Monday, December 07, 2009

For consideration

Auburn Tracyk recommended this article from the Prayer Book Society website, entitled, Heterodoxy? Throw the Book (of Common Prayer) At It! Whereas it addresses matters that more of a direct concern to the Anglican Communion than to the Continuing Church (inasmuch as issues that are in debate there are settled here), it is worthwhile reading. Here is part of it reproduced below:

The latter invitation was the result of a conversation that Fr. Patterson and Lweru Bishop Jackton Lugumira had during the 2008 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. Patterson wrote that the bishop “voiced his shock and disappointment at the degree to which it had become clear to him that many western Anglicans no longer accept much of the theology set forth in our Anglican formularies, namely the Book of Common Prayer 1662 (with its American and Canadian descendants being the BCPs published in 1928 and 1962, respectively), the Ordinal and the 39 Articles of Religion.

“He was particularly distressed at the degree to which the biblical doctrines of marriage and human sexuality have been supplanted by a modern secular dogma which is antithetical to Christian teaching and morality,” wrote the North Carolina cleric, who serves within the Anglican Mission in the Americas. Lugumira contended that the Anglican Church therefore needs to begin using again the classic versions of the BCP “and by so doing to reclaim an important weapon in our fight for Christian orthodoxy within the Anglican Way,” Patterson said.

Their selection of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as the standard is interesting. I tend to think of the 1549 Canon of Consecration as superior, and I prefer the Scottish and American BCPs (i.e., the traditional ones). Nonetheless, the overall concern is worth considering, and the use of the BCP as a remedy to error is spot on.

On another front, this article provides reason for caution to ACA/TAC parishes willing to throw in their lot, along with their building and other real property and other assets, to the Roman Catholic Church, especially as represented by "the Holy See's" ocean of bureaucrats. Would your church real estate be sacrificed on the market to pay part of the settlements of the clergy pederast scandal? Who wants to be first to find out?


John A. Hollister said...

"[Bishop Jackton] Lugumira contended that the Anglican Church therefore needs to begin using again the classic versions of the BCP 'and by so doing to reclaim an important weapon in our fight for Christian orthodoxy within the Anglican Way'...."

Simply astonishing. Clearly there are "Anglicans" out there who think of themselves as being "conservative" and/or "traditional" but who have forgotten that vital principle, "lex credendi, lex orandi".

Here, from Central Africa, is acute testimony to the wisdom of the revisionists who designed the 1979 "Prayer Book", the "Books of Alternative Services", and their ilk, precisely to eradicate all memory of the historic Faith. Yet the NeoAnglicans still think they can promote some meaningful version of Catholic Christianity while continuing to use those theological Trojan horses!

John A. Hollister+

Canon Tallis said...

It is no secret that a good deal of the money which Bernard Cardinal Law used to combat further revelations in the Roman Church's continuing sexual scandals came from the Anglican use parishes. Consequently, it should surprise no one if the next wave of Anglican converts have their assets used in the battle.

During a social event this last Saturday, I had an occasion to speak with an Irish lady to remind her that I was continuing my prayers for her health. She told me that she had quite gone off religion at the moment because of the revelations in the Irish Ryan report.

Unknown said...

The AP states that personal ordinariates would be directly under the Pope and presumably their assets could not be used to pay for settlements resulting from current lawsuits filed against a diocese or a religious order such as the Society of Jesus.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


That's wonderful news. Now, just to confirm the report of Associated Press, please quote whatever part of the constitution or the norms that their news report is based on. If it were Fox News rather than AP, I might still suggest confirming it this way.

I look forward to seeing what part of this new constitution you can show us that says this.

poetreader said...

Canon Tallis,
I suppose these issues do need to be considered, and there is something in Scripture about "By their fruits ye shall know them." However, the issue is not the sins and misbehaviors of the clergy (article XXVI), nor is it the disposition of any earthly goods ("Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth..."), but rather the issue is one of truth. I think ultimately it does come down to one thing: If the Bishop of Rome is indeed the one and only God-given authority to be taken as final arbiter of truth, then all the other objections fail, for what he says, goes; but if those claims be not true, then it is wrong to submit to such absolute authority, and those aspects of Roman teaching that appear to be obstacles may be considered. All this happens without respect of persons or of possessions, individual or corporate. Those issues do perhaps come into play, but more as markers as to where one might look. Continuers left a "church" over truth and abandoned property to do so. If the truth of Roman claims were to be accepted, we would be required by God to do the same again. It is because I do not accept those claims and not because of property issues that I refuse to go that route. As a certain German is reported to have said, "Here I stand, I can do no other."


Anonymous said...

