Monday, May 03, 2010

This week

This week I will be in Florida for the Synod of the Diocese of the South ACC-OP. But, here are a few thoughts to chew on.

Recently, in response to our report that the ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) is still "ordaining" women, I received an email from someone, and we received comments from someone else, critical of the position taken last year by Archbishop Haverland, in response to the invitation to attend the opening event of the ACNA. It seems as if each time the ACC position is restated, the restatement is a surprise, and that some individuals react quite negatively. I think it has yet to become clear that the issue of women's "ordination" is based on an unchanging doctrine that is clear from Divine revelation. The Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church simply have no place either for the practice, or for communion with those who practice it. Stands that are taken about this issue are matters of principle, and they do not change. If you accept the fact that our position will be the same tomorrow as it was yesterday, and will remain the same until the Lord comes again, you will not get upset so easily. I am sure that Bp. Robinson, of the UECNA (United Episcopal Church North America), is as firm about this as the ACC bishops, and his fellow bloggers on The Continuum.

It was relevant, also, that the Plano, Texas parish where the newest ACNA priestess will be "ordained" is the same one that produced the paper that Rev. Canon John Hollister so aptly criticized in his apologetics last year. We did not run that critique in order to attack that one parish, but in order to teach our regular readers, as well as to make apologetics on the question available far and wide. For the first time in more than thirty years, the defenders of Women's "Ordination" (W "O") had come up with a slightly different spin, something just different enough to require a response. The argument was not really new, but the spin was just new enough to fool people, as, apparently, it fooled the writers themselves. The Plano parish in question was part of the AMiA (Anglican Mission in America) when the paper was produced last year. Now, they are part of the ACNA. This indicates that supporters of W"O" will make decisions on the basis of this one issue, and more specifically to the non-Order of priestess, even though they regard us as "separatists" for seeing W "O" as a communion breaker (folks at Stand Firm, please note that the word is priestess, spelled p-r-i-e-s-t-e-s-s. Yes it is not nice and has pagan implications-which happens to be the point we mean to make).

Also, for you Anglicanorum Coetibus watchers, Rome has been saying less and less, appearing to back away from the spotlight when it comes to this new constitution of theirs. Certain possible reasons include:

1. Rome doesn't dig the crazy spin Hepworth & co. have been giving their constitution (remember, their work was a list of rules and procedures for converting, while TAC spin was a fairytale about the fulfillment of all Anglo-Papalist dreams).

2. Rome found out that the magic number of 400,000 was arrived at by multiplication- not multiplication of members by evangelism, nor even of children by energetic TAC couples, just multiplication, as in math.

3. Rome has no special deals or offers, and resents the implication that their deal is not good enough (you know, that perfect heaven on earth deal that is everything anyone can hope for, but that needs to be amended drastically before it is good enough).

For your edification below, see Fr. Nalls' latest contribution.

23 comments:

AFS1970 said...

Not being a member of the ACC, I find Abp. Haverland's response to the ACNA clear, to the point and refreshing. Not in the sense that it is something new, but in the sense that he is wiling to take this stand and stick to his guns. I wish more Anglican leaders would do this, instead of hiding behind words like ecumenism.

David Gould said...

Somehow the ACNA's pro-priestesses lobby think that the ACC and UECNA and APCK will one day change their minds. Perhaps they think the Roman Church and the Eastern Orthodox will also.

Priestesses is a non-negotiable for all of time. Unauthorised by Scripture. Unauthorised by the traditions of the Church and clearly not directed by the Holy Spirit.

Does the Spirit of God desire the disintegration of Anglicanism into Protestant sectarianism? Does the Holy Spirit desire that somehow we just change our minds and accept priestesses and every other concession to the secular and atheistic world?

The beneficiary of all this unrest and destruction is the Evil One. Factually Anglicanism has been reduced to the Continuing Churches, with vestiges of orthodox believers including some priests and bishops remaining in the Canterbury aligned Churches which are largely grace-less ecclesial bodies with some of the trappings of Anglicanism but no life, no truth and no understanding of what they have thrown away.

