Friday, December 31, 2010


I want to encourage the brethren and strengthen their hands without appearing to boast. It is easy at St. Benedict's to be encouraged, especially so soon after Christmas with the sight of about twelve very young Christians varying in race and color (but not in creed), dressed as angels, shepherds, wise men (in decorated Burger King crowns) and the Holy Family complete with a cabbage patch doll, cast in the role of Christ the newborn King, held aloft like a football after a touchdown, by a beeming young looking Joseph. It is easy to be encouraged in a parish church where the vestry bought the rector a car because, frankly, he needed one. It is easy to be encouraged in a parish that plans to budget a proper amount for advertising, with people asking how to be involved.

In the coming year we should all plan to make evangelism a high priority, knowing that evangelism (proclaiming the Gospel) should have the result of growing our churches with the addition of new members. For this reason I am looking forward to a draft soon to be posted by Fr. Nalls about evangelism, containing practical wisdom (if it posts anywhere other than the top of this blog, when it posts I will move it to the top).

Evangelism means we make known the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and two facts must be considered. First of all, evangelism is not an option, a good idea or "nice work if you can get it." It is the mission of the church, and therefore of every congregation and of every Christian. Christ has commanded it to His Church. Second, we are supposed to build the Church, and therefore evangelism is incomplete unless we are bringing people into the fellowship and life of the Body of Christ.

Now, some of our people are discouraged as I was in Arizona, where a tiny and mostly geriatric congregation let me know that they were retired, and that I had been "hired" to make everything happen, and where no one was willing so much as to commit to providing a Sunday School if a family with children ever showed up. I have been through it, and I understand. That was then, and this is now.

Let me offer some practical thoughts that could help anyone who may give heed. Ronald Reagan's famous "eleventh commandment" was to "speak no ill of a fellow Republican." In politics it is not helpful, because of the partisan nature of that animal, to speak ill of fellow Demublicans or Republicrats, or fellow whatevers, because politicians need parties and parties need votes. Well, I have my own eleventh commandment (or, for real Torah scholars, a six hundred and fourteenth commandment) that says, "thou shalt not shoot thyself in the foot."

For over a year readers of The Continuum have noticed that I resist those who try to pressure Continuing Anglicans into accepting the Roman option, even when it is dressed up as something that preserves a mythical animal wrongly labeled "Anglican Patrimony." In short, what they mean is Roman Catholicism with Elizabethan English and, eventually for one generation only, married priests. They cannot correctly define or describe real Anglican Patrimony for the same reason that they, like the people of ancient Nineveh, cannot discern between their right hands and their left (notice how I avoided...).

But, those sad folks are only the most extreme example of a common problem, namely ignorance about the wealth of our own heritage. Even some who resist jumping on board the big magical mystery tour coeti bus, have yet to learn anything about their own Anglican heritage. For some, everything they "know" about Anglicanism they have "learned" from Roman Catholic propaganda, including unscholarly fiction works from Ignatius Press-too often a source of historical revisionism and general silliness.

Now, for actual Roman Catholics to build their own churches is right, proper and the only way they may carry out fully their portion of the Great Commission consistent with their beliefs, and consciences (and God bless their efforts among the unbelievers and unchurched). And, for me the only way to carry out fully my portion of the Great Commission, consistent with my beliefs and conscience, is to further the Continuing Anglican branch of the Church. I begin at home, in Chapel Hill with St. Benedict's.

What I have grown weary of seeing is Anglican clergy who seem to go out of their way to convert people to Roman Catholicism, who buy the lie that the Anglican heritage is somehow flawed, and that our Orders are just barely valid in spite of (when in truth, they are really fully valid because of) what the English reformers believed. After buying all the false history, and with barely any grasp of sound learning, such clergy give people no confidence in the heritage of the very church they are charged to serve with honest leadership. How could they expect to grow congregations if they don't believe in their own church?

To such clergy, I offer the words of the 614th or 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not shoot thyself in the foot." Restore your brainwashed gray matter "by the renewing of your minds." Clean off the ring of doubt around your collar, and learn how to embrace the strength of your own heritage, including the riches you have almost thrown away because the Latin-Romans did not understand them. So, they don't know valuables from trash; but, what's your excuse?

