Monday, August 20, 2007

Non-Anglican Difficulties

Cardinal Newman 1873

Objections and answers

In May of 2005 I received a phone call from a former APCK bishop named Robert Waggener, who was associated with FiF at the time. He had been reading Fr. Al Kimmel’s Pontifications blog (they had been friends since the days when both of them were in the Episcopal Church), and he was very much in agreement with Fr. Kimmel that Anglicans reserved for themselves a personal right to “Private Judgment” that placed them outside of the Holy Catholic Church of the creeds. He asked me this question: “So, where do you think I should lead my people to get away from the problem of Private Judgment? Rome or Orthodoxy?” I replied: “What makes you think that Roman Catholics and the Orthodox indulge in Private Judgment less than anybody else?” He had no answer to this question. (I am glad that the pope is very sound in his beliefs; but how does that save an American Roman Catholic who is not?)

At the time of his call, the Pontifications blog was endorsing the idea that Episcopalians should flee their “church” (we agree) to either one of the two One True Churches, Rome or Orthodoxy- that is, when you get to the fork in the road, take it. Since that time Fr. Kimmel has become a Roman Catholic priest under the terms of the Pastoral Provisions (as my brother Addison had done several years earlier), and Bishop Waggener has become an Orthodox priest, having taken the name Alban. I have no disagreement with the direction taken by either man, and believe that we may trust that both of them were guided to their respective homes by the Holy Spirit. Of course, neither one can say the same about the other, since only an Anglican can rejoice equally for both men. Each of them believes that the other has missed the mark just enough to have settled for something less than the One True Church in all of its fullness.

We do not agree with that. We believe that both of them remain in the One True Church, the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church” of the Nicene/ Constantinopolitan Creed, which is the same as “the Holy Catholic Church” of the Apostle’s Creed, and that they profess “the Catholic Faith” as taught in the Creed of St. Athanasius (i.e., named after him), also called the Quicumque vult. We believe that without the sacraments that depend on the Apostolic Succession of bishops and the teaching of the True Faith, no one can claim to be in the Church as Christ himself founded it, but that with these things in place, no baptized and faithful Christian can be outside of that same Catholic and Apostolic Church. Therefore, we cannot say of ourselves, as traditional Catholic Anglicans, that we are not of the Body; and neither can they say to us that we do not belong to the Body (I Cor. 12: 15-22). Our Apostolic Succession, and our continuation of true Apostolic teaching, makes us a part of the same Church as the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, and to this Church belongs everyone who has been baptized into Christ, even though many are ignorant of the full truth of what the Church is.

Some among the Anglo-Catholics are not as bold to say this with the same degree of confidence as I. But, like the late Fr. Louis Tarsitano, I am an Anglican by conviction. I believe that it is a good option, and I recommend the Anglican Way as the best of all. That is why I have fought for the Faith against the heresies of the Episcopalians, and entered into this Anglican diaspora. It is why I carry on from here. I respect and love both Rome and Orthodoxy, but not to the point where I must decide between them, and not to the point where I have any perceived need to enter either communion.

Clarifications: Branch Theory

Two questions need to be answered by Traditional Catholic/Evangelical Classic Anglicans. First, we must answer for the “Branch Theory” and then we must answer the charge of “Private Judgment.”

The Branch Theory is error if by it we mean, or even imply, that Christ founded his Church to be divided into different jurisdictions without unity. But, this is not what we mean. The fact is the Church exists among many cultures and languages, and is meant to include people from “every kindred and tongue, people and nation (Rev. 5:9).” Therefore, it is meant to have within it divisions, since all of these cultures will have their differences as people; but these divisions are the Divisions of one army, all on the same side in the same war. However, due to original sin and its very real influence through the world, the flesh and the Devil, history has placed us within a Church that is One, but that has outward and apparent disunity. These facts do not actually divide the Church in the eyes of God, or destroy its spiritual unity. They do affect it politically, and create problems within the real world. A Branch Theory which teaches that a divine plan is the source of the apparent divisions, as organic and necessary to the Church, would be wrong. A Branch Theory, however, that simply acknowledges the reality on the ground of a Church rendered politically divided by history not of our own making, but that acknowledges the presence of the Holy Spirit within Christ’s Body the Church exactly as he has promised, is also a Branch Fact.

A man and wife are made into one flesh. This does not mean that they will get along with each other unless both of them make the effort with true commitment. Even if they obtain a divorce, they remain one flesh as long as they both shall live, since their unity through the fact of marriage is as close to indelible as mortality allows. Our unity is also a fact. Are we so arrogant as to imagine that Christ’s words “that they may be one, even as we are one (John 17: 22)” were His prayer to us. These are words spoken by a Person of the Trinity to a Person of the Trinity- the Son speaking to the Father. With those words, Christ was not in some dependent manner begging us to become one. He declared us to be one in fact, just as through human mouths he declares the couple to be one flesh as man and wife. If the man and wife set up separate houses these become facts on the ground, legal facts that indicate that the reality of original sin has had its effect on them through the world, the flesh and the Devil. It indicates their failure to get along. Neither of them can claim to be the one true spouse to the exclusion of the other.

The apparent and political divisions of the Church existed between the Roman Patriarch and the Orthodox Patriarchs long before the Church of England was jettisoned out (by excommunication) from Rome’s communion in the days of Queen Elizabeth I, for the “heresy” of not starting a civil war and murdering the monarch. Furthermore, in a given locality we may find the jurisdictions of more than one Orthodox bishop, and also of more than one bishop who answers to Rome. In the same place we find Catholic bishops who can be from any number of the Byzantine Catholic churches, usually keeping their distance from the local Roman (as in Latin Rite) bishop in order to avoid strife. In the same city we find Orthodox bishops who are OCA, Greek, Russian or Antiochene. Yet, add to this one Continuing Anglican bishop, and we are told that the man espouses a Branch theory, and so represents disorder. What is wrong with this picture? Can anyone blame us for not taking the objection seriously?

There is a branch fact, if not of divine making, nonetheless operating within God’s providence and economy.

The Myth of Private Judgment

The man we most associate with the charge that Anglicans reserve a right to “Private Judgement” is Cardinal Newman. When John Henry Newman converted to Roman Catholicism, he wrote quite a lot about his past affiliation, comparing the two. It would be wrong to say that he did not make valid criticisms that we can lay to heart, and it would be wrong to deny his brilliance (and the power of his prose). But, it would be wrong to conclude that his apologetics were self-evidently true. He rejected the Vincentian Canon, that we must hold to that which has been believed “always, everywhere and by all" (Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est) for the simple reason that Rome was headed in the direction that finally produced the novelty of "Papal Infallibility” in 1870 (a hitherto unknown doctrine, rejected in the official Catechisms of the Roman Catholic Church only a few years before). His theory of Doctrinal Development boils down to a simple formula. Christ’s promise that the Spirit of Truth would lead the Church into all truth (John 16:13), means that revelation itself may progress as perceived by the Roman Magisterium, and must be accepted as dogma. He would not have worded it that way; but, it is the reasonable definition both of his theory, and of the teaching of Vatican I.

Against this we say that the Church received the fullness of revelation from its earliest times, and all that has developed is the application of this revelation, and the need both for definition and clarification; and that these were the products of the Ecumenical Councils as they were, in fact, guided by the Spirit of Truth.

We do not claim that we have “no need” of that part of the Body that is called the Magisterium in Rome; indeed, we respect the Petrine See, especially in their boldness and sense of pastoral responsibility when they take on the ethical challenges of the modern world with diligence to produce clarity in all issues of morality; no small consideration in practical pastoral theology. They are part of the Body, and this moral teaching authority may be one of their gifts from the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, in their work they apply the clear teaching of scripture to the matters at hand, a tool available to all of us. Does this really fit Newman’s theory of Doctrinal Development? They could not depend on his theory anyway, since it was never accepted as the official teaching of their communion, which prefers to base its papal claims on what they perceive to be in the Bible and in a consistent Tradition of the Church from earliest times (claims that the Orthodox Patriarchs rejected long before the sixteenth century).

So then, what of Private Judgment? St. Paul taught “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (Rom. 14:5)” about less than essential issues. And yet, how can we imagine that he did not have a double edged intention in the use of these words? Consider that faith in the word of God must reach a level by which we so truly believe the doctrine of Christ, that we are “fully persuaded” just St. Justin Martyr was. Before his death, the saint was asked by the magistrate, “do you suppose that [if you die for your Christ] you will be granted some recompense of reward?” Saint Justin replied: “I do not suppose it. I know, and am fully persuaded of it.” And so, he yielded his life in service to the Lord. This is the level our faith must reach. If we allow ourselves a right to Private Judgment we can never be the stuff of which martyrs are made. And, frankly, that is the stuff that must be the substance of a Christian. Our own judgment must yield to the teaching authority of the Church so that we hear the Spirit of Truth; not our interpretation of scripture, but "that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all." And thus, by His grace we become so fully persuaded that His truth becomes the very fabric of our thinking.

Can an Anglican do this? Of course he can. We do not rely on private opinions any more than our Eastern Rite Catholic, Roman Catholic and Orthodox friends. And, sadly, many of them do not rely on private opinions any less than the same Episcopalians for whose escape and salvation we earnestly pray. We mortify our Private Judgment with the weapons of Scripture, and the Right Reason of The Church (or Tradition)- on the whole quite sufficient. Yielding to these as our authority is not "private judgment." It requires that we say credo to what God has revealed, and that we live by it.


Anonymous said...

Love it, love it, love it, love it . . . Can't wait for the next instalment.

Warwickensis said...

Fr. Hart, you never cease to be thought provoking and eloquent inthese difficult areas of our faith. Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

Father Hart, in case you need prompting towards further topics, permit me to suggest a couple with which I frequently need to grapple:

1. Anglicanism has no authority; and
2. The Anglican Experiment has failed.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

The claim that Anglicans cannot be true Catholics and must rely on private judgement, unlike either the members of the RC or EO Churches, is based on a relatively simple argument:

1. Without a clearly recognisable, always-accessible Extraordinary Magisterial capacity, i.e., either access to an infallible chief bishop (the Pope) or an Ecumenical Council, the Catholic Church could not provide its members with assured doctrine, such dogmatic authority being a strictly essential feature of the Catholic Church.