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

Observing or speaking, as OCA Bp. Jonah did in Bedford, is not the same as "communion". If it is, then ACA is in communion with ACNA#2. Also, ACNA is made up of several jurisdictions. Not every parish is an AMiA one. From what you say, it sounds as if there's no difference from REC to AMiA-- they all accept WO. Do you think REC (men like Fr. Hassert) deserves this accusation? My criticism was the ACC missed an opportunity to tip the scales against AMiA and liberals (as can be seen in Spaulding's stats), and if the former was unacceptable, then why not send a delegate to FACA? There are more positions that might be taken than "communion" vs. nothing.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Of what value is "tipping the scales"? When the Affirmation of St. Louis was written, the Episcopalians and the few who "ordained" women were in the minority. The Church of England did not yet "ordain" women (and by the way, the ABC, Donald Coggin, did believe that Rome and Orthodoxy would all one day "ordain" women). Even now, the scales are fully tipped in the ACNA against women's "ordination"-at least to the priestesshood-but, still it goes on and thus renders the orders of their sect invalid.

There are more positions that might be taken than "communion" vs. nothing.

Yes, there is providing a witness and sending the right message. You assume that our position has ended all communication. I make the opposite assumption, and I believe it strengthens the position from which we communicate. And, again, the difference between an Orthodox bishop as a guest, and an Anglican bishop appearing to participate, is significant.

Contaminating our own Orders, however, requires that we do not enter into communion.

David Gould said...

Charles can you enlighten us as to why the conservatives in the neo-Anglican ACNA did not go to the ACC, UECNA or APCK? Thirty years of Anglican orthodoxy in the United States and elsewhere, with the sacraments and order of Anglicanism preserved, alive and well.

How could any orthodox Anglican Christian - bishop, priest or layman prefer the cafeteria Christianity of the ACNA with priestesses in some diocese and not in others, women deacons in some places and not others - and no-one agreeing on a position?

To me all I see is false pride - the setting up of inappropriate bishoprics and institutions, when
all they had to do was turn to the Continuing Churches who had - and have the apostolic order, doctrinal certainty and evangelical life in Christ that I assume they wanted.

Anonymous said...

In his anxiety for the ACC to "talk" with ACNA,Charles overlooks the profound and well-nigh unbridgeable difference between those who believe that WO is the wrong thing to do, and those who belive WO is impossible to do.

I believe it is impossible to be saved through faith in Buddha, therefore ecumenical conversations with Buddhists would be a waste of time. I believe that WO is impossible. Therefore I see no need to discuss it.

As Charles points out, "ACNA is made up of several jurisdictions." It is hard to have worthwhile dialogue when you do not know who your conservation partner is.

Charles, what is wrong with that picture?

As far as Abp Jonah's participation, would Chares commend the Abp's advice that ACNA shoud purge itself of "Calvinism?" ("Calvinism" for a bunch of Finneyite Willow Creekers would surely be a step toward Catholicism.)
LKW

Anonymous said...

In reviewing my last comment, the bad spelling is all the fault of a revisionist keyboard. My old fingers are too fat for this laptop!
LKW

charles said...

I'm actually confused. Are people here saying the orders of REC and FiF churches within ACNA#2 are null and void because of their affiliation with AMiA churches? I don't quite know what you are getting at.

I am only trying to make two points:

1. When discussing ACNA, please distinguish between AMiA vs. FiF and REC churches. The latter are anti-WO, and are hoping to remove the practice from the AMiA churches. The big story is what REC/Fif are attempting and the new openings it might create, not the fact AMiA are liberals. Just because an AMiA church or diocese is ordering women priestesses, doesn't mean this is necessarily the future of ACNA. It would be less so if more continuers had weighed in against WO.
It's just a missed opportunity in my opinion. Anyway, ACNA is not a homogeneous body, and I wish we were more accurate about this as well as open to the possibility of an anti-WO victory.

2. There are other ways to work against WO than a policy of non-engagement vs. communion. Bishop Jonah demonstrates this, and his influence is much larger by his tentative involvement. One possibility is an ACC delegate sent to FACA. Why ACC, after receiving numerous invitations, doesn't wish to sit down with APA, ACA, or REC (as a FACA observer) yet attended Fund du Lac with ACA present is a mystery.

