Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The stability of thy times

"And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation." Isaiah 33:6

In January I wrote a little essay called The Yea Sayers, and it was well received by most of our readers. The essential thesis of it is summarized in these lines:

However, having but one life to give for my Lord, I believe that the best way to serve Him, to heal my own sinful soul, and to spread His Gospel in the world, is as an Anglican. I believe we have the best way, combining all that is true from the riches of our Evangelical and Catholic (forgive the redundancy) heritage...Preach the Gospel in the terms it has been given to you, terms of the Book of Common Prayer as it teaches the deepest and enduring truths of the Bible in powerful words that reach the human heart...Who told you that we cannot evangelize and grow? Who fooled you into thinking that we need to be to rescued from the outside?

In looking at the confusion that is taking place about and among the people the of the "Anglican Church of America" (ACA), and the apparent breakdown of relations between their House of Bishops (HOB) and the Primate of the "Traditional Anglican Communion" (TAC), the Most Rev. John Hepworth, we may find some cause for hope. While Archbishop Hepworth communicates to the American branch of his TAC through the mediation of a layman with a blog, Mr. Campbell and his blog of misnomer reputation, the official ACA website repudiates any notion that his blog speaks for their church and even repudiates its alleged statement of facts. In that picture, however, we may see that one bit of true light has dawned on their HOB: A theoretical, forced and awkward attempt to blend Anglicanism with Roman Catholicism is an unworkable abstraction, and the effort is harmful to parishes that must live and try to thrive in the real world.

I trust that all of us hope for real unity in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; but, real unity must be based on truth, meaning both revealed doctrinal truth, and honesty among ourselves as Christians. The honest approach tells us that differences of doctrine in areas that prevent us from embracing a unity of polity, cannot simply be skated over as if they did not exist. The attempt to force people into a false unity, which is not unity but surrender and submission to Roman Catholicism in its current modern form as it has evolved, produces very bad effects to the health of churches and to their efforts at evangelism. The people are not given a sense of identity within the Church; in fact, they are not given assurance about the validity of their sacraments, or even if they belong to the Church at all.

Hepworth, speaking through Campbell's blog, continues to call the Papal Communion of the Church of Rome and its subordinate ecclesial groupings, "the Church." Parishes with their members, living in the here and now, told that their leaders see "Rome" as the One True Church or Mother Church, exist in a no man's land, that place of death by legal execution outside the city, rather than as full members of the Body of Christ. Second class citizens are not as poor as "children of a lesser god," but neither are they taught the confidence we ought to have when we say "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," that we speak of ourselves no less than of anyone else who belongs to Christ. In this "no man's land" they are given an extra burden too heavy to bear, impeding any attempt to evangelize and grow.

By the Holy Spirit, if God so wills, the whole Church might someday attain to unity in its outward polity. I remain grateful to God for everyone who finds the grace of God in other churches, including the Roman Catholic Church with its valid sacraments. I remain grateful to God also for those who come to Jesus by the efforts of Evangelical preachers, who present quite often the essential truth of the Gospel. Certainly, we may love one another now, and pray with and for one another now. We may, and we should, honor each others martyrs who have died in the mission field, and in such honor to those martyrs express the deep unity that exists already in our hearts (which may, itself, suffice for now as the will of God for His Church).

But, to grow spiritually, and to grow in number, Continuing Anglicans need to know that they are in the Church now, truly and fully, and that they have sacraments already that are perfectly valid, and that they may proclaim the Gospel and bring people into their own communion in the Church without delay. Unless the priests believe and express faith in their own patrimony, they cannot provide any confidence to their members, or to potential members. Without that confidence reinforced by their bishops and other clergy, and in fact with it undermined by their Primate and his never-ending statements that seem designed to multiply the confusion, they are left in a state of anxiety at worst, unrest at best, and extra burdens of conscience and belief that no one should be made to carry.

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." I Cor. 14:33

45 comments:

David Gould said...

Fr. Hart has nailed this one! Brothers and sisters in the TAC please take heed - Anglicanism within orthodox continuing jurisdictions like the ACC/UECNA/APCK have no need to look to the Roman Catholic Church to define what it is to be a Catholic Christian.

We already have a valid priesthood, apostolic succession, masses being offered, the divine office said, the unchurched being baptised or received into the Holy Catholic faith and spiritual life in Jesus Christ.

