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October 20, 2009


Pope Announces Plans For Anglicans To Convert En Masse

From here: 

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict is setting up special provision for Anglicans, including married clergy, who want to convert to Rome together, preserving aspects of Anglican liturgy. They will be given their own pastoral supervision, according to this press release from the Vatican:

“In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”

 


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[1] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 06:29 AM · [top]

Oh my.

[2] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 06:31 AM · [top]

Game changer!

[3] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 10-20-2009 at 06:32 AM · [top]

Besides providing from the TAC, I guess this means bye-bye to FiF too! 

Anglican Priests can be RC Priests, whether married or not, but married Anglican Bishops will have to be RC priests with a Personal Ordinariat (rather than an RC Bishop).  This change is relying on, I presume, the pre-11th century tradition of married priests (whereas Bishops were banned from marrying at an earlier date). 


ps The ABC’s letter to Primates etc (on his website) mentions that he was only informed very recently!

[4] Posted by Zwingli on 10-20-2009 at 06:41 AM · [top]

ROME SWEET HOME!!!

[5] Posted by priestwalter on 10-20-2009 at 06:46 AM · [top]

Can someone please explain what a personal ordinariate is?

[6] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-20-2009 at 06:51 AM · [top]

A “personal ordinariate” would be similar to what the RCC has for persons serving in the military (at least in the USA.) Basically a non geographical diocese with a bishop who oversees the members and who makes visitations to them, assigns priests to serve on a local level, etc. Hope that answers your question, Matt.

[7] Posted by mike458 on 10-20-2009 at 06:56 AM · [top]

I guess this means bye-bye to FiF too!

 

Parts of FiF, no doubt, but I don’t think all of it will leave.  Keep in mind that Anglo-Catholics have been coming up with reasons to stay in the CoE despite strong opposition to their beliefs at least since Tract 90 was published. 

It will be very interesting to see how many takers there are.  I have no way of even guessing.

[8] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 06:58 AM · [top]

I wonder how Rome will view married prists who are divorced and remarried. There are plenty of them!

[9] Posted by Bill1946 on 10-20-2009 at 07:02 AM · [top]

Odd twist considering 1896 ... but I guess the world is different and the RCC is post-VC2 ... it should be interesting.

[10] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-20-2009 at 07:07 AM · [top]

I knew this was going to happen.  There are going to be a lot of angry young Roman seminarians and priests wondering when they will be allowed to have wives.  Having a hundred or so married priests is ok but several hundred married priests will change everything.

[11] Posted by King E on 10-20-2009 at 07:09 AM · [top]

Matt,

Hello from Croatia - I believe it means that you can maintain an existing structure (I.e., you could keep your Bishop is a diocese moved together - or could move into a structure that included a formerly
Anglican bishop even if you were geographically within another catholic diocese)

moving sfif and all members might take negotiating grin

subscribe and “wow”

[12] Posted by Positive Phototaxis on 10-20-2009 at 07:09 AM · [top]

okay, thanks guys, this seems pretty big then.

[13] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-20-2009 at 07:11 AM · [top]

Can someone please explain what a personal ordinariate is?

This is Damian’s take on it.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100014174/new-era-begins-as-benedict-throws-open-gates-of-rome-to-disaffected-anglicans

Under the supervision of a “Personal Ordinary”, who can be a priest or unmarried bishop, ex-Anglicans will be able to put forward their own candidates for ordination. In the short term, there will be no difficulty in ordaining married former Anglican clergy.

The Vatican would not use the phrase, but this is very
Anglicans will have to request their own “Personal Ordinariate”, to use the Vatican’s clunky term. How might that play out in England? This is just a guess, but the most pro-Roman C of E bishop, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, could submit a request to Rome. He would be ordained a Catholic priest, and might himself be made “ordinary” (bishop in all but name) of ex-Anglican clergy and lay people who have been received into the Catholic Church together.

[14] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 07:16 AM · [top]

Matt, we will only see how big it is over time but as someone said above, this changes everything.
I’ve read the statement from Forward in Faith, now waiting to hear what ACNA has to say and how will this affect the Anglican-Orthodox ecumenical relationship?

What are the views of the evangelicals here on SFiF concerning this? What about the Anglo-Catholic’s?

[15] Posted by bob+ on 10-20-2009 at 07:23 AM · [top]

I’ve read the statement from Forward in Faith, now waiting to hear what ACNA has to say and how will this affect the Anglican-Orthodox ecumenical relationship?

It is worth noting that the only statement so far has been from Forward in Faith UK.  Somehow I don’t see Ackerman or Iker taking Rome up on their offer. 

In the short term, this will certainly split FiF between those wishing to join Rome, those wishing to join with FCA, and those wishing to keep doing what they’ve always been doing. 

FiF will no doubt emerge from this smaller, but in the long run it will be more unified in purpose and character.

[16] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 07:29 AM · [top]

TEC was worried about ACNA taking their sheep? Well, guess what? There’s another hole in the sheepfold wall.

[17] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 10-20-2009 at 07:35 AM · [top]

Bob+, I’m an Anglo-Catholic and, for my own part, was delighted to hear this news. I had begun to consider going over to Rome after this year’s General Convention. The sticking point for me - though it may sound unreasonable to many - was that I am very attached to Anglican liturgy and spirituality. Rome is a more attractive option following this announcement because we have assurance from the Holy Father that there will be an effort to preserve those distinctive elements of Anglicanism within the Catholic Church. In the short term, I may not be able to find an Anglican Rite Parish (or whatever we are going to call parishes that members of the ordinariates) but I’d be willing to join one of the Roman parishes here in town for the hope of finding an Anglican Catholic parish in the future.

[18] Posted by JoshuaB on 10-20-2009 at 07:36 AM · [top]

I’m pretty much where JoshuaB is. This may very well be an answer to my prayers.

[19] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 10-20-2009 at 07:37 AM · [top]

So the sticking point all along has been the married bishop issue.  Because even Anglicans are not worth upsetting the Orthodox.  So the Anglicans will get to keep their bishops… but we won’t call them bishops.  And presumably they won’t actually lay on hands in ordination. 

If there are divorced and remarried priests who convert, I think they will put them through the annulment process.  There are differences in how this functions in practice in different parts of the world.  I wonder if they will set up a special tribunal for them? 

So then, the Anglican use in the United States, will they now come out from under the local RC bishops and enter this structure?  Also, I have to go read more…  will this group continue to have married priests, or will any new priests who come from it have to be celibate? 

Stand Firm, thank you for being quick with the news of this.  Fr. Z doesn’t have anything up yet since yesterday. 

Please don’t think of this as gloating.  It is just that years ago, when I first became a Christian in an Episcopal church,  I loved the prayer book language and felt a connection to that tradition, and when I felt I had to become Catholic,  it was painful to leave that behind, for what seemed like quite an alien landscape.  Not so painful for me, a new convert, as for life long Anglicans, I am sure.  But something like this would have been wonderful for me then. 

I also am someone who would like to see the whole church come back together.  I have found, sadly, that for those of you who are Protestants there are immoveable obstacles to this, not all of which are just custom or semantics,  but for Anglicans of essentially Catholic belief,  there is no reason to remain separated.  I can’t help but rejoice to welcome them home. 
Susan Peterson

[20] Posted by eulogos on 10-20-2009 at 07:42 AM · [top]

Matt, the only other personal prelature structure in the RC church is Opus Dei. It is a structure that is provided for in canon law (cc. 294-297 I believe), but up until now has not been often used. But, it allows for a “church within a church” allowing for the creation of seminaries, the ordination of its own priests, and creations of structures that are very much like a diocese - but aren’t. With the consessions for allowing married priests, this is HUGE.

[22] Posted by advocate on 10-20-2009 at 07:45 AM · [top]

Perhaps this is another pavingstone on the road to clarity.
Evangelical Anglicans Unite?

[23] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 10-20-2009 at 07:46 AM · [top]

This announcement is indeed interesting and the new policy will have a great impact.  It is not an option for me; RCC teachings on Mary and the emphasis on infused rather than imputed righteousness are things for which I see no Scriptural warrant.  But I am sure that it is an option that will be very attractive to many orthodox Anglicans.

[24] Posted by AnglicanXn on 10-20-2009 at 07:48 AM · [top]

so, perhaps with open the Church of England’s eyes to the need for a North American Providence NOW

[25] Posted by ewart-touzot on 10-20-2009 at 07:48 AM · [top]

I have some questions here. Before you can join the Roman Catholic Church you must accept its teachings. How could it be possible for an Anglican diocese, or any Anglican priest or bishop, to move into the RC Church this way? If they believe the teachings of the RC Church are true, today, they ought to resign their Anglican ministry, today. They ought not to wait till some provision is made for them corporately. What if they die before the good deal from Rome comes, having knowingly refrained from joining the True Church? Particularly, for priests and bishops, since RC doctrine includes the doctrine that their own orders are invalid. So have they been performing mock communions, purporting to preside at a valid communion which they know is a sham? Isn’t it an odd coincidence if people’s full acceptance of RC doctrine occurs just after they have been offered a good deal?

[26] Posted by Toral1 on 10-20-2009 at 07:50 AM · [top]

What Toral1 said at 26.

[27] Posted by James Manley on 10-20-2009 at 08:00 AM · [top]

There is really nothing new here.  Anglicans have always been free to convert to Rome.

The sticking issues remain what they have always been.  Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm papal infallibility?  Yes. 

Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to renounce the Anglican understanding of the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture (to which every ordained Anglican/Episcopal priest swears at ordination) in favor of the Roman doctrine that Scripture can only be inerpreted properly by the magisterium?  Yes. 

Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm the Tridentine and new Catechism re-affirmation of Trent that justification is not by faith alone, and is a making righteous, i.e., that there is no distinction between justification and sanctification?  That is, the grounds of our standing before God (formal cause) is not the finished work of Christ alone, but is rather our meritorious appropriation of that work as we actually become righteous?  Yes.

Will Anglican priests be required to be re-ordained because their orders are “absolutely null and void”?  Yes.

Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm as dogma such controverted items of Roman theology as the Marian dogmas, transubstantiation (as opposed to real presence), purgatory, indulgences, humanae vitae‘s teaching on artificial contraception.  Yes.

Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm that Christ’s one true church subsists in Rome alone, and that, with the exception of Orthodoxy alone, all other Christian bodies are not churches but mere convocations of lay people?  Yes.

It seems to me that those who are really willing to affirm these propositions should have converted to Rome long ago.  Integrity demands it.  Those who cannot do so have no business even thinking about converting to Rome.

[28] Posted by William Witt on 10-20-2009 at 08:06 AM · [top]

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[29] Posted by Boring Bloke on 10-20-2009 at 08:07 AM · [top]

Toral1 #26, I just want to say something very sixties to you like, “Take a chill pill, dude!”    When I became a Catholic I agreed with the Episcopal priest who baptized me that I would participate with our daily eucharist for one more week and then stop.  A friend, one of the witnesses at my baptism, and now still an Episcopal priest, objected to me that if I now had RC beliefs, how could I partake of an invalid eucharist, and how could I be involved in schism etc. But then he said that “Winfree (the priest who baptized me) is much wiser than I am, so I will stop talking.”  I think you need to take that attitude.  Have you noticed that Pope Benedict doesn’t have a problem with this? 

1. If they die before etc.  They have formed the intention of joining the Church according to an orderly processes laid out for them by the Church.  As of now, they are Catechumens, so they are part of the Church.
2. invalid orders.. sigh.  All this means is that the criteria for us to be sure of their validity do not exist.  It does not mean that Anglicans are engaging in “mock communions” and a “sham.”  You will NEVER hear the pope or bishops speak in such language.  Are you aware that Rowan Williams was allowed to celebrate the Eucharist in a Catholic Church in Rome?  Not for Catholics of course, but for Anglicans in Rome.  This was on a blessed altar, over the relics of the saints.  It was not done in secret, but certainly approved by the Pope.

  There is a doctrine that God “remedies the defects” in sacraments that are deficient by some accident.  If a priest celebrating in Latin says the words of consecration a bit wrong through ignorance,  if a priest hears confessions without getting the proper permission from the ordinary because he was unaware this parish was over the boundary into the next one,  God “remedies the defect.”  I am sure God can remedy the defect in Anglican orders also.

  What kind of a God do you believe in?  Do you really think that when people who believe in Him and are trying to obey His command to “Do this in remembrance of me”  , and come to receive Him in full faith and trust that He is there,  that He will NOT be there for them?  How exactly He is there, and if it is different for those who have Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist and for those who don’t,  I don’t know and neither does anyone.  But I am sure that even Baptists are not engaging in a “sham”  when they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. 

I have to go to work and have made myself late writing this.  I just want to point out to you that your objections show a very simplistic view of things, and that it is not the one taken by the two recent Popes, for instance.  Is it just possible that they are wiser than you are?

Susan Peterson

[30] Posted by eulogos on 10-20-2009 at 08:13 AM · [top]

[31] Posted by Marie Blocher on 10-20-2009 at 08:14 AM · [top]

Did I just miss it or was there never a post regarding the inter-seminary covenant between Nashota House and St. Vladimir’s Seminary?

Does StandFirm concentrate for some reason on Roman Catholic news and ignore Orthodox news?  I don’t get it.  It makes it sound like the only place for an Episcopalian or Anglican to go is to Rome.

There are differences and one might want to look carefully at the teachings of both before one decides to move (and which way) or not.

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=11331

[32] Posted by Anam Cara on 10-20-2009 at 08:17 AM · [top]

Re: #26 and #27. I’m afraid I don’t have the time right now to write the thorough response that your posts deserve, at least not point by point. However, I’ll attempt a fair and succinct answer: those of us who are considering going to Rome (both prior to and now especially in light of this announcement) don’t see the issues you raise with the same degree of clarity that you do. Perhaps that’s a spiritual and moral shortcoming on our account. I certainly don’t deny the possibility. But I tend to think that it’s because these are complicated questions, and we work our way through them gradually and humbly. In this case, I think those of us struggling with a decisions about our spiritual homes would request your charity and your prayers.

[33] Posted by JoshuaB on 10-20-2009 at 08:17 AM · [top]

Does StandFirm concentrate for some reason on Roman Catholic news and ignore Orthodox news? I don’t get it. It makes it sound like the only place for an Episcopalian or Anglican to go is to Rome.

Of course they did.  Because we all know that Greg, Matt, Sarah, Jackie, and especially David are all closeted Anglo-Papists.

[34] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 08:20 AM · [top]

October 20, 2009.  A major historic date in the life of the Church.  If we can next undo 1054, we might be on to something.  Something very, very BIG is about to happen soon . . .

[35] Posted by DaveW on 10-20-2009 at 08:22 AM · [top]

I would agree, DaveW.

[36] Posted by AnnieV on 10-20-2009 at 08:23 AM · [top]

I’d echo Dr Witt’s comments.

Also, I’d not expect huge turf wars as inferred on the blogs, Benedict XVI has been pretty consistent in trying to gather all under “the Successor of Peter” but in a very structured and orderly way.

[37] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-20-2009 at 08:27 AM · [top]

[18]  JoshuaB You could also look into Western Rite Orthodoxy which is based on the Book of Common Prayer.
[28]

There is really nothing new here.  Anglicans have always been free to convert to Rome.
The sticking issues remain what they have always been.  Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm papal infallibility?  Yes.
Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to renounce the Anglican understanding of the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture (to which every ordained Anglican/Episcopal priest swears at ordination) in favor of the Roman doctrine that Scripture can only be inerpreted properly by the magisterium?  Yes.
Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm the Tridentine and new Catechism re-affirmation of Trent that justification is not by faith alone, and is a making righteous, i.e., that there is no distinction between justification and sanctification?  That is, the grounds of our standing before God (formal cause) is not the finished work of Christ alone, but is rather our meritorious appropriation of that work as we actually become righteous?  Yes.
...
Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm as dogma such controverted items of Roman theology as the Marian dogmas, transubstantiation (as opposed to real presence), purgatory, indulgences, humanae vitae‘s teaching on artificial contraception.  Yes.
Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm that Christ’s one true church subsists in Rome alone, and that, with the exception of Orthodoxy alone, all other Christian bodies are not churches but mere convocations of lay people?  Yes.

It seems to me that those who are really willing to affirm these propositions should have converted to Rome long ago.  Integrity demands it.  Those who cannot do so have no business even thinking about converting to Rome.

AMEN!  Pray for discernment for all who are thinking about a move that they are led by the Holy Spirit to the place that bestmgives glory to God and furthers the Kingdom!

[38] Posted by Anam Cara on 10-20-2009 at 08:28 AM · [top]

Thanks AndrewA.  I’ve always wondered about that.  That explains so much.

[39] Posted by Anam Cara on 10-20-2009 at 08:31 AM · [top]

RE: “It seems to me that those who are really willing to affirm these propositions should have converted to Rome long ago.  Integrity demands it.  Those who cannot do so have no business even thinking about converting to Rome.”

Word to William Witt, and indeed his entire comment.

BUT . . . I’m very very happy for those people who already accede to Roman Catholic doctrine within the Anglican Communion, yet just need the “comforts” to leave.  It appears to me that this will provide those comforts and securities necessary to ease the path.  TAC, also, can go en masse.  And all of those who’ve never had any problem with RC doctrine.

As a Protestant Anglican that, of course, boggles the mind.  Were I to believe RC doctrine—were I to accept the claims of that church—I’d have toddled on over—nay rushed on over—long ago and avoided the Anglican wars altogether.

But still . . . we now get to learn who of FIF and among other Anglo-Catholics always accepted RC doctrine anyway.  ; > )

I think this excellent ruling puts immense pressure on two bodies: ACNA and the COE, along with the ABC.  [Sure would have been nice if he hadn’t waffled around in his speech to Synod regarding women bishops, wouldn’t it?]

It doesn’t put any pressure at all on evangelical elements within TEC or the COE [other than that it sure would have been nice if certain evangelical elements within the COE had been nicer to their Anglo-Catholic brothers and sisters.]  I’m not at all concerned that evangelicals will come home to Rome.  But boy . . . I’d think this would be the push for those who are already Roman Catholic in their doctrine.  And I am very happy for them.

[40] Posted by Sarah on 10-20-2009 at 08:33 AM · [top]

William Witt, I’m glad you are not the pope.

[41] Posted by AnnieV on 10-20-2009 at 08:37 AM · [top]

Ha!  Awesome.

[42] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 10-20-2009 at 08:37 AM · [top]

If you take away the technical theological difficulties some have with this Roman offer, you have left a move that puts pressure on the AB of C and TEC.

Try as she might, KJS cannot ignore the Pope.  Nor can Rowan.  He will spin it his way, she will spin it her way.  Can’t wait to hear more on their spin.

It is a generous offer from the Pope, and should be seen that way.  One can only imagine the thought that went into this from the Vatican.  For all the naysayers, I will say this; I will take a theologian from the Vatican over the mish mash of theological thought that the C of E and the American seminaries produce any day.  Just look at the complete blather that comes out of Episcopal bishops mouths’.  Puhleaze.  Half the American bishops come out with more self-indulgent theological you-know-what than I ever thought existed.

I am no Catholic, but, if something comes from theological scholars at the Vatican, as concerns process, I would bank on that a lot faster than I would the mess that spews out of an average liberal American Ep. Bishop.

[43] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 08:43 AM · [top]

As an addendum to my comment, I will say, like many other things, it comes down to who you can trust, who you can count on.

Have we been able to count on TEC, or COE to bring us lucid thought and leadership?  I thought that’s what you’d say.

For many, this will be an answer to prayers.  Finally something you can count on.  For many, there is no time for theological finery.  Life moves too fast.  People are having children, getting married, and dying.  They would like to have a place they can be comfortable in to be christened, confirmed, baptised, married, buried.  Real life demands action along with thought.  Not just thought.

The thinkers and philosphers will be debating this till the cows come home.  The rest of us have to live life.

[44] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 08:53 AM · [top]

I am over joyed to hear this! Thanks Be To God!Amen to Looking for Leaders. I do not trust the College of Bishops in ACNA to choose the next Bishop for my diocese in San Joaquin. Why???? Because they have not solved or resolved the WO issue and they may just put a Bishop in place that is “Okie Dokie” with women priests. That will make quite a lot of Anglo-Catholics here seek out this new avenue…me for one! So I am glad for this ....thank you God and thank you Pope Benedict! Finally unity is moving forward.

[45] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 08:54 AM · [top]

Bob # 15
You asked what evangelicals think? I had anticipated that Pope Benedict would move in this direction even though there are members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy who are not keen about the prospect of an influx of conservative traditionalist Anglo-Catholics into the Roman Catholic Church. Otherwise, my reaction is to wait and see what happens next—how the practical details are worked out, etc.—before commenting upon this development.

[46] Posted by AnglicansAblaze on 10-20-2009 at 08:55 AM · [top]

Dr. Witt is right, but I can swallow RC doctrine much easier than gay “marriage”, Creeds-as-optional, and allegedly Christian priests who are also half-Buddhist or Muslim. 

Praise God for His actions and the vessel of Pope Benedict.  When he was elected and enthroned, I told my spouse that I’d bet he wouldn’t mind millions of disaffected Anglicans at all. 

Williams knew nothing of this until two weeks ago and had no input into it.  I’m not surprised, and it’s what he gets for all of his dithering.  Leave it to a forthright German to offer a solution to traditionals’ problems; he makes me proud of my own German heritage.  If Williams now looks as if he was asleep at the wheel; well, if the shoe fits…

It’s a good traditional day…  grin

[47] Posted by Passing By on 10-20-2009 at 08:56 AM · [top]

RE: “William Witt, I’m glad you are not the pope.”

Me too—Protestants don’t want to lose Witt!

I don’t think this will provide the slightest bit of pressure on TECTEC couldn’t care less if a few more homophobic right-wing people leave TEC.  [I of course speak ironically.]  And frankly, most AngloCatholics who wish to leave for Rome are long long long long gone in the Continuing churches, or ACNA, or elsewhere.

But boy does this put pressure on the COE and ACNA [in my opinion].  Sure wish that Rowan Williams had been more of a leader on any number of things including his speech on women bishops where nobody could figure out what the heck he wanted, as he padded his bets . . . but that’s water under the bridge now.

[48] Posted by Sarah on 10-20-2009 at 08:58 AM · [top]

It looks to me like Canterbury is going to have to give very serious thought to recognizing the ACNA and leaving TEC to their own fate.

[49] Posted by Cennydd on 10-20-2009 at 09:00 AM · [top]

I suspect this will only impact TAC for the moment.  They have been actively seeking a way into a relationship with Rome for some time.  It has no or nearly no impact on the evangelical conservatives who were not the least be interested in becoming somehow Roman.  It does and B16 clearly knows this, change the leverage for FIF in England.  The curia is playing politics in England again. 

FWIW
jimB

[50] Posted by jimB on 10-20-2009 at 09:03 AM · [top]

“I don’t think this will provide the slightest bit of pressure on TEC”.

It won’t, Sarah, but it makes them look bad and is a huge thumb in the eye re: their quest for legitimacy. 

Well, actually, thumb in the eye?  It’s more like a kick in the gonads.  GOOD!!!!!!

[51] Posted by Passing By on 10-20-2009 at 09:04 AM · [top]

Cennydd,
I don’t see how Canterbury recognizing ACNA would make any Anglo-Catholic feel any better! Canterbury is just about as much as apostate as TEc is. I like this avenue far better as an Anglo-Catholic. In ACNA you still have women in Holy Orders not in this avenue. And when it is time for us to receive a new Bishop, we do not choose the College of Bishops in ACNA does. Do you trust them to give to us a bishop who will not allow WO? I don’t! There is a reason why that issue has been tabled and left alone “for now.” Think about it!

[52] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 09:09 AM · [top]

Sarah: I can see how this might create problems for ACNA but cannot see how it puts pressure in it—that is, if there are ACNA parishes or dioceses inclined to avail themselves of this offer there is likely nothing ACNA can do to change its mind. There would be no point in trying to catholicize its doctrine.
If Archbishop Duncan has any response to this event, it should be to note that it is of no interest or relevance to ACNA as it has just ratified statements of belief which are inconsistent with RC doctrine and so there are presumably no component members of ACNA who are interested in joining it.

[53] Posted by Toral1 on 10-20-2009 at 09:10 AM · [top]

I’m sitting here with David Handy next to me at the ACNA clergy conf at Ridgecrest NC. We haven’t had a chance to talk about this yet, but will I’m sure.

Wellington Boone is pouring it on, Holiness Unto the Lord!

Bob+
. . . still ridin’ for the brand.

[54] Posted by Bob Maxwell+ on 10-20-2009 at 09:10 AM · [top]

RE: “It won’t, Sarah, but it makes them look bad and is a huge thumb in the eye re: their quest for legitimacy.”

How is TEC engaged in a “quest for legitimacy” with the Roman Catholic church? I don’t get it.

[55] Posted by Sarah on 10-20-2009 at 09:11 AM · [top]

I agree lots of pressure now on COE but also ACNA..many people want to make only 1 move..women s ordination is an issue

[56] Posted by ewart-touzot on 10-20-2009 at 09:13 AM · [top]

Sarah, I think that if this option is fleshed out with proper due-diligence, it may add more pressure to TEC.  Not back breaking pressure, but pressure on the brand.  This helps point out the awful theological mess that is TEC.  It’s like a “compare and contrast” game.

Genpo Thew-Forrester vs. The Vatican.

KJS vs. The Pope (Wow she’s much smaller than I thought)

Rowan vs. ...oh well, never mind, Rowan never showed up.  He was asleep in his library with some obscure ancient document in his hand.  They did wake him in time for tea, thank goodness.

[57] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 09:13 AM · [top]

I’m pleased the protestants want to keep him, but my point was that the pope’s position is much more charitable than this:

It seems to me that those who are really willing to affirm these propositions should have converted to Rome long ago.  Integrity demands it.  Those who cannot do so have no business even thinking about converting to Rome.

And I deeply appreciate that.

[58] Posted by AnnieV on 10-20-2009 at 09:24 AM · [top]

Sarah, when Jay Leno was on, it was always amazing to me how many people could not tell you who the VP of the U.S. was.  So you are right in that there is no vast battle being played out on American TV of “CATHOLICS vs. EPISCOPALIANS Tonight at 9 p.m. CST.”  There are, however, sufficient numbers of pew sitters in TEC for whom this will make it onto their thought patterns. 

I get the sense that the average Brit long ago quit caring what the AB of C does, or says.

For some, who are aware of the basic issues within TEC, but don’t spend alot of time on them, this is something that will pop up on their radar.  It will register.  It might affect their feeling towards TEC.  Another chink in the armor of TEC.  No film at 11, no Frontline show about it.  Just “Huh, the Pope makes some space for Anglicans.  That’s interesting.  Man, we’ve got to get our Episcopal act together.  We’ve got to get some of these nuts out of here that are running the show.”

I think it will register with some of those people and be one more thing that Bishops have to talk about and ‘splain.

[59] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 09:25 AM · [top]

Dr. Witt is right, but I can swallow RC doctrine much easier than gay “marriage”, Creeds-as-optional, and allegedly Christian priests who are also half-Buddhist or Muslim.

Genpo Thew-Forrester vs. The Vatican.
KJS vs. The Pope (Wow she’s much smaller than I thought)

No doubt some see the choice as being between total the KJS/VGR crowd and the Pope, but for many Anglicans there are plenty of other options on the table, whether it be ACNA, a Continuing Church, conservative Reformed denominations, or the local non-denominational church.

I must admit a certain discomfirt with people fleeing toward Rome because they reject one or two recent innovations in the Anglican Communion, especially when they phrase it in terms of “I’d rather have Rome than gay bishops.”  If you join Rome it should be because you endorse the entirety of Roman doctrine, not because you don’t like a few things about your current denomination.  Otherwise you just go from being a conservative Anglican to being a liberal Catholic. 

Now, that being said, I can perfectly understand it if someone were to say “The recent examples of disfunction have made me decide that Anglicanism itself is broken to the core, and has caused me to examine the other options and decide that I believe in the dogmas of Rome.”

[60] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 09:29 AM · [top]

I’m a novice in all this, but I do know that we have been alienated from the Epicscopal Church for at least 3 years.  I never felt we ‘left’ the church, but the church left us.. my husband’s family goes back at least 5 generations at Trinity in Geneva, NY.  It was not a decision he made easily, but felt we had no choice.
 
It has seemed to me that the Catholic Church is the only one that has remained true to basic fundamental beliefs of the Bible.  Unlike the Epicopal Church rome does not support abortion upon demand, gay marriage, banning prayer in schools and ‘progressive’ politics that in my mind frankly mirror Marxist beliefs.  We cannot in good conscience support a church that undermines our values and our country.

I am encouraged by the announcement by the Vatican.  They are apparently reaching out to those of us who feel lost in wilderness.

[61] Posted by Lauriegrat on 10-20-2009 at 09:34 AM · [top]

Isnt the college of Bishops in ACNA predominately against WO - 3 former TEC Dioceses, the FIF diocese, Bishop Ackerman, the REC Bishops, and the AMiA Bishops (there may be others that I have left out).  On the other side is Pittsburg and Cana and perhaps one or two of the other African jurisdictions.  Someone please tell me if I am missing something.

[62] Posted by chips on 10-20-2009 at 09:38 AM · [top]

#27 “Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to renounce the Anglican understanding of the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture (to which every ordained Anglican/Episcopal priest swears at ordination) in favor of the Roman doctrine that Scripture can only be inerpreted properly by the magisterium?  Yes. “

The sufficiency and primacy of Scripture alone have not proven effective whatsoever to maintain the bonds of unity. This is primarily because they are assumptions about Scripture but not actually found succinctly in Scripture. I know many here will of course vehemently disagree. The Pope’s move today reaffirms the inefficacy of these ideas, which have had 450 years to produce a continuity they are not capable of. On God’s timetable, this has been made very clear today.

#43 “For many, there is no time for theological finery.”

Amen. Many of think they are capable of finer theological finery than they are really capable of. Let me restate your statement: Luke 1: 38 “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

[63] Posted by dbonneville on 10-20-2009 at 09:43 AM · [top]

If you join Rome it should be because you endorse the entirety of Roman doctrine, not because you don’t like a few things about your current denomination.  Otherwise you just go from being a conservative Anglican to being a liberal Catholic.

I’d agree, but as one who grew up in an Anglo-Catholic parish but also sent to Roman Catholic school, I must that the former group thought they were just like the latter, but had no idea!

Rome does do a pretty good job at not just allowing anyone in, in fact converts have a LOT better comprehension of doctrine than do cradle Catholics. I’m sure there is some educational provisions that may not be stated here, to protect the receiving party from ‘error.’  Most liberal Catholics I’ve run into have to be raised from the inside.

If I were to enter the dangerous territory of making predictions, I’d say for the remainder of the day this will be declared a complete change everything for every group under the sun in Anglicanism, but in a year from today, a mere blip in the ongoing Anglican soup opera.

[64] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-20-2009 at 09:47 AM · [top]

Great opportunity for folks looking to escape the lunacy of the Anglican Communion, albeit imperfectly.  Dr. Witt’s salient comments about theology deserve scrutiny for any Anglican considering the move, however, and such movement should not be made lightly.

-Jim+

[65] Posted by FrJim on 10-20-2009 at 09:50 AM · [top]

It’s funny to me that the Pope had to step in and do Rowan’s job for him.

He’s bona fide.

[66] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 09:50 AM · [top]

This here southern Anglo-catholic evangelical hybrid is intrigued by these happenings, and will watch for developments in the coming months and years…

This IS big, but how big is yet TBD.

[67] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 10-20-2009 at 09:50 AM · [top]

soup opera, soap opera, same difference? red face

[68] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-20-2009 at 09:51 AM · [top]

for many Anglicans there are plenty of other options on the table, whether it be ACNA, a Continuing Church, conservative Reformed denominations, or the local non-denominational church.

While this may be true for urban Anglicans, I suspect that it is not the case for many rural Anglicans. The local non-demonimational or “conservative reformed” church isn’t really a choice, as far as I’m concerned. There is no ACNA or continuing church anywhere close. Someone up thread (or one of the others on this topic) mentioned the Orthodox Church - which is something I also consider, but the nearest Orthodox church is more than 100 miles away. The Catholic Church is a few blocks away. To one whose beliefs are catholic (small “c”), the choices are limited and painful.

[69] Posted by oscewicee on 10-20-2009 at 09:53 AM · [top]

Until the details of the new ordinariate are released, it is probably best to restrain enthusiasm.  So many questions come to mind:  Will the provision allow for the creation of new Anglican-Use congregations without seeking the permission of the local Latin-rite Catholic bishop?  Will the provision allow for the ordination of married Catholic laymen to serve in Anglican Use parishes, or is the exception to celibacy restricted to former Anglican priests—in other words, is it a one shot deal?  What liturgical rites will be authorized for these new congregations?

It will be interesting to see who avails themselves of this new ordinariate.  TAC congregations, certainly.  Some FWIW congregations in the U.K., perhaps.  But I wouldn’t expect to see many, if any, ACNA or ECUSA congregations seeking communion with the Catholic Church.  But perhaps I’ll be surprised.

[70] Posted by FrKimel on 10-20-2009 at 10:03 AM · [top]

Andrew, for many, it has come down to a choice between sanity and insanity, order and disorder, function and dysfunction, meaningful worship with like-minded souls who believe the basic tenets of the faith you believe, or worship with people with whom you really don’t believe the same things.

It has come to that.  We are doctors, lawyers, housewives, soccer moms, brokers, single moms, insurance salesmen, accountants, engineers, working moms, etc….  We don’t have time to read academic treatises on theological doctrine.

We do recognize faithlessness wrapped up in a robe, with all the accessories of church garb, standing before us inside a house of worship spouting empty meaningless blather.

[71] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 10:07 AM · [top]

Please, don’t tell my mom… She is a recovering Cathoholic. wink

[72] Posted by bdino on 10-20-2009 at 10:07 AM · [top]

I am personally aquainted with several young RC priests who are going to be quite upset with the idea of having to remain celebate while their fellow-former-Anglicans (or whatver they are called) are allowed wives and families. I wonder how the pope will handle that? Perhaps they will all convert to Anglicanism, then back to RC?
desertpadre

[73] Posted by desertpadre on 10-20-2009 at 10:09 AM · [top]

My understanding from my Theology courses is that Vatican II brought the RC understanding of Eucharist from a Middle Ages understanding of Transubstantiation to more of a Real Presence theology that is much closer to Anglicanism.  That seems to run contrary to what Dr. Witt is saying here - although I agree with him on other points, such as purgatory.  Any thoughts on that?

[74] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 10-20-2009 at 10:21 AM · [top]

[70] FrKimel,

I would rather strongly suspect that currently married priests would be accepted via an extension to, or analogue of, the Pastoral Provision. In other words, if a priest is already married when he seeks full communion with Rome, he can be accepted and ordained, but once ordained, if widowed, would not be allowed to remarry. This is, more or less, the same as the rule in the Eastern (including Orthodox) churches, as I, I believe correctly, understand the case to be in those latter jurisdictions.

My fervent hope is that an Anglican Use parish might be established in or near the north end of Seattle. We currently live just northwest of Seattle and attend a wonderful Dominican parish in Seattle’s University District, Blessed Sacrament. My wife has found no difficulties in accepting Catholic teachings, but is still troubled by the loss of the linguistic and musical patrimony of the liturgy with which she grew up. Were it not for Blessed Sacrament’s presence for us, I would be having most of the same difficulties as is she, even though I came to Anglicanism only about 30 years ago (I am now 64). I had actually begun in the past two weeks attempting to determine whether the establishment of an Anglican Use parish might be possible in my location, possibly being a subset of Blessed Sacrament, if that were a possibility. I am quite personally excited at the prospects, and what God may be accomplishing through the Holy Father.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[75] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-20-2009 at 10:26 AM · [top]

Desertpadre, no, already ordained RC priests will not be allowed to go church-swapping. But…you know, I don’t have that much sympathy for them.  They knew and chose what they were getting into after 6+ years of seminary. The RC church already has married clergy in the Eastern Churches. There are married pastoral provision priests. Having married RC priests isn’t new, and they would have known about it in seminary if not before.  But they made their choice to be a Latin RC priest knowing that celibacy was the choice.  If they didn’t want it, they shouldn’t have been ordained. It reminds me of the scripture passage where the workers who began early complained that the guys who came later got the same pay. Life ain’t fair, and you just have to deal with it. And Church, at least in RC world, isn’t a democracy.

[76] Posted by advocate on 10-20-2009 at 10:27 AM · [top]

No, Lauriegrat (#61), the RC are not the only ones that have remained true.  Don’t forget the Orthodox.  Their theology is closer to the Anglican, agreeing with us in many areas where we differ from Rome.  And, as pointed out above, they have Western Rite parishes with an Anglican-style ligurgy, based on our old Prayer Book.

[77] Posted by Warren M on 10-20-2009 at 10:32 AM · [top]

50 JimB, I think that this development….however which way it will affect the ACNA….is going to take several years to manifest itself.  As an Anglo Catholic, I might possibly welcome it, but with some reservations about accepting Roman Catholic dogma.

[78] Posted by Cennydd on 10-20-2009 at 10:45 AM · [top]

William Witt:

It seems to me that those who are really willing to affirm these propositions should have converted to Rome long ago.  Integrity demands it.  Those who cannot do so have no business even thinking about converting to Rome.

Thank you, and Amen!

A friend once asked me if he thought we could join the Roman Church and just “suspend disbelief” about the claims of papal supremacy and anything else we found objectionable since there is such broad agreement between us in so many areas.

Would Rome have us on that basis, provided we kept our doubts to ourselves and our mouths shut publicly?

My reply was that she would almost certainly not be willing to do so and, if she was willing, that would be one more reason why we should not wish to go there since it would betray a lack of principle on her part as well as ours.

If you are persuaded that the Bishop of Rome is also the Vicar of Christ and head of the Church on earth, then by all means become a Roman Catholic.  Presumably, the rest of it will fall into place.

But if this is precisely what you cannot and do not believe, then the Roman Church is not an option and it never will be.  No matter what happens to the Episcopal Church, the Church of England, the Anglican Communion as a whole, or any of the rest of it.

And although we don’t make much of a fuss about it in my parish, this Anglo-Catholic will look forward to celebrating Reformation Sunday later this month, just like always, in a “literal and grammatical” sort of way. wink

[79] Posted by episcopalienated on 10-20-2009 at 10:46 AM · [top]

Interesting comments about how if folks can agree with Roman Catholic Theology, then they should have already left for the other bank of the Tiber.  And if they can’t, they shouldn’t go at all.

With due respect to the learned Dr. Witt, I find such an absolutist position on whether or not any particular denomination has “got it all right” to be rare, at least in my experience.

I’ve come to believe, over the years, that a thinking, questing, searching, faithful individual, no matter which church he finds himself in, will find at least a few doctrinal items that will require some heavy praying and soul-searching to accept.  Simply put, no human conscience finds instant and complete fulfillment in any faith, what’s required is a bit of blind acceptance at some point.

Thus the search for the appropriate denomination (am I making this sound too much like shopping for a new computer or TV?) seems to sound more like “Well, I can accept about 94% of this, but only about 30% of this” or as more common lately “I find this provision a complete deal-breaker for me, and this theological interpretation insulting and ridiculous”.  So the reality seems to be that people find themselves in their particular pew based on a preponderance of the evidence, not total and complete agreement on all points of doctrine.

To do otherwise means you stay home, and join no denomination at all as I see it.

I’m reminded of how offensive as a youth I found the phrase “Papal Infallibility”, especially when I found out they only formalized it in Vatican I (1873 or so?).

But when I read the Canons and Catechism online a few years back, and the statement comes to us in English thus “The Holy Father and Magisterium (council of Cardinals, mostly) when acting and pronouncing as a body on issues of theology are considered infallible within the Church.”  I find this much less offensive as on criticial issues I do believe a lack of consensus could endanger the Church.  So it grew on me I guess you’d say.

KTF!....mrb

[80] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 10-20-2009 at 10:50 AM · [top]

#76, Maggie C., that they knew they would be required to remain celebrant is just the point; they believed that their service to Christ and His people requred that, they were taught that, and they accepted it because they wanted to serve. Then, all at once, that is not true for SOME people; the rules have changed in the middle of the the game. Fair’s fair.
desert padre

[81] Posted by desertpadre on 10-20-2009 at 10:53 AM · [top]

As far as those who ask why an AC such as myself hasn’t ‘swum the Tiber’ yet. For myself, I am very slow to change, especially when it comes to important stuff, like religion. Absent some pressing issue, like imminent damnation, which is not present, I prefer to take the process slowly.

Also, I am much like Lucy’s giant in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Which is another reason not to rush.

To cite yet another fictional reference, my favourite characters in the Lord of the Rings were the Ents.

Finally, G K Chesterton didn’t actually become a Roman Catholic until late in his life.

So there. smile

[82] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 10-20-2009 at 11:03 AM · [top]

The Tiber just narrowed a lot, but it’s still quite a swim.  #80 Mike is correct about much praying.  Pope Leo XIII said Anglican orders are invalid and the Pope is infallible.  Now Benedict says Anglican orders are perhaps valid and Popes are still infallible.  Then we can pray for Pius XII and the Holocaust he ignored.  Then we can pray about all the Marian dogmas.  Yet the RCC and Orthodoxy are the closest things left to “truth unchanged unchanging, oh light of our dark sky” in a world soiled with secularized “religions” like the fraud TEO. Let us pray.

[83] Posted by Long Gone Anglo Catholic on 10-20-2009 at 11:04 AM · [top]

I am so happy about this! grin It seems to me to be such a positive step, in keeping with John 17:11 -

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

[84] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 10-20-2009 at 11:05 AM · [top]

Now Benedict says Anglican orders are perhaps
valid and Popes are still infallible.

Where did he say that?  There is still a requirement that all converts be ordained by a RC bishop.

[85] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 11:09 AM · [top]

My old friend Bill Witt appears to have take up my old title “Pontificator.”  He is, of course, quite right: all who enter into full communion with the Catholic Church are asked to affirm all doctrines that the Catholic Church authoritatively teaches to be divinely revealed.  But what the Catholic Church does not require of the new convert is to believe Dr Witt’s construals of these doctrines.  smile  Let me just say that those who stand outside the Catholic Church are usually not the best interpreters of the faith of the Catholic Church.

For example, Dr Witt’s brief presentation of the Catholic Church’s teaching on justification puts the matter in the worst possible light.  Not only does he pass over 20th century Catholic reflection on justification, as well as the Lutheran/Catholic and ARCIC agreements, but he doesn’t get Trent quite right either.  He states that “the grounds of our standing before God (formal cause) is not the finished work of Christ alone, but is rather our meritorious appropriation of that work as we actually become righteous?”  This way of putting the matter omits the fact that Trent explicitly states the meritorious cause of our justification is God’s “most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father.”  Dr Witt knows far more about scholastic theology than I, but I think he has conflated formal cause and meritorious cause.

