Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time for Reaffirmation of St. Louis

Confession

It appears that one of my recent essays rubbed people the wrong way, and that because they overlooked or missed the autobiographical nature of my sharpest criticism. Did they not see these words? “...the route to education lies through the Sophomore Pass, and once upon a time I had only just emerged from that spot on the trail. I also thought that ‘Protestant’ was the opposite of ‘Catholic.’ ...years later...I had recovered from the wrong influences.”

In the years of which I wrote, as I was learning ideas new to me, I was not content to be merely an Anglo-Catholic of the nosebleed High variety; I was the “Fr. Spike” character mentioned by Screwtape in his letter. I was downright prejudiced, an Anglo-Catholic bigot of sorts, one who thought all Low churchmen failed to appreciate the Incarnation and sacraments, and as such I was a danger to the completely unschooled. My learning was just enough to make me into a fool, a"wise fool" or sophomore, despite my higher degrees. I trembled at the words of Cardinal Newman, because the ideas he expressed seemed wise and profound. But, the conclusion to my essay was also biographical: “The answer for those who have learned ignorance is to keep learning, but to gather facts from different and better sources. Get through the Sophomore Pass and beyond it.”

As I continued to read and learn, I saw the English Reformers in a far better light. Also, I realized that the revered Cardinal Newman was actually a very confused man, and that his ideas were far from brilliant. Frankly, he was no scholar of Christian doctrine, neither was he advanced theologically or philosophically. His theory of Doctrinal Development began with orthodox ideas about the seed of revealed truth, but in its final form it became dangerous, contradicting the safety of the Vincentian Canon and overthrowing all certainty of a doctrinal standard. And, I saw that many idealistic notions about the See of Rome were simply wrong, unsupported by history, unjustified by theology and the consensus of the Universal Church. The truth of their real condition was shamefully exposed by newsworthy events.

My continued learning gave me new appreciation for the English Reformers, broke the spell of learned ignorance, the profound kind that has to be acquired, and the spell of fascination with Rome. I gained a deep appreciation for words I had read by Fr. Louis Tarsitano (who had been more than patient with my foolishness) in an email exchange: “The reason for being Anglican is to avoid innovations; both the innovations of Protestants and of Rome.” Indeed, though the new breed that calls itself "Evangelical" (and "Reasserter") has thrown away the baby with the bathwater, a new breed that calls itself "Anglo-Catholic" - with as flimsy a claim as the other breed to a name equally undeserved– is drowning the same baby with even more bathwater, and from dubious sources.

Reaffirming St. Louis

In the current confusion and crisis, it is time to understand the majority of people, especially the Laity, who have embraced the Affirmation of St. Louis, especially those who are resisting the sales pressure of Anglo-Papalists. Let me explain why I understand them so well. I am an old Episcopalian, and I never left the Episcopal Church; it left me. The only way to remain faithful was to leave the organization that had to come to control the assets and to acquire the name of my church without my consent. So, I understand the people who are looking for that sane, orthodox, and rich Catholic faith that contains the Evangelical fullness and power, in our Anglican heritage. To many of them I say the following, namely to some currently in the Traditional Anglican Communion and Anglican Church in America (TAC/ACA) -and it is nothing more than what they already know.

You wanted to Continue the faith and practice of the Book of Common Prayer, but some of your clergy seem contemptuous of it. You thought you had gotten away from people who were trying to overthrow that firm foundation, and now find you have some leading clergy, including bishops, just as ready to tear it up as were the leaders of the modern Episcopal Church. You had Affirmed your confidence in the Book of Common Prayer with its Articles of Religion, not as infallible, but as a true and right guide to the Faith of the ancient Church and the Bible. But, too many of your clergymen are, as is evident by their words, wholly ignorant of what those Formularies mean, and some have presumed to delete them.

You are told that your fathers were heretics, that your Articles are merely an “historic document” to be cast away, and that your liturgy is deficient. The men who were supposed to have Affirmed the faith you hold, are now trying to make Roman Catholics of you, and they have no more respect for the Anglican Way of your fathers than do the women “priests” of the modern Episcopal Church. They use your Book of Common Prayer as far as they like, but they do not follow it. So, you have come to see that something is dreadfully wrong.

It is time to stand up and Reaffirm what was Affirmed at St. Louis in 1977. Part of that reads:

IV. PRINCIPLES OF WORSHIP

Prayer Book -- The Standard of Worship

In the continuing Anglican Church, the Book of Common Prayer is (and remains) one work in two editions: The Canadian Book of 1962 and the American Book of 1928. Each is fully and equally authoritative. No other standard for worship exists.

Certain Variances Permitted

For liturgical use, only the Book of Common Prayer and service books conforming to and incorporating it shall be used.


Part of it also says:

Continuation, Not Innovation

In this gathering witness of Anglicans and Episcopalians, we continue to be what we are. We do nothing new. We form no new body, but continue as Anglicans and Episcopalians.


As we have grown beyond the United States and Canada, the principle has expanded, that we retain and Continue authentic Anglican standards as they have been preserved in various countries.

After naming ancient standards recognized by the Universal Church (the Nature of the Church, the essentials of truth and order, Holy Scriptures, the Creeds, Tradition, Sacraments, etc.,) the Affirmation says, “In affirming these principles, we recognize that all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with them.” This means that Anglican Formularies are, in fact, in accordance with the Universal Consensus and Antiquity summarized so well in the words, “That which is believed everywhere, always and by all" (Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est).

Those professed Anglicans who attack the Formularies of Anglicanism may think they are standing for something they conceive of as “Catholic.” But, they display no genuine knowledge of the Faith of the ancient Catholic bishops and doctors; instead they are merely standing against Anglicanism itself, and sawing off the branch they sit on. And, just like the modern Episcopalians, they have already left you behind. They go to Rome instead of “Liberalism,” but nonetheless, they embrace innovation. And, while they linger, lacking conviction and identity, they cannot grow their numbers or establish their churches with any viable and lasting strength. They have rejected Anglicanism in substance.

They do not speak for you. What they represent is not what was Affirmed at St. Louis in 1977.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

In your confrontational zeal, do not be confused regarding the actions by some few disparate and desparate ACA clergy, and inferr that they speak for us all. Perhaps there are those, in your own midst, who have the same predeliction?

Nay, tis but a shallow pool of Anglo-Papalism in our camps.

If one were to consider the ACC, they must be given a paddle to cross over and not be handed a brick. In due time sir, in due time, shall all be made clear.

Fr. Frank +

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Confrontational zeal? I have been pleading for those in your company who don't want to go to Rome, who want to be Anglicans without apologizing for it. And, isn't it obvious that I know that the Tiber Swim organizers don't speak for you all? But, I do wonder how much time amounts to "due time." It is not as if anyone is still waiting for the answer. The answer has come from Rome, and what they have really said amounts this: "You can't have what you asked for, and here is a constitution that is as far as we go." A few fellows at the top are the ones keeping you all guessing and wondering just who and what you are, and what you will be.

Your people want to be Anglicans.

Jakian Thomist said...

Dear Fr. Hart

You claim that Cardinal Newman was not "advanded theologically or philosophically" and "no scholar of Christian doctrine".

Then can you please explain why so many learned Reverends and theologians wrote letters to him and indeed converted? I mean William Meskell, the Bishop of Exeter's top theological council in the famed Gorham case wrote to him and converted, why would he have bothered if Newman was so amateurish? How can you not recognise his brilliance shining through even in his first book on the Arians?

Newman made a firm decision to convert. Read His letter to Rev. Hanmer "From the time I became a Catholic, the shadow of a misgiving has not crossed my mind that I am doing God's will in becoming one - not a shadow of regret that I am not still an Anglican." Those aren't the words of a "very confused man". He had conviction and he convinced many others.

On the Vincentian rule, I still must ask, why not the Sulpician principle, why not some other?

Now, I know that a Roman Catholic speaking of the Papacy is about as convincing as using Sola Scriptura to prove Sola Scriptura, so let me quote the words of a Russian, and a fine theologian at that V. Soloviev. He writes in his Russia and the Universal Church:

"As a member of the true and venerable Eastern or Greco-Russian Orthodox Church, which speaks neither through an anti-canonical synod nor through the employees of the secular power, but through the utterance of her great Fathers and Doctors, I recognise as supreme judge in matters of religion him who has been recognised as such by St. Irenaeus, St. Dionysius the Great, St. Athanasius the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril, St. Flavian, the Blessed Theodoret, St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Theodore of the Stadium, St. Ignatius and on and on - namely, the apostle Peter who lives in his successors and who has not heard our Lord's words in vain: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Mt 16:18); "Strengthen your bretheren" (Lk 22:32); "Feed my sheep, feed my lambs" (cf. Jn 21:15-17)."

Newman wasn't alone in saying, "Let my soul be with the saints".

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The answer is simple: They fell for it. Newman's sophistry looks quite profound, at first glance. But, it does not fit reality. As for Soloviev, he is well known for his ecumenical period, and in those days he saw the Protestants in the West as the rightful successors of St. Paul. But, after a time he made confession about receiving the sacrament of Communion from a Roman Catholic priest, formally repented of it (as if it had been a sin) and was restored to the Russian Orthodox Church.

