Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Avoiding our in-house extremes

Our mystery reader who calls himself Canon Tallis made a recent comment in which he recalled the earliest days of the Continuing Church in 1978. He mentioned that Bishops Mote and Morse had tried to prevent a certain kind of apostasy "from happening among us by making all who called themselves Anglicans into the most spikey of Anglo-papalists, but that didn't seem to work either. It simply shoved a fair number of Evangelical and old High Church Anglicans completely out of the Continuum."

The two men he named were of the original four bishops consecrated by retired Bishop Albert Chambers and Philippine Independent Catholic Archbishop Francisco de Jesus Pagtakhan, and Archbishop Morse remains alive to this day. I have not seen Archbishop Morse since September of 2006, and my personal experiences with him were pleasant. Bishop Mote, of blessed memory, is highly respected to this day, revered by many as a genuinely holy man, a true saint. Nonetheless, "Canon Tallis" has brought to our attention one of those subjects we cannot ignore. Furthermore, the mistaken assumption that a certain kind of "Spikey" Anglo-Papalism has widespread acceptance among Continuing Anglicans is why certain bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) with its American branch, the Anglican Church in America (ACA), have presumed wide acceptance of their enigmatic 2007 signing of The Catechism of the Catholic Church in Portsmouth, England, and of their positive spin on Anglicanorum Coetibus. And, it is why they will enjoy only a very small following, and will cause the fragmentation of their jurisdiction.

On the other hand, one other of the original four, Bishop Doren, considered it necessary to create the United Episcopal Church in North America, so that he could preserve a home for Low Church Continuing Anglicans. So, for a while the old division along lines of churchmanship seemed to be one of those traditions that we were continuing.

The old problem of division along High Church and Low Church lines (using the terms loosely, but recognizably) should not exist among Continuing Anglicans. Where it does exist it is a dinosaur, taking us back to a time when true believers debated matters both of substance and of shadow, but rarely if ever battled outright unbelief, heresy and apostasy within the Church. From those more innocent days, within Anglicanism we have inherited our own peculiar in-house definitions of the words "catholic" and "protestant." These in-house definitions are every bit as unfortunate and misleading as the general ignorance in popular culture where "Catholic" is mistaken for Roman Catholic, and "Protestant" is mistaken for non-Catholic. I have written before on The Continuum to correct the "out-house" definitions by society at large; now it is time to address the in-house definitions (for in-house I will use the lower case).

Recently, at a meeting of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen, I was taken aback by hearing usage of the two words, "catholic" and "protestant" in that old party-line manner. I have not been accustomed to hearing this in the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) because this jurisdiction has come to a place of maturity where we have room for High and Low Anglican churchmanship. So, I was no longer used to hearing the word "catholic" as identifying High churchmanship. Describing the Anglicans who prefer "smells and bells," images of Mary and the saints, and thumping of the chest (and, frankly, that is me) as "more catholic" than Low churchmen, is a disservice and an injustice. This party usage is not only wrong; it is dangerous. The essence of being Catholic, as Anglicans understand it, is not about using the Missal, ringing the bells, and having clouds of incense. It is supposed to be a word that identifies the Church itself and the faith of that Church. The other usage is simply a preference for one kind of church service, and too insignificant a meaning to give to so important and ancient a word.

We use the word Catholic for our Church and our Faith (without regard for a Roman Catholic claim to a monopoly on the word), because we belong to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the words of the Lambeth Conference of 1867, "We do here solemnly record our conviction that unity will be most effectually promoted by maintaining the faith in its purity and integrity, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, held by the primitive Church, summed up in the Creeds, and affirmed by the undisputed General Councils." 1 Our Apostolic lineage goes back to Christ and the Apostles; and we are the same Church that our Lord planted through those He had sent, as His Father had sent Him. And, whenever we actually might use the word "Protestant" it is in light of the true goal of the English Reformers to restore the Catholic Faith once delivered to the saints as it was delivered truly, avoiding the innovations of the Roman Church and of most of the Protestant churches.

Now, about the old party-line, we have extremists on both sides. They do not exhibit the via media sanity of a truly Anglican attitude, and frankly do not understand the philosophy behind it. On the Low side, extremists are intolerant of the truth about Anglican history itself, trying to rewrite the Formularies as either pure Calvinism, pure Lutheranism, or the modern version of Evangelicalism that holds a fictitious view of all the Reformers everywhere. On the High side, extremists believe every lie, every spin and every fable invented by Rome's talebearers, and therefore are self-loathing Anglicans who hate their own lineage and insist on wallowing in ignorance. On the Low side extremists hate everything from music to sacramentals, almost to the level where they appear suspicious of the Incarnation itself as a "Catholic" plot. On the High side extremists think an effeminate seven minute homily about absolutely nothing is the best kind of preaching, and think the Comfortable Words were inspired by the Devil because Gospel preaching is a "Protestant" plot.

Frankly, I find extremists on both sides to be just plain ridiculous, genuine stomach-turners, and self-defeating, coming across often as knuckleheads who cannot possibly do any evangelizing. The Church they want, on either extreme side, is just too pure for God Himself, whose refusal to be boxed in and controlled makes Him unwelcome, unwanted and threatening. That kind of religion is the kind that had no place for a young carpenter Rabbi , whose dangerous words and actions made it necessary to plot his death.

As Anglicans we have an "instrument of unity" that is very easily overlooked. It is the Book of Common Prayer. In St. Benedict's Anglican Catholic Church here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, we begin every Sunday morning with Morning Prayer, and then we have two services of Holy Communion. At 9:00 AM we have a straight Prayer Book service, even with the Gloria (though not now, in Advent) at the end before the final blessing; and at 11:00 AM we dress up the Prayer Book with those "Missal" things, like Minor Propers and the Gloria (though not now, in Advent) at the beginning. It is the same God, the same Christ, and the same Holy Spirit; it is the same sacrament and the same theology. The experience of each service is deep, rich and meaningful.

By the way, church membership here is growing, with new members who have become regulars at each service.

From Letter XVI, The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis

We have quite removed from men's minds what that pestilent fellow Paul used to teach about food and other unessentials-namely, that the human without scruples should always give in to the human with scruples. You would think they could not fail to see the application. You would expect to find the "low" churchman genuflecting and crossing himself lest the weak conscience of his "high" brother should be moved to irreverence, and the "high" one refraining from these exercises lest he should betray his "low" brother into idolatry. And so it would have been but for our ceaseless labour. Without that, the variety of usage within the Church of England might have become a positive hotbed of charity and humility.
1. Thanks also to Canon Tallis.


BCP Anglican said...

Thanks for a good and much needed exposition. It seems to me that as Anglicans we lose our reason for existance if we cease to be both "reformed" in a generic sense and "catholic" in a Patristic sense. We also lose our identity if we go too far from the Prayer Book tradition. There is much intolerance on all sides, and those who strive for an orthodox and catholic via media are often buffeted by the conflicts.

Canon Tallis said...

There is a part of me that feels that since I have frequently stirred up things which I feel need to be openly discussed but which cause some discomfort, I ought to forgo posting, but when the result is something this excellent - well, I change my mind. My feelings about both of the bishops and their history comes from strong personal knowledge of both men and those around them. I feel fortunate that the Church has survived both of them. And that is a fact that sometimes still surprises me because I know that it shouldn't.

I wish I had the time to address this more fully at the moment, but I have an appointment. I would also like to express my appreciation for the remark of BCP Anglican.

Anonymous said...

unless I am mistaken, Bishop Mote was never the Archbishop of the ACC. He was the senior bishop, but was never elected the Metropolitan.

Will said...

Fr. Hart,

Thanks to you for an excellent post...I hope someday all Anglicans will understand the richness of their heritage, both Catholic and Reformed. BCP Anglican's comment speaks for me as well.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I'm an absolutely content (uber) High Church Anglican. But your words are so true, however. I've attended "low" church services where I was no less moved. The substance of the faith is retained. The Prayerbook is the backbone of all that we do liturgically.

I think the ACC is in a prime position to embody classical Anglican prinicples if we remain faithful to the BCP and our commitment to what the St. Louis Affirmation outlines. Within those boundaries we have great freedom and should rejoice in that.

Thanks for your levelheaded dedication to living out these principles.

In Pax Christi,
St. Worm

Brian said...

Thank you for posting this, Father Hart. As you have explained time and again, the solution to Anglican difficulties is not imports from Geneva or Rome, but a greater understanding of our own Anglican patrimony.

Anonymous said...

Although I am all in favor of avoiding extremism, I fear that the post sets false parameters by confusing the historical meaning of certain terms, such as high and low churchmanship as well as that of Anglo-Catholicism. I offer the following simply as clarifications of historical fact followed by what I believe to be their inescapable implications:

1. By all accounts, Bishop Mote was a decided representative of staunch Anglo-Catholicism.

This party did not come into existence until late 19th century -- after, and not as a continuation of, the Oxford Movement. As a matter of historical fact, it was motivated by an affection for the Council of Trent and what would now be term the Extraordinary Latin Rite.

2. While Bishop Morse has generally adopted most of the externals of American Anglo-Catholicism, he has also been heavily influenced by the Orthodox neo-Patristic Synthesis. Indeed, at one point he shared his chapel in Berkeley, CA with the Orthodox Church in America.

3. Bishop Doren was not, and the UEC is not, "low church." To the contrary, in terms of historic Anglican churchmanship, Doren was the only representative of classically High Churchman among those consecrated at Denver. As matter of historical fact, non-Anglo-Catholics are not all low church and, moreover, Anglo-Catholics are not properly considered "high church."

* * * * *

From the facts, I hope the following will seem obvious:

1. As the variety of Churchmanship within the Continuum has always been generally limited to American Anglo-Catholicism and Old High Churchmanship, the influence of traditional Evangelicalism has been and is virtually nil. Moreover, any discussion of "low churchmanship" within the Continuum reveals either a profound lack of understanding of the historical dimensions Anglican Churchmanship or a gross Anglo-Catholicism partisanship.

2. The difference between American Anglo-Catholicism and Old High Churchmanship is not an intramural, high-versus-low distinction. Rather, it is one of Anglican Identity versus a variety of Roman identity. Indeed, while the Old High Church party remains strong for Anglican distinctives, such as the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles of Religion, and the use of historically English ceremonial, in sharp contrast, the Anglo-Catholics remain attached to the Counter-Reformation Latin Mass, the Council of Trent, and ultramontane ceremonial.

3. Thus, it would seem that the two extremes referred to in the post seem to be that of the classical, catholic Anglicanism of the Caroline Divines on one hand and on the other hand the position of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht. This is, of course, not a rivalry of intramural extremes but rather a distinction between Anglican fidelity and the extramural dalliance. In sum, it would fairer to say that the theological and liturgical distinctions within the Continuum comprise differences of church, not churchmanship.

palaeologos said...

This is a tangent to the main point of your post, but to respond to Canon Tallis' comment (or rather your summary of it, since I had trouble locating it on this blog) :

The appellation "spiky Anglo-Papalist" is not a fair description of Abp Morse. I've been associated with him for the past 6 years, and his churchmanship is possibly best described as "Ritual Notes with water". He's by no means a slavish devotee of Fortescue, and is possibly one of the least liturgically fussy prelates I've ever met.

