Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Antiquity and Universal Consensus

Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est

A reader who posts comments as Canon Tallis, said this in a recent comment:

The question I would have for you is where do you find authentic 'Catholicism?' Is it to be found in the pronouncements of the bishops of Rome or in Holy Scripture as interpreted by the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers, the creeds and the theological decrees of the universally recognized General Councils? When the first disagrees with the second, on which side should we as Catholics come down?

Canon Tallis' hypothetical question makes a necessary point that honest observation must concede. The movement of thought in modern Roman Catholic circles, including some who write apologetics aimed at converting us to their denomination, is to reject the Vincentian Canon in favor of a convoluted twist that took place in the mind of John Henry Cardinal Newman. His once balanced Anglican concept of Doctrinal Development morphed, after he became Roman Catholic, into something as dangerous as an open Canon of Scripture. The idea of "progressive revelation" is abhorrent if we call it that, but it can sound acceptable when it is given a more academically impressive name. Initially, the Magisterium in Rome rejected Newman's peculiar theory of Doctrinal Development. But, under pressure from a pope who wanted to redefine his role even further than centuries of innovation had rendered it, they were forced to accept Newman's theory, howbeit unofficially. The new "ancient" doctrine of Infallibility was created in 1870 to augment the papacy. The papal office, in previous centuries, had been embellished by forced and awkward Biblical interpretation, selected readings wrenched from their historical and literary contexts, and well-established forgeries. But, even so, they resisted the theory of Doctrinal Development that ran counter to Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est, until they realized that Newman's rationalization was the only defense for their newest "dogma." The 1870 stretch (my proposed name for Papal Infallibility) would simply snap off and break under the strength of Vincentian tension. Bold measures were called for, and Newman's new DD fit the bill.

Contrary to this line of thought, as Anglicans, our so-called "450 year-old experiment" is not an experiment at all, but a sincere attempt at fidelity to Antiquity-above all Scripture as the Universal Consensus of Antiquity when the Church recognized the word of God, that is, the Master's voice (John 10:27).

What, then, are the real experiments?

1. Universal Jurisdiction is an experiment that failed the first time a Roman Patriarch tried to assert Roman authority in a functioning and perfectly well-established patriarchate beyond Rome's proper jurisdiction (Constantinople). That experiment failed when the Church's alleged seat of unity caused the Great Schism (1054). We are told this is a largely symbolic date; but, the symbolism was certainly a felt reality. Four of five patriarchs said no, and no one has patched the Church back together since.

2. The Crusades were another failed experiment. In the words of Pope Urban II (1042-1099):

"I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it."

He said also:

"God has conferred upon you above all nations great glory in arms. Accordingly undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the kingdom of Heaven...All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea, or in battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins. This I grant them through the power of God with which I am invested."

Of course, it is a foul with 15 minutes in the penalty box to remind anybody that this heresy (for that is what Pope Urban was teaching: Heresy) was once pronounced by a pope in Rome. Too bad the ignorant illiterate masses knew nothing of Scripture and of St. Vincent's Canon. I am not quite sure where this fits in with Development of Doctrine and Infallibility; perhaps all true developments require a wrong turn along the way, making this another proof of real infallibility, not your dime-store variety that any Baptist preacher might claim.

3. Required clerical celibacy is a failed experiment, dating no earlier than the 12th century (no matter what some unheard of councils lacking ecumenical status may have said: "The Council of Toledo, held in back of the local Walmart, taught..." Save it). The result would have been a real clergy shortage, enough to sink the whole ship, if not for the help of predatory sexual perverts and other psychological misfits swelling the diminished ranks a bit.

I could go on about new dogmas, which show, by their late definition, that "progressive revelation" rather than Antiquity and Universal Consensus has ruled the roost. There are many things in the Roman Catholic Church that are very good; and we pray for true unity in the whole Church. But, if we are going to weigh the Vincentian Canon against Newman's theory of Doctrinal Development, these facts are as glaring as ever, despite tons of wasted e-ink and other sophistry. And, if we are going to ask, just who has been experimenting with failed results? - the answer seems clear.

For now I am content that to say that quite a lot of what is taught and practiced in Roman Catholicism requires a kind of Doctrinal Development. But, wherever doctrine develops contrary to Scripture, or merely without Scriptural foundation, it is always in opposition to "what has been believed everywhere, always and by all."

Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.


Sandra McColl said...

Concerning compulsory clerical celibacy, I rather like this little German schoolboy howler that does the rounds of the internet: "Es geht nicht", sagte Papst Impotenz III. und lehnte händeringend die Bittgesuche der Pfarrer und Geistlichen ab, die sich eine Frau nehmen wollten."

It doesn't bear translating in a polite forum.

Anonymous said...

Well said, and Amen.

I frequently point out that the pope, bishops and other clergy, are just human beings. They are fully human, fully capable of sin, fully capable of error, and fully capable of wrong judgement.

To me, the 1870 doctrine of papal infallibility is extremely dangerous. One man with that much power to change doctrine at his own stroke of a pen, possibly without any scriptural or historical evidence, is frightening.

There is no doubt that we have arrogant, out-of-control bishops in both the "official" Anglican communion, and, in the continuum, because a proper education isn't really necessary to be a bishop in the continuum. Some, not all for sure, of the continuum bishops don't have enough education to be a permanent deacon in major denominations. However, they only have the ability to do damage in their own diocese, not worldwide.

To me, that is the most dangerous part of Rome's system. If a man of poor judgement, an evil heart, greed, an alcoholic or drug abuser, or whatever other human error becomes pope, his damage can extend worldwide, not just in one diocese.

ACC Member

Canon Tallis said...

I would be quite flattered to think that I have now twice elicited from Father Hart excellent posts, quite beyond my own abilities, except that the words which now come quite naturally from my pen are not mine at all. Rather they spring from the Elizabethan Settlement itself and initially from her own hand and then from the canon of 1571 which stated the standard as to what was to be taught and its origins, i.e., "the earliest bishops and Catholic fathers."

As for the issue of clerical celibacy, I was recently reminded by a passage in Aristeides Papadakis's "The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy" that the requirement of clerical celibacy was "repeatedly repudiated by both local and ecumenical councils--beginning with Nicaea I (325). The condemnation enshrined in canon 3 of the sixth ecumenical council (692) is quite explicit: "If anyone shall have dared contrary to the Apostolic Canons to deprive any of those who are in holy orders, presbyter, or deacon, subdeacon of cohabitation and intercourse with his lawful wife, let him be deposed. In like manner also if any presbyter or deacon on pretense of piety has dismissed his wife, let him be excluded from communion; and if he persevere in this let him be deposed."" Since bishops could also be married until the sixth century, the idea of a quasi-monastic clergy was and is an innovation unknown to Christian antiquity. Consequently, as with so many other things, the restoration of clerical marriage in the English Reformation was a return to the practice of the earliest church and the canons of the General Councils.

poetreader said...

Though Fr. Hart is using language a bit stronger than I would have used, it is refreshing to read these points put so clearly. I get very tired of patronizing comments like "failed experiment" directed our way which can , as Father points out, be directed the other way just as easily. Yes, the Roman Church is very large, and does encompass in itself a great deal of good, but the question remains open as to whether this good has been the preponderance of its effect.

The joking question is often asked, "Is the Pope Catholic?" -- I'm afraid my dead serious answer has to be, "Well, for the most part, a good part of the time, but not entirely or always." Frankly, to entrust His whole program absolutely to such men as have occupied the see at its worst times, would seem to indicate that God really cares little about the welfare of His people. I don't accept that, and believe such centralization to be a very dangerous mistake. A man like Benedict is a credit to any church, but that cannot be said in the case of a large number of popes. Authority simply needs to be more diffuse.


Anonymous said...

I was struck by the comment of " Anonymous " that a proper education is not required to be a bishop in the continuum. What in effect is a " Proper Education" ?
A PHD behind ones name in my opinion does not automatically make one worthy nor does the lack of one make one un worthy to serve as a bishop in the continuum, we have seen this in some who used the continuum to achieve the office only to abandon it to move to greener pastures ..It seems apparent that the initials behind the names and the education they received was of none effect. Maybe they missed the class on Ethics ?

poetreader said...

I value education very highly and deplore manifest ignorance on teachers and leaders, and yet ...

I have to agree with Fr, Ron';s puzzlement. I lack seminary education, and deeply wish that I could have obtained it, but observation and experience makes it very obvious that formal education and/or letters behind one's name do not guarantee one's fitness for ministry, nor does lack of such formal qualification necessarily make an impediment.

The career of the contemporary Episcopal Church is certainly not an endorsement of formal academic attainments. It continually appalls me that those whose degrees should indicate knowledge and wisdom display a seemingly invincible ignorance of basic matters of the faith. Better a simple man of lesser formal background but with a firm grasp on the Faith once delivered, and a sincere love of his people than a highly credentialed heretic or an educated but unconcerned pastor.

Yes, we ought to consider the formal qualifications as part of the package, but not until after the deeper and more crucial matters have been thoroughly searched.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Tallis, Aristeides Papadakis was my first professor of Church History, and that was about thirty years ago. His course converted me back to Catholic Faith after my youth as a Charismatic Evangelical Fundamentalist type (however, that experience has served me well).

About clergy education, I sincerely hope for a post by Sandra McColl on that subject. By the way, I think our standards in the ACC are quite good.

However, Rudolph Bultmann (one example, among many) was a doctor, but not a Doctor of the Church. Of course education alone guarantees nothing. But, so does a complete lack of it-literally guaranteeing nothing.

Anonymous said...

I personally do not feel that the lack of a seminary education should stop any dedicated, devout Christian man from being ordained a permanent Deacon.

However, I firmly believe that anyone ordained priest, should have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree, and at least some seminary education, even if it is "on line" and not in residence at a seminary.
It should be from a properly accredited seminary, not some diploma mill.

For those who aspire to be bishop I think a PhD is most appropriate; at the very least an MDiv from an accredited seminary should be required.

