Monday, April 02, 2007

The TAC and the Holy See

A very interesting video here, to which I was tipped off by Andy at All Too Common about the Traditional Anglican Communion's hopes for achieving communio in sacris with Rome.

I know nothing about Salt + Light TV, except that it is a Roman Catholic medium, nor do I have any idea who the driving force was behind this production -- the TAC or Salt + Light.

Whatever the case, the piece gives the incorrect impression that the TAC is the continuing Anglican church. I shall be writing to Salt + Light to disabuse them of that.

That said, I think the piece is sympathetic to the continuing movement, for which I give thanks, and does a pretty good job of expressing our sentiments.


Albion Land said...

Here is a copy of the email I sent to Salt + Light. If and when I receive a reply, I will post it. AL

Dear Sirs,

My name is Albion Land, and I am host of The Continuum blog ( As the masthead says, the blog is a "place where those who live in the Anglican Continuum, or who are thinking of moving there, might share in robust, if polite, discussion of matters theological and ecclesiological. Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est."

I had the opportunity today to watch the video that your Focus programme produced on the Traditional Anglican Communion, which is on the website of the TAC's magazine. I would like to commend you on the high quality of the production and for giving the continuing movement what I would consider a sympathetic airing of its views.

I would, however, like to point out that the piece is misleading, perhaps unintentionally, but misleading none the less. It gives the impression that the Traditional Anglican Communion is the continuing church when, in fact, it is merely what one might call one branch of the movement.

As you rightly point out, the movement grew out of the Congress of St Louis and has as its foundational document the Affirmation of St Louis. However, the TAC, in its American version, the Anglican Church in America, did not emerge directly out of the St Louis meeting, but was a spin-off from the original province, the Anglican Catholic Church (of which I am a member).

There are dozens of sects and one-man bands that describe themselves as being continuing churches, but it is generally accepted that these latter are comprised only of those that proclaim and adhere to the Affirmation of St Louis, to a greater or lesser degree. That would include the ACC and the TAC, as well as the Anglican Province of Christ the King and the Anglican Province of America.

Further, I will not dispute the membership numbers the TAC claims, because I do not have access to theirs or to anyone else's in any detail. However, I would point out that, in the United States, where the continuing movement is strongest, the ACC, APCK and TAC all have a fairly similar number of parishes. Both the ACC and the TAC have a significant presence elsewhere -- particularly in Africa and in India -- but again, I cannot provide numbers.

In closing, allow me to wish you a most blessed Holy Week and a Glorious Easter.

Albion Land (Mr)

Laurence K Wells said...

Thanks and congratulations, Albion, for a well written rejoinder.

In recent blogosphere discussion of Bishop Hertzog's swimming the Tiber, it has been clarified that the Pastoral Provision is NOT available to anyone who was originally RC and subsequently joined an Anglican or Protestant Church. That disqualifies Bp Hertzog from being in any form of ordained ministry in the RC Church.

The same principle would seem to obtain in the case of Bishop Hepworth, who not only left the RC priesthood in order to get married, but subsequently became divorced and married a second time. There is something distinctly fishy about his "conversations" with the Holy See.

ACC Member said...

The Roman Catholic Church will be polite to anyone who inquires of them for communion, including, quite recently, ++Rowan, who took a local priestess with him in his entourage. Pope Benedict was polite, but you'll notice he didn't get a full communion agreement either. The Roman Catholic Church is also polite to TAC but they will never get a full communion agreement either. To do so would be to set up a model for schism in the RC. Every diocesan bishop who wanted to marry could create schism from Rome, form his own church, marry, then petition to Rome for full communion. The Roman Catholic Church simply cannot and will not set up such a model for schism. Being that the TAC's archbishop is a former RC priest, who left; to permit full communion with TAC would be a foolish mistake and endorse a model for schism.

Albion Land said...