When does integrity require one to become Catholic?  At one point in his life Dom Gregory Dix was on the verge of conversion, but the Catholic priest who was guiding him urged him to remain Anglican and work for the corporate re-union of the Church of England and the Church of Rome.  And this was well before Vatican II!  Things are not always as clear as one sometimes think. These are hard decisions.  If Anglo-Catholics had simply submitted themselves to Rome years ago, perhaps the Catholic Church would never have had the opportunity to gather into herself the Anglican liturgical and musical patrimony, to the great loss of her life and witness.

[86] Posted by FrKimel on 10-20-2009 at 11:09 AM · [top]

A few quick observations:

*This seems to be a generous accommodation by the RCC - the timing is quite interesting, and I would concur with those who would suspect particular relevance for the CoE.

*If I understand correctly, the RCC has created a mechanism for harboring a minority when the AC and the ABC have been unable or unwilling to do so in North America.  For those who have blamed catholic ecclesiology as justification for not protecting reasserters, well…

wink

*Any loss of reasserting anglocatholics from anywhere in the AC is a loss for all reasserters.

[87] Posted by tired on 10-20-2009 at 11:10 AM · [top]

Desertpadre, but my point is that it ALREADY wasn’t “fair” in that the Eastern Churches have always had a married priesthood. The Pastoral Provision has been in place for years. The “unfairness” may have broadened, but the CC has been clear that celibacy is a disciplinary rule. The RC Church has different sets of rules for different sets of people. The Eastern Catholics are bound by a different code of canon law. Things that are allowed in the Western traditions are not allowed in the Eastern. For example, as a lay woman, I cannot distribute communion in Eastern Churches. I can in the West. Is it fair? I don’t know - but is that really the question? I know it isn’t as profound a difference as the rules governing ordination, but all I’m saying is that there is a long standing tradition in RC world of having different rules for different people.  And I don’t think whether things are fair or not is the right question - because Church isn’t really about being fair.  I go back to my scripture reference. Fair isn’t the point.

Good points, Fr. Kimel!!!

[88] Posted by advocate on 10-20-2009 at 11:22 AM · [top]

No, #28, there is something new here, as time will reveal.

Will Anglicans entering into union with the Holy See be expected to share the fullness of the Catholic Faith? Yes! Will they be expected to reject what is erroneous in the theology of the reformation? Yes, of course! No two-track communions here, no second-class faithful. Will they be welcomed with humility, charity and with joy? By God’s grace, yes!

[89] Posted by CPKS on 10-20-2009 at 11:23 AM · [top]

This will be such a blessing for the Catholic Church in the US to finally get liturgical experts who are familiar with the English language.

[90] Posted by phil swain on 10-20-2009 at 11:26 AM · [top]

With due respect to the learned Dr. Witt, I find such an absolutist position on whether or not any particular denomination has “got it all right” to be rare, at least in my experience. . . .
Thus the search for the appropriate denomination . . . seems to sound more like “Well, I can accept about 94% of this, but only about 30% of this” or as more common lately “I find this provision a complete deal-breaker for me, and this theological interpretation insulting and ridiculous”.

I actually do agree with this, yet I think it important that those considering crossing the Tiber be aware that Rome does not allow an acceptance of 94%. Sometime in the early nineties I became disillusioned with the Episcopal Church, and began considering moving to Rome.  I engaged in conversation with some Roman Catholic theologians, in which I made clear that I was considering Rome, but did not and would likely never believe the truth of various Roman dogmas.  Would that be a problem?  After all, as a product of Roman Catholic graduate education, I am aware of just how flexible many Catholic theologians in academia are about these things.  All my conversation partners made it clear that this was a major problem, and that if I could not honestly affirm Catholic teaching on the controverted dogmas, I should not convert.

William Witt, I’m glad you are not the pope.

I have followed the career of Benedict XVI since the time he was merely Cardinal Ratzinger, and before that, when he was merely German theologian Joseph Ratzinger.  I have not said anything that the pope would not tell you himself.  In 1998, then Cardinal Ratzinger issued a commentary on John Paul II’s Ad Tuendam Fidem, in which he stated that Leo XIII’s statement in Apostolicae Curae that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void” is a statement to which Roman Catholics must still give “firm and definitive assent.”

I am not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, nor am I trying to dampen ecumenical relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.  I am saying that honesty demands recognizing that crossing the Tiber is not a simple matter of swapping your current Presiding Bishop or Archbishop (in my case, Bob Duncan) or Archbishop of Canterbury for a guy who wears white and lives in Italy.  There are genuine theological disagreements between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

[91] Posted by William Witt on 10-20-2009 at 11:33 AM · [top]

How is TEC engaged in a “quest for legitimacy” with the Roman Catholic church? I don’t get it.

TEC is not engaged in a quest for legitmacy with Rome, they’re engaged in a quest for legitimacy with the world and anyone/thing else that will drink their Kool-Aid.  A large majority of the Christian world just spit in their eye and thumbed its nose at TEC’s version of “theology”. 

AndrewA #60, your point is well-taken but when Williams says next to nothing about TEC’s consecration of gay “bishops”, same-sex “marriage”, blessing “relationships” or farm animals or whatever; its priests denying the Creeds and the Bodily Resurrection; its priests saying they are half-Christian, and half-Muslim or Buddhist, then I do thing Anglicanism is close to being broken to the core. 

And my own views DO start to look a lot more RC than they do Anglican—they obviously stopped looking Episcopal years ago. 

#66 is correct, too—the Pope did have to step in and do RW’s job for him.  To quote my brother, the latter now looks like a smacked ass.  Oh, well.

I know there will be a lot to work out on this score; nothing is perfect.  But today the Pope made the Church look a lot more like a Church, instead of TEC’s version of a chaotic, pagan bath house that went undisciplined by the AB of C. 

Williams had ample opportunity to either fix or offer solutions to Anglican problems—instead he did things like let the DeS Communique die on the vine and sabotage the Ridley Draft, which we aren’t hearing very much about any more. 

When people wring their hands and do nothing, or kids are acting in an unruly manner, a true leader or Dad has to step forward and bring order and direction.  The Pope was a good Dad today. 

We heard at our Diocesan Convention this past weekend that the Covenant is the last ditch effort to save Anglicanism.  If Williams gives TEC any more cookies, you can bet dollars to donuts that Pope Benedict’s actions will bear good fruit. 

Williams needs to learn how to ACT rather than ponder, write, and dither.  The Pope is a learned scholar but understands the need for the former.  Good for him and all us, too…

[92] Posted by Passing By on 10-20-2009 at 11:34 AM · [top]

Quoting Matthew: “So the sticking point all along has been the married bishop issue.  Because even Anglicans are not worth upsetting the Orthodox.  So the Anglicans will get to keep their bishops… but we won’t call them bishops.  And presumably they won’t actually lay on hands in ordination.”

As a Roman Catholic I read extensively and know that the Catholic and Orthodox churches are much closer to reuniting that you might think. This Anglican/Catholic thing might be what it takes to make the other eventuality happen even sooner. No one wants to be left out in the cold.

[93] Posted by Jeremiah on 10-20-2009 at 11:38 AM · [top]

We had an Episcopal priest here in the south.  His wife wanted to move north, so they did.  He then had to become Catholic because of all the liberals where he was…...

[94] Posted by Sarah H on 10-20-2009 at 11:42 AM · [top]

A Big “HELLO” to Fr. Kimel..  Its been quite a while.
I think this is glorious news, will be anxiously awaiting the details..

I wonder what Holy Communion is thinking this morning.
And also wonder if this subject will come up at the ‘special” Diocesan Convention Saturday.. 

Good to see you again Fr. 
Blessing to all

Grannie gloria

[95] Posted by Grandmother on 10-20-2009 at 11:43 AM · [top]

I will join others in thanking our Lord for opening this door for us, and thank His servants in the Catholic Church for their generous response to the needs of Catholic Anglicans in the world.

To my Anglican brethren….
Get real. Anglo Catholics are being given a choice-
  Full Communion with the Bishop of Rome
            or
  Full Communion with the Bishop of 815 Second Ave.

The people that this invitation is meant for are not those who might consider it a compromise to pray a Hail Mary, go to Confession, or believe in Transubstantiation.  This is an invitation to those who already do and believe those things.  Papal Infallibility might be a more difficult question to ponder, but there is little question that he is much less fallible than General Convention or the CoE Synod.

[96] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-20-2009 at 11:44 AM · [top]

Amen, Fr. Kimel. (86)

[97] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-20-2009 at 11:54 AM · [top]

Professor Witt, tjmcmahon, et al,

I, as one who will have my Rite of Welcome from the Catholic Church this coming Sunday, agree with your analyses about the necessity of being able to affirm her doctrine. Having said that, I am also aware that there is a difference between a difficulty and a doubt. If memory serves it was John Henry Cardinal Newman who wrote that “a thousand difficulties to not make one doubt.”

And that is an important distinction, particularly when one realizes that the individual, thinking in isolation, is scarcely qualified to evaluate the precise nature of many of the complexities of theology, in many instances pondered and worked out over centuries by the whole Church. It was the realization that such was true for me, whether or not for anyone else reading this comment, that was the decisive realization in my decision to depart TEC for Rome.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[98] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-20-2009 at 12:10 PM · [top]

Serious question:  does anyone think that KJS will make a public statement about this dramatic development?  I note with interest that the head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced this morning that he and the USCCB will work to implement the new Apostolic Constitution in this country.

[99] Posted by Pigeon on 10-20-2009 at 12:11 PM · [top]

That should have been “…do not make…”

[100] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-20-2009 at 12:14 PM · [top]

Why would anybody want to convert to Rome anyways?

If there is no change in what drives flocks of people away from all the suffocating,  objectionable things in that institution’s doctrine and governance…what good is it to make it easier for people go there?

TEC’s numbers pale in comparison to conversions from the RCC to evangelical protestantism in many areas of the world!

You can provide a brand new jet, 1st class seat with free champagne to Alcatraz…. don’t know many people who would want to vacation, much less live there.

Blessings

Seraph

[101] Posted by seraph on 10-20-2009 at 12:17 PM · [top]

Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to affirm the Tridentine and new Catechism re-affirmation of Trent that justification is not by faith alone, and is a making righteous, i.e., that there is no distinction between justification and sanctification?  That is, the grounds of our standing before God (formal cause) is not the finished work of Christ alone, but is rather our meritorious appropriation of that work as we actually become righteous?  Yes.

But only 1 in 1,000 will have the slightest idea what this means and only 1 in 10,000 will care.  Which is still probably a much higher number than you could get querying the average Anglican in the pew.  So I don’t see thousands of potential converts sitting home and saying “You know, I’d take them up on this in a heartbeat but I just can’t get over the Tridentine teaching that the grounds of our standing before God is not the finished work of Christ alone, but is rather our meritorious appropriation of that work as we actually become righteous.”  Or even be able to say it three times fast.

[102] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-20-2009 at 12:23 PM · [top]

It occurs to me to wonder whether some current Roman Catholics (in liberal parishes) who yearn for traditional liturgy and music might be attracted to Anglican “Rite” Catholic parishes in communion with Rome.  The happy, clappy liturgy in some RC parishes has been a really big reason for me NOT to go to Rome before now, aside from not wanting to be separated from my Anglican brethren.

[103] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 10-20-2009 at 12:25 PM · [top]

If there is no change in what drives flocks of people away from all the suffocating,  objectionable things in that institution’s doctrine and governance…what good is it to make it easier for people go there?

You mean people like the Presiding Bishop? Hm.

[104] Posted by oscewicee on 10-20-2009 at 12:29 PM · [top]

What resides at 815 Second Avenue is NO bishop.

[105] Posted by Passing By on 10-20-2009 at 12:33 PM · [top]

I have a question asked from ignorance (as distinguished from simple stupidity), and completely ignoring FrKimel‘s reference to the distinction to be made between formal cause and meritorious cause:

It seems to me that the idea cited by Prof. Witt, and quoted by Catholic Mom, namely

the grounds of our standing before God (formal cause) is not the finished work of Christ alone, but is rather our meritorious appropriation of that work as we actually become righteous….

is simply the actualization of what Christ says in Matt. 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Is there something I am missing here, and if so what is it?

It also seems to me that this is parallel to my still new and limited understanding of the Catholic teaching that our sins are forgiven and we are freed from them through the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, only in proportion to our disposition to receive forgiveness, which, if I understand correctly, is also influenced by our disposition to receive the grace that Christ offers.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed light on this.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[106] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-20-2009 at 12:39 PM · [top]

#104- We are only stuck with a non-infallible presiding bishop with trendy clothes and lawyers for 6 more years, then we get to elect another one! In Rome you are pretty stuck with the infallible octogenarian males you do not get to elect, wether good or bad, until God calls them home! Sounds great!!!

Blessings

Seraph

[107] Posted by seraph on 10-20-2009 at 12:40 PM · [top]

#103: yes, in fact one of the frequent comments on some Catholic blogs today is hope for improved vernacular, ie English, liturgy.

[108] Posted by tdunbar on 10-20-2009 at 12:44 PM · [top]

So Seraph will you be swimming or not. Shall I bring your speedos and goggles, sir…

[109] Posted by driver8 on 10-20-2009 at 12:45 PM · [top]

Seraph, do you think in six years, TEC will elect an orthodox Christian as PB? Democratic elections are the way to go in government. I’m not too impressed with the results I’ve seen in TEC, however.

[110] Posted by oscewicee on 10-20-2009 at 12:49 PM · [top]

So Seraph let me get this straight. Will you be swimming or not? Do I need to unpack the speedos and googles, sir?

[111] Posted by driver8 on 10-20-2009 at 12:50 PM · [top]

Swim ....in speedos….ohhhh no! Tiber too cold! lol

[112] Posted by seraph on 10-20-2009 at 12:54 PM · [top]

I believe this also puts large amounts of pressure on Williams to maintain the integrity of the Covenant process in order to hold Anglicanism together.  I could be wrong, but there are TONS of traditional Anglicans out there just waiting to jump, and the Pope gave everybody the net. 

RW has been outfoxed by a godly man…

[113] Posted by Passing By on 10-20-2009 at 12:58 PM · [top]

Seraph, do you think in six years, TEC will elect an orthodox Christian as PB? Democratic elections are the way to go in government. I’m not too impressed with the results I’ve seen in TEC, however.

I do not know that…considering some orthodox Anglicans I have met…I would hope not anyone like them! But then again stranger things have happened! Life evolves, people age, kids rebel, old hippies die their kids become Republican! It is all up for grabs! 

Blessings

seraph

[114] Posted by seraph on 10-20-2009 at 01:00 PM · [top]

The Anglo/Canadian/American Anglican church is sinking on a cold moonlit night.  At least two rescue ships are now alongside: ACNA for those with reformed beliefs, and the Anglican Ordinariate for those with pre-reformation inclinations (plus other rescue ships such as the Orthodox Church standing by).  God reigns, and offers life no matter which rescue ship you take.  He will of course also pluck some directly from the deck of the sinking ship itself.

[115] Posted by Michael D on 10-20-2009 at 01:25 PM · [top]

I agree lots of pressure now on COE but also ACNA..many people want to make only 1 move..women s ordination is an issue

I’m coming a bit late to this thread (I’m working my way through them from the top), but I must say that anyone who thinks the CofE General Synod is going to care that pressure is being put on them clearly does not understand Synod. Synod does not care for Anglo-Catholicism, it showed that last July when it voted for Women Bishops without any real Provision for those of us who oppose it. Women’s ordination stopped being an issue 15years ago, I’m actually sure many members of Synod and many Bishops in the CofE will welcome this move, and hope that we leave ASAP.

[116] Posted by PaulStead on 10-20-2009 at 01:26 PM · [top]

Those who feel so inclined - happy swimming.  This provides a home to some and that will take some pressure off of Rowan. But not for us.

<sarcasm> Rowan just helped provide a home for the disenfranchised.  How thoughtful!  Those remaining in TEC and the AC are better off without those malcontents. </sarcasm>

We are in agreement with William Witt.  There’s too much that we can not agree on with Catholic dogma. We could never, ever agree to papal infallibility.

This won’t put any pressure on KJSTEC is glad for those leaving find a home in the RCC and depart sans property.  Count on a spin made that they were never in heart in TEC.  Perhaps those Anglicans leaving can share the buildings of the current Catholic churches.

We send our blessings for those who choose to go with this new plan that you will find God’s peace and rest.  For the rest of us, our work is not done.  Stay and Stand.

[117] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 10-20-2009 at 01:29 PM · [top]

Sarah—
I’m not at all concerned that evangelicals will come home to Rome
I’m not sure that’s always true. I’ve been immersing myself in a lot of Catholic convert stuff lately and there have been a number of evangelical converts to Rome. Maybe they haven’t been Anglican, but I do know that for some at least the “authority” issue played large—i.e. that authority in the evangelical churches, though claimed in Scripture, was so widely interpreted there became way too much “authority” in too many places.
  But conversion is a complex thing. I will say that when I made the formal decision to become Catholic, I had to ask myself at first “where was this coming from?” and then upon further reflection realized I had been considering it for quite awhile. This may be particularly true for many Anglo-Catholics.
Fr. K.—so good to hear from you!  Dave

[118] Posted by DavidSh on 10-20-2009 at 01:33 PM · [top]

I think we need to remember, too, that those who do swim the Tiber will have to realize that lay participation in the governance of the Church will be a thing of the past for them….the exception being the Parish Council.

[119] Posted by Cennydd on 10-20-2009 at 01:40 PM · [top]

Yes it is true there have been a lot of people who have left TEC for many destinations: Roman Catholic, Orthodox, some even join Bible Churches.

So what?

[120] Posted by Dragonfly on 10-20-2009 at 01:45 PM · [top]

CATHOLIC MOM HAS HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD.  What the academicians seem to forget is at the end, nobody cares very much about academic arguments.  They want action, guidance, form, and substance.

53 gazillion papers written about things that 99% of the people care not one whit about is not the same thing as providing leadership.

I’m not saying that the scholarship is not interesting, and meaningful in an academic way.  I’m just saying that the things that some people think others should be hung up about pale in comparison to trying to raise children in a church that is out of control.

[121] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 01:49 PM · [top]

#119 Cennydd
I’d rather be in a church ruled by Orthodox Cardinals than a hetrodox church where I can have my say.

[122] Posted by PaulStead on 10-20-2009 at 01:50 PM · [top]

We could never, ever agree to papal infallibility.

—nor the Marian cultus

—nor prayers to saints

—nor the magisterium’s power over Scripture interpretation

These are non-negotiables.  Even we Anglo-catholics have our limits.  Heh.

But this begs the question: What do ACNA, AMiA, and CANA have for Anglo-catholics?

There has to be someplace between the Wild Wild West on one side and the papacy and the magisterium on the other.

[123] Posted by Athanasius Returns on 10-20-2009 at 01:55 PM · [top]

What do ACNA, AMiA, and CANA have for Anglo-catholics?  There has to be someplace between the Wild Wild West on one side and the papacy and the magisterium on the other.

Well, there is always the Continuing Churches.  And there is always staying in the official AC churches, which is what many (most?) Anglo-Catholics have been doing since 1833.

[124] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 02:02 PM · [top]

Athanasius Returns
I pray that such a place of refuge can be created, and offer shelter to those who can not in good conscience choose the options you noted.

[125] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-20-2009 at 02:09 PM · [top]

But only 1 in 1,000 will have the slightest idea what this means and only 1 in 10,000 will care.

To put it in simple layman’s terms: The question has to do with whether we are justified by faith in Christ, plus nothing, or whether we are justified by faith in Christ, plus (not just Christ’s, but also) our own merits.  (And, yes, I am aware that, for Roman Catholics, “our merits” are themselves effects of grace, not mere efforts of Pelagian self-will.)

That is not an irrelevant theological abstraction, of concern only to theologians.  It was the presenting issue for the Reformation, and people died on both sides because they could or could not affirm it.  How one answers this question has tremendous pastoral implications.

And, yes, I’m aware of the ecumenical discussions between Roman Catholics and Lutherans, and I am aware of ARCIC. And I am aware of the contributions of the New Perspective on Paul. I’m also aware that the new Catechism budges not an inch from Trent.

But this discussion is not about justification by faith.  As I noted above, it is one issue, among others.

[126] Posted by William Witt on 10-20-2009 at 02:09 PM · [top]

“Why would anybody want to convert to Rome anyways?

If there is no change in what drives flocks of people away from all the suffocating,  objectionable things in that institution’s doctrine and governance…what good is it to make it easier for people go there?”

Some people are looking for the Lord and His Church, Seraph, not a comfortable confirmation of their own will and proclivities. Go figure.

#75 - given your location, have you considered the Church of the North American Martyrs? They are a Latin Mass parish, though they currently worship in another parish’s chapel while they await a more permanent home. They have a very holy priest, Fr. Saguto. I assisted at Mass there this summer while on vacation in Seattle and was very impressed.

and #83- and I can pray for you that you repent of your ignorant slander of Pope Pius XII.

[127] Posted by TridentineVirginian on 10-20-2009 at 02:12 PM · [top]

To those who are putting up the reason of “integrity of your beliefs” as the basis that you cannot take the Pope’s offer to the Anglicans;

I ask you, how have you stayed in a church, that by its’ actions, NOT its’ words, did so many things that many proper theologians say are heretical, or on the border of it?

If this offer to the Anglicans is so, so very bad, and you couldn’t join, then how the hell do you stay in a church that is run by people that helps fund abortions?  That is run by people that believes that Christ is just “a” way?  That is run by people that don’t believe in the resurrection?  That is run by people that believe that Jesus may have been gay?  That is run by people that don’t believe that marriage is limited to a man and a woman?  Is run by people that would sue an octogenerian bishop because he preached in someone’s diocese?  Is run by people that would run roughshod over their own canons?

If you are so principaled on some of the things that Catholics may believe, and could not, due to “integrity” go there, how can you stay where you are, if you have any integrity?

It seems that some who are so hung on why some shouldn’t act on this offer due to reasons of integrity, must examine where they are, and why that same integrity allows them to stay in such a very flawed institution.

There are others who are staying to fight it out.  That is good, we need fighters.  But to say you are staying for reasons of integrity to your beliefs, well, let me just say that you need to remove your head from a certain part of your anatomy, and check out the integrity of what you are staying with, before you start questioning the integrity of those that might decide to act on an offer made in good faith, by a party that is good on its’ word (which is more than I can say for TEC).

Transubstantiation disagreements vs. Gay clergy that marry each other, clown eucharists, denying divinity of Christ, suing fellow christians, etc….  Hmmm, let me think about that….

[128] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 02:15 PM · [top]

I was thinking through how this might play out in a TEC congregation and the effect on the property dispute. 

One possibility would be they leave their current property.  The logical place to worship would be a nearby Catholic Church, they could have their own service or, depending on size, use a chapel.  I would suspect that over time they would start attending the regular Catholic service, send their kids to the Catholic Sunday school classes and catechism.  It would not be long before they would be fully assimilated.

Another possibility would be if they tried to keep their property and their circumstances (deed, state, loans, %support, etc.) gave them a good chance of winning.  If this happened, I wonder if the Catholic church would support them?  That could be interesting.  The Catholic Church could show the court the clear the difference between a real hierarchical church and one that is playing like one.

[129] Posted by JustOneVoice on 10-20-2009 at 02:15 PM · [top]

Well said Looking for Leaders #128

[130] Posted by PaulStead on 10-20-2009 at 02:17 PM · [top]

Maybe the Orthodox will counter-offer with Married Bishops (as long as the marry as priest maybe, or some like restriction, as they already ‘allow widowers’.....

I’ll have to look through the texts of the first 7 councils…..

[131] Posted by Bo on 10-20-2009 at 02:24 PM · [top]

Oh goody ...an auction for the Anglicans!

[132] Posted by seraph on 10-20-2009 at 02:26 PM · [top]

Re: the posts of Wm. Witt and Kimel above… When I came from Anglicanism to the RC Church many years ago (from basically an evangelical position), I had to do the hard theological discernment on my own. Now, however, there are, as far as I can tell, about a million books on the topic. Those who sense the import of this historic moment have a responsibility to do some investigation:
<a >Reasons to Believe </a>
<a >Crossing the Tiber </a>
<a >By What Authority?</a>
Also, someone you might want to know (if you don’t):
<a > Fr. Robert Barron </a>
-Annette

[133] Posted by annette.farfromhome on 10-20-2009 at 02:31 PM · [top]

This isn’t going to have any effect on me personally; I’m too Anglican to step up to the effective denial that Anglican priests have been performing sacraments on/for me for, oh, thirty-five years. And besides, there’s no Anglican church around where I live that would go over, just the same old RC NO parishes (plus a few ethnic oddities, but I don’t speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Ukrainian, or Korean) that I haven’t been going to for decades.

[134] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-20-2009 at 02:36 PM · [top]

The thing is (I speak as an evangelical convert to Catholicism) that one doesn’t have to accept papal infallibility, the Marian doctrines, transubstantiation, etc, etc, in order to become a Catholic.

One has to accept only one thing: that the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church: that is, that the Ecclesia established by our Lord Jesus Christ is identical throughout history with the Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Everything follows from that, because if that Church is the Church, then when I can’t believe what the Church teaches, I am wrong and the Church is right, and all I have to do is pray to the Holy Spirit that He will enlighten my mind.

When someone converts, it’s very rare for him to believe (in the heart, not just the head) every Catholic doctrine, let alone to comprehend and accept all Catholic practices. With me, it was infant baptism: all my Christian life, I’d rejected it - it wasn’t explicitly in Scripture, and seemed to be fruitless in people’s lives. But I just had to remind myself that I was not the Magisterium, and pray. It took me five years to believe (as opposed to give reluctant assent) to it - but that’s the major difference between all varieties of Protestantism (including that of many, many Anglo-Catholics on this blog) and Catholicism. I don’t choose the truth.

[135] Posted by Ex-Anglican Sue on 10-20-2009 at 02:40 PM · [top]

[128] Looking for Leaders,

Shame, shame. You have, unfortunately, demonstrated an inability to resist the temptation to grasp the “low hanging fruit.” I thought that comments posted here were expected to avoid taking advantage of the internal contradictions (explicit or implicit) contained within the comments of others. I suppose I might eventually have succumbed, as well, had you not “beaten me to the punch.”

wink

And, I will give you credit. You did “use enough gun.”

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[137] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-20-2009 at 02:43 PM · [top]

Cenny is MBIC but I agree with PaulStead #122. And,  in my last two churches, despite a gifted pastor, I have seen the lay leadership FUBAR all the good being done in both.

[138] Posted by Passing By on 10-20-2009 at 02:44 PM · [top]

“To put it in simple layman’s terms: The question has to do with whether we are justified by faith in Christ, plus nothing, or whether we are justified by faith in Christ, plus (not just Christ’s, but also) our own merits.  (And, yes, I am aware that, for Roman Catholics, “our merits” are themselves effects of grace, not mere efforts of Pelagian self-will.)”

I do not believe that my or any one else’s salvation depends on where one comes down on this question.

I am also in no imminent danger of being burned at the stake because of where I fall on this issue.

Stay and fight, because you believe your church was hijacked, Good.  Very Good.

Stay and fight for reasons of intellectual “integrity” to the institution as it exists, on the ground, as represented by its’ actions, and written statements of the beliefs of its’ leaders? Come on, give me a break.

I couldn’t tell you what “The Episcopal Church” believes.  It believes anything and everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING!.  So, in essence, it believes nothing. There is nothing that your integrity can stick to.  Someone that believes the exact opposite of you could belong to the institution, and cite the same integrity of belief.  Since their is no real belief, both would be correct.

[139] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 02:44 PM · [top]

Agree with Ex-Anglican Sue, with just a bit of a nuance. One *should* do research as far as necessary. The reason is involved. Then, however, there is a moment when one accepts on faith an authority higher than oneself.

[140] Posted by annette.farfromhome on 10-20-2009 at 02:49 PM · [top]

RE: “RW has been outfoxed by a godly man…”
God will always win!  smile

[141] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 03:18 PM · [top]

I ask you, how have you stayed in a church, that by its’ actions, NOT its’ words, did so many things that many proper theologians say are heretical, or on the border of it?

I have not simply “stayed in such a church.”  I was kicked out.  I stood in a church parking lot, locked out by a bishop who changed the locks on the doors, and deposed my priest.

My archbishop is named Bob Duncan, and he was also kicked out.  So you are not describing any church of which I am a member.

At the same time, there are those who contribute regularly here who have not left TEC.  If you view them as compromisers, they are certainly not viewed as such by the denizens of 815.

[142] Posted by William Witt on 10-20-2009 at 03:24 PM · [top]

Bottom Dweller #138
You are exactly correct and I see it here in our diocese from time to time happening. It is frustrating!

[143] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 03:35 PM · [top]

Well, it’s about time to take a break from this, now that we’re going to go around every scrap of the usual rhetoric about crossing the Tiber.

[144] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-20-2009 at 03:38 PM · [top]

C. Wingate…Good point especially since none of us knows the realities of the ins and outs of this new avenue and are guessing and speculating on how this is truly going to work with the Anglicans moving into the Anglican Use Rite within the Church of Rome. I just don’t think myself that we can say for sure that Rome will insist on the Anglo-Catholics coming in via this route to become full Latin Rite RC’s. If that is the case it would have happened with TAC long ago.

[145] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 03:52 PM · [top]

Dr. Witt, I laud those who have stayed in TEC to fight (see those comments in each post I made).

To argue that “integrity” requires one to move or not move on the Pope’s offer, is a stretch for me.  Most of us don’t have time to sort out the complete list of theological differences, if all of them could ever be named.  Maybe some people don’t know all the theological reasons they shouldn’t move, but they know a rotten carcass when they see one.

My initial reaction to naysayers is that a scholar could probably list differences betweem the two every day from today to the day I die. Besides that, if I knew more about it, there are probably some theological differences I have with Anglicanism, but am too ignorant to know them, even after being an Episcopalian for 20 years.

Sometimes people don’t move until they are forced to.  I believe many of these people still retain their integrity.  Their motivations are between them and God.

It is a good offer, made by an institution that has credibility.

[146] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-20-2009 at 04:16 PM · [top]

Long Gone Anglo Catholic,

Then we can pray for Pius XII and the Holocaust he ignored.

Please stop repeating calumny.
BREAK
Regarding Seraph, from what I recall of his previous posts he would regard the election of an orthodox Christian as PB as a catastrophe.

[147] Posted by Ed the Roman on 10-20-2009 at 04:19 PM · [top]

[148] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 04:20 PM · [top]

Keith (98)-
We all recognize that there are those among us who have, due to study and reason, determined objections to some or another Catholic doctrine or dogma.  Several of my good friends are Reformed and/or Evangelical (not always the same thing).  They will be unlikely to have an interest in this offer from the Vatican.
  Like everything else in the Anglican Communion, the limits of what constitutes Anglo Catholic tradition have blurred in recent years, and nowadays, any parish with a sanctus bell and thurible proclaims itself “Anglo Catholic”.  When I arrived up here, I was informed when I introduced myself after the first service that the church also had an “Anglo Catholic priest, who hails from the Biretta belt in southern Ohio, and she.....” Anglo Catholicism of my youth was Hail Marys, “parading” the host around in ways that would no doubt be heresy to half the people on this blog; and by many interpretations, we probably overstepped 30 of the 39 Articles on a regular basis. Post Vatican II Romans seemed like Methodists by comparison. Or, to paraphrase something I said to a Catholic friend at the time- “the liturgies are similar, but ours is 400 years older, and we did one in Latin 2 weeks ago.”  (There may be historians out there to correct me- my copy of Dix not immediately at hand- but if my recollection is correct, the Sarum rite we did in English predated the Tridentine, much less Vatican II)
  For many of us, I think this comes down to the question of “Does God have something He wants me to do in the Anglican Communion, or is this the sign that He wants me to reunite with the rest of the Church Catholic?”

[149] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-20-2009 at 04:28 PM · [top]

William Witt #142 said:

I have not simply “stayed in such a church.”  I was kicked out.  I stood in a church parking lot, locked out by a bishop who changed the locks on the doors, and deposed my priest.

I knew there was a reason I like you so well, Bill (besides your rock-solid contributions).

And BTW, it is not nice to brag. wink

[150] Posted by Kevin Maney+ on 10-20-2009 at 04:32 PM · [top]

For many of us, I think this comes down to the question of “Does God have something He wants me to do in the Anglican Communion, or is this the sign that He wants me to reunite with the rest of the Church Catholic?”

tjmcmahon has hit the nail on the head. And I think that its a nail that many of us (including myself) have missed on these threads concerning the Apostolic Constitution.
Its not about what we want to do. Its about what God wants us to do.
Therefore we, instead of commenting and debating, should be praying and asking God to show us his way, and while we pray for guidance we should also pray for the obidience to follow the command of out Lord

[151] Posted by PaulStead on 10-20-2009 at 04:38 PM · [top]

And, as I re-read what I’ve written, I shall pray especially for the ability to spell properly.

[152] Posted by PaulStead on 10-20-2009 at 04:40 PM · [top]

ON an unrelated note, I follow three (3) Piskie mailing lists: Anglican, Magdalen and the HoBD. The news of this broke on the three lists in exactly that order. And it broke slowly for the latter two. Which is rather amusing considering the character of each list.

All of which confirms what I’ve thought for a while now: The leadership of the Episcopal Church lives in their own little world. Outside events and organizations are largely irrelevant.

[153] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 10-20-2009 at 04:42 PM · [top]

The Apostolic Constitution will be released in two weeks.

[154] Posted by TLDillon on 10-20-2009 at 04:43 PM · [top]

Sue, I disagree.

I love the Catholic Church, and have been active in efforts to find common ground among Catholics and Evangelicals, and to join forces on matters of common interest. The Evangelicals and Catholics Together documents provide an excellent summary of our common Faith. 

However, was you work through the theology and doctrine between traditional Protestantism and the Roman Catholic Church you ultimately reach an irreducible minimum.  I heard it best expressed in a candid exchange with a Roman Catholic friend who is active in ecumenical efforts. He talked about his frustration with the term “born again”, because, in his view, no one he had known was truly born again, except perhaps Mother Teresa (who he knew).  My response: “Do you believe Mother Teresa deserves heaven more than you?”

I love this man, and he lives the most disciplined Christian life of anyone I know.  I also share some frustration with the manner in which the “born again” term has been occasionally used. But our exchange was a glimpse into what remains of the difference between the doctrine and theology of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.  For many of us, the difference remains an important one. For others, there are practical issues, related to concerns over the continuing gap between Roman Catholic doctrine and the practice and teaching of some US Priests and Catholic scholars. 

Again, I love the Roman Catholic Church and don’t begrudge anyone that joins.  It is just important to understand that individuals must wrestle with some pretty significant issues before jumping in the Tiber.  I am weary from all of the Anglican mess, but not wary enough to discard these questions.

[155] Posted by Going Home on 10-20-2009 at 04:53 PM · [top]

Mother Theresa may or may not deserve heaven more than I do.

She lived as if she wanted it more.

[156] Posted by Ed the Roman on 10-20-2009 at 04:58 PM · [top]

#66, Looking for Leaders

The Pope is the power behind the throne (of Canterbury) so to speak.

[157] Posted by LA Anglican on 10-20-2009 at 05:15 PM · [top]

Oscewicee (no. 110):  Of course for the first half millenium or so of the church the standard was that bishops were chosen by the people and clergy of the diocese (with consent of the metropolitan and other bishops).  Even the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that.  So I guess “catholic” order can mean different things to different people.  As someone said on a related thread, I’ll stick with Anglicanism as the closest thing around to the actual early church.

[158] Posted by Aidan on 10-20-2009 at 05:25 PM · [top]

Aidan, I referred only to TEC elections. And comparing the current and most PBs to the current and most recent popes, well… it doesn’t argue well for election as practiced by TEC.

[159] Posted by oscewicee on 10-20-2009 at 05:28 PM · [top]

The Catholic Church has structure….Something we lost a while back.

[160] Posted by hoggy on 10-20-2009 at 05:32 PM · [top]

Ed, I would contend she does not deserve it more than you! You are both equally undeserving, and equally in need of a Savior and God’s grace. 

But I agree she certainly lived as if she wanted it more than most of us!

[161] Posted by Going Home on 10-20-2009 at 05:35 PM · [top]

It seems to me that those who are really willing to affirm these propositions should have converted to Rome long ago.  Integrity demands it.

Indeed.  Regrettably, life beyond the hallowed cloisters of Achademia isn’t always as simple.  I remember a day when I had that kind of integrity - it was 2003, and I was driving to work, and the newscaster announced Gene Robinson’s consecration.  I remember congratulating myself for being in a respectable denomination, and also not for being an Episcopalian.  Two years later, almost to the day, I was seriously looking for an Episcopal parish.  Funny how life throws you these curve balls. 

Alas, I am no longer full of integrity. 

“I’m a parent. I haven’t got the luxury of principles.”
- Mel Gibson, The Patriot

[162] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-20-2009 at 05:47 PM · [top]

Oh to be a fly on the wall at 815…  The numbers are way down and continuing the spiral; Now a place for others to worship that are not happy with TEC.  As for us, we will stay and fight for what is right.  The Presiding Queen of Darkness won’t rein there forever.

[163] Posted by Tom Dennis on 10-20-2009 at 06:25 PM · [top]

Actually, if the HoB/D is anything to go by, their only thought seems to be smug self congratulation on all the ex-Roman Catholics attending. Could be a substantial percentage of the remnant, huh?

[164] Posted by oscewicee on 10-20-2009 at 06:44 PM · [top]

#28 Mr Manley was correct in my opinion. I started out as an Anglican, then in my 20’s became a RC, and 10 years or so ago at the suggestion of Pope JPII returned to the Anglican fold. It was sad to see the ‘denigration’ of Pope John XXIII and the promotion of Opus Dei, not to mention the treatment of Archbishop Romero, or Archbishop Hunthausen (Seattle). The doctrines of the Assumption, Infallibility, Humanae Vitae (the contraception Bull if that is the right one?), the hammering away at VAtican II, refusing to admit women priests and the current crop of ultra conservative young priests, seminarians and cardinals, seem to me to mark a march back to Trent. Of course the absurdity of ‘annulment’, technically your children are now illegitimate, and you probably need to sort things out with the IRS where annulment is correctly understood to mean there never was a marriage. Then of course what about existing RCs who want to move over to this new peripheral group?  Personally I loved the Tridentine Mass AND Latin, and celibacy for priests: better women priests than married ones!

Bless you all, Michael Strong

[165] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-20-2009 at 07:24 PM · [top]

As a Catholic convert, I think Ex-Anglican Sue states with exceptional clarity what it means for a Protestant to become a Catholic—“because if [the Catholic] Church is the Church, then when I can’t believe what the Church teaches, I am wrong and the Church is right, and all I have to do is pray to the Holy Spirit that He will enlighten my mind.”  It’s not that the differences in doctrines are not important or significant—they are.  Rather, to be a Catholic is to change one’s approach to how one wrestles with these issues.  A Catholic doesn’t stop thinking, instead he or she “thinks with the Church.”  The critical first presumption of this approach is that the Catholic Church, because it has the mind of Christ, therefore is RIGHT.  If a person can believe that, then that person’s examination of the issues becomes focused on the “why” of the doctrines rather than the “truth” of them.  I think most converts have wrestled with the various “hard” Catholic doctrines—for me, like many, it was the Marian ones.  Like Sue over time I’ve come to truely believe, rather merely ascent to them.  However, in beginning, sometimes you just have to simply say, like Thomas, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

[166] Posted by Already Gone on 10-20-2009 at 07:26 PM · [top]

Forgive me, but I couldn’t wait.  I read the first 50 comments and just had to jump down to ask this question.  Why do people think that this will not impact TEC?  The next diocese that decides to leave TEC may not have to worry much about legal backing if they head for Rome.  The puny legal budget of TEC is a pittance compared to the power of the Vatican!  So you need $100 million to oppose TEC’s bullies, no problem!  Who knows if the Vatican would be interested in pursuing this course, but what if they did?  Billionaire Jon Stryker can put his puny Arcus Foundation where the sun don’t shine if he thinks he can take on the Holy See!

This is the reaction of a holy priest that I will not name because he has not given me permission to and he has sworn off blogging for the protection of his soul:

We should always give thanks for anything and everything which draws Christians into closer and deeper unity. As Rowan’s statement makes clear: this is a recognition of the value of the Anglican Way. From that standpoint I think it is a win-win situation.

But of course the problems which this development might bring are on the ground level, the grassroots, this particular priest, that particular parish. It will be a tough sale in many places, even Anglo-Catholic places, partly because of anti-Roman prejudice, partly because of real concerns, like the validity of Anglican orders.

On the other hand, it is already clear that ACNA will not work in the long run. Witness Christ Church, Plano, and its defense of the ordination of women. It is one thing to permit WO but quite another to defend it the way Christ Church has done. Christ Church readily admits it is contrary to Scripture and Tradition but will do it anyway. This the contagion of TEC already infecting ACNA.

I couldn’t say it better than that.

[167] Posted by RicardoCR on 10-20-2009 at 07:30 PM · [top]

Because this action provides a way forward for disaffected Anglo-Catholics in the CoE, it paradoxically might make it more likely that ACs would stay in the CoE.  The answer to the question “So what are you going to do about it if we shove women bishops down your throat?” has now been provided.  ACs have something to say besides “A code of practice won’t do.”  The leadership now knows what ACs will do if they don’t get what they want.  The leadership therefore might be more accommodating to prevent a large and embarrassing exodus. 

Also (and do not underestimate this point) this action by Rome strips from liberals the ability to impose a solution that causes pain.  The ‘payback’ aspect that was just below the surface of this conflict has been vitiated.  This fact is going to make liberals sullen and angry.  They rather enjoyed having ACs at dagger’s point, and will not be pleased to see their enjoyment taken from them. 

The Earth has shifted.  We shall see which buildings fall and which continue to stand.

carl

[168] Posted by carl on 10-20-2009 at 07:42 PM · [top]

The next diocese that decides to leave TEC may not have to worry much about legal backing if they head for Rome.

All the dioceses that are going to leave TEC have already left, and those still in TEC are FAR less Anglo-Catholic.

The puny legal budget of TEC is a pittance compared to the power of the Vatican!  So you need $100 million to oppose TEC’s bullies, no problem!  Who knows if the Vatican would be interested in pursuing this course, but what if they did?

The big pockets of the Vatican would explain this, no?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/19/AR2009101903119.html?hpid=sec-religion

With the first in a series of major sex abuse trials set to start Monday, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy late Sunday after settlement talks with 13 alleged victims broke down.

The diocese, which includes Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is the seventh to file for bankruptcy in recent years under the weight of claims of sex abuse against priests, and the first on the East Coast.

