Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Roaming Romeward

(See as well the update.)

I am by no means a fan of the Desert's Child blog; in fact I think the woman who runs it, Katie Sherrod, usually has nothing worthwhile to say. Nonetheless, she has recently reported that Bishop Jack Leo Iker of Ft. Worth has approached the Roman Catholic Church, seeking to move his diocese from TEC into an arrangement that would be part of Anglican Use with the Pastoral Provisions. (Update: It is not Bp.Iker who has done this; but some of his clergy.) Up until now it seemed that they wanted to seek refuge in the Province of the Southern Cone. Well, I can't blame them for findng it distasteful to be joined at the hip to a Canadian "Southern Coner" bishop who still "ordains"women. But, I must question what they are saying now, not to dissuade them, but rather to help Continuing Anglicans stay on a right path. Included in the Diocese of FW communications is a "Preamble" with what they call "Eight Useful Findings." I shall quote portions below, and add commentary (the reason this lengthy bit is not quoted in its entirety is because of redundancy).

I. We believe the See of Peter is essential not optional

Unity with the Holy See is esse that is, essential for Catholic Christians (not bene esse, merely beneficial.) This is a concept which the Catholic Clergy in the Anglican Tradition have always believed (indeed it is one of the stated purposes of the SSC) but the rapid deterioration of the Anglican Communion makes it even more apparent now. The Prayer for Unity (John 17, that they all may be one) also compels us to pursue the possibility of reunion with Rome.

This "finding" is simply an acceptance of what Rome teaches about itself, namley a controverted doctrine that developed over centuries. True, that eventual reunion would be a necessary part of Church unity; but without theological honesty and, when necessary debate, such a version of unity cannot help but involve compromise of truth and conscience. Has any "Uniat"- if I may use the vulgar phrase- ever produced unity? Does the joining of a larger communion produce unity, or simply a change of venue?

The very name of the first Pope, Peter, Petrus is the "rock" - and we have seen that it is the Petrine office which is important not the personality of an individual pontiff.

Again, this is simply acceptance of Rome's doctrine, not a theological "finding."

In April 2006 our Diocesan Bishop and several of the clergy made a pilgrimage to Rome. At that time we were blessed to have an informal visit with his Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law. At that meeting, Cardinal Law indicated that the Catholic Church was aware of the current difficulties faced by Anglo Catholics (and particularly the Anglo Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth) at this time and said, in essence, for us to "make an offer" that is, make a Proposal on how we might respond to the crisis in our branch of Christendom. After this pilgrimage, we began meeting with the full knowledge and support of our Bishop.

Cardinal Law was the man who covered up the sexual abuse scandals of Roman Catholic clergy. He is no better than the Liberal Episcopalians, a man who should not have been allowed to remain in his position. Why would joining his denomination be attractive, when his very presence in that office is morally indefensible?

We came to realize that, like the Prodigal Son in the Gospel, it is up to us to make the initiative to return to the rock from whence we were hewn. In essence, that trip crystallized for us the need for perusing unity with the See of Peter now. Since that time we have studied, we have met, we have prayed, and now we come to the Church with our conclusions.

As an Anglican I am offended by any idea that Anglican separation from Rome requires "repentance" as if that separation were a sin. The church of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Bloody Mary and such heresies as the abuse of indulgences (a false gospel-Galatians 1:8) was not the father in that parable. In fact, that father represented God, not the pope. Rome drove our fathers out by its own false gospels, making it necessary to reform the Church of many corruptions.

As Anglicans we realize that Henry VIII, the monarch who wrote "Defense of Seven Sacraments" and who was granted the title "Defender of the Faith", never intended to make any substantive or permanent changes in the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Reformation itself was intended to be for a limited time only, "a season", as the book of Ecclesiastes would say.

We believe that it is now time for a new Season. It is perhaps, time for a church of Reformation to die and a new unification among Christ's people be born: Unification possible only under the Holy Father.

The problem faced by Fort Worth is not Anglicanism, but rather the very un-Anglican, post-Christian TEC. That "church" died long ago; but it is not time for Anglicanism to die.

II. We believe a magisterium is needed desperately

"In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25) This describes the day to day 'on the ground" reality in the Anglican Communion. Anglican "comprehensiveness" has no boundaries and no real center. For example, during the Reformation period under Elizabeth I, 1533-1603, there was an attempt to synthesize the Catholic and Protestant factions in the Church of England, resulting in the so-called "Elizabethan Settlement". Concerning the Eucharist, it was held that belief in the Real Presence of Christ was acceptable as well as the belief that the Eucharist was only a memorial or "remembrance" of something long ago. In essence the Anglican faith is what the parish priest says it is, and this varies widely with many contradictions. The Pentecostal/Evangelical/Charismatic expressions are just as valid as the Anglo-Catholic teaching. In most parts of the country, the parish priest is completely on his own.

First of all, that is simply bad history of doctrine, drawing hasty and inaccurate conclusions. They confuse Anglicanism with the modern state of TEC, and I pity all who have been blinded by that very problem. Every apostasy must first be apostasy from a specific communion; they confuse apostasy from Anglicanism with Anglicanism itself.

Formerly, a single prayer book (the 1662 Church of England Prayer Book was the pattern for all national prayer books) provided some glue, but with the proliferation of endless trial liturgies even that has disappeared.

This merely proves my point about apostasy. So, which is the problem; the Book of Common Prayer and that whole tradition, or the abandonment of it? If the latter, why blame that tradition?

The lack of a teaching office has resulted in communicating un-baptized persons, same-sex unions and liturgical chaos everywhere. There are no boundaries and it is all uncontrollable. This is not theory but day to day reality. Anglican "comprehensiveness" has no boundaries. Previously this absence of a center seemed to work when the various ecclesiastical parties (Low Church/Broad Church/High Church) largely worked within their own circles. Low Church people did not attend High Church parishes and vice versa.

Well, that last part is not true. Formerly, as in several decades ago, most of the division was between people of different tastes and style. But, most of this simply proves again my point about apostasy.

In looking at the disarray in the larger communion it is apparent that the Archbishop of Canterbury is incapable of providing decisive leadership. If there is a future, particularly for Catholic minded Anglicans, it is clear that a magisterium is absolutely essential.

Nonsense! "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Luke 16: 31) How much less a magisterium. Besides, do modern western Roman Catholics really heed their magisterium? Time for a reality check.

III. We believe the Catholic Faith is True

The Catholic Faith is given - it is true.

The Epistle to the Ephesians reminds us that as Christians we believe in "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism". At the celebration of every Mass and in the recitation of any Daily Office we profess in the Creed "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". We have come to realize, to an extent even more fully than we had as Catholics in the Anglican Tradition, that our Blessed Lord has indeed founded only one true church: the Catholic Church.

I suppose that from within TEC Anglicanism looks hopeless. They can't see it from within the Anglicanism we know and practice, and that is too bad. But, to conclude that "the Catholic Church" means the Roman Catholic Church requires a leap in logic.

