Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More odd ends

The following was originally a comment:

The accuracy of my report that Anglicanorum Coetibus is in response primarily to an old request from FiF/UK took me by surprise. I assumed everyone knew that FiF/UK was first in line, and did the closest work at the end.

This was reported earlier:

NOT everyone was bewildered. The Revd Geoffrey Kirk, secretary of Forward in Faith — who will be standing down next year, after an “annus horribilis” of ill-health — told the Assembly on Friday: “You will have wondered why the original agenda of this Assembly was so sketchy. Well, now you know.”

The statement from Rome was “not a bolt out of the blue”. It was an event long expected, for which many people had worked over the years. In 1992, Fr John Broadhurst, as he was then, had sent out a card to every priest on the mailing list asking him to affirm acceptance of the magis­terium of the Roman Catholic Church...The Bishops of Chichester and other bishops had made similar contacts, and FiF representatives had spent two days in January as guests of Cardinal Christoph Schön­born in Vienna. As they had departed for London, he had flown off to Rome.

“This is Plan B, emerging mercifully on cue as Plan A seems to have an increasingly uncertain future in the leglisative revision committee of the General Synod.”

The TAC was mentioned as also making a petition.

Ed has said that the TAC expect another set of Norms particular to them. The one point, however is that these cannot contradict the existing constitution and its norms, if indeed the prediction is true. Rome will not change precedent and the official doctrine with which it has bound itself.

About Reunion

I was asked earlier this evening if I regard acceptance of
Anglicanorum Coetibus as a betrayal of Anglicanism. In the sense that we have never claimed to be the One True Church, but only a part of it (as we say about all other such parts) the answer cannot be yes in an open sense. But, in terms of the present time in which we live, as things are right now in history, yes it is a betrayal.

Considering the present issue, I have decided it is quite timely to post, for a second time, this essay. - Fr. Hart

Hooker on unity with Rome

originally posted Tuesday, March 04, 2008

From Richard Hooker's The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book III, I, 10

We hope therefore that to reform ourselves, if at any time we have done amiss, is not to sever ourselves from the Church we were of before. In the Church we were, and we are so still. Other difference between our estate before and now we know none but only such as we see in Juda; which having sometime been idolatrous became afterwards more soundly religious by renouncing idolatry and superstition. If Ephraim “be joined unto idols,” the counsel of the Prophet is, “Let him alone.” “If Israel play the harlot, let not Juda sin.” “If it seem evil unto you,” saith Josua, “to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods whom your fathers served beyond the flood, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell: but I and mine house will serve the Lord.” The indisposition therefore of the Church of Rome to reform herself must be no stay unto us from performing our duty to God; even as desire of retaining conformity with them could be no excuse if we did not perform that duty.

Notwithstanding so far as lawfully we may, we have held and do hold fellowship with them. For even as the Apostle doth say of Israel that they are in one respect enemies but in another beloved of God; in like sort with Rome we dare not communicate concerning sundry her gross and grievous abominations, yet touching those main parts of Christian truth wherein they constantly still persist, we gladly acknowledge them to be of the family of Jesus Christ; and our hearty prayer unto God Almighty is, that being conjoined so far forth with them, they may at the length (if it be his will) so yield to frame and reform themselves, that no distraction remain in any thing, but that we “all may with one heart and one mouth glorify God the Father of our Lord and Saviour,” whose Church we are.

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) wrote to defend the polity of the Church of England against the attacks of the Puritans who wanted to abolish every trace of Roman influence, and who had assumed that the episcopal polity of the Church of England was simply one of those "Romish" things that they wanted to dismantle. In a very lengthy Preface, Hooker criticizes "Calvin's Geneva Discipline" and other theories on how to reinvent the ecclesiastical wheel, tearing down Puritan assertions that their model was taught by scripture. In the process he became the first Anglican writer to provide certain things that have become a basic philosophy that contains features of theology foundational to Anglicanism. The need to weigh all doctrines by Scripture, with the aid of Right Reason and the Church with her Authority (or, as is customary to say today, Tradition- though he meant Polity as well), comes from a careful reading of his Laws of Ecclesiastical polity, as does the idea of the Via Media, not as some sort of compromise for peace, but as a different road altogether, to be taken for the sake of truth.

