Monday, June 01, 2009

What is the Continuum at this present time?

We have been rebuked often by people who dislike our definition of the Continuing Church, also known as the Anglican Continuum. We set the date of our origin with the 1977 Affirmation of St. Louis, followed by the 1978 Denver consecrations. More than once, a member of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) has expressed offense that we did not set the date in the late 19th century, in honor of their beginning. However, no offense has been intended. The REC started for reasons that are alien to the thinking of the Anglican Continuum, inasmuch as we would have sided with the Anglican Communion, and the Episcopal Church in particular, about the necessity of maintaining the episcopacy for reasons both of order and sacramental validity, and therefore would have sided against the position of the REC when it began. We acknowledge also that the Anglican Province in America (APA) had its origin in the decade before the Anglican Continuum separated from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada (and has, we are happy to say, since then formally stated its agreement with our Affirmation of St. Louis). So, it is not based on disrespect for these older jurisdictions that we look at the date of our origin as 1977, but in recognition that the straw that broke the camel's back for us was women's "ordination," because the destruction of the sacrament of Holy Orders among the Episcopalians and other official Canterbury Anglicans threatened not only the order of the Church, but the validity of the sacraments of Absolution and Holy Communion. These sacraments touch the very lives of individuals in our churches regarding their salvation. This is especially so with Holy Communion, as it is "generally necessary to salvation." It also destroys the sacrament of Confirmation.

So, in looking at the current state of the Continuing churches, we must first identify who we are. Most people see only that our churches are not centrally united under one House of Bishops. They look at the fact that all too often bishops have been consecrated not to fill a vacancy or to establish a mission, but rather because someone wanted to wear a purple shirt. All too often this has been true, as it has been true that unnecessary proliferation of bishops has not produced unity. Indeed, recently two out of the three new bishops consecrated to assist Archbishop Reber of the United Episcopal Church in North America (UECNA) bolted from their jurisdiction altogether. We can hope only that their motives were not unholy.

Nonetheless, we on this Blog do not recognize every group that claims to be a Continuing Anglican Body. The charge that there are now some 42 jurisdictions in Continuing Anglicanism is a false claim, inasmuch as Freedom of Religion makes it impossible to prevent as many imitations as ambition, psychosis, delusion, heresy or pride may create. We recognize, in fact, really only two major groupings. One is the united bodies of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the UECNA. The other is the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) together with with its American branch, the Anglican Church in America (ACA). (As I have stated, the APA has a separate origin, and existed before the Continuing Church.) The APCK and the UECNA have become very small over the years, and exist solely in North America, whereas the ACC has grown to be worldwide with a second Province that is headquartered in India. Therefore, it is not a criticism or a negative judgment on my part that I see the UECNA and the APCK as satellites held in orbit by the ACC. This is simply my own way of phrasing things, and is stated with respect and charity for our fellow Anglicans in the two smaller jurisdictions.

At this time, the stated desire of the TAC/ACA bishops is to enter into unity with the See of Rome, and yet somehow, at the same time, to retain a distinct Anglican identity. In fact, communications have been going on for years between their bishops and other clergy with Rome, and these communications have intensified since late 2007. Nonetheless, even though I myself have friends who are priests, and in one case a bishop, in the ACA, and even though I have talked personally one on one with Archbishop Hepworth for about ninety minutes (having posted his statements here last year), and even though two of our four bloggers are part of the TAC (Ed Pacht, and our newest blogger, Sandra McColl), we cannot report many details. We simply do not know very much of what is happening on that front, and most of it is kept secret according to Archbishop Hepworth himself. The concern that has been brought to my attention, by TAC members who have written to me, or commented here, is mainly a desire to see or hear a commitment to Anglicanism itself, that its riches not be lost in the process, wherever that process may lead. Certainly, to recover unity with Rome has been an idea that Anglicans, alone of all the Reformation churches, never rejected, and that even Richard Hooker wrote about. It was very much a stated hope of Anglicans in the early 20th century, and so was unity with the Orthodox Church (which was bearing observable fruit until Women's "Ordination"). Our Catholic beliefs and sacraments unite our thinking in many ways already.

The desire of the bloggers here is to see a day when the bishops of the TAC will be reconciled to the other grouping, namely the ACC-APCK-UECNA. Speaking for myself, I state openly and with all due respect for my associates here who belong to the TAC, that the ball is in Archbishop Hepworth's court, and has been for years. Archbishop Mark Haverland wrote an open letter to his fellow Archbishop quite a long time ago, and it calls for an equally open and public response. It seems to me, if to no one else, that working for unity beyond the Anglican Continuum ought to wait for unity within it. Then a common effort towards greater Catholic unity can pick up where it left off when the Canterbury Communion dropped the ball by contaminating Holy Orders (and then by having continued to become worse and worse with no bottom to the abyss).

I became part of the ACC, as many readers may recall, more than a year after initially protesting my own mistreatment at the hands of one APCK bishop early in 2007. I felt a personal sense of gratitude to Bishop Rocco Florenza (and still do), inasmuch as he was the champion of priests who had been similarly mistreated before the APCK elected a new Archbishop later that same year. My bias at that time was pro TAC/ACA, simply because that is where Bishop Florenza went. My decision, therefore, to be received into the ACC involved a conscious and deliberate series of considerations. Nonetheless, the commitment we all share at this blog has never changed. It is to help unify the jurisdictions in any way we can, and each of us is committed to this effort.

Contrary to what people write on other blogs and websites, my experience these last several months is one of vital and thriving churches that have plenty of children, youth and young couples. The various churches I have seen in the two dioceses of the ACC, in which I have served, show every sign of health and of having a bright future (currently I am in the Archbishop's diocese, expecting to serve at St. Benedict's until I get too old to function, or until I depart this life). The stereo-type of congregations consisting solely of only a few elderly, grumpy people about to die off, or of churches top-heavy with clergy, or of the priesthood of all bishops, is not only a caricature, but altogether false. But, if our expectations are set on a low standard, we may well achieve that and no more, inasmuch as when you aim at nothing you hit it every time.

