Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Rebuilding the bridge

or Hine Ma'Tov

Concerning the unity of the Holy Catholic Church, as the Creeds use the word "Catholic," the current hype over Anglicanorum Coetibus is misleading. The movement of some Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church is as divisive as any other attempt to take "converts" from one denomination of the Church into another. Whatever realignment of parishes and individuals it may produce, it will not end the current outward and political division of Christ's Body. New "converts" will be won over to the faction that says, "I am of Cephas." But, in doing so they will leave behind divided dioceses and parishes, leaving one part for another, while the various Protestant bodies remain independent, and while the disunity of "east and west" due to the Great Schism of 1054 remains.

The true road to Unity lies now where it always did, through a strong Anglican presence that recognizes everyone in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church with equal respect as part of the same Church. That cannot be accomplished by compromising the truth. In fact, it is by refusing to compromise the standards of Scripture in light of the Universal Consensus of Antiquity, or Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est ("That faith which has been believed everywhere, always and by all"), that such a strong and flexible Anglican identity may help us to pick up the ball that the Canterbury Communion dropped. It was across the Anglican bridge that progress toward genuine unity appeared to be a real hope throughout much of the twentieth century. Those who urge Continuing Anglicans to mistake conversion to Rome for the hope of Reunion merely prolong the state of schism; for, the hope we could once again offer to the Church universal is a fire they can only extinguish by their rush to the Tiber.

The Lord saved Israel by the mere six hundred of Gideon, and we have no reason to despair that our numbers, so small compared to the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and small compared to the official Anglican Communion, are the real issue. On the basis of truth, we can hope to come to a place of recognition that allows us to call on the Patriarchs of the East, and the Patriarch of the West (if he will please reclaim his title) to open with us discussions as serious and as meaningful as the discussion they once had with Anglicans, and with each other through the See of Canterbury as it was then. If we are to pick up the ball that Canterbury dropped, with any hope of rebuilding the bridge they allowed our Enemy to destroy, it will require a new commitment to Anglican identity and principles. Conversion to Rome under the pretence of being Anglican and Roman Catholic at the same time, only stands in the way of fulfilling our true potential as the Continuing Anglican Church.

Below, see this re-posted from May 2006, to help give some historical perspective.

Orthodoxy and Anglicanism in a road block

It is the hope of myself and of all who have the unity of the Church of Christ at heart that the agreements already reached may lead to further progress along the road to that full intercommunion between the Church of England and the Orthodox Churches of the East, which is the burden of our prayers and the goal of all our efforts.

-Letter of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Rumanian Patriarch, 1937

(Pictured, Archbishop Meletios of Alexandria and Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Lang in 1930)

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.”(1) Looking back at this, in the context of many theological discussions, what comes as a surprise to many is the fact that the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the Patriarchs and other chief Bishops of the Orthodox Church had been discussing the prospect of joining into one church at all. It would be an understatement to say that reference to this historical fact often meets with incredulity. Nonetheless, the serious discussion of combining the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion of Churches as one Church began in earnest at least as early as 1922. Just how much hope one should have had in that endeavor, either in how practical it was or how long it would have taken in the most promising of circumstances, seems less important than the fact of the effort itself. What does it tell us that for decades the hope of union between Orthodoxy and Anglicanism was pursued, not by well meaning people on the fringes, but by the highest levels of leadership in both communions? And, why did it take only one issue, women’s “ordination,” to bring it to an end, so that only a mere “academic exercise” could remain as a sort of fossil that testifies to this extinct animal?

This process began as Orthodox Patriarchs and other Orthodox Bishops recognized, one by one, the validity of Anglican Orders and sent letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury to that effect. The first came in 1922, from Constantinople (as it is called when referring to the Patriarchate- instead of Istanbul). Soon after in 1923 came letters from Jerusalem, and then from the Archbishop of Cyprus. Also in 1923, came a letter from the Patriarch of Alexandria. In 1936, the Orthodox Church of Romania sent a letter, also recognizng the validity of Anglican Orders. (2)

The Orthodox Church has in it many people who are now embarrassed, some to the point of denial. The Anglicans of today have, in many places, earned a bad reputation, winking at more than mere innovation; approving of what the Bible calls "abominations." How can the scandalized Orthodox accept the fact that their Church, "the One True Church," was ever considering real unity with people like the Episcopalians- a church with priestesses, bishopettes and at least one Ordinary living in a same sex union? Well, the fact is that they were never considering unity with such people. The Anglicans that they were talking with up until 1976, had at that time approved none of these errors. In fact, the Anglicans were so highly regarded that here, in Amercia, when Orthodox Christians lived very far away from an Orthodox Church, they received special letters from the Orthodox Hierarchy giving them permission to attend the Episcopal Church and to receive the sacraments- including the Holy Communion of Christ's Body and Blood (and so throughout the countries where the Anglican Churches could meet this need). Today, with Orthodox Churches in most major cities and towns, this situation does not exist (Orthodox people who remember this are still alive).

Was this because the Orthodox Patriarchs were a bit thick, and carelessly allowed themselves to be duped by deceitful Anglicans, "Protestants in Catholic clothing?" Having too much respect for their diligence and godly character to imagine such a thing, we must believe that they understood what Anglicanism really was. Furthermore, the kind of Anglicans who were at the highest levels of leadership, and who were in direct communication with the Orthodox Church, believed in the same Catholic Faith as we who Continue the Faith of our fathers. The irony is obvious. Thanks to the same heretics who drove us out, into Athanasian style exile, it may be a long time before the Orthodox Church, represented by any of its Patriarchates, will be willing to enter into serious discussions with any Anglicans. But, when the time comes, they ought to talk to us, not to the Canterbury Club.

In those decades the Church of England had begun an endeavor to seek Reunion with Rome (the ecumenical gesture of the infusion of Old Catholic orders), and to help make their Orders more acceptable to Rome in the hope of that eventual Reunion as a genuine possibility. If true unity could have been achieved, however long it took, think of the implications. No more Great Schism- talk about the Bridge Church was not empty rhetoric.

(1) As quoted in Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue: The Dublin Agreed Statement, (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), p.3

(2) Orthodox Statements on Anglican Orders

Encyclical on Anglican Orders from the Oecumenical Patriarch to the Presidents of the Particular Eastern Orthodox Churches, 1922

[The Holy Synod has studied the report of the Committee and notes:] 1. That the ordination of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury by four bishops is a fact established by history. 2. That in this and subsequent ordinations there are found in their fullness those orthodox and indispensable, visible and sensible elements of valid episcopal ordination - viz. the laying on of hands, the Epiclesis of the All-Holy Spirit and also the purpose to transmit the charisma of the Episcopal ministry. 3. That the orthodox theologians who have scientifically examined the question have almost unanimously come to the same conclusions and have declared themselves as accepting the validity of Anglican Orders. 4. That the practice in the Church affords no indication that the Orthodox Church has ever officially treated the validity of Anglican Orders as in doubt, in such a way as would point to the re-ordination of the Anglican clergy as required in the case of the union of the two Churches. ================================================================

The Patriarch of JERUSALEM, 1923
The Patriarch of Jerusalem wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the name of his Synod on March 12, 1923, as follows: To His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, First Hierarch of All England, our most beloved and dear brother in our Lord Jesus, Mgr. Randall. Greeting fraternally your beloved to us, Grace, we have the pleasure to address to you the following: Yesterday we dispatched to Your Grace the following telegram: ‘We have pleasure inform Your Grace that Holy Synod of our Patriarchate after studying in several meetings question Anglican Orders from Orthodox point view resolved their validity.' Today, explaining this telegram, we inform Your Grace that the Holy Synod, having as a motive the resolution passed some time ago by the Church of Constantinople, which is the church having the First Throne between the Orthodox Churches, resolved that the consecrations of bishops and ordinations of priests and deacons of the Anglican Episcopal Church are considered by the Orthodox Church as having the same validity which the Orders of the Roman Church have, because there exist all the elements which are considered necessary from an Orthodox point of view for the recognition of the grace of the Holy Orders from Apostolic Succession. We have great pleasure in communicating to Your Grace, as the First Hierarch of all the Anglican Churches, this resolution of our Church, which constitutes a progress in the pleasing-to-God work of the union of all Churches, and we pray God to grant to Your Grace many years full of health and salvation.
(Signed) DAMIANOS


February 27/March 12, 1923 Official translation published in The Christian East, vol. IV, 1923, pp. 121-122. The Archbishop of the autonomous Church of Sinai expressed for his Church adherence to the decisions of Constantinople and Jerusalem.
================================================================
The Archbishop of CYPRUS, 1923
The Archbishop of Cyprus wrote to the Patriarch of Constantinople in the name of his Synod on March 20, 1923, as follows: To His All-Holiness the Oecumenical Patriarch Mgr. Meletios we send brotherly greeting in Christ. Your Holiness – Responding readily to the suggestion made in your reverend Holiness' letter of August 8, 1922, that the autocephalous Church of Cyprus under our presidency should give its opinion as to the validity of Anglican Orders we have placed the matter before the Holy Synod in formal session. After full consideration thereof it has reached the following conclusion: It being understood that the Apostolic Succession in the Anglican Church by the Sacrament of Order was not broken at the Consecration of the first Archbishop of this Church, Matthew Parker, and the visible signs being present in Orders among the Anglicans by which the grace of the Holy Spirit is supplied, which enables the ordinand for the functions of his particular order, there is no obstacle to the recognition by the Orthodox Church of the validity of Anglican Ordinations in the same way that the validity of the ordinations of the Roman, Old Catholic, and Armenian Church are recognized by her. Since clerics coming from these Churches into the bosom of the Orthodox Church are received without reordination we express our judgment that this should also hold in the case of Anglicans – excluding intercommunio (sacramental union), by which one might receive the sacraments indiscriminately at the hands of an Anglican, even one holding the Orthodox dogma, until the dogmatic unity of the two Churches, Orthodox and Anglican, is attained. Submitting this opinion of our Church to Your All-Holiness, we remain, Affectionately, the least of your brethren in Christ,
Cyril of Cyprus


