One of the great barriers to Anglican Catholics considering corporate reunion with Rome is that we perceive a demand on the other side of the Tiber for a mere submission which would involve two deliberate lies by us. The first would be an unqualified affirmation that Rome's actions and common or approved teachings in the past (relevant to the broken relationship between our Churches) have not been at fault. The second, related to the first, is a dishonest denial of our identity. This demand is implicit in the official approach, wherein we are characterised as properly schismatic, heretical and without valid Orders, and explicit in the polemic of those I will call Anti-Anglican Roman Catholic Apologists (AARCAs herein), in particular those apologists for the RCC who engage Anglican Catholics with the attitude and arguments of Cardinal Newman and take Apostolicae Curae as at least practically infallible.
My aim in this post is to lay out some of the admissions Rome would have to make before many of us could take seriously its claim to pursue honest reconciliation. Subsidiary to that aim is another one. The history of the unending controversy between us and the AARCAs is such that further conversation appears utterly futile unless AARCAs are willing to stipulate to certain facts and some manifest moral implications before we would be obliged to consider or listen to anything new they had to say. (This is partly because we need to clear the ground of outdated irrelevancies and summarise established historical facts.) I will contend, therefore, that the abovementioned admissions are a precondition for further conversation about these matters at the popular level. Indeed, I will suggest that in future, Anglican Catholic apologists should simply link or refer to this list of admissions and tell their AARCA interlocutors they will not be engaged in debate until they make the necessary stipulations. This may seem an arrogant or presumptious attempt to curtail the debate, but the deepest reason for my pursuing this secondary aim will, I hope, become abundantly clear below.
The admissions that will be posited as a sine qua non for progress deal with: the Roman denial of the validity of Anglican Orders; the Papal Supremacy claimed and imposed by Rome at the time of separation; and the moral and doctrinal errors and superstitions officially approved, encouraged or tolerated by Rome at the time of separation. There will be very little debateable arguing and much recounting of simple fact. I will generally let the facts speak for themselves.
First, I will lay out in roughly chronological order the reasons commonly given for denying the validity of Anglican Orders by AARCAs and the Vatican from the 16th Century onwards, in conjunction with certain relevant and undeniable facts relating to these reasons. A to I below come from the 16th Century and early 17th Century, D to H being sourced from some of the most active early AARCAs, men such as Sanders, Parsons and Kellison. The rest date from the later 17th Century onwards, and J to L (and, it is sometimes claimed, M) were eventually included in the abovementioned Papal Bull, Apostolicae Curae.
A. Orders given by the Edwardine Ordinal were simply asserted to be invalid or "counterfeit" by RC divines at the Marian restoration of papal jurisdiction. Detailed theological reasons were not given at this stage. Fact: There is scholarly debate about how universally affected clergy were re-ordained and precisely what portion of the ordination was repeated. The instructions from Rome to Cardinal Pole had ambiguities, with it being unclear whether certain commands to ordain referred to those ordained by the English rite or those not ordained at all who received "benefices" or those ordained by another reformed rite but illicitly allowed to function as clergy in their own congregations by King Edward. There is early testimony that some clergy only had the anointing of the hands supplied. And other testimony that various Marian bishops clearly taught the invalidity and need for absolute reordination, as noted above. There was no binding decision on the English Ordinal as such.
B. After Elizabeth's accession to the throne and restoration of the English Ordinal and Book of Common Prayer, orders so bestowed were said to be either illicit or invalid because performed by schismatics and canonically ultra vires, invalid because performed by married men, or because the Roman rite was not used, or even because the ordinal had not been approved by Parliament when first used! Facts: No modern Roman theologian today accepts any of these as sufficient to invalidate orders. The official modern Roman position on Anglican Orders does not refer to any of these factors.
C. Pope Paul IV denied the validity of the Anglican episcopate because the Anglican Ordinal included an explicit denial of papal jurisdiction, since the pope believed that episcopal ordination did not give new sacramental grace (the episcopate being then commonly seen as the same order as the priesthood, except with larger pastoral powers and having the authority to confirm and ordain "unbound") but did signify the grant of episcopal jurisdiction by the Pope. Hence, rejection of papal jurisdiction meant the episcopate could not be given. Facts: No modern Roman theologian today accepts any of these as sufficient to invalidate orders. The official modern Roman position on Anglican Orders does not refer to any of these factors. Indeed, this theory of the episcopate was effectively abandoned at Vatican II.
D. One early accusation against the Anglican hierarchy was that no "Matter" was used in their ordinations, not even the laying on of hands, notwithstanding what the Ordinal says. A related early accusation denied the use of any "Form". There was, in fact, a denial that some bishops had been consecrated at all before they took up their posts. Fact: These are false accusations, as now admitted by all RC historians and theologians.
E. The "Nag's Head Fable" claimed that Archbishop Parker, the first Elizabethan Primate, had not been really consecrated at all, but appointed in some way at the Nag's Head Tavern. Fact: This is a false claim, as now admitted by all RC historians and theologians.
F. It was alleged that a later Archbishop of Canterbury, Whitgift, had received his ordination from the Queen. Fact: This is a false claim, as now admitted by all RC historians and theologians.
G. It was alleged that the records produced which contradicted the Nag's Head story had been forged by Anglicans. Fact: This is a false claim, as now admitted by all RC historians and theologians.
H. It was then claimed that it didn't matter what really happened with Archbishop Parker anyway, since his chief consecrator, Bishop Barlow had never been consecrated himself. Fact: This is a false claim, as now admitted by all RC historians and theologians.
I. It was commonly asserted that the absence of the "Tradition of the Instruments" in the Anglican rite made it invalid, since an earlier Pope had defined this as the Matter of the sacrament of order. Fact: This ceremony is not the true Matter and is not necessary to valid ordination, as now admitted by all RC theologians and as definitively taught by the RCC.