2. Because Anglican Catholics do not think either the EO or RC Churches individually may now be identified as co-extensive with the Church (nor may their own jurisdictions), they deny anyone can have access to anything that could be recognised correctly as an assuredly Ecumenical Council. (Nor do Anglicans accept papal infallibility as providing such present-day assurance.)

3. Therefore, Anglicans deny an essential feature of the Catholic Church belongs to it in reality in the present. (1 & 2)

4. To deny that the Church has a feature essential to its Catholic identity is to deny Catholic ecclesiology.

5. Therfore, Anglicans are not Catholics. (3 & 4)

6. Also, without the assurance of Catholic dogmatic authority as a contemporaneous reality, Christians must rely on private judgement.

7. Therefore, Anglicans rely on private judgement. (1 & 6)

The problem with the argument begins at 1. (If 1 is an oversimplification, then the whole argument loses its foundation and falls apart.) In fact, the Church beat off a number of heresies over hundreds of years before either any Ecumenical Councils or papal pronouncements generally recognised at the time as having absolute or final authority. The general realisation of what actually was the consensual teaching of the bishops and the faith of the laity, and the actions of local Councils (whose decisions were gradually received more and more widely), often had to do the job of protecting orthodoxy both before and after Nicea. The Eastern Orthodox believe they could hold something equivalent to an Ecumenical Council even now, but they have maintained the Faith quite successfully, as even Rome acknowledges, for many centuries without them. In other words, the Ordinary Magisterium both can do and has done "extraordinarily" well! :-)

And it this consensual Ordinary Magisterium to which Anglicans appeal. We just think the range of membership in the Magisterium is wider than most RCs and EO do. This affects what can be seen as truly consensual and thus utterly authoritative, but not as much as one might think. Why? Because we tend to see apparently non-consensual areas between E and W as probably or certainly reconcilable if there is sufficiently charitable mutual interpretation, and analysis that treats the detailed qualifications by each side of their position with enough seriousness.

Anonymous said...

Father Hart, this is a very important article. I appreciate your acknowledgment of the Roman Church's (if in word more than deed) dogmatic commitment to traditional morality. Unfortunately, the Eastern Church's have little to recommend them--they still won't abide by the 7th Ecumenical Council's condemnation of iconoclasm.

Where it has been the underlying if not always overt intent to continue the original sacramental ministry of Christ's Church, the three distinct "branches" are One.

I only wish that continuing Anglicanism would make a concerted effort at being One. This is most pronounced in the liturgy of the Mass/Holy Communion. One parish uses the BCP, with the "Gloria in excelsis" after a three-fold "Lord have mercy;" another parish uses the Anglican or American Missal with the "Gloria" in extremis; another throws in the Jewish table blessing from the Novus Ordo Missae or a three year lectionary.... The point being, none of them simply FOLLOW THE BOOK. Given 100 different parishes, no two will say Mass the same way. And because of this, though the clergymen may all more or less agree on doctrine, the laity are not being instructed (during this greatest of prayers) how to pray as the Church has always prayed everywhere.

I’m not questioning the validity of the Sacrament, but rather my beef is unity of liturgical practice which cultivates orthodox belief and good Church manners. I believe that every priest should say Mass the same as every other priest. Anglicanism has no uniformity of prayer: either they should use the BCP, and nothing but the BCP, or they use the Missal and nothing but the Missal (without the BCP insertions). This would give them liturgical purity (no question as to intent or orderliness) and there would be obvious external unity--no more personality cults.

I recently was told by a priest that members of the congregation he was ministering to commented that they preferred the way a predecessor of his said the 'comfortable words.' That priest would, "deliberately remove his eye-glasses and twist up his face sympathetically" during this portion of the service. I don't see where this type of clownishness belongs in the Mass; and I certainly don't recall mention of it in the rubrics.

It seems to me that most, if not all, continuing Anglican bishops are more concerned with superficially keeping congregations together at the expense of liturgical unity and discipline, for fear of offending someone's personal taste. I think it would show unity and strength if continuing Anglicans would decide to say Mass the same way, in a way that is identifiably traditional.

Concerning outward unity with the Roman Church, the English Missal is the best choice for Anglicans. It is being rumored that the "Anglican Use" Roman parishes, in light of the Moto proprio, are agitating for use of the 1958 English Missal. Wouldn't it be wonderful if continuing Anglicans unified around this same Traditional liturgy and every priest started to follow all the rubrics?

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

rev'd up,

Re: the Eastern Church and iconoclasm -- What are you talking about? Have there been some Eastern Orthodox icon smashings recently I missed?

Re: liturgical uniformity -- turning non-essential traditions into legalistic requirements is what Jesus condemned. And the uniformity you want is not seen in the RCC either. As for the EO priests, they too are not into ritual fussiness or rigidity. Indeed, they see the old Western obsession with liturgical perfection of detail as unhealthy. Majoring on minors is seldom the answer.

Decency and order, yes. Almost mechanised, scrupulous and exact uniformity, not necessarily.

poetreader said...

I think Rev'd Up is laboring under the misreading of the 7th Council that I've also heard from some RCs, the idea that that Council put its seal upon the use of three-dimensional images. To the contrary, a strict reading of it, while endorsing the two-dimensional icon, would seem to be a bit (or more than a bit) disapproving of statues. The East has always read it that way. The West, which did participate in and accept that Council, however, has never read it that way, feeling that statues remained permissible, and the difference emerged. To differ over what form of image is permissible is most certainly not the same as to disapprove of images.

on liturgical uniformity: Back in the Latin days I used to visit a variety of RC churches. Though they used the same book and followed the same rubrics, there was enormous variety in how the Mass was actually done, and, more significantly, in how it felt. The Irish, Lithuanian, French, and German parishes were so very distinct from one another that some of my narrower-minded RC friends were acutely uncomfortable in the 'wrong' church.

A military drill concept of uniformity is, to my mind, an abhorrent thing. I can go from one Anglican Church to another and know that I am home, even with the differences Rev'd Up has mentioned.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Kirky said:

"[T]urning non-essential traditions into legalistic requirements is what Jesus condemned."

Wow! Thank you for that insight. I had previously thought that what Jesus condemned was the "traditions of the elders" which via Pharisee-ism emerged in the 7-8th centuries as Babylonian Talmudic Judaism which was totally contrary to the Mosaic Law of the OT. Thanks for the info.

Are you saying, Father, that Aaronic priests were permitted to change the rituals that God taught to Moses and Moses then taught to Aaron? Isn't the Old Testament full of condemnation and judgment against such abuses/presumptions? What about Korah's rebellion in Numbers xvi?

Should the continuing Anglican ritual book simply read: "If it feels good and looks precious--do it." In my opinion the less traditional it is the more “fussy” is looks.
Ed, I have no problem with there being variety, just within the traditionally prescribed parameters. If two priests say all the prayers, gesture in the prescribed manner and don't intentionally ignore the rubrics there is nevertheless going to be variety--no two men will look or sound exactly the same (nor will they be the exact same height!). And no two priests will say the words of institution exactly the same nor exactly as Jesus said them. Variety is not my gripe. It's variety that is NOT traditional or rubrical that I am revolted by.

Who gave continuing Anglicans (or Novus Ordo Romans/modern EO'ers) permission to change the BCP service or to play around with the Missal?

I'm advocating a standard to be striven for: conformity to known Catholic standards.

Anonymous said...

Thank you father for an incredibly well-written, charitable piece. I hope that more read it and take it to heart. It's excellent.

Warwickensis said...

It is necessary for us to ensure that we never regard the Eucharist as a push-button Mass, or as some kind of utterance of a magic spell: Say the prayers in the right way, or else the magic doesn't happen; forget a genuflection and the little light that says 'VALID' doesn't come on.

Actually, I do sympathise with him, especially in my parish in which the priest uses any old liturgy he can get his hands on, gets distracted by peripheral events and does nothing to promote the meanings of the rubrics. The consequence is that we have a parish that says Mass in a seemingly insincere manner. Any focus on God is brought right back into a focus on the congregation by the various distractions from how the mass should be said.

However, a Mass that for one reason or another does not precisely follow the rubrics does not make it invalid. Yes, there should be high standards for saying Mass, and any priest with an iota of a desire for God and a will do his utmost to ensure that the Mass is offered to the best of his ability and to the fulness of the Catholic Faith. We, the laity, need to be able to trust our priest to say the Mass in a way that will make our sacrifice acceptable. I don't trust my priest at all, but I trust that the Mass is valid, not by the rotten liturgy used, but by the grace of God.

If any deviation from the Rubrics "revolt"s you, Rev'd Up, (which seems a highly reactionary, and possibly immature word to use: would saying the Gloria at a slightly different place really cause you to reach for a sick-bag?) then you should do what I do at the Masses in my parish which leave me deeply uncomfortable. I try to pray, and look for God even in the imperfections. I try to seek Him. Often I fail, and come out of Mass feeling spiritually drained and battered, but at least I've tried to do something. I also regularly petition my parish priest to do something about it, but in all conscience I would believe it entirely unchristian of me to force him to say the Mass in a way that I would deem proper, even if that propriety were defined by the rubrics.

Rev'd Up, you've made comments here and elsewhere on this sight which have been sarcastic, inflammatory, and deliberately offensive. This is entirely symptomatic of a soul who has been deeply hurt by the goings on in the Anglican Church, and I can entirely sympathise as can the majority of readers to this blog.

However, the only way we can deal with this is to conduct ourselves in a manner which is geared at constructive criticism, rather than destructive sarcasm, by looking for things that bind rather than drive us apart.

Sure, if every priest said every Mass adhering strictly to the rubrics that would be a force for unity, but it would be unity at a purely perfunctory and dehumanising level.

Please, calm down, and put some trust in the authors of this blog. They are sincere and learned folk, they aren't out to destroy, or to lead into heresy unlike some Bishops. It's fine to disgree, but please know that we are on the same side here. We are all for following the Lord Jesus Christ according to the Catholic Faith that He engendered.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I wonder......has anyone actually read all the lectures of Newman in Anglican Difficulties? Lecture 12 was the one that gave me no end of despair after reading it.

This was a good article father hart. Could you please deal with lecture 12 of Newman's? That lecture was, I think, the summery of his entire position.