To appreciate Hooker, we need to remember the times in which he wrote. The nature of religious apologetics was far less polite and far more polemical in the Elizabethan Period than it is in our own ecumenically sensitive time (usually). To write a sweeping dismissal of "Papist" or "Romish" practices as consisting of idolatrous and superstitious abominations is not at all acceptable today (and indeed, it hinders communication and understanding). But, in Hooker's day, the
possibility of reunion was the sort of thing that was potentially scandalous and dangerously controversial. His words aimed at something charitable shortly after a time in which "Papists " (to use the word of that period) had murdered Protestants in great numbers for heresy, and in which the Queen still considered obedience to the pope as treason punishable by death, that is, loyalty to a foreign prince who had sought to undermine her rule (i.e. kindle civil war and her execution). Nonetheless, in that period with all of its violence, we find in Hooker the reasonable and pacific attitude that would become characteristic of Anglicanism at its best.

In the above passage, Hooker affirms principles that were unique among Reformation churches.

First of all, Hooker affirmed the antiquity of the Church of England, and the fact that no new church had been formed. "We hope therefore that to reform ourselves, if at any time we have done amiss, is not to sever ourselves from the Church we were of before. In the Church we were, and we are so still." Even though Archbishop Matthew Parker (if not Cranmer before him) could have been considered the first of his line, this was not the position of the Church of England. Instead, Archbishop Matthew Parker was the 77th Archbishop of Canterbury. It was the same Church that had been established at the Council of Hertford in 673 A.D., when the ancient Celtic British and the Anglo-Saxon Christians came together in unity as Ecclesia Anglicana (not at the earlier Council of Whitby in 664, though it had laid the necessary foundation). This first unique principle was, therefore, no new church but rather continuity of identity.

The second thing was principle. The 39 Articles state very simply that the Church of Rome has erred. So, Hooker's words: "In like sort with Rome we dare not communicate concerning sundry her gross and grievous abominations." The English Reformers rejected ideas and practices that were either taught by Rome or allowed by Rome, not in an effort to turn away from the Catholic Faith, but instead to purge it of errors, and get back to its essentials. This kind of thinking is principled where some modern forms of ecumenism fail. The sloppy ecumenism of the Charismatic Movement comes to mind, in which unity was simply assumed by means of ignoring or explaining away genuine points of disagreement. If theological principles are unimportant, eventually moral principles must also fall by the wayside. Without the honesty that this form of principled stand requires, no real efforts toward unity will ever be possible, because no true discussion will take place. The Anglican position was that these principles mattered, but unique to Anglicanism was the notion that these were errors within the Church. The other churches of the Reformation dismissed the Church of Rome altogether as a false or fallen church, even as Antichrist. Not so Hooker, setting the position that would prevail in Anglican thinking.1

Finally, the Anglican position as stated by Hooker was unique in that it held forth the hope of reunion. So he said: "yet touching those main parts of Christian truth wherein they constantly still persist, we gladly acknowledge them to be of the family of Jesus Christ; and our hearty prayer unto God Almighty is, that being conjoined so far forth with them, they may at the length (if it be his will) so yield to frame and reform themselves, that no distraction remain in any thing, but that we 'all may with one heart and one mouth glorify God the Father of our Lord and Saviour,' whose Church we are." It has been argued by anti-Anglican apologists that the Church of England was no different from the other Reformation churches because they never officially "unchurched" the Lutherans or Calvinists. Never mind the fact that (despite much fiction to the contrary) the polity of the Church of England did not allow the functions of ordained ministry to any man unless and until he was ordained by a bishop in Apostolic Succession, a fact that, in itself, teaches the limits of their confidence in the sacraments of the continental European Protestants. What matters in Hooker's writing is that he never "unchurched" the Church of Rome. Furthermore, although in embryonic form, he sets down the goal to someday establish unity with the Church of Rome, a serious effort that would get underway long after his death.