Fr Wells,

It is difficult to comment on the "discussions" because I have never been able to find anything public of substance to discuss. I am mystified that something so momentous is not to be found in the public forum of the TAC, and yet am told by the Salt + Light piece that 90 percent of the TAC's members support it.

As for here, The Continuum has been published now for nearly 17 months, and we have published several pieces on the TAC. Yet only once has anyone from the TAC hierarchy ever made a public visit here -- Bishop David Chislett.

In the end, though, it is not for us who are not members of the TAC to tell it what it should do, or how it should go about it. However, if there is ever going to be any hope of union among continuers, it can't happen without dialogue. I would not be so impertinent as to suggest The Continuum is the only place for it to take place, but I have always striven to make this a place where good will and good aspirations have an airing.

Are there any TACers out there who read this blog, and do they have anything to say? I would very much welcome hearing from them.

One, of course, is our own co-host Ed Pacht.

Albion Land said...

Something just occurred to me, and I would like to get a sense of what my co-hosts and our readers think.

Perhaps it would be helpful if those readers who belong to the continuing movement would identify themselves by their affiliation when they comment. I don't think I would want to impose this as a condition for posting, but I do think it would give us more a sense of community and of awareness of where people stand.

I wouldn't envision requiring this as a condition for posting, and would happily agree to allow people to maintain their relative anonymity.

I'll look forward to your thoughts.

Albion Land
ACC layman

Albion Land said...

On re-reading my comment about the TAC and the "discussions," I see that I have unintentionally given the impression that there has never been anything published about it. That is not the case.

What I do not recall having seen, however, is any detailed discussion of the specifics, the pros and cons, or any debate.

I can't imagine there is a single continuer who would not like to see some sort of relationship with Rome, not to mention the EO, and it would be helpful to all of us to discuss these matters openly.

Anonymous said...

" is merely what one might call one BRANCH of the movement"
You don't know how ugly it sounds to Roman Catholic ears.

"There are DOZENS OF SECT AND ONE-MAN BANDS that describe themselves as being continuing churches".
I'm a Roman myself. If I were one at Salt + Light, I would think:
"We should never have any relationship with all this "Continuing" movement again".

Anonymous said...

Hi Albion,

I am a TAC member as well as a recently elected member of the Executive Council of the Anglican Church in America. And while I can speak for neither the TAC or the ACA I thought that I would take this chance to identify myself as I have read your blog for some time.

The video from Salt & Light was a very sympathetic hearing for the TAC and I was very pleased to see it. Were I a member of some other part of the Continuum though I may have wanted to remind Salt & Light of my existence as well.

The relative silence of the TAC on the quest for unity is intentional and I believe comes at the request of officials within the Vatican (though I may be misinformed). I know that I am my family and parish prays actively for the success of the talks.

With the sorry and shattered state of affairs that exists among we Anglicans both within and without of the "official" Anglican Communion I am hard pressed to defend any of us TAC/ACA included against any charge and can only ask that the Lord have mercy on us all.

Mark Newsome
St. Gregory's Anglican Church
Durham, NC

Albion Land said...


A very warm welcome to you.

I have known Bishop Lou for many years, as my mother was one of the founding members of what became the cathedral parish in Orlando, and I would worship with her and my father when I was home for a visit. +Lou was a great comfort to them both in their final days. Do give him my warm regards.

You are not the first person to mention that it is the Vatican that has requested discretion in this matter. Pardon the twitching of my journalistic nose, but something smells funny about that. There has certainly never been any secrecy about the acts and deliberations of ARCIC. While the TAC discussions with Rome may not be entirely analogous to that process, they can't be that radically different.

If this is true, then one is led to ask what it is that the Vatican wants to keep secret. Something just doesn't click.

Mind you, there are cynics who say that the discussions have only ever been held with relatively low-level Vatican officials and that Rome is just stringing the TAC along; that there is really nothing of any real substance taking place and that it is the TAC hierarchy that is putting about this secrecy red herring to mask the fact. I would certainly hope that this is not the case.