Give it up, gentlemen. We, ordinary parishioners within the audiences of the archbishops of the American "province of the TAC" have heard the spin for a very long time, it never does match the reality, and there is no reasoning in the entire universe of reasoning that will convince people determined to see clothes on the Emperor that he has none.

Believe me. We've tried. The naked Emperor can stand there and make slapping noises on his bare legs and arms and belly, and the onlookers who are invested in the clothing argument will continue it.

And the worst of it? It's what you say it is. If Rome teaches the most true version of the truth, then whatthehell are they waiting for? Why do they not go bow the knee, kiss the ring, and do as they are told? Why must they keep telling others to do it instead of just going and putting their knees where their mouths are?

It's all very tiresome.

A former parishioner

Deacon Down Under said...

Canon Tallis I agree with your distaste at the behaviour of pedophile Roman Catholic priests and those bishops who aided, abetted or covered up abuse, shifted these men around like Bernard Law.

The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania paid a tokenistic compensation of $60,000 to many many victims of pedophile Anglican priests, many of them married priests.

That story has been mirrored elsewhere in the Anglican Communion. Pedophilia amongst priests Roman or Anglican has no bearing on a celibate priesthood, lace cottas or the use of incense.

For survivors of pedophile priests, actions speak louder than any words of apology, any pious platitudes. Anglican clergy abuse survivors need in the continuum to find the strongest clerical discipline, a culture of zero tolerance of child abuse and an acceptance that the Roman (and Anglican) approach of dealing with allegations of serious criminal conduct in-house is plain wrong.

John A. Hollister said...

David Gould wrote, "Anglican clergy abuse survivors need in the continuum to find the strongest clerical discipline, a culture of zero tolerance of child abuse and an acceptance that the Roman (and Anglican) approach of dealing with allegations of serious criminal conduct in-house is plain wrong."

I can only speak from knowledge of one group (the ACC) and, within that, only of the situation within the continental United States. Here, since I began being involved in such things 17 years ago, there have only been a handful -- and I do mean fewer than 6 -- complaints that have come to my attention where there was even an allegation of conduct that could be deemed equivocal in nature. Only two of those cases known to me seemed to present actionable evidence of actual physical misconduct, and only one of those cases involved someone under age.

In all of these cases, however, and regardless of the Church authorities personal beliefs about their truth or falsity, or even their actual meaning, where there was a potential violation of the law, the competent local authorities were notified that the Church had received such complaints. Surprisingly, the Church has been more willing to report these events than the authorities have been to investigate them, something for which I have no explanation.

John A. Hollister+

Deacon Down Under said...

John A Hollister writing about the ACC's response to allegations of priestly sexual abuse is somewhat reassuring. The price of child protection in our churches is eternal vigilance.

I agree that the only appropriate response when allegations are raised is to call the police and child protection authorities as it is only they who are qualified and competent to investigate the claims.

The foolishness of the Roman and many Anglican diocesan responses is to assume that they can manage the issue in house.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am aware of Episcopalian clergy having this scandal, and of Canadian clergy in the Canterbury Communion. But, even when the bishop has been the worst kind of heretic, unlike Roman Catholic bishops we know of, I am not aware of any attempt to handle it in-house or cover it up, or reassign the offenders.

poetreader said...

Let me put it this way. I am so aware, or at least think I am, but have no evidence sufficient to allow me to speak any specifics. I don't ask anyone to believe my observation true, but merely to accept that there is someone (me - among others) who has seen enough to be convinced. Even if it be true, I can't believe the problem is as pervasive as the abuse Rome is now trying to correct, nor is Anglican machinery organized in such a way as to make such abuse easy -- whereas it would seem RC machinery works rather well that way. Coverup of sexual irregularies is not uncommon in religious circles of any sort, and prominent offenders tend to be valued highly for their talents and thus to receive protection from those who benefit from their talents. I think we have been better at handling these things than some others, but finger pointing is always a dangerous thing.

I say none of this to be condemning, but to urge us to yend to what abuses we can correct, even if they are fewer. However, the magnitude of the problem is one that should be considered by those who are unsure if this is a move that must be made. For those who are convinced, well, perhaps it is best that they have eyes open as to what they may find.


Deacon Down Under said...

Fr. Hart wrote: "am aware of Episcopalian clergy having this scandal, and of Canadian clergy in the Canterbury Communion. But, even when the bishop has been the worst kind of heretic, unlike Roman Catholic bishops we know of, I am not aware of any attempt to handle it in-house or cover it up, or reassign the offenders."