The only real discussion, however, should be about doctrine, what is true and what is false. Many people feel overwhelmed by Rome for a time, because they stagger at the magnitude of the claim itself. Every honest person with a Traditional mind has thought about it and considered it, if only because they boast so mightily and stake so bold a claim.

But, if we throw names around as evidence, rather than discussing ideas, I can toss in names like Francis Hall, Dom Gregory Dix, Eric Mascall, C.S. Lewis, and just about all of the great Anglican figures, who went to their death beds as Anglicans, and never swam the Tiber.

What I really found astonishing and dishonest, was "Anglican" Use literature naming these same men as if they were somehow really Roman Catholics. They were not, most certainly they were not.

However, that does not prove anything either.

What the Vincentian Canon identifies is Antiquity and Universal Consensus. To get away from that is to launch out into utter uncertainty. Newman's DD theory says drop the safety of established doctrine, and just follow the Leader. Play "Simon Says" or get pinned with the "Private Judgment" label. Well, when it comes to knowing true doctrine, I am not playing "Simon Says." Rather, I know what has been revealed and received as true in every generation until Christ comes. We all do.

Anonymous said...

"I am not playing "Simon Says." Rather, I know what has been revealed and received as true in every generation until Christ comes. We all do."

Well said Fr Hart.

I am not a Canon lawyer but it seems to me that the Affirmation of St Louis is bedrock in the canons of most of the CC jurisdictions. I would think that a denial of it would be grounds for Presentment. Perhaps Canon Hollister or Nalls could comment?

Alan.

An Anglican Cleric said...

Excellent comments.

DH+

Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

Are there any books that challenge Newman's Doctrinal Development Theory in an intelligent theological manner?
Being neither Anglican or Roman Catholic, I have no bone to pick but as Russian Orthodox, I have sometimes wondered if this idea has been examined by opponents.
Well, said on Soloviev. He was of a time and group of self proclaimed theologians who had little or no theological training. Their views were roundly rebuked by the church authorities not just in Russia by by the Greek Orthodox scholars as well.

charles said...

Reassuring post, Fr. Hart! A 'reaffirmation of st. louis' movement would be a breath of fresh air. Not sure how much it would solve in the Continuum, but it would at least settle:

1. That we are loyal and true Anglicans and Episcopalians-- not Romans or Greeks. Our branch was a good one.?

2. Anglican statements of faith have validity in the context of their catholicity. Anglican divines, as a corollary, were competent in their work and re-appropriation of Fathers.

3. Our immediate patrimony includes faithful bishops in and outside the Anglican communion (section V)-- especially those related and growing from our 'family vine'-- i.e., the Chamber's succession?

I think this is a great post. I'm just repeating what Fr. Hart said... Not adding much substance. Nonetheless, Reaffirming is necessary because the Affirmation was a public vow rendered unto God. It is therefore damnable to break unless it was done under ignorance, compulsion, or foolishness. Even then a repentance is deserved. In all, oaths should be taken seriously and solemnly, and they are not easy to back out of without shaming the Lord's Name. Good post, and I am reading Henry's 1543 catechism on seven sacraments so I can say, without equivocation, that I am a continuer, giving unfeigned assent.

Fr. John said...

Alan wrote:

"it seems to me that the Affirmation of St Louis is bedrock in the canons of most of the CC jurisdictions. I would think that a denial of it would be grounds for Presentment."

If the ACA has a provincial court, or metropolitan's court, in theory charges could be brought.

Fr. John said...

Confrontational style is o.k. under certain circumstances.

What did Jesus call Herod? "That fox."

Canon Tallis said...

Having been at St. Louis and made there with others that Affirmation after a period of intense and terrible spiritual distress for what was being done to me and others who had knowingly and after great prayer and study committed ourselves to Anglicanism only to see and know that those given human authority were intent on denying and destroying everything the classical prayer books taught, I am more than happy to reaffirm what I and others did there. I do so every time I say the offices, every time I celebrate the Eucharist and will do so until the end of my days. I do so now with much greater quiet in my soul because I know how that its faith and practice will not die with me or with my generation. Indeed, I already begin to see new and more vigorous growth on the ancient tree, thanks not merely to scholars such as Fathers Hart, Kirby and Wells, but also to the laity who support with everything they have the parishes and missions of all of the continuing jurisdictions - even as many fear for the commitment and steadfastness of their clergy.

As everyone knows - or by this time, should know - I would appreciate it greatly if more of those "innovations" copied from the baroque period of the Roman Church were quietly disposed of, but will probably not happen in my lifetime. But it is fun to live with the amusement of seeing a newspaper photograph of women pretending to be priest and deacon and functioning as such in a Roman Church in Austria. The last pope had to dispose of the cardinal archbishop of Vienna, but it appears his pruning was not nearly severe enough. We all in this day and time have our troubles, but they are, as we should all know, confined to the troubled Anglican establishment since even Orthodoxy appears to have bishops advocating the ordination of women.

Those of us who are unafraid to embrace the fullness of the Anglican tradition can be grateful, both for the Affirmation of St Louis and such theologians who here defend it and the greater tradition for which it stands.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

You seem to have such an immense problem with the TAC's approach to Rome. How come you have such a 'seemingly' distaste of others that want to follow the Gospel message of St John (you know - that bit ), which asks that they all may be one. Unity, amongst all catholic minded Christians is, and always will be the ultimate goal, we cannot ignore the Christ who died for us!
You can have all the 'degree minded' and 'theologically trained', persons you wish, to argue the point of TAC's approach to the Holy See. However, when it comes to the crunch, if you do not have the FAITH, to heed our Lord's simple command, then don't procrastinate (as others may think, you may have an underlying psychological disorder).
Why do you think that the TAC does not respond to you and your pronouncements, simple there is no need.
'Catholic communion is not an idea, nor the acceptance of a set of beliefs. It is standing together at the Altar of God, affirming one faith and receiving together the one Body and Blood of the Christ who is God and brother'.( Abp Hepworth's words in a very recent communique).

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart wrote,

"They go to Rome instead of “Liberalism,” but nonetheless, they embrace innovation. And, while they linger, lacking conviction and identity, they cannot grow their numbers or establish their churches with any viable and lasting strength. They have rejected Anglicanism in substance."

Respectfully, this isn't quite so.

Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio began as a piddly little Anglican Use mission with 18 members, but it's now wildly successful, complete with a K-12 academy that is also doing well.

We must do better in our apology than say "Frankly, Cardinal Newman was a dummy." I know there are articles which actually engage him more substantively than this, but I find the following rhetorical strategy both common and unsightly:

"So and so was wrong for this plausible reason. And he's also an idiot and possibly vile. And if he had only read what I, being so venerable and wise, have read, then he would not be so foolish."

There's no need to point fingers; we could all be better about disagreeing with folks without also engaging in attacks on their character and mental faculties. We could all do with a little less puffing up of ourselves even as we rip apart those with whom we disagree. I can attribute a significant part of why Newman and others left for Rome to the constant barrage of attacks the members of the Oxford movement were enduring from the Evangelical and Ho-HumDeist wing of the 19th century C of E. We must remember, always, the thrust of St. Pau's argument: being right doesn't account for anything if one is not also first loving. -- not loving in the abstract or sentimental senses. I do mean, however, that love is a transitive verb. It has an object which receives the action. It won't do to love someone conceptually, but only show them knife points in practice.

In other words, for some, the more their fellow Anglicans harangue them, the quicker they'll wash their hands of us and be off. To some degree, I can't say I blame them. If that's the intended result, then by all means, carry on.

Jakian Thomist said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

I agree that it is important that our faith does “fit reality”. Let’s focus on that adorable childhood game “Simon says”. All those who have played it remember that when the child declares “Simon says” it really corresponds to “I say”. Anyone who declares on matters of doctrine plays the game and unfortunately the same holds true for your use of the Vincentian Rule - But you are in good company! Remember Pusey’s The Doctrine of the Real Presence as contained in the Fathers (1855) against Transubstantiation as Real Presence? Newman in his letter to Brownlow draws attention that (being a scholar on Arianism as noted above) he could gather as many passages from the Fathers for the Divinity of Christ as against it, yet Pusey would not take this for a disproof of their orthodoxy.

Soon we may ask ‘What universal consensus?’ and finally Vincent’s rule is reduced to throwing “names around as evidence” exactly what you warned against above.

You are totally correct that Rome does “boast so mightily and stake so bold a claim”, but it only does so because it believes it is of divine origin and has divine authority. A childhood game of “Simon Says” which everyone can play is transformed by Christ’s word into an exclusive “Primacy of Petros”.

This then requires a totally different vision of Church. When Anglicans consider themselves a branch, Roman Catholics consider themselves a whole tree.

As Newman stated in his letter to Campbell:
“By Catholic Church we mean a thing, and the Anglicans mean a name. When we call the Catholic Church one, we mean it to be one in the same sense in which we popularly speak of a body of men being one e.g. there is one Royal Academy, one British Association viz a social or political unity;
“We call the Church one in a sense analogous to that in which the Nicene Catholics called the Father and Son one, viz one individual; Anglicans call the church one in the sense in which the Arians called the Father and the Son one, viz in will and love and (according to the high Semi-arians) nature.”