The health of the Continuing churches requires a commitment to evangelism, based on the conviction that the riches we possess are needed by those who are without. If our motivation for growth is to meet our own needs we may well fail, and deserve to. If our motivation is to save souls, and to that end lead people into the fellowship of the Church, God himself is with us and we are co-laborers with Him. The health of the Continuing churches requires, as well, that we believe that our churches can thrive. This is why I relate my happy experiences of late; to lift the level of your faith and expectations. The health of the Continuum requires also that we teach our people why Anglicanism provides the best way to live as a Christian, and to that end I have written a large number of articles explaining classic Anglican teaching.


Anonymous said...

Would you mind elaborating on your comment regarding Confirmation?

Does the ACC have an 'open' Communion rail? I have been recently told so by a priest in the ACC that Confirmation is not necessarily necessary.

Before you ask: no I am not going to reveal his name, or mine, as that would likely achieve the same result.

I would simply like to know if the ACC demands Confirmation and if it does as a matter of canon, why that view is held.

My view is that an 'open' Communion rail, meaning that the biblical standard of Confirmation (quickening through the gifts of the Holy Ghost) should not be required in order to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and that St Paul's admonition to take such unworthily brings condemnation does not apply here, is an innovation of modern times and only let to stand in the past as a matter of sloth and ignorance.

The 28 BCP, on page 281 I think, makes demand for each adult to be Confirmed before receiving. I would like to know if you agree this is a basic doctrine of any valid Anglican Church.

Anonymous said...

Is there a page online somewhere with a legend of some sort that will spell out all the acronyms?

John A. Hollister said...

Fr. Hart's statement is excellent in almost all respects. However, being a notoriously persnickety sort, I must urge one correction as a matter of historical fact.

Thus he wrote, "We acknowledge also that the Anglican Province in America (APA) had its origin in the decade before the Anglican Continuum separated from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.... We recognize ... really only two major groupings. One is the united bodies of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the UECNA. The other is the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) together with with its American branch, the Anglican Church in America (ACA). (As I have stated, the APA has a separate origin, and existed before the Continuing Church.)"

It would have been more accurate to have said, "The other is the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) together with its American branch, the Anglican Church in America (ACA), which share a common origin in 1963 with the APA. In the 1990s, however, this original grouping received an infusion from the ACC, after which the TAC/ACA and the APA diverged. Currently, the TAC/ACA seems to be directing most of its thought and attention toward Rome while the APA seems to be directing most of its thought and attention toward the REC and the new ACNA. In neither of those cases does it seem that much official thought or attention is presently being directed toward the Continuum as we have defined that here."

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...


I am not aware of anything that could, by proper definition, be called "open communion" outside of TEC. As for the rubric at the end of Confirmation, here is what it says:

" And there shall none be admitted to the Holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed."

John A. Hollister said...

The second Anonymous asked, "Is there a page online somewhere with a legend of some sort that will spell out all the acronyms?"

I don't know of one, but Fr. Hart explained each of the ones he used in his article. To summarize those (dates are approximate, for illustrative purposes only, being noted down here on the fly and without reference to sources):

ACA = Anglican Church in America (see TAC)

ACC = Anglican Catholic Church (1977; see APCK and UECNA)

APA = Anglican Province in America (1963; 1967; 199-)

APCK = Anglican Province of Christ the King (1977; see ACC and UECNA)

C of I = Church of India (1708; 1920; see ACC)

ECUSA = Episcopal Church in the USA (1785; see PECUSA and TEC)

PECUSA = Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA (1785; aka ECUSA and TEC)

REC = Reformed Episcopal Church (1873)

TAC = Traditional Anglican Communion (1963; 1967; 1991)

TEC = The Episcopal Church (1785; see ECUSA and PECUSA)

UECNA = United Episcopal Church in North America (1977; 1981-2; see ACC and APCK)

John A. Hollister+

highchurchman said...

Regarding ,"Open Communion",in the Diocese of the United Kingdom, it has been the policy,as far as I know,
that"none shall be admitted to the Holy Communion, until such time as he be confirmed, or be ready and desirous to be confirmed."

poetreader said...

Fair enough description, Fr. Hart. Though as a member of TAC, I'll take minor exception to some statements, you've said mostly what I was preparing to write, and better than I would have said it.

With regard to REC, its origin indeed was such that I could not have considered being part of it, due to outright rejection of Baptismal regeneration and of apostolic succession as having necessary import. However, REC (or at least most of it) has been moving in a strongly Catholic direction, and, aside from the existence of doubt as to its orders (because of its past official statements), has become very nearly a part of the Continuing Church. But not quite, however.

Fr. Hollister
You raise a major bone of contention in his insistence, so common in ACC, that my jurisdiction (ACA) is a continuation of Bishop Clavier's earlier (ans somewhat suspect) group, with infusions from ACC. This insistence is one of the major reasons so many in ACA find ACC (a bit unjustly, but understandably)to be rather unfriendly and brittle, and sense a wall against real rapprochement. We are entirely convinced that we share a common origin with ACC, with an infusion from Clavier's group. That is how we've always seen it, and Clavier himself, as well as the APA, have left, largely through not accepting that understanding. Accuse us of breaking away from ACC, and we will respectfully differ in the precise interpretation of that, but will regard it as a fair statement. To try to separate us from you so decisively as that, however, surely sounds like an effort to be offensive (though, at least in your case I don't think that to be so in reality). We are a St. Louis body that absorbed some pre-St. Louis parishes and clergy. It is high time to seel ways to rebuild unity, rather than insisting on locutions that strengthen and emphasize division.

I wouldn't have brought this up at all, except for your insistence on doing do. Unfortunately, every time I find the warmth of my feeling toward ACC beginning to grow (and it is a very real thing), I sense a rather cold rejection from such party-line interpretation of the facts we do agree on. I can understand why my jursidiction has seemed rather hesitant to reach out too strongly toward ACC, as the approach from there seems always to include such off-putting attitudes.

There, I've unloaded some of what is troubling me. My fervent desire is that these things be healed, and quickly. That will require repentance, change of heart and of language, and the laying aside of hurt feeling from both sides of this tragic split. It can be done. It must be done.

Praying with Our Lord that we all may be one,
ed pacht

Sandra McColl said...