Unlike so many forms of Protestantism, Catholic teaching does not change on a whim to suit the transient issues of the day. In addition, the Catholic Faith is not just one option among many. Anglican comprehensiveness with Catholics, Evangelicals and Liberals, all following their own paths, leads to the disintegration and disunion which we in the Diocese of Fort Worth find ourselves. The Protestant/Low Church teachings, the Liberals experiential teachings are just not true. The Catholic faith, the Catholic practice, the Catholic teaching - is true.

Well, that's why we have the Affirmation of St. Louis. But, what they call "Anglican Comprehensiveness" is simply the desertion of Anglicanism as they already described it. Nonetheless, that is not the true meaning, but only how TEC and other apostate bodies have distorted it.

We know, and are living examples of the fact, that Catholic Witness has been present throughout the history of the Anglican Tradition. But it is now becoming weaker because of this idea, Catholic as one option among several. . . except here in Fort Worth, which is in so many ways unique (explored further in section VI).

And we are examples of that Catholic Witness, because we are the ones who maintain the Anglican Tradition.

IV. We believe the Anglican Communion shares the fatal flaws of The Episcopal Church

In our time of discernment, we have concluded that the difficulties we have faced in The Episcopal Church for the past thirty years will not be remedied by the Anglican Communion.

We believe that too. So, join us.

We know what happens in a church which lacks a magisterium and whose polity makes the continuing of a Catholic witness impossible. We have concluded the Anglican Communion provides not safe future for us. Our witness, rather than being honored, has been persecuted.

Again, "if they hear not Moses..." With Scripture, Right Reason and Tradition, there is no need of a magisterium. Without them, a magisterium is of no use. In the 16th century, at a time when our Fathers knew that "the Church of Rome hath also erred," the authority of the magisterium was an obstruction to the truth of the Gospel.

V. We believe our polity is in error

In the New Testament no congregation votes on its pastor! St. Paul would have been unelectable in all, except maybe Philippi! Without exception pastors are sent by higher authority.

This is an example of historical ignorance. In many places the ancient Church elected their bishops. That was not some new Protestant innovation.

In the United States, the democratic style of polity in The Episcopal Church, strongly resembling the legislative branch of the U.S. government (House of Bishops and House of Deputies, lay and ordained) has created doctrinal chaos. Samuel Seabury (1729-1796) the first American Episcopal bishop was fearful of having clergy and lay people voting on doctrinal matters. His fears were realized when an early General Convention put the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds up for grabs. The Nicene Creed was voted out, then back in; and then the Athanasian Creed lost the vote.

Anglican polity (read Hooker) does not allow the people to vote on doctrine. Bishop Seabury was able to quench the destructive fire, because he used his episcopal authority and taught. However, the idea of voting on doctrine has become the norm in the modern TEC; this is not a weakness of Anglican polity, but another manifestation of it having been abandoned.

In regard to the ordination of women, the 1976 General Convention changed the matter of a sacrament, established by Christ himself, simply by voting. Bishop Robert Terwilliger, formerly Suffragan of the Diocese of Dallas called it "voting our collective ignorance"!

No argument there.

We are in desperate need of a polity modeled on the New Testament and the early church.

So, why turn to Rome? Layers of Italian-style bureaucracy are not modeled on the New Testament and the early Church. Neither is the final rule of one man.

VI. We believe we are not the only ones

It has now become impossible for the Catholic minded people to exist and survive in the Episcopal Church. As a result of this, the Diocese of Fort Worth is working toward a realignment of itself into another Province of the Anglican Communion. We have chosen to join the Province of the Southern Cone in South America. We believe this arrangement is temporary. As the Anglican Communion attempts to reform itself, it is becoming more and more evident that this problematic at best.

I believe that Rome is a better option than the Episcopal Church, and, since Archbishop Venables allows Bishop Harvey to "ordain" women, a better option that the Southern Cone. But, Continuing Anglicanism is better at the present time than all of them.

VII. We believe Pope Benedict XVI understands our plight

Through his writings and his actions we believe that Pope Benedict XVI is sympathetic to our plight.

It is our belief that Pope Benedict XVI desires to uphold the Catholic faith whenever and wherever he finds it; especially in a world dominated by the super-dogma of relativism. It is this new dogma, this new denomination which motivates those who seek to remove the Catholic witness from The Episcopal Church.

On this, I have to agree. But, Pope Benedict XVI is not the whole RCC.

In October, 2003, members of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and other Episcopalians throughout the United States met in Plano, Texas for a conference titled, "A Place to Stand: A Call to Mission". That conference was called to unite further those who opposed the ordination of a partnered homosexual as a Bishop in The Episcopal Church. The highpoint of that conference was a letter from then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It reads as follows:

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Vatican, on behalf of Pope John Paul II

I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ's Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith to my own forebears in Germany.

The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is an unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcends the borders of any nation. With this is mind, I pray in particular that God's will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

With fraternal regards, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ
+Joseph Cardinal Ratszinger

Notice that phrase, "unity in the truth." Therein lies the rub.

VIII. We believe there is a charism which the Anglican ethos has to offer to the Universal Church

The Catholic Faith, as it has been lived in the Anglican Tradition, is a thing of great beauty. Why are we making a plea for it to continue? It is because the Catholic faith and practice, as lived out in the Anglican Tradition, is a unique charism well worth preserving...

Twentieth century Anglo Catholic authors like C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and earlier Anglican theologians such as William Law ("Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life") and George Herbert ("The Country Parson") have enriched and enlightened countless souls. The religious life, the devotional societies, the guilds, the priestly fraternities (like the Catholic Clerical Union and the SSC) all speak to an expression of Catholic piety which continues to be attractive to people in the twenty-first century and are worthy of preserving for future generations. To take but one (local) example: the large number of young men offering themselves for ordination in this Diocese speaks to this expression's ability to nurture vocations. Also the Catholic Liturgy in the Anglican Tradition is a thing of great elegance, holiness, of long antiquity and solemn reverence.

What is it that we can offer to the greater Church? We believe we can offer a Catholic expression which for too long has been separated from the Universal Church. This is a tradition of inspiring liturgy, devout spirituality, loving pastoral care and a living spirituality. We believe it has a special and unique witness to the Faith, which we humbly offer as a beautiful jewel in the Catholic crown.

I cannot help but notice that they value the Anglican ethos, but not the doctrines that have been drawn from an honest approach to Scripture, using Right Reason under the guidance of Tradition. The Anglican mind is either a restoration of the Biblical and Patristic mind, or it has been error all along. I say, that to abandon the genuine classic Anglican mind will not produce "unity in the truth."

If they must go to Rome, then let them go with our blessing. But, how sad that they cannot distinguish between modern TEC and the tradition we preserve.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart I must commend you for your restraint as shown by your comments.
In my opinion, the remarks as printed from the folks at Fort Worth are almost juvenile from both the historical and theological perspectives.
You close your analysis with these words: "But, how sad that they cannot distinguish between modern TEC and the tradition we preserve."
May I suggest that substituting "cannot" with will not would better define the Fort Worth remarks?
After twenty + years in the Continuum (ACC) my observations have been that most Episcopalians simply cannot and will not give up their wordly positions and pseudo prestige. (The entire ACC Provincial budget would not cover the wages and benefits received by no more than three well placed Episcopal priests)
This is, I think, why they are so upset over Robinson and not so much over W/O, bad theology and liturgy. Robinson is just such a distastful subject at the country club and social gatherings.
Rome after all is large and is viewed as far more respectable than during former years by the neo elite. (it claims five Supreme Court Justices, etc.)
I am reminded of the dialogue between the Rich Young Ruler and our Lord: "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich."
Take the wealth out of the "official" worldwide Anglican Communion and in my opinion it would fold up like a $2.00 suitcase!
Joseph DeHart+ (ACC)

Daniel Stoddart said...