J. The original Form of the English Ordinal was said to be invalid because it specified neither the precise order to be conferred nor any of the primary roles appropriate to that order. The words "Receive the Holy Ghost", used for both priests and bishops, are thus insufficient. Facts: The words in what was commonly considered the Form of the English rites were not only "Receive the Holy Ghost" but as follows: For the priesthood, "RECEIVE the holy goste, whose synnes thou doest forgeve, they are forgeven: and whose sinnes thou doest retaine, thei are retained: and be thou a faithful despensor of the word of god, and of his holy Sacramentes. In the name of the father, and of the sonne, and of the holy gost. Amen. TAKE thou aucthoritie to preache the word of god, and to minister the holy Sacramentes ..." (Emphasis added. NB: The Council of Trent particularly connected the sacerdotal office with the key role of forgiveness of sins by absolution.) For the episcopate, "TAKE the holy gost, and remember that thou stirre up the grace of god, whiche is in thee, by imposicion of handes: for god hath not geven us the spirite of feare, but of power, and love, and of sobernesse. GEVE hede unto reading, exhortacion and doctrine. Thinke upon these thinges conteined in this boke [the Bible just then given], be diligent in them, that the encrease comyng therby, may be manyfest unto all men. Take hede unto thyselfe, and unto teaching, and be diligent in doing them, for by doing this thou shalt save thyselfe, and them that heare thee; bee to the flocke of Christ a shepeheard, not a wolfe: feede them, devoure them not; holde up the weake, heale the sicke, binde together the broken, bryng againe the outcastes, seke the lost. Be so mercifull, that you be not to remisse, so minister discipline, that ye forgeat not mercy; that when the chief shepheard shal come, ye may receyve the immarcessible croune of glory, through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen." (Emphasis added. NB: The Council of Trent particularly connected the episcopal office with the key role of preaching.) The quotations from Scripture within each form were those specifically associated with these offices by contemporary respected scholars, including Erasmus. Also, it is virtually universal opinion in the RCC that ecclesiastical rites must be interpreted as a "moral unity", so that each part gives contextual meaning to each other part. This is why it is now accepted and officially taught that the essential form and matter of the old Roman rites were not simultaneous (the Form preceeding the Matter) and did not need to be. Here are some excerpts of earlier prayers in the English rite. For priests, "mercifully behold these thy servantes, now called to the Office of Priesthode, and replenish them so wyth the trueth of thy doctryne, and innocencie of lyfe, that both by worde and good example, they may faythfully serve thee in thys office". For bishops, "sende thy grace upon him, they he may duely execute the office wherunto he is called ... mercifully beholde this thy servaunt, now called to the worke and ministerie of a Bisshoppe, and replenishe him so with the trueth of thy doctryne, and innocencie of life, that both by worde and dede, he may faithfully serve thee in this office". Apostolicae Curae mentions that some of these prayers might have sufficed as supplying an adequate form, but for the next two objections.
K. The Intention to convey the traditional Catholic Orders was said to be absent, an intention to create a new set of offices sharing only the name was said to replace it. Facts: The Preface to the Ordinal specifically states the intent, using the very word intent, as follows: "from the Apostles tyme, there hathe bene these orders of Ministers in Christes church, Bisshoppes, Priestes, and Deacons, ... therfore to the entent these orders shoulde bee continued ... no man (not beynge at thys presente Bisshop, Priest, nor Deacon) shall execute anye of them, excepte he be ... admitted, accordynge to the forme hereafter folowinge" [emphasis added]. Apostolicae Curae does not quote or mention the Preface at all, not even to dispute it.
L. The Intention was said to be proven absent from and adverse to the sacrament of Order in our rites by the complete denial of Eucharistic Sacrifice generally in the church and by the inbuilt heresy (the "native character" as the bull put it) involved in deletion of all references to consecration of the Eucharist and offering sacrifice in the Ordinal. Facts: Although direct reference to consecrating the Eucharist is not made in the rite, all acknowledge that such consecration is included in "ministering the sacraments", which is mentioned. The Book of Common Prayer, in which the Ordinal is placed, has always reserved that consecrating role to priests and bishops. In the Elizabethan period, when the denial of Eucharistic Sacrifice is purported to have vitiated all episcopal consecrations from Parker onwards, the following Anglican statements appeared. The Prayer Book's Liturgy calls this service a "perpetual memory" of the Sacrifice and a "sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving". The 28th of the 39 Articles says that the “Supper of the Lord is … a Sacrament [= "effectual sign" according to Article 25] of our Redemption by Christ’s death”. In other words, the Sacrament signifies and effects our salvation by the Sacrifice of the Cross. Bishop Jewel (1522-71), in his defence of the Anglican position, quotes St. Augustine with approval: “ ‘Christ hath given us to celebrate in His Church, an image or token of that Sacrifice for the remembrance of His Passion.’ Again he saith, ‘After CHRIST'S ascension into heaven, the Flesh and Blood of this Sacrifice is continued by a Sacrament of remembrance.’ ” [emphasis added] Defence of the Apology. Part II. And then there is the subscription in 1567 of Archbishop Parker and 14 other bishops to the mediaeval homily of Archbishop Aelfric (A.D. 995), containing the following (with spelling modernised): “Once suffered Christ himself but yet nevertheless his suffering is daily renewed at the mass through mystery of the holy housel” [emphasis added]. Housel was the old English word for sacrifice, especially in reference to the Eucharist. It is appropriate to again compare these historical facts with the statement of the papal bull that “all idea … of sacrifice has been rejected”. And to compare the above statements with the fact that Aquinas in the Summa Theologica gives two reasons he considers sufficient to call the Mass a Sacrifice, namely that it "commemorates" and "represents" as an "image" the Sacrifice of the Cross and that it conveys its saving effects (P3, Q73, A4; P3, Q83, A1), which original Sacrifice itself can never be repeated (P3, Q22, A5). Similarly, the RC theologian Masure in the 20th Century taught that the Eucharist is a sacrifice simply because it "efficaciously signifies" the Sacrifice of the Cross, but that there is no fresh immolation of Christ on the altar (The Christian Sacrifice, 1943). Both these men's works, of course, have the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, meaning they are within the bounds of Roman orthodoxy. In Saepius Officio, the official response of the two English Primates to the papal bull, the Anglican doctrine is explained similarly, drawing on the liturgy: "We continue a perpetual memory of the precious death of Christ ... we plead and represent before the Father the sacrifice of the cross, and by it we confidently entreat remission of sins and all other benefits of the Lord’s Passion for all the whole Church" [emphasis added]. Nevertheless, the Vatican's letter in response said that this doctrine was "not that of the Roman Catholic Church."