The Branch and Roman claims are of course totally incompatible and ultimately it is a question of authority. Who is Simon Peter and why should we listen to what he has to say?

Anonymous said...

Brother Shaughn,

I don't know why sharpness of rhetoric is somehow construed as other than loving, when Fr. Hart is simply acting out of his love for the truth as much as anything. I've not once heard him denounce converters to Rome as apostate Christians, or decry their reasons for going to Rome -- I simply see an Anglican man saying there's a *real* Anglican way of thinking that's consonant with the best of our Catholic heritage, and doesn't require an overthrow of everything of the fundamental paradigm that is found in our Prayer Book religion., Honesty about that "way" is at root of this, I think.

If Anglicanism is simply one flavor among many, take your pick, and it doesn't bring us closer to the Apostolic center than our erring brethren (is it not loving to say our brothers are in error?), then I think this Blog would be simply about what flavors of religion we like. That's a wishy washy ecumenism. I'm a hard-core Anglo-Catholic, and I would feel nauseated at the proposition that my Anglican forebears were simply disposable pieces of antiquated furniture in our common history.

As for the assessment of Newman, I don't happen to agree with Fr. Hart's view (for that matter I'm a great admire of the Oxford Movement and intend on carrying on in their spirit), but I wouldn't impugn his position because of such an opinion, and I still think Fr. Hart is one of the finer jewels in the ACC today.

In Jesus,

St. Worm

Fr. John said...

Anonymous wrote;

"...you may have an underlying psychological disorder)."

I think he is addressing you Fr. Hart.

Irenic is good, and so a comment like the one above is unhelpful, indeed poisonous, to the dialog.

I will also submit however that one can be energetic and aggressive in a dialog such as this present one without resorting to the kind of name calling "Anonymous" engages in.

Fr. Hart has already pointed out that there are some on this blog, who when they are clearly refuted, start in with the name calling and personal insults, but I am glad that the cited instance was published in toto. I think it is a great aid in understanding where the "Anonymous" author is coming from, and what his real beef is.

My "Anonymous" brother in Christ, Why bother coming over here to vent your anger? You are angry because we are analyzing the papal AC and we find it wanting in the extreme, as well as, in my opinion and experience, a dangerous place and circumstance for Anglicans to be.

We have been assured repeatedly that no one is reading this blog, so why bother sending us your missives?

Fr. Hart said it very well, "the Roman Catholic Church ain't like what you see on EWTN." I agree with Father that we in the Continuum have a positive duty to stand in the way of this agreement. If some find that provocative, or somehow insulting they have a profound misunderstanding of personal honor. Come to think of it, by questioning the sanity of their antagonist they demonstrate that they themselves are, at least in this instance, devoid of honor themselves.

Since no one from the TAC/ACA is reading these words, please allow me once again to call for the immediate resignations of the TAC/ACA bishops and clergy who have brought their people into this impossible state of affairs. It is not a personal insult to ask that the clergy in question resign what they intend to renounce later.

Roman Catholic traditionalists looking for allies in their losing struggle with the leftist social revolutionaries in their communion are wrong to try and lure traditional Anglicans into their civil war. That is not an ecumenical gesture, despite all the verbiage about "that they may be one," rather it reveals a hidden political agenda. Perhaps good for the traditional RCs, in the short run only, but not good for the Anglican Continuum. Our orthodoxy becomes all the more valuable if the revisionists in the Roman Church win out. Settle your internal conflict, depose the leftists who have seized control of the American, English, Dutch, and, to some extent the German, Roman Catholic Churches, then approach us with a positive ecumenism.

I want to urge every Anglican considering this offer to read the current and back issues of "The Wanderer," the "National Catholic Register," "Latin Mass" magazine and other traditional Roman Catholic publications to get a feel for what you will be in for if you become Roman Catholic.

The American Roman Catholic seminaries are in large controlled by organized homosexual politicos. Any Romans not reading this blog want to deny that assertion?

And one poster wrote that if Benedict died too soon we could look forward to Cardinal Lavada!

Did I make it all the way through without calling any one an ugly name?

poetreader said...

I want to make two brief comments.

1/ There is a difference between sharpness of rhetoric and calling people liars, between strong criticism of teaching and the assertion of evil motives.

2/ Jakian, You've defined the stark difference between The Roman position and ours quite clearly. Who is Peter? Our answer would not be an unqualified, "Well, the Pope, of course," The Bishop of Rome may be in the seat once occupied by Peter, but he is not Peter, and does not speak with the voice of Peter. What does Peter have to say? You can find it, all of it, in his two Epistles. We do indeed regard the Roman pretensions as an arrogant exaggeration of something partially true. While I have a very much higher opinion of Newman that does Fr. Hart, I think his Arian comparison to be so far off the mark as to be laughable.

ed

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn wrote:

We must do better in our apology than say "Frankly, Cardinal Newman was a dummy." I know there are articles which actually engage him more substantively than this...

Yes, including some of our own archives-in fact including mine.


I know there are articles which actually engage him more substantively than this, but I find the following rhetorical strategy both common and unsightly:

"So and so was wrong for this plausible reason. And he's also an idiot and possibly vile. And if he had only read what I, being so venerable and wise, have read, then he would not be so foolish."


Damn! So do I. Is there a reason why you just had to invent your own example of something that ought not be said? Perhaps you just couldn't find a real example.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Jakian Thomist wrote:

Newman in his letter to Brownlow draws attention that (being a scholar on Arianism as noted above) he could gather as many passages from the Fathers for the Divinity of Christ as against it, yet Pusey would not take this for a disproof of their orthodoxy.

Actually, it serves as an example of why Newman is not the man from whom we should learn history of doctrine. Pusey did not accept Newman's reading of passages out of context, making them mean something foreign to the writer's own stated beliefs (men who were never condemned asheretics by the Church). And, it was just this kind of approach by Newman on another related topic, creating very bad history about the Church's doctrine on the Holy Spirit to support his own twisted theory of DD, that first opened my eye to how subtle, how clever, and how wrong he was.

Soon we may ask ‘What universal consensus?’ and finally Vincent’s rule is reduced to throwing “names around as evidence” exactly what you warned against above.

What kind of argument is that? But, if you please, I throw around one name: The Universal Church. Rome's innovations have no support from this one party, not in Antiquity, not in 1054, and not today.

A childhood game of “Simon Says” which everyone can play is transformed by Christ’s word into an exclusive “Primacy of Petros”.

You mean Simon Petros, or rather, a whole succession of men who lay claim to his authority. The whole idea grew up centuries later, and would not have made any sense to the Apostles.

This then requires a totally different vision of Church. When Anglicans consider themselves a branch, Roman Catholics consider themselves a whole tree.

I know. Thank you for admitting it-finally.

Yes, they claim to be the whole tree, and everyone else, including those who are faithful to the other Patriarchates of Antiquity, are excluded from the "fullness." However, if it helps you to see things differently, in place of "branches" use the word "members" as in, members of the Body.

We are not all the same member; and the disunity that has plagued us since 1054 began with those who said "I am of Cephas." That is, the Papacy or See of Peter, the seat of unity that has divided the Church for almost a millennium.

You quoted Newman's angry, hate-filled rant that begins:

“By Catholic Church we mean a thing, and the Anglicans mean a name...etc.

What insulting rubbish. Can you not see that this was a bitter, unforgiving man? He spoke gently, but wrote absolute libel, a poison pen historian and theologian. Frankly, Newman's anti-Anglican rants are offensive, inaccurate, and mean-spirited no matter how much they seemed to be sugar coated. Yes, he had been provoked by pompous twits and the English status quo; but, he took it out on the true believers.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...ultimately it is a question of authority. Who is Simon Peter and why should we listen to what he has to say?

I forgot to answer this. He was a fisherman who became the leader of the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, in obvious fulfillment of what Christ foretold. I listen to what he has to say, because I read the Bible, where his words were recorded. Since Christ's words were fulfilled in the Book of Acts, the earlier chapters, I am not interested much in Rome's isogesis

Jakian Thomist said...

Dear Poetreader,

I think it is wonderful that we can discuss and mull-over our differences with mutual tolerance and respect without hurtful comments or slurs. Indeed we must remember that every time we recite the Our Father we ask the Lord to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I think that Newman's Arian analogy may be a tad inappropriate for all Anglicans, although in personal experience I have come across Anglicans whose views on Catholicity do equate to it, but that does not represent the official position I'm sure!

Lord keep us steadfast to your truth.

Fr. John said...

If Peter is as important as the Roman Church asserts, then why was James the President of the Council of Jerusalem that we read about in Acts? James pronounces sentence, not Peter.

Elementary, right? But what is the Roman response?

Fr. John said...

p.s.

I like Peter, a man after my own heart.

I like Benedict too.

David Gould said...

I agree with Fr. Hart that the Affirmation of St Louis is singularly important to continuing Anglicans. The basis of St. Louis seems to me to be a desire to remain as we were - Catholic Christians within the Anglican Church.

A desire for reunion with the Latin Church or the Eastern Church does not a priori mean that one is being disloyal to the Anglican Church. It does not mean that one has to accept the TAC episcopal assent to the totality of the Roman Catechism and the attendant world view of the Papacy which includes a belief in the nullity of our orders.