Archbishopric of Cyprus. March 7/20, 1923 Published in The Christian East, vol. IV, 1923, pp. 122-123.
====================================================
The Patriarch of ALEXANDRIA, 1930
After the Lambeth Conference of 1930, the Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria found itself able to join in the recognition of Anglican Orders. The decision was announced in a letter from the Patriarch to the Archbishop of Canterbury as follows: To the Most Reverend Dr. Cosmo Lang, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, Greetings in the New Born Christ The Feast of the Nativity, according to the Flesh, of the Redeemer of our Souls being a most suitable occasion for us, as it were, to visit your Beatitude, our friend, by means of a letter, we come to you hereby with a heart that is filled alike with joy, that "unto us is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord," and with fervent prayers both for your health and for the peace and stability of the holy Churches of God over which you preside. At the same time, together with our greetings for the Feast, we send you as our gift the news, which we are sure will be good news, to you, that having derived the greatest gratification from the accounts which it has received, both of the marks of honor which were rendered in London, alike by your Grace and by the general body of your Church, to the office which is ours, and also of the happy results which by the favouring breath of the Holy Spirit have emerged from the contact of the Orthodox Delegation with the Lambeth Conference, our Holy Synod of the Metropolitans of the Apostolic and Patriarchal Throne of Alexandria has proceeded to adopt a resolution recognizing the validity, as from the Orthodox point of view, of the Anglican Ministry. The text of that resolution is as follows: "The Holy Synod recognizes that the declarations of the Orthodox, quoted in the Summary, were made according to the spirit of Orthodox teaching. Inasmuch as the Lambeth Conference approved the declarations of the Anglican Bishops as a genuine account [1] of the teaching and practice of the Church of England and the Churches in communion with it, it welcomes them as a notable step towards the Union of the two Churches. And since in these declarations, which were endorsed by the Lambeth Conference, complete and satisfying assurance is found as to the Apostolic Succession, as to a real reception of the Lord's Body and blood, as to the Eucharist being thusia hilasterios [2] (Sacrifice), and as to Ordination being a Mystery, the Church of Alexandria withdraws its precautionary negative to the acceptance of the validity of Anglican Ordinations, and, adhering to the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, of July 28, 1922, pronounces that if priests, ordained by Anglican Bishops, accede to Orthodoxy, they should not be re-ordained, as persons baptized by Anglicans are not rebaptized." We rejoice to see the middle wall of partition being thrown down more and more, and we congratulate your Beatitude that under God you have had the felicity of taking the initiative in furthering that work. May the Lord Who was born in Bethlehem give to you and to us the happiness of its completion. In Alexandria upon the Feast of Christ's Nativity, 1930 Your Beatitude's Beloved Brother in Christ
Meletios of Alexandria

In reporting this decision to the Oecumenical Patriarch Meletios emphasized that his Synod was acting on the basis that the statements made at Lambeth had removed their former hesitation "as to the teaching of the Anglican Church upon the mysteries and Apostolic succession," and could be held to have met the desire expressed by the Romanian Patriarch in replying to Constantinople in 1925, when he wrote, But in order to make a definite pronouncement, we desire especially that the Anglican Church herself should precise her doctrine concerning the holy mysteries and particularly concerning orders: does she hold it to be a mystery or not? Since that requirement had now been satisfied, wrote Meletios, It is proper that the validity of Anglican Orders should now be recognized by all Orthodox Churches. For that which, according to the same letter, was "one of the most serious obstacles in the way of the Union of the two Churches," has been "removed." Letter published in The Christian East, vol. XII, 1931, pp. 1-6, with notes as above; the quotation in Note 2 is from No. 11 in the Resume of the Lambeth Discussions, reprinted below, p. 22.

FOOTNOTES
[1] The words in the Resolution of the Lambeth Conference are "sufficient account." [2] We transliterate the term, thusia hilasterios, and do not translate it by propitiatory sacrifice, or expiatory sacrifice, because, as generally used, these terms present conceptions which are not attached by the Orthodox to thusia hilasterios. The words used by the Anglican Bishops in their discussions with the Orthodox Delegation, as recorded in the Resume, and endorsed by the Lambeth Conference are: "… that the Anglican Church teaches the doctrine of Eucharistic Sacrifice as explained in the Answer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to Pope Leo XIII, on Anglican Ordinations: and also that in the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Anglican Church prays that ‘by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His Blood, we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His Passion,' as including the whole company of faithful people, living and departed." Lambeth Conference Report, 1930,

77 comments:

David Gould said...

The future of Anglicanism lies not in the spiritually bankrupt churches of the Canterbury Communion, which have abandoned orthodoxy for the theological impossibility of priestesses and bishopesses and same sex unions. It does not lie in the theologically drifting ACNA and Forward in Faith. The former are doomed to collapse like ECUSA with some diocese ordaining women, others not - a cafeteria of belief and (dis)order. Forward in Faith in the UK and elsewhere are essentially neo-Papists with the Novus Ordo mass and polyester chasubles and why they have not gone to Rome years ago is beyond me.

Anglicanism does not rest in the TAC whose infection with reunion with the Latin Church is at almost any price, including denying their own orders - or ours, because when Archbishop Hepworth and his bishops go to Rome, they will have to accept Apostolic Curae's definitive rejection of the Anglican priesthood.

Fr. Hart's article recalls us to a time when the great Eastern Churches saw the serious Catholic and Apostolic life that lived in the Church of England, and union between the East and the West as represented by Anglican Catholicism was palpably close.

Anglicanism rests solely in the continuing Churches. They are the successors to Cosmo Lang, Michael Ramsey and other saintly Canterbury Metropolitans. The responsibility from the Lord on continuing Anglicans is onerous. It is our task to re-evangelise, to rebuild the faith and dignity of the Anglican patrimony.

As laudable as reunion with the Patriarch of the West is, reunion with the Patriarchs of the East and the Ecumenical Patriarch is also something for continuing Anglicans to pray for and work for. Such union will depend on us regaining our credibility as servants of the Gospel, as evangelists and missionaries, to follow our Father St. Augustine of Canterbury, St. Bede and all the great saints of English Christendom.

RC Cola said...

It is ironic that the Anglican Communion thought it was making itself hip and up-to-date by "ordaining" women, when the reality is that it has made itself a walking corpse.

Meanwhile, the tiny Continuing Anglicans, the RCC and their sui juris Churches, and the various Orthodox Churches, while appearing moribund because of our adherence to 2000 year old truth, are the ones who are really alive and up-to-date.

Canon Tallis said...

If we want to have what we once had, then we have to be and become what the Book of Common Prayer intended us to be = and do so without denial or shame. At the moment, as TAC so clearly demonstrates, far too many Anglicans in the Continuum, including priests and perhaps a bishop or two, believe less in our Catholicity than they do that of the Church of Rome. And that when Rome's refusal to be obedient to Holy Scripture is beyond denial.

The Continuum has given itself a bad name in that for far too long its divisions have been seen as less than matters of principle and more the result of attachment to this or that personality. But that was only possible because for all our words, we were more interested in playing Romanism lite in which every priest was his own pope than actually being attached to the great theological and liturgical heritage of Anglicanism. After all that took real work, too much reading and thinking and all that real praying.

If we want to be seen as the epitome of either the Vincentian Canon or that of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, we have to put away the Roman toys and get dead serious about the Anglican and Catholic patrimony. That means a great deal more time spent reading and even more time on our knees - and ever so much as an inch of lace on our persons, but if we are really serious about Anglicanism and an authentic Catholic Christianity that is what we will do. It means leaving John Betjeman behind and going the way of the Anglican greats of the last and every century.

What will it be?

Anonymous said...

Concerning "the future of Anglicanism"' I fervently hope that it lies in a recovery of the glorious doctrines of grace and salvation set forth by the Elizabethan and early Caroline Divines, Recognition of orders and inter-communion will count for little if not firmly rooted in the rich soil of the Gospel. Any other unity will quickly prove to be a bridge to nowhere.
LKW

Joseph said...

"Meanwhile, the tiny Continuing Anglicans, the RCC and their sui juris Churches, and the various Orthodox Churches, while appearing moribund because of our adherence to 2000 year old truth, are the ones who are really alive and up-to-date."

I have a friend and his family who are in the process of becoming Orthodox just for this reason. They come from a mega-church/non-denominational "praise and worship" background. Once they got over the "fun" they were looking for more depth and meaning in their Christianity. I find it sad that because of the current state of Episcopal Church in the USA... he and his family looked past Anglicanism

Brian said...

I don't understand the continued fascination with Eastern Orthodoxy as it relates to Anglican orders. If, somehow, all of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs released a joint statement tomorrow recognizing the orders of the Continuum, what would really change?

They still think they're the One True Church. We don't.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Brian:

"Fascination" is the wrong word. The Orthodox recognition between 1922 and 1976 is worth noting, if only to demonstrate that the RCC in 1896 was not thinking by any universal standard.

Maintaining a strong Anglican position is the only way to approach the rest of the Church. One can find in some Orthodox publications more quotations by Anglicans (especially C.S. Lewis) than in many Anglican writings. Anglican thinking is what we need to feed on ourselves, because what we have to offer is far more theological and doctrinal in nature than many modern Anglicans currently appreciate.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Brian wrote:"They still think they're the One True Church. We don't."

Indeed. Furthermore, under Article XIX we believe them to be in error. I would start the list of errors with a deficient anthropology.

-Richard
(Lest this be thought uncharitable, I am married to a lovely, intellegent EO woman.We have some interesting table talk)

Joe Oliveri said...

Anglicanism is superior to romanism in every way, as we are often reminded. Rome is awash in sex scandals; its theology is marked by late innovations and superstition; and its popes have always been Scripturally inept -- or at any rate, they're nowhere near on par with Cranmer, Hooker, Ussher, or Andrewes. And of course, as Canon Tallis kindly reminds us, "Rome's refusal to be obedient to Holy Scripture is beyond denial."

Yea indeed, this is the foundation for resuming fruitful dialogue!

Bp. Grafton had actually welcomed Apostolicae Curae because, as Fr. Nalls put it, that document "revealed to us the worldly policy that governs the papacy, and impaired belief in the [sic] papal infallibility." Perhaps this should be the sanguine view adopted by this blog towards Anglicanorum Coetibus. Instead of seeing a further obstacle to unity, be grateful that Rome has provided Anglicans with a rallying cry -- like a latter day Gunpowder Plot, as it were. (Abp. Hepworth would then be Guy Fawkes, I guess...?)

On behalf of Pope Benedict and all of us here at the Roman Mission: You're quite welcome. Don't say we never did anything for you.

Joe

Michael said...

In other words, the way to true unity is for both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism to convert en mass to Anglicanism...

Brian said...

Father Hart,

You are quite correct, of course, that Rome was not operating from universal standards when it quite incorrectly declared Anglican orders null. However, as Rome doesn't accept our definition of "universal standards," I don't think see how we're going to win anyone over with this line of argument. We're also still schismatics to EO eyes even if the old recognitions still hold. So, again, why should we care what they think (especially when they cling to the heresy of "One-True-Church-ism" like fleas to a cat)?

