I must say, I was disappointed.
Nonetheless, as we never shun disagreement nor fear contradiction, we will even help these people out in their effort to launch their blog and to refute us. In fact, we will reproduce their argument against our position word for word, leaving nothing out. Of course, we will intersperse it with our own answers. At the end of the day the truth will prevail, and the people who need to know accurate information, especially those who will be faced with the need to make a decision based on accurate information, will be the only real winners.
Here is their argument reproduced verbatim, with our comments at each point.
You Will Be…Assimilated
by Father William P. “Doc” HolidayThis ominous forewarning was oft declared by the malevolent science fiction characters, the Borg, in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In our day, and unfortunately in real life, the same admonition is with seemingly equal frequency being proclaimed by those who are opposed to the unity of the Church by means of the Apostolic Constitution (AC), Anglicanorum Coetibus.
Notice that the accusations have begun already. Those of us who have pointed out inconvenient facts from the text of Anglicanorum Coetibus are "opposed to the unity of the Church." The idea of genuine concern based on knowledge, reason and honest dissent are swept aside by this accusation of malevolent purpose. They need to read some C.S. Lewis: "The modern method is to assume without discussion that [one's opponent in debate] is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly."1
The emphatic caution of impending assimilation is a common, if not the common thread that runs through the media outlets that specialize in the critique of the AC,...
i.e., those of us who post here.
...and it is usually flagged by various forms of the word “absorption.”
No, actually we have used the correct Roman Catholic word: "conversion." Furthermore, we have explained our reasons over and over again. "Absorption" has been Abp. Hepworth's word, trying to explain what he, himself, promises his followers could never possibly happen.
The contention is that the Roman Church lies in wait, something akin to an ecclesial Venus flytrap, for the approach of the unwary Anglicans who would avail themselves of the provisions of the AC. Well, isn’t that true? Isn’t that the way Rome works, consuming and digesting everything in her path, absorbing all to serve the monolithic entity? I would submit to you that these assertions are not true, and as a matter of fact, fly in the face of the reality that exists in the context of Holy Church’s desire to embrace variant forms of spirituality, liturgy, and even governance.
(That's the stuff, "Holy Church" exclusively used for the papal Communion. That'll win over the wary Anglicans-please keep it up). Actually, we have not accused Rome of any such thing. Rather, we have simply drawn out the obvious and clear meaning of the constitution and its norms.
Nonetheless, concerning this Borg analogy, the Borg said they would assimilate their victim's distinctive culture and knowledge and make it to serve their own. We contend that this is not the case here. Rome's constitution gives former Anglicans (and that is what they are always called, former Anglicans) special liturgical practices that would be in some ways a little more Anglican than the general liturgy of the RCC, and one generation of married clergy based on the same rules (adding only the Ordinariates to prevent obstruction by local bishops) as the Pastoral Provisions that apply only to former Anglican clergy, and no possible existence beyond that first generation apart from converts who may come from among the married Anglican clergy. The constitution is absolutely clear about this, as is the set of Norms. They have made it clear that the door remains closed to men who are already in the denomination they call the Catholic Church. That is not a hopeful scenario. It is no mystery: All we have to do is read the thing-for crying out loud!
A prime example of the pastoral considerations that Mother Church has for novel elements can be found in the history of Opus Dei. Opus Dei is a Catholic institution that has the mission of leading people to the knowledge that everyday life and work are opportunities to grow closer to Jesus Christ. This institution was founded in 1928 by St. Josemaria Escriva. St. Josemaria and his followers exhibited a unique charism that did not fit within any established organization then currently in the Church. Consequently, for over 54 years the Church proverbially “bent-over-backwards” in order to create an environment in which Opus Dei could flourish. During this time these efforts were hindered by such circumstances as the handing off of the issue from Congregation to Congregation in the Roman Curia because it could not be determined which had the authority or understanding to deal with the matter, to an aggressive and coordinated campaign of defamation carried out against Opus Dei and the Founder by an established religious order. Despite over half of a century of obstacles, the Magisterium overcame them by ultimately instituting the first personal prelature, declared in the AC, Ut sit. All this being said to show that the Holy See will go to great lengths and pains to ensure that those who hold to a distinctive charism will be able to exercise their gifts for the betterment of the Church, even if it means developing an absolutely original organization. This was done in the case of Opus Dei for those who were already part of the Catholic Church, and it is unarguable that it would have been much easier for the Church to order these folks to adjust their way of doing things and ”be assimilated” into something already in place. However, due to Her pastoral consideration and love for Her children, the Church amended canons, established new canons, and even declared the formation of a previously unheard of administrative structure. Sound familiar?
Pope John Paul II endorsed Opus Dei in no uncertain terms. But, this entire example amounts to nothing by way of an argument that the constitution is something other than what we have seen. Because Opus Dei has finally been sanctioned by sheer papal power (which may be good or bad, as I am not sure that Opus Dei is entirely sound), the argument seems to be, Anglicanorum Coetibus does not mean what it says, but what Abp. Hepworth wants you to believe that it says, and what Abp. Falk has so inaccurately portrayed.
Other examples of Mother Church’s allowance for diversity are to be found in the uniate Churches that exist under the authority of the Holy See. A prime example of this being the Maronite Church. This Church maintains its own liturgy, spirituality, and governmental structure distinct from the local diocese. Sound familiar?
("Mother Church?" Who is it you are trying to convince? Anglicans, you say? Good luck.) Like "Inter-communion" this whole stuff about "uniate" churches is irrelevant. Anglicanorum Coetibus establishes no such thing at all. The language, the canons, the Norms, the entire description of what it does establish, are obviously not the same thing. In practice, it simply extends the Pastoral Provisions and Anglican Use outside the United States, and removes local episcopal obstruction. Promises of a "uniate" stand in contradiction to Anglicanorum Coetibus.
Given just these examples, I hope that an understanding is stirred that the Church has not, nor does not make it a habit of trying to make clones out of all with whom She makes contact, and the contention that She seeks to do so is unfounded.
"The Church." There is that Roman exclusiveness again. The very use of the term in this exclusive way shows that the writer is quite happy for Anglicans to admit that they have never really been in the Church at all. But, he assures us, this is somehow not "conversion," not even, using his word, absorption. (This line of argument has moved from Bulversim to self-defeating. making the transition all within one sentence; demonstrating, I might add, mastery of prose.)
In the case of Anglicanorum Coetibus, the current deliberations that continue even after the declaration demonstrate that the AC is not a “take it or leave it proposition.” The mere existence of the AC exhibits a desire of the Church to work with us as much as is possible to maintain the Anglican patrimony we seek to bring forward. If it were the case that Rome desired nothing more than to absorb us, the response to the TAC’s petition would have been, “Great, we’ll set up some RCIA classes. Have a good life.”