Do you know where the name of Saint Veronica comes from? It is because the Romans did not know what the phrase Very Icon (true image, i.e. of Christ's face) meant. They thought it was a name, and so a legend, pure fiction, developed to the point where you can't watch a movie about Christ without the scene of some woman with a veil wiping the Lord's face. Well, it is pretty much the same story when it comes to Roman understanding of English, or Anglicanism.

For example, they think Article XXV teaches two sacraments, when, in fact, it affirms all seven. It affirms them in English, however, a language unknown not only to Latin Romans but also to modern Americans. I really don't care what the Spanish Ambassador thought the Articles of Religion are "patient of" because the man, speaking only his unknown tongue, was a barbarian to us and we to him (remember, his was the Country whose Armada was sunk by an act of God). But, I care when Anglicans think like a Spanish Ambassador.

We have no deficiency of Anglo-Catholics (sort of) who can carry out a High Church liturgy that has every bell, every whistle, every Missal rubric and every Ritual Note under the Sun. That is just fine, but only as long as laity and potential members are not driven out because the smoke is so thick that their asthma begins to kill them, or are otherwise left behind in the dust (mistakes I made in years past, so I know whereof I speak). We have a good grasp of what makes sacramental validity, and in many cases even of grace through the sacraments.

But, for balance we need a good dose of Evangelical preaching, the kind that sets forth the Gospel in powerful and direct terms, that is simple enough to be heard clearly without compromising its integrity. People need to know the way of salvation, what Jesus did for them, and that they must Repent and believe the Gospel. I do not know where the idea came from that the catholic Tradition can be complete without its evangelical message (in Anglican circles Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics have been blaming each other for the modern heresies; but, they have come from neither source). You can't be a true catholic unless you are also a true evangelical, and you can't be a true evangelical with being a true catholic. For some of you, that means a radical new understanding, a comprehensive grasp of orthodox Christianity--by the way, that is what Anglicanism is supposed to be.

Finally, your own parishes can grow, but only if you have confidence enough in your particular branch of the Church that your confidence becomes contagious. Otherwise, you may spin your wheels from now to the last day, but nothing much will grow. Someone told you that your own heritage is straw and stubble; but it is gold and precious stones. Open your eyes.


Donald said...

Thank you, again, Fr. Hart - how timely this post on New Year's eve!

When I was first thinking of planting Good Shepherd Anglican Church, I gave one of my prospective members a copy of Archbishop Haverland's book "Anglican Faith and Practice" - after he read it he said to me: "I don't believe this Church exists, but if it does, I'll join it!"

The Anglican Catholic Church is home for those who seek to be, as you say, both Evangelical and Catholic; Protestant and Catholic in the true sense.

I praise God every day for the ACC and for our Archbishop.

Good Shepherd Anglican Church
Palm Bay, Florida
(currently 70 degrees, I'm just sayin')

Donald said...

And again, as you said, not boasting - because it's our Lord's doing and not mine - but by simply by seeking to be faithful to the Scriptures and simple (not easy) evangelism, we have grown from 10 to 52 in 2 years.

Our "Mission Statement" is Acts 2:42.

PTB+ said...

Fr. Hart: Another concise, marvelous "apology" for the Catholic heritage of Anglicanism. I particularly appreciate your statement that there is NO contradiction between being Catholic and being Evangelical; the two are synonymous. The Catholic faith is the Gospel faith. May more of our brethren recognize this and use it to build up the various jurisdictions committed to Anglican orthodoxy as it has been so clearly defined, particularly by the Carolines and Oxford men.

BCPAnglican said...

Interesting and helpful comments on being Anglican. Best wishes to St. Benedict's and others in the new year!

Anonymous said...

Permit me to hi-light this one sentence:

"You can't be a true catholic unless you are also a true evangelical, and you can't be a true evangelical with being a true catholic."


Addison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thpeaky said...