At this time one group of Anglicans who may be able to go forward in that effort is the TAC. Of course, it would require the resignation of Archbishop Hepworth from his position (as he knows and has stated himself). Most of us are not able to speak intelligently about what exactly their plan is, or maybe simply their hope. Speculation and rumor do not help us get to the facts, and neither do panic or suspicion. However, certain things are obvious, not the least of which is this: When (or if) an answer comes from Rome it will not lead to immediate action, but to discussion. This discussion will have to be theological, because it would involve polity and liturgy.

In recent months I have posted a few things aimed at fellow Anglicans who lack confidence in their own heritage as legitimate and validly Catholic, mainly because it is clear that they have learned only from Roman Catholic sources, and have completely lost sight of Anglican principles. RC bloggers have beaten up quite a few of them mentally. And, the weakened state of the official Anglican Communion is enough to depress them, leading to despair that any good thing could ever come from that Nazareth. And, in some ways other Anglicans add to the confusion by losing all proper sight of the via media, becoming either just like modern Evangelicals as extreme low churchmen, or nose-bleed high Anglo-Catholics who live in constant fear of anything that seems "Protestant," forgetting that it is not the opposite of "Catholic."

This fear of anything "Protestant" is easily exploited by people who see the same terms employed by Lutherans or Calvinists as by Anglicans, not realizing that often the overlapping of phrases was inevitable, and that most of these instances were a continuation of theological debate among Catholics in the west that preceded the Reformation period. Sometimes, what they perceive as "Calvinist" is Augustinian, Dominican and even Thomist. The overlapping of terminology was inevitable, but one thing remains certain. The 39 Articles and other Anglican formularies were not Lutheran or Calvinist, nor were most of the terms employed in them unique to Protestantism at all.

If efforts to achieve unity do continue between the TAC and Rome (or any serious body of Anglicans and Rome, and/ or Orthodoxy) I urge consideration of these few principles I have gleaned here from Richard Hooker. If, for anybody, that involves studying Anglicanism all over again, or perhaps for the first time, it is well worth the effort. Our own baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater

1. Indeed, in the same chapter One of Book III, Hooker dismisses Calvin's extreme position on the children of the Church of Rome as, to use his exact word, "crazed"- as in, crazy.


Concerned Catholic said...

Fr. Hart you do not appear to have listened to the end of the FiF Conference. Bishop John Broadhurst makes it very clear that the TAC played a vital if not the vital role in securing the Apostolic Constitution.

"We in 1994 asked a Catholic question,'How are we reconciled to the Holy See?'and what we got in 1994 was .... a Protestant answer 'I'll be nice to you'. The Catholic question has remained there and I am vey grateful to the TAC, ..... They have asked the question on behalf of all of us and thank God they have, because the answer that we have got this time is an ecclesial answer."
Bishop John Broadhurst, Chairmen's Address (8:50 in)

Deacon Down Under said...

Hooker demonstrated the fact that the Anglican Church was the same Church that it was before the reformation, that it's Primate was the Archbishop of Canterbury in continuation of that apostolic line, and that in effect he accepted the branch theory - that the Roman Church continued to be part of the Catholic and Apostolic Church just as the Eastern Church continued to be.

That the Church of England never accepted Protestant orders, that it required ordination by bishops in apostolic succession, as it always had speaks volumes also.

The significance of holy orders has been lost on the Canterbury Communion who to this day cannot see that the ordination of women equals a schismatic break with apostolic faith and order, rendering the sacraments of the Canterbury Communion at best irregular and at worst void.

The TAC, such as it is under Archbishop Hepworth insofar as it's diocese and episcopate are deciding on whether to accept the Apostolic Constitution or not, have so much to lose by affirming the AC.

That the TAC bishops subscribe fully to the Roman Catechism without reservation - something the Eastern Orthodox will never do is one thing. That they then say that their own sacred orders are null and void is another thing, a truly appalling thing to contemplate and even worse to do - but that is the place that every Anglican convert to Rome has to face and live with.