M. In response to Anglican reference to the Ordinal's Preface to verify their intention to "do as the Church does", RC theologian Clark replied that the bull did not really argue that the Anglicans did not have a general intention to do as the Church does (cf. K), nor that this intention was undermined by a mere heretical understanding (cf. L). Instead, he claimed that the Pope had in fact argued that the admitted general intention was vitiated by a positive contrary intention to exclude the conferring of a sacrificial role, this contrary intention being imposed by the omission of all sacrificial language from the Ordinal. Facts: The group responsible for the original English Ordinal probably had a mixture of more Catholic and more Protestant churchmen, and accepted the pattern recapitulated in the canons of an ancient Council of Carthage. However, it is generally accepted by theologians that a Church is not committed to the beliefs of any of the authors of a rite except as those beliefs are expressed in the rite itself so as to "inform" the intent of the users of it. There are no positive statements denying the sacrificial aspect of priestly ministry in the Ordinal. However, such a statement was supplied in a suggested draft by the Lutheran Bucer to the English Reformers. They did not include it. The Book of Common Prayer specifically notes the principles behind various omissions made at the Reformation in the preface "Of Ceremonies", and says that some were omitted due to number and complexity, some due to eventual abuse despite their original goodness, and some but not all due to their intrinsic unworthiness. That is, not all omission was outright rejection at the English Reformation. As for the Pope's real meaning in Apostolicae Curae, it is notable that he nowhere admits or implies even the Church of England's general intent to do as the Church does, nor does he refer to any duality or inconsistency of intention. He says the correct intention is "wanting" and the actual intention involved "rejecting what the Church does". He does not speak of an intention to reject one particular part of what the Church does while accepting the rest.
N. Clark, however, seems to have had a kind of fallback position, in that he argued that the RCC can simply declare and make sacraments invalid by, for example, changing the acceptable conditions for validity by fiat, as it has done before with Marriage. Specifically, he states that the RCC "has an effective power to restrict sacramental validity" (Anglican Orders and Defect of Intention, 1956:10). Therefore, the decision that the Anglican Ordinal fails to satisfy the necessary conditions might theoretically be seen as incontestable and self-fulfilling. In a sense, they would then be invalid because Rome said they are. Facts: This approach, which ironically leads us back to A to a large extent, is obviously unanswerable if its premisses are granted. It is, however, not the argument of Apostolicae Curae, which appears to assume an argument is actually necessary.
I cannot (and I do not believe I am obliged to) accept that any Roman Catholic, once made aware of this history, has any right to begin a new attack on our Orders without at least first admitting that part or most of the past record of RCs and their Church in this regard has been deeply shameful. I am morally certain that the above facts speak for themselves to a great extent and display a significant amount of malice, disingenuousness and vincible ignorance on the other side. The constant shifting of ground by AARCAs as each place staked out is washed away by the truth, in combination with the refusal to stop and consider what has gone before, convinces me that enough is enough. I ask AARCAs either to show that the statements above are untrue or to stipulate that they are factual. In the latter case, if such a stipulation does not include acceptance of the shamefulness abovementioned, it may be that further conversation is still worthless, since an inability by an AARCA to agree with us on the theological shallowness of B and C or the disgraceful calumny of D to H, for example, would indicate moral and other premisses too incommensurable for further conversation to have any hope of genuine communication.
As M appears to confirm, Anglican Catholics cannot make any headway with many of their AARCA interlocutors because of an act of will (to assert Anglican Orders null and void) by them that is effectively a priori and incapable of ever being overturned by reasoning. At best, this is impossible for them to avoid as they perceive this to be necessitated by their act of faith in all RC doctrine. For people such as these, I have no criticism, only the request to at least pause, take seriously the above facts and understand why we will remain unconvinced of their position and perhaps be unwilling to debate the point further with them. At worst, an AARCA may believe that such an intransigence is not absolutely necessitated, but choose it out of pride and contempt towards us or possibly blameworthy ignorance. I say blameworthy because much of what is above should be known by those who claim any expert knowledge in this area, and without such expert knowledge it is doubtful one should make arguments that one knows will offend (because they deny the fundamental self-understanding in sacred matters of your "opponents"), since one will be causing offence without the objective assurance that might justify such action. Put simply, if people (who are not morally certain on other grounds related to an act of faith) want to tell us we belong to pseudo-churches consisting solely of laymen, with some laymen pretending to be Catholic clergy, they are obliged to be very, very sure of themselves because they have done all the necessary research.
If the reader senses some exasperation and anger, he is not led astray by this intuition. It is hard to stress too much the sorrow and affront caused by the Roman claims against our Orders and the history of their development. We have been, in effect, told we are self-deceived frauds, yet often through manifestly fraudulent or erroneous assertions. It is made worse by the fact that they come from those with whom we share so much, and with whom we would have peace and reconciliation. Indeed, they proceed from a Church whose Orders and whose men in Orders we have always received as equivalent to our own, while being told by it that we intended to replace those very Orders. So, we ask that AARCAs not attempt to continue the attack without first either refuting or stipulating to the above history, and in the latter case admitting the very poor impression justifiably created by this history.
As for official dialogue between the Churches, even here I think that such a stipulation of facts should be requested by the Anglican Catholic side when it comes to discussing Orders. Since the aim of such dialogue -- reconciliation -- is different to the aim of mutually opposed apologetical debates -- proving your side right and the other wrong -- admission of past blame for invalid and egregious arguments is far less relevant (especially since the institution is not automatically responsible for all its apologists' tactics). But we should still make sure relevant and significant facts in our favour are out in the open early. And we owe it to Rome to be honest with them about our moral certainty that we have the Apostolic Succession and our refusal to accept absolute re-ordinations in the event of reunion, since such acceptance would constitute deliberate sacrelige on our part.