In reaffirming St. Louis, it is necessary for us to look back at 30 years of continuing church divisions and ask ourselves do we have the will, the charity, the compassion and the leadership to achieve a united voice for continuing Anglicans that is fully orthodox, fully Catholic and unapologetic about being Anglican?

Some writers have urged the TAC bishops to hurry up and leave for Rome and leave the faithful remnant behind to remain Anglican. I would urge the bishops of those continuing Churches who are not in union with the Anglican Catholic Church which is the only worldwide continuing jurisdiction apart from the so-called TAC, to seek reunion within the ACC of their diocese.

If we really want to be taken seriously within Christendom, then we need to have a single ecclesial voice, a single Synod of Bishops, a single Anglican Catholic Church into which all continuing Anglicans worldwide live their spiritual lives.

In Australia we are blessed with the wisdom of the retired Metropolitan of the ACC, Archbishop John-Charles Vockler FODC, who just celebrated 50 years since his consecration as an Anglican bishop, and a lifetime in religious vows. Continuing Anglicans need to draw on these resources, this living tapestry of Catholic Anglican tradition and use such inspiration to repair the mistakes of the last 30 years and to inspire the next generations of Catholic Anglicans. I commend Archbishop Vockler's appeal to all continuing Anglicans found in the ACC website to question the basis for our disunity.

Mark VA said...

From a Roman perspective:

Father Hart wrote:

"That is, the Papacy or See of Peter, the seat of unity that has divided the Church for almost a millennium".

Let's try to consider the institution of the Papacy from a broader perspective. It ought to give one pause to realise that some Christians today unwittingly join forces with the communists of yesterday in their harsh and uncharitable view of the Papacy. While the two differ in the essence of their objections, the goals are similiar - a diminishment of this institution. If such a Christian is not aware of making this association, he should be.

Please consider that, in my view, you've stumbled here into some very questionable company. From my Roman perspective, Anglicanism doesn't deserve to be associated in any way with such enemies of our Faith.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Please consider that, in my view, you've stumbled here into some very questionable company. From my Roman perspective, Anglicanism doesn't deserve to be associated in any way with such enemies of our Faith.

I see. So the Orthodox Church, for example, are bad company. The entire Eastern Church under the other four Patriarchs were a bad influence in 1054. The problem, Mark VA, is I that am doing what you suggest; I am approaching the papacy from a broad perspective, universal in fact.

About Newman, someone sent me an email claiming that my comments were an angry tirade. Not at all. I am completely serious and in earnest. Cardinal Newman, after his entrance into the RCC, wrote many things over the following decades in which he made claims about Anglican doctrine that were absolutely untrue. He owes the world a posthumous apology for writing such things as the opening line of the quotation we were supplied with earlier: "By Catholic Church we mean a thing, and the Anglicans mean a name..." He had to know, when writing that, that his accusation contradicted everything that Anglicans actually did believe about the Church. There are many other examples, and I cannot help but see them as passive aggressive sugar-coated libel, and very controlled sort of resentment.

On one occasion, he went as far as to suggest that Anglicans were taught that the Pope was the Antichrist. In fact, he knew perfectly well that the official doctrine of Anglicanism (made especially clear by Abp. Laud) from the beginning of the second Secession (i.e. Queen Elizabeth's time), was that the Church of Rome, though needing reformation, was a true Church. He most certainly knew it, and made his hideous accusation anyway.

People who want to learn about Anglicanism need to ignore Newman as a source of anything but cheap shots and misinformation. It would have been quite understandable had he prophesied against English bureaucracy, and those who had striven against the Oxford Movement. But, he attacked the root instead of the few bad branches. His writings are full of such outrageous comments, sometimes as the basis for whole arguments, arguments that are much like a house of cards.

poetreader said...

Mr. Gould,
I share your desire that Continuing Anglicans become truly one, and as quickly as possible. For that reason I did not want to respond as I must. I'm afraid that what I see in your comment, and have seen frequently, is an expectation that the only way for this unity to occur is if everyone else submits forthwith to ACC. I never see any suggestion that ACC might be willing to make the process more like a reunion of equals. Our divisions did not occur, none of them, solely and only through the fault of one group but through misunderstandings and disagreements on both "sides". If we do not all enter in an attitude of real repentance we will have achieved no more than a form of union. The causes of disunion will not have been addressed and the union will fail. When one group assumes a position of superiority and makes itself to be that with which every other group must unite, how does that differ from the current offer made by Rome? Rome says, the only route to unity is to be absorbed by Rome. ACC seems to say that the only route to unuty is to be absorbed by ACC. We've got to do better than that. We've got to address the divisions at their ultimate root, and that only happens if each of us identifies our own failkings and repents of them, submitting themselves one to another as the Apostle said.

Mark VA,
I did publish your comment, but merely as an evidence of the odious depths to which this kind of discourse can descend. You should be heartily ashamed of that "communist" crack. If this is the best support you have for your position, I'll be blunt, we don't need to hear any more of it.

Reasoned and polite discourse is the purpose of this board, even when opinions need to be expressed forthrightly. Yhis was neither, and much of what has been said on this board, whether from the "Papalist" or the "Classic Anglican" (my own position) or from the Calvinist direction, has been neither. I find that very distressing indeed.

ed

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Poetreader:

Please note that I qualified my statement with the word "unwittingly". If anything, most, if not all, Christian critics of the Papacy seem completely and blissfully unaware that they are not the only voices in that chorus.

I'm pointing to the need for a more historically and politically informed discussion of this subject, one that goes beyond the narrow confines of Christian factionalism.

As an aside comment - the communists liked to call their methods for dealing with religion "delamination". We can still see this process in China today, with the "patriotic" and the underground Catholic Churches. One loyal to the Chairman, and the other to the Pope.

Canon Tallis said...

In this discussion of Newman, I am reminded of his words and of Keble's reply. Newman was reported to have said, " we relied upon the bishops and they gave way beneath us." Keble's reply was" Pusey and I relied upon the Church and it did not give way." Father Hart's judgment of Newman is more than generous, even given the fact that Manning probably disliked and distrusted him more than anyone else. My personal opinion of Newman is that expressed by his sisters in their letter while he was yet at Littlemore, a judgment evidenced by the facts of his burial with which Rome is still have trouble.

My problem with Rome is a very simple one; while St. Paul warned the Church against those who taught a doctrine different from his own, we have to deal with the fact that Rome's faith and practice, while in many things commendable is yet not quite that which we find in Holy Scripture, the majority of the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers or of the earliest councils. If St Paul was in the right to, as he said, withstand St Peter to his face, then we are equally right to withstand an institution much later than the earliest Church when it differs from them in "doctrine, discipline and practice."

As for the question of the unity of the Continuum, I think it will have to wait, as Archbishop Morse once said to me, upon a series of funerals. St Paul could write of the personalities which some saw as dividing the Church of his day and we have to deal with those of our own. The most important thing which each of us, individually can do is to strive to be be seen publicly and privately to be as fully Anglican as we possibly can, and that in terms of the portions of the Affirmation which Father Hart has quoted. That would allow us, after that last unfortunate funeral, to see all those bishops who have a claim to faithful Anglican belief and practice to meet quietly and without publicity and hammer out a unity with which we all can live. In the meantime we face the task being as obedient to the BCP as is possible under our individual circumstances and as actively charitable to each other and all those who call themselves Christians as we can with God's grace achieve.

Nathan said...

Ed proclaimed;
“I never see any suggestion that ACC might be willing to make the process more like a reunion of equals.”

Never??? I have re-read Archbishop Haverland's letter to Archbishop Hepworth of August 22, 2007; and offer for consideration the quote below…

“I have noted to more than one TAC bishop that we understand that the TAC may well have questions for and concerns about us. We ask what we ask, not in a spirit of self-justification, but in a sincere attempt to clarify our own position and to understand the position of the TAC. We recognize the many subjective and objective sins and negligences that exist among us in the ACC. We understand that our own sins contributed to our unhappy division.”

Then Ed said:
"Our divisions did not occur, none of them, solely and only through the fault of one group but through misunderstandings and disagreements on both "sides". If we do not all enter in an attitude of real repentance we will have achieved no more than a form of union. The causes of disunion will not have been addressed and the union will fail. When one group assumes a position of superiority and makes itself to be that with which every other group must unite, how does that differ from the current offer made by Rome?"

Well, for one, the ACC is not assuming a position of authority. See quote above. And point two, the ACC, through the hand of its Metropolitan, has acknowledged it's own misunderstandings and faults as a catalyst. This places somebody in a position of humble repentance.
O, would there, could there be any others who would simply acknowledge their own faults and then reaffirm the Affirmation of StLouis and sit at table?

Nathan

John A. Hollister said...

An anonymous Anonymous took Fr. Hart to task for his failure to celebrate the TAC leadership's (to date merely verbal) embrace of the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus". To buttress his position, the a.A. quoted the TAC's Abp. John Hepworth:

"Catholic communion is not an idea, nor the acceptance of a set of beliefs. It is standing together at the Altar of God, affirming one faith and receiving together the one Body and Blood of the Christ who is God and brother".