Anonymous said...

Like Brian, I don't get the point of the fascination (it seems more like an obsession to me) with what the EO's thought of Anglican Orders once upon a time. At a certain period of history, even RC's occasionally made statements to the same effect. It has no relevance to anything now. What is relevant that that Rowan Williams was welcomed with much ado a few weeks ago at one of their seminaries. (The loud lamentation of a prominent ex-Anglican now EO should be a firebell in the night to all of us.) If an EO bishop approched me saying he had detemrined my orders are valid, I would respond, "That's nice. Now let me examine you on the doctrine of the Atonement. Tell me how you resolve the issue of monergism vs synergism. Do you believe in a completely gracious or partially gracious God? Whose righeousness will God find acceptable at the Last Judgment?"
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Midland Agrarian wrote:

Furthermore, under Article XIX we believe them to be in error.

To be exact, Article XIX recounts the historical fact that at one time or other, each of the ancient Sees has erred. That is not the same as saying "in error." To say that, we need to weigh specific doctrines as they are currently taught-or neglected. If the EO tend to have a serious weakness, it is in a modern (indeed, modern) aversion to the full meaning of the cross and atonement.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Joe:

Thank you for those useful thoughts. I had never thought of it that way.

I would suggest that sarcasm is more effective when it is absurd instead of reasonable.

Michael wrote:

In other words, the way to true unity is for both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism to convert en mass to Anglicanism.

I believe that I was perfectly clear: The best way for Continuing Anglicans to serve any hope for a real reunion of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is to be firmly and intelligently Anglican, and to find a way to pick up where Canterbury left off.

Brian wrote:

So, again, why should we care what they think (especially when they cling to the heresy of "One-True-Church-ism" like fleas to a cat)?

Because we are gracious, forgiving, and we love the Church.

Fr. Wells,

That I cannot disagree with. Many of them need a good course in sin and atonement, and the entire Biblical concept of Justification. I have said so already. That is what we can teach them.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart: You have given four examples of EO Patriarchs declaring Anglican Orders "valid." Can you give as many examples of EO Churches receiving Anglican clerics in their orders (that is, without further Ordination)?

As we all know, there are scads of examples of the EO Churches re-baptizing Anglicans. Is there an instance of an EO Church actually receiving an Anglican without chrismation, in other words, acknowledging our Confirmation as a valid sacrament?

Unity IS as Unity DOES. In view of their widespread re-baptisms and (as far as I can learn) Chrismation of Anglicans, the statements you present are meaningless, may I say "absolutely null and utterly void."

I would love to explain the doctrines of grace to the EO Churches. But they do not present themselves as especially teachable. Rome has honestly made progress in the last 100 years in coming to grips with the NT doctrine of salvation. But similar progress in EO does not seem to be there. "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes."
LKW

The Midland Agrarian said...

Father Robert Hart wrote: "To be exact, Article XIX recounts the historical fact that at one time or other, each of the ancient Sees has erred. That is not the same as saying 'in error'."
Fr Hart,
If I understand you correctly, you are stating that XIX refers to historic instances of error,such as when the East went Arian, or the "robber council". However, was not that issue dealt with specifically in XXI?

Also, since EO understanding of infallibility precludes error, and they have not admitted any, are we not still correct to say "have erred" in both a past and present sense?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells:

You seem to be aware only of the worst examples of the EOs. Yes, they have presumed to "rebaptize" Anglicans, Lutherans and Roman Catholics, despite the fact that by doing so, their own rules require excommunication as a penalty. Nonetheless, my brother David was not "rebaptized," nor was Fr.Patrick Henry Reardon, Fr. Gregory Matthews-Green, or any of the Orthodox "converts" I know, except a couple who entered the EO Church through a Greek lunatic of a priest. The "chrismation" issue, however, is a genuine problem if done on a Confirmed person. I do not know of Anglicans at all who converted to Orthodoxy between 1922 and 1976, let alone priests. Nonetheless, their different approach from that of Rome is worth noting in the current situation.

I would love to explain the doctrines of grace to the EO Churches. But they do not present themselves as especially teachable. Rome has honestly made progress in the last 100 years in coming to grips with the NT doctrine of salvation. But similar progress in EO does not seem to be there. "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes."

With the exception of my brother's chapter about St. Anselm in his first book, and numerous writings by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, you mean? It seems that it takes former Anglicans to get it across, maybe not really so "former" as they let on.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

When I became an Anglican (or at least an Episcopalian) in my late teens, the Episcopal Church required that I be "confirmed" although I had been chrismated at the time I was baptized by a Russian Orthodox priest as an infant. I thought it was odd and sort of "out of line" but I didn't see it as an issue at the time. In those days there were simply no Orthodox churches anywhere near where I lived and it was we Episcopalians who went into the university's records and made list of the students who listed their faith as Orthodox and notified the appropriate Orthodox jurisdictions.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Midland Agrarian wrote:

If I understand you correctly, you are stating that XIX refers to historic instances of error,such as when the East went Arian, or the "robber council". However, was not that issue dealt with specifically in XXI?

Both Articles refer to historic incidents, but for specific and respective reasons. Article XIX was composed centuries before the pope became infallible in 1870 (retroactively, apparently), but it was nonetheless wise, in the estimation of the Anglicans, to make it clear that Rome hath erred (Pope Honorius-case closed). In fact, at some point, each of the Patriarchates had erred, such as the Patriarch of Constantinople during the lifetime of St.Maximos the Confessor, causing him to look instead to the Patriarch of Rome (a fact too easily divorced by some from its historical context).

Look at Articles XIX, XX and XI together, and you will see a message that emerges, and which requires all three.

XIX, No one See or Patriarchate is infallible.

XX The Church has no authority ordain anything contrary to God's word, whether in practice or in teaching (an idea echoed in the 90s by Pope John-Paul II
concerning women's "ordination").

XI. The Church of England need not fear what may come from the Council of Trent-for it was still taking place- inasmuch as no one See or Patriarchate is infallible, and no one has authority to teach anything that is contrary to God's word.

There is more to these 3 Articles, but that is the common thread.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

When I became an Anglican (or at least an Episcopalian) in my late teens, the Episcopal Church required that I be "confirmed" although I had been chrismated at the time I was baptized by a Russian Orthodox priest as an infant.

I think today we would consider that as an attempt to repeat an indelible sacrament. Some would argue that the question of right minister arises, however, when a priest not a bishop confirms (chrismation is EO confirmation), be he RC or EO.

T said...

LKW said:

"Unity IS as Unity DOES."

That's quotable. So true.

Fr Hart said:

"Anglican thinking is what we need to feed on ourselves, because what we have to offer is far more theological and doctrinal in nature than many modern Anglicans currently appreciate."

This is also true. However, and I'm sure we would all agree, "Anglican thinking" tends to be a relative term. To many Anglicans, "Anglican thinking" is what led to the ordination of women and the other innovations. In fact that argument would take it's source as far as the Reformation itself, which is called the mother of all innovation by some.

Maybe Continuers need to begin codifying their sources with a little more precision. I realise that Fr Hart and many others on this blog would agree with that, even taking the lead from their own Archbishop, but others might say that this would steal something away from the breadth and tolerance of our tradition- a refreshing aspect of Anglicanism- and thus "Anglican thinking" might suffer.

My only concern for this has always been that "traditional" movements, regardless of denomination, always have to overcome the danger of freezing tradition and locking it into a small segment of their own denomination's history. This is an obstacle a church evither overcomes or it dies. For example, the SSPX has frozen tradition somewhere between Trent and Vatican II and thus is really saying that such is the time of "glory" for the Church and when she had everything "all right". But, they pay the price of being out of communion with Rome and thus not really representative of their own beliefs. Conservative Protestant movements are reknown for looking back to the "glory days" of their denoninations and forcing splits and endless debates as we can clearly see even today. This kind of sentimentalism rarely adds numbers to the Body of Christ in the long term.

Continuing Anglicans since the very early groups (which now take form as groups like the REC etc.) have always had to confront that same danger- whether we freeze our tradition to the Elizabethan Articles or somewhere between then and now.

Then there is the issue of freezing a tradition to one aspect of churchmanship or one emphasis of theology. The TAC has done this in limiting it's vision of Anglicanism to Anglo-Papalism alone and thus has lost many members from other valid Anglican expressions and understandings. A similar situation exists in Lutheransism, where some teachers like Walther of the LCMS are exalted yet others like co-founder Melancthon are seen as weak and compromising, thus causing yet another multitude of church splits.

Where then, is "true" Anglican thinking best found and built upon? Or, do we not build upon it at all and merely propogate and regurgitate what has already been said, and if we do that, is this really "Anglican thinking"?

Just food for thought.

I think Fr Hart has said what most people here already are thinking, but I'm more curious about what happens next.

Thanks for reading..

T

Yamin said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://toddlergirls.net

David Gould said...

I find it disturbing that the serious work of successive Archbishops of Canterbury and theologians of the Church of England, working with their counterparts amongst the Eastern Churches can be dismissed by LKW and others as some insignifcant event from "once upon a time" implying that these lacked reality.

Perhaps the reality that was found by the Eastern Churches is that the acceptance of the seven mysteries (sacraments), and the Catholic understanding of the eucharistic Presence as expressed in the Anglican declaration to the Romanian Patriarchate was never universally held by evangelicals and others within the Church of England, what to speak of PECUSA and the wider Communion.

The Eastern Churches have at least managed to avoid the cafeteria theology of so many Anglican Churches, of extremes of churchmanship and outlook, that has led to women priests, gay priests and "lay-presidency" being advocated by evangelicals.

The Litany and other prayers found in our beloved BCP attests to the regard with which Anglican bishops and priests held the venerable Eastern Churches, and perhaps this is why union with the so-called East seemed more achievable to Archbishop Lang than union with the Western Patriarch and the Latin Church.

The differences of culture and emphasis between the Slavic and Greek or Arabic Orthodox Churches is not so different than the cultural differences between English Anglicans, North American Episcopalians and the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon. The Eastern Churches share unity of belief, theology and liturgy that has only slightly been impacted on by modernism such as the New Calendar and have resisted the Latin progression of belief, so beloved of Newman and 19th and 20th century Romans.

So Fr. Hart is right. The Continuing Churches must show that they can continue where Canterbury fell down under the impact of modernism and relativism. They must demonstrate credible missionary and evangelical activity, and must demonstrate to the Eastern Churches and Latin Church that Anglicanism offers spiritual insight, understanding and holiness that can make their encounter with Jesus Christ more profound and meaningful.