Our second topic is the Papal Supremacy as it existed and operated, and according to the powers it claimed for itself, at the time of the English Reformation. Historic Facts: Briefly, it may be said that the highly authoritative Unam Sanctum of the 14th Century, which taught that the Pope could command the civil power and the use of its "sword" and, in this context, decreed that it was "absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff", created the impression the Pope was claiming imperial rather than spiritual powers. This impression was reinforced by other acts. There had been tensions between England and the Papacy over Roman interventions in both temporalities and spiritualities for centuries. These and related facts, in combination with the papal excommunication of 1570 which purported to also depose Elizabeth, and papal machinations to have her assasinated or her country invaded, confirmed for the Church of England at that decisive time that the Papacy was now committed to unspiritual, proud and violent usurpation. This was the kind of Papal jurisdiction rejected. Purely spiritual primacy was not dogmatically rejected. For example, Queen Elizabeth I acknowledged in her negotiations on behalf of Church of England the right of the Pope to preside at a free General Council, though not as "universal bishop". King James I acknowledged Roman primacy if it followed the pattern of the original Petrine primacy. Theologians and bishops such as Bramhall similarly distinguished between usurped papal powers, especially civil, and a valid and beneficial universal primacy. Corresponding modern facts: The modern papacy now makes no such claim to imperium, is encouraging some devolution of authority in the Church and has begun to return to "first millenium" principles in explaining its Primacy, effectively admitting the unnecessary nature of certain later accompaniments to this Primacy. That is, elements we criticised have been abandoned or are being modified. This is not the papacy then refused by us. Indeed, the papacy refused by us is now, to an increasing degree, disclaimed by the "papists", despite the difficulty caused by Vatican I in the meantime.
Our third topic is the erroneous teaching allowed or approved by Rome at and after the time of the Reformation, even though not dogmatised. A similar treatment of this issue appear earlier on this weblog.
Historic Facts: It was maintained at that time in the RCC without censure in approved works that the worship paid to the Divine nature, latreia, was also due to images of Christ, the Trinity, to relics of the "true Cross", to relics supposedly of Christ's blood, hair or nails, and to crucifixes. Even the Council of Trent did not make entirely clear that adoration of Christ could not be paid via an image of him, in that it said "by the images ... we adore Christ". On the other hand, it denied any divinity in the images "on account of which they are to be woshipped" and made all honour to images "due honour". After Trent there were still writers uncondemned by Rome who justified adoring the divinity represented in the image, using the image as a proximate object of worship. Corresponding Doctrinal Fact: This is not in accordance with the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which only allows a maximum honour of proskunesis to any image. It is, according to this Council, the objectively mortal sin of idolatry, and is heretical.
Historic Facts: Other serious deficiencies affecting popular instruction or guidance in faith and morals were: the multiplication and encouraged veneration of and trust in false relics; disapproval or deliberate lack of encouragement of lay access to Scripture in their own tongue; authorised prayers to the Saints worded so they implied to the common man Saints were direct authors of benefits; assertions that Mary could command Christ and that she was to be approached as the more merciful when a Christian was afraid to approach Jesus, since He is the Judge; portraying the Intermediate State as temporary Hell-fire inflicted primarily as divine vengeance; teaching that the Mass involved an extra, fresh immolation of Christ, that is, a repeated offering of Him; and permitting or commanding the torturing of "heretics" to gain confessions.
Corresponding Relevant Facts: Every single one of these problems had been long-lasting and widespread but has since been effectively corrected in some way by the RCC since that time, but not all at the time of Trent and the Counter-Reformation. Every single one of them was a reason the English Reformers said they were justified in carrying out reform independent of Rome and those in submission to it and sharing these deficiencies. Thus a break in communion was accepted (though not initiated) by the Church of England on the basis of identified errors in the Western, Papal communion that were serious and appeared to Anglicans to be practically authoritative in that communion.
Such breaks in communion had occured in the past for perceived misbehaviour or error at a less than dogmatic level. E.g., the removal of Pope Vigilius from the diptychs at the Fifth Ecumenical Council till he would confirm an earlier anathematisation of heresy. Also, the Acacian schism began due to a papal decision to break communion not because of heresy personally held or taught by Acacius but his tolerant communion with a hierarch who fluctuated between Chalcedonian orthodoxy and Monophytism. The schism persisted because of the refusal of one of Acacius' personally orthodox successors to anathematise his predecessor, even though he did excommunicate undoubted Monophysites. (A number of afterwards universally recognised Saints lived and died faithful communicants on each side of this schism, though it was complete at the time. This has been pointed to by some theologians as evidence that this schism for reasons other than error in dogma did not really cause either side to be outside the Catholic Church.)
Unless the facts listed in part 1 are admitted, our nature as particular Churches will continue to be impugned or denied carelessly and automatically and this will darken any dialogue that occurs. Unless all the above facts in parts 2 and 3 are admitted, the nature of the original schism between Rome and the Church of England cannot be fairly characterised or put into context. Especially since it is not the case that all theologians in good standing in the RCC or Eastern Orthodox Church assert or accept that every kind of schism affecting the Catholic Church must leave one side properly out of it, as I have noted before. We do not need to approach Rome as if repentant rebels, begging for re-admittance to the Fold.
Finally, and on a more eirenic note, it is incontestable that Anglican Catholics too must stipulate to important and undeniable facts: Anglican Churches also tolerated or even encouraged at various times much material heresy among their bishops, clergy and laity, despite also not "dogmatising" the heresies by imposing manifest error on their officially binding formularies. They allowed the corruptions of latitudinarian indifference to infect their faith and practice, such deficiencies being no less destructive than the corruptions within the Roman communion. Anglican theologians were often slow to admit the logical deductions from their principles and separate Patristic and Catholic wheat from the chaff of certain Western mediaeval excesses. They also did not sufficiently discriminate in their criticisms between common opinion and true doctrine in the RCC, and did not always interpret those doctrines with a just or charitable eye. Many of our liturgies were for a long time unecessarily minimalist in certain areas, such as prayer for the dead, where only implicit requests or traces remained, e.g., pleading the Sacrifice of the Cross "for all [God's] whole Church" in Holy Communion, or asking God in the Burial office "to hasten [his] kingdom" that both the living and the "departed in the true faith" might have their "perfect consummation and bliss" at the Resurrection, but not referring at all to the intermediate state in this prayer. And, although the English State's bloody persecution of RCs for treason was often unjust, the English Church did not do enough to challenge this wickedness, and often defended these actions as if all those executed were truly malicious towards or a danger to the State, overlooking the vicious and insincere motivations of certain agents of that State. So, both sides do have things of which to repent, but both sides should approach each other as genuine sister Churches, realising that each has in fact already moved toward the other.
Excellent, Fr. Kirby!