My own preference is for a rite which includes the entirety of the BCP service with the Missal add-ons, but as always it depends on the custom of the place where I'm celebrating. The congregation has a right to its churchmanship, and while it's appropriate over time to make changes, it is absolutely disastrous, pastorally speaking, to swoop in and "reform" their liturgy based on one's personal preference.

It is undeniable that the majority of the clergy of the APCK and ACC are further up the candle than the average Anglican. It's also undeniable that +Mote and +Morse were uninterested in re-imposing a Settlement after the manner of Elizabeth, in light of the way in which her settlement has crumbled. Catholics who believe in Apostolic Succession cannot hold communion with Calvinists who don't believe in ordination. It's that simple.

I would also point out that of the many clergy I know in the three Chambers Succession jurisdictions, not one of them is interested in crossing the Tiber under the terms of the recent Apostolic Constitution. And not one of them has ever used the term "Anglo-Papalist" in my hearing to refer to themselves. In any case, I think "Anglo-Papalist" best describes a certain strain of C of E Anglicanism typified by Fr Hunwicke; there are few like him in the States.

palaeologos said...

PS : The previous comment is not to be read as an attack on Canon Tallis, just my own perspective on the issue he raises. And of course, the perception of spikiness is also dependent on the individual who perceives; what to one person is unexceptionable is "heathen Popish mumm'ry!" to another.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I am generally in agreement with the overall thrust of this essay. The Continuum now seems to be settling in to a centrist approach to liturgy and theology. "Prayer Book Catholic, Old-fashioned High Churchman, Classical Anglican" are the current buzzwords, all of which are music to my ears.

But I must demur slightly from Fr Harts's description of the extremes:

"Low side, extremists are intolerant of the truth about Anglican history itself, trying to rewrite the Formularies as either pure Calvinism, pure Lutheranism, or the modern version of Evangelicalism that holds a fictitious view of all the Reformers everywhere."

Apart from one on the Gulf Coast and perhaps another in central Florida, I cannot think of anyone like that. Certainly no one in my circle of acquaintances for over 30 years since the days of St Louis. This notion of Evangelical is somewhat like the "bogey-man under the bed," feared by insecure Anglo-Catholics.


charles said...

I kind of suspect we define churchmanship often by our ecumenicalism. Or maybe vice-versa? It seems when we approach jurisdictions outside our own Anglican patrimony (partly defined by Articles, BCP, and Bible), our Identity suffers.

I've read section V of the Affirmation. What are ACC reasons for not taking initiative with orthodox Anglicans, either individual priests or bishops, still within Lambeth, ACNA#2, or even TEC?

If orthodox, classical (etc.) Anglicans still exist in such jurisdictions, doesn't Section V bind us to some kind of effort? ACNA #2, for example, is not monist (Duncan) but composed of constituent parties like REC and Diocese of Fort Worth, etc.. REC hasn't even signed onto ACNA. There are also flying bishops still in CofE.

The affirmation seems very clear that it is a public vow. It gives a strategy, and flirting with either so-called Orthodoxy or RC kind of denies the Affirmation's covenantal nature. If it was a binding public oath, then I find that pretty serious.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells,

The term "evangelical" is another one of those not-so-easily shared names. WELS and conservative LCMS Lutherans don't think anyone else can be a true evangelical since that name applied originally to the Lutherans -- and most of them are virulently anti-Reformed.

Some of the rhetoric against "evangelicalism" from all quarters (not just Anglicans) usually is a denouncement of the anabaptistic character of the movement as popularly expressed in our culture, and yes, (nobody can honestly deny it) even among "low" church Anglicans.

While I'm not sympathetic to Anglo-Papalism, I do understand the broader disdain for evangelicalism within traditional/anglo-catholic Anglicanism. The Puritans and other Reformed spin-offs have ever and anon attacked Anglican principles in the name of the Evangel. But as you know, our precious ACC upholds an Evangelical Witness, so I don't sympathize with those who want to shun the term.

We have a unique situation here: no State Church controls our continuum. The ACC I think has the internal goods to support a genuinely broader expression of Anglo-Catholicism around the BCP and St. Louis Affirmation, but don't think for a moment there won't be some knock-down, drag-out debates over what theologically may be countenanced within even those robustly broad parameters.

By the by, I've been wanting to visit your church in my travels up that way, and worship with your sheep one Sunday. We simply must do lunch and discuss our adventures in Calvinism!

In Jesus,
St. Worm

Anonymous said...

Palaeologos is spot on when he says that Bishop Morse is a "Ritual Notes with water" Anglo-Catholic. In fact, I would venture to say that most parishes in the Continuum fit this bill. And while I acknowledge that such a confused, indeterminate churchmanship does avoid the "extremes" of actual Anglicanism and outright Old Catholicism, it is only the continuum of the sort of muddled churchmanship that erroneously conflates the adjectives "High Church" and "Catholic" with things "Romanish." Far from being an ideal, it is simply a mistake and a very minor footnote in the history English-Speaking Christianity.

Anonymous said...


Despite, the Continuum's eponymous claim to being the continuation of authentic Anglicanism in North America as well as its claim to being the progeny of the St. Louis Affirmation, the movement was long ago highjacked by Anglo-Catholics. This is the point that Canon Tallis correctly notes and that motivated Fr. Hart's Post.

Indeed, the Bench of Bishops in the Continuum have held a consistent policy of mere tolerance of the BCP, of marginalization of the 39 Articles, as well as a disregard for, or a painfully strained reading of the St. Louis Affirmation. While the Continuum may have many mere Anglicans are in the pews, and a few have taken orders, as a whole the movement is no more pure in its Anglicanism than that of Established Anglicanism from which it broke or from the strict party-Evangelicalism of GAFCON or the newly constructed ACNA.

Fr. John said...

Bishop Mote was never an archbishop. I knew him for years and found him to be a tolerant and kind man, never pushy in my experience with him.

From my point of view, fully acknowledging there may be other valid ones, the evangelicals, of whom there were still many in the early 1980s in the Diocese of the Middle Atlantic States, became dissatisfied because they could not control the synod electorally. That is to say they could not obtain the offices they wanted through election.

No one ever questioned their liturgical practices.

El Capitan said...

This blog is missing the point about why the TAC wishes to be communion with the Holy Roman Church. The TAC has recognized that there is no controling authority with Anglicanism. Every rector/senior warden is a pope as he decides how mass is to be celebrated with the walls of his parish and what his people should believe. (I have been to churches that openly teach doctrines such as the Imaculate Conception and others that deny the doctrine. If he disagrees with his bishop(at least in the so called continuing church) he mere pull his parish out of one jurisdiction and into another.If a senior warden does not like a rector he fires him, if he disagrees with a bishop he moves his church to another one of the many other Anglican jurisdictions. In the end there is no unity within the church. The Holy Father is allowing Anglicans to come into the church and retain their customs, but some still insist on spoiling the unity of the church.

acalayreader said...

Could someone please expain "spikey?"

poetreader said...

Spikey, a somewhat humorous term for those of so-called "advanced" practice and theology. In other words, those whose liturgical practice, forms of devotion, and theological turns of phrase tend to mo\re closely resemble those of the Roamn Church, or rather of the pre-Vatican II style of that church.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

El Capitan:

I do not know which Continuing Anglicanism you are writing about. Perhaps you are thinking of the "One Accord" jurisdictions, that is, those where everyone is in one Accord, because the whole jurisdiction fits into one car. Every Rector a Pope? As an old man and a life long Anglican, I assure you, that is completely absurd.

You wrote:

The Holy Father is allowing Anglicans to come into the church and retain their customs, but some still insist on spoiling the unity of the church.

We have read the constitution, and (not to be offensive but simply to make a long story short) all I can say to your comment is "hogwash." We have provided essays to explain why, so scroll down and read.

Death Bredon:

Your first comment is technically true, but does not fit the practical reality of life on the ground.

You are on record as not liking the Missal, and we understand your reasons. Some of your points make sense, but I still do not agree with your idea of throwing away the Missal.

I must disagree very strongly with this line:

...as a whole the movement is no more pure in its Anglicanism than that of Established Anglicanism from which it broke or from the strict party-Evangelicalism of GAFCON or the newly constructed ACNA.

Maintaining belief in the Trinity, the incarnation, and all other points of the Creed certainly makes us more pure than the Episcopal Church and other Canterbury (?)churches(?). Valid Holy Orders and sacramental theology makes us more pure than the other groups you mention.

We will never be able to furnish an Anglicanism that everyone will accept as equally authentic. I have tried to help us get closer to that goal by reopening the works of the English Reformers and Anglican Divines to show their consistency with the Vincentian Canon. I believe that as long as we have that goal and try to follow the BCP in its words and its spirit, we will be authentically Catholic as Anglicans.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells:

Whenever I make a strongly critical comment invoking the word "Evangelical" you will notice that I use a longer term: "Modern Evangelical." I mean the Rick Warren, Pat Robertson, Anabaptist, praise-band-with rock-country-music singing choruses, emotional and non-theological kind. They are not real Evangelicals, and not children of the Reformation. They just think they are. Maybe there is a better word for these anabaptists.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

You brilliantly summed up my exact sentiments re: evangelicalism. If I have to tangle with other Christians of other denominations, give me the old-school Lutherans and Presbyterians. I'd rather fend off accusations of popery from without than this ecto-plasmic goo born in the womb of baby-boomber pop religion from within our fellowship. The minute a power-point projector is installed and we start having U2 Masses is the minute this Anglican will become as rancorous as anything you've read by Luther.

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry... I forgot to mention that I unabashedly own that post about evangelicalism to Father Hart.

St. Worm
ACC Diocese of the South

George said...

This post certainly lays out what I was not aware of until I came to really start to grasp Anglicanism. The alphabet soup descriptions makes things very confusing. Other laity ask you or you describe yourself as protestant or catholic (even though these words aren't opposites), Anglo-Papalist or Anglo-Catholic, etc... And it does not add constructively to the conversation it only divides us.

The best service I think this post demonstrates is all those involved in Anglicanism need to be more educated on what they believe. And when we talk amongst ourselves as well as others we must make sure we understand the words we use so we can speak authoritatively.

Anonymous said...

I think Death Bredon has made many excellent contributions to this Blog but he makes assumptions about the entire Continuum based on his experience in his part of the American Church.He's offered positive comments about the BCP 1962 in the past so I know he has at least a little knowledge about the Canadian Church.In places like Australia, Canada and elsewhere Anglicans have traditionally been a greater percentage of the population than in the U.S.A.Sadly in many of these countries the Anglican population is in serious decline but it is important for Continuum readers to know that in most places,the Continuing Church,is comprised of all sorts and conditions of men who attend parishes of all shades of Churchmanship.Some threads on this Blog would assume that the place Anglicanism occupies in American society is the same in other countries.One time,a while back, Fr.Wells intimated that Anglicans were softies compared to some R.C. communities in the U.S.A. which may be true in his neck of the woods but I know many people up here in Canada who don't fit that mold. Plenty of our Newfie lads or tough Aussies would love to set him straight.On this thread,as usual, Fr.Hart hits the nail on the head! As the Continuum grows and becomes more international some of these discussions will seem down right silly.Please don't think I am not fond of my American brethren. Like many Canadians I have lots of American relatives and friends but as a commentator mentioned recently: the views expressed here often seem myopic to non Yanks. Thankfully Fr.Hollister has also reminded participants in discussions here that the 1928 American BCP,a very good version,is not the only traditional Prayer Book.D.B, perhaps jokingly,describes himself as one of the idle rich ; if it is true I can say we don't have any blokes like that where I come from.He might have time for some boxing lessons, Fr.Wells could come too!Afterwards we could catch up with my brother and his rugby buddies and go for a pint.They needn't worry we'll make sure no one picks on them.