So for those who want to remain truly Anglican and know that the sacraments you have received in faith are real and true, please stay, or join us and help make continuing Anglicanism an instrument for the re-evangelisation of the English speaking world that the Church of England at it's best was.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective, and on the lighter side of the "ecumenical dialogue":

"... surrender and submission to Roman Catholicism in its current modern form as it has evolved..."

The rich complex of perceptions toward Rome revealed in this one turn of the phrase, reminded me of an old pun, refitted for the current context:

"It is quiet and late in the evening as two Continuing Anglicans are leaving their Church after Evening Prayers. On the opposite side of the street they spot two Roman Catholics leaving their Church after the Stations of the Cross. One Continuing Anglican turns to the other, and says with great concern: "Let's get out of here quick, there are two of them, and we're alone!".

aftercatharine said...

One of the aggravating things to read is the word "catholic" as if it were shorthand for "Roman Catholic." As you've said, it is not. From _Church Teaching for Church Children_: The opposite of black is white. The opposite of Papist is Protestant. The opposite of catholic is heretic.

Another aggravating thing is the bizarre assertion that the two options are: a liberal and unworkable Anglicanism aligned with Canterbury, or Papal supremacy.

It's bizarre! I mean, if you're working for peace in your neighborhood, don't you start with your own neighbors? There's been a functioning Anglicanism right here in the U.S.of A since the late 70's, in an unbroken CONTINUUM with the Anglicanism that went before it.

(sigh ...)

Thanks for keeping up with it.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

One Continuing Anglican turns to the other, and says with great concern: "Let's get out of here quick, there are two of them, and we're alone!".

Mark VA:

Is there a punch line? Or maybe I don't understand Italian humor.

Fr. John said...

Poor Christian Campbell. He just had the rug pulled out from under him as the ACA bishops have posted a disclaimer regarding his web blog.

It looks as though the ACA bishops have finally figured out that almost none of their laity are interested in moving into a Roman ghetto where they will be treated like lepers.

A recent posting there by one Fr. Phillips takes the Continuum to task for its intransigence in resiting the Roman overture as presently offered. As far as this essay by Fr. Phillips goes, it has more straw men than a corn field. I would love to debate this guy.

As always they (the ultramontane RCs) forget about the Eastern Church. The issue is not so much doctrinal as one of polity. The pope's claim to be able to speak infallibly is just as dangerous as the Episcopal "Church" claiming to be receiving messages, that no one else in Christendom is getting, from the Holy Ghost.

Fr. Phillips and Christian should start reading "Sunlit Uplands," http://www.sunlituplands.org/ my favorite RC blog so as to educate themselves about what is really going on in the RC communion. See the latest posting there on unity talks between the Orthodox and the Vatican. Think positive ecumenism. When Rome approaches the Anglican Continuum the way it approaches the Eastern Churches, then we will have a real dialog as opposed to the monologue offered by Fr. Phillips and Christian.

The Roman Catholic Church is a branch of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church, not the whole shooting match.

John+

Colin Chattan said...

Well said, Fr. Hart. Every serious Anglican should read this essay.

The Rev. Robert T. Jones IV said...

Thanks, Father Hart, for your comments about Mark VA's "joke" (???)

I read it and felt as though I were in a museum of modern art, where something was supposed to be meaningful, but it was beyond my unsophisticated perceptive abilities.

Anonymous said...

One of the most learned and elegant defenses of our (the ACC and the Continuing Church) position within the Holy Catholic Church that I have ever heard, was presented in a homily offered by the Reverend Doctor Richard Bowyer (Rector of St. Paul’s, Grand Rapid’s Michigan), during the Provincial Synod Mass in Cleveland in 2007. I believe that this sermon would benefit not only those in the TAC who are considering the AC, but also all those who might be in the process of discerning Holy Orders in our own Church. I do not have the text of this sermon (alas, all I have is a DVD of the Mass itself), but if Fr. Hart can lay hands on a copy, it would be well worth posting (with Fr. Bowyer’s permission) on this blog. While I may be biased (since Fr. Bowyer is one of my former Rectors), I think that his scholarship and logic blows away any and all other arguments related to the validity and necessity of our place within the Holy Catholic Church.
DJ+

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

This is a vintage pun, and even though it is not of Italian origin, it was once told to Mussolini by a foreign ambassador, when Mussolini felt a need to display some of his peacock belligerency toward him. It's recorded that it left Mussolini somewhat disoriented, but some of his aids who were present caught the meaning, and later asked the ambassador not to tell these types of jokes to il Duce. Now, this is purely tangential and not applicable to our context here. This pun is more flexible than that.