"As mush as possible" indeed, that is, within the Roman Catholic paradigm. You may take it, but I will leave it. Yes, it is more than setting up some RCIA classes, but not much more.In closing folks, I give a word of warning, not about being assimilated, but about discernment.
Or a warning against discernment.
Since the submission of the TAC’s petition to the Holy See...
But, Anglicanorum Coetibus was created in response to the petition of Forward in Faith/UK that dates back to the mid-1990s. Cardinal Kasper has explained that the TAC may be allowed to participate.
...there have been nay-sayers. The remarks have ranged from, Rome isn’t even going to pay serious attention to this. This will never get past the talking stage. If anything does happen it will be in 100 years. This or that bishop is merely seeking personal gain, etc., etc., etc. All of these claims made with the caveat that the claimant “knew” someone on the inside.
The only person we know of who has claimed special gnosis is Abp. Louis Falk. He claims to know all about a secret set of Norms that he has publicly announced (I just love public secrets), in addition to the existing Norms. Either that, or he claims to be the only person living or dead who can tell us what the existing Norms really mean, and why they contradict and supersede the constitution itself. It is not clear which of these impossible things we should try to believe before breakfast. I suggest that his Grace read the new constitution carefully before promising anything else.
Well, subsequent events have proved them all wrong.
Really? Proved what exactly to be wrong? It hardly matters. What we are dealing with are the facts, namely, those things the the new constitution actually says.
Out of charity I will not judge motive, but at best it has been established time and again that the prophets were false. They have exhibited for all to see, their lack of objective information regarding the matter at hand, and an even more glaring lack of formation in the subject matter before them, i.e., Catholicity.
Is this really Doc Holiday? Not much in the way of marksmanship (or even dentistry). Does he mean this? "They have exhibited for all to see, their lack of objective information regarding the matter at hand." Frankly, this line is ironic. We have discussed nothing but the objective facts, while they have tried to explain them all away (as for not understanding "Catholicity," I will be very happy to shoot it out any time. He can even bring Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan along).
Be that as it may, instead of humbly going about their business, they began a new harangue about absorption.
Back to Bulverism.
Consequently, my admonition is that when you see a reference to being “absorbed,” proceed warily.
Oh, yes, indeed; on that we agree. When Abp. Hepworth says "unity without absorption," just remember the words from The Wizard of OZ, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!... Don't actually read Anglicanorum Coetibus for yourself; even if we post it, we say with Chico Marx from Duck Soup, 'Who you gonna' believe? Me, or your own eyes?'"
O God-there he goes again.
...has proven time and time again that she is in the business of allowing her children to exercise their unique gifts and talents as much as She is able.
Yes, and only that much.
She will even go far out of her way to see that they can do so.
In Christ and His ever-virgin Mother,
For better clarification look here, here, here, and here. That is just for starters.
I am sure that Fr. "Doc" Holiday believes everything he is saying with the zealous and charitable conviction of a sincere missionary. I hope he will find peace and joy, with the fullness of God's grace, even as he enters into communion with the See of Rome. But, as far as arguments go, his essay cannot hold water. This, many of you may need to understand very soon.
Amazing isn't it? There's almost no point in engaging in debate as this chap (and others besides) have resigned themselves to just "accepting" like some new found discipline of obedience, all that their Superiors tell them...
Fr "Doc", as evidenced by another posting of his and a dialogue we had in his Comments attached, is, it would appear, totally "brainwashed". He cannot answer specific points or questions objectively - he immediately responds with polemic - such as this recent post of his.
I despair I really do, that people, who appear quite intelligent and who only a few months back would've sworn "black was white" in favour of the validity of true Anglican Patrimony... overnight it seems, have forsaken all they once held dear.
The Vincentian Canon and certain Roman doctrines of the past 150 years are just simply not compatible. They hail Cardinal Newman to justify the progressivism of Roman doctrine despite the fact, as Fr Hart made mention of recently, Rome originally rejected his thesis of the "Development of Doctrine".
Yet, it must be said, that the "hermeneutic of continuity" postulated by the present Holy Father, is in reality, in its justification of the development of Roman doctrine and praxis leading up to and including VCII, a fair approximation or direct application of Newman's theory!
It is a shame that "The Anglo-Catholic" does not limit itself to its original writer, the layman, who actually writes quite well and more convincingly on objective points than his "minister" (...if "Fr" "Doc" truly believes what "Holy Church" says about his Orders... then presumably he believes he is not a priest...?).
To re-iterate the point already made several times: if you are in a place morally and spiritually where you need to be Roman Catholic, then please go with my blessings. But I sure wish that the effort to guilt the rest of us into a self-destructive loathing of what is perceived as Anglicanism would cease and desist. But, this is what happens when we are ignorant of our own history, theology and legitimate traditions.
If I may appeal for calm here, I believe that The Anglo-Catholic is only trying to do for those former Anglicans who are making their submission to Rome what The Continuum blog is trying to do for Anglican Catholics: namely, it is trying to educate and edify -- not necessarily convert anyone to their view. The presumption (it would seem to me) is that, if you're reading The Anglo-Catholic, you're already onboard with Anglicanorum Coetibus. To continue Kasper's analogy: The train has left the station, you have your ticket, and you're in the refreshment car enjoying an aperitif.
In other words, each blog is essentially preaching to the converted. This is probably true for just about every blog out there.
And yes, I did say former Anglicans. Anyone reconciled to the Holy See under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution becomes ipso facto a Roman Catholic, albeit a Roman Catholic with a distinct liturgical and cultural patrimony. I can perfectly understand why some would desire to keep an "Anglo-" or "Anglican" nomenclature; but for the sake of peace, and still more in the interest of truth, I think such nomenclature ought to be abandoned. It rightfully belongs to those in the Anglican Communion and in the Continuum.
In all honesty, I do have to agree with Fr. Hart and others here that some high-profile statements regarding the Apostolic Constitution are, or at least seem to be confusingly at odds with the text of the Constitution itself. I fear the individuals making such statements aren't helping matters. Why continue to insist that a married priesthood will be normative for the Ordinariates? Why create the impression that the Ordinariates will be virtually sui juris? and so on. I don't understand.
