Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is the Catholic Church?

I received some questions via e-mail that I choose to answer here on the blog.

I have stumbled onto the Continuum Blog and am not familiar with 'continuing churches'. What differences exist between the continuing churches and the Catholic Church? Doctrinal differences are? Keep it in easy to understand terms, please, as I am not a theologian and have a short attention span!. I assume that the continuing churches are 'liturgically styled in what is called 'high church'?

I understand that different groups can choose to call themselves Catholic by virtue of reciting the creeds (whether they are or not is not the question) do ya'll justify trying to rename the Catholic Church into the Roman catholic Church when the Church in question refers to itself as the Catholic Church ?

It appears to me that the first paragraph was simply meant to set up the second. That is because there can be no difference between the Continuing Churches that practice the traditional Catholic faith and practice of Anglican Christianity, whether the worship is decidedly high, mid, or low. Most of us like the high church sort of worship, but I trust we know better than to think that incense, chasubles, benedictions, holy water fonts or even Marian devotions are the essence of the Catholic faith (although the last, properly understood, is centered on the Incarnation, and is in that theological sense tied to the essence). The celebration of a low church Prayer Book Holy Communion is just as valid as a high church Mass from the Anglican Missal. Sometimes, that low celebration is refreshing in its simplicity, and helps us feel the depth of our faith for that reason, just as a very high Mass helps us to transcend the things of earth. As a lifelong Anglican I embrace all of these expressions of the Catholic faith in celebrating the Eucharist.

The real question in the first paragraph deals not with these different ways to worship, but with the substance of doctrine. We cannot answer what the difference is, because another question would get a simple answer of "no." That question, which the correspondent did not ask, is, "Is there a difference between the teaching of the Catholic Church and the teaching of the Continuing Churches?" The answer is no.

"And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance." -the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult)

The real question is why we call the Roman Catholic Church by that name. First of all, it is not a sign of disrespect, since we regard the Church of Rome and those churches in communion with it, to be part of one and the same Body of Christ to which we ourselves also belong. Also, it is a proper name of the largest Rite in that Communion, namely the Latin Rite.

We must refer to the Roman Catholic Church by that name, and this is for the very reason mentioned in the question. When we speak of "the Holy Catholic Church"and the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," we are not professing belief in some foreign institution that we merely aspire to, but the Church in which we live as members of the Body of Christ. The Orthodox Church has the same problem with the name of the Roman Communion; they too see themselves as within the Catholic Church of the Creeds.

It is more basic than the fact that we have retained a valid Apostolic Succession of bishops. It is rooted in baptism and in faith in Christ, and a continuation of the teaching handed down from the beginning. Whereas we mean no offense to the churches in communion with Rome, neither do we offer an apology for recognizing our own validity and taking joy in our true identity.


Rev. Dr. Hassert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Canon Tallis said...

A very good answer to a quiestion that I am not entirely sure was asked in good faith. I always begin such an answer with an explanation of the Greek roots of the word, "Catholic," i.e., according to the whole. And that is a whole to which no one, not even the bishop of Rome, is entitled to either add or subtract. To do either is to place yourself outside the Catholic faith.
One of the delights of this blog is that right under the title the words of St Vincent of Lerins are placed in Latin and they point to one of the strongest ways in which we can know if a belief is Catholic or not. And such was the point of the English reformation as against that of the continentals, a matter which was given expression both in the canons of 1571 and bishop Andrewes "One canon, two Testaments, three Creeds, four Councils and five centuries."
Given Rome's additions to all of the above as well as her distortion of the teaching of the earliest councils, my question is can we yet count her as truly Catholic? She haa claimed the name and attempted to make it exclusively hers, but does she truly play the game? Can the dogma she teaches and requires as de fide be truly squared with the teaching of the New Testament and the Old in all details, or has she not somewhere along the way embraced some of the very heresies which she claimed to have beaten down?

Anonymous said...

Well said, Fr. Hart.

I have many Roman Catholic friends. They always call themselves Roman Catholics. I've never met an RC Priest who didn't refer to himself as Roman Catholic.

I don't see why the writer of the questions you answered thought it rude to use the term Roman Catholic. It is certainly not a term of disrespect.

1928 BCP Supporter

Anonymous said...

When I'm in a less ecumenical mood, I sometimes refer to them as the "Roman Church." It seems to me that their possessive and exclusive claims to the faith (which I don't think are going away anytime soon) are damaging to the catholic church as we understand it and to Christianity in general. This is why I'm not thrilled about my communion's flirtation with Rome.