I might also add that, in an effort at making this blog appear evenly ACC and TAC, my brethren have also succeeded, perhaps inadvertently, in making it 50 per cent Australian. The Australian ACC, which now unfortunately exists as the ACCA (TAC) and the ACC(OP), has its roots in the ACCC, and Bishop Haley of blessed memory was not at Deerfield Beach. Otherwise, I would say that, in so far as my imperfect knowledge and understanding of these matters can be applied, I'm with Ed on this one.

poetreader said...

We received a comment that said, in part, of the 2 individuals that "bolted" from the UECNA that they were elected in synod and we had full faith in them. The intent of the consecrations is not being questioned, but the wisdom of consecrating so many. The proliferation of bishops among us, as Fr. Hart has commented, has been one of the major problems of the Continuum.

As for the good faith or otherwise of UECNA, of REC, or of the bishops in question, that can be discussed endlessly, and has been, both here and elsewhere, but the real problem is that we have created an environment where both such events and the endless wrangling over them has become so very easy.


The Midland Agrarian said...

Fr Robert,
Per your answer to anonymous, relative to "open communion"

How does your church receive someone confirmed in TEC or C of E prior to the innovation of female "Bishops"? Specifically, as such a comfirmed layman in good standing in an ACNA parish, would one of your churches allow me to approach the rail? How would you acept clergyman from AMIA or Southern Cone?

Do you look at this on an individual basis?

J. Gordon Anderson said...

I thought it was a very nice piece. If I could just comment on two of the comments...

Canon Hollister's statement: "...while the APA seems to be directing most of its thought and attention toward the REC and the new ACNA" is not accurate (thanks be to God). We have nothing to do with ACNA and there is no movement afloat to join them because of they are not committed to Catholic faith and order. As for the REC we are simply in communion with them. But if they become more and more absorbed into ACNA that may change.

Poetreader remarked, "That is how we've always seen it, and Clavier himself, as well as the APA, have left, largely through not accepting that understanding." I think it is pretty much common knowledge that the remnant of the AEC left the ACA because they were afraid Falk would try to do to them what he did to Clavier (attempt to dig up sleaze that did not exist in order to try to ruin the poor man so he could have the whole church for himself).

The ACC should really thank Clavier and the AEC for giving them an excuse to get rid of Falk, much as the APA should thank the REC for taking Boyce. (And by the way, we do not accept returns. All sales final.)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

J. Gordon Anderson:

I allowed your comment only to be fair, that is, to allow you to set the record straight as you believe the record to be. But, it is very much against the policy of this blog to refer to bishops without some respect for their office, and we object to calling them simply by their last names. I do not know anything about Archbishop Falk creating sleeze about anyone. I do know that Bp. Clavier has returned to TEC,and that this is enough to indicate a lack of principle and an absence of godly character in and of itself. His writings do not bring him any credit either.

John A. Hollister said...

I apologize unreservedly to both Ed Pacht and Sandra McColl if I offended them. I did not in-tend to and ave the greatest regard for both; I only wished to be more accurate than Fr. Hart had. History studies where things come from, an essential for accurately knowing where we are. Thus ignoring uncomfortable facts is rarely productive and I would like to see productive discus-sions, or at least convergences, between our groups.
So when I wrote that the TAC/ACA and the APA had a common origin in 1963, I omitted men-tion of the name or character of the 1963 body, which was the most disreputable part of that his-tory. I also omitted the name and personnel of the 1967 schism from that body. I thought these omissions avoided being unnecessarily contentious. And, as Ed has correctly noted, one of the most problematic persons has left the TAC/ACA for stranger pastures.

So when I acknowledged that the ACA had received "an infusion from the ACC", that seemed a relatively non-contentious description of events. I was unaware that anyone viewed the depar-ture from the ACC of a discredited former leader, a distinct minority of its bishops, and a few of their followers was "a common origin with ACC, with an infusion from [the 1967] group."

But nor do I regard that radical difference in perspective as being barring discussions between the ACC of 2009 and the TAC/ACA of 2009. While they would need to consider each party's views of how we arrived at the present state of affairs, they would not need to be ham-strung by those views, provided that each party actually wished to move on from where we are. And the present situation is that the leaders of the ACC have expressed a willingness to do engage in just such discussions, however much "the argument from silence" suggests the TAC/ACA side is convinced of that.

To the contrary, the problems on the agenda of any such discussions are, instead, the ones that were clearly and, I think, charitably set out in Abp. Haverland's letters to Abp. Hebworth -- and I believe there were two of them --, letters which, as has been pointed out, have never received any acknowledgement, let alone any considered response.

That non-response, which suggests lack of interest, is where the difficulties now lie, not else-where.

To Ms. McColl, however, I would respectfully return that while Bp. Haley was not present at Deerfield Beach, the ACC of Australia cannot simply on that ground shrug off that whole deba-cle. It knew all about what happened and nontheless consciously chose to sever its relationship with the ACC and to throw its lot in with the recently-renamed ACA. In future intergroup dis-cussions, however, that is all part of the broad issue to resolving which, again, Abp. Haverland pointed the way, if only the TAC/ACA ever wishes to. It cannot be ignored, however.

It did not seem relevant to the chronology I was correcting to say that church groups, like indi-viduals, are not mindless subjects of deterministic forces, but have free will. Today's ACA, with its dependencies in Canada and Australia, is not bound by the errors and deficiencies of the body that reorganized in 1967. If it ever opens discussions with traditional Anglicans, it will do so as what it is in 2010, 2012 or whenever, not as what it was in 1963, 1967, or, except for some sac-ramental issues, 1991.

The ACA and APA's joint history shows that principle at work. Today, some ten or twelve years after they separated, the TAC/ACA is knocking on Rome's doors while the APA is in commun-ion with the REC and is part of the new "ACNA". That almost defines "divergence" all by itself. ("ACNA" is in quotes not to denigrate Bp. Duncan's group but because that name retreads one previously used by others who differently understood the fundamentals of Anglicanism. So the two separate uses must be distinguished not to become confused and confusing.)

John A. Hollister+

poetreader said...

Brethren, we have managed in the recent interchange to illustrate rather boldly the kind of miscommunication that energizes our sad divisions. Basically we all see the same set of facts, but we each insist upon a given interpretation of the dynamic behind those facts, and upon the corollary that the other interpretations must therefore be false. They all hang, however, on knowledge of inner intent that we cannot know (unless we claim omniscience). We also tend to show a lack of understanding of how others see the situation, and thus a willingness to jump in and declare the other to be in error, before the whole case is even stated. We do feel passionately what we feel, and that makes these problems much easier to fall into.