Much of what passes for theological discussion, including a lot we've seen on this blog, gives the imoression of sheer insanity. By this I mean that it makes no sense whatever to pretend to carry on dialogue while simultaneously claiming that one's partner is unqualifed to speak. There seems a radical disconnect in that that makes all such "discourse" into nonsense.
I'd also like to add that many so-called apologists (of all stripes) exhibit such bad manners that their Moms ought to spank them. Imagine some stranger coming into your living room to tell you that your marriage was false and your children bastards, and still expecting warm hospitality. That is precisely what several single-minded attack dogs of RC persuasion have been doing here, and they've complained that we aren't very welcoming. Go figure!
There is a civil way to carry on a conversation while giving due respect to those one disagrees with. One of its major aspects is listening. There is always something to learn from one's opponent, and there is nothing to answer if one has not heard.
I hope (though I, frankly do not expect) that your statrement will result in a more rational basis for the discourse here and elsewhere.
Let me be the first (or at least second) to congratulate Fr. Kirby on this eirenic and thoughtful essay.
It might be instructive to compare and contrast "Anglican Orders" so expounded with "Swedish Orders." I do not see how a Catholic Anglican could easily recognize the latter, and I have long been curious (although I have not done any specific investigation of the matter) about the basis on which the 1920 Lambeth Conference recognized the Orders of the Church of Sweden.
Excellent job, Fr Kirby. And please note that you are getting kudos from at least three participants of three different perspectives.
Poetreader: Well stated. I hope you will convey these sentiments to your own TAC/ACA hierarchy.
Laurence K. Wells
This article needs to be preserved in a book, and become required reading for Anglican postulents.
Perhaps Archbishop Haverland could be prevailed upon to update his book.
I am struck by the repeated use of "UNDENIABLE FACT" when I am virtually certain that someone can be found to deny the fact asserted. This seems, in my mind, a weak argument. If the fact is so strong, then does it not speak for itself? Is it necessary to shout "UNDENIABLE FACT"? It seems to me that this is an attempt to assure that the other side has no opportunity to speak. It just appears lame.
Completely off topic, but I wanted to share it with you.
The Pope has just said in the ecumenical meeting in New York:
"Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called 'prophetic actions' that are based on a hermeneutic not always consonant with the datum of Scripture and Tradition".
Was he speaking about women ordinations?
I REALLY think so.
Is it necessary to shout "UNDENIABLE FACT"? It seems to me that this is an attempt to assure that the other side has no opportunity to speak. It just appears lame.
Fine. You may speak. Deny whatever you wish.
I have said my piece. I was speaking of the mode of presentation of the argument. I think it is lame. That is not to deny any of the facts stated.
I also want to commend and thank Fr. Kirby for his essay, which painstakingly recites many of the facts and truths that are well known to those of us who have studied the history of these issues.
I doubt that many RC theologians today would put much stock in the old fables about the transmission of Anglican orders. But the matter of orders is not really the main issue (except for some Anglicans). It's theology, ecclesiology, and a whole slew of practical matters having to do with ecclesiastical polity and governance that to my mind are much more crucial. These include ownership of church property; lay participation in Synods, selecting parish rectors, and the election of bishops; and the whole matter of clerical celibacy to include a married episcopate.
You have a point. I forgot the rule about SHOUTING on the web and my determination to make my point loud and clear may have undermined it through stylistic immaturity.
I will fix this soon.
Perhaps Dr. D has a point.
However, there are issues that make one want to SHOUT, and the shouting to come from very deep within. On reading the original veresion of the article, I found myself so much taken by the saying of what I've badly wanted to say that I was wishing that it sould somehow be said even more strongly. Nothing was presented in a stronger or louder way than the addressed abuses cried out for, but, it does remain true that we are sometimes heard more clearly when we are less loud.
Once again, thanks, Fr. Kirby.
The validity of orders is still an issue for Roman Catholic bloggers, and it is good to have succinct counter-arguments to Apostolicae Curae ready to fire (if indeed, said bloggers, or their brethren whom one might actually meet, actually know more than the last line of that encyclical). In fact, in our virtual Anglican studies theology degree supplementary course, I nominate Fr Kirby to teach a unit, or a sub-unit, on Why Apostolicae Curae is a Load of Horsexxxx. This is not because our ordinands should need to convince themselves of this, but because they should be prepared to argue their position if it is questioned.
This is not because our ordinands should need to convince themselves of this, but because they should be prepared to argue their position if it is questioned.
The problem is that some less educated Anglicans, including clergy, fall for the Apostolicae Curae line hook and sinker. This is quite odd, since RC scholars are mostly embarrassed by the Bull, and prefer not to deal with it if they don't have to.
This was all so well said and argued that I am simply Roman Green with envy. I am copying it out to add to my common place book of theological arguements.
For Sandra Maccoll, it would be hard to do better than the archbishops answer to the papal encyclical which I believe was actually written by Father Lacey. The problem for so many Anglican clergy is that they have never read the necessary Anglican books beginning with the successive editions of the Book of Common Prayer. They hardly seem to know what the prayer teaches or requires. I remember one young English priest who confessed to using the modern Roman liturgy on the grounds that the Church of England had never had the right to revise its liturgy at the Reformation.
"I remember one young English priest who confessed to using the modern Roman liturgy on the grounds that the Church of England had never had the right to revise its liturgy at the Reformation."
Oh dear; I was planning not to post again on this thread, but I can't resist asking -- when and by which of its organs of self-expression did "the Church of England" undertake and approve "to revise its liturgy" at the Reformation? In 1549? Hardly, for the Convocations weren't consulted. In 1552? Likewise. In 1559? The same -- and in addition both the Convocation of Canterbury and the academic convocations of Cambridge and Oxford specifically and explicitly repudiated the notion that any church province or (a maiore ad minorem) secular authority had the authority to revise the liturgy without the approval of the papacy. When the Act of Uniformity passed in the House of Lords in April 1559 it did so by a margin of three votes only (itself achieved by the exclusion of two bishops and the house arrest of another two) and with every single "spiritual lord" (bishops, abbot of Westminster) present for the vote voting against it. Not much evidence of the Church of England revising its liturgy here.
