that anonymous Episcopal anglo-catholic priest almost joined us! I am going to be much more careful in the future about warning Anglicans off this Roman Offer, I don't want to turn off any more priests like Fr. Anonymous.

The veriword is: hokum

Paul-Joseph said...

This is sad, truly sad. By way of analogy, an applicant goes to a job interview and because he wasn't offered what he thought he was worth, he slandered the company at every opportunity. If you don't like the offer, don't take it: end of conversation.

Fr. John wrote,
"Large segments of the American Roman Catholic Church despise Pope Benedict. They are literally waiting for him to die, as one of my liberal professors at the Catholic University of America told me on the day that Cardinal Ratzinger was elected." is less than helpful. These are, of course, the same types of people who persuaded Canterbury to make some of the brilliant moves they've made. They want noting more than to do the same thing to Rome.

There are, at this point two directions in which you can go. Reject Benedict and his offer. Maybe he will see what a great bunch of fellows he's losing and up the offer. Not likely, but maybe.

Or perhaps you can do what Benedict is hoping for: come in and add your voices for positive change.

Anonymous said...

Shaughn,
I do hope that none of us is attempting to practice the sort of "closed communion" you describe. My practice locally is to emphasize that only baptized persons who believe in the Real Presence may receive Holy Communion, and that those who become regular communicants must be confirmed when that sacrament become available at the Bishop's visit. As long as we have the right Prayer Book, the "ready and desirous" rubric (p. 299) is still in effect. It is almost impossible to maintain this discipline with occasional visitors or with Xmas and Easter attendees. But those who begin to attend regularly are eager to cooperate. I have one very faithful and truly excellent parishioner who attended for nearly six months before she approached the rail, even after I encouraged her to do so.
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

For once I must disagree with Alice Linsley. The word "threatened" is misleading, and yet not wholly wrong. As a father I myself was threatened, and rightly so, by any potential harm to my children.

Alan put the warning of danger quite well (above), and I will quote some of his words here:

What this means for the average small parish thinking of accepting the offer is that the entire parish will no longer have autonomy.

*will begin Roman catechism for 2 years, their clergy will step down and become laymen and will have to complete their education if lacking before being able to serve anyone; your buildings, if any, will need to be disposed of.

*you will be directed to a local RC Diocese since ours are far flung and overlapping many RC dioceses in between.

*you will likely be directed to a local RC parish (100 families is the minimum standard for a RC parish) for worship in the early am.

* you will be somewhat segregated from the RC congregation.

* your priest if he can past muster will be counted on to do Vatican II services as directed by the local Bishop (so don't count on the level of pastoral care you had before.)

*your children will learn Roman Catholicism, you will die, the Roman Church will go on as before an that will be the end of that.


Padre Anonymous wrote:

I think I was wise to slow down and watch this Continuing movement. Here is my prediction, you will all disintegrate soon unless you unite. That's my I told you so!

I firmly believe that all such silly predictions express a malicious wish. Like Fr. John, I encourage Padre Anonymous to keep moving; we have no room for such a deadly attitude, and such poison as this man carries within.

Indeed, we have the obligation to evangelize, and I too will be glad when all this fuss is over. When it is over, we will be able to be Christ's mouthpiece all the more because we will have confidence that He is with us, and that we are not second class members of His Church.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Mark VA wrote:

Thus, it is rather surprising to me that it is the issue of married clergy that seems to be the main concern here.

Is it? Is it really? It was necessary to clarify the meaning of Article VI of this new constitution, because it was being quoted in an incomplete and misleading manner. That done, we have discussed much more, even if you have failed to notice.


Paul-Joseph wrote:

This is sad, truly sad. By way of analogy, an applicant goes to a job interview and because he wasn't offered what he thought he was worth, he slandered the company at every opportunity. If you don't like the offer, don't take it: end of conversation.

Really? Just who exactly applied to whom and for what? FiF/UK applied to Rome for a home, and they have an answer that some of them may like. The TAC applied also, but for something called "inter-communion." This reply is not what they have been promising their distressed and wary people (and apparently their top bishops will not admit it), nor was it addressed primarily to the TAC.

We, who believe in the Anglican Way, made no application, and consider it rather pathetic that anyone did.

Or perhaps you can do what Benedict is hoping for: come in and add your voices for positive change.

No, I think Alan got it right. We could waste our energy trying to solve Rome's problems, and even become endangered (and our children endangered) by those problems, or go out as Christ's spokesmen in the mission we have been given.

Andrew wrote:

On the other hand, I am increasingly impressed with the Anglican Catholic Church and its spokesman as reflected on this list. If - miracle of miracles! - I were asked about ecumenical conversations with Anglicans I would say that the Orthodox should converse with this group of continuing Anglicans.

I am glad to read that. I believe, also, that that is where genuine ecumenical discussion would be a valuable use of time.

I don't accept the branch theory, of course, but Anglican Catholics do. But if they do - if *you* do - then

It is my experience that some who reject the branch theory mistake it for a belief that the "unhappy divisions" of God's Church were part of His plan. Look instead at the fact of division among those who are baptized into the Body of Christ.

...why is some of the recent language so colourful and heightened about the dangers of entering into *full communion* with Rome? Surely if Rome is recognized as a really a branch of the Church Catholic, then belonging to that branch is not in itself a threat to salvation?