In his Preface to De Hierarchia Anglicana (1894), Bp. Wordsworth remarked: "Certainly in [this] controversy we must put aside resentments and hatred. However, it is also true that we must insist upon honest and fair judgment. I say 'honest,' because it is impossible to serve God with lies and fabrications; and 'fair,' because in truth we must insist that whatever is done by our brothers for the better should not be construed for the worse. In this matter it is necessary that the souls of many be transformed -- the Holy Ghost being our helper -- and that the usual ways of controversy be set aside." I pray that this spirit marks all discussion between Anglican and Roman Catholics, even (or perhaps especially) when the subject is something as prickly as Anglicanorum Coetibus.
Papa Doc wrote: "Other examples of Mother Church’s allowance for diversity are to be found in the uniate Churches that exist under the authority of the Holy See. A prime example of this being the Maronite Church. This Church maintains its own liturgy, spirituality, and governmental structure distinct from the local diocese. Sound familiar?"
It certainly does sound familiar -- that is, familiar as a description of the 21 Uniate "Rites" that exist under the Roman ombrellino. It does not sound in the least bit similar to anything mentioned in the text of the Apostolic Constitution, however.
Well, perhaps that should be "similar to anything mentioned affirmatively in the Apostolic Constitution...." Because that Constitution does, in fact, mention Uniate status -- when it states explicitly that this is NOT what "former Anglicans" will be given....
So why do you suppose Papa Doc dragged in this utterly irrelevant topic, which can only have the effect of misleading would-be "former Anglicans" into thinking they will be getting what Rome, but not Papa Doc, has already told them they cannot have?
John A. Hollister+
So why do you suppose Papa Doc dragged in this utterly irrelevant topic, which can only have the effect of misleading would-be "former Anglicans"...?
The answer is in the question. It is not his own agenda, I think, but the agenda of those he follows.
"In practice, it simply extends the Pastoral Provisions and Anglican Use outside the United States, and removes local episcopal obstruction. Promises of a "uniate" stand in contradiction to Anglicanorum Coetibus."
Fr. Hart, you keep saying this, but your reading of the Constitution is flawed. It does far more than that. The governance of the proposed ordinariates is not the same as Latin Catholic dioceses; the governing council that selects the candidates for ordinary is far more authority than a diocesan board has. The requirement for a parish pastoral council in each parish, along with a financial council, is more than is required of parishes in Latin Catholic parishes.
You are correct, of course, that the AC does not set up something akin to a "uniate" status; but how could it. What church could be in such a status? There is no single Anglican Church; event the Canterbury Communion is not one church, it is a fellowship of similar churches, which are legally, liturgically and doctrinally distinct from each other. The continuing churches are also divided. And then there's the many Anglican bodies who claim to be the legitimate heir of Anglicanism in this region or that. In order for such a state to come about, there would need to be one Anglican Church. This was not the case with the Maronites, as cited in Fr. Holiday's post, nor the Chaldeans, et al.
As for Fr. Holiday's contention that the word "absorption" has been used as a scare tactic, that word has certainly appeared in posts here over the past few weeks, and not just in quotes of Archbishop Hepworth, as well as in posts on other sites who find the AC wanting in some way.
(Examples: "the Apostolic Constitution does not offer corporate reunion - it offers "corporate" (at best) conversion - this is not Communion it is absorption"in the post "An Analysis from Outside", November 24;
also, "it can be under no obligation to accept offers amounting to renunciation of identity and absorption" from the post "Anglican Catholic Ecclesiology" of November 18.)
Your post's introduction "I was prepared for a stimulating and properly documented argument with real information and persuasive debate" unfortunately, didn't hold true for your own comments, which amount to "I can read the AC, and I know what it means"; I suspect that long study in, or a degree, in Canon Law, would be necessary to properly discern the meaning of any piece of law like this. Like any legislation, it presumes certain other legislation in the corpus of to which it belongs.
but what you say about "Uniates" has application solely and only to the Maronites, who are the only Eastern body to have come over whole and entire into the RCC. Your mention of the Chaldeans is such a gross oversimplification as to be almost funny.
What a tangled piece of history is the relation between the "Church of the East", the Chaldeans, and the RCC!, with schisms and reschisms and constant fights over jurisdiction. The Case in South India is related and similar, in that the St. Thomas Christians were a part of the Church of the East, and developed a fissiparious tendency at least equal to that of Continuing Anglicans, resulting in two separaterites within the RCC and several bodies not within the RCC.
Every Eastern rite other than the Maronites emerged from a similarly complex historical chain of events, and every one but the Maronites involves the division of existing communities and the establishment of parallel jurisdictions for pretty much the same people.
I've misplaced my sources for this, but I am relying strictly on sympathetic and appreciative RC studies of the Eastern rites.
There may indeed be reasons that Rome is unable to apply the Unitate model to Anglicans, but they are not found in what you've said.
At any rate, it is not a model that I would find comfortable at all. What many of us were (and still are) looking for is the development of some form of genuine intercommunion between sister churches while we work to find our way to a fuller unity. If that cannot be achieved, then what has been prosed will indeed be sinilar to what has occured in the East: the division of existing communities in the interest of the union of merely a part with a larger entity. There is certainly an element of absorption in such a state of affairs, as well as an appearance of further separation for the part not so "absorbed".
I consider the AC. though perhaps well intentioned, as an unfortunate blip in the necessary search for real unity.
"I suspect that long study in, or a degree, in Canon Law, would be necessary to properly discern the meaning of any piece of law like this."
When Anglicanorum coetibus appeared, I printed the thing out in its entirety and read it carefully. It all seemed rather clear and straightforward. So unless Steve himself has this "long study in, or a degree, in (sic) Canon Law, he is only making the whole thing sound more fishy.
One thing for sure. The ultimate interpretaion will issue from Rome, not from Australia or from the Magic Kingdom of Orlando. Hepworth and his associates can talk all they want but they will not have th last word.
Father Hart, Canon Hollister and Ed,
I think that you ought to be greatly thanked for this, but probably won't be. It is a work of charity as all works of truth are. But when one gets tired of dealing with the internal contradictions of the peculiar form of Anglo-Papalism which these folk believe is actually Anglo-Catholicism, you have a tendency to follow your nose. Or, rather, what was put in front of your nose by a hundred plus years of the Anglican and Episcopal version of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. And it is only lately that I have realized just how apt for that particular group of RC's that title is.
They will go where they will go; Adam followed Eve in eating the apple. The question is: when they have discovered the hard facts of what they have been led into, will they have the moral will to find their way out again? Or will they reach their own equivalent of Newman's tears in the back pews of St Paul's?
There is another reason thawt it really was unwise of Papa Doc to cite the Uniate Maronites as an example of Rome's tolerance of diversity.
Apologists for the Apostolic Constitution have made the claim that Anglicans cannot be granted Uniate status because they "came out of" the Roman Rite and, upon their "going back", must return to that Rite because (and here the logic gets particularly fuzzy) there cannot be two "Western" Churches under Rome, each with a separate Rite.