By "Liturgy" I assume we mean the Mass. Frankly, if anyone can show me any significant difference between the service of Holy Communion and all of the forms of the liturgy in the history of the Church, I will virtually eat my cyber hat. Every so called change was a reversion to some earlier form drawn from an earlier missal. Every perceived addition was a translation from some earlier Latin Missal, including the various sources of the prayer of Humble Access.
I wonder too, how many people think the Tridentine Mass is identical to the Mass as it was before the 16th century.
We have all of the essentials in the (American) 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It is second to none.
"I remember one young English priest who confessed to using the modern Roman liturgy on the grounds that the Church of England had never had the right to revise its liturgy at the Reformation."
The other argument I have heard not just for this, but for all affectations of Romanism, including, of course, dressing like Italians (who just happen to be my favourite exotic people, but who are, nevertheless, exotic), is that this is the way it would have been had the English reformation/schism not have happened. This is apparently a strongly established position in papalist circles, with a pedigree going back to the 19th century. I, however, find it profoundly logically disconnected. I believe that Anglican laity are accustomed to Anglican Things, and that, while it would appear that some of their clergy insist on maintaining ignorance as to what 'Anglican' means, the laity know.
Dr Tighe makes reasonable point about the degree of "church self-determination" at those Edwardian and Elizabethan critical junctures in C of E history.
But let us not forget that the bench of bishops Elizabeth inherited had previously had its character modified significantly by Mary, using, at first (before completion of resubmission to Rome), the royal power over the Church she disclaimed. (What was noticeably absent throughout these shifts in power back and forth is the refusal by either side to obey the ancient ecumenically authoritative canons about how to trial or discipline bishops -- using coprovincial bishops.) Three of the bishops expelled by Mary made way for bishops unjustly and uncanonically expelled by Edward, so we should ignore those. However, another 11 bishops were expelled either by the same uncanonical means Edward had used, by threats forcing resignation or by other legally questionable means. 3000+ lower clergy were also expelled one way or another. If it can be plausibly argued both Metropolitans were not expelled canonically, then all bishops appointed under Mary without the normally required Metropolitical consent were on that grounds alone of questionable legitimacy, at least by the letter of the law.
Any RC could answer, yes, but that was all in aid of restoring papal supremacy or as a result of it. Therefore it was either canonically valid or in the "spirit of the law", using nominally uncanonical or irregular means in a case of necessity to achieve legitimate ends and restore "regularity". But that would be assuming precisely one of the things in question, the right of the Pope on his own authority to appoint or dismiss bishops outside his province at will, since the new appointments were under his authority and the expulsions in his interest with his tacit approval. And this "if it's papal it's canonical" approach would assume that the ancient canons in conflict with this should be ignored.
So, it could be argued that Elizabeth had learnt from her half sister how to impose her will on the Church's clergy en masse. Or it could even be argued that she merely got rid of bishops uncanonically inserted, thus "using nominally uncanonical or irregular means in a case of necessity to achieve legitimate ends"!
However, both Mary and Elizabeth could have appealed to the precedents of Emperors in the ancient Church imposing, as they believed, the right bishops to replace the wrong ones, so to speak. In other words, everybody seemed to think the ends justified the means, they just disagreed on the ends often.
Given the confusion and division of the times (at every level), which would have been reflected in the sensus fidelium, it may be unrealistic to ask which re-arrangement reflected what "the Church" wanted.
Yeah, Sandra McColl! "[A]ffectations of Romanism, including, of course, dressing like Italians": what a wonderfully pithy and evocative summary!
Once a number of clergy formed into line to process into the service for a young deacon's ordination to the priesthood. The deacon who was the subject of the occasion looked me up and down, frowned when he observed my Canterbury cap, and asked, "Father, why are you not wearing a biretta?"
I will never forget the look on his face when I replied, "I am wearing a biretta, an Anglican one. If you're asking why I'm not wearing an Italian academic cap, I will -- on the day some Italian university confers a degree on me."
John A. Hollister+
Why the presupposition that "Valid Orders" are to be judged under innovative, high Medieval, scholastic principles? The Ancient Church never did and the entire Eastern Church still does not "play that." Moreover, the entire spirit of the formulary Anglicanism also envinces a repudiation of systematic scholasticism (see the 39 Articles for instance).
Canon Hollister: There's bound to be one on the internet somewhere, and it probably has magnificent hats (for a fee).
"However, another 11 bishops were expelled either by the same uncanonical means Edward had used, by threats forcing resignation or by other legally questionable means. 3000+ lower clergy were also expelled one way or another."
One of the first acts of the first Marian Parliament was to repeal the Edwardian act allowing the clergy to marry. With that act repealed, and the status quo ante restored, most of the bishops who were deprived were removed for their uncanonical marriages. Cranmer was treated as deprived from the moment the act attainting him of treason for supporting Lady Jame Grey became law -- which had been the practice on those rare occasions before the Reformation when bishops were convicted of treason.
I cannot find any basis for the number of 3000+ for clergy deprived in and after 1553. Most textbooks at which I have looked usually say "a few hundred" or "perhaps two to three hundred" -- which is more or less the same number as were deprived in 1559-61. Of course, some 2500+ were removed in "the great ejection" of August 1662, but that was another time and another set of issues entirely.
I think you know that Thomists and some Anglo-Catholics have been playing the validity game since at least the 1870s, when the Corporate Reunion schemes were being cooked up—despite Apostolicae Curae as well as the warnings by Anglicans such as C. B. Moss that validity simply means "recognized by the community" and that as long as there are separated communities, there will be different rules for what counts as "valid."
Agreed on those points Fr. Rob. And I think the gamesmanship is truly an academic waist of resources. If we really want to move to recognition of orders, then convincing the Orthodox is much more useful. Indeed, if the Orthodox recognize traditional Anglicans, then Rome will just about be forced to do its own jesuitical dance to affirm us. If we are going to be academic, why not kill two hypothetical birds with one hypothetical stone?
I got the number 3000 from Palmer's Treatise on the Church. Perhaps it's a typo for 300, don't know.
The bishops expelled under Mary were expelled mostly by stacked royal commissions, just as Edward had got rid of four in his time. This was not the canonical means either time. And one can hardly be fairly deposed for obeying the law of the Church or acting with its tacit approval/acceptance, just because the church (or, more accurately, the civil power re-ordering it) changes the rule after previous acceptance of your actions. Especially since nobody believed at the time, on either side, that clerical celibacy was a divine command or ordinance, all acknowledging it as an ecclesiastical custom and law. So, the Marian depositions satisfied neither procedural nor intrinsic standards of justice.