Others have said that the best that could be hoped for by the TAC, or any other continuers, for that matter, is something along the lines of the already existing Anglican usage, which is of no use to anyone who is genuninely Anglican.

My understanding is that the TAC is looking to achieve some sort of uniate status.

I would not wish for you to betray any confidences, but it would be interesting if you, or someone else from the TAC here, could share with us the full details of whatever may be in the public domain.

Albion Land said...


Don't I know you from T19, or perhaps Pontifications?

In response to my statement that TAC "... is merely what one might call one BRANCH of the movement" you respond: "You don't know how ugly it sounds to Roman Catholic ears."

I am sorry if this causes you pain. Quite often, the realities of life are painful to us because they do not coincide with our misperception of reality. Yet they can serve as aids in teaching us to understand reality better.

You also say "I would think:
'We should never have any relationship with all this "Continuing" movement again.'"

I would hope that would not preclude you from further reading and commenting here.

Anonymous said...

"I would hope that would not preclude you from further reading and commenting here".

Of course not.
I just was trying to say that some things can be seen very different (and perhaps misunderstood) from a Roman perspective.

Yes, I'm the same Antonio.
And I DO pray for the continuing movement.
If there's any chance for something like "unity without absorption" I think it is with the "continuing" churches.

And thanks for the reply.

Albion Land said...


Ya me acuerdo. ¿Vives en Argentina, no?

Curiosamente, estaba mirando el sitemeter, y me di cuenta que alguien en Argentina habia visitado el blog varias veces en las últimas horas.

Gracias por tus oraciones, y Felices Pascuas.

Anonymous said...

I have read a lot of good sense in this posting and the comments. I too am a TAC priest, and recognise other Continuing Churches like the ACC to be less legitimate than our own.

People who are "not in the know" only understand things in very simple terms. Portraying the TAC as representing the whole of the Continuing Anglican Movement is incorrect and misleading, but enables outsiders to focus on the essential issue - not the difficulties within the movement - but the principle of getting Rome to accept a form of Anglicanism in communion with itself.

One thing I picked up from the video is that Rome advised Archbishop Hepworth to keep things simple and with as few bishops as possible. That would seem to indicate that there really is a dialogue rather than our being just towed along.

Yes, the cynics are sceptical and they will do what they believe to be right. We just need to carry on and remain serene.

I really would like to see all our Primates and Bishops get together, settle the differences and form one single Communion of Anglican Churches.

A blessed Holy Week to you all, and I too recommend some silence and serious prayer until after Easter.

Anonymous said...

Fr Wells, I've read other accounts of Abp Hepworth published on the web to the effect that he knows the difficulty of his own position vis-a-vis Rome, and fully intends to step back if any communion agreement is ever reached. I can't speak for him and do not presume to do so.

Albion, cultivate Bp Chislett a little. On his day, he could write a devotional piece to rival those of the excellent Fr Hart. But above all, keep up the good work. My limited experience of the Continuum is that ordinary laity tend to join the bit of it that happens to be where they are, and are quite happy to play with those from other bits. If the bishops of the St Louis Continuum see that we have no problem with each other, something wonderful might happen.

Albion Land said...


Thanks for your comment about Bishop Chislett. I have corresponded with him a couple of times, encouraging him to visit and share with us more often, but never received a reply.

If you know him, perhaps ...

Albion Land said...

Dear Reader,

Pointing out parallel conversation going on at All Too Common:

Anonymous said...

I have it on very good authority that Rome had quietly made it clear that nothing is going to happen between Rome and the TAC so long as +Hepworth is the TAC's representative in these matters. This is not so much because of his own background, as because of what rome regards of the embarassing and misleading statements that he has made in various public fora about just what the TAC is hoping for from Rome (an intercommunion agreement analogous to that of the Anglican/Old Catholic Bonn Agreement of 1931; an "Anglican Catholic 'Uniate' church; or a tertium quid?). There is also the fact of the deep and continuing alienation of the American ACA bishops (with the seeming exception of Bp. Campese) from +Hepworth and most of the non-American TAC bishops, in part over this very matter, and in part because of +Hepworth's preceived "railroading" of Abp. Falk into retirement as President of the ACA bishops' college and his desire that someone other than Bp. Langberg succeed him.