But there are seven -- count 'em, seven -- "Uniate" groups, all of which use the Byzantine Rite. So if this excuse held water, then after the first of those groups "rejoined Rome" -- which, in Roman eyes, was supreme over the pre-1054 Church of the East -- then any subsequent converts who also used the Byzantine Rite would not have been granted their own independent juridical structures but, instead, would have been forced to place themselves under that earlier group of converts.
I've heard of "Aristotelian Logic", "Ramusian Logic", and even, yes, "Fuzzy Logic", but now, apparently, there's an additional system of "Roman Logic", where "A = C" and "B = C" but "A ≠ B". Or perhaps it's "A = B" but "B ≠ A"....
John A. Hollister+
"Your mention of the Chaldeans is such a gross oversimplification as to be almost funny."
Well, I'm not sure how a mention can be anything other than an oversimplification. The point I was making was that the various Eastern Catholic Churches were not divided prior. Uniate status would be denied by the Maronites, who would say they never left communion with Rome, even though the practical carrying out of that was made difficult by their immersion in a sea of surrounding Muslims. So that's an oversimplification, too; but the point is, there was a single Maronite church, a single Ukranian church, with which to deal at first, even though there were subsequent divisions. There was no Ruthenian Orthodox Church, until the Ruthenian Catholics were treated so badly by the Irish episcopate here in the U.S., that some parishes broke away and formed one, so that division happened in a different way there. A blog post is necessarily limited in scope.
That doesn't change the fact that there is no one Anglican church with which the Pope can deal.
As for intercommunion while there is no real unity of faith, that is highly unlikely. The majority of Anglicans are still in the Canterbury communion, and even the continuing churches finds their orders suspect. (And given South India, Porvoo and the Methodist scheme in England, not to mention women's ordination and the rather odd "orthodox" diocesan in Sydney, Australia, how could it be otherwise?) Where orders are not confirmed, how can there be even the limited intercommunion, between Anglicans and the RCC, that is authorized between the RCC and the Orthodox?
"No, actually we have used the correct Roman Catholic word: 'conversion.'"
This is radically incorrect; "conversion" is NOT the appropriate term. At best, one may use the expression "continuing conversion" to describe the process by which a baptized Christian entering full communion with the Church. The term "convert" is strictly limited to non-Christians who are embracing Christian faith. The USCCB states this principle as follows: "The term 'convert' should be reserved strictly for those converted from unbelief to Christian belief and never used of those baptized Christians who are received into the full communion of the Catholic Church" (National Statutes for the Catechumenate, 2).
Case in point: nowhere in either AC, the Complementary Norms, or the Official Vatican Commentary, is the word "convert" or "conversion" ever applied to Anglicans entering into full communion with the Church.
Steve Cavanaugh wrote:
Fr. Hart, you keep saying this, but your reading of the Constitution is flawed...I suspect that long study in, or a degree, in Canon Law, would be necessary to properly discern the meaning of any piece of law like this.
Well, if it's that damned complicated only a fool would subject himself to it. This still boils down to the Chico Marx line, "Well, who you gonna' believe? Me, or your own eyes?" Or, it means that AC does not mean what it says, but will mean whatever it works out to be.
Fortunately, as much of a problem as that would be, it is not the real problem. The real problem for ++Hepworth and co., is that AC does, in fact, mean what it says.
The governance of the proposed ordinariates is not the same as Latin Catholic dioceses; the governing council that selects the candidates for ordinary is far more authority than a diocesan board has.
Yes. That is why I said, "...adding only the Ordinariates to prevent obstruction by local bishops..." But, in the context of the whole AC, with its own Norms and in the larger body of RCC Canon Law, the fact remains, it is nothing more than what I have said.
Your post's introduction "I was prepared for a stimulating and properly documented argument with real information and persuasive debate" unfortunately, didn't hold true for your own comments, which amount to "I can read the AC, and I know what it means."
But, in fact (despite your own stuff about "long study in, or a degree, in Canon Law, would be necessary to properly discern the meaning of any piece of law like this") it really does boil down to that. "Doc" Holiday never drew from the AC document; but, in my post I simply clarified why he had not answered the analysis provided in several previous posts already written and posted here. Then I gave the links to them. Why should I repeat what I can simply link the readers to? We already did the work, and already made the arguments. That his critique was mere Bulverism, smoke and mirrors and sentimental "sweet nothings" was the only point I needed to make at this time.
As for long studies in Canon Law, I remind you that we have as one of our bloggers the Rev. Canon Charles Nalls. There is no one anywhere more qualified on Canon Law than he.
We all agree with your observation, and have always objected to the popular use of the word "convert" by a large number of Roman Catholics. We object, as well, to their use of the word "religion" as applied to valid traditions within Christianity. I meant to employ an irony.
I must admit that I would be surprised if issues of ecclesiology were the major problems facing Anglo Catholics considering Anglicanorum Coetibus. I think that the "certain Roman doctrines" are of a lot more interest because what is the point of being in union with Latin Rite Catholics if you do not believe the same thing?
There of course are some who believe in unity at any price but also those who want to be in schism at any price, although the latter better have very clear reasons for doing so.
I am interested in Fr. Hart's comment ""The Church." There is that Roman exclusiveness again."
Perhaps we all agree that there can only be one Church, one Truth, one communion of believers? And hence it may be called 'The' Church, rather than many 'churches'. Centuries of theology have referred to the church as the 'bride of Christ', are we to suggest that Christ had many brides!!
Can we have a 'divided' church, a divided communion of believers, a divided Truth? It's difficult to see how, even though I'd imagine the concept is very popular in ecumenism.
From a Petrine perspective, clearly the See of Peter believes itself to have the full wholesome truth, as I imagine all the Protestant demonimations do also?
So perhaps the problem of "Roman exclusiveness" is that the Truth is necessarily exclusive. In other words, you can't have "Roman exclusiveness" without "Lutheran exclusiveness" or indeed "Anglo-Catholic exclusiveness".
Perhaps why Rome stands out more in this regard is because it has, on the whole, rejected the subjectivism of the "Faith Alone" heritage. But don't for a minute think that subjectivism is any less "exclusive". How many different answers are there to the WWJD approach to Christianity? Probably as many as there are believers, each exclusive.
This brings us back to Doctrine. What is the truth? Where can it be found? Again the only advice I can give is to consider Anglicanorum Coetibus if you believe that the potential for truth lies with the See of Peter and otherwise don't. Truth has the amazing sense of captivating you when you least expect it.
Jesus, we pray that you lead us all to the Truth.