Let's be fair. You, sir, are not a Roman Catholic either. We must be true to what we believe.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

I have increased my prayers for you because it becomes increasingly clear to me that this struggle is one between powers. It is increasingly clear to me that those of the Roman persuasion seem never to have read I Timothy or to have taken seriously all that it says on the marriage of clergy. To their mindset Holy Scripture, the fathers and the canons of the earliest General Councils are as nothing if they do not agree with the current curia and bishop of the see of Rome.

To them it does not matter and has never mattered that the arguments of the Roman decree which declared Anglican orders in valid were empty and inaccurate as to the facts. To them, Rome is right and if that is so then everyone else must be wrong . . . including God himself if he is on the other side of the argument. And if wrong, then they must be absolutely crushed and destroyed.

This is the reason that I find any action by Anglicans that tends to validate the Roman position, especially when it strikes at the rubrics of the classical prayer books which lie at the heart of our tradition intolerable.

Veriword: "dritmes

Anonymous said...

Padre Anonymous says: Is is just that kind of snarky smug self-righteous attitude that I have read here that turns me off. It is amazing the amount of poisonous predictions you are making about this "fuss". I think that we should wish our brothers and sisters well who see this as a generous offer to them and who asked for this response from Rome. The TAC and FiF still need time to read, reflect on this offer and see if it is for them. I have to wonder if your dire predictions are motivated out of fear that continuing parishes are going to drink the kool-aid or fall of some kind of cliff here. Some people have been working, hoping and praying for this for a very long time and now before the TAC bishops and their people have had a chance to examine this offer, you want to spoil the well with your own dire interpretations and predictions.
Continuers, if this is not for you, you move on! But I suggest you try to find someway to unite your small boats and sail together. I wonder what is the poison that has divided all of you for so long? All I have ever desired is to find unity in Christ and that is a goal we should all be working towards. I was hoping and still am hoping to find unity with all Catholic Christians who love the Anglican patrimony. I am sorry if I got ypur nose bent out of shape with the prediction about uniting or facing extinction, but I seem to have read that same comment many, many times here and on other blogs. I just thought, this offer from Rome was an opportunity for some, not for all, but for some, maybe even many. Obviously it is not for you. I wish you all the best as carry forward the "True Catholic Faith"
Thank you gentlemen,
Fr. Frank

Anonymous said...

The Holy Father's proposal was offered in good faith and from the RC perspective entirely generous. Since there is much to be said for the unity of Christ's visible Church on earth, the burden of proof lies squarely on the backs of those who decline the offer.

It is a waste of time to argue about who is in schism from whom, just as it a waste of time to debate whether the Church of England was founded by Henry VIII or Joseph of Arimathea.

I have been frustrated and disappointed as I wait for an answer to the question, What justifies our separation from the oldest continuing institution in the Christian world today?

Apostolicae Curae, like many other things, was a mistake. It contains a serious falsehood. But do we perpetuate Anglicanism just to defend Anglican orders? Our Lord did not go to the cross to establish the validity of Anglican orders, as much some people appear to think so. After all, Anglican orders only survive in tiny enclaves which have resisted WO. If those enclaves disappear in the future, then Apostolicae Curae and its counter-claims all become moot.

Clerical celibacy or clerical marriage is hardly a valid reason. Rome could conceivably change its stance on that topic. But at present, this issue only affects the clergy. Can we justify a division in Christ's body simply for a matter of clerical privilege? As we have said many times to the proponents of WO, no one has a right to be a priest, much less an RC priest, much less a married RC priest. The celibacy requirement may be unwise, unjust, unBiblical, or contrary to tradition. But for those truly committed to unity, does it justify schism?

The same can be said for a host of other reasons and excuses: property ownership, the Common Prayer tradition, etc etc. Even if "papal claims" are exaggerated, history shows the RCC has not been consistent on this matter. Recent commenters have shown how the title "Patriarch of the West" has been laid aside, for reasons unclear. This is probably about as significant as the desuetude of the tiara or papal sedan chair. The Romans themselves are not in agreement about "papal claims" and sometimes love the Holy Father less than we do. So again, "papal claims" as such are not a sufficient excuse for separation.

For me (and I may well be alone in this contention), the only reason, the sole justification, the unique cause for separation from the heart of historic Christendom is the doctrine of Justification fide sola. If I were not convinced of the absolute necessity of that doctrine for the survival of the Gospel, I would feel myself duty bound to say (in the words of the Bishop of Little Rock at Vatican I), "Nunc credo, Sancte Pater." I would not swim the Tiber, for it would part before me. So I consider myself an Exile, like Athanasius, for the sake of the Gospel. Anglican orders, clerical marriage, papal claims, property ownership, are all secondary to the Gospel itself.

"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
LKW

Fr. John said...

I have just finished reading Archbishop Hepworth's statement on the Roman Apostolic Constitution. He assures us that it is "awfully like" a rite, and more than was asked for. Married priests will be no problem.

I am reminded of what Hubert Humphrey said during the Senate debate of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when asked about language that implied quotas in hiring and promotions,"If this is a quota bill, I will eat my hat!"

Welcome to the belly of the beast.

John A. Hollister said...

Alice C. Linsley wrote, "Does the Continuum feel threatened by this development? ... Some will want to be where they no longer have to fight over women's ordination and the other innovations that have caused Anglicanism to splinter."

To this I would answer, No, what I regard as the Continuum has no need to feel threatened by this Apostolic Constitution nor does anyone I know within that Continuum in fact feel so threatened. I think it is generally recognized that those who may be inclined to accept the Roman terms are already, and for quite some time past have been, lost to Anglicanism.