Moreover, we tend to get all bound up in personalities, in who acted wrongly or showed bad attitudes. It continues to amaze me how much of our division resolves upon denigrating a person who is respected by the other, and thereby justifying the evil of division. That is just not Catholic. Church history is littered with absolutely evil bishops, with extremely oppressive characters, with various injustices -- and it is notable that, when real heresy has caused division, it is often the heretic who shows the most favorable personality, and the orthodox who acts in an objectively unjust manner. The badmouthing of various bishops and others is, then, completely and absolutely irrelevant to the problem, as in any perception of hurts received. We are intended by Our Lord to be one, and we are bound to be searching for ways for this to be achieved.

I've been in a position to hear the arguments and complaints and to know of the injuries suffered by those of both ACC and ACA, and tend to see both sides as brittle and unreasonable, and as pretty correct in seeing the other that way. Fr. John Hollister is a good friend, and one with whom one can speak rationally, as demonstrated clearly in this last comment. Thank you, Father. An apology was not really necessary from you - though we continue to disagree in many ways, you make certain that communication remains open. I have run into rigid ACC people with whom I cannot really communicate, and with rigid ACA people as well.

Fr. Anderson is another good man with whom I've had pleasant contact. I hope I'm worthy to speak with either of these reverend gentlemen. But, brothers, I can't cease saying that we need to find ways to hear each other, to see what is reasonable in each other's views, and most important of all, to cease slinging mud, even at people we may think deserve it.

And, really, who am I to come on this strong? But I have.

In Him,

The Most Reverend Chandler Holder Jones, SSC said...

To reiterate what Father Anderson has correctly stated, please allow me also to affirm that the Anglican Province of America (APA) (not the Anglican Province 'in' America) is not a constituent member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and is not in sacramental communion with it. The House of Bishops of the APA, in consultation with the Clergy and Laity of the Province, decided definitively in July 2008 at our Provincial Synod held in Saint Louis, Missouri that the APA would not affiliate with ACNA. We remain in an 'observer status' where the ACNA is concerned. Affiliation would require the consent of the Provincial Synod, which has not been given and will not be given, considering ACNA's position on the purported ordination of women, liturgy, marriage discipline and other areas of disagreement.

The APA is a constituent member of the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas (FACA), which also has only an observer status with ACNA and does not relate to ACNA in any canonical or sacramental way. It is therefore incorrect to assert that the APA is in ACNA.

The APA is in full sacramental communion with the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church in America, the Diocese of the Holy Cross and the Episcopal Missionary Church.

God bless you!

The Most Reverend Chandler Holder Jones, SSC said...

To clarify, please let me also say that the APA, and the member Churches of FACA, are in sacramental communion with the bishops, clergy and parishes of Forward in Faith, North America, many of whom belong to ACNA. But neither the APA nor FACA have any relationship canonically or sacramentally to ACNA as a whole.

God bless you!

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Dear Fr. Hart,

My sincere apologies. Referring to folk by their last name is simply a habit (perhaps a bad one). In any case, I apologize. I did not mean to offend anyone.

Bishop Clavier would probably be the first to admit that he is not perfect, and (like many of us) have written, said, and done things that he regrets. But bishops in other continuing churches, including the ACC, have been the same way.

Again, the APA is labelled by Fr. Hollister as being in "ACNA". That is simply not true, or if it is I was not aware of it. Perhaps he could point to an official document stating such.

There is a lot of bad blood between the continuing churches, but I would rather be here than in ACNA. I think over time, and with prayer and humility, the bad blood will go away. It has already gotten much better than when I was in seminary years ago.

charles said...

Why not join ACNA? ACNA will be a federation of autonomous churches. Joining just means you are on a friendly/fraternal basis? This may be called "communion" but it really has little to do with authentic eucharistic, ecclesial communion.

If outside ACNA, how to you influence TEC and TEC exiles? Why not join ACNA and at least be in a dialogue with other episcopalians? You might actually amplify the catholic message? Heck, REC even has been moving in a Catholic direction. Didn't APA provide some salt? To refuse a 'federation' that constitutes zero communion seems to be purely dogmatic for the sake of dogmatism.
Please explain this to me. What would a phoney federation compromise?

Fr. Robert Hart said...


On another thread, namely that of Archbishop Haverland's letter to Bishop Duncan, your question has been answered by Fr. John Roddy, a priest of the same diocese in which I serve. I agree with what Fr.Roddy said there, as I do with the stand my own diocesan bishop, namely Archbishop Haverland.

I repeat here what Fr. John Roddy said in that comment:

I'll be satisfied as long as we continue to cast our lot boldly with the central tradition of Catholic and Orthodox Christendom.

I don't see how our Continuum could possibly benefit itself or the larger church by becoming part of this conflict. I do not think any other branch of the apostolic churches will be tempted to take part in this fight either.

Three points:

First, TEC is not through with them yet. More law suits are being filed almost monthly. Now they are trying to claim attorney's fees and asking for grand jury investigations into the handling of trust funds by departing clergy and vestries. It may seem fantastic to suggest that we could also be sucked into court by simply associating with the new ACNA, but a lot of fantastic things have emanated out of TEC over the past thirty years. TEC would love to shut the Continuum down if it could.

Second, at some point the new ACNA will have to come to grips with its own ambiguity over the issue of W.O. I pray that they make the right decision, but if they make the wrong one it would make any efforts on our part at best a waste of time and resources, and at worst create problems of separating out because of close ties that might develop before such a resolution of the issue.

Third, the new ACNA wants to be in communion with Canterbury and already is in a round about fashion. They crave to be in communion with the archbishop of Canterbury. I can't believe that any significant portion of our clergy or laity want to be in communion with Canterbury.

Why not wait and see how they resolve their internal contradictions before jumping in?

I am rooting for them though.

charles said...

Dear Fr Robert,

Thank you for the reply. I just think the Continuum could have a bigger impact by having a concrete relationship with ACNA.