Good post, Fr. Hart. Klaxons were sounding here as well when I read the bit about Cardinal Law. What some of us consider a bug, DioFW considers a feature.

But I think we all know that nothing will do but for FW to go swim the Tiber. Very little precedent for this.

How ironic that FW seems intent on reverting to Henrician Catholicism.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,
Without arguing with you, I must disagree. I am not sure I see any ANGLICAN TRADITION that we preserve. At least not one that can be codified. CofE is Erastian to the core and there are no clear Anglican truths that were universally held by the Anglican Church, even in Hookers day.
Maybe I am missing something here. Please help me see this clear defined tradition/belief. I am interested.

Anonymous said...

Joining the Roman Catholic Church is a simple process, about as hard as joining Sam's Club. All you have to do is sit through a few RCIA classes and keep quiet. Piece of cake.

So why do Episcopalian Tiber-swimmers have to make it into a big deal, like it's really hard? And if they have found the Church of their dreams, why do they want some specialized form of it? What wrong with good ole' Friday nite bingo-playing, Kumbaya-singing, St Philomena's with the over-sized asphalt parking lot?

Imagine a bunch of people who have found the perfect condominium, but they won't consent to move in until the condominium adds a new wing, specially designed to accomodate their over-sized family antiques? And when they finally make the move, they hang around the neighborhood of their last home, telling everyone how happy they are and picking fights with anyone who doesnt wish to move also? And since they cannnot find a real job in their new neighborhood, they have lots of time to harrass their old neighbors.

I suspect a lot of these aspiring Tiber-swimmers, particularly the ones who speak and write in high flowing tones about "the authorrrity of the Magisterrrrium" and drop sentimental platitudes about "that they may be one" secretly know their Condominium is never going to build a new wing for them, and they will have to choose between moving into the Kumbaya section, or staying put with their family antiques. It's all just a pose.

poetreader said...

Thank you Fr. Hart.

This is well said and has been linked to the wild email arguments now ongoing over this - a worthy response indeed.

Having said something similar (but not nearly as able) in that environment, I found myself faced with a most uncatholic narrowness of view and a rancor no more than marginally Christian. Sadly it was the ranting of good-hearted men who fail to perceive how unfitting their airs of superiority actually are.

If this is an example of the style of "apologetics" to be found in that communion, one more reason for hesitating has been presented.


John Dixon said...

This is likely the cost of our well groomed and sustained divisions. I am surprised you are surprised.

Who would they talk to without causing a reaction?

Wit the reaction from 'competing' jurisdictions when Bishop Florenza took his diocese to the ACA.

Wit the obstruction at Fond Du Lac a few years ago.

Did we think those chickens would not roost?

Anonymous said...

Despite the mention of C.S. Lewis by these men, I can't help but get the feeling that they missed his chapter in Mere Christianity on pride. They seem so obsessed with institutional recognition. It is more important to be seen by others as being right or being 'in the club' so to speak. This has been the problem with the 21st century "Anglican realignment" from the beginning and I think Fr. Hart has identified the reason for us here. It is impossible to lead a 'realignment' of Anglicanism if you have forgotten (or never learned) what it actually is about.
I am sure some of these people really feel called to Rome and I certainly don't intend to be uncharitable towards them or anyone for that matter. But if they are really called to go there, wouldn't it be more appropriate to go there quietly with humility? And if they truly wanted to preserve the Anglican Tradition wouldn't it be wise to examine it in more detail, and look to the Continuing Church as the living example before declaring that you have to loose most of it to have any of it? This too would require a great deal of humility though and if the issue is pride then that will remain impossible.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Timotheus wrote:

CofE is Erastian to the core and there are no clear Anglican truths that were universally held by the Anglican Church, even in Hookers day.

It was no more Erastian than the churches of the East had been, even in ancient times. Nonetheless, you are quite mistaken about Hooker's times. He was writing as a representative of the Church's position, and presenting an apologetic against various parties in England, not parties who held any position in the Church of England. Today many people want to tell us that the proponents of "Calvin's Geneva Discipline," and other dissenters carried equal weight in the Church of England. But, that is simply not true at all. One homily among the formularies condemns Puritanism by name. The Puritans, especially, were seditious and schismatic, representing enmity to the Church of England itself, eventually using violence to wage war against Church and Crown in Cromwell's time.

Historical revisionists want to tell us that this was all part of Anglicanism. No doubt these same "historians" would think that Arianism was simply a part of the Christian Church in the 4th century, and that the Church then had no universal consensus.

I strongly recommend reading primary sources, beginning with Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.

Carlos said...

I believe this statement deflates the gossip that was circulating around all day yesterday about Fort Worth considering Rome.

Tregonsee said...

The statement by +Iker helps to clarify what it, and is not, happening now.


Anonymous said...

The Continuum would be the best option for TEC members and parishes who wish to leave.

However, I am reminded of the old saying: "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

When people in the Continuum write & speak unkind stereotypes of all Episcopalians, painting all with one brush; this is unfair, tacky, and distasteful. Is it any wonder that they don't even consider the Continuum? Who in their right mind
would want to attend a church that shows open hostility toward you, and makes you feel unwelcome? Who
would want to attend a church that
has clergy, not all, but many, who
engage in this type of behaviour?

When the Continuum begins to show
Christian love, as Christ taught us,and begins to care enough, that like Christ, we go in search of that one, lost sheep; then we will
have people coming to us.

I don't mean to sterotype all Continuum clergy and parishes, or paint all with one brush. There are many, loving Christ-like Continuum clergy and parishes. I am priviledged to be a member of such a parish, and have such a priest. But sadly, there are just
enough of the parishes and clergy who do not follow Christ's command to love one another, that the entire Continuum suffers from their

It isn't about money or power, or
being "big fish in a little pond",
or "us four, no more". Christianity, by Christ's own command, is to be shared by ALL OF US with others. The only way for people to take us seriously, and know that we are genuinely Christian, is to love one another.

1928 BCP Supporter

Canon Tallis said...

Nothing irritates so much as the sort of real historical and Biblical ignorance necessary to call Rome "the See of Peter." I realize that in the last two millennium no institution has mastered the art of propaganda with quite the art of the Roman Church, but any Anglican and especially any self styled "Anglo-Catholic" who had read the Anglican greats beginning with Jewel but including Andrewes, Laud, Bull, Littledale and Gore should certainly know better. This document was written by men like those Gore described as having "learned their theology from the penny pamphlets from Westminster." But why should I be surprised; they stayed in TEC for a generation after any honest Christian would and should have left.