We can only guess why departing TEC dioceses were not interested in joining ACC. Most likely it was the small size of ACC and past fighting of bishops. However, since the TEC depatures, ACC appears to be working on a major overhaul of reputation, and that's good.

While I may be proven wrong about REC/Fif chance to "re-school" AMiA churches, in the end I really believe we will admit Bedford was a juncture. Anglicanism is at an unprecedented crossroads, and I believe we are really looking at one or two futures-- either hundreds of Anglican micro-denominations or the glimmers of a real conservative center in NA that more traditional Anglicans will rally around, besting TEC and even Canterbury. The problem with 1977 was no bishops left TEC. Now, you really have a unique situation with different obstacles yet totally new opportunities, and people seem unwilling to admit this. I wish we were more optimistic when it comes to ACNA. My private hopes are with the survival and renewal of Anglicanism were possible, not necessarily any particular denomination, "right or wrong". Presently, REC and Fif churches seem best positioned to define and shape this 'reformation', and I don't see a good excuse for any kind of policy of absolute non-engagement, especially with respect to the intent of section V (St. Louis).

Anyway, I suppose ACNA will be a subject of future discussion, but if so please distinguish between REC/Fif and liberal parties within. The ACNA story is only half covered otherwise. I think, given the overall situation, this is both essential and fair.

charles said...

Hi LKW,

"As far as Abp Jonah's participation, would Chares commend the Abp's advice that ACNA shoud purge itself of "Calvinism?" "

It surely demonstrates AB Jonah can engage in 'talks'-- keeping a hard, uncompromising, even rigid line-- without legitimizing ACNA.

Canon Tallis said...

I am very sorry that Charles does not understand that dealing with the pro-WO folk is ultimately non-productive. What gives it all away is that while they have made the 1662 Book of Common Prayer their theological and (to some extent) liturgical standard, they fail to see that it is as absolutely set against WO as Archbishop Haverland, etc. The real point on which they bailed on the TEC and Episcopaganism was their open acceptance of sexually active homosexual clergy, male and female. They did not immediately dump a clearly heretical liturgy and move to a universal return to one of undoubted orthodoxy. None, nothing nada!

Instead you have big public events in which so many female pseudo-clergy were deployed that even some of the pro-WO folk were unset. It meant that it would make more difficult to sucker more of the anti-WO folk into their new thing. But some of us have been around long enough to no longer take the bait.

Canon Tallis said...

Incidentally, a very, very long time ago I attended a meeting between a now quite prominent Roman churchman and the then GTS professor of liturgics. The Roman was urging us to embrace WO, telling us that if Anglicans did so, the Roman Church would quickly follow our example. I didn't believe him then and I don't think it will happen now even though that Church is having increasing difficulty in finding priests to service its parishes.

On the other hand, I hear that there are not prelates in the Orthodox Church who are pushing WO, some of them quite prominent. I don't think they will do it either.

John A. Hollister said...

Charles wrote: "Why ACC, after receiving numerous invitations, doesn't wish to sit down with APA, ACA, or REC (as a FACA observer) yet attended Fond du Lac with ACA present is a mystery."

There is no mystery whatever. The Bishop Grafton pilgrimage at Fond du Lac was hosted by the APCK, with which the ACC was then (and is now) in communion. Thus it was completely appropriate and unexceptionable for the ACC to accept the APCK's invitation to send representatives to attend that pilgrimage.

At the time the ACC accepted the APCK's invitation, there had been no mention of the ACA's having any involvement. However, a few weeks prior to the actual event, the ACC's leaders heard that ACA representatives would also be present. Exactly how that came about has never been explained officially, although some senior APCK personnel have said that the ACA essentially invited itself.

At that point, the two ACC representatives -- one Bishop Ordinary and one Bishop-elect -- notified the APCK via two separate channels that, while they would ordinarily receive communion at an APCK celebration without any problem, if ACA representatives were communicated at the Grafton pilgrimage, they (the ACC men) would not be taking communion on that occasion.

The reason for this was the concern -- which was based upon more than 25 years' history with the ACA, including the ACA's initial and wholly untrue claims in 1991 that the ACC had "merged" with the AEC -- and which ultimately proved more than justified, as Charles' remark shows -- that if they did so, then ACA partisans would claim incorrectly that demonstrated that the ACC and the ACA were then in a de facto state of intercommunion.