One of the best articles I have read in a long time! Thank you Fr. Hart!
Libby Bova

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Superb comments, as usual. Allow me to say that the ACC parish where I serve has experienced remarkable growth over the past five years, especially among college students. And they have accomplished through the grace and mercy of God, who has blessed their years of patient toil in simply being true to the principles of Prayer Book Anglicanism-both in evangelism and in the cure of souls.

The remarkable influx of young people, college students and young professionals, who love our Lord and are wildly enthusiastic about the Anglican way, is testimony to the relevance, beauty and enduring value of Anglicanism's ancient pattern of life and doctrine.

Fr. Addison,

For many years, I have enjoyed reading your fine contributions to Christian journals, such as Touchstone. Your praise of traditional Prayer Book Anglicanism is both encouraging and deeply moving.

May God bless you as you continue to seek his will and guidance. And may He grant you many more years, using your considerable gifts in His service.


Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart, just before you got to that part, I was saying to myself, but you can't be a true Catholic unless your are also an Evangelical and not truly Evangelical without being a Catholic. And then you did it and my great admired Father Well highlighted it again. Is it possible for the year to have a better beginning?

Somewhere in years long past and in a document I have long forgotten I found a formula that I appropriated for my own; Catholic Faith, Orthodox Worship, Apostolic Order and Evangelical Mission. It seemed to me a wonderful way of explaining the meaning of Acts 2:42 which, concurring with Father Donald, should be the mission of every Anglican mission, parish and diocese.

I read somewhere in the last two weeks that the Nineteenth Century is going to be one of the next great trends. If so, we in the Anglican Continuum should push ourselves to the forefront of it by thoroughly acquainting or re-acquainting ourselves with the Anglican greats of that century on both sides of the Atlantic while attempting to avoid the mistakes of the later ritualistic movement. Among those great things would be the work of John Keble in the publishing of The Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology, the works of the Rev'd Canon Malcolm MacColl, The Very Rev'd Vernon Staley and others. The list is an incredibly long one, but in reading its giants one appreciates more clearly the treasure we possess and should be working to hand over intact and enriched to the next generation. It should also make us the more appreciate the current work of the Rev'd Messieurs Hart, Kirby, Nalls and Archbishop Robinson in this blog. I hope they will not be embarrassed to have me say that they, as well as Father Well and Canon Hollister, stand ably in that great tradition.

Philip Wainwright said...

Very glad to hear that, Addison, I've often wondered how you've fared since I heard the shocking news of your 'poping'. I pray you'll come back to the ecclesiastical spot from which you set out (ie PECUSA), where Evangelicals, Catholics and their impossible (IMHO) hybrid forms are all still welcome, and in some cases still flourishing.

Fr.Jas.A.Chantler said...

Dear Fr.Addison
I keep you in my prayers and hope you'll consider speaking to His Grace Mark about coming home.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Fr. Robert,

I come from a family of three brothers too. I'm the middle brother.

When we have major news like this, we don't say anything to each other. One brother sports the Cheshire cat grin and the other brother just shakes his head in chagrined acknowledgment.

Jack said...

\\Do you know where the story of Saint Veronica comes from, and why she is not known to the Eastern churches?\\

Speaking as an Orthodox Christian (who left PECUA 40 years ago for Orthodoxy), I would like to know where you get this idea.

St. Veronica is identified with the Hemorhissa who touched the Lord's hem.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Well, so they gave the woman with the issue of blood the name Veronica. I am glad they were trying to be so ecumenical. The origin of the name and the misunderstanding that created the legend of the veil is, nonetheless, an objective "western" fact. The woman with the issue of blood (who probably has a good Jewish name) was in the Bible, but St. Veronica with the veil simply never existed.

rdt9866 said...