In addition to this, candidates for ordination should be men who are free from alcohol/substance abuse, and, in general men of good moral character. The lack of alcohol/substance abuse is of the utmost importance for any and all clergy.

An uneducated clergy, and especially uneducated bishops, causes the continuum not to be taken seriously. I would not go to a doctor who hadn't been to medical school. I wouldn't hire a lawyer who hadn't been to law school. Why in the world would we want to trust our parishes, and the souls of those who are members thereof, to "bishops" who do not have an appropriate education? If we want a properly educated physician or lawyer, then why wouldn't we demand properly educated clergy?

ACC Member

RC Cola said...

ACC Member pointed out the problem of what happens when you have a "man of poor judgment, an evil heart," etc., in the Papacy. I think sometimes those blokes are the BEST popes. Take the much-maligned Alexander VI. He may have been a louse, but he never touched doctrine. Perhaps he didn't care, or didn't know any, but he never made any steps toward defining or re-defining things he had no business talking about. Contra that to John Paul II who was doubtlessly a holy and good man, but skirted danger with ideas like Mary being the "Co-Redemptrix." YIKES!!!

In regard to the question of education that has been raised here. Look at the majority of PhD is Theology in the USA. I would not entrust my soul to the vast majority of them...Mary Daly? Elizabeth Johnson? Richard McBrian? All highly paid, highly educated heretics. Give me a guy rejected by US PhD programs who studies like the dickens over any of these people.

Furthermore, one's academic subject is not a limit on one's knowledge. My BA is in English, yet I managed money for multi-million dollar construction projects. I have two friends who were music majors and now run their own database businesses. Several friends were history, English, and other liberal arts majors but now work on Wall Street. I know pharmacists who make stained glass windows that any of us would be proud to have in our parishes. Bu-bu-bu-bu-but they don't have degrees in those fields! They don't have PhDs! They're self-taught! They CAN'T be any good at what they do!!! Bull.

Bottom line: Do not judge the worth of a human (priest or not) on the papers he holds. There is NO correlation between parchment and one's ability to do his chosen vocation or avocation.

The PhD is merely a union card to get one's foot in the door in a possibly tenure-track position. Trust me, I have two PhDs in my family. They ain't that special. They do not have mystical powers. They are not vastly superior to the rest of the family. One of them makes one heck of an ice cream pie, though, I tell you what!!!

RC Cola said...

ACC Member,

I hope you put a lot of money into the collection basket because the ACC is going to need it to bring priests up to your standards.

I don't necessarily disagree that we ought to have educated clergy, but I disagree as to what "educated" means. I think what you really mean to say is that you want properly schooled clergy, because as you indicated before, you are properly schooled.

Law school lawyers aren't always the best. There are plenty of lawyers who were paralegals for years and have sat for the Bar and passed the first time (which many law school grads cannot do). They go one to practice law just fine.

Mechanical Engineering majors get their first engineering jobs and spend two years learning how to engineer machine parts from the machinists who barely graduated from high school.

Yes, we need and deserve well-educated clergy, but a) one can be well-educated without formal schooling (e.g. Reading for Orders) and b) in the past you have been uncharitably dismissive of Reading for Orders as being merely memorizing the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I encourage you to find out what is entailed in reading for orders in the Diocese of the South and you will find it is more challenging than a seminary curriculum. I was in the seminary, and it was cake compared to the demands the DOS puts on their men.

RSC+ said...

Canon Tallis,

The councils aren't entirely clear about the proper role of celibacy for clergy. Nicaea I, which you cite, rules against self-castration on the one hand, but it also rules in Canon III,

"The great Council has stringently forbidden any bishop, priest, deacon, or any of the clergy, to have a woman living with him, except a mother, sister, aunt, or some such person who is beyond all suspicion."

I suspect it was an issue that was hotly debated and unsettled. Someone like St. Augustine, who was in actuality fairly moderate on these sorts of issues, generally associated the priesthood with clerical celibacy.

A more liberal figure like Jovinian (who, looking back, makes a great deal of sense to me, anyway) was condemned precisely because he made such outlandish claims as celibacy not being a higher calling, women having an equal share in paradise, and Mary and Joseph consummating their marriage(!). He's not one of the more exciting heretics, I suppose.

It seems to me that we can, of course, square Nicea I and Constantinople III by including spouses among women who are above suspicion. Me? I would be much more sympathetic of Rome's claim that mandatory clerical celibacy is "just a discipline" if it didn't also claim that it was the only discipline for anyone a) unfortunate enough not to be a member of a tiny sui juris church with a more sane discipline for clergy or b) sensible enough to marry in the EO or in an Anglican tradition before swimming over.

In sum, I think the evidence suggests that some folks were rabidly in favor of clerical celibacy, and some folks were not. Some councils seemed to favor it, and others didn't. If we follow the Vincentian Canon, it seems to me that the proper course is to let individuals decide on the matter since there wasn't anything like a universal practice.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Yet, there was a universal consensus(in Ecumenical Council) that no man should be refused ordination because he is married. This is from Scripture itself, and reflected directly in Canon III of Constantinople III. That is, the Book of Malachi says, "For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away." (2:16) And, yet we read of priests from the late 6th century who divorced their wives in order to become bishops. In the 12th century Rome ordered all priests to put away their wives and disinherit their children. Based on the Scripture, I can state infallibly (for the Scripture is infallible) that on that occasion the pope was led by the Devil, not by the Holy Spirit. Yet, they cling to this even now, despite the fact that it is clearly "repugnant to the Word of God," and must have come from a diabolical root.

Anonymous said...

RC Cola:

I have no doubt that in the Diocese of the South, proper education is taking place. However, even if one is very knowledgable, if one does not have the degree to prove it, it brings little public respect or trust.

I have known nurses with more knowledge, by far, than some physicians. However, because they lack the degree that says that have that knowledge, they cannot legally practice medicine as a physician. Granted, they undoubtedly have, as I can testify by personal experience, more knowledge and medical skill than many of the physicians. Nor would the general public choose to seek medical care from them rather a properly licensed physician.

The Diocese of the South has a well-educated bishop with the degrees to prove it. He gives the ACC far more legitimacy than it has had in the past.

Unfortunately, what happens in the Diocese of the South is not happening in all dioceses.

ACC Member

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree that we need to insure that our bishops have proper moral qualifications; are not addicted to, or abusing, alcohol; and that they are educated according to the professional standards of other denominations.

While a PhD may not ensure a quality bishop, it certainly enhances the chances that a bishop will be educated enough for the task.

Archbishop Haverland and Bishop Hutchens are excellent examples of the kind of episcopal leadership that we need. Archbishop Haverland's recent letter to the ACNA, turning down an invitation in a gracious and elegant way, is partly the product of an excellent education. He was even gracious in the fact that they are using a name formerly used by the ACC.

Proper education and proper schooling aren't just something that is nice. Both are necessary.

BCP Catholic

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Church must set its own standards of education, and that must be based on something more substantial than what passes for education in modern ECUSAn seminaries. Reading for Orders can be every bit as demanding as full time seminary attendance, and should be much more rigorous than what the ECUSAns are doing in their dumbed-down seminaries with, nonetheless, fully accredited degrees. In the modern world, Reading for Orders, or night school seminaries, are the only practical options, since modern day presbyters really are elders; most men are 40 by the time they are ordained, and, generally, that is an improvement.

As I said, I am hoping for an article on clergy education (which we have discussed here before) any time now by our newest member of the team, Sandra McColl.

The criteria of I Tim. 3, by the way, in most cases rules out celibate men as unqualified, that is, as generally lacking the experience of ruling their own households well. Paul himself was an exception, but he regarded this as the usual test of man's metal. This too is rendered impossible with a certain large denomination.

Sandra McColl said...

All right, all right, all right. I get the message. I'll see what I can come up with on the weekend.

"I wouldn't hire a lawyer who hadn't been to law school." Actually, some of the best lawyers I know didn't go to 'law school' in the sense in which it is understood these days. They trained on the job, serving about five years in articles. There were classes at one of the technical colleges, rather like the classes a lot of trade apprentices take (and probably more of them), but no degree awarded at the end.

And it's nice to see that RC Cola can do a responsible job without having a degree in it. Hope springs eternal for a return to sanity in society.

If 'the husband of one wife' isn't treated as a minimum, then ruling a household well could well be in similar vein, i.e., not ruling one's household badly, or not having a private life that would create a scandal.

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart, All I can say is 'Lucky You!' The book is a great read and one that should be better known.

Ed, I like you answer on the Catholicity of the Pope. It certainly seems to have been recognized in the last century with bishop after bishop trying to get behind not only the counter-Reformation, but the 11th century deforms.

When it comes to clergy education, or education in general, the last century and our present system of colleges and universities make it very difficult indeed. In my Freshman year the head of the history department told me that neither colleges or universities employ conservatives so it would be a no go. On the other hand one of the most brilliant men I have ever known entered both Harvard and MIT after graduating from high school, never took so much as a batchelor's from either but became a tenured professor at both. I, on the other hand, fell into the hands of an English nun who sent me packets of books, demanded I read them and then write essays to her satisfaction. It was very satisfying - after it was over.

Shaughn, I think the Councils were entirely clear about the issue; you simply have to know what problem was being addressed at the time. Those who believed that they could prove their holiness by sleeping with virgins without being tempted were a scandal to the church and it is that to which the canon you quoted was addressed. It should never have had to be written but false piety is always a temptation.

All of the talk about formal and degreed education seems to forget that for centuries what we now have simply did not exist and men had to find an education in some manner. Just think of the great saints and bishops who did not have what some of you demand. St. Peter? St. Patrick? St Martin of Tours and even my naughty St Benedict who found neither Rome nor his school to his liking lacked anything resembling what you would require. And this was the reason in a previous post that I asked what ten books each of the regulars here believe that every cleric in the Continuum should absolutely know. There were a few answers but not enough.

Education is an ongoing process and too many who get the paper never again crack a book, but we must do so all the time if we are to do our job. So what do we find useful and most necessary?

