Monday, January 28, 2008

Putting the “P” back in “Anglican”

I know that you’re thinking, well some of you: “This Fr. Hart wants to make Protestants out of us. After all, since he does not want to swim the Tiber he must have descended to some sort of Low Churchmanship. We all know that the opposite of 'Catholic' must be 'Protestant,' mustn’t it? The opposite of 'Papalist' must be 'Puritan.'” Ah, but what if I am really so Catholic that I believe that the opposite of "Tridentine" must be "Patristic?"

Perhaps, just perhaps, some of the self-proclaimed Anglo-Papalists need to think about something. Maybe the definition of “Catholic” should be based on its Credal use, as we use it in the Book of Common Prayer where either the Apostle’s Creed or the Creed called Nicene are part of all the major services (Article VIII). Combined with that other Creed, Quicunque Vult, or the Creed of St. Athanasius, we say we believe the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith.

Frankly, the effort to embrace and continue the Catholic Faith was the motivation for embracing Protestantism in the time of the Reformation- or, rather, the Reformations. We believe that the efforts on the Continent of Europe threw away the baby with the bathwater, which is why Anglicans early on debated with Calvinists and Lutherans, sometimes more vigorously than with Rome. Anglicans debated as well with Puritans in England and Scottish Presbyterians.

What we find in the second wave of English secession was a very conservative and anti-innovative mind prevailing against new ideas that had formed only in recent centuries, during which their fathers had lost sight of the Patristic and Scriptural teaching of the ancient Church. It prevailed, as well, against the innovations of Puritans and other inventive Protestantisms. This via media was always a true course that avoided the errors of many extremes, not just two. It rejected the innovations of Rome, and strove against such a Reformation as Mr. Knox had up in Scotland. This was not a compromise in the modern sense. It was not simply the legislation of Parliament either. It was the result of what the bishops of the Church of England contended for throughout the times of monarchs stretching from Elizabeth I to Charles II, especially strong after the Restoration.

This effort, and what was achieved, is not appreciated by too many people calling themselves Anglo-Papalists. All too often I find that such people are quite sincere, but only know their own Anglican heritage based on the opinions presented to them by Roman Catholic polemicists instead of having actually read and learned from old Anglican sources. They take a position not due to deeply held Catholic convictions, but due to a combination of ignorance about Anglican doctrine and history with superficially held Tridentine affectations. For, when Tridentine sentiments become genuine conviction, the conscience impels one to the only logical course of action without delay.

What is truly Catholic in content was not defined at so recent and innovative a Council as Trent, and certainly not in later councils at the Vatican. It was defined in seven Ecumenical Councils (Affirmation of St. Louis), and more so in the Scriptures as embraced in every time and place where the Church was built upon the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, Christ Jesus Himself the chief cornerstone.

I would indeed place the “P” of Protestantism back in “Anglicanism” to the via media degree required to make it truly Patristic, and so truly Scriptural and truly Catholic.


Anonymous said...

I woul agree vigorously and ardently with everything you have said in this article.

The problem with the P word is that it is currently used to describe three very different things:
(1) the classical Protestantism of the 16th century--within which there were a variety of tendencies, (2) American pietistic and revivalistic evangelicalism, of which the Finneyite decisionism is the extreme form, and (3) the modernist liberalism of the mainstream churches. Of course there are additional hybrid form, such as the pop religion, Christianity lite, of the great mega-churches, a combination of types 2 and 3. The Anglo-Papalists are rarely able to distinguish the three types, and seem oblivious to the fact that the magisterial Reformers and even their Puritan successors were perfectly orthodox with regard to the great Catholic doctrines of the first six Ecumenical Councils. While I have known many truly learned Roman Catholics, I have yet to meet an Anglo-Papalist who had his feet on the ground with regard to Church history in the 16th century or even the Patristic period.
Laurence K. Wells

Anonymous said...


PTB+ said...

--Ah, but what if I am really so Catholic that I believe that the opposite of "Tridentine" must be "Patristic?"--

Well put Fr. Hart. The substance of the Faith (de Fide) must remain Scriptural and Patristic to be truly Catholic.

Paul Beutell+

poetreader said...

Good piece! I'm in 100% agreement, except that I simply refuse to accept the P word as applied to me. Why? Because, as it has been used in the contemporary period, especially in America, it incorporates an attitude quite opposite to a Catholic understanding of the church. This attitude is a radical individualism that makes the individual understanding of "What is truth?" the be-all and end-all of authority. Regardless of what one claims to believe about a visible church, a disrespect for the church itself as the visible Body of Christ upon earth reveals itself in a willingness to continuously create new entities to embody a 'purer' and purer expression of "Truth", or perhaps to declare oneself an elite within one's church that has a unique understanding of "truth". What truth? The truth I myself have found. We have become so dreadfully unwilling to submit our "brilliance" to the collective wisdom of a Spirit-led church. To the five classic 'solas' the modern 'Protestant' adds one that trumps all the rest: "O solo mio", me and my Bible, me and my personal understanding of whatever authority I'm recognizing. This spirit is very obvious in fragmented Fundamentalist and Pentecostal Christianity, but equally obvious in a Liberalism that believes only what the individual is willing to believe. This quintessentially Protestant attitude has spread from the 'sects' into the mainline of American RCism, shows very clearly in the construction of various sedevacantist sects, has taken over the Episcopal Church, dividing it into individualistic Liberals and individualistic Evangelicals, has shown itself in the proliferation of "Old Catholic" vagantes. We in the Continuum are in extreme danger, for all our vaunted Catholic teaching, of a similar atomizing sectarianism. But there is an ancient mainstream of teaching and practice, embodied in classic Anglicanism, that refuses to decide issues on the basis of what "seemeth good unto a man", but upon the collective wisdom of the Fathers and the undivided Church. We are far from perfect, but we do have a piece of the puzzle that other parts of the Church have not been seeing. I believe we have been called into being to carry this little bit of truth back into the mainstream of a single Church as Our Lord wished it to be.

Back to the point of the P word. I find nothing that embodies this spirit of "o solo mio" any more clearly than an attitude that says that Rome, of course, is the one true church, just as they claim, but as for me, I'll stay right where I am, because of things I've got here that I like. That's about as Protestant an attitude as one can find anywhere, and the labeling of such as I am as Protestant by such as these certainly sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.


Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

In summary your argument is that as the Early Fathers are the most authentic interpreters of the Bible, the reformation recovered their earlier beliefs and purer Christianity that had become obscured by medieval Roman innovations. You endorse your belief by the Affirmation of St. Louis accepting all before the 7th EC. OK so far so good, we believe what the Fathers said, so what did they say (sorry its a bit long but we have to see just what was said, who said it and how many times.

Irenaeus writes: "Where the charismata of the Lord are given, there must we seek the truth, with those to whom belongs the ecclesiastical succession from the Apostles, and the unadulterated and incorruptible word. It is they who …are the guardians of our faith…and securely expound the Scriptures to us" (Against Heresies 4:26:5, 180-199 AD).

Tatian the Syrian - "Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).

Tertullian - "Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

The Letter of Clement to James - "Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).

The Clementine Homilies - "[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).

Origen - "Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage - "The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

"There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are
secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another" (ibid., 66[69]:8).

Firmilian - "But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).

Ephraim the Syrian - "[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

Optatus - "You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).

Ambrose of Milan - "[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).

Pope Damasus I - "Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

Jerome - "‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

Augustine - "If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. ... In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

Council of Ephesus - "Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome], said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).

Sechnall of Ireland - "Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted his apostleship by God; against him the gates of hell prevail not" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3 [A.D. 444]).

Pope Leo I - "Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles. . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]).