And among us, there is no need to argue about women's ordination and the other innovations that have caused Lambeth Anglicanism to splinter, because it was precisely to avoid such arguments that our precursors walked out of Lambeth Anglicanism more than 30 years ago.

So, why are we discussing these Roman news releases and now the text of this Apostolic Constitution? Because, given the publicity given to them -- the often tendentious publicity -- our people ask us about them. Just last night, the major newspaper in the metropolitan area in which I live reprinted a wire service article which was full of the usual misinterpretations and misstatements of fact, all the way from how this A.C. is going to unite all traditional Anglicans to Rome to how the Anglican tradition was founded by Henry VIII over his first marriage annulment (only, of course, that was termed a "divorce").

So of course this was discussed by the people of my parish during the coffee hour after Mass this past Sunday, and doubtless will be discussed again next week. Since it is on our people's minds, we must be prepared to discuss it with, and explain it to them.

And that is the answer to why this present discussion is not just "playing 'Who's Really Anglican'". I am sorry if some see the result of this exploration as being snarky, smug, or self-righteous, but sometimes accuracy must trump charity.

John A. Hollister+

Canon Tallis said...

It is plain that "Fr Frank" does not believe that Anglicanism equates with the Catholic Faith - or at least with the "True Catholic Faith" which I am sure that he, as so many others, defines by whatever Rome loves at the moment. With the death of the present pontiff that may change drastically just as it did with John XXIII and then Paul Vi but which now seems to be drifting back to the good old ways of Pius XII.

The problem with all of that is that with the advance of modern medicine which has given much longer lifes to some of us, we remember how Rome has appeared to drift with the tides. Unfortunately a certain group of "Anglicans" have drifted with them both liturgically and dogmatically.

Having just done a bit of rereading of John Moorman's 'The Anglican Spiritual Tradition' I have been reminded of how the men that Elizabeth I had to make do with as bishops were less than ideal and certainly less than really enthusiastic about the prayer book and its requirements. But we have had time to learn to accept it on its own terms and grow spiritually with its use. There is a stability in it which as we are reminded by blogs like "The New Liturgical Movement" that Rome and the Roman Church is again on the verge of liturgical instability. So who knows what they are going to get into. Or, given the age and health of its present bishop, who will be at the tiller.

Veriword: "aties"
Veriword: "capods"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Frank wrote:

Some people have been working, hoping and praying for this for a very long time and now before the TAC bishops and their people have had a chance to examine this offer, you want to spoil the well with your own dire interpretations and predictions.

Actually, it is not clear what the FiF/UK folks were working, hoping and praying for, since it was always undefined. As for the TAC bishops, they were working, hoping and praying for inter-communion and no absorption, which is different from this absorbing offer (though their Primate will not admit it, perhaps not to himself). As for the people of the TAC, they have mostly been working, hoping and praying that their bishops would stop all this, and return to Anglicanism.

Anonymous said...

The Apostolic Constitution is for those Anglicans who have already made the decision that the See of Peter, as represented by the Bishop of Rome, has the authority to lead the church. If you believe this, then this is the offer. Become a Catholic that can maintain a generous amount of Anglican heritage. For those who wish to remain fully Anglican...move along, there is nothing here for you. No more rubber-necking needed.

poetreader said...

Sounds OK in theory, anonymous, but a little heartless. You see, I'm an Anglican, intend to remain fully Anglican, and am not going anywhere. If religion were simply an individual matter you'd be right, but one way or another this is going to affect communities, congregations, even jurisdictions in ways that might be painful. On selfish grounds alone I've got to care, because it is going to affect me whether I want it to or not, and then it is a perfectly good Scriptural principle that I am, in some ways and to some degree, my brother's keeper. If I feel he's going to hurt himself and I just shrug and walk away, I am guilty. No, friend, much as I'd prefer to look the other way and ignore it all, I can't.

ed

David said...

"I have been frustrated and disappointed as I wait for an answer to the question, What justifies our separation from the oldest continuing institution in the Christian world today?"

You mean the Orthodox Catholic church which Rome was once part of and to which the Orthodox and a good many Anglicans still belong right? You do know that it is Rome that has changed, did the other Patriarchs change the church to become infallible? Did they mandate that a married man can not become a priest?

I give this to Anglicans, they have a lot of patience with people in their own ranks that buy into what schismatics will sell them.

Where are the lay people like archbishop Haverland?

Canon Tallis said...

Ed,

I would like to entirely second what you have written. If we are intended to be our brother's keeper we may not physically restrain him from something that is going to hurt and perhaps destroy him, but we at least have the obligation to dissuade him. Given the number of folks looking back to the days when they could honestly be CofE, Episcopalian, etc., leaving Anglicanism may be harder than most people think. I know far too many Lot's wife stories of those who lived to regret it, but failed to have the courage to come back.

So thank you very, very much for a well written riposte to what I believed a tasteless comment.u

poetreader said...

Hmm. "The oldest continuing institution in the Christian world today" ...

Now, if I read the Book of Acts correctly, First was Jerusalem. No unbroken continuity in that see. Then was Samaria. That one disappeared. Next was Antioch. Hmmm. That one is still around and heads a thriving Orthodox jurisdiction. I know people who follow that patriarch. All the rest, including Rome came later. If oldest is the criterion, that doesn't work. Rome is separated from the oldest, and put an emphasis on that fact by establishing not one but several newer rival sees of Antioch.

ed

Anonymous said...