I would like to be more charitable, but find it impossible. I know Rome and its works only too well - largely from having my behind patted and pinched by a series of Monsignors, bishops and cardinals while visiting my Roman uncle. He found it amusing and I outrageous but it told me what Rome, under the silk and lace, is really all about, something which they also would know if they had been reading the Dallas Morning News rather than the Fort Worth Star Telegram the last few years.

May I be outrageously honest. These men were never Anglicans and never made any real attempt to be. They intended before and after their ordination to play at being papists which is probably why they have never bothered with reading the Anglican greats or gaining any real knowledge of the Anglican tradition by a faithful and complete obedience to the classical prayer book tradition. Now they have decided to become real papists - not Catholics but papists - but they will find the reality far different than the playing at it because the reality demands the type of obedience to which they have never in their lives assented. Indeed, they may be incapable of it and it may well be precisely this which creates in real Romanists a fear and unwillingness to accept any large scale inflowing of (pseudo) Anglicans to Rome. A few they can handle and retrain but could they deal with a whole diocese? I don't know and I am not sure that Rome does or even cares to find out.

Fr.Mark said...

Point of order please,

I have lurked for a few days reading. But this is my first post.
I am a former ordained SBC minister, who is in talks with the Continuing Church.

I read about this on the apostasy yahoo group a few days ago. We did not see all the extra information this woman supposedly has access.

From that paragraph I hope you gather I do not take what this lady says as truthful. Why? I linked into her website. She is a revisionist, enemy of the Bishop and one who does not understand scripture. She is not orthodox, just look at the articles and books she has written and for what is is praised. She is an extreme liberal who professes a strange gospel.

So, before we take her word as truth, should not someone contact the Bishop or his office for their point of view? I am not comfortable believing her. I, as many here did, lived through the cold war and the daily messages from Pravda. (Russian News Agency). The USSR routinely lied as will the revisionist.

She has reason to lie, to create discontent in Ft. Worth. To bring discredit upon the Bishop. So lets, pull back and investigate.

Going to Rome? I would not recommend, but that is another discussion.

So, can someone contact the Bishop and see if this is true?


Anonymous said...

The Church of Rome has already
graciously provided a more than generous way for Anglicans to join
their church, and keep their traditional liturgy. It is the
Anglican Use Society.

The "Book of Divine Worship" is very nearly like the 1928 BCP retaining some of the traditional
Cranmer-authored prayers in its Rite I.

Why do some Continuing Anglicans and Episcopalians think they deserve some special deal? John Paul II created a very generous way to be received by Rome in the Anglican Use Society.

If you view their website, there are some beautiful English-style churches and successful, growing parishes.

If one can accept their dogmas, then that looks to be a good way to
go. If one cannot accept the dogmas of Rome, then the Continuum is the best alternative.

1928 BCP Supporter

Anonymous said...

A close female relative of mine, a lady 62 years old, recently became a Roman Catholic. This involved leaving the historic Presbyterian Church she had belonged to for her entire life, where her father was a Ruling Elder for over 40 years, where six generations of her family are buried in the churchyard, where every stained glass window has some close family connection.

But this is a church (very Old School Presby, PCA in fact) where much emphasis is placed on being a "family church" and families are expected to sit together. As a two time divorcee and single professional woman, she just did not fit in to the crowd. And after driving her elderly parents to this church every Sunday for many years, with them gone the dear old family church--a bastion of Calvinist orthodoxy--was a sad and lonely place for her. So she went shopping.

RC friends invited her to a Bible study, something she could quickly relate to, then to Mass. She liked the upbeat singing, not too different from the Fanny Crosby gospel songs she grew up on. Lots of singles her age, a much more diverse congregation (in the positive sense of that word) than she was used to. She now fits in. They have Mass at all kinds of times over the week-end, so she can do her grocery-shopping or sleep late on Sunday mornings. She has found a good spiritual home and I am happy for her.

But she did not try to negotiate her way into the RCC, asking for special arrangements or unusual favors. She just joined.
She has not nattered incessantly to all her friends and relatives, asking them to validate or approve her decision. She is quite secure in it. She does not waste time attempting to proselyte her former co-religionists. In fact, she has gotten busy with the clothing ministry and teaching CCD in her new parish church (where she is blessed with some fine parish priests, the Oratorians).

Sadly, we know too many of those former PECUSA clergymen who surely appear to suffer a big guilt complex for abandoning their priesthood for a church which tells them that priesthood was "invalid." That must be a tough thing to live with. I can only be sympathetic--up to a point.

But I reach a breaking point when I receive a pile of unsolicited e-mails from former ECUSA priests, and even a former ECUSA bishop. I wish them every happiness. I also wish they would just shut up and go away.

Fr. John said...

Read Bp.Iker's own spin on the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,
Thanks for your response. Hooker was developing a "via media" wasn't he? What part of Hookers writings were clearly a part of the undivided Church in history? Would Rome hold Richard Hooker up as one of theirs theologically?
I think he held to some aspects of ancient orthodox theology but he did differ in places didn't he?

Can you tell me in what views did he hold to the ancient orthodox faith?

thank you.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


The scholarship in England was excellent, and what they read of the Greek Fathers surpassed the prevailing level of scholarship in Rome until very recently. In Hooker's time the goal and ideal was to reform the Church so as to restore a better and more faithful adherence to the Catholic faith than had prevailed under the pope. Hooker and his peers had a very fine grasp of the Fathers, the Councils, and most everything extant from the most ancient times right up until their time. You ask, "Can you tell me in what views did he hold to the ancient orthodox faith?" His argument was simply this: That his whole position, and that of the Church of England, was one and the same as the ancient orthodox faith of the Catholic Church. Remember that his defenses were written against Radical Protestant forces that were attacking the Church of England, especially radical Calvinists.

Anonymous said...

We believe [the Anglican tradition] has a special and unique witness to the Faith, which we humbly offer as a beautiful jewel in the Catholic crown.

I wholeheartedly agree with the first half of the sentence. But if you believe that the Roman Catholicism is coterminous with the boundaries of the One True Church, then the idea that spirituality developed while sundered from it is the very antithesis of being "humble."

These people need to stop deluding themselves and migrate to the Continuum, where they will find the Anglican tradition in its fullness.

Failing that, they can at least have the honesty to submit and follow the liturgical conga line across the Tiber. I'm sure they could use a few fresh voices for the next rousing rendition of "Here I Am Lord."

Anonymous said...

Mea culpa. The second sentence in my comment should read:

But if you believe that Roman Catholicism is coterminous with the boundaries of the One True Church, then it is arrogant nonsense to simultaneously hold that your schismatic tradition can somehow add to or enhance the Catholic Faith.

Anonymous said...


I must say that I understand the frustration you experience at the hands of ex-Anglicans who become Catholic.

As a Catholic who grew up in the shadow of Truro in Va., I can attest to the horrible feeling of being talked down to by members of other religions. I got this treatment from some in Truro, but much more from other Protestants, especially evangelicals who were sure that I was a heretic and could not possibly know Jesus. These folks were good people who were trained to pester the unbeliever, especially the Catholic. To fell a Catholic was their most cherished prize.

So, yes, I understand the frustration and irritation you must feel as ex-Anglicans-gone-Catholic try to engage you on various points and try to save you from the error of your ways.