Do Anglicans come to the table as having greater insight and fidelity to Christ than Rome or the East, making us the True Church? Do we offer humility, scriptural insight, no vain pride in a plethora of saints, but rather a deep desire for unity with our brethren of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? I hope and pray that it is the latter.

The labels of East and west have little relevance in a world wherein so many Orthodox worship in the vernacular, in which so many "Westerners" have embraced Orthodoxy, just as many traditionally Orthodox Christian peoples have embraced everything from atheism to New Age beliefs, to Protestant heterodoxy.

Charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

I 1000% agree with the quote below, but how can we make a new commitment to Anglican identity and principles when the ACC canons give 1543 as the cut-off point in received doctrine (canon 2.2)?

" If we are to pick up the ball that Canterbury dropped, with any hope of rebuilding the bridge they allowed our Enemy to destroy, it will require a new commitment to Anglican identity and principles."

It's hard to find what the ACC believes on paper. The more authoritative statement I found (AB Haverland's book, synodal documents, and constitution/canons) seem to officially reject the Settlement. How should pro-Anglican priests deal with this? http://anglicanrose.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/days-of-orthodoxy/

While the ACNA is a liturgical mess, at least its constitution affirms Anglicanism as defined by the 39 Articles and historical prayer books. We know this is far in practice, etc.., but shouldn't a denomination ensure the right footing by expressing their (hoped) standards constitutionally? I'll at least grant them that. Meanwhile, what will the ACC do?

Anonymous said...

"You seem to be aware only of the worst examples of the EOs."

Who determines the "best" and "worst" examples? I base my impressions on Schmiemann, Ware, Hopko and Schaeffer. That was enough.

"The "chrismation" issue, however, is a genuine problem if done on a Confirmed person."

In exactly the same way and to perhaps a greater degree than the "absolute" ordinations performed by Rome on Anglican clergy. You cannot, with intellectual honesty, protest one and wink at the other.

Cannon Tallis: I do not suppose we can ever weed out clerical ineptness. What happened to you was sacramentally wrong. But we cannot compare an exceptional incident on the part of TEC with the consistent practice on the part of EO.
LKW

Otets Ioann said...

As an Orthodox priest with a great interest in Anglicanism I regret the fact that these statements by various Orthodox hierarchs on the validity of Anglican orders have been "erased" from the Orthodox mind much as pictures of disgraced Soviet dignitaries were erased from photographs.

Anonymous said...

Charles,

Bishop Haverland's words are consonant with the Faith. If Anglicans work inductively back into the Councils to see what's true, over against following the faith of the undivided Church, then we're basically preferring our Anglican identity above the catholic faith. The Anglican rigorists will actually undermine the principle of semper reformanda if they elevate the Calvinistic system or Lutheran paradigm (that are readily teased out of the Articles) to the Absolute Truth of Anglicanism Without Which We Cannot Exist. As I said before, we should BE Anglican on our own principles, and that precludes being tethered to the Magisterial Reformers, as if they were the Canon of Faith.

I stand with Bishop Haverland.

St. Worm

Anonymous said...

LKW wrote:

"I would love to explain the doctrines of grace to the EO Churches. But they do not present themselves as especially teachable. Rome has honestly made progress in the last 100 years in coming to grips with the NT doctrine of salvation. But similar progress in EO does not seem to be there. "

This begs the question: "doctrines of grace" according to whom? The "NT doctrine of salvation" as interpreted by whom? The Lutherans? The Calvinists? The Weslyan-Arminians? Or perhaps the typical Southern Baptist with his hybrid "Calviminianism"? There are some important differences among these. Whose version did you have in mind? (And more importantly, does that particular version pass the test of "universality, antiquity, and consent"?)

Vinny

Fr. John said...

Charles,

What will the ACC do? We have signed the Affirmation of St. Louis, and created canons to sustain the Affirmation.

What will you do?

http://affirmationofstlouis.blogspot.com/

Fr. Robert Hart said...

T wrote:

This is also true. However, and I'm sure we would all agree, "Anglican thinking" tends to be a relative term...Maybe Continuers need to begin codifying their sources with a little more precision...Where then, is "true" Anglican thinking best found and built upon?

and, Charles wrote:

It's hard to find what the ACC believes on paper...shouldn't a denomination ensure the right footing by expressing their (hoped) standards constitutionally? I'll at least grant them that. Meanwhile, what will the ACC do?

Gentlemen:

I am unable to appreciate your comments, inasmuch as the ACC has been crystal clear about doctrine and about the Anglican mind. And, it all comes with good authority and reasoning, leading to the logical conclusion.

Therefore, I suggest you read The Affirmation of St. Louis and What We Believe. These should help guide your reading of the Formularies.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells wrote:

You cannot, with intellectual honesty, protest one and wink at the other.

I have not winked at anything. The Orthodox who have presumed to "re-baptize" have broken their own rules, whereas they all insist on Chrismation of everybody, even Confirmed former Anglicans and Confirmed former Roman Catholics who enter the EO Church. It is not right, theologically.

What I have presented is simply history; make of that history what you will. I see this bit of history as useful in contradicting the current assumptions made by TAC bishops. But, as I have said, the only way Anglicans can serve any cause of a greater Catholic Reunion is to be firmly and intelligently Anglican. There is no choice to be made of leaning toward Constantinople or Rome. We should not lean at all.

charles said...

After reading the links above, it's like Death Bredon said, the ACC is certainly catholic but not necessarily Anglican. There's nothing (with the exception of the Missal's canon) that holds an ACC priest's feet to the fire regarding 'anglicanism' per se.

When the REC left in 1874 at least they clearly delineated what articles they agreed/disagreed with (leaving PEC with 35 articles vs. 39). Methodists did the same, and even American latitudinarians in 1786 tried to persuade the synod to adopt only 20. I've been told we reject the 39 because of article 17. Well, that's only one article!

I think honesty demands some kind of articulation, even if it less than the original 39. Otherwise, it's up to ACC priests to decide on an individual. I know some who reject the 39 articles altogether in favor of the Creeds. Others, who wish they could teach the 39 articles but for sake of peace do not. And others who think the ACC adheres to all 39. The articles are just one example of an important formulary that was intended to work together with the Prayer Book to define Anglican catholicity. Without an explicit statement by ACC synod or otherwise, it's left to the discretion of the parish rector, and I believe, in the long run, this is the root of our identity crisis.

I've been in a parish for two years, and until I read ACC canons I had no idea what the church believed aside from the Creed. While the Creed is absolutely necessary, it does not determine what it means to be Anglican vis-a-vis Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox, etc.. Is Anglicanism merely language, an aesthetic, jurisdiction of polity, a vague catholic ecumenicalism, or is it a theology based upon a particular reception of catholic truth?

In many ways this is not the ACC's fault. It is more the legacy of laxity long prior to the St. Louis conference. In this respect, the REC, ACNA, ACC, UEC all kind of sit in the same boat. What I am trying to get at, however, is how to be accountable to Anglican heritage-- i.e., specifying (perhaps in the far distant future) an exact rather than murky relation to Settlement formularies. Presently, from what I've read, the ACC either officially relegates the Settlement to the distant (irrelevant) past or reject it altogether as essentially 'unworkable'.

Nonetheless, I believe a strong Anglican identity is needed before engaging EO. But I do not know how it is gained other than through (not against) the Settlement. Some where along the line it seems an explicit statement will be needed, otherwise priests will keep teaching their own brand of EWTN catholicism.

My last thought is this blog is invaluable. It's this kind of teaching ministry which builds a consensus so the questions above might someday be answered. Despite my incessant criticism, I thank Fr. Hart for his tireless work. It's this kind of work that I hope will lift Continuuing Anglicans (and others) out the quagmire which TEC started long ago.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles:

I reject your notion that the ACC do not believe in the 39 Articles (what, for crying out loud, would someone object to in Article XVII? How silly). The Affirmation of St. Louis is at the front of the Constitution and Canons, and specifies editions of the Book of Common Prayer that include the Articles, and it directly mentions "all" of our traditional Formularies.

They can kill me, but they can't take these formularies from me. Anyway, the Articles are in the Book of Common Prayer-it is that simple.

Now, to explain their meaning takes more work than dismissing them, especially when the work gets a little demanding.

Anonymous said...

Charles,

I don't reject the 39 Articles, and never thought the ACC did either. I suspect my interpretation of the articles won't make Romanists, Eastern Orthodox, or my Calvinist brethren all too the happy. I've stated in private before to dear Fr. Wells I have a mean Lutheran streak in me even to this day. But even that takes a back seat to the BIGGER picture of the Articles: they are subservient to the Creeds, and in no way trump them. I will stand against any Anglican that insists Anglicanism is simply Calvinism with an Episcopacy; likewise do I resist those who insist we are merely Lutherans with a wee bit more smells and bells.

With that said, I'm not against the spectrum of personal belief within the construct of the Articles, * so long as nothing in the Creeds or Councils are not overturned *. You wanna believe in election like an Arminian? (makes my stomach turn), fine -- you are my brother and you haven't left Anglican territory.

In other words, Reformation Christianity is a genuine GOOD, a necessary GOOD, but not apart from the Universal Faith of the Church. I suspect everyone here will agree as much (barring the Anglo-Papalists who wouldn't countenance reading Calvin's Institutes or Luther's "Bondage of the Will").

With Fr. Hart I too agree that the Articles are richly part of our heritage, and to axe them out of there is irresponsible. For pity sake, let's BE Anglicans.

St. Worm

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

While you may cling to the Settlement (which I believe you do), what in the ACC canons is there that would clearly forbid a priest to teach the opposite? ACC canons and constitutions hardly make formularies like the 39 Articles (much less the convocations they came from) normative, and here is our problem. We are catholic, but with no authoritative requirement to be theologically Anglican other than private inclination by priests. This is why the work ahead is so 'uphill'. We have catholic standards, but there is no reason to interpret them according to any previously held Anglican standard. One might say there is the Prayer book, but even here the Missal may confuse matters. Rome and EO knew full-well liturgy was the back door into doctrine. Unfortunately, Anglicans swallowed the pill.

This reason alone justifies strong Anglican thinking, best articulated by the Settlement and Restoration formulas working together-- articles, prayer books, canons, homilies, salient apologies, and the catechisms of the period.

However, the ACC gives no solid weight to the above, and if priests choose to teach Marian-period Anglicanism (say, merit theology or a corporeal presence in sacrament), there is nothing to prevent them.

This is why a teaching mission is so important to re-appropriate our Anglican brand of catholicism.