How odd that the Archbishop distinguishes between "one faith" and "a set of beliefs"; surely that would surprise the Roman authorities who have long insisted on complete agreement on the most minute points of doctrine as a precondition for intercommunion.

But despite that, if Abp. Hepworth's is a valid formula for church unity, there is nothing to prevent the Romans from returning to the "one faith" that was held and taught by the Undivided Church. That, in turn, would surely make it possible for them to stand at the foot of the altar and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ with the Eastern Churches from which Rome separated itself 945 years ago.....

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Ed Pacht wrote, "[The] ACC seems to say that the only route to unuty is to be absorbed by [the] ACC."

In all friendliness, I think the record will not support that statement. I do not know of a single official, or even semi-official, pronuncement that can fairly be read to say that.

There have been a number of comments by private members of the ACC who have related their own experiences in joining it, or who have pointed out that, other than the TAC, the ACC is the only group which claims both to be "Continuing Anglican" and to have a world-wide presence. Neither of those appears to me to be a particularly triumphalist stance; rather, both are simply statements of neutral facts.

What the ACC has done publicly has been to reach out officially to the TAC to open inter-group discussions, an initiative which was spurned without even the formality of a reply letter. It has also reached out to both the UECNA and the PCK, with positive results. Is there anything in any of these moves that suggests a Roman-style "One True Church" mentality?

In the end, anyone who is minded to give consideration to the ACC will only be able to make up his or her mind on an informed basis after talking to the ACC Bishop Ordinary who has jurisdiction over the place where that inquirer resides. Only then will he or she be in possession of the facts as they apply to his or her situation.

If any larger group, such as a diocese, a province, or any larger group, wishes to engage in talks with the ACC, then its appropriate point of contact would be Abp. Haverland, who is in charge of ecumenical relations.

John A. Hollister+

Shaughn said...

Humor me, if you will, for a moment concerning Newman. One key aspect of Newman's troubles, it seems to me, hasn't garnered nearly enough attention. In my mind, his chief problem wasn't being very superstitious ("Writing on the wall," as the blind poet says), which has been mentioned here in other places. It wasn't that he was somehow not "advanced theologically or philosophically." It wasn't even, really, his understanding of doctrinal development per se.

Rather, his problem is one which permeates Roman Catholicism, and which the best and brightest Anglicans, like the Cambridge Platonists, the Tractarians who didn't Pope on us, and the Inklings (to include C.S. Lewis and, oddly, one Roman Catholic, J.R.R. Tolkien) stubbornly and adamantly resisted: Modernism. When confronted with Modernism & some of the more problematic ideals of the Enlightenment, Newman failed to resist them on their face and smash them to bits like they deserved.

He implicitly buys into most of the modernist claims about knowledge, universals, and the lack of a real, objective metaphysic. This is foundational stuff here, going back to Descartes' doubting the senses and concluding that his own will was the only thing about which he could be certain. It includes Kant's attempt to destroy metaphysics altogether. We know that Newman buys into Modernism because he needs, desperately, to have a response to it. (Why would he need to have a response to something which he believed was garbage, rather than, say, a refutation?) That response wasn't doctrinal development. Doctrinal development happens in some sense, folks. (Ever wonder why it wasn't a bleeding awful heresy for St. Cyprian to re-baptize, but it is now? There you go.) Doctrinal development was merely the pretense on which he offers a response -- not a refutation -- to Modernism. That response was, put simply, the "need" for an infallible authority.

Allow me to pontificate in very clear here. Anyone (and here I mean anyone) who says we need an infallible authority beyond scripture (in particular, the Bishop of Rome), is buying into Modernism's claims of moral, religious, metaphysical uncertainty. This is why classical Anglicans, who reject Modernism, find themselves talking past Roman Catholics, who very often actually do not.

Good Anglicans, like C.S. Lewis, simply concluded that modernism was bogus nonsense and carried on. (See repeated examples in God in the Dock). Good Roman Catholics, like Chesterton, insisted that logic (and therefore Modernism) wasn't enough for faith; instead, there must be mystery and contemplation. But Newman and countless others buy into the rot.

This implicit acceptance of Modernism's claims renders the Vatican's response to modernism and materialism ultimately insufficient. Popes have bravely railed against materialism and the problem of modernity, but they draw their authority directly from the implicit acceptance of modernity. In other words, they stand on the same branch as the symptoms they critique. To fix the problem -- modernism -- would mean fixing the circumstances which allowed for the more explicit claims of the Papal See. Ain't gonna happen, folks.

(More to Follow)

Shaughn said...

Now, I've pinpointed Newman's problem as chiefly one of accepting too much the claims of Modernism, when he should have simply rejected it outright.

Let me let you in on the next big thing at the Academy, which is spreading rapidly outward, if you'll hang on just a bit longer. Young folks are fed up with Modernism. They know it doesn't really work. (As if World War I, World War II, and millions upon millions of countless dead from cold, rational Communism weren't enough proof.) They're looking for something deeper. At the Academy, this is cleverly called post-Modernism.

In its very basic form, post-modernism isn't a movement, so much as a way of viewing how systems work. They deconstruct those systems to see how the various parts relate to one another. Hence, Deconstructionism. It's a tool; it doesn't prove or disprove anything. It's a tool focused on relationships. Now, some rather dangerously misuse this interest in relationships to become relativistic. (I'm-as-good-as-you!) We know this is wrong. The tool can, however, also be used to restore metaphysics. Metaphysics, after all, are in large part a concern about how material things exist in relation to their eternal or spiritual ideals.

As Christians, we are constantly in a relationship with a) God and b)our neighbor. We are also, however, in relationship with the ideal means of carrying out those relationship. That is, there's an ideal way to love God and love our neighbor. Christ exhibited it in a rare instance of an Eternal being present materially. We're moving toward that ideal or away from it in a process we call Sanctification. We care very much about those relationships. We care also about how we relate to Love, Beauty, Valor, Courage, and so on (just like Socrates!). We do not, so much, care about ideals with which we aren't in relationship -- like ideal pink unicorns or what have you. Again, some folks are quite happy to sacrifice all that is right and good on the altar of Relationships, or in the name of GettingAlongNess(tm). I don't propose that. I do suggest that this post-modern hermeneutic is one very real way young folks are reconnecting with tradition, which older folks will ignore to their peril and empty pews. It behooves us to learn that language and use it to spread the Gospel. It's yet another way to shatter the Modernist outlook on life -- the very outlook which allowed Newman to create something so bizarre as a need for an infallible authority. Folks got along fine without one in the pre-modern period. They will again with the post-modern view, too.

Thoughts?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Thank you Mark VA. Now we know that all of us who do not believe in the Papacy are useful idiots for the Marxist-Leninists. Someone should have warned the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1054.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Shaughn:

But, we have an infallible authority. The Bible contains all of the essentials, and the Church with her authority received it with true understanding (or the Tradition). Again, to take the elements that we derive from the Vincentian Canon: Universal Consensus and Antiquity.

Doctrinal Development is not a point of controversy, unless we mean's Newman's theory of the same. It is controversial for the following reasons:

1. It rests on false history about the Church's doctrine
2. It allows for addition to the dogmatic teachings of the Church
3. It provides a rationale for accepting "new revelations" or heresy.

I am afraid I cannot quite fit that into a discussion about modernism and post modernism.

David Gould said...

Ed.Pacht I am sorry if I imbued my writing with "ACC triumphalism". It seems to me that the Anglican Catholic Church has achieved a measure of canonical communion with the PCK and UECNA on the basis of respect and humility. That our Metropolitan has approached the TAC and others with a spirit of charity and love does not fit with triumphalism.

As a matter of sheer practicality to whom should continuing Anglicans in Australia, Africa, New Zealand or India turn to except the ACC, because no one else in the North American continuum has a presence in these countries and continents except the TAC?

The ACC has maintained fidelity to St. Louis, and has continued to be a missionary church with international outreach. This is an evangelical Church with a Catholic soul wanting to save souls for Jesus Christ. Here in Australia were it not for the ACC we would be in a spiritual desert because the TAC which has an "on paper" presence has no mission, no outreach.

The international growth of the ACC has been sober, practical and rooted in prayer and fidelity to the faith. That our former Metropolitan has urged all continuing Anglicans to re-examine their hearts and the reasons for not having real unity, and that our current Metropolitan also works in the same way is evidence enough for me of the good heart and intentions of the ACC to the brethren of the other continuing Churches.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart:

You "do not believe in the Papacy". If one does not "believe in the Papacy", then reunion with Rome is not possible. Rome will not dismantle the Papacy to make Her various critics satisfied, and betray Her faithful in the process.

That Christian unity, in the true sense of the word, can be maintained without Peter, still remains to be demonstrated.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, David Gould, and Canon Hollister have responded well to Mr Pacht's latest tirade against the ACC. At the risk of "piling on," I would share simply something of my own odyssey before entering the ACC over three years ago.

After many years of suspicion and negative feelings toward the ACC, with a series of disappointing experiences elsewhere, I happened to read the summary of ACC beliefs written by the late Metropolitan Dean Stevens, of blessed memory. This is published on the ACC website. When I came to the end I exclaimed, "Why, that is exactly what I believe and have always believed!" That document was an unforgettable turning-point for me.
Shortly thereafter, a lay member of the ACC invited me to a dinner meeting with Abp Haverland. I went well-armed for a "take no prisoners" debate, but was quickly surprised by his courtesy, kindness, diplomacy, candor, open-ness, humility, and balanced view of the Anglican faith. He and I talked for four hours, closed down the restaurant after our hosts had departed, and I failed to find anything to argue about.
The rest is history.

