Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nailing it to the door

A few more theses.

1. The new Roman Catholic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus is not "generous," as some have alleged.

2. True recognition of Anglican patrimony, as valuable, would be an enormous advance in ecumenism, which the current statement is not. Rather, it defines terms of conversion like terms of surrender, which terms are neither generous nor acceptable.

3. Anglicans have never used the expression "Mother Church" for the Roman Catholic Communion, and have no reason to begin doing so.

4. The name, "the Catholic Church" is, in Anglican usage, derived from the Apostles Creed and the Creed called Nicene. As such, for Anglicans, it is not, and never has been, the exclusive property or name of any one branch of the Universal Church. We have always used this name of the Church, applying it to ourselves no less than to anyone else.

5. Anglicans reserve the use of the expression "the Holy Father" as a Name, derived most obviously from the Name revealed by the Risen Christ (Matt. 28:19). It is wrong to use the same expression as a mere title for any bishop or patriarch, and presumptuous of anyone to accept as a title. As one of our hymns puts it:

Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit: three we Name Thee,
Though in essence only one,
Undivided God we claim thee,
And adoring bend the knee,
While we own the mystery.

6. Justification remains the great gulf between us and the Church of Rome (which, very importantly, has Christological implications).

7. Sainthood is the calling of every Christian.

8. The ministry of God's word and the fulfillment of pastoral duties is just as essential to the office of πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros) as the priestly ministry at the altar, and certainly no less essential.

9. The "Fullness" of God's grace in the Church is directly related to Christ as Head of the Body, the Church, dependent on a right relation to Him and not to any one See or patriarch.

10. Though we should welcome outward and manifest unity by God's working, including unity in polity (be it God's will), we are in the Church of Jesus Christ fully and truly as Continuing Anglicans, needing no completion or enhancement in that fullness by association with Rome or any other See, no matter how ancient.

11. The See of Rome is not our "parent Church," either spiritually or historically.

12. Among the treasures and riches of our distinctive patrimony is the genuine doctrinal recovery of the fullness of truth that draws from the most ancient Catholic doctors and bishops.

Added in a comment by Fr. Wells (below):

13. It is utterly unBiblical and unPatristic and subversive to the Gospel to suggest that those dying with faith in Christ must suffer temporal punishments in an afterlife. While [the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church] CCC backs away from such falsehood, its doctrine of purgatory is still inimical to the Gospel on this point.

14. It is sheer jibberish to praise a hypothetical "Anglican patrimony" while denying the reality of Anglican orders. Such talk is fatuous and deceitful.

10 comments:

AnglicanContinuer said...

Amen, Father. Thank you again.

BW

Anonymous said...

That's just a start, Fr Hart. Permit me to add two more.

13. It is utterly unBiblical and unPatristic and subversive to the Gospel to suggest that those dying with faith in Christ must suffer temporal punishments in an afterlife. While CCC backs away from such falsehood, its doctrine of purgatory is still inimical to the Gospel on this point.

14. It is sheer jibberish to praise a hypothetical "Anglican patrimony" while denying the reality of Anglican orders.
Such talk is fatuous and deceitful.

(This lis could be expanded, I am sure.)

LKW

Brian Gold said...

All very important points--and especially about the Christological import of the Biblical doctrine of justification. Mary-hailing highchurchman that I am, I cannot and will not accept the Bad News of Roman synergism. (And this is not "private judgement," that bête noire of our brothers across the Tiber, but simple adherence to the teaching of Jesus and St. Paul.)

John A. Hollister said...

!

John A. Hollister+
"scora"

Brian said...

How about the notion that the absolution given during the mass is not a real absolution at all. As the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (51) puts it, after the general confession, "The rite concludes with the priest's absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance." This makes a liar of the priest giving the "absolution" and reduces this essential portion of the liturgy to mere memorialism.

Shaughn said...

Fr. Wells,

Hear, hear!

To call the intermediate state a place for temporal punishment is to miss the point, I think, in addition to being a gross error. (Whether one exists is, of course, a question for another time.) Folks there are heaven-bound and merely still on the path of sanctification, however long it may take for them.

Having said that, I suspect I'll never forget the image of Dante conversing with his friend, Belacqua, who has elected to stop and take a breather as he makes his way up Mt. Purgatorio.

aftercatharine said...

POPCORN ALL 'ROUND!!

Well done, gentle fathers. Here. Take some popcorn and have a beer with that. And a toast to all Anglicans who teach it thus!!

Anonymous said...

In Thesis 7, Fr Hart states very correctly that the doctrine of Justification has Christological implications. This probably needs to be unpacked for those who do not readily grasp the relationship between what Jesus did and is doing and who Jesus is.

There are basically two ways of thinking about this problem. We may think of the work of Christ as a cooperative endeavour between the Saviour and the sinner, more or less as equal members of a partnership. OTOH we may think of the work of Christ as His own mighty act on our behalf (a thing He has done once for all and still a work in progress).

If we go with the first conception, it makes no difference at all whether we have an Arian, Apollinarian,Nestorian, or Eutychian Christ. Anyone of these is amenable to an equal partnership. Of course, for the sake of "tradition" we might affirm Chalcedon, etc, but this is only a formality. It is all too possible to be officially orthodox and yet have Arianism as the working theology.

For the second model, think of Jesus standing at the tomb of Lazarus saying "Lazarus, come forth!" There we have the Biblical paradigm of the sinner, DEAD in his prespasses, utterly helpless apart from a miracle of sovereign grace. Dead men do not cooperate, and it is foolish of ask a corpse to make a decision. This scenario from John 11 requires a Saviour who is all that the ancient Councils said He is,

While the RCC still has Nicaea, etc, on the books as official theology, the ancient doctrine of Who Jesus Christ Truly IS is virtually denied at every turn. Our Prayer Book had to make a polemical affirmation in calling Him "our only Mediator and Advocate." We all know who is called "Mediatrix of All Graces," "our Advocate...our life, our sweetness and our hope."

Recently I heard a speaker EWTN make the statement (the Sacrament of Penance was his topic), "The penitent joins Christ in expiating sin." His context revealed that he did not know the distinction of propitiation and expiation. But his statement is equally incorrect either way. Christ and Christ alone, being God Incarnate, drives out sin by placating and assuaging the wrath which necesarily ensues when holiness is confronted by evil. That is the very heart of the Gospel, articulum stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae. I prefer stantis to cadentis.
LKW

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart, could you please expand on the Anglican-Catholic's understanding of justification? What is it that separates it from Rome's point of view that does not separate it from Eastern Orthodoxy's? What is your take on the "New Finnish" interpretation of Luther?

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-06-041-b


Caedmon

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Steve's article, by alluding to Knox at the end, simply skips over Anglicanism altogether:

"Monsignor Knox’s enthusiast is very often a man with catholic instincts whose Protestantism denies him the consolation of the sacraments and the formative authority of Mother Church."

As Anglicans our Catholic Protestantism, or Protestant Catholicism, does not deny us either at all in any way. The shoe doesn't fit, so we won't wear it.