Anonymous said...

On a somewhat related note, can you recommend a good book on continuing Anglicanism. I found Haverland's Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice online. Is there anything better for us recent converts? As I think I mentioned, the teaching in our Parish isn't great (it may not be the clergy's fault as much as lack of interest by the laity). We say mass and eat doughnuts or potluck afterward and that's about it.

BillyHW said...

Fr. Hart, if you were to encounter a dying stranger who was asking for a priest of the Catholic Church to be brought to him so that he could receive the last sacraments, would you A) offer the sacraments to him yourself? or B) offer to find such a priest and bring him to the dying man as soon as possible?

Anonymous said...

The book "Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice" by The Most Rev. Dr. Mark D. Haverland is an excellent book. It explains the Continuing Church, and the faith found therein quite well.

Anglican Catholic

Fr. Robert Hart said...


This is not merely theoretical to me, because I had to make this exact important decision years ago when someone appeared to be dying right away, and no other priest was anywhere to be found. What would you think that charity demands? Do you understand sacramental theology enough to understand the grace of the sacraments? If so, there is no doubt about that to do.

The punchline is that a priest must be careful when he anoints and prays for the sick as part of his ministrations. The lady was supposed to die, but instead recovered and lived for two more years. By the way, BiilyHW, in your opinion is an Anglican priest allowed to minister healing to a dying Roman Catholic? It seems God decided the answer on that occasion was yes.

Anonymous said...

OK....forget the Catholic name comment/question....what are the differences between what the continuuing churches teach and what the Church in union with the Bishop of Rome teach? That IS the crux of my original question, believe it or not!

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Ok, here's my list of differences (for what it may be worth):

1) The Bishop of Rome is not infallible (historical evidence does not support this)

2) The Bishop of Rome does not have universal jurisdiction over the Church Catholic (historical evidence does not support this)

3) the theory of transubstantiation is just that, a theory, not revealed truth; it is an error to equate rejection of transubstantiation with a belief in the Real Presence.

4) The Roman doctrine of Purgatory is not supported by the teachings of the Scriptures, the Fathers, nor the universal Church.

5) The Roman teaching concerning indulgences, that the Church can control that fate of those in Purgatory or can impose penalty that follows one into the afterlife, is not found in the ancient Church.

6) The Roman doctrines of Mary's Immaculate Conception and Assumption are not "necessary for salvation" and are not essential elements of the Catholic Faith, nor do they have universal consensus.

poetreader said...

Diane, I strongly reccommend that you go back through some of the previous posts by Fr. Hart. I couldn't say these things and draw these contrasts any more clearly than he has done already, and it doesn't seem reasonable to have to repeat what has been said here so recentl;y and so well.


BillyHW said...

Fr. Hart, you avoided my question. Let me clarify further.

In the case of the dying man, he asks you very clearly to find him a "Catholic priest." No prefix. Presumably you find yourself in a situation where it is not difficult to find a priest in full communion with the successor of St. Peter the Apostle and whose orders are affirmed by said successor of St. Peter, via that incredible invention: the telephone phone book.

Now, do you A) tell that man that you are a Catholic priest and administer the sacraments to him yourself,

or B) offer to find such a priest and bring him to the man as soon as possible.

What do you do?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The differences between Roman Catholic doctrine and classic, traditional Anglicanism as we continue it (outside of the official Anglican Communion) are mostly to do with innovations concerning the papacy and a few details elevated into dogma, that we simply cannot find in the Bible, the Councils, or the Fathers. We have more in common with Roman Catholicism than anybody else out there; in a sense that makes the few differences all the more striking to some.

Since the subject of transubstantiation was raised, I will quickly say that that is one issue that has more to do with definition than anything else. The fact is, Rome has moved closer to us; and by the definition of ther current pope, we no longer have reason to object to the phrase.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Is that a serious question? It would be fraud to pretend that I am a Roman Catholic priest. I know that I share the priesthood of Christ with all Roman Catholic and Orthodox priests; but we all know that we have to lay our cards on the table and accomodate ignorance, if only for the sake of someone's conscience.

BillyHW said...

Is that a serious question?

It's a very serious question.

It would be fraud to pretend that I am a Roman Catholic priest.

I am very glad to hear that you would choose B, and that you truly understand the seriousness of the situation I posed.

