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Welcome to Stand Firm!

Episcopal Life Runs Ad Encouraging Anglicans to Swim the Tiber

Thursday, April 3, 2008 • 4:30 pm

My friend The Rev. Bryan Owen notes this ad running in the latest issue of Episcopal Life:

THE ANGLICAN USE SOCIETY in America in communion with the Holy See of Rome offers to Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Anglican Tradition an information booklet explaining THE PASTORAL PROVISION, the canonical instrument that has made possible their reconciliation with the Holy See as units of common identity which preserve their Anglican heritage of liturgy, hymnody and spirituality.

In other words, an official publication of the Episcopal Church includes an advertisement from an official Roman Catholic organization that invites Episcopal congregations to leave the Episcopal Church and become Roman Catholic. As part of the package, the Episcopal priests of those congregations will be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, even if they are married. Those congregations and clergy will also be allowed to “retain certain liturgical elements proper to the Anglican tradition.”

Episcopal Life is running this ad while our Presiding Bishop is deposing Episcopal bishops for their schismatic actions.

Hypocrisy?!?!? At 815?!?!? Hey Bryan - we’re as shocked as you are!

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I dunno, Greg.  Maybe someone at 815 sees the handwriting on the wall.  It could happen.

[1] Posted by JackieB on 04-03-2008 at 04:45 PM • top

I followed out the links and the Archbishop of Newark is in charge of the process.  Sorta made my day to see that.  You can proffer guesses as to why, but you only get one!

[2] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 04-03-2008 at 04:53 PM • top

Well, they said they would sell the churches to anyone other than an Anglican church.  Maybe Rome gets a congregation and a discount on a church building.  And someone should check the various Roman publications, maybe there is an ad in there inviting all who want women’s ordination and gay marriage to join TEC.

Kinda funny though, isn’t it, that this isn’t “border crossing”? 

This may be a mistake, however.  The same person who read IV.9 for rules on deposition may have read and approved the ad.  They may have thought the organization was a bunch of affirming catholics from the (TEC) diocese of Newark.

Or maybe they thought it was an April fools joke from one of the leftist pranksters.

[3] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-03-2008 at 05:03 PM • top

This makes perfect sense… people joining the RCC would be more likely to join an existing parish and leave the property behind.

[4] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 04-03-2008 at 05:04 PM • top

By the way, how wide is the Tiber, and what is the water temperature this time of year?

[5] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-03-2008 at 05:05 PM • top

Maybe nobody read the ad before it was placed.

[6] Posted by Randy Muller on 04-03-2008 at 05:05 PM • top

Hmmmmm, you aren’t implying 815 is sneaky and underhanded more attuned to this world than the next, now are you?

[7] Posted by JackieB on 04-03-2008 at 05:06 PM • top

Anyone have a PDF or pic of the ad?

[8] Posted by Dallasman on 04-03-2008 at 05:11 PM • top

Hmmmmm, you aren’t implying 815 is sneaky and underhanded more attuned to this world than the next, now are you?

  No kidding.  I hear that there were calls to several Wall Street brokerage firms from a location on Second Ave.  They bought huge blocks of stock in swim suit manufacturers and Alitalia Airlines minutes before the latest edition of Episcopal Life went in the mail.

[9] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-03-2008 at 05:13 PM • top

Randy, How can you suggest that?!  We all KNOW they read the canons before HOB meetings, right?  I think this is a case of truth-in-advertising-by-accident(but really Providence), okay?  All those higher educated WASPs with too few children or grandchildren to distract them can’t use that as an excuse, either.

Maybe they NEED THE MONEY?

[10] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 04-03-2008 at 05:14 PM • top

This makes sense if you think about it.  The objective of the corrupt depraved tyrannical Episcopalian leadership is to drive out people who want to hold to the faith of the one holy catholic apostolic church.  In other words, drive the Christians out of the Episcopal Church, especially if they are inclined to have children.  This ad appeared on April 1, right?

[11] Posted by Chazaq on 04-03-2008 at 05:27 PM • top

tjmcmahon (5): It’s still pretty wide, and the current is strong, but each year it seems to be a bit less deep, and the water temp is warming up.

[12] Posted by Payton on 04-03-2008 at 05:28 PM • top

Please leave the keys to the building(s)on the desk as you go. And as they used to say on SNL: “B’bye.”

[13] Posted by 0hKay on 04-03-2008 at 05:33 PM • top

After reading the thread concerning the Eucharist below, I had to bite my tongue and not comment. But it seems to me there are lots of Anglicans who really want to bite into a host and believe it’s flesh indeed. It isn’t. Couple this with listening to a radio show with a Jesuit explaining the Mass etc. and it just made me cringe. And I’m a former Catholic - who believes in a spiritual presence, if at all.
This all brings me back to a tract (Church Association Tract 4) written by ‘ol Bishop Ryle in the day entitled “The Teaching of the Ritualists not the Teaching of the Church of England.”
So it looks like that ad is a good idea. After all, what really keeps Anglo Catholics in the TEC or as Anglicans? I haven’t a clue.

[14] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-03-2008 at 05:50 PM • top

Maybe the PB is actually a deep cover sleeper agent for the Pope, seeking to return Episcopalians to the One True Church (TM) by counter-intuitive means?

[16] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 04-03-2008 at 06:37 PM • top

Rome?  Not in this lifetime.
Argentina, well now that’s an interesting possiblity!  Very interesting indeed!!