Council of Chalcedon - "Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).

All these come within the time frame of the first seven Ecumenical Councils to which you assent, .Why then do you disregard what the Church fathers said.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I find it amusing when selected quotations from antiquity are violently wrenched away from their historic context in order to be abused. To apply these statements after the fact to the innovations that Rome has been creating since 1054, right up to and including the imaginative formulations of Vatican I, does nothing other than distort the intended meaning of all of the above quotations.

And, to this end we call as our witness the Orthodox Church.

Anonymous said...

Here is a quotation which JAT domehow overlooked:

"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, for he stood condemned" (Galatians 2:11).

Laurecen K. Wells

poetreader said...

Just a thought,

First of all, thank you for a reasoned response. Even though I cannot completely agree with you, you've presented yourself in ways that make rational discussion quite possible, unlike some of the comments I've come down hard upon.

Now, cherry picking from the Fathers is an interesting exercise. One can even add to your list of quotations, as there are indeed a lot more similar Patristic references that would seem to give you support. I don't see in your list any of the statements of various Fathers in disagreement with the Roman bishop on a variety of issues, nor those interested in limiting the extent of Roman authority.

It certainly is true that a primacy of honor and a large degree of deference was seen from early on as belonging to Rome. It is not true, however, that every Father drew the same implications from that. There was indeed a large variety of expression as to the pope's role in the wider church. I'm not going to attempt the marshalling of a hundred quotes in opposition to yours, though it certainly can be done. There are several excellent studies by impartial scholars, Anglican, Orthodox, and even RC, that may come to several different final conclusions, but all of which make a point of discussing the various attitudes that have been held and have been considered acceptable at various periods. I'll mention as one example the one I just finished reading: The Church and the Papacy, by Trevor Jalland, SPCK 1944, a thorough work of research by an Anglican whose attitudes toward Rome are more open than mine.

I am very familiar with the kind of presentation you've given us, which is a rather good presentation of one side of an ongoing discussion. You see, as a Protestant preacher, in the 25 years before I became and Anglican, I had become rather good at marshalling Scripture passages to support positions that do not hold up if the whole content of Scripture be consulted. The centuries-long conversation about Petrine claims is just as susceptible to this kind of selective quotation.


Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Excellent post and a very good discussion.


Warwickensis said...

Hope you don't wear a biretta, Fr. Hart, after Percy Dearmer's rejection of them as being a ghastly Roman invention! ;-)

However, I am not a Protestant. I am an Anglican Papalist and proud to be so, whether that be logically inconsistent or not. I do not possess the learning to disagree with any of your statements; I am after all a unlearned layman witout his feet on the ground. So what?

My head faces Romeward but my heart firmly placed in England where, as an Englishman born and bred. I love my Anglican heritage deeply, even though, Fr. Hart, you claim that I cannot because of my ignorance.

I would humbly suggest that you ought to try living here as a layman with a partially apostate church divided against itself, little or no recourse to the Continuum and a Roman Catholicism that is deeply liberal in its dealings, and see what effect that would have on your theology. Maybe you might see how I can continue to be an Anglican Papalist.

As an Anglican Papalist, I seek reunion with Rome, not at the cost of Anglican identity, but at the reconciliation of doctrine on which there is a large concordance. Indeed, I am convinced that Rome would benefit greatly from a good dose of Anglican Reason and tolerant conservatism.

I find these long, anti-Roman tracts unhelpful because they seek to continue division of the Body of Christ. We may attribute this division to the Holy See herself, but what good does that do? That would be just passing the buck and not accepting our part and our duty in healing the breaches. What use is an Anglican Identity if all it does is seek to separate people into Anglians and non-Anglicans, or appreciative Anglicans from non-appreciative Anglicans? Isn't that just emulating Roman Catholicism?

The via media surely is about bridging the gap, after all that was the intention of the original Tractarians who did seek recourse with Rome, again not with by obliteration of Anglicanism but with the confluence of the Anglican faith with the Apostolic See.

Nathan said...

If nothing else, a most interesting read.


Anonymous said...

Dear Warwickensis,
I suggest you get your cozzy on and swim over here right away!! This is where the great English Saints and Fathers and lay men and women had their home. It was not for nothing that England was known as the most Catholic country in Christendom and the Dowry of Mary. Rome is your spiritual home.

As to the quotations of the Fathers as set out by 'just a thought', are they not powerful enough statements in themselves?

poetreader said...


Good thoughts there. There are Anglo-Papalists and Anglo-Papalists. There are those (among whom I can be numbered) who love and respect the Roman Church and hold an intense desire for the restoration of unity, as quickly as it may be, but who do believe that such unity will require change on both sides of River Tiber. Your comment, and other conversation I've had with you seem to make it clear that you, though we are not always in agreement, may actually be described in very similar terms.

Then there are those who, by their own pronouncements, seem to feel that any criticism of Rome (on other than esthetic grounds) is nothing less than denial of the faith, and that there is nothing other than cultural trim worth keepong in Anglicanism. These latter are the ones that I continually urge to move on to the only place they really belong.

As for postings like this: well, I find them of extreme value whether I always agree or not. There are differences. To muddle along without giving them any thought is rather less than honest. To bring them into the open and honestly discuss them is to make it possible one day to resolve them. To refuse to do so because someone might not like it os to refuse all efforts toward a solution. I want to be part of the solution.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Excellent! Dorothy Sayers said in her "The Lost Tools of Learning" that children should memorize the Quicunque vult. The opening words say it all: "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith..." Athanasius wasn't speaking of the Roman Catholic Church.

Indeed, let's restore the Patristics. There is great wisdom there!

Fr. Robert Hart said...


The only way to restore unity in truth is to make the arguments for a sound and proper Anglicanism. Otherwise, there is nothing to discuss with Rome except acquiescence on their terms. This would lead to a loss of Evangelical truth. Rome is not perfect, and they have much to gain from us. But, if Anglicans are to carry on discussions with Rome, they need to be Anglicans who value and understand their heritage accurately. Give and take needs to happen on both sides.

Christine wrote:

As to the quotations of the Fathers as set out by 'just a thought', are they not powerful enough statements in themselves?

No more convincing than verses of scripture wrenched from their context and quoted by Jehovah's Witnesses (not to compare a Roman Catholic to a Jehovah's Witness except, in this case, to compare the method).

Fr. Robert Hart said...

In fact, I should add, Christine's expression "powerful enough statements in themselves" is a problem. These quotations do not exist simply "in themselves" anymore than selected passages of scripture exist only "in themselves." There is a larger context without which their meaning is lost or distorted. In the case of the quotations supplied by J.A.T., they are misleading at best when placed alone and outside of the context of history.

I am well aware of everything stated about the See of Rome in the Ecumenical Councils. So are the Orthodox. Like them, Anglican Traditionalist Catholics (such as myself) do not see those statements as leading to the modern RC position about the See of Rome.

PTB+ said...

Fr. Hart said...

--The only way to restore unity in truth is to make the arguments for a sound and proper Anglicanism. Otherwise, there is nothing to discuss with Rome except acquiescence on their terms.--

Well put again Fr. Hart.
Restoration of "Anglican Traditionalist Catholicism" within the Continuum is essential prior to any discussion, never mind reunion, with the RCC.
If that does not occur, the Continuum will end up like the Anglican Use Episcopalians who went to Rome in 1980's. I believe that group has two or three parishes left, the rest were dissolved and dispersed into Novus Ordo parishes.

Paul Beutell+

poetreader said...