When it comes to matters of life and death and eternity, even you understand, along with everybody else in the world, exactly what is meant by the word "Catholic", without any attached prefixes.

Anonymous said...

OK. I don't know who can talk for the continuing churches or if there are official teachings published, so I"ll just go with what specifics the anglican cleric posted.

Concerning the first one, why can't you all accept that the Pope is infallible? Do you reject that he can never be infallible? Specificically what about the infallibility of the pope is rejected?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Hadn't you heard? Once, as a boy, Joseph Ratzinger failed a spelling test.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...


For me this is a matter of history--if the Petrine office (which Pope Saint Gregory the Great said was shared with the See of Antioch, by the way, since Saint Peter founded both churches--so this See must be infallible as well) was a source of infallible teaching, why were there Seven Ecumenical Councils that decided orthodox doctrine in the first thousand years of the Church over the most essential matters of Christology? Why didn't the Pope simply decide the matter? Why did he (or the office of the papacy) wait to exercise this great power for such mundane things as the two Marian points of dogma? The Roman Catholic Church taught (commonly, not officially) that infallibility was a "protestant myth" until it proclaimed it to be True.

Also, there's the matter of heretical popes. To quote Jaroslav Pelikan: "In the controversy between East and West...the case of Honorius served as proof to Photius that the popes not only lacked authority over church councils, but were fallible in matters of dogma; for Honorius had embraced the heresy of the Monotheletes. The proponents of that heresy likewise cited the case of Honorius, not in opposition to the authority of the pope but in support of their own doctrine, urging that all teachers of the true faith had confessed it, including Sergius, the bishop of New Rome, and Honorius, the bishop of Old Rome."

Of course, the Roman Catholics will reply that Honorius was not teaching so as to be infallible in this case, or perhaps when he was heretical and teaching as such he ceased to be the pope, which begs the questions as to what the teaching of infallibility even means.

On another note, I would agree with Father Hart's assertion that taking issue with "transubstantiation" is now a matter of semantics given all of the various glosses on the theory. However, I would still hold that an Anglican (priest or bishop) can openly reject the notion that Aquinas and his read of Aristotle's metaphysics pertaining to the matter of the Eucharist is dogma. The Anglican can affirm simply that Christ Body and Blood is present with and under the forms of bread and wine and leave it at that--and indeed be fully orthodox.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Not to belabor the point, but a large section from Father Frank Wescott's "Catholic Principles" (and yes, he's using the term "Catholic" in the manner most of the Anglicans here use it). . .

"There are plenty of historic facts which are utterly inconsistent with the assumption that the supreme judicial and spiritual authority of the Church, has always been in the hands of the Bishops of Rome. For example: the first difficulty which required judicial action in the Apostolic Church, was settled by a council of the whole Church at Jerusalem, under the presidency, not of St. Peter, but of St. James, who pronounced sentence in his own name, without any regard to St. Peter.

When Victor, Bishop of Rome, AD 196, undertook to excommunicate the Asiatic Churches, because they disagreed with him about the time of the observance of Easter, he was rebuked by the other Bishops, including Irenaeus, and his excommunication was ignored, and had no effect whatever.

In the fourth century, the Council of Sardica allowed a condemned Bishop to appeal to Rome for a new trial, not as a recognized right, but as conferring a privilege. This canon of Sardica, was misquoted by the Bishops of Rome as being a canon of the Council of Nice in a controversy with the African Bishops. But the latter consulted the Eastern Patriarchs, and, so discovering the misquotation, replied to the Patriarch of Rome through his legates, “We find it enacted in no council of the Fathers, that any person may be sent as legates of your holiness . . . . Do not therefore at the request of any, send your clergy as agents for you, lest we seem to introduce into the Church of Christ, the ambitious pride of the world.”

The great Arian heresy which denied the divinity of our Lord, was settled by the Nicene Council, which was called, not by the Pope, but by the Emperor Constantine. Hosius presided, and the heresy was finally refuted, not through the pronouncement of the Pope, but through the argument of Athanasius; while Pope Liberius himself became a heretic.

Then the heresy denying the divinity of the Holy Ghost, was settled at the Council of Constantinople in 381, at which the Nicene Creed was reaffirmed, and the sentences defining doctrine concerning the Holy Ghost added, and the Roman Bishop was not present either in person or through his legates. Meletius of Antioch presided at the council, and was succeeded by Gregory Nazianzen, Patriarch of Constantinople; and so in the settlement of the two greatest heresies, the authority of the Bishop of Rome counted for little or nothing; and it is interesting to note that the Bishops assembled in council at Constantinople in 381, in their Epistle to the Western Bishops assembled at Rome, called the Church of Jerusalem the “Mother of all Churches.”