I don't know.. .maybe this is just my presbyterianism shining through. Regardless, I enjoy the blog here, and it's doing good work. Take the critique for what it's worth.

charles said...

Dear St. Worm,

While we may have sentiment for the Articles, isn't this the same as 'my private feeling' when not explicitly backed by canons? We have no authoritative/normative leg to stand on besides we think it should be so, we like article 34, we don't like article 17, ...etc.

You say, "the Articles are richly part of our heritage, and to axe them out is irresponsible. For pity sake, let's BE Anglicans."

But what is to keep an ACC priest from axing them out? That's the question!?! We might not like it, but it wouldn't it be canonically ok to do so?

This is precisely the problem-- when we approach the idea of 'catholicism', what historical filter do we use? Eastern? Roman? Or Anglican? Or, is Anglicanism basically modern Orthodoxy? Or, is it basically Tridentine? etc.

Our problem is one of orientation. Without the standards declared as 'normative' (which they are not in the ACC), we end up letting foreign traditions and jurisdictions define our liturgy and belief. This in turn impacts our sense of mission, size as a denomination, and ecumenicalism. It's important.

charles said...

Oops... I quoted canon 2.2. It's 2.1 that deals with received doctrine.

charles said...

Fr. Hart,

please add +Robinson's blog to your list, if possible. While also a subscriber to St. Louis, he is one more Continuing voice to add to the chorus for Articles working together with Prayer Book liturgy.

http://theoldhighchurchman.blogspot.com/

BTW. I appreciate how you point to the Articles through the Affirmation and Canons. That helps.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles wrote:

But what is to keep an ACC priest from axing them out? That's the question!?! We might not like it, but it wouldn't it be canonically ok to do so?

That is just not true. Have you read the Affirmation? Do you know what is in the BCP, especially the American 1928 and the Canadian 1962?

please add +Robinson's blog to your list, if possible.

I thought we had already.

Fr. John said...

Charles,

There is no Anglican identity crisis. I know this the same way that I know most other things about the Church, through personal experience. The Church is certainly much bigger than the ACC, or any other continuing group, bigger than the Anglican Communion, bigger than the Russian Orthodox Church, and even bigger than the Roman Catholic Church.

As Fr. Hart has pointed out, one advantage that Anglicans have is that we can see the big picture, recognizing Christ present at all of these churches. In some ways the remnant, or continuing part of Anglicanism mirrors this circumstance of division in microcosm. And yet for all this we can readily recognize each other, we can quickly discern who is a real Anglican and who is not, with or without the 39 Articles, though all true Anglicans acknowledge their centrality and importance.

I had an experience this past Saturday that I can only describe as transcendent. At the behest of a single man, a layman, a group of Anglican Clergy were brought together in a rural town to celebrate the Feast of Blessed Charles Stuart, King and Martyr. The celebrant was a recently deposed bishop of the Episcopal Church, the master of ceremonies an active Episcopal priest, assisting was a priest of the Reformed Episcopal Church, A bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Cross was present, as were several more active Episcopal priests, and myself.

Most of these people had not met before, some only a few brief times. The laity present consisted of Episcopalians, Anglican Catholics, Roman Catholics, and a few Presbyterians, about 100 souls.

I was somewhat taken aback by this seemingly polyglot Mass at first sight. In fact I was highly skeptical. However as the service proceeded the Holy Ghost made Himself manifest. The harmony, the brotherhood, mutual respect, and the obvious life times of service and dedication to Anglicanism shone forth in the perfection of the 1928 service that was offered there. Our common backgrounds, educations, and liturgical experiences made that Mass flow like a mighty river. Everyone knew the service, their job, their place, and their duty.

Only later at the reception was their sorrow and sadness verbally expressed over the apostasy of the Episcopal Church, where those still in TEC expressed their desire to leave as soon as possible.

Their was no Anglican identity crisis in that room, rather they were expressing their reactions to the new identity assumed by TEC, which they regard as no longer Anglican.

I don't see any identity crisis, I just see faithful Anglicans identifying a crisis.

charles said...

duh...

I looked under 'o' for 'Old High Churchman'.. not 't' for The Old High Churchman..... ok, I see it. sorry.

Canon Tallis said...

Father John,

Thank you so very much for sharing that with us. Saint Charles who died rather than betray the Church when he could have saved his own life and throne by giving it up should be an example and inspiration to all of us. The days and years since the Congress of St Louis have not been easy for most if any of us. But such occasions as the one you describe help us to regain our strength and go on. They help us truly to know that we are members of the same Church and have the same faith as those of the very first disciples of Jesus who also share the same privilege and responsibility to "stedfastly continue in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship and in the breaking of bread and prayers."

spaethacc said...

Charles,

I must say, I guess I just don't understand what you are trying to pick a fight about. It seems as if you want to make the 39 Articles the Anglican equivalent of Luther's Small Catechism. They simply have never had that sort of confessional status amongst Anglicans. They are important to study if our patrimony is to be understood, but they remain simply an historical document. As Archbishop Haverland writes in Anglican Faith and Practice, "the constitution and canons and other formularies of the Anglican Catholic Church are silent about the Articles, which therefore have no normative authority in this church" (pg. 150). While objections may be made that this makes us 'less Anglican,' it is completely in line with E.J. Bicknell who writes that “we may reasonably doubt if the Churches of the mission-field need become acquainted with the 39 Articles...It is possible even to look forward to a day when the Church of England may exchange or discard our present Articles, though that day is not yet in sight. That would not involve any breach of continuity or catholicity.” A Theological Introduction to the 39 Articles (London: Longmans, 1963), 19. The Affirmation has become the primary document because "all Anglican statements of faith and liturgical formulae must be interpreted in accordance with [it]."

I know you like to beat the drum for the Elizabethan settlement (in the intro of your blog you state your hope that "the Elizabethan Settlement...might restore Christendom by its many sprigs"), but you are trying to argue an issue that is settled in the ACC. The "Statement on Unity" by the House of Bishops has quite explicitly rejected that notion, noting the manifest failure of the settlement in England past and present. As Fr. Kirby wrote on this very blog some time ago, "The foundation of Anglicanism is not to be found in the 16th Century anyway, as the Reformers were adamant that they continued the same Church as before, with its spiritual, doctrinal and institutional roots in the Apostolic, primitive Church and the teaching and practice of its Fathers and Doctors, to which they appealed. This is part of their fundamental self-understanding and epistemology, and this is part of the worthy “wheat among the chaff” which we preserve. What the English Reformers (from Henry's reign to 1662), insofar as their beliefs informed the Church itself, got right was to point not to themselves but back to Christ, the Scripture, and the consensual Catholicism of the undivided Church. This general principle was not all they got right, but it is the key for interpreting everything else and for asserting our continuity with them."

I grow tired of commenters on this blog claiming that the ACC and its faithful sons are having some sort of 'crisis of identity.' We are not. It's those who constantly tell us we do that have the issue. I'm not going to apologize for holding to what Archbishop Haverland and the ACC teach because it fails to fit your narrow view of what it means to be 'truly' Anglican.

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2009/09/few-words-from-archbishop-mark.html

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Continuers need to begin codifying their sources with a little more precision...Where then, is "true" Anglican thinking best found and built upon?"

The Anglican tradition has eschewed the Lutheran/Calvinist tendency to develop monolithic Confessions and Catechisms. When we look at the theological situation in those traditions today, Anglicanism does not seem to have suffered for this neglect.

Recently I re-studied the Scots Confession written by John Knox just slighly before the 39 Articles were produced. Whereas the Scots Confession is thorough and discursive, the 39 Articles seem more like bullet points, in their terseness. (The Scots Confession speaks, interestingly, of Baptism and Lord's Supper as "the two CHIEF sacraments." Interesting.)

To answer the second part of your question, Anglican thinking is rest found in the successive editions, 1549--1928, of the Book of Common Prayer. The Prayer Book we should take into our studies as a doctrinal manifesto, not just as a liturgical cookbook. To find what we teach (e.g.)on the Trinity, look at the Preface for Trinity Sunday. To learn where we stand on the Augustinian-Pelagian debate, study the Sunday Collects. Examples could be multiplied. Its all there.

On questions not answered in the BCP, we enjoy theological liberty within the limits set by the book itself, whose centered-piece is the Nicene Creed, printed three times, in case anyone does not get the point. But there is far more doctrine within the Common Prayer tradition than we commonly appreciate.
LKW

Anonymous said...

David Gould declares:

"The Eastern Churches share unity of belief, theology and liturgy that has only slightly been impacted on by modernism such as the New Calendar..."

I should have known it all along!!!!
Anglicanism went off the rails when Parliament adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752. The germ of modernism lay in the abandonment of the Julian calendar!!! Thank you, David, for making everything so clear. If we could only get back to the EO calendar which celebrates Adam and Eve as "saints" on Dec. 24.
LKW

Joe Oliveri said...

Speaking of Blessed Charles Stuart, it is interesting to note that this clip, from the film "Cromwell" (1970),was posted at Catholic Church Conservation, a traditionalist RC blog. The blogger, Chris Gillibrand, notes: "The Society of King Charles the Martyr has at least three Catholic patrons."

This scene, in which King Charles (played by Alec Guinness) is executed, is both heartbreaking and heroic.

some guy out there said...

Perhaps some of us would be more reassured about the doctrinal cohesiveness of Continuing Anglicanism if we did not know clergy who campaign against one's even being allowed to QUOTE the 39 Articles, or consider Richard Hooker to be "outside the pale" for his views on the Sacraments. (I know one who blasts Hooker for being a "receptionist.)

This blog has helped me tremendously, but it surely would be nice to get some Continuing Anglican clergy to cease condemning positions that were held as orthodox views before the rise of the Tractarians.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

spaethacc:

If you are wise enough to replace the 39 Articles with something better, to help clarify the Patristic Scriptural position that the English Reformers and Anglican Divines expressed in them, give it a try. Otherwise, do not object to us when we elect to keep our Book of Common Prayer intact. No, the laity have never been pressured to any sort of oath that makes them "binding," nor have the clergy outside of the Church of England. But, before we tear up our own train tracks to the doctrines of Universal Consensus and Antiquity, let us secure a route as sure.

William Tighe said...

"As Archbishop Haverland writes in Anglican Faith and Practice, "the constitution and canons and other formularies of the Anglican Catholic Church are silent about the Articles, which therefore have no normative authority in this church" (pg. 150)."