Had the respective sets of representatives not been present in an official character on a public occasion, this would not have been a matter of so much concern.

It was made clear to the APCK officials contacted that no ACC member was seeking to restrict, in any way, the APCK's freedom to run its own affairs as it saw fit nor would any such non-reception on that occasion be for any reason related to the relationship between the ACC and the APCK itself.

This reservation was relayed, in advance of the commencement of the Grafton celebrations, both to a personal staff member of Abp. Morse's and to the APCK Archdeacon who was organizing the actual events in Wisconsin. I have subsequently been told that those within the APCK did not fully inform their own members of these prior advices, but that is something of which I have no personal knowledge.

So that is what happened: the ACC observers came, observed, and participated to the extent they conscientiously could. They did not receive communion, solely because official ACA representatives did and it was not desired to give a specious appearance of intercommunion with them.

I see nothing in that chain of events that has the remotest relevance to the ACNA or to any of the ACNA's constituent bodies such as the AMiA, FiF, or the REC.

John A. Hollister+
"stonf"
"gatired"

John A. Hollister said...

Charles wrote: "Abp. Jonah can engage in 'talks' -- keeping a hard, uncompromising, even rigid line -- without legitimizing ACNA."

Surely he can see how Abp. Jonah's visit to ACNA was universally recognized as being from the head of a church body that is wholly outside the Anglican tradition. Thus not only does no one question why the OCA does not now have any formal relationship with ACNA but there is no possible danger of confusion in the public mind between the way the OCA uses terms such as "traditional", "Orthodox", and "Catholic", and the way ACNA uses them.

Nor is there the slightest doubt in anyone's mind where Abp. Jonah and his Communion stand on the issue of women's "ordination".

So Charles should also be able to see why it is precisely each and every one of those factors that behooves someone such as Abp. Haverland to avoid making an official appearance at a public ACNA function, an appearance that would be widely misunderstood just because the ACC is part of the Anglican tradition, because the ACC uses the terms "traditional", "Orthodox", and "Catholic" in ways that, while they may differ somewhat from the way the OCA uses them, certainly differ even more from the ways the ACNA uses them, and because his presence at a function larded with deaconettes and priestesses might be taken as a sign -- a wholly fallacious sign -- that the ACC does not see women's "ordination" as an issue going to the essence of the Church.

That is almost certainly why Abp. Haverland suggested, instead of any such meaningless and confusing official appearance, the possibility of real and substantive private contacts.

John A. Hollister+
raffemi

AFS1970 said...

Let us not forget also that Apb. Jonah's involvement in Bedford was no more or less than Pastor Rick Warren's involvement. One could just as easily say that the ACNA is close to following or even emulating either speaker. So saying that Abp. Jonah speaking was a clear sign that WO is on it's way out of ACNA is at best wishful thinking.

I think the reason that those leaving TEC after 2003 did not go en masse to the continuum is two fold. First they still think of the continuum as a schismatic order and even when starting the ACNA, could not bring themselves to see the continuum as even equally as valid as ACNA let alone see it as more valid. Secondly, those who recently left TEC would not have been comfortable in a St. Louis based church, as they stayed past the innovations of the 1979 service book and WO, and it was realy only HO that drove them out. IF they came to a continuing church it would quickly be revealed how lacking their "orthodoxy" is.

It is not for me to decide who's orders are valid or invalid, but I would think that if one does not recognize the CoE after 1992 then how could one recognize those of any other church that accepts WO, even as a temporary thing? That is a matter best left to the theologians in the room, of which I am not one.

Anonymous said...

It has been asked on a number of occasions why conservatives (especially those opposed to WO) in the ACNA have not joined with older continuing Anglican jurisdictions. Of course, there are a variety of personal reasons, but as a long time participant-observer in the movement, I suggest the following key factors:

1. Dillusionment with the historic in-fighting, especially among bishops, since 1977.

2. Theological disgreement with the Anglo-Catholic positions dominant in many jurisdictions.

3. A desire to use more recent translations of Scripture and liturgies.

Ken said...

I'm actually confused. Are people here saying the orders of REC and FiF churches within ACNA#2 are null and void because of their affiliation with AMiA churches? I don't quite know what you are getting at.