Your comments on why you've left the Catholic Church are so full of theological errors, one hardly knows where to begin. Actually, I won't bother to begin. Suffice it to say, it's apparent that your decision in 1997 to "pope back" must have been quite thoughtless, which calls into serious question either your motives, your intelligence or your intellectual honesty. How was it possible for you to remain in the Catholic Church all these years with all these doubts (which are in reality easily refuted and completely erroneous conclusions)? Surely you didn't just recently discover all these intolerable errors in Catholic dogma and teaching.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


I know this is hard for you to accept, but my brother was a solid papist (not a derogatory term at all), and about ten years ago he was very, very convinced when going through his own obnoxious convert stage. Like it or not, learned men do not all find Roman Catholicism persuasive. Accept the fact that matters you hold to dogmatically are, for many of us, unacceptable. Your words "theological errors" sound like the desperate squeak of a frightened mouse. Better to say that you are prepared to debate rather than to pontificate, especially to educated men.

Jesse said...


Did you come up with these insights by yourself, or did you feel compelled to act on Father Zuhlsdorf's bizarre animadversion to this comment thread?

For a reasonable statement of the traditional Anglican assessment of Roman "innovations", I would recommend that WDTPRS readers consult Roland F. Palmer's "Rome? A letter to a friend".

Of course, much water has passed under the bridge since Palmer wrote in 1946. There has been a welcome detente between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, not least because of Rome's efforts to explain its teachings and to revise some of its praxis with more explicit reference to the scriptures and early tradition (as may be seen so clearly in the new Catechism). The differences that remain are matters of principle, and it's not surprising that some Roman Catholics might become convinced of the reasonableness of the Anglican position from time to time, just as some Anglicans are persuaded by the claims of Rome (I say this with no personal knowledge of Fr. A. Hart's case).

Anonymous said...

I am a clergy convert to Catholicism. I was a Presbyterian, an "educated man." When you become Catholic you should work out all of the theological issues before you "pope." You also should understand that the ideal doesn't always meet the reality in any group. For example I could give you plenty of Anglican clerical scandals to chew on. Those who revert to Protestantism, for whatever reason, often feel the need to establish their bona fides by attacking "Romanism."

I found many Protestant dogmas unacceptable and unbiblical: sola scriptura, sole fide, pro-abortion, women clergy, lack of valid Orders and Eucharist, and of course the utter lack of unity. How many Anglican churches are there now? I have lost count. I just noticed that the Dean of an Episcopal divinity school married a canon of the cathedral, both are women. I am not squeaking too loudly am I?

I thank God every day that I become a Catholic. For all of the problems we have I would not trade my faith for anything. Even if I was canned by my bishop and sleeping under a bridge I would not be pleased, but I would not leave the Church. I regret Mr. Addison's lapse. He has traded his inheritance for a pot of stew. I do hope it tastes good as it cost him the Bread of everlasting life. May Blessed John Henry Newman pray for you.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anonymous wrote:

He has traded his inheritance for a pot of stew. I do hope it tastes good as it cost him the Bread of everlasting life.

Thank you brave Fr. Anonymous, a man whose strong convictions are evident from your anonymous comment. I was not aware that Roman Catholicism teaches that anyone who cannot, in good conscience, remain Roman Catholic is going to Hell. Thank you for clarifying that that there is no salvation outside the Roman Church. Perhaps you could show us that in your Catechism.

Thank you for demonstrating bigotry on a level of genius, if not insanity, by lumping all Protestants together as supporters of abortion and women's ordination. I guess I could counter that by accusing all Roman Catholics of taking willful part in the great big International Pederast Conspiracy and Money Laundering Company.

As for what you said about sola fide and sola scriptura, I see you are not a follower of St. Thomas Aquinas-- but on that whole subject I can't fault you too much, inasmuch as a large number of Anglicans are equally unaware (as you are) of how properly to define the meaning of those very Catholic--indeed, even Roman Catholic--doctrinal positions. For, they were acceptable Catholic teaching in Rome and everywhere else up until they became identified with the Reformation, where they continued to be defended.


R2D2, or whatever he calls himself, did provide links to crazy Zuhlsdorf's blog. I was fascinated that Z believes that there is no dogma of papal supremacy. We know that; but, to be a Roman Catholic one is required not to know that. For, if one thing is absolutely certain, they do teach it and require belief in it as a dogmatic doctrine. So they misinterpret Matt. 16.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

The outcry and handwringing over Fr. Addison Hart's decision reminds me of the outcry and handwringing over. Professor Francis Beckwith's decision to revert back to Catholicism.