Take my "tasteless comment" for what it is, an opinion at face value about what Rome is offering to some Anglicans. Keep your sheep safely in your "Anglican" fold, this Roman offer is obviously not for your flocks, this is for others who have accepted Rome. It may be sad that this is the best they offer, but this is it, not for you but it is for some. Having read the tone in this string of comments, the sensitivity and lack of tolerance to opinion is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Ed, a quick Google search reveals that there are no fewer than five men today who style themsleves "Patriarch of Antioch." Three of these are said to be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, and none is headquartered in Antioch. Which one is your favorite? (I am relying on Wikopaedia, not the most reliable source, but the general impression is against anything with stability and continuity.) You have not refuted my statement.
LKW

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Poetreader:

A possibility also exists that those Anglicans who decided for unity with Rome want to leave a stormy sea for a safe harbor. You are emphasizing hypothetical dangers of this harbor, but are leaving the actual experience of a perilous situation at sea un-addressed. In my view, they were looking for effective spiritual and psychological dramamine, and did not find any.

The sad fact that this will "affect communities, congregations, even jurisdictions in ways that might be painful" is as painful today, as it was at the beginning of Anglicanism, when the Reformers interacted with the English people.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Wells asked, "What justifies our separation from the oldest continuing institution in the Christian world today?"

I must say I agree with him -- we should put exploratory discussions with the See of Antioch at the very top of our agenda.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Mark VA wrote, admittedly from the Roman perspective, about "the beginning of Anglicanism, when the Reformers interacted with the English people."

From the Anglican perspective, of course, the beginning of Anglicanism was when the first missionaries brought the Christian Faith to the British Isles, at a date which has been lost in the mists of history but was self-evidently well prior to the Synod of Arles.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Antiochian Archdiocese recognized by the Orthodox Church has more authenticity than the post-Avignon Papacy. Was the Roman Bishop consecrated in Rome the real pope, or was it the one with actual lines of Roman (i.e. Petrine) succession who was living in Avignon? There were, at one time, three Popes all possessing equal claims-why is the current one the real one? He is successor of the new papacy established in Rome while the one with claims of succession was still living in Avignon.

And, might the doctrinal definitions of Trent have created something new? How about Vatican I or Vatican II?

Compared to Rome's claims, Antioch looks very solid indeed.

Fr. John said...

You will have to excuse the Roman's historical commentary. They don't know the history of Christianity in England like we do. One poor man mentioned St. Joseph of Arimathea. He probably doesn't know who St. Columba was, and never heard of St. Hilda of Whitby or St. Wilfrid of York. Hilda and Wilfrid are good intercessors for this present situation, they know something about Romans reneging on "inter-communion" deals. Almost before the ink was dry on the paper, Wilfrid had to go to Rome to complain about the papal representative,aka the Archbishop of Canterbury, encroaching on Wilfrid's authority as archbishop of York. The papal offer of inter-communion with the native Celtic Church said that England was to be a dual primacy. Finally William the Conqueror altered the terms of the arrangement after the pope blessed his invasion of England.

When the Archbishop of York complained, the Pope said, "I have altered the terms of the arrangement, pray that I do not alter them further."

Anonymous said...

To draw a comparison between current Orthodox squabbles and the mediaeval troubles of the Western Church (Great Schism, Avignon papacy) is both unfair and illogical. That was then, this is now. Rome settled its internal difficulties long since. The Eastern Churches have not been equally successful. That is like comparing the chaos in Afganistan with the English Civil War.

The argument over which is older, Rome or Antioch, is too silly for me to bother with. Both go back to the Apostolic period, both pre-date the Neronian persecution and Fall of Jerusalem. Esau was slightly older than Jacob. The question, for me at least, is which of the two is more viable as a center of unity in the Christian world TODAY? I suspect the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul would vote for neither, as would the Patriarch of Moscow. So when Fr Hart writes monolithically of "the Orthodox Church," I can only scratch my head.

Canon Hollister, I am sure at least one of the Antiochene patriarchs would be delighted to make a deal with you. But that would not count for much with other branches of Orthodoxy. As best I can detect, the concept of Western Rite Orthodoxy is a minority position in that labyrinthine world.

The promoters of EO in this discussion have a habit of bringing up RC sex scandals. I am not sure this is quite fair, since we ALL live in glass houses.
But if you google in "Eastern Orthodoxy Sex scandals" you are in for some unpleasant reading. One newspaper story relates the financial difficulties of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in settling legal expenses similar to those of various RC dioceses. And I will not bring up Russian Orthodox involvements, past and present, with the KGB and other aspects of the Soviet nightmare, such as their ongoing persecution of Russian Evangelicals. Yes, it all looks like a perrrrfectly lovvvvvely Church over there. Ikons are sooo beautiful.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Father Wells is of course right about the justification issue, and the more I think about this whole deal, the more it seems like Rome is going to get some very shoddy converts out of this.

These are Anglo-Papalists who in many cases have accepted all the claims of Rome for decades, but have held out from what they believe to be the One True Church because it was inconvenient, or because they were married priests and didn't want to give up their cushy lifestyle for secular employment, or because their families had always gone to church at this parish and they didn't want to leave. Does B16 really want people who hold their religion so lightly that they can't be bothered to join what they believe is the Church established by God Incarnate unless it's on terms convenient for them? I'm a pretty poor Christian, really, but if I woke up tomorrow with the conviction that the authentic Church was only found on the other side of the Tiber, I can assure you I'd have a phone call into the Diocese of St. Augustine as soon as it opened, asking about the next RCIA class.