Anonymous said...

I said in my original post that a man ordained priest should have a Bachelor's Degree and some seminary. Note I said "some" seminary. I didn't say I believed, especially in the case of a second vocation man with a family and a mortgage, that they had to necessarily have an MDiv. I also said that I thought it was acceptable to do such study on-line, or be other home study means.

Now that APCK, ACC and UECNA are in communion, and, as I understand it, APCK's seminary is accepting postulants from ACC and UECNA, there is no reason that there could not be a special "on line"/home study course developed for second career priests, with a proper certificate of completion that they are eligible to be ordained a priest. As I understand it, APCKs seminary already has an excellent on-line program for Permanent Deacons.

My concern is that in those dioceses, that lack a Bishop with a PhD/outstanding educational background, that the reading for orders programs might not be the greatest. Even if they are, however, it looks better to have a certificate of completion from an official seminary, such as St. Joseph of Arimathea.

Our clergy have to function in the communities where they serve. In so doing they may need to attend meetings of the local ministerial associations, asked to serve on committees with other clergy, etc. Our clergy should not have to appear "second class" because they have nothing to back the education we give them. "Reading for orders", no matter how good the program, leaves them looking "second class" to other ministers in the community who have a seminary education.

I think we owe it to our second career priests to provide them with a way of looking properly schooled. This enhances their standing in the community in which they must serve.

I don't think that we have "dummies" serving as priests - not at all. But I think we need to provide a way to show that they have been schooled and educated.

ACC Member

John A. Hollister said...

ACC Member suggests that a Bishop should have at least an M.Div. from an accredited seminary, if not a Ph.D.:

"I would not go to a doctor who hadn't been to medical school. I wouldn't hire a lawyer who hadn't been to law school. Why in the world would we want to trust our parishes, and the souls of those who are members thereof, to 'bishops' who do not have an appropriate education? If we want a properly educated physician or lawyer, then why wouldn't we demand properly educated clergy?"

Well, for one thing, Rowan Williams is a "real" Ph.D.-holding "bishop"; would you want him?

Also, medical schools in general, and many law schools, do not construct their curricula according to current academic fads. Some law schools, however, do just that; would you want a lawyer who spent a significant amount of his or her limited study time on "Socialist Law", or "Feminist Perspectives in Law"? Those would really help your contract dispute with a business rival. Then, if you compare the representation you'd get from that character with what you might have expected from a famously skilled trial lawyer such as Abraham Lincoln, who never went near either a college or a law school, the picture might tilt a bit more.

Generally speaking, there is a strong correlation between the "prestige" of a law school and the vapidity of its elective course offerings -- that is, if it still has required courses, as some do not. Having both studied and taught in law schools, and litigated against lawyers who took too many irrelevant electives and not enough substantive requirements, I strongly suggest you ask for a transcript before you hire one for yourself.

The same is true in divinity schools and seminaries. I was shocked when a graduate of a well-known and -respected institution told me he had taken three courses in the New Testament and that was two more than most of his classmates. I asked him how one could prepare for the Christian ministry without studying the texts of the most basic documents of the Christian Faith, he told me the school's attitude was, "We give you the tools; what you do with them is up to you."

And as for the value of accreditation, just remember the last time the ATS got concerned about what one of its member schools was up to. All it cared about was whether there were enough women on its board of trustees to reflect "diversity in institutional governance".

So, no, I really can't get excited about M.Divs. and other academic degrees without a careful, in-depth examination of what was required to obtain any particular degree.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

If 'the husband of one wife' isn't treated as a minimum...

Obviously, Sandra did not mean a minimum of one. But, it does make me think of ECUSAn bishops who are the husband of one wife at a time.

David said...

Ed said "It continually appalls me that those whose degrees should indicate knowledge and wisdom display a seemingly invincible ignorance of basic matters of the faith"

Those are the type of people my grandmother, a saint would have referred to in her Down East tongue as "Educated idiots".

Anonymous said...

I can see further comment is a waste of time.

Apparently no one wants to better the state of education of the continuum clergy, or provide them with a way of looking legitimate in the modern world.

Frankly, most of our clergy do not look legitimate because they lack any formal credentials, and were "ordained" by bishops lacking recredentials.

No wonder the continuum is dying.

RC Cola said...

Now that we're solidly on the topic of education, there are some possibly viable options to obtain genuine degrees via distance learning, evening classes, or summer courses.

Although it is ECUSA (or TEC, as I guess they call it now) Nashotah House has an MA in Ministry. The student attends for a week, and finishes the course on line. Takes two years. Hopefully one can get a week off every term to do this. Accredited.

Catholic Distance University offers an on-line Ba completion program in Theology for those who do not have a BA. It also offers an on-line MA in Theology. Accredited.

Franciscan University Steubenville offers a distance MA in Theology. Charismatic school. A little too "JP2 we luv you" for my taste. Accredited.

The Archdiocese of NYC (RC) has the Institute for Religious Studies that offers an MA in Religious Studies. I took a few courses there. Very excellent. Most students are NYC Catholic school teachers. $600 per course. Accredited. BTW they even offer post-masters certificates in Systematic Theology, Church History, and Scripture. If you live in the area, take Greek with Fr. Russo, an eastern rite priest. He is a hoot!

Christendom College has an evening graduate school called "Notre Dame". They also offer a summer program so that a teacher, for example, can go to Virginia four summers in a row and come out with an MA in Theological Studies. Accredited.

Holy Apostles Seminary in CT has two on-line MA programs: Philosophy and Theology. These originally started as the "International Catholic University" by Ralph McInerny in order to give orthodox Catholics a chance to get a higher degree from orthodox professors instead of the professors who populate so-called Catholic universities. The lectures are on DVD recorded at the EWTN studios back in the 90's (mostly) and the tutoring is done by current Holy Apostles profs via Blackboard. It's about $900 per course. Accredited. I've heard that graduates of the program have gotten into some pretty good schools for PhDs including Duquesne, where Bishop Haverland got his MA.

Finally, in the UK there is the Maryvale Institute which will grant MA, MPhil and PhD. Accredited via Open University.

I'm sure there are more out there, but these are the ones I've been able to find an familiarize myself with. Granted they are all RC, but I'm sure that a degree PLUS reading for orders would satisfy most people's aspirations for a well-school priest.

I hope this has been helpful.

RC Cola said...

One thing I'd like to add to my prior post:

I'd love for the ACC to have the full gamut of fully accredited schools from elementary through doctorate. But this takes time, a lot of money and a lot of jumping though hoops. Accrediting agencies are quite helpful in terms of laying out guidelines for what makes a good school tick, but at the same time they are not always sympathetic to religious schools whose focus is their own religion.

Still, we can do it with time, money and dedication. It's probably best to start with elementary schools in parishes, then high schools for clusters of parishes (if clusters exist) and finally try to start a college like Christendom. The trick to having a "real" seminary versus evening classes, is that you need a critical mass of young men who are aspirants for orders. Does anyone see the 22-30 crowd beating down the door?

I'm not saying it's impossible. It's quite possible! But we must gird ourselves for a long-term, uphill climb that's all.

Anonymous said...

One of the purposes of a true education is to be exposed to all kinds of teaching, and all manner of thinking.

Our clergy should be exposed to very liberal teaching, as well conservative teaching. It is necessary to know what liberal teaching truly is, if one is even to properly understand what it means to be conservative and orthodox.

Such is necessary to develope critical thinking, and to create a well-rounded individual. The cultural enrichment derived from a liberal arts Bachelor's Degree helps provide potential clergy with the knowledge and social graces necessary to function properly in society as a respected, professional person.

While second career clergy may learn necessary information to function as a priest through reading for orders, it gives them nothing to look like legitimate clergy in the communities in which they serve. They cannot function as a proper member of the local ministerial associations if they are made fun of as being ignorant/uneducated behind their backs. Having clergy who are viewed in such a way puts the continuum on the same level as the self-ordained non-denominational type "clergy"/congregations. This leads to a disrespect of our parishes in their communities. This is true especially when there is an RCC parish nearby, as the RCC priests often love to point out the alledged non-legitimacy of the continuum.

Many denominations have what is referred to as "licensing school" for second career people seeking to become clergy, who cannot attend seminary. Licensing school does give them a certificate of completion. It is often completed "home study and/or "on-line."

A legitimate seminary, like St. Jospeh of Arimathea, could provide such a "licensing school" or "ordination school." United Methodists use "licensing school". Their "local clergy" aren't the laughing stock of their communities, either. People realize that they have been schooled, and have received at least minimum training.

Sadly, the continuum, has begun to remind me of the independent Churches of Christ in Appalachia, who brag that they won't ordain "preachers who attended college, because they might be full of the devil." Whether it is the independent Churches of Christ in Appalachia, or the continuum, promoting such ignorance is a disgraceful thing.

A university education broadens a person's mind, by enriching the mind with ideas one agrees with, and probably many, many more with which one does not agree. However, to truly understand the orthodox faith, one must understand those who do not believe in the orthodox faith, or any faith, as well.

Thankfully, our parish has a priest educated by Nashota House, an excellent institution, which continues to try to remain orthodox, to the point that many TEC bishops refuse to accept Nashota House graduates for ordination.

There are also fine priests educated by the ACC's former monastic-style seminary, which, sadly, was allowed to close.

Many of the saints of our faith did not attend seminary, but they received the finest education possible, usually in the monastic communities, which were places of learning. I still believe many monastic communities to be places of great learning today. I think priests who are members of monastic communities have legitimacy enough without seminary.

BCP Catholic

poetreader said...

"Anonymous" (is this still "ACC Member?):

I'm rather disappointed that you can have read this discussion and emerged with the idea that education is being disparaged here. Read the comments closely, including mine. They reflect a deep desire for the best possible education and preparation for our ministry, along with a deep suspicion of the ways in which a pretense of education has prevailed in the "mainline" liberal milieux. Yes, there is a serious deficiency in the level of knowledge among our Continuum clergy, but it is not really a more serious deficiency than that among the liberal "mainstream", who have, perhaps, strings of degrees, who can, perhaps, so speak as to sound "educated", but who have no real understanding of authentic historic Christianity.