I find I need to add another observation. You have commented favorably on JAT's list of quotations as being conclusive, and have, rather rudely, I think, passed over the answers made by Fr. Hart and myself as if we had not even spoken. Ma'am, that is not argumentation, nor is it even discussion, but (if I've misread you, please forgive me) it appears to be a rather arrogant assumption that no one you disagree with needs to be so much as acknowledged. I have to admit that I find it rather tiresome to be attempting a conversation with people who are not listening.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

The four of us, Albion, Ed, Fr. Kirby and I, were sent an e-mail asking what we know about this TAC signing of the RC Catechism. My answer was, and is, we just don't know what happened, and what it is supposed to mean. Everything is shrouded, by design and directive, in secrecy.

I do know this: Rome's response to the Letter will be slow in coming, if it comes at all in our lifetime. The most it will produce when it comes is discussion, discussion and more discussion. As far as I am concerned, that can be a good thing if the Anglicans really hold Anglican convictions going in. Otherwise, I hope the answer never comes at all.

And, I still think that serious believing Anglicans need to reopen the discussions with the Orthodox too.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Ed: some words are beyond reclaiming for their correct use, and the P-word is on top of the list.

In Australia (and to a large extent in England) the Anglopapalists don't even do much criticising of Rome on even aesthetic grounds. They (the clergy, at least) are all too keen to inflict hideous 1960s liturgies on the people, and they can't wait until the new translation is authorised for use by bishops with whom they are not in communion. Birettas are all the rage. Cottas and stoles at Evensong (if they have it), and comments such as, 'I would not be able to preach the Gospel in a surplice' . . . I for one feel alienated by that, and I have at least 2 friends who agree with me. (I admit that part of the alienation is aesthetic, part a reaction to an affront to reason, and part a reaction of fear because I've seen too many priests of that ilk plunge into the Tiber and I have a horror of the idea of my totally unmemorable confessions walking around in the heads of RC laymen.)

Doctrinally, my experience of the average RC in the pews is that such folk think priestesses are a wonderful idea . . . On the other hand, I've read much from the pen of Dr Ratzinger and I find it very agreeable--apart from bits of his ecclesiology, where I see the biggest sticking point. Much of what I read suggests that he'd have been a wonderful Archbishop of Canterbury.

I pray for the success of the TAC's Roman venture. I trust that Rome will have the courtesy to offer some form of reply before too many of the recipients and the signatories have departed this mortal life. I then expect further discussions to ensue, but don't consider it worth wasting my energy on speculation.

I hope Rome respects the best of Anglican theological culture--a way of thought that doesn't readily reduce itself even to 600-page codification. I hope the TAC bishops care enough to stick up for our liturgical culture (that hope is reasonably positive, since even in Australia it keeps the liturgical lid mostly on). I hope Rome recognises that we have a worthwhile patrimony to bring with us.

I'm nervous--we're small and Rome's very big. I also recognise that 400+ years of schism isn't going to be healed without compromise, and it doesn't take a genius to recognise which party has the greater bargaining power. Further, the TAC's the only real option I've got where I live if I want some semblance of Anglican culture and orthodox faith, so I'll probably just have to go along with whatever happens anyway.

While in no way implying criticism of Fr Hart, whose posts I await eagerly and always find helpful, I am a bit concerned that we are developing a bit of a Rome-bashing session, which could well spin off into a TAC-bashing session soon. Truth is paramount, therefore doctrinal purity is good, but even if the Continuum were to bury its differences and join up, it's still small, it no longer has the ancient Anglican claim of being the historic and national Church of England, and therefore, like the Orthodox Church in its various national manifestations, the natural thing to be in that place (and its former colonies). An ecclesiology that insists that we've got it all right to the exclusion of others, who are both presently and historically much larger than we, is a bit of a worry. Is there a way in which we can take Rome largely as she is with our fingers crossed that she'll return to her senses? Would the acceptance by Rome of the TAC go any distance at all towards the healing of our ecclesiological differences? Can we co-exist thinking two things? (E.g., Anglican orders are real (or were, until . . .) because they remained real as against these Anglican orders are real because they've been infused with the Dutch Touch, or the Flemish Fondle, or whatever the weaker brethren need to get them over the line.)

Some would prefer that we made our overtures in a more easterly direction. I don't really now why the TAC didn't, but I note it has already been mentioned on this blog that both Rome and the Orthodox believe themselves to be the Church to the exclusion of all others (with Rome, I think, coming around more quickly to a more realistic view). All I know is that we're Western, and seeking some form of recognition and restoration of communion with the major Western ecclesiastical power makes a form of sense.

I may just have made no sense at all. Well, that's not new from me.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart, you invoked Patrology in your Blog post; you also quote the Fathers to support your argument when it suits you as you did in a reply to an earlier discussion vis. St. John Chrysostom. I believe my polemics followed your reasoning without the use any excessive hyperbolie or emotive language and particularly not for your amusement or scorn. I have to say I am a little disappointed, I expected a more lucid and considered response.

Let us bear in mind that to have any reference to topics outside of Christology in a letter from the period of the Fathers is remarkable in itself, but to have so many references over the centuries to a subject relating to such a mundane matter of the church hierarchy is surely exceptional. The very fact that it is invoked so many times over the centuries would surely suggest to a reasonable mind that this was a particularly important subject to the then contemporary church which had to understand and accept it. Stalin said quantity has a quality all of its own.

You claim that these quotations are out of context, and would be understood quite differently if seen in their wider context, then Fr Hart please explain them, each in turn in the wider context, I have provided references for the quotes, what is it I do not see, if I am misleading then none is more mislead then I

Indeed Laurecen K. Wells and not the first time Peter stood condemned, none more so than at cock crow but that didn't result is Jesus saying, after the resurrection he had changed his mind about all that on-this-rock stuff did it? Paul and Peter had more than one stand up argument if we understand scripture correctly and Paul even won a few, but Paul always deferred to Peters Judgement because he understood what Christ had meant

Ed, thank you for your reply, naturally I would not expect accordance in all my views, why else enter the debate if not to explore other peoples thought on a subject, hopefully in a respectful manner. Twenty-five years service to the truth is a wonderful achievement and I congratulate you on your faithfulness. As to statements of various Fathers in disagreement with the Petrine Ministry, I'm sure example can be found if we look hard enough but, unless I am proved wrong (and I don't claim to be the fount of all knowledge) I have yet to see any that flatly deny the primacy of Rome it or argue that it is un-scriptural. And lest we forget Rome had had raging argument about authority and conciliarity at least one thousand years before the reformation was even thought of, to suggest that all my references are some how fish out of water is to exhibit, to my mind a kind of selective myopia. Let us not be under any illusion about our Orthodox brethren, Constantinople was similar to Anglicanism prior to the Great Schism in this respect before the Turk, It was an episcopate owing its patrimony to the emperor, it was not a free agent.

If I cherry pick then I shall paraphrase Churchill, some cherry, some picking

I see from a later post Fr Hart you say Rome has a lot to gain from your community coming home. I cannot agree more, Rome has a tremendous amount to gain from your returning to the fold but nothing of any value was won without hard work or too much pride. Your position seems a little defensive from here I think a charitable if not generous disposition should be shown to we other Catholics who would eagerly welcome you, as I believe Christine's has tried to explore. Or are we to get tired of talking to one another?

Anonymous said...

Sandra McColl, Fr Hart,

There has been a sort of reply already from Rome to TACs approach, it wasn't too promising, to be honest, and I regret this I don't think Rome is taking the approach too seriously, The Popes gaze seems to be on the East and healing the East/West rift. This perhaps is partly understandable after the experiences of the ARCIC.