Can anyone answer it? I would love the help.


Anonymous said...

"Rev'd Up, you've made comments here and elsewhere on this sight which have been sarcastic, inflammatory, and deliberately offensive. This is entirely symptomatic of a soul who has been deeply hurt by the goings on in the Anglican Church, and I can entirely sympathise as can the majority of readers to this blog.

However, the only way we can deal with this is to conduct ourselves in a manner which is geared at constructive criticism, rather than destructive sarcasm, by looking for things that bind rather than drive us apart."

Well said.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


To begin with, Lecture 12 is based on a false method of history. For example, it argues that if the Via Media principle had existed in the days of Arianism, the Church would have been semi-Arian. There is no "if" in history, which deals with fact. One fact, by the way, is that the Anglican position is Nicene, and we have the Creed in our BCP. So, the argument is as moot as moot can be. In fact, it is a straw man.

The Via Media idea was best explained (not by that name) by St. John Chrysostom in Six Little Books on the Priesthood, wherein he warns that when we teach against one error we must be careful not to seem to endorse its opposite. The paradigm for Via Media is modern (as the term is used in the science of History). Both Protestants and Roman Catholics have been in "equal and opposite reaction" mode for five hundred years, and both have been throwing out babies with bathwater, and then creating innovations to fill the holes in their reasoning. We affirm the truth we find and reject the errors we find. This Via media is the only true position between genuine Christians who, neither of them, are holding to a pure expression of the Faith. The only reason to be Anglican is to reject innovation, be it Roman or Protestant.

He cites the names of specific writers, e.g. Jeremy Taylor (among others) for a less than submissive approach to the first Council of Nicea. He ignores the formularies of the Church of England which specifically teach us to embrace the Council, as the Articles do with clarity. He accuses us of denying five of the sacraments, which is a misreading of the Articles too.

Mentioning the names of individuals who expressed their opinions is an old trick, and one I addressed before. See "Deviants and Formularies" from April 2006:

Do you have a specific question, or has this helped you? Have I left something untouched that you need an answer to? let me know.

Carlos said...

I forget the exact passage or essay that disheartened me most, but it was when Newman (perhaps it was Chesterton) said that the Anglican Church is not catholic, as the doctrines and dogmas of the catholic faith must be accepted by the whole church. It bothered me a lot, especially since I was very much depressed about the state of the Anglican Communion (that faith is now rapidly diminishing) and its relation to Rome. I was so depressed by Newman that I really began to doubt whether Anglican Catholicism was a valid expression of catholic faith (at least within the Communion). I also began thinking about going back to Rome at the time, but it was with a heavy resignation (The situation within the Anglican Communion was leaving me more and more estranged and I was also suffering from Depression at the time) that I approached this thought for the first time with real seriousness. I decided to talk with a Pentecostal friend of mine who suggested I give this some time, and that I pray about it.

At this time I began reading what I could online and at the library about Anglo-Catholicism and the Continuing Churches of Saint Louis. The thing was I believed Newman, since he seemed so committed and sincere to reforming the Anglican Church, and it seemed to me that he only left because of the animosity he had acquired from his protestant peers.

By this time my friend who had just converted from Presbyterianism to Roman Catholicism over the course of the year, had through our talks brought me back squarely in the catholic fold. I had believed the notion of "Via Media" before, as sound and noble, but more and more I saw it merely as a compromise to keep order between the rift in Protestant and Catholic understanding of faith and grace. Anyway, through this tough time I prayed and prayed. Then one day, as I was walking out of the library and on my way to class, I was listening to music on my ipod and thinking about what it meant to be catholic (saint Vincent, ecumenical councils and so on). But the most reassuring to me was this letter (that I can no longer find online for the life of me) that C.S. Lewis wrote to Tolkien or another Catholic friend that said something to the effect of "Though we both believe the same faith, it pains me to say you walk a path that I cannot follow."

Anyway, I was almost to class when, for some reason I looked up to the tree line and there, in front of me, was a sight for sore eyes. This tree that from where I was standing, had almost three evenly displaced main branches that moved upward from a single trunk. It really moved me and brought a few tears, and confirmed for me as a reassurance from God that what I had been approaching cautiously and unsurely in thought was indeed true. And ever since then I’ve felt that Anglo Catholicism is a body in the holy Catholic Church.

The difficulty I have now is with cohesiveness and unity... With several different jurisdictions refusing to unite despite affirmations of theological communion, each has a personal grudge against another's episcopate, or cannot be in communion with another that is in communion with another jurisdiction that is not "catholic enough" and so on. It makes it difficult for me to readily join a Continuing Church in its present state. This had led me to recent flirtations with Orthodoxy. Nevertheless I do admire the Continuing Churches and I truly believe they are Catholic Christians.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The problem of disunity within a given Communion is a problem faced by Rome and Orthodoxy too. In a given city you find all the Orthodox denominations (a word some of them use in this way). And, if you talk to a Byzantine Catholic from any of those several jurisdictions, you will eventually come across their complaints about the treatment they receive from the Roman Catholic diocese in the same area (i.e. Latin Rite). This is just original sin doing its damndest- but the gates of Hell are not prevailing against the Church, even when things seem otherwise.

Anonymous said...

My own reading of the Oxford fathers is shamefully light on (something else to do when I retire), but I do wonder whether those Anglicans who plunge into Newman (and thence often into the Tiber) have actually taken anywhere near as much trouble to read any Keble or any Pusey. What is it with the apostate Newman? Why the fascination? Is it the 'Cardinal' tag that attracts?

Carlos said...

I have read a few of Keble's tracts but nothing of great length and I checked out a biography on Pusey's but I never got around to reading it. I am told though, Richard William Church writes a very honest account of the Oxford movement and the figures involved in it. This too I have been meaning to read through.

Warwickensis said...

I think we do have to read Newman in the context of his disillusionment from the Anglican Church. It's terribly easy to convince yourself intellectually that you're in the wrong church when you are being personally attacked, hounded and derided as Newman was and was until the end of his life.

That may be the 'tag' which inspires people to read Newman rather than Keble or Pusey, which is a shame. Newman of course is also the more prolific Tractarian.

Speaking as an Anglo-Papalist, Newman for me represents the Anglican Church being drawn into unity with the Holy See, since his writing and reasoning remained Anglican after his conversion. I don't see his conversion as making him an Apostate, but rather as an aspiration for what he wanted to happen. As it was, his writings were not taken very well by the RCC, and he always was regarded with suspicion. If we identify someone with our plight, then it's harder to recognise the flaws in their reasoning.

The idea of the Continuum did not exist for Newman, and, though I hate what-ifs, one might wonder what would have happened if it did, or if the non-Jurors were still going.

However, you are quite right, Sandra. Anglo-Catholics do need to read as many of the Oxford Fathers as they can, and I'm as guilty as the next AC for not being as well read in Pusey, Keble, Froude, and Neale. Come to think of it, I'm not even very well read in Newman!

Anyone fancy publishing a compendium of Anglo-Catholic writings?

Anonymous said...

Warwickensis said:
"Say the prayers in the right way, or else the magic doesn't happen; forget a genuflection and the little light that says 'VALID' doesn't come on."

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your comment, but your statement if directed at me is insulting. I never said or implied in-validity of Sacraments if the proper form is not followed. That would come under the topic of: "valid but dis-ordered"--I am no "hocus pocus" protestant.

I do sympathize with your suffering through less than orderly Masses. It can be very vexing and, yes, revolting when a priest, because of ignorance, lack of preparation or a theatrical bent, is an impediment to his congregation's worship. God have mercy on the priest who causes his congregation to stumble because of his lack of preparation, thespianism or willful ignorance of the liturgy. Which reiterates my point: conformity to known Catholic standards. Either follow the BCP or follow the Missal--no more mix-and-match. I fail to see how perfucntory adherance to standards "de-humanizes" the priest. Did the rubrics develope purely by accident or by the promptings of the Holy Ghost? I would answer: the Holy Ghost. And I believe that this makes them obligatory within their given rite.

Please, give me an example of my destructive sarcasm? I would guess most, if not all, Anglicans (continuing or otherwise) realize the perilous situation their "branch" of Catholicism is facing. They become less of a branch than a twig or a splinter, it seems, as time goes by. I am of the opinion, that a return to uniformity of worship would give Anglicans something to rally around. As Carlos affectively laments, there is no cohesion, no unity.

As we pray, so will we believe. So if we all pray the same way, it makes sense that we will begin to believe the same things. We have to PRACTICE religion similarly to have organizational unity; just as an athlete practices to perferct his efficiency. What do continuing Anglicans rally to? Nothing at present. The BCP is the closest thing to a rally banner, but only a handfull of parishes actually use only the BCP. I have read Dr. Toon making similar points as I am making though I differ from him in that I prefer the English Missal to the 1662 BCP (a great book); because it draws Anglicanism closer to the standard of Western Catholicism.

John A. Hollister said...

Carlos described how a three-branched tree helped him resolve his confusion about Anglicanism vs. Rome vs. Eastern Orthodoxy. Then he observed,

"With several different [Continuing Anglican] jurisdictions refusing to unite despite affirmations of theological communion ... it [is] difficult for me to readily join a Continuing Church in its present state. This had led me to recent flirtations with Orthodoxy. Nevertheless I do admire the Continuing Churches and I truly believe they are Catholic Christians."

(1) It is precisely the recent declarations of "theological communion" among some of the principle Continuing Anglican bodies that offer the hope that, within a reasonable time, greater institutional unity will follow.

(2) The Eastern Orthodox have their own problems of division and disunity. The Greek Orthodox often seem to take the position that they are somehow "purer" or "more Orthodox" than the other jurisdictions; certain E.O. jurisdictions of Middle Eastern origin are looked down upon by other E.O.s because they have chosen to harbor "Western Rite Orthodox" within their boundaries and "Western" cannot be truly "Orthodox", and so on.

(3) Similar things happen among the Romans, as Fr. Hart noted. Have you every encountered a Carpatho-Russian parish of the Eastern Orthodox? There's one a couple of miles from my house, and it's right across the street from another parish that's marked "Romanian Orthodox" (but is actually OCA....)