Sober leadership, the avoidance of scandal, evangelical zeal and unswerving belief in our Anglican orders, ecclesiastical patrimony and place within the Catholic and Apostolic Church - as we are right now is required of continuing Anglican bishops, priests, religious and laity.

Cherub said...

The fact of the matter is that the TAC made its approach to Rome well before FiF. It is not a question of claiming "credit" so much as objective fact. The TAC were the first to approach Rome asking for a way forward, sine conditione, and having already committed themselves to the fullness of the Catholic Faith by signing the Catechism. I am not, and never have been, a member of the TAC nor am I very young as Poetreader supposes (I am in my 60s). I have been around in Anglican circles for many years and am well informed. Your account of the origins of the Apostolic Constitution is simply wrong. General talk about possibilities is one thing. The TAC were clearly the catalyst for this Apo

poetreader said...

Does it matter who was first? Really? Both FiF and TAC have been making such an approach for some time. Though there has been some contact between the two groups, it certainly appears that their efforts have been pretty much separate from each other, and it is manifest that their specific situations are very different in a number of ways. The AC and its norms as so far presented do appear more suited for the FiF parishes than for TAC. Other norms, if they are really coming, would be applying the same principles to the somewhat different situation of TAC, with no contradiction, but some differing details.

The squabbling over who should get the credit certainly does remind me of a schoolyard argument and doesn't appear to me as very becoming to someone of my own supposedly mature age.

Cherub, to you and those of your opinion - if that is what your conscience requires of you, well, then, go, and as quickly as possible. I feel no rancor, though I do feel a sadness that you are leaving the "fullness of the Catholic Faith" for something I have to consider an inferior grade.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

Concerned Catholic wrote:

Bishop John Broadhurst makes it very clear that the TAC played a vital if not the vital role in securing the Apostolic Constitution.

They made a diplomatic gesture in the speech. here are the problems.

1) It was Fr. Kirk of the FiF who knew what to expect and planned accordingly.

2) Abp. Falk's statement can be interpreted only to mean that the existing Norms are not meant for the TAC, and that their bishops will be receiving a new and different set.

Cherub wrote:

The fact of the matter is that the TAC made its approach to Rome well before FiF.

Really? Before 1992, the year the FiF/UK made their petition? What was the TAC in 1992?

This only matters for those who must consider a way to reconcile so many contradictions by their leadership.

Fr. John said...

And if you can answer Fr. Hart's question, "what was the TAC before 1992?" Then you will understand why we in this Anglican Continuum believe it is our duty to warn and advise those faithful Anglicans who would accept the terms of the AC.

William Tighe said...

Might I request a little chronological clarity? I have just read this post (and its ensuing comment thread) carefully, as well as the one that precedes it, and try as I might I can find no real indication of when it was that FIF/UK first approached Rome. There is mention of a 1992 survey under the auspices of the then Fr. Broadhurst, but I do not think that FIF/UK came into existence until 1993, or at any rate until after the Nov. 22, 1992 vote on WO of the CofE General Synod, on the one hand, and, on the other, I am aware that the TAC first made overtures to Rome in 1994, at a time when the Australian Idris, Cardinal Cassidy, then occupied the position now held by Cardinal Kasper -- talks which petered out after two/three years when it became evident that the cardinal's cordiality was considerably greater than his interest in the conversations. I am aware that the next round of conversations was initiated in 2001, met with some unresponsiveness, which took some tome to be dealt with, and which crept ahead until, around the late summer of 2003, the late pope switched the responsibility for the "Roman side" of the discussions from Card. Kasper's PCPCU to Card. Ratzinger's CDF.