Also, just a note to Canon Tallis. Read Newman's letters if you think he was longing to return from Rome. You will be surprised.
Centuries of theology have referred to the church as the 'bride of Christ', are we to suggest that Christ had many brides!!
I see that Anglican Ecclesiology is not your strongest subject, or you would know that this question is irrelevant.
Can we have a 'divided' church, a divided communion of believers, a divided Truth? It's difficult to see how, even though I'd imagine the concept is very popular in ecumenism.
Really? What planet have you been living on? Also, what version of I Corinthians have you been reading? It seems you have missed Paul's exhortation to repent of their sad divisions.
From a Petrine perspective, clearly the See of Peter believes itself to have the full wholesome truth, as I imagine all the Protestant demonimations do also?
See of Peter? Oh, you must mean Antioch. As for Rome, we know their opinion about themselves well enough.
In other words, you can't have "Roman exclusiveness" without "Lutheran exclusiveness" or indeed "Anglo-Catholic exclusiveness".
On the contrary, there are no such things as either Lutheran or Anglican exclusiveness. The One True Church Error belongs exclusively to the Two One True Churches, that feuding odd couple of Rome and Orthodoxy (and for some of their number, that means to Hell with everybody else).
Perhaps why Rome stands out more in this regard is because it has, on the whole, rejected the subjectivism of the "Faith Alone" heritage.
Do you imagine that this (to the degree you are correct) makes Rome unique? Again, what planet have you been living on? What have you been reading? Apparently not very much of what we have posted here.
This brings us back to Doctrine. What is the truth? Where can it be found?
The Bible has recorded within it, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, all things necessary to salvation, and it is properly understood as taught by the Vincentian standard of Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.
Jesus, we pray that you lead us all to the Truth.
He sent the Other Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who already has done that. Now, it is a matter of learning and faith.
That other stuff, about subjectivism, is not relevant to us. And Newman's tears were real. I know many "converts" to RCism, but only one, after a few years, who seems to be at peace.
In my youth I knew an elderly couple who had been engaged to be married for over 40 years. They never lived together, but dated each other two or three times a week and occasionally talked of their imminent marriage.
There is an old folk spiritual which goes, "Everybody's talking about heaven, but not everybody's going there."
If the charming old lovebirds really wanted to get married, they surely would have found the opportune moment. And truly, not all who love of talk of heaven will wind up there.
Becoming an ex-Anglican and converting to the RCC is a very easy process, for anyone who is serious about it. But for some people it is so much more fun to speak in grandiose terms or "ordinariates" and "Anglican patrimony" and to promise all manner of mysterious elusive things, which only those deeply learned in canon law can begin to comprehend.
Pope Benedict XVI is a fine man in all respects. God grant that he will not wind up with egg on his face for getting involved with a bunch of people who want a lifelong engagement but never a marriage, who wish only to talk of heaven but never to go there.
If I truly believed that "Church unity" requires submission to the RCC, I would immediately do the obvious thing and not waste the Holy Father's time with the pipedream of some special arrangement. What is most iritating to me about the current proposal is the dilettantism and gamesmanship of its advocates. It is hard to take them seriously, apart from the spiritual damge they are likely to inflict.
I just wish Father "Papa Doc" Halliday would tell me if he accepts the Roman Church's view that his ordination is null and void, his masses are invalid and his Church a schismatic body?
At least the Orthodox ecclesiology is clear and has not changed much apart from some flirting with Rome in the 13th century.
I think that the Branch theory needs some serious consideration again. It does stand to reason that those Churches which adhere to at least the 7 Councils of the Universal Church, who have kept apostolic succession share claim to being part of the Catholic Church
If Anglicans are also Catholics because our Church has never left the Catholic Church as distinct from the Latin Church - the Roman rite if you like, then unification with the See of Peter cannot happen on any other basis except union achieved by the bishops of both jurisdictions leading the Roman and Anglicans to reunion.
None of this should occur without the Orthodox, and if Anglicans can lay valid claim to being Catholic, Apostolic and orthodox, then we need to treat our eastern brethren as something other than exotic, and realise that they have much to educate us about monastic life, about episcopal discipline, about liturgy and conciliar decision making.
Fr. "Papa Doc" needs to reconsider the Church whose orders he now appears to abjure and it's relationship to the universal Church of Christ.owsi
David Gould asks one highly pertinent questiob:
"I just wish Father "Papa Doc" Halliday would tell me if he accepts the Roman Church's view that his ordination is null and void, his masses are invalid and his Church a schismatic body?"
If the answer is "No", then his party is not talking in good faith with Rome.
If thr answer is "Yes", then their celebrations are nothing less than sacrilegious acts and should cease immediately.
The truth probably is that they have not thought very deeply about this question.
This question is exactly what I and others here are ever so succinctly asking "Doc" and others like him... But we never get an answer!
Dear Fr. Hart,
You are correct that Anglican Ecclesiology is not my focus, but my reference to the Bride of Christ was jovial. Perhaps when I research it in greater detail, I will discover the nuances.
I just find the notion of a "divided" congregation of believers difficult to accept. Aren't believers supposed to believe in the same thing? One Truth, one Church? Perhaps that One Church which holds steadfast to the One Truth is yours, but the point remains that I would then be in schism from your church, or congregation of believers, since I don't hold the same beliefs.
For example, when I asked where is the truth, you replied:
"The Bible has recorded within it, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, all things necessary to salvation, and it is properly understood as taught by the Vincentian standard of Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est."
But what makes the Vincentian standard the infallible interpretation? I guess I'm asking where's the authority? Did St. Vincent of Lerins hold himself infallible? Where are his keys? Where is his rock? Why not some other interpretation?
Thomas Muntzer held Luther to account for his "infallible" interpretations. That infallible authority can only be issued by Jesus, which Catholics believe was to Peter and His Successors.
Now, I respect that you disagree for a multitude of reasons, but I don't see the persuasive argument that the Vincentian Interpretation has the equivalent of Peter's keys to loosen and bind.
St. Vincent of Lerins, pray for us.
From the Roman/Traditionalist perspective:
I’m not quite sure what to make of your off-the-cuff responses to Jakian Thomist’s post regarding ecclesial unity.
It’s a given that within any Church body there will be groups leaning toward different aspects of the same Faith. However, it should not be a given that such sincere, if sometimes messy, differences be able to affect the overall unity of the ecclesiastical body. Actually, one would hope that such unity be strong enough to withstand even sinful differences, such as those driven by ego, or the desire for some temporal gain.
