Thursday, June 04, 2009

Grace and Sacraments Part IV

This follows Parts I, II and III

In Part II of this series I wrote the following:

Contrary to what many have thought, Anglicanism never goes so far as to deny the effect of what most Protestant bodies refer to as sacraments. Neither does Anglicanism affirm them. Simply, we claim not to know how God may work within those venues. We cannot do as the Roman Catholics have done, that is, to declare ministries to be "absolutely null and utterly void." The reason is simple. God has revealed what the sacraments are, and we have been given in that revelation a proper and Traditional way to administer them. But, he has clearly revealed something more, namely his willingness to work beyond the limits of what we understand, and that is because of his mercy and love.

My friend, Dr. William Tighe, posted this question in a comment:

Why not? The Early Church did this all the time, as, for example, in the canons of the Council of Nicaea when differentiations were made as to how those coming to the Church from various heretical groups and sects were to be treated...?

Indeed, his hypothetical question deserves a clear answer.

One thing has been clear in Anglicanism all along, and that is that we maintain the Apostolic Succession, having many strongly stated affirmations of our identification with the ancient Church. Many of the Protestant bodies have been based on a very different idea, namely that they have restored the Church, finding the most extreme definition of this idea in "outside the camp" Anabaptist terms, that they began all over again because the Church fell like Adam. Not so with the Church of England, and with the later development of international Anglicanism. During the English Reformation the Archbishop of Canterbury continued to be the successor of St. Augustine, and Ecclesia Anglicana retained its identity as that same church that traces its roots both to the ancient celtic British Church and to the later English Church, and the unity of those two churches into one Church at the Council of Hertford in 673 (following the successful groundwork for unity at the Council of Whitby in 664.)

Therefore, the English Church never redefined anything to do with the Orders of Ministry, but simply and clearly made known its intention and doctrine in the Preface to the Ordinal (1550):

IT is evident unto all men, diligently readinge holye scripture, and auncient aucthours, that from the Apostles tyme, there hathe bene these orders of Ministers in Christes church, Bisshoppes, Priestes, and Deacons, which Offices were evermore had in suche reverent estimacion, that no man by his own private aucthoritie, might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, examined, and knowen, to have such equalities, as were requisite for the same. And also by publique prayer, with imposicion of handes, approved, and admitted thereunto. And therfore to the entent these orders shoulde bee continued, and reverentlye used, and estemed in this Church of England, it is requysite, that no man (not beynge at thys presente Bisshop, Priest, nor Deacon) shall execute anye of them, excepte he be called, tryed, examined, and admitted, accordynge to the forme hereafter folowinge.1

Anglicanism was, from the start, unique among Protestant churches, and remained unique by retaining Apostolic Succession and the ancient Catholic Faith that included the administration of the sacraments.

Apologists and Bin Divers

Many writers tried to convert Anglicans to Rome. Appealing to our belief in the Catholic Tradition, they attempted to color the history of the English Church, especially as that history encompasses the 16th and 17th centuries, in such a way as to bring discredit to the clearly stated entent of the Preface, and to the whole body of doctrine and Canon Law that provides context for it. They have found unlikely bedfellows among a new wave of Evangelicals, many of whom delight in digging up old arguments Rome itself has abandoned, apparently without the consent of self-appointed apologists who frequent the Internet. Rome has abandoned them because she no longer pretends to believe the fictions her apologists once wrote boldly. Nonetheless, along come modern Evangelicals who claim to be Anglican, having only just discovered the trash Rome threw away and mistaking it for treasure, spouting this combination of a little knowledge with a large amount of ignorance, waving the trophies of their Bin Diving expeditions.

So, all over again, this time to refute the new-wave pseudo Anglican(?) Evangelicals, we find ourselves pointing out why the Church of England never knowingly violated its own laws, why rumors about non-episcopally ordained ministers amounts to no evidence at all, and that the English bishops actually meant what they said in ecclesiastical legislation, and that breaking these laws was also a crime in England ,etc., (the same old arguments Anglicans wrote to refute Roman apologists for centuries). Only this time, we are answering people whose agenda is not to convert Anglicans to Rome, but rather to deny the distinct nature of Anglicanism as both Catholic and Protestant without any internal contradiction.