I will admit that I reamin puzzled by various aspects of Card. Kasper's recent statement about FIF/UK being the "main" object of the Ap. Con., and TAC being the "bye" goal -- although it is certain that that is what he said (despite the efforts of someone calling himself Pierre Whalon to make him mean the exact opposite). Card. K. has long been known for entertaining a certain indifference (to put it no more strongly) towards Continuing Anglicans of all and any sort, while at the same time displaying a touching optimism about RC/AC relations in general, and with the AbC in particular. However, he did suffer two rebuffs at the hands of his "Anglican friends," one in 2006 when his address to the CofE's House of Bishops pleading with them to refrain from allowing bishopesses not only met with a chilly reception, but was rebuffed in print by a collaborative effort of the bishops of Durham (N. T. Wright, a notable "orthodox Evangelical Anglican" who supports WO) and of Salisbury (David Stancliffe, an "Affirming Catholic"), and then at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, when a lecture which he was invited to give at it was treated as a "fringe event" and attracted a small turn-out (by contrast with the "star billing" given to his colleague Cardinal Dias's more anodyne lecture), so perhaps (whatever the truth of the matter) he wished to "stick it" to his "friends" -- just as the AbC himself did in Rome a little later when he suggested that Rome treat WO as "no big deal."

One does wonder, in the end, at exactly what audiences or constituencies both the good cardinal and the AbC were addressing their respective remarks.

William Tighe said...

I should learn to read better: the first comment on this thread indicates 1994 as the "initial approach date" of FIF/UK, in which case the initial approaches of FIF/UK and the TAC were pretty near simultaneous -- but from the tenor of Bishop Broadhurst's quoted remarks it would appear that they receved the same "dusty" reply as did the TAC.

Cherub said...

For the record, the "approach" to which I have referred was the concrete approach made by the TAC to Rome a couplke of years ago. Other "approaches" were really just a sounding out of where things stood and might go. The TAC made THE appoach together with the signed CCC. Second, Poetreader, I am not a member of the TAC as I have said before and so will not be taking advantage of the Apostolic Constitution. You make assumptions about me which are simply not untrue. Third, it does matter who made the approach which led to to the AC because objective truth does matter. Yes FiF have made approaches to Rome in the past and before the TAC was constitutued. What is remarkable historically speaking is this: A Church of the Reformation made an unconditional appoach to Rome and Rome responded with great generosity.
William Tighe's account of the history is surely correct. Cardinal Kasper does not like Continuing Anglican Churches, including all those that are associated with the curiously named "The Continuum". He has always acted as a "spoiler". It was very significant moment for all concerned when the CDF took over the negotiations. Archbishops Hepworth and Falk desderve credit for what they have done. For those Anglicans who do not like this pathway, well and good. They will continue their ecumenical endeavours in another way and I certainly wish everyone well who, in the name of truth, is unable to accept the Apostolic Constitution as a path for them.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Your comment has three problems.

1) FiF/UK was clearly aware of what was about to happen and what it would include, and was continuing to have discussions with Rome all along.

2) The AC does not fit the bill of what the TAC has ever asked for. It is neither a Uniate nor Intercommunion.

3) Abp. Falk has described what can be interpreted only as some new and different arrangement yet to be made.

So, your version does not fit reality.

Cherb said...

Father Hart
1. FiF were being kept,informed by TAC and, of course, had their own lines of communication with Rome. No one is saying that Rome did not have discussions with FiF. Of course they did. But it was the TAC initiative that led to the formulation of the AC.
2. The TAC asked for a response from Rome sine conditione, ie they did not tell Rome what structure they wanted only that they wanted to maintain an Anglican identity liturgically and with certain other custoimsand arranements to which they had long been accustomed. Rome responded by giving them a structure which the generosity of which was beyond their excpectations
3. I don't undersand your third point.
Conclusion: my "version" not only fits reality, it is reality.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


You cannot prove that the AC was written in response to the TAC as opposed to the long standing and equally well known request of FiF. It does not fit what TAC asked for. They are claiming that something else is coming for them.

But both parties deserve equal blame for betraying Anglicanism. As for generosity, I will be making a separate post on what we may determine about that.

Cherub said...

Well Father I agree that as yet none of us know anything re something more for the TAC. We will just have to wait and se about that.

You say: "You cannot prove that the AC was written in response to the TAC as opposed to the long standing and equally well known request of FiF." Well the evidence is clear enough to me. The TAC presented itself for admission into the Catholic Church, FiF hasn't and didn't. QED

Second, you say "It does not fit what TAC asked for." I repeat, the TAC did not ask for a particular form. The TAC applied without condition and this is Rome's response to that application.