Interestingly, the title page on the prayer books in the pews at this parish is imprinted "The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church" or something very similar to that. Now directly under the OEcumenical Patriarch in Constantiople, seventy-some years ago, these Carpatho-Russians were Eastern Rite Catholics (i.e., Roman "Uniates"). However, at least in North America their married parish clergy embarassed the Irish and Italian hierarchy of Rome's "Latin" Rite who could not explain to their parishioners why Father Dimitri down the street had a wife and children.

So their response, instead of being to teach their people that the Roman Catholic Church is a federation of 22 separate "churches 'sui juris'", was akin to that of the "Big Three" automakers in the 1960s and 1970s, when Volkswagen started making inroads on their new car sales.

Detroit sought import quotas on European cars; the Roman Curia, in complete violation of the assurances given the various "Uniate" bodies when they united with Rome, attempted to deprive them of their married clergy. The ones who submitted to this violation of their rights remained as "Byzantine Catholics"; the ones who refused to submit left Rome and rejoined the Eastern Orthodox.

So inter-group tensions exist in each of the three "Branches". For some reason, they're just more visible among Anglicans.

John A. Hollister+

Warwickensis said...

Rev'd Up

A) "Wow! Thank you for that insight. I had previously thought that what Jesus condemned was the "traditions of the elders" which via Pharisee-ism emerged in the 7-8th centuries as Babylonian Talmudic Judaism which was totally contrary to the Mosaic Law of the OT. Thanks for the info."

B)"Say the prayers in the right way, or else the magic doesn't happen; forget a genuflection and the little light that says 'VALID' doesn't come on."

If it is possible for B) to be read as insulting, then it is also possible for A) to be read as desructive sarcasm.

Though this really isn't a place for such quibbles, and I apologise to the editors for treating it so.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I would like to keep us on track with the subject at hand. I wrote this piece because I am tired of finding out that Anglicans have been duped into thinking that their position has no merit, and that somehow the confusing strawman arguments of Cardinal Newman prove something, which they simply don't, when evaluated in the clear light of day.

Warwickensis wrote:
Anyone fancy publishing a compendium of Anglo-Catholic writings?

It is a scandal that most of our greatest works are out of print. I am glad that Francis Hall's Dogmatic Theology series is back in print. But, so much more needs to be reprinted. I will say, however, that you can glean quite a lot from the Project Canterbury website. I recommend it for reading- though more books would be preferable.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that you continuing Anglicans are so singularly focused on Newman? Are you oblivious to all the other great converts to Catholicism? Are their reasons for converting all illegitimate as well? It seems to be just one more indication of your collective state of delusion, that so many great converts - particularly those from Anglicanism - are viewed as credible right up until their conversions, when they suddenly go barking mad.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Rod Treat

Your comment, by the way, is a perfect example of Bulverism.

I have never criticized Cardinal Newman for his conversion. But, his criticisms of Anglicanism itself are fair game. Since he put forward arguments it is quite reasonable to refute them. However, it is the converts to Roman Catholicism who have consistently held his writings up as if they are above criticism, and have mistakenly taken them as the position of Rome itself.

You wrote:
It seems to be just one more indication of your collective state of delusion...

A true example of the mentoring of Bishop Frederick Morrison. I do not blame you for coming to this ridiculous conclusion about us, knowing from whom you have been instructed.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

rev'd up,

The problem with your response to my criticism is that the Missal rubrics, unlike the instructions of the Torah regarding Temple worship, are not of divine institution. They are ecclesiastical rules -- HUMAN traditions only, and are to be interpreted according to the living tradition (of their accepted implementation) in those Churches authorising the relevant rites.

In Continuing Churches that effectively means that Missal rubrics are implemented with discretion and acceptance of BCP-style simplification. Especially since the Anglican Missal, for example, has a number of statements showing that such discretion and variation is simply assumed.

Warwickensis said...

Absolutely Fr.Kirby.

We also have Article xxxiv:

"It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one or utterly alike; for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's word. Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying."

Anonymous said...

Why is the word 'convert' and not 'transfer'? If you go to Rome, do you really have to accept that you've never been Christian before?

Anonymous said...

Father Hart,

You still didn't answer my question. And I would say that many of your comments are perfect examples of Bulverism (yes, I've read C.S. Lewis in God in the Dock) or just flat out B.S..

Also, my opinions are not derived from the mentoring of Morrison. His reaction to the conversion of his two former deacons has been very similar in tone to the condescending, intellectually arrogant, and duplicitous dodges you engage in all the time.

Now that you got your little shot in Father, you can whine that I'm not playing nice (by having the nerve to respond in kind) and rise above it all by calling for a return to a more charitable discourse. How very English of you.

Anonymous said...

Ms. McColl,

Are you really that ignorant of Rome? Sadly, your question is indicative of an all too common Anglican mindset. You have apparently embraced the Anglican tradition and rejected the Catholic tradition without making any effort to educate yourself about the Catholic Church.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...


I have addressed on this blog the standard arguments against Anglican Catholicism by Roman apologists. See: [this article originally appeared in three parts on our blog]

Hope these help.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting Father Hart, that I'm indulging in Bulversism because I site the many great converts to Catholicism as being among the influences which led to my conversion? If so, I would take that to mean that you have been influenced by no one at all in coming to your theological and doctrinal positions. We are then, in the presence of true greatness, of incomparable brilliance. Only a man of unique and unprecedented insight and intelligence could come to such understanding and wisdom utterly independent of the influence of the Church Fathers, all the great theologians, all the great apologists. Oh, but then you did pull from Professor Lewis in using the term “Bulverism.” I'm sorry – I'm confused.

Ken said...

Ya'll can find a devastating critique of Cdl. Newman's [i]Development of Doctrine[/i] on the Orestes Brownson Society website.

Of course, Brownson was an American Roman Catholic apologist and contemporary of Cdl. Newman. Brownson's argument is that Newman redefined the word "doctrine" so as to make his theory of development work.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Rod Treat:

If so, I would take that to mean that you have been influenced by no one at all in coming to your theological and doctrinal positions. We are then, in the presence of true greatness, of incomparable brilliance. Only a man of unique and unprecedented insight and intelligence could come to such understanding and wisdom utterly independent of the influence of the Church Fathers, all the great theologians, all the great apologists.

I have been reading the Bible, the great theologians and the Fathers since 1973, at which time I wonder if you had been yet been born. Sorry to tell you, despite your apparent presumption to the contrary, such an education does not always lead on an inevitable course to Rome.

You are still engaging in Bulverism, and I have never done so. I have refuted arguments made by Newman, and you have replied with ad hominem attacks on me, and insults against all orthodox Anglicans everywhere. You have yet to make one actual point.

The fact is, you simply have to accept the fact that every argument is fair game, no matter how much you revere its author. I could respond to your list of respectable converts with the names of great Anglican theologians and writers who never jumped into the Tiber. But, none of that would be a substantial argument.

(As far as Bp. Morrison is concerned, I consider your delusion about the mind of Anglicans to be the direct result of his inability to teach an Anglican position properly.)

If you think my direct approach to your objections is uncharitable, then accept my apologies. But, it is not the case really. But, your insulting reply to Sandra McColl (seems like you are more of a disciple of +Morrison than you want to admit) was unacceptable behavior. Furthermore, she was not uttering ignorance,but a valid objection to Rome's arrogant and erroneous "One True Church" theory. We reject your new denomination's claim, and believe in the Catholic Church of the Creeds.

poetreader said...

Mr. Treat,

We on this board are more than happy to discuss issues. The issues raised and opinions expressed by great men such as Newman, and Pusey, and Keble, and many others who differ one with another are all of great interest to us. If you would condescend to discuss these and similar issues, your disagreement would be very welcome here, but I haven't seen you to do that yet. Sarcastic attacks on individuals and the venting of anger add nothing whatever to our discussions. I would here answer your points (or attempt to do so), if I could find any to answer. Perhaps my thinking might even change as a result. It has happened before. However, search as I may, I cannot find a single matter to discuss in your posts. If our response may sometimes seem overly sharp, friend, remember this, that you have done everything in your power to provoke such a response. It would be better if we did not answer in kind, but, if we do, you have no valid complaint.


Anonymous said...

Father Hart,

Are you seriously suggesting that the Catholic Church's position on those coming into the Church from other traditions is referred to as "conversion" because they supposedly hold the view that only those within the Church are truly Christian? That's precisely what I thought Ms. McColl meant and if she did, my comments were not out of line. Such a statement can only be described accurately as ignorant.

Also, your sad attempt to insult me by suggesting that I'm young, naive, or uneducated is exactly what I would expect from you. I happen to be approaching my 41st birthday, so I was alive and kicking in 1973. What is your educational background? You seem to think you're qualified to speak authoritatively on all matters theological and doctrinal and that you can effortlessly dispatch all comers who would attempt to defend Rome. If only I had been able to sit at the feet of a great teacher of the faith such as yourself.

I've never suggested that a thorough reading of Holy Scripture, the Church Fathers, and the great theologians leads one inevitably to the Catholic Church. But implicit in many of your ramblings is the notion that such reading leads inevitably to Anglicanism, the "thinking man's" tradition.

What you're really all upset about is that someone has had the temerity to interrupt your little mutual admiration society where you can stroke each other's egos and reassure one another that you really, really are part of some Anglican diaspora that will someday fulfill the true potential of Anglicanism. I'll leave you to it. We all must come to our realizations that the whole Anglican or Anglo-catholic (or whatever the heck you want to call it) experiment has been a miserable failure from the very beginning and that a church founded on English nationalism and greed and forever corrupted by its origins will never, ever be what you all seem to think it can be.

Anonymous said...

I meant to add that it has been fun stirring you all up. You all thrive on disagreement. It's what Anglicanism is all about after all! You really shouldn't take this blog thing so seriously.

Albion Land said...

Dear Rod,

This is the first time I have had occasion to speak with you. Welcome.

In case you haven't got round to reading the masthead of this blog, let me point it out to you. I created the blog nearly two years ago as "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."

That is still the purpose of the blog. You are most welcome here, but you must recognise who we are and participate accordingly.

You speak of a "little mutual admiration society where you can stroke each other's egos and reassure one another that you really, really are part of some Anglican diaspora that will someday fulfill the true potential of Anglicanism."

You have obviously not been reading this blog for very long if that is the characterisation you would give it. You won't find much ego stroking here.