My conviction is that the more "respectable" seminaries of today are dangerous places for the soul. I have watched more than one deeply devout young man go off to seminary and return as a well trained professional with little of spiritual value to offer -- in some cases with a great deal of spiritual poison to administer.

Is the kind of secular 'respect' that comes from such degrees worth the price of being snared in a bankrupt system? I rather think not. On the day of Pentecost it was uneducated Galileans who confounded the scholars -- not the other way around. The respectable Pharisees were labeled by our Lord as empty, full of dead men'a bones.

No one here is against education, knowledge, growth in wisdom. No one here is satisfied with the status quo. But the weakness is not in being unable to impress those outside our little movement, but in being poorly equipped to teach the Gospel and to administer the Sacraments and godly counsel with understanding. Hearkening back to a bankrupt model will not solve our problem. The whole tenor of our discussion of education has been to look for better ways to give a quality formation to our clergy, without becoming ensnared in the problems of the existing system.

To anchor this back to the main topic of this thread, the established, respectable, accredited seminaries seem rather unconcerned with either antiquity or universal consensus, but rather with whatever is new and trendy. We need something better, with or without degrees, with or without accreditation, something, perhaps, in this world but not of it.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

BCP Catholic wrote:

Thankfully, our parish has a priest educated by Nashota House, an excellent institution, which continues to try to remain orthodox, to the point that many TEC bishops refuse to accept Nashota House graduates for ordination.

Then I must ask, when did he attend Nashota House? The last NH graduate I encountered came out top of his class only a few years ago. He did not know anything, and had no practical vocabulary for discussing theology. He did, however, know a lot of trendy ECUSAn stuff, enough to have a Phd in Trendiness.

My experience has shown three types of Continuing Church clergy to be the overwhelming majority:

1) Former Episcopal priests-a type that is numbering less and less all the time.

2) Well educated priests of APCK and ACC.

3) Priests in little jurisdictions who know a whole lot about why they feel inferior to Roma Catholics, really know the Catechism of the [Roman] Catholic Church, are obsessed with Missal rubrics while knowing no theology, and are stupid enough to be embarrassed by the 39 Articles.

I have never encountered type 3 in the APCK or in the ACC. Outside of those jurisdictions I have not met a wide enough sampling to get the picture. But, I have seen a few type 3 priests in my time.

RSC+ said...

On the subject of clergy education (again?), I think the Continuum should remain flexible, which so far it has been. For example, I'm something of a double-freak. I a) went straight into seminary after a little graduate school and b) actually need the degrees I have for the work I want to do -- that is, teach High School Latin for my full time work, and serve in the AF Reserves as a chaplain. Those both require accredited degrees, and so fussing about it won't make a huge difference.

I know a handful of clergy who have or are pursuing advanced degrees in some subject other than Religion -- English, History, whatever. Do we to them, "You must also get this additional piece of paper which will cost you thousands of dollars, take three full years of time, and then go be bi-vocational, so that your new professional degree will in no way supplement your income"? (My seminary, Emory's Candler School of Theology, has tuition north of $14k/year). Seminary doesn't make a great deal of sense for these persons, either, because they are clearly not uneducated, and they will be flushing time and money down the drain for a slip of paper that isn't working for them. St. Augustine wasn't a trained theologian, but a teacher of rhetoric, and he got along just fine under the close supervision of a certain bishop.

Most of the traditional seminaries not affiliated with a research university are also bleeding money and shutting down. Seabury-Western, for example, is on its last legs, not that anyone here would miss it, terribly.

To my knowledge, the main ones growing right now are Asbury and Nashotah House. And, frankly, most of us cannot realistically camp out in Wisconsin for three years. I think we need to be flexible and charitable. If someone has to have the piece of paper -- hospice chaplains, school chaplains, military chaplains, &c, there's not much to be done. If they don't, I think close supervision by a bishop is perfectly suitable in some cases.

As I've written before, a place like Emory (and most seminaries not named Nashotah or Trinity) are not for everyone, by any means. Someone who isn't careful about which hills on which they're willing to die will not do well there. It isn't productive at all for me to argue daily with the Methodists and the Episcopalians that they're wrong about women's ordination. They know I disagree, and they know why I disagree, and we move on. By the same token, you might have someone who isn't so sure about his beliefs and winds up drinking too much of the Kool-Aid.

And it's not like they tell you: "Warning! Kool-Aid."
They teach something about which you know very little and present their angle as fact, and if you aren't careful or willing to bother have a dozen clergy regularly (I'm in the latter--thank you all!), you risk being misinformed.

As Ed notes, accredited seminaries are more interested in what is new and trendy. A lot of this goes with the nature of the American academy. As a Religious Studies professor, one makes one's bread and butter most readily by poking holes in what something someone else, who is older, wrote about a topic. This can lead to the Bultmann approach of de-mythologizing the whole system. It can also lead to such crazy notions like presenting a St. Augustine who was really a nice fellow and only cared that we "loved" (that is, "are nice") to one another. Or it can lead to a Luke Timothy Johnson synthesis of insisting, loudly, that every letter of Paul is authentic and that the resurrection actually happened, but that Paul was wrong about human sexuality (which, if anything, has more integrity than saying "Paul never meant those things").

There are good things to be had from the academy. There are dangerous things there, too. Lord knows I probably have a few unknown heresies waiting to creep out (like, say, Jovinian!), but I need the degree for the type of ministry I want to do.

It isn't at all clear to me that everyone needs to go through that gauntlet.

Canon Tallis said...

"One of the purposes of a true education is to be exposed to all kinds of teaching, and all manner of thinking."

BCP Catholic,

And just what American or English college or university currently is going to expose anyone to "all kinds of teaching, and all manner of thinking . . .?" It can't and won't happen because they are almost all captive to secular leftists who are not going to allow the entrance of the enemy to infect their one party world.

If we want to acquire intellectual respectability in our communities, we can achieve that by being better read and better informed on the issues important to the Continuum and to Orthodox Christianity in general than those who have attended the infected academies. When I was young it was generally acknowledged in our diocese that the most theologically astute priest was one who had neither a batchelor's nor a seminary degree. He did however subscribe to all of the major theological journals and kept up in all the fields relevant to classical Anglicanism. He came very close to flunking Bishop Wantland on his canonicals for the diaconate because he believed that Wantland was incapable of understanding his own answers.

We need to be responsible for our own intellectual and moral growth which in my estimation won't happen until we cease to be ashamed of classical Anglicanism intellectually or liturgically and become at home in our own skin. When the birettas disappear and missals become rarer and rarer, being replaced by something akin to the The English Liturgy edited by Percy Dearmer and the Rt Rev'd Walter Howard Frere, C.R. we might begin to finding ourselves awash in people wanting what we have.

There is so much that we can do and achieve long before we have the money and the numbers to plan and build our own seminaries. But we have to think more in the pattern of the apostles than of 15th to 20th century England and America. Roland Allen, anyone?

P.S., The Constant reading of this blog and the very few others up to its standard is a first step.

Also, we have not heard from Father Wells in a bit of time. Is everything well with him? I am a bit worried.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart:

The Nashota House graduate I refer to is definately from category 1, as you list them.

As far as categories 2 and 3, I think that depends on which diocese of the ACC you are talking about. The Diocese of the South, from reports here, apparently has category 2 priests.

Other than that, to be discreet, and not name a diocese, I'll simply say I have encountered category 3 in the ACC.

I have no knowledge of the APCK, other than to see that have a legitimate seminary, which is a very laudable accomplishment. The ACC and the UECNA should begin to tap into the valuable resource.

The ACC, sadly, has no province wide standards (at least that are followed) for educational standards for priests. Each bishop can do whatever he chooses/set his own standards, and/or ignore any or all standards.
Some bishops treat Apostolic Succession as though it is their own personal possession, which it is not. Apostolic Succession is a gift and possession of the church. It should only be shared according to the proper/consistent standards of the church.

There should be a province wide requirement for schooling/educational standards.

BCP Catholic

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Of course people's standards tend to vary. My younger brother, for example (David Bentley Hart), sometimes makes me feel like a perfect idiot. That is, sometimes his learning makes me feel like an idiot, and sometimes his faults make me feel perfect.

RC Cola said...

How many men in the 18-30 age range are aspirants toward orders?

How much does the average ACC priest get paid?

Is it enough to support a wife and family?

Is his salary limited by the number of parishioners or is it limited because the parishioners do not tithe the full 10%?

If a priest is eligible for graduate school, is there an ACC parish that can take him in as an assistant, pay him,house him, etc. while he goes to school? Who will pay his tuition?

If a man stops working in his 30s or 40s to go back to school for the ACC, does the ACC (or his parish) continue to pay him and make contributions to his retirement at the same level he was getting paid when he dropped everything?

These are terribly practical questions, and I could probably come up with dozens more. I raise them in hopes of trying to understand how we can make formal education happen.

poetreader said...

Allow me to be anecdotal for a moment.

The single finest priest I have known, departed long since now, had a bachelor's degree from a state college in agriculture and had read for orders under the bishop, according to the so-called Old Man's Canon. He pastored a tiny rural Episcopal church with a small retreat house, and tended a farm owned by the church. Many times I traveled the 100 miles in order to seek advice from this humble and learned man of prayer.

On the other hand, the bishop who caused me to leave the Episcopal Church (32 years ago) had all manner of degrees and had been a seminary professor -- but showed no signs of knowing any theology whatever.

Whuch man had the better education?

I know my answer to that one, and it's not the bishop.


Mark said...

By reading Sandra's previous post and Father Hart’s current post, and some of the responses to both, I believe one can gain a fairly good view of the topography of this land. From my Traditional RC vantage point, I see this:

In the center are people like Bishop Chislett and his RC friends who “seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment.";

On the left of this center are those Anglicans and their RC collaborators who oppose this communion, former, presumably, to starve the TAC, and the latter to prevent any strengthening of the orthodox RC’s;

On the right of this center are those of the Continuing Anglican clergy and laity who are concerned about such a communion as well. Their issues seem to revolve around the perennial stumbling blocks of Papal Infallibility, clerical celibacy, and for some, possibly the very existence of the Papacy.