Invalid versus Null and Void

This is because they do not want to "unchurch" Protestant Christians who make no claim to Apostolic Succession, and to historic continuity with the ancient Church. What I wrote in Part II of this series, however, is very different. The title of this series is "Grace and Sacraments." A distinction that needs to made and understood is that of what God may do and what the Church is commanded to do.

The very fact that the Church of England and Anglicanism world-wide, had always required, without exception, that no man may carry out the sacred ministry without episcopal ordination, is itself sufficient proof that the patrimony that we are Continuing has no hesitation in distinguishing valid sacraments from invalid sacraments (or, even non-sacraments, such as church bodies that merely license with not so much as a pretense to ordination). We have no hesitation declaring that some sacraments are invalid, such as baptism without the Trinitarian Name, or communion with no priesthood and no proper Intention. We reject women's ordination as invalid, and our concept that some marriages, though legal, may for proper considerations deserve a Decree of Nullity, are all based on our understanding that the Church has the authority and duty to recognize what is valid and to distinguish it from what is invalid.

Writing in Faribault on January 20, 1880, Rt. Rev. Henry B. Whipple, first bishop of the Diocese of Minnesota (known as a truly great missionary bishop to American "Indians," including the Dakota-or Souix), summarized our position simply with profound brevity:

God has wonderfully preserved our branch of the Church from this one error [from the context, exclusive claims as the One True Church], and I believe she is to be the Healer of Christian division in the last days. She preserves as primitive and apostolic her visible polity. She celebrates Divine sacraments as ordained by Christ, but does not define what God has not defined. She rests all her teaching on Holy Scripture, but gives her children the old Catholic Creeds for which she is a trustee. 2

This summarizes the Anglican understanding of our own patrimony, and in doing so expresses a standard of reason to be applied to Christian unity and to sacraments. "She celebrates Divine sacraments as ordained by Christ, but does not define what God has not defined." What we cannot define includes the "mechanics" of the sacraments (if I may invent a phrase). A perfect example of trying to define what God has not defined is found on the extreme ends of trying to explain the mystery of Holy Communion. The strained efforts of injecting man-made philosophical method into this sacrament, thus creating Transubstantiation (as understood pre-Ratzinger 3, or Pope Benedict XVI), and the opposite extreme of reducing the sacrament to a mere symbol, are two opposite results of the same presumption: Namely, that we can unravel the Holy Mysteries. Both of these extremes, indeed each of them equally, "overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions." 4 These words are equally applicable to the Memorialist as they are to the pure (pre-Ratzinger) Tridentine Roman Catholic. Both have made a dogma out of human reason instead of revelation. Indeed, that the Memorialist may fall prey to superstition is evident in the fear expressed by some Fundamentalists that the sacrament of the Catholics may contaminate them with something evil, maybe even (as some have expressed) the Mark of the Beast. Trying to define what God has not defined, trying to solve mysteries that he has deliberately hidden as far above and beyond man's imagination and highest thought, leads always to useless and foolish ramblings.

The limits of God's own workings and grace, however, are also in the category of what he has not defined. The Anglican position of refusing to define these limits is what has confused the two strange bedfellows, the out-dated Roman Catholic apologist and the new-wave Evangelical "Bin diver." Both have confused refusal to define what God has not defined with a low standard, perhaps a non-standard, in judging any sacrament to be invalid. Here we must distinguish between what is meant by two different terms: Invalid on one hand, and Absolutely null and utterly void on the other.

"Invalid" refers to the sacrament itself, and to the part of it that is under human control. We shall use as an example the Holy Communion. The Church has received a clear command from Christ, "this do in remembrance of me." This command contains a promise:

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 5

The Church has received clear teaching from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, that the bread becomes his Body and the wine becomes his Blood; and this is a mystery beyond our comprehension. It is a reality, not merely a symbol; but the nature of that reality is never defined by God, nor could we understand if he had defined it. We know from careful study of Scripture that every sacrament requires Form, Matter and Intention, and that every Sacrament carries a promise of specific Divine action in response. So, these four things mark each sacrament: The human work of Form, Matter and Intention, and the Divine work of fulfilling a promise of grace. When any one of the human workings is missing a sacrament is invalid.