Father with respect the cover up and reassignment has occurred all over the world within Anglican Churches. In my own case an Archdeacon who had 2 prison terms - one for violating 11 boys including me was still invited to the consecration of the current Anglican Church of Australia primate. In my own case the former Bishop of Tasmania denied flatly that anything had occurred to me, until years later I forced them to accept that they had with just me 4 pedophile priests. When I wrote to a UK diocesan about two such priests serving there, they had an in house investigation which I was not told about, not allowed to present at, and which naturally exonerated those men of God. So they continue to serve.

When you combine sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse especially misuse of the sacrament of confession, the damage is deep and long-lasting - lifelong.

In my own case again Father it is the power of Jesus Christ and His inestimable healing love that has finally lifted the veil of suffering, and anger and enabled me to see the Anglican Catholic Church to be that "Holy Mother Church" which was so abusive, indeed no less abusive than was the Boston Archdiocese of the Latin Church to so many boys.

Please note I do not blame priests and laity who fail to see the depth of this problem, the extent of the damage and who seek to see the best in all souls.

John A. Hollister said...

It is difficult to know what to say to someone like David Gould, other than we feel a deep and abiding gratitude that he has allowed God's ever-present Grace into his heart to heal the damage inflicted upon him in his innocence. Truly God is good.

If everything else were truly equal, then we would have to expect that the percentage of perverts among the clergy of any denomination or communion would approximate the percentage of their presence in the whole population from which that body of clergy was drawn. (And when I use the word "pervert" I am applying it to those who act out their impulses, not to those who may feel deviate desires but resist them. Institutionally, we can only deal with behavior that has actually manifested itself, not to the myriad temptations to which original sin so manifestly inclines the human heart.)

Unfortunately, institutional structures and practices can increase that percentage of represetation by selecting in undue numbers of such persons. I believe the Roman Church has allowed itself to fall into that trap. One factor that contributes to it is the fact of mandatory celibacy. While some married men are also pedophiles, the imposition across the board of an unhealthy attitude toward normal marriage and sexuality can only increase the dysfunctional psychic and spiritual pressures felt by those on whom it is imposed.

Of even more importance, however, is the development of a culture of tolerance and concealment. For this, an unhealthy "clericalism" is partly to blame, as is also an overall bureaucratization of administration, coupled with a broad culture of official secrecy.

That is why it is essential that all reports of potential criminal conduct that are received by Church authorities must be passed on to the civic law enforcement agencies. Those who are charged with secular crimes are entitled to all the array of due process and impartial adjudication that society affords but they are not, by any means, entitled to any additional shields devised by those who are, in secular terms, their employers.

Nor can the Church make the error that so many Roman bishops did, of listening to charlatans' swan songs about "treatment". Since I first became involved with law enforcement more than 40 years ago, I have never heard a credible psychiatrist or clinical psychologist claim that pedophiles can effectively be treated, let alone cured. I have, however, had many of them tell me that those who suffer from this disease are, in the present state of knowledge, untreatable and virtually certain to be recidivists.

So the hard fact of life is that no decent church organization can ever take the risks of (a) covering up allegations of such conduct or (b) re-employing anyone who has ever been convicted of them.

And, to switch from the vital pastoral and spiritual responsibilities in these cases to being rather crass about the secular consequences, never forget that what created the almost unbelievable levels of civil liability for Roman dioceses and orders was not the perverts' first offenses -- they had no liability for things that happened without warning. What made them very expensively culpable was that, once they did have such warnings, they recklessly disregarded them so as to put additional victims at risk. That is what they are paying millions for.

The Continuing Churches have had to be rather more careful because they simply do not have the resources to deal with such recurring offenses. Just one modest judgment or settlement would bankrupt an entire jurisdiction among us.

John A. Hollister+

Canon Tallis said...


No one can appreciate you courage or what you have gone through more than myself. A childhood friend, one whom I had done the disservice of teaching him the Latin he needed to serve mass at that time, fell victim of his parish priest and then of the teachers of the monastic high school to which he was sent. My Roman (by religion and city of birth) uncle used to laugh at the unsuccessful attempts of his clerical guests to pat or pinch various parts of my teenage anatomy. And that was the better part of it. It has, to be truthful, completely soured me on the Roman Church, but at the time it was happening I didn't know that Anglicanism or the Book of Common Prayer existed.

And fortunately when I came to know Anglicanism I was pushed into reading enough and perhaps more than enough of Church history to believe that it was entirely impossible for the Roman position to be true. I understand the need of Romans such as my uncle to believe it, to need to have it be true, but I think that was may not have been a cradle Anglican but something very deep in my birth and raising made it seem more true and more natural than anything else in this world. I was an Old High Churchman long before I knew that it was possible to be such a thing or that any existed other than myself. It is probably the reason I am so delighted by the Fathers Wells, Hart, and Kirby and Canons Hollister and Nalls. They, to me, have a balanced solidity which gives me a great faith in the future of classical Anglicanism.