What you will find is myself and my three co-hosts committed to doing whatever small thing we can to advance the Kingdom of God, remaining true to our understanding of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. There is no exclusivism here, there is no triumphalism, but a sincere desire that we may all be one in our faith in and practice of the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

Mr Treat, although I don't really understand why I am dignifying your comment with a reply, no, I'm not all that ignorant of Rome. I was questioning the use of the word 'convert' for the process of joining the Roman communion. 'Conversion' is the sort of thing that non-Christians do in order to become Christian, the sort of thing sinners do when they repent. It's hardly an appropriate thing for a member of a communion within the Church to think he's doing if he's switching (for whatever reason: ideological, convenience (i.e., having been deserted by his own) when joining another. It may be the Romans' word for what happens (although I am sure there are many Romans who don't see it that way), but it shouldn't be ours. I have a friend who was a Roman Catholic, lapsed, if not from belief, at least from practice, and, on the invitation of another friend, started attending an Anglican church of which he is now a faithful and valued member. Did he 'convert' from Rome to Anglicanism? We certainly don't see it that way. Even our reception ceremonies for people who have been validly confirmed elsewhere are, as I see it, pretty gentle shakes of the hand.

I also have a great respect for the Roman communion. Like Fr Hart (I flatter myself with the comparison), I recognise that we have a lot in common. But I can't stomach Rome's exclusivist claim to be the Church. 'Convert' is what you do when you join the Church. Well, I'm already in it.

poetreader said...


I would not walk into your livingroom in order to call you stupid, to accuse you of being insulting, or to accuse you of running a little mutual admiration society. That is simply terrible bad manners. I expect someone who has reached his 41st birthday to have learned something about decency and good manners. We are welcoming you to come into our space, and to speak freely about substantive things. Do so. You'll find this a good place to do that. But please don't come barging into our house in order to shout at us. That's all we ask.

Even after such a difficult start, we want you for a friend. Try to be one. We don't agree on everything and we don't expect you to agree with us. But we can get along -- or can we? That's up to you.


Albion Land said...


Your latest comment on this thread arrived as I was writing my welcome to you. Because of that, I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Take heed of what I said. Any further comments will be judged accordingly.

We do not take thid blog seriously, we take our faith seriously, and this medium is a way to share it. If you find that risible, then you profess another Gospel than do we.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Rod Treat

You look younger than 41, or did last year; so you hold up well. At that time I suggested that something you had written might be worth reworking as a possible View to submit to Touchstone.

Like Ed, I see nothing in your remarks to which I can respond. If you really want to defend the position of Cardinal Newman, then take what I have written and explain why it is wrong. In other words, refute with civility, argue with good manners, and actually say something. At this point you seem to be angry, and therefore insecure in your convictions about the new direction you have taken. Maybe you simply cannot refute what I have said because you have found it to be all too convincing, and that annoys you.

But, right here you have two samples to take from one article, that is the article itself and the comment when I replied to Carlos with my critique of Lecture 12. No more ad hominem non-sense: tell us why I am wrong; defend Cardinal Newman's actual work against my impertinent remarks.

If you cannot counter my arguments with refutation, then consider their weight.

Anonymous said...

Father Hart,

No, I'm not angry - just having a little fun. And I'm quite secure in my new convictions - secure enough that I feel no need to engage in any debates with you or anyone else on this blog. I have more than enough to fill my time. I started watching the goings on here when I was making my decision about crossing the Tiber. I was simply stirring the pot out of mild interest in what it might provoke - and boy, did it provoke!
Now, I will depart in peace. I wish you all peace as well (in spite of what you all might think).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I was simply stirring the pot out of mild interest in what it might provoke - and boy, did it provoke!

Well, it usually happens that way when someone pees all over the dinner table in front of the guests.

Carlos said...

Though this may be off topic a bit, I was interested in knowing how the different jurisdictions view the reception of Holy Communion for Christians. Are only "Orthodox" (EO, RC, AC) Christians allowed to take the Eucharist or all christians who profess acknowledgement of Christ real presence?

Anonymous said...

Fr hart,

Your answer to lecture 12 was good. I have found that Newman's writings in these lectures are usually avoided by Anglicans, but, I am most happy at your response and agree with it as well. Newman was a genius....but I am still an Anglican for Apostolic reasons despite what Newman wrote. I do think Newman has many valid critiques of Anglicanism that we should weigh carefully. On the other hand, I have great issues with denying "apostolic Orders" to todays Anglicans (before ordaining women).
Stanley Jaki's works on Newman are very good and very influential. I believe these contributed to Fr Kimel's conversion, and most definitely put a stick in my craw after I read them. Even so, I am STILL an Anglican for good reason. I have friends who have swam the Tiber and now one who is in the EOC. I can do niether, and feel that Anglicanism is VALID, VITAL, and VALUABLE (3 point sermon!).


poetreader said...

At my parish, and I think it to be pretty much standard in ACA, it is the latter. Any Baptized Christian who accepts the Real Presence.


Anonymous said...

By my experience, Rod, your leaving Anglicanism for Rome is "out of the frying pan, into the fire."

Good luck with your new found ultra-montanism. You'll fit in well with the sedevacantists and FSSPX people I know.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Apologies to Carlos and Timotheus for confusing the two in an above comment to Deacon Treat (though I know he no longer recognizes that indelible sacrament in his own case).

Timotheus wrote:
On the other hand, I have great issues with denying "apostolic Orders" to todays Anglicans (before ordaining women).

A good point to remember is that our whole movement began in order to protect the sacrament of Holy Orders which was threatened by this heretical innovation. We do not recognize many Anglican orders ourselves.

According to eyewitnesses who were inside the Vatican (as related to my source who is absolutely reliable), Pope Paul VI was ready to rescind Apostolicae Curae (about which Fr. Kirby and I wrote a great deal, available in the April 2006 archives of this blog), but was prevented from doing so because certain Anglican jurisdictions (notably the Episcopal Church in the U.S.) were "ordaining" women. This one innovation ended the attempt to make the AC and the EO Church into one Church, and the serious attempts to reunify with Rome. Women's "Ordination" has kept the Great Schism of 1054 alive and well. It was far more Satanic than most people realize.

Jacobite said...

sandra mccoll wrote:

Why is the word 'convert' and not 'transfer'? If you go to Rome, do you really have to accept that you've never been Christian before?

Interesting point. From my own experience, it certainly requires a conversion to move from any Anabaptist or post-Reformation denominational belief (I am being careful not to misuse the word Protestant) to Catholicism. Certainly such sects are fond of putting things in terms of "Christians" and "Catholics," and only the Holy Spirit can sufficiently upend one's theological and ecclesiological worldview to enable such a radical move. But upon conversion, Catholicism affords the convert the options of Orthodox Catholicism (Eastern Orthodoxy in its Eastern form or high church Anglicanism in its Western form) or Roman Catholicism (the Roman "developed" distortion of the Orthodox Catholicism of the undivided Church). I suspect that generally most new Christian converts to Catholicism go high church Anglican or Eastern Orthodox, even if they later go Roman Catholic.

Certainly an Orthodox Catholic could move from high church Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy to Roman Catholicism, absent a conversion, by "holding one's nose" and ignoring the Roman theological innovations which would continue to trouble him; and certainly this has been done countless times in the past, generally while newly regarding Rome as the "lesser of two (or more) evils" (usually contra Anglicanism's historically compromised position). But to truly become Roman Catholic, one really has to come to see the Twelve Apostles as "Peter and his eleven assistants." Absent that belief, any Catholic will always be troubled by new Roman "developments." And I therefore suspect that it requires yet another conversion to come to that level of faith that the Roman Catholic Church is the "True Church," absolutely infallible in all its "developments."

Did Newman simply "swallow hard" and bury his theological concerns in order to accept what he perceived as Rome's "less compromised" position (i.e. lesser of two evils)? Or did he genuinely come to see the Apostles as Peter and his eleven assistants? I have not read enough Newman to say for sure. However, I strongly suspect that he represented the former case (non-conversion), having simply alienated himself from his Anglican peers to the point that Rome began to look more and more attractive. If this is so, then Newman's truly was a "transfer" as opposed to a conversion.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

We must take Newman at his word, that he was a firm believer in the Roman Catholic position. Not only does that make the eleven mere assistants and subordinates to St. Peter, but it makes every bishop in the world (including the other patriarchs) effectively a suffragan bishop under the pope, who alone has the authority of a bishop.

Jacobite said...

Fr. Hart wrote:

We must take Newman at his word, that he was a firm believer in the Roman Catholic position. Not only does that make the eleven mere assistants and subordinates to St. Peter, but it makes every bishop in the world (including the other patriarchs) effectively a suffragan bishop under the pope, who alone has the authority of a bishop.

My point exactly, Father. The legitimacy of all Roman Catholic "developments" rests on Papal Supremacy (as opposed to Papal Primacy, universally accepted by Orthodox Catholics) which in turn rests on seeing the Apostles as Peter and his eleven assistants. The mystical weight attached to "Peter's Throne" effectively overturns the Vincentian Canon which has always defined Catholicism itself. Thus, an Orthodox Catholic must undergo an actual conversion in order to become a genuine Roman Catholic, as opposed to a grudging one.

Those Hart family get-togethers must be something else when all the brothers show up. Perhaps you might start recording those dinner table discussions so that they might be uploaded to Youtube? Hehehe.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading Eric Mascall (think it was Corpus Christi, but can't be sure) to the effect that 'Peter was the chief of the Apostles, but not the only Apostle.'

Anonymous said...

agrarian wrote:

"Those Hart family get-togethers must be something else when all the brothers show up."

I'm more worried about where he got the image of someone peeing on the table.

Warwickensis said...

"I'm more worried about where he got the image of someone peeing on the table. "

Well where ever it came from, it's not an image that I'll be able to shake off for a long time, even if he can!

Dustin Ashes said...

Well this is all very lively!

What a fine article by Fr. Hart. I suspect the Hart's is country folk, which is a good thing.

I once came home from Church and my new puppy had fully, did I say fully?, relieved himself on the newspaper as he was taught to do.

Problem was I forgot to take it off the kitchen table and put it on the floor before leaving. It was quite a sight or should I say site.