I also have it on very good authority that as far as Rome is concerned an "Anglican Catholic 'Uniate' church" is simply not on the table, but simply some sort of expansion of the Pastoral Provision to give it world-wide scope, whether in the form of a "Personal Prelature" (as with Opus Dei or the Fellowship of St. Peter) or as an "Apostolic Administration" (as with the Tridentine "Society of St. John Vianney" founded by the former Bishop of Campos in Brazil, Antonio de Castro Mayor, who was excommunicated along with Abp. Marcel Lefebre in 1988 for joining in the episcopal consecrations of three of Lefebre's priests of the "Society of St. Pius X." the former Bishop of Campos went on to found a Tridentinist counter-diocese in Campos to his successor; and before he died in 1991 he consecrated one of his priests to succeed him. In 1991 that successor reconciled with Rome and was made "apostolic administrator" of what to all intents and purposes was a Tridentinist Brazillian diocese.

The example of an "apostolic administration" had been viewed with great interest by Forward-in-Faith/UK; and Bishop Chislett had displayed interest in it as well.

Albion Land said...

Catholic Observer,

Can you elaborate on why, with respect to this issue, the majority of American bishops are at odds with ++Hepworth?

Anonymous said...

Because they think that he has misled from at least 2003 about his dealings with Rome, both in terms of whst he has said to Rome and what Rome has said to him; and they have come to the conclusion that his dealings with Rome have gone a good way to wrecking the realization of their aspirations rather than promoting them.

To give one example of an "obscurity" likely to be of some interest to Rome, this one form Hepworth's own CV, from what source did he obtain the annulment of his first marriage (the marriage that he made after being laicized by Rome in order to marry) in order to marry his present wife? Was it from a Austrialian Catholic marriage tribunal? Was it from the late Bishop Hazlewood of Ballarat, who rec'd him into the clergy of the Anglican Church of Australia? Nobody seems to know the answer to this, and it is quite remarkable that a cheerful "omnia bene" from the Anglican Catholic Church of Australia seems to have sufficed to allow his consecration as bishop to go forward in 1995 and his election as primate in 2002. I would wager that more than one Continuing Anglican bishop would rue this lacksadaisical attitude today.

Albion Land said...

Hi Fr Anthony,

Hope you are well.

You said the following:

"I have read a lot of good sense in this posting and the comments. I too am a TAC priest, and recognise other Continuing Churches like the ACC to be less legitimate than our own."

Knowing you as I do, and given what you say further down, I suspect you may have inadvertently dropped some words out in your comments on the legitimacy of other continuing churches.

Anonymous said...

¡¡¡¡Muchas gracias!!!!

Your Spanish is wonderful (I can not say the same about my poor English, but somehow I manage to express myself.
Yes I'm from Argentina. I think there is not a "traditional" Anglican communion here, and that Anglicanism is more conservative, but also more "Evangelical" (in the sense that it has not a "Catholic" ecclesiology).
¡Muy Felices Pascuas para vos y para todos "los tuyos"!

poetreader said...

I'm a member of ACA, thus of TAC, and thus of the Anglican Continuum. I am so out of deep conviction, having given up much of status and influence that I had in Evangelical Protestant circles before being inexorably drawn back to the Tradition. I am happy to be an Anglican, a Continuer, and an ACAer, but a thread like this one surely sets me to praying for a deep spiritual renovation in this part of the Catholic church.