Yes, it has a touch of the theater of the absurd and gefiltefish, and is of a somewhat whimsical looking glass character (though way above Till Eulenspiegel's kind of glass). Intellectual sophistication is entirely beside the point here, and will probably not solve it anyway, but a virtue of which we cannot have in excess, may.

AFS1970 said...

Fr. Phillips and others like him almost have to bad mouth the continuum. The only other option is to admit that they were right in 1976 and are still right now. Fore some that is just unimaginable.

Fr. John said...

I think the point of the story/joke was that there were only two of them and the two Anglicans were afraid.

In the original joke a large Yankee army is challenged by a lone Confederate soldier who incrementally defeats larger and larger contingents of Yankees who chase him behind a hill where they are killed out of sight of the commanding general.

Finally in a fit of rage the Yankee commander orders his entire force after the saucy rebel. After much gunfire and screaming a lone blue coat crawls back over the hill and shouts to the general, "it's a trick! There are two of them

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. John:

You mean that's not a true story after all?

Joe Oliveri said...

Is there a punch line? Or maybe I don't understand Italian humor.

This is an unofficial translation from the French of an early draft of the joke that's currently making its way around the blogosphere. The punch line is still awaiting the recognitio from the Sacred Congregation for Buttons and Bobbins.

Unfortunately, the scuttlebutt is that the punchline is underwhelming.

Anonymous said...

Since I really have no dog in that horse
race (or horse in that fight) commenting on the Hepworth debacle may not be the best use of my time. But I am bound to view the whole affair as a sort of sick but addicting soap-opera, like "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman."

But the events of the past week or so have created some interesting contrasts. Not very long ago, Abp Hepworth and many of his loyal disciples were gloating with the worst sort of triumphalism over the huge throng of Anglicans about to become Former Anglicans. Numbers ranged from 400 million to 700 million worldwide. It was commonly assumed (and we almost fell for it) that Hepworth would lead the whole vast multitude across the Tiber, like Moses leading the children of Israel across the Red Sea. Perhaps some people even in the Vatican itself bought this scenario.. I recall a late evening phone call with one enthusiast regaling me with an account of the Portsmouth signing, as if it were the greatest thing since Magna Carta. I could not resist pointing out that these men have an extensive history of signing things they later forget about, but a genuine miracle would be if they had really read and comprehended the CCC.

Now here is the contrast. After all the big talk of the past, now Bishop Marsh writes:

"Let me emphasize that no one, whether diocese, parish or individual is or will be compelled to join an Ordinariate. Correspondingly, no parish will be required to remain within its present diocese, should that parish choose to join the Ordinariate. Ordinariates will be established, however this diocese and the national church structure will continue in its present form. .....We remain committed to assisting parishes in discerning their own direction. Those parishes that wish to join the Ordinariate may do so. Similarly, those parishes that wish to remain within their present diocesan structures may do so. Neither will be penalized; all will be assisted in discerning and following the path they feel called to take."

As if we did not know that already! We no longer live in the Dark Ages, when barbarian kings could order their entire armies to be baptized at spear-point. But delusional thinking can work only so long and after losing goodness-only-knows-how-many parishes, clergy, and a couple of bishops, reality was bound to set in.

No script-writer could ever sell this story to a TV producer. It is just too improbable.
LKW

Any ultimate decisions will take place at the parish level. The parish is the smallest unit that may be received into an Ordinariate. Any parish that may be so inclined need only communicate its wishes. All assistance will be provided to ensure a smooth transition into an Ordinariate. Parishes that do not wish to become part of an Ordinariate need do nothing.

Fr. John said...

"Hell...we could have whipped them Yankees with cornstalks, the only trouble is they wouldn't fight with cornstalks."

Robert Toombs

Fr. Robert Hart said...

But delusional thinking can work only so long and after losing goodness-only-knows-how-many parishes, clergy, and a couple of bishops, reality was bound to set in.

They seem sill to be in a state of official denial about losing parishes and members.

Sean W. Reed said...

Father John -

Christian has HARDLY had the rug pulled out from under him as Archbishop Hepworth has made quite clear:

http://www.theanglocatholic.com/2010/06/clarification-from-archbishop-hepworth/



SWR

Fr. Robert Hart said...