An observation suggests itself, that in this context, both the left and the right have concerns about the various aspects of the Papacy, especially Infallibility.

P.S. - RC Cola - enjoyed your "educational snobbery" post very much - so many of the Church Fathers had hoi polloi former occupations.

spaethacc said...

As a member of the continuum who is writing this from a Nashotah dorm room, perhaps I can give a little of my own perspective. While I am a residential student, I wouldn't really recommend it. I think the distance program here would be far more beneficial for Anglican Catholic postulants for a number of reasons. First, much of the 'formation' which you will receive at Nashotah is centred on the 1979 BCP and, as such, is pretty useless to a 1928 BCP/American Missal Churchman like myself. Like most educational institutions, good training may be had by motivated students, but you will spend as much time defending the Anglican Catholic faith as you will learning it (with a few professors and students excepted, of course). The flavour here is much more evangelical than one would expect, and I have been repeatedly frustrated by those who think being Anglo-Catholic means using incense and avoiding praise bands.

Also, being on campus can place a continuing Anglican in difficult situations. You will be increasingly pressured to commune here (which I do not) as well as serve at the altar, including when lady deacons and readers are used (something which I refuse to do on grounds of conscience, but which has caused quite a fuss). You may get some moral support from the few APA or ACA gentlemen here, but thus far I am the only one refraining from the above activities and, to my knowledge, the only one who ever has. To put it bluntly, if you wish your actions to be consistent with your convictions as a continuing churchman, prepare to be belittled and ostracised as a residential student at Nashotah.

On the other hand, the distance program will connect you to some of the very talented professors here without the discomfort of being in the community. As for me, I was almost done with my M.Div. before becoming an Anglican and Nashotah has a very generous transfer policy, which is largely the reason I'm a resident student here.

spaethacc said...

RC Cola's list of schools would also be worth looking into as a supplement to a read-for-orders program. I must say, I do sympathize with some of the concerns raised about clerical education, and while a degree doesn't necessarily make one a good priest, it does increase the chances. And as another pointed out, it also gives the impression of legitimacy (whether justified or not) to outsiders who probably know little about Continuing Anglicanism and are prone to write it off. Most people I run into don't even know what an 'Anglican' is, much less the Anglican Catholic Church (up this way it's mostly Lutherans and Roman Catholics).

If I may make another suggestion, perhaps the "House of Studies" model would be the most beneficial for the Continuum. I studied for a year at Westfield House in Cambridge, England - the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, a small denomination with roughly 14 parishes in the UK. While the seminary itself isn't a degree granting institution (which clears up a lot of red tape) it is attached to Fitzwilliam College of Cambridge University. As such, I was able to attend lectures at the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge while having them supplemented at my House of Study by 3 professors and 1 adjunct. In order to study there you had to be enrolled at a degree granting school (we had some from Cambridge, one at Sheffield, as well as American students like myself whose seminary gave them academic credit for the coursework there).

If the ACC could create a House of Study attached to an institution which already granted theology degrees, they could have the best of both worlds. They could have the proper supplementary coursework and oversight without the red-tape and cost of maintaining a stand-alone seminary, in addition to forming postulants through daily chapel services rooted in the 1928 Offices. Also, depending on the agreement with the degree-granting institution, they could be far more flexible during slower enrolment years. As long as they could maintain the property, the other institution's program isn't going anywhere.

Not to mention the unity or at least mutual understanding that could be fostered by having a seminary open to ACC/APCK/UECNA as well as APA/ACA students who use Nashotah because there is no continuing Anglican seminary that grants accredited degrees. Many of them that I talk to would love to get a degree in a place that forms its students in the 1928 BCP. I even had an ACA Bishop tell me that he sends students to Nashotah because it is perceived as "the best that's available to us right now."

Just my 2 cents.

Canon Tallis said...


Real wisdom is knowing when you have met a really holy and wise priest. Very fortunate for you in that you were and are wise enough to have appreciated him.

As for the educational thing, I once had a brilliant teacher who pointed out that most subjects up to and including brain surgery can be taught completely in less than six weeks. The reason that schools take longer is for reasons that are entirely other than the transmission of information. One of the major reasons that the older Anglican schools wanted you there for the three years was priestly formation which they saw as being done by the three years of compulsory daily chapel attendance for Morning and Evening Prayer. And just how many of them carried that practice to the parishes where they were to be both an example and to provide for the Christian formation of their parishioners?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"Robust if polite."

Commentators who take offense from each other's comments to the point where they are driving each other away, need to take a deep breath, forgive each other, and remember that the four bloggers did not write the offending comments. It does not help our efforts if readers who comment drive each other away by causing and taking offense,especially in so academic a discussion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Fr Hart, for the reminder to be polite.

People can only make suggestions and or express opinions is a forum where they are not accused of false motives, or fear false accusations, or humiliated.

BCP Catholic

Anonymous said...

A brief anecdote, not te be impolite to anyone's choice of religion, but to illustrate a point:

In our community, there is a non-denominational "holiness" church. The people who attend there dress exactly like the Fundamentalist Mormans, whose Texas ranch was raided a while back - 1800s prarie-type dresses, women's hair uncut and piled up very high on the head, etc. They forbid their children to watch TV, listen to the radio, go to public school, etc. They have a church-run school, that doesn't even have one properly licensed teacher, or even one teacher with an education beyond high school. To say the least, the education is poor, and when these kids sometimes transfer to public school, they are years behind in their education.

What happens when these kids turn 18? Ninety percent run away from this church as fast as they can. They buy clothes like the real world, go to the movies, watch TV, and sadly, some of them absolutely go wild - alcohol abuse, substance abuse, etc. Sheltering children, or adults, from the real world, just doesn't work, because eventually they have to enter the real world.

If you allow children to experience the real world, while at the same time, teaching them orthodox Christianity and good moral values, they often grow up to live good Christian lives.

Its much the same way with potential continuum clergy. If we shelter them from other ideas, how do we know that they really belive the orthodox Anglican faith? When they are done "reading for orders", being carefully sheltered by a bishop, and enter the real world, and begin to hear the other ideas they were sheltered from, they may just abandon the continuum quickly.

I think that the period of clergy education needs to expose them to all ideas, even those the continuum doesn't agree with at all. This can, and should be, a valuable time of testing. If they keep their values, that are in common with the continuum, then our bishops would have greater confidence in ordaining them. If they decide that they believe that women should be ordained, or that the 1928 BCP is old-fashioned and needs replaced, then we will have learned a valuable lesson about the candidate, and our bishop will know that ordaining them would be a mistake.

And while we are discussing such things, why in the world don't we follow the rubrics of the prayerbook that say a man should serve as a Deacon for a year before being ordained a priest? I have seen the quick ordinations to priest (the following day, or a couple months later) backfire several times. The result of hurried ordinations is often defrocking priests. If the bishops would follow the rubrics and make candidates serve a year as a Deacon, as the prayerbook directs, much grief could be avoided.

Its easy to fool someone for a short amount of time, but pretty hard to fool someone for a whole year.

The educational process, and a diaconate of at least a year, were designed to avoid mistakes. We should begin to utilize them and save ourselves lots of grief.

BCP Catholic

Fr_Rob said...

Regarding seminary and theological education for the ordained ministry, which we’ve discussed before on several occasions, I still believe a great option would be to set up an Anglican house of studies at a conservative evangelical seminary such as Fuller, Trinity Evangelical, Regent University, Beeson, Reformed in Philadelphia, or at one of several other places. The many possibilities nowadays for obtaining an M.Div. by distance education mean that it’s no longer necessary for a man in his 40s or 50s to relocate, uprooting his family and leaving his job.

And unless and until we get the house of studies established, the postulant could work on his M.Div. at a conservative evangelical seminary while studying under the spiritual and pastoral direction of a senior and experienced priest or bishop, perhaps serving as an intern or assistant in the senior priest’s parish. This is essentially what one former Archbishop of the ACC wanted to do, but was unable to pull it off.

The M.Div., like the old B.D. degree that it replaced, is essentially 90 semester hours. Most M.A. degrees, however, require only 30 hours. The M.Div. is the standard degree for ordained ministry as a pastor or priest in most denominations; the M.A. is for folks who want to go on to a Ph.D. or who want to be teachers or catechists. The ACC Canons for clergy education, for example, basically assume that the candidate has or is working toward an M.Div. or its equivalent.

Of course, reading for orders still needs to be an option, but it should be the exception, not the rule. The reading list for postulants and candidates in the ACC’s Diocese of the South is extensive and is basically geared toward a M.Div. level of work. Unfortunately, it is not used outside of that diocese. And basically the bishops in the continuum have historically ordained whomever they wanted to, despite what their Canons might say.

By the way, I can testify from personal experience that the conservative evangelical schools are completely different from the mainstream Episcopal, RC, Methodist, and other schools. These places actually believe in God, Jesus, the Bible, sin, repentance, redemption, salvation though Christ alone, etc., and so folks studying there will come out with a solid grounding in Scriptures, theology, hermeneutics, preaching, Greek and Hebrew, evangelism, apologetics, and other areas. That can then be supplemented with the Catholic faith and practices of our tradition.

RC Cola said...


I think your idea of a House of Studies for Anglicans situated at another denomination's seminary is a very good one.

If the ACC could find an Anglo-Catholic-friendly Lutheran, Presbyterian or RC seminary and set up a house nearby that would be great.

Two issues that have stumped me ever since thinking the same thought months ago: How do we afford it? (Seminaries aren't cheap.) And what to do about married students? One of the advantages the RCs have is that they can give a guy a 12x12 box and say, "This is your home for he next 7 years" (4 years undergrad, 3 years MDiv). It's much harder to do that with a man who has wife and children. However, these problems are far from "deal breakers" and just require a little more creative thinking than I've been able to muster so far.