William Tighe said...

ell, for my part, I have heard nothing about "a sort of reply from Rome already," unless one is thinking of Cardinal Kasper's discouraging and disconcering remarks a few months ago along the lines of "we welcome Anglicans, but we don't want too many at once" -- which seems to have been the good cardinal speaking for himself rather than for Rome.

John A. Hollister said...

1. Sandra McColl summarized a certain theory about Sacramental Theology as "Anglican orders are real because they've been infused with the Dutch Touch, or the Flemish Fondle, or whatever the weaker brethren need to get them over the line."

Brilliant!!! I especially love the highly evocative "Flemish Fondle"!

2. Fr. Hart observed that the Eastern Orthodox are just as familiar with Patristic writings as are the Romans yet the E.O.s see the "Primacy of Peter" as no more than a primacy of honor, not of jurisdiction.

To this, Just A Thought offered: "As to statements of various Fathers in disagreement with the Petrine Ministry ... I have yet to see any that flatly deny the primacy of Rome it or argue that it is un-scriptural."

In all charity, J.A.T., that is not answering Fr. Hart, it is talking past him. Virtually all of the Fathers, except those resident in Rome (such as Clement), or closely allied with Rome, or like the North Africans, seeking Roman support against local heretics, agreed that there was some sort of primacy in the Roman See.

The Romans themselves pretended, and still pretend, that St. Peter founded the local church in Rome when it is quite evident that there was a strong church there before either St. Peter or St. Paul arrived in the city. Skipping over the fact that the later prominence of the local Roman church was based on political and commercial factors, not theological ones, they then proceeded and proceed to posit that St. Peter left the administration of the whole Church to the Roman bishops as though the Church were an entailed feudal fief or (in English church terms) a glebe.

What almost everyone else outside of Rome said and says is, as Fr. Hart pointed out, that the head of the local Roman church has traditionally been accorded precedence, not jurisdiction. The very fact that large portions of the Church have NEVER accepted Roman claims to universal jurisdiction is sufficient to refute those claims and their fictive divine origin.

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Father Hollister,

when your write "The very fact that large portions of the Church have NEVER accepted Roman claims to universal jurisdiction is sufficient to refute those claims and their fictive divine origin." I think you are basing your argument on faulty logic. Large portions of the Church refused to accept the definitions of Nicea I, and of Chalcedon (to mention only 2 councils)...would we claim that is sufficient to refute the claims made on behalf of Christ that those councils defined?

Unfortunately, the Church has rarely defined its dogma except when someone has challenged the accepted teaching, and in the aftermath of dogmatic definition, there have been schisms. But the refusal on the part of some to accept the defined dogmas hardly invalidates the teaching.

Steve Cavanaugh

Anonymous said...

Paul wrote "If that does not occur, the Continuum will end up like the Anglican Use Episcopalians who went to Rome in 1980's. I believe that group has two or three parishes left, the rest were dissolved and dispersed into Novus Ordo parishes."

Well, the Anglican Use within the Catholic Church in the US is healthier than that! We have a small congregation here in Boston (I'm not one of the converts, but I do attend the services here), a new and larger one in Scranton, and 4 in Texas. Small ones in Nevada and Georgia did fail to survive.

Other parishes are likely to be created in the future.

Steve Cavanaugh

Anonymous said...

I must echo the sentiments expressed by a previous contributor and express my concern that traditional or ‘classic’ Anglicanism appears to have no home within the Anglo-catholic wing of the Church of England. The 1662 BCP (which I use without any alteration, addition or biretta) is nearly always dismissed as being outdated and ‘Protestant’ (a word that is afforded little value or careful investigation). Indeed, when I suggested its use for a Mass in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Oxford Movement I was told it would be too ‘divisive’.

Perhaps in light of the TAC’s approach to Rome the Continuum should turn its attention towards the Canterbury Anglican world and encourage us to rediscover our ‘classic’ (and orthodox) Anglican faith, liturgy and practice. Anyone for swimming the Thames?

Fr Edward+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

JAT wrote:
You claim that these quotations are out of context, and would be understood quite differently if seen in their wider context, then Fr Hart please explain them, each in turn in the wider context, I have provided references for the quotes, what is it I do not see, if I am misleading then none is more mislead then I

I do not need to go into each quotation. None of them were written at a time when the Church recognized Universal Primacy as a matter of jurisdiction, and none were written at a time when anything even close to the teaching of Vatican I had been so much as perceived. Outside of their historical context, and looking at them backwards from a modern lense, you see in them the force of an argument that is simply not there.

Again, I call as my witness the whole Orthodox Church, beginning with the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria in 1054, as to what those quotations do NOT mean, and as what the Church NEVER taught.

poetreader said...

"Anyone for swimming the Thames?"

Not when rhe other shore is a haven for lady clergy, for defenders of immorality, and, worse yet, for deniers of basic Christian doctrines.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Steve Cavanaugh wrote:
But the refusal on the part of some to accept the defined dogmas hardly invalidates the teaching.

The point that was made by Fr. Hollister was that the RC position about the papacy was never the dogmatic teaching of the Church. References to the Patriarch of Rome as first in honor just does not win the day. The very first time that any pope ever sought to interpret this as a matter of universal jurisdiction was in 1054, and we know what happened. This is why the Ecumenical Patriarch, as late as 1985, restated the Orthodox position that the pope was the first Protestant to leave the Church.

Sandra mentioned a concern that Rome bashing may be going on. Frankly, I am more concerned about Anglican bashing; this is why I have defended the Anglican Way. The only people I have criticized are Anglicans themselves who are ready, in some echo or reflection of the 16th century continental Reformations, to throw away the English baby with the bathwater. But, I am perfectly happy for Roman Catholics to love their church and to live by its teaching on the path to salvation.

poetreader said...

Agreed, Fr. Hart,

Erik von Daniken (in "Chariots of the Gods" and other books)serves as a far more bizarre example of where that kind of reasoning can lead. He takes a thesis, and then finds very real artifacts and documents out of the past which one can manage to interpret as support for his thesis, even though no such thesis had ever been imagined by the original authors/makers.

I'm not intending ridicule here, but rather the demonstration that a kind of reasoning is being practiced that does not yield reliable results. If someone who had not only not thought of (for example) papal infallibility, but would in all likelihood have denied it, perhaps hotly, is quoted for words which the quoter thinks support his case, that argument is so flawed as to be useless.

Unless East and West can be shown to be in substantial agreement on the interpretation of these patristic passages, it has to be assumed that the interpretations given them are, at best, uncertain.


Warwickensis said...

Perhaps I owe a small apology to Fr. Hart for my previous post in which I accused him of being anti-Roman. My words were ill-chosen, but I do protest as an Anglican Papalist to be pressured to make a choice.

The fence on which I am accused of sitting has an existence similar to Schrodinger's cat in that it only exists when it is observed from either side.

As Ed kindly said, I am critical of the Holy See. I do not accept the Roman claims wholesale. Perhaps that makes me rather unusual as an AP. However, I do seek the reconciliation of the Tridentine Creed with that of Anglican belief, and this is where ARCIC and the like are putting in the efforts, even if ARCIC is dead in the water through the stupidity of the C of E. Perhpas with the TAC there'll be TARCIC.

I'm a "both...and..." person rather than an "either... or...". The idea of Roman Catholicism done properly, I believe, is fully congruent with Anglican belief done properly - another apology to Fr. Hart there for attacking his attempts to provide a consistent Anglican Theology. However, I still reject the idea that Anglicanism is inherently Protestant. I find the word quite vile.

This brings me to what I do have problems with about Fr. Hart's post in that I'm being accused of not appreciating my heritage just because I want reunion with Rome.