SWR:

Yes and no. The ACA has pulled the rug out from under Mr. Campbell, but Hepworth has rolled out a carpet, affirming Campbell's blog as the almost official Outback Primate mouthpiece. In other words, the real story is that the ACA bishops and the their Australian Archbishop are at odds, and this is reflected in their open point/counterpoint, or thesis/antithesis, about that blog.

Sean W. Reed said...

Our Synod is now over, and speaking from a parish who will seek to be part of the Ordinariate the first moment it is established, we are quite pleased with our Bishop and his leadership.

I think adequate provision is being made not only for parishes like ours, but also the more protestant minded.



SWR

Fr. Robert Hart said...

SWR:

It was a foregone conclusion that you would eagerly anticipate the Roman option. I hope it goes well for you if it actually comes about. What I cannot understand is how you reconcile, for the sake of your own conscience, the unchurched position that the official teaching of the CCC (and other Vatican documents) puts you in unless and until that day dawns. By saying this, I present a challenge, but it is not meant as an unfriendly challenge.

Sean W. Reed said...

Father Hart wrote:

"It was a foregone conclusion that you would eagerly anticipate the Roman option. I hope it goes well for you if it actually comes about. What I cannot understand is how you reconcile, for the sake of your own conscience, the unchurched position that the official teaching of the CCC (and other Vatican documents) puts you in unless and until that day dawns. By saying this, I present a challenge, but it is not meant as an unfriendly challenge."

Thank you for what is indeed a fair question.

For the sake of discussion, speaking for me personally, if the Holy Father were to withdraw the Apostolic Constitution, I would then apply to the RC parish where my daughter attends school, join it, save about $200 a month in out of parish tuition, and then take the permitted dual membership in the Extra-Ordinary from parish here in town and attend mass there.

I have not done so in the meantime, as I have been committed since we left TEC to seeing this process come to fruition. We knew about it when we left, and that is why we selcted the ACA to join. It is a good fit for our parish, and we also don't mind admitting that our parish is not the typical Continuuing Church parish.

As to the issue between now and the implementation.

Those of us who believe the Catholic Faith most completely subsists in the Roman Catholic Church as taught by the CCC look to the Holy See for guidance in how this all is to be sorted out.

Had they instructed us to have our priests stop all sacerdotal activity that would be one thing.

They have not done so.

They have instructed us to simply continue doing what we are currently doing until the Ordinariate is up and running.

Once it is up and running I am willing to wager you a new biretta, (I would like a second one - then one for Sunday and one for weekday :))that there will be ZERO requirement to publicly reputiate any prior sacerdotal activities.


There will simply be a moving forward. Our Clergy will have a case by case review, as will we postulants. And then we move forward.

We will quite simply be governed by the advice and council of the Holy See.

I hope that when it is all said and done that the animosity will lessen.

It is somewhat amusing to me that even though our parish is currenly being sued by TEC to force us out of our building our parish built in 1915, I am able to have conversations with TEC Clergy without the attitudes some in the continuing church direct our way.

I do appreciate the kind tone of your honest question. Thank you for that. While you may not agree with my thoughts, I hope you are able to at least see where some of us are coming from.

Without disparaging your position, we do honestly feel this is the best remedy to what we see as a failed experiment. We did not get to this point overnight,and it won't be cleaned up overnight.

We look forward to simply moving on with carrying out our part of the Great Commission.



SWR

Fr. Robert Hart said...

SWR:

The problem is simple: Rome would lose the potential gain of whatever TAC people they may ultimately (as they see it) save to the fullest, if they put up any more barriers than necessary. So, of course they have not instructed your clergy to refrain from sacramental activity. That does not change the facts of their official teaching, or the self-contradiction by those who accept that teaching and act contrary to it, even if only for the meantime.

(By the way, if I had a biretta I would give it away to someone who would wear it, or exchange it for a Canterbury cap.)

AnglicanContinuer said...

Sean W. Reed said...

I do appreciate the kind tone of your honest question. Thank you for that. While you may not agree with my thoughts, I hope you are able to at least see where some of us are coming from.

Without disparaging your position, we do honestly feel this is the best remedy to what we see as a failed experiment. We did not get to this point overnight,and it won't be cleaned up overnight.

We look forward to simply moving on with carrying out our part of the Great Commission.


Thank you, Sean, for the respect shown in those statements. I think we can speak openly and directly about our differences, but I pray that as we do so that all of us, including those of us whose consciences lead us to not pursue the Ordinatiates, would endeavor to maintain this kind of tone.