My, don't we sound like a bunch of squabbling preschoolers, not just once in a while, but pretty consistently! Brethren, if we can't find some way to be at unity with one another, just what do we mean when we profess ONE Catholic and Apostolic Church? Antonio certainly raised a valid, and valuable point. The facile way we seem to accept all these divisions as natural and unavoidable is ugly indeed to anyone who has read St. John 17, the high priestly prayer. Branches in communion with one another, evidencing oneness more than difference - well, that is a lovely concept; but branches divided from one another? We should be in constant tears over the incredible ugliness and tragedy of such a thing. Instead of having anger and upset over each other's failing, why are we not reaching out to one another in His love? Why, if we recognize each other as Catholic Christians, are we not putting blood, sweat, and tears into solving and healing differences, rather than into dealing out the condemnations I hear so much of.

Brethren, if we are not united, with each other, with Rome, and with the EOC, we are desparately sick, and at an emergency level in our need for healing. Yes, there are differences in theology and in personality that need to be dealt with. Let's deal with them, and get the healing we need.

Ow! I really didn't mean to rant on so, but, on rereading it, I do think it all needed to be said.

Pray, brethren, that our sacrifce may be truly acceptable in the unity of the Church.


Laurence K Wells said...

Being opposed (or even sounding opposed) to Christian unity is much like speaking ill of Mom, the American flag, and apple pie. Everyone is for it, and there are many indeed who will trot out the same threadbare cliches in favor of it. It strikes me as highly ironic that the shallow appeal to John 17 tossed around amongst Continuers is reminiscent of the rhetoric hurled forth a generation ago by the Ecumaniacs of the World Council of Churches, or by Eugene Carson Blake in his infamous proposal which spawned COCU. One contribution above, citing John 17, might well have been written by the early advocates of COCU. Same cliches, different decade. I yawn.

When Continuers wax misty-eyed over reunion with the Holy See or EO, I always come back to a document which contains the language:
"The right of congregations to control of their temporalities should be firmly and constitutionally recognized and protected."

What that meant, when it was adopted at St Louis, was that parishes own their buildings and real estate independently, and no Dennis Canon or the like will ever take them from us.

Now there is very little in the Catechism of the Catholic Church I do not accept. But I do have a commitment to the Affirmation of St Louis, since I signed it within a week after it was written, and obtained many other signatures in the heady days after the thrilling Church Congress in 1977.

No matter how much doctrinal agreement we may achieve with the Holy See, our commitments regarding church temporalities are not likely to be acceptable to the American RC hierarchy. I cannot, in my wildest fantasies, conceive of any RC bishop or Vatican functionary, giving any degree of blessing to such a claim for the rights of congregations, governed by lay vestries, to own and control their property. And I cannot imagine any CC Vestry which would relinguish this claim. Our memories of litigious ECUSA prelates are too vivid.

We do not honor Christ when we discuss the governance of His Church in terms which are lacking in realism and common sense.

Anonymous said...

I am a young layman, who happens to be part of the TAC, but please don't take my word for anything without testing it.

A couple of comments:

Albion, you're concerned that S+L TV was portraying the continuing movement unfairly as being only the TAC. I wanted to clarify that the purpose of that episode of "Focus" was not to discuss the continuing movement at all. Its purpose was to discuss Anglican-Roman Catholic unity; the first part of the show (not online), discussed the current state of affairs between Rome and the Anglican Communion. Since other parts of the continuing movement are not quite as interested as the TAC is in unity with Rome (some are quite opposed to the idea), there really aren't a lot of people to talk to.

Secondly, in Canada, the ACCC is the continuing church. Neither the ACC-OP, nor the APCK, or any other group with roots in St. Louis has any presence in Canada, as far as I know. There are other traditional Anglicans, from the REC, and the Christian Episcopal Church, but they were earlier, and later developments respectively. The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, for its part, has always deeply regretted the disunity in the American church, and has, over the years, attempted to remain in communion with all American continuing churches. I know that our leaders want good relationships with both the ACC-OP and the APCK. At our recent episcopal consecration, it was mentioned that both +Haverland and +Morse had sent their regrets, as I remember.

So, to restate briefly: S+L was concerned primarily with the situation in Canada, being exclusively a Canadian channel, and was covering relations between Anglicans and Rome. They talked about us because we are seeking unity with the holy see, not because we are Continuing Anglicans.