Mark VA said...

From the Roman perspective:

Father Hart wrote:

"On the High side, extremists believe every lie, every spin and every fable invented by Rome's talebearers, and therefore are self-loathing Anglicans who hate their own lineage and insist on wallowing in ignorance."

One wonders what virtues such sentiments can uphold.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Indubitably, "[m]aintaining belief in the Trinity, the incarnation, and all other points of the Creed certainly makes [the Continuum] more pure than the Episcopal Church," but only in the same sense that Roman Catholics, Missouri Synod Lutherans, PCA Presbyterians, Orthodox, etc. are "purer Christian" jurisdictions. So, it sounds like you are saying that, even if I am right that the Continuum is not Anglican, it is definitely Catholic -- and that is a point I do not dispute.

What I contend is that the Continuum has no claim to Anglican Identity that is purer or stronger than that of the Episcopal Church. Indeed, just as one may believe in the 39 Articles and use the BCP with English ceremonial in either the Episcopal Church or the Continuum, neither is required. So just what is it that the Continuum requires that makes it a movement that makes it the continuation of distinctively Anglican Christianity as opposed to some sort of generic Catholic Christianity?

Well, let's see -- you point to the English Reformers, by which I take it you mean Elizabethan Reformers, and the [later] Anglican Divines and the BCP. But, none of these are required to be believed or used by anyone in the Continuum (the Anglican Missal, canonically authorized in the ACC, doesn't even require use of an Anglican canon of the mass!). So, just what Anglican distinctive -- not some aspect of generic Christian orthodoxy -- is required of every member of the Continuum? And if their be none, in what sense is a movement that requires nothing of its members that is distinctively Anglican still meaningfully Anglican except by sheer happenstance?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Mark VA:

These are not sentiments; they are observations.

Death Bredon wrote:

So, it sounds like you are saying that, even if I am right that the Continuum is not Anglican, it is definitely Catholic -- and that is a point I do not dispute.

Obviously, there are several Continuing Anglican clergy and parishes that have a poor understanding of Anglicanism. This is especially obvious when they call the fathers of Anglican belief by such names as "heretic." People who are embarrassed by the Articles, instead of approaching them to learn, are renouncing Anglicanism by doing so. That has obviously been the target of my efforts. Anglicans need an Anglican mind, and many do not have one. Worse, many are taught not to have one by the same clergy who cannot figure out why their own parishes do not grow. I could tell them why they can't attract new people who will stick. It is not attractive to join a church where the clergy themselves do not believe in their own tradition.

Yes, there is too much of that going on.

What I contend is that the Continuum has no claim to Anglican Identity that is purer or stronger than that of the Episcopal Church.

That goes too far. A lot of Continuers are weak in their understanding, but they believe in Jesus Christ in every necessary way that the Episcopal Church does not. That alone gives them a more authentic claim.

Well, let's see -- you point to the English Reformers, by which I take it you mean Elizabethan Reformers, and the [later] Anglican Divines and the BCP. But, none of these are required to be believed or used by anyone in the Continuum...

That is a valid criticism, but only in some venues. It is not the case across the board; and my efforts here have reduced it, or so I like to think.

...(the Anglican Missal, canonically authorized in the ACC, doesn't even require use of an Anglican canon of the mass!).

The Missal allows use of the Gregorian Canon. I am aware of that. But, generally, when the Missal is used it is, in effect, the BCP with embellishments that are definitely proper. Sometimes the 1549 canon is used too, and has become popular; and we certainly cannot find fault with that. (The 1662 gets bad press and it should not. It is a perfectly good BCP, though I prefer the American, and the Scottish, and the 1549).

The problems you have pointed out amount to a failure to appreciate what has been handed down to us. But, I believe firmly that this is a problem of education. As a priest, that problem does not make me give up, but rather shows that my work is cut out for me.

David said...

Hi church, lo church, can a house divided stand? It reminds me of some LCMS parishes with traditional Lutheran liturgical practice and contemporary praise worship. The church ends up divided because of style (though I would also argue the change to contemporary worship brings a change to generic reformed theology also).

Anonymous said...

FR Hart writes:

"They are not real Evangelicals, and not children of the Reformation. They just think they are. Maybe there is a better word for these anabaptists."

Oh those people. They are called Arminians and charismatics.

I thought you were writing about those who wear black gowns and preach 45 minute sermons from center pulpits, observing the Lord's Supper only once a quarter. Havent met any of those lately, except on line when I visit Heidelblog and Reformation 21.

Anonymous said...

A necessary clarification: "Evangelical" is a soteriological position, whereas "Catholic" refers to issues in ecclesiology. It seems natural for me to meld the two together, in fact downright unnatural to set them in conflict.

Also, when we start tossing these words and similar expressions around, we need to be clear about which we are discussing: doctrinal theology or worship style. I have known too many "cosmetic Catholics" who are crazy about highfalutin ceremonial but have never had a theological thought in their heads.

St Worm: Would love to welcome you to SMAA. Lunch is on me.

Священник села said...

Anonymous brings up Canada, and I would like to say that the experience of continuing Anglicanism in Canada is distinctly different than that of the USA. For one thing, until recently there was only one continuing Church - the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada - and it embraces a wide variety of churchmanship, basically because the various sorts of churchmanship found a center of unity in the Bishop, and the principles he espoused. For example, I can remember a priest who was a north-ender - a fine man, priest in Cowansville, Quebec - while his sister parish not so far away dripped lace and birettas and extra-liturgical devotions. I think that the ACC in Canada found the American ACC too narrow in its churchmanship, and I think this is the general attitude of Canadians today. One looks forward to a closer relationship.

Bishop de Catanzaro was a truly wonderful bishop, accepted all who loved the BCP pure and simply and who admired the touch-stones of classic Anglicanism familiar to the Continuum, even as he especially loved the sort of Anglicanism fondly recalled in a recent sermon that I came across: http://www.puseyhouse.org.uk/chapel/sermons/?sermon=70

[For the record, I was confirmed as an adult on the visit of Bishop Dale Doren to the then Fr de Catanzaro's parish, in an Orthodox Church lent to the continuing Anglicans by the Orthodox parish priest with the blessing of his Archbishop]

Joe Oliveri said...

I could be wrong, but I read Death Bredon's position as essentially that of the late Dr. Toon (of happy memory). I hardly need to remind anyone here that Dr. Toon often referred to those in the Continuum as "extra-mural Anglicans" -- affectionately, no doubt, but there it is. And he disapproved of the Missal on principle.

Where the classical Anglican Formularies aren't considered strictly normative -- in other words, in a Continuing jurisdiction where parishes may use the 1928 BCP with additions, or use the Anglican or American Missal freely; where no ordinand has to vow to uphold the doctrine in the 39 Articles (indeed, there is a famous ACA parish in California that excises the Articles from their BCPs with an Exacto knife); and so on -- it does indeed seem difficult to argue that Continuing Anglicanism is, in Mr. Bredon's words, more pure in its Anglicanism than that of Established Anglicanism from which it broke or from the strict party-Evangelicalism of GAFCON or the newly constructed ACNA.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Would that all shared your understanding that the Missals should be used only as embellishment of the BCP rather than license to makes changes to the canon -- this is indeed what the St. Louis Affirmation seems to require. And, were the various Continuum jurisdictions do affirm the Affirmation in their canons rather than contradict it, then I would agree that the Continuum is tolerably Anglican in nature (as embellishments ought generally come from within English tradition as per the Ornaments Rubric, not from without), as opposed to merely tolerant of classical Anglicanism -- which is snidely terms "low church."

The difference between the Continuum and the Episcopal Church is that, while both allow true Anglicanism but do not require it, the Episcopal Church is also tolerant of rank heresy. Thus, while the later jurisdiction is obviously the general preference of real Anglicans, the absurdity is that neither is constitutionally speaking a distinctively Anglican jurisdiction -- the UEC being the only possible exception.

And yes, I do believe that you have been a positive force for Anglicanism within the Continuum [of Anglicanism]. But the fact that such a voice is needed is just further proof that, generally speaking, the Continuum, isn't.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Generally the Continuing Churches not Anglican? I think it is more accurate to say that in many places the need for education is so obvious that it screams out. And, frankly, I plan to stay in the ACC for the rest of my earthly sojourn.

Anonymous said...


Dr. Toon was fond of speaking of formulary Anglicanism, but he did on occasion put an unwarrantedly and unsustainably Evangelical spin on them. I say this not to dance on Dr. Toon's grave, but rather point out that the Anglican Formularies, which he was rightly found of, and loyal to, are not nearly as patient of a Continental Protestant reading as many Evangelical Anglicans and most Anglo-Catholics tend to believe.

To the contrary, those who engage in extensive, non-partisan, non-revisionist study of the formularies are likely to find that, while they are decidedly opposed to the innovations of post-Schism, Schoolmen, and therefore to everything that the Counter-Reformation defended, they are much too Catholic -- in the sense of the consensus of faith in the undivided Church -- to constitute a confession or have much concord with either Westminster or Wittenberg.

By way of example, Dr. Toon generally stated that Anglicanism accepts only Four Councils as General. In contrast, the Act of Uniformity only emphasizes the first four councils without indicating any sort of limiting or exclusive enumeration. Moreover, the Second Book of Homilies affirmatively acknowledges six councils as General. And while Dr. Toon was undoubtedly correct that Anglicanism has never required the confession of Seven Councils, his writing were conspicuous for the absence of any acknowledgement that, constitutionally speaking, categorical iconoclasm has always been verboten in Anglicanism.

In sum, the fact that Anglicans with decidedly Evangelical leanings, such as Dr. Toon, do and have appealed to the Anglican Formularies is not sufficient cause for catholic- and patristic-minded Anglicans to seek extra-mural alternatives. Rather, we should correct the record. Indeed, if Lancelot Andrewes and Thomas Ken could embrace the 39 Articles and the Book of Common Prayer without evasion, and the Elizabethan Puritans fought both tooth and nail, then we ought have nothing to fear from either.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

...indeed, there is a famous ACA parish in California that excises the Articles from their BCPs with an Exacto knife...

That is the kind of extremism I was writing about. Frankly, I hope the clergy of that parish, and any like them, have read my denunciation of their ignorance and foolishness. Obviously, they could not understand the Articles in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I am all for your commitment to education and stability. The title Anglican is used, sometimes even with qualification of "Anglican Catholic" or "Anglo-Catholic," but the constitutions and canons sound as if they were crafted for an English church in the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht.