- Bruce Wilcox

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart said: "By the way, if I had a biretta I would give it away to someone who would wear it, or exchange it for a Canterbury cap."

Do you not already have a Canterbury cap Father?

Fr Edward

John A. Hollister said...

Sean W. Reed wrote:

"As to the issue between now and the implementation.

"Those of us who believe the Catholic Faith most completely subsists in the Roman Catholic Church as taught by the CCC look to the Holy See for guidance in how this all is to be sorted out.

"Had they instructed us to have our priests stop all sacerdotal activity that would be one thing.

"They have not done so.

"They have instructed us to simply continue doing what we are currently doing until the Ordinariate is up and running."

That was a very neat bit of open-field running, skipping deftly through the maze of rubber tires without ever tripping or coming a cropper. In my admiration for his skill, I almost failed to notice that he carefully avoided ever actually answering Fr. Hart's question.

So let me rephrase that inquiry. We know for certain three things about this situation. One is that the TAC leadership has stated that it accepts Roman teaching in its fullness. A second is that the official Roman position is that Anglican Orders -- all Anglican Orders, regardless of source or date -- "are absolutely null and utterly void" which, inevitably, means that all Sacraments that require clerical celebrants (i.e., all except Baptism and Matrimony) which are purportedly celebrated by those in Anglican Orders are likewise "absolutely null and utterly void". The third thing is that TAC clergy who profess to be in Anglican Orders continue to celebrate those other Sacraments and TAC laypeople continue to receive them.

Fact #1 is completely consistent with Fact #2 but both Facts ##1 and 2 are completely inconsistent with -- in fact, mutually exclusive with -- Fact #3.

So how do those TAC clergy and laity caught in this cognitive dissonance reconcile themselves to doing today precisely what the Roman faith they also profess to hold today forbids them from doing?

And please notice that I stated the Roman faith forbids this, not the Roman hierarchy. It would be ultra vires for that bureaucracy to tell anyone to do something that the official teachings of that Communion forbid.

Or is this just another case of what the Nixon White House said by way of excuse, when caught out contradicting an earlier affirmation: "That statement is not operational as of this time"?

John A. Hollister+
"atied"

Sean W. Reed said...

Father Hollister wrote:

"...-- all Anglican Orders, regardless of source or date -- "are absolutely null and utterly void" ..."


Such is not the position of the Roman Catholic Church when phrased in the manner you have chosen.

If it were, the Apostolic Constitution would have been written in a different manner regarding clergy entering into the ordinariate. That is not the case, and there will be a case-by-case review of the clergy. There has been no blanket statement about orders as found in the Continuing Church.

As to your feigned concern, which appears to me to be closer to an obsession, about your perceived "cognitive dissonance" on our part, we will follow the path clearly articulated to us by The Church led by the Vicar of Christ. It is a simply as that, and your analysis of our path, is about as much a concern to us as what the Watchtower Society thinks about it.

He also wrote:

"...to doing today precisely what the Roman faith they also profess to hold today forbids them from doing?..."


Your opinion differs from that of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


A question for you - why are you so intent on a matter that does not concern you directly? You can feign concern for souls, but I wonder about that, so please help me out.

If you total the amount of time you spend on blogs, and the amount of time you have spent trying to work against the Anglicanorum Coetibus, how does the sum of that time compare to your specific, direct, efforts to carry out the Great Commission during the same time period? Don't include time spent just going about your regular routine. How much growth has come to your parish, from previously unchurched individuals during this time period? How much time do you spend actively engage in seeking souls?

And as to your basic point, I did not fail to answer the question.


Father Hart asked:

"...What I cannot understand is how you reconcile, for the sake of your own conscience, the unchurched position that the official teaching of the CCC (and other Vatican documents) puts you in unless and until that day dawns...."

The Church, through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has instructed us to keep doing what we are doing, and we happen to regard them as having the capacity to make that decision for us. We will follow the direction of the CDF.



SWR

Fr. John said...

"I know that you think you know what I said, but I didn't say what you thought I said, and even if I did say it, I didn't mean it."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

SWR:

Your hypothetical question to Fr. Hollister, beginning with the words, "If you total the amount of time you spend on blogs, etc." is as close to "out of order" as possible in a blog discussion. The question assumes more than is reasonable. It could, as well, be aimed at you. This discussion is important enough for Fr. Hollister to give it his attention, and important enough for you to do the same.