Mr Pacht has used the adjective "laughable" to describe either Fr Hart's view of Newman or Newman's view of something-or-other (I do not recall which). That is the term I would apply to his remarks on the ACC.
LKW

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

To your statement on authority, I say, "Yes, precisely." That won't do, however, for most modernists, of whom I'm asserting Newman is one. "But how do we know?" they demand.

You and I are not in disagreement. I simply add the problem of Modernism to your list to make a final, comprehensive list that might look something like this:

1. Newman accepts basic principles of Modernism.
2. He adapts a system of Doctrinal Development which:
a) rests on false history about the Church's doctrine
b) allows for addition to the dogmatic teachings of the Church
c) provides a rationale for accepting "new revelations" or heresy.
3. Plagued with Modernist doubt, as I would characterize it, he utters "Bishops have failed us," as Canon Tallis earlier quoted. He needs a further infallible authority.
4. He creates a solution based on his problematic understanding of Doctrinal Development to fill that need.


It is important to examine Newman's understanding of Infallible Authority as a problematic doctrine. It's equally important to chip away at the faulty system which created a perceived need for it in the first place.

Does that make sense?

Fr. John said...

To return to the original point; who will reaffirm the document created at St. Louis?

May I suggest that we post it here and people may simply list there names, jurisdictional affiliations, and status as lay or clergy as a comment? No essays or statements, just a simple affirmation.

It will be interesting to see who will sign.

Fr. Steve said...

My question is what has been done in the way of reaching out to jurisdictions like the Anglican Province of America, or even the Orthodox Anglican Church? I know for a fact, the Orthodox Anglican Church, which has its headquarters about 30 miles north of me, has an international presence.

I don't know as much about the APA, but I think if we are going to talk unity, we need to add these two (and possibly a couple more) to the mix and reach out the olive branch.

Anonymous said...

I give unqualified assent to the St. Louis Affirmation.

ACC Churchman,
Steven Augustine Badal
(St. Worm)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. John:

It would be pleasant to see people reaffirming in some very open way. But, this blog is not really in a position to carry it out. I would not want to assert us as the official organ of anything; the FCC even comes across, to many, as presuming too much authority, and they have been around since the beginning.

I believe that the Affirmaiton of St. Louis needs to be reaffirmed by all of us all the time, simply by adhering to its principles and, especially for the clergy, by reminding people of it. This is why, on our links, it is at the top of the page (to the right), not down below among other links.

Mark said...

Unqualified assent here as well,

Mark Newsome

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Mark VA wrote:

That Christian unity, in the true sense of the word, can be maintained without Peter, still remains to be demonstrated.

I will resist the temptation to ask what Peter has to do with it, except as a saint among the Church Triumphant; but, I will not even type those words in this comment, as I know you mean the papacy. The jury may disregard the suggestion, your Honor.

When you say "true unity" do you mean the standard of St. Paul?

"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." I Cor. 1:10

Or do you mean merely some outward and political structure?

So, about the papacy, first of all without the whole Church, there can be no healing of schism, so without the office you signify by naming Peter, the answer is no. There could not be true unity, whether Pauline or political, without Rome; neither could there be without Constantinople, et al, nor without Continuing Anglicans. And, for real Pauline unity, nor without all who are baptized into Christ.

But, in terms of serving the cause of unity, Rome has a bad record. Rome inserted itself into the affairs of Constantinople in 1054, and then proceeded to declare its own jurisdiction to be the whole Catholic Church. Then in the 16th century, Rome itself was so corrupt and so neglectful of doctrine and morals that it caused the various Reformations.

The real question is not "can there be unity without Rome?" The real question is, "will Rome ever allow us to have unity?"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Ed wrote:

Our divisions did not occur, none of them, solely and only through the fault of one group but through misunderstandings and disagreements on both "sides"...The causes of disunion will not have been addressed and the union will fail.

We are all sinners anyway, so it is quite obvious that fault existed all over the place. And, that was about twenty years ago, was it not? Are not the bishops of the ACA looking to Rome rather than to unity in the Continuing Church? Abp. Haverland's open letter invites a process for reconciliation and healing. Until it is answered, what can be done?

Rome says, the only route to unity is to be absorbed by Rome. ACC seems to say that the only route to unity is to be absorbed by ACC.

Unless you can see that in Abp. Haverland's open letter, I must see it as a reaction to a few grumpy old men, maybe even to me. But, what is meant by absorption? Is there some different ethos? Are we not all Anglicans of the orthodox and traditional stripe? What exactly is there to be lost? A separate structure? If the bishops who, in their persons as bishops, represent that structure, are trying to lead you all into Rome, what future could the TAC/ACA structure have?

I believe the current crisis is more relevant and important than "who struck John" once upon a time. Perhaps that needs some attention; but, the very process has yet to begin. It seems that it will never begin, as long as Rome is the chosen destination of the men whose reply and participation is needed.

Otherwise, why do you fear letting Traditional Anglicanism be absorbed into Traditional Anglicanism? In some manner, allowing for give and take, that is what unity has to mean.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Hear, hear. I don't see anything wrong with "absorption." I think the ACC is in a strategically unique position to bring like-minded Anglicans together within our shared, authentic catholic tradition. Rome has a plethora or barriers to overcome before we realize genuine communion (may the Lord hasten that day!), but we Anglicans have substantive grounds for obliterating these silly factions.

I say, before we drool at the opportunity to rejoin Rome, let's first pounce on our own potential re-union as Anglicans who believe whole-heartedly the articles of the St. Louis Affirmation.

St. Worm

John A. Hollister said...

Ed Pacht expressed some reservations about the ACC's serving as a venue of refuge for ACA/TAC members who feel they are being abandoned by their official leadership. Fr. Hart responded by asking, "But, what is meant by absorption? Is there some different ethos? Are we not all Anglicans of the orthodox and traditional stripe? What exactly is there to be lost? A separate structure?"

Although I have referred to this before, once again, I feel moved to cite the ACC's past precedent on the issue of corporate merger. In the early 1980s, several bishops and a large part of the "Anglican Episcopal Church of North America" (AECNA) merged with the ACC.

The entity that had been the AECNA became a new, non-territorial diocese of the ACC named "the Diocese of St. Paul" ("personal prelature", anyone?), without regard to the pre-existing ACC diocess with which it overlapped.

No AECNA clergyman or congregation was required to transfer to any pre-texisting ACC diocese although all of them were afforded that opportunity, subject to joint agreement by the Diocese of St. Paul and the ACC territorial diocese concerned.

Initially, it was assumed that the process of integration would take something on the order of ten years, if not more. In fact, within three years all of the clergy and congregations of the Diocese of St. Paul had become so comfortable with their ACC neighbors that they had petitioned to be received into, and had been received into, the ACC territorial dioceses within which they were situated.

There is no reason to expect that this model would not be made available to any other group that wished to approach the ACC as a corporate entity.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Steve said...

Fr. Hart said: Otherwise, why do you fear letting Traditional Anglicanism be absorbed into Traditional Anglicanism? In some manner, allowing for give and take, that is what unity has to mean.

To play devils advocate for a moment, is this not what Rome is saying as well. Why do we fear letting Catholicism be absorbed into Catholicism?

I think the main point being made here is that we should be striving for unity among Continuing Anglicans FIRST. Once that is achieved, then we look to others to achieve unity. I would personally try the Eastern Orthodox first. Perhaps the OCA, who are more open to Anglicanism. If there is then communion with Rome, then it will be with us as one with the Eastern Church.

Of course, the Eastern Church is just as full of people who will tell us we are schismatics as the Roman church is. The difference is, we have a precedent. They accept our orders as valid, and there is written proof of that fact.

My whole gripe with this whole process is that I have a whole group of Anglicans 30 miles north of me that I can't have communion with because they are from a church outside of the Chambers Succession. But if you check the lineage of its Bishop, it includes a Bishop in the Chambers succession. The point being... they are Anglican... I am Anglican... what's the deal?

I know I am a late comer to all of this, but really. If we are all Continuing Anglicans, then lets drop the charade, swallow our pride, and unite. If we are all Continuing Anglicans, then we should not be separated for any reason whatsoever.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Steve wrote:

To play devils advocate for a moment, is this not what Rome is saying as well. Why do we fear letting Catholicism be absorbed into Catholicism?

It is not the same thing, inasmuch as we do not require fellow Anglicans to believe in doctrines that cannot be proved by Holy Scripture; "so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation." Article VI

They [EOC] accept our orders as valid, and there is written proof of that fact.

Between 1922 and 1976 the Orthodox Church had a special relationship with the Anglican Communion, and we have discussed it many times. But, as of 1976 when women's "ordination" was approved in certain churches of the Anglican Communion, this ended. It is ironic, since we have left the Anglican Communion for the same reason that they broke off serious efforts at unity.