Meanwhile, if we are to continue in an orthodox and catholic direction, then we better adopt some apostolic canons, convince our bishops to go religious, and adopt a form of St. Tikhon's rite (i.e, insert a short prayer/confession on the body/blood that reaffirms localized presence-- this is essential the only difference with Tikhon's rite and 1928).

It seems like 'direction' heavily depends upon our approach toward Anglican Identity. We either work hard to define Anglicanism within the context of both Anglican community and practice, or we essentially jettison it, preparing the Continuum for merger with Orthodoxy. Though a bit tongue and cheek, what I listed above is a minimum standard for Orthodoxy in so far as I understand it for Anglican parishes seeking unity? Isn't WRO a provision established to delineate what Orthodox would expect? I guess there is a third option which I did not mention-- simply work on Continuum unity and build a church without either Lambeth Anglicanism or Orthodoxy.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


If by "convince our bishops to go religious" you mean celibate (monastic), I see no need for that at all. I prefer the Anglican way as more ancient and more in accord with Scripture as well as common sense. If marriage was good enough for the Apostles and the first two or three generations of their successors, it is good enough today.

You may as well know that I see the Liturgy of St. Tikhon as acceptable, in fact very good, but not as superior to the Book of Common Prayer U.S. 1928 edition. And,you forgot to mention that one other "essential" difference-it has no filioque.

By "Lambeth Anglicanism" you can mean one of two things. Either you mean classic Anglicanism that Lambeth itself ignores, or you mean the current mess we call the Anglican Communion.

I am having a little trouble pinning down your meaning.

Fr. John said...

The Continuum is not seeking "merger with Orthodoxy." Intercommunion and extension of Eucharistic hospitality would be just fine. Nor do we seek to become Roman Catholics. Again, simple mutuality would be the goal. This, naturally, does not preclude working toward the unity of the entire church based on the polity of the undivided church.

Ecumenism must be a positive one, that is one that recognizes error and corrects it to all parties satisfaction and sincere acceptance without reservations.

A phony ecumenism is one that has the attributes of the current Anglican Communion. It is characterized by deceit, sophistry, obscurantist rhetoric, lies, and hidden political agendas masquerading as revelations from the Holy Spirit.

The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are not the only churches experiencing the manifestations of the demonic. Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy have their own serious problems with internal rot. We are not rushing to have close associations with them either. However, We are hopeful that developments within those jurisdictions would open the way for closer cooperation and eventually intercommunion.

I view our job in the Continuum as being to maintain and promote Christian orthodoxy in its' Anglican expression. If others find their way to the same place then there is reason to consider uniting.

No organization has a copyright on the word "Anglican." We don't have to become part of, or work with any particular group to be authentic Anglicans. One of the reasons we are resented by so many is that we refuse to be categorized and "bagged." We have had many recommendations to become Romans, to admit that we are not real Anglicans, to join with other groups that do not hold the catholic faith the way that we do, and if we won't do any of those things then to cease to exist.

From my viewpoint the Anglican Continuum may eventually wind up being one of the last repositories of Christian orthodoxy on this planet. If that is true then we have a positive duty to continue.

Fr. John said...

Take a look at this

to see the shape of things to come for the new ACNA, and I'll get right back to you one of these days.

John A. Hollister said...

The Midland Agrarian asked Fr. Hart, "How does [the ACC] receive someone confirmed in TEC or CofE prior to the innovation of female 'Bishops'? Specifically, as such a comfirmed layman in good standing in an ACNA parish, would one of your churches allow me to approach the rail? How would you acept clergyman from AMIA or Southern Cone? Do you look at this on an individual basis?"

As the answer will interest some and has not yet been given by anyone, I offer what I personally have observed within the ACC:

1. The critical date is not when PECUSA or the Co E consecrated bishopettes but when they officially approved the ordination of women to major orders. For PECUSA and the Ang. Ch. of Canada, we have used 1976; for the C of E and most of the rest of the Lambeth Communion, we have used 1992.* (Some of us would push those dates back to 1960, but the later dates have the concurrence of our College of Bishops.)

2. We are not in communion with ACNA. Nevertheless, just as our members when travelling have asked RC clergy to communicate them, we have had legitimate pre-1976 or pre-1992 confirmands ask us for ad hoc communion. Where it is a private request, and the context does not suggest an institutional relationship that does not exist, individual clergy have made the pastoral judgement to communicate those in need in the same way as, at need, we would hope for (and have received) that from the RCs.

3. A clergyman from AMIA or the Southern Cone would be received in his Orders if those Orders predated 1976 (in North America) or 1992 (elsewhere). If they were conferred after those dates, he would be conditionally ordained.

4. These cases are evaluated individually, so far as the recipients of the sacraments are concerned, but not individually, so far as the confirming or ordaining prelates are concerned. These Sacraments are conferred on behalf of a particular church, not as the personal act of a bishop, so what is significant is the body to which such prelate belonged at the date of the confirmation or ordination that is in question.**

John A. Hollister+
*Obviously, there were some other Lambeth Provinces that adopted W.O. between 1976 and 1992. In such a case I expect the date of that adoption would be used rather than 1992.
**This is why it doesn't particularly signify that one bishop who remained in PECUSA after 1976 may himself never have ordained any women.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I cannot comment on Stand Firm, having been banned for daring once to question the accuracy of a report. However, I never bother to read it anyway. Nonetheless, since two people directed my attention to this latest bit of confusion, I read part of it.

If I could comment, I would ask Fr. Kennedy's husband to answer one thing: "Please define 'Anglo-Catholic.'" It seems they use this label for any and every conviction that was, at one time, generally held by the Anglican churches as doctrine, especially any doctrine in the Offices of Instruction (which I suppose is not in their '79 Book, and which probably they have not read). Once the label is applied, it seems they mean that whatever doctrine is thereby identified should be rejected automatically without consideration for its merits. Stamp it with a label to stamp it out, making prejudice where honest inquiry could be found long ago.

I see too that they still pretend to allow open debate. If they do, when did this new policy begin?

charles said...

hello Fr. John and Fr. Robert,

This entire thread got started on the topic of communion-- who is in communion with who?

Perhaps there are a lot of assumptions I am missing, but seems to me "communion" deserves a definition.

While I admit communion cannot be reduced to mere ecclesial unity, I believe it cannot omit it either. Is a voluntary society, for example, sufficiently a 'communion'. How about a colloquy? etc.