Given that the TAC is the ONLY body that fits I §5 of the AC, the conclusion is inescapable, that the TAC is the body which is the proximate and real cause of the enunciation of the AC and its promulgation.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Why are you unwilling to accept the fact that FiF/Uk made their petition? Everybody else knows this fact perfectly well.

Anonymous said...

William Tighe said:
I will admit that I reamin puzzled by various aspects of Card. Kasper's recent statement about FIF/UK being the "main" object of the Ap. Con., and TAC being the "bye" goal --

Walter Cardinal Kasper was kept out of all talks. His department was not involved in any way, and he was not told about the AC until very late and just before the announcement.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Why are you unwilling to accept the fact that FiF/Uk made their petition? Everybody else knows this fact perfectly well.

Fr Hart to what petition (and date) are you referring to with regard to FiF/UK? I know of no formal petition to Rome regarding FiF. Can you enlighten me/us please?

Cherub said...

Dear Father
Of course FiF made a petition. I have not denied that. 1) It was just a differentr kind of petiition; and 2) Rome responded to the TAC petition as Bishop Broadhurst acknowledges with his customary generosity and truthfulness. Why can you not simply accept the facts as they are? You now change the rules of tghe debate such that it is an attachment of "blame" not "praise". Well, of course that is a matter of opinion and must be left at that. All I am saying is that the "praise" or "blame" belongs to the TAC.

poetreader said...

What difference does it make who was first? This begins to sound like a schoolboy squabble at recess. The documents are as they are and will implement as they implement, and ++Falk assures us that there is more coming that is specifically for ACA. I'm finding this quite tiresome.


William Tighe said...

I wrote this as a facetious "Postscript" to something I was working on last night:


You know, it has just occurred to me, as a very "diverting" thought, that as, on the one hand, Kasper "overnighted" at Lambeth just days before the October 20 announcement, and, on the other, he has been widely quoted as affirming that the TAC was (in effect) peripheral to the genesis of Anglicanorum Coetibus (and thus that it came in response primarily to FIF/UK), the conversation between the two must have been somewhat strained:

AbC: "So, my Lord Cardinal, this is the Vatican's response to the TAC, and is aimed at satisfying their desires?"

CardK: "No, Your Grace, we did it for FIF/UK, and it's aimed at them (and the Church of England; and the Anglican Communion; and you).

AbC: "Well, then, this seems to be a hostile act, and I'll have to respond by commending WO as 'no big deal' to the Holy Roman Church when I give the Willibrands Lecture there next month."

CardK: "Whatever; I'll be there to lead the applause, Your Grace."

To film such a scenario would rank up there with the Best of Monty Python, with "musical accompaniment" (in Anglican Chant) from Derek and Clive ("As I was walking down the street one day, I saw a house on fire ...").

Of course, my imagined dialogue is an oversimplification, for in fact the AbC appears to have found out (how?) about the real purport of of AC about a fortnight before October 20th, when (as various published accounts relate) he rang up Card. Kasper (who was attending an ecumenical conference in Cyprus) in the middle of the night about it. Still, though, Card. K. did come and "overnight" at Lambeth just a few days before October 20th, and their "fellowship" and "dialogue" must have been rather "intense."

The TAC's petition to rome was made and delivered in October 2007, but I don't know what was the date of FIF/UK's. Was it in January 2009, or a few weeks previously? That would be my guess, but I have no knowledge of it. Can "cherub" tell us?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I don't know the exact date of FiF/Uk's petition, but I was reading about it in 1999 as something that happened years earlier, as were you.

Cherub said...

Dear Mr Tighe
Following a meeting with the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schonborn, FiF UK petitioned Rome in February 2009. All previous discussions with Rome were exploratory and not a petition. Moreover, the four FiF bishops have always publicly acknowledged that the TAC was the group that initiated the current process ending in the promulgation of the AC.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Sorry, but I happen to remember the 90s, and to have read the full speech at the FiF meeting.