For better or worse, the Evangelical impulse has been unleashed into the Catholic Church by the likes of Scott Hahn and others. Now Catholics have learned to be confident in their faith, learned to defend it and point out the defects of other religions.

Yes, now we have Catholics who have learned to be "rude" back. I feel for you that you are not only subject to cradle Catholics arguing for their faith, but now you have ex-Anglicans formerly committed in their distance from Rome, swimming the Tiber and living to tell you about it.

It must be frustrating to have Catholics speaking down to you the way they had once learned to speak down to Catholics as you regularly do. But, they cant be blamed. They learned such behavior in your churches.

Fr. J.

John A. Hollister said...

1928 BCP Supporter wrote:

"The 'Book of Divine Worship' is very nearly like the 1928 BCP retaining some of the traditional
Cranmer-authored prayers in its Rite I."

First, nothing can be very much like the 1928 BCP that contains so many disparte rites that it needs to number them in order to tell them apart.

Second, the Book of Divine Worship is, to my admitted somewhat jaundiced eye, "very nearly like the" 1979 "BCP", not the 1928 one.

There are a number of reasons I would be unlikely ever to join the Anglican Use, but that pastiche of a service is high among them. I simply do not believe I can trust the welfare of my soul to anything that had its beginnings in the 1979 text, infused by its redactors with so many subtle heresies.

John A. Hollister+

Alice C. Linsley said...

Katie Sherrod is a freelance writer and television producer in Fort Worth. She used to contribute pieces to The Witness. Some of her work for that Marxist-Feminist-Gnostic quarterly were among the best of that genre. However, her view of history as law-brief-to-persuade-to-my-cause leaves out pertinent facts and information. She is misinformed (or chooses not to accept) the facts about patriarchy, polygamy, homosexualist's false science, the contradictions within Feminism, etc. A few years ago, I tried to engage her at Drell’s Descants, but she wouldn’t respond.

Katie received an honorary doctorate from Episcopal Divinity School. Now to receive an honorary doctorate a person must make a significant contribution in an area of academia. You know, like spend years studying a subject so that you speak with real authority. I wonder what Katie’s area of expertise is?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

But, they cant be blamed. They learned such behavior in your churches.

Frankly, I have been subjected to a purely Roman Catholic kind of rudeness many times; and they seem to have learned it at their mother's knee. Such faults are of the nature of sin, not of denominations.

poetreader said...

Me too. From at least the age of ten I had Roman Catholics telling me that, as a Lutheran, which I then was, I would certainly end up in Hell. I'm now 67 and I'm still hearing simialr, though a bit less drastic, condescension. You'd think a guy would get used to that. I haven't. Rudeness hurts. That's what it's intended to do.


Anonymous said...

Father Hollister:

I personally would prefer not to become an Anglican Use Church either.

I would prefer to remain in the Continuum, as I have problems with some RC dogmas.

However, I think it is a fair question as to whether the Continuum jurisdictions will survive.

Within each Continuum jurisdiction, there are living, healthy parishes (both large and small) that are reaching out with true ministry and the love of Christ. I believe such parishes will always survive.

Within each Continuum jurisdiction, there are also parishes that don't do outreach, don't do evangelism of any type, and are simply going through the motions until such time all the members die, and they close down.
Similarly, with all the infighting,
ego problems, and lack of concern for evangelism among those in purple; I frankly don't think that most Continuum jurisdictions will survive - at least not in the U.S.

I believe there are healthy, vibrant Continuum parishes who will long survive. The Anglican Use Society may be the only way these parishes will be able to have access to bishops, confirmation, and ordination someday. Someday, we may be very glad for the Anglican Use provision.

If that day comes, I'll just have to do what hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics do - ignore the dogmas I don't agree with and join the Anglican Use Society.

1928 BCP Supporter

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Similarly, with all the infighting, ego problems, and lack of concern for evangelism among those in purple...

Not all jurisdictions are created equal. Some broke away to make a new church simply because some bishop or other was going to be deposed, or couldn't get his way. That is why I exposed some bad characters a few months ago in that Kansas City matter. The problem is not valid bishops fighting each other, but abuse of our basic freedom of religion. There is practically no way to stop these characters, which is why we do not endorse just any body calling itself Anglican here on this blog.

poetreader said...

There aren't Anglican Use bishops and there won't be unless some variety of corporate reunion takes place. The same is also true in Orthodoxy. There aren't Western Rite bishops and there won't be.

1928, I'm afraid the desperation plan you outline is nothing more than a slight slowing down of the disappearance of what would be left of the Anglican Heritage, in other words, that proposal is a form of slow suicide.

As to whether most Continuing Anglican jurisdictions will survive. I sincerely hope and pray not. What I pray for is that one such jurisdiction and one only survive, that those parishes that have the will to live on and to reproduce may do so in unity with one another. If it proves to be possible for this one jurisdiction to avoid absorption but enter intercommunion with Rome and/or Eastern Orthodoxy, then thsat is the objective.

Neither a tiny and marginalized presence under Roman bishops nor a continuance in countless fragments makes any sense whatever.

But there is no reason whatever other than our own stubbornness and stupidity for us to continue in this weirdly divided state. If we want to be one, we will be.


Anonymous said...


The only way even the legitimate Continuum will survive is for the bishops to give up being big fish in small ponds and to unite, for a starter.

That alone, won't save the Continuum. There must be a concerted effort toward evangelism and making an effort toward following Christ's Great Commission.

It is necessary to go fishing for souls, and new members. You can't just sit in the boat and hope the fish will jump in, which is exactly what the Continuum bishops are doing now, for the most part.

In our jurisdiction, there is no such thing as a Provincial Missioner, in our diocese, no Missioner either. There are no programs or training for parishes on outreach. In our diocese, no effort to even train clergy candidates how to do effective outreach.

Protestant Evangelicals do train their parishes and clergy how to do outreach. They are reaching large numbers of people and bringing them into their churches.
The Continuum isn't, because we are still sitting in our boat hoping a fish will jump into the boat.

One Continuum article I read a few years ago that said we shouldn't do evangelism or missionary work because the Roman Catholic Church was the largest church in the world, and they never did evangelism. Apparently the author doesn't know history very well. The RC sent missionary monks, priests and nuns all over the world. The literally did global evangelism, which is why they are so large.

So, I think the Continuum is already on a path to suicide unless we wake up, seek unity, and take Christ's Great Commission seriously.

1928 BCP Supporter

Anonymous said...

Fr J observes:

"Yes, now we have Catholics who have learned to be "rude" back ......
But, they cant be blamed. They learned such behavior in your churches."

It's not the rudeness I object to. After all, I have been rude on occasion myself. It's their habit of being rude in such a dull manner. Simply saying the same thing over and over is hardly a convincing argument, even from Tiber-swimmers. I same stand up to a bully, but I cannot tolerate a bore.

Anonymous said...

One further thought on the analogy
of the Continuum waiting for a fish to jump in the boat needs to mentioned. Sadly, it needs to be mentioned because many of us have experienced this, or have heard the tales of horror from those who have experienced it.