From what little I understand, communion, in order to be substantive and lived, has a number of elements. This is my sad list which is by no means exhaustive:

1. recognition of parish and diocese boundaries/integrity.
2. common subscription to creeds and/or confessions as expression of catholic, orthodox faith.
3. for Anglicans, a uniformity in public worship, say 1928 BCP
4. open communion between churchmen w/ recognition of confirmations, etc.
5. under same canons of discipline
6. share in mutual accountability, same ecclesial courts, resolution by same synods
7. shared mutual aid in books, publishing, advertising, newspapers, schools, and other education.
8. an system of bishops where the provincial church is represented by one Bishop (not three w/ various, separate orders).
9. other functions and social life which reflect reality of Eucharist communion
10. recognition of each other's bishops as they pertain to apostolic succession and the historical episcopate

In otherwords, as you well know, communion is more than a 'mutual pact of good feeling'. It involves a substantial unity in life, discipline, confession, and prayer as received by apostolic succession in the church. ?

Now, if such is absent from a collection of local churches, dioceses, or parishes, what are they? Aren't they little more than a voluntary society, bible study network, federation, or fraternity?

This is exactly what ACNA is. It's no more than a voluntary society.
Where is the forfeiting, in practical terms, of apostolic, catholic faith by joining such a voluntary society?

charles said...

(second part)
To put another way: Should a ordained priest reject an invitation to provide input on a bible study group because it's organizer is, say, a woman? What if there was a chance to teach and instruct these people?

I also have news for everyone here. The ECUSA, along with all pre-Continuum bodies (before leaving TEC), have never been in communion with Canterbury! Why? Because Canterbury, or better said, Lambeth has never been a communion! This is one reason the liberal cancer racing through Lambeth's churches is so pronounced, i.e., no discipline, no standard of faith, no accountability. The archbishop and member churches in 1867 refused to call it a council, instead a 'conference'. It's first invitation letter read, "Such a meeting would not be competent to make declarations or lay down definitions on points of doctrine. But united worship and common counsels would greatly tend to maintain practically the unity of the faith; whilst they would bind us in straiter bonds of peace and brotherly charity" (Longley, 1867).

Lambeth is simply a mutual aid, peace society. It is a hoax communion, not only in terms of false belief, but in its formal relations. It isn't even a paper agreement. Only a voluntary society, like red cross or loaves and fishes. etc.

I just checked out Archbishop Haverland's "no thank you" on sending a representative to ACNA's first conference. Bp. Haverland reminded Bp. Duncan the future of this flawed 'communion', saying, "We suspect that any Anglican body that permits the ordination of women, or otherwise fails to return to the central tradition of Christendom, will soon move from what we might call neo-Anglicanism, which is already removed in ministry and worship from classical Anglicanism, and will eventually merge into the general stream of evangelical Protestantism."

A couple points-- can the Catholic faith be a set of propositions, or is it fundamentally tied to the idea of episcopate succession and the Cyprian notion of church, i.e, schism being scandal?

Protestantism is more than a set of confessional heresies/innovations. As you well know, it includes a practice of worship and church. I would say to remain satisfied with an autonomy without deeper conformity in prayer, canon, synods, etc., finally leads to the same denominationalism that we accuse ACNA.

So, there are at least three choices:
1. join the fight for 'classic Anglicanism' by entering fraternal bodies like ACNA, establishing formal ties to APA, REC, etc. This has nothing to do with communion or acknowledging their catholicity. It's fraternal.
2. Or, prepare the flock for WRO.
3. Remain separated and convince much larger jurisdictions that we are truly, authentically orthodox and catholic... or not. What they think doesn't matter, we know the truth, but thirty years later we still don't recognize each other's boundaries, recognize or merge synods, and basically live as if we are independents. This risks ourselves becoming 'protestant' in practice.

That being said, I support the Continuum's ongoing merger work. But once it's done I hope we then put up a good fight for Anglican Identity-- classical Anglicanism amongst those who sprang from the same 'rock' (CofE). Then if Canterbury and Lambeth ever get in gear, we can be in a position to negotiate with Orthodoxy as equals. I believe the CofE was at one time very close to becoming the "third Rome", and this is one reason our orders were declared "null and void" by Leo 13.

Fr. John said...

Well, I have been warned repeatedly about my comments and I have no idea to this day what I wrote that offended them. Still, unaccountably, I am not banned.

Yes, what does Fr. Kennedy's husband mean by Anglo-Catholic? Good question. This would be laughable, in fact I am laughing right now, a serious defect that I have, if the fate of souls did not hang in the balance.

Father, welcome to the Anglican Catholic Church. I hope you are as happy here as I have been. If I can serve you in any way please let me know.

Fraternally in Christ,

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Thank you Fr. John. But, if you can't get banned at Stand Firm, you just aren't trying hard enough.


You wrote:
join the fight for 'classic Anglicanism' by entering fraternal bodies like ACNA, establishing formal ties to APA, REC, etc. This has nothing to do with communion or acknowledging their catholicity. It's fraternal.

We do not believe that the ACNA is fighting for Classic Anglicanism,but simply for a more digestable (as in less queer) version of the modern innovative kind. However, I think the others you mention intend to fight for Classic Anglicanism.

What does it mean to be in communion? Frankly, it means to share in the sacrament of the same name without any reservations.

poetreader said...

I agree. The definition is simple and generally accepted.


I find myself perplexed and almost amused by your attempts to wrest a word from its ordinary and accepted meaning to signify whatever it is that you want it to signify. Some of the points you raise might indeed be interesting to pursue, if only they were not mixed with this semantic confusion.

You said, rather patronizingly,

I also have news for everyone here ...

Well, friend, I have news for you. The participants of this blog are well aware of what you have stated here, have thought rather deeply about it all, and have not come to the convoluted conclusions you present as self-evident. Though I'm not entirely sure I follow the intent of your comment, I do assume that we have disagreement in this area. That is fine, but in this forum we ask that disagreements be presented respectfully and politely. Sometimes in the heat of argument even we the hosts may stray from that - but it remains the standard here.


The Midland Agrarian said...

Father Holister,
Thank you for such a clear and precise andswer to my question.