However, the expression "Absolutely null and utterly void" suggests a thing beyond our knowing, for it dares to presume, beyond what God has revealed, a limitation to his grace. 6 "Absolutely null" may refer simply to invalidity, but "utterly void" cannot help but beg the question "void of what?" The only logical answer is grace, the part that God fulfills. This is what we cannot know. We are able rightly to say that a sacrament is invalid, but are not able to say that God has withheld his grace, even the grace that normally comes through the sacrament. 7 Furthermore, charity compels us to hope that the Roman Catholic doctrine of Invincible Ignorance (without exclusive claims), is as true as the ancient doctrine of Baptism by Desire.

It is true that Anglicans have always refused the call any sacrament "Absolutely null and utterly void." It is not true that we lack, or ever have lacked, the true standard by which we must treat some as invalid, and to treat them so for reasons that are pastoral and born of charity.
1. Later revised as follows: It is evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church; Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Which Offices were evermore had in such reverend Estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by publick Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereunto by lawful Authority. And therefore, to the intent that these Orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed in the Church of England, no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, in the Church of England, or suffered to execute any of the said Functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the Form hereafter following, or hath had Episcopal Consecration, or Ordination.

2. Quoted in Lights and Shadows of a Long Episcopate, Rt. Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple, D.D., L.L.D., New York, London, 1902

3. To understand the difference made by Pope Benedict XVI, long before his elevation to the papacy, see the blog article at this link.

4. Article XXVIII

5. John 6:54-56

6. Probably, these days no learned theologian anywhere, including Rome, would be comfortable with the implications of that phrase, as we discuss them here.

7. The Scriptural arguments are the same as before. II Chron. 30:18-20, Luke 23:39-43.


Anonymous said...

"The strained efforts of injecting man-made philosophical method into this sacrament, thus creating Transubstantiation"

Transubstantiation makes as much sense as consubstantiation. It would be better for everyone to leave it undefined. In a way Transubstantiation makes more sense than consubstantiation. After all, we see things transubstantiate all the time: you burn wood and it turns into ash; a cat dies and its body decays; you eat food and it turns into muscle, etc. Transubstantiation is even believed by Evolutionists (although they would vehemently deny it): species A turns into species B. Transubstantiation is a fact of life. This is not some clever Thomistic invention. It may be more accurate to call it a discovery, just as we would say that the Pythagorean Theorem is not Pythagoras' invention, but his discovery.

The Romans should not be accused of "injecting man-made philosophical method" because that is the only method Man has at his disposal. Anglicans claim to use Reason, versus a Magisterium. We need logic. We need epistemology. We need metaphysics. This is inescapable. To say that we cannot use philosophical method when thinking or discussing the Gospel or God is like telling me to build a house, but to refuse me the use of tools.
If we reject doctrines understood because they are the result of philosophical reasoning, then we must get rid of the Hypostatic Union, we must get rid of the Trinity, and we must get rid of the notion that the Father and the Son "being of one substance".

Was St. Augustine not a philosopher? Did St. Paul not use the philosophical method? Why this anti-Thomism? Were Rome and Canterbury not in communion when he was sainted? Is St Thomas not in our Kalendar? We need not throw out babies with bath water--other wise we'll be just as bad as Post-Vatican II Romans.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

To presume that a position based on logic belongs on the same level as revealed truth, and to declare it a dogma, is to exceed revelation and to speak, therefore, without authority.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Fr. Hart. I love this blog. It's not every day these things can be discussed and hashed out.

I am sympathetic to the RC desire to know "how" Christ is really present, rather than merely accepting the fact and not thinking about it any deeper. Surely, it is demanded of us to know that the bread IS Christ, but to have NO desire to know -how- (or why) the bread IS Christ strikes me as being a) a bad lover, and b) superstitious.

A "bad lover" because a good lover wants to know the Beloved in every way possible, and spends a lifetime trying to know the beloved better. This, too, is why the RCs have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. If it is true that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, then praying in His physical presence allows the pray-er to know Him better... gazing upon The Beloved.
Far from Superstition, it is simply recognizing the fact that all human knowledge comes from the senses. Christ became incarnate not for the heck of it but because we needed Him to be sensible so that we can know Him. The Eucharist allows us to touch and taste Him, exposition allows us to see Him. To say, as the protestants do, that exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is idolatry is to deny the Real Presence (no matter how defined) and that is to deny the facts as told to us in the Gospels.

"Superstitious" because without knowing the whys and wherefores, one is susceptible to believing the host really is just a "magic cookie" as Jack T. Chick would so crudely put it.