Roman Catholic dioceses are going bankrupt because of being on the loosing side of litigation and you suggest that they are going to bankroll a bunch of Anglican evangelicals that have consistently lost in every state except Virginia and South Carolina?

Where are people getting the silly idea that the Vatican is going to bail them out by suing TEC?  Delusional.

[169] Posted by AndrewA on 10-20-2009 at 07:47 PM · [top]

I was an RC for 40 years so I do not really need a lecture on clarity or how you examine your conscience. Am I correct in supposing that Mike Brit post 165 would agree that the Church was correct to ban reading Galileo until 20 years ago was it? Did he then eagerly open Galileo’s work? What does he think of filioque and the schism? What does he think of the priest who ordered Gerard Manley Hopkins to destroy his work? “thou mastering me God, giver of breath and bread . . .” Is he quite clear about the relationship between grace and works? There is very obviously a way of following Christ outside the RC Church without being the victim of invincible ignorance. Do you really believe that Jesus Christ who dined with and applauded Samaritans would condemn the Anglicans??? Were the RC’s correct to strangle and then burn Tyndale and later correct to translate the Bible into English? Are we banned from seeing the Gnosticism in Paul that Pagels sees? Was Merton wrong to revere the Eastern Traditions of poverty and meditation?

God bless you all, Michael Srong

[170] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-20-2009 at 07:50 PM · [top]

[166] Already Gone

A Catholic doesn’t stop thinking, instead he or she “thinks with the Church.”  The critical first presumption of this approach is that the Catholic Church, because it has the mind of Christ, therefore is RIGHT.

And if the RCC says that the moon is the Sun, you must (unlike Kate) give assent.  But the moon is not the Sun,  and the RCC does not stand as sacramental mediator between between God and man.  The RCC is not right.  It is catastrophically wrong about a great many things. 

In Rome, the tradition of Sola Eclessia sits atop the Scripture, and renders it dark.  You may be not stop thinking, but you will certainly stop exegeting for you will never again be able to read Scripture except through the Doctrines of Rome.  Which is curious, since the RCC has only infallibly exegeted about seven verses.  It’s doctrine does not derive from Scripture.  Where then does it come from?  And by what right do we impose it as a controlling filter on Scripture? 

carl

[171] Posted by carl on 10-20-2009 at 08:06 PM · [top]

Carl #171:
There is no Sola Ecclesia doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church.  It’s just that there is no Sola Scriptura doctrine, but a doctrine of Holy Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

Let’s think this through for a moment.  When the Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate, what Holy Scripture was available at the time?  The Hebrew Scriptures, right?  Right.  Then Jesus gathered His disciples and made them Apostles.  Jesus and the Apostles ministered until Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension, right? Right.  Then at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to animate, teach, guide and preserve the infant Church, right?  Right.  Where was the New Testament at this point?  You had the Risen Christ, Pentecost, the Apostles bringing people to Christ, new Churches forming in Corinth, Thessalonica, Galatia, Phillipi, etc.  Who had the New Testament at this point?  The Church.

We’ll talk more about this later.

[172] Posted by DaveW on 10-20-2009 at 08:24 PM · [top]

William Witt in #28:

Will Anglicans who convert to Rome be required to renounce the Anglican understanding of the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture (to which every ordained Anglican/Episcopal priest swears at ordination) in favor of the Roman doctrine that Scripture can only be interpreted properly by the magisterium?

Late as I am to this thread I hope that someone could still respond to this.  Given the history of Protestants splitting to create tens of thousands of denominations - ostensibly over the interpretation of Scripture - and more particularly the abuse of Scriptural interpretation by Anglicans in recent years; doesn’t this demonstrate the need for some form of a magesterium?  Each and every Christian needs to study Scripture, but allowing each and every Christian to spout off his interpretation is chaos.

[173] Posted by Nikolaus on 10-20-2009 at 09:04 PM · [top]

Infallibility, smallibility! It is nothing more than, “The buck stops here.”  If the Pope is out for a walk and says, “My, what a pretty flower.” he is not infallible. Authority only works if someone (or some body) has it and exercises it (witness the AC as a nonexample).  Moses wasn’t a tyrant, he was appointed by God to make a decision and move on to the next topic.  I have long wondered whether Caesar Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus (a/k/a Constantine I) did us a favor by converting to Christianity or not. The whole idea of the leadership of the church moving from Jerusalem to Rome has always seemed questionable to me. The arguments among the apostles as to who should be in charge seem to indicate that the first century bishops shared power equally, but the Pope is at least the Bishop of Rome (after St. Peter) and possibly the “keeper of the keys to the kingdom”, depending on how you read Scripture.  (And, conveniently, Rome has interpreted it for us.)

I believe that Jesus was saddened by the bickering among the faithful that has led to so many divisions in the Church. One could argue that Constantine was no different than Henry VIII in deciding that he could take over the Church, but he did a lot of good, too.  We can at least be confident in the Apostolic Succession as preserved by Rome.  Henry’s actions put a shadow on the claim of Anglican Orders, but we believe that they were preserved.  The question is once a bishop has consecrated, can he take it back?  Apparently, according to the Anglican Curmudgeon, +Samuel Seabury (who served as chaplain to the British troops in the Revolutionary War and who was consecrated by Scottish bishops) was not recognized by the Church of England as being in the Apostolic Succession either.  BTW, the Curmudgeon has a great post on the Apostolic Constitution also.

[174] Posted by RicardoCR on 10-20-2009 at 10:01 PM · [top]

Before we worry about that to which we could NEVER EVER agree, thus ending the conversation before it’s begun, we might want to make certain that we’re actually being asked to in the first place.  I find it unlikely, despite Dr. Witt’s insistence, that I would be asked to accept any doctrine of Purgatory beyond that which Scriptural—the idea that we shall be purified before entering the Kingdom “as by fire” (as in 1 Cor 3: 12-15 or 1 Peter 7).  Acceptance of the Magisterium—that is, how the Church has interpreted Scripture over two millenia, as compared to the personal interpretation beloved of many (and as a priest, I vowed that Scripture contained all things necessary for Salvation—not that my personal interpretation did). I do not believe that Jack Spong’s interpretation is as valid as Nicea’s, or that the current PB’s interpretation of the Scriptures on marriage are as valid as any one else’s… and I wonder how to personally interpret 2 Peter 1:20 (“no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation…”).
Athanasius Returns [123] concern about a Marian Cultus being alien to Anglo-Catholics makes me wonder if he believes that the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is being maintained by British Evangelicals, and in any case, no Catholic, Roman or Anglo-, should ever “pray to saints”... that’s a confusion of veneration and worship that was dealt with a millenium and a half ago, back when we still called them dulia and latreia!  We ask saints, who are members of the Communion of Saints, to pray to God for us.  The ‘Hail Mary’ says “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us now and at the hour of our deaths”—if we argue with either the “Holy Mary” or the “Mother of God”, we’re arguing with St. Luke’s Gospel, and if it’s the rest that is untenable, then it appears that either we believe there is no “Communion of Saints” or “Great Cloud of Witnesses”, or else that we who are all in the former (and hope one day to join the latter) shouldn’t pray for one another, nor ask each other’s prayers.  The only other possibility I can think of is the doctrine of the Sevnth Day Adventists, which says essentially that “dead is dead, until Jesus comes back”: that there is no life after death before the Final Judgement (thus ignoring Lazarus on the bosom of Abraham and the rich sinner who wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to run errands for him). I’m not even going to get into the emphasis on Works in Jesus’ own description of the criteria by which He plans to judge us in St. Matt. 25:31-40 (and who would know better?), echoed by James’ “Faith without works is dead”.
  I think that, beyond the question of (rarely, rarely used) Papal infallibility (yes, a problem), the Immaculate Conception (which I’ve always likened to God cleaning the house before moving in, and just not worried about), and that the Filioque is a vain Romish Doctrine not accepted by the Primitive Church (no wait—we like that one), there may not be nearly as many differences in theology as many like to make out.  In a world where there are so many who have never heard the name of Christ Jesus, is seems wrong to spend our time picking at doctrinal nits, despite His call that we should all be one.

[175] Posted by Cónego on 10-20-2009 at 10:25 PM · [top]

[173] Nikolaus

[D]oesn’t this demonstrate the need for some form of a Magisterium?

Your position would carry more weight if:

1.  The RCC was itself unified in Doctrine.  Please tell me which position is true regarding Sacred Tradition - Partim-Partim or Material Sufficiency?  Is Mary a Co-Redemtrix or not?  This later is a far more serious division than Protestant collisions over baptism, or ecclesiology, or eschatology.

2.  The RCC hadn’t altered infallible doctrines over time.  Would a delegate to the Council of Trent recognize Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus as taught by the RCC today?  Would Pope Boniface VIII recognize it?  Would he have considered the Two Swords Doctrine of Unam Sanctum fallible? 

3.  The RCC had actually used its position to infallibly exegete Scripture instead of just proclaiming doctrines.  Where are the infallible interpretations that only the RCC can produce?  Is the Scriptural exegesis presented by Pope Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctum to establish the (now rejected) Two Swords Doctrine an infallible product of the Roman Magisterium?  If not, why not?

4. The RCC hadn’t (infallibly) anathematized the Gospel at the Council of Trent.  Unless and until the RCC repudiates Trent, there can be no credible claim to authority for a Roman Magisterium.

carl

[176] Posted by carl on 10-20-2009 at 10:28 PM · [top]

#169-AndrewA,

All the dioceses that are going to leave TEC have already left, and those still in TEC are FAR less Anglo-Catholic.

Maybe your Ouija Board is better than mine, but I won’t be surprised to see more leaving, starting with DioSC.  I don’t think there are enough less Anglo-catholic dioceses to shout about, (i.e., “FAR”).

As to

The big pockets of the Vatican would explain this, no?

you strengthen my point about Vatican lawyers.  Naturally, they are using every legal remedy to cut their losses in these suits.  The sad fact that we Americans see every offense by someone connected to deep pockets as a chance to “cash in” doesn’t help those who were damaged recover their lives or their dignity.  These offenses are, IMHO, a good argument against requiring priests to refrain from marrying.

I must admit, however, that you have rightly called me on being a little too openly critical of TEC’s legal funds and the participation of gay billionaire playboys in the affairs of God’s church.  The most important part of my comment was the quote from my friend and confessor, not my silly bantering about, “Take that, TEC!”

[177] Posted by RicardoCR on 10-20-2009 at 10:40 PM · [top]

Nikolaus in #173:

Given the history of Protestants splitting to create tens of thousands of denominations

Firstly, tens of thousands? Where did you get that figure? I have heard it used before by RCC apologists, but not one of them could ever tell me where it came from. I suppose one day I will find the person who travelled around the world and counted all those denominations!

Secondly, I suggest that your use of the word “splitting” indicates a misunderstanding of the nature of protestantism. We Protestants know that true unity is a unity of doctrine and of spirit; whereas mere institutional unity is not unity at all, in the Lord’s eyes. If a person worships in a different denomination to me, yet holds true to the teaching and practice of our Lord, then I am truly united with him/her.

Each and every Christian needs to study Scripture, but allowing each and every Christian to spout off his interpretation is chaos.

Not that I’ve seen. There is remarkable unity on the interpretation of scripture. Of course, there will be some who try and twist it - the Apostles warned us that this would happen. But the scriptures are the Living Word of God, they are objectively rational, and moreover any faithful christian who reads them has the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

[178] Posted by MichaelA on 10-20-2009 at 11:07 PM · [top]

... the emphasis on Works in Jesus’ own description of the criteria by which He plans to judge us in St. Matt. 25:31-40.

Has Rome repudiated the patristic understanding of this parable as concerned with the judgement of the heathen? Not only the Greek language, but the astonishment of both the Sheep and the Goats, were noted in the very earliest centuries.

[179] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 10-21-2009 at 02:24 AM · [top]

re 178: It’s an estimate from Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia, and it’s actually the number of churches total. However in 2001 he counted 238 Catholic churches, and that doesn’t include Old Catholics or Maronites or the like. What it means is that there’s 10,000 independent African sects that have no particular connection with organized Protestant churches. He also doesn’t count Anglicans as Protestant, and he counted 168 Anglican churches, not including the continuing churches.

[180] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-21-2009 at 05:13 AM · [top]

The RCC hadn’t (infallibly) anathematized the Gospel at the Council of Trent. Unless and until the RCC repudiates Trent, there can be no credible claim to authority for a Roman Magisterium.

At risk of sounding like an apologist for Rome (I’m not Roman Catholic) that’s actually a circular argument. 

The Roman Magisterium is wrong because it disagrees with my personal interpretation of the Gospel (or more accurately the one you cribbed in full from Calvin).
Therefore my personal interpretation of Gospel is more reliable than the interpretation of the Roman Magisterium. 

It doesn’t allow for the possibility that your personal interpretation of the Gospel is in error, unless you want to argue personal infallibility, or at least the infallibility of Calvin.

[181] Posted by AndrewA on 10-21-2009 at 07:20 AM · [top]

Does this mean that Anglicanism has only a diffuse and indefinite theology? I think the answer to this question is both Yes and No.

http://www.gracechurchinnewark.org/macquarrieessay.htm

What Still Separates Us from the Catholic Church? An Anglican Reply by John Macquarrie, was written decades back. No wonder we anglicans have reached this point and no wonder so many anglo-catholics have already fled.

[182] Posted by Linda M on 10-21-2009 at 07:49 AM · [top]

[181] AndrewA

The Roman Magisterium is wrong because it disagrees with my personal interpretation of the Gospel

Show me the conservative here who has ever condemned me for saying TEC is a false religion.  I have said it consistently and openly for three years.  Who has stood up and said “Your condemnation of TEC proceeds from nothing other than your personal opinion about Scripture.”  Liberals say it to me all the time, but never conservatives.  Yet if I apply the exact same standard to the RCC, I am accused of circular reasoning.  If I can on the basis of Scripture condemn TEC for teaching a false Gospel, then I can also on the basis of Scripture condemn the RCC for teaching a false Gospel.  A traditional stand on morality does not purchase a pass for bad doctrine.

The Liberal says “You cannot understand Scripture.  It is impenetrable.  Trust your experience instead.”  The RC says “You cannot understand Scripture.  It is impenetrable.  Trust the infallible interpreter instead.”  But the selection of an infallible interpreter is likewise just as fallible.  And one’s understanding of the infallible interpreter’s pronouncements is also subject to the same uncertainty that allegedly prevents one’s understanding of Scripture.  You haven’t solved the problem of personal understanding.  You have simply moved the problem to a different location.  Finally, I will state again the obvious fact that the RCC has not used its position as infallible interpreter to actually exegete Scripture.  It has simply pronounced doctrine. 

I do not require an infallible understanding of Scripture.  A limited and finite creature could never hope to achieve such a standard.  Instead, I require a sufficient understanding of Scripture.  It proceeds from the pre-modern notion that words have meaning, and meaning can be understood with sufficiency.  I don’t need an infallible interpreter to know that homosexuality is a sin.  I don’t need an infallible interpreter to know that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.  I don’t need an infallible interpreter to know the definition of the Gospel.  I can know all these things with sufficiency simply from reading the Scripture.

carl

[183] Posted by carl on 10-21-2009 at 08:09 AM · [top]

Adequate response, carl.  Sorry, I was kinda arguing for the sake of arguing, which is a bad habit of mine.

[184] Posted by AndrewA on 10-21-2009 at 08:21 AM · [top]

“The RCC hadn’t (infallibly) anathematized the Gospel at the Council of Trent. Unless and until the RCC repudiates Trent, there can be no credible claim to authority for a Roman Magisterium.”

I agree that this is true.

Unfortunately.

I love Roman Catholics and find great beauty in Roman Catholicism, but because of their rejection of the biblical doctrines of sola scriptura and sola fide I cannot go.

[185] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-21-2009 at 08:22 AM · [top]

I would add to Matt’s list the issues of justification/sanctification [including the justifying efficacy of the sacraments], the means of salvation, papal infallibility, the immaculate conception of Mary, and of course the really big one which is Rome’s claim that it is the one true church.

But then the Pope didn’t make his plans for Protestants like me, but for people who already are able to accept the above as dogma.  ; > )

And I am truly happy for them.  I’ve wanted something for already-heart-converted Roman Catholics oddly stuck in Anglicanism for many years, and this looks as if it is the right stuff.  Although I’ve never understood why on earth they haven’t converted a long time ago [heaven knows if I believed Rome’s claims about itself I’d have shot over like a bolt of lightning!] I’m still glad that they may now have an option.

[186] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 08:44 AM · [top]

I note that my pointing out that leaving Anglicanism for Rome necessitates being honest about those doctrinal commitments in which Roman Catholicism and historic Anglicanism are in solid disagreement has led to a series of almost 200 posts in which people have engaged in defending or condemning the theology of either Roman Catholicism or Anglicanism (or, even, somehow, the “thousands of Protestant sects,” for which Anglicanism is now somehow responsible.  Hooker would roll over in his grave, as if the Anglicanism that resisted Puritan sectarianism with all its worth were somehow responsible for what Hooker was already complaining 400 years ago was its inevitable result).

Every single one of the various brickbats thrown around in this discussion, can be, and has been addressed, by apologists for one side or the other.

[So, the question of the sufficiency of Scripture does not boil down to whether or not one thinks with the church or not, but rather, as was argued by Anglican Reformers like Jewel and Hooker 400 years ago, which church?  The church of the late Medieval period or the church of the Fathers? 

The point of the sufficiency of Scripture is not about private judgment and individualist sects, but rather about whether, in the end, final authority lies in the canonical text given to us by apostolic authority, or, rather with a particular Christian community, whether that community be the Roman magisterium or Orthodoxy or American liberal Protestantism, or one of the myriads of Protestant sects that claims the right to alone interpret Scripture properly.]

The brickbats are alternatively amusing and irritating, but they were not my point.  My point was that theology matters.  Despite profitable ecumenical discussion and increased understanding, and the recognition that both sides of the Reformation were too much influenced by the concerns of late Medieval Catholicism—and the continuities and discontinuities between Medieval Catholicism and the Reformation has long been one of my areas of theological interest—there are still irreducible theological disagreements between Roman Catholicism and historic Anglicanism. 

If, as an Anglican, one becomes convinced that Rome is right on these issues, and Anglicanism is wrong, then, by all means, have the courage of your convictions, and blessings to you.  But raising false dichotomies between such things as gay bishops and the Marian dogmas is not facing the question honestly.  Rome will not accept you if your position is that Rome’s errors are no worse than Anglicanism’s.  Neither should they. 

And, of course, no orthodox Anglican is “just fine” with gay bishops.  That liberal Protestantism is wrong about gay bishops does not make Roman Catholicism right about the immaculate conception.

Don’t pretend to yourself that Rome does not expect converts to embrace fully Roman Catholic doctrine in those areas where Anglicans and Roman Catholics disagree.  It does.

Don’t pretend that doctrine does not matter, or that doctrinal disagreements are something that only ivory tower intellectuals need to worry about.  It is a casual attitude toward doctrine that has landed the Anglican communion in its current mess. 

There is an inherent connection between doctrine and practice.  What one does necessarily correlates with what one believes, and what one believes has consequences for how one acts. 

The Roman Catholic Church agrees with this as strongly as do supposed ivory tower intellectual theologians (like myself?  I’m flattered).  Pragmatism has never been the working philosophy of Roman Catholicism. In fact, it is a heresy, probably condemned by some papal encyclical or other in the last century or two.  Augustine and Thomas Aquinas (blessings on them) and numerous post-Tridentine theologians were not either disciples of or predecessors of John Dewey or William James.  Roman Catholicism (rightly) takes doctrine seriously.  So should its converts.

[187] Posted by William Witt on 10-21-2009 at 08:47 AM · [top]

I think this is a fantastic thing for Catholic minded Anglicans who wish to go to Rome…I think it is a fantastic thing for the ACNA and for TEC and for all other churches…why on earth would we want people to stay within an Anglican body when they more properly should be elsewhere.

I’ve seen some Anglicans in blogland react negatively to this effort by the Pope and do not understand why? Do we want people to stay against their will? Wouldn’t it be a good thing if every church made it less rather than more difficult to go where there is more theological affinity? This is not at all a threat to Anglicanism, it may perhaps reveal some fissures that already existed in some circles, but it does not create new ones.

[188] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-21-2009 at 08:51 AM · [top]

Amen to that.

[189] Posted by Aidan on 10-21-2009 at 08:52 AM · [top]

RE: 176 & 183
Carl has raised several important points, which are impossible to fully address in a blog thread.  I think it all boils down to this: Who is the more reliable and trustworthy interpreter of God’s revelation given in Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church or Carl?  I do not mean this disrespectfully.  One might just as easily substitute my name for Carl’s. 

Carl is quite right. The Catholic Church would be even more impressive, though perhaps more boring, if all Catholic theologians agreed on all matters of doctrine.  But in fact Catholics disagree on many doctrinal and theological questions, and the Magisterium permits these disagreements.  Catholic apologists often minimize the theological diversity that exists within the Catholic Church.  If you are looking for the Magisterium to infallibly and irreformably resolve every theological question, then you will be terribly disappointed.  HOWEVER, the theological boundaries beyond which one cannot step and remain a faithful Catholic are clear.  When was the last time you heard a Catholic bishop deny the virginal conception or resurrection or divinity of Jesus Christ?  When was the last time you heard a Catholic bishop advocate abortion?  While it is true that the Magisterium does not seek to resolve every theological and doctrinal issue, while it is true that the Catholic understanding of ecclesial infallibility is in fact a modest doctrine, the FACT remains that boundaries do exist and are maintained, and it is this fact that needs to be explained.

Being a Catholic (or Eastern Orthodox) means belonging to a community whose doctrinal judgment one trusts more one’s own judgment.  It means being willing to think with the Church.  It means being willing to assent to those doctrines that the Church solemnly defines as revealed by God Almighty.  The doctrinal buck needs to stop somewhere.  The question is where.  Does it stop, should it stop, with me and my private interpretations of the Christian religion?  If it does, then God help us all!  Who is the more reliable and trustworthy interpreter of God’s revelation given in Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church or Carl?

[190] Posted by FrKimel on 10-21-2009 at 09:03 AM · [top]

So the Magisterium is clear and scripture is obscure. I see.

[191] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-21-2009 at 09:18 AM · [top]

RE: “My point was that theology matters.”

I agree with Witt!—but I think several people long long ago in the thread far far above made the claim that for most people theology doesn’t really matter all that much.  Of course, it was couched in terms like “no time for theological finery” and the need for “real life” and “action” and “substance” and “nobody cares very much about academic arguments” and only “1 in 10,000 will care”.

But then that, of course, is precisely one of the massive problems with both the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic church, and truth be told with the Baptists and the Methodists and more.  It is that, despite various pronouncements by various powers, the laity and the clergy go on and do as they please.

Because . . . people don’t think that “theology matters.”

As I’ve pointed out before that explains the wild-eyed jumps that so many many many Episcopalians have made in the past six years in and out of TEC.  When friends moved to the ELCA in a desperate lunge I pointed out that their church would be facing the same things, indeed was at that moment!  Same for the PCUSA lungers.  When I pointed out why I couldn’t sign on to the Westminster Confession [required if you are to do more than sit quietly in a pew] and thus lunge over towards a PCA church, nobody knew what that was.  When I pointed out the various dogmas that the Roman Catholic church claims to be true, very very very few people cared.  Because they need to “live life” and be “practical” and “raise a family.”

Really really strange.

But I finally decided that for most of the departers, it was really about finding a good local congregation [while couching it in “TEC is heretical” terms] even though I would point out that by those standards “PCUSA is heretical.”

I now say “whatever” to myself.  ; > )

Just recently a friend announced his [angry] departure and when I said “I do hope you aren’t then moving to another mainline church for this to be repeated” . . . there was a profound silence.  ; > )

Of course, I also believe—as has been stated pretty much for the past six years—that Rome is quite heretical too.  And yes—their theology “matters.”

But honestly, I think Catholic Mom is quite correct far far above.  It doesn’t “matter” to most Roman Catholics—[as is somewhat obvious, because they’re not like Catholic Mom]—and it doesn’t “matter” to most Christians who mainly care about what “works.”

The problem with that, of course, is that “what works” appears to be rather temporary and fleeting.  Were we all Christians in other centuries of history “what works” would certainly not be “the Church of Rome.”  But then, folks like Catholic Mom would say “maybe it didn’t quite pan out in *that* century, but we were right in our dogma and doctrine, and that’s what matters.”

So in effect . . . “doctrine matters” in one sense, and that is when The Theory Behind It All is supposed to counter the “look what a ghastly mess it actually is on the ground” concreteness of a particular time in a church’s history.

But then . . . in that case, it is somewhat odd that at this particular point in history, the cry of the Catholic Moms of this world is that only “1 in 10,000 will care” about the actual minor [irony there] theological quibbles and looky over here at what “works.”  At least—right now that’s the cry anyway.

; > )

[192] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 09:23 AM · [top]

You do have to read Trent through the lenses of Vatican I & II.

The RCC will never make Carl happy, because they will never act in black and white terms as he demands, but it gets very muddy in knowing who in Catholic thought you are reading. The issue with the Thomist is “P” in TULIP not the other. My more liberal professors loved Karl Rahner, shot, let’s go for almost universal salvation. It gets more fun since not only has the RCC change without saying they changed, but they will use personal interpretation of their dogmas while claiming to be under the magisterium. If you loose your license then your out, but as long as you maintain a license then it all depends on you you are talking to if what you all are saying is true or not.

Even the popes can be reversed, but they do set the tone. This Pope is just plain strange, I’m not sure what to make of him, other than maybe a Catholic who has read many Protestant works.

Per all the concerns raised. I’d say they are valid. As I wrote above, I don’t think the Anglo-Catholics (even in TAC) understand the very real differences.  What will life look like for them in ten years?

One should give grace to hold them accountable for who they are today. The Ultra-Traditionalist are exactly as you say, the liberals ... could go bowling with KJS. The last two popes have been very different than Pius X.

[193] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-21-2009 at 09:23 AM · [top]

#191: “So the Magisterium is clear and scripture is obscure. I see.”

That is precisely what I did NOT say.

What I did say is that the Catholic Church is an ultimately more reliable interpreter and presenter of the Christian Faith than, say, the Matt Kennedys and Al Kimels of the world.

[194] Posted by FrKimel on 10-21-2009 at 09:25 AM · [top]

And yet it is still up to Al Kimel and Matt Kennedy to understand the teachings of the Magisterium—which, apparently, are quite clear.

[195] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-21-2009 at 09:32 AM · [top]

I have now read twice on this thread that the Roman Catholic Church has not used its position as infallible interpreter to actually exegete Scripture; that it has simply pronounced doctrine.  (## 176, 183.)

It is undeniable that at arriving at doctrinal conclusions the Catholic Church has engaged in Scriptural exegesis.  Take women’s ordination for example.  This blog has made it utterly clear over the past several years that women’s ordination is a controversial topic within Protestantism, and that advocates of contrary positions cite Scripture in support of their claims.  The Catholic Church’s definitive decision against women’s ordination was based in no small part on exegesis of Scripture.  Please see Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and Responsum ad Dubium Concerning the Teaching Contained in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of the CDF.

[196] Posted by slcath on 10-21-2009 at 09:38 AM · [top]

That very act of trust is an act of judgement; when that judgement changes, that trust is also lost. Truly Catholic assent is only possible where that choice doesn’t occur at all. I have in fact seen cases, particularly in Orthodoxy, where people engage in what I call “serial Cyprianism”: they move from one infallible, catholic church to another, passing judgement on each in turn.

Which beings us to my inevitable complaint about infallibility: it is only needed for the defense of error. Truth speaks for itself. Now I am willing to (in actually do) make what is more properly an act of faith in the church: that it remembers the story of salvation correctly. In the Nicene Creed, a substantial chunk is taken up by “born, suffered, died, was raised, and ascended.” That testimony is crucial, and it is what the church and scripture attest to. That anamnesis is one of the two fundamental jobs of the church. When it comes to reasoning and the drawing of theological conclusions, however, there is no reasoning if it is not done correctly, and correctness is objective. The real authority of the other parts of the creed, the elucidation of trinitarian doctrine, derives from the reasoning involved being true reasoning, and the authority of the catholic church in that wise arises entirely from it carrying out the correct reasoning on those points. And it does reason correctly about that, as the consensus of the ages and theological traditions testifies to, Charles Taze Russell notwithstanding.

To get me to assent, my reasoning must be engaged, and at the point the field is conceded, since I am outside the “infallible” structure. (As a side note, I see infallibility used to defend things that are officially rejected or at least not dogmatized, but we can chalk that up to an abuse.) The only reasoning that works in that context is real, objective reasoning—not that my thinking is perfect, but that an appeal which rejects the need to convince me as an outsider is doomed to fail because it begs the question. And if the reasoning be correct, then it doesn’t need infallibility for its defense. The only time infallibility cones into the picture is if I identify an error. And it is a property of human fallibility that identification of error is far more reliable than assurance of correctness.

And that’s one of the two ways that infallibility functions here. In one way, it is a temptation: never having to fight doctrinal battles again. But in the other, it’s patently deflection of all the various badnesses of the church that one has to go to. In a very egocentric look at the matter, I’m looking at a church as a place in which to work out my own salvation—and that’s the real reason that Rome has an appeal in the first place, because lots of us have lost confidence in ECUSA or Anglican churches in general as a place to do this. For me, the validity/infallibility line of argument fails, because it is predicated on appeal to me as a faithful Christian in the first place, while at the same time denying that I am one. Rome presumes to reap what PECUSA had sown, all the while denying that there was ever any grain in the field. There’s no way to paper over this error with infallibility, because it’s sufficient proof of failure.

[197] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-21-2009 at 09:42 AM · [top]

For an excellent explanation of the place Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition share in the Church I suggest one read the encyclical “Dei Verbum.”  This document also explains the place of the magesterium in the interpetation of both.

And please remember what is plain reading does not require the lens of the Church to become clear. Rather these things are considered part of the universal deposit of faith and need no teaching office to declare them true and necessary to the belief of the faithful for us to regard them as being so.  An example of this would be the Virgin Birth.  Scripture is quite clear on this matter and I and Matt and Sarah would all read the words with the same mind.  Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. 

Where the magesterium would exercise its office would be in matters which are open to different conclusions.  An example would be the question of Mary’s perpetual virginity.  And to arrive at this teaching the Church draws on both Scripture, what has been universally taught by the fathers and sacred Tradition.  It is never a matter of agreeing with popular opinion or resting on their own understanding. 

The Church greatly encourages the reading of Scripture but she does believe the Word of God is not something that is independent of the Church which can be fully understood outside of her.  I am not sure how the Orthodox view the relationship of Church and Scripture but think they too would believe they are united.

[198] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-21-2009 at 10:15 AM · [top]

#195: “And yet it is still up to Al Kimel and Matt Kennedy to understand the teachings of the Magisterium—which, apparently, are quite clear.”

Alas, the doctrinal judgments of the Magisterium are not always clear either.  Consider the magisterial definition of Nicaea that Jesus Christ is homoousios with the Father.  Was this clear?  Perhaps it was clear to Athanasius; but it wasn’t clear to lots of other (non-Arian) bishops in the Catholic Church, including those who attended the council, who then proceeded to engage in extensive debate over several decades, and indeed centuries, about its precise meaning and its implications for both trinitarian and christological doctrine. 

This qualification can be made about many dogmatic definitions, perhaps even all of them.  I remember reading one Catholic biblical scholar who said that he had no problem assenting to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception because he had no idea what it means.  Sometimes it’s easier to identify the beliefs that a dogma excludes than to state its positive meaning.  On all of this, I refer readers to the essays on doctrinal infallibility written by the late Avery Cardinal Dulles.  These matters are more complicated and interesting than is often presented in internet debates. 

Yet the boundaries of Catholic belief and practice are still pretty clear, don’t you think?   

What does the Catholic doctrine of ecclesial infallibility mean?  It means sticking with the Catholic Church and her bishops, even when one disagrees with her (apparent) teaching, trusting that the Holy Spirit will not allow the Magisterium to bind one’s conscience to irreformable error.  Ultimately, infallibility is a summons to trust.  FWIW, I believe that a similar understanding of infallibility also operates within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

[199] Posted by FrKimel on 10-21-2009 at 10:45 AM · [top]

This is wonderful news; very gracious on the part of the Holy Father. It was supposed to have been released in Eastertide, but better late than never.

[200] Posted by Cure dArs on 10-21-2009 at 11:13 AM · [top]

I think it all boils down to this: Who is the more reliable and trustworthy interpreter of God’s revelation given in Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church or Carl?

Al,

This very way of phrasing the question begs it by implying that the issue of disagreement is not about the objective meaning of the text as written, but rather about the subjective appropriation of the text by its readers.  The question then becomes, not “What does the text say?,” but which reader of the text do I trust the most?  The authority of the text is then replaced by the authority of its readers.

I am by coincidence reading two different books right now, both of which indirectly address this question.  The first is Kevin Vanhoozer’s Is There a Meaning in this Text?: The Bible, The Reader and the Morality of Liberary Knowledge (Zondervan, 1998).  The second is N.T. Wright’s Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision (IVP, 2009). Vanhoozer’s book begins with an interesting parable he borrows from Kierkegaard.  A king sends out a decree, but rather than obey the decree, the subjects begin to interpret it.  Each day brings new interpretations, and the subjects never get around to actually obeying the decree, because “everything is interpretation.”

Wright’s book (“new perspective”) is a debate with John Piper (“old perspective”) about the interpretation of justification by faith in Paul.  Wright concludes his book with a key quote: “The text is the text.”  Whether one agrees with Wright or Piper depends not on whose “interpretation” we trust most, or whether the Reformers can be trusted to have read Paul better than Wright, but on whether Wright is able to show against Piper that his reading makes more sense of the text itself than does Piper’s.

So, on the question of “justification,” whose “interpretation” do I trust more, that of Carl of Al or myself or (to expand the list) Martin Luther, John Calvin, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Richard Hooker, the Regensburg Colloquy (where Romans and Protestants temporarily agreed), the Book of Concord or the Council of Trent or the new Catholic Catechism? And by “the Catholic Church,” I think you mean the two latter, since there is clearly no universal (catholic) interpretation of justification that stretches from the Fathers to Orthodoxy to Vatican II (simply ignoring, for now, the Reformation).

Without coming down in the debate between Wright and Piper—I disagree with both on some issues—I note that Wright (in agreement with the Reformers) states that justification is the forensic language of a law court, and it is by faith alone.  Justification for Paul is not about “making righteous,” nor is it a matter of “faith plus works,” whether “works of the Torah,” or “morally good deeds.”  In contrast, both Trent and the new Catechism state that justification is about “making righteous,” and that it is not by faith alone, but includes works.

While I can learn much from how Paul is “interpreted” by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Hooker, if my choice were only between N.T. Wright, on the one hand, and Trent or the New Catechism, on the other, I would clearly choose Wright because Wright actually goes about the trouble of doing exegesis, wrestling with the biblical texts in their original languages, and making a case that a particular reading makes more sense than another.  The reading that “justification” is about “making righteous” or about “faith plus works” is contrary to a careful reading of the text. 

This, of course, does not mean that Wright is infallible or inerrant.  I find myself disagreeing with a number of his readings, including some areas where I think he has overreacted to traditional Western readings.  Nonetheless, the way I would correct Wright would be not to appeal to another “interpreter” with more authority than myself or to Wright, but to the text itself.  An interpreter establishes his or her authority by a careful reading of the biblical text, not by simply appealing to authority qua authority.

[201] Posted by William Witt on 10-21-2009 at 11:18 AM · [top]

Maybe we need a second infallible Magisterium to help interpret the teachings of the first infallible Magisterium?

[202] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 10-21-2009 at 11:25 AM · [top]

What does the Catholic doctrine of ecclesial infallibility mean?  It means sticking with the Catholic Church and her bishops, even when one disagrees with her (apparent) teaching, trusting that the Holy Spirit will not allow the Magisterium to bind one’s conscience to irreformable error.  Ultimately, infallibility is a summons to trust.

FrKimel,

I read this as the “belonging” argument, which I do find so many RC fall into, they have no clue about what their Church believes, but they sure know the belong. In one way, I do find it admirable, but I’m also sure glad the Pope seems to be making much effort to reject it and placing a whole lot of emphasis on educating his flock.

I’d never choose to belong to a denomination at war with itself, but I’m so bless to have been born into one. One item that I treasure is being forced to know what I believe and why I believe it.

[203] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-21-2009 at 11:29 AM · [top]

subscrobe

[204] Posted by merlenacushing on 10-21-2009 at 11:41 AM · [top]

But honestly, I think Catholic Mom is quite correct far far above.  It doesn’t “matter” to most Roman Catholics—[as is somewhat obvious, because they’re not like Catholic Mom]—and it doesn’t “matter” to most Christians who mainly care about what “works.”

How odd.  I seem to remember someone writing an article earlier whose thesis was that Anglicans can expect to be a bunch of wandering misfits for the next hundred years or so.  Apparently, the band of wandering misfits is constrained to only join a denomination if they are VERY much in agreement with said denomination;  unless of course, they can shovel the disagreable distinctives into a fragrant pile of stuff, conveniently labeled, ‘tertiary’.  wink

Look, I don’t know why folks would leave for the RCC now vs when they reached the age of twenty-one;  but I’m not about to ascribe a lack of integrity to their leaving for the RCC. 

People make these kinds of huge changes when something has to give.  With a little more ‘give,’ sometimes they can give on their end. 

Less sweeping generalism;  more compassion. 

- Moot
A wandering Protestant Calvinist misfit

[205] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-21-2009 at 11:56 AM · [top]

at the suggestion of Pope JPII returned to the Anglican fold.
Michael, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. In what way did John Paul 2 push you out of the Catholic Church? I find it hard to believe he would have said anything publically (unless you all had a private conversation?) to make you do such a thing, unless you were already rejecting large portions of the Church’s teachings. Could you elaborate?

[206] Posted by DavidSh on 10-21-2009 at 12:12 PM · [top]

#101 “Why would anybody want to convert to Rome anyways?

If there is no change in what drives flocks of people away from all the suffocating,  objectionable things in that institution’s doctrine and governance…what good is it to make it easier for people go there? “

Because it’s beautiful. What you call suffocating, I imbibe deeply as liberating. What you call objectionable I call adorable. You must move closer with a “what if” mindset, but also consider your own “understanding” as something detestable and putrid.

What is more sickening than self-attained knowledge of truth? Rather, when we get knowledge of truth it is because we are given it, not because we found it. It finds us, especially when we are ready. We accept it and don’t judge it.

[207] Posted by dbonneville on 10-21-2009 at 12:26 PM · [top]

Maybe we need a second infallible Magisterium to help interpret the teachings of the first infallible Magisterium?

Beautiful! Or this statement is untrue! The self referential problem. I imagine that most writers here have searched their conscience and realized that the journey or way is marked with uncertainty, the dark side of faith. I find no comfort in fundamentalism or scriptural inerrancy nor infallibility (we are saved, are you?) The Church, that is scripture, reason and tradition is there to help me find my way, my vocation. My difficulty with fundamentalism or infallibility is that, one day, you may wake up and realize that you have been misled about grace and works, about the mystical body of Christ, or Sola Scriptura. You know you are called to be someone to do something, and it may not help to subjugate yourself to others. In a lesser way, you may be a Tyndale or a Hans Kung or a Schillebeeckx or a Boff or Romero or a Merton and what you have to say or do runs entirely counter to the inerrant teachings or the infallible church.

[208] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-21-2009 at 12:35 PM · [top]

Hey Moot, not certain how I grasp what my belief about the viability of Anglicanism—that is, what works—is “odd” in comparison to what I said above.  In fact . . . it is precisely congruent and flows quite logically and rationally one to the other.

You say, for instance . . . “I seem to remember someone writing an article earlier whose thesis was that Anglicans can expect to be a bunch of wandering misfits for the next hundred years or so.”

Indeed yes—I think those who are Anglicans theologically won’t find in the US a functional or healthy entity that holds Anglicanism—you know . . .  rather like the Roman Catholic church was at times in other centuries.  ; > )

Those who have recognized that their doctrine is Anglican—and to whom “doctrine matters”—will obviously not be very comfortable at all in these times within Anglicanism in the US.  It’s just how it is . . . for those Anglicans to whom doctrine matters, that is.

For the sheerly pragmatic—for those folks who just need “something that works right now while I raise my kids”—they can gladly trundle off to Rome or the PCA or whatever suits their fancy on the local level, or heck—why not stay in their nice local TEC parish, since all that really matters is “what works”—uncaring in particular about doctrine or dogma.

RE: “Apparently, the band of wandering misfits is constrained to only join a denomination if they are VERY much in agreement with said denomination . . . “

Yep—that’s pretty much the way it is.  For me, it’s been that way since around 1990 too.  So nothing new, nothing unexpected, nothing all that odd.  Because . . . doctrine does actually “matter.”

That’s not to say that Anglicans can’t worship in other communities.  It’s looking increasingly likely that that’s what I’ll end up doing, in fact.  Just like Great Grandmother Lay . . . ; > )

[209] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 12:37 PM · [top]

DavidSh asks

How did JP II push me out of the Church?

Most American Catholics used birth control. Many Americans thought that Vatican II and Pope John XXIII marked a brilliant new path forwards for Roman Catholicism. JPII chose not to canonize Romero nor Pope John XXIII instead canonized Josemaria Escrivá and told menu picking Catholics to conform or leave the Church. Opus Dei superior to Liberation Theology? Ever been to S America?

cheers Michael

[210] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-21-2009 at 12:49 PM · [top]

This is a wonderfully invigorating thread. I was raised in the RCC, but then departed as a teen amid the evangelical efforts of friends from Campus Life. Through the years, the longing for liturgy deepened and so I found myself in the Episcopal Church. Like many others, I have had my hopes for this denomination dashed by the machinations of its left flank. I will not be staying much longer. And so as I survey the world around me, looking for truth, I cannot help but notice the witness of the Catholic Church. Matt might be an admirer only from afar, but would he want a world without Rome? As the Protestant world continues to splinter and lose influence, the Catholic Church holds the line against abortion, the redefining of marriage, and all manner of other ills. There is a searing brightness in this witness, a light that we all benefit from, even if we would never want to “be Catholic.” And so I ask myself: what might the source of this brightness be? Might I find here the truth I seek?

[211] Posted by lift high the Cross on 10-21-2009 at 12:56 PM · [top]

I guess my rather feeble question for those whose battle cry is “Doctrine Matters!”, how do you justify belonging when important parts of the doctrine of TEC is so blindingly contra to your beliefs?  I say this as one who is still Epsicopalian.

I guess we should define doctrine, and I suppose this is as good as anything;

Doctrine (Latin: doctrina) is a codification of beliefs or “a body of teachings” or “instructions”, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system.