Father Hart,
Thank you for rooting for ACNA and please continue to pray that we can work out the numerous problems. I think your pragmatic reason for not joining (lawsuits) is sufficient in and of itself. The nastiness of TEC and their legion of lawyers may take years to sort out. While groups such as REC may be exempt from direct suit,ACNA resources are going to have to be assembled on behalf of former TEC parishes. The Continuum is better in putting its resources into preaching the Gospel and adminstering the sacraments until the fur is done flying.

With sincere gratitiude for your classical Anglican teachings,


PS: My ability to post was erased from StandFirm after two posts, without any reason ever given

charles said...

Dear ed (?..poetreader)

Gosh. I wasn't trying to insult anyone.

I am just starting to think about what everyone here has surely thought about for years. So, sorry if my uninformed 'zeal' rubs wrong.

Meanwhile, it seems there are some propositions which naturally follow from shared communion (the "partaking in the sacrament of the same name without reservation").
A good example would be the flipside of confirmation, i.e, if excommunications are recognized between jurisdictions. I am sure this is diligently done in the Continuum, but I mention it only as an example of concrete practice that ought to flow from a general definition of communion.

I am sure these kinds of criticisms are old hat. I won't press the point anymore as it's not constructive. But I do believe Lambeth kids itself when it calls its fraternalism a 'communion'. It is the furthest thing from an communion.

I tend to define 'communion' in strongly ecclesial terms, so probably off base here, being more Roman than Anglican in this particular case, and Rome is an extreme.

That being said, I believe people who are convicted of a historical episcopate wish to see a communion arise that is more concrete than protestant denominationalism, and probably sooner or later we will. But the "later" is the hard part. Basically, I believe high church Anglicans experience a unique angst in small jurisdictions. We long for a Cathedral, but perhaps need to view catholicism as prayer and parish rather than a See? But maybe I only speak for myself...

At one time perhaps we had both, but today we must hold on to first principles. I am not in disagreement with anyone here. Just too frequently lack patience, especially if I think there is opportunity to shape change in our old, sickly house.



charles said...

Dear Poetreader,

When I said, "i have news for you all"... that was only internet hyperbole to make a point.

Didn't mean anything condescending by it. \

I remain an advocate of fraternal relations in order to shape and influence current debates amongst Anglicans who hold to some sort of original, residual standard-- be it Articles, Prayer book, scripture, creed, etc..

Given we have the bandwidth...

the lawsuit argument makes sense to me.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

A good example would be the flipside of confirmation, i.e, if excommunications are recognized between jurisdictions.

That depends on whether or not an excommunication has created a jurisdiction.

poetreader said...

mutual recognition of excommunications often just doesn't happen. The Orthodox jurisdictions are "in communion" with each other, but often an excommunication by one jurisdiction is ignored by another. Even within the RCC, it is not uncommon for one bishop to declare someone excommunicate and for another to blithely administer him communion from his own hands. Yes, the ideal is that it should work that way, but the reality is quite otherwise, and to judge a state of communion by that standard results in extraordinarily unworkable paradoxes.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

It requires that excommunications can be justified objectively, with facts. Nonetheless, no bishop should ignore the disciplinary action of another unless he knows that an injustice has been done.

poetreader said...

"should" -- agreed!
Perhaps a bit stronger than "should";
but the reality is all too often quite otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Last qualification: by saying "old, sickly house" I meant ECUSA and the recent Anglicans who have left it. I did not mean the Continuum.


Ecgbert said...

Yes, excellent, Father.

ISTM the dividing line now running through the relatively stable little churches that are the real Continuum is between the English-style Anglo-Papalism of TAC (although interestingly actual English Anglo-Papalists aren't interested in the Continuum) and the more theologically Anglican, liturgically US 1928 Prayer Book religion of the others (ranging from American Anglo-Catholic - looks Tridentine papal to Brits but really what I just described - to circa-1960 American high-middle of the road).

If TAC gets more or less what it wants, which I think should happen to English Anglo-Catholics - become RC national parishes - that necessarily means a separation from the Continuum, hopefully a charitable one.

(As an Irish priest in the Russian Greek Catholic Church, who's changed jurisdictions in his lifetime, has said, quoting an old Arab proverb, don't spit in the fountain from which you have drunk.)

I know there's been some lateral motion in America from the ACA to other Continuing churches because of this difference over Rome. Makes sense.

Juridical unity among the remaining churches, your first grouping of Continuing ones, is doable and worth working on.

As for me, I like you but think the last straw wasn't women priests (although years ago I thought it was) but the 'Reformation', and like Fr Jeffrey Steenson agree the world doesn't need more denominations. So, always bearing in mind what my Irish friend said, I dropped anchor in one of the one true churches.

Ecgbert said...

Skimming the comments for now...

In my use of terms an Anglican is a Lambeth Anglican like a Roman Catholic is actually under Rome. Sorry, fellows.

ACNA: re-creating the failed Elizabethan settlement hoping for a different outcome. Protestants less liberal than the Episcopalians (on gay marriage) but not as conservative as the Continuers.

Has the rot set in with Rome in practice? Big time. Vatican II was a mistake, the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time, even though religious liberty and ecumenism rightly understood are true. Pope Benedict is trying to clean up this mess and with considerable support from the young and devout.

The intercommunion some Continuers and Anglicans want with the Orthodox is impossible according to Orthodoxy. Like Rome there is no branch theory here. To commune with the Orthodox is to become Orthodox.

I think WRO is a good option for Anglo-Catholics in the classic American (non-papal and wonderfully conservative liturgically) mode.

Of course less 1979/Novus Ordo-ey Anglican Use RC - RC national parishes like the English Anglo-Catholics (Anglo-Papalists) should become - would be wonderful as well. More troops on the front of Pope Benedict's Catholic movement in the Roman communion.

(How I use the term Catholic: apostolic succession, the common set of beliefs and practices of the ancient churches and a one-true/infallible-church claim. Anything short of that, no matter how high-church or conservative, is Protestant denominationalism.)

John A. Hollister said...

The Young Fogey wrote:

1. "The intercommunion some Continuers and Anglicans want with the Orthodox is impossible according to Orthodoxy. Like Rome there is no branch theory here. To commune with the Orthodox is to become Orthodox."