I've read stuff like this about Fr. Addison's decision: "However, his blog statement about his reversion reads more like he’d never studied, much less professed, the doctrines."

This is really the same thing that some Protestants wrote about Dr. Beckwith's swim back across the Tiber.

Some folks said good riddance to Dr. Beckwith. And some folks are saying good riddance to Fr. Addison Hart.

I say, God bless both of them!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Both of my brothers have been published many times. How could anyone actually think that Addison Hart was somehow not fully aware of his decision, then and now? Obviously, they have not read some of the best Christian journals of our time.

I find the same problem all too often, that some people cannot fathom anyone knowing all of the facts, considering all the details, and yet not agreeing with them. They assume that such a person never learned some big important fact, or never thought it through, never got it.

Sorry Rdt, but he did get it. And, after seeing RCism up close for years, has seen all there is to see.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


If you want to be polite, then your comments can be published. As far as I am concerned, however, you conceded my main point with the words, "Now Veronica handing Christ a cloth is no doubt an Eastern appropriation of the West." That is sufficient, and the origin of the name is obvious.

We cannot edit comments, so kindly refrain from insulting expression, or the whole thing will be tossed out.

Atychi said...

Father Hart,

I did not concede your one of your main points in your curt reply to Jack.

1) I demonstrated to you explicitly that the choice of her name Veronica was not some sort of ecumenical gesture, that the Greek Pherenike (Macdeonian Bernice, which is still kept, by the way) is found in a 4th-century text (maybe 2nd-century?). You rely only on a Latin folk etymology, which isn't "wrong" but is incomplete, especially regarding your dismissal of Jack's point. Again, you may simply be ignorant on this matter. We can't all know everything. But you speak with such authority that I had to question what I thought I knew. I went and looked it up.

Here is the response to Jack I refer to above:

"Well, so they gave the woman with the issue of blood the name Veronica. I am glad they were trying to be so ecumenical. The origin of the name and the misunderstanding that created the legend of the veil is, nonetheless, an objective "western" fact."

Anonymous said...

For as long as anyone can remember, there has been a fairly constant interchange of clergy between the Ronan and the Anglican Churches. At least two leading priests in my own diocese (that's two out of about 25) were former Romans, and there may be more. So these conversions get widespread attention mostly on slow-news days.

The big difference is that when a Roman turns Anglican, it generally gets small attention. But when an Anglican goes Roman, it becomes a . Particularly if the convert happens to be an ex-Anglican bishop. To put things in perspective, the number of Anglican bishops who have poped is far smaller than the number of RC priests prosecuted for pederasty, or RC dioceses taking bankruptcy protection.

The reversion of Fr Addison Hart (welcome home, Father!) is arousing an unusual degree of animosity right now because it coincides with the defection to Romed of a bunch of English clergy. One intellectually pretentious listserv has descended into character assassination of the most ridiculous sort.

The real news (since clergy conversions and reversions are old hat) is the Ordinariate scheme is a "failed experiment." The grand march of 700,000 Anglicans has turned out to be a "mountain in labor," with no real fruits to the labor. Reading The Former Anglican and its splinter blog , it is obvious that they "have labored all night and taken nothing," Here a priest, there a tiny parish of 50 people, somewhere else a little coven of eccentrics, all amounting to a colossal embarrrassment.

The most superb irony in this whole tragi-comedy is that the TAC bishop who popularized the phrase "failed experiment" has evidently backed away from the whole Ordinariate thing. Failed experiment, indeed.

Michael J said...

You are not alone. There are many, including many Catholics, who do not accept the teachings you cite. I confess to being a bit bewildered, though. This is elementary stuff - literally, it's taught to elementary school age children. Were you unaware of these doctrines when you converted back in the '90s? I cannot imagine that an adult man, especially one with theological training, would take such an eggregiously ignorant step, so can only conclude that there was something else that motivated you. It seems, then, that you converted to Catholicism not because of what it is, but because of what it is not. Whatever it was that drove you from anglicanism, has it changed?