It is necessary to understand that Apostolicae Curae (AC) is an infallible pronouncement of the Holy See. Rehearsing false or calumnious arguments that have been raised to support its conclusion, but which AC itself explicitly rejects (n. 20), do not throw any light on the issue, but rather the reverse.
AC confirms a tradition of consistent magisterial decisions on the matter (cf. n. 9, 17, 20-22).
Of the arguments in the essay, only M and N are relevant, since only these address the actual arguments in AC.
In particular, AC does not argue that the subjective intentions of the authors of the Edwardine ordinal, or of those ordaining using it, are relevant; but that the objective fact of the choice of an ordinal that deliberately excludes essential form (cf. n. 33) objectively denotes a defective intention, i.e., an intention to do something other than what the Church does.
Despite the fact that there are other things in the BCP that could be taken to supply the defects in the ordinal, AC explicitly states that these are of no effect (n. 27).
AC stresses that it it confirms constant practice, confirmed by wide consultation. It is not the arbitrary ruling of a theological despot, but the definitive confirmation of the mind of the Catholic tradition. It is for this reason that it has recently been cited (by the CDF under the auspices of then Cardinal Ratzinger) as one of the foremost examples of the exercise of the extraordinary magisterium of the Pope.
Death Bredon wrote:
Indeed, if the Orthodox recognize traditional Anglicans...
I trust that most readers of the Continuum know by now that the Orthodox only stopped recognizing Anglican Orders after 1976, due to the innovation of women's "ordination." In fact, they made that very clear. Before that, they allowed their people to receive all of the sacraments in Anglican churches, just as long as it was due to the problem of having no Orthodox church nearby (that existed very much in those days).
But, since we also do not recognize many Anglican orders for the same reason, finding an avenue for opening the eastern door is quite practical.
I will answer bluntly, and hope that you do not take offense. think of it this way: I respect your challenge enough to be direct and to the point, rather than patronizing you.
If your position is correct it only proves that Papal infallibility is a false doctrine. Apostolicae Curae bases all of its arguments on false assertions, and furthermore, every argument in it has been repudiated by the RC Magisterium on occasions of relations with other churches after 1896. Furthermore, as I pointed out, when the CDF brought up the subject in Ad Tuendam Fidem, it was actually for the purpose of showing that RCs must receive the teaching of the Magisterium even in a case where it is not dogma, and may at some point be rescinded.
The only reason Rome (Pope Paul VI, to be specific) has not rescinded the Bull of 1896 is because of women's "ordination" in some churches of the Anglican Communion, producing orders that we do not recognize either. Hence, we are in the Continuum.
Rehearsing false or calumnious arguments that have been raised to support its conclusion, but which AC itself explicitly rejects (n. 20), do not throw any light on the issue, but rather the reverse.
The 1896 Bull does not reject the false and calumnious arguments, but instead (to its discredit) bases its conclusion on that very house of cards.
AC confirms a tradition of consistent magisterial decisions on the matter (cf. n. 9, 17, 20-22).
Every point has been solidly refuted by Anglicans over the centuries, and with superior historical and theological scholarship clearly in evidence.
Repetition is not refutation, nor is it a reasonable defense.
Of the arguments in the essay, only M and N are relevant, since only these address the actual arguments in AC.
Every point in Fr. Kirby's essay answers false assertions held by some RCs, false assertions that support, in their minds, the eventual conclusion of AC.
...but that the objective fact of the choice of an ordinal that deliberately excludes essential form (cf. n. 33) objectively denotes a defective intention, i.e., an intention to do something other than what the Church does.
I am surprised that this would be rehashed. What the Anglicans knew, because their scholars were superior to Rome's scholars, was that Rome had wrongly identified essential form. Therefore, the defect of Intention is a false argument, as every RC scholar knew within a very short time after AC was published. Spare yourself the embarrassment of arguing this dead point. The pope himself would not agree with it (I should say, does not).
...objectively denotes a defective intention, i.e., an intention to do something other than what the Church does.
The absurdity of this statement is self-evident. Of course they intended, if nothing else, to do what the Church does. But, here is where you miss the entire objective of the English Reformers. Their brand of Protestantism was not a rejection of the Catholic Faith, but instead an endeavor to return to true and pure Catholic Faith and Practice by purging out innovations. In fact, the historical evidence of the Patristic period is on their side, as both Saepius Officio and Dix's book demonstrate well enough. Nonetheless, even if they had been mistaken about any details, their intention was thoroughly valid in the sacramental sense.
Despite the fact that there are other things in the BCP that could be taken to supply the defects in the ordinal, AC explicitly states that these are of no effect (n. 27).
At this time, Rome has accepted the same things that were cited as defects in 1896, recognizing orders and sacraments of other churches. The essential matter of the sacrament seems to you to be relevant, but this no longer is the position of Rome. Furthermore, what AC says about the Ordinal proves that the writers of AC did not read either the Preface or the Rites, something noted with apparent astonishment in Saepius Officio. For heaven's sake, they would have known better than to make certain statements if they had simply bothered to read the Ordinal and its Preface (and, yes, I do mean the 1550 version).
It [AC] is not the arbitrary ruling of a theological despot, but the definitive confirmation of the mind of the Catholic tradition.
Read Saepius Officio. It not only argues otherwise, but proves the Anglican case about the consistent practice of Catholic Tradition. The development of Rome's Ordinal is not the same as the consistent practice of the Catholic Tradition going back to antiquity, but is instead filled with the result of developments over the centuries. If these things were essential, as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York pointed out in 1897, then the Church has never had any valid orders since the Apostles. All Rome did was argue against all orders everywhere, including their own. Thank God that pathetic Bull is not infallible.
It is for this reason that it has recently been cited (by the CDF under the auspices of then Cardinal Ratzinger) as one of the foremost examples of the exercise of the extraordinary magisterium of the Pope.
I opened my comment by correcting your take on that.