Personally I prefer face-to-face contact in a brick-and-mortar school, and some seminaries have some truly talented faculty that would be very beneficial for ACC students to study with. At the same time, there is no sense in an ACC student attending a course about how to offer the Novus Ordo, for example.

poetreader said...

BCP Catholic is quite correct that ordinations have often among us been given much too easily and much too quickly. St. Paul advised St. Timothy to lay hands on no man suddenly. Even in times of real shortage and apparent crisis, in God's economy there is no hurry. He provides all the time that is needed to do all things in accordance with His will, and doing it right is better than doing it quickly. Always.

I'm unconvinced, however, that seminaries, in any form we'd recognize, are essential to a careful and thorough teaching and testing of our clergy. The insistence upon this particular form of preparation appears to me to be a case of giving something the status of "traditional" that is actually a comparatively recent experiment, and one that has not really shown itself to be successful. For at least 1800 of the 2000 years of Christianity, the overwhelming majority of clergy have been prepared in other ways than that, and the system with which we are familiar is not really more than a couple of centuries old. Reading with the bishop and/or mentoring by a wise priest has been far more normal.

The seminary system has inexorably, in every denomination, tended to move from a godly and orthodox beginning to a man-centered academic experience more concerned with "moving beyond" the traditional and into "rational" and trendy viewpoints.

The point has been made that our men need to be exposed to all viewpoints. Well, yes, in part. It simply does not serve for any of us to be isolated from the world around us and unaware of the errors found therein. But neither is it a good thing for those destined for the Catholic ministry to placed under the authority of those who will try to enforce a heterodox view (whether liberal or Evangelical or ...) upon those under them, or, perhaps worse, to "free" them from their "constricting" faith. No one is immune to that kind of pressure, and few survive it unscathed.

What we are faced with, along with our struggle for mere survival, is a real dilemma. How do we ensure proper formation of our shepherds without being drawn into the very world-system we are trying to leave? I don't have a good answer, but I am certain that it lies in neither the kind of slipshod and partial preparation we tend to give nor in subservience to the kind of approach that has actually built contemporary liberalism. Neither going back nor giving up is tenable. We NEED to be active in seeking ways to accomplish this goal, and seeking such forms as are built on what has gone before, but are fresh and appropriate to the time in which we minister and to the corrective the Church is always called upon to administer to its own time.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Rob:

Well said, and Amen.

But even if a candidate pursues an MDiv from a farily liberal seminary, if it is properly supplemented by a house of studies, or supervision by a good priest, it can still be a valuable educational process.

As I have said, sometimes the best way to strengthen a conservative faith is by studying and seeing the flaws in growing liberalsim. And, if sometimes an candidate adopts the liberal ideas, and chooses to switch to a more liberal denomination, then we really haven't lost anything except a potential problem.

I would certainly add Asbury Seminary in Kentucky to the list of good conservative schools where an Anglican house of studies could be established.

Call it a house of studies, ordination school, licensing school, or whatever, I believe a formal program, standardized across the ACC Original Province, needs to be established for second career clergy, that grants a diploma/or certificate of completion. As Fr. Rob said, such a process (actually just a standardized and formalized process of reading for orders), should be the exception, not the rule, perhaps used primarily when a candidate cannot afford an MDiv program at a seminary.

If we truly embrace the declared communion, St. Joseph of Arimathea Seminary could develope such an on-line/correspondence program for second career clergy, perhaps at a very reasonable price, leading to a certificate/diploma for a "local priest," in the ACC, APCK and UECNA.

BCP Catholic

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I believe that even though he is retired as the Archbishop of the APCK ("Archbishop Emeritus" says their new and improved website), Archbishop Morse still oversees the seminary. One thing I know from my discussions with him is this: The idea proposed above runs contrary to how he views seminary. He believes that a man should live in that community of prayerful study (emphasis on prayer-together in the chapel every day) to be fully prepared. The irony, some may contend, is that some men have been rushed through (but, for reasons I am not privy to).

I am afraid that his ideal concept of seminary does not fit the need of our times. I believe every man studying for Orders should learn to live by the Rule (as in The Regula, or Rule of St. Benedict))as our BCP has adapted it. But, local means need to be established in addition to the learning program as such. It is as easy as placing a BCP in a man's hand, and saying, "this rule of daily prayer is part of your life from now on."

We must adapt our methods to the time. No man studies for ordination without the active involvement of his Rector and/or his bishop. No man should study without a worshiping Anglican community, and for that the local church ought to be available.

RC Cola said...

Sorry for offense taken by my earlier posts. I was reacting to what I took as "dissing" of men who read for orders. "Dis not, lest ye be dissed" as it were. ;-)

But it seems now we're getting somewhere.

There is always some tension between creating a system that educates, and a system of education that seeks more to perpetuate itself rather than educate.

We are still at the point where we need to create a system of education of our own. In the meantime, we need to do what we can now in order to provide a firm foundation for the future. Reading for Orders is not the ideal, but prior to Trent, that how it was done for secular priests. It was a lot easier the the RCC to stand up seminaries when they already had 1500 years under their belt, universities a few hundred years old, and chapter & monastic schools much older than that.

I'm reminded of the tension after the Korean War between those officers who had risen through the ranks from foot soldiers during the war, and those officers who went to the army university. In 1980, it boiled over into a near civil war. General Chun Do-won lead a revolt against the civilian president and the war-era officers. His reasoning for knocking off the war-promoted officers is that they were not "professionals" like he and his classmates. Rather than being thankful for their service and for keeping the South free, he killed them. He killed the very men who made it possible for him to go to the military academy and to become a general.

Now I'm not saying that ACC priests who go to seminary are going to kill off those priests who read for orders, but when the time comes that we can train most of our priests in seminaries, they had better talk about the "old guard" who read for orders with due reverence and respect, rather than with the kind of disrespect I have read here. If it weren't for this small army of men holding down the fort, the ACC wouldn't last long enough to have the seminary-trained priests.

For the time being, we need to do what we can to encourage our priests to become as learned as possible. This may mean that the parish has to pay for him to go to night courses or to take distance ed courses. It may mean that the faithful need to tithe into an endowment to help defray costs of full-time seminary for promising candidates. It may mean that the faithful need to tithe into a fund to start and maintain an Anglican House of studies at an orthodox college or seminary until we can start our own. And once we start our own, they must donate to keep it afloat.

If we cannot offer our priests full-time paid rectorships, the least we can do is cover their costs for further education and avoid "dissing" them for not having the luxury of dropping their families and jobs for three years.

RSC+ said...

BCP Catholic,

As I have mentioned before, I am ready and willing to support a take over of Duke, Vanderbilt, or Emory's Anglican Studies Programs. I would even go so far as to endure more schooling and the rigors of publication if it meant one day professing in such an environment. Emory has about 7-8 Anglicanoids (a technical term) in their program spread throughout the three years, of which I am one. Emory is worth taking over for the library alone. They also place seminarians in a parish for all three years, which provides the supervision we seek. Consider it part of a greater plan to take over Metro Atlanta, Chapel Hill/Raleigh-Durham, and Nasheville. Let's get to it!


Anonymous said...

Father Hart:

It is interesting to hear from you, who know him, about Archbishop Morse's philosophy for the seminary. That philosphy is certainly the ideal for young men in their early 20s, fresh out of college with no mortgage, spouse, etc. For second career men, though, it isn't easily accomplished.

I agree with Father Rob that a house of studies could be started at a good seminary/seminaries to add that "sense of Anglican community" from the 1928 BCP, and to help to learn to live by the Benedictine Rule one finds in the 1928 BCP.

Perhaps forming a continuum wide dispersed religious order for postulants/candidates might be a good idea.

I also think that we need to standardize a curriculum within a province, through a house of studies, licensing school, or whatever we call it for second career/older men seeking holy orders.

Apostolic Succession is the gift and possession of the church catholic throughout history; it is not the personal property of a bishop. The church, as a whole, must set standards, and they should be followed. There is no room for skipping all the requirements to ordain someone's buddy.

This should be a serious business when it comes to schooling/educating the clergy. In certain dioceses it is done well, and in others, perhaps not so well.
The future survival of the continuum depends on it.

Also, I think that the continuum tends to try to push every man into becoming a priest. In fact, every parish needs a deacon, or two. Deacons can pastor a mission, or small parish, as well. They can conduct Morning Prayer or Evensong, conluded with distributing the Reserved Sacrament, consecrated by a priest in another parish.

Even in the RCC, training for Permanent Deacons is done home study, in the local diocese in my area. This is the easiest way for a second career man to answer a call to serve God, in that it doesn't involve leaving one's family, home, or job.

Sadly, none of the branches of the church catholic seem to realize, or utilize, the valuable gifts of deacons. They tend to be utilized as "glorified Altar boys in a stole." They could be utilized effectively to maintain small parishes who cannot support a priest.

Just my thoughts, but this is a very important issue that needs to be addressed. The continuum already is headed into a clergy shortage as the original priests from ECUSA are passing away and retiring. We need to find effective ways to provide clergy for small missions and parishes who cannot support a priest, as well as those parishes who can support a priest.

BCP Catholic

Fr. John said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Frankly, most of our clergy do not look legitimate because they lack any formal credentials, and were "ordained" by bishops lacking recredentials."

Esse Quam Videri

Anonymous said...

RC Cola:

I was not, nor was anyone else, speaking unkindly of those priests in service who have read for orders. When this topic came up a while back, I was the first one to say that we owe respect and thanks to those men who served to get the continuum going.

I still respect those priests and their service.

However, we need to move forward and find better, more standardized ways to educate our clergy in the future. When we ordain them a priest, we need to know that they are fully prepared to serve as such. As Father Rob said, what should be an extraordinary practice, has become the rule in many dioceses.

Many priests seem to think that being a deacon is something to be ashamed of, just a temporary state (which some bishops skip by ordaining someone deacon one day and priest the next), and that one can only fully serve as a priest.