I guess one can argue that all the sad resolutions that have passed in Gen. Conv., or the emanations from the head of our church, and actions as regards lawsuits, as the “official” body of teachings.  But, one could just as easily argue that yes, all those actions could be rightly argued to be part and parcel of the “doctrine” of TEC, since they are espoused, and acted upon by the leadership of the church. 

Then again, I’m no lawyer or theologian.

[212] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 01:33 PM · [top]

#123 “—nor the Marian cultus, —nor prayers to saints, —nor the magisterium’s power over Scripture interpretation”

Mary is easy, prayers to saints is even easier, and the magisterium is the easiest of all. Did you list them like that on purpose?

However, you will solve those in reverse order. Understanding Mary unravels any difficulty you could possibly have. Mary 101 - “let it be done to me according to what you have said” and it all flows from there. Catholics have been saying for centuries that Mary would play a pivotal role in the end times and the healing of schism. Read Luke 1 until the light goes off as to how this is possible. Don’t forget 2 Sam 6 and Rev 12. And this weeks news.

#165 “IRS where annulment is correctly understood to mean there never was a marriage”
—You mean a valid sacrament of marriage, not civil marriage. How do such misunderstanding have such legs?

[213] Posted by dbonneville on 10-21-2009 at 01:47 PM · [top]

Captain Yips has commented - seems relevant for this thread:

”It’s probably also true that in every form of Christianity, at every time, there has been a tendency to think that we are saved, not by Jesus, but by what we think about Jesus.”

He goes on to quote John Burnaby:

We must treat the historic rulings of the Church as signposts along the Christian way, marking for us the points at which the Church has warned her members that by-roads and short cuts have in experience been found to lead nowhere, to endanger and not to aid our approach to the knowledge of him who is the Way.  And we must never forget that human thought and language will always be too feeble to comprehend and contain him who is the Truth and the Life.


I recommend a visit.

[214] Posted by tired on 10-21-2009 at 02:05 PM · [top]

This post from Pilgrim on another thread (I added the Large Caps):

Fr. George Rutler, a convert from Anglicanism, was asked by CNA what his reaction is to the Vatican’s new Anglican provision. Fr. Rutler’s reply follows.

“It is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of DOCTRINE in Anglicanism. Indeed, it is a final rejection of Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial DOCTRINE and makes clear that it is not a historic “church” but rather an “ecclesial community” that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.”
Read it all…
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=987#

[215] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 02:11 PM · [top]

I can’t argue with these Chops, theologically, but then again, what do I know?
Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition in New Jersey and New York, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years, and the youngest Episcopal rector in the country when he headed the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. His parents, Adolphe and Dorothy, both now deceased, were received into the Church in 1982 by Cardinal Cooke. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Thomas More College awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, and in 1996 Governor George W. Bush made him an Honorary Texan.

Father Rutler contributes to numerous scholarly and popular journals and has published 14 books on theology, history, cultural issues, and the lives of the saints, and also one book on sports, as a member of the U.S. Squash Racquets Association.

[216] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 02:28 PM · [top]

In that guys opinion, there is no “substantial doctrine” within Anglicanism for the doctrinaires to hang their hat on. 

Of course, that’s just one guy’s opinion who has actually been in both churches and spent his entire life studying theology.

I know, I know, “He’s not the boss of me!”  He does however, make a valid point. 

I say these things as one who still has not officially left the Ep. church.  This whole “Doctrine is very important too me, hence I have not left yet” can be tiresome when one tries to ascertain, by actions and words, what the doctrine of the church actually is.  According to this learned man, there aint none (of substance)!!

I don’t know but if I find myself increasingly in agreement with him.

[217] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 02:38 PM · [top]

#217 Looking For Leaders
as I read your comment I find myself nodding. What exactly does the CofE (in my case) stand for? it used to be the 39 articles, but since priests are no-longer obligated to affirm them at their instilation( or so I gather) then the Church cannot put much stock by them. If the CofE says “we believe in the creed” Romans can say “so do we”, in the end the main selling point of the CofE has become “we’re not the Catholic Church, we’re a democracy”, when actualy Christianity isnt a Democracy, its an Autocracy headed by God.

[218] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 02:43 PM · [top]

This whole “Doctrine is very important too me, hence I have not left yet”

Yet no one has said anything of the sort.  They have said “Doctrine is very important to me, hence I will join a church whose doctrine I do not support.”

[219] Posted by AndrewA on 10-21-2009 at 02:50 PM · [top]

The Doctrines that keeps me away from Rome is the required acceptance of things not agreeable to the Scriptures, nor confirmed by the Bishops of the Church. 

WO, as opposed to it is I am, isn’t a ‘required belief’ in most of the provinces where it is permitted.  By God’s Grace, the CoE will not go ‘Romanisque’ in requiring assent to innovations not conformable to scripture, and if it does, there remain the ‘continuing churches’.

“New and Revised” dogma isn’t catholic, no matter what the Bishop of Rome may say.  The ‘Councils of the Church’ included Rome (well, those after Rome was established as a Bishopric -  the Council of Jerusalem in Acts predating it), but weren’t limited to those under the authority of Rome.

[220] Posted by Bo on 10-21-2009 at 02:59 PM · [top]

Bo, thanks for your post.  Let me ask you, what are the doctrines of Anglicanism that keep you in the church, if in fact you are in the church?

In other words, what is a response in the positive, as far as doctrine goes?  Not what keeps you away from something else, but what keeps you in?

[221] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 03:05 PM · [top]

Yet no one has said anything of the sort.  They have said “Doctrine is very important to me, hence I will join a church whose doctrine I do not support.”

AndrewA.
I’m struggling to think which Doctrine of the Catholic Church Anglo-Catholics do not support, could you suggest some?

[222] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 03:07 PM · [top]

AndrewA, did you mean to say “Doctrine is very important to me, hence I will join a church whose doctrine I DO support?  Thx, lfl

[223] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 03:08 PM · [top]

NOTHING of this plan was presented to Rowan until +Matt
Kennedy banned Mad Potter….
Coincidence…? I think not.
Intercessor

[224] Posted by Intercessor on 10-21-2009 at 03:18 PM · [top]

AndrewA, If you are not saying that people are joining up with Rome, though not supporting their doctrine, here is how I would answer.

I would answer with the same question I have asked the “Doctrine really, really, matters alot” crowd.  What is the doctrine held in Anglicanism (or the Ep. church) that keeps you in? Or if so glued to that doctrine, then I guess you just become one of us regular humans that eventually goes to a church whose doctrine you don’t fully subscribe to, because it “works” for you.

Am I getting close?

[225] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 03:18 PM · [top]

<<WO, as opposed to it is I am, isn’t a ‘required belief’ in most of the provinces where it is permitted.  By God’s Grace, the CoE will not go ‘Romanisque’ in requiring assent to innovations not conformable to scripture, and if it does, there remain the ‘continuing churches’.>>

Actually, in ECUSA, woman’s ordination IS required belief since 1997, when the General Convention stripped away the last vestige of the Conscience Clause.

[226] Posted by Cure dArs on 10-21-2009 at 03:25 PM · [top]

[221] Posted by Looking for Leaders,

The Married Male Episcopate, (Practice, not Doctrine exactly).

Of the churches with the three-fold ministry, only the Anglicans seem to teach what the church taught about the Bishopric when Peter was a Bishop, and St. Paul and Apostle, and servant of the Church.

Of course the 39 Articles and the 1662 being ‘legitimate’ still is ‘doctrinal’, but the practices don’t reflect it.  At least in ACNA, I can refuse a woman’s ministry as priest, and still have a proper married man with a family as my Bishop.

(PS, I’m dual-enrolled, Baptist and Anglican).

[227] Posted by Bo on 10-21-2009 at 03:29 PM · [top]

I would answer with the same question I have asked the “Doctrine really, really, matters alot” crowd.  What is the doctrine held in Anglicanism (or the Ep. church) that keeps you in?

I think Matt+ Sarah, Carl, Dr Witt have given several examples above on this thread.

[228] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-21-2009 at 03:30 PM · [top]

I guess my rather feeble question for those whose battle cry is “Doctrine Matters!”, how do you justify belonging when important parts of the doctrine of TEC is so blindingly contra to your beliefs?  I say this as one who is still Epsicopalian.

Looking for Leaders,

Since I’m the one who wrote “Doctrine Matters!”, this question has already been asked and answered.  (See my 142 above).

If you want to know how someone who is still in TEC justifies their position, I suggest you look at Bishop Mark Lawrence’s most recent statement about the stance that the Diocese of South Carolina has taken.  Or you might want to search through the Stand Firm archives and read anything Sarah has written on “Little Stone Bridges.”  Or you might google or read some of the numerous published writings of Ephraim Radner. They make the case as well as anyone.

It is not as if it no one has ever asked this question before Pope Benedict made his offer.

[229] Posted by William Witt on 10-21-2009 at 03:36 PM · [top]

[221] <I’m struggling to think which Doctrine of the Catholic Church Anglo-Catholics do not support, could you suggest some?>

This Anglo-Catholic can’t think of any Catholic doctrines I don’t support. The Immaculate Conception takes some mind wrapping, but everything else is easy to accept; even the things that cause some on this thread unease.

[230] Posted by Cure dArs on 10-21-2009 at 03:36 PM · [top]

#230

This Anglo-Catholic can’t think of any Catholic doctrines I don’t support. The Immaculate Conception takes some mind wrapping, but everything else is easy to accept; even the things that cause some on this thread unease.

I must admit that as soon as this I thought of the Immaculate Conception and, more notably Purgatory, but I was waiting to see if AndrewA replied.

For Purgatory I would say that last Month our Area Dean (a senior Priest who looks after the FiF parishes in a Diocese) preached at my church’s Patronal Festival a sermon on purgatory. So clearly there are some Anglo-catholics that believe fully in Catholic Doctrine, the reason I believe they havent left for the Tiber yet is that they have not, until now, been specifically invited.

[231] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 03:41 PM · [top]

Mike, you’re still not really making sense. For one, Romero could still be canonized—and yes, I know about the situation as it was in El Salvador in the 1980s when he was murdered (though I have not been there). Remember, the sainthood process can be complicated. Who would’ve thought Joan of Arc would be declared a saint when she died, especially those in England?
Second, the birth control issue was thrown way way off track by things that were said after Vatican 2 and before Humanae Vitae was issued. Read Ralph McInerny’s book about Vat. 2—he makes it very clear that many Catholic theologians and priests were saying Paul VI would lift the ban, and when he didn’t, many of them just kept right on with their very public disagreement about it. Maybe you know all that already, but I wanted to clarify for the record. Dave

[232] Posted by DavidSh on 10-21-2009 at 03:46 PM · [top]

It was a bit like crashing in the door, and many bishops were outright hostile to Anglicans wanting to convert and become Catholic priests. As one RC priest commented to me, ‘Why would any liberal bishop want to have a bunch of new conservatives on his flank?’

[233] Posted by Cure dArs on 10-21-2009 at 03:48 PM · [top]

#233
Yeah, the English Catholic Bishops seemed particularly unimpressed when, last year, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet went over their head and went with a delegation directly to the Vatican to appeal for help.

[234] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 03:51 PM · [top]

[226] Posted by Cure dArs
I"m not TEC, and TEC has its own ‘communion troubles’ with several Canterbury Communion Provinces.  By God’s Grace Canterbury won’t subscribe to this ‘new and revised’ doctrine.

[235] Posted by Bo on 10-21-2009 at 03:51 PM · [top]

#212-Looking for Leaders, Forgive a homespun perspective, but Doctrine, in addition to your definition, is usually distinct in its relationship to Dogma.  Doctrine is a belief that we can argue about and remain friends.  The Doctrine of the Virgin Birth of Mary is arguable because there are no records of her birth that firmly establish what happened; there is instead the belief that sex is dirty and surely the Lord’s mother could not possibly have been the result of it.

Dogma on the other hand is not arguable.  If you disagree with me on a dogmatic point, you are simply crazy and cannot be reasoned with. The Dogma that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is an example.  Jesus praised His disciples for observing this and stated that He was the only path to the Father.  We have the testimony of eye witnesses in Holy Scripture to confirm that (as well as the written observations of Josephus and others).  So, Jesus really was/is the Son of God or He was a raving maniac.  I believe the former and nothing you can say will cause me to have the slightest doubt about that and, while I will be glad to discuss it with you, I would not take anything you said about it very seriously if you disagreed.

[236] Posted by RicardoCR on 10-21-2009 at 03:58 PM · [top]

Here are some thoughts that have run through my head on this subject.

“One must stay/leave/join another denomination/ because of one’s integrity.”  —-You better check yourself on that one.  Make sure you are completely full of integrity first.

“I am staying now because Doctrine is very, very important. I am total harmonic convergence with the current Doctrine of Anglicanism.  However, later on, if it all implodes, I’ll just do something else.”  I must confess that I cannot find logic to the “I’ll just do something else later on if I have to” one.  The other thought is that it takes a herculean effort to be totally down with the complete doctrine of a church, any church.  Also, if you use actual actions of a church as its’ way of carrying out doctrine, then there are some that are not in agreement with the doctrine that they say is so important.

After all, the doctrine of utopian forms of government sound great.  It’s like saying “I am voting for Candidate Jones, because his stated doctrine is…..”  Then someone points out that even though Candidate Jones has stated his doctrine, his actions, to any layman, are in direct opposition to his doctrine.  The Jones supporter,when confronted with these contra actions, replies, “Well, I’m still for him because his stated doctrine is ......, and doctrine is very important.”  I’m at a logical loss on that one.

Doctrine, when written down, yet not meted out, I guess for some, is still doctrine, and to be honored.  I just don’t see the logic of it.

[237] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 03:59 PM · [top]

Dick #236, that’s not exactly the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.  As an Orthodox, that’s not a big concern to me, but anyway == IC doesn’t say Mary was the result of a Virgin Birth.  Only Jesus was the result of a Virgin Birth.  IC says she was born without taint of “Original Sin”—in fact, her parents were Joachim and Anna, who are venerated in the Orthodox Church.

[238] Posted by Miss Sippi on 10-21-2009 at 04:09 PM · [top]

Mike, you’re still not really making sense. For one, Romero could still be canonized—and yes, I know about the situation as it was in El Salvador in the 1980s when he was murdered (though I have not been there). Remember, the sainthood process can be complicated. Who would’ve thought Joan of Arc would be declared a saint when she died, especially those in England? Second, the birth control issue was thrown way way off track by things that were said after Vatican 2 and before Humanae Vitae was issued. Read Ralph McInerny’s book about Vat. 2—he makes it very clear that many Catholic theologians and priests were saying Paul VI would lift the ban, and when he didn’t, many of them just kept right on with their very public . . . .

I do not see what the above has to do with any of my comments. If you are an RC or want to become one, that’s fine by me. But as many have posted here, as an RC you start by believing that the RC Church is the mystical body of Christ, headed by the Supreme Pontiff who when speaking ex Cathedra on matters of faith and morals is infallible, a statement which itself was issued ex Cathedra. Given that, you fit your beliefs and scriptural readings into that context. JPII went further and stated that if you were a menu picking RC, eg an American who practices birth control, you should either get in line or leave.

If on the other hand, you believe that Christ can be found as your personal savior by reading Scripture, using reason and showing respect for tradition, then you might be better off outside the RC Church. I have read a lot of Hans Kung as well as many Catholic writers who were on the edge of the RC Church or even lost their jobs due to their “liberal” views. A few years ago, the local RC Pastor retired, a product of Vatican II who told me “they would never elect Ratzinger”, to be replaced by a coterie of strict conservative, uninspiring priests, young and old. Nor were these conservatives particularly well educated in Scripture. They seemed to me a model of blind obedience. Their flock is obedient but not exactly on fire with the Lord.

[239] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-21-2009 at 04:15 PM · [top]

Hi Looking . . . so far you’re just repeating questions that people have already answered.

To repeat—I’m an Anglican theologically.  The fact that the national entities of TEC are—obviously—not is neither here nor there.

1) One may be an Anglican without actually finding a functional entity to join. [One might, for instance, be a Hindu with no Hindu temple available.]
2) One may be—quite merrily—a member of an organization that is at the national level corrupt to the core [see ABA and AMA for starters]
3) One does not have to be a member of an Anglican entity in order to believe Anglican doctrine.
4) The question of “what is Anglican doctrine” is neither here nor there, as you can be well assured that I, William Witt, and any number of other Episcopalians OR members of ACNA are pretty well personally assured that we know it.  The fact that we may not have convinced everybody else of these things is also neither here nor there.
5) Hence, there is no contradiction whatsoever in any of the above statements made by either me or Witt.  Doctrine matters.  It would be ridiculously deceitful for me to raise my hand and say “I agree with Rome—it is the one true church and whatever it says goes” when in fact that would be a bald-faced lie because I do not at all agree with Rome.  Surely you can see that lying to a church that you are joining is a bad idea—in fact, an issue of “integrity.”  Surely no Roman Catholic wishes me to lie in order to join a church because I want to be “practical” and “live life” and “not care about what those silly pinheads say about theology.”

In fact, I do not have to lie at all to be a member of TEC.  In fact it is my thesis that the other side is lying, and not I, when they pretend as if they believe things that they manifestly do not believe.  Why should their lies make me slap my forehead and say “my goodness, I must not be an Anglican—look at Schori over there!”

Surely you must see that.

And yet . . . you don’t.

So it’s hopeless.

[240] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 04:22 PM · [top]

Mike, I brought that stuff up because you did—plain and simple.
I am already Catholic, as was attested on this blog last year (with varying opinions from the readers here, as is to be expected.) I am trying my best to follow the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Obviously that was a problem for you, so it’s good you left. Dave

[241] Posted by DavidSh on 10-21-2009 at 04:23 PM · [top]

Looking for Leaders:

The first few times around, you could be asking honest, sincere questions. I took that you were not merely setting up strawmen to be knocked down and you could not have seen that many of those issues were already covered.

While there is probably much more grace on this thread due to it’s subject, the policy on SFIF should still stand:

1. Charges that anyone who leaves the Episcopal Church is a quitter, a coward, etc.

2. Charges that anyone who stays in the Episcopal Church is wasting their time, a heretic by association, etc.

3. Demands that we all fold up our tents and become Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox/LCMS/Presbyterian or whatever; and charges that those of us who prefer not to are idiots.

Our unofficial policy on staying or leaving is this: Go where God calls you, and go with our blessings, but don’t belittle someone who has received different orders.

Point blank, you’re being boring. This is sounding like someone in a RCIA class trying to recruit all their friends. Folks have answered the question that by their conscience they can not join the RCC, I’d be one of them, there are some require dogma that I am not persuaded, until such time that I could accept, my integrity will not allow me. I think Dr. Witt checked his integrity first, some like Cardinal Newman check their integrity and felt that they needed to move, +Jeffrey N. Steenson also felt his conscience was to move, Sarah and Matt+ do not. I think your charge is at the very least edgy and pushing the line, not just on comment policy, but on your duties to give SFIF the benefit of the doubt and folks are acting with integrity in their decision.

If you have some interesting contribution on why Anglican should follow the popes offer, then say it, maybe it’ll spark great discussions. However, debate style on that here, is pretty boring, as many in RCIA classes has done all this stuff before.

[242] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-21-2009 at 04:24 PM · [top]

Indeed yes—I think those who are Anglicans theologically won’t find in the US a functional or healthy entity that holds Anglicanism—you know . . .  rather like the Roman Catholic church was at times in other centuries.

Okay.  Why would be different for Christians of other flavors - e.g., for those who are more Presby or others still who are more RC-flavored? 

For the sheerly pragmatic—for those folks who just need “something that works right now while I raise my kids”

ROFLOL.  Right, because “we all know” that training your child in the way they should go, is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal. 

Yep—that’s pretty much the way it is.  For me, it’s been that way since around 1990 too.  So nothing new, nothing unexpected, nothing all that odd.  Because . . . doctrine does actually “matter.”

Apart from drowning in the irony that an Anglican is telling someone who boot-camped in the OPC, that “doctrine actually does ‘matter’,”

well, actually there’s precious little left over after the irony.

On the other hand, it’s a comfort to know that somewhere “out there,” someone is making good ecclesiastical decisions that don’t involve people placed in their charge.  I remember how that felt, and look back on it as a luxury. 

Oh well - when things are really really bad, I always close my eyes and think of Heaven.

Y’know? 

Oh wait - never mind.

[243] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-21-2009 at 04:26 PM · [top]

To William Witt @ #187
It is a myth that “myriads of Protestant sects claim the right to alone interpret Scripture properly”. I realise your thoughts go deeper than that, but I just want to post a correction for the many readers on this site who might get the wrong idea of what protestantism is about.

It is of the essence of Protestantism that the Scriptures are God’s living word and speak for themselves, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Almost by definition, a group that claims that “it alone can interpret Scripture properly” ceases to be protestant and becomes a mere cult. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a good example. “They went out from us but they were not of us”.

[244] Posted by MichaelA on 10-21-2009 at 04:35 PM · [top]

Hosea, I think you’re right. I’m getting pretty bored with it myself, and sort of knew that I should probably hush, and go on.

Which I am now doing.  Thx for the reality check.  I think I need one every now and then. In the end, I’m still an Ep., just wondering why some days.——Lfl.

[245] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-21-2009 at 04:39 PM · [top]

I would answer with the same question I have asked the “Doctrine really, really, matters alot” crowd.  What is the doctrine held in Anglicanism (or the Ep. church) that keeps you in?

The question for me is what propelled me out of the RC Church. Much of it I loved, the rosary (but not with all the associated dogmas especially the Assumption), veneration for Our Lady and the Saints, the Mass, the Latin prayers, the Solemnity, the schools and hospitals, the Jesuits and their scholarship, the anguish of their writers, the old cathedrals, I could go on. I found great difficulty with the homosexuality, men and choirboys, boy and girl acolytes but the nuns filled me with awe. JPII’s obsession with communism despite growing up in Nazi Poland without rebelling concerned me. I understand he was once asked what he did during the occupation and replied nothing. I was particularly offended by JPII’s purging the church’s hierarchy of its liberal wing. I am not a liberal myself but Christ is for all. Eventually infallibility seemed to me the last straw together with the use of the canonization process especially to elevate Opus Dei. The popes have done too many terrible things in the name of faith and morals. Anyway what about the time there were three popes?

The Anglican Church is genuinely inclusive where I can pray and talk with people who completely and utterly disagree with me politically and religiously.

[246] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-21-2009 at 04:40 PM · [top]

#242 Hosea, from what I have read Looking For Leaders has not chastised those who stay in the Anglican Communion, they are just merely asking, albeit repeatedly how they can justify it.

Looking for Leaders.
It seems to me, and the Insiders can correct me if I’m wrong, but those who stay in TEC and the AC stay because of its founding tenants, the things in which it believed originally, with a view that they can steer the Church back to these tenants. These are admirably aims and, although I have almost given up on the CofE, I can see where their motivation lies. It may also have something to do with the fact that they are Anglicans, not Anglo-catholics, not Anglo-evangelicals, not Af-libs or af-cafs, this is their church and they do not feel they belong anywhere else.

[247] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 04:43 PM · [top]

1. It’s one thing not to have to lie.  A good thing.

2. It’s another to have to continually correct lies told to one’s children, and eventually to explain why the lies need to be heard in the first place.

(1) is something that the single can rest in without bothering with (2).

[248] Posted by Ed the Roman on 10-21-2009 at 04:49 PM · [top]

JPII’s obsession with communism despite growing up in Nazi Poland without rebelling concerned me. I understand he was once asked what he did during the occupation and replied nothing.

now hang on a minute, why smear a dead Pope like that? from what you are implying, or at least what I infer you are implying, you believe that John Paul II didn’t rebel against the Nazis because he liked it?

[249] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 04:50 PM · [top]

An example would be the question of Mary’s perpetual virginity.  And to arrive at this teaching the Church draws on both Scripture, what has been universally taught by the fathers and sacred Tradition.

I suggest protestants would view this as a very good reason *not* to have a magisterium, because it is a fairly obvious example of getting around the true traditions of the church. Objectively, the position is simple - Scripture contains nothing about the perpetual virginity of Mary, and nothing that indicates it is necessary for Christians to believe such a doctrine. Ergo, christians are not required to believe it. That was the position of the christian church from earliest times, and protestants strongly support the traditions of the church.

In fact, there are strong indications in Scripture that Mary did *not* remain a virgin after Jesus’ birth. However, some (by no means all) church fathers later argued that (by their human theology) Mary must have remained a virgin, and centuries later some church councils decided that this should become an article of faith.

Protestants reject such reasoning, precisely because they believe in Scripture and in the traditions of the church!

[250] Posted by MichaelA on 10-21-2009 at 04:56 PM · [top]

I ain’t becoming a Roman Catholic, but I must again say this was a masterful move by the Vatican, and I am very glad for those that are called to move.

[251] Posted by Going Home on 10-21-2009 at 04:56 PM · [top]

why smear a dead Pope like that? from what you are implying, or at least what I infer you are implying, you believe that John Paul II didn’t rebel against the Nazis because he liked it?

Not my implication but your inference. Of course, the Pope is rushing the other way that is a speedy canonization of a dead pope. Let me ask you a question. Why did JPII apparently prefer the right wing paramilitaries in El Salvador over the peasants and the liberation theology lot? Why did he not try to understand the problem?

[252] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-21-2009 at 05:02 PM · [top]

#252
I would suggest that he disagreed with the Marxist influences on Liberation Theology, and with the way in which Liberation Theology asks the “what would Jesus do?” question. He was afraid of the Marxism of State-ownership over Private Property that could follow Liberation Theology, and rejected the idea of class conflict. And, above all he believed that Priests should be Priests, not social workers or leaders of Resistence, concerning themselves with this world too much.

[253] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 05:12 PM · [top]

RE: “Why would be different for Christians of other flavors - e.g., for those who are more Presby or others still who are more RC-flavored?”

Well very little at all.  If someone can sign on to the Westminster Confession they need to be a Presbyterian.  The only faint difference between a 1)Presby joining up with an Anglican church and an Anglican joining up with a Presby church or RC church is that the Anglican must sign on to the Westminster Confession [if joining PCA, if joining PCUSA, he’s crazy!], or state unequivocally that he affirms all things that Holy Mother Church affirms.  Both of which, in my case, would be a lie, as I affirm no such thing either with Westminster or Rome.

But if a Reformed person wishes to worship in an Anglican church—if that’s the best he can find—I don’t see that’s a bad thing.  After all, I may well find myself sitting on the back pew of an EPC church!!!

RE: “ROFLOL.  Right, because “we all know” that training your child in the way they should go, is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal.”

That appears to be the case made by LfL and Catholic Mom and several other commenters above—after all doctrine doesn’t really “matter” to most Christians.  After all parents with children have “no time for theological finery” and the need for “real life” and “action” and “substance” and “nobody cares very much about academic arguments” and only “1 in 10,000 will care”.  ; > )

RE: “On the other hand, it’s a comfort to know that somewhere “out there,” someone is making good ecclesiastical decisions that don’t involve people placed in their charge.”

Well it’s interesting . . . there are folks who have made the decision to fight the good fight in TEC because they want their children to see how it’s done.  So “doctrine matters” can actually involve people placed in their charge.  As Witt says . . . doctrine leads to practice.  And just to be clear, as a Reformed Christian I of course believe that the doctrine of Rome is so very wrong in such key areas that that necessarily means that the *practice* is also quite quite wrong—and not something I would wish to inflict on “people placed in my charge” either no matter how sterling the local RC parish is.

Of course . . . it’s true that I have no one “placed in my charge” . . . so those who have people placed in their charge will always be able to claim that they made the “good practical decision” rather than caring about all of that “theological finery” which after all has little to do with “living” and “action” and “raising kids”—and that I would do the same thing of course, were I only to have people “placed in my charge.”  That is for them to comfort themselves with, I suppose, and I don’t really wish to combat it.

Were I to have children, and were I to have no local functional and healthy Anglican parish to attend, I would most likely train my children faithfully in the Anglican way, and honorably attend a non-Anglican church, while carefully pointing out where for Sunday lunch where it’s going wrong.  ; > )

RE: “Oh well - when things are really really bad, I always close my eyes and think of Heaven.”

Oh Moot . . . “lie back and think of England!”  ; > )

[254] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 05:14 PM · [top]

RE: “It’s another to have to continually correct lies told to one’s children, and eventually to explain why the lies need to be heard in the first place. . . . “

I agree—but then that would happen for Protestants in Rome though.

; > )

[255] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 05:15 PM · [top]

RE: “It’s another to have to continually correct lies told to one’s children, and eventually to explain why the lies need to be heard in the first place. . . . “

that would be true for most Protestants if they were to join the RCC, but not for those who are seriously considering taking up the offer of the Apostolic Constitution, they (we) would (most of them) see no lies in what Rome teaches.

[256] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 05:17 PM · [top]

PaulStead - Yes, just like taught in RCIA class.

[I may be wrong, but I’ve seen the pattern many, many, many times before, there is no real discourse on RC theology {how can there be, folks are new, just learning it} but much challenge to Protestant doctrines, but more in the contrarian {you don’t have to know a whole lot to be a contrarian}, just keep poking, which is the boring part - I usually run in the opposite direction now if a Ultra-Traditionalist RC apologist shows up, but at least they somewhat know the RC position]

I don’t serious debate and treasure time of discussion with actual RC theologians over beer (not the apologist folks), I learn so much! However, to be held to an account to one an account is not due and no real sense of angst (as in I struggle with X, what are your reasons for doing/not doing X), or to question a seminary professor integrity, who has been very open about his reason - that’s tiresome.

[257] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 10-21-2009 at 05:41 PM · [top]

I’m struggling to think which Doctrine of the Catholic Church Anglo-Catholics do not support, could you suggest some?

Anglo-Catholics are a diverse lot.  A number of Anglo-Catholics have already publically given their list.  However, William Witt and Sarah, both of the “Doctrine Matters” camp, are not Anglo-Catholic.  Both are also very capable of explaining themselves, and have already done so.

AndrewA, did you mean to say “Doctrine is very important to me, hence I will join a church whose doctrine I DO support?

In my particular case, I do hope to find a church whose doctrine I can fully support, where God can use me, and that has the capacity to nuture in the Christian faith any hypothetical family I might one day have.  I have not yet decided where that might be.

[258] Posted by AndrewA on 10-21-2009 at 05:45 PM · [top]

Here’s just a little humor.  Has anyone realized that here’s a thread that allows discussing the RCC and associated issues?  We got home today and had 95 e-mails.  Ouch!

Back to the debates….discussions…..

[259] Posted by Lakeland 2 on 10-21-2009 at 05:52 PM · [top]

AndrewA you said:

“This whole “Doctrine is very important too me, hence I have not left yet””

Yet no one has said anything of the sort.  They have said “Doctrine is very important to me, hence I will join a church whose doctrine I do not support.”

I assumed that the people who are joining the church who “doctrine (they) do not support” were Anglo-Catholics, which is why I asked what parts of Catholic Doctrine ACs did not accept. If I was wrong I;m happy to accept that.

Anglo-Catholics are a diverse lot.

You’ve got us there, if I were to try to write down what I believe it would be simple, if I were to try to write down what Anglo-Catholics in general believe it would include a lot of “most ACs believe…( but some reject this because…)”

[260] Posted by PaulStead on 10-21-2009 at 05:55 PM · [top]

I found this post from Fr. Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes to be fascinating. His web link is below.

21 October 2009
My views on the Apostolic Constitution
Some friends wonder why I haven’t said much. The reason is that having expected for some time something like the Ap Con, I have already posted a lot of expressions of opinion about the practical matters involved; particularly the liturgical and those relating to clerical marriage. Just last month, for example, you could look back to Sept 9&10; Sept 12&13;&14; Sept 24.

The plain fact is that the details are going to be very important and it is the details that we do not have. I suspect that the document is not actually written: we have not, you notice, been told its name (the first couple of words of the Latin text). Rowan mentioned a ‘Code of Practice’; perhaps this is something mentioned to him by Levada the previous evening.

I regard as significantly positive the willingness of Rome to allow married Anglican bishops to continue to exercise episkope in the guise of prebyteral Ordinaries. The Holy Father, as in the matter of Summorum Pontificum, has not just given the minimum.

Pessimists might wonder what the English RC bishops said to Levada on Monday, and what effect that will have on the eventual form of the legislation.

http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2009/10/my-views-on-apostolic-constitution.html

[261] Posted by TLDillon on 10-21-2009 at 06:05 PM · [top]

I assumed that the people who are joining the church who “doctrine (they) do not support” were Anglo-Catholics, which is why I asked what parts of Catholic Doctrine ACs did not accept.

Well yeah, the conversation got a bit confusing because you had a Roman Catholic suggest that most people don’t understand and don’t care about some of the finer theolgical distinctions between the RC and Reformed Anglicanism, then you had Reformed Anglicans responding that they do care about doctrinal distinctions, than Looking for Leaders started asking why people that care about doctrinal distinctions would stay in TEC (apparently unaware that Witt isn’t in TEC)...  etc.

You’ve got us there, if I were to try to write down what I believe it would be simple, if I were to try to write down what Anglo-Catholics in general believe it would include a lot of “most ACs believe…( but some reject this because…)”

Exactly.  Some Anglo-Catholics draw the line as Roman Marian dogmas, some celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of the Assumption.  Some Anglo-Catholics believe in purgatory.  Some don’t.  Some support Filoque, some agree with the Eastern Orthodox. 

However, the one, single difference that I can point to between Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics is ecclessiology.  Anglo-Catholics believe the Anglican Communion is a catholic church.  Roman Catholics do not.

[262] Posted by AndrewA on 10-21-2009 at 06:11 PM · [top]

RE:  “If someone can sign on to the Westminster Confession they need to be a Presbyterian.”

Well, no.  Conservative Presbyterian ruling and teaching elders make provisions among themselves, (“scruples”) when they differ with the WCF on issues that do not wreak havoc on the WCF. 

RE:  “The only faint difference between a 1)Presby joining up with an Anglican church and an Anglican joining up with a Presby church or RC church is that the Anglican must sign on to the Westminster Confession [if joining PCA, if joining PCUSA, he’s crazy!], or state unequivocally that he affirms all things that Holy Mother Church affirms.”

RC, theoretically yes.  Presby, no;  unless you happen to reside within or belong to a presbytery full of nutjobs. 

RE:  “That appears to be the case made by LfL and Catholic Mom and several other commenters above—after all doctrine doesn’t really “matter” to most Christians.”

Okay. I quoted Proverbs 22:6, without the citation, and it’s taken as “doctrine doesn’t really matter.” 

Kind of speaks for itself.  So, I’ll let it.

[263] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-21-2009 at 07:05 PM · [top]

246:

Anyway what about the time there were three popes?

Irrelevant.

I look forward to the time (if the Lord tarries and I am still on this earth) when I can hear someone say,

Anyway what about the time when you had Schori?

Then I, or someonee like me, will have the same reply:
Irrelevant.

[264] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 10-21-2009 at 07:09 PM · [top]

What I find interesting about many of these comments is a commitment to exclusiveness. If doctrines divide us as RC doctrines have tended to historically, and there are many in this column advocating division, maybe we don’t need doctrines, maybe values work better such as compassion, humility, courage and perseverance and of course study of scripture. Where did Jesus advocate any doctrine? Vatican II was a step in a more hopeful direction where there was space for both liberation theology AND opus dei, rich and poor, democrat and republican. It is not easy to fill churches based on inclusiveness, although Saddleback Community Church (not me I’m TEC) does a pretty good job!

[265] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-21-2009 at 07:45 PM · [top]

It is not easy to fill churches based on inclusiveness, although Saddleback Community Church (not me I’m TEC) does a pretty good job!

You are exactly right.  It isn’t easy to fill a church based on what TEC calls inclusiveness, and a side by side comparison of TEC with the Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics demonstrates that point.

[266] Posted by AndrewA on 10-21-2009 at 07:52 PM · [top]

265:

Where did Jesus advocate any doctrine?

How about this:

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.

(Matthew 5:18 NLT)

[267] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 10-21-2009 at 08:07 PM · [top]

RE: “Okay. I quoted Proverbs 22:6, without the citation, and it’s taken as “doctrine doesn’t really matter.”

When?  Where?  Who?  Not I.  I merely stated: “That appears to be the case made by LfL and Catholic Mom and several other commenters above . . . ” when you stated in jest that the Proverbs passage “is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal.”  I wasn’t implying *you* made the case at all.  But others have asserted so quite clearly above and I’ve quoted their words.

RE: “Well, no.”

Well, yes.  Westminster = PCA [ie, Presby].  But if a Westminster affirming guy wishes to be a part of and a leader in an Anglican church go for it—he can.  Anglicans certainly won’t stop him.  But the PCA will stop someone from becoming a *member* much less a leader if they can’t sign on to Westminster—and rightly so.

RE: “that do not wreak havoc on the WCF . . . “

Heh.  Yes—that’s the line that one can drive a truck through.

But I can tell you don’t like *some* principle I’m asserting, Moot—I just don’t know what it is.  Could you say what principle it is that I’m asserting that you disagree with?

At least we can know mutually [since you seem to and I don’t] where we disagree in larger principle.

[268] Posted by Sarah on 10-21-2009 at 08:16 PM · [top]

I wonder if the Westminster Confession really provides a good example for this debate? Most bible-believing protestants (I use the adjective to emphasise that I no longer count Ms Schori or her ilk as protestants) would see little doctrinal difference between the Westminster Confession and the 39 Articles. Whereas they would see a very large difference between either instrument (on the one hand) and Roman Catholic dogma.

[269] Posted by MichaelA on 10-21-2009 at 08:25 PM · [top]

I’m a cradle Episcopalian raised Anglo-Catholic.  I went to a Southern Baptist church once with a girl and afterwards she asked me what I thought.  The best explanation I gave was it was eating at someone else’s house.  The food was good, it was some of the same dishes that I eat a home, but it just wasn’t the same.  I feel like most churches are like that.  I would get a good meal, it would nourish me and keep me healthy, but it wouldn’t be the same as what I eat at home.  Some churches might have a meal that is better for me, some that are worse, and the meal I cook at home is not perfect either.

To me the difference between most Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc. churches is a matter of taste.  I don’t think God will fault us if we chose one of these that works for us.  There might be different churches with doctrine because people need different things.  I know at a certain point the differences are too much and the meal that the Episcopal churches infected by the new thing TEC spreading (not all of them) is just poison.  Perhaps I’m missing the point, but I think there are enough truly poisonous churches out there that arguing over the good ones that are providing relatively wholesome meals seems pointless and arrogant.

[270] Posted by JustOneVoice on 10-21-2009 at 08:41 PM · [top]

#258: “In my particular case, I do hope to find a church whose doctrine I can fully support, where God can use me, and that has the capacity to nuture in the Christian faith any hypothetical family I might one day have.  I have not yet decided where that might be.”

I am reminded of Groucho Marx’s saying:  “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”

Andrew, if you ever find a church whose doctrine you can support fully and wholeheartedly, run away!  As Chesterton pithily remarked, “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”

[271] Posted by FrKimel on 10-21-2009 at 08:53 PM · [top]

JustOneVoice-
I had a similar experience.  I recall thinking, at the end of the Baptist service, that some of the songs were fun to sing, but I was left wondering what these poor people had done so wrong that they were being punished by having the best parts of the Mass removed, and having to sit through a 45 minute sermon every week.

[272] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-21-2009 at 09:15 PM · [top]

Andrew-
I think I am with Fr. Kimel on this one.  I figure I know about 5% of what I need to know to make a rational determination on whose doctrine is correct, especially on finer points.  I seem to recall a time or two on SF where Matt Kennedy corrected me on finer points of Anglo Catholic doctrine- which is what I was born and raised on- and he, definitely, was not. 
At some point, we need to submit to the discipline of the Church, and learn what the Church believes, instead of expecting the Church to submit to our discipline, and reflect what we believe.

[273] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-21-2009 at 09:20 PM · [top]

Sarah,

Certainly you don’t believe all you’d hear in Rome.  You’re single, and you have learned the natural law and have put faith in the One whom God has sent, and I don’t think any of us fears that All Saints Pasadena would endanger your soul except possibly via Wrath.  I wonder what your perceived ratio of lies to truth would be there, and at St. John Lateran?

People with little people are not in your boat.  I can endure any number of things that would have physically killed my children.  I could stay out in weather they couldn’t: I could stay and fight a fire they must flee to survive.  Which means that I can’t stay and do those things when they are with me.

The same is true morally as well.

[274] Posted by Ed the Roman on 10-21-2009 at 09:23 PM · [top]

tjmcmahon
I enjoy the 45 minute sermon, and am sometimes bothered by the lyrics of the music (when the words don’t match the theology of the folks singing).

I enjoy the service with the Anglicans as well and wish the sermon longer at times, but the baptist have never put a woman up front to do the bread and wine!.

Both have the core right, neither have the fullness.

[275] Posted by Bo on 10-21-2009 at 09:28 PM · [top]

Ed,
I’d have to flee Rome.
They’ll not be teaching my children that submission to a man is required for salvation, nor that belief in the immaculate conception has anything to do with the status of their souls.

Those things are ‘required’ of Romans, and well enough, it is their discipline, but it isn’t required of Christians.  There is a warning about those who add to the burdens..

[276] Posted by Bo on 10-21-2009 at 09:33 PM · [top]

if you ever find a church whose doctrine you can support fully and wholeheartedly, run away!  As Chesterton pithily remarked, “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”

Fr. Kimel, thank you for posting to these threads. I suppose part of the point of having a magisterium instead of every person deciding for themselves is that in a group, one might be right where another is wrong, and vice versa.

[277] Posted by oscewicee on 10-21-2009 at 09:34 PM · [top]

Fr Kimmel,

John Steinbeck made a similar observation in “East of Eden”, that he could instantly tell the character and disposition of a man by looking at his Bible, since the most well-thumbed passages are those that the owner likes. i.e. we tend to only listen to that which we want to hear. It is a general human condition, I fear.

Mind you, the same point could be made about “the magisterium” - in theory firm, but in practice very rubbery indeed.

[278] Posted by MichaelA on 10-21-2009 at 09:54 PM · [top]

With all the above talk of the pros and cons of a magisterium let’s not forget that all traditional Anglicans or conservative Protestants actually adhere to the Church’s magisterium to a significant extent. Traditional Anglican, Lutherans, and many other Protestants affirm the articles of the Athanasian Creed, the doctrine of the consubstantiality of Father and Son, the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the procession of the Spirit from Father and Son, and the identity of the New Testament Canon.  It is simply not realistic to claim that millions of such believers just happened to arrive at the truth in these matters with no resort whatsoever to the Church’s magisterium.

[279] Posted by slcath on 10-21-2009 at 10:15 PM · [top]

[279] Posted by Silver Lake Catholic,
The Undivided Church, yes.

But neither Rome, nor the East, alone.