When, by some miracle, a fish does jump into the Continuum boat, in some (there again, not all) Continuum parishes, the clergy will be rude to the visiting fish, perhaps insult the visiting fish,
tell the visiting fish they really aren't welcome here because we don't approve of the church you formerly attended, ignore the visiting fish and not shake hands with or speak to the visiting fish,
not have a greeter to the give the visitor a bulletin and assist them (instead hide the bulletins where only the regulars know where to find them), and a host of other actions which do not show the hospitality that Christ taught us to have.

Almost all Continuum clergy say that they value the writings of the church fathers and saints. They would do well to read St. Benedict's Rule, especially the parts about showing hospitality to strangers and visitors.

I'm writing all of this because I love the Continuum and the faith we hold dear. But we must share it with others. The world desperately needs orthodox Christian faith. We can't share it with others if we are rude and drive them away. I write this because if you love something, you sometimes have to be honest and point out what needs fixed. If we don't show hospitality and Christ's love to others, we are on a path to suicide, and that is just too sad to imagine.

1928 BCP Supporters

Anonymous said...

This isn't so much a response to this, but a TRUE STORY that happened to a visitor in a Continuum parish. If you wish to turn it into an article you have my permission. This is so sad. If we don't wake up the Continuum, we are doomed, I fear.

1928 BCP Supporter
A friend of mine, a retired college
history professor who is extremely friendly, well-groomed, dressed well enough to be on the cover of "GQ", visited a parish looking for a new church home. Being a Civil War buff, and General Robert E. Lee being a hero to him, he was interested in Anglicanism. He felt that General Lee's Anglican faith was a huge part of the general's great character and he wanted to explore and perhaps convert to traditional Anglicanism.

Upon visiting a parish, he found the beautiful BCP liturgy (which he immediately loved), a magnificent organist who played all the music by the "dead German guys" just perfectly (which he loved), and a magnificent choir. All of these immediately drew him to Anglicanism.

The Rector gave a magnificent, and very orthodox Sermon which was well given, thoughtful, and most importantly, not boring. He liked that as well.

The problem is that the church was terribly unfriendly - very unfriendly. When he entered a greeter handed him a bulletin, but didn't even say "Welcome" or "Hello"; or ask who he was. When he sat in his pew, people turned around and stared at him, but didn't even smile. Following the Mass, no one greeted him or even smiled. There was a coffee hour but no one invited him to join them.

He filled out an offering envelope with his name and address and put $100.00 in the envelope each Sunday that he went there. Even having his name and address, no one ever sent him a Thank You card for attending, no one sent him an invitation to return - NOTHING. He lived only a few blocks from the church in a very elegant (not dangerous) neighborhood and the Rector never came to visit.

Going out the door each Sunday, he shook the Rector's hand and told him what a fine Sermon he had given. The Rector said Thank You, but never asked who he was, never invited him to return, never made any effort at hospitality such as inviting him to stay for coffee hour.

After attending the church for a month, and being ignored, my friend decided that he would go to Coffee Hour and maybe someone would be friendly. The lady who handed him a cup of coffee smiled, but never actually spoke to him, even when he thanked her. In the large parish hall full of people, people stared (some in a rather unfriendly manner) but never greeted him.

One Sunday, he went up to the gifted organist and thanked him for the beautiful music. The paid organist said that my friend was the first person in the parish to ever speak to him, or thank him, and he had been working at the church for 5 years.

After 3 months of being treated like a disease-carrying rodent by the parish, he left and began attending a Presbyterian Church a few doors down the street. He is a Presbyterian to this day. They treated him with Christian love and hospitality that Our Saviour Jesus Christ would want.

He never did hear from the unfriendly parish, even when the envelope with the weekly $100.00 stopped.

Not all Continuum parishes and clergy are like this. Some do show hospitality and Christian love, thanks be to God. Some, unfortunately are worse than this example. In some, the Rector would have asked about my friend's past church experience, and upon finding out he was raised as a Southern Baptist, would insult him or tell him he wasn't welcome. I've heard plenty of stories of that type of behaviour.

The Continuum needs to train clergy and laity in hospitality, evangelism, and church growth. If we don't, we are going to slowly wither and die.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The above is certainly a horror story. I have never experienced anything quite like it anywhere, and have seen mostly the opposite (and it is up to the clergy to set the tone as much as possible, and to insist that people are warm, friendly and welcoming. Generally, that should not need to be emphasized). But, I do recall many years ago a church that had a few people in it that acted like the zombies described above. They were seated in front of me (I was a visitor, not wearing my collar), a woman and her teenage kids. The mother seemed to think that everybody is required to kneel the whole time that others are taking communion (what the hell rubric is that? The pews are not the altar rail). Looking back, and noticing that I had sat down after returning to the pew, she said to her kids, with a sour face "people are supposed to kneel."

I ignored her, and was glad, after the service, that most of the people there were not like her.

poetreader said...

you put your finger on a problem that needs to be dealt with. Fr. Hart is correct that things are rarely as bad as that -- but sometimes they are. I won't specify, but I know of one small church that has apparently determined upon suicide as they have directly expressed their opposition to there being childtren at service. A priest-in-charge with grandchildren decided to resign after running into that. It is usual for our people to greet strangers, but it is not terribly rare to find a church where one is entirely ignored.

This is not only our problem, however. Some years ago, as a Protestant pastor, I had a day off and (with my wife) visited a nearby Evangelical church. The only one who even noticed we existed was the pastor, and that, I thought, was only because I spoke directly to him. We determined never to visit again, and I think that was their wish. That church no longer exists.

Real evangelism and real hospitality are not optional. When they are absent, we are refusing to be the Church Jesus intends us to be. How can we claim His blessing?


Fr_Rob said...


I couldn't agree with you more. Radical evangelism, outreach, love, and a stubbornly outward focus must be at the top of the agenda of every Christian church that wants to survive in our post-Christian Western world. Too much of the Continuum, like so many of the mainline churches, is caught up in fighting cultural battles and playing church in a world that hasn't existed since the 1950s and is about as relevant to today's mission situation as medieval castles, knights on horseback, and jousting.

Albion Land posted a copy of a sermon I preached on evangelism a couple of months ago here. Much, much more could, should, and must be said about all this. The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send more laborers.

Fr. J. said...

"Frankly, I have been subjected to a purely Roman Catholic kind of rudeness many times; and they seem to have learned it at their mother's knee. Such faults are of the nature of sin, not of denominations."

Always an insinuation, never the facts.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Rob, Poetreader, & Fr Hart:

Thanks for the responses. I'm glad that others agree with the awesome importance of hospitality and outreach.

I think this is such a critical isuue for the Continuum. There is a world of people in need of Christ, and, sadly, many of the laity don't even understand that it is their responsibility to bring people to the church for the clergy to Baptise. The responsibility cannot be left up to the clergy.

As Christians, it is the responsibility of all of us. Its time that all in the Continuum are taught just that.

1928 BCP Supporter

poetreader said...

Fr. J.

Is your assertion that Protestants invented rudeness any less inuendo than our observation from our own experience that we have known a sopecifically RC rudeness?

Since the Reformation we have all been insufferably rude to each other, so rude that RCs have burnt "heretics" and Anglicans have hanged "Papists". Is either side without blame here.