Fr.JamesA.Chantler said...

Dear Fr.Anonymous
As a traditional Anglican I too rejoice that I am a Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Why don't I give my name? I guess having been stalked on the web I am a bit shy.

I don't know the state of Addison's soul. You should notice that I did not say he was going to hell. That is between him and God. But he has traded the fullness of faith for something less.

In fact he was the one lumping Catholics all together. When someone brings up the scandals it often has nothing to do with abused children, but instead is a justification for anti-Catholic bigotry. I simply pointed out that Protestants have plenty of scandals to deal with. The issue of disunity among Protestants is one for you to mull over.

While I am glad you venerate St. Thomas I doubt he would be thrilled that you are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. The Reformation, as you call it, did not carry on with his faith or the Catholic faith. You can see the fallout from the "Reformation" in all of the problems in the Anglican church. It is "insanity" to claim that the Reformed churches are just like the real Catholic Church of the first centuries. I know that because I studied it and realized that it was not true. That's one reason I became Catholic.

I am sure you have reasons for your hatred of and bigotry toward Catholicism. I am sure that Addison has his reasons, besides the ones he stated, for reverting to Anglicanism. But it is interesting that there is this perverse need to justify your actions by attacking Catholicism. It shows once again that beyond Protesting there isn't much in Protestantism.

I wish Addison all the best and we'll leave the light on for him.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Michael J.

Come on. What's with you fellows? Of course Addison was aware of the RC doctrines, and for a while defended them tooth and nail. But, the illusion just could not last, I suppose.

By the way, he did not leave Anglicanism as we know it in the Continuing Church, but was left behind by the Episcopal Church. The difference is very significant.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


You seem to be saying that "the Greek Pherenike (Macdeonian Bernice" is relevant to the name Veronica. Linguistically, it is not the same. The veri-icon was so named, probably, because of how the Shroud (now in Tourin) was folded in ancient times. This seemed, to some, to be a name, and so the story developed. That the name later became identified with a real person (the woman with the flow of blood that was healed) is a historical accident.

Joe Oliveri said...

Regarding Veronica: Please note that the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia clearly notes the origin of this legend/myth, i.e., popular confusion over vera icon. Interestingly, the article also remarks that "[Veronica] has found no place in the Hieronymian Martyrology or the oldest historical Martyrologies, and St. Charles Borromeo [1538-1584] excluded the Office of St. Veronica from the Milan Missal where it had been introduced."

Anecdotally, attending Catholic grammar school and high school in the 1970's and 80's, I do vaguely remember being told about pious medieval legends like St. Christopher and St. Veronica. Although we were told none of the legends were likely true, the point was that believing they could be true did no spiritual harm, and could in fact do some good if it helped foster piety. In my book, this is little different from the way many Anglicans believe the legend St. Joseph of Arimathea and the Glastonbury Thorn. As long as one maintains perspective, where's the harm?

Joe Oliveri

Fr. Robert Hart said...


There is no harm. I was trying to point out an example of linguistic misunderstanding.

lexflyingfish said...

I find it interesting that the Romans have appointed Archbishop Donald "I refuse to deny Communion to Pelosi or other public unrepentant pro-abortion legislators" Wuerl to head the commission on the Ordinariate in the US. If they're trying to attract leftist Episcopalians to the Ordinariate; if they're trying to send a message that traditionalist Anglicans are as unwelcome in the RCC as in the US Episcopal Church, then it's coming across loud and clear. And if that's NOT what they're trying to do, then Rome has shot herself in the foot.

I'm a recent refugee from the US Episcopal Church, and am not a huge fan of Edward VI, the Reformation, or some of the more radical-sounding of the 39 Articles, so when the plan for the Ordinariates was first released I was all for it. But the Roman Catholic Church itself has convinced me otherwise. The more I learn about the Roman church-- how paralyzed and in denial it is in the face of the same modernist heresies that destroyed the liberal "protestant" denominations-- the more I appreciate Continuing Anglicanism.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


I hope you stick around and read what we have coming on the Articles. Perhaps some of it may surprise you. They could very well prove to be more truly catholic than you might have thought.