In 1978, after it became clear that churches within the Anglican Communion were “ordaining” women and intent on spreading this untraditional practice, Orthodox Archbishop Athenagoras remarked: “…the theological dialogue [between the Orthodox and the Anglicans] will continue, although now simply as an academic and informative exercise, and no longer as an ecclesial endeavor aiming at the union of the two churches.” -As quoted in Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue: The Dublin Agreed Statement,(Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), p.3

David Gould said...

Fr. Hart writes: rthodox Archbishop Athenagoras remarked: “…the theological dialogue [between the Orthodox and the Anglicans] will continue, although now simply as an academic and informative exercise, and no longer as an ecclesial endeavor aiming at the union of the two churches.” -As quoted in Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue: The Dublin Agreed Statement,(Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), p.3

At the 2009 ACC Synod, we had a Russian Orthodox Church (Abroad) priest deliver the Synod Banquet address in which he appealed to the ACC to consider the restoration of the subdiaconate and reader holy orders, and a fasting calendar similar to the Eastern Churches and to thereby from such positive signs, re-engage the Orthodox with continuing Anglicans as THE Anglican Church (because the unorthodox Canterbury Communion have in effect forfeited their Anglicanism through the "ordination" of women priests.

To do this we need a united continuum of Catholic and orthodox Anglicans. Again, the appeals of Archbishop Haverland to the other Churches of the continuum ought to be the basis for a reunited Anglican continuum.

Fr. Hart is correct in saying that the Catholic Church is wider than the Tiber, and that it's unity depends on the reunion of Orthodox, Roman and Anglican Catholics. I hope that we in the continnum can unite and seek meaningful and credible ecumenical dialogue with East and West.

T said...

I think the Affirmation of St Louis is becoming rather overrated and its current rise in reverence (at least in some circles) is unwarranted.

You can be Anglican and orthodox without it and in the end it will probably end up a historical footnote in a book that few will read on minor American religions.

What's the use of yet another document that has key portions that are interpreted pretty much any way one wants? The "vague-speak" of some of the Articles really makes the whole thing look rather unremarkable in the big picture.

I'd much rather see a more consolidated and better reasoned new declaration than a re-visiting of a rather lame one.

T

Fr. Robert Hart said...

T:

I must wonder if you have read the Affirmation, for you seem not be aware of what is in it. As for the Articles and "vague speak," that myth is something I have labored to unmask as non-sense. Again, I recommend E.J. Bicknell's book.

Anonymous said...

David writes:

"To do this we need a united continuum of Catholic and orthodox Anglicans."

A a one-man-party of No, I have consistently been opposed to Abp Hepworth's premature and abortive project with the Roman Catholic Church. But the parallel --or opposite-- tendency to counter the RCC proposal with a similar foray into EO is far more disconcerting and will quickly prove to be far more divisive and destructive to classical Anglicanism.

Hardly a day passes on this blog that someone does not make a comment, like the one I quoted above, regarding the lamentable divisions within the Continuum. Does anyone ever take notice that EO (which many speak of as some sort of Camelot, or the heavenly Jerusalem on earth) has just as many divisions, splits, and squabbles. When all the EO Churches come together, then they may have something to offer. But not before. I do not care to be involved in squabbles between Greeks, Russians and Arabs over cultural issues irrelevant to me and irrelevant to the Gospel.

There is a strange lack of consistency among us over the right- or wrongfulness of repeating sacraments which convey indelible character. The Deerfield Beach "consecrations" are called a blasphemy. We get apoplectic over Apostolicae Curae, for for some that is reason enough to remain separate from the Patriarch of the West. But those who submit to re-Confirmations (aka Chrismations) or even re-Baptisms in EO are smilingly indulged as if they had done nothing wrong. I do not get this.

It is a matter of thanksgiving that at the present it is still posible to live and pray as a simple Prayerbook Christian. But if the day ever comes when a choice is forced between Roman Catholicism and EO, then I would not think twice about enrolling in the RCIA program in the RC Church up the street where I walk my dog twice daily. Each time I read a comment with someone drooling and slobbering over the glories of EO, Anglicanorum coetibus looks better than it did.
LKW

charles said...

Was the ROC priest, Fr. Sephraim's, speech at the 2009 Synod recorded? Where can a person go to either read the transcript or watch it online? On the ACC website AB Haverland's speech is posted, but nothing on the ROC representative?

RC Cola said...

I've been sick with an ear infection, sinus infection, and chest cold that have been rotating, joining in various permutations, and vying for dominance over my immune system for well over a month now. I am a warm-weather person living now in a cold-weather climate. I do not like the effect it has on me.

Wow! There's so much robust conversation here I hardly know where to begin!

1. Huzzah for the Anglicans who want to go to Rome. It ain't all it's cracked up to be. While the Anglo-Papists will be treated well by the neo-orthodox (e.g. EWTN, Wanderer, National Catholic register) and by some traditionalists (e.g. FSSP, Latin Mass Magazine) they will be treated like dog poop on the bottom of the bishops' shoes by everyone else. RC Bishops by and large don't even like the neo-orthodox. (Don't even get them started about Traditionalists!) What makes traditionalist/orthodox Anglicans think they will really have a seat at the table when traditionalist/orthodox Romans can't even get the time of day from their own middle management?
(I love describing the USCCB as "middle management" because it connotes the banality of evil.)

2. I never was a fan of Newman's Development of Doctrine. It always smacked of being anti-tradition. I remember being told that the RCC was based on tradition, not precedent, to which I responded, "Not much of a tradition if what is being traditio-ed didn't precede what we have now." The comment was not well-taken.

3. Having said that, I've really lost faith in any modern Church's ability to discern what doctrines are authentic according to the Lerinsian adage.

This sense of despair is timed precisely with reading MacCullough's biography of Cranmer. I am an avid reader, yet that book had me begging for mercy. When I was done with it, not only did I find that I now despise Cranmer but I've had to remind myself that a hateful person can still write beautifully. I like the Borgia popes better than Cranmer. They at least had real pizazz. Cranmer struck me as being a...weasel. Someone help me: I hate his guts. Does this make me a bad Anglican or is it OK to dislike certain Anglican Divines just like RCs are allowed to dislike certain popes?

4. Despite my current state of despair over Cranmer, I am at least partially consoled by the ACC being a refuge for those Anglicans who are discernibly Catholic, yet do not which to cross the Tiber. The ACC seems to me to have the most solid foundation of the Continuing Churches, the metropolitan bishop, Haverland, strikes me as the best of all Continuing bishops, and judging from websites and documents, it seems to hold the clearest positions.

5. It seems like the ACNA is now a non-issue. Phew! There's no sense in wasting our bandwidth thinking about a group that seeks to revive the "Golden Age of the PECUSA" (he said sarcastically) after the BCP was last rewritten and the neo-druids and wiccans were still in the closet.

RC Cola
"conshove"
"fasco" (attempt #2)

David Gould said...

LKW "Anonymous" writes:
"It is a matter of thanksgiving that at the present it is still posible to live and pray as a simple Prayerbook Christian. But if the day ever comes when a choice is forced between Roman Catholicism and EO, then I would not think twice about enrolling in the RCIA program in the RC Church up the street where I walk my dog twice daily. Each time I read a comment with someone drooling and slobbering over the glories of EO, Anglicanorum coetibus looks better than it did.LKW"

LKW whoever you are, I came back to Anglicanism precisely because I could not accept the Eastern Orthodox current view that Anglican orders and sacraments are deficient - i.e. essentially the same view that the Roman Church has about us.

It is well known that the Eastern Churches did accept our orders when the Church of England confirmed the eucharistic Real Presence and the status of penance, unction, confirmation, marriage and ordination as "mysteries" or sacraments (even though it was conceded that the Dominical sacraments have a [re-eminence). The Church of Cyprus, Rumania and Greece all accepted our orders and sacraments between 1923 and 1937.

So ecumenism with the Eastern Churches has travelled much father than we have ever got with Rome.

Orthodoxy may have issue between nationalities but I suspect that the Church of England always has had differences of opinion, emphasis and attitude with the Scottish, American, Canadian and other Churches of the Empire.

Orthodoxy at least has the liturgy that pre-dates the Great Scism of 1054. Orthodoxy has not undegone a Reformation, Counter-reformation or the ghastly Vatican II, where the gains of verancular liturgy and greater emphasis on Scripture was accompanied by liturgical iconoclasm, rejection of tradition and no less theological liberalism than we see in the Anglican Communion.

There is a whiff of Anglo-centric triumphalism in LKW's polemics about "Greeks, Russians and Arabs". The Church of England opened its church doors to Russians fleeing communism and supported the Russian Church throughout the Russian diaspora.

The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is not some alien "Oriental rite" made by what Churchill called Indians, "seditious fakirs". It is Biblical, rich in Scripture, devoid of Tridentine excess and well-able to be understood by an English speaker with a prayer book in hand.

So rather than excoriating Anglican links with our eastern brothers in Christ, it is my prayer that we do as Fr. Serphim exhorted at the ACC Synod seek to share further, and consider expanding our spiritual horizons.

Go to the Sudan to our ACC diocese, to the large ACC 2nd Province in India, or to the Zulu areas of South Africa, and see what Anglican Catholicism is. Yes, the Prayer Book and Missal are there, but you will see cultural and social diversity that sits quite fine with being Anglican Catholic Christians. We are not a mono-culture, or mono-Church, and like the "Eastern" Orthodox in the West, Anglican Catholics are growing happily in Africa and the East and Oceania.