I see the parallel here in the work of Bishop Morrison. Mr. Treat is doing only as he was taught.

As to the Roman thing Mr. Treat who has shamed himfelf and his new haunts, might consider the twin horns one or the other of which he is now impaled upon.

1) By swimming (dog-paddling?) the Tiber he has had to accept the notion of Infallibility.

The problem with this position is that for the 36 years after Henry claimed authority for his own evil pursuits, and until Elizabeth 1 spurned the political intrigues of Pius V with typical Tudor frankness, not one of the seven infallable Popes ever questioned or made mention that a new Church had been formed in England or that said Church was not fully Catholic. Seven Popes over 36 years and not a single peep, or is that Pope?

2) In order to support the notion that Anglicans are less than fully Catholic and if a new Church was formed we must address the allegation from the period in which the different church is said to arise. It was Pope Pius V, who in a fit of rage, excommunicated Elizabeth I (and tried to foment her assignation) along with the Church in English because following the example of many other states (Hohenstaufen Emperors for one) who were not excommunicated for precisely the same transgression... she would not agree to the novelty of supreme Papal authority over her Kingdom. This was not a matter of theology but of power politics. At this point, some how after almost 4 decades and countless baptisms, marraiges, and burials were performed under the claimed spiritual authority of the See of Rome we finally come to an abrupt and simultaneous allegation and judgement of not being catholic. Can you imagine Bill Clinton coming along after 36 years of TV coverage movies and books, stating that John F. Kennedy was not really assignated. Utterly unthinkable! Utterly pathetic. Pius V can accurately be said to have simply thrown a tantrum at being stood up to by a women of spine and resolve.

Where does that leave those Romans who insist on slandering us in pride or anger?

They admit one of the following:

1)Either seven infallable Popes were guilty of abandoning millions of souls to a false Church, one that they asserted their exclusive spiritual authority over, or
2) the Anglican Church was and still is the legitimate Catholic Church of the land, and Roman controversialists of past and present are uttering a slander of exceeding gravity against their infallible Fathers and brethren who went before them!

Even during Elizabeth's accension the regular clergy, the majority of which had served in Mary's reign, voiced no concern that a new and un-catholic Church had been formed.

According to records the clergy numbered about 9400, and only 192 refused to take the oath of allegience and serve the reformed Catholic Church in England.

Now this does not even touch upon the Roman novelty of the fourth person of the Trinity which has been broadcast on at least two different programs on EWTN of which I have personally witnessed in drop jaw disbelief. I have always heard this claim from the more venal protestants and always thought it an exaggeration 'till I heard it for myself, not alluded to but directly given voice by clergy and broadcast on "RCC" TV without any explanation or retraction.

The worst trait displayed by Mr. Treat (odd name in this case) is his claim to be a part of the One True Church while heaping scorn on other legitimate Christians who are fighting the evil one rather than each other. No other corner of Christianity is as under seige as is the Anglican corner and that ought be pause for thought because if we be so important to the enemy as to spend so much effort to overturn what then does that say about whether or not we are a right part of the Body?

As well... No other corner of Christianity freely voices as much respect and love for the Romans than do the Anglo Catholics even though we cannot by intellect or by faith, accept their man made additions to the Catholic Faith. Does this mean another limb on the 'tree' ? I doubt it.

Mr. Treat does himself and his new home a dishonor and if he expects to be a lurker for the shared cause of so many swimmers- that of bringing others over to the Roman way of thinking (often the case with converts), he has failed miserably.
The big question is why bother with us if he is indeed in the One True Church? Why look back?? How ever so many, after their little swim, cannot fully embrace and focus on their new religion and must stand on the opposite bank and frantically wave for attention!

We can hope and pray he will Possibly receive some instruction and formation he could not get from Bishop Morrison on what Christianity is.

Anonymous said...

"Dustin Ashes" discredits himself and his own cause by his wildly mistaken and even foolish historical statements. To take but a few, he writes:

"The problem with this position is that for the 36 years after Henry claimed authority for his own evil pursuits, and until Elizabeth 1 spurned the political intrigues of Pius V with typical Tudor frankness, not one of the seven infallable Popes ever questioned or made mention that a new Church had been formed in England or that said Church was not fully Catholic. Seven Popes over 36 years and not a single peep, or is that Pope?"

This is absurd. Henry VIII was excommunicated in 1534 for heresy and schism by Rome. Under Mary Tudor, on November 30, 1554, the whole realm of England, personified in the monarchs, Philip & Mary, the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the Convocations of Canterbury and of York, were absolved of schism and heresy bu the papal legate a latere Reginald, Cardinal Pole, who in his ensuing sermon spoke of over 21 years of schism "from Christ's Catholic Church" being now at an end. A Bull of Pope Julius III in August 1553 empowered Pole to absolve the Realm of England from schism; later Bulls of Paul IV ("Praeclara Clarissimi" of June 1555 and "Regimini Universalis" of October 1555) required the reordination of all English clergy who had been ordained under Cranmer's Ordinals of 1550 and 1552, but not those who had been ordained previously by the Roman Pontifical, albeit "in time of the schism." You can hardly get clearer than that.

In England itself, Bishop Bonner of London, a man originally consecrated in 1540 during Henry VIII's separation from Rome, produced in 1556 "A Profitable and Necessary Doctrine", written by Bishop Bonner and one of his chaplains; it was a series of homilies ordered by Pole to be read in the Diocese of Gloucester in 1555, and at one point it speaks of "the late made Ministers ... in the new devised Ordination, having no authoritie ... to offer ... these late counterfeited Ministers ...." Again, if this is not schism, than words have no meaning.

The next paragraph, which begins "2) In order to support the notion that Anglicans are less than fully Catholic and if a new Church was formed we must address the allegation from the period in which the different church is said to arise. It was Pope Pius V, who in a fit of rage, excommunicated Elizabeth I" is no less absurd. In February 1559, as the legislation to repudiate the papal jurisdiction and to replace the restored Latin services with the Book of Common Prayer was being introduced in Parliament, the Crown asked the Convocation of Canterbury to express its views on the matter. It responded by upholding Transubstantiation, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the "divine right" of the papacy, the incompetence of any monarch or secular assembly (like parliament) to enact legislation touching doctrine or "reform" of the church. Since the Convocation was the nearest thing that the Church of England had to an organ to express its own views, the actions of February 1559 was a clear repudiation in advance by the Church of England itself of the Elizabethan Settlement (a repudiation which the academic convocations of both Cambridge and Oxford universities endorsed within less than a month). The Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester were narrowly dissuaded from excommunicating Elizabeth I on their own authority in January 1559 -- a dissuasion that Lincoln regretted for the rest of his life.

"Even during Elizabeth's accension the regular clergy, the majority of which had served in Mary's reign, voiced no concern that a new and un-catholic Church had been formed."

Precisely the same assertion could be made of the "regular clergy" of Reformed Switzerland or Lutheran Scandinavia. Does this prove that the Church of Geneva or the church of Denmark was just as "Catholic" as the Church of England? And, in any event, I have already alluded to the clear statements of the Convcation of Canterbury in 1559.

You should be ashamed of imposing such an ignorant screed, devoid of any historical knowledge, on the readers of this site, who deserve better than such empty bombast.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is angry here, it's all of you Anglicans. If anyone is shouting out for attention, it's the pathetic souls in "The Continuum" who are so desparate for everyone else to recognize the legitimacy of your infinitesimally tiny splinter groups. No one, and I mean NO ONE, outside of your weird little world, gives a damn about your puffed up nonsense. And yet you all think you're the arbiters of authentic catholic Christianity. Unbelievable!

poetreader said...

Historical arguments are always a tricky and deceptive thing. It's a funny thing about history that it seems to change, depending upon whose opinions are being defended/attacked. This is applicable to every period of time and every trend being tracked. The assertions made by one side of a dispute and those made by their opponents are very often so different as to make one wonder if there are two different worlds being discussed. In ecclesiatical history this is especially notable. Whether the contention be over the schism of 1054, or the events of the English Reformation, or Deerfield Beach, or any of the other notable events of two millennia, "fact" is asserted as over against contradictory "fact", and one finds that much of what is said by either side csan be handily disproved, but at the same time it is also frequent that both contradictory positions have solid documentarly support.

Dustin Ashes' account is a rehash of classic arguments of Anglican Protestantism of the last few centuries, and much of it is no more reliable than the 'Nag's Head" myth once spread by Rome. Such assertions prove nothing. Even were they not already exploded they would prove nothing in the light of contrary assertions that are at least as reliable.

However, Professor Tighe, though (in my estimation) far more accurate as to existing records is also somewhat selective in his choice of facts and tends to see them through a more RC-oriented eye. That's not bad, but certainly does not prove a point.

We can argue history endlessly, and, though history is of vital importance in an incarnational system such as Christianity, the differences of opinion will not be resolved. Total knowledge of times gone by is simply not available to mortals.

I'm who I am, here and now, an Anglican, convinced of the validity of my church and my experience in God's sight, and somewhat less than sold on the claims of other good and blessed jurisdictions such as that of Rome.

Rome, on the other hand, believes that I lack something vital. Though history has a bearing, its role won't be entirely resolved. We need to be seeking God here and now for a resolution of the man-made divisions that plague his church. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."


Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Dr Tighe,

You make many fair points, but there is another side to the story

1. While Henry was personally excommunicated, the C of E was not. For years after there was no interdict and no call from Rome to abandon te communion of the C of E. Bishops still received the pallium for Rome, if I remember correctly! The absolution from schism and heresy was entirely post facto and, effectively, retrospective legislation. This means that Rome did tacitly accept the C of E as a "particular Church" at least for all of Henry's reign, and did nothing officially as far as I know to change this until after Edward's death. The actions taken in Mary's reign do not change history, a history of relative inaction for decades before.

2. In Elizabeth's time again there was, as I understand it, no excommunication and no manifestly binding demand to recuse from the communion of the C of E for over a decade after the Elizabethan Settlement. Which is why, I suppose, that most faithful to the Pope did go to C of E communion for years. And during this time there is evidence that the Pope was carrying on (informal?)negotiations with Elizabeth which included an offer by the Pope to authorise the BCP as long as she recognised Papal Supremacy (which in that age included civil supremacy in reality). Which indicates neither the Anglican Ordinal or other sacraments were ever really the key dividing issue.