Because we're talking about salvation here.

lukacs said...

It sure sounds like the Antiochian Orthodox jurisdiction has its house in order, and that there are no divisions or scandals among its bishops. That's definitely what I read on OCAnews.com.

Brian said...

That last anonymous beginning with "Father Wells is..." was me, Brian Gold. Sorry about that.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"I have altered the terms of the arrangement, pray that I do not alter them further."

So, that's who Darth Vadar was quoting.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If I understand Fr. Wells correctly, he is unsatisfied with anything less than a genuine theological principle, even more than a life or death issue because of its eternal meaning, as a basis of division. That I agree with.

From my perspective as a life long Anglican (going back, personally, more than half a century), unless we believe in the now discarded title Patriarch of the West, and believe furthermore that the ancient Patriarchal system was ordained of God and revealed to be permanent, Rome and the Eastern Patriarchates are on equal ground.

The Western idea that the EO churches are completely unorganized and cannot be thought of as one Church, offends them greatly. They consider unity in faith to be what matters, not having a Western style empire church under one earthly ruler. Their diversity is a sign of freedom from autocratic and foreign interference.

Concerning the salvation of souls, the chief mission of the Church, we have to consider every practical matter, including any potential hindrance to our mission. Therefore, if even a matter of polity hinders the mission, such as Rome's failed experiment of mandatory priestly celibacy, we must refuse to be in communion with them on their own impossible terms. It gets in the way of building the Church of Christ.

Then again, I see no evidence that the system of Patriarchates was ever anything but a human idea, a practical way of organizing the Church during the Roman empire. It has no revelation of God as its foundation, and is therefore not written in stone.

Also, I see Rome as the seat of division, not unity. Whatever its potential for helping the unity of the Church, it has a 1,000 year history of causing division, and creating heretical innovations. It has no better claim to our attention than the other Patriarchates.

At this time, we (CCs) have good reason to remain as we are, a third Catholic body in outward appearance. We must communicate as directly as possible in both directions, as Anglicans were doing before the CC became necessary.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of firsts being a sign of authenticity. I am told by a certain Canon Lawyer that R0me did not have a unified code of Canon Law till around 1918 (I may be remembering the date a bit off). The Anglican Church's unified Code of Canon law predates that by hundreds of years.

Snarky I know, but it is interesting.

veriword: expoldu

Hewlet

Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells, sola fide is precious and inviolable, but which expression of that in your humble opinion keeps the Gospel intact? Are you, with John Piper, insistent that one does not have the Gospel apart from forensic imputation? Or do you allow for the broader definition which speaks simply of the remission of sins? Or any other configuration of sola fide?

Seems like many of our own bishops
and clergy would be outside the pale if that's what is meant (I shun the very thought). I know someone like NT Wright would be excommunicated from fellowship in certain circles for compromising the Gospel. What say you?

This has direct application to what you believe must occur for a proper re-union with Rome, and indeed what you believe is a faithful or an erring church.

Much thanks in advance for your time!

St. Worm

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

Ok, I admit that "I told you so" was a little childish - but no more so than others who accuse me of being "ungracious", "mean spirited" or "anti-Roman" for simply stating that the Apostolic Constitution is about conversion not about reconciliation?!

It seems such people are obviously not Catholic in order to come to the conclusion that this is the "best offer" Rome could've made! No Catholic could possibly accept denying the efficacy of their Sacramental life?!

If you think I'm wrong, ask a Roman Catholic who worships in an Anglican Church to accept re-Confirmation and note the response!

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong. I am not out to beat up on the EO's. That tradition has much that even a curmudgeon like myself is bound to admire. I think of that everytime I sing the three great Easter hymns by St John of Damascus in our Hymnal. I have a couple of icons recently purchased from the Shrine of St Photious which will soon be hung in our sacristy. I can go on and on and on about the merits (a very Western term EO's do not appreciate) of that tradition. Our recent banquet speaker was a real hoot. I rarely laugh, but me made me chuckle slightly.

My concern, which this thread has deepened, is that Continuing Anglicans, after rejecting the Roman proposals, find themselves in a "rebound romance" with a dubious suitor. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is not a good theological principle.

At the recent assemblage of ACNA, Metropolitan Jonah delivered himself of a denunciation of something he called "Calvinism." That seems exceedingly odd to me, as he was addressing people from a tradition which has been almost exclusively Arminian since the mid 17th century. His audience was predominately of a "broad evangelical" sort, whose theology is derived more from Rick Warren and "church growth" literature than from the Institutes. John Calvin would surely have found that meeting deeply appalling. So the Metropolitan's tirade against "Calvinism" makes as much sense as me going before his people and ranting against the evils of Iconoclasm.

But I strongly suspect that when the good man inveighs against "Calvinism," he is thinking of the theological heritage of John Jewel, John Whitgift, Richard Hooker, as well as all their theological ancestors and descendants.

If the EO's are offended by our noticing their jurisdictional disarray, that's tough. When they clean up their act, we will stop noticing the mess. And this claim of "unity in the faith" is hardly convincing, when we observe contradictory practices on matters of faith. Some jurisdictions require chrismation for converts from Anglicanism. Confirmation by an Anglican bishop was not acceptable. (Who is still mad about AC? Can you get mad over EO Chrismation?) Other jurisdictions require Baptism from scratch. If an Anglican priest getting "ordained" by an RC bishop bothers you, are you willing to become an Anabaptist to satisfy tender EO consciences? So the claim of "unity in the faith" rings hollow.