Michael J said...

Fr. Hart: " Of course Addison was aware of the RC doctrines, and for a while defended them tooth and nail."
As did your founder, apparently, at least in regards to the Eucharist. Hebry VIII's treatise,
Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum, earned him the title, as I am sure you are aware, of "Defender of the Faith".

What prompted you, Addison and others to determine that the doctrine of Transsubstatiation was an "illusion"?

Joe Oliveri said...

Rome has shot herself in the foot.

We know, man, we know. Every day, it's something else.

These are difficult days.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Michael J wrote:

What prompted you, Addison and others to determine that the doctrine of Transubstantiation was an "illusion"?

That depends on what one means by "transubstantiation" (since a certain archbishop in Germany, later elevated to higher office, named Ratzinger wrote very much like an Anglican about this very subject, and came up with a sort of new definition), a word that means different things depending on time and place.

For example, the carnality of the definition in the sixteenth century prompted Archbishop Cranmer to write A Defence of the True and Catholick Doctrine of the Sacrament, in which he quotes the major Church Fathers abundantly, so much so as to turn the question around: What prompted anyone to come up with such a weird idea as transubstantiation? That is, however, by the carnal definition that the current pope bids everyone to rise above.

And, Henry did not found our Church. A different King altogether founded it.

Anonymous said...

I understand (believe me, I do) how love for your tradition so effortlessly transmogrifies into a petty, rancour-laden ecclesial tribalism, when one of your own defects (and when intial reactions reach beyond shock and the expression of sorrow into rank mis-characterizations of another tradition, you know that is what your'e dealing with).

God knows that Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox don't corner the market in this kind of ugliness (the most hostile examples, in my experience, have come from "Truly Reformed" gate keepers). And we Anglicans are fooling ourselves if we think that it doesn't exist in our camp; it has infected the ranks and marred the testimony of every Christian tradition.

Now the announcement of Fr. Addison's departure from the RCC must be disheartening news to our RC brethren; as disheartening, certainly, as when Anglicans hear about one of their own deciding to leave the Anglican fold. And, if you really believe, as deep-dyed RC Christians, that leaving Rome for Anglicanism is to depart from the only true instantiation of Christ's Holy Catholic Church on earth for a mere ecclesial community, then say so. But, for God's sake, say so irenically, and try to emulate the generosity of Benedict XVI, who, whatever misgivings he may have concerning Anglicanism, acknowledges that it retains much that is genuinely Catholic.

(Btw, is it a forgone conclusion that Fr. Addison will be returning to Anglicanism? He certainly gave it high marks, but, other than that, all he said was that he would be exiting "the Roman door".)


Addison said...

'What prompted you, Addison and others to determine that the doctrine of Transsubstatiation was an "illusion"?'

I find this a curious question, since I never said that the doctrine of transubstantiation is an illusion (why the quotation marks, by the way? whom are you quoting?). For one thing, "doctrines" per se are never illusory, even if they are abstractions. They are merely right or wrong abstractions, based on right or wrong premises. The premises for the classical doctrine of transubstantiation are Aristotelian, and assume that "substance" and "accidents" are separate and separable aspects of physical realities. Not only is Aristotelianism no longer viable in today's world, but it was not the categories of thought used by Jesus, Paul, or the fathers of the church.

In point of fact, classical transubstantiation does teach a sort of illusion -- the consecrated species look like bread and wine, but it's all appearances. If the same logic were applied to the doctrine of the Incarnation, we would inevitably end up with a form of Docetism. (Indeed, this has been done, with the bizarre Scholastic idea that Jesus didn't possess faith because he possessed the beatific vision throughout his earthly life instead. This, if it's actually believed, must invariably lead to a rather distorted picture of Jesus as either not fully human or else a sort of comic book superhuman.) So, yes, I'm not at all in favor of "illusions". I prefer "sacraments", those mysteriously incarnational things that unite us to Christ spiritually, and in ways that Scholastic nonsense really can't categorize neatly.