3. As for Elizabeth imposing her will on bishops, it is worth remembering she was not the first European monarch to do that, not excluding Mary. And while Elizabeth replaced most of the bishops, she didn't burn any to death in God's name. Mary replaced fewer, it is true, but one might say she got rid of hers with more gusto. So, what did the majority of the Church in England want at Elizabeth's accession? Depends on whether we look at bishops, clergy or laity. The first wanted the Pope, the second probably just wanted to be left alone for a while by all sides! The third were already divided. Even the laity who wanted the Pope's supreme jurisdiction were often hardly very knowledgable or pious about their faith it would appear.
One of the popular RC rebellions demanded, inter alia, a return to the situation when only the priest had Communion and they could just look on and adore at the Elevation, if memory serves.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sean W. said...

If anyone is angry here, it's all of you Anglicans. If anyone is shouting out for attention, it's the pathetic souls in "The Continuum" who are so desparate for everyone else to recognize the legitimacy of your infinitesimally tiny splinter groups. No one, and I mean NO ONE, outside of your weird little world, gives a damn about your puffed up nonsense. And yet you all think you're the arbiters of authentic catholic Christianity. Unbelievable!

And we don't give a damn if the uneducated and ignorant "recognize" us at all. Here again is the angry voice of an ad hominem attack. Here again is a complete absence of any argument. Sean W. has screamed a scream, and said nothing. Why do some people work so hard to look silly, and then leave their names?

Warwickensis said...

If we're infinitesimally small, and no-one cares about what we think, then why should someone actually bother to write in?

I think that quite clearly the Continuum (both blog and institution) has hit nerves. It's a scandal to the Holy See and a stumbling block for the Liberals. We've certainly got up the noses of some people. I actually think that Sean W has paid us quite a compliment, since clearly we do matter to him.

Anonymous said...

Fr Kirby,

Thank you for your nuanced demurral. I reply with two points.

First, when Bishop Gardiner of Winchester was passing through the Low Countries to Germany in 1540 he stopped at Louvain. He heard a number of academic disputations, but was refused his request for an altar at which to say Mass because (in then opinion of the faculty) he was a schismatic bishop. Moreover, I know of no instances of English archbishops receiving the pallium from Rome after 1534. The Henrician supremacy legislation explicitly provided for future new to receive the pallium from the king, in any case. (And the use of the pallium was discontinued after 1559.)

Secondly, there is a recent collection of essays by Prof. Peter Marshall of Warwick University (I forget the title, but it was published by Ashgate in 2005). One of them deals with the growth in Spain from the 1530s onwards of a "Black Legend" about the English and England that is the counterpart of the "Black Legend" concerning Spain that grew up in England from the 1560s onwards. According to this "legends" the Spanish rapidly came to think of the English as irreligious knaves who put up with the whims and shifts of opinions of a tyrannical king who changed his wives at will and murdered anyone who got in his way. Marshall makes it clear that the English were widely being characterized as "schismatics" from Spanish pulpits as early as the 1530s, and suggests that there is some evidence that the same message was being disseminated in France, Italy and elsewhere at the same period.

I know of no evidence that any pope ever gave any indication, before and especially after 1559, that he would be prepared to tolerate any liturgical rites whatsoever in a "reunited" Church of England than the pre-Reformation Latin services. Certainly, what stopped the "reunion" negotiations between King Johan of Sweden and the Holy See in the late 1570s and early 80s was Rome's absolute refusal to tolerate any form of "Swedish Mass," and that despite the king's willingness to have all the Swedish bishops either reconsecrated according to the Roman Pontifical or else replaced by bishops more acceptable to Rome. As the talks went on, Rome also made it clear that it was unwilling to accept married bishops at all, and that it would only tolerate married clergy and communion in both kinds during the initial "reunion generation." If there is real evidence that Rome ever indicated a willingness to allow the BCP I do not know of it, and I should very much like to learn about it.

Warwickensis said...


I've had a go at trying to answer your second question on the failure of the Anglican experiment.

I hope at the least it will fuel better thoughts.

Dustin Ashes said...

Hit a nerve indeed!

Bombast? I see one of my favorite writers did not take exception to the other bombardier in this thread, but then he is 'bombing away' for our Roman friends cause. Note none of his Roman brothers or sisters reading this blog demanded him to curtail his 'screeds'. Thank you Professor for your erudite and biased but 'factual' response. And I stand corrected if there be any relevant correction but there is little that changes the main theme. I believe Rev. Hughson, who I borrowed from loosely, has stated the case accurately and I present most of it below.

And yes, I confess, it was meant to be bombastic. Is being a bombast solely the privledge of Roman Catholic converts here on this Continuing Anglican Blog?

I could care less about the argument, and yes as Poetreader points out this stuff is nothing more ancient venom. Why did I bother to put it up? Because I thought some might need a taste of their own medicine.

Note our distinguished brother does not deny the EWTN presentation of Mary as fourth person of the Godhead. The rest of this pales in comparison.

Here are portions of the rest of the "screed" written by Rev. S. C. Hughson, O.H.C. Originally published by Holy Cross Press, 1957 that I borrowed from.

...The English Church repudiated the Pope’s claim to universal authority in 1534. ...Clement VII, who was Pope at the time, did not make the slightest effort to withdraw Catholics from the Church of England. If he believed that Henry had established a new Church in which grace could not be found, surely he must have initiated instantly an effort to secure the Sacraments for England, or else stand convicted of the crime of allowing his spiritual children to go on receiving the false Sacraments of this Church. He made no protest whatever. He did not send a single priest to England to rescue the sheep from the false shepherds. He went calmly on, neglecting to the utmost the flock which he claimed God had committed to his pastoral care.

But this was not the worst of it. Clement died a few months later. Perhaps he did not have time to get the machinery of the Church into operation to attend to English affairs. But he was succeeded by Paul III, and surely the new Pope, in the first fervor of his high office would rouse himself to save his flock from this so called Church of merely human origin. But not a bit of it. For fifteen years he ruled serene on the Vatican Hill, and not only did not lift a finger to help them, but never suggested that they needed help.

Then came Julius III, who, after six years was, in his turn, succeeded by Marcellus II, who died on the twenty-second day after his election. No blame can be attached to Marcellus, who was a good and Holy man, for, inso brief a space of time, it was impossible that he could have put any plan on foot for the relief of the English Catholics; although more might have been expected of Pope Julius in the six years of his pontificate.

With the choice of Marcellus began a movement for reform in the Roman Church, and he was succeeded by Giovanni Petro Caraffa, who is described as “the most rigid among all cardinals.” He began his reign in May, 1555, as Paul IV.

Paul was filled with a burning spirit of reform, and no small degree of success he enjoyed a strong, righteous, and beneficent reign of something more than four years, during which period men caught once more the almost forgotten vision of the Church living and functioning in the power of the Holy Spirit.

He was the Pope in the reign of Queen Mary, and during the first year of Elizabeth. He was stern to the last degree in dealing with the English political situation, but it does not seem to have occurred to him on Elizabeth’s accession to provide for his English children any other ministration than those of the English Church. He died in August, 1559, and Pius IV, the Pope of the great reforming Council of Trent reigned in his stead.

Pius died over six years later in 1565, bringing to an end the sixth papal reign since Henry VIII was said to have “founded” his “new” Church.

The seventh reign began under Pius V. He is described by an Anglican historian (Bishop Creighton, the Age of Elizabeth, p. 109) as “austere, zealous, determined, a man of fervor, piety and blameless life,”-surely the man who would brook no delay in repairing the wrongs done by his predecessors to the English Catholics, and who would see that they enjoyed that pastoral attention which, according to the papal claim, it was his duty to give and heir right to receive.

Before considering the course he pursued, we must go back for a moment to note that all this while changes were taking place in England as well as at the Vatican. In 1547 King Henry came to the end of his career of murder, lust and cruelty. According to our modern Roman friends he had founded a new Church, and set it up against that ancient church which had made England the glorious “Isle of the Saints.”

But in spite of all this, the English Church, under the head of Henry’s Primate, Thomas Cranmer, went on in full communion with the Church of Rome. Rome did nothing to separate herself from the “new” Church. She was content to be in communion with it. Edward VI succeeded Henry, and six unhappy years for the Roman religion in England followed.

On Edward’s death in 1553, Mary’s accession brought a brief surcease of trouble to those who still looked to Rome as their spiritual mother; but Mary died in 1558 and Elizabeth, Henry’s daughter by Anne Bolin, came to the throne with all her Tudor strength and courage.

As we have seen, Pius IV now reigned in Rome. His name will stand in all history, along with that of Innocent III, as one of the greatest of reformers. It was his holy zeal and indefatigable labors that brought to a sudden end the progress of the Protestant revolt in Europe, and, as Dr. Preserved Smith has pointed out, that movement has been able to make no further advance since that period.

But this great reforming Pope saw nothing unworthy in the course of his predecessors, and handed on his office to the fifth pontiff of his name, while English Catholics still looked to the English Church for their spiritual sustenance.

Pius V with eager hope, now began negotiations with Henry’s daughter to bring England once more beneath the papal yoke.

Elizabeth was perhaps the most astute diplomat of her day, but like her father, when it suited her purpose, she knew how to fling subterfuge to the winds, and shatter all diplomatic intrigue by proclaiming the brutal truth in a tome that made men tremble. It was thus she made answer to the Pope’s approaches.

No man who was not a sheer fool could have mistaken her purposes, and while Popes have been weak and wicked, they have rarely been fools. Nevertheless, more than ten years of Elizabeth’s reign passed, and still English Catholics received all ministrations from the hands of the clergy, who they now say, had not even valid Orders, whose Sacraments possessed no more efficacy than the ministrations of an Arab dervish.

In the year 1581 when Sir Francis Walsingham was sent on an embassy to France, his instructions stated that in the earlier years of Elizabeth’s reign all Catholics attended the services of the Anglican Church “without any contradiction or show of misliking.”

This statement, made by Elizabeth’s own government, might be open to suspicion, but when we find it corroborated in 1595 by Father Parsons, the most distinguished Jesuit propagandist in Europe, and again in 1605 by Father Garnett of the same Order, when on trial for his life, there can be no further question.