This I have always believed. Of course, some of us hope (I stress "hope", not "expect") that, in line with various synodal pronouncements during the first half of the 20th Century, the Eastern Orthodox may someday come to see that we have been orthodox all along and therefore come to recognize us as Orthodox, too.

2. "How I use the term Catholic: apostolic succession, the common set of beliefs and practices of the ancient churches and a one-true/infallible-church claim. Anything short of that, no matter how high-church or conservative, is Protestant denominationalism."

Well, I guess we qualify then. For we certainly believe in the One True Church, which is Indefectible, just as we believe we are a part of that O.T.C. And we are charitable enough to believe that both the R.C.s and the E.O.s are parts of it as well....

John A. Hollister+

Fr. John said...

Very insightful comments from the Young Fogey. I wish you were ours.

One aspect of this thread has been about maintaining true or classical Anglicanism.

Fr Hart and I had a bit of a side bar on the Stand Firm site and an ongoing thread there about the use of the term "historic episcopacy" and the importance of a correct application and understanding the apostolic succession.

Father, I found the sore point over there. No one is allowed to make the argument that Archbishop Haverland made so well in his letter to Bishop Duncan. One cannot post there that the ordination of women is a precedent that gives a power to the Anglican church to change the doctrines, faith, and morals of the catholic church, a power that Pope John Paul II by the way said that he did not have. He said this in response to pressure to ordain women.

Apparently their (self described evangelicals)understanding of the concept of an "historic episcopacy" is far from our belief in the Apostolic Succession. Such an understanding is what led them to accept and perform W.O. Which in turn led to the acceptance and practice of ordaining active homosexuals. One is not allowed to point this out in any thread at Stand Firm.

charles said...

Hello Young Fogey,

I like your quote, "don't spit in the fountain from which you drink". You bring up a number of good points. What strikes me is how we can neither go to Rome nor the East without abandoning our own history/identity.

One reason I asked for a rethinking on ACNA was because unless we're just willing to give up our own organic constitution as Anglicans, we really need to wage an apologetic holy war over the meaning of "classical Anglicanism". I believe classical Anglicanism came closest in the early 18th century where there was much synthesis and before parties arose between evangelical and catholic. If we, Anglicans, were ever to get our act together, and this means (re)establishing some classical standards (like 1662/1928 prayer book, 39 Articles, our own catechism-- not EWTN, and optimism toward a eventual reform of our See, i.e, canterbury), then we might actually reclaim our role as a "third Rome", claiming a seat alongside Orthodoxy not only as a national church but an ecumenical contender.

However, this can only be accomplished by an aggressive apologetic that is outward focused, repossessing (rather than rejecting)Reformed (early) Protestantism as "true" protestantism, and Anglicanism as genuine Western Orthodox Catholic.

Joining fraternal bodies like ACNA or establishing some kind of official liaison relation is simply one way to ensure your apologia is not ignored. When we self-separate from our own 'fountain', i.e, ECUSA/Canterbury, we cease to become a force to reckon with.

That being said, apologia must naturally accompany mission, and the heart of mission is really on a parish level. So, are lay and ordained doing on a parish level to build the local church? Meanwhile, hopefully our Bishops will be of the mind to engage those who have perhaps a residual orthodoxy, i.e., conviction of scripture, tradition, and adhere to some kind of past Anglican standard.

I would not join in with the RC polemic of protestants causing fragmentation. RC is a creature of the reformation as much as the churches she criticizes. Also, original protestantism was high church and confessionally remains so. We often confuse magisterial protestantism with Radicalism (anabaptists) who have no ecclesiology or doctrine of worship. This is a huge error. True protestantism vehemently resists Anabaptist fanaticism. Allowing Rome to get away with this obfuscation is a mistake. It simply is not true and needs clarification. Look at our confessions... Look at our standards... etc. Don't look at the Radicals. We've been against them as long as the Romanists have! Everything Rome would criticize us for, they are guilty of the same. Don't be fooled. etc. :) -- that's the kind of aggressive/(hopefully intelligent and logical) polemic I'm talking about. ?

Albion Land said...

Fr Hollister responded to:

1. "The intercommunion some Continuers and Anglicans want with the Orthodox is impossible according to Orthodoxy. Like Rome there is no branch theory here. To commune with the Orthodox is to become Orthodox."


This I have always believed. Of course, some of us hope (I stress "hope", not "expect") that, in line with various synodal pronouncements during the first half of the 20th Century, the Eastern Orthodox may someday come to see that we have been orthodox all along and therefore come to recognize us as Orthodox, too.


As you most rightly suspect, "hope" is the appropriate word and not "expect." It just ain't gonna happen. Put in a different way, all are welcome to be in communion with the Orthodox church -- all you have to do is become Orthodox.

charles said...

I think WRO-Antiochian gives us a fair idea of what they would expect in terms of modifications and standards. However, there are political concerns in addition to slight PB revisions and doctrine which complicates matters.

John A. Hollister said...

Charles referred to "join[ing] the fight for 'classic Anglicanism' by entering fraternal bodies like ACNA, establishing formal ties to APA, REC, etc. This has nothing to do with communion or acknowledging their catholicity. It's fraternal."

I, personally, must continue to believe that it just won't wash to try to define the ACNA as somehow "fraternal" in a way that obviates it from aspiring to be a communion.

The very words of the ACNA's own leader contradict any such concept. Just this week, he published an "Introduction" to the proposed Constitution and Canons of the new body and his "Introduction" clearly states that these are to be the Constitution and Canons of what its leaders hope will be a new Province of the Lambeth Communion.

A "Province", the members of which are not "in communion with" each other, is simply a contradiction in terms. Thus unless one assumes that Bp. Duncan does not know where the body he heads is itself heading -- an assumption I am not prepared to make -- then the ACNA is shaping up to be a new arm of the Lambeth convocation of churches.

That, of course, further means that the constituent groups of the ACNA either are now or soon will be de facto "in communion with" each other, all attempts to split contrary hairs notwithstanding. And, thanks to Forward in Faith and various other among ACNA's constituent parties, that state of communion will in fact extend from all ACNA bodies such as APA, REC, etc., to the rest of the Lambeth Convocation, including most especially PECUS/ECUSA/TEC.

As a wise man said long ago, it is not possible to remain a pure cup of water in the midst of a mud puddle.

John A. Hollister+