But I digress. Oh, how I digress!

On the other hand, I am rather unsympathetic to the Roman impulse to define because--while providing sense and unity for Roman Catholics--it is one of the causes for division for Christendom as a whole. I hope the RC readers won't be offended if I suggest that their penchant for defining sometimes halts deeper contemplation of Revelation. "Ok, folks! We've made our definition. The Mystery is over. Time to go home."

Then again, I am equally ambivalent about the 39 Articles because if we want to hold our own religious figures to the same standard to which we hold the RC's religious leaders then Cranmer has no more right to define dogma than, say, Clement VII.

So the RCs ought not to claim the right to define Real Presence as "transubstantiation" and we ought not to claim the right to deny it. Article XXVIII goes too far by claiming that. If it's not known -how- Christ becomes present in the Eucharist then Cranmer and committee cannot take it upon themselves to make a pronouncement that sounds like they mean it to infallible.
Without the help of the accepted creeds or councils to clarify, we can only say, "We don't know if it is so or not, but failing to be satisfied by the RC's terminology and arguments for using that terminology, we retain the right to leave the question undefined."

Again, I digress.

Even if we want to argue -how- the bread is Christ, no one can deny -that- the bread IS Christ. That fact is clearly scriptural and fulfills St Vincent Lerins' epigram of discerning false doctrine from real: "quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus credituni est". And that's why (I think) we Anglicans believe in the "Real Presence" without trying to define the term to precisely (in order to avoid mis-defining). If I am wrong about this bit, I am happy to be corrected.

poetreader said...

Dear "anonymous",

Your comments are distinctly of substance. For this reason we would appreciate your adopting a pseudonym (if you prefer not to post under your actual name) just so that we have something we can call you.

As I read the Article in question, I tend to see it not as condemning the concept out of hand, but as condemning the insistence that such is indeed the declared true meaning of the Sacrament, and that none other can be tolerated. If I am correct in that, it is precisely my own conclusion. We are here faced with a reality cloaked in mystery. Yes, God's gift of reason not only allows, but requires us to think deeply about such things, and to attempt the development of metaphors to aid us in thinking -- but it is vital that we remember them as no more than metaphors, as far less than an accurate unraveling of the mystery -- and that we remember that a metaphor is never the only way to describe a thing. Another metaphor can express a different side of the mystery, even if it appears contradictory.

"Transubstantiation" is a concept that nay aid us in grappling with the mystery; "consubstantiation" is another, but neither is an "accurate" or "true" description of what the Mystery actually is. We see, smell, taste, and feel bread and wine, and any scientific test one would be so bold (and perhaps irreverent) as to undertake would reveal bread and wine, but we know by faith, in accepting the very words of Our Lord and the teaching of His Church, that these elements are, in very truth, His Body and Blood. How? We may guess, and our guesses may deepen our appreciation of the mystery, but we cannot know, and our pretending to know divorces us from the depths of the mystery itself.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

We may guess, and our guesses may deepen our appreciation of the mystery, but we cannot know, and our pretending to know divorces us from the depths of the mystery itself.

Ed's last line was worthy of his handle: Poetreader.

Yes, Anonymous, please feel free to continue, because you provide by your intelligent responses an opportunity to discuss things that may benefit readers. But, please, use a name or create a handle so we may track the discussion. Otherwise, another Anonymous will enter the discussion, and we will not know who were are addressing.

I am sympathetic to the RC desire to know "how" Christ is really present, rather than merely accepting the fact and not thinking about it any deeper.

Meditation and even speculation are certainly not wrong. The issue here is not that we should not try to understand, but two things:

1)We cannot teach as doctrine anything that is not revealed. In the time when Trent was convening they defined as dogma an idea that had grown from philosophical speculation and Aristotelian logic, and had done so perfectly according to the rules of that school. But, their tortured definition was not the only way to understand the mystery as Christ spoke it.

2.)Ultimately, we cannot really understand the mystery from which the Sacrament comes, that is, the Incarnation. But we can say that the whole substance of Christ's human body did not transubstantiate into what he is in His Divine nature. For, then he would not be fully man. Human nature was deified, but still it is a created nature taken into Divinity and transformed by grace. The human nature is not taken away and replaced by His Divine nature. This principle of the Incarnation, two natures-not one as in Monophysiticism-is not the basis of what they meant by transubstantiation. Therefore, as it was understood then, it was actually a dangerous teaching, leading to the very thing that Chalcedon had refuted.