Anonymous said...

Another brief comment, from the same young TAC layman:

Informal contact between the TAC and Rome began a long time before Archbishop Hepworth took over as primate. In the Affirmation of St. Louis, there is a specific statement that unity with Apostolic bodies is to be desired.

In the statement of faith written before his consecration as the first bishop of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, Fr. Carmino deCatanzaro wrote that he would work for the restoration of communion between his church and the ancient patriarchates, "both east and west". (He is still something of a legend in some Orthodox circles for his work as a translator, by the way.) I mention this by way of saying that from the beginning we have desired to be in full communion with all genuine orthodox churches, end of story. This has very little, if anything, to do with Archbishop Hepworth. It also has very little to do with Rome. It has everything to do with Christ's pray that we would all be one. That's all.

If we can be one with Rome, we will. If we can be one with other continuing bodies, we will. If we can be one with the Orthodox, we certainly will. Unfortunately, after years of effort, continuing Anglicanism is hopelessly divided. Even Orthodoxy is beginning to fragment. The Pope offers a focal point around which catholic minded Anglicans can rally, not just to be one with the Roman Church, but to have a truly unified Anglican Church. Unity with Rome is perhaps the one way to ensure that Anglican Catholics actually end up in full communion with each other!

Enough said for the moment; I will be back tomorrow, though.

Albion Land said...


A very hearty welcome to you as a commenter. I look forward to hearing much more from you in the future. (A small point of procedure here at The Continuum: we discourage people from posting anonymously. The reasons are twofold. The first is purely practical. If two, or more, people are posting as "anonymous," discussion can become confused. Secondly, it gives a greater sense of community to be speaking to a name and not a mask).

Your comments on the Salt + Light piece has put it in a different Light, if you'll pardon the pun. After a bit more research yesterday I discovered that Salt + Light is a Canadian outfit, so what you say makes perfect sense. As you say, in Canada, the TAC IS the continuing church.

I received a very gracious reply from David Naglieri, the writer and presenter of the TAC video, in which he expressed his "sincerest regrets for any misleading elements." He also said: "I was impressed by the faith and conviction of the TAC members and my main objective was to highlight their story and hopes for union with Rome."

poetreader said...

Mr. Wells,

Certainly there are matters, both doctrinal and practical that do peoduce division. They are thre. They are real. "Least common denominator" doesn't work - only truth does. The so-called 'ecumenical movement' and such strange phenomena as COCU refuse to recognize those realities, and therefore cannot result in true unity, and It seems a careless reading of what I wrote to tar me with that brush. However, you cannot ignore John 17. If that is our Lord's prayer, it must be very high in our thinking or we are ignoring Him. The differences are real, but instead of laboring to find truth, and to unite around real truth, we squabble and insist that our own findings are important enough to divide over. Maybe they are, or maybe we've misread. So long as there is division we need to be making the effort to find honest agreement, not to find ways to justify our separateness. So long as there are so many sects of continuing Anglicans, out of communion with one another, the validity of this movement to which I am so committed is placed inder serious question. If, on the other hand, recognizing differences we cannot presently overcome, we are seriously seeking to do so, on love and charity, if not in visible union, perhaps we really deserve to continue. \

I'm thoroghly disturbed by another implication in what you say. I most certainly agree that it is far better that local churches control their own property, than that property be centralized as it is in Rome and ECUSA, but where does it say in Scripture or in any part of Holy Tradition that property rights are a sufficient cause for disunity? What was it that Jesus said about God and Mammon? If that's the only reason not to be united with Rome, then not being so united becomes sin, plain and simple. I do happen to believe that there are other, distinctly theological issues that must be resilved, which is why I'm still Anglican.


Anonymous said...