We understand well why the "case by case basis" of the existing Pastoral Provisions" has been repeated. It is partly because Rome spends undue time on each case determining if that ridiculous "Dutch Touch" gesture renders a man eligible for Conditional Ordination (which is pointless unless your name is Graham Leonard).

The other reason has to do with obvious impediments according to Roman Catholic Canon Law. Those impediments are very relevant to certain TAC/ACA clergy including bishops.

As for what the CDF has instructed, they justify it by having developed doctrine to include the fairly new idea that your current celebrations, while absolutely null and utterly void, are not sinful as long as your intention is good. That is an improvement over their older ideas, but not acceptable for those in your position. You are the ones living in a state of self-contradiction. The CDF, however, sees their method of evangelism (and that is how they see it) as requiring toleration of your blindness and ignorance, including your mistaken assumption that you have real sacraments.

If that brand of Roman charity and tolerance is acceptable to you, the self-contradiction you live with should not be.

Anonymous said...

Spot on Fr. Hart.

The Roman hierarchy has made itself clear repeatedly that Anglican Orders are null and void. This means Rome teaches their sacraments to be null (invalid) and void (completely empty.)

Recent news on The Anglo-Catholic states that Rome has stated that after clergy and parishes submit documents, vetting, etc (to be expected of course) that clergy will be ORDAINED.

Laity and clergy will be received into the Roman Catholic Church after public confession of one of the creeds, public confession of sin and absolution (which is to include something about schism in it) and Chrismation by a Roman Bishop.

Any Anglican clergy or laity must realize that this IS the repudiation of all of their former sacraments. This is not the pronouncement of Rome accepting "Anglicans in communion with." It is a very serious thing to claim that one's former ordination and other sacraments are invalid.

In my house it was always clear that one should not eat from the cookie jar before supper. Why would Rome feel compelled to tell Anglicans once again when Her teaching has been explicit from the time of Pope Leo's Bull. I recently read that this was reiterated in 1988 by (then) Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger which listed Apostolicae Curae as one of the teachings to which Roman Catholics must give "firm and definitive assent."

If one feels that there is no validity outside of Rome, than so be it. I for one will not deny the validity of the Sacraments i have received for the last 20 years. Should I come to the conclusion that Rome is correct on the validity of sacraments which only flow from being in communion with The Bishop of Rome, and additional dogmas need to be believed to my souls salvation, I would find it absolutely necessary to quit celebrating (if I were clergy) or receiving (if laity) from the hands of what Rome considers invalid clergyman. To do anything else would be utterly sinful.

If this were not the case Rome would not mandate Ordination for clergy entering the Roman Catholic Church.

- Aidan

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If one feels that there is no validity outside of Rome, than so be it.

Just for clarification, it is not the position of Rome that all sacraments outside their Communion are invalid, or a. null and u. void. They recognize Eastern Orthodox, Oriental and Polish National Catholic Church orders, and until recent years the orders of the Union of Utrecht. The conclusion of Apostolicae Curae was based on unsupportable arguments aimed specifically at Anglicanism. Saepius Officio was the most comprehensive answer, and from the same reasoning we have other refutations that are briefer, such as this.

John A. Hollister said...

Sean W. Reed wrote: "'...-- all Anglican Orders, regardless of source or date -- 'are absolutely null and utterly void" ...'

"Such is not the position of the Roman Catholic Church when phrased in the manner you have chosen."

I beg to differ. What I wrote is precisely the conclusion of, and uses the actual language of, an Apostolic Constitution which is of equal authority and obligatory nature as the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus" on which the TAC hierarchy -- the ones who, with much ceremony, signed their names to a copy of "The Catechism of the (Roman) Catholic Church" -- have pinned their hopes.

I personally feel that earlier Apostolic Constitution is a load of codswallop, but I am free to do so because I neither am nor aspire to be a member of the Roman Commununion (nor, as Fr. Wells has put it, do I play one on TV).

Mr. Reed and his confreres, however, have explicitly or implicitly declared their assent to all current Roman doctrine, are not thus free to pick and choose. By their own publicly stated beliefs, every time they receive the Eucharist, or any other clerical Sacrament, from a TAC clergyman, they are receiving only a fraud and a simulacrum and, most importantly, are thereby, to all appearances, committing a most questionable act.

The only explanation Mr. Reed offers is "Roma dixit". If that is truly all he can say in defense of this practice, then he must really be "around the bend like Harpic".