The Anglican Article XXVIII is completely right in objecting that Transubstantiation (pre-Ratzinger revised definition) "overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament." That is, no longer can the sacrament effect what it signifies if there is no longer a sign , but simply an exchange of one reality for another.

So Transubstantiation, as everyone defined it in the 16th century, did away with the sacrament existing on two levels, that is, signifying what it effects, and effecting what it signifies; for no longer is there anything that signifies, but rather a replacement of one thing with another.

And, on a deeper level, this does not stem from the Incarnation; rather it tends toward a Monophysite way of thinking. The Anglicans made a necessary correction, and were operating on a higher and better theological level of thought than the Roman magisterium.

Anonymous said...

Just out of interest, do the Continuing Churches have Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament?

Fr Edward

poetreader said...

Short answer: yes. At least many parishes do. Those who do find it to be a valuable devotional exercise, providing it be a supplement to, rather than a substitute for regular Communion. This substitution is the abuse the Article is objecting to, as the late medieval laity experienced frequent Benediction and, for most, merely annual Communion.


Canon Tallis said...

"We may guess, and our guesses may deepen our appreciation of the mystery, but we cannot know, and our pretending to know divorces us from the depths of the mystery itself."

I join with Father Hart in my appreciation of this sentence. But I am equally pleased with your sentence,"We cannot teach as doctrine anything that is not revealed." When anyone has attempted to do so, it has, as has been pointed out, worked to divide what our Lord would not have divided. That is one of the reasons that for me the greatest Thomist of the past century was the Reverend Doctor Eric Lionel Mascall.

But I would object that a "good lover" wants to know everything possible about the Beloved. It would seem to me that here the legend of Psyche and Cupid and especially in C. S. Lewis's retelling is extremely relevant. To want to go beyond what the divine Beloved reveals is a type of rebellion, an attempt to master what was intended to adored. I think it is precisely the attempt at dogmatic definition which gives (not us) but others the "magic cookie" rebellion. And here, again, I would defer to the comments Ed made in response.

The English Church at the Reformation was dealing with a number of issues involving the Roman See of its time. The first was its corruption which among other things resulted in a number of ceremonial and other innovations which cut it off from antiquity. Some of these had grown, probably very naturally, from the events of the last five hundred years in Western European history, but which required reform and a return to the belief and practice of the earliest church. Chief among these, in my opinion, was the growth of non-communicating attendance at the Eucharist with most of the people being satisfied with seeing the host rather than receiving it. This is the reason that the rood screens were torn down or omitted from baroque and rococo churches. They got in the way of seeing the elevation.

But in a church where the majority are communicants as all who call themselves Christians are intended to be, I don't think that there can be great objection either to Benediction or to Processions of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Hart or Father Kirby, thankfully, will correct me if I am wrong. But again, and to my mind most importantly, the standard of Acts 2:42 is to be maintained, i.e.,
"the Apostolic doctrine and fellowship, and the breaking of bread and the prayers" which should keep us on the correct path. And here Ed's last comment is one that I entirely second and agree with.

Canon Tallis said...

Pardon me, Father Hart, but I forgot to say that this is one of your very best and one which so moved my heart that upon my second reading of same my cheeks were streamed with tears. The faith is beautiful and illumines the heart and washes the soul that God so loved us that He gives us the grace to love Himself and others.

Fr Matthew Kirby said...

But in a church where the majority are communicants as all who call themselves Christians are intended to be, I don't think that there can be great objection either to Benediction or to Processions of the Blessed Sacrament. Father Hart or Father Kirby, thankfully, will correct me if I am wrong.

Fr Kirby has no desire to "correct" you, since he agrees with every word you said in the sentence above on Benediction. And he has participated in this service in the past.

Gotta love those hymns of Aquinas too: "Faith our outward sense befriending, makes the inward vision clear". Earlier in the same hymn (not in a verse always used at Benediction) he writes "Faith alone ... shows true hearts the mystery". In other words, the Real Presence is physically invisible and relates to a mysterious inward reality, the outward sensible qualities not being the true object of worship, but a "veil", as the Angelic Doctor puts it in yet another hymn. Which means that if we use the connotation of "Sacrament" which refers to the outward sign alone as distinguished from the inward grace (cf. the first part of the Catechism in the BCP), Aquinas would agree with Lancelot Andrewes that we worship "at" the Sacrament rather than worshipping the Sacrament as such, but that we must truly worship Christ therein present.