Archbishop Haverland would thus seem to share the same views as Archbishop Morse, the former Ptimate of the APCK -- who, when I met with him for a long afternoon in 2000 (a meeting arranged by thye then Fr., now Bp., Paul Hewett) to report to him in some detail on the situation of anti-WO "orthodox opposition groups" in Norway and Sweden, told me that the Elizabethan Settlement was "an albatross around the necks" of Catholic Anglicans, of which the APCK had bidden "good riddance;" amd he used the same or similar words concerning the 39 Articles, which he said "have no authority for us."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Bill:

The difference is rather large. Archbishop Haverland quotes the Articles to clarify Anglican positions. The issue of the Articles as "binding" involves the use of a word that has no direct meaning outside of the UK itself.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

I want to thank you for your replies to both spaethacc and your friend, Bill. I really need to thank Doctor Tighe as well for exposing Bishop Morse as well. He was and remains one of the major problems of the Continuum. Just like some other of our fine prelates he fails to realize that without the success of the Elizabethan Settlement there would not have been an Anglicanism worthy or capable of being continued.

"nocst"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Of course, when we speak of the Articles with the word authority, we run into a problem of self-contradiction if we attempt to "require" assent to them, namely the opening of Artilce VI:

"Scriptures containeth all things necessary to salvation: 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."

The Articles refer us all quite directly to the Scripture.

Canon Tallis said...

And a double "Thank You" and a Te deum to be sung on Easter Monday for your very last comment on the Articles.

"nutne"

charles said...

Dear all,

You wrapped the Articles question up nicely. Nonetheless, I guess I can always find something to add at the risk of redundancy...

There are a couple assumptions I think many of us hold regarding the 16th and 17th century divines. Those of us who approve the articles assume Anglican divines were largely successful of their resourcement of the patristic period. Therefore, we see no need to scrap historical Anglican standards or call such 'moot'. They are still very relevant for today. Furthermore, we tend to believe these standards better express the life of the ancient church than either modern orthodoxy or Romanism currently do, so why abandon them? Consider the alternatives...etc.

If we choose to scrap the bulk of the Settlement, then we must ask, "what interpretation of catholic faith fills the void?" While we confess 'one catholic apostolic church', the reality is the creeds are lived out differently by each branch of the "One". Dismissing the Articles presupposes they have nothing to say regarding our particular life and history. Not only this, but their omission reopens certain disputes related to the Creeds and ecumenical councils that we honestly admit are unsettled.

Secondly, regarding subscription, in England (which we depart from only in circumstance-- preface) the articles were part of a three-fold test of orthodoxy for public ministers. It certainly stands to reason the church has every right to 'test' ministers. Since when did 'catholic' mean allowing private opinion run ripshod over the episcopate and their flocks? Not only this, but, as Fr. Hart commented, laity were never required to subscribe. So what dragon'tractarians' slew is hard to imagine?

That being said, there was indeed a public 'rule'. In England, laity couldn't publicly teach against these standards. But this harkened a day when nations (sic., England) confessed Christ. Surely, we would never want that again (the monastary turned inside-out, the evangelization of a nation, common prayer, etc.?)

While we are (sadly) well past subscription (and the Settlement?), my reading of late 19th and especially 20th century Anglicanism was it fell victim to liberals by way of neglected discipline. If laxity was our undoing, why do we coddle this dagger today? I think there is something worthwhile about learning from history, and if anything is proven by the CofE/TEC's example, it's that laxity created more problems than it solved. Lukewarmness is a feigned virtue, etc.

What I said earlier about Identity (or lack thereof) in the ACC or larger Continuum-- I believe it still holds. Articles are mostly a local option. Unfortunately, I've met more Continuuing priests who hold to +Morse's view than Fr. Hart's. The problem with tossing aside the Settlement/Restoration is the prayer book (i.e., all the books found therein, including those last pages where the articles are found) were intended to work together. When you start ignoring or arbitrarily suppressing portions of the prayer book ,you do end up with a rather serious identity crisis. Moreover, alien liturgies or doctrine inevitably fill the void.

So, if we are going to engage RC (even TAC) or modern Orthodoxy, it seems wise to first get our own house in order. Part of this would be returning to the faith of our fathers, which is indeed patristic and best expressed by the basic Settlement standards-- prayer book, articles, and canons. I think homilies, salient books of divinity (there are a handful of 'greats'), and period catechisms also help.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

While we are (sadly) well past subscription (and the Settlement?), my reading of late 19th and especially 20th century Anglicanism was it fell victim to liberals by way of neglected discipline. If laxity was our undoing, why do we coddle this dagger today? I think there is something worthwhile about learning from history, and if anything is proven by the CofE/TEC's example, it's that laxity created more problems than it solved. Lukewarmness is a feigned virtue, etc.

Sadly, many self-proclaimed Anglo-Catholics these days lack the discipline that the real Anglo-Catholics of old had. They think that they can throw away the safety of fixed standards and blame the Elizabethan Settlement for modern license in matters of doctrine and morals. In fact, they have the very attitude that has created the license of modern TEC, etc. In the absence of fixed Anglican standards they either make their own rules or convert to Rome for safety. Neither option is good.

Unfortunately, I've met more Continuing priests who hold to +Morse's view than Fr. Hart's.

So did I until meeting so many ACC priests in these two Southern dioceses on the east coast (Diocese op the Mid-Atlantic States and Diocese of the South). The tide is going in a solidly Anglican direction.

T said...

Fr Hart said:

"Gentlemen:

I am unable to appreciate your comments, inasmuch as the ACC has been crystal clear about doctrine and about the Anglican mind. And, it all comes with good authority and reasoning, leading to the logical conclusion.

Therefore, I suggest you read The Affirmation of St. Louis and What We Believe. These should help guide your reading of the Formularies.


I've read these, often, and even referred to the ACC-OP code of canon law on occassion. I think it is quite clear where the ACC-OP stands.

However, when I spoke of "Continuing Anglicans", I wasn't referring specifically to just the ACC-OP- I was discussing the whole movement since even the REC was founded.

What people tend to forget is that the idea that Anglicanism has taken turns for the wrong goes back far beyond the day of the Affirmation of St Louis. Not only that, people tend to forget that the 20thC American experience is not the only experience that can make sense of the current situation. In fact, people seem to care less and less about that.

I think Continuing Anglicanism can do better to preserve the tradition than merely holding fast to the Affirmation of St Louis, which I tend to regard as merely a first baby step towards re-stating orthodoxy and certainly not a final, conclusive statement on the matter.

I think what the ACC-OP has done is good. They have made clear their position and interpretation of Anglicanism, and that's just fine for any denomination to do. However, I think it's not the only way to do it, and I would like to see from other Anglicans a more codified systematic theology that reflects and preserves the breadth of the tradition without being heterodox or heretical. In other words, a Catholic theology not based on partisam lines.

My point was in fact to question whether or not this breadth is being preserved. I tend to see Continuers as being much more narrow in vision about what it means to be Anglican than the Anglicanism that has existed on the planet since the beginning. To me, Anglican unity in diversity is a true charism of Anglicanism, and to remove this diversity is to cease to hold to the spirit of Anglicanism and to adopt a more legalistic and less gracious idea of Christianity.

To hold to one theology with many traditions and expressions is really what being Catholic and orthodox is all about. This is the true basis of "rebuilding the bridge" and unless all sides adopt this approach there will never be unity. In some cases we must change, in other cases they (eg. the EO or whoever) must change. Either way, we all are responsible for recapturing the Catholic vision of Christ for His Church and building walls is not the way to do that.

T

Fr. John said...

Charles wrote:
"Part of this would be returning to the faith of our fathers,"

Baloney sliced thin. We have never left the faith of our fathers. Demonstrate how the ACC has "left."

You are hung up on the Articles and seem to want to make them the supreme law of the Church. They have never been in the past, and thus we do follow the faith of our fathers in this as well as every thing else. Again, testify against us.

I suppose that I have met many more continuing Anglican clerics than you have, and I have yet to meet one who wants to, as you wrote;
"I've met more Continuuing (sic) priests who hold to +Morse's view than Fr. Hart's. The problem with tossing aside the Settlement/Restoration is the prayer book (i.e., all the books found therein, including those last pages where the articles are found) were intended to work together. When you start ignoring or arbitrarily suppressing portions of the prayer book ,you do end up with a rather serious identity crisis. Moreover, alien liturgies or doctrine inevitably fill the void."

These are serious charges to make against a cleric. I have never had any such experience in my interactions with ACC clergy. I also remain very skeptical that such circumstances exist in either the UECNA or the APCK. The apocryphal quote attributed to Bishop Morse, and then ingeniously transferred to Archbishop Haverland that his opinions "must" be the same, does a great disservice to Archbishop Haverland.

Charles, you are overstating your case in an effort to lift the Articles of Religion to a place they never had in Anglicanism. Your charges of attacks on the Articles are totally unfounded. They remain, and will remain in the Book of Common Prayer as printed by the Anglican Parishes Association (the publishing arm of the ACC),they still retain the same level of respect and attention in the formation of our clergy that they always have.

Your charges of the ACC and other continuing bodies suffering from an identity crisis is baffling. We know exactly who we are and what we are doing. On the other hand, you seem to have an identity crisis of your own. Let me ask you, do you subscribe to the Affirmation of St. Louis or not?

If the answer is no, then you are not a continuing Anglican. Do you consider yourself one? I haven't seen your name appear on the list of signatories yet.

Identify yourself first before you accuse us of not knowing who we are.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr.John is right that the words of Abp. Morse ought not to be transferred to Abp. Haverland.

I have heard Abp. Morse say, several times, "the Elizabethan Settlement has failed." I have never known what he seeks to put in its place, if he meant to. but, of whom did he speak? To paraphrase Chesterton, applied to the official Anglican Communion that Abp. Morse rightly accused-for that is who he spoke of:

The Elizabethan Settlement has not been tried and failed; it has been found difficult and has not been tried.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Hart,

You've touched on a point that frustrates me about a great deal of modernists and post-modernists: they judge a system by people. This is why you get such inane statements from Newman like "Our bishops have failed us." Well, sure. They're people; they failed. That doesn't mean the system is problematic, but rather, the folks in it.

I wonder where Newman would go if he saw what RC bishops in the US and the UK were like. Oy.

charles said...

Fr. John,

I will do my best to answer your questions, perhaps in more detail later.

But for now, please allow me to direct your attention to the APA press which sells, in addition to the Prayer book, also the 1995 Athen's statement. Please read it if you haven't already, and tell me how it affirms the Settlement there.

Secondly, I contend there is nothing specific in the ACC to prevent someone teaching against the Articles. It has been admitted certain kinds (not all) Anglo-catholics employ essentially liberal arguments against certain Settlement and Restoration standards. One such is while the Articles are indeed found in the prayer book, they are included as historical curiosity or footnote. Of course a higher view is that the articles provide a theological framework for the liturgy. Both opinions are found in the ACC, and I believe, on the basis of ACC canons, especially 2.1, either opinion may be taught. The fact articles are not a Test for our clergy should be proof enough.