As to why I take the time and trouble to pose this question (re-pose it, actually, as Fr. Hart still has not received an answer other than the one I quoted above), that is one of those things that, once stated, answers itself.

However, to avoid any possibility of error, I will respond that once the TAC declared its intentions in public, it thereby incurred the probability that the logic and consistency of its actions would be challenged in public. It is through such dialectic that progress may perhaps be made.

Certainly over the past several years a number of folks have felt free to challenge various policies, positions, and actions of the Communion to which I belong so it seems to me only fair that whatever condiments be meet for one sex of anserini be likewise meet for the other.

John A. Hollister+
"unstear"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...once the TAC declared its intentions in public, it thereby incurred the probability that the logic and consistency of its actions would be challenged in public.

Yet, they cry foul whenever anyone says anything.

...whatever condiments be meet for one sex of anserini be likewise meet for the other.

I am so glad you said "sex." To read about the gender of gander would have been too much to take (speaking of crying fowl).

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart wrote: "To read about the gender of gander would have been too much to take...."

Gender is a grammatical construct and so is almost infinitely mutable, limited only by humanity's ability to complicate its languages. Sex, in contrast, is a biological reality and is therefore limited to two (despite attempts in California and elsewhere to force us to recognize four or more).

In doing so, the Californians are displaying the same blithe disregard of plain facts as seems so prevalent among certain hopeful acolytes of the Apostle from the Antipodes.

John A. Hollister+

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

John Hollister wrote:

"Mr. Reed and his confreres, however, have explicitly or implicitly declared their assent to all current Roman doctrine, are not thus free to pick and choose."

Sometimes, one good observation deserves another:

From this statement, may one conclude that those Anglicans who do not declare their assent to "all current Roman doctrine", refrain from doing so because they want to remain "free to pick and choose"?

Anonymous said...

The Question That Was Bound to Come Up. Over on that blog with the wrong name, there is a glowing account of an "Anglican Use Conference." I cut-and-paste the following quote.

"Among the questions presented were two from Fr. Bergman, one relating to the status of individuals originally baptized outside of the Anglican tradition, but fully initiated through Confirmation within the Pastoral Provision. The second question concerned the manner in which Church real property might be held under the ordinariates, specifically, would church property be held in the name of the ordinariate, or in the name of the local diocese, or in some other form? Bishop Arrieta was thoughtful and gracious in his answers, and took the occasion to underscore the importance of cooperation between the personal ordinaries and the diocesan ordinaries, but it was clear that these and other details have yet to be worked out.

Bishop Arrieta was warm, friendly, and sincerely interested in the concerns of both the Pastoral Provision community and the Anglicans who are discerning reconciliation."

Sounds like he was thoughtful, gracious, warm, friendly, sincerely interested (like every used car salesman I've ever met), yet evasive, secretive and non-commmital.

Notice that the only options on the table are property ownership by the RC diocese or property ownership by ther Ordinariate. Ownership by the parish is not an option at all.

The word "perjury" has been hurled about recently. Would it apply to those who once signed the Affirmation of St Louis, and now are about to sell out one of the key princials in that document?

But perhaps there is hope. Parishes like Omaha or Rosemont, currently in litigation with TEC, may get legal support from the RC diocese or Ordinariate. Just sign here, Tiber-swimmers!
LKW

Fr. Robert Hart said...

From this statement, may one conclude that those Anglicans who do not declare their assent to "all current Roman doctrine", refrain from doing so because they want to remain "free to pick and choose"?

That is one of the big myths that the RC attack squad aims at us. Frankly, the large amount of intellectual freedom that classic Anglicans enjoy is because we set the limits and boundary lines where they actually belong. We do not confuse development with revelation.

John A. Hollister said...

Mark VA asked: "From this statement, may one conclude that those Anglicans who do not declare their assent to 'all current Roman doctrine', refrain from doing so because they want to remain 'free to pick and choose'"?

No, for to do so would be a thundering non sequitur. Those Anglicans who do not declare their assent to all current Roman doctrine refrain from doing so because they wish to restrict the beliefs they accept to those things which are demonstrably true from Scripture and from the universal Tradition of the Church.

We also appreciate a bit of logic in our beliefs. And to us, for example, it seems scarcely logical that Leo XIII would have implicitly but inescapably trashed his own Orders while he was so busily and explicitly trashing ours. But that is what happens when folks reach just a bit too far. As the late Will Rogers said, "It ain't what they don't know that scares me, it's what they know that ain't so."