Since I know my Ordinations as Deacon and Priest are valid, I could not in good conscience accept a Roman ordination. Since I know my Baptism and Confirmation are valid, I could not submit to an EO Baptism or Chrismation. Simply a matter of consistency.
LKW

Anonymous said...

"Their diversity is a sign of freedom from autocratic and foreign interference."

I think that freedom (the EO enjoys) is also a bulwark against the transmission of heresy by way of 'one earthly ruler' or a magisterium that cannot allow for proper dissent.

Alan

Anonymous said...

St Worm: At end of the day, I stand with John Piper, RC Sproul, Michael Horton,
R. Scott Clark, JIPacker, Fitz Allison et al., in the definition of Justification. Piper's book "The Future of Justification" is splendid and represents my view entirely. I would only differ slightly in that I regard those who do not yet share this view as just poorly catechised, not really heretical. And I agree with Richard Hooker that it is not necessary to have a correct view of Justification in order to be justified.
LKW

Mark VA said...

From the Roman/Traditionalist perspective:

Father Hart:

To say that the diversity among the Eastern Orthodox fosters "freedom from autocratic and foreign interference" is very problematic. For example, I'm sure we don't need to discourse here on the recent experience of the Russian Orthodox Church with totalitarianism. Let's just say that all the Orthodox Churches are "free" of Rome, and leave it at that;

To call the discipline of mandatory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests an impossible term, point to the admittedly scandalous failures as the justification, yet to be completely silent about the vast majority of priests who did and do meet this "impossible" term, doesn't make for a balanced argument;

To state that the Roman Catholic Church "has a 1,000 year history of causing division, and creating heretical innovations", and is "the seat of division", sounds like a condemnation of an entire Church. It is understood that not all doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church will be accepted by those outside Her fold. However, to try to configure Church doctrine so as to conform it to every opinion, desire, or interpretation, is to make doctrine itself meaningless;

I see many valuable insights, perspectives, and experiences Classical Anglicanism can offer on the global arena. I too appreciate a vigorous discussion, even if sometimes it takes on an "ex cathedra" gravitas. This may be a possibly subconscious desire to posses the consciously rejected Papal infallibility - that is, infallibility envy (OK, just kidding). But in our discussions, let's remember that much more unites us, than divides us.

Anonymous said...

"And I agree with Richard Hooker that it is not necessary to have a correct view of Justification in order to be justified. "

Well, that's a relief. :-)

I guess James, the brother of our Lord, can breath easier as well, since it was he who said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
"You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only"

Doubting Thomas

Anonymous said...

Since we have talked about the pro's and con's of the Roman Church here is a telling issue that all should be aware of. For me Rome is too much like the Episcopal Church in the USA. This link reinforces that notion in my mind. ANd for what it's worth as Fr. Hart pointed out I NEVER supported the solicitation of any deal regarding absorption from Rome so I do not feel the comments here are out of line.

http://view.email.conservativehq.com/?j=fe581573716d0c7e7d17&m=febc1574726d0275&ls=fdf712717364017972127575&l=fe9a15797167057d76&s=fe8d1c717265037870&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe1c15757c6d0c7e701374&r=0

Alan

veriword: sorite haha!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

MarkVA wrote:

Let's just say that all the Orthodox Churches are "free" of Rome, and leave it at that.

Rome does not offer unity, but only requires submission.

To call the discipline of mandatory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests an impossible term...

I do not understand the phrase "impossible term," nor can I even begin to speculate where you got it from.

I do know that a discipline of mandatory celibacy is a failed experiment, and so does everybody else except for those who refuse to see the obvious. Celibacy is a charism, and to impose a charism as a discipline is ridiculous. Frankly, Rome's destructive polity and failed experiment in this matter of imposing a charism as a discipline, is like the store front Pentecostals requiring everybody to have the charism of speaking in tongues. It is the same error.

To state that the Roman Catholic Church "has a 1,000 year history of causing division, and creating heretical innovations", and is "the seat of division", sounds like a condemnation of an entire Church.

Did I say "the Roman Catholic Church" or the Papacy? The Papacy made a ridiculous demand rejected by the other Patriarchates (still rejected to this day) in 1054. 500 years later, they botched the opportunity to reform their errors, and caused the other big division. Seems like a strange manifestation for "the seat of unity."

However, to try to configure Church doctrine so as to conform it to every opinion, desire, or interpretation, is to make doctrine itself meaningless

How about conforming doctrine to the Bible via universal Consensus and Antiquity? Instead, Rome has compounded its errors, and offers unity at the price of total submission.

To Rome's offer/demand I say no: "Here I stand; I can do no other."

But in our discussions, let's remember that much more unites us, than divides us.

That is why polite debate is by no means a waste of time. How else can we advance toward unity with integrity?

Mark VA said...

From the Roman/Traditionalist perspective:

Father Hart, from your "6:19 PM" post:

Regarding mandatory celibacy, you wrote: "we must refuse to be in communion with them on their own impossible terms". A reasonable interpretation of your words is that you are calling this discipline an impossible (for all Anglicans?) term;

Regarding the "seat of division" question, you wrote: "Also, I see Rome as the seat of division, not unity." Again, a reasonable interpretation is that you're talking about the Church - we Roman Catholics encounter such verbiage from some of our fundamentalist and progressive brothers and sisters in Christ, and they usually mean the Church and Her teachings, not just the Papacy;

Regarding the assertion that Rome, now assumed to mean Papacy, "offers unity at the price of total submission": a Greek Orthodox friend once felt the need to assure me that Popes really are dictators. To me, such statements mean that the person making them has absolutely no idea what a dictator, or a dictatorship, are, and is making poorly thought out comparisons.