Now, take a look at just the Continuing Anglicanism movement from the Roman Catholic perspective. Immediately, one notices an array of acronyms, such as:
ACC, ACCC, ACA, AEC, AOC, APA, APCK, XnEC, CofEC, DGL, DHC, OAC, TPEC, UECNA …
This is only a partial list, the complete list is, shall we say, dynamic. How can we then reconcile the number of these Continuing Anglicanisms with your statements that “… subjectivism, is not relevant to us” and “… there are no such things as either Lutheran or Anglican exclusiveness”?
"If the answer is "Yes", then their celebrations are nothing less than sacrilegious acts and should cease immediately".
And what of baptisms and Confirmations?
The DEUS/ACA is still asking for parish assessments. Can a parish give money to a man who both wears a miter and admits to being a layman?
an ACA churchman withholding.
You may find the idea of a Church with divisions hard to accept; so does the Holy Spirit. But, it is a fact that divisions do exist, and that carnality and immaturity are the reasons. To deny that such divisions can exist within the Church is to assert something that runs contrary to the plain meaning of St. Paul's rebuke to the Corinthians. They were divided in their relations with each other.
A husband and wife are one flesh, are they not? Does every married couple, therefore, get along as they should, and do they act in perfect accord always? Does a lack of accord prove that one of them is not a valid spouse, but the other one is? Is that not a silly question?
It is those of you who say "I am of Cephas" in your talk of "the Petrine See" that elevate your division into something ordained of God. We reject such a notion. The divisions caused by papal assertion of power has divided the Church since 1054, and it is about something carnal and childish, one man all those years ago trying to claim power over God's whole Church. The problem is compounded by several since then stuck with this precedent and confusing it with the Tradition.
Your claim that "Peter and his successors" amount to the papacy is not a shared conviction of the whole Church, and is based on faulty interpretation rather than revelation. The Apostles as a group were promised the same thing about being guided into all truth (John 16:13), and Peter was not singled out in any special way (and, by the way, the history of the Church shows that popes were not present at the Ecumenical Councils).
If the Vincentian Canon has no authority, that is, if the voice of the Church in agreement on doctrine from the beginning lacks authority, then we have no Bible, no doctrine and no Creeds. Rejecting the Vincentian Canon means rejecting the whole Christian Tradition. You have nothing left-an obvious point that the RCC had better wake up to.
From our perspective the infighting of the various "Uniate" churches against their Latin would be masters is not particularly impressive. Nonetheless, I don't even know what all of your initials are supposed to mean. Most western countries have freedom of religion, and so there is no stopping an endless supply of vagante from popping up. Attaching that to us is simply inaccurate. I have made the facts known here.
This morning's edition of "The Angl-Catholic" has a couple of remarks comparing the Continuum jurisdictions to the various splinters of the English Nonjurors. Borrowing from the shallow concept "history repeats itself", they attempt to prove that the Continuum will, just like the despised Nonjurors, burn itself out through endless splintering.
Currently, the splintering mostly seems to be going on in TAC/ACA.
I will not waste time pointing out the differences in historical situations between the Nonjurors and the Continuum, nor will I mention that for all its alleged disappearance, the Nonjurors had lasting historical impact, laying the ground for later Catholic revivals. Think of that every time you sing Thomas Ken's LM Doxology.
It is simply enough to mention that this argument proves too much. If "history repeats itself", what conclusions must we draw from the the degenerate Renaissance papacy, endless theological meanderings through the so-called development of doctrine, contemporary scandals both sexual and financial, etc etc.
Historical analogies are rarely exact and, unfortunately, they work both ways.
I made a visit to the Anglo-Catholic (which indeed should be titled the "Anglo-papist") and came away amazed those its owners should not be aware how much it displays the unattractiveness of their position. If they had any sense at all they would take it down as quickly as possible and deny that it had ever existed. But they won't. Why? Because they themselves as all believers in fairy tales so frequently do, they are unable to recognize that it is the wolf wearing grandma's nighty and nightcap.
It is the same with Mark of the Roman perspective who will not peek into the writings of the fathers who very early stripped the consensus of the Fathers from the view that the bishop of Rome was solely the successor of St Peter when the great historians have pointed out that that their is very little probability that Peter was ever in Rome. The New Testament certainly does not locate him there.
Jakian Thomist wrote, "I don't see the persuasive argument that the Vincentian Interpretation has the equivalent of Peter's keys to loosen and bind."
That is because he has overlooked the Gospel passages where Our Lord has promised His Church that the Holy Spirit will be with it, guiding it in all truth, until the end of the age.
What St. Vincent did, unlike Pius IX, was not to create some new doctrine but, instead, simply to observe, analyze, and summarize the effects the Holy Spirit had already produced in the Church in the course of His fulfilling Christ's promise to that Church.
Thus St. Vincent's "canon" is not the formulation of a dogma, it is a statement of fact. And, unlike Pius's elevation of himself to infallibility, it actually corresponds to observable reality.
John A. Hollister+
I second the observations of "Canon Tallis", except that I must take firm exception with his assertion that "the great historians have pointed out that that their is very little probability that Peter was ever in Rome."
It seems to be the universal consensus of the Church, East and West, that Peter was in Rome, acted as bishop there, and was martyred there. There is little reason to doubt this consensus even if there is not specific documentary evidence.
What is certain, however, is that Peter did not found the Church in Rome. When Paul wrote to the Romans, the Church was already active there, and he, while greeting many members by name, did not mention either Peter or Cephas. What cannot be demonstrated is that Peter claimed for himself any of what the papacy claims for itself, or that such authority (even if he had it) was to be passed down to his successors there.
From the Roman perspective:
Perhaps the Anglicans (broadly understood) should demonstrate that at least some unity in doctrine and ecclesial structure is achievable without "... any of what the papacy claims for itself...", as you put it.
Well, to start off with, you've changed the subject. I was talking about what can be seen in history, and granting that Peter probably was there, but that the mentioned claims were not thereby proven. I'd rather have left that as what was being discussed.
However, I'll answer with another challenge. Demonstrate to me that there has ever been a time (including this time)when the existence of a Pope with the claimed powers has brought about "unity in doctrine and ecclesial structure is achievable." I don't see it historically and I don't see it on the ground today. What I do see is a massive bureaucracy able to hide all sorts of abuses and structural weakness and a formal nod given to many things that a huge number do not believe. In short, I don't see that the bloated claims of the papacy have really provided much of value, but mainly smoke and mirrors.
Mark from the Roman Church perspective wrote: Perhaps the Anglicans (broadly understood) should demonstrate that at least some unity in doctrine and ecclesial structure is achievable without "... any of what the papacy claims for itself...", as you put it.
For most continuing Anglicans the divisions of the continumm pain us greatly and we are working towards ending those divisions and achieving meaningful unity.