I'm sure some people think the REC orders are void for other reasons. A more important question is why the REC and FiF think they need to be part of a group in which some members engage in sacrilege (which WO certainly is).

I am only trying to make two points:

1. When discussing ACNA, please distinguish between AMiA vs. FiF and REC churches. The latter are anti-WO, and are hoping to remove the practice from the AMiA churches. The big story is what REC/Fif are attempting and the new openings it might create, not the fact AMiA are liberals. Just because an AMiA church or diocese is ordering women priestesses, doesn't mean this is necessarily the future of ACNA. It would be less so if more continuers had weighed in against WO.
It's just a missed opportunity in my opinion. Anyway, ACNA is not a homogeneous body, and I wish we were more accurate about this as well as open to the possibility of an anti-WO victory.


The ACNA (Anglican Church in North America) is one church, is it not? If not then its a bit misleading to refer to it as a Church. The question is does the ACNA allow WO, apparently it does.

2. There are other ways to work against WO than a policy of non-engagement vs. communion. Bishop Jonah demonstrates this, and his influence is much larger by his tentative involvement. One possibility is an ACC delegate sent to FACA. Why ACC, after receiving numerous invitations, doesn't wish to sit down with APA, ACA, or REC (as a FACA observer) yet attended Fund du Lac with ACA present is a mystery.

AFAIK, Bishop Jonah went to one meeting and gave a speech. Would it make you feel better if Bishop Haverland went? I suspect even if he did go, the ACNA would be in the same boat it is in now.

And look at FACA. Two members were in a unity agreement (APA and REC) which is now on hold/dissolved and another is headed to Rome.

We can only guess why departing TEC dioceses were not interested in joining ACC. Most likely it was the small size of ACC and past fighting of bishops. However, since the TEC depatures, ACC appears to be working on a major overhaul of reputation, and that's good.

Yet this small group with in-fighting bishops is supposed to tip the scales against W0 in ANCA?

While I may be proven wrong about REC/Fif chance to "re-school" AMiA churches, in the end I really believe we will admit Bedford was a juncture. Anglicanism is at an unprecedented crossroads, and I believe we are really looking at one or two futures-- either hundreds of Anglican micro-denominations or the glimmers of a real conservative center in NA that more traditional Anglicans will rally around, besting TEC and even Canterbury. The problem with 1977 was no bishops left TEC. Now, you really have a unique situation with different obstacles yet totally new opportunities, and people seem unwilling to admit this. I wish we were more optimistic when it comes to ACNA. My private hopes are with the survival and renewal of Anglicanism were possible, not necessarily any particular denomination, "right or wrong".

Maybe one day there will be a consolidated traditional Anglican presence in the U.S. I think most people do want to get along. But they realized the important doctrinal difference must be discussed and resolved before actual communion.


Presently, REC and Fif churches seem best positioned to define and shape this 'reformation', and I don't see a good excuse for any kind of policy of absolute non-engagement, especially with respect to the intent of section V (St. Louis).

Because, as stated at the beginning, either ACNA is one church or not.

David Gould said...

Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA knows that the ordination of women is a nonsense. As Fr. Hart says, he is not an Anglican, and no one thinks that he is now an advocate of WO because he attended as a guest speaker.

It would be impossible for Archbishop Haverland to attend and not have some think or hope that this was a sign of compromise or hope by the ACC.

This is no different than the ACA/TAC bishops whose ranks include Forward in Faith bishops who remain in communion with the Canterbury Communion. Even the ACA is tainted by this, because one cannot share the altar with those who openly embrace heresy.

charles said...

Thank you Canon Hollister for the truth on the Fund du lac pilgrimage. I guess you're right, even the ACC's mere presence can confuse. Fund du lac made me wonder, "if there, why not FACA"?

Meanwhile, I agree about WO. I just feel there might be other ways to challenge, even reverse it, than absolute non-engagement. I wish REC and FiF the best simply because I hope to see a genuine Anglican center emerge in NA to rout TEC. An observer must admit the departure of both laity and bishops is a significant difference between 1976 and 2008.