I suspect that your catechism campaign will awaken many in the pews to the fact that they have been misled by their bench of bishops, but being ever cynical, I suspect most of those bishops know exactly how they are fudging Anglicanism. Good luck nevertheless!

Anonymous said...

St. Worm,

I believe that, in the context of Anglican churchmanship, "Evangelical," when capitalized, refers to the ecclesiastical party -- the successors of the quasi-conforming Puritans -- or to the tenets of that party, most especially their erroneous contention that the Anglican formularies accord well with Protestant or Reformed Confessions.

T said...

Bravo Fr Hart.

It needed to be said- thanks to Canon Tallis as well!


David MI said...

Bishop Doren is not listed among the living and is spoken of in the past tense. I thought that he was still living. When did he die?

Deacon Down Under said...

It might be worth reflecting on just where "classical Anglicanism" went wrong. It sure was wrong by 1977 within PECUSA, and by the mid 80's the cancer was within the Anglican Church of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the beloved Church of England, and the disease of modernism has spread far and wide.

Even the evangelical reactions of GAFCON and the calvinistic Diocese of Sydney led anti-clericalism can be seen as reactions to this disease of modernism.

The Continuum as expressed atSt. Louis to my mind re-stated orthodox Anglicanism very clearly. It did not restate latitudinarian tolerance of every variety of Anglicanism.

What the ACC has done in particular I believe is to emphasise that orthodoxy in it's canons and synodical enactments.

I for one am quite happy to take communion at a surplice and stole evangelical parish using the straight BCP as I saw as a boy in the then Church of England in Australia at St. Paul's Glenorchy.
Valid mass. Valid priest. Yes, simple rubrics and no prefaces etc from the missal. Perfectly fine.

The ACC however I think expresses a deeper understanding of liturgical worship, of seeking to worship God with the unique reverence and richness that is found in the missal and found in the 1549 English prayer book mass.
To me the missal is the elder brother of the 1662 mass just as the full breviary is the elder brother of the 1662 office of mattins and evensong. That the 1928 Prayer Book restored compline is evidence that the modern fathers of the Church believed that something was missing or at least could be added to the prayer book offices.

I am myself an unashamed advocate for the ongoing use of prayer book Mattins and Evensong, but again I also think that priests and religious ought to consider supplementing these with the breviary - if only the little hours and compline.

The continuing Anglican Churches have sought to preserve the Anglican patrimony, not just as a museum piece, but as a living, organic, mission focused witness to Christ. Embracing the missal is just one tool in the evangelical arsenal of Catholicism within the continuum.

Blake said...

Great thoughts Fr Hart. I think a primary way to move beyond extremes is to turn our faces towards Evangelism, and outreach, to real people, who are in need of the gospel, just like each of us.

Anonymous said...

Death Bredon,

Duly noted re: the historical context use of "Evangelicals" w/in Anglican usage. However, the substance of my complaint still stands. For all its sincerity in outreach and zeal for evangelism, evangelicalism is generally speaking as culturally ineffective and theologically impotent as the apostate mainline denominations have become.

With that said, if we continuing Anglicans don't cultivate some zeal for outreach we will perpetually give up that task to the Rick Warrens of this world. Our "remnant" status will simply morph into "marginalized" -- and we have to be careful not to confuse the two.

St. Worm

Joe Oliveri said...

Fr Wells wrote: I thought you were writing about those who wear black gowns and preach 45 minute sermons from center pulpits, observing the Lord's Supper only once a quarter.

Papist though I am (I recite the Oath against Modernism each morning while shaving), I do have a soft spot in my heart for fire-and-brimstone sermons, the sort often delivered by those preachers in black gowns. Karl Malden's portrayal of the Rev. Ford in Pollyanna has always been a favorite.

Anonymous said...

Death Bredon,

I never heard if you formally accept the St. Louis Affirmation as an acceptable framework for classical Anglicanism (I don't even know what continuing body you're from -- ACC?). Do you affirm, for example, the Seven Sacraments listed in the Affirmation?

I know some Anglicans would diminish or exclude the 5 minor sacraments from the list, but I get the feeling that some, in the name of "centrism," want to dilute the Affirmation.

Do any here feel the Affirmation is at odds with the Articles?

Probably opening up a can of worms.

St. Worm

Deacon Down Under said...

St. Worm writes: Do any here feel the Affirmation is at odds with the Articles?

No I don't see the Affirmation as incongruent with the 39 Articles. The 39 Articles have to be seen in a cultural, historical and ecclesiastical climate. The 39 Articles were an attempt by the fathers of the English Church to re-state Catholicism, the Catholicism of the Early and undivided Church, against a cultural background of ill-educated clergy, laity and undoubted abuses.

The Affirmation of St. Louis was and is an orthodox Anglican re-statement of fidelity to the place of the Anglican Church as part of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. The cultural context of the Affirmation was not just the apostasy of PECUSA by virtue of heretically ordaining women priests, but was the much greater context of the Anglican Communion succumbing to theological and ecclesiastical modernism.

Again the great debate between low Church, "classic" high Church and Anglo-Catholic can be seen as historical reflections of a Church that ws unable to know it's mind collectively. The loose federation of autonomous diocese that is Anglicana always lacked the collective capacity to confront and unseat theologians like Bishop John Spong, or whole diocese like the Sydney advocates of lay led Holy Communion.

I see the Affirmation of St. Louis as a sign of the fidelity of Anglicans to Catholic faith and order, and I see in the ACC the maturation of that orthodoxy. No continuing jurisdiction has the worldwide presence of the ACC (except the TAC) and certainly the ACC is focused on bringing souls to Christ - not on the question of lace albs versus surplices.

The comments of the Russian Orthodox priest at the ACC Synod banquet for me are of much more interest for the future of the Anglican continuum and it's ecumenical relations with Rome and the Orthodox. We should be looking at the question of defining and appreciating a fuller pre-communion fast. We should consider strongly the reintroduction of the subdiaconate and the minor orders which Paul VI in a fit of modernism consigned to the bin, while the Orthodox in conformity to the universal history of the Church maintains those orders.

John A. Hollister said...

"Death Bredon" wrote, presumably about the Constitution and Canons of the ACC, "the constitutions and canons sound as if they were crafted for an English church in the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht."

I recall that in the 1980s someone outside of the ACC complained that our C & C were "not Anglican". Presumably that complainer's knowledge of Anglicanism was limited to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA because, as the principal draughtsman of that C and those C said on that occasion. He had drawn, he said, from two sources.

The first was the recommendations of the first Lambeth Conference, in 1867, as to what Anglican Provincial governance should be. From those recommendations, only PECUSA demurred, having already established its polity of congregationalism writ large.

The second source was the report of a blue-ribbon commission established in the mid-20th Century by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, to examine what Canon Law was then in force in the Church of England and how that corpus should be amended or updated.

So, judged by their results when adopted by the ACC, clearly those sources were not truly "Anglican".

John A. Hollister+

Brian said...

I thought you were writing about those who wear black gowns and preach 45 minute sermons from center pulpits, observing the Lord's Supper only once a quarter. Haven't met any of those lately, except on line when I visit Heidelblog and Reformation 21.

They're still around. I of course am a former member of such an Evangelical Presbyterian church, although we had somewhat more frequent Communion, and I know several relatively young people who delight in this kind of service. (Though I personally have never heard a 45 minute sermon that couldn't be condensed into a better 20 minute sermon, and the disproportionate emphasis of Word over Sacrament seems to me just the equal and opposite error of the medieval RCC. This is why I am an Anglican and not looking back.)

Anonymous said...



I think that is positively brilliant that you take the oath each morning.

But, as I presume that use a straight razor -- avoiding such perilous modernisms as the safety razor or electric razor -- I urge you to exercise caution!

Anonymous said...

St. Worm,

I do not see that Affirmation as being at odds with the Articles or the Anglican formularies. Personally, I affirm the first Eight Councils (including the third Council of Constantinople in 879). And while I think affirming seven or eight is allowable, I do not think the formularies permit such unqualified affirmations as an expectation or requirement of being Anglican (nor do I believe that is the meaning of the St. Louis Statement). Indeed, the Elizabethan Settlement was to reticent of defining orthodoxy by numerology, so to speak.

The statement that I personally believe best puts forth the classically cautious Anglican approach to General Councils is as follows:

"We affirm the dogmatic definitions of the first four ecumenical councils of the undivided Church – (1) Nicaea, A.D. 325, (2) Constantinople, A.D. 381, (3) Ephesus, A.D. 431, and (4) Chalcedon, A.D. 451 – as representing the true mind of the Church Catholic in the face of heresy and controversy, and the consensus of the faithful as led by the Spirit of God into all truth. The later ecumenical councils (i.e., the fifth, sixth, and seventh) are affirmed as orthodox to the degree that they are consistent with, while adding nothing to, the substance of dogma defined by the first four."

--excerpted from statement of doctrinal standards of Andrewes Hall (an REC theological college)

* * * * *

As for the Anglican distinction between dominical sacraments (mysteries) and the others, I believe it to be a valid and accurate one, though not of earth shattering importance. Indeed, the Lord's Prayer is the distinctively dominical one, and therefore has a certain distinctiveness a the archetypal prayer, but it doesn't excluded or minimize the importance and significance of all prayer.

Anonymous said...

St. Worm,

I agree about evangelism.

One problem that has been repeatedly brought to my attention by would-be "Continuing Anglicans," who turn away in disgust, is the disjunction between parishes that publicly claim to adhere to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer but noticeably and markedly vary from it on Sunday mornings.

This can leave visitors not only with the sense that both the Episcopal Church and the Continuum have abandoned the tried and true Prayer Book, but worse yet often leaves the impression that the Continuum engages in false advertising right on their front-door signs and therefore is not to be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Canon Hollister,

While I have no doubts that Lambeth in 1867 was Anglican, I have grave doubts about the Sees of York and Canterbury during any portion of the 20th Century.

In any event, if memory serves, use of the English Missal was still a criminal offense in England until the mid 1960s. And I hardly want to cast my lot with the liberalizations of the sixties.

Brian said...

As I have said, I think Fr. Hart's essay is on the money, but reading through the comments it seems there is a danger in overlooking the great blessing of clarity that our situation affords. As ++Haverland wrote, "The ACC has jettisoned the theological ambiguity that has long afflicted Anglicanism for a clear Anglo-Catholic faith and Church order." (Certainly other Continuuing jurisdictions could make similiar statements.) That surety is a pearl of great price and ultimately much more impotant to me as a practicing layman than the historical vagaries that lead us to this moment or whether it can be squared with some Platonic form of 'mere' Anglicanism.

John A. Hollister said...

Death Bredon wrote, anent the "Report to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York of the Commission on Canon Law in the Church of England": "I hardly want to cast my lot with the liberalizations of the sixties."

Where that "Report" was issued in the late 1940s, and in any event dealt with matters, most of which were already established facts before the end of the 19th Century, I am a bit of a loss to account for how the 1960s could have been involved therein.

John A. Hollister+

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Someone left a comment asking the identity of one of our mystery readers. To the brave anonymous hit and run driver, I will answer your question. Please pass it on to the rumor squad. The answer is no.

Canon Tallis said...