Nothing repudiated by either and nothing ‘new and revised’ (or as Rome would have it ‘clarified into existence’) after the last all bishop’s conference is, or of right ought to be, taught as ‘required of the faithful’.

[280] Posted by Bo on 10-21-2009 at 10:41 PM · [top]

Silver Lake,

Protestants would see it as the other way around - we don’t consider that we left the Roman Catholic Church - but that the RCC left us! We see ourselves as the true heirs of the medieval christian church in Europe, in all its diversity.

On that basis, it is to be expected that RCC will have common doctrines with us - if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a Christian church. In fact, protestants recognise most RCC doctrine as Christian, i.e. as holding to the original traditions of the church of Jesus Christ and his Apostles. Its just a relatively small number of doctrines that we have problems with.

[281] Posted by MichaelA on 10-21-2009 at 10:51 PM · [top]

RE: “Okay. I quoted Proverbs 22:6, without the citation, and it’s taken as “doctrine doesn’t really matter.”

When?  Where?  Who?  Not I.  I merely stated: “That appears to be the case made by LfL and Catholic Mom and several other commenters above . . . ” when you stated in jest that the Proverbs passage “is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal.”  I wasn’t implying *you* made the case at all.  But others have asserted so quite clearly above and I’ve quoted their words.

And that’s a basis for a good conversation.  Quote things that others have said, and ascribe them to me. 

RE: “Well, no.”

Well, yes.  Westminster = PCA [ie, Presby].  But if a Westminster affirming guy wishes to be a part of and a leader in an Anglican church go for it—he can.  Anglicans certainly won’t stop him.  But the PCA will stop someone from becoming a *member* much less a leader if they can’t sign on to Westminster—and rightly so.

Some PCA presbyteries, yes.  The PCA in general, no.  Think of those “trick” questions on driving exams.  The “always, sometimes, never” ones. 

Okay if I make an analogy to Anglicanism?  A TEC diocese in say, SC will be different than one in say, New Jersey.  And a PCA presbytery in say, New York will be different than one in say, SC. 

Weird, ain’t it?

RE: “that do not wreak havoc on the WCF . . . “

Heh.  Yes—that’s the line that one can drive a truck through.

Heh.  Have you ever sat through a presbytery meeting where they’re interviewing a seminary grad for pastoral licensure?  If you have, did you see anything really big slip through the line?

So, first, the claim is that they won’t let in folks for membership that won’t adhere jot and tittle to the WCF; and then, the claim is that they can drive a truck through the “WE (the ‘we’ being a group of duly elected and ordained elders) are okay with this guy’s (the ‘this guy’ referring to someone up for eldership) scruples against the WCF as we’ve asked lots of questions to him and others and are satisfied that he’s still nailed down by the WCF and our say-so,”  thing. 

So, which is it?

But I can tell you don’t like *some* principle I’m asserting, Moot—I just don’t know what it is.  Could you say what principle it is that I’m asserting that you disagree with?

At least we can know mutually [since you seem to and I don’t] where we disagree in larger principle.

Oh. 

I find the assertion that Anglicans who have waited until now to swim the Tiber have not done so until now out of a lack of integrity or not caring enough about doctrine, somehow.  I affirm that it is possible that this is the case;  I just reject that it has to be the case. 

I also reject the notion that practical compromises that people make to their own set of doctrinal beliefs, done so that they might “not forsake the gathering,” are done out of a lack of integrity. 

For example, TEC isn’t a compromise for you, but it is for me.  ACNA isn’t a compromise for Witt, but it would be for you;  and the ACNA option available to me would be a bigger compromise (for me) than the TEC option that is available at the moment. 

But perhaps, this whole Christian-misfits wandering the face of denominationalism, is a situation that cries out for its own theology, anyhow.  Maybe the good folks at Nashotah or Trinity or Gordy-Con or Greenville (that last one is a joke) can help us out.  I can think of one guy who would be up for the task;  but we won’t hear from him for a few months, and when he does resurface, it won’t be on blogs.  He hates blogs.

[282] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-22-2009 at 05:38 AM · [top]

Andrew, if you ever find a church whose doctrine you can support fully and wholeheartedly, run away! As Chesterton pithily remarked, “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.”

Actually, you are completly correct, and I thank you for saying this.  Left entirely to the devices of my own heart, I’d end up inventing the “First Pagan Cult of Me” and it would look more Greco-Roman than anything Christian.

Let me rephrase it then.  I want to be a member of a church where I can tell my non-Christian friends or my hypothetical children what my church teaches, and affirm that my church’s teachings are what I believe.

[283] Posted by AndrewA on 10-22-2009 at 06:49 AM · [top]

At some point, we need to submit to the discipline of the Church, and learn what the Church believes, instead of expecting the Church to submit to our discipline, and reflect what we believe.

But deciding where the Church is and what the Church teaches, that is the tricky part when you are navigating through Anglicanism, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Baptist Evangelicalism, etc. 

but I was left wondering what these poor people had done so wrong that they were being punished by having the best parts of the Mass removed, and having to sit through a 45 minute sermon every week.

Whereas I love the sacramental focus and ceremonial of the Anglo-Catholic, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox parishes, while still coming away from the average 7-15 minute “homily” that one finds in many such churches thinking “Okay, that was a nice snack, but where was the meat?”  They feel to me more like pep talks than solid, filling expositions of God’s Word.  I’m also disappointed when I check out a parish and find no adult education program.  Doctrine is important, but what is the point of correct doctrine if you never equip your laity to understand, defend and spread the doctrine?

[284] Posted by AndrewA on 10-22-2009 at 07:06 AM · [top]

Bo-
I was just relating a reaction I had when I was 8 or 9.  Although I will say that I still regard a main Sunday service that does not have a “catholic” eucharist as missing something, even when I am the one leading Morning Prayer for lack of a priest.

[285] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-22-2009 at 07:12 AM · [top]

[279] Posted by Silver Lake Catholic

Traditional Anglican, Lutherans, and many other Protestants affirm the articles of the Athanasian Creed

I often wonder why some Christians “affirm” this creed, which was never “affirmed” by a council of the Church Undivided.

It is of course, historically important to illustrate some of the background for the Nicene creed, which was ultimately adopted instead of the gratuitously damning version proposed by St. Athanasius.

[286] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 10-22-2009 at 07:39 AM · [top]

Silver Lake Catholic-
The problem for Anglicans is that you can deny each and every thing you listed, and still become a bishop of the church.  As things currently exist, probably a majority of TEC clergy deny the Real Presence (or so redefine the term as to be meaningless).  Read through Eucharistic Prayer C or D and tell me those would be acceptable under the Roman understanding (much less the old Anglo Catholic understanding) of the Eucharist.
281- Michael-
All the Protestants I know would admit that they have made changes, as well as the Romans.  The great pity of the Reformation is that rather than strip away everything after the 7th council and uniting, the Protestants got into huge controversies about the 5, 6, and 7 Council, and a whole variety of then-current social and political issues.  Any Protestant who thinks his austere Sunday worship is that of the ancient Fathers needs to read Dom Gregory Dix “Shape of the Liturgy.”  (I will grant that some Anglicans and Lutherans have done this- it is a great part of what Anglo Catholics are all about.  But once you restore the liturgy to that degree, the “Protestants” will hardly talk to you any more.)

[287] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-22-2009 at 07:39 AM · [top]

RE: “Quote things that others have said, and ascribe them to me.”

I have done no such thing.  My response to what I thought was your Proverbs jest was this: “That appears to be the case made by LfL and Catholic Mom and several other commenters above—after all doctrine doesn’t really “matter” to most Christians.  After all parents with children have “no time for theological finery” and the need for “real life” and “action” and “substance” and “nobody cares very much about academic arguments” and only “1 in 10,000 will care”.

And anybody at all can go up thread and read that exact response.  And they can also go up thread and read—literally—the quoted words from other people’s comments.

But now I’m confused.  Do you actually *believe* this and it wasn’t a jest? ***“Right, because “we all know” that training your child in the way they should go, is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal.”***

If so, just tell me and that’s fine.  Are you mad because I took it as a jest, when in reality it was serious?

RE: “The PCA in general, no.”

Well—the PCA in my area of SC and in my area in MS, yes.  But thanks for clarifying what you meant.  In some parts of the PCA but not in others. 

RE: “So, first, the claim is that they won’t let in folks for membership that won’t adhere jot and tittle to the WCF . . . “

Nope—my claim was that if you’re going to join the PCA you need to be able to affirm the Westminster Confession and the PCA makes that a criteria of membership.  [Obviously some presbyteries must not, but the ones I’m familiar with in two different states here in the South do.] 

Your claim is: “Conservative Presbyterian ruling and teaching elders make provisions among themselves, (“scruples”) when they differ with the WCF on issues that do not wreak havoc on the WCF.”

And I pointed out that allowing people to state scruples that “do not wreak havoc on the WCF” is a line that one may drive a truck through precisely because pretty much *all* of my “scruples” would “wreak havoc on the WCF.”  I am not, as I’ve pointed out before, at all in agreement with the WCF.  “Scrupling” the WCF in huge chunks would, I suspect, not be allowed, although you’re certainly free to correct me on that.  So saying that someone can join the PCA by the simple expedient of asserting “scruples”  as long as they do not “wreak havoc on the WCF” pretty much ruins it for anybody who *disagrees with the principles stated in the WCF*.

One of my close friends, in fact, considered the PCA many many years ago as he was making some church decisions.  And he pointed out to me that he would need to affirm the Westminster which he does not believe—but that to be a confirmed member of the Episcopal Church he would not have to affirm anything which he did not believe.  He chose the Episcopal Church.  [And yes, I have many friends in the PCA who didn’t have a problem with affirming Westminster—but this friend did have a problem and so do I.]

So that gets me back to my original thesis, which it appears you don’t like or approve of. 

I, Sarah Hey, could not possibly be a member of a PCA congregation [at least where I am] because I, Sarah Hey, do not agree with some of the major theses of the WCF.  I, Sarah Hey, could not possibly be a member of the Roman Catholic church because I literally could not say—as is required—that I affirm what the Roman Catholic church teaches.

It would be a massive lie on both counts.

Why is it that when I point out something about which there have been many many complaints regarding TEC—namely that “they don’t make anyone believe anything”—and then apply it to the opposite issue, which is that there are numerous people like me who can’t join more stringent denominations because it would be a lie, but that thankfully TEC does not ask of me to believe certain things that I don’t believe, that that now is somehow a bad thing.  I think we all need to face the fact that TEC—and Anglicanism in general—is a general “broad” church in that it isn’t all that particular about what people believe.  This can be a curse.  And for people like me who are NOT Calvinists and NOT Roman Catholic—it can be a blessing.

RE: “I find the assertion that Anglicans who have waited until now to swim the Tiber have not done so until now out of a lack of integrity or not caring enough about doctrine, somehow. “

Thanks for sharing with me what you are principally disagreeing with in my asserted principles.

Could you point out to me above where I stated what you are staying was my assertion and which was not?

RE: “I also reject the notion that practical compromises that people make to their own set of doctrinal beliefs, done so that they might “not forsake the gathering,” are done out of a lack of integrity.”

Could you point out to me above where I stated that?  In fact I’ve stated the opposite—I myself will most likely attend a church at some point which is not Anglican.  This has now been said—by me—in this one thread—several times.

RE: “For example, TEC isn’t a compromise for you, but it is for me.  ACNA isn’t a compromise for Witt, but it would be for you;  and the ACNA option available to me would be a bigger compromise (for me) than the TEC option that is available at the moment.”

Understood.  But TEC hasn’t made you stand up and assert that which you do not believe.  I don’t even think ACNA makes you stand up and assert that which you do not believe.  That’s one of the things I find very attractive about Anglicanism—it has struck a very broad path between Rome and Geneva, and folks like me who can’t go to Rome and can’t go to Geneva have found a home there. 

RE: “But perhaps, this whole Christian-misfits wandering the face of denominationalism, is a situation that cries out for its own theology, anyhow.”

Oh, I think it’s pretty common for folks nowadays to have no particular denomination to call home.  A dear friend of mine and I were talking just last night by phone and he pointed out that he runs into many many people who would love [insert list here] but it’s simply not available to them.  Often, he pointed out, they are now basically “unchurched,” even if they are attending a church as a matter of form or duty.

And it looks like—with the increasing meltdown of Anglicanism within the US—that there will be a growing number of people like me who cannot go to Rome, cannot go to Geneva, and yet find no Christian and functional church that is Anglican either.

Moot, I’m happy for you that you can affirm Westminster.  That leaves you with some options.  I’m happy with AngloCatholics that some of them can stand up and agree with what Rome teaches about itself.  That leaves them with some options.

But it’s not where I am—and it’s not where a whole bunch of others are either.  Can people compromise?  Sure!  But to those to whom doctrine matters they can’t just stand up before God and everyone and say to a church *that requires more adherence to a system of belief than TEC required* something that is not true.  And in my case, that’d be what I’d be doing.

[288] Posted by Sarah on 10-22-2009 at 08:43 AM · [top]

Clarity about doctrine is an uncomfortable grace. But we must be clear about what we believe and what we do not. That some people go to a particular church for reasons other than correct doctrine, doesn’t relieve them or us of the necessity of being ‘honest to God’, in the words of an apostate bishop.

We must be clear. We must be clear with ourselves, clear with God and clear with others. We also have to be loving and gracious. And we have to listen to God and be willing to change ourselves when so instructed.

[289] Posted by Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) on 10-22-2009 at 08:52 AM · [top]

It is a myth that “myriads of Protestant sects claim the right to alone interpret Scripture properly”. . . . Almost by definition, a group that claims that “it alone can interpret Scripture properly” ceases to be protestant and becomes a mere cult.

But there are such Protestant sects.  Often the sect practices an exclusive right to interpret Scripture that is at odds with its explicit teaching.

I would name three—the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, or the Southern Baptist convention, in which I was raised.  An LCMS Lutheran who challenges or interprets “incorrectly” any statement in the Book of Concord will immediately discover this to be the case.  (A recent LCMS translation of the Book of Concord was recalled by the leadership because the editor made unfortunate “misinterpretations” not merely of Scripture, but of the Book of Concord itself in some of his explanatory notes.) Similarly, an OPA Presbyterian who suggested that Calvin or the Westminster Confession were “just wrong” about predestination would be made to feel very uncomfortable.  Among Southern Baptists, there are numerous such shibboleths.

My point, however, was simple.  There is a difference between the canonical text and the community that interprets the text.  Any community (not just the Roman magisterium) that claims to have the exclusive ability to interpret the canonical text correctly, and refuses to allow that its interpretation can be corrected by the text itself has placed its own authority over the text of Scripture, rather than submitting to it.

[290] Posted by William Witt on 10-22-2009 at 09:17 AM · [top]

I should clarify what I mean by “at odds with its explicit teaching.”  The LCMS, the OPC, and the Southern Baptists all claim that Scripture alone is the final authority of what they believe.  The Southern Baptists go beyond this by claiming that they are a “non-creedal” church.  But in each case, there are stated (or unstated, in the case of the Baptists) limits as to how one must interpret Scripture in order to get it right.  The limits might involve a Law/Gospel hermeneutic; they might involve a certain understanding of the divine decrees, or they might involve a necessary commitment to teetotalism.  But they cannot be challenged, and it is questionable as to whether they can be justified by an appeal to a straightforward reading of Scripture.

[291] Posted by William Witt on 10-22-2009 at 09:47 AM · [top]

I’ve been out of touch with a sick kid for the last three days.  But I see I’ve been continually quoted as one whose comment indicated that “doctrine doesn’t matter” and therefore everybody should just find a church they’re comfortable in (or which they’re comfortable raising their kids in.)

Please note that I never said any such thing!  For example, there is one key doctrine of the Catholic Church that I believe in which would make it impossible for me to be an Anglican.  And that is the doctrine of apostolic succession by which I believe that the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church (and the Orthodox Churches) are the legitimate successors of the apostles.  And I believe that the Anglican bishops cut themselves off from the sucession (and this has nothing to do with some obscure legalisms as to the validity of some guy’s consecration three hundred years ago) and are thus in the position of wandering in the wildnerness which is exactly why such a large portion of their flock is sitting out lost in the desert right now. 

So I could not become an Anglican, not because the Anglicans would force me to stand up and announce that I believed something that I don’t [the fact that the Anglicans don’t seem to require you to state that you believe in much of anything is seen as a bug by some, a feature by others] but because I believe that they are, as the Pope said, legitimate “ecclesial communities” but not, in fact, a part of the Church Catholic.

Now what I actually SAID was in response to a very technical description of the saving power of grace which I said (and believe) that not 1 in 1,000 people understand. (Not that 1 in 1,000 doesn’t understand what the saving power of grace is but that only 1 in 1,000 understand the extreme technical and detailed distinctions and discussions on the subject.)  And that the extreme technical details of the workings of grace is something which certain Protestants seem obsessed with defining at the micro-sub-atomic level, whereas Roman Catholics, and Anglo Catholics, and a lot of other Christians don’t believe that our salvation depends on having the exact correct position on infinitely minute details of our salvation. So that an Anglo Catholic would NOT be kept out of the Roman Catholic Church because of some technical disparity between what he allegedly believed about exactly how salavation works because 1) it probably isn’t something he’s read thousands of pages about and 2) it isn’t that important to him. [Not that salvation isn’t important to him—but agonizing about exactly how it works isn’t important to him.]

[292] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 09:49 AM · [top]

From an Episc. to a Catholic; Catholic Mom, U Da Bomb.

I am a poor writer, and many times cannot express myself as well as you, and others.

Your point hits at the crux of what I was trying to say.

[293] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-22-2009 at 10:02 AM · [top]

The limits might involve a Law/Gospel hermeneutic; they might involve a certain understanding of the divine decrees, or they might involve a necessary commitment to teetotalism. But they cannot be challenged, and it is questionable as to whether they can be justified by an appeal to a straightforward reading of Scripture.

Forgive me, but I seem to have lost the point.  Every denomination sets doctrinal limits using some sort of confession, creed, articles of faith, declaration, or prayerbook, which they claim is derived from a reading of Scripture.  How is the Southern Baptist Faith and Message any different in function from the 39 Articles?

Surely you are not arguing that Protestant denominations should not set doctrinal limits, or that statements of doctrine (like, say the Jerusalem Declaration, or the Nicene Creed) are not needed.

[294] Posted by AndrewA on 10-22-2009 at 10:03 AM · [top]

Now what I actually SAID was in response to a very technical description of the saving power of grace which I said (and believe) that not 1 in 1,000 people understand. . . .  And that the extreme technical details of the workings of grace is something which certain Protestants seem obsessed with defining at the micro-sub-atomic level, whereas Roman Catholics, and Anglo Catholics, and a lot of other Christians don’t believe that our salvation depends on having the exact correct position on infinitely minute details of our salvation.

While one can get in very technical discussions of the fine points of justification by faith, the basic difference is not at all something that only 1 in 1,000 people can understand.  The difference can be summarized in the following formula.  “Our standing before God (justification) depends on Christ’s work alone received through faith alone apart from any good works at all on our part.”  (Reformation)  Or “Our standing before God (justification) depends on Christ’s work in us as exhibited by our faith and meritorious works.”  (Trent) That is, we are not justified by faith alone, but by faith plus good works.

Reformation Christians, including historic Anglicans, affirm justification by faith alone as essential to the gospel.  Trent says that justification by faith alone is a heresy.

No thoughtful Reformation Christian believes that one is saved by the doctrine of justification by faith alone, let alone by detailed understandings of the intricacies of the doctrine.  We are saved by Christ.  Even though I believe that Trent was wrong about justification by faith, I have no doubt that Roman Catholic Christians who place their faith in Christ are justified.

[295] Posted by William Witt on 10-22-2009 at 10:13 AM · [top]

tjmcmahon,
One of the reasons I go to the Anglicans on Wednesdays - Communion!

Dr. William Witt,
I’ve been in a SBC church nearly all my life.  I’ve not seen this ‘can’t be challenged’ from the leadership.  And even among the laity it is not thought of with regard to ‘Christian’.  The narrow ‘literalism’ or ‘tea-totolarism’ only limits ‘who can be a Baptist’ (by a local church covenant - its not part of the Faith and Message).  Not one of the Baptists I’ve ever sat under would claim that there aren’t members of the Church invisible in other denominations, In fact converts to Christ during VBS are often baptised, confirmed, or received into their own ‘home church’ not the local baptist one.

If Rome were so kind….

[296] Posted by Bo on 10-22-2009 at 10:13 AM · [top]

No thoughtful Reformation Christian believes that one is saved by the doctrine of justification by faith alone, let alone by detailed understandings of the intricacies of the doctrine.  We are saved by Christ. 

I know.  The part about being saved by what you believe about salvation was an attempt at humor.

The difference can be summarized in the following formula.  “Our standing before God (justification) depends on Christ’s work alone received through faith alone apart from any good works at all on our part.”  (Reformation)  Or “Our standing before God (justification) depends on Christ’s work in us as exhibited by our faith and meritorious works.”  (Trent) That is, we are not justified by faith alone, but by faith plus good works.

Not being utterly ignorant, I actually know that too.  But in the modern world it is a distinction without a difference.  Protestants believe that “not everyone who calls me “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of my father” and Catholics don’t think they can buy their way into heaven by indulgences and paying for 1,000 masses after their death (a la Henry VIII). 

In fact, in practice, both modern Catholics and modern Protestants (at least most of them) consider that they are bound to 1) believe and 2) show the fruits of that belief.  No Catholic is saying to himself “just 100 more good works and I’m in heaven for sure!” and no Protestant is saying “thank goodness I’m saved because now I can stay home this weekend and watch football on TV instead of going out and helping at that food kitchen.” 

For the Calvinists, yes (and may God have mercy on their tortured souls smile ) this probably IS a distinction that would keep them out of the Catholic Church.  But for the average Christian, no.  And especially considering that the population we are speaking of in this situation is already Anglo Catholic to begin with, so we know they’re not TULIP Calvinists.

[297] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 10:34 AM · [top]

The narrow ‘literalism’ or ‘tea-totolarism’ only limits ‘who can be a Baptist’ (by a local church covenant - its not part of the Faith and Message).

Come to think of it, when I first joined a Baptist church in elementary school, the only thing I was required to confess or affirm to be a full voting member was that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior.  No one made me sign my name to the Baptist Faith and Message or pledge to never drink alcohol.

[298] Posted by AndrewA on 10-22-2009 at 10:39 AM · [top]

Catholic Mom I hope you are not trying to attribute

“Protestants believe that “not everyone who calls me “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the will of my father” and Catholics don’t think they can buy their way into heaven by indulgences and paying for 1,000 masses after their death (a la Henry VIII).”

to Henry the VIII? Because it was not him who perpetrated that upon the people. It was the Roman Church by edict of Pope Leo X and was implemented by his clergy to raise money. But of course, I am sure you knew this.

Around 1517, there was a terrible Roman Church teaching of indulgences which was being pushed with fervor. Indulgences provided a way of buying up time one might have to spend in pur-gatory by the paying of money to the Roman Church. Pope Leo X (1513-1521) needed great sums of money to continue the building of St. Peter’s Church in Rome, and to gratify his own extravagant tastes. Indulgences were conceived in the minds of worldly clergymen as a good way to raise money. A famous seller of indulgences, a Dominican monk named Tetzel, shamefully offered the people these Indulgences or cards of forgiveness.

[299] Posted by TLDillon on 10-22-2009 at 10:43 AM · [top]

Catholic Mom:
Sing it, Sister!

[300] Posted by DaveW on 10-22-2009 at 10:51 AM · [top]

Henry VIII destroyed all the chantry chapels in order to line his pockets and those of his friends, yet he himself at the time of his death paid for a 1,000 chantry masses to be said.  This was a classic example of his two-faced tyranny. 

Indulgences long pre-existed Tetzel and Leo X.  They functioned, theologically, to mitigate the rigor of the old system of public penance of the Church of Rome, a system that incidentally, Cranmer said he wanted to re-establish.  Auricular confession is itself a mitigation of the harshness of the ancient Roman penitential system.  Indulgences still exist today, though they are thankfully neither “bought” nor “sold.” 

It is difficult to imagine any church in the United States that could sucessfully restore the old system, nor would it be, in my view, a desirable thing.

[301] Posted by Violent Papist on 10-22-2009 at 10:56 AM · [top]

Catholic Mom,
I left TEC for the OPC.  My faith is of the Westminster variety and it is far more than TULIP (despite my screen name).  Hence, there are quite a few things that keep me from Rome.  The most glaring would be Sola Scriptura. 

And for the record, while I appreciate your concern and prayers, my soul is not “tortured.”  I find great relief in Christ’s saving work.  It is, to quote my continental brothers “my only comfort in life and death.”

[302] Posted by Tulip on 10-22-2009 at 11:01 AM · [top]

RE: “But I see I’ve been continually quoted as one whose comment indicated that “doctrine doesn’t matter” and therefore everybody should just find a church they’re comfortable in (or which they’re comfortable raising their kids in.)”

To be precise the comments you made were: “But only 1 in 1,000 will have the slightest idea what this means and only 1 in 10,000 will care.” 

And my response to that was this:

“But honestly, I think Catholic Mom is quite correct far far above.  It doesn’t “matter” to most Roman Catholics—[as is somewhat obvious, because they’re not like Catholic Mom]—and it doesn’t “matter” to most Christians who mainly care about what “works.”

The problem with that, of course, is that “what works” appears to be rather temporary and fleeting.  Were we all Christians in other centuries of history “what works” would certainly not be “the Church of Rome.”  But then, folks like Catholic Mom would say “maybe it didn’t quite pan out in *that* century, but we were right in our dogma and doctrine, and that’s what matters.”

So in effect . . . “doctrine matters” in one sense, and that is when The Theory Behind It All is supposed to counter the “look what a ghastly mess it actually is on the ground” concreteness of a particular time in a church’s history.

But then . . . in that case, it is somewhat odd that at this particular point in history, the cry of the Catholic Moms of this world is that only “1 in 10,000 will care” about the actual minor [irony there] theological quibbles and looky over here at what “works.”  At least—right now that’s the cry anyway.

And here we go again . . . Catholic Mom takes Witt’s succinct and clear pointing out of the radical difference between Roman Catholic and Protestant theology about salvation and states: “But in the modern world it is a distinction without a difference.”  And earlier calls that succinct and clear radical difference “the extreme technical and detailed distinctions . . . “

But yes, the radical difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism on this point still matters even in “the modern world.”

RE: “For the Calvinists, yes (and may God have mercy on their tortured souls ) this probably IS a distinction that would keep them out of the Catholic Church.  But for the average Christian, no.”

But I’m not a Calvinist.  Many of the Protestants that I know are not Calvinists.  And yes, the radical difference between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant view of salvation actually does matter.  I’m sure I’m not an “average Christian”—but I’m certainly no Calvinist either.

But then . . . that’s what troubles me about some “average Christians”—even though doctrine does actually matter, it does not appear to matter to them.

Just as a reminder, here’s what I said much higher in the thread, and from my perspective the most recent comments simply reaffirm my point.

But then that, of course, is precisely one of the massive problems with both the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic church, and truth be told with the Baptists and the Methodists and more.  It is that, despite various pronouncements by various powers, the laity and the clergy go on and do as they please.

Because . . . people don’t think that “theology matters.”

As I’ve pointed out before that explains the wild-eyed jumps that so many many many Episcopalians have made in the past six years in and out of TEC.  When friends moved to the ELCA in a desperate lunge I pointed out that their church would be facing the same things, indeed was at that moment!  Same for the PCUSA lungers.  When I pointed out why I couldn’t sign on to the Westminster Confession [required if you are to do more than sit quietly in a pew] and thus lunge over towards a PCA church, nobody knew what that was.  When I pointed out the various dogmas that the Roman Catholic church claims to be true, very very very few people cared.  Because they need to “live life” and be “practical” and “raise a family.”

Really really strange.

But I finally decided that for most of the departers, it was really about finding a good local congregation [while couching it in “TEC is heretical” terms] even though I would point out that by those standards “PCUSA is heretical.”

I now say “whatever” to myself.  ; > )

Just recently a friend announced his [angry] departure and when I said “I do hope you aren’t then moving to another mainline church for this to be repeated” . . . there was a profound silence.  ; > )

Of course, I also believe—as has been stated pretty much for the past six years—that Rome is quite heretical too.  And yes—their theology “matters.”

But honestly, I think Catholic Mom is quite correct far far above.  It doesn’t “matter” to most Roman Catholics—[as is somewhat obvious, because they’re not like Catholic Mom]—and it doesn’t “matter” to most Christians who mainly care about what “works.”

The problem with that, of course, is that “what works” appears to be rather temporary and fleeting.  Were we all Christians in other centuries of history “what works” would certainly not be “the Church of Rome.”  But then, folks like Catholic Mom would say “maybe it didn’t quite pan out in *that* century, but we were right in our dogma and doctrine, and that’s what matters.”

So in effect . . . “doctrine matters” in one sense, and that is when The Theory Behind It All is supposed to counter the “look what a ghastly mess it actually is on the ground” concreteness of a particular time in a church’s history.

But then . . . in that case, it is somewhat odd that at this particular point in history, the cry of the Catholic Moms of this world is that only “1 in 10,000 will care” about the actual minor [irony there] theological quibbles and looky over here at what “works.”  At least—right now that’s the cry anyway.

; > )

[303] Posted by Sarah on 10-22-2009 at 11:09 AM · [top]

William Witt (#295),

You wrote:  “No thoughtful Reformation Christian believes …”

Without regard to what words follow that quote, it is, in my view, an extraordinarily arrogant and presumptuous statement.  How in Heaven’s name, Dr. Witt, would you know what “No thoughtful Reformation Christian believes”?

As I continue my pilgrimage as a former Episcopalian, I have followed this thread and the several others on this subject with intense interest.  Since my views do not seem to accord 100% with yours, I guess you have determined that I do not qualify as a “thoughtful Reformation Christian”.  Shucks, I guess I will just have to find some other way to think of myself as I plod along in my long slog.

Thanks!

[304] Posted by Ol' Bob on 10-22-2009 at 11:14 AM · [top]

Doctrine is important, but what is the point of correct doctrine if you never equip your laity to understand, defend and spread the doctrine?

What AndrewA wrote has been said before, but boy,it bears repeating. I don’t think TEC would ever have gotten in the mess it’s in if there had been Bible study, Sunday school, church school - whatever you choose to call it. When we started Bible study in our parish about three years ago, we realized how terribly we had needed it. It’s not that we were never educated in our faith, but that it needs refreshing, that we need to live with it constantly and explore it and talk about it and see things at work in our lives. One has to pick and choose materials now, and we’ve never gotten anything from TEC. We have used some of +Wright’s DVDs and are presently working through one of John Stott’s books, on Acts. If your parish doesn’t have adult education, I strongly recommend trying to start a program. For us, it wasn’t a vestry decision. A group of us wanted to do it, so we did, but all are welcome, and we have two who come from another denomination.

[305] Posted by oscewicee on 10-22-2009 at 11:23 AM · [top]

We must equip the laity.  Programs are thoughtful, dinners are fun, events are great, but not actively planning for teaching the laity and our youth is what has put us on the path we are on.  Until we correct this, we are nothing but a social club. 

How our churches treat Christian Education on every level - especially adults is a key.  It needs to be a solid goal.  Adults teach the kids, our youth.  If adults are not equipped, neither will our youth be - and none will be up to the task of discussing basic theology much less the fine points.

We’d also suggest a refresher course or materials for why Eucharist is designed the way it is, why the priest does this or that.  Why some people cross themselves, or genuflect.  The whys that make us Episcopalian/Anglican that differientiate us and make us unique.

[306] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 10-22-2009 at 11:46 AM · [top]

We’d also suggest a refresher course or materials for why Eucharist is designed the way it is, why the priest does this or that. Why some people cross themselves, or genuflect. The whys that make us Episcopalian/Anglican that differentiate us and make us unique.

Does anyone know where I can find good resources for this for a small laity led Bible study group?

[307] Posted by JustOneVoice on 10-22-2009 at 11:53 AM · [top]

I second JustOneVoice’s request.

[308] Posted by oscewicee on 10-22-2009 at 11:57 AM · [top]

The problem with that, of course, is that “what works” appears to be rather temporary and fleeting.  Were we all Christians in other centuries of history “what works” would certainly not be “the Church of Rome.”  But then, folks like Catholic Mom would say “maybe it didn’t quite pan out in *that* century, but we were right in our dogma and doctrine, and that’s what matters.”

Well, somehow the Roman Catholic Church managed to hang on to enough of the “faith once transmitted to the saints” to pass it on to your ancestors since they certainly did not discover it by archeological digs in ancient Palestine.  But that’s neither here nor there since, while I appreciate your remarks directed towards those who say that they are going to go with whatever “works,” I was never among them.

So in effect . . . “doctrine matters” in one sense, and that is when The Theory Behind It All is supposed to counter the “look what a ghastly mess it actually is on the ground” concreteness of a particular time in a church’s history.

So true.  “Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church,” as we say at every mass.  Aren’t the Protestants the ones always telling us what hopeless screw ups human beings are?  And isn’t “The Theory Behind it All” (i.e. the teachings of Christianity) supposed to counter the ghastly mess that we make of things on a regular basis?

But then . . . in that case, it is somewhat odd that at this particular point in history, the cry of the Catholic Moms of this world is that only “1 in 10,000 will care” about the actual minor [irony there] theological quibbles and looky over here at what “works.” 

I never said “looky over here at what works.”  (I am too much a northerner to say “looky” and would probably spell it “lookee, i.e. “look ye” if I did.)  In fact I said nothing at all about what works and what doesn’t work.  I am painfully aware of what hasn’t worked in the Catholic Church in the past and what isn’t working right now.  I just said that the specific aspect of sorteriology (to give it the technical name) that was under discussion is not nearly as important to Anglo Catholic and Roman Catholics as it is to Calvinists.  However I also said that I believed that statement to hold for “average Christians” (whoever that might be) as well and I will withdraw that as not supported by evidence gathered as yet.  But I will stand outside the local non-denominational Evangelical Church down the street on Sunday and poll people as they come out.  If they state that a deeper understanding of the history of debate on the subject of justification by faith is high on their list of spiritual needs I shall report back here.

[309] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 11:59 AM · [top]

Just One Voice, oscewicee

have you considered “Our Anglican Heritage” by John Howe?
http://www.amazon.com/Our-Anglican-Heritage-John-Howe/dp/159752946X

It isn’t a ‘bible study’ but it is a a good ‘refresher/introduction’ to the Anglican Communion (as it was anyway).

My copy is from before the disintegration, but it does offer a systematic review of ‘why Anglican’, and covers the range of practice in the Anglican Communion.

[310] Posted by Bo on 10-22-2009 at 12:04 PM · [top]

Bo,
Thank you for that suggestion!

Is anyone familiar with this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Smells-Bells-Christian-Liturgy/dp/1557255210/ref=reg_hu-wl_mrai-recs

Or this one? I see some good names in the contributors’ list:

http://www.amazon.com/Study-Anglicanism-Stephen-Sykes/dp/080063151X/ref=reg_hu-wl_list-recs

Or, one more:
http://www.amazon.com/Sacramental-Life-Spiritual-Formation-Through/dp/0830835180/ref=pd_sim_b_8

I realize this is thread hijacking - if anyone has comments on any of these books, please PM me. Thanks!

[311] Posted by oscewicee on 10-22-2009 at 12:12 PM · [top]

oscewicee
I think I’ll put those last two on my ‘ask for it at the library’ list.

Thanks,

We now rejoin the regularly scheduled thread…...

[312] Posted by Bo on 10-22-2009 at 12:23 PM · [top]

But I will stand outside the local non-denominational Evangelical Church down the street on Sunday and poll people as they come out.  If they state that a deeper understanding of the history of debate on the subject of justification by faith is high on their list of spiritual needs I shall report back here.

If the local non-denominational church is anything like the evangelical Baptists and Anglicans I’ve know, they will say that “Salvation by Faith Alone” is of the utmost importantance, and that our standing before God is based on the finished work of Christ on the Cross.  I don’t think you’d have any problem getting 100% affirmation of these two doctrines.

Now, if you ask them to correctly articulate the Roman Catholic doctrine, on average, you will probably get hear some bizarre stereotypes repeated back to you.  Ask them talk about infused vs. imputed righteousness, or the metaphysical details of grace, then yes, you are likely to get some blank stares.  However I’d be willing to bet that they all have a very definite idea, whether based in a solid comparative understanding of doctrine or not, why they are not and do not want to be Roman Catholic.

Of course, as you say, those likely to convert under the Pope’s proposals are Anglo-Catholic, and therefore are less likely to share a Protestant understanding of these things.  Supposedly a significant portion of FiF/UK finds itself so at peace with Roman Catholic doctrines that they use Roman Catholic liturgies instead of Anglican.

[313] Posted by AndrewA on 10-22-2009 at 12:32 PM · [top]

RE: “But I will stand outside the local non-denominational Evangelical Church down the street on Sunday and poll people as they come out.  If they state that a deeper understanding of the history of debate on the subject of justification by faith is high on their list of spiritual needs I shall report back here.”

I’m afraid you continue to reaffirm my point, Catholic Mom.

First, of course, you continue to attempt to “recast” the deep divide over salvation between Roman Catholics and Protestants as “the history of debate on the subject of justification by faith”—but it is not with “the history” that Protestants like me are concerned, but with the actual very significant and current *divide*.

And second, as has been another of my points on this thread, many people don’t think “doctrine matters” and so the results of even such a poll—even were you to offer a non-Roman-Catholic recasting of the question—would again, prove my point.

And indeed—it is a deeply troubling thing that doctrine does not matter for so many Christians.  That is a source of many problems in all denominations.

[314] Posted by Sarah on 10-22-2009 at 12:38 PM · [top]

OK, well we’re still shooting for selling $450 worth of popcorn for the boy scouts to earn a genuine composite bow and arrow so I’ll stand outside the church and sell popcorn and query them on how their views of imputed righteousness differ from those of the Catholic Church. (Which one of us is the “infused” and which is the “imputed” group by the way?  I can never remember myself.)  Or at least how many can finish coherently the statement: “I could never be a Catholic because my views on justification by faith which are X differ significantly from those of the Cathoic Church which are Y.”  If I don’t get any valuable data to support my assertions here at least maybe we can move some popcorn.

[315] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 12:41 PM · [top]

“sell popcorn and query them..”  maybe you should also have empty bucket they can throw money in as they back away slowly smile

[316] Posted by tdunbar on 10-22-2009 at 12:51 PM · [top]

2 things:
For Sarah, re your 288:
“But TEC hasn’t made you stand up and assert that which you do not believe.  I don’t even think ACNA makes you stand up and assert that which you do not believe.  That’s one of the things I find very attractive about Anglicanism—it has struck a very broad path between Rome and Geneva, and folks like me who can’t go to Rome and can’t go to Geneva have found a home there.”

I think that what you find attractive about Anglicanism is its main weakness.  It has no real doctrinal core at this time.  I see many of the innovations in TEC and elsewhere as attempts to fill that void.  The result is chaotic and, at times, heretical. 

For those interested in “equipping the laity”, there is a word for that, “catechesis.”  But, per my first thing, what are the laity being catechized into?  A strong doctrinal core seems essential to me for effective catechesis.

[317] Posted by Tulip on 10-22-2009 at 12:55 PM · [top]

“Canon 1.
If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law,[110] without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.”

And to this Catholic, the doctrine of Justification as taught by the Church is the one I believe.  If it were not I would not be Catholic. 

Though I admit, I doubt the majority of church goers have examined the differences in the Protestant and Catholic view of justification or other doctrinal matters not usually in full Sunday view. 

Quite frankly I think it is more likely to be what one believes about the Eucharist firstly, then the other sacraments,  which will trigger an examination of whether one is in a Church that they can submit to.

[318] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-22-2009 at 01:01 PM · [top]

This thread has ventured a long way from the gracious offer the Holy Father has made, hasn’t it?

[319] Posted by Cure dArs on 10-22-2009 at 01:08 PM · [top]

“Gracious offer” Cure dArs?  I think not! More likely a further expression of the sentiment expressed by the former Archbishop of Westminster Basil Hume, at the time of the Church of England’s decision to ordain women, that “this could be the conversion of England we have all been praying for”.

[320] Posted by Elliot B on 10-22-2009 at 01:32 PM · [top]

Fr. Rutler, former Episcopal priest, scholar, and theologian, has a very dim view of Anglican Doctrine.  Basically, that there isn’t any of substance.

Of course, there are those who vehemently disagree.

[321] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-22-2009 at 01:49 PM · [top]

After reading the various articles in the press, I asked our morning group of men at the local TEC whether they thought this action by the Pope was one of ecumenism or an attempt to poach.  They were inclined to suspect the Pope of poaching. Since the target group for poaching was in many cases headed by self appointed bishops and the statement says nothing about bishops let alone archbishops, it would be premature for them to support the announcement.  If the act is a deliberate attempt to include ‘liberal’ Christians, in other words start the process of restoring the aspirations of Vatican II, then it is really interesting and I for one, despite the comments of some in this column, could consider returning to the fold. If that is the case, the Pope runs the risk of further alienating the breakaway right wing Catholics headed up by Marcel Lefebvre. If the Pope manages to ‘frame’ the RCC as a mother church embracing the Orthodox, the right wing, TEC, Anglo Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and the various breakaway Anglican groups, that would an amazing and laudable event.  There would I suppose be dialects of doctrine but the center would be the two great Sacraments plus the other five lesser ones, various approved books of common prayer,  both BCP and the Missal, a catechism in two parts, the first part for all, the second by local custom and so on. The dogma of Infallibility would need to be modified semantically in some way. In other words, the idea of intercommunion expressed in Vatican II would be truly implemented.

[322] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-22-2009 at 01:50 PM · [top]

maybe you should also have empty bucket they can throw money in as they back away slowly

We, of course, accept donations.  Especially if I can position myself between them and the parking lot. smile

[323] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 02:05 PM · [top]

Maybe we should have paid attention to church GOVERNANCE of the doctrine.

[324] Posted by Looking for Leaders on 10-22-2009 at 02:24 PM · [top]

Without regard to what words follow that quote, it is, in my view, an extraordinarily arrogant and presumptuous statement.  How in Heaven’s name, Dr. Witt, would you know what “No thoughtful Reformation Christian believes”?

As my good friend Leander Harding is wont to say, if you play your cards right, you can offend everyone.  If you would read my comment in full I stated “No thoughtful Reformation Christian believes that one is saved by the doctrine of justification by faith alone, let alone by detailed understandings of the intricacies of the doctrine.  We are saved by Christ.”