Of course the most complete refutation of the Roman claim of supremacy has been the historic position of the four patriarchates of the Eastern Church, which have never acknowledged the claims of such universal jurisdiction, and yet were in communion with the patriarch of Rome until the twelfth century.

The claims of supreme and spiritual jurisdiction over the whole Church, on the part of the Bishop of Rome, cannot stand the test of catholicity, and so become articles of faith, unless they have been acknowledged always, everywhere, and by all Catholics; and this we have shown to be historically incredible."

Canon Tallis said...

In reply to billyhw's question, I would have to say that I've been there and done that. On both occasions I was traveling in cassock (Anglican) and cappa and given the severity of the person's condition (heart attack) on the first there seemed very little chance of getting a Roman priest there in time. I simply told the man that I was a Catholic but not a Roman and we might not be able to find him a Roman priest before he died. He made the choice to make a confession, receive absolution and be annointed. He survived.
On the second a young woman in very grave distress asked to make a confession. I asked if she were Roman and told her that I was an Anglican. She said she needed to do it then and I proceeded to hear it and give her a penance and absolution.
When I was a teenager and an acolyte at St James Cathedral in Chicago, a non English speaking Mexican family came seeking baptism for their child. In that case I walked them the few blocks to Holy Name. On the other hand a Mexican friend of mine, a guitarist performing in the US was unable to find a Roman priest in all of New York City who would baptise his son with the name that every first born son in his family had had for a couple of hundred years. He finally took the child and flew to Mexico City. It all depends upon the what you can do where you are and what the person wants after being informed. My one time confessor, the rector of St Mary the Virgin in New York City had a heart attack and died at the opera after receiving last rites from a Roman priest who knew exactly who he was, but knew that he would never be able to find an Anglican priest in time. Real Christian and Catholic charity seems to beat schism in cases of crisis and necessity.

Anonymous said...

Anglican cleric:
councils were called when things were in dispute. The pope didn't just pronounce something because he may not have had the knowledge to do so...the doctrine of infallability means that he will not be in error when he speaks ex is often described as a negative protection: protecting him from officially teaching doctrinal error... it does not mean that he will jump up and do what's right when something needs to be declared.

Regarding Honorious, he choose not to make an official statement about the heresy in question...the charism of papal infallibility is not triggered in this case.

It all comes down to a protester misunderstanding of the doctrine of infallabililty and what it refers to and the scope of the 1870 promulgation of it.

Regarding the Council of Jerusalem...after Peter spoke, 'all fell silent' was Peter who declared what needed to be said.

Regarding an excommunication of a pope that is ignored, so what?? That has nothing to do with the topic of has more to do with the issue of papal primacy,,,but remember, authority does not have to be recognized in order to exist...I know this as a mom. My kids can ignore me, rebuke me and say I am 'not the boss of them'....none of which eliminates my God given authority over them.

The issue of the date of the Easter celebration...again, not a doctrinal issue....the Church agreed with eastern Catholics to allow them to celebrate Easter on a different day than they Latin rite Catholics...a matter of semantics...nothing to go to war over or to schism over and certainly not an 'official doctrinal teaching'!

REgarding Liberius, 1)he was not 'free' and was in fact in exile.2)the document he signed could have been understood in either an orthodox manner or a heretical was ambiguous. 3) the document he signed was not for official promulgation to all Christians..not an official doctrinal statement... infallability does not apply in this case.

You need to come up with better arguments than these for your case against papal infallability!

Next up: papal supremacy, purgatory, it and we can discuss.

By the way, do ya'll have celibate priests, brothers, nuns, or anything like that?? St. Paul extols the virtues of celibacy and I wonder how any sound church that claims to be the true faith can't show anyone in their group doing without sex for the greater glory of God....just wondering.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Anglicans have had celibate orders for a very long time.

These arguments do not present evidence for papal infallibility, but the usual deflection of historical fact.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Father Hart wrote:

These arguments do not present evidence for papal infallibility, but the usual deflection of historical fact.

Father Hart,

Indeed. There is always an escape clause for all of the historical facts and problems presented. The dogma of papal infallibility is thus rendered utterly meaningless and of no consequence for the life of the Church Catholic for its first 1000 years when east and west were united, and then for the 800 or so years in the western Roman Church. There is no positive evidence for the infallibility of the papal office, just an assertion.