John A. Hollister+
"ingli"

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

John Hollister and Father Hart:

Three cheers for "intellectual freedom", but if it truly is what it claims to be, then one would expect it to eventually produce something of universal value, like unity. At least among the various Anglicans, for starters ...

Or, to rephrase yet another old quip:

"Many of us believe we're thinking, when actually we may merely be rearranging our old fears and prejudices"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Three cheers for "intellectual freedom", but if it truly is what it claims to be, then one would expect it to eventually produce something of universal value, like unity.

Really? Why? Since when does truth produce outward unity? (See John 7:43) And, if the papacy were what it claims to be, the center of unity, it would not have divided the Church.

Fr. John said...

How about this:

"Three cheers for "unity in Peter", but if it truly is what it claims to be, then one would expect it to eventually produce something of universal value, like unity. At least among the various Christians, for starters ..."

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart, are you saying that if we get rid of the papacy, or at least neuter it, then the cause of Christian unity will be advanced?

Well, before we do that, please demonstrate that the unity of which Christ spoke of is achievable, at least among the Continuing Anglicans. The one fold, one shepherd model.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...at least among the Continuing Anglicans.

Everyone has imitators and vagantes, including "Catholic" bishops who "ordain" priestesses on barges. Our concordat is real.

The one fold, one shepherd model.

The one fold is the Universal Church, and the one Shepherd is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dick Albertson said...

Two objections that we keep hearing deserve fuller attention, I think. The objections to the Roman position about Anglican orders does not apply to TAC (or for that matter anyone else in the Continuum), as all the orders in TAC, ACC, APCK, UECNA, and even APA now come not only from Anglican sources about which Canterbury has proven it was right to doubt but from the PNCC. Thus the continuing Anglicans don't have invalid Anglican orders but valid, if irregular, Roman orders.

The second issue is with property ownership. It should be clear to anyone who knows the sad history of the continuum that parish ownership of property has led to the the most ridiculous splintering ever seen in Christian history. The situation that now obtains in continuing Anglicanism is one of lay popes who think we are congregational in polity and that they can pick and choose among "jurisdictions" to suit their fancy--or to find one that will buy their temporary allegiance by ordaining one of their laymen without the trouble or inconvenience of any kind of theological education and formation. I think the ACC has fixed that problem in their canons, but no other group has.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Dick Albertson wrote:

...Anglican sources about which Canterbury has proven it was right to doubt...

What? Canterbury proved, in 1897, with York, that Anglican orders are valid beyond doubt and always were. Read Saepius Officio (The Dutch Touch added nothing of significance at all).

The sacramental side of Apostolic Succession has never guaranteed orthodoxy, and by its nature never could. Current heresy has proved nothing at all about Anglican Orders, and the existence of Continuing Anglicanism has proved Anglican orthodoxy.

John A. Hollister said...

Dick Albertson wrote: "The objections to the Roman position about Anglican orders does not apply to TAC (or for that matter anyone else in the Continuum), as all the orders in TAC, ACC, APCK, UECNA, and even APA now come not only from Anglican sources about which Canterbury has proven it was right to doubt but from the PNCC. Thus the continuing Anglicans don't have invalid Anglican orders but valid, if irregular, Roman orders."

1. Canterbury has proven nothing of the sort. From 1896 until perhaps 1992 (some of us think it was a bit earlier, such as 1970), the Orders of the Lambeth Communion were in all essentials the same as were those of the Roman Communion. It was only the purported "ordination" of women that changed that situation and that was long after "Saepius Officio" and, for all practical purposes, after the Continuing Churches parted ways with Lambeth.

2. As Fr. Hart has demonstrated at length, real Anglicans -- those who are not infected with the disabilities discussed in No. 1 above -- have no need of "the Dutch Touch". Yeah, we've all got PNCC Orders; so what? You can only be a real deacon, priest or bishop once, not twice or thrice.

3. Whatever lip service the Romans may give to "the Dutch Touch", in practice it is meaningless. It has only been applied in one case, that of the late feminizer Graham Leonard, and all it did in his case was to have him reordained deacon and priest "sub conditione" instead of in absolute form. His episcopal Orders, which he himself had already comprehensively trashed, were given no credence whatever, even though "the Dutch Touch" applied just as much to them as to his lower Orders.

Now that the Union of Utrecht has followed 815 down the sewer, any discussion of "the Dutch Touch" is simply insulting. "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"

John A. Hollister+
"upsyne"