The doctrine of justification by faith is the doctrine that we are saved by Christ, and Christ alone.  We are not saved by any doctrine.  Neither the doctrine of justification by faith nor the doctrine of the Trinity nor the doctrine of the incarnation died for my sins on Calvary.  The incarnate Word of God, the second person of the Triune God died for me, and I am saved by putting my faith in his finished work, alone.  But I am not saved by any doctrine about him, not even the true ones.  To say that I am saved by the doctrine of justification by faith is to turn faith into a work, and to deny the very point that the doctrine of justification by faith is about.

[325] Posted by William Witt on 10-22-2009 at 02:46 PM · [top]

Lest anyone assume that my comments in this thread imply that I believe the pope is “poaching,” or that his offer is less than generous, I do believe that his offer is a sincere and gracious one.

At the same time, as they say, “Read the fine print.”  The offer is nothing less and nothing more than an offer to make becoming Roman Catholic a little easier for some Anglicans.  But it is not an offer to do anything less than become Roman Catholic.  A parallel would be with those Orthodox churches who have re-entered into union with Rome. They have not been given a pass on those Catholic doctrines with which the Orthodox are historically in disagreement.  No Orthodox body that has entered into union with Rome has been able to say “Can we just pass on that business about papal infallibility, the filioque, or all those other Western councils after the first seven ecumenical ones?”

[326] Posted by William Witt on 10-22-2009 at 02:59 PM · [top]

Catholic Mom:

RE: “Aren’t the Protestants the ones always telling us what hopeless screw ups human beings are?”

Oh dear—is that another difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants?  I had thought we agreed on that.

RE: “And isn’t “The Theory Behind it All” (i.e. the teachings of Christianity) supposed to counter the ghastly mess that we make of things on a regular basis?”

Well . . . certainly the “official teachings of the Magisterium” are wheeled out whenever its pointed out that nobody actually seems to be practicing or believing at the parish level what Rome claims it believes.  And *that’s* often when the official teachings is pointed to and acclaimed quite loudly as Veddy Veddy Important from an apologetic standpoint—far far far more important in fact than actual parish practice or clergy belief.  ; > )

RE: “Which one of us is the “infused” and which is the “imputed” group by the way?  I can never remember myself.”

[Heavy sigh]  ; > )

Seriously, do you think it is possible that you are attributing to others your own unconcern about this issue?  I mean—I’m crystal clear about which group “infused” refers to.  It is practically a one-word summary about one of the substantial differences, again. 

Tulip:

RE: “I think that what you find attractive about Anglicanism is its main weakness.”

I find many many things attractive about Anglicanism, and certainly one of those is the Via Media struck between Rome and Geneva—indeed I believe that it contains the best of both worlds.  Certainly, as I indicated above, the fact that Anglicanism does not require converts to sign on to 1) the doctrines of Rome or 2) the doctrines of Geneva can be both a curse and a blessing. 

RE: “It has no real doctrinal core at this time.”

And I, of course, assert differently.  But we are unlikely to agree about that.  The fact that that Via Media existed within Anglicanism does not necessarily cause “no real doctrinal core” although certainly it would not be the doctrinal core of Baptists, OPCers, or Roman Catholics!

Cure dArs:

RE: “This thread has ventured a long way from the gracious offer the Holy Father has made, hasn’t it?”

I actually agree that it is a gracious act and I’ll repeat what I said in my first comment: I’m very very happy for those people who already accede to Roman Catholic doctrine within the Anglican Communion, yet just need the “comforts” to leave.  It appears to me that this will provide those comforts and securities necessary to ease the path.  TAC, also, can go en masse.  And all of those who’ve never had any problem with RC doctrine.

As a Protestant Anglican that, of course, boggles the mind.  Were I to believe RC doctrine—were I to accept the claims of that church—I’d have toddled on over—nay rushed on over—long ago and avoided the Anglican wars altogether.

But still . . . we now get to learn who of FIF and among other Anglo-Catholics always accepted RC doctrine anyway.  ; > )

I think this excellent ruling puts immense pressure on two bodies: ACNA and the COE, along with the ABC.  [Sure would have been nice if he hadn’t waffled around in his speech to Synod regarding women bishops, wouldn’t it?]

It doesn’t put any pressure at all on evangelical elements within TEC or the COE [other than that it sure would have been nice if certain evangelical elements within the COE had been nicer to their Anglo-Catholic brothers and sisters.]  I’m not at all concerned that evangelicals will come home to Rome.  But boy . . . I’d think this would be the push for those who are already Roman Catholic in their doctrine.  And I am very happy for them.

[327] Posted by Sarah on 10-22-2009 at 03:18 PM · [top]

Mike, I pray that you are NOT correct in your “hopeful” asessment of what Benedict’s offer implies—if it were correct, we would essentially be repeating the experience of the last 50 years of the Anglican Communion. Just for the record, have you actually read the documents of Vat. 2? I haven’t, but what you say about it doesn’t snyc with what I know about it. Perhaps you could supply some actual lines from those documents that outline your scenario—and I mean more than just the “spirit” of the text.  Thanks!

[328] Posted by DavidSh on 10-22-2009 at 03:19 PM · [top]

Mike and David-
Nothing from the Vatican in any way indicates that they will be accepting the BCP, any Protestant theology or anything along that line.  The Anglican liturgy is about 5% of the BCP- I think you can forget the 39 articles, general conventions and loads of other “Anglican” and Protestant stuff.  Most Anglicans will go about their business being Anglicans.  This offer is for those that the Anglican church in the West doesn’t want anyway.  Anglo Catholics.  I am sure others are welcomed as well, but only if they will accept Catholic doctrine to that other churches in Communion with Rome accept it.
  The devil will be in the details, no doubt, but I wouldn’t expect any of the local TEC “mutual ministry” priests, or HoBD regulars, or women priests, or “Islam-opalians” or any other off the wall clerics to be showing up in Roman orders any time soon.

[329] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-22-2009 at 03:45 PM · [top]

I believe that most evangelicals could state their beliefs on justification by faith quite specifically. Asked about Roman Catholic doctrine they might mistate it, or distort it, or exagerrate its differences from Protestant doctrine. But that doesn’t matter because they know that the RC doctrine is SOMETHING ELSE, and something else that specifically denies justfication by faith. It doesn’t matter whether that something else is the genuine RC doctrine whatever it is, or the liberal doctrine that we don’t need no justifcation because we aren’t under condemnation for sin, or for that matter whatever the Islamic or Hindu justification doctrine is. Because another doctrine of justification is a false doctrine and holding it makes a church either a radically deficient church or a false and unChristian church (from the evangelical point of view).

[330] Posted by Toral1 on 10-22-2009 at 03:55 PM · [top]

Hi TJ—Of course the biggest thing that would be retained—if I understand the news correctly—is that the liturgy used in the “Anglican Use” parishes here in the US would be expanded to more congregations, both here and the UK. Some of that liturgy, from what I’ve seen, is certainly taken from the (1928?) BCP. Atonementonline has their whole book of worship online if anyone wants to see it. Dave

[331] Posted by DavidSh on 10-22-2009 at 04:03 PM · [top]

RE: “Aren’t the Protestants the ones always telling us what hopeless screw ups human beings are?”

Oh dear—is that another difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants?  I had thought we agreed on that.

Well, we do agree.  We just don’t make a religion out of it. smile

Seriously, do you think it is possible that you are attributing to others your own unconcern about this issue?  I mean—I’m crystal clear about which group “infused” refers to.  It is practically a one-word summary about one of the substantial differences, again. 

Well, it’s possible I am.  On the other hand, I never heard the words “infused” or “imputed” grace until I got on this board and I am not totally uneducated.  I did, however, read a book by NT Wright in which he said that the supposed dichotomy between “justification by faith” and “justification by works” was something of a strawman.  Certainly he didn’t seem to feel it was some key defining difference between Catholicism and Protestantism.  But then, I’m no theologian.  You know, we have a saying (you may have the same saying) “to keep a dog and then bark yourself”—meaning to pay somebody to do a job and then insist on micromanaging the job yourself.  What would be the POINT of being a Roman Catholic if I had to stay awake at night worrying about the difference between “imputed” and “infused” grace?  smile

[332] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 04:16 PM · [top]

Quoting Pope Leo’s famous Bull:
36. Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the Pontiffs, ........ We pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.
...............................

40. We decree that these letters and all things contained therein shall not be liable at any time to be impugned or objected to by reason of fault or any other defect whatsoever of subreption or obreption of Our intention, but are and shall be always valid and in force and shall be inviolably observed both juridically and otherwise, by all of whatsoever degree and preeminence, declaring null and void anything which, in these matters, may happen to be contrariwise attempted, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by any person whatsoever, by whatsoever authority or pretext, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.

....end quote.  In other words, don’t get your hopes up.
The above-quoted pronouncement is infallible and “shall be always valid.”

[333] Posted by Long Gone Anglo Catholic on 10-22-2009 at 04:32 PM · [top]

“infallible’ Only one I have ever known to be so is Jesus Christ. But then he wasn’t just plain ol’human now was He! I would think that considering oneself “infallible” would be like saying you are just like Jesus Christ. In my feeble mind that is heresy.

[334] Posted by TLDillon on 10-22-2009 at 04:43 PM · [top]

The reasoning in Apostolicae Curae is exceptionally lame and doesn’t even rely on Roman authority in the first place; since the argument is wrong, it’s not only fallible, but failed.

[335] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-22-2009 at 04:44 PM · [top]

subscribe

[336] Posted by ewart-touzot on 10-22-2009 at 04:52 PM · [top]

About ‘infusion’ and ‘imputation’: it makes a radical difference to me and my life whether my love and good works proceed from gratitude for what Christ has done for me or from a struggle to become more deserving. The difference has grown more not less important as I look back many years, and forward for those few that remain to me. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.”

[337] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 10-22-2009 at 05:09 PM · [top]

The above-quoted pronouncement is infallible and “shall be always valid.”

Papal Bulls are not issued ex cathedra. For ex cathedra, you need to read the Dogma announcing the Assumption. Actually that is my point, it appears to me that the Pope is somehow softening his stance regarding Anglicans. The details will show how. In the meantime, he deserves our patience and respect.

[338] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-22-2009 at 05:13 PM · [top]

I don’t remember what those three things are that people are not supposed to say, but I think they amount to not attacking people because they have or have not decided to “swim the Tiber” as conversion to Catholicism is expressed colloquially.  To the extent that attitude appears, I think it is really something else.  It is easy to see this as a debate about factual or even theoretical issues.  But it is about One Church.

(By the way, I don’t think Catholic Mom was out of line in asking for an articulation of those Anglican doctrines that Anglicans believe are so essential and that differ from Catholic teaching.  Anglicans themselves have commented on the lack of clearly expressed and understood doctrine in Anglicanism.  Perhaps links could be provided to succinct statements of those doctrines that are fundamental to Anglicans and that differ from the teachings of the Church.)

In considering the question of unity, I think Father Al Kimel’s question is both humorous and enlightening:  “Who are you going to believe—the Catholic Church or Carl?” (I am paraphrasing—what Father Kimel actually said was, “Who is the more reliable and trustworthy interpreter of God’s revelation given in Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church or Carl?”) Scripture does not interpret itself, and I think that realization is the beginning of the “path to Rome” as it is sometimes affectionately and sometimes aggressively called.

Christ would not have left us lost in the wilderness of uncertainty—inaccurate translation, relativism, political, hisotorical and social change, and all the vicissitudes of earthly life.  No—He gave us His Kingdom—the Church—to guide us:  “Feed my lambs.”

The idea that the Lord wanted separate “flocks” is not logically or intuitively correct.  After 500 years, with Christendom shattered and Christian civilization reeling and surrounded by a culture steeped in immorality—pornography, sodomy, child abuse, abortion, divorce, birth control, adultery, fornication, blasphemy, idolatry and apostasy, all garishly reflected in bad music, visual art and literature—doesn’t it seem obvious that we need unity—One Church—to strengthen and lead us? 

Of course if a person believes that his or her conscience precludes acceptance of the teachings of the Catholic Church—if there is nothing anyone can say, no argument that can be made, no insight or experience that can be shared that would change the mind of the Anglican person—if even the words of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman could not overcome one’s doubts—if his or her mind is completely and finally made up—then the discussion ends right there. 

But remember that our questions about the doctrines that separate Anglicans—and Protestants in general—from the Church are not meant to be aggressive.  They are asked because we love you—we will the good for you: “[T]here shall be one fold and one shepherd.’

[339] Posted by Clare on 10-22-2009 at 05:17 PM · [top]

Regarding Vatioan II, I read O’Brien’s Catholicism and stuff from various “liberal” Catholic theologians. The Council lasted 5 years? so I do not know of one publication listing it all. I thought changing the Mass was a mistake as was missing the chance with Women priests as advocated by the bishop or cardinal of Chicago?? My memory gets more hazy as I get older!

[340] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-22-2009 at 05:19 PM · [top]

To William Witt at #290

Any community (not just the Roman magisterium) that claims to have the exclusive ability to interpret the canonical text correctly, and refuses to allow that its interpretation can be corrected by the text itself has placed its own authority over the text of Scripture, rather than submitting to it. 

I agree entirely! And in particular that protestant and orthodox churches can fall into this error just as much as catholic churches.

[341] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 05:27 PM · [top]

To Violent Papist at #301
I am sure you would agree that Henry VIII was no different to any of his fellow princes in Europe in that regard.
I am sure you would also agree that the indulgence system had no foundation in Scripture, which rather overshadows any quibbles about the precise details!

[342] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 05:28 PM · [top]

After 500 years, with Christendom shattered and Christian civilization reeling and surrounded by a culture steeped in immorality—pornography, sodomy, child abuse, abortion, divorce, birth control, adultery, fornication, blasphemy, idolatry and apostasy, all garishly reflected in bad music, visual art and literature—doesn’t it seem obvious that we need unity—One Church—to strengthen and lead us?

Unfortunately the Popes and the Church have done their fair or unfair share of all the above. The issue is from a personal conscience point of view whether you trust your conscience to trust the conscience of your confessor a priest to trust the words of the Pope to trust Jesus or you seek other advisors on this journey. There are very good father confessors, or spiritual advisors, in the RCC and rather bad ones. The chances are he is good but he may be very bad for you. Was Luther right about Grace? I believe he offered a useful correction to “works” but I believe good works are the fruit of faith and therefore of Grace. I wish some of the RC writers here would show at least understanding of the Anglican position. It can sound like religious bigotry . . . or like “trust me!”.

[343] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-22-2009 at 05:33 PM · [top]

Oscewicee at 305

Doctrine is important, but what is the point of correct doctrine if you never equip your laity to understand, defend and spread the doctrine?

Amen, amen and amen
As we build the new Anglican world order, a crucial foundation will be a strong, educated, equipped laity. Its what keeps the clergy accountable…!

[344] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 05:33 PM · [top]

Catholic Mom, I’m SO glad you said that!  Being raised RC, going to an RC university, and having taken a rather large number of graduate theology classes, and many conversations with Catholic clergy/theologians over the years, I also had never heard those terms about inputed and infused, much less heard them debated, until reading this forum. Sarah, Catholic Mom isn’t alone in her experience. In my own experience, the technical “hows” of salvation are simply not topics of conversation - it isn’t an issue of great concern. Not to say that salvation isn’t a great concern, but simply that the technicalities of how it works is not something that in my experience is a hot topic for RCCs.

[345] Posted by advocate on 10-22-2009 at 05:35 PM · [top]

To Catholic Mom at 309

Well, somehow the Roman Catholic Church managed to hang on to enough of the “faith once transmitted to the saints” to pass it on to your ancestors

Respectfully, no it didn’t!
The Christian Church passed on the faith to us. More specifically, the ancient and medieval European churches were involved in transmitting the faith to our ancestors.
The Roman Catholic church has always been just one part of a much greater church.

[346] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 05:40 PM · [top]

To TJMcMahon at #329

This offer is for those that the Anglican church in the West doesn’t want anyway.  Anglo Catholics.

At first, I strongly disagreed with the suggestion that the Anglican Church doesn’t want Anglo-Catholics.

Then, I realised that you might be restricting your definition of “anglo-catholics” to groups like TAC and ACA. In which case, you might have a point – those groups have moved a long way from the rest of the Communion, and its as much a case of they don’t want us, as us not wanting them. I also suspect that the Pope’s latest invitation may really only be intended for them, and not for the much wider group of anglo-catholics.

On the other hand, I wonder why we do tend to focus on the “Anglican church in the west”? The West is no longer as important as we used to be. The centre of Anglicanism has irrevocably shifted way south of Canterbury - somewhere between Lagos, La Paz and Kinshasa!

[347] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 05:48 PM · [top]

Catholic Mom, Sarah and Maggie C.—you are all right!  Doctrine is of the utmost importance—doctrine expresses truth.

But one does not have to be a theologian to be Catholic.  The Church embraces Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman—and little children—and people who are mentally handicapped.  We are all given the food we need—for some it is the most technical doctrinal exposition—for others, the beauty of stained glass windows—for all, the sprinkling of the Baptismal water—the Body of Christ in the Sacred Host—the words of the confessor: “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The priest who heard the last Confession of Saint Thomas Aquinas remarked that it was like the confession of a young child—a giant intellect, within a humble and innocent soul.

[348] Posted by Clare on 10-22-2009 at 05:54 PM · [top]

MichaelA, just wanted to note that the wise words you quote in #344 are actually AndrewA’s - I only seconded him.

[349] Posted by oscewicee on 10-22-2009 at 05:54 PM · [top]

.( I wish some of the RC writers here would show at least understanding of the Anglican position.)
  Certainly I can comment and sympathise . I was brought up with a foot in each church. Roman Catholic and High Anglican.
  So Catechism won out . Christ said to St. Peter upon you I found my Church . St. Peter was the first bishop of Rome .
My thoughts on the founding of the church of England would insult some .So I will go no further on that .
  do I have Traditions ??  you Bet !!!All churches do .
So you want an experience ?? Attend an eastern Catholic rite Mass. Made the sign of the Cross inumerable times .
  Myself I like some latin . The younger generation ? forget it . At the verbal confession at the start of the mass I make the sign of the Cross at the absolution by the Priest . Most Don’t .
I bow at certain points in the Mass . This is culture and tradition. One of my best friends Hungarian bows at different times .
The Point that most fail to realise is that catholic means universal .
Remember there are twenty seven branches of the Catholic church .
traditions and practises of each branch are respected .
The Anglican Catholic church would be but one branch of the Roman Catholic Church

[350] Posted by ewhalley on 10-22-2009 at 05:58 PM · [top]

The Christian Church passed on the faith to us. More specifically, the ancient and medieval European churches were involved in transmitting the faith to our ancestors.
The Roman Catholic church has always been just one part of a much greater church.

Michael A—Well, perhaps you are from Cyprus or Lebanon or someplace else, but I am willing to bet that if you are of European descent your direct ancestors were Roman Catholics who belonged to a church headed by the Pope and who learned everything they knew about Jesus and salvation from the Roman Catholic Church.  Don’t know about the “ancient” churches but all the medieval churches in Europe that *I* ever heard of were under the teaching authority of the Pope.

[351] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 06:20 PM · [top]

Catholic Mum, I know many members of the RCC hold the same beliefs as you do, but I am just letting you know that most protestants believe differently. We don’t see the RCC as identical to the medieval church in Europe, or the early church, and we consider that in many significant respects the RCC has gone off on a frolic of its own.

As for the medieval or early church being “headed by the Pope”, that depends on what you mean. At different times the Papacy was accorded a greater or lesser degree of *pre-eminence* over the centuries, and the Papacy at times tried to claim something similar to the modern doctrine of Petrine supremacy, but that’s an entirely different thing to the church agreeing that the Pope was entitled to it! Pre-eminence is quite different to Supremacy.

Don’t know about the “ancient” churches but all the medieval churches in Europe that *I* ever heard of were under the teaching authority of the Pope.

This is a popular myth. The Papacy indeed *tried* to arrogate more authority for itself over the centuries than it had ever historically possessed, and at times it succeeded, but this was never the real basis of the medieval church, which was an incredibly diverse entity. 

So, as far as I am concerned, as a protestant I stand in a direct line of ancestry from the medieval church, and from there back to the early church. As an Anglican in particular, I stand on the foundation of a long line of medieval English churchmen and reformers: Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, William of Occam, John Wyclif, to name a few.

The RCC is another branch of the church universal, and I’m happy to fellowship with them, to the extent that they hold true to the real traditions of the church.

[352] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 07:14 PM · [top]

Oscewicee, thanks for the heads up, and apologies to AndrewA. They are indeed wise words.

[353] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 07:16 PM · [top]

Don’t know about the “ancient” churches but all the medieval churches in Europe that *I* ever heard of were under the teaching authority of the Pope.

Well I think that the other 10-11 Apostles created churches outside of Rome and yes since they were all Apostolic Brothers, would have been in communion with each other. All of them, taught by Jesus Christ the First Pope of the Christian Church who is The Good News of our Redemption and Salvation, then all the rest including Peter fall in succession to Him. He is the Author of the Church Catholic and all those who profess Him Lord and Savior of all are all one in Christ!

[354] Posted by TLDillon on 10-22-2009 at 07:25 PM · [top]

At first I was quite shocked by hearing ‘Catholic Mom’ say in a casual way that she didn’t know the difference between “infused” and “imputed”  and which group believes what.  And I was even more shocked that she didn’t seem to be much concerned about this and almost to be making a virtue of her ignorance. 

But then,  the Episcopal priest who baptized me, when he heard I was thinking of becoming Catholic,  told me I didn’t know what the Reformation was all about,  and essentially set me a task I had to fufil.  That combined with some seminars on Luther where I kept thinking, But what position is he arguing against?  and all our reading of Aquinas on the existence of God and on Law, and Justice,  did not address this question,  so I was also sent by that experience to find out.  That is my particular history.  But do all Catholics, even all Catholics intellectually capable of it, have to know these things? 

It is important that Catholics know, for instance, in a rough way the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation.  They should know that Our Lord was fully man and fully God.  Should they have to know what Arius taught,  and Docetists, Patripassians, Monophysites, and Monothelites?  Should a Catholic who is a doctor, a lawyer, a nurse, or a Spanish teacher have to know the history of a whole slew of theological controversies?  I guess I have to say no.  A Catholic does not have to define his theology in opposition to what Protestants believe,  or in opposition to what the Orthodox believe.  He just has to be a Catholic, assist at mass, receive Our Lord and adore Him,  repent of his sins and confess them,  listen to the reading of the Word and (hopefully) to its exposition.  He has to try to obey Our Lord, renounce himself, and live in charity.  He really does not have to be able to restate the issues of the Reformation. 

That said, once one starts to post on Stand Firm, I would think one would want to know what most people here believe and why it is so important to them. 
Susan Peterson

[355] Posted by eulogos on 10-22-2009 at 07:36 PM · [top]

#238 - comment #236 by RicardoCR should have referred to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception rather than the Virgin Birth of Mary.  I will bring this to his attention.  grin

[356] Posted by Connie Sandlin on 10-22-2009 at 07:43 PM · [top]

RE: “And anybody at all can go up thread and read that exact response. And they can also go up thread and read—literally—the quoted words from other people’s comments.”

Okay, so you haven’t ascribed someone elses comments to me, but I should go upthread and check what other people have written, so I can understand what you’re reacting to.  Got it. 

RE:  But now I’m confused. Do you actually *believe* this and it wasn’t a jest? ***“Right, because “we all know” that training your child in the way they should go, is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal.”***
If so, just tell me and that’s fine.”

I wasn’t aware that you took it in jest, but now that you mention it, that explains somethings.  Actually Sarah, I’m serious.  The decisions I make about church-life now differ significantly than those I made when I was single. 

RE:  “Well—the PCA in my area of SC and in my area in MS, yes. But thanks for clarifying what you meant. In some parts of the PCA but not in others”

Glad to help clear that up, though it’s hardly a nuanced understanding of conservative Presbyterianism;  particularly if an Anglican-minded Anglican is having a conversation with a Presbyterian-minded Anglican.  Both more or less operate (or ought to, per ACI) on the regional church model, if I’m not mistaken. 

RE:  “Nope—my claim was that if you’re going to join the PCA you need to be able to affirm the Westminster Confession and the PCA makes that a criteria of membership. [Obviously some presbyteries must not, but the ones I’m familiar with in two different states here in the South do.]
Your claim is: “Conservative Presbyterian ruling and teaching elders make provisions among themselves, (“scruples”) when they differ with the WCF on issues that do not wreak havoc on the WCF.” “

Well, no.  You’re making antithetical claims.  The one “claim” is that the PCA is way too narrow and won’t let people in for membership if they don’t agree with the WCF.  And the the other claim is that the PCA is way too broad, since there is this give and take among elders concerning the WCF. 

Pick a caricature;  any caricature.  But just only one. 

RE:  And I pointed out that allowing people to state scruples that “do not wreak havoc on the WCF” is a line that one may drive a truck through precisely because pretty much *all* of my “scruples” would “wreak havoc on the WCF.” I am not, as I’ve pointed out before, at all in agreement with the WCF. “

Since the WCF affirms (e.g.,) the doctrine of the Trinity, and repudiates various Romish dogmas, I have no idea what you mean by that. 

RE:  “Scrupling” the WCF in huge chunks would, I suspect, not be allowed, although you’re certainly free to correct me on that. So saying that someone can join the PCA by the simple expedient of asserting “scruples” as long as they do not “wreak havoc on the WCF” pretty much ruins it for anybody who *disagrees with the principles stated in the WCF*.  “

I know of Reformed Baptists in my last parish (OPC) who teach Sunday School and lead.  They’ll sit and stew (and then some) when a baby is baptized, but they’re acknowledged as valued leaders within the congregation. 

Is a rejection of Covenant Theology a big enough scruple for you?

RE:  “One of my close friends, in fact, considered the PCA many many years ago as he was making some church decisions. And he pointed out to me that he would need to affirm the Westminster which he does not believe—”

Well, as we’ve seen, there is some confusion about the data.  An thorough analysis of the “data” from a couple of jerkwater presbyteries doesn’t make one an expert on the PCA.  Sorry, but it doesn’t.  At any rate, have you and your friend ever considered that the PCA People That Know in the two aforementioned presbyteries, are ascribing a truth-value to the WCF, that the WCF doesn’t claim for itself?  (Hint:  that would make those two presbyteries full of imbeciles).

Or, did either of you catch what Scott Hahn said in Rome Sweet Home, about his seminary years?  He was one of the few Presbies at his seminary who actually believed (per WCF) that the Pope is the antichrist.  If you had, you might have caught that many Presbyterians -in seminary- (IOW, people who will be leaders in conservative Presbyterian circles) don’t buy the pope/antichrist thing, either. 

But again, I have no idea why your friend thought as he did.  The other option might be some kind of immaturity: 

Jenny is sweet, but she’s fat.  Judy is a knockout, but she’s contentious.  Jeffrey loves Jenny and wants to marry her, but doesn’t want to date her.  So, he dates Judy until it gets old, then courts and eventually marries Jenny. 

Surely Sarah - there must have been something lovely about the PCA that attracted him to it.  Perhaps (?) the infatuation deflated when he looked at the package. 

(just a thought)

RE:  “And for people like me who are NOT Calvinists and NOT Roman Catholic—it can be a blessing.”

Actually, I think the Anglican -idea- of being wide enough for Calvinists and RC’s to be together, this side of Glory, is kind of cool.  Often though, the reality doesn’t match up with the idea, and Calvinists, RC’s and other flavors of orthodox Christians have to head for higher ground.  Which kind of sucks.

RE:  “Could you point out to me above where I stated what you are staying was my assertion and which was not?”

?

RE:  “Could you point out to me above where I stated that? In fact I’ve stated the opposite—I myself will most likely attend a church at some point which is not Anglican. This has now been said—by me—in this one thread—several times.”

You’ve described church decisions made for the sake of the spiritual nurture of a family as “pragmatic,” over and against “doctrinal.”  Per Proverbs, considerations over spiritual nurture of a family are doctrinal, and not simply “pragmatic.” 

That’s -if- we can accept that Proverbs is ‘God-breathed’ / profitable for reproof, etc. 

RE:  “Understood. But TEC hasn’t made you stand up and assert that which you do not believe. I don’t even think ACNA makes you stand up and assert that which you do not believe. “

Since you believe both institutions to be hopelessly dysfunctional, I have no idea why you’d want to make such a statement. 

RE:  “Moot, I’m happy for you that you can affirm Westminster. That leaves you with some options. I’m happy with AngloCatholics that some of them can stand up and agree with what Rome teaches about itself. That leaves them with some options.”

“Options.”  Well, I guess I wouldn’t apply that word to the situation, or even it’s opposite.  But I’m happy for you, Sarah, that you can think of it that way. 

That must be nice.  wink

[357] Posted by J Eppinga on 10-22-2009 at 08:08 PM · [top]

Personally , I think it constitutes willful blindness to say that the medieval church in Europe was not the same Church which Catholics today call “The Catholic Church”  and you folks insist on calling “The Roman Catholic Church.” 
Of course I know that there was also the Church of the East which was more or less in schism during this period,(or as they would put it, we were from them!)  and some people here might well have ancestry there. But if you are Western European, are you going to identify for your ancestors the Cathars and Waldensians and other long disappeared heretical sects?  Furthermore, the Pope was certainly the head of the Church then as now. Of course there was a lot of dabbling in politics and a lot of struggle over where those boundaries lay,  but if one wanted a new religious order approved, the request went to Rome. Theological disputes were referred to Rome.  Yes, there was resistance to the answers, yes there was certainly resistance to the Pope’s assertion of temporal power, and these were greatly mixed up with each other.  but people would not have denied that the Bishop of Rome was the head of the Church.  And, if you will remember , quite a few people were willing to die for that in Henry’s time.  Not only St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, but all the priests and most of the lay brothers of a Carthusian monastery, some of whom were hung and had other nasty things done while they were still alive, and some who were just chained to a wall in a prison and given no food or water until they died.  This was for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy which made Henry the head of the Church in England.  This was at the end of the “middle ages”  but where did they get their firm conviction from,  if this had not long been taught.? 

Of course, as a Catholic, I believe that she is the same church, for instance as when St. Augustine taught his people, that when you go to a new town, don’t just ask where is the Church, for the conventicles of the heretics dare to use this name, but ask “Where is the Catholic Church.” 
Susan Peterson

[358] Posted by eulogos on 10-22-2009 at 08:12 PM · [top]

So, as far as I am concerned, as a protestant I stand in a direct line of ancestry from the medieval church, and from there back to the early church.

And if it makes you feel happier to pretend that that line does not run straight through Rome, I suppose no real harm is done.  To use one of my husband’s favorite expression, “dream on.”

[359] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-22-2009 at 08:25 PM · [top]

Now I fear I have been offensive.  I get my dander up sometimes and want to lift up those verbal swords and start slashing away. 
But that is where it is at for Catholics.  We believe Christ meant to found a church,  that he picked the apostles to be its leaders and Peter to be their leader,  that he intended for this office to survive until He comes again.  We believe that Church is meant to have a visible structure and a visible unity, and we believe that it is promised that the Holy Spirit will not allow it to preach falsehood.  It might not state the truth in the most whole and perfect way in any particular age, but it will not preach falsehood.  We think the New Testament scriptures were written by members of an already worshipping church, for the Church,  and that they are the Church’s treasures, not an instruction manual for how to structure a church or how to worship, since there already was a church which was already worshipping at the time.  Of course we believe that they are the Word of God, and are true.  But we read them in and with the Church; the same Spirit lives in both.  So if you have got a hold of some notion and you think it is in there, and the church, says not, you don’t have it quite right, this is not the teaching of the apostles,  well then, you are wrong.  Sometimes the people who get ahold of a slightly wrong notion and run with it are more religiously serious than those defending what the Church says; sometimes the Church has morally corrupt people in it,  who certainly cloud the beauty of her truth and make it more difficult to see.(Sometimes we might be the corrupt people ourselves who cloud her beauty for someone.)  Nevertheless, she is Christ’s Church and they are the ones on a tangent away from her. 

I’d better stop now. 
But I wince when I hear what some of you think of her and I had to come to her defense, while it is on topic!
Susan Peterson

[360] Posted by eulogos on 10-22-2009 at 08:36 PM · [top]

Michael at 347-
What I meant (I was probably clearer in several of my longer posts) was that in TEC, traditional Anglo Catholicism is now canonically outlawed- if you do not support WO, you cannot clear the Canon III hurdles.  The CoE is on the verge of doing the same thing, although they may delay a few years. Australia is also moving all too fast in this direction.  And sorry, but WO cannot be squared with the Rule of St. Vincent. 
I specified “Western” so as not to include those GS provinces with Anglo Catholic traditions (and there are a few).
Now, of course, there are only a very tiny number of Anglo Catholics left in TEC- essentially the few SSC and FiF clergy and their parishes.  I was the last Anglo Catholic I knew in TEC outside those parishes.  So, with the last 3 Anglo Catholic dioceses gone, the impact (of the Pope’s offer) on TEC will be minimal.  I think the impact on the CoE could be more profound that many there are predicting, see here:
http://www.ebbsfleet.org.uk/

Of course, we have not yet seen the Apostolic Constitution, so I think everyone is waiting and praying and will consider carefully before committing one way or the other.  However, I expect a large number of retired clergy to take advantage of this- and that may mean more small congregations around the world than many are expecting- and I think this may draw some “mainline” Episcopalians as well in a few years- you know, a nearby congregation with “all of the liturgy, none of the controversy.”  Half of the Piskies I know have heard from their revisionist clergy that they are Catholic for so long that they already believe the Pope is ultimately in charge.  OK, half is an exaggeration, but a number. (I have, literally, had adults, who had been Piskies for decades, in Bible class ask me if, since we say we are Catholic in the Creed, this means we are under the Pope’s authority)

[361] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-22-2009 at 08:36 PM · [top]

Henry VIII destroyed all the chantry chapels in order to line his pockets and those of his friends, yet he himself at the time of his death paid for a 1,000 chantry masses to be said.  This was a classic example of his two-faced tyranny.

Indulgences long pre-existed Tetzel and Leo X.  They functioned, theologically, to mitigate the rigor of the old system of public penance of the Church of Rome, a system that incidentally, Cranmer said he wanted to re-establish.  Auricular confession is itself a mitigation of the harshness of the ancient Roman penitential system.  Indulgences still exist today, though they are thankfully neither “bought” nor “sold.

As a matter of fact, Henry VIII was raising money in order to pay for wars: if you think wars were a creature of protestantism, well . . . . When I was a RC, fellow RC liked to make fun of Henry VIII blissfully ignorant of Tudor history – Ferdinand, Charles V, Clement VII, Catherine of Aragon, feudal law, blood baths occasioned by debatable successions, the Popes politicking and interference in domestic issues, the Reformation, Ann Boleyn & her daughter, Edward VI, bloody Mary etc etc. Are there any RCs here who consider Bloody Mary, the legitimate daughter of Catherine Aragon a great Queen? What about the Elizabeth I, probably the finest Monarch
England has had including Edward I and Henry II. FYI in the Pope’s view she was the bastard daughter of Ann Boleyn.

[362] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-22-2009 at 08:37 PM · [top]

He just has to be a Catholic, assist at mass, receive Our Lord and adore Him, repent of his sins and confess them, listen to the reading of the Word and (hopefully) to its exposition. He has to try to obey Our Lord, renounce himself, and live in charity. He really does not have to be able to restate the issues of the Reformation.

Not every parishioner need be a theologian, and I get that the Roman Catholic Church does not make a virtue of individuals deciding for themselves what the Catholic Faith is, but surely if the Roman Catholic Church believes that it is the posseser and guardian of the orthodox catholic faith, than it is a virtue for parishioners to study their faith, both to better understand and appreciate the workings of God (a worthy goal all by itself) and to better defend the Faith against the arguments of the heathen and the (from their perspectiv) heretic.  If you have parishioners that don’t understand their what they believe, why the believe it, and why certain common challenges to their faith are wrong, they are far more likely to be led astray.

[363] Posted by AndrewA on 10-22-2009 at 09:05 PM · [top]

For quite some time, I have thought that the recent unpleasantness was Christ reforming and refining his Church to bring the true Body of Christ into unity, before He comes to establish His kingdom on this earth.

Only last week I predicted that it certainly would not happen in my life time since I only have about 10-20 years left. But then I thought that TEC would keep arguing until I was safely interred in my parish’s memorial garden before they got to the point that I would have to do “something.”  The swiftness of events in the last five years have been mind-boggling!

The events of this past week has been for me very encouraging, a major step toward bringing the Body of Christ together. Reading this thread makes it very apparent what a huge task God has to bring us into any kind of unity, but great thankfulness that He is Almighty God and with Him all things are possible.

Left to ourselves, we will be forever in disunity, but it appears to me that the Mighty Arm of God has been raised to work our his plan. Our only real choice is if we are going to be with him or against him. It was not my plan, my idea or my choice to be in the Church I am now in, but it is place where God placed me. All I can do is to be obedient and serve Him as best I can. I learned long ago never to say NEVER! Especially after I promised God that He could use me any where and in any way He wished.

I want only to be in the true Body of Chirst and only Jesus knows who is true Bride is. I have to trust him and forget about what seems good to me.

I believe the fire of refinement is going to get ever brighter and ever hotter. We have indeed been called to live in a very interesting, but difficult time. Before very long, I suspect all these great differences between us discussed here will be of very little importance. It fact I think the time was long since passed.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich. I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Rev 3:15-22

[364] Posted by 7Light on 10-22-2009 at 09:18 PM · [top]

Susan,

I didn’t find your posts offensive at all. As you so aptly implied earlier, one of the strengths of blogs like this is that it helps us better understand each other. We have all identified a major point of difference between protestants and RCC and its worthwhile discussing it.

Here are my specific responses to several points in your post #358, and I emphasise this is to help us understand where our differences lie, which in turn can also help us rejoice in the things we have in common:

I should clarify for you and Catholic Mom that it’s the western European medieval church I am talking about - my heritage is garden-variety Anglican. Nor am I identifying in paritcular with the Cathars and Waldensians, but I was referring to the mainstream medieval church. That is the heritage of protestants.

Furthermore, the Pope was certainly the head of the Church then as now

I don’t know that putting it this way carries us much further. If you mean he was considered pre-eminent in the western medieval church, then I would agree, but that is not what we are discussing. His position was respected, in the same that Anglicans respect the Archbishop of Canterbury (or did, once upon a time).

…but if one wanted a new religious order approved, the request went to Rome

If one wanted the new religious order approved *by Rome*, that is quite true – but that’s a circular argument! Religious orders of all shapes and sizes came and went without Rome being involved.

Theological disputes were referred to Rome


In some cases, yes – but this is consistent with pre-eminence, not supremacy. The vast majority of theological disputes were never referred to Rome, nor was Rome considered a final court of appeal from most councils, convocations etc.
The most succinct summary of the medieval view of the Pope was summed up by Robert Grosseteste (Bishop of Lincoln in the 12th century): the Pope, like any other prelate, is ONLY to be obeyed in so far as his directives are consistent with the teachings of Christ and his Apostles.

And, if you will remember , quite a few people were willing to die for that in Henry’s time… This was at the end of the “middle ages”  but where did they get their firm conviction from, if this had not long been taught?

Susan, as soon as you try to raise this argument, you will be swamped by the vastly greater numbers of people who were prepared to die for their stand AGAINST Papal supremacy! They had been martyred in droves long before the time of Henry VIII, and they continued to do so after his time.

Of course, as a Catholic, I believe that she is the same church, for instance as when St. Augustine taught his people, that when you go to a new town, don’t just ask where is the Church, for the conventicles of the heretics dare to use this name, but ask “Where is the Catholic Church?”

Protestants believe that too! We just don’t think that the “catholic church” equates to the RCC.

[365] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 09:26 PM · [top]

What is going on Here???
Canon law is best left to theologians . Not left to the Lay person .
so we are here as the Followers of Christ(I hope) Discussing the offer that was made to Anglican Catholics who initiated the discussion with the Holy See.
The Holy Father responded Graciously to their request .
  Most Anglicans are happy with the status quo new age philosophy . The Disgruntled .Well???
The Anglican Catholics will most likely say good bye .
  In reality most people have seen something like this coming for years .Many left to go to the Roman Catholic church .Or abandoned going to Church at all.
  They voted with their feet on being defeated at the Synods.
  The new age/new reformation people will be glad to see them leave as it is a sore they cannot heal. They can them pass any motion they want at the Synod .
  So here we have the disgruntled beating their cheats . Alas ,Alas the battle is but done .
  The Anglo Catholics have went home to Mom (Rome)
  It is about choices period !! Dress it up dress it down .
Can you defeat the new agers . They now control the Heirarchy of the epicopalian Church. Good luck

[366] Posted by ewhalley on 10-22-2009 at 09:30 PM · [top]

“Canon law is best left to theologians . Not left to the Lay person.”
Really????
I know of quite a few theologians who know not one wit about Canon Law and don’t follow it. I also know numerous lay persons who know far more! Let’s not get started on the leadership of TEc who consider themselves “Theologians.”

[367] Posted by TLDillon on 10-22-2009 at 09:34 PM · [top]

TJMcMahon, thanks, very interesting indeed.

[368] Posted by MichaelA on 10-22-2009 at 09:37 PM · [top]

The question is about Choices not Canon law
We are discussing the options not The fine points of Canon law or the personal interpretations of the Above .Those are best left to a Priest. They are there to guide & teach us on the matters of faith and morals . Taking off my Catholic hat now
  I try to live the life of a follower of my Savior Jesus Christ

[369] Posted by ewhalley on 10-22-2009 at 09:42 PM · [top]

#361 Fr. McMahon- Now, of course, there are only a very tiny number of Anglo Catholics left in TEC- essentially the few SSC and FiF clergy and their parishes

An interesting exception being St Clements in Philly. Who knows how they would react to a bishopess, but they made no waves against +Chuckles, publically at least.

[370] Posted by via orthodoxy on 10-22-2009 at 09:55 PM · [top]

Why is it that threads like this always take off right before I have to get on an airplane?

carl
Who doesn’t have a laptop and refuses to pay for internet access in a hotel

[371] Posted by carl on 10-23-2009 at 01:04 AM · [top]

MichaelA what did Henry VIII claim in the Act of Supremacy?

[372] Posted by driver8 on 10-23-2009 at 01:41 AM · [top]

driver8, the text is on the web in a few places. Try this one: http://www.britainexpress.com/History/tudor/supremacy-henry-text.htm

[373] Posted by MichaelA on 10-23-2009 at 01:52 AM · [top]

Not every parishioner need be a theologian, and I get that the Roman Catholic Church does not make a virtue of individuals deciding for themselves what the Catholic Faith is, but surely if the Roman Catholic Church believes that it is the posseser and guardian of the orthodox catholic faith, than it is a virtue for parishioners to study their faith, both to better understand and appreciate the workings of God (a worthy goal all by itself) and to better defend the Faith against the arguments of the heathen and the (from their perspectiv) heretic.