With a too dramatic swirl of his cappa negra (obtained from Whipells's eons ago) the mysterious Canon Tallis reappears to take it all on. And the first thing that I should say is that my children would be absolutely delighted with the very idea of their father and grandfather being described as "mysterious." But they would understand.

First a mantter of a few corrections of facts. Since I knew both Morse and Mote only two well in the period of the crisis - my youngest sons godparents all came from Mote's Denver parish and it was it St Peter's that Bishop Chambers who I had known even longer and better than either confirmed my three youngest, I have had the priviledge and the agony of being an eyewitness to too much of the Continuum's history. It has been nothing less that the full Chinese curse from day one.

I am very glad that Father Hart's interaction with Bishop Morse has been pleasant. Mine was as well, but I had the added advantage of realizing that almost every word he spoke of any real importance in our conversations was something less than the full truth and I was fully aware that he knew that I knew at the time. I am thankful for the good of the Continuum that he has continued until not quite the end, but he was the first who ever said to me that the unity of the movement would be greatly assisted by a number of key funerals. Unfortunately the most important one has yet to take place, his.

As for bishop Mote, I don't know anyone with whom I have ever discussed Tudor Church history who knew less about it with most of what he believed he knew having come from either Roman propaganda or the persistent prejudice of the Anglo-papist, "Back to Baroque" movement in both the English and American Church. But on that point he wasn't that far different from Bishop Morse. They were both entirely representative of the most estreme variety of spikery. And they had very little if any tolerance or patience with anyone who did not share thier views. And it was for this reason that they shoved Bishop Doren out and all but forced the founding of the United Episcopal Church which while it attracted a fair number of low churchmen (Morning Prayer surplice and tippet types) was really for those for whom the various missals as then used and other issue around same were intolerable to the older school of English and American high churchmen. You know, or should, thoose I mean - the ones who read Proctor and Frere, Moss, Bicknell and could actually comprehend the arguments in Mascall.

To be cont'd.

Canon Tallis said...

Personally, I am a very old fashioned high Churchman in the school of MacColl, Staly, Gore, Frere, Moss and Bicknell. I am all but a prayer book fundamentalist, but I have no trouble with the use of the minor propers from the Sarum missal or even of such propers as might be found in the 20th century prayer books of the English and Scots' churches provided they had the approval of the ordinary. And as some one who fought Bishop Chambers for position of the thurible in the Church of the Resurrection during high mass on Christmas day, I can hardly pretend a distaste for the fullest use of incense. That being stated, my churchmanship is bound by what the Church has legislated in a proper order which does not quite extend to the use of the missals - and especially not when such use is a fraud to cover a greater attachment to Roman rather than Anglican theology and ecclesiology. If all the prayers found in the prayer book rite are used in accordance with same, I have less objecion, but when the "Prayer for the Whole State" disappears because the Gregorian canon is being substituted for that of the appropriate BCP, I am not going to be happy or think nice thoughts about the celebrant - or those who tolerate same. And this might account for my reaction when Morse, Mote and the other poor guy walked through those doors at Denver wearing Roman soutanes and rochets that I knew that they had absolutely no respect for classical Anglicanism. I hoped against anything and everything that I was wrong, but their own actions and statements over the next two years made it only too clear that they absolutely belonged to the party of whom Bishop Gore complained that they got their theology and church history from the penny pamphlets at Westminster. I wish it were otherwise or could have been otherwise, but being there and hoping for better was torture. I still bear the scars and cannot wish them away.

The future for the Continuum - if it is going to survive and grow - lies in its ability to get beyond Morse and Mote and back to the same place that the English Church wished to get in the age of Elizabeth. And that would be to the 'doctrine, discipline and worship' of the Church of the first five centuries. Or to what is required by Acts 2:42, St Vincent of Lerins and Lancelot Andrewes Canon. I have my own way of saying them, actually several, but one of my most favorite is :Catholic Faith, Apostolic Order, Orthodox Worship and Evangelical Mission. I am absolutely committed to the ideal of every priest being fully Catholic (and classically Anglican) at the altar and madly Evangelical in the pulpit. Or have none of you read "A Tale of a Tub?"

It is late enough - or early enough - that I ought to finish this, but in doing so I want to make sure that everyone knows that I think our future much brighter now for the likes of the Reverend Messers Hart, Kirby and Well, Canon Hollister and the not quite new generation of priests and laity who read this blog and struggle with the thought process of becoming historically Anglican. We are living through our own equivalent of Cromwell's interregnum, and by God's grace may come out as well on the other side. We may have to deal with Charles III, but their is no James III waiting in the wings.

Anonymous said...

Canon Hollister,

Until the 1960s, use of the Anglican Missals in the provinces of York and Canterbury constituted a criminal offense. As the ACC constitution and canons, then, follow the judgment of 1960's England at least in this regard.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations, you and Archbishop Haverland have locked into a storied tradition stretching back as far as 1870!

Ironically, the Liberal Christianity that is now ascendant in the C of E and the Episcopal Church is dates back to about the same date.

Deacon Down Under said...

++Haverland wrote, "The ACC has jettisoned the theological ambiguity that has long afflicted Anglicanism for a clear Anglo-Catholic faith and Church order." Brian has here got to the crux of the continuum's restatement of what it is to be an orthodox Anglican.

Almost the entire Anglican Communion walked into schism from the Catholic and Apostolic Church with the ordination of women by PECUSA. No excommunications followed, no suspension of communion, nothing was done by Canterbury or any national Church to resist the slide into theological and ecclesiastical ignominy.

That Rowan Williams can today say that the ordination of women is a second tier issue, that is, not a major obstacle to ecumenism speaks volumes.

Ergo His Grace Archbishop Haverland's statement that for the ACC at least, theological orthodoxy required restatement in unambiguously Anglo-Catholic lines. That is still not to deny the place of straight prayer-book Anglicanism within the ACC. What it makes clear is that there is no place for an Anglicanism that is not crystal clear about Catholic faith and order.

Anonymous said...

This complaint has ceased to have any credibility with me:

"the disjunction between parishes that publicly claim to adhere to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer but noticeably and markedly vary from it on Sunday mornings."

This assumes, quite falsely, that there was once a time when all Episcopal parishes used the BCP in the same lock-step, legalistic, and mechanical manner. If that was ever tthe case, it ceased to be so after the Memorialist movement of the 1850's.

I have encountered visitors who make similar complaints, but when they are pressed for details, they can say only silly things like "you don't sing the Doxology when the ushers bring the offering up to the front." Or take the ones who complain about the Eastward position, "it's not polite to turn your back on people." Or "why don't you have a sermon hymn?"

Anyone who has worshipped in many CC congregations across the country or made a study of service leaflets aka bulletins knows of local variations. Do they use the "minor propers' or not? Do they have a sermon hymn or not.
But I am satisfied that the preponderance of congregations through ACC/UECNC/APCK/ACA/APA are pretty consistent in our use of the Prayer Book liturgy.

Brian said...

Death Bredon,

You're missing (or at least avoiding) my point, which was essentially a personal one: I am grateful to have found a Church that has a clear vision of catholic Christianity. Whether or not it passes your historical//liturgical tests does not matter to me in the slightest, because I am not primarily interested in the reconstruction of some kind of Anglican historical ideal; I am simply trying to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling in an ecclesiastical context consistent with the faith of the early Church. This is quite literally infinitely more important than the peculiar historical vagaries you seem to be hung up on. That is not to say that I don't think the ACC represents an Anglican faith consistent with our patrimony, for I do, but that issue is much less important to me than being part of a Church with a firm, catholic doctrinal foundation that I believe is salutary for the salvation of my soul.

Anonymous said...


And therein lies the beauty of Anglicanism by my lights. The catholic faith and practice is the Big Picture. Anglicanism is a historical response to those things getting lost or muddied.

But at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves: does a *distinctly* Anglican way of doing things really exist in order to preserve Catholic faith and practice? If not, then (apart from aesthetics) why not join Rome or Orthodoxy? If so, what is that Anglican way?

I for one have great sympathies and love for the Oxford Movement, regardless of Knockles' work. You don't have to religiously follow everything Newman or Pusey wrote, but the spirit of these men were right.

I own the title "Anglo-Catholic" with great gratitude and wouldn't budge from that designation. We need, however, to be sober-minded Anglo-Catholics.


charles said...

What people are missing on the Continuum blog regarding Missal criticisms/defense, is that worship isn't just a mechanical adding or subtracting of prayers/liturgy. Prayers are theology, and there are reasons why songs or canon were omitted, moved around,reassociated, or expanded/clarified. Where a song is located in the liturgy can be of HUGE significance. Where there is a break can be likewise. etc.

To be BCP conforming involves much more than how many introits, graduals, propers, etc. we have. It has to do with theology, and if the same Missal devotions undermine theology of the prayer book? The problem with the Missal is there is a Romanist theology which gets smuggled into the BCP unless the Missal is properly discerned, preened, selectively censored, etc.. The problem is most continuum priest have 'no' theology, and too often reduce worship to ornament. Anything that gives opportunity to 'climb the candle' they will uncritically mimic.

The problem IS teaching, and getting back to Anglican theology. ONce that's understood, then they might realize why the Missal (if taken uncritically as a whole) ultimately is a retreat from BCP orthodoxy-- and why it is a farce to have a big sign that reads "1928 BCP church" and then follow the Missal. If people do not follow the Missal car blanche, then let's hear a theological reason for it?

Does the Missal and like 'varieties' make us a smorgasbord of 'catholicism' that has resulted in a confused and even contradictory theology? Is our theology so watered down our only post-schism apologetic is 'this is my bishop!'? We too often admit a 'development of doctrine' for Rome and so-called Orthodoxy, but none for the Church of England or her 39 Articles. We consequently have no core theology-- only an argument for jurisdiction.

My point is without a theologically informed approach to worship and why Anglicans adopted the prayer book to begin with, we have no reason to defend our own liturgy, much less why we remain outside Rome or the East.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This is a good discussion, and in most comments I am seeing a combination of points with which I agree and disagree. But, I think the comments reveal a consensus among us that we have a theological/liturgical tradition that we ought to respect and learn from , to follow rather than merely to use (hence my essays in the box to the right). Working that out will lead to further areas of agreement and disagreement. But, I believe we are addressing areas of priority, and that this will help us in our mission and growth.

On this blog we plan to keep the discussion going for those who plan to continue Continuing.

Anonymous said...

Charles had a truly excellent post, with which I felt great sympathy, until he spoiled it in his final paragraph. He understands and forcefully states that Anglicanism is after all a THEOLOGICAL position, not merely a liturgical style. Would that the throng who seek validation from either the Holy See or some EO patriarch could grasp this!

Anglicanism is the ONLY context which allows one simultaneously to believe in the doctrines of grace and the means of grace, in Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and also in the Eucharist as the real presence of Christ in His perfect sacrifice.

But Charles spoils his case by taking an unnecessary whack at that Low-church whipping boy, the Missal. It is NOT, emphatically NOT, false advertising for a Church to put "1928 BCP" on its sign and to have a Missal on the Altar. Even the "extreme" parishes use the BCP faithfully for the Daily Office and Occasional Sacraments. And the Missal Mass, if celebrated correctly by a well trained priest, is perfectly consistent with the Prayer Book rite.