Do you want me to begin naming names and describing incidents for page after page after page? I accept your word that there is Protestant rudeness, and that it has sometimes been nasty. I do not require that you list incidents, because I know it to be true. There's a beam in our eye for sure, and Our Lord expects us to deal with it.

How about you? Are you willing to admit the autos-da-fe, the constant imbibing of my own childhood friends with the notion that I was certainly damned and much to be feared? These things are true, and you know it.

We don't need to sling mud. Isn't it time for us to work together, find out what our differences really are and try to find a way to move forward?


poetreader said...

should have been "imbuing of my friends ..."

Fr. John said...

I have heard every kind of story from people who are looking for an excuse not to go to church.

"I went to that church once, and some one was rude to me."

"The people there weren't very friendly, so I didn't go back."

"The parking was too far from the building."

but you know, I have never heard anyone say these things about a football or baseball game. I wouldn't let someone's insensitivity keep me away from the beautiful Anglican service. By the standard mentioned, if the Muslims are more gregerious then the local Christian bunch then hey! Let's join them.

I'm actually going for the worship and not the people there. If they happen to be rude and cold, well I'm trying to learn to love them anyway, even when they are caring and warm.

Over the last 26 years I have been to a lot of different Anglican Catholic parishes and I found them all to be very welcoming. Were there rude individuals there? You bet! But again, if you are there for the right reasons they can't run you off. In my case I had no where left to go, no matter how unfriendly the Anglicans, the Presbyterians' predestination heresy is more deadly.

I hate the word "outreach." What does it mean exactly anyway? Anglicans are not going to knock on doors and I'm not going to ask them to. We can leave that to the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses, (by the way, the next time the Witnesses come to your door, tell them you're in the Jehovah's Witness Protection Program)what we can do is advertise. Advertising makes it happen! Most of the new folks who come to my parish find us through the internet. Take a look at our parish web pages

We also hold an annual Mass for Blessed Bishop Leonidas Polk. He died defending Atlanta in 1864. We've gained quite a few new members from that observance. Does that qualify as "outreach?"

St. Hilda's is over thirty years old now and people come and go. I think of it as more a monastery than a parish. It would be great if we had a few more children, but there are always more older people to take the place of those that leave. I'd wager that St. Hilda's will still be around in thirty more years.

If it is God's will that we endure, then nothing can destroy us.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to observe how this thread has changed its direction, from a very necessary rebuttal to extravagant claims from people who need financial assistance with their legal expenses and therefore crave converts, to a positive discussion of how our Continuum churches can do a better job of presenting ourselves to outsiders.

I agree with Fr John that people use all manner of inane excuses not to go, or go back, to St XXXX's. But we are sent not to call the righteous but sinners. Our mission is to convert the silly and inane, not to seek out the spiritually mature. I also agree that we do not need to imitate the tactics of cults or even mainline country-club Protestants.

It should be remembered that PECUSA was growing, not rapidly but steadily, up until the year 1968. That, according to their official figures, was the year of the tipping point. And that was the year GC authorized "experimental liturgies." They killed the goose that had laid golden eggs since the time of Samuel Seabury. The greatest church growth tool we had was our liturgy. It still is.

Parishes which have reasonably well-done worship, will continue to grow. But at the same time, most of us could spiffy-up our manner of greeting visitors and new-comers. I have been trying to teach (with only limited success) our ushers to staff the guest-book, catching the critical info as soon as visitors cross the threshold. If we capture an address, they get a thank-you letter. If they leave a phone number (always a good sign!), they get a phone call.

This last June I had a sort of vacation (the first in nearly 20 years) and had the opportunity to worship in two other ACC congregations, one very small, the other a flagship parish in another diocese. Both of them did an outstanding job in welcoming me and my wife. No resemblance in the least to the horror-stories related about. Those churches will grow, because they deserve to.

Anonymous said...

Fr. John:

In my opinion, advertising and special observances (well advertised) are outreach.
A Food Pantry or other acts of charity are excellent outreach.
Showing Christian love in any way by our laity in the community is excellent outreach. It can take many forms.

Hospitality is a key teaching of Christ. St. Benedict stressed the importance of it, too. Rudeness is not the characteristic of a true Christian living how Christ would have them to live. Rudeness and unfriendliness are not characteristics of how even a decent human being should live!!!

If there are lots of rude people in a parish, I feel very strongly that the Rector is not doing his job!!! Teaching Christian love, charity, and hospitality from the pulpit is every bit as important as teaching doctrine; if not more important. People need to be taught that showing Christian love and doing acts of charity and kindness is NOT AN OPTION. Christ COMMANDED us to do it at the end of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

I would highly reccomend two books that every Vestryperson in every Continuing Parish should read:

"The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach The West... Again" by George G. Hunter III, Abingdon Press, Nashville, ISBN 0-687-08585-3

"Need-Based Evangelism: Becoming A Good Samaritan Church" by Robert D. Pierson, Abingdon Press, Nashville, ISBN 0-687-33248-6

I don't care how orthodox the faith being taught in a church happens to be. If the church is rude, unfriendly, and full of barely breathing corpses, no one in their right mind would attend that church!

The faith taught in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is an active, living faith that is meant to be lived seven days a week - inside the church and out. Those prayerbooks are to be well-worn and used daily be the laity. Those prayerbooks stress the importance of Christian charity and kindness. Living a Christian life set out for us in the 1928 BCP includes Christian charity and hospitality.
Every bit of prayer, and every bit of Liturgy points to that.

If we don't live out the faith, and show charity and Christian love to the world, the we aren't keeping the faith at all. Christ made it clear in the Great Commission that if we don't share the faith - laity included - that we aren't keeping the faith.

1928 BCP Supporter

Anonymous said...

I read an account last week of Anglican parish that did go door to door in the neighborhood surrounding their church. They didn't go passing out literature like Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormans. What they did do was go door to door asking for prayer requests. They told the people that once a week they had organized a 24 hour prayer vigil where members of the church signed up for slots of time to pray, and they needed to know people's needs to pray for during the weekly prayer vigil. The repsonse was good. People gave them requests of all types - financial distress, family/marital problems, etc.

The church faithfully carried out the prayer vigil one day each week.

In a period of a few months, the church's attendance DOUBLED. The fact that the people of the church showed their love and charity to go door to door collecting prayer requests made people realize that this was a true and living church; not just a church going through the motions that didn't take their faith seriously.

Even more so, many of the new people who came to the church reported answers to those prayers in many, many ways. The congregation, by going canvasing the neighborhood demonstrated that we serve a living, and loving God who cares about us. That Anglican congregation demonstrated that Christ truly is our Good Shepherd.

A Rector can preach the most orthodox doctrine from a pulpit that is humanly possible, but if the people aren't living out that faith, then, at best, you could call a church "an alledged orthodox church". Orthodoxy is not just in the Liturgy we pray, or the sermons we preach, orthodoxy is lived out in Christian charity, love and service.

We are big on "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi" in Continuum circles; but we tend to leave out the rest -
"Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Agendi" is the full measure of Christian faith. The law of prayer, is the law of belief, and is the law of our actions as Christians.

1928 BCP Supporter

Fr. J. said...