Clearly these broad claims of Rome as being the "One True Church" are difficult for Anglicans to handle. They should be difficult to handle because Catholicism relates to the whole church of God, and if they recognise Anglicans as being "separated brethren" and permit us the epithet "Christian" then they are already saying that we belong to the Church. After all "Church" means "belonging to the Lord" and "Christian" means "follower of Christ". If we follow Christ, we belong to the Lord, unless the Holy See is actually doubting the Lordship of Christ! Either there is a contradiction in the Holy See as viewing us as separate or we are already in the Holy See as part of the One True Church.

Christine, I'm not going to get my cozzy on. I visited a Roman Catholic Church in my area recently, and I was shocked and appalled by the level of indifference of the laity, the ghastly dumbing-down of what was once a noble liturgy and the twang of guitar strings thrumming in my ears as the singer sang solely to entertain rather than point the congregation to the Holy Mysteries being performed. I found my own Anglican Parish more directed towards God.

While I agree that this may not be typical of Roman Catholic worship following Vatican II, it does point to a gulf between the Holy Father (whom I accept as Vicar of Christ and Successor of St Peter) and his magnificent efforts to get the Church working to make worship excellent, and the liberal bishops who are trying to hide the Tridentine Mass under the carpet. I hear Catholic women muttering under their breath about the "unfairness of the papacy" in denying orders to women, when surely there ought to be humble submission to what the Holy Father says here. Fr. Hart surely agrees with the Holy Father on this aspect of Catholic Doctrine. I know of Roman Catholics in England purchasing contraception, getting abortions et c, and not taking the Catholic Faith seriously. It speaks to me of a church which is becoming as disunited as the C of E of which I am still am a member. That is why I have not swum, nor intend to swim the Tiber - I would be no better off, and would be making the same complaint.

But Rome is in the Anglican bloodstream, just as I believe that Anglicanism is in the Roman bloodstream, and as the two apparently separate Ideologies struggle to be united from within to ride a growing tide of modernism and worship of the zeitgeist, then we need to do it together.

BTW, on a more silly note. On alternalte Sunday mornings when I officiate at Mattins from the 1662 BCP, I wear my Canterbury Cap. On the other Sundays when I officiate at Prime, I wear my biretta. Now there's an appreciation of two heritages for you! ;-)

Fr. Robert Hart said...


You have personalized my general criticism of Anglo-Papalists. I think you would have to admit that there is a good number of Anglicans in this movement who have never studied Anglicanism for what it is, who have accepted Roman Catholic attacks on it without resistance (especially the resistance of bothering to read and learn), and who have developed an inferiority complex towards Rome. Nonetheless, this Romanism of theirs is superficial, because if it were a matter of conviction they would do as their conscience dictates. I have read enough by you not to include you in this category.

I am aware as well of the problem with modern usage of the word "Protestant." Today it means everything, and so means nothing. I have used the word in this post with the intention of so describing my position that meaning is restored to the word, if only for historic appreciation. As such, it was a perfectly good Catholic word describing a Catholic position among the C of E apologists in the 16th and 17th centuries.

If a certain body of bishops can enter into a restored ARCIC with a genuine goal, then all of my efforts to defend Anglicanism will prove to have been necessary for the work they must do. For, unless they discuss matters of Evangelical doctrine and proclamation (not "Evangelical" in the modern American sense), they will have little to say. If they seek to bring their churches into submission to Rome without all of the doctrinal work having been done, and to the satisfaction of their people, they will create something that will turn into only a few AU parishes here and there in different countries, and scatter the rest of their jurisdiction to the four winds.

Now, a restoration of real discussion is a good thing. However, nothing is going to happen very quickly; of that I am certain.

Also you wrote:
On the other Sundays when I officiate at Prime, I wear my biretta.

Just be careful not to break any "conceal and carry" laws. Have you considered a Glock?

Anonymous said...

ed wrote:
"Anyone for swimming the Thames?"

Not when the other shore is a haven for lady clergy, for defenders of immorality, and, worse yet, for deniers of basic Christian doctrines.

Although I would accept each of those criticisms of the CofE in general don’t forget that there are provisions in place that allow for those opposed to the ‘ordination’ of women to receive the ministry of Provincial Episcopal Visitors (PEVs or ‘flying Bishops’) and that the legislation that ‘permitted’ the ‘ordination’ of women in the first place states clearly that the status /validity of those ‘orders’ to be undecided. The matter is far from closed and the next five years or so will be crucial for those who continue to hope, pray and fight for orthodoxy within the CofE.

Some are optimistic, some pessimistic. Bishop Edwin Barnes (the President of the Church Union) wrote in the latest edition of the society’s magazine that if an orthodox ‘third province’ was not granted to those who cannot accept the innovation of women’s ‘ordination’ then:

“we will indeed be in the recycling business – trying to gather up the fragments that remain and take them with us into whatever new alliance is open to us – perhaps a temporary home as continuing Anglicans, while looking for a more permanent place allied in some way to Rome or Orthodoxy.”

I would appeal to the Continuum to support those in the CofE still holding fast to ‘classic’ Anglicanism and, if the inevitable does happen, then to encourage us to look not to Rome or Orthodoxy for permanence and stability but instead to our own Anglican faith and heritage.

Right now I’d still choose the murky and uncertain Thames than the Tiber.

Fr Edward

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...the legislation that ‘permitted’ the ‘ordination’ of women in the first place states clearly that the status /validity of those ‘orders’ to be undecided.

That is less principled than honest heresy. Considering that one of the sacraments "generally necessary for salvation" depends, as far as we can be certain, on valid priestly ordination, it is downright cynical.

As long as the C of E has priests like Geoffrey Kirk and John Hunwicke, all hope is not lost.

poetreader said...

To Fr. Edward,
I have such good feeling toward one who shares my patron. Welcome.

Tes, there is still much good to be found in the mirky mire of the Thames, and those honest Catholics that still flounder in that unhealthy environment do have my honest respect. But I can no longer look on that other shore as a possible destination. Those beloved stalwarts over there don't need company. They need rescue. I am convinced that the battle is long lost and that the war will best be prosecuted by a strategic withdrawal and regrouping. We Traditional Catholic Anglicans need to find unity with one another and separation from those who have denied our heritage -- both the liberal revisionist that we spend so much time complaining about, and also the Calvinists who dominate the still-remaining Credally "orthodox" presence in the C of E and such places as Sydney. If we don't regroup in that fashion, our heritage will have been abandoned.

to Warwickensis,

Your latest comment is a wonderful statement of a position I respect highly, even though I can't accept it entirely. I've agreed with Fr. Hart in ueging a cetain type of Anglo-Papalist to pack their bags and go. I just wrote very sharply to one such on another board. If there is no disagreement with RC distinctives, there is no excuse, not even the dreadful liturgical abuse often seen, for not being there. That advice, however, was never intended to apply to honest and truly Anglican Papalists such as yourself. No one is telling you to move on. In fact those who know you, including myself, are hoping that you find a way to remain with and enrich the true survivals of Anglicanism.

I hope you keep both of your hats, my good friend. Maybe you can find spme way to wear them both at once. (bet you could draw that!)


Anonymous said...

William Tighe, Yes it was Cardinal Kasper I was thinking of, and if his attitude is that of the curia then as I said it doesn't look too promising, however time will tell, as we know The church in Rome thinks in centuries, so don’t hold your breath.