363 Andrew A.

The way I understand it, the average Christian prior to the Reformation did not engage in the scholastic debates that had taken place in the Universities since the 13th Century.  This was always the province of an academic elite.

Since the Reformation, it has been the Protestant churches who have needed to justify themselves against the claims of the Catholic Church which demonstrably descends from the primitive church possessing many ancient sees with unbroken lines from the primitive church.  Thus it was the Protestant churches which had to ensure that certain distinctions be given super importance so that they could keep their folds from crossing over after the initial crisis had passed.

Honestly, from the perspective of even a well educated Catholic, the distinctions between salvation by grace alone through faith alone vs. salvation by faith as manifest through works, is frankly quite academic.  I personally agree, though I do appreciate the difference.  The point is that there is no real practical difference between the lives of those who hold one position compared to those who hold the other.  As Susan Peterson correctly asserts, its is a distinction without a difference.  It is really the worst example of picking at nits.  Did Jesus give lectures on this?  If he did, the Gospels give more credence to the Catholic position with the works of mercy found in Matthew 25, for example.

Raising such a question brings us to the fact various NT passages point more to one or the other position.  To choose one position is to choose some passages as more important than others.  This leads to questions of a canon within the canon, among other issues.  If there is a canon within the canon, liturgical tradition would point to the Gospels over the letters of St. Paul.  But, classical Protestants prefer Paul to the Gospels and to James. 

All of this leads me to ask whether Jesus intended his followers to be first and foremost students of scriptural minutia.  I dont see anything in the Gospels that would make me think so.  His theology was preeminently practical.  If anything, he had little use for speculative theology.  This is not to say that there is no place for such theology.  It just isn’t that critical to the Christian life.

This is why Catholics, priests included, defer to the Church in her ancient wisdom cultivated long before it was all written down. 

So, please do not project onto Catholicism a universal need for a catechesis on the precise topics which have justified the separation of Protestants from the Mother Church for half a millenium.  The Catholic Church has her own catechetical priorities.  How many Protestants could explain the concept of sacramentality on the spot?  Probably as many as there are Catholics who can explain the mechanics of justification.

[374] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 02:06 AM · [top]

365. Michael A.

Ah, but Michael, even in merry old England at any time in the past 500 years, if a stranger would ask for the local Catholic Church, the Englishman would without hesitation point to the parish of the Church headed at Rome (except for the period when the Catholic Church was persecuted in England).

[375] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 02:26 AM · [top]

Fr.J.

The way I understand it, the average Christian prior to the Reformation did not engage in the scholastic debates that had taken place in the Universities since the 13th Century.  This was always the province of an academic elite.

Isn’t this circular reasoning? Of course scholastic debates in universities was “the province of an academic elite” - what else could it be? But *theological debates* are another matter entirely. As far as we know, theological discussion went on throughout Christendom at all periods by anyone with the education to take part.

So, please do not project onto Catholicism a universal need for a catechesis on the precise topics which have justified the separation of Protestants from the Mother Church for half a millenium.

I must admit I don’t entirely follow Fr.J.‘s reasoning and that is probably my fault.
But I would point out that the issues that divide protestant churches and the Roman Catholic church today did not suddenly spring into being in 1517. What we call “the Reformation” was merely the culmination of a series of issues that had been going on for centuries. After all, the Reformers (and their medieval predecessors) did not regard themselves as formulating any new doctrines, but as urging the church to return to its original doctrines and traditions. Some of the accretions were relatively new (e.g. Papal Supremacy, which did not really start to impact in a practical way on northern Europe until the 13th century), whereas others were much older (e.g. the doctrine of penance, which arose from a 4th century translation error).

... the Catholic Church which demonstrably descends from the primitive church possessing many ancient sees with unbroken lines from the primitive church… 

I appreciate you believe that this is relevant, but really, is there any indication that the protestant churches in the Reformation or Post-Reformation periods were concerned about it?

[376] Posted by MichaelA on 10-23-2009 at 02:50 AM · [top]

...if a stranger would ask for the local Catholic Church ...

Of course. I use the term “catholic church” myself regularly in conversation. I also call the church down the road “the Church of Christ” because that the title that their denomination has taken for itself - but it doesn’t mean that I believe they are the one, true and entire church of Jesus Christ!

[377] Posted by MichaelA on 10-23-2009 at 02:56 AM · [top]

In some cases, yes – but this is consistent with pre-eminence, not supremacy. The vast majority of theological disputes were never referred to Rome, nor was Rome considered a final court of appeal from most councils, convocations etc

Really?  So people basically just got “opinions” from Rome?  Like “we can’t agree on this on our own, what do you guys think?”  Yet Henry VIII sat for years waiting for papal approval to dissolve his marriage.  Nothing could be done while legates went back and forth from Rome.  He attempted to pull strings with close relatives of the Pope, etc. etc. etc.  And finally, when it became apparent that approval would not be forth (or ever) coming, he had to had to take special legal action to declare that in fact he was NOT bound by the decisions of Rome.  Clearly up until that very moment he and every one else in England was.  The fact that minor decisions weren’t made without recourse to Rome (not surprisingly considering the difficulties in communication) proves nothing.  Henry VIII knew very well that the Church was governed by Rome.

[378] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 06:11 AM · [top]

I meant “the fact that minor decisions WERE made…”

[379] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 06:13 AM · [top]

Wait a minute.  I never said “it was a distinction without a difference.”!

I think that it is true that in many ways Catholics and Protestants do live their Christian lives in much the same way,  doing their best to obey God and asking God for help and for forgiveness when they fall.  Hans Kung, who wrote a wonderful book about Justification even if his later work was not orthodox from a Catholic standpoint,  said that we all have to live like Catholics,  acting as if what we do mattered, doing our best to obey God, but we all have to die like Protestants,  saying that we have no works to plead but only Jesus Christ.  He quotes St. Therese of Liseaux as saying just that on her deathbed. 

Yet theologically there is a clear difference.  This has certainly been made clear to me attending Fr Matt’s church and adult education!  Even the Joint Declaration on Justification only goes so far.  Fr. Matt would say that it papers over the distinctions.  I have pleaded the paragraph above with him, saying “If we live the same way, how can the theology be so different?” 

Yet there are differences clearly attributable to theology.  There are reasons why Protestants don’t on the whole have monasteries and convents, reasons why they don’t on the whole have the sacrament of penance and practice private confession.  There are reasons why they don’t offer the liturgy for the dead or even don’t pray for them.  There are reasons why they don’t have rules about fasting (such as Catholics do to a small extent now and Orthodox much much more.) All of these differences, and many more, are rooted in the respective theologies of Justification. 

So no, I did not say it was a distinction without a difference. 
Susan Peterson

[380] Posted by eulogos on 10-23-2009 at 07:24 AM · [top]

Wait a minute.  I never said “it was a distinction without a difference.”!

Right, that was me.  The comment was misattributed to you.

[381] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 07:28 AM · [top]

Catholic Mom,  you are not fair to Anglicans at least when you say they couldn’t explain sacramentality on the spot.  The older generation of Anglicans all learned that “The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.”  This is taken from the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, and when I was in college all my friends who had grown up Episcopalian had this answer at least memorized the way older Catholics knew the Baltimore Catechism.  Not all Protestants, of course, believe this. 
These days I wonder if the average Catholic or Protestant could answer the question. 
Susan Peterson

[382] Posted by eulogos on 10-23-2009 at 07:29 AM · [top]

Hey Bo, re #280, if that is what you believe you should be -large O-Orthodox!  And I hope you are venerating icons, as taught by the seventh ecumenical council!
-in a friendly spirit-
Susan Peterson

[383] Posted by eulogos on 10-23-2009 at 07:33 AM · [top]

#381, Catholic Mom re comment by you misattributed to me.
I guess that is because I am also a Catholic Mom! 
Susan Peterson

[384] Posted by eulogos on 10-23-2009 at 07:36 AM · [top]

#370-
St. Clement’s and perhaps also Ascension in Chicago are interesting cases- so well endowed that their bishops have allowed them some measure of freedom up, at least, til recently, as long as they don’t make waves.  One can only hope and pray that they are still the “real deal.”  Dad was sent to Nashotah by St. Clement’s before WWII.  The term robably has died out, but he and his classmates were referred to derogatorily by others as “Clementine priests” as though it was a separate order for fellows who wore embroidered vestments and knew what an asperger was and read the Last Gospel. (Is there ANYWHERE left where they still do? And know their way around the Sarum Missal?)

[385] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-23-2009 at 07:38 AM · [top]

And PS-
It’s not “Fr. McMahon”- just TJ. My theology would have eliminated me from any pool of potential seminarians in any dioceses I have lived in during my adult life.

[386] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-23-2009 at 07:42 AM · [top]

though it was a separate order for fellows who wore embroidered vestments and knew what an asperger was and read the Last Gospel. (Is there ANYWHERE left where they still do? And know their way around the Sarum Missal?)

I don’t know about TEC, but the Anglican Catholic Church authorizes the use of the Anglican Missal as well as the 1928 BCP, and some of their parishes still used the full thing for their High Mass, up to and including the Last Gospel.

[387] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 07:43 AM · [top]

Personally , I think it constitutes willful blindness to say that the medieval church in Europe was not the same Church which Catholics today call “The Catholic Church”  and you folks insist on calling “The Roman Catholic Church.”

How do I write this in a manner that will not seem offensive? 

It would seem that Catholic Mom is not aware that this was one of the central issues of discussion and debate between Anglicans and Roman Catholics during the time of the English Reformation.  I would refer Catholic Mom to John Jewel’s Apology of the Church of England, discussed somewhat on another thread.

The question is not whether the [late] Medieval church [as an institution] can be identified as in historical continuity with the institutional body that Roman Catholics today call “Catholic.”  A more crucial question is what is the essence of catholicity, and whether the late Medieval Church and, more important, the Tridentine Church at the time of the Reformation, was in continuity with the understanding of the patristic Church that identified the markers of Catholicity in the Second Century, or rather whether the reformed Church of England had more claim to be in continuity with the patristic understanding of catholicity? (Remember that one of the ways that Anglicanism identifies itself is as “Reformed Catholicism.”)

That the late Medieval Church’s beliefs and practices were not simply identical with the Patristic church’s was a crucial source of disagreement at the time, with people like Jewel claiming that there had been a substantial departure, and defenders of the Tridentine Church claiming that there was identity.

In the nineteenth century, John Cardinal Newman developed the theory of doctrinal development that enabled Roman Catholics to proclaim that there was continuity of identity despite the no longer debatable question that the Protestants were correct that there was substantial difference between the patristic and Medieval Church.

So the question is not about historical continuity, but theological continuity. The crucial theological question is whether we agree with Newman, that despite real differences between the institutional church today that the Roman Catholic Church calls “catholic” and the patristic church, these differences are legitimate developments, or, rather, we agree with Jewel and the Caroline Divines, and modern Anglican theologians like Michael Ramsey that the differences represent substantial enough departures that they cannot be considered legitimate developments.

The question can be illustrated by how we answer the old chestnut, “Is the pope Catholic?” To which the Anglican Reformers would respond, “Not quite.”

[388] Posted by William Witt on 10-23-2009 at 07:47 AM · [top]

St. Clement’s and perhaps also Ascension in Chicago are interesting cases- so well endowed that their bishops have allowed them some measure of freedom up, at least, til recently, as long as they don’t make waves.

Service sheets can be found at
http://www.s-clements.org/Resources_SvcSheets.html

I can’t guess how orthodox they still are, but I suppose if you really want you can check the sermons at
http://www.s-clements.org/Resources_Sermons.html
and the clergy list at
http://www.s-clements.org/About_ClergyStaff.html

You can also decide what you make of these two newsletters.
http://www.s-clements.org/Newsletters/0607_08Newsletter.pdf
http://www.s-clements.org/Newsletters/0908Newsletter.pdf

[389] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 07:56 AM · [top]

Catholic Mom:

RE: “Well, we do agree.  We just don’t make a religion out of it.”

Well, Catholic Mom, Roman Catholics may fit in better with the New Episcopal Church than I had thought.  But for folks like traditional Episcopalians the Christian faith is all about humans screwing it up and Christ fixing it.

RE: “You know, we have a saying (you may have the same saying) “to keep a dog and then bark yourself”—meaning to pay somebody to do a job and then insist on micromanaging the job yourself.”

Mmm.  But if you’ve kept what you thought was the watchdog and then others kept pointing out that he was merely a dead dog . . . it’d be important to bark yourself or get yourself a new live dog.  . . . Which we did.  ; > )


Clare:

RE: “It is easy to see this as a debate about factual or even theoretical issues.  But it is about One Church.”

Right—it’s just we don’t agree as to which church is the One Church.

RE: “By the way, I don’t think Catholic Mom was out of line in asking for an articulation of those Anglican doctrines that Anglicans believe are so essential and that differ from Catholic teaching.”

I agree—and as always when Catholic Mom has asked that question over the years, many [not all] of the differences were swiftly listed.

RE: “No—He gave us His Kingdom—the Church—to guide us . . . “

Actually it was His Spirit to guide us.  And again, we don’t agree on which church is the Church.

RE: “The idea that the Lord wanted separate “flocks” is not logically or intuitively correct.”

Sure it is.  It makes great sense, actually.

RE: “After 500 years, with Christendom shattered and Christian civilization reeling and surrounded by a culture steeped in immorality—pornography, sodomy, child abuse, abortion, divorce, birth control, adultery, fornication, blasphemy, idolatry and apostasy, all garishly reflected in bad music, visual art and literature—doesn’t it seem obvious that we need unity—One Church—to strengthen and lead us?”

Right—because back in the 13th century when the One Church [sic] was leading things were Really Really Great.  If only we had learned our lesson then we wouldn’t have such a sick society now!  ; > )

RE: “Of course if a person believes that his or her conscience precludes acceptance of the teachings of the Catholic Church—if there is nothing anyone can say, no argument that can be made, no insight or experience that can be shared that would change the mind of the Anglican person —if even the words of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman could not overcome one’s doubts—if his or her mind is completely and finally made up—then the discussion ends right there.”

Um . . . Newman probably is not the right guy to bring up for respect on the Protestant side.  His assertions were incoherent and irrational, and of course ultimately . . . wrong. 

Certainly the “discussion” may end.  But thankfully, the mutually opposing assertions or Roman Catholics and Protestants don’t end at all, as this thread demonstrates. 
; > )

RE: “But remember that our questions about the doctrines that separate Anglicans—and Protestants in general—from the Church are not meant to be aggressive.”

Nor are they taken as such—they are answered so easily, after all, that it is hard to take offense.

RE: “They are asked because we love you—we will the good for you: “[T]here shall be one fold and one shepherd.’”

Yes—I look forward to that penultimate reign of Jesus, the one shepherd.

RE: “But one does not have to be a theologian to be Catholic.”

Right—but in order to participate on a thread at StandFirm discussing RC and Protestant belief it helps for Protestants to know why their theology is so markedly different from RCs . . . and I think this thread amply reveals those differences in spades.  Otherwise, how would the Protestants know how to answer those questions about the differences?

Maggie C:

RE: “I also had never heard those terms about inputed and infused, much less heard them debated, until reading this forum.  . . . the technicalities of how it works is not something that in my experience is a hot topic for RCCs.”

Yes I would not think that Roman Catholic schools would get into what Protestants disagree with in RC doctrine.  That may well have something to do with it.

Eulogos:

RE: “and you folks insist on calling “The Roman Catholic Church.” 

But informed Roman Catholics know precisely why that is . . . because we don’t grant the sole word “Catholic” to those churches in communion with the see of Peter.  We believe the word “Catholic” applies far more broadly.  So to use the word “Catholic Church” to apply to those churches in communion with the see of Peter would be to acknowledge that that is the One True Church, which of course we don’t—if we did we’d all be crossing the Tiber!!

RE: “Now I fear I have been offensive.”

Not at all.

RE: “We believe Christ meant to found a church,  that he picked the apostles to be its leaders and Peter to be their leader,  that he intended for this office to survive until He comes again.  We believe that Church is meant to have a visible structure and a visible unity, and we believe that it is promised that the Holy Spirit will not allow it to preach falsehood.”

Precisely—and Protestants don’t believe those things at all and that pretty much identifies a part of the divide instantly.  In fact, the Roman Catholic church has preached masses of falsehood, and when that is pointed out and verified then informed Roman Catholics begin explaining why those particular falsehoods weren’t actually the teaching of their church.  And then they embark on tedious and already-known explanations about what constitutes a papal pronouncement . . .

Just as Roman Catholics believe that Protestants are in delusion . . . so Protestants believe the same thing about Roman Catholics.  The notion that their own church is the One True Church is a useful delusion.

But Christians engaging in fantasies about their church or about various other matters is a time honored tradition.  It does not solely occur amongst Roman Catholics, [though certainly Rome has helpfully institutionalized that particular fantasy.]  And Christians being wrong isn’t a reason not to love them and enjoy the thought of seeing them in heaven when all veils shall be taken from our eyes and we shall see clearly.

Fr. J:

RE: “Since the Reformation, it has been the Protestant churches who have needed to justify themselves against the claims of the Catholic Church . . . “

Um . . . well . . . not when Roman Catholics aren’t on blog threads wondering what the differences are and why we can’t all just agree with Rome because after all these are all minor quibbles [albeit of course Rome cannot give up the minor quibbles].
; > )

RE: “The point is that there is no real practical difference between the lives of those who hold one position compared to those who hold the other.”

Actually when one looks at the history of Roman Catholicism and the history of Protestantism one sees quite clearly that there are indeed very real and practical differences in the lives of those who hold one position compared to the other.  Both Protestants and Rome are often in error each in their own way, and the differences show up strikingly in church history as the sins of both types of churches reveal themselves clearly down through the centuries.  Doctrine matters, and theology has living practical effect on both individuals and organizations.  “We are doomed to live out our theology” and live it out we do, both as churches and as individuals.  Where we have allowed heresy to take root—as all Christians and all churches do—that heresy will eventually always show up in broken lives and broken churches.  Doctrine has consequences.

RE: “All of this leads me to ask whether Jesus intended his followers to be first and foremost students of scriptural minutia.”

Of course . . . the doctrines to which we are referring are not minutia at all . . . neither Romans nor Protestants believe that.

[390] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 07:58 AM · [top]

Catholic Mom,  you are not fair to Anglicans at least when you say they couldn’t explain sacramentality on the spot.

That wasn’t me!  That was Fr. J.

William Witt responded to Susan Peterson’s remark that:

  Personally , I think it constitutes willful blindness to say that the medieval church in Europe was not the same Church which Catholics today call “The Catholic Church”  and you folks insist on calling “The Roman Catholic Church.”

by saying:

How do I write this in a manner that will not seem offensive?  It would seem that Catholic Mom is not aware that this was one of the central issues of discussion and debate between Anglicans and Roman Catholics during the time of the English Reformation.  I would refer Catholic Mom to John Jewel’s Apology of the Church of England, discussed somewhat on another thread.

Folks!  Please try to keep your Catholics straight!  I know we may all look alike what with our 10 kids and our rosaries dangling from our rear-view mirrors, but there is more than one Catholic on this thread! smile

What I actually said was that their was no question that the Church in England was under the authority of the Pope before Henry VIII.  I don’t doubt that some Anglicans try to spin that it wasn’t, but I would like to see one independent (non-Anglican, non-Catholic, no point to be made) scholar ho says it wasn’t.

[391] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 07:59 AM · [top]

Mmm.  But if you’ve kept what you thought was the watchdog and then others kept pointing out that he was merely a dead dog . . . it’d be important to bark yourself or get yourself a new live dog.  . . . Which we did.  ; > )

I will take my watchdog (Benedict) any day.  As far as I can see, his bark is just fine.

[392] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 08:03 AM · [top]

It is true as I believe Father J. stated that many of the concepts developed during the Protestant Revolt are self-referential and don’t contribute to dialogue from a Catholic perspective.  And regarding laymen’s knowledge of theology—remember, it is quite frustrating for Catholics to have to explain for the umpteenth time that the Immaculate Conception is not the Virgin Birth, or that the doctrine of Infallibility does not mean the Holy Father can predict the winner of the World Series.  (I’m rooting for Philadelphia!) smile

[393] Posted by Clare on 10-23-2009 at 08:26 AM · [top]

Moot:

Re: “but I should go upthread and check what other people have written, so I can understand what you’re reacting to.”

Probably a good idea when I write a comment responding to and quoting others and you bustle in, respond, accuse me of misquoting you, and take offense at what I am saying to the others whom I am quoting as if I have said it to you.

RE: “I wasn’t aware that you took it in jest, but now that you mention it, that explains somethings.”

Okay—so you seriously believe this: “Right, because “we all know” that training your child in the way they should go, is purely pragmatic, and much much less doctrinal.”

I thought you were joking and I then pointed out that earlier in the thread there were folks *whom I quoted* who actually were seriously making that argument or at least assertion. 

I don’t know what to say now.  Except that obviously I don’t believe that training your child is “purely pragmatic”.

I’ll just move on then since we’re not going to agree on that.

RE: “The one “claim” is that the PCA is way too narrow and won’t let people in for membership if they don’t agree with the WCF.  And the the other claim is that the PCA is way too broad, since there is this give and take among elders concerning the WCF.”

No.

No no no.  You have completely misunderstood what I have said.

Good heavens.

The problem with the WCF and your stating that people may scruple things “that do not wreak havoc on the WCF” is that that *still makes it too narrow* [or rather, *me too broad*] to be able to join.

My scruples would obviously “wreak havoc on the WCF”—that is what I meant by “driving a truck through it” . . . because somebody saying “it’s okay—you can scruple anything that does not wreak havoc on the WCF” doesn’t help people like me be able to join the PCA.

RE: “I know of Reformed Baptists . . . “

Moot.  I would think that Reformed Baptists would be able to scruple enough without “wreaking havoc on the WCF.”

But remember—I’m not even TULIP calvinist.  Not even close.

I’m Reformed—but just barely to the Reformed side of Arminius.  ; > )

RE: “An thorough analysis of the “data” from a couple of jerkwater presbyteries doesn’t make one an expert on the PCA.”

Um . . . why would presbyteries that require members to formally sign on to the WCF be “jerkwater”—I thought we’d already established that some do, some don’t. 

RE: “At any rate, have you and your friend ever considered that the PCA People That Know in the two aforementioned presbyteries, are ascribing a truth-value to the WCF, that the WCF doesn’t claim for itself?  (Hint:  that would make those two presbyteries full of imbeciles).”

I’ve no idea why you would insult PCA Presbyteries that make affirmation of the WCF a requirement of membership and I won’t pretend to understand that.  My friend—and I—take “affirmation of [insert whatever document here]” seriously.  That’s all.  We’re not going to raise our hand and say “yes I agree” when quite obviously we don’t agree with chunks of the WCF.  We’re simply not Reformed enough.

RE: “Surely Sarah - there must have been something lovely about the PCA that attracted him to it.  Perhaps (?) the infatuation deflated when he looked at the package.”

Absolutely—there are things lovely about the PCA and there are things lovely about Rome.  Neither one of whose theology I agree with in significant chunks and both of which happen to have large amounts of writing articulating said theology, and at least in the presbyteries that I am aware of [more than two] require affirmation of said document.

As has been pointed out numerous times on other threads, one of the both blessings and curses of Anglicanism is that it doesn’t have a whole lot which people must affirm.

RE: “You’ve described church decisions made for the sake of the spiritual nurture of a family as “pragmatic,” over and against “doctrinal.”

No—I pointed out that the far far far above statements of *other commenters* about doctrine were *wrong*.  And I explained thoroughly why I thought they were wrong.  You and your spiritual nurture of a family had nothing to do with any of it.  I now wonder if you have read the thread or the comments to which I referred and *quoted*.

RE: “Since you believe both institutions to be hopelessly dysfunctional, I have no idea why you’d want to make such a statement.”

Because you were challenging why I would not join the PCA or Rome.  And why I didn’t when I was in my early 20s and considering church membership.  Besides the fact that I am Anglican in my theology, I also did not have to stand up and say “I accept what Rome teaches” or “I accept the WCF” when I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church.

But then . . . I’ve made that clear at least a dozen times now on this thread.

As nearly as I can tell, Moot—other than your initial belief that I was addressing you and your decisions when I was actually addressing the *real comments earlier in the thread which I quoted* . . . the offense that you seem to have taken is over my simple statement of fact which remains true: I, Sarah Hey, could not possibly be a member of a PCA congregation [at least where I am] because I, Sarah Hey, do not agree with some of the major theses of the WCF.  I, Sarah Hey, could not possibly be a member of the Roman Catholic church because I literally could not say—as is required—that I affirm what the Roman Catholic church teaches.

I’m surprised. 

I hadn’t realized that you were so eager to defend the PCA against folks who couldn’t join.  I hadn’t even realized that you were a WCF fan.  I meant no offense when I stated I couldn’t affirm it.  I just can’t.  I’m not a PCAer.  I don’t believe the way they do about any number of things.  I had a great business partner [and still dear friend] who helped found a thriving PCA church [he was on the more liberal end of the spectrum there, and had many battles with the presbytery] and he and I had many theological discussions.  One of the great clergy friends of mine in TEC—master of Roberts Rules, which he learned in a Presbytery in WNC—is former PCA.  My best friends here in Greenville are members of the PCA.  I could name a dozen more associations with PCAers that have been rich and close.  And I have greatly appreciated RC and Steve Brown over the past two decades, including having RC’s excellent teaching series on philosophy in my library.  My life has been for some reason “haunted by PCAers” far more than by Baptists or RCs or other denominations.  They are immensely attractive. 

Nevertheless, the PCA is not an option for me.

[394] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 08:38 AM · [top]

RE: “I will take my watchdog (Benedict) any day.”

And you will take Leo X too ... but as it happens, Protestants will not take either “watchdog” and consider the papacy to be . . . well . . . I already said it above.

RE: “Catholic Mom,  you are not fair to Anglicans at least when you say they couldn’t explain sacramentality on the spot.”

Yes . . . HOW DARE YOU CATHOLIC MOM!!!!!!!

[just kidding . . . I just wanted to muster up some offense at someone somewhere]

; > )

[395] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 08:43 AM · [top]

wow good morning Friday

[396] Posted by ewart-touzot on 10-23-2009 at 08:48 AM · [top]

Well, I’m offended because this thread has generated almost 400 comments without a single song dedication!

What is wrong with you people?

Anyway, this one goes out to Catholic Mom:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f72CTDe4-0&feature=related

You da bomb! cool smile

P. S.  Carl, please come home.  All is forgiven.

OK . . . not all, but we still need you!

[397] Posted by episcopalienated on 10-23-2009 at 09:04 AM · [top]

RE: “Catholic Mom,  you are not fair to Anglicans at least when you say they couldn’t explain sacramentality on the spot.”

Yes . . . HOW DARE YOU CATHOLIC MOM!!!!!!!

I didn’t say it!!  Oy—I am going to take a new handle.  From now on I will be Hindu Dad.  You will DEFINITELY notice which comments about religion come from Hindu Dad and which from run-of-the-mill Catholics.

Both Protestants and Rome are often in error each in their own way, and the differences show up strikingly in church history as the sins of both types of churches reveal themselves clearly down through the centuries.  Doctrine matters, and theology has living practical effect on both individuals and organizations.  “We are doomed to live out our theology” and live it out we do, both as churches and as individuals.  Where we have allowed heresy to take root—as all Christians and all churches do—that heresy will eventually always show up in broken lives and broken churches.  Doctrine has consequences. 

Well, you don’t accept Calvinist doctrine, you believe that Roman Catholicism is shot through with error, you have problems with the Presbyterians (also presumably the Baptists), you’re not Orthodox, you believe (and I’ll go with you there) that the highest leadership of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is rife with heresey.  So there is one very little narrow road of truth which you cling to which probably is held by less than 1% of Christians worldwide.  Would you generally agree with that statement?  Or do you think your views are held by a numerically larger segment?

Jesus said that “straight is the gate and narrow is the way” but I don’t think he meant that 99% of Christians were going to stumble around in falsehood.  And, of course, since you don’t accept the teachings of any church AS teachings (that is, if you agree with them, you accept them but you don’t agree with them BECAUSE they are the teachings) you don’t have any real confidence that YOU are not in fact stumbling around in error.  So that, in reality, you need to be constantly studying and thinking about and analyzing all possible Christian positions to be sure that yours is the true one.

Hindu Dad

[398] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 09:04 AM · [top]

episcopalienated—I used to think that song was hysterical when I was 13.  (It’s exactly the kind of thing you do think is hysterical when you’re 13.)  However, my mother was greatly offended by the phrase “chew the wafer” (we don’t chew, or we didn’t)—which she thought was gratuitiously sacreligious.  (I mean, what with the rest of the song being so reverent and all.)

Hindu Dad

[399] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 09:13 AM · [top]

[397] Posted by episcopalienated

P. S.  Carl, please come home.  All is forgiven.

I did come home last night.  At 1:00 am in the morning.  And I wasn’t lighting a candle.  I was cursing O’Hare Int’l Airport - That Which Devours Airline Schedules.  Oh, wait.  You mean that home.

OK . . . not all, but we still need you!

Of course you need me.  To bring the light of the Reformation to Roman Darkness.  I shall endeavor to do my best.  Post tenebras Lux. wink

carl

[400] Posted by carl on 10-23-2009 at 09:14 AM · [top]

RE: “Well, you don’t accept Calvinist doctrine, you believe that Roman Catholicism is shot through with error, you have problems with the Presbyterians (also presumably the Baptists), you’re not Orthodox, you believe (and I’ll go with you there) that the highest leadership of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is rife with heresey.  So there is one very little narrow road of truth which you cling to which probably is held by less than 1% of Christians worldwide.  Would you generally agree with that statement?  Or do you think your views are held by a numerically larger segment?”

Congratulations—you’ve just described an Anglican!  One correction—I do not believe that *the Anglican Communion* is rife with heresy—or rather, any more rife than any other church, nor am I aware of most of those heresies, though I could scrape up a few.  Fortunately for my ego, despite TEC falling off the cliff, I’m with millions of people within the Anglican Communion.  ; > )

But hey—even were my views held only by 1% of Christians, I’d have some company in Athanasius.

Thankfully I haven’t had to descend that “low,” however.

RE: “I don’t think he meant that 99% of Christians were going to stumble around in falsehood.”

Now see . . . here we are back in the land of Schori and Griswold who—along with you—also don’t care for the whole idea of “what hopeless screw ups human beings are.”

Not only do I believe that 99% of Christians stumble around in falsehood—I believe that 100% of Christians stumble around in falsehood!!!

RE: ” . . . you don’t have any real confidence that YOU are not in fact stumbling around in error.”

Not only have I no real confidence that I am not in fact stumbling around in error—I have real confidence that I *am* stumbling around in error, though unseen!

RE: “So that, in reality, you need to be constantly studying and thinking about and analyzing all possible Christian positions to be sure that yours is the true one.”

Yes indeed—as I hope all Christians do.  But of course . . . Roman Catholics are helpfully insulated from that truth by their church’s institutionalization of that particular delusion to which I’ve already referred above.

[401] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 09:20 AM · [top]

episcopalienated,

I don’t think Original Sin, the Angel Gabriel’s words to to the Mother of God, or bending the knee to Jesus Christ our Lord are funny—but then again, I’m Catholic.

[402] Posted by Clare on 10-23-2009 at 09:38 AM · [top]

RE: “We believe Christ meant to found a church,  that he picked the apostles to be its leaders and Peter to be their leader,  that he intended for this office to survive until He comes again.  We believe that Church is meant to have a visible structure and a visible unity, and we believe that it is promised that the Holy Spirit will not allow it to preach falsehood.”

Precisely—and Protestants don’t believe those things at all and that pretty much identifies a part of the divide instantly.

Thank you, Sarah, for being so straightforward (#390).  When you say that Protestants don’t believe “those things at all,” I assume you mean that Protestants don’t believe any of the propositions stated.  In that case, and, if, in spite of Matthew 16:18-19, John 20:21-23 and 21:15-19, you don’t believe that Christ meant to found a Church, and that He placed Peter and the Apostles at the head of that Church, I’d say the discussion is pretty much over.

[403] Posted by slcath on 10-23-2009 at 09:41 AM · [top]

RE: “I assume you mean that Protestants don’t believe any of the propositions stated.”

You are welcome to assume as you please.  But then . . . you already know what Protestants believe about the claims of Rome about itself.  ; > )

RE: “I’d say the discussion is pretty much over.”

As I said above . . .

“Certainly the “discussion” may end.  But thankfully, the mutually opposing assertions of Roman Catholics and Protestants don’t end at all, as this thread demonstrates.  ; > )”

[404] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 09:46 AM · [top]

Far far above there was a minor rabbit trail about TEC and Anglicanism and the broadness of the people who are able to become members of it but not of other churches.

Here’s an excerpt from an email from a TEC priest that dropped into my box just a couple of days ago that illustrates further what I have mentioned about my own decisions.

“There are more differences between Rome and Anglicanism than married clergy and Liturgy.  In fact, if I, personally, could have embraced the dogma above [which he lists in the email], I would most likely have become a Roman Catholic priest.  I explored the Church of Rome in depth when I was in college, and had several conversations with Scott Butler (a disciple of Scott Hahn) on the topic.  In the end, I could not come to embrace these as dogma.  For me, it was not about celibacy (I was not married and had no plan to become married at the time) nor was it about liturgy (I was a United Methodist at the time, and Anglican Liturgy was just as foreign as Roman Catholic).  For me the issue was about authority, and where does authority reside.  My conviction was, and remains, that authority resides in Christ who reveals truth through scripture as the church catholic interprets that scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Personally, I would have no problem with a doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.  I do have some issues with Papal Infallibility.  The real sticking point for me is the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  It removes redemption from history i.e. the grace of the work of Christ on the cross is applied to Mary before the incarnation took place.  Further, the dogma requires belief that Mary lived without sin throughout her whole life.  All of this was in response to the notions of the Greek Philosophers that sin is passed from the mother to the child at conception.  Those who convert to the Roman Catholic Church will have to embrace this as dogma.

Is this something that Anglicans can embrace?  About now someone is probably asking, “What about the issues in the Episcopal Church?  They are just as bad aren’t they?”  Well, yes and no.  I have a wide latitude to express disagreement in the Episcopal Church.  They may not like it sometimes.  Many will not listen.  But I have that latitude, and as long as I do it correctly, at this point, no one is going to depose me.  That may change, or it may not.  If I were a priest in the Roman Catholic Church and said that I do not believe the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and certain people heard me say that, I would be deposed.

[405] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 09:50 AM · [top]

Heavens above! Miss a couple of days on vacation, and look what happens…

Shame on the Pope for such an unchristian, and I think crass, attempt at proselytizing…By disrespecting the Archbishop of Canterbury in this way, he has spit in the face of all those who suffered and died to be free of the tyranny of Rome. Not just those inside the Communion, but those outside as well…The Pope is not offering to recognize the legitimacy of Anglican Orders, or our fundamentally Catholic status as part of the true Church, our history and tradition, no, he is inviting those with a sense that they are not legitimate to come play Anglican under Roman rule…Sort of like Obama and Fox News, the Chamber of Commerce, etc…

It would be hard for a “Prayer Book Catholic,” like myself, to accept the novelties of Rome, the Immaculate Conception, St. Mary as the “Queen of Heaven” (though I love Mary and her example, as mother of her children, and wife of Joseph, and faithfulness to Jesus), The primacy of Peter (let alone the Papacy), Adoration of Saints, and the like…Even though TEC has lapsed as an institution, we are still part of the Catholic Church, as are those Anglicans outside the Communion…It is time for Anglicanism to circle the wagons…There are ravening wolves afoot, and they will devour us in division, but cannot prevail if we are united in preserving Anglicanism…Wolves do not always take the form of the world, the flesh, and the devil, but sometimes dress in the plume of religiosity.

Why exchange uncloseted homosexuality, for that hidden from view? The Pope should remove the odor of the stench of scandal from his own community, before promising to cleanse another by mere association with a man…Let us look to God for our salvation…

[406] Posted by FrVan on 10-23-2009 at 09:57 AM · [top]

<blockquote<It removes redemption from history i.e. the grace of the work of Christ on the cross is applied to Mary before the incarnation took place.</blockquote>

I’m going out on a limb theologically, but I was kinda under the impression that the saving grace of the work of Christ was applied to Abraham, Moses, and other faithful Jews before the incarnation, albiet in a somewhat different fashion.  They were saved by their faith in God’s promises.

Further, the dogma requires belief that Mary lived without sin throughout her whole life. All
of this was in response to the notions of the Greek Philosophers that sin is passed from the mother to the child at conception.

Whereas I would say that the Sin nature is passed from both parents at conception, but I tend not to hold with theories that the guilt of Original Sin is passed on.

[407] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 09:57 AM · [top]

attempt at proselytizing

Could someone please explain to me why proselytization is a bad thing? 

he has spit in the face of all those who suffered and died to be free of the tyranny of Rome

He is responding to the requests of those that have explicity expressed a desire to join Rome. 

The Pope is not offering to recognize the legitimacy of Anglican Orders, or our fundamentally Catholic status as part of the true Church, our history and tradition

Yep, the Pope is Roman Catholic.  Big suprise, uh?

[408] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 10:04 AM · [top]

Here is an interesting graphic from the Times of London on people they think that will take the pope up on the offer:

http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/pdfs/church.pdf

[409] Posted by robroy on 10-23-2009 at 10:10 AM · [top]

and, if, in spite of Matthew 16:18-19, John 20:21-23 and 21:15-19, you don’t believe that Christ meant to found a Church, and that He placed Peter and the Apostles at the head of that Church, I’d say the discussion is pretty much over.

I believe Christ put Peter at the head of the church - I don’t know why one wouldn’t - I just don’t believe he put the bishop of Rome at the head of the church in perpetuity. And I say that as, generally, an admirer of Pope Benedict.

[410] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 10:13 AM · [top]

Uh oh—Fr Van has noticed this thread!  ; > )

Fr Van we have been in long and happy agreement about so many things.

But don’t you think it’s a good thing for people—who believe as Rome does—to be able to join up with Rome smoothly and with less impediment?

I really do.  I don’t think that is proselytizing . . . I think it is just kind and gracious.  He and JPII have been pled with about this for decades now . . . they have finally acted in response.  Why is that so bad?

Although I’d love for everyone to Convert Now To Anglicanism and Agree With Me—in the absence of that, surely we can all agree that it is best for folks to be in the groups with which they agree.  We don’t want to hold people by force—or even massive inconvenience—if they agree with the group “over there.”  I can’t imagine being in the situation that the AngloCatholics have been in—particularly right now in the COE.  Surely we wish them well and a place to go to practice their faith as they believe?

I would also add, as a side note, that had the ABC been more zealous at guarding the faith and shielding the unity of the Anglican Communion the offer of Rome would not look *nearly* so attractive as it does to some.  This is in large part his failure as much as the generosity of Rome.

[411] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 10:15 AM · [top]

As an interesting side note to all . . . earlier this week I was in the grocery store at the meat counter.  As I was waiting for meat and cheese, one of the employees who is a lapsed liberal Episcopalian [???] shot over to me and said “oh Sarah . . . you like theology and church stuff . . . what do you make of the whole offer of the Pope to Anglicans?”

AH HAH!!!! Like music to my ears a question like that . . . I then waxed eloquent for a good 10 minutes as she inserted various comments and questions . . .

She was unaware of TAC and the fact that this had all started decades ago, but also was impelled in part by the ongoing fragmentation of Anglicanism in general as an ecumenical partner.  Even as a liberal she acknowledged that Anglicanism was melting down—she could clearly see it.

I just thought I would add that little note as an interesting aside . . .

[412] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 10:20 AM · [top]

Sarah, I thought I was getting my head around your position, but then in 404 you quote an email (and say it illustrates your position):

“They may not like it sometimes.  Many will not listen.  But I have that latitude, and as long as I do it correctly, at this point, no one is going to depose me.  That may change, or it may not.  If I were a priest in the Roman Catholic Church and said that I do not believe the dogma of the Immaculate Conception and certain people heard me say that, I would be deposed.”

So, now I’m confused again, is doctrine important or not? If it’s important, than having an “inclusive” church where anybody can say almost anything seems, at best, odd. If it’s important, shouldn’t people (in particular church teachers) who teach false doctrine BE DISPOSED?

[413] Posted by RandomJoe on 10-23-2009 at 10:20 AM · [top]

FrVan,
Why don’t you tell us how you really feel? smile
 
The Pope has made an offer, it is up to others whether to accept. 
It is a gracious offer to those who would be interested and if you fear it as a form of poaching maybe you should look to your own place and ask why someone there might prefer to move.

As Sarah so often says, each must choose for their own reasons.  Now we have a new option to consider.

Peace and Blessings

[414] Posted by Elizabeth on 10-23-2009 at 10:24 AM · [top]

Dear Sarah:
  I have no problem with people going Rome-ward, at all (though I know you don’t mean Georgia), they are a part of the Christian Church after all…But, I don’t want some misled by the seeming acceptance of the tenants and expression of Anglicanism, they will gut it of that…I also think the two weeks notice given +++Rowan by +++++++++Benedict shows a certain disingenuous sense of Roman conversations…But, I offer my earlier statement in the spirit of unity and love that I am sure this announcement was given by the Pope to the ABC…As the PB might say “unity, unity, all is unity…” wink

[415] Posted by FrVan on 10-23-2009 at 10:31 AM · [top]

Hi Random Joe—it illustrates this particular position here [about why I couldn’t go to Rome or the PCA]—I’m quoting from above in the thread:

Why is it that when I point out something about which there have been many many complaints regarding TEC—namely that “they don’t make anyone believe anything”—and then apply it to the opposite issue, which is that there are numerous people like me who can’t join more stringent denominations because it would be a lie, but that thankfully TEC does not ask of me to believe certain things that I don’t believe, that that now is somehow a bad thing.  I think we all need to face the fact that TEC—and Anglicanism in general—is a general “broad” church in that it isn’t all that particular about what people believe.  This can be a curse.  And for people like me who are NOT Calvinists and NOT Roman Catholic—it can be a blessing.

I agree that people who teach heresy should be deposed.

That does not happen in TEC.  The good guys get deposed.  But the particular practices that churches take for driving off false doctrine is a different matter from which churches individuals may be a part of . . .

That email I quoted is just one example [of many] of people within Anglicanism who have wrestled with their church choices and have for reasons of conscience decided to choose Anglicanism.

I should add that the priest in question is one of only a few traditional Episcopal clergy in his diocese, and fights the good fight every single day.

I have immense respect for him.  He is a warrior.

[416] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 10:41 AM · [top]

Shall I put you down for the weekly Bingo night, Father Van?  Or do you have other plans that involve torches and pitchforks?

[417] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-23-2009 at 10:43 AM · [top]

I have ominous feelings that this thread will be closed . . . so I’ll need to get my final licks in . . .