Also, after Peter spoke the people "kept silent" and listened to Barnabas and Paul, they didn't "fall silent" after Peter spoke. My goodness, that was a bit of a stretch.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Speaking for the Anglican Catholics I'll bring in Father Wescott once again:

Surely it would have been much easier, when these heresies sprang up, simply to refer the matter
to the Pope, and get an official pronouncement which would be infallible, and from which no one
could appeal. And yet it seemed never to occur to any one to do this, during many centuries,
when the Church was torn and distracted by false teachers and by heresies, and when the
function of papal infallibility would have been of enormous service. There cannot be any
question but that Pope Liberius was an Arian heretic, and that Pope Honorius was a Monothelite
heretic and was condemned as such by the sixth general council, and excommunicated. It would
be an easy matter to prove that various Popes have contradicted each other in their formal
decisions, times without number; that they have formally committed themselves to palpable errors and blunders; and that the Church has not hesitated to revise their definitions in any particular case, when they have been in the wrong. Of course it will be replied by Romans, that when the Popes thus erred they were not speaking ex cathedra, that is, with the formality necessary to infallibility; but that they erred merely as private doctors, as ordinary teachers, who are liable to mistakes.

We reply that these pronouncements have been just as formal as the Popes could make them, that they have been thrown into the form of decrees and bulls and pronouncements of the most
official and technical kind, and have been backed up and enforced by threats of anathema and
excommunication. It is impossible to imagine how an infallible pronouncement could be given
out more officially, or more formally. So we ask, How are you going to tell which pronouncements are infallible, and which are not?
And this brings us at once to a very important fact; namely, that Romans themselves are not at all
agreed as to what constitutes an infallible utterance. What does Infallibility mean? Cardinal
Newman gave one definition, Cardinal Manning another, another writer gives six possible
meanings, and still another gives several others. Then we ask, If you cannot be infallibly sure
that in any given case the Pope is speaking infallibly, and if you cannot infallibly define just
what infallibility itself means, what possible use is an infallible pronouncement of any sort?
Apparently the Pope himself must infallibly declare that he is declaring infallibly. But how do
you know that this first declaration, is itself infallible? Apparently some infallible authority has got to pronounce on infallibility, and so you have two difficulties, instead of one. When Roman Catholics are pressed with the difficulties, they are apt to admit that as a matter of fact the Pope has spoken infallibly only two or three times; but if this be true, then he has used this wonderful gift only two or three times in nineteen centuries. As a matter of fact then, has the infallibility been of any earthly use as a guide for settling the multitude of vital questions, which have clamored for ettlement, in every age of the Church’s life?
To assert that infallibility is the God-given means of ascertaining the truth for the Church in matters of faith and morals, and yet to admit that this faculty has been used effectually only two or three times, is simply to make the doctrine of infallibility futile in the extreme. It is to assert the divine creation of an enormous, inestimable power that has been after all practically useless.

So far as history testifies, no vital issue was ever settled by an infallible decree.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...


Your gloss on Fr Hart's response is manifestly false and, indeed, a discreditable putting of words into another's mouth. He would not pretend to be a RC priest to someone who, due to their own presuppositions, equated "Catholic" with "Roman Catholic" for one reason only: honesty. It is wrong under such circumstances to answer a solemn question with an interpretation of the words that knowingly differs from that of the questioner, and would thus lead them to misunderstand the response. The only exception to this would be if such "merely verbal honesty" was being used to defend oneself or another from illegitimate questions, such as those Nazis might have directed to those hiding Jews, for example. In those cases suggestio falsi or suppressio veri may well be justified, but not otherwise.

None of this requires that one agree with the interpretation of words accepted by the questioner, only that one not mislead them unnecessarily by using another interpretation different to theirs without their knowing this.


The problem with the approach you have taken to heretical popes is that some erroneous statements by them looked very authoritative at the time and used deliberately authoritative language. E.g., Honorius' affirmation of monotheletism in an official letter to a fellow Patriarch; and his forbidding of the term "two energies", statement that "these things we have decided", and communication of this decision to three of the other four members of the Pentarchy. Similarly, a much later papal decree written for the Armenians on the form and matter of the sacraments contains errors but very authoritative language.