John A. Hollister, Your Point 2 is the position by EOC and of course the post reformation churches but it is not by Rome (unsurprisingly) however it was not always the case. For example during the time of Pope Nicholas I (858-67) the Patriarch of Constantinople Ignatius (846-57) refused Holy Communion to Cæsar Bardas who was living in incest with his daughter-in-law Eudocia. The upshot of this was Ignatius was deposed and banished by the emperor and in his place a layman Photius quickly ordained, made Bishop and enthroned. Now quite a bit of skulduggery went on here and the Pope was asked to judge the case and so he sent his legates to gather the facts. Now the important part is that they returned to Rome with letters, and the emperor sent his Secretary of State, Leo, after them with more explanations and letters (Hergenröther, op. cit., I, 439-460). In all these letters both the Emperor and Photius emphatically acknowledge the Roman primacy and categorically invoked the pope's jurisdiction to confirm what has happened.

An earlier example. Council Of Sardica (Pope St. Julius I called Bishops of the Eastern and Western Church), AD 343 Special importance attaches to this council through the fact that Canons 3-5 invest the Roman bishop with a prerogative which became the first legal recognition of his jurisdiction over other (as in Antioch Alexandria ect) sees and the basis for the further development of his primacy. "In order to honour the memory of St Peter," it was enacted that any bishop, if deposed by his provincial synod, should be entitled to appeal to the bishop of Rome, who was then at liberty either to confirm the first decision or to order a new investigation. In the latter case, the tribunal was to consist of bishops from the neighbouring provinces, assisted - if he so chose - by legates of the Roman bishop. The clauses thus made the bishop of Rome president of a reversionary court. In the middle ages they were cited to justify the claim of the papacy to be the supreme court of appeal. Attacks on their authenticity have been conclusively repelled.

For most of the pre great schism period the dialogues between the Pope and the Emperor of Constantine, cantered round the Emperor trying to exercise authority and control the Pope. The Patriarch was useful to the Emperor who would play him off against Rome and often did – See claims of Ravenna, Sicily, Moravia etc. In conflicts the Pope usually lost, in some cases killed See Pope St. Martin I but not one (even the weak ones) ever renounced the primacy of the See of Peter

Succeeding Emperors (After Pope St. Stephen I) did not feel their right to the throne was legitimised without the Pope (or his representative) anointing them at their coronation, somehow the Patriarchs blessing just wasn’t enough. This was seen as necessary as the Pope was the only Bishop to claim the succession of St Peter and it was recognised as such by Constantine Emperors as such as early as 254, no other Patriarch challenged this claim

Your point that “…pretend and still pretend, that St. Peter founded the local church in Rome” I’m sorry that’s just not true, at least not from those Catholics with a passing acquaintance with the known facts. Peter was in Rome (as was Paul), and he did lead the Church in Rome, we do not have scripture for this only tradition and the later writings of the early Fathers – See Irenaeus of Lyons Doctor Of The Church AD 180 Excerpts from - Against the Heresies

“Now it is within the power of anyone who cares to find out the truth, to know the tradition of the Apostles, professed throughout the world in every church. We can name those too who were appointed bishops by the Apostles in the churches and their successors down to our own time.... But inasmuch as it would be very tedious in a book like this to rehearse the lines of succession in every church, we will put to confusion all those who, either from waywardness or conceit or blindness or obstinacy combine together against the truth, by pointing to the tradition, derived from the Apostles, of that great and illustrious Church founded and organized at Rome by the two glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, and to the faith declared to mankind and handed down to our own time through its bishops in their succession. For with this Church, because of its more powerful leadership, every church, that is to say, the faithful from everywhere, must needs agree, and in it the tradition that springs from the Apostles has been continuously preserved by men from everywhere....”

I think this also answer your point “left the administration of the whole Church” in the affirmative.

And finally I hope I have demonstrated contrary to your point that large portions of the Church did accept Roman claims to universal jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

Ed Re Flying Bishops

This really is a completely new idea of what a bishop is. From the beginning a bishop was the chief elder of a particular city or geographical area. What seems to be emerging is the idea that a bishop can be the pastor of a group of people who hold the same views that he does. This began in the 1990s when the Church of England created a special temporary provision for parishes that could not agree with women's ordination to have their own non-geographical 'flying bishops'. The 'flying bishop' was brought in for sacramental ministry to the parishes who could not, in good conscience, accept the sacramental ministry of their own bishop. The other administrative and financial aspects of the local church continued within the diocese as before.

So the Anglo-Catholics who did not want bishops who ordained women were allowed to have their own bishops. If that is allowed, then it only makes sense that the Evangelicals who do not want homosexuality may have their own bishops too.

What is novel about all this is that the new bishops and their new denominations are not actually breaking away from the Anglican Church. Instead new ecclesial bodies are being created within an existing ecclesial body in order to maintain 'unity'.

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. If the Anglican bishops who disagree on women's ordination and homosexuality already don't have sacramental unity, how does this new arrangement actually guarantee sacramental unity, or for that matter, any unity at all?

What happened with the 'flying bishops' is that, for all intents and purposes, a sub-denomination with the Church of England was created. The parishes who had flying bishops have their own network of priests and people. They have their own publications, and their own clergy meetings. The ones I knew withdrew themselves from most diocesan committees, did not attend clergy fraternal meetings, and absented themselves from the diocesan structures of power. Some of them also with held their diocesan 'quota' payments- kind of clerical tax to support the bureaucracy. They even advertised their parishes displaying their special status. So a church in my area would call itself, "St Paul's Church of England, We are a Forward in Faith parish. (Forward in Faith being code for 'we don't have women priests and we have our own bishop)

If the more ecclesially minded Anglo Catholics were so independently minded, the Evangelical parishes will be even more so. Not only are they likely to advertise something like "We are united with the Anglican Bishop of Nigeria" but they are very likely to withhold at least some of their donations to the Anglican hierarchy, and disengage from diocesan structures. The fact that the Evangelicals are the ones with youth, numbers and money should be even more worrying to the Anglican establishment.

The result will be this: the Liberals will control the Anglican Church (as they have always done) but it will be a Pyrrhic victory. They will find themselves having to manage an increasing burden of aging and de-motivated clergy and people. They will also find that the great burden of maintenance for the medieval buildings will fall on them. As the Evangelicals withdraw their support, their enthusiasm and their money the Liberal hierarchy will look around and discover that their church has become politically correct sect for people who for whom the only virtue left is tolerance.

They'll have discovered that in a church where anything goes. Everyone goes.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I, for one, have never disputed that the Sees of Rome and of Antioch are Petrine, nor that some of the ancients recognized this as more significant in the case of Rome than in the case of Antioch.

After the Edict of Milan the first place of honor was given to Rome, and after that to Constantinople "because it is the new Rome" (Constantinople I). Therefore, the Emperor had a need for the Roman Patriarch as part of the whole image that Rome was the center of the Empire by tradition, even after the building of Constantinople, an image that goes back to Pagan times. In the Ante-Nicene period Rome had an appellate jurisdiction, but only in matters of doctrine. And, it was only appellate, Rome having no authority to step in to the affairs of other churches uninvited (see Jurisdiction in the Early Church by Dom Gregory Dix). The evidence reveals only that this was due to the reputation of that one church for always holding to purity of doctrine. It was not a matter of authority in the sense of jurisdiction, but of reputation for fidelity and sound teaching. Furthermore, the concept of Rome as the See of Peter cannot be shown to have had anything to do with this reputation in anything from that early period.