I do not think that is true at all. A Permanent Deacon, who will obviously not need to do anything more than read for orders, can serve a small mission/small parish well.

It seems to me that instead of creating so many "mass priests" as they used to be called in England, we should be ordaining more Permanent Deacons to serve small parishes that can't afford to pay clergy. The Deacons can be recruited from among the members of the parish, and thus you have a long-time pastor in place, that will serve as a volunteer.

That, to me, is a good way to preserve parishes, and give them a chance to grow to the point that can someday have a full-time priest.

We live in different times than at any time in the past. We may need to realize that every small parish can function with an occasional visit from a priest to consecrate wafers for the Reserved Sacrament, hear confessions, etc.

BCP Catholic

RC Cola said...

Actually, BCP Catholic, none of my comments were aimed at you, except for the apology since you seemed to have taken my comments as being aimed at you.

I meant my comments for ACC Member who had disparaged reading for orders a couple weeks ago and continued the trend on this thread. It was the comment about how it "looks" that pushed my "SNAP!" button.

Canon Tallis said...

My present interest is what can actually be done now. Remembering that the whole of the seminary system was only begun in the Roman Church some four hundred years ago and that they were half spy schools as well as preparation for a rather peculiar type of priesthood, I don't think we can quite give them the coverage of Catholicity.

So what can be done. Well short of one of us winning the powerball and building an endowing a simply terrific seminary which would probably not be accredited because it would be so politically incorrect just as everything about the Continuum and classical prayer book Anglicanism is as well. do we simply continue whining or do we act?

My suggestion is that we get the Diocese of the South's reading list published and each of us compare what we have read and not read to that list. If we haven't read it, then we should proceed to acquire the book and read it. A second step would be to give the list come critical oversight. Are there books on the list which shouldn't be; are there important books which should be but aren't. And all of this should go on its own website and blog. The first step to a province wide and Continuum wide reading list for orders should be the publishing of the one currently considered the best.

Secondly we should institute a series of hedge schools. Perhaps twice a year in every diocese in a place the easiest to be reached by everyone in that area should be chosen so that priests and aspirants for orders could get together, sing (yes, SING) the offices and Eucharist together followed by lectures by the best authorities which we can acquire on "all other things which a Christian should know and believe to his soul's health" so that the intellectual and spiritual health of the Continuum can be improved.

Thirdly, those of us who own old and rare books dealing with Anglicanism should consider leaving those books to the diocese, but only if the diocese can find a place where they can be kept safely and assessed by those who need or want to read them. In short, we need to set up diocesean libraries dedicated to Anglicanism first and a wider Christianity secondly. Those libraries can then be moved on to such seminaries or cathedral schools as may follow in time and the acquisition of the money to set them up.

These are my suggestions as to what can be started immediately. I would like to hear what others might suggest can be done or begin to be done now.

poetreader said...

Now, Canon T, that sounds like a great set of ideas. I would love to see such a website maintained and well publicized, unofficially outside any of the sadly divided jurisdictions - though, once it was in place, one would hope bishops would begin directing aspirants in that direction.

The question arises, "Who would take up the challenge to set up and coordinate such an effort?" Perhaps the proposer has some kind of ideas in that direction?

As to the accessibility of rare books, I'm sure that, if someone were able to scan or otherwise reproduce the text of some of them, they could be made available online. Project Canterbury, for example, has put up quite a few valuable references. The 'net can be a marvelous tool.


Anonymous said...

I have a friend, a Roman Catholic priest, who actually started seminary in high school. Young men interested in the priesthood, after graduating from 8th grade in catholic school, went to a special seminary high school, where they actually began seminary courses in a residential high school. That was followed by more seminary in a seminary run by the diocese.

He never actually attended a regular unversity or college.

The continuum obviously doesn't have the resources to set up such a system in each diocese.

But I wonder about such a program at St. Jospeh of Arimathea for young men of high school age who wish to become priests. This would seem to go along with Archbishop Morse's ideal of living in community and forming their lives in a Benedictine pattern.

Granted, the continuum is no different than most denominations, in that most of our candidates are older men with families. But it could be a pattern for those young men who decided to enter the priesthood.

BCP Catholic

Canon Tallis said...

First, who has a copy of the Diocese of the South's Reading List? And would Archbishop Haverland object to its being published on the net?

Let us get this done first and then proceed to the next step.

And, Ed, thank you for the comment. There is nothing in the world more important to me that seeing Anglicanism grow and prosper. And I would think that all sides and all the jurisdictions in the Continuum would agree that this would be best done by a display of its glories. Quite some time ago I read a book of essays on the primacy of Peter and the thing which I remember most about it was the suggestion that the See of Peter was not so much with any city, but with the Church which presides in love. With all of my heart I wish to give that title to the Church of the Continuum.

Mark said...

From the Traditionalist Roman Catholic perspective: This conversation contains some isolated comments that make this platypus look curiouser still.

So, Cannon Tallis:

With my Roman Catholic seat-belt now securely fastened - if you care, please explain what you meant by RC seminaries once being "half spy schools" "for a rather peculiar type of priesthood", which can't be given "the coverage of Catholicity".

Mince no words, spare no feelings, set all nuance aside - my aim here is not to engage in any polemics (I promise not to reply), but simply to know your reasons for writing this.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


You may reply all you want.

John A. Hollister said...

RC Cola has twice put his finger on critical issues with respect to formal, "recognized" clerical education.

1. First, he listed several existing, respectable schools which are available either without residency or with short residencies. I have some basis for judging the content of the curriculum of the non-resident one, CDU, and that one seems both substantive and admirably free of trendiness. Presumably the others are equally valid.

2. Second, RC wrote, "For the time being, we need to do what we can to encourage our priests to become as learned as possible. This may mean that the parish has to pay for him to go to night courses or to take distance ed courses. It may mean that the faithful need to tithe into an endowment to help defray costs of full-time seminary for promising candidates...."

I know several men who would invest the time and effort for such a program and who have the skills for it. However, to take just CDU as an example, its courses presently cost $1,170 each; its entire MA program, at 2009 tuition rates, is nearly $16,000. (RC's other programs may well be more, for various reasons including length.)

None of the men I know who might undertake that work could short their familys' budgets by that much as investment in a very low-paying or, frequently, non-paying second job. In fact, that money equals a semester of a child's higher education at many schools and many of our men are now paying those costs for their children right now, leaving nothing for their own interests.

So if the people of our churches think their clergy should have "official" degrees that the outside world thinks are cool, they'd better follow RC Cola's pregnant suggestion and figure out how to fund them.

John A. Hollister+

Canon Tallis said...

Thank you, Father Hart, because I always believe that folks should have the courtesy of being able to reply.

Mark. I am rather surprised that you don't know more about the history of the Reformation period. It really is a fairly simple thing. Those Englishmen who were devoted to the Papacy fled England after the accession of Elizabeth I and founded schools for the training of priests on the continent. Their purpose was the reconversion of England to the Roman faith. After their ordination they would sneak back into England to help maintain the faith of English recusants but also to provide intelligence for the King of Spain and other European powers who might aid in returning the English to the papal faith by force of arms. They frequently ended up in conspiracies to murder Elizabeth and put her cousin, Mary of Scotland, on the English throne. There were a couple of occasions were some authorities believe they betrayed one or more of their own to the English authorities for the purpose of being able to portray those caught in a plot against the throne and the state as religious martyrs when from a purely secular point of view they were no more than traitors and potential murderers. Many of those so executed are buried in the churchyard of St Giles in the Fields in London. Frequently they were very attractive people as individuals, but their activity can hardly be squared with the teaching of St Paul or the behaviour of Christians under Pagan Rome.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, employed some of the greatest of those of the Roman faith, Tallis and Tavener among them to say nothing of the duke of Norfolk, only requiring them to obey the laws of the kingdom for the safety of all Englishmen. After all it was not her intention to break with the papacy but merely to reform the Church in England. Instead it was a very ill advised pope who excommunicated Elizabeth when even French cardinals were convinced that it was the example of the English Church which should be followed. But as one of the writers at the time noted of the Council of Trent, the Holy Spirit had a practice of arriving in the diplomatic boxes of the Spanish ambassador. And it was the interests of the Kingdom and Empire of Spain that were ultimately being served and not that of the Kingdom of God.

BCP Catholic, thank you, but pray God we never fall for the temptation of anything like the Roman minor seminaries. The place for the Benedictine spirit to be lived in Anglicanism is in the parish church where young men should be taught to serve the altar, be prepared to read the offices publicly if need be and measure themselves against the demands of the Gospel in the real world rather than something so deliberately artificial.

Frankly, before this conversation goes much farther, I think it would be wise for all to read The Waters of Marah about the state of the Greek Church during the Communist uprising. The primitive ideal and practice was maintained there long after it was forgotten and perverted in the Western Church.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Papal Infallibility is a dangerous innovation, but all innovations are dangerous to the Church. One purpose of clergy education should be to train clerics to identify innovations.

RC Cola said...

This thread has really developed into an exciting one, with many good suggestions and insight from everyone.

I'm not sure how large most ACC parishes are, and I have no idea of the demographics. So what I suggest may be unrealistic. But here go my goals:

5 years:
--Each Parish start an elementary school, preferably Montessori.
--Establish an "Anglican House of Studies" at a large, public university for ACC undergraduates and graduate students to live in while going to school. (For example, place the residence at University of __________ or _________ State University. Schools that everyone will recognize and that we can convince a critical mass of our high school seniors to attend. This will allow our kids to get a good education rather cheap, AND give them a Safe House to prevent them from going of the deep end in college. Must have a chaplain to offer morning prayer and Mass and evening prayer daily.)

7 years:
--Grow those elementary schools to cover K-8
--Establish a house of studies at an ACC-friendly seminary. Must be able to accommodate married men, even if only two~four families. MUST have an experienced priest as chaplain.

10 years:
--Start a high school per diocese or at least in a cluster of parishes. This may require boarding some students.
--Establish parishes in cities that have reliable programs so that if we need to send priests for further studies, they can be assigned to those parishes while in school.