Nor was it because there was no opportunity in England for continuing a strictly Roman Catholic ministry for those who wished to adhere to the Pope.

Watson, the deprived Bishop of Lincoln, lived on until 1584, and six others survived for many years, free to come and go on parole within wide territorial limits without interference or espionage.

So Far as is known, none of these Bishops protested against attendance on the Anglican Church, and none of them made any effort to ordain priests for the shepherding of their people.

In fact, it was this definite determination of these bishops not to ordain clergy which decided Cardinal Allen, and others, to establish seminaries on the Continent, at Douay, and other places, to train clergy for work among the English Romanists.

At last in 1570, thirty six years after Henry VIII had. according to the present papal claim, founded the Church of England, despairing of inducing the English ever again to bow their necks to the yoke of Rome, Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth and all who adhered to the Church of England. Now for the first time those who had adhered to Rome were told that it would be sin to communicate at English altars.

Thirty-six years! During this period millions had been born, baptized, confirmed, shriven, had received their Communions regularly at Anglican altars; had finished their course, and fortified by the last Sacraments, had gone out into the other world; -and Pope after Pope had regarded it as a thing to be permitted without question that all these faithful souls, hungering for the Bread of Life, should be fed by the shepherds of a Church which Rome now declares to be the evil device of the most wicked king who ever sat on England’s throne.

We Anglicans may be a lot of things, and unimportant in comparison to the great Roman Church but one thing is for sure no one can accuse us of forcing manmade dogma's onto the faithful.

Anonymous said...

Simply to quote Hughson at length, when I have already demonstrated the errors of his arguments, adds nothing to their force.

Pope Paul III did at least three things to demoinstrate his attitude towards events in England: he reissued his predecessor's excommunication of Henry VIII; he sent Cardinal Pole posthaste from Rome to the Netherlands in order to be able to cross over to England if the Pilgrimage of Grace should succeed in overthrowing the Henrician regime (but it had failed by the time he arrived); and he brokered a short-lived alliance between the Emperor Charles V and King Francis I of France in 1539 in which both kings agreed to invade England, depose Hanry VIII and restore England to "Catholic unity."

When the young Princess Mary, who has been forced by threat of death in 1536 to recognize her father as "Supreme Head" of the Church of England, managed to get a leter smuggled to the pope expressing her horror and regret at what she had been forced to do, and assuring the pope that she would do all in her power if she ever had the opportunity to end the schism, the pope sent her a secret absolution from her "fall."

And, by the way, Hughson is totally wrong when he writes:

"Watson, the deprived Bishop of Lincoln, lived on until 1584, and six others survived for many years, free to come and go on parole within wide territorial limits without interference or espionage.

So Far as is known, none of these Bishops protested against attendance on the Anglican Church, and none of them made any effort to ordain priests for the shepherding of their people."

Watson died imprisoned in Wisbech Castle. His "crime" was that he had privately absolved clergy and laity alike for the "sin of schism" in conforming to the Elizabethan Settlement. David Poole, the Marian Bishop of Peterborough did all of these things, and also reordained clergy who had been ordained after 1559 according to Cranmer's Ordinal once he had absolved them of schism, before his death in the early 1570s. Even the most "moderate" of them all, Archbishop Nicholas Heath of York (who had dissuaded Watson of Lincoln and White of Winchester from excommunicating Elizabeth in 1559), never once set foot in a parish church nor attended English services after his deprivation in 1559, and he lived on until 1576.

"Why did I bother to put it up? Because I thought some might need a taste of their own medicine."

My "medicine" is compounded solely out of fact. It may be bitter to your taste, or you may diagree with my "interpretation" of the "recipe." However, your "medicine" is simply snake oil, for your second posting is as devoid of any factual basis as your first one, and for the most part it merely repeats at more tedious length the assetions from your first one that I have already rebutted. And the interpretation that you struggle to adduce from it is sheer fantasy.

poetreader said...

Dustin Ashes

You said:

I could care less about the argument, and yes as Poetreader points out this stuff is nothing more ancient venom. Why did I bother to put it up? Because I thought some might need a taste of their own medicine.

and other words to similar effect. If you don't care about the argument, I would respectfully ask that you not participate in it. To post on this board in order to give some 'a taste of their own medicine' or to provoke tempers is not the objective of discussion here. If you care about the argument and the issue, by all means write, and others will write from a different viewpoint. That is proper. To stir up trouble because you feel like doing so (which is what you've told us you were doing) is simply bad manners.

Professor Tighe (though I don't accept everything he says either) has been enormously patient with you in your deliberately combative and insulting tirade. I frankly don't have the patience to either ead or respond to material presented in that kind of attitude.

You are welcome in this discussion, but only if you can pursue it in a gentlemanly fashion.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

The many facts about the Church of England during the Tudor reigns do not really clear up a theological fog on their own. As Fr. Kirby has pointed out, some of the bishops of the time were very poorly educated.

I have often simplified the matter thus: In the first round Henry VIII was in the wrong. In the second round, the pope was in the wrong. And, the second round is the more relevant of the two.

Although Queen Elizabeth was moving in a Protestant (as in anti-papal) direction, it was not unprovoked. The pope had called for her overthrow, a thing that could be accomplished only with a civil war and only by her execution. We have to look outside of the religious sphere for the causes.

The religious tension was a manifestation of tensions between England and Spain for reasons of competition, and for personal reasons (as Elizabeth was a symbol of what had been done to Henry's rightful queen, one of the Spanish royal family). These tensions led to open warfare, and the Spanish fleet sunk when attempting its invasion. The pope was practically a hostage of King Phillip, and could not refuse the Spanish monarch's demands.

Unfortunately, theology had little to do with the causes of this English reformation. It had little to do with Rome's reactions to it. This was about power politics in Spain, and about national defense and domestic peace in England; and in both cases commercial enterprise was driving competition between these two imperial powers.

Dustin Ashes said...

Poet reader,
I really do not see any 'tirade' in my remarks and none was inserted on this end. But then that seems to be the problem with email it is easy to read into words.
I do 'care' when I see fellow Anglicans abused by RC's as a matter of venting. Especially when the target is some one I admire greatly.

The point as I thought I stated it was to demonstrate the absurdity of getting involved in such a thing as pressing the superiority of the Roman self assessment and / or Anglican for that matter. I 'don't care' about the argument in the sense that it will never be resolved because either sides position will likely never change or admit to the points of the other so why waste time taunting each other over such for centuries?

Dr Tighe's points are well taken but surely some historian hundreds of years from now will defend the United Nations for all they have done to preserve Democracy including it's 'participation' in the Gulf wars. But many will still understand that even with mighty Resolutions there was no effect on the ground..

If I have offended I certainly apologize.

But I must say I have read a lot of pretty rough stuff on here and I wonder why it made it through your approval.

I thought Dr. Tighe's tone was quite shrill, but I could have just misunderstood. I certainly harbor no ill will.

I have a copy of the cover to a paper alerting the citizens of London about the 'Plot" to overthrow the government.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

Dr Tighe,

First, my apology for my error about the pallium. I misremembered the sequence of events, which was, according to the book I was trying to use from memory, this: Anti-papal legislation enacted and clergy accepting under pressure the statement that the King was supreme head on earth of the C of E, though with the qualification "as far as the law of Christ allows". A couple of years later, Henry VIII's secret marriage to Anne Boleyn. Then, Cranmer's elevation and reception of the pallium. Then, his annulment of Henry's first marriage. Then, among other significant events, the Pope anulling the annulment, Convocation affirming that the Pope had not by Scripture greater authority in England than any other foreign bishop, and Parliament re-emphasising the King's supremacy. Then, under a new Pope, the excommunication of Henry.

However, the very nature of the evidence you adduce for opposing Hughson's thesis largely serves to show the thesis is at least partly correct, despite the errors in details. That sounds tendentious, I know, but let me explain. Your proofs for the C of E (and not just the King) being clearly outside the fold and unambiguously treated as such by the Church pre-Mary were: absolutions from schism 20 years after the fact; but at the time opinions of a theology faculty, political and military machinations by the Pope, and characterisations from some European pulpits. What is striking here is that you had to appeal to these rather than an official excommunication of the C of E itself at the time, or a demand the English people recuse from C of E services, or organised and publicly authorised provision of alternative ministry for Catholics in England. Whatever Rome did after the rejection of Roman Supremacy had been overturned by Mary cannot change the fact that it did nothing of canonical or "sacramental" significance during the earlier period.

And it did little more for the first decade of Elizabeth's reign. While there were opinions expressed that Catholics should be recusant by theologians at the Council of Trent in 1562 and a few years later by the Pope, a clearly authoritative demand was apparently not made till more than a decade after the rejection of Papal Supremacy and the re-instatement of the BCP. As for the provision of alternative ministry, while you have shown it did happen, perhaps even before the excommunication of Elizabeth as far as I can tell, it was also clearly done ad hoc and very infrequently in this transition period. So, it is fair to say that for three decades in the sixteenth century the RCC effectively tolerated the C of E providing the sacraments to virtually all in England, including those loyal to the Pope, and made no serious attempt to stop their adherents accessing these sacraments.

Apologies for my delay in replying to your request about the "offer". Probably the best summary-reference for the "evidence that the Pope was carrying on (informal?)negotiations with Elizabeth which included an offer by the Pope to authorise the BCP" is here:

Clearly, the claim has been a matter of dispute. But I do believe the balance of evidence makes it probable such an offer was made orally by the Papal Nuncio, Parpalia, as a fleshing out of the papal hints in a letter that the said Nuncio was authorised to discuss details not in the letter.

Now I'm going to admit something which may offend everybody, Anglican and Roman. I think it quite possible that the Pope never intended really to accept the BCP despite his probable offer to do so, and thus that Anglicans must be careful in using this evidence.

Why do I say this? First, the offer seems to have been deliberately oral rather than written. Second, it was a common opinion among those in authority back then that promises to rebels and heretics by those in authority were not binding. Thus, Rome could promise safety to suspected heretics then subject them to force or violence. King Charles I could treat with rebels and ignore his undertakings to them. In both cases, acting in bad faith was done in "good" conscience, theoretically at least. This might well have been the case here, too.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kirby,

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I shall try to pursue the matter of Parpaglia.