Beginning with the second Ecumenical Council a pattern was established recognizing Rome as first in honor (though in that second Council only as a brief remark in the third canon, and then by implication) until the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Why? Because Rome failed to maintain its winning streak as the measure of orthodoxy at that very Council. Though the implications of the condemnation of Pope Honrorius as a heretic are often overstated, the fact is that never again was this custom, of mentioning Rome as having that first place of honor, observed, and so it never appears again in the records of the Ecumenical Councils after that. Only in the second, third and fourth, and not in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

Nonetheless, citing the use of papal authority by Emperors is a weak argument for anything that lays claim to revelation or dogma. The better argument is that Roman Primacy needs to be considered for what it was in the ancient Church, not by its current bloated and controverted definition. For example, I have been criticized for my statement that the See of Rome does have a gift for the whole Church in teaching things that lack clarity almost everywhere else, including much of modern Orthodoxy. Often, this is due to the willingness they have to study every new scientific development in light of Christian morality as revealed in scripture. However, it needs to be balanced against Evangelical doctrine (in the old sense of that phrase) that cuts through medieval excess that Rome clings to, or rather, that clings to it.

But, to accept the notion of Universal Jurisdiction because Rome had such a good reputation for orthodoxy in ancient times, or because of how certain emperors used the Pope, does not follow. Especially, in light of the overwhelming rejection of Rome going far beyond anything understood as "first in honor" by all of the other patriarchs in 1054 until this very day, it does not follow.

John A. Hollister said...

Steve Cavanaugh accused me of faulty logic when I wrote that just because very large portions of the Church have always rejected the extreme Roman claims, that is by itself evidence that those claims have not in fact been believed "always, everywhere, and by all."

Mr. Cavanaugh's response, in his own words, was "Large portions of the Church refused to accept the definitions of Nicea I, and of Chalcedon (to mention only 2 councils)...would we claim that is sufficient to refute the claims made on behalf of Christ that those councils defined?"

In saying this, he implicitly suggests that St. Vincent's dictum should be read as though it had said "has been believed ... by all who agree with the current official Roman position" which, of course, is not what St. Vincent said at all.

To thus equate the Roman pretensions to Universal Ordinary Jurisdiction, etc., with the Christological formulations of the universally-accepted Ecumenical Councils is, figuratively, to compare tomatoes and kumquats. We know that the Seven Ecumenical Councils were, indeed Ecumenical precisely because, over time, the entire Church Catholic has come to accept them as such. That consensus certifies their catholicity.

It is that consensus that is so conspicuously lacking in the case of the peculiarly Roman notions. Where no portion of the Church outside the Roman Communion has ever accepted them, they can, in no meaningful way, be deemed to be universal, i.e., catholic.

John A. Hollister+

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart said almost everything I wish I had said, and more -- and everything wish I were able to say, too -- in response to Just A Thought.

I would append to his comment only two further points. One, not only were many of the Byzantine Emperors personally, morally, and otherwise corrupt but none of them had any legitimate claim to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Thus what one such Emperor did with or said about his personal chaplain, which is about all that Photius amounted to, is utterly irrelevant to evaluating the Roman claims.

Two, Sardica has never been accepted as an Ecumenical Council; it was at most a regional council and so its decisions were not and are not binding on the Universal Church.

John A. Hollister+

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Amen to the thoughtful comments of Fathers Hart and Hollister.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly relate to what Sandra said because in Canada, the TAC is also the only continuing church. I've been an Anglican for over 50 years, and only just went over to the TAC this past autumn. I always had been an Anglo-Catholic, and as you all know, in that tradition there is always this Latin Church fetish and nobody pays any attention to things like the 39 Articles, of course. But the closer this thing gets to Rome, the more I start to wonder exactly what it is of Anglicanism the TAC actually wants to preserve. I also wonder what on earth the Vatican thinks it is that the TAC actually want to preserve, since the bishops already have signed the catechism of the Roman church, on the altar in Portsmouth.

I also have started to fear that, in leaving behind the new age liberalism of the Lambeth communion for the Rome-obsessed TAC, I have also left behind my true Anglican heritage, which I have really ignored for so long (Fr Hart you've really got me thinking). Whatever deal the TAC gets with Rome, the only thing "Anglican" that can possibly survive will be some latinized version of the BCP (of course even that would be too Protestant for the Novus Ordo boys at Forward In Faith UK). Because it may be my last chance as an Anglican, I have actually started to study the Articles of Religion, which along with the Ordinal and the BCP are the formularies of the Anglican Church and I'm starting to realize that you can't just take chunks out of it and latinize them, and start giving people plenary indulgences for reading scripture for half an hour, and have to accept that the sack of Constantinople was just collateral damage, and think that EWTN is a really great TV station, and that the BVM is Co-Redemtrix, and call that Anglican.

I realize now that The Book Of Common Prayer (I mean ALL of it) is something really precious to me. The first time I ever went to church in my life was the very first service at my childhood parish church celebrated using the brand new 1962 Canadian edition, right out of the box. It's been with me all my life but I'm only starting to get what it was about, and also what Hooker gave us, finally, at the 11th hour, so to speak. More and more, I'm haunted by the image of Archbishop Cranmer holding his hand in the fire, and I'm thinking I might just swim back across the Thames, no matter how fetid the water is.

Anonymous said...

>Fr. Robert Hart said...
>...the legislation that ‘permitted’ the ‘ordination’ of women in the first place states >clearly that the status /validity of those ‘orders’ to be undecided.

>That is less principled than honest heresy. Considering that one of the sacraments >"generally necessary for salvation" depends, as far as we can be certain, on valid >priestly ordination, it is downright cynical.

In response to Fr Robert I would agree completely on the one hand but also argue that the ‘provisionality’ of the situation requires a little more thought. The outcome remains undecided! That means that there is still the chance (albeit a slim one) that the CofE could repent of this error and the measures currently in place allow for us to continue certain (at least) of the validity of our own orders and sacraments. Until the matter is resolved we remain in a kind of ‘limbo’. I believe that the responsibility I have for the cure of souls in my parishes demands that I see it through until all hope is lost and no other options are open.

In the meantime, any encouragement to discover and uphold ‘classic’ Anglican faith, doctrine and worship can only be of benefit. The idea of an eventual new ‘continuing’ Church of England that uses the modern Roman Rite isn’t one that I find appealing.

>As long as the C of E has priests like Geoffrey Kirk and John Hunwicke, all hope is >not lost.

I heartily agree! But don’t forget there are also plenty of us at work at the ‘coal face’ who share similar views (and who use the BCP!).

Fr Edward

William Tighe said...

"The very first time that any pope ever sought to interpret this as a matter of universal jurisdiction was in 1054, and we know what happened."

"The very first time"? Not so. Read Leo the Great's various sermons on his office; or read *The Life and Times of Leo the Great* by T. G. Jalland (1941); or read "Leo I and the Theme of Papal Primacy" by Walter Ullmann, *Journal of Theological Studies,* n.s., XI (1960), pp. 25-51. You may not agree with it, may regard it as an error, but Leo clearly ascribed a universal ecclesiastical jurisdictional competence to the papacy.

William Tighe said...

"Yes it was Cardinal Kasper I was thinking of, and if his attitude is that of the curia then as I said it doesn't look too promising ..."

A big "if." My impression is that he speaks for himself, although no doubt a certain body of curialist opinion would agree with him.

Cardinal Kasper addressed the House of Bishops of the Church of England in July 2006, warning them in unusually clear terms that if the Church of England were to proceed to allow "women bishops" it would destroy the last chance of "ecumenical progress" between the two churches. A couple of months later, a reply to Cardinal Kasper was jointly produced by Tom Wright, the [Evangelical conservative-ish] Bishop of Durham and David Stancliffe, the [Affirming Catholic] Bishop of Salisbury; both of them strongly pro-WO -- who essentially told Kasper "nothing doing mate; Rome is mistaken on this one." In reading their reply I noticed that they were driving hard (and effectively) against the Cardinal some kind of remark that he was said to have made in his address that that if the "Junian" who, along with Andronicus, was "great among the apostles" was a woman (Junia) rather than a man (Junias), it would undermine the Catholic case against WO. I thought this an absurd thing to say, and, moreover, I could find nothing about "Junia/s" in the published version of the Cardinal's address.