At any rate, I'm off now to the worship service at the First Druidic Temple of Rochester, NY. I'm taking along my rabbit, "Bruce", for the special Wicker Man Ceremony in the parking lot afterwards. It's so good to have "come home" to the faith of my fathers!

Fr.jas.A.Chantler said...

Perhaps Fr.Addison's last posting, with his assessment of the schoolmen,suggests he is more likely to be looking towards the east.He might want to bring the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch with him to the parking lot of the Druidic Temple just in case Bruce gets out of control though I can see why poor Bruce would.I've heard those events at Rochester are as chaotic as those at churches shared by the Orthodox in the Holy Land.If the SPCA were to find out Father was taking Bruce along he could find himself in hot water!

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If the same logic were applied to the doctrine of the Incarnation, we would inevitably end up with a form of Docetism.

And, of course, that was one of (Saint and Martyr) Thomas Cranmer's main objections to Transubstantiation. It actually threatened an orthodox view of the Incarnation, and may well have been why he used the word Antichrist in a very unecumenical way (by modern standards), but in keeping with I John 4.

palaeologos said...

Fr Hart, as a matter of fact Veronica is the Latin form of the Greek name Berenice [pherein + nike = she who brings victory]. Your etymology is an interesting back formation, but unfortunately of only symbolic value, like those of Jacobus de Voragine.

The point you made with it, of course, still holds.

lexflyingfish said...

Fr. Hart:

I look forward to reading what the Layman's Guide to the 39 Articles will say about Articles 22 and 28 (and perhaps, related to 28, the Black Rubric?); as those are probably the ones I have most trouble with. I do concede that I probably don't fully understand 16th-century English or the societal context in which they were writing.

And Newman's Tract 90 was no help; it seemed to me that he was confused and was engaging in double-speak. It wasn't as incoherent as some of the Vatican II documents, but it was close.

So yes, the Layman's Guide is most needed and appreciated.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Black Rubric you say? Here, on The Continuum we have never been afraid of anything.

SDA2 said...

I find it confusing that Addison Hart is resisting a certain model of "transubstantiation" while his brother is reminding us that 20th century Catholic theologians (especially our present pope) have also transcended this very model.

In fact, I find it very disheartening that many Anglicans and Catholics ignore the realities of contemporary Catholic theology and ecumenical dialogue (which have borne significant fruit, as in the above example), and simply return to Reformation-era vocabulary and caricatures. This extends to the earlier Catholic priest's rejection of "sola fide," ignoring the conclusions of the JDDJ (which Annex, approved by the Catholic Church, states we are saved through "faith alone") and late 20th century scholars including Kung, Ratzinger, and Dulles.

The ARCIC, even if executed by a compromised Anglicanism, has given fresh and Anglican-acceptable expression to many of the Catholic doctrines with which Addison takes issue. I hope the thrust of all our activity is on finding grounds of agreement, and assisting the reaggiornamento of Roman Catholic theology (!), rather than re-digging 16th-century trenches and perpetuating schism.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


I believe that many people have not caught up, and, with Addison, I find it necessary to resist their efforts to impose man made dogmas as infallible doctrine. That contingent is, in spite of irenic efforts by many, more aggressive than ever.

St. Nikao said...

News is out that Fr. Al Kimel, former Episcopalian, then Roman Catholic priest has gone to Orthodoxy and was ordained today, Pentecost Sunday.

St. Nikao said...

(you don't need to post this or my news about Fr. Kimel)

Frs. Hart and Wells, Just wanted to add but Orthodox theology doesn't seem to have any form or boundaries. I've read on the Orthodox blogs for several years now and can't find anything like a solid framework. I know the writings of their saints are beautiful, but I get a lot more comfort out of your writings and explications than from theirs.

I also do not feel at home or confident with the Calvinist reformed authors like Piper and his followers.

Please keep writing! I love Fr. Wells bulletin inserts and the way both of you are writing in tandem about the Articles.

All blessings!