Like the Hymnal 1940, the Missals should be used with discrimination. Like the Hymnal, the Missal contains prayers and other items which require theological tweaking. But surely no one can object to additional verses of psalmody in the Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion verses.

As for the wanton omisssions of the Prayer for th Whole State or General Confession or whatever, I have seen more of that among the "low" than of the "high." It is a bad practice but is hardly a partisan issue.

There is a case to be made (and I feel it an urgent one) for understanding our Anglican faith as the synthesis of Reformed soteriology and Catholic ecclesiology. That case is the only reason I continue to bother with this blog: trying to help people to be "Catholics at the Altar and Evangelicals in the Pulpit."

Fr. Robert Hart said...

There is a case to be made (and I feel it an urgent one) for understanding our Anglican faith as the synthesis of Reformed soteriology and Catholic ecclesiology. That case is the only reason I continue to bother with this blog: trying to help people to be "Catholics at the Altar and Evangelicals in the Pulpit."

Come to think of it, that is my only reason too.

Canon Tallis said...

One should never post here when in a condition so beyond tired that some of the things one wished to point out got completely pushed aside. One of the corrections I intended was to point out was that Bishop Pagtakhan was not at that point and archbishop and that he did not act with the permission of the House of Bishops of the Philippine Independent Church. That House later gave permission for a further set of consecrations that were, I believe, an attempt to unify those parts of the Continuum which felt betrayed and unable to associate themselves with the Anglo-papalism of Morse, Mote and company.

Father Wells is quite right that the previous usage of both the American and English churches was destroyed at about the time of the Memorialist movement of 1850. Before that Sunday service for an Anglican was Morning Prayer followed by the Litany and Ante-Communion with Sermon. The Tractarian movement ended that and you began to get those parishes and churchmen who abandoned either Morning Prayer or Holy Communion on most Sundays. I have always suspected that the priests who choice the MP route believed that most of their congregation was unworthy of communion - if not suspecting even before the rise of the ritual movement the PB communion service already smacked too much of Romanism. But there were those parishes both in the United Kingdom and the states were the old tradition continued and the Eucharist was celebrated every Sunday and Holy day. But they were few.

I have always loved the story of the Nasdom benedictine who was assigned to an old London parish during WWII who started going through the parish records and discovered that the Eucharist had been celebrated in that parish from the beginning of the Restoration. When he questioned the two families (interrelated) that had passed the office of Warden back and forth between them about it, one of them confessed that in his great-grandfather's time they had a priest who had attempted to give them what he called "Evening Service" in the Morning, but they quickly had him put in the mad house.

I quite appreciate those such as Father Hart who provide for their parishes both a completely prayer book communion service to be followed by the missal celebration. However I suspect that the Roman ceremonial invented at the beginning of the 16th century by Alexander Vi's master of ceremonies invades the prayer book celebration with the result that the ancient ceremonial that had preceded that turbulent and decadent century and which is referenced in A. King's Liturgies of the Past and Liturgies of the Religious Orders is replaced by the Vatican rag. But, at least, those parishioners have a choice even if they are stuck with a said service and without incense.

To be continued

Canon Tallis said...

And this brings me to Brian's comment. I appreciate what Brian wants, but I don't think that he realizes that Rome in the 16th century rejected the more restrained ceremonial of the first fifteen centuries of the Church for something "more contemporary" and tore apart ancient churches to make them theater's for the new usage and for the rite of benediction whose emphasis was upon seeing the sacrament rather than receiving it. They also cut down and apart ancient vestments so that the new rite of elevation could be accomplished. Without assistance, the cut of ancient vestments won't allow you to lift your hands above shoulder level. What I am attempting to say is that you can't really maintain the faith of the ancient Church when you develop an attitude which allows, nay, demands that you ditch ancient ceremonial and vestments for those newly invented. It is simply a matter of the first fifteen centuries against the last five.

The Preface of the American prayer book contains a sentence which should almost be considered a rubric. "In which it will also appear that this Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or further than local circumstances require." In so far as we pay any attention to that sentence, it binds us, first to the doctrine of the English formularies, and then to the discipline as evidenced by the Ornaments Rubric which governs what the Church building contains and how it is to be arranged as well as what the ministers of same are to wear "at all times of their ministration." That rubric, like it or not, is time bound, meaning it restricts all such ornaments to those "in use" in the Church of England in the year before the first Book of Common Prayer. By the same token its intent is to keep out all those things invented later, i.e., birettas, soutanes, cottas,lace curtains, tabernacles on the altar and the whole six candle bit. If we are going to follow the advice of C. S. Lewis who was a high churchman and with whom I was lucky enough to share a spiritual director, we ought to be able to forgo those things as our churches will continue to look and be genuinely Catholic without them.

Canon Tallis said...

The problem with allowing the use of missals is that what sane and generally sound churchmen for the most part use them in accordance with the priority of the prayer book rite. But the crazies among us - and unfortunately they do exist - use them as authorization to forsake the prayer book and to substitute the Gregorian canon for the of the prayer book or, as the more extreme Anglo-papists in England have done, adopt the whole of Paul VI's Novus Ordo while pleading that the Church of England never had authority of its own to depart from a rite which was not brought into use until 1570.

As an old fashioned high churchman, I believe that the Church needs bishops, priests, deacons and laymen who actually know and respect its history and theology. It especially needs clerics who actually know what was originally intended in the vows which the BCP tradition intended in the vows which were required of them for ordination. When they take those vows with no intention of acknowledging or keeping them, they do damage to the Church and to the laity because whether they intend to do so or not, they actively undermine the authority - not merely of the church in their own time but - of the Church Universal and timeless. We are extremely fortunate in that Fathers Hart and Kirby have diligently explicated the faith as given by the apostles to the earliest Church and as set forth in our formularies and done so, thank God, warts and all so that it can be "traditioned" to the next and all succeeding generations. But that will only be possible if we actively attempt to be ourselves with out a longing for what I believe to be essentially papier mache' catholicity that is still attempting to live in both the glories and the sordid decadence of the Italian renaissance. If, as alleged by some, the Anglican experiment has failed, what do they think that the agonies of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo of Paul VI should be telling us about what the Roman curia and hierarchy thought of the missal of Pius V and the church created by the Council of Trent?

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to hear echoes of Bill Clinton here, as we don't have a shared, single understanding of the the verb "to be."

Indeed, a Mass "consistent with" the 1928 BCP, even assuming all additions truly are consistent with it, is not the same thing as the unqualified use of the 1928 BCP Order of Holy Communion.

Also, though I will admit that the matters touching on soteriology -- but hardly covering that topic -- in the formularies are "consistent with" the more catholic understandings of Reformed theology, they most certainly are not, however, simply and unqualifiedly expressions of Reformed theology.

Fr. John said...

Bravo Fr. Wells!

You have nailed it down tight!

This discussion has become tedious and repetitious. I have already commented on other threads about my fairly broad experience in attending and celebrating in various parishes in various diocese of the ACC. If such abuses exist as described by some comments, I have never seen it myself. I think it is past time to name names.

And isn't it strange that not a single "anglo-catholic" clerk or layman has appeared here to defend such practices as described._

Charles said...

Dear LKW,

I made two overblown points. First, continuing clergy do possess a theology. The question is if it is or need be an Anglican one. Second, most priests selectively use the Missal. Most observe the 1928 canon. The question for me, however, is if priests omit or ignore certain propers, rites, or holy days, do the have a conscious, consistent theological reason for doing so other than circumstance or aesthetic?

I also agree with you, LKW, that our core theology is salvation, summed by justification. However, how is justification related to our sacramentology? In my mind this is the jackpot question. The tragedy of Anglican church order has been two historically conservative parties--i.e., Catholics vs. Evangelicals-- pitting justification against sacraments and vice-versa. I believe some of this infighting has been stoked by liberals as well as ecumenicalism with Rome. Regardless, it's been a great tragedy.

However, when a person reads Anglican writings on justification and sacraments, we find that justification is indeed a core theology, providing the basis for both church ceremonies, order, and greater sacraments. Basically, from justification we get our idea, as Hooker expressed, of Ecclesiastical Laws (different types of laws). As the 1563 and 1552 preface to the Articles discusses, 'two sources' of articles-- those necessary and those for peace. Indeed, the notion of ecclesiastical law is the very defense of the English Reformation (why we left, why we wrote the prayer book, etc..) against both Puritanism and our 'mother' (for a time) the Roman Catholic church.

I believe part of inhouse 'extremes' is understanding and relating to the legacy of Tractarianism. It is ironic that Newman glosses over Jewel's most important point regarding sacraments in tract 90, and this point deals with justification, that the other five sacraments do not remit sin and thus do not share the same nature. This really opens the door to understanding how 'core' justification is to Anglican theology and worship.

More could be said about this, but for now I think reading the first book of homilies On Good Works (by Cranmer) and Jewel's homily On the Sacraments (as Newman quoted) provides a very important theological defense, showing how Articles and BCP worked together, after all both were contemporary. When we jettison these reinforcing standards, our theology (and prayer) becomes 'hit or miss', and our best reasons for Anglican liturgy cease to be truly theological but more 'historic' and 'linguistic'. While these are indeed defenses, they are much weaker than what theology provides, and so we see Anglicans who sometimes aren't sure why they are outside the Papacy or under a WRO jurisdiction, etc.

I would say most Continuum clergy are 'middle sort'. But then I wonder, "what are the two poles" in the Continuum? Here, I tend to agree with Death Bredon.

Anonymous said...

Surely all the regular participants of AC would subscribe readily to the old slogan "Catholics at the Altar and Evangelicals in the Pulpit." That slogan originated, if memory serves, with Bishop John Henry Hobart or possibly Bishop Alexander Viets Griswold.

Most likely we are in agreement in defining the word "catholic" as we apply it to ourselves. Seven sacraments, seven Councils, threefold ministry, etc etc. Rarely do we dispute or even discuss these things.

But what do we have in common when it comes to the word "evangelical"? Many are willing to speak, a tad grudgingly, of "Evangelical zeal." But Bishop Hobart once werote a tract entitled "Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order."
Notice the big difference between Truth and mere Zeal.

As is well known, the word "Evangelical" derives from the Greek word which means Gospel. Differences in defining Evangelical surely point to deeper differences about the Gospel itself. This brings me to the solemn and ominous realization that a Church which has no common definition of "Gospel" probably has no Good News to proclaim. This fallen world will give little credence to messengers who stammer and stutter because they are unsure of what they were instructed to say.

Perhaps we need to discuss what is this Gospel which entitles us to call ourselves Evangelicals.

charles said...

For some reason I think my prior response got lost in e-space.

Real quick:
I am wrong to say Continuing churchmen lack theology. They often have one, but the question is if it is Anglican.

Secondly, the Missal, in my opinion, can be an excellent reference given it is subordinate to the Book of Common Prayer, not only in 'word' but also 'intent'.

In both cases I am not certain how the BCP can be understood without referencing other works by Cranmer and divines of the period. When the BCP was composed for 1552 (the canon we largely use), Cranmer also presented his Articles. I would think both explain the other, in so far as 'intent' is considered.