So I sent an e-mail to Bishop Wright to ask about it, and in reply he said that the Cardinal had indeed said that very thing in his address as verbally delivered, but that when the Cardinal had produced his "corrected" version for publication, it had disappeared. I leave you, gentle readers, to draw your own conclusions.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Hopeless Percy Dearmer Fan

If by swimming the Thames you mean going back to the official Anglican Church in Canada, don't do it. There is nothing truly Anglican about that heretical cult anymore, for there is nothing Christian about it or TEC down here south of the border. No jurisdiction is perfect, since they are all made up of sinners. The TAC is not perfect, but stick with it, not the Canterbury "Gay Union" Blessing cult of Fred Hiltz.

Too much speculation on what the TAC bishops are trying to do won't help things for you all up there in Canada. We don't know what the signing in Portsmouth was meant to signify- or even if it was actually the CCC that was signed. I want verification of this story. Nonetheless, even if TAC bishops did sign the CCC, nothing is settled, and the people were not called to take notice as if it was supposed to be significant. It is a mystery.

I am a High Churchman, and I am an Anglo-Catholic of the Francis Hall type. As such I am also, in the classic sense, Evangelical. The voice I am crying with in the wilderness of confused Anglicans is meant to restore appreciation of what we have as Anglicans, and to help some of the Rome envying crowd stop and think. can't just take chunks out of it and latinize them, and start giving people plenary indulgences for reading scripture for half an hour, and have to accept that the sack of Constantinople was just collateral damage, and think that EWTN is a really great TV station, and that the BVM is Co-Redemtrix, and call that Anglican.

Agreed. But, I would rather debate with those details than find myself "in communion" with Hilt's or Schori's cult.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Bill Tighe wrote:
Leo clearly ascribed a universal ecclesiastical jurisdictional competence to the papacy.

I should have said that the first time a pope sought to act by his own volition with authority in the jurisdiction of another patriarch was 1054. It was not accepted by the Universal Church. That was the point that I meant to state clearly in answer to JAT.

Leo's writings have no more force, on their own, than selected portions from other Church fathers. The problem with JAT's argument is that he put forth Universal Jurisdiction as dogma, as if it were ratified in an Ecumenical Council. We see from the history of the Great Schism that the opposite is the case. The Church, in this case most of it, said no.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen, please!

I do not think it likely that we are going to change anyone's minds regarding the papal claims in the comments to Fr. Hart's excellent post.

Moreover, the question has been thoroughly and surely more profitably "briefed" by excellent scholars from the Roman Catholic camp (a minority against the claims), the Anglican camp (virtually uniformly against the extent of the claims), and the Orthodox camp (against the extent of claims AND explaining the historic use of flowery, Byzantine rhetoric of praise toward Rome as THE Petrine See -- its was the charismatic presence of Peter's relics in or about Rome, not any institutional Charisma, that caused the East to expect profound Orthodoxy from Rome until Germanic "occupation" of the Petrine See in the 11th century.)

Also, as this blog is for Catholic Anglicans, I especially doubt that anyone will be persuaded to swim the Tiber. So, let us all, then, save some keyboard strokes and use our time to deeply draw wisdom from the writings of the Fathers into our own, on-going, several Christian formations.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The truth is, I am happy for anyone to read the blog who is interested. And, I thank the Roman Catholic apologists for their charitable intentions. It may come as a surprise to some that we can answer without trouble. It comes from years of study.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Readers of this blog who are interested in what the Fathers have written may wish to renew acquaintance with St. Basil by reading his homilies on the six days of creation here:

William Tighe said...

As long as the C of E has priests like Geoffrey Kirk and John Hunwicke, all hope is not lost."

I hope that my credibility (and good will) is such among those who operate this website, that whatever "death bredon" may insinuate, my comments are not "Roman Catholic propaganda."

For instance, I am personally acquainted with the two above-mentioned priests of the Church of England, and know them both to be firm Anglo-Papalists, one of whom uses the modern Roman Rite for most, if not all, services in his parish, and the other one of whom might be described, loosely, as "Anglo-Tridentine" in his sympathies.

For Fr. Kirk, for instance, I invite you to read this latest article of his in the January 2008 issue of *New Directions* and particularly its last paragraph:

and for Fr. Hunwicke I direct readers simply to his new blog:

Fr_Rob said...

What an outstanding discussion all around! It makes me proud to be a traditional High Church-but-also-Evangelical (in the old sense) Anglican a la Fr. Hart within the Anglican Catholic Church. I could not agree more with those who have said that we Anglicans need to restore, recover, and reclaim our glorious heritage (in the BCP, Ordinal, and yes, the 39 Articles, as well as in the great Anglican theologians and spiritual writers of the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries). At the same time, I have nothing but the greatest of respect for Dr. Tighe and the other Roman Catholics who have posted here, who indeed have tremendous resources of history, theological argument, scholarship, and numbers of people to substantiate their Papal and Petrine claims. It seems to me that this is the kind of dialogue faithful Anglicans and Roman Catholics ought to be having. I also think we should encourage and lift up our brothers and sisters in the C of E and Canterbury Communion who are attempting to join with us in the Continuum in the work of preserving, maintaining, and reinvigorating traditional and faithful Anglican doctrine, worship, and discipline.

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Edward wrote, regarding wome's "ordination": "there is still the chance (albeit a slim one) that the C of E could repent of this error and the measures currently in place allow for us to continue certain (at least) of the validity of our own orders and sacraments...."

In all charity, I must disagree. Once the C of E accepted officially the novelty of the purported ordination of women, whether that acceptance was provisional or permanent, from that moment on, its sacramental ministry was in the same state as that into which PECUSA's ministry fell in 1976.

That is, after that acceptance, every time a candidate has been "ordained" in the Church of England, whether that candidate be male or female, the "order" to which (s)he has been instituted is not the ancient, Christ-given Apostolic Ministry described in the Preface to the Ordinal but, instead, a new, self-created unisex Protestant preaching ministry that, from all objective appearances, lacks Sacramental capacity.

Thus the very last thing of which post-1992 or -1994 (whichever year it was) ordinands in the Church of England can be certain is the validity of their own orders and sacraments. Indeed, it is the INvalidity of those orders and sacraments that is the one thing of which they can be certain, even in the wholly unlikely event that the Church of England were to abandon this so-called "experiment".

Once again, it was precisely this across-the-board threat to the institution's fundamental sacramental validity that caused the "Continuing Churches" to withdraw from PECUSA when PECUSA officially adopted women's "ordination".

John A. Hollister+

Anonymous said...

Sorry, can't resist: Where should the 'p' go? Is it to be silent?

John A. Hollister said...

Sandra McColl asked, "Where should the 'p' go? Is it to be silent?"

Surely it should go up front: "Panglican" has such an evocatively "affirming" sound, don't you think?

And if it were given the "silent treatment", as in P.G. Wodehouse's "Leave it to Psmith", then all those lovely overtones would be lost....

Speaking of evocative sounds, the blog approval scramble for this comment is "mazuck". Now there's a word that's just begging to be given some appropriate meaning!

John A. Hollister+

Jason said...

Regarding this topic, I am curious whether any writers here at The Continuum have read and/or have any response to a recent book by Jean-Louis Quantin, "The Church of England and Christian Antiquity: The Construction of a Confessional Identity in the 17th Century," which I believe argues that there was no distinctively Anglican appeal to patristic consensus at least amongst the earlier Anglican divines. I would be very interested to hear such a response!