I was turned off to Anglicanism when the pope and ABC embraced back in the '80's. The vitriol from the pulpit was horrific. It was like going back to the 16th Century. It was then that I realized how many Anglicans are only superficially Catholic and actually harbor deep seated animosity against the Catholic Church.

That, and I was taught that saints and statues were demonic. It took me a few years to get past that spiritually. There is a lot of damage done to Catholicism by Anglicans.

Judging by the negative tenor of Anglican blogs towards Catholicism, I can see that nothing has changed since the '80's.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. J

Are you for real, or another Rev'd Up? My only reply to your weird account is to ask one question: Just who the hell are you talking about? It certainly is not anybody I have ever known.

I like 1928's report about the prayer idea.

Jim said...

I don't have the historical or theological knowledge to debate most of those who have posted comments here, and so will not attempt to argue for or against the conclusions of the Ft. Worth priests.

There seems to be a lack of charity demonstrated in several posts, even those made by men who identify themselves as clerics.

Among the kinder comments were a couple to the effect that if they want to join the Roman church, they should just go ahead and be quiet about it. There have been comments to the effect that they have only stayed in TEC because of the perquisites and prestige, or for reasons of personal pride, and it is as a matter of pride that they are discussing anything beyond their personal reconciliation to Rome.

Could it not be that, having realized that the TEC and the Canterbury Communion has moved, or is moving irreversibly away from orthodoxy, that they are considering their pastoral responsibilities, and cannot, in good consience, abandon their parishes?

It is my understanding that the Province of the Southern Cone purports to ordain women to the diaconate. History has shown that if you accept the premise that women can be deacons, that it becomes difficult to argue that they cannot also become priests and bishops, and that if you reject the holy tradition that says that the priesthood is male, it is difficult to appeal to holy tradition to argue that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It could be that alignment with the Southern Cone might only set the clock back to 1975 or thereabouts.

I am a communicant of a continuing Anglican jurisdiction, and I would be very pleased to see the Diocese of Ft. Worth come to a continuing jurisdiction. I can also understand why they might not see that as a real option. There does not seem to be much movement toward unity or even intercommunion among the continuing jurisdictions in the U.S.A. Also, the Diocese of Ft. Worth is larger than some continuing jurisdictions, and is probably nearly half the size of the largest ones. Would a group of that size be welcomed?

You may disagree with the findings that these priests have posited, but it seems unfair to attack their motives without personal knowledge that they are not acting with integrity and in good conscience.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


I can't imagine that anyone who has commented here would disagree with their misgivings about the Southern Cone. In fact, it's worse than what you have said, because a Canadian Southern Cone bishop, Donald Harvey, still "ordains" women to the "priesthood," and did so recently.

The priests in question presumed to speak on behalf of their diocese, and yet they acted without being commissioned to do so by their bishop. So, to say they should "quietly" convert is quite right. To speak on behalf of the diocese was quite inexcusable.

The "Eight Findings" (Findings?- how absurd) deserve the criticism that has been dished out. These "findings" are bad theology, bad history, and an implicit attack on the sort of genuine Anglicanism we seek to continue. The public posting of these "findings" makes a public critique a pastoral necessity. The idea was not to attack the persons involved, but to help the readers here, especially any who are troubled in mind or conscience by what they had written.

Fr. John said...

Fr. Hart,

I highly suspect that you are already aware(what traditional Anglican priest could not be) that there are Roman Catholics on either end of the ideological spectrum who are afraid we will come into their church en mass.

There are those who are wedded to a left wing political agenda, like TEC, who fear that a large influx of traditional Anglicans could tip the balance of power against them, especially in the U.S. and the U.K.

Then there are traditionalist Roman Catholics, who I always thought we could find common ground with, who absolutely loathe us for reasons I do not quite understand. Many of them, even their clergy, view us as impostors and lump us in with the official Anglican Communion. I also suspect that they view us as competition because of our superior liturgy, and our only half joking motto, "More Catholic than the pope."

I am speaking from personal experience here, but won't bore you with more "horror stories" such as "Traditional Latin Rite Roman Priests Treat Anglican Cleric Rudely."

I like and admire the traditionalist Roman Catholic movement. I wish they reciprocated that.

I do not mind in the least that the pseudo Christian leftists in the Roman Church, who are hungering and thirsting to go down the same road as TEC, hate and fear us.

More than one person has stated that the "gift", to borrow a word, of the continuing Anglican Churches could turn out to be that they are one of the last repositories of Christian orthodoxy on the planet.

God forbid it should come to that, but just take a look around. The situation is very serious.

"The night cometh when no man can work."

Anonymous said...

I agree that Continuing Anglicans may well be one of the last churches with the orthodox faith.

That is why we must teach and preach to our people that they need to share that faith with others. That is why our bishops need to become true evangelists, like the Celtic bishops of old.

The bishops need to make hospitality and evnagelism a priority to every church in their diocese. They need to make planting new churches a priority as well. Some bishops do feel this way thankfully, but I've read written material by some who advocate an "us four, no more" mentality; or a mentality of we must keep outsiders out of the church.

We have an awesome responsibility as true orthodox faith is almost completely gone from this planet.
Serving as a "caretaker Rector" over a parish is not an option. We need to show radical hospitality and efforts to bring souls to Christ.

Lord, have mercy upon us if we ever
begin to have, or continue to have,
such unloving, uncharitable attitudes.

1928 BCP Supporter

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Let's balance this a bit. Look at the thread about The ACC in Haiti.
Continuing Anglicans can all be inspired by that, no matter what their jurisdiction. I do not doubt that we have some bad apples in the CC barrel, but from what I have seen most of our people are eager for church growth and evangelism, and simply want someone to lead the way.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

Fr. John wrote:

"I like and admire the traditionalist Roman Catholic movement. I wish they reciprocated that."

Some of us who are, for lack of a better term, orthodox RCs, wish they reciprocated our love and admiration as well ; ) At one church I have sung at (in a Gregorian schola) there are people who won't receive communion from the reserved sacrament, because it might have been consecrated at a Novus Ordo Mass, or by a priest who also says the Novus Ordo Mass. Etc. And whose opinion of those of us who do not share their ideas is not always charitable. What can you do about such people? Occasionally remonstrate gently, and mostly pray for them.

Last night we held an Evensong and Benediction at a church in Woods Hole, Mass. Among the clergy vested for the service was my rector, a former Episcopalian priest now ordained as a Catholic priest, a retired Episcopalian priest, a Continuing Anglican priest, a Trappist monk from Spencer Abbey, and the local RC pastor. Lovely music by Ayleward and Byrd, sung by a local schola drawn from many area churches. It was an occasion to rejoice in the unity that Christ gives his Church, and to pray that such divisions as we erect will one day be swept away, recalling that, "We used to hold sweet converse together; within God's house we walked in fellowship."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It was an occasion to rejoice in the unity that Christ gives his Church, and to pray that such divisions as we erect will one day be swept away...

It is a shame that barriers have been erected among like-minded traditional believers at the one place that is most important, the most significant Sacrament that reminds us of our unity. "We being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." Nonetheless, in the meantime, it is good to come together in whatever limited way we can. Such a service seems like the right kind of opportunity.