The Anglican Catholic faith is so much more than people wanting a BCP burial rite if evangelism and outreach that transcends race and culture and language is allowed to come into play in fulfillment of Our Lord's great Commission.

Ken said...

Matthew the Curmudgeon,

"Are there any books that challenge Newman's Doctrinal Development Theory in an intelligent theological manner?
"

You may want to research Orestes Brownson, an American Roman Catholic covert contemporary of Newman. I believe you can find his articles online. I found them to be quite devestating to Newman's doctrine of development.

Ken

Fr. Robert Hart said...

RC Cola:

The real question I have is why you take MacCullough's biography of Cranmer seriously. He did a hatchet job, which is all he is up to.

Canon Tallis said...

RC,

Haven't you ever been told that one should not make nasty comments about the dead, even Borja popes? They will almost always turn out to be someone's ancestors - in this case, mine. Fortunately neither of us have to accept their dinner invitations (and while some suspect me of still having the family recipe book), there are still a fair number of Jews who are probably grateful that Alexander VI made a refuge for them when they were driven out of Spain.

There have been times I haven't much liked Tom either, until I remember that he, almost alone, could stand up to Henry's temper. He was too much of an academic and frequently too taken with the latest intellectual fad, but in the end he knew what was central to both the Biblical and Catholic faith and was willing to die for it. I wonder if we could count on Rowan to do anything like the same? And who knows - more than a few of us may just get the chance in the near future with the way the wind is currently blowing. There are certainly those about willing to kill us.

You should have told us you were ill earlier so that we could pray for you. You wouldn't have had to betray yourself; God knows exactly who all of us are behind our masks. I have such faith in him I don't even think he is going to laugh at me for adding "RC Cola" to my prayer list. Snicker, maybe; but not laugh.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Wells wrote, "those who submit to re-Confirmations (aka Chrismations) or even re-Baptisms in EO are smilingly indulged as if they had done nothing wrong. I do not get this."

I haven't read any comments that suggest such repetitive sacraments are acceptable, let alone laudable. If there have been some I've missed, then I would have to say I'm with Fr. Wells: repetition of the nonrepeatable is wrong, regardless of who may do it or who may receive it.

Indeed, if we Continuing Anglicans were ever to engage in meaningful dscussions with those who all themselves "Orthodox" (in the exclusionary sense), I would want these improper and offensive practices to be the first ones on the agenda.

While I enjoyed Fr. Seraphim's address to the ACC Provincial Synod, I find questions such as the minor orders and the calendar for fasting to be virtually irrelevant when we have much more sigificant issues dividing us.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

David writes:

"The Church of England opened its church doors to Russians fleeing communism and supported the Russian Church throughout the Russian diaspora."

David, when Russians were fleeing communism, did you know that the Russian Orthodox hierarchy was playing footsy with the Soviets. That's why there is a separate "ROCOR," separate from the Patriarchate of Moscow. And have you heard about the Romanian bishop who was deported from the US as a Nazi war criminal? Certain people are fond of reminding us of RC sex scandals, but never seem to recall equivalent or worse facts about the EO Churches.
LKW

Fr. John said...

Not everyone here is wearing a mask. We're not under Bolshevism yet.

Yeah, Cranmer does seem "weasel" like in some instances. Being secretly married is just one example.

Anonymous said...

Brother David Gould,

"LKW" is a priest in good standing in the ACC.

Fr. Wells,
I agree the Eastern Orthodox churches are a mess as well, and there's nothing to be gained by not sticking to our Anglican guns. We can advance ecumenical dialogue, but it's not as if everyone else gets to call the shots while we succumb to their every gripe. Dialogue means we all examine our divisions self-critically and with love of truth. Who knows, perhaps one day soon the Vincentian Canon will be realized in practice among all who name the name of Christ.

St. Worm

RC Cola said...

Fr. Hart,

MacCullough's bio came recommended to me by Anglo-Catholics of good repute. I didn't know it was a hatchet job, which may explain why I came away thinking, "Why have I just suffered through 600 pages of this?"

FR. Wells,

Thank you, and you are correct that I should have let you know last month when the first strain started to work its magic. It's funny, I went to bed with an itchy inner ear, and I woke up with a head that felt like someone diverted a fleet of trains over my forehead in my sleep. And then it got bad. No matter I am back to about 97% and hope that some sleep during the long holiday weekend will help knock out the last bit.

I hope you all had a merry and blessed Christmas. I had a great one. I saw my cousin whom I hadn't seen in 8 years, and met his wife and three children for the first time ever. My cousin has had two tours in Iraq since I saw him last, and will likely go to Afghanistan for his next tour. But I have him just a few hours away here and now, so I plan to enjoy what time we have together.

RC Cola
"teries"
"crech" 2nd attempts

Fr. Robert Hart said...

RC Cola:

Anyone can write biographically about anyone in such a way as to show only the sins, the faults, the failings, etc. The imbalance in such a work is what I find appalling. And, of course Cranmer's marriage was secret. Even in Henry's day the rule of clerical celibacy was enforced; and, enforcement then was no mere laicization.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

The enforcement of clerical celibacy was not really an absolute. We must remember that Cardinal Wolsey had an open mistress by whom he had at least two children and when the Roman cardinal arrived to try Henry's case for annulment he brought with him his son whom was knighted while they were in England. If she had only been his concubine, Cranmer's wife would hardly have been a scandal. It was the fact that he had actually married her that shocked.

We all know that Matthew Parker was married, but who can tell without consulting the books or the internet who was the next Archbishop of Canterbury to be married?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether the 'Affirmaiton of St. Louis' speaks to those who aren't in the US? Can anyone from the ACC in the UK offer any thoughts or reflections about it?

Is the 'Affirmation' a starting point for a conversation with those in the UK who won't be swimming the Tiber?

Fr Edward

Fr. Robert Hart said...

We have the ACC in England, with the world's largest bishop, Bp. Damien Meade.

Ken said...

Here is the link for Mark the Curmudgeon:

http://www.orestesbrownson.com/340.html

Orestes Brownson's take on Newman's development of doctrine:

How, then, was the evil it [Newman's teaching] might do, and actually was doing, to be counteracted, but by subjecting it to the test of well-known and settled principles of Catholic theology, exposing to the public its general unsound-ness, and showing clearly that its theory is not Catholic, and cannot be entertained by Catholics ?

David Gould said...

"LKW" writes: "And have you heard about the Romanian bishop who was deported from the US as a Nazi war criminal? Certain people are fond of reminding us of RC sex scandals, but never seem to recall equivalent or worse facts about the EO Churches.
LKW"

Father I do not doubt that sex "scandals" i.e. pedophilia has occurred in the Eastern Orthodox Church - just as it has occurred in the Anglican Communion. The irony is both have married parish priests. Having sat through a court case supporting 10 OTHER victims of a pedophile Anglican archdeacon who was sent to prison for 7 years, believe you me I have zero tolerance for pedophile clergy of ANY denomination and ion the words of john Wayne, advocate "a fair trial and fine hanging" for any priest of any Church doing such things.

T said...

Robert Hart Said:

T:

I must wonder if you have read the Affirmation, for you seem not be aware of what is in it. As for the Articles and "vague speak," that myth is something I have labored to unmask as non-sense. Again, I recommend E.J. Bicknell's book.


Yes, I have read the Affirmation. Why anyone would assume that it wasn't so is beyond me- you could fit the whole thing on a napkin. And yes, I have two copies of Bicknell's Book and may even have studied it earlier than you might have. The better of the two copies resides by my bedside. The 39 Articles are not comprehensive, and I think most properly trained Anglican clergy are aware of that.

Please don't assume that all who study the same things you do come to the same conclusions, or are somehow ignorant or "unaware" of what's in them. Some of us just MIGHT see things in them that you don't.

T

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If you can fit the Affirmation on a napkin, then I assume you reduce it to print too small for the naked eye. I never assume that everyone comes to the same conclusion; but, if you have read Bicknell and still describe the Articles as "vague speak" then you need to read it again.

Anonymous said...

"Fr. Robert Hart said...
We have the ACC in England, with the world's largest bishop, Bp. Damien Meade."

Indeed, I have attended an ACC Parish in the UK. The Sunday Mass was according to the English Missal and the Saturday evening (Vigil) Mass used the modern Roman Rite.

Fr Edward

Fr. Robert Hart said...

the modern Roman Rite.

Modern? As in Novus Ordo? Are you quite sure you were in the right place? I have been assured on this blog in a comment by Bp. Meade, that this does not happen, and that no clergy of the ACC would want to use it. It is not allowed in the Canons.

William Tighe said...

"We all know that Matthew Parker was married, but who can tell without consulting the books or the internet who was the next Archbishop of Canterbury to be married?"

Oh, that's easy, the intruded John Tillotson (1691-4).

Canon Tallis said...

Very good, Dr Tighe. But I am not surprised that it was you. What has surprised me is that none of my Anglican brothers had the answer at their fingertips.

But I wouldn't have remember the exact dates. That I would have had to look up.