Mark and many Romans gloss over the paper thin unity that is the Roman Church today.
From FSSP and Tridentine breakaways like the highly successful St. Pius X Church to American, Australian and UK clergy and religious who advocate for women priests or whose use of women "special ministers" of the eucharist makes their position pretty clear anyway the Roman Church is no longer, if it ever was united in faith.
Whatever the intentions were of John XXIII, Vatican II opened the floodgates of liberalism, modernism, and moral relativism masked by clown and rock masses celebrated by priests who threw away cassock and clerical collar aided by habit-less nuns.
I suspect that one day some US Roman bishops will ordain women unilaterally, and it will be acclaimed by the secular world with such gusto that the liberal bishops and priests will just roll over and accept the kudos of being so relevant.
The Gospel witness of the continuum is lonely, is without power and wealth and is reliant on Jesus Christ alone. What Anglo-Papists like Papa Doc do by urging an immediate rush to the Tiber is to say that actually our own Anglican Catholic Church was devoid of the means of salvation, devoid of sacraments of grace and that I cannot and will not accept.
I thoroughly agree with three-quarters of Ed Pacht's statement about "the ... consensus of the Church ... that Peter was in Rome, acted as bishop there, and was martyred there.... What is certain, however, is that Peter did not found the Church in Rome."
Out of those four points, the one I find to be highly debatable is the one that claims "Peter ... acted as bishop there...." By definition, a "bishop" is a successor to the Apostles and, since the Church was already up and running in Rome prior to the arrival of either Peter or Paul, it would require real evidence, rather than speculation of the "and they must..." sort, to establish that either or both of them in any way displaced the already-established leadership there.
So, with Fr. Hart, when "the See of Peter" is mentioned, I vote for Antioch.
John A. Hollister+
Point taken, Fr, Hollister, except that there seems no disagreement among traditional sources in considering Peter as bishop of Rome. Was he the first one? We can't know that. Were they fully organized with established leadership (presumably a bishop) or were they in the sort of half-organized situation one often finds in a mission? We can't know that either. Was Peter in an episcopal role there. Well, I hate to go against the weight of tradition both East and West. All that said, however, it seems a rather flimsy bit of data on which to build such theories as surround the current papacy.
From the Roman perspective:
From the outset, let me repeat that I like many aspects of Traditional Anglicanism, especially your solidly orthodox stand today’s key social issues, and your strong desire to keep the Catholic coat of arms, so to speak. My criticism is more technical. It’s about organization, structure, authority, and the necessity to be able to withstand those cultural centrifugal forces that afflict all of us. In a word, I consider you friends.
Now to the issues at hand. Poetreader asks if there are any contemporary examples of Papacy bringing about "unity in doctrine and ecclesial structure”. I propose three recent examples for your consideration, no smoke and mirrors:
(1) In the late 1960s, Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” in the face of strong opposition from some of his advisors, who argued for a more accomodationist approach. This Pope used the power of his office to maintain the unity of doctrine regarding sexual morality. I encourage those who may not have read this encyclical to do so, and ask themselves if a committee would ever agree to issue something this courageous?
(2) In the late seventies, Pope John Paul II, using the power of his office, decided to end the ineffective Ostpolitik, and replace it with a much more risky direct engagement with the communists. This change in policy aimed at maintaining both, the structural cohesiveness of the Church, and the integrity of doctrine in the affected lands. The communists aimed at corrupting both, before eliminating the Church altogether from their domain. I ask, would a committee have the courage to junk something comfortable but ineffective, and embark on a venture this risky for the sake of some obscure peoples’ Catholic faith?
(3) In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, which received an initially cold response from the progressives. Yet it filled the sails of the conservatives and the traditionalists with joy and energy. It unequivocally restated that liturgical tradition would not be changed by fiat. Strangely, it has also catalyzed somewhat of an introspective moment in some (former?) progressives, who perhaps for the first time are making the crucial connection between the Catholic faith and tradition. Again, I ask, would a committee have the guts to issue such a challenge, or would it more likely get entangled in endless disputes?
I submit these real world examples for your consideration. Remove the papacy from these three situations, and ask what most likely would have happened?
on your point 1, perhaps it did take one man to write Humanae vitae, but just what effect did it ultimately have. What percentage of RCs are abstaining from the use of birth control? What percentage even believe the pope has a right to speak in that manner? Yes, it's a good statement. No, it did not accomplish more than a committee would have.
firthermore, your assumption that I would substitute a committee for a pope completely misses my point. It is imposed central authority of any kind that I beleieve to be unnecessary and usually harmful. Such declarations rightly come from the prophetic speaking of men that God raises up and gain their authority from the working of the Spirit in the hearts of hearers. God is not bound by human systematizing.
Your second point regards a political activism of the Papacy which has, over time, more often worked ill than good, and therefore is not a proof of any utility.
Your third point is even less applicable as it is the authoritative correction of serious abuse resulting directly from the actions of authoritative actions the central power under earlier popes.
My answer to your question is that things would be no worse, at least in the long view, and perhaps somewhat better if that central power had never existed.
I'm not saying any of the above dogmatically, but as an illustration that these things can indeed be seen rationally in more than one way, and this question is not going to be decided on practicalities, but on finding the will of God. If I were convinced that God desires such a central authority, I would accept it, even though everything in my human thinking sees it as a negative things. However, if I were convinced (as I am, at least at the moment) that God desires no such thing, even were I to be convinced it was not only desirable, but a practical necessity, I would need to refuse it.
To repeat: I do not believe that God has required, or even particularly approves of a centralized church structure such as Rome has developed, let alone its concentration of power in one man. That being the case, I don't really care about its practical effectiveness. Therefore that is where the only meaningful debate lies.
Indeed, John Paul II did a lot for Poland during the dying days of the U.S.S.R. But, Russian Communism fell under its own power, and the one man in the whole world who most hastened its demise was President Ronald Reagan. Nonetheless, his successors qualify even less than the Roman Patriarch as living replacements for the Vincentian Canon. In fact, if history proves anything relevant in this whole matter, it is, as Canon Hollister pointed out, that the Vincentian Canon stated a fact.
Mark VA cites three examples of how God used the Bishop of Rome to be "Valiant for Truth."
Counter examples can be quickly adduced. There was Athanasius of Alexanderia, who stood "contra mundum" for the homoousion.
There was Martin Luther, whom God raised up for the defense of the Gospel against another Pope.
And then there was Balaam's Ass, who mightily uttered the Word of the Lord.
Our God being a persistent God has a way of getting His message out and if He has on occasion used the Papacy, He is surely not in need of it.