However, the latter exodus has tremendous baggage. Maybe it's better to lower one's expectations-- ACNA#2 is DOA. What then is the realistic future in terms of Anglican resurgence? I really don't see much chance aside from smatterings of orthodoxy on a very local, parish level.

I must admit, ACNA#2 pulled me toward Settlement Anglicanism. If it wasn't for Bedford, I would be in WRO (or at least chrismated). So, the ACNA had a centripetal effect upon me w/ respect to the patrimony. I put some hope in it.

Fr Richard Sutter SSM said...

LKW, don't fall over in surprise, but I agree with you. Maybe a good motto for the ACC when talking to the ACNA umbrella could be a paraphrase of that Paul Simon album title:
"ACC - Still Right after All These Years"

AFS1970 said...

I do not see how anyone could consider ACNA#2 DOA. While I do not agree with some of their stances, they have achieved more in terms of recognition than the Continuum has yet.

I find it odd that anyone would consider the lack of any PECUSA Bishops joining the continuum as a bad thing. It was decisions by many of those Bishops that lead to the need for a continuing church in the first place. As a matter of fact, would we now be debating the status of WO in the ACNA, if they had not brought over pro-WO Bishops from TEC?

Despite all the claims about how valid or invalid the continuing Bishops were or even still are, they are for the most part far better off than much of what we read about in TEC or in other parts of the AC. To say that Abp. Morse is somehow less of an Archbishop than Abp. Duncan because he was never a Bishop along side of men like Bennison or Robinson, is just plain bizarre.

To say that infighting or theological differences are reasons not to join the continuum but is not a reason not to join ACNA is self-contradictory. This discussion has ben brought about largely because not all of the Bishops in ACNA are of one mind on scriptural issues. The ACNA is just better at hiding their infighting behind a mask of unity than the continuing churches are.

John A. Hollister said...

Charles wrote, " I agree about WO. I just feel there might be other ways to challenge, even reverse it, than absolute non-engagement."

I agree. One of the obvious ways would be to try to arrange cooperative work at the local level, such as joint training programs for lay readers and other lay operatives in the parishes, joint community outreach programs, and anything else creativity can suggest.

As just one example, there is an ongoing project to develope homilies or sermons based on the American 1928/1943 MP Lectionary, that can be used by lay readers who are serving missions, etc. These can be used by anyone who uses the 1928 BCP and we would welcome contributions from any source, regardless of the contributor's home church membership. (By the way, there is a link to this sermon project at the top of this Blogspot's home page.)

The number of such things that can be done to generate productive contacts and communications is limited only by the extent of the imaginations of those who are interested in developing them. It is precisely by working together in non-contentious areas that we will be able to develope the sorts of relationships that will enable us ultimately to engage on the contentious ones as well.

John A. Hollister+
"besilea"

charles said...

Dear Fr. Hollister,

"One of the obvious ways would be to try to arrange cooperative work at the local level, such as joint training programs for lay readers and other lay operatives in the parishes, joint community outreach programs, and anything else creativity can suggest'

This makes a lot of sense. I know a number of lay people as well as clergy in REC and Fif, and they are seem doctrinally orthodox. I am relieved there is indeed a 'third way', and I am far more optimistic about cooperation with other conservative Anglicans than those outside the same theological patrimony. Yes, I guess the local is always the starting point of everything...Thanks much!

sincerely,
charles

John A. Hollister said...

Charles referred to "a third way" for inter-church contacts and cooperation, i.e., one operating on the local or parish level.

In the examples I gave, I overlooked what should have been one of the most obvious ones. Far too few of our parishes, in any church jurisdiction, celebrate Evening Prayer, especially "Solemn High Sung Evening Prayer", so many of our people are in danger of forgetting the beauties of this service, which is at least the equal of, and frequently surpasses, anything available anywhere else.

If there are several congregations within reaching distance of each other, perhaps they could cooperate on supporting this, rotating the venue among themselves on Sunday evenings, even expanding eventually to Wednesdays. As a choir office, this would also neatly sidestep any issuses of sacramentality, "validity", etc., etc. and just get folks praying together.

This, surely, is one part of that "Anglican Patrimony" referred to in "Anglicanorum Coetibus" that no one has yet succeeded in defining definitively.

John A. Hollister+