It would seem a reasonable first step for those of us interested in union within the Continuum to begin meeting together--here as we are, and in person(hint, what about a national conference of continuing churchfolk?). A grassroots movement might steel our respective jurisdictions to get through the hard work of regularizing relations. And, if the people in the pews and pulpits can get along it goes a long way to sorting out canons and territory.

Laurence K Wells said...

Concerning John 17:20--21. These two veses have been the playground of Protestant ecumaniacs, and their rhetoric--being based more in sentimentality than in exegesis--has been thoughtlessly adopted by conservative Anglicans who should know better.

In these two verses Our Divine Lord offered no ordinary prayer but what has been called His "high priestly prayer" to the Father. Raymond Brown has interpreted the entire chapter (Jn 17) to be an Ordination prayer for the original Apostles. Since the One doing the praying is none other than the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, we must conclude that this petition "that they may all be one" has already in fact been granted. It would take a very weak Christology to assume that human sin, or ecclesiastical ruptures, can frustrate the Divine will, articulated in this prayer.
The unity prayed for here is the Spiritual unity of all who are engrafted into Christ as members of His mystical Body. That unity is already a fact. It is not up to us to achieve what God has already established. Granted, squabbles and schisms amongst Christians are a sinful contradiction of the unity which has already been accomplished. But as we endeavour to overcome those sins, let us not take ourselves too seriously. Unity is God's gift, His answer to His Son's prayer. It is for us to seek prayerfully how we may be obedient to that unity already granted.

Now to your second point:
" I most certainly agree that it is far better that local churches control their own property, ..."

It's nice that you agree, Poetreader, but we are not swapping opinions. As I tried to point out, this is a COMMITMENT which some of us made when we signed the Affirmation of St Louis. And you are right: we do have some real doctrinal issues with Rome still unresolved. But I am troubled that you seem to be dismissive of the Affirmation in what was a key point when it was written. Without that provision, the CC movement would never have gotten off the gound; it would have found zilch lay support.
May I submit that one obstacle to unity at present amongst the four principal Continuing Churches is very different levels of commitment to the Affirmation, as we see different attitudes toward the Neo-Anglicans with their priestesses and female deacons and surprisingly different attitudes of acceptance of the 79 liturgy and other modern rites.

Laurence K Wells said...

To assume (as Poetreader seems to assume) that the Father has not yet fulfilled what Jesus prayed for in John 17 throws the doctrine of the Trinity off kilter and moves drastically toward subordinationism.
No: Jesus prayed, the Father granted, unity is established. Let's not trivialize this wonderful text by turning it into a Protestant cliche.

Albion Land said...

And may I gently suggest to one and all, on this very holy day, that we try to speak in a gentler fashion.

Michael said...

Dear Laurence,

I'm afraid that I don't understand the point you are making about Jesus' High Priestly prayer. Jesus, when praying in the Garden, asking that if it were possible, that that cup would pass by him, prayed as the second person of the Trinity, yet in full submission to his father's will. Jesus had to drink of the cup. To suggest that the Father has not yet fully granted Jesus prayer for the unity of the church may be indicitive of many things, but it is not necessarily indicitive of a weak Christology.

It is well taken that unity is a gift from God. We can't take ourselves too seriously. Unity is already established in terms of spiritual communion. However, Christ established the church as a sacramental body - not disembodied spirit, but incarnate. In an eternal sense, Christ's prayer is fulfilled, just as the Kingdom has come. But we do not experience it now in its full force; we must wait patiently, and strive toward it (with full knowledge that we have no energy to work for it with, only the gift of Christ).

Even though God grants unity, and it exists even now in a spiritual, eternal sense, Jesus' prayer does establish a standard for our behaviour. In the Our Father, we pray "Thy will be done". Does this help God somehow? Does he need our permission? Of course not; rather, the prayer is for us, that our will would conform to that of Christ.

It is the will of God that the Chruch be one - and the Church is one already. But the Church must remember that she is one, and learn to actually behave as such, with the help of God.

(The previously annonymous young TAC layman)

Albion Land said...

Nice to meet you, Michael.