Luther, BTW, is a prime example of what imperfect tools our God uses. I do believe he was raised up to confront some very real evils and to proclaim som essential truths. At the same time I find it very obvious that he exceeded his call in many ways, and, instead of opening the way for a growth of truth within his church, so conducted himself that a radical division came to be. I'm convinced that that was not God's choice. There, thus, are no infallible men walking among us, and thus the classic Anglican approach of seeking the consensus of the Fathers in interpreting Scripture gives much more assurance than the reliance on one flawed human being.
"What is certain, however, is that Peter did not found the Church in Rome. When Paul wrote to the Romans, the Church was already active there, and he, while greeting many members by name, did not mention either Peter or Cephas."
I am surprised at the "certain" here, for I can cite offhand two eminent English Anglican Church Historians who contended that it is likely that Peter did, indeedm, found the Roman Church. These are George Edmundson (1848-1930) whose *The Church of Rome in the First Century: the Bampton Lectures for 1913* (1914) was recently repuiblished by Wipf & Stock of Portland, Oregon, and Treevor Gervase Jalland (1898-1975) whose *The Church and the Papacy* (1944) was originally delivered as the Bampton Lectures for 1942.
Both were Anglican scholars in the tradition of Lightfoot, Westcott and Hort; both also parish priests; and Edmundson (whose lectures formed a foundation for the arguments of J. A. T. Robinson in his *Redating the New Testament* ) an amazing polymath to boot.
I will not try to summarize Edmundson's arguments -- not least since the book not only has been reprinted of late, but can also be read online - but his argument is, that Peter made for Rome after his escape from prison in 42 AD, remained there for a number of years, then went on his various missionarly journeys, residing at Rome for a time ca. 54-56 (when he probably made Linus and Cletus together eposkopoi there), then went off on various missionarly travels again, and finally was bacl in Rome for a few years preceding his martyrdom there in 65 AD.
For thiose who may be interested, here is a link to the Edmundson book online:
Perhaps some do disagree with me, but I'm quite convinced from every evidence of Scripture that the Roman foundation did precede Peter. I doi believe it is certain. However It's extremely unimportant one way or the other. I am convinced that he was indeed at a later time bishop of that place, and the status of his successors there is another question entirely. If the claims made are true, they do not hinge upon that question,nor is my position that the papal claims do not hold up strengthened in any way by the existence of a previous foundation. Papal claims are not affected by whichever answer is given.
From the Roman perspective:
To address just one issue, namely, the encyclical Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI.
I respectfully disagree with your proposition that this encyclical “.. did not accomplish more than a committee would have”. Two counter points:
First, contrast this encyclical with the Anglican position first taken during the 1930 Lambeth Conference. With respect to contraception, in Resolution 15, this conference allowed “other methods” to be used to prevent conception (voting: For 193; Against 67). Previous Lambeth conferences did not allow for such “other methods”;
Second, this encyclical was issued to a generation that sought to “liberate” itself from such “constraints”. Yes, many of them threw this encyclical in the trash. However, forty years later, there is a new generation coming of age which has seen such “liberations” fail, often at a great personal cost. Humane Vitae is for them.
The point Ed made was not against Humanae Vitae, but a response to how effective Rome is in establishing unity. Within the Roman Catholic Church, the encyclical is treated with wide scale rebellion, as if it were allowable that such could be controverted. There is no real unity and obedience in evidence.
Thank you Fr, Hart. This is not a scientific sampling, but of all my Roman Catholic friends, only one of them agrees with the encyclical, and every married one of them does practice birth control.
It is a very good document indeed, and the pope deserved to be congratulated for it, but it did not manage to accomplish much.
Having read both of the volumes Wm Tighe references - although it was quite a number of years ago - I do not remember being impressed with the arguments of either for the presence of Peter in Rome. Instead the arguments which did impress me were those of Littledale in 'The Petrine Claims.' Michael Grant in 'St Peter' makes quite the same arguments against Peter never being in Rome and then reverses himself on the basis that he intends to retire to Rome. I think it must be his single act of intellectual cowardice. But it has always struck me that the fathers of the late first and early second centuries with a connection with Rome such as Justin Martyr do not mention St Peter in connection with the Roman See.
I understand the desire to maintain the old myths, but as important as the argument which advocates of the Roman position make - if true - it would seem to require some validation in either the earliest creeds or the earliest councils. But just as the New Testament fails to connect Peter with Rome while St Paul's epistle would seem to exclude any such connection. Considering Peter's own remarks about "cunningly devised fables" I think, knowing that the Roman Church was smarting because of its demotion in status from the movement of the imperial capital, we can understand the only too human and sinful motivations behind its claim to a singular position.
Not sure I quite go that far, Canon Tallis. I think the witness of the Fathers is quite specific in seeing Peter as present and presiding in Rome, and as having been martyred there, but, if my reading of the Scripture is anywhere near accurate, I would have to see that presence as having begun after the NT canon had all been written, as I see no Scriptural witness of his presence.
Several of the Eastern Fathers seem to have been quite ready to defer to Rome, not because its bishop had any essential authority, nor because of its vanished status as capital city, but because at their time it had held steadfast in the faith, and also because Peter's relics were buried there. Both of these points were made repeatedly.
Later, when the East began to see some evidence of error at Rome, they were less ready to accept the pope's authority, but still believe Peter to be buried there.
From the Roman/Traditionalist perspective:
In my view, both Father Hart and Poetreader significantly overstate the degree of rejection of Humane Vitae in RC circles in our country today.
The point in mentioning Humanae Vitae is that it upheld doctrinal unity in the area of sexual morals - it did not compromise them, as the Lambeth Conference began to do in 1930. In the historical context in which it was issued (late 1960s), it was a given that it would be rejected by the progressives. That's one of the reasons why it was issued - to speak Truth to them. There were perhaps other reasons, but they are outside the scope of our discussion.
True, many in the passing sixties generation remain stuck in their "hip" status quo. But they are declining in strength, and have failed to win any considerable numbers of the informed young clergy and laity to their cause. These young Catholics are by any measure much more conservative and tradition minded - Humanae Vitae was written for people like them. It's a joy for me to see their large happy families every Sunday. The challenge lies with those young Catholics who are not well versed in their faith - they are the collateral damage of the progressive ideology.
What it upheld was not doctrinal unity, but doctrine itself. The rebellion against it is a pastoral in-house Roman Catholic issue. My only objection is using it as an example of ideal unity in practice. I am sorry that it fails in that respect.
The rebellion against traditional sexual morality is a world wide phenomenon - nothing "in house" about it.
Humane Vitae fails in nothing - it's strong medicine for our times, regardless of one's denomination.
Post a Comment