I'd like to get into this deeper later. For now will suggest the core of Anglican theology is found in the very sources which Newman refers to in Tract 90.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. John wrote:

And isn't it strange that not a single "anglo-catholic" clerk or layman has appeared here to defend such practices as described.

This could use clarification, because so many things have been described.

For example, the ACA parish that cuts the 39 Articles out of the BCP is by no means whatsoever genuinely Anglo-Catholic. Meshuga (םשָׁגַע) is the best word from Holy Scripture to describe them. Self-loathing fits as well.

But, by and large it seems that the best defense of genuine Anglo-Catholic practice is along the lines of the Anglican objective: The goal is to be faithful in the sense of Universal Consensus and Antiquity. Second to that objective is the BCP tradition as the means to the end. If, however, we treat the means as the end, we lose the spirit of the whole enterprise.

A legitimate question that must be thought out clearly involves the extent and limits of this Article:

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.
IT is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one or utterly alike; for at all times they have been diverse, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's word. Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Death Bredon:

I share your firm appreciation for the 1928 BCP. But, as this is an international blog, it is good to clarify that you are speaking of the American BCP (for example, not that experimental book in England that did not go over very well). The 1928 BCP in the U.S. was the last acceptable BCP put out by the Episcopal Church, just as I think the Canadians can say about the 1962 BCP in their country.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I usually hear Englishmen call their 1928 the "Deposited Book" to distinguish it from the US 1928, which is actually in use.

Also, Article XXXIV defends the English Churches decision to have its own Common Prayer, apart from that of the East and Pope Pius V -- not to have uncommon worship among English-Speaking Christians.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I cannot help but apply the words of the Article as a general principle that is presented in a well balanced manner, and that must have a universal application beyond England and the 16th century. Its application must never be used to justify anything that cannot be reconciled to the earliest centuries. But, it seems unlikely that they meant for me, a modern American with hundreds of years of precedents added, and with a local congregation that expects continuity, to duplicate 16th century English practice in every minute detail (not that I suppose you mean that exactly).

The reproduction of this same Article in the American BCP, and subsequently in other countries, some with other languages, takes its application into what I call the Revelation 5:9 mode- "for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."

To be pragmatic in the best way, is it not possible to conform perfectly to rubrics of one edition of the BCP, but lose the spirit and meaning of the whole thing?

poetreader said...


The article says nothing whatever about "English-speaking Christians", but rather about "Every particular or national Church".

The ACC and the ACA are particular churches, not bound by formal authority to any other. Do they or do they not possess the authority of which the Article speaks? Any denial of liturgical freedom to such a particular church, even in an attempt to establish some sort of consistent tradition is very difficult to reconcile with this Article, and is therefore destructive to any authority that the Articles have.

One may indeed condemn a rite on the basis of its content (as most of us do with the US 1979), but the article forbids us to do so merely because it differs from the BCP already known.

The same right claimed in 1549, 1552, 1559, 1662 in England, in 1789, 1892, and 1928 in the US, and at other dates in other countries, still inheres in each particular church.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Wells,

Do you propose the Gospel is anything other than the Free Gift of Eternal Life in Christ, for which He suffered and died and was raised for the sins of the whole world, freely accounted to the man who believes?

It's amusing to consider that a C.S. Lewis would have been excommunicated by an R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur for his doubts about the Substitutionary model.

And also the good Bishop of Durham himself is the new apostate according to the Piper brigade for his insufferable tinkering with the Pristine Reformed Doctrine of

Anonymous said...

The ACC and ACA are most certainly not particular churches in the sense intended by the Articles. Indeed, I think you will hard pressed to find any scholarly discussion on this point that does not indicate that the Articles are referring to historical jurisdictions such as the ancient Patriarchates and major dioceses within them (for e.g., Milan) and/or national -- in the sense of the Greek "ethnos" -- churches such as the Eclessia Anglicana.

Indeed, the devolution of the English into multiple political states and ecclesiastical jurisdictions, based largely on the unwarranted willfulness of certain sub-cultures is something entirely foreign to both Christian antiquity as well as the zeitgeist of the English Reformers. Understood in this context, the Articles and the preface of the Prayer Book had to make an apology for the C of E's extraordinary decision to engage in wholesale, centrally directed liturgical change revolution. And, this apology is the end to which Article XXXIV in particular contributes. It was not meant as justification for liturgical sectarianism within the English Church.


Anonymous said...

So, no, the Continuum jurisdictions, save possibly the UEC as a serious attempt to continue Anglicanism proper, are not particular churches as contemplated by Article XXXIV. And, yes, there are good reasons why men strong for church principles have always seen the introduction of Roman ritual and ceremonial into the English Communion. And, attempts to justify this deceit by creating a discrete jurisdiction and asserting that, from henceforth Anglicanism will be comprehensive enough to include Roman liturgical use, is simply rank nominalism. Its playing church in a very peculiar and most pathetic way.

I am simply calling out those who are trying to highjack the St. Louis Movement, which expressly purposed itself to continue Anglicanism -- not sectarian parties attempting to co-opt the established English Church, whether they be pan-Evangelical, Counter-Reformation admirers, or the still ascendent Liberal 'Christians' running the C of E, the Canadian Church and 815, among others, into the ground.

Moreover, I am reasserting mostly clearly and loudly as possible that this creature called Anglicanism, which is prominently referenced in the St. Louis Affirmation, whereas the word Anglo-Catholic is conspicuously absent, is not some mythical beast like the Unicorn, know by all but unreal, but rather a concrete and historical theological-liturgical position was enshrined into the English Constitution by way of the Elizabethan Settlement and whose parameters were once widely understood by educated men.


Anonymous said...

To recover an understanding of the meaning of Anglicanism proper, all one need do is engage a cursory reading of the Anglican formularies as well as any vaguely objective history of the first 350 years of the C of E and progeny. Such endeavor will reveal a struggle between Churchmen and those who drag the English into the Continental Reformation. This refreshing of the memory should make self-evident the general epistemologies, theological methods and trajectories, as well as the liturgical principles of Anglicanism, which has historically been defended formally within the C of E and progeny denominated at various points in time respectively as Orthodox, Churchmen, Anglican, High Churchmen, and Prayer-Book Catholic.

Those willing to move onwards from 1870s, will further discover that Anglicanism has since also come under strong co-opting attack from those enamored of the Counter-Reformation. And, most recently, Anglicanism has all but been set aside in the established Communion -- though Parliament has yet to real the Book of Common Prayer, the Articles of Religion, nor Act of Settlement -- in favor of generic Liberal and Liberation theology and equally whacky liturgics.

Choose to stand as you will -- after all Anglicans respect the freedom of a hopefully informed conscience. But, please stop contorting history by abusing the word Anglican towards sectarian ends with precious arguments and special pleading, and the naked co-option, of plainly Anglican documents. Scribble all the quasi-Anglican constitutions and canons you want, but don't butcher the word. It smacks of ignorance and/or intellectual deceit.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

It's amusing to consider that a C.S. Lewis would have been excommunicated by an R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur for his doubts about the Substitutionary model.

What will be more amusing still is your attempt to document that doubt as expressed by Lewis himself.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Death Bredon

Calm down fella! I am very sympathetic with the idea of preserving the BCP and Anglican Formularies. But, the ACC is a separate jurisdiction from the Church of England; most of us are not English, and some of our people are not even English speaking (like the Haitians). Anglicanism became international and multilingual long before the St. Louis Affirmation; and what is Continuing cannot be fixed to England, and cannot be fixed to the 16th century. I am not English, and I have never belonged to the Church of England. And, the 16th century was long ago.

Personally, I do not like lace, and I would not want to wear a biretta (I was offered one as a gift and I declined). I do not like Roman ritual for its own sake (it is fine in Rome), and I find the Missal to be useful only insofar as it is subordiante to the BCP as an embellishment like the Hymnal. Its rubrics have no auhtority, and some of its feast days and saints we do not even recognize (or should not).

But, I believe that Artilce XXXIV in the original BCP of the Episcopal Church carried with it, by its importation to a new country, a strongly international, if not universal, application. If the Artilces of religion mean anything in that universal context and venue, it is that the priority is that of true Catholic faith and the primacy of the Gospel itself. A purely English liturgy, in terms of culture, would reduce Anglicanism to "Christianity with English culture." It was hearing those words from Abp. Hepqworth, as a definition of "Anglicanism," that awakened me to just how wrong he was in his mission to take Anglicanism captive to the great international Italian Mission. So, I am not prepared, in the name of Anglican purity, to accept that same definition.

We have grown; we are world wide.

If I have misunderstood you, please correct my interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I just now realized I omitted "penal" in my descriptor for Lewis. It was my impression reading Mere Christianity that he did not think the "penal substitutionary" model was all that helpful:

"The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us. Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory. If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead? None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense. On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not. Or if you take "paying the penalty," not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of "footing the bill," then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend." (Mere Christianity)

In Jesus,
St. Worm

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

And certainly Lewis has some enemies from certain Protestant quarters because of his "wishy-washy" theology of the Cross (labeled a heretic by these guys):


St. Worm

Canon Tallis said...

Father Hart,

Even before the English Reformation, the Sarum rite was already international. It was used in the royal chapels of both Spain and Portugal and for a considerable period before the fall of Constantiople, there was a Sarum rite church there under the authority of the Patriarch. Consequently given the discovery of the New World and the general expansion of European culture and influence it was only natural Anglicanism would expand with it. There is, I believe, a case that can be made that English is the Latin of the present time, at least of the last two centuries, so we should not be surprised at what has happened. I suspect that everyone hear would be surprised to know that the very first book to be published in Mexico, hardly a place where one might expect Anglican influence, had frontispiece lifted from the first English Book of Common Prayer. No one knows quite how it happened and it is one of the mysteries in the history of early printing.

The other part of the historical bit is that the Cardinal of Lorraine argued at Trent that the Roman Church ought to follow the lead of England and replicate the English Reformation on the continent. It might have happened save for the noted arrival of the Holy Spirit at that council in the Spanish ambassador's diplomatic boxes. English men before in the persons of Alcuin of York and Adam of Favensham had exercized great influence on the direction of the Roman rite. And, according to the New Liturgical Movement blog, the present bishop of Rome is searching for a Roman equivalent of prayer book language, not just in English but in all of the tongues in which the churches of the Roman obedience now worship.

The admission made by both yourself and Father Wells that the missal must be used discretly and tweaked rather than taken "whole hog" quite interested me. Indeed it lead me to do a review of the sites of one of the ACC dioceses to see if I could see how that worked out in practice. What I discovered was that most parishes had one service on a Sunday and for many that was all there was all week. That means that for all practical purposes the American Book of Common Prayer is not actually used at all. The laity will see it in use for baptisms and marriages (and I hope there are many of both) but even funerals as I discovered a few weeks ago have a way of being something other than a real prayer book service. And when in cases such as at St Benedict's, the prayer book service is done without music, it is certainly being treated as inferior. On a slightly greater stage when the services of the synod of a diocese or province, the Eucharists are always missal services the message is unmistakable; prayer book Anglicans are either not wanted or are going to be treated as second class or less. Is that really the message which the ACC intends?