And, given that "Substance" can be distinguished from "Accidents" in Thomism simply by defining the former as that which provides the fundamental identity and inward reality as opposed to the latter being all other qualities, I can see no difference between the Transubstantiation of St Thomas Aquinas and that of the present Pope. Both are simply ways of saying the Bread becomes the Body and the Wine becomes the Blood in fundamental identity and being (the "how" being a "mystery") but not in any outwardly observable sense. In neither are chemical or physical transformations accessible to material or scientific observation or definition necessarily posited.

However, not every explanation of Transubstantiation has been similarly cautious and epistemologically humble.

poetreader said...

I have no quibble with Thomas, but tend to be both perplexed and annoyed by Thomists, which I believe would be an attitude Thomas himself would endorse. He seems never to have regarded himself as infallible, nor his own explanations as entirely adequate. If his grappling with the meaning of the Mystery be seen as a tentative effort to understand what really is beyond comprehension (which I believe to have been his attitude and intent), his work is of nearly irreplaceable value. What the English Reformers condemned was the reduction of his profound thinking to a formulaic dogmatism all too often mixed with an unspiritual superstition. I don't think he himself would have as much difficulty with the Articles as the apologists who quote him ad nauseam, and, inasmuch as his was a world of rather free-wheeling discussion of deep matters, I think he'd be dismayed at the perception that Trindentinism and Classic Anglicanism are incapable of coexistence in a single Church. I know that I am.


RC Cola said...

Hello, I was away for a few days and couldn't reply. For now, I'll use the handle "RC Cola" in reference to my former denomination. (I am anonymous of the first and third post.)

First, I would like to thank you for the charitable and interesting responses. As I was away I was a little worried about getting "flamed" but the responses have been such that I am glad to call myself a "Continuing Anglican". You are gentlemen.

Second, I especially appreciate both Ed's and Fr. Hart's comments. Father, I had never considered what you said about Monophysites in that context before and I will have to mentally chew on it for a while.

It seems we're agreed that over-defining can rob the mystery (in its theological sense) of some of its mystery (in its colloquial sense).

The Incarnation is really such a profound reality, that I will never tire of contemplating both that God would not only humble Himself to take the form of a servant, but that he should also humble Himself to daily take the form* of bread. Outstanding. When I hear people say, "All religions are basically the same..." I have to ask them about the Incarnation. Not all religions are created equal. We are certainly not the same.

As an aside, it was very difficult with a Pope as good as Benedict XVI to leave the RCC. However when I think about the "middle management" and the group from which his successor will be named, it makes me shudder. One problem with having such an over-emphasis on one bishop is that when he stinks, the Church is stuck with stinky bishops for generations. John Paul II may have been a nice man, but his episcopal appointments were disastrous.

RC Cola

* - "form" in a non-technical rather than Aristotelian or Platonic sense.

poetreader said...

And thank you, RC Cola for your graciousness and gentlemanly behavior. There are few things more satisfying than a substantive discussion of the mysteries of our faith, especially when strongly differing viewpoints are being expressed charitably and the participants are truly hearing one another. We've all seen similar issues discussed with more heat than light Largely because of the spirit you've shown us, this thread has thus far been a model of the way such discussions should proceed, and has, for me, been a very pleasant experience indeed.

And, yes, Fr. Hart, I concur with his praise for your insertion of the Monophysite issue here. I too will have to give that a lot of thought. thank you.


Canon Tallis said...

Father K, I was only teasing you and Father H. in my previous post because I have become so fond of you as the best current examples I know of the continuation of the Anglican Mind with, of course, the single exception of your devotion to Anglican Tridentinism in ornaments and ceremonial. But as we all should know, the most important thing of all is the maintaining of the Apostles' doctrine.

I would prefer that all of our Continuing Anglicans parishes look, sound like and feel authentically Anglican; that we had a readily identifiable brand, but lacking that i am happy enough that The Continuum is the active guardian of that faith which epitomizes 'Antiquity, Consent and Universality' in accordance with the teaching of St. Vincent of Lerins.