15 years:
--Start our own college similar to Christendom (VA). Small, and very consciously orthodox.

20 years:
--Start our own seminary, perhaps near a research university so that men who will go past the MDiv, can remain in the house while pursuing a Phd.

Speaking from experience, it is challenging, but not that difficult to start and run a school. I helped start a school in 1996 (with 2 students) that now has about 150 students pre-K to 12. That school spun off a second school of 120 students pre-K to 12 an hour and a half away. Both are fully accredited. The accrediting agency was very helpful in providing guidance to the school owners on how to turn a one-room school house situation into a very legit school.

The program I laid out above is the kind of massive undertaking that would surely need a province-wide committee, and each diocese would need a committee made of parish representatives (concerned and well-informed moms).

In order to have any kind of school, the ACC laity must know the kind of monetary and time sacrifices that they will have to make, no matter what level of education we're talking about.

Having an elementary school is a great way to attract new parish members, which will help increase both the school and the church tithing.

Naturally it takes a lot of prayer, too. Without that all the money and time we are willing to spare will be meaningless.

Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that one very important part of formation is a grounding in the Benedictine lifetyle of the BCP. To that end, I can't help but think that postulants should be required to join as an associate of the Society of St. Michael, or some other dispersed religious order, to give that grounding of a life of prayer that is missing when someone cannot attend a residential seminary.

A life of holiness, based on the Benedictine lifestyle, is crucial to being a good clergyman, in my opinion.

The Roman Church, in a neighboring county, has set up a pastoral system that is working well. The 4 parishes each have a resident permanent Deacon (and wife) living in the Rectory and serving as associate pastors. Communion is distributed from the Reserved Sacrament. There is one priest who serves as pastor of all 4 parishes.
The priest celebrates mass in each parish at least once a month, hears confessions, replenishes the Reserved Sacrament for the Sundays/Holy Days that he is not there, etc.

This model, as well as using the Religious, to distribute the Reserved Sacrament, is being used effectively to pastor small parishes in the RCC.

It also, in the continuum's case, could help with some of the clergy education problems. Men who could not afford seminary could be more easily home-schooled for the diaconate, as happens in the RCC. It could perhaps help to provide more clergy.

The Homilies for Lay Readers and Deacons on this site, by Ed, Canon Hollister, Fr. Shaw, could help provide sound preaching for deacons to use.

Overall, I think using Deacons in small parishes displays much more intergrity than ordaining men priests, who haven't been well-educated to the priesthood. We should only ordain those to the priesthood that have the education and training to do so. Ordaining men not properly trained harms the reputation of the priesthood.

This is said with the greatest of respect to all who have served as priests in the formation years when seminaries and properly designed systems of education haven't been available.

BCP Catholic

Otets Ioann said...

I'd like to congratulate you on this article. I am an Eastern Orthodox priest with a great interest in Continuing Anglicanism and who hopes that one day there will be a reconcliliation between traditional Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox. It's nice to see a traditionalist Anglican article that is not Anglo-Papalist.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Otets Ioann, thank you for your comment, and greetings.

John A. Hollister said...

Thanks to BCP Catholic for the kind words, "The Homilies for Lay Readers and Deacons on this site, by Ed, Canon Hollister, Fr. Shaw, could help provide sound preaching for deacons to use."

This project started because we have missions and layreader-led congregations that are, quite literally, using sermons they received 25-30 years ago and which were decades old even then. That's a LOT of recycling.

And you don't even want to hear about some things I've found in parishes' files, that some reader just went out and downloaded from the Internet. It would take a year's effort from Frs. Hart and Kirby combined to straighten out some of their doctrinal propositions!

Now, wouldn't some others, especially the clergy out there, like to join us in this effort? The more we can get posted in the archive, deliberately based on the appointed Morning and Evening Prayer lessons, the more choice the end users will have.

Each separate acronym in "the alphabet soup" has small congregations without resident clergy, which could use and benefit from good sermons. So this is certainly one of those beneficial endeavors that can successfully demonstrate cross-jurisdictional cooperation....

How about it, brothers? All it takes is a couple of days a week and the 1943 Lectionary -- or, even better, the original 1928 one, because no one is doing the lessons from that yet. Then there are the "1662" congregations in North America along with our overseas brothers and sisters, all of whom would probably like to see some resources based on the 1922/1928 Lectionary....

If anyone can be guilt tripped into joining in, just email me at jahollister@yahoo.com and I'll let him know where to send his texts to get them posted on the resource page.

John A. Hollister+

Sandra McColl said...

It looks as if you're all doing just fine on the subject of clergy education without any input from me. I had to work yesterday, so I didn't get to devote the time I wanted to put into an article of my own. I'll do my best to chew over what's been left here and see whether I can draw something together.

Mark said...

Cannon Tallis:

From the RC perspective, and with Father Hart's "licet" to reply:

Thank you for your measured response to my question about the Roman Catholic seminaries being half spy schools. I believed this comment of yours had roots in the English Reformation, but I wanted to hear it in your own words.

History also records some other groups that held this view, but they were strictly political in nature. In this instance, however, I think one would have to be a student of the Elizabethan period to correctly separate the political from the religious motivations of the movers and shakers of that time.

On a more personal note, I once came across a book that compiled the various acts of the English Parliament during the early part of the Reformation, dealing with the Roman Catholic clergy, laity, churches, convents, schools, and monasteries. This primary source provided for me a very valuable insight into the complexities and methods of that period, that in my view, defy quick generalizations from either camp.

Anonymous said...

I am using one of Ed's Homilies today when we sing Morning Prayer.

These Homilies by all three authors are very good.

Today's Homily includes a nice reference to the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.

BCP Catholic

Canon Tallis said...


When you are a student of the Elizabethan era you frequently discover that there is no way, absolutely no way, to separate the religious from the political. The papal states still existed and occupied a good deal of central Italy and the bishops of Rome were as frequently pursuing political ends as religious ones. And the same is true for their supporters and those who believed in the papal cause.

In one of their last interviews Mary asked her sister Elizabeth to maintain the "Roman faith." Would you or any modern adherent to Roman Catholicism refer to your set of beliefs in such terms? I doubt it. But what Elizabeth choice to do was to attempt to get behind the split between East and West and restore the faith and practice of the Church as it was during the first five centuries. It was in the midst of such warring views an all but impossible task but one certainly worth seeking.

The Roman seminary priests were frequently heroically brave men who believed in a cause which even Rome has now abandoned. But they could not have known that in their time. From my point of view they were as much the agents of a spiritual totalitarianism as those who spied for the Soviet Union or who are now agents for communist China or Fidel or Hugo Chavez They, of course, saw themselves as spiritual knights errant engaged in the task of restoring "the true faith" to England. When I was studying them in the university my professor was an ardent papist, the father of twelve, and absolutely determined to demonstrate the righteousness of their cause. It was a great course, taught by a great teacher, but he failed to convince any of us who were not Romans that they were even a little in the right and the 'reforms' of Vatican II undertaken by John XXIII and Paul VI would indicate Henry, Cranmer and Elizabeth were ultimately more correct that Philip II and Pius V while Benedict XVI is searching for a liturgical language or languages equivalent to that of the classical prayer books.

Ironic, isn't it?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Canon Tallis, with respect, I don't think that there is sufficient evidence to hold the position that Elizabeth choice "to attempt to get behind the split between East and West and restore the faith and practice of the Church as it was during the first five centuries." She thought, as did monarchs of her time, that one religion was essential to unify the kingdom. I'm not sure that she cared about the theological differences that led to the Great Schism, but she saw the wisdom of one book of common prayer whereby all would worship in her realm. People who worship together are less likely to kill each other.

Mark said...

Cannon Tallis:

Thank you again for your substantive reply.

I think there is a lot of common ground among us. It seems we all agree that the use of physical force to restore Roman Catholicism to Elizabethan England would have produced only more bloodshed and ill will. Another encouraging sign is that we're willing to grant that those from either camp, who were executed at that time defending their conscience (in matters of faith), were honorable men and women.

Now, to mention one sticking point:

The Roman Catholic Church to this day is sometimes portrayed as a "totalitarian" institution (echoes of Paul Blanshard on the left – see his book “Communism, Democracy, and Catholic Power”, and certain religious nativists on the right).

To those of us who know what real totalitarianism is (in its spiritual and physical aspects), and who also know the Roman Catholic Church, such comparisons don’t carry any water. It is precisely in these type of situations that I would advise my fellow Roman Catholics to turn the other cheek.

Canon Tallis said...


One has to read the words which she wrote in her own hand and frequently thought no one other than herself would ever see. I think paticularly of a collect she wrote when she believed that her sister would have her killed to take her out of the succession.

But he key to Elizabeth's character was that she thought of herself as a consecrated virgin and told the Spanish ambassador so when she came to the throne. She read both Hebrew and Greek and it was her spiritual practice to read a chapter of the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New in Greek every day of her reign. She had great respect for those who did not share her religious beliefs but would serve the kingdom and herself faithfully. I write especially of the master of the Royal Chapel, Tallis and Tavener who were both devout papists and whose works for that liturgy she allowed to be published in England. The worship in her private chapel exceeded in splendour that even of the bishop of Rome according to his nephew who visited his court and wrote of such to his wife in Italy. She was theologically more astute that probably any of the Roman bishops of her time. If she had not been, she and England would not have survived. The words I quote so frequently that they may seem to be my own came from a letter to the Emperor Frederick which she ripped from the hand of Cecil and revised in her own much stronger words "earliest bishops and Catholic fathers" of whose work she was well aware.

She was buried with a crucifix in her hands.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks, Canon Tallis. Queen Elizabeth was doubtless a fascinating monarch. Queen Catherine of Aragon can be credited with "splendour" in her royal chapel even before Elizabeth. She too was a devout monarch who died with a crucifix in her hands.

Last week I watched an outstanding performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII in a replica of the Globe in Asland, Oregon. I recommend it highly, if you can ever visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.