Thirdly, the articles were indeed 'confessional' in the sense of being a test for clergy. While not the same degree as other reformation tests (Augsburg, Westminster, Heidelberg, etc..), it shared the same nature with them, still requiring a public vow and assent from ministers without which there was no licence. We seem to get upset by 'confessions', but isn't Rome even more confessional than Anglicanism ever? It is not beyond the catholic pale.

Regarding the St. Louis Affirmation. I am not in Continuing holy orders, and as a lay person have never given a public vow to such. I would only give a public vow in God's name if I agreed in an completely unfeigned fashion with the Affirmation. While most I agree with, there are parts which are I hesitate (for example, are the seven sacraments all equally 'efficacious' and 'objective' signs of Christ's grace and covenant?). I would just be very careful about making an public vow in God's name. Section V does this.

What I challenge Anglicans to consider is how the articles, prayer book, and period canons worked together as a system of theology, especially how the idea of justification weaved them together as such. I believe once you 'get' this, you begin to see why altering liturgy and rubrics can pose a 'backdoor' with respect to doctrine. I think EO and RC have been aware of this for a long time and pursue liturgical reform with this very principle in mind. So, I would not jump into something without very carefully weighing it out, and how one small 'tweak' can unbalance the whole.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Charles:

Canon 2:1 is about the Councils that were before the English Reformation. If you keep reading, you will see that everything in the Episcopal Church through 1967 is "in force." I suppose that year was the last time acceptable change was made to Canon Law.

The BCP 1928 states in every way a liturgical and doctrinal norm, according to the Affirmation of St. Louis, the full text of which is part of the Constitution and Canons of the ACC. Therefore, again, I see no basis for regarding the status of the Thirty-Nine Articles as having changed, or as needing special mention. Arguments to the contrary in a previous thread have not made sense to me; there they are, in that BCP. They stand as they always did.

The real question is, what were they before the Affirmation? Once we settle that, we settle the question.

But, considering that the Articles do not allow you to regard them, or anything but Scripture, as something that may be required as an article of faith, to be believed, or as necessary to salvation, it seems they were meant to be a guide. It is assumed, therefore, that the guide agrees with Scripture; but, the guide requires itself to be proved by Scripture (imagine a RC document written by humble men with a built in safeguard). The writers of the Articles were true followers of Tyndale, who wanted even the boy who pushed the plow, in England, to know the Scriptures as well as any clergyman. So, the Articles are a guide that subjects itself to the judgment of those who know Holy Scripture.

Fr. John said...

Charles,

I don't see any possibility of any cleric in the ACC preaching or teaching against the Articles.

I don't think there is a problem with the ACC abandoning the Elizabethan Settlement either. The section that you seem to object to in the "Statement on Unity" is a description of the failure of the Settlement, an historical summary if you will, not an opinion, or judgment of the Settlement.

I found this one statement of yours in a response to a post on your web blog;

"Restoring standards in an ‘upfront fashion’ while reviving a visible unity around an English throne is the principled way to go."

That is a nice thought, but certainly an historical improbability.

Canon Tallis said...

Father John,

You keep very good company indeed if you do not know a priest in the ACC who preaches or teaches against the Articles. Believe me, they do exist. I am not going to run their names or the words of disrespect which some of them have had for both the Articles and the Affirmation of St Louis because my hope is that the work which Fathers Hart, Kirby and Nalls with the frequent comments of Canon Hollister and Father Wells are in the process of reviving the old Anglican/Catholic consensus when it was only the remnants of the Puritan Party which loved Anglicanism too much to leave it but not enough to value doctrine, discipline and worship plainly set forth in the classical prayer books and other formularies. They plainly don't dare to post here and I doubt if they are even lurkers.

I am glad to see the following from Father hart: "I have heard Abp. Morse say, several times, "the Elizabethan Settlement has failed." I have never known what he seeks to put in its place, . . ." Well, Father Hart, if you knew him well enough you would have known it was himself. Thankfully he was never able to make that happen, but the trouble is that neither he nor Bishop Mote who was of the same opinion were really aware of what the Settlement itself was or intended. They saw only what the war against it and the Church by the Puritan party resulted in historically.

"gracely" I kid you not!
"kershand"

charles said...

Hello Fr. Hart,

Perhaps my understanding of ACC canon is wrong. While I applaud the pro-Settlement opinions of priests here, isn't it correct that statements which come from synod, founding congress, and AB carry more weight? I agree, with Fr. John, the accusation is rather serious, so I think I better be 'straight' in my understanding. If it is better to talk by email, that would be great.

We are discussing the meaning of canon 2.1 and 2.2. This is very important because in Canon 13.1, ordained clerics announce a 'declaration of conformity', "I do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Anglican Catholic Church". Comparing this pledge to others required by Anglican churches (who use old PEC canons), what I first find surprising is there is no upfront assent to the traditional three standards: canons, 39 articles, and prayer book. Therefore, I had to search the ACC constitution and canons to find how "Discipline, Doctrin, and Worship" is defined.

Canon 2.2 is open to a number of interpretations. It is titled, "Matters not expressly legislated herein". Matters not expressly legislated or provided shall be refereed to..."the Church of England in its estates...as specified by the Acts of Parliament of 1534 and 1543". The specific mentioning of these dates are curious in themselves. When compared to canon 2.1, it seems to suggest something of 'doctrine'. Anyway, canon 2.2 then continues, and here is what Fr. Hart is emphasizing, that other matters may also be referred to "any and all other Anglican Laws Ecclesiastical...in..North America or elsewhere prior to 1967".

Perhaps this would settle things. It is an amazing broad brush statement. But note what immediately follows it, "all of which bodies of Anglican canon law not expressly altered or amended by any Synod or Synods of this Church...are incorporated by reference and are to be of continued force and effect".

OK, so what then, especially in terms of doctrine, has the Synods of this Church received? That's when you have to refer to Canon 2.1. Canon 2.1, incidently, is the only canon in the entire document which uses the term "doctrine". It begins, "This Church submits itself and subscribes to the Seven Ecumenical Councils...and their doctrine, definitions, letters, epistles, acts, and decrees, both doctrinal and synodal...received, accepted, and affirmed by the same oecumencial councils, all received in the Church of England through the year 1543..."

Re-read it if you will. But that's the cut off point in reception, as I understand it, by ACC canon law. And, it's this canon that brings to light various statements by AB's and Synods overtime in the ACC. You can go on through the canons, but unlike old PEC ones, the 39 Articles are not mentioned once!

In practice, I know it's very different in the ACC. Pro-settlement is really a 'local option'. But if someone choses to teach merit theology, medieval mariology, or transubstantion, there is nothing to stop them. Nor if a priest openly defames the 39 Articles as "puritanical", etc., they are free to do so, at least by our canons and authoritative statements. It would not be contrary.
cont'd

charles said...

cont'd

However, I am totally open to a more back door approach. By affirming the prayer book, perhaps the articles are also, indirectly affirmed? But Haverland equated them akin to something like apocryphra (in so far as they have a historical significance but evidently not doctrinal) when he says they have "no normative authority in this church". For this reason, I tend to think, by ACC standards, 39 Articles presence inside the prayer book is more of the 'footnote' kind.

I kind of see where the ACC wants to go. The idea of a broad, (Anglo)American 'catholic' church that has strong ties to ROCOR (and other EO branches) is an interesting, even exciting one. It could be a tree that nests many birds-- from ex-TAC to ex-REC. So long as there is a space for pro-Settlement Anglicans, then I am happy.

But if priests have another opinion with respect to canon interpretation, I truly wish it well. Settlement standards is a local option has a right to spread, and may someday prove necessary for retaining ACC priests or laypeople.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I do stick to the BCP argument, because it is impossible to remove the 39 Articles from it.

Charles wrote:

But Haverland equated them akin to something like apocryphra (in so far as they have a historical significance but evidently not doctrinal) when he says they have "no normative authority in this church".

That does not mean that they fail to possess doctrinal significance, including authority. In fact, it is the same position that Anglicans had before 1977. It means that assent to the 39 Articles, as such, is not required for one to be a member of the Church. Considering that it takes real work of genuine scholarship to safeguard the Articles from those who will see them always as unmitigated Hyper-Calvinism, or unmitigated Lutheranism, or who will use them selectively and perversely like Mizz Jefforts-Schori, it would be foolhardy to require assent to the Articles from all members. For this reason their place in Anglican Canon Law is limited, applying to the oaths clergy take in the Church of England.

Furthermore, as I have said above, the Articles refuse to be the standard, for making them the standard contradicts Article VI. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

Anglicans have always believed that without Right Reason we have no hope of being truly orthodox, and have never presumed to make or receive pontifical utterances on the basis of Anglicanism itself, as the authority. This is the very opposite attitude from that of a magisterium, be it the Magisterium in Rome or the Magisterium of the Southern Baptist Convention. Right Reason is a property of the Church with her authority, both in regard to polity and maintaining the Traditional doctrine drawn out of the Holy Scripture.

What we can do, and ought to do, is teach the meaning of the Articles with at least the accuracy of Bicknell, and the clarity I try to put forth here. Then, we should require the clergy to teach nothing contrary, based on our conviction that the Articles are in accord with Scripture; and even then, in the true spirit of the Articles, subject everything to Scripture as received and understood Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.

(cont.)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

After the Continuing Church was established, however, leadership was invested in men who determined to make it exclusively Anglo-Catholic. That cannot be denied. Some of the men who were running the show seemed to forget quickly the spirit of the Affirmation of St. Louis, that it is a conservative document, and that innovation cannot be based on or justified by its contents. Anglo-Catholics had no more right to rewrite Anglicanism than did the wild and crazy liberals of the Episcopal Church.

What I have witnessed in the ACC is restoration of the Anglican ethos, something I have not experienced anywhere else since before the great Divide of the 1970s. Yes, it can be very high, but it has room for the Prayer Book Catholics. And, unlike the old Episcopal Church, the difference between High and Low seems not to affect theology and doctrine, nor to create any strife. This is why I have said Screwtape's boast is undone.

Canon Tallis said...

I have been going back over and re-reading some of the posts in this thread and one of T's set me to thinking. I thought it was an excellent post and having read and re-read it, the following are basically what I have come up with in response.

To many Anglicans, "Anglican thinking" is what led to the ordination of women and the other innovations. In fact that argument would take it's source as far as the Reformation itself, which is called the mother of all innovation by some.