Yes, in each case one can argue some Vatican I condition was not fully met, but you can also do this for virtually every other papal statement before Vatican I if one looks hard enough. Even the Tome of Leo, usually claimed as the almost archetypical Roman ex cathedra statement, was not treated as binding ex sese at the 4th Ecumenical Council but subject to asessment and then approval. So, either the Council Fathers did not perceive it as fulfilling the requirements or as a body they did not know that an ex cathedra papal statement could not be subject to assessment or review without sin and heresy. In the former case we might as well give up all purported infallible papal pronouncements other than the two most recent Marian dogmas. Which means papal infallibility existed but was not used at all for 19 centuries. (Your attempt to make St Peter's role at the Council of Jerusalem is very unpersuasive. Acts 15.12a cannot be disconnected from 15.12b. They kept silence not in awed submission to the previous speaker but to listen to St Paul who was obviously not silent! Then St James summed up and they sent a letter in the name of all of them, with the authority of the Holy Spirit.) In the latter case, we have the problem that the Vatican I doctrine was simply not known to them, certainly not as a universally or almost universally accepted truth, which contradicts the claim of the papal encyclical Sagis Cogitum that the teaching of Vatican I was the "venerable and constant belief of every age". If the Tome was ex cathedra, then the action of the Council Fathers was not even consistent with implicit or assumed but unspoken acceptance of Vatican I.

That is, it is inconsistent if we accept the common assumption that Vatican I must be interpreted as putting the Pope and his decrees beyond any human judgement if certain external criteria are satisfied. However, once one takes into account the traditional view that a Pope can be un-Poped ipso facto by manifest heresy or other grievous sin, then the necessity of the Church's discernment and consent comes back at a more fundamental level and arguably puts things in a new perpective. Papal infallibility remains, but its recognition becomes an ecclesial responsibility which requires the broader infallibility of the whole Church and includes the possibility (even if a very unlikely one) of non-recognition due to the basic requirement not being meant: that a true, orthodox Pope so taught.

Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,
The question about celibacy has nothing to do with the issue of infallability....they aren't was just an 'oh by the way' question!

Also, where do ya'll stand on birth control? This is my personal litmus test for true conservatism.

And, do the orthodox (or any orthodox church) see Anglican orders as valid? I think they said they were and then upon further study, said they were this true from your perspective?

Anonymous said...

Fr. Matthew:
St. STephen summed up after St. Peter decided...STephen being the scribe or the clean up man...

Even if Stephen did make the decision, that in no way invalidates the dogma of papal infallability....which, AGAIN, stops the pope from teaching error in an official capacity when promugating something official to the church at large...the pope feeling thru an issue with other clerics or theologians is not what infallability speaks to!! That someone declared something true while in a pope's presence (like you erroneously think Stephen did) has nothing to do with Peter's infallabililty on official doctrine made known to the church as a whole.

Ya'll keep getting infallability issues confused with papal supremacy issues and papal impeccability issues.

If we can't agree now...lets move on to the next reason why ya'll think the CC is in error.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Father Kirby--

Well said.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


I have made it very clear that I stand with the Fathers of the Church. The use of artificial contraception not only fails the test, but also shows lack of faith in God.

The Orthodox Church allowed their people to receive all the sacraments from Anglican clergy until 1976, provided 1) no Orthodox Church was anywhere nearby, and 2) they asked for this permission from their own church ahead of time (and it was always granted with an episcopal letter). This was the case until 1976, and stopped only because of women's "ordination" (therefore, it is worth reopening these questions between the Orthodox and Continuing Anglicans). Therefore, the letters of recognition sent by the patriarchs between 1922 and 1930 are not subject to interpretation, especially not the ridiculous and obviously wrong spin of Kallistos Ware. The practice of the Orthodox bishops proves the meaning. But, you already knew this.

Why are you mentioning celibacy and infallibility together? These issues are not related.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Any attempt to make the modern doctrine of papal infallibility relevant to Acts 15 is forced and awkward. By the way, Stephen was martyred back in chapter 7- I think you mean James.

Death Bredon said...

I believe the various, leading Anglican answers to "What is the Catholic Church" -- whether in the BCP Catechism, the 39 Articles, or Dean Staley's classic catechism -- all accord with Irenaeus' ON APOSTOLIC PREACHING, wherein he appealed to Churches in Apostolic Succession (with Rome being but an example), the Canon of Scripture, and the Rule of Faith for understanding Scripture (more or less the "Mind of the Church" summed up in the early Creeds.