You said "It is necessary to understand that Apostolicae Curae (AC) is an infallible pronouncement of the Holy See." Well, this is not at all clear. Quite conservative and orthodox RC theologians in the past have noted that even if its theological premises partook of infallibility, corrigible historical premises could mean the conclusion was fallible. And the appended note to Ad Tuandam Fidem that mentioned the issue was obviously not infallble in itself, as then Cardinal Ratzinger later said himself.
You also said "Rehearsing false or calumnious arguments that have been raised to support its conclusion, but which AC itself explicitly rejects (n. 20), do [sic] not throw any light on the issue, but rather the reverse." That's precisely what I deny as untenable and dishonest. If the conclusion was supported by "false and calumnious arguments" for centuries, with the supposedly correct arguments coming long after the conclusion was actually reached, then we do not need to take it seriously at all.
You argue that "AC confirms a tradition of consistent magisterial decisions". Consistent decisions, yes, consistent reasons, no. Did you not read C? Have you not read Saepius Officio, where the basis of one prominent previous decision was seen to be false assertions by an Anglican clergyman joining Rome about history and what the Ordinal actually contained?
You claim that, "[i]n particular, AC does not argue that the subjective intentions of the authors of the Edwardine ordinal, or of those ordaining using it, are relevant; but that the objective fact of the choice of an ordinal that deliberately excludes essential form (cf. n. 33) objectively denotes a defective intention, i.e., an intention to do something other than what the Church does." No, AC's argument is in fact partly based on the purported human intentions behind the authoring and usage of the rite to establish "the end they had in view" (paragraph 30). Also, AC does not claim some important elements were left out but that all essential elements of the Form were deleted. It even denies the priesthood is mentioned (paragraph 30). "From them has been deliberately removed whatever sets forth the dignity and office of the priesthood in the Catholic rite" (paragraph 27, emphasis added).
But, truly, enough is enough. If you are convinced AC is infallible while we are convinced it is not only false but the culmination of centuries of falsehood and false reasoning, there is little reason to continue the discussion, as I noted before.
show me a document that supports your claim that the orthodox stopped recognizing Anglican orders recently (1976) based on women's ordination. From everything that I know, they stopped recognizing them much earlier in the 19 cent after study and realized that they should not have been recognized at all.
So the arguement about orders comes down to this: the Catholic Church doesn't recognize them due to the fact that they do something other than what the church should do....you say that your church harkens back to authentic christianity to begin with and so the orders are valid. Is that the crux of it all? If so, what specifically has the Catholic Church done to deviate from historic christianity?
The document requested by Diane easy to find. She ought to know by now that I have my sources for every fact I state.
The Dublin Agreed Statement, (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985), p.3
Since her second paragraph is incoherent, it cannot be deciphered.
Apostolicae Curae (AC) falls in the Third juridical category containing Roman Catholic teachings. (Can 752). Such statements are to be received with “religious submission” by Roman Catholics, even though they are uncertain and non-definitive and consequently not infallible. Thus, the assent of faith is not required. This interpretation of the third juridical category was stated by (then) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
This could do with re-posting! OUt of interest - where does this leave CofE clergy ordained by the ASB or Common Worship? Are these Rites "sufficient" or is there a recognisable "cut off" point for the validity of the CoE's Orders?
Thank you, Fr. Kirby. Concise, logical and coherent.
I recall reading that our Roman friends have permitted episcopal ordination by a single consecrator, in violation of the canons of the Council of Nicaea. The Anglican communion strictly observes this rule and most episcopal ordinations have three or more bishops present.
Presumably this is because the RC's are so sure of their line of apostolic succession that it doesn't concern them that only one bishop is consecrator.
While Anglicans consider that clergy intend to do what the church does, if they use the approved liturgical forms, our RC friends have introduced the concept of 'intention'. So in the RC church, should any flicker of divergent thinking occur in any of the episcopal minds involved in the ordination rite, then an invalid ordination may occur!
I've recently been defending our orders at the Shameless Popery blog. The line of succession was likened to an 'electrical cord' which in our case has been unplugged!
Part of my response was:
"I just sense that behind these shifting objections over the centuries lies the understandable desire by Rome to invalidate Anglicanism at its core by denying us sacramental grace – other than baptism of course! This approach may lead to Rome-ward traffic whereas endorsement would authenticate a bunch of Caesaro-papalist schismatics!"
That is the crux of the matter.
I reflected on this issue during an early morning 1662 Holy Communion service and rejoiced in the beauty of its language, the evangelical and catholic purity of its eucharistic doctrine, and the reverence of the celebrant, thanking the Lord for the gifts of God hallowed by his Word and Holy Spirit. As Bishop Jeremy Talyor said: what can here be wanting unto salvation?
I have a question about a few mentions of the word "Patriarchate" in one of your articles on the ACA website. (At least I Think you wrote them.) The article said that prior to the English Reformation that the Archbishop of Canterbury had "quasi-Patriarchal" authority and so that in a hypothetical reunion senario the Anglican Church would probably not be subordinated to the Latin Church but would, instead, be an Autonomous Church Sui iuris with its own patriarch (or at least Major Archbishop).
If you read the article on "The Pope" from the catholic encyclopedia is says that the Pope simultaneously the Bishop of Roma, Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Primate of Italy, and Patriarch of the Latin Rite Church. The first level is a diocese, the second is a province, the last is a autonomous particular church. But the third level is not given a definite term in the code of canon law. Of course in the wider catalogue of Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches there are Autonomous Churches Sui iuris that correspond to Provinces and others that correspond to Patriarchates. The third intermediate level does not still exist in any Eastern Churches. It used to exist, where the senior-Metropolitian (then known in the east as Exarchs) was the head of a regional church body larger than a province, and then the senior-senior-Metropolitian came to be known as the Patriarch. In the East this hierarchy was flattened so that there were only Bishops, Metropolitians, and Patriarchs. But in the West, this third intermediate level, between Metropolitains and the Patriarch, was retained. This was the primate, a senior-Metropolitian, the first hierarch of a national church with multiple Metropolitians, multiple provinces. The Archbishop of Canterbury was one such primate, the first hierarch in the Church of England that had two provinces, the Province of Canterbury and the Province of York.
Is this "primatial" status what was referred to as "quasi-Patriarchal"?
My question is not polemical. I am interested in historical perspectives on terminological categories concerning the ecclesiology of hierarchy.
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