Business consultants know that our strongest impressions come by way of our eyes. What we see - or think we see - we believe even if we know it to be false which is why most of us like magic shows. But what we see when we worship or attempt to worship God should be as closely as we can make it, Truth rather than fiction and the importation into Anglicanism of papal ornaments and ceremonial with its consequent disregard of the authentic tradition is precisely what is leading to the coming debacle in the ACA/TAC. The bishops and archbishops have decided that it is not merely the Articles which are nothing more than something with which to wipe your butt, but the whole of Anglicanism itself. It is almost enough to make me give up on Christianity itself. Why, knowing what a moral wreck the Roman Church is, would I or any other educated Anglican with a regard for the classical formularies want any part of the Roman rag forced down my throat when I go to Church?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Canon Taliis:

I would not put much emphasis on a few websites (and I cannot know which ones you saw), especially when I consider how much they are neglected by parishes that have yet to realize their importance. Too many parish websites are months out of date. The first thing I did when I got here was to take charge of the website so as to keep it current.

I agree that too many ACA/TAC bishops (and other clergy) seem to be treating Anglicanism with contempt (for that is the message they send), and so I suppose the Romeward journey is on their agenda. But, in the ACC I have seen that some parishes have no Missals at all, and use only the BCP (especially in the South). Those that do have a Missal seem to use the Missal the only way I am willing to use it-as subordinate to the BCP, using embellishments the way we use the hymnal.

You cannot tell from a website if a church really has only one Sunday Holy Communion, nor can you always know from a one service website if the Missal is even used at all. The Canon Law of the ACC requires daily public MP and EP in church to the extent that it is possible. Obviously, this cannot yet be done in most places. A lot of the clergy still need to do secular work, etc.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how threads take on a life of their own. On another I called for a definition of regeneration and got instead a referendum on "Calvinism" with the usual threadbare polemic. (Ironically, Calvin himself used the term as synonymous with the whole process of salvation, and the Westminister Confession largely avoided the term, substituting "effectual calling.")

Now in this thread I call for a definition of Evangelical, and immediately there ensues a debate over CSLewis and "Penal Substitution." Not the discussion I was hoping for.

As for the CSLewis quote, two things should be noted:
(1) Lewis was a lay apologist, not a theologian, much less a dogmatician. He commended the Gospel to unbelievers and marginal Christians. Those who cannot grasp that 8 divided by 2 equals 4 might be made to understand that 4 plus 4 equals 8.
(2) The quote brought forth by St Worm affirms Penal Substitution, rather than denying it. Lewis refutes a popular carricature of PS then redefines it in terms of debt. That is rather like saying "this case is a civil rather thn a criminal matter." But in God's system of justice that distinction does not apply.

Now does anyone care to discuss what the Gospel is and what it means to be Evangelical?

Anonymous said...

Fathers and Brothers,

I know my church at St. John's in Pompano is committed to both Prayer Book piety as well as an abundant use of the Missal. Our prayers no less include petitions to God through the strong prayers of Mary, Joseph, the Apostles and all the saints. We don't do the Angelus but the Confiteor is used every Sunday before Mass. It has been for me a sustaining component of our parish.

My two year sojourn at the now defunct St. Augustine's of Canterbury (which joined with another ACC church in the area) had statues of St. Mary and the Infant of Prague, every Mass the Angelus was said, Aspergillum was used to sprinkle the congregation with holy water each time too, and the rosary was encouraged.

So, in the development of the Anglican Tradition (who says it's static?), I believe these things have healthful benefits so long as catachesis is not abandoned. For myself I understand the danger of thinking we're simply catholics without a Pope -- an irresponsible oversimplification, but on the other hand we needn't place the XXXIX Articles on the same footing of the Catholic Creeds, and subject them to the Semper Reformanda principle that has ever marked healthy catholic movements.

I'm an Anglo-Catholic as I'm a Reformed Catholic. I accept our freedoms to properly include or exclude things in the liturgy. What I don't accept is Anglo-Catholic trashing from the low-quarters, and conversely, trashing of the "plain BCP Catholics" by nose-in-the-air Anglo-Catholics who would rather go to Rome (let them go, I say). We're a big little family, we'll just have to accept these hues. Both services are beautiful, valid, and healthful *given good catachesis*!

Finally, though I find I'm at odds with the some the things Fr. Wells says, I have such a deep love and respect for his commitment to the Gospel and witness of Jesus in the ACC that I am proud to say he is "one of ours" -- and this goes for the likes of Fr. Hart, and am counting the days until I can see these godly men at the next Synod.

In Jesus,
St. Worm

Joe Oliveri said...

Fr. Wells wrote: [D]oes anyone care to discuss what the Gospel is and what it means to be Evangelical?

Perhaps I can suggest an answer to this question indirectly by citing two excellent examples of what I would call Evangelical Catholics: Bp. David Chislett (ACCA/TAC) and Fr. Jay Scott Newman (RCC).

Both of these men exhibit a true zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel, while at the same time clearly devoted to Sacraments of the Church. True to their respective ordination vows, they cherish the souls entrusted to their pastoral care and seek to lead people to God, not only through instruction but more importantly through the example of the joyous service that is their daily living.

In March of this year, Bp. Chislett commented on the book The New Evangelisation: Developing Evangelical Preaching. The theme of evangelical zeal is a common one in his own articles and homilies.

Over at his blog, Fr. Newman has listed eight Principles of Evangelical Catholicism. I believe they are worth a read.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Fr. Wells wrote:

Now does anyone care to discuss what the Gospel is and what it means to be Evangelical?

By "Evangelical" I assume you mean in the sense that all Christians ought to be, and that all orthodox Anglicans claim to be, even the most Anglo-Catholic of Anglicans; that you do not mean the "Evangelical wing." The wing, or party, speaks of an option. But, if Evangelical faith is understood rightly, it is part of the Catholic Tradition, and is not an option at all. We cannot live without it.

As for me, I think I summed up my views most clearly in the sermon for the 11th Sunday after Trinity.


Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

That sermon you posted on The Gospel was pristine, and quite a blessing to boot. Thank you for clarifying what Mere Christianity is. What it means to believe the Gospel.

Fr. Wells,
I must respectfully disagree with you regarding the whole "Lewis was no theologian" argument. He was clearly denouncing Penal Substitution (someone gets punished instead of me), but your are correct in that he affirms the substitution in terms of paying a debt. Some zealous Protestants think those are apostate words. However that bothers some (and believe me when I tell you I've heard my Reformed Baptist brethren denounce Lewis to my face on this count too!), I only brought that up as an example of how we Anglicans run a spectrum, from the 5 pointers to the border-line Pelagians (wasn't William Law or Jeremy Taylor along these lines?)

I just don't think going the route of Sproul and MacArthur (denouncing Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy as apostate institutions, not Christian, etc -- as if our Roman Catholic brethren are heathens) is fruitful in the least. (And I don't say *YOU* are in agreement with Sproul or MacArthur).

That said, good Father, I *DO* think we Anglicans of all stripes need to closely listen to the Homilies on Justification. We need to preach the gratuitous nature of justification, and that our works will never be able to leverage God's love or favor. We need that drilled into our Pelagian hearts. And this is why I think God has someone like you in our Dioecese. Give me the staunch Calvinist who will not budge on the freeness of grace, and what that means for us in response, over the man who carries on all the day about our effort and our doing.

Now it is a good thing to know that Calvinism isn't *necessary* to carry on the good news of God's free grace, but I welcome it in our midst so long as the first principles are kept in tact (though I remain queasy with the whole Christ dying only for the elect rhetoric).

Blessings and Peace to you, dear Father Wells,

St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...

What C.S. Lewis said was not rejection of the truth that Christ bore the penalty, but simply an insistence that it was he who willingly acted out of charity. The penal nature of the issue was not his target; placing the whole matter in the context of Christ's freewill offering was. The idea was to help modern man accept the Gospel. that is what Mere Christianity was about. His other picture is that of Aslan bearing the penalty for Edwin, which more than balances out how this other quotation should be perceived.

Anonymous said...

St Worm writes:

"I must respectfully disagree with you regarding the whole "Lewis was no theologian" argument."

I do not have the quote at my fingertips, but I clearly recall Lewis writing SOMEWHERE that he did not regard himself as a theologian. Compare "Mere Christianity" to John Stott's "Basic Christianity" and you will see what I am driving at here. There is an important difference between Systematic theology and religious thought. Equally valuable (in fact Lewis is more valuable than much Systematic Theology!), but somewhat different.

Back to Worm:
"[Lewis] was clearly denouncing Penal Substitution (someone gets punished instead of me),"

Okay, let's analyze your quote.
Lewis wrote:

"The one most people have heard is the one about our being let off because Christ volunteered to bear a punishment instead of us. Now on the face of it that is a very silly theory. If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead? None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense."

Notice the nuancing here: "Now on the face of it ....None at all that I can see, if you are thinking in the police-court sense."

Is it not obvious that Lewis was here dealing with a popular caricature? Rejections of PS usually involve more vigorous language.

Lewis well knew the difference between salvation and "letting us off."

Back to StWorm:

"but your are correct in that he affirms the substitution in terms of paying a debt."

Your and Lewis's distinction between paying a debt and suffering a penalty is, well, a distinction. Both are subsumed in the good Blblical word propitiation. That means to appease wrath.

Worm again.

"Some zealous Protestants think those are apostate words [i. e., Lewis words]. However that bothers some (and believe me when I tell you I've heard my Reformed Baptist brethren denounce Lewis to my face on this count too!)."

The people whom you quote denouncing Lewis are the same people who denounce J.I.Packer for signing ECT (a position I support, by the way). Their accusation proves nothing. Lewis, admittedly, did not stress PS as vigorously as Leon Morris. But he was writing for a different audience with a different purpose. Lewis is not theologically impeccable (his Reflections on the Psalms contain some questionable passages), but criticisms from certain sectors ought not be dignified with recognition.

On the other hand,
I recall Dr John Marshall at Sewanee, staunch Anglo-Catholic, Hooker scholar, editor of the Anglican Theological Journal, who could fulminate at length against C.S.Lewis. For him the problem was that Lewis was not a true Aristotelian but (horror of horrors) a Platonist. And of course there was Norman Pittenger at General Seminary, a strong critic of Lewis.

For all his departures from classical Refomed theology of the Princeton sort, Lewis has been highly popular with conservative evangelicals. He was first put into my hands by the Intervarsity Fellowship. A major collection (it has been called a shrine) of his manuscripts is housed at Wheaton College.

Blessings, St Worm. You are a kindred spirit (I did not say familiar spirit).

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

Thank you for your insights on this. That crossed my mind too. This one really good article from Touchstone spoke volumes to me on the topic of Lewis and the Atonement:

"...Lewis himself saw “theories,” as such, as dispensable; he did not subscribe to penal substitution as it is set forth in Evangelical circles today."


In Jesus,
St. Worm

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I believe I was one of the editors who voted on publishing that one-I should say voted for.

Anonymous said...

Call off the dogs! LOL!

It's evident I'm wading in vastly unfamiliar territory. I have only surface level knowledge of Lewis from a few of his works I've read, so I won't press the point further.

On that note, I apologize for setting this thread adrift; I only meant to contribute, not to confuse!

Your perpetual brother,
St. Worm