RE: Roman Catholics

Papish ways!!!!!  Bloody Mary!!!!!, [etc, etc, etc]

RE: PCA

Fundamentalists!!!!!  Hyper Calvinists!!!!!! 

RE: Liturgical Dance

BAD—NOT TRUE ANGLICAN

RE: Seeker-sensitive praise tunes

BAD—NOT TRUE ANGLICAN

RE: Waving hands at worship

BAD—NOT TRUE ANGLICAN

RE: Choral chants

GOOD—TRULY ANGLICAN

[418] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 10:46 AM · [top]

I am very sad at Father Van’s post as I have a great respect for him and to find out his contempt for the Catholic church, does sting.

I am one of those Catholics who are rejoicing that house cleaning is going on.  Both in regards to candidates for seminary and in regards to religious orders who have strayed very far from the mission of the Church.  That being said I also believe we will never have a scandal free Church.  Because very simply we are sinners.  Bottom line sin is what gives grief to this world and to the Church.  Some sin is sin of ignorance but other sin
is the willfull attempt to destroy the Church.  And I will argue that all Christian bodies have within them those who seem determined to cast out even those teachings we share without qualification. 

The battle we fight is not just outside the walls of Christianity but within them as well.  What do you think gladdens the dark heart of Satan more?  The loss of an amoral non believer or one who was raised up to believe, did believe, but listened to the likes of Spong and embraced his poisons? 

Doctrine does matter.  But at this point in history I think it is bit like making sure the fires in the hearth are stoked while all around us the roof is burning down.

God keep and sustain all those who labor for Him.  So that they may bring the light of Christ to the many who are in need.  That is my hope and prayer.

[419] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-23-2009 at 10:53 AM · [top]

Paula, I don’t think Fr Van really holds your church in contempt.

I think rather that he is very zealous for the unity of Anglicanism, and feels it threatened by the Pope’s action.

He’s said as bad things about ACNA too, remember!!!!

Think of him as a traditional Episcopalian who hates seeing what is happening to his church and who lashes out occasionally . . . he has passion which overflows sometimes, but will ebb back a little when he ponders.

I imagine this post and its contents have been a shock to him—420 comments!

[420] Posted by Sarah on 10-23-2009 at 11:01 AM · [top]

My apologies to anyone who was offended by the Vatican Rag.

And if you find any You Tube videos featuring Broadway Show tunes and Anglican liturgy, please, please, please share them with me!  LOL

[421] Posted by episcopalienated on 10-23-2009 at 11:11 AM · [top]

Paula, I think for many Anglicans this news has been something to struggle with, while others welcome it - which means more division in a church already woefully divided. I am glad provision is being made for Anglicans who can accept all the tenets of the Catholic faith. But I am very sad if this means a permanent rift among people who have worshiped together faithfully for several centuries. It would be unrealistic to expect that everyone is going to welcome what brings further division. Or even to view it calmly. You may have noticed that not everyone feels charitably toward the ACNA either?

I think the greatest indictment of ++Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury is that because he refused to actively seek the preservation of the orthodox heart of the church, he has left Anglicans to seek their own solutions, opening the door to a shattering of the communion, to people running this way and that, like refugees from a catastrophe. Which it is.

Had he acted to discipline the church, its orthodox heart, its true via media (as opposed to the one revisionists have made up) could have been saved. Now there are so many Anglican - and now Catholic - options that it will take the will and commitment of a great many people, in the Church of England and elsewhere, to preserve what Anglicans hold dear. If AngloCatholics and Evangelicals can no longer worship together, minister together - well, I find that a heartbreaking thought.

[422] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 11:11 AM · [top]

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah….. you know you can do anything at an Episcopal service, even sacrifice a chicken or set loose the liturgical mimes, as long as it is done decently and in order. tongue wink

[423] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-23-2009 at 11:19 AM · [top]

Sarah and Ocsewicee, thank you for putting things in perspective.  And Episcopalienated, if you mean Tom Lehrer’s Vatican Rag, I am a big fan of his, so no offense there.  I don’t have to agree with every line of a song to find it very amusing.

[424] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-23-2009 at 11:22 AM · [top]

I don’t think all of these comments mean that we are any more divided, for me they indicate the reaction to different options available..I think that we can all agree that our beloved church has gone in an awful direction..on that we are not divided..so the result is what are we going to about it .... some of us are going to stay, some of us are going to Rome, some of us are going to various Anglican churches , some of us will go to other protestant churches and unfortunately some of us will stop going to church altogether

[425] Posted by ewart-touzot on 10-23-2009 at 11:28 AM · [top]

Sarah in 390 said:

[quoting me:]“All of this leads me to ask whether Jesus intended his followers to be first and foremost students of scriptural minutia.” Of course . . . the doctrines to which we are referring are not minutia at all . . . neither Romans nor Protestants believe that.

Sarah, it is my fault for including a generalization which could be clipped and presented out of context.

In context, I was referring to the implied academic reality behind these doctrinal differences including a canon within a canon, historical and texual criticism, the pitting of the Pauline corpus against the Gospels and St. James, and even sometimes pitting St. Paul against himself.  Furthermore, there are worthy arguments that Paul was not speaking against the good works Christ obliges his disciples to perform, but works of the Mosaic Law. 

That Calvinists depend on the evidence of an upright life to confirm their assurance of salvation further complicates the matter.  If the difference between Catholics and many Protestants is that one sees works as a cooperation with grace and the other sees works as evidence of a salvation already granted, then this is indeed a fairly academic matter.  It is a splitting of hairs.

Earlier in the 20th Century, when many Calvinists were more purist about their good works, it was common (in the Virginia where I grew up), for them to dismiss a Mother Teresa as the worst kind of works-righteousness Christian who was likely destined to hell for her presumption.  Evangelicals in Latin America (in particular in Haiti where I had served) were known for preaching viciously against the Catholic Church and handing out bibles but doing little to improve the lives of their new flocks.  Today Evangelicals have mounted huge campaigns bringing food, clothing, education and health care to the poor.

Does it really make a difference whether a Catholic gives a bowl of soup or a Calvinist does?  The Catholic sees in the giving of a bowl of soup a participation in divine grace.  He sees in this work of mercy Christ serving and Christ being served.  Perhaps some Calvinists might see in the act an evidence of his salvation, or merely a strategy of evangelization.  I would not know.  But, in the eyes of Christ who taught “When I was hungry…” does it really matter?  I am not so sure it does.  Christ taught us to feed the hungry and did not warn us to be sure we got our theology right before doing so.  Afterall, motivations are always mixed are they not?

If I were to preach on the distinctions between Protestant and Catholic soteriology on a Sunday, my congregation would become easily distracted, a chorus of coughs and cleared throats would gather and threaten to drown me out.  Your average faithful Catholic is not interested in a rehearsal of 16th Century debates on the mechanics of salvation.  And, I think they are right in not being absolutely mesmerized by this topic.  They, like Christ, prefer a practical theology that informs their everyday lives, and that helps them discern divine action in their world.  I don’t blame them.

So, yes, I think that many Protestants need to emphasize these distinctions though they have little or no practical difference, because it is how they justify their separation from the Mother Church.  It is remarkable how rarely Protestantism comes up in a Catholic homily and how often Catholicism comes up for good or ill in Protestant sermons.

So, my point remains that it is not necessary to understand and articulate the finer points of salvation theology to be a good Christian.  And, such debates only serve to preserve a divided body which is precisely what Christ most fervently prayed against in is final hours.

[426] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 11:29 AM · [top]

Paula, my apologies, but understand, as I said in my second post, that I do understand RC’s to be Christian…Scary how well Sarah understands me…Well, my ebb has flowed, onto to other windmills…

[427] Posted by FrVan on 10-23-2009 at 11:29 AM · [top]

Fr. Van, Thanks for the clarification and apologies accepted on one condition you accept mine for my intemperate remark about torches and pitchforks.

And though I am glad that the Pope has made his offer, it distressed me that people are put in a position that they have to seek refuge from a church they put so much of their hearts in.

[428] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-23-2009 at 11:35 AM · [top]

Folks!  Please try to keep your Catholics straight!

You are right.  I responded to the wrong person.  If there is one thing I do not claim it is infallibility in keeping straight the various contributors in Stand Firm threads. Mea Maximum Culpa!  I will do any penance requested.  Within reason.  Nothing demanding crawling on my bloodied knees to any distant shrines. grin

[429] Posted by William Witt on 10-23-2009 at 11:38 AM · [top]

Aargh!  Messed up the Latin! Mea maxima culpa! Another reason I would be a bad Catholic . . .

[430] Posted by William Witt on 10-23-2009 at 11:41 AM · [top]

[421] episcopalienated

My apologies to anyone who was offended by the Vatican Rag.

Worry not, we Catholics and our Church have suffered and survived far worse.  And, taking hits for Christ’s Mystical Body has always been part of being Catholic.  It is a duty and a privilege.  So, thank you. And may God bless you!  wink

  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…”  Matthew 5:44 (KJV)

[431] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 11:43 AM · [top]

Fr.J? Interesting way to accept an apology.

[432] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 11:50 AM · [top]

Folks!  Please try to keep your Catholics straight!

Guilty! <raises hand>  Earlier in this thread, say 5 or 8 dozen comments ago, I attributed to Susan Peterson something that Catholic Mom had said about “distinctions without differences.”  Apologies.

[433] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 11:53 AM · [top]

Can someone please tell me what a “tulip Calvinist” is?

[434] Posted by sandraoh on 10-23-2009 at 11:55 AM · [top]

A tulip Calvinist is one who is a member of the Dutch Reformed Church.  Sheesh, do we gotta state the obvious???  Put Winky Face here.

[435] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-23-2009 at 12:15 PM · [top]

oscewicee:

Fr.J? Interesting way to accept an apology.

No worries, I will take my absolution and penance in whatever form it comes.

Unlike Dr. Witt, I could even handle bloody knees, but it looks like Father J is letting me off the hook.

I firmly resolve to go and curse, hate, despitefully use, and persecute no more.  And spend less time on You Tube.

As long as no one says anything bad about Tom Lehrer.  That I could not stand.

He’s just a nice Jewish boy from New York who made good.  I’m sure he doesn’t have a sacrilegious bone in his body.

Let me take the hit on this one.  Besides, I can always blame it on Carl’s evil influence, which should make him very happy.

You see, it’s a “win - win” situation.  grin

[436] Posted by episcopalienated on 10-23-2009 at 12:18 PM · [top]

Re C. Wingate 423:
I once saw liturgical mimes in one of the leading evangelical churches in Toronto and have not recovered from the shock to this day. Particularly since I was sitting at the back of the church and the mime suddenly materialized right beside me, dressed in their scary clown outfit. She was looking for something. Either Jesus or her voicebox, never figured that out.

[437] Posted by Toral1 on 10-23-2009 at 12:18 PM · [top]

Toral1,  It is in poor taste to tell horror stories on a religious blog without at least giving us a heads up.  I know Halloween is just around the corner, but restrain yourself and quit trying to scare us!!!

[438] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 10-23-2009 at 12:26 PM · [top]

I firmly resolve to go and curse, hate, despitefully use, and persecute no more.

Well. That’s a relief. wink

[439] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 12:29 PM · [top]

Torall, upon seeing those pictures of the clown mass at Trinity Wall Street, I just knew that the guy in the horned helmet with the cymbals had a liturgy in front of him that said

Holy, crash Holy, crash Holy Lord, crash
God of power and might. crash
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest. crash
Blessed is the one that comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. Long roll

The people stand or kneel.

[440] Posted by C. Wingate on 10-23-2009 at 12:36 PM · [top]

Just a suggestion for folks: obtain a copy of the catechism and read it. Pray for guidance. Read the constitution when it comes out in a few weeks. Pray some more…. This is a momentous event, and one shouldn’t hurry, but the Holy Father is being kind and pastoral in his offer. I just hope he doesn’t regret it.

[441] Posted by via orthodoxy on 10-23-2009 at 12:49 PM · [top]

I agree that people who teach heresy should be deposed.

But what the heck IS heresy in the Episcopal Church?  You have stated that you don’t really HAVE to assert anything to be an Anglican, which works out great for you because there is no actual Christian teaching authority on earth that you are in complete agreement with. 

I mean, are we talking about a direct refutation of the Nicene creed or something?  Even then does the person have to get up and say “The Nicene Creed! Bah! Humbug!” or is it sufficient to say something that logically is at odds with the Nicene Creed?  And who decides that?  I mean when KJS says “Jesus is one way to the divine” and everybody jumps on her as a “heretic” who actually makes that call in Anglicanism?  That statement, while it is certainly heterodox, does not obviously and directly refute any single line in the Nicene Creed.  So where is the catechism against which you judge heresy??  You are delighted that there is no set of “official” Anglican teachings which an Anglican is required to assent to, yet you say “people who teach heresy should be deposed.”  Explain, please.

[442] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 12:54 PM · [top]

On the faith/good works debate, it might be useful to quote the final lines of the ‘Prayer for England’, written by Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val and still said at Benediction. It’s a prayer to the Blessed Virgin, which obviously is anathema to Protestants (and to me till I converted from evangelical Protestantism to Catholicism 11 years ago), but it might show, all the same, that there’s less difference between positions on justification than one might assume:

“Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith, fruitful in good works, we may all be counted worthy to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home.”

It’s obviously still possible to draw fine distinctions between the various theologies of justification (Newman is very funny on this in Loss and Gain), but I doubt whether anyone’s salvation is dependent on picking the right variant.

[443] Posted by Ex-Anglican Sue on 10-23-2009 at 01:07 PM · [top]

[436]  episcopalienated:

No worries, I will take my absolution and penance in whatever form it comes.

Unlike Dr. Witt, I could even handle bloody knees, but it looks like Father J is letting me off the hook.

I firmly resolve to go and curse, hate, despitefully use, and persecute no more.  And spend less time on You Tube.

Im likin ur style, brother!

[444] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 01:22 PM · [top]

Guys,
I believe this thread may well have the highest comment count in the history of Anglican blogs.  big surprise

Unfortuantely,  the large amount of comments are causing loading problems and I will be closing the thread to comments at 5:00 P.M.  CST

Thank you all for your comments.

[445] Posted by Jackie on 10-23-2009 at 01:47 PM · [top]

eulogos,
If I understand veneration properly the stained glass of the Lord on the Cross, which brings me to near tears as its light falls on me during morning worship counts. 

If I understand the Councils aright, veneration is permitted, not required (nor to be rejected).

Catholic Mom,
The Current RCC dogma isn’t the same as it was back when Anselm was dealing with Married Bishops in England….

Rome is Christian, but I’ll stick with definition of catholic associated with Athanasius (Doctor of the Church, Father of Orthodoxy), one that doesn’t require acceptance of the Immaculate Conception, the supremacy of Rome, or Celibate Bishops, but does stress the Triune God.

[446] Posted by Bo on 10-23-2009 at 01:56 PM · [top]

I think this will be an interesting discussion at the next USCCB meeting.  Many Eastern Rite Bishops are interested in renewing their rite to ordain married men.  If the Holy Father allows this to go through, the late Bishop Ireland will be rolling over in his grave. 
The Eastern Rite Catholics, having always been proud of their liturgical and cultural heritage, will also demand that American Eastern Rite Priest can be married prior to ordination.

[447] Posted by donny1 on 10-23-2009 at 02:15 PM · [top]

Before this thread closes, I must quote Newman again from his sermon “The Second Spring” (1852), preached on the occasion of the restoration in the nineteenth century of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England, after centuries of absence.  I don’t say I agree fully with this perspective (still thinking about the Papal offer), but these lines came to my mind when the offer was made, with the ABC looking diminished and the Pope planning his journey to England.  Surely Newman captures much about the history of Catholicism in England:

“Three centuries ago [written in 1852], and the Catholic Church . . . stood in this land in pride of place. It had the honours of near a thousand years upon it; it was enthroned in some twenty sees up and down the broad country; . . . and it was ennobled by a host of Saints and Martyrs. . . .  Canterbury alone numbered perhaps some sixteen, from St. Augustine to St. Dunstan and St. Elphege, from St. Anselm and St. Thomas down to St. Edmund. York had its St. Paulinus, St. John, St. Wilfrid, and St. William; London, its St. Erconwald; Durham, its St. Cuthbert; Winton, its St. Swithun. Then there were St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, and St. Hugh of Lincoln, and St. Chad of Lichfield, and St. Thomas of Hereford, and St. Oswald and St. Wulstan of Worcester, and St. Osmund of Salisbury, and St. Birinus of Dorchester, and St. Richard of Chichester. . . .

“But it was the high decree of heaven, that the majesty of that presence should be blotted out. . . . The presence of Catholicism was at length simply removed,—its grace disowned,—its power despised,—its name, except as a matter of history, at length almost unknown. . . .
...................
“O my Fathers, my Brothers . . . . Shall the past be rolled back? Shall the grave open?  Shall the Saxons live again to God? . . . Yes; for grace can, where nature cannot.  The world grows old, but the Church is ever young. . . .  “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come. . . .  Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength into that north country, which once was thine own, and take possession of a land which knows thee not.  A second temple rises on the ruins of the old.  Canterbury has gone its way, and York is gone, and Durham is gone, and Winchester is gone. It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to nought; but the Church in England has died, and the Church lives again. Westminster and Nottingham, Beverley and Hexham, Northampton and Shrewsbury, if the world lasts, shall be names as musical to the ear, as stirring to the heart, as the glories we have lost . . . .”

[448] Posted by Paula on 10-23-2009 at 02:25 PM · [top]

yet you say “people who teach heresy should be deposed.”  Explain, please.

I assume that the writer you criticizes means that someone sitting in Rome deciding who is a heretic should be deposed. Yes indeed, that form of arrogance is one of the more offensive aspects of the RCC. Actually the word heresy comes from the Greek word choose, like free will, reason and so on. You can read the history of burnings, trials, strangling etc of heretics to realize just how dangerous it is for people in authority to determine who are heretics, who should be deposed from their jobs, who should be denied communion, who supports choice . . . . On the other hand maybe the Anglicans err by being too lax but better that than lecture everyone else . . . fix the beam in your own eye. I remember my RC days very fondly, but I am not sure I want to join the current lot, just imagine a church full of Catholic Moms!! Fortunately, it appears that the Pope’s offer does not involve that

Thank you Standfirm for allowing this huge number of blogs!!!!!

[449] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-23-2009 at 02:34 PM · [top]

This is the most interesting and informative thread in my 2 years and 3 months as an SFIF member.

I have particularly found Catholic Mom, eulogos, Fr. J., Fr.Kimel, H.Potter and Sarah serving as sort of an interlocutor, particularly helpful; without agreeing entirely with any of them, I think I understand what they are saying and I have learned and benefitted from their comments.  Thanks!

I have found Dr. Witt’s fulsome comments both interesting and informative, with the informative component a bit diminished early-on by difficulty getting my brain wrapped around what he was saying, what he was trying to accomplish. I have continued to work at it.  At first, I simply didn’t get what Dr. Witt was trying to say; I felt wit-less.  I progressed to a point where I thought I understood about half of it; I felt a half-wit.  Then it began to come together, sort of as a fabric created by knitting together the threads of his expressed thoughts, I got it;  I now feel a knit-wit.  ; < )

[450] Posted by Ol' Bob on 10-23-2009 at 02:35 PM · [top]

Quick, somebody, give us an Anglican divine. grin

[451] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 02:40 PM · [top]

yet you say “people who teach heresy should be deposed.”  Explain, please.

I assume that the writer you criticizes means that someone sitting in Rome deciding who is a heretic should be deposed

The writer was Sarah agreeing that Anglican clergy who teach heresy should be deposed.  Not reading the actual posts is one way to get through a 400+ post thread but it makes so much more work for the rest of us.

[452] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 02:43 PM · [top]

[127] TridentineVirginian,

Thank you for the referral to the Church of the North American Martyrs. However, Blessed Sacrament parish very much meets our needs as well as any non-Anglican Use parish might be expected to do. I see that I left out a key datum in my post at [75]—my wife is a cradle Episcopalian, so the language and music she so cherishes is Anglican/Episcopalian (Hymnal 1940, BCP 1979). By omitting that, I may have incorrectly given the impression that she missed the Latin Mass.

Blessed Sacrament parish has, by a very wide margin, the best sacred music (particularly at 10:30 and noon Masses) of any Catholic Church I have experienced (excepting perhaps the Cathedral), and that is in large part owing to the Director of Liturgy and Music, who adores Anglican sacred music, as well as Gregorian chant, etc., etc. The music at those Masses is always largely transcendent for me (which is a strong personal desideratum) and which means mostly composed before (generally well before) 1900.

But that is probably sufficient commenting that is off-topic on that vein.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[453] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-23-2009 at 02:44 PM · [top]

Catholic Mom wrote:

Yet Henry VIII sat for years waiting for papal approval to dissolve his marriage.  Nothing could be done while legates went back and forth from Rome.  He attempted to pull strings with close relatives of the Pope, etc. etc. etc.  And finally, when it became apparent that approval would not be forth (or ever) coming, he had to had to take special legal action to declare that in fact he was NOT bound by the decisions of Rome.

The above is simply not consistent with the facts. Do you know where the Pope was during much of this time? Do you even know his name? Are you familiar with the many laws passed by prior English monarchs both to curtail the Popes temporal power and to prevent the huge accumulation of wealth in the monasteries not to mention the lax behavior of the monks? Have you heard of Praemunire? At least if you are going to toot the RC horn, get it right or else, as your husband says, ‘dream on’

[454] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-23-2009 at 02:53 PM · [top]

Hey #447, the American Eastern Rite Eparchies have been ordaining married men for at least the past thirty years.  I know that wasn’t always allowed,  but it is now.

[455] Posted by loyal opposition on 10-23-2009 at 02:58 PM · [top]

Catholic Mom, or Hindu Dad, do you think it would help if messages were color-coded? grin I think we’d run out of colors on this thread, even if we each took only one.

[456] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 03:00 PM · [top]

[149] tjmcmahon,

You are correct that

…the Sarum rite we did in English predated the Tridentine….

By something of the order of four and a half centuries, if Wikipedia is correct. According to that source, the Sarum rite dates to St. Osmund, appointed there by William of Normandy (aka “the Conqueror” or “the bastard”) in 1078. The Tridentine Mass was standardized by the Council of Trent (hence the name, although I am at a loss to understand how the adjectival form of Trent is Tridentine, which seems to have more to do with counting teeth than with the distinctly different name of a city in Europe) in the mid-sixteenth century.

And allow me to add that I concur with Paul Stead’s affirmation (@ comment [151]) of your statement that it is about what God wants each of us to do. I received my answer in September of last year in a manner that I can only describe as unmistakable. I simply read a lot of comments seeming rather to say that the author of the comment is not prepared to alter his or her individual beliefs, rather than that he/she has not yet been led by God to an answer.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[457] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-23-2009 at 03:04 PM · [top]

Sarah in 416.

I agree that people who teach heresy should be deposed.

This require are fair amount of functioning machinery to accomplish, plus a willing spirit.  I can think of several elements that must be present.

1. a defined and immutable set of doctrine upon which everyone in said church must agree.
2. an authoritative office whose recognized role is the judgment of teaching.
3. a non political office holder who will judge the issue impartially without regard to the vagaries of public opinion

I am not convinced that any of these are present in democratic Christian denominations such as TEC or even ACNA for that matter.  When conventions are held at regular intervals which can pass legislation contrary to whatever might have been previously ascribed to, can there be:
1. an immutable set of teaching?  Clearly not. 
2. an office which has the capacity to judge teaching?  How can an ecclesiastical court make firm judgments on matters that might easily change next year? or someday?
3.  an impartial judge?  How can one be impartial and firm if the basis upon which a judgment could be made is constantly shifting?

We are seeing this happen with church courts across all denominations which are democratically based. 

It’s a very real problem.

[458] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 03:04 PM · [top]

“Quick, somebody, give us an Anglican divine.”
oscewicee, I have been told I am a divine Anglican…If that helps.

[459] Posted by FrVan on 10-23-2009 at 03:09 PM · [top]

ocewicee, maybe we could borrow an oven mitt.

[460] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 10-23-2009 at 03:11 PM · [top]

[175] Cónego,

Thank you for your eloquent and concise articulation of what I was only thinking in a relatively inchoate form.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[461] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-23-2009 at 03:18 PM · [top]

Paula,

Thank you for sharing those beautiful words of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman from his sermon, “The Second Spring”!

[462] Posted by Clare on 10-23-2009 at 03:32 PM · [top]

The writer was Sarah agreeing that Anglican clergy who teach heresy should be deposed.  Not reading the actual posts is one way to get through a 400+ post thread but it makes so much more work for the rest of us.

But Catholic Mom did you understand the point I was trying to make? Or are you simply going to gloss over the problem of heresy and authority altogether, or the problem of actually understanding the details history?

[463] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-23-2009 at 03:36 PM · [top]

Fr. Van, I dunno let me go look up a picture of Cardinal Newman. Br_er Rabbit, those oven mitts are pretty rigid and pointy, but I suspect they would wilt?

[464] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 03:36 PM · [top]

A very close friend of ours is studying at the University of Cambridge in England and attends Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church.  I will ask him to pray especially for Christian unity, upon his next visit to the church.  Of course, I am sure that many, many prayers at OL and EM are offered for that intention!

[465] Posted by Clare on 10-23-2009 at 03:44 PM · [top]

But Catholic Mom did you understand the point I was trying to make?

Sorry, you can’t go off on a rant about the “arrogance of the RCC” and how awful a church full of (presumably stake wielding) “Catholic Moms” would be based on a complete misattribution of a comment and then basically say “well, OK, so what you were talking about actually had nothing to do with my response, but could you try to find a coherent point in my response and then respond to that.”  It was SARAH who was advocating the deposition of heretics in the EPISCOPAL church.  If you’d like to change the subject please do, but don’t direct your comments to me.

[466] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 03:44 PM · [top]

I am not surprised that the question of justification by faith has surfaced several times in this thread.  This has been a passionate concern of mine for well-on thirty years.  FWIW, I am now persuaded that within the present theological context, the differences between the Catholic and Protestant views on justification (and there are several Catholic and Protestant views!) are not church-dividing nor of significant pastoral import).  See, e.g., my discussion of Richard Hooker.

It should be noted that for 2,000 years the gospel has been preached in Eastern Christianity with little attention given to justification.  Why is it not seen as being decisively important?  I will tentatively suggest an answer:  Because in the East there is no question whatsoever that God loves every human being infinitely and unconditionally and that he wills the salvation of every human being.  But here in the West, this has not always been so clear, thanks in large measure to the predestinarian speculations of St Augustine, Jansen, and Calvin.  If I am not sure that God loves me without qualification, if I am not sure that he truly wills my salvation, then I have no choice but to worry whether I am pleasing him sufficiently with my works.  I believe it is accurate to say that the Catholic Church has heard the Reformation protest and has purified her theology of the destructive aspects of Augustine’s speculations.  The evidence that this is so is very strong.  Please do read the Lutheran/Catholic Agreement on Justification.   

Fr Alvin Kimel (tigana99 [at] hotmail.com)

[467] Posted by FrKimel on 10-23-2009 at 03:45 PM · [top]

Do you know where the Pope was during much of this time? Do you even know his name? Are you familiar with the many laws passed by prior English monarchs both to curtail the Popes temporal power and to prevent the huge accumulation of wealth in the monasteries not to mention the lax behavior of the monks? Have you heard of Praemunire?

The fact that there was a constant tension between Church and State does not change one wit the fact that the Pope wielded ultimate power over the English Church before the reformation.  It’s like saying “do you have any idea how many southerners resisted the idea of federal interference in the “internal affairs” of slavery prior to the the Civil War?  This proves that, in fact, the states of the historic confederacy were NOT under the rule of the United States Government between 1776 and 1861.”  Yeah, they struggled, they fought, they complained loudly, they passed laws, occasionally they beat somebody up on the floor of the the U.S. Senate and eventually they broke into armed rebellion.  But they were certainly under the authority of the United States Government prior to 1861.  And the English Church was under the authority of the Pope prior to the Act of Supremacy in 1534.

[468] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 03:54 PM · [top]

Will we get Sarah’s response to Catholic Mom @ 442 before 5? question

[469] Posted by Clare on 10-23-2009 at 03:55 PM · [top]

Which pope was the English church under in 1409?

[470] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 04:03 PM · [top]

That post was supposed to have more to it, sorry. We share a common history which has set us apart and left us each with our own side of the story. There is truth in both.

[471] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 04:20 PM · [top]

And please don’t forget to provide links to succinct statements of those doctrines that are fundamental to Anglicans and that differ from Catholic teaching!  rolleyes

Thank you!

[472] Posted by Clare on 10-23-2009 at 04:33 PM · [top]

Keith (457)
I did know that the Sarum rite predated the Tridentine.  What I was speculating about was the possibility that the first Sarum Mass translated to English might have been performed prior to the introduction of the Tridentine in Latin.  The Council, according to a quick trip to Wikipedia, opened in 1545.  Sometime when I have a few extra hours to research, I will look into what year the first Sarum Mass was celebrated in English. (Ok, Ok, I am sure my Roman purist friends will be by soon to tell me that it can’t be a Sarum Mass if it is in English, but in English, it sure is better than that TEC Rite II clone that passes for a Catholic Mass now-a-days.  “And also with you….”  Sheeesh)

[473] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-23-2009 at 04:39 PM · [top]

Clare,

Yes, we will definitely get Sarah’s response before 5! [At least before 5:00pm (local) in some time zone]. And I would be prepared to place a substantial wager on that outcome. wink

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[474] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-23-2009 at 05:00 PM · [top]

[472] tjmcmahon,

My apologies for mistaking the specific point you were attempting to make about the Sarum Rite in English.

But the additional good news in reply to your aside is that, although your church may continue to use “and also with you,” I have it on very good authority that that innovation arose from Vatican II, and was an interpretation, not a translation from the original. The same auhtority has reported that the new Catholic Mass in English will be restoring the original translation, namely, “and with thy/your spirit” (I don’t recall which form of the pronoun was specified in the report). The source was Rome Reports on EWTN, and was very definite about that coming change.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

[475] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 10-23-2009 at 05:08 PM · [top]

Unfortuantely,  the large amount of comments are causing loading problems and I will be closing the thread to comments at 5:00 P.M.  CST

Everyone quick, make a comment!  Lets aim for 500 before Jackie shuts down the fun.

[476] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 05:14 PM · [top]

Keith (475), I’m envious. May the Lord be with you.

[477] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 05:17 PM · [top]

It is inevitable that Anglican conversations on liturgy will turn to the Sarum Rite.  Some clarifications.  The Sarum Rite is a variant of the Roman Rite as is the Tridentine Rite.  It is probably more correct to call them the Sarum and Tridentine uses or forms as they are merely versions of the ancient Roman Rite which is essentially primordial, having no common ritual parent with the Eastern rites.  That is, the common inheritance between the Roman and Eastern rites was an oral tradition which gave rise to various regional oral traditions before being formed into a rite.

The Sarum form was in use among Anglicans until it was abolished by Elizabeth in 1559, however English Catholics continued to use it until it was replaced by the Tridentine form toward the end of the century.

This history is important because it clears the illusion of an independent English rite. 

There is no doubt that there is a particular rich Anglican patrimony the preservation of which now Rome is seeking to guarantee. Still, this is not an independent rite such as the Eastern Rites are.  It is firmly a constituent element of the broader Roman Rite patrimony, similar to the place of the Ambrosian rite still in use in Milan.  I think this explains why no comparison is being made between this Ordinariate and the Eastern Catholic Churches in official documents.

[478] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 05:20 PM · [top]

An English translation circa 1549 would have been a rather extreme variant, would it not?

[479] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 05:28 PM · [top]

[479] Posted by oscewicee:

An English translation circa 1549 would have been a rather extreme variant, would it not? 

It is an interesting point.  But a variant and a translation are different things.  Currently we will be getting a new translation of the 1970 Roman Rite in English.  It will be quite different, but it will be the same variant.  However, the differences between the Sarum, Hereford, York, Ambrosian, Dominican uses, etc. is a matter of basic text.

Is the Sarum use older than the Tridentine?  Yes, but they are still variants of the main stream of the Roman Rite.

[480] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 05:41 PM · [top]

Regarding the question who was pope in 1409, you have a choice of three: Innocent VII (1404-06) Opposed by Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417) and Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415) so called antipopes.

For our Catholic Mom

ultimate power over the English Church

It depends what you mean by ultimate power over the Church, I thought we were talking about the Monarch’s power against the church, a church so unpopular and corrupt that it actually destroyed its own power. Anyway, most Catholics would concede that Jesus Christ had and still has the ultimate power. If you only believe dogma fed to you by the RCC, there is probably no point in delving into history.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to speculate how if at all the Pope will devolve power and authority in the proposed new arrangement.

Et cum spiritu is what I remember.

[481] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-23-2009 at 05:41 PM · [top]

But circa 1549 any rite not in Latin was considered more than a variant, wasn’t it?

[482] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 05:43 PM · [top]

1409 should have said Gregory XII (1406-15) Opposed by Pedro de Luna (“Benedict XIII”) (1394-1417), Baldassare Cossa (“John XXIII”) (1400-1415), and Pietro Philarghi (“Alexander V”) (1409-1410), antipopes so called, and which was infallible??

Bless you all for this enlightening blog, Michael

[483] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-23-2009 at 05:46 PM · [top]

This question of determining the doctrinal statements the denial of which is Anglican is an important one and we must begin the process of answering it. Let’s start by dividing the blog readers into <i>indaba<i> groups, the composition of which Sarah will determine in her sole discretion, and discuss our feelings about the idea of discussing this question. We must take special care to listen to those for whom discussing the question is disturbing or dehumanizing.

[484] Posted by Toral1 on 10-23-2009 at 05:48 PM · [top]

It depends what you mean by ultimate power over the Church, I thought we were talking about the Monarch’s power against the church, a church so unpopular and corrupt that it actually destroyed its own power. Anyway, most Catholics would concede that Jesus Christ had and still has the ultimate power. If you only believe dogma fed to you by the RCC, there is probably no point in delving into history.

I said something very simple—that the path from the early Fathers to the modern Anglican Church passes through Rome—that is, at one time all English Christians were in communion with and under the authority of the see of Rome.  Please quote a single reputable historian who disagrees with this.

I gotta go to boy scouts now.  We made our $450 quote and we get the bow.

[485] Posted by Catholic Mom on 10-23-2009 at 05:51 PM · [top]

EVENING HYMN

Glory to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light:
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thine own almighty wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done;
That with the world, myself, and thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed;
Teach me to die, that so I may
Rise glorious at the awful day.

O may my soul on thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close;
Sleep that shall me more vigorous make
To serve my God when I awake.

When in the night I sleepless lie,
My soul with heavenly thoughts supply;
Let no ill dreams disturb my rest,
No powers of darkness me molest.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

[Thomas Ken]

[486] Posted by Dr. Priscilla Turner on 10-23-2009 at 06:00 PM · [top]

I said something very simple

For once I agree, your statements are very simple although that is not what you said. I suspect that there are many Catholics and indeed Christian Fundamentalists to whom the world is simplified into black and white, no gray. To my mind and maybe to the mind of many Anglicans, you miss nuances, such as the slow but steady erosion of power and authority of the pope or popes in England. For this I could find any number of authorities. Probably the only counter authority would be 5th grade RC history book.
Fortunately time is up, and “Be Prepared”!

[487] Posted by Mike Brit on 10-23-2009 at 06:04 PM · [top]

that is, at one time all English Christians were in communion with and under the authority of the see of Rome.

I see no problem with this simple statement of historical fact.  I would also challenge anyone to demonstrate that the doctrine and practice of the medieval church during the five centuries or more before the Reformation did not have a stronger resemlence to the doctrine and practice of what we know call the Roman Catholic Church than it did to the doctrine and practice of the post-Reformation Church of England prior to the spread of Tractarianism and Ritualism.  Of course, to a Protestant, this is not a problem, because the very idea of the Reformation means that what was there before needed to be reformed.

gotta go to boy scouts now.  We made our $450 quote and we get the bow

I would imagine your sales techniques did not include accosting poor unsuspecting non-denominations with questions about their favorite color, their quest, and the difference between infused and imputed grace.

[488] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 06:06 PM · [top]

Fr. J-
You are, of course, quite correct, the Sarum Rite (or usage, if you prefer) was only a local variant of the Roman (or Latin) Rite, originally in use in the vicinity of Salisbury, that “caught on” with English churches of the late middle ages.  I did not intend to imply anything else.  I was merely speculating that sometime after the Supremacy Act of 1534, but before the Tridentine came into use after the council of Trent, someone might have translated it into English.  I shall dig out my copy of Dom Gregory later and see if he has anything to say on it.
I suppose on a thread with near 500 entries (I wonder if this is the longest SF thread ever) we probably don’t need any more sidebar conversations, but I do find the Sarum missal an interesting topic.  I was an acolyte in a Sarum Mass, in Latin, in an Episcopal Church, 40 years ago- for the anniversary of a priest’s ordination, as I recall. 
  As an Anglo Catholic, most of the Masses I have been to in my life were, essentially, whatever minimum BCP the priest could get away with wrapped around the Roman rite (although in English).
  At the rate things are going, Fr. J, in a year or so, you may have to put up with me in your church.  Maybe I should start hanging out at some of the liberal Catholic blogs and hone my skills for future church blogging.

[489] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-23-2009 at 06:11 PM · [top]

There is something slightly odd - not necessarily wrong but odd - abut arguing that medieval catholicism was removed by its erroneous accretions from (and you might variously pick your preferred starting point amongst, say) the New Testament or the second second century orthodox theology or the patristic consensus etc. but that what was temporally and developmentally later, namely the Reformation, was nevertheless closer to one’s chosen point of origin.

#381 in terms of unpopularity of medieval Catholicism I think it pays to be specific. What period, what issues, what country and balance it with evidence that the church’s spiritual practices (including in the late medieval period masses for the dead and indulgences, at least in England) were rather well used.

[490] Posted by driver8 on 10-23-2009 at 06:12 PM · [top]

EVENING HYMN
Glory to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light:
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thine own almighty wings.

Abridged version, but well sung.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8waqfPsH2o

[491] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 06:12 PM · [top]

AndrewA,488, There was also a time when England was not under the “See of Rome,” before, and after, the claims of Rome to primacy…

[492] Posted by FrVan on 10-23-2009 at 06:14 PM · [top]

AndrewA,488, There was also a time when England was not under the “See of Rome,” before, and after, the claims of Rome to primacy…

I’m not sure anyone claimed otherwise.

[493] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 06:19 PM · [top]

Common FrVan, rebut, rebut!  Hurry before Jackie remembers to close comments!

[494] Posted by AndrewA on 10-23-2009 at 06:24 PM · [top]

We aren’t going to close out at 494, are we?

[495] Posted by oscewicee on 10-23-2009 at 06:35 PM · [top]

Catholic Mom at #378 and #478

So people basically just got “opinions” from Rome?  Like “we can’t agree on this on our own, what do you guys think?”

No, that is not what I wrote - there is no point in setting up “straw men”! I’ll re-post my original comment: “In some cases, yes – but this is consistent with pre-eminence, not supremacy. The vast majority of theological disputes were never referred to Rome, nor was Rome considered a final court of appeal from most councils, convocations etc”

Bear in mind that this comment applied to most of the middle ages. By Henry VIII’s time things had become more intense, as both the Papacy and Royalty (not just in England) claimed powers over the church that they did not have historically.

The fact that minor decisions weren’t made without recourse to Rome (not surprisingly considering the difficulties in communication) proves nothing

No, not just minor decisions, major decisions. Theological matters were decided at all levels. Bishops called councils, as did Kings. Many matters were decided at Oxford or Paris, but not only there. And, certainly at least by the 12th century, difficulties in communication were not an issue. Even by Henry VIII’s time, when the Papacy arrogantly claimed greater powers than at any prior time in its history, *most* theological issues were resolved by councils or debates.

Henry VIII sat for years waiting for papal approval to dissolve his marriage.  Nothing could be done while legates went back and forth from Rome…. Henry VIII knew very well that the Church was governed by Rome

Even if your first two sentences were accurate (which they aren’t) they don’t in any way prove your final sentence. It is untrue in any sense to say that the Church in England “was governed by Rome”. I think if this is going to go any further, you really need to state some support or reason for such a conclusion. And this needs to be more just a reference to the peculiar time of Henry VIII – the early 16th century was a time when both Popes and Kings claimed authority over the church that they would never have dared to claim in earlier centuries. It is not representative of the many centuries preceding it.

And the English Church was under the authority of the Pope prior to the Act of Supremacy in 1534

It would be a mistake to assume that the terms of the First Act of Supremacy mirror the powers claimed by the Pope throughout the Middle Ages. Firstly, as I note above, both Kings and Popes were claiming authority in the 16th century that they had never had historically – this was an age of increasing autocracy. Secondly, the Act of Supremacy goes even further than powers claimed by the popes at that time!

The fact that there was a constant tension between Church and State does not change one wit the fact that the Pope wielded ultimate power over the English Church before the reformation

Simple repetition of the point is not helpful! I note your reference to the political manoevrings between several unscrupulous men (Henry VIII, Pope Clement, Emperor and King of France) in the 16th century, but this doesn’t demonstrate the Pope’s recognised role in Europe in the many centuries prior to that period.

[496] Posted by MichaelA on 10-23-2009 at 06:41 PM · [top]

[489] Posted by tjmcmahon:

  At the rate things are going, Fr. J, in a year or so, you may have to put up with me in your church.  Maybe I should start hanging out at some of the liberal Catholic blogs and hone my skills for future church blogging. 

Haha!  Extra exercises in charity all around, we may need the practice !!

The miracle of the Catholic Church is how well we all put up with each other, brother.

[497] Posted by Fr.J. on 10-23-2009 at 06:48 PM · [top]

My advice would be to let it go to a nice, even, 500.  Is there a liberal TEC blog that can lay claim to a thread with 500 posts?

[498] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-23-2009 at 06:49 PM · [top]

Mike Brit
Many thanks for your kind words. I hope its all been helpful and edifying. I have certainly found all posts on this topic helpful and interesting, even where I have at times disagreed with others. 

I said something very simple—that the path from the early Fathers to the modern Anglican Church passes through Rome—that is, at one time all English Christians were in communion with and under the authority of the see of Rome.

Catholic Mom, I would certainly agree that Rome’s ecclesiastical power grew over the centuries. So when you write “at one point”, then I agree that you are on much stronger ground than e.g. making a claim that Rome claimed the same authority over the various churches in Britain in the 8th century as it would later claim in the 16th century.

[499] Posted by MichaelA on 10-23-2009 at 06:50 PM · [top]

Fr. J-
Thank you for sharing you expertise with us. The more fables that can be debunked (even if I am telling them), the better.

God bless

[500] Posted by tjmcmahon on 10-23-2009 at 06:51 PM · [top]

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