Since you closed quoting Martin Luther, it would be interesting to know what he would say about the current state of Christian affairs.

Canon Tallis said...

Mark,

The problem with the Roman Church is that it can not divide the Church from the institution of the Papacy and as any honest church historian knows the papacy is much later than Church itself and from the beginning at odds with it. Those of us, and I admit they are few, who know Rome both from the parish and diocesean scene in the United States and also from the curial scene in the Vatican, see not one but two churches with one being quite as objectionable as TEO. But few Romans see that while those that do frequently try to pretend that it does not exist.

Our standard for Rome is the same that we would set for ourselves, Holy Scripture as interpreted by the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers and the clear teaching of the General Councils. By that standard, Rome has set impossible standards by rejecting what Holy Scripture teaches but instead substituting myths with their origin in early heresies for that doctrine.

I know that many of my fellow Anglicans are impressed with Rockette glamour of the big ceremonies at the Vatican, but, having been there, I understand what that costs in hard money extracted from millions who need the gospel and will never have the chance of a solemn pontifical liturgy in one of the papal chapels. Perhaps they imagine themselves in all of that scarlet silk and lace or vestments from the late 16th century which one sees in the postings on The New Liturgical Movement. I don't. I look at the difference at what with all its failings that Anglican Christianity has managed to accomplish in the making of the best of modern civilization and the quest for better and freer lives for the greatest number of human beings. Perhaps you can understand that; perhaps not.

Veriword: "restu"
Veriword: "parderi"

Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells,

I appreciate your candour, and in no way wanted to come across as trying to corner you, so I thank you for answering me with gentleness.

It's good to know that you don't elevate the definition of Justification to the level of say a Christological definition. And I'm happy that you wouldn't anathematize those for what you would deem "defective" views. As I've said before, you and I are amazingly close in these matters.

What's funny is that I didn't think the ACC had any Calvinists (5 pointers! unless I'm wrongly lumping you with Sproul, Horton, and Piper) within her hallowed halls. You would be the first one I know of!

Blessings to you.

St. Worm

In Christ,

St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...

St. Worm

Fr. Wells knows the difference between genuine Calvinists and five pointers. Technically, we cannot have any of either, because real Calvinists, and the five pointers too, would have to believe in such things as the Geneva Discipline, and would have to reject episcopacy.

Mark VA:

Rome's impossible terms for unity include innovations in doctrine and polity that are based on error, and that expand error further. Mandatory celibacy as an imposed discipline is certainly different from St. Paul's teaching that it is strictly charismatic, and from Christ's own teaching that is only for those who can receive it.

This RC error compounds error by relegating those who enter into the sacrament of matrimony as belonging to an inferior spiritual class. Furthermore, it gives sexual perverts and predators a place to hide (which is mentioned long ago in the Augsburg Confession-not a new problem) while eliminating the very kind of men St. Paul told Timothy to look for. It has created a severe clergy shortage, even though the RCC requires every member to make confession, and has no General Confession. It has hindered evangelism by this shortage. It has created a priesthood in which alcoholism, addiction to pornography, and a large proportion of attrition have all become the norm.

Frankly, it is a self-destructive and just plain stupid policy, continued because of the unreasonable cruelty of old men even though, as experiments go, its failure is so damn obvious.

Yes, side by side with many social misfit RC priests, there are some truly holy men who live the kind of lives that exemplify the charism of celibacy. And, you know what? We Anglicans have such genuine celibate priests too.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman/Traditionalist perspective:

Father Hart:

Thank you for acknowledging that "side by side with many social misfit RC priests, there are some truly holy men who live the kind of lives that exemplify the charism of celibacy".

The problems you describe (and from my perspective, sometimes vigorously exaggerate), are like corrosion spots on a car. Where they are discovered, sooner or later, they will be fixed, or a part will have to be replaced. This is the truly painful cost of living in this world.

If one's perspective is broad enough, it can be seen that different sets of strengths and problems exist within the Church, depending on the local culture. However, to take a localized problem, and speak of it as global in nature, is a mistake.

For example, you say that the RC Church has a "severe clergy shortage", and "has created a priesthood in which alcoholism, addiction to pornography, and a large proportion of attrition have all become the norm". Here you grasp at sometimes local, but not necessarily global, problems, and elevate them beyond their locality. Even within our country, which seems to be your context here, such a broad statement will not hold. It is also telling that issues within the Roman Catholic Church (both Her strengths and weaknesses) that exist in other cultures, are beyond your radar.

Moderation seems to be lacking, and that, in my opinion, detracts from what would otherwise be constructive criticism from a friend.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Mark VA wrote:

The problems you describe (and from my perspective, sometimes vigorously exaggerate), are like corrosion spots on a car. Where they are discovered, sooner or later, they will be fixed, or a part will have to be replaced. This is the truly painful cost of living in this world.

Sorry, butI think 800 years plus is enough time to remove the spots.

However, to take a localized problem, and speak of it as global in nature, is a mistake.
For example, you say that the RC Church has a "severe clergy shortage...Here you grasp at sometimes local, but not necessarily global, problems, and elevate them beyond their locality.