I think that it was precisely not 'Anglican thinking' that led to the ordination of women and the other heresies currently raging. Instead I believe that it was the sort of thinking which started in the Western Church after its contacts with Islam. On the other hand, it was precisely Anglican thinking which kept the English Church and its daughters from following the path of Zwingli and Calvin.

Maybe Continuers need to begin codifying their sources with a little more precision.

The true sources of Anglican thinking begin with Holy Scripture as interpreted by “the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers.” Anyone who has deeply imbibed in the fathers of the first two centuries will more closely understand the intellectual sources of the English prayer book tradition. The more so when you add to that The Verona Fragment.

My only concern for this has always been that "traditional" movements, regardless of denomination, always have to overcome the danger of freezing tradition and locking it into a small segment of their own denomination's history.

Of course, this is always a danger and Rome has still not escaped this trap. Witness The New Liturgical Movement and the lifting of the excommunication of the LeFrebrists. But in so doing she has still not reconciled herself to what Holy Scripture as a whole and the New Testament in particular demands. And this may bankrupt her yet. Those Anglicans who have frozen themselves into defining the liturgy and ideas of the post-Tridentine and baroque Roman Church as the epitome of Catholicism have placed themselves on the same iceberg. They have learned their theology as Bishop Gore was fond of saying from the penny pamphlets picked up at Westminster while ignoring the rest of the treasure of the treasure of the Church. And that, my friends, is like a dragon's horde which demands plenty of courage and a learned eye to bring away the best parts. The heart of the Elizabethan Settlement was to look there, I.e., to Holy Scripture as interpreted by those closest to the apostles and who knew the language best for the Church's magisterium, rather than to the invention of a Christian caliphate set up after the Islamic model.

charles said...

"What I have witnessed in the ACC is restoration of the Anglican ethos, something I have not experienced anywhere else since before the great Divide of the 1970s."

Amen, Fr. Hart.

T said...

Thanks Canon Tallis for your comments.

You said The heart of the Elizabethan Settlement was to look there, I.e., to Holy Scripture as interpreted by those closest to the apostles and who knew the language best for the Church's magisterium, rather than to the invention of a Christian caliphate set up after the Islamic model."

Well put- my thoughts exactly.

T

T said...

Fr Hart said:

"What I have witnessed in the ACC is restoration of the Anglican ethos, something I have not experienced anywhere else since before the great Divide of the 1970s."

I'm glad of that. The Continuing Anglican world is looking for that, I think.

Too bad the denomination's name (Anglican Catholic Church) is so confusing in countries where similar denominations (Anglican, Catholic, Anglican Catholic {non-OP]) already exist. It might be OK in the US of A but it really is an obstacle in other countries.

I think the populace "getting used" to the title "Anglican Catholic" (like "Lutheran Catholic" or "Orthodox Anglican" etc etc ad infinitum) is going to take a long, long time, if it ever happens at all. Until then, it seems like a hinderance to mission, regardless of the apt nature of the name. Oh well....here's praying for the best.

T

Canon Tallis said...

T.,

I think that you are 'spot on' in the matter of the name. In Genesis God entrusted man with the names things and when we do a good job of it, things thrive and when we don't do so well . . . . we create problems for ourselves and others.

I believe the 'true' name of the Roman Communion is "the Holy Roman Church." The popular names is an attempt to appropriate one of the marks of the Church which in my not too humble, the Roman Church lacks and that from a matter of deliberate choice.

The ACC's choice of name is, as you say, unfortunate. but what is to be done or can be done about it now. The Continuum began with really bad choices of names. It was if no one had any real sense of Church history and especially Anglican Church history. Consequently the names came out sounding like Protestant choices made in imitation of Roman usage. But the Church in the Confederation managed to start us off on the wrong step. At least the non-jurors in England chose to name their diocese after cities in which there was no establishment bishop what the Scots could retain the ancient names as the Presbyterians had neither dioceses or bishops. But dioceses in ancient church were always named for the city in which the bishop had his chair: Jerusalem, Alexandria, Lyons, Canterbury, York, but not like Holy Trinity or Christ the King.

It is a shame that someone didn't take the time to think the whole thing through especially when it is, exactly as you say, an impediment to growth.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Why would you gentlemen see the name as an impediment to growth? Are you saying people, not understanding, associate the ACC with Rome? That may be true; but, Anglicans, to the extent that some are still a mission field, should have some knowledge of the Creeds.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

It is all a matter of branding, a matter of how your 'brand' is known or perceived. Let me illustrate with this fragment of a response lifted from "Stand Firm."

""A few years ago, when RC child abuse scandals were prominent in the minds of many people, I got on a hotel elevator one time (dressed in clericals) with a mother and her young son, who, judging from their swimsuits, had just come from the hotel pool. The mother looked at my collar, pulled her son toward her and held him close by her side.

Trying to make light of the situation and to ease the mother’s concern, I smiled, chuckled, and said, “It’s alright, I’m an Episcopal priest.” Without missing a beat, the mother replied, “Oh, isn’t your church the one that does gay weddings?” And she didn’t relax her grip on her son at all."

The names was clearly chosen in imitation of the popular name of the Roman Church, just as the Anglo-papalists among us have picked up so much other junk from Rome on the assumption that it was "Catholic," or at least more Catholic than the Anglican equivalent which in most cases represents a far older tradition than the baroque or later innovations of Rome like the biretta whose origins in time are too late to be covered by the Ornaments Rubric.

Consequently what the names tells people outside of Anglicanism is that we consider ourselves an inferior or cheaper version of the Roman Church. The bargain variety, if you will. That was implicit in all the old jokes about "Smoky Mary's" in New York. Most of the members of the congregation loved them but never understood what they implied about the church and its people.

Actually I am surprised that you missed this, especially as I believe that you well as I and others regard what we have as the Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz brand of Catholicism. To get the most out of it, it does help but be better educated but it can be appreciated by anyone who simply reads - and sings. I honestly believe that almost everyone would be better off and more authentically Christian if they were Anglican. Their SAT scores would certainly be much improved.

Many years ago the Roman Catholic St Ann's Renaissance Choir would come up to the Church of the Advent in San Francisco and sing the services. The music which they used was the English Gregorian Chant books which Dr. Palmer had devised for the Community of St Mary the Virgin at Wantage. When asked why they seemed to enjoy it so, singing for an Anglican parish that is, one of them said: "it is because you all know when to bow and how deeply and when to cross yourself while ours resent the chant entirely."

"bardid" like Shakespeare

Fr. John said...

Wow! Sounds like we need a complete makeover. New "brand", new look, reeducate the priests and bishops. When the process is over you won't recognize what used to be the Anglican Catholic Church, especially since it will have a different name. I'd love to see some of the suggestions on that new name. If only we had this type of help at the beginning of the organization of the Church, think where we'd be now!

Oh, wait, we did have, but they got mad and left when no one took their advice.

Whether a church has two, six, or eight candles on the altar is irrelevant. You want only two on yours? Great, I have no problem with that, but if you're going to get upset because I have six candles on the retable, well....you're going to be upset.

I personally was attracted to the Anglican Catholic Church because of the name.

Canon Tallis said...

Father John,

I have been going over the list of defections from the ACC, and while I may be entirely wrong, it seems to me that most of them were of folk that wanted to be much more Anglo-papist and who were offended by anything that smacked of pre-Tridentine Catholicism. It seems that some folks just don't at all like things the way they were before the Reformation - or at least the way they were in England before the introduction of the first Book of Common Prayer. Yet that is precisely the point of both the Ornaments Rubric and the previous rubric which orders that "The chancels shall remain as they have done in times past." In short, no innovations please.

On the other hand, Father John, I don't think that the ACC needs a complete makeover. But it would help to get rid of most of the papist junque that is a dead giveaway of a lack of a real confidence in our own Catholicity, our own tradition. I will admit that in many ways we do 'Rome' better than the Romans themselves - another of those old jokes from 'Smoky Mary's,' but that again is nothing except evidence of our own collective inferiority complex.

I don't know if any of you have been in a Ninian Comper church. Most of them have now have altars that have been junqued up with tabernacles and those really precious 'six candles' but if you get a chance to see pictures of them as they were before such artistic violations, what you notice is the majesty of the altar itself. He designed them so that they would look like those in the really old illustrations before the overblown sensuality of the baroque.

In like manner, old high churchmen refered to themselves as 'churchmen.' If you accept that The Church is properly described by its marks, i.e., one, holy, catholic and apostolic, then one who wants to identify with the totality of that description rather than any one adjective makes it seem just right. When I was baptized I, as you, became a member of The Church and as such I want it to be as close to being and doing things as closely as one might to those who were baptized by the apostles and stood around the table while they celebrated the Eucharist. I don't think that is what the folks over on the New Liturgical Movement are longing for. If it is, they are looking for it in the wrong place.

So, no, the Continuum and especially the ACC does not need a major makeover. It just needs to find a way to be more of what it was intended to really be, to clear away the little affectations which are so off putting to outsiders. And why should we do that? Because for all of our individual faults, we are still the very closest thing that exists of the undivided Church of the first five centuries. When you are simply mere Anglican, you are everything else that our Lord meant you to be.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I would agree with the good Canon that the question of names is a matter of branding. But one of the marks of having a good “brand” is that people will be more apt to remember it as being something unique. It is not only an identifier for your “product or service”, but also something that differentiates you from everyone else who offers a similar “product or service”.
The problem with the word “Anglican” (used in a “stand-alone” mode, if you will) is that, these days at least, it tends to be lumped in with the whole mish-mash of groups who lay claim to it. As a result, that “brand” gets dismissed by people as one that represents a group who is just angry about gays/WO/abortion, what have you. That’s if these “outsiders” can even pronounce the word correctly in the first place.
In my more than thirty years in the ACC, I have lost count of the number of times I have heard “an-gel-i-can”, or even worse, “angel-kin”. The more honest of these inquirers will not only admit that the word “Catholic” is what attracted them, but also that if they had seen only the word “angel-kin”, they would have passed us off as being merely another one of those “church of what’s happening now” groups.
I believe that the name “Anglican Catholic Church” is a “brand” that resonates with people. It also clearly communicates who we are and what we believe; we practice the Catholic Faith in the Anglican tradition. In all my years in this Church, I have never been confused about that, nor have I in any way felt “inferior” to Rome (more honestly, I have at times felt that we are superior to Rome, a sin of pride that I have to confess). Nor, in my experience have I heard that our name reflects any such confusion or sense of inferiority to people outside our Church.
DJ+