True. The local problem is one priest per 1600 lay people; in Nigeria it is one priest per 1.6 million lay people. But, in Anglicanism, with married priests, the ratio is quite workable.

Even within our country, which seems to be your context here, such a broad statement will not hold."

I wish I could agree with you; but, I simply know too much. Look at any picture of a graduating class from a RC seminary, men about to be ordained or recently ordained. Within about ten years half of them will have been laiticized. The RC system does not work, and Anglicans do not need to buy it for themselves.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman Catholic/Traditionalist perspective:

Father Hart:

You say that the "RC system does not work, and Anglicans do not need to buy it for themselves". Since Anglicans seem to sail on a stormy sea of acronyms, each one representing some kind of past disagreement, difference of opinion, or some other issue, I wonder which Anglicans are you talking about?

Since you claim to know a lot about RC seminaries, here is a link to an incoming freshmen class from an RC seminary. How many of these young men do you think will become the pathological cases you've listed in your previous posts? How many do you think will graduate?

http://www.wsd.diecezja.tarnow.pl/galeria.php?section=2008.11.30%20-%20Ob%B3%F3czyny%20roku%20III

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I wonder which Anglicans are you talking about?

I thought our website made that clear.

How many of these young men do you think will become the pathological cases you've listed in your previous posts? How many do you think will graduate?

I suggest serious prayers for each and every one of them. But, this does not answer the prevailing winds of the last several years.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart:

The prevailing winds over there are somewhat different from the prevailing winds in our country. Some of the issues you're familiar with either don't exist there at all, or exist in different degrees. On the other hand, they have projects and challenges we don't.

I think this discussion in general, and many particular points you make regarding my entire Church, would acquire greater validity and depth if they were more clearly placed in their proper cultural context. Global statements about "the state of the Roman Catholic Church" are not always easy to make, something even many of my co-religionists often forget.

Few people have that kind of a perspective. I, on occasion, only catch a glimpse of it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Over there? Where? Africa? Asia?

Frankly, if I have stated certain things as fact it may be related to my having taken the time to do some research-something that may not be so odd for a Contributing editor of a religious magazine, a one time journalist for another Christian news magazine, and someone whose circle includes people "in the know." Believe me, some of those "celibate" priests in some of those places are secretly married, a not so unusual approach.

Canon Tallis said...

Secretly married? I remember a time about thirty years ago when the Roman archbishop of San Francisco discovered that he had a number of priests who were not so secretly married. I seem to remember that it was at least eight in number, but it could have been more or less. Quite a few people knew including a number in the various parishes until the archbishop finally found out.

It made a marvelous story for the Examiner and much more wholesome than many of the stories which came out of the archdiocese. But most of them would illustrate Father Hart's statement.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart:

At best, you seem to have a very provincial view of the global state of affairs in the Roman Catholic Church.

My point is rhetorical, since few of us are expected to be knowledgeable to that degree. The discussion on this blog on this subject would acquire greater validity, if such broad characterizations of the Roman Catholic Church were moderated.

Canon Tallis said...

Mark,

The validity of the comments on this blog are evidence of "perfect freedom" for which we pray daily. As Anglicans, we look, we see, we say and if anything should be moderated it is the behaviour of the Roman Church in terms of the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Church of the first five centuries.

At an episcopal consecration I was at over a decade ago, a very lovely Roman countess complained to the new bishop about the scandalous state of the American Church because Roman parents actually allow their children to notify the police of their abuse by Roman clerics. That, she assured all of us would never be allowed in Rome. Unfortunately she was probably correct, but that is part of the problem, isn't it.

Various European governments have threatened to charge some of our politicians and military with violations of our law. If they turned their attention to matters closer to home, they really might be of more use. The Ryan report, you know.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Cannon Tallis:

A countessa told you this? Must be nice to mingle with the hoi oligoi.

I usually travel steerage only.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Mark VA

It seems you do not travel in the most knowledgeable circles; and that is no cause to castigate those who have contacts that you do not. That is simply how it is.

Canon Tallis said...

Thank you for defending me, Father Hart. I really don't blame Mark. Life does very strange things to some of us and we end up finding ourselves it situations we would never have imagined. Ever since the Princess Royal stepped on me in Santa Fe a long time ago, this poor peasant has learned not to be surprised at who turns up besides you at a reception, a bar or a pub.

And, Mark, I never implied that i thought them knowledgeable; only that they had the social rank to know something about the mores of their society. Actually I could tell you much worse tales and back them up with newspaper clippings that would horrify you (I hope), but why bother. You do not want to hear Rome criticized while I would prefer that there were no reason for anyone, including myself, to be able to do so. The funny thing is that the sins and scandals of any of us seem to have a pattern of being blamed on all of us as Christians and Catholics. I hope that I am no more critical or forgiving of Rome than I am of any cleric in the Continuum or even establishment Anglicanism. What I would like to be able to say is that it is entirely self evident how much we love and care for each other.

John A. Hollister said...

Canon Tallis wrote, "Ever since the Princess Royal stepped on me in Santa Fe a long time ago, this poor peasant has learned not to be surprised at who turns up besides you at a reception, a bar or a pub."

Well, he's got me beat. The closest I ever got to being stepped on by a Pricess was trimming the bushes in front of an Irish country mansion along with a Princess of Wuerttemburg. But she was too light on her feet to step on me, even when she asked me to get the high branches. And we discussed architectural history, not ecclesiology.

Life does, indeed, turn up some odd situations.

John A. Hollister+
"ousidag"