(Fort Worth)

[17] Posted by Bill+ on 04-03-2008 at 06:42 PM • top

Intresting….And here’s the upcoming Conference—and note:  Former Bishop of rio Grande is one of the keynoters. 

From Taylor Marshall’s “Canterbury Tales” @
2008 Anglican Use Conference!
Published Saturday, March 01, 2008 by Taylor Marshall | E-mail this post

I’m looking forward to this year’s Anglican Use Conference with Archbishop Myers, Fr. Christopher Phillips and Jeffrey Steenson. It will take place at Our Lady of the Atonement - the beautiful Anglican Use Catholic parish in San Antonio. Below is all the information you’ll need or you can click here for more details.


Thursday, July 10 through Saturday, July 12, 2008
San Antonio, Texas

In this annual conference organized by the Anglican Use Society, representatives of the several Catholic parishes of the Pastoral Provision will gather, together with interested Anglican clergy and lay people. This year’s conference will be hosted by Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio.

The theme of this year’s conference is The First 25 Years of the Anglican Usage of the Roman Rite: Unity in Diversity in the Catholic Church.

Guest speakers will include The Most Reverend John Myers, Archbishop of Newark and the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision; The Reverend Christopher G. Phillips, Pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church; and Dr. Jeffrey N. Steenson, formerly the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, and recent convert to the Catholic Church.

[18] Posted by Roger+ on 04-03-2008 at 06:46 PM • top

#14 Since you do not believe in the Real Presence in the Euchrist, I respect your consistency and integrity in leaving the RCC.  Hopefully, people choose to practice their religion based on a full understanding of the theology and a passionate belief in it. 

There are Catholics who believe as you do.  I do wonder why they do not find a church which reflects their beliefs.  My priest urges people not to convert to the RCC if they do not have conviction concerning the basic beliefs of RCC.

I guess I am expressing the mirror image of your comment.

[19] Posted by interested observer on 04-03-2008 at 06:52 PM • top

Since I have a good friend who recently left TEC for Orthodoxy, I felt it necessary to call him and let him know he should IMMEDIATELY submit an ad encouraging Anglicans to convert to Orthodoxy.  If Episcopal Life refuses to publish it, that is manifestly discriminatory and unjust! 

Come to think of it, are there any other denominations out there who should demand equal treatment in this matter?  smile

[20] Posted by littlesisterofthechurch on 04-03-2008 at 07:21 PM • top

(12) and (5) on Google Maps, the Tiber, near Vatican City looks to be only about 200 ft. wide.  I saw reports on the internet that suggest it might be a bit cool, probably around 60F.  It also appears to have many of the problems you’d expect to find with a river running through a large metropolitan area.

So:  Not far, but cold and harsh to an Anglican’s taste and sense of smell.

[21] Posted by Scuba Steve on 04-03-2008 at 08:10 PM • top

No, I don’t think it is hypocrisy, the leaders of TEC seem to hope that all conservative church members will leave for other churches, this ad is just a little push.
The problem (for our leaders) is that as long as we, in the congregation, have the Book of Common Prayer and Scripture to refer to, we will not leave this church and neither are we going to give up valid religious beliefs in favor of nebulous peculiar theories espoused by the church’s current leaders.

People in the congregations and their Clergy can, with God’s help, decide to teach young people the fundamentals of the Christian faith as handed down in Scripture, and if the next generation of Episcopalians grow in knowledge of Scripture and the Christian Faith there would no longer be any reason to be uncomfortable in our own church.

[22] Posted by Betty See on 04-03-2008 at 08:44 PM • top

“Are there any other denominations out there who should demand equal treatment in this matter?”

I think CANA and AMIA should call Episcopal Life and post their own ads right away, and congratulate them for their openness to other expressions of Anglicanism.

[23] Posted by oldnarnian on 04-03-2008 at 09:04 PM • top

Oldnarnian, you are very, very wicked!!!  And I mean that in the good sense!  Thanks for the laugh.

[24] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 04-03-2008 at 09:11 PM • top

#17 Hey, Fr. Bill-looks like you’ve got yourself a pretty good guest preacher lined up for May 4th!
I’ll be praying for many good blessings to attend that Sunday’s service and fellowship. - Bob

[25] Posted by Bob K. on 04-03-2008 at 09:37 PM • top

LA Anglican,
I teasure my complete set of the Church Association Tracts. Would that more Anglicans were familiar with them, not to speak of Bishop Ryle. Having grown-up as the youngest of ten children in an Irish RC family, with one bathroom we’d often hear our Father saying that whoever was in their had better go or get off the pot. Having had spent twenty years in the Orthodox Church, Uniatism never made sense. Is there somewhere that someone can see, in detail, what the “Pastoral Provision” really involves. From my understanding it is really only a transitional stage before the parishes and clergy are expected to become fully Romanized and that once their clergy die or retire they will only be replaced by Roman rite clergy.

[26] Posted by RMBruton on 04-03-2008 at 09:45 PM • top

I’ve seen that ad multiple times in the Living Church—Rome is probably getting a better return on their money with TLC!

[27] Posted by Jason Miller on 04-03-2008 at 09:56 PM • top


Interesting thoughts.  I think the most telling stat re:  the AU is that there are only 6 parishes.  You would think if it was really a viable, LONG TERM or PERMANENT option for catholic Anglicans then it should be blowing up…but it’s not.  A comparison to a Potemkin Village seems to be on the mark.

BigTex AC

[28] Posted by BigTex AC on 04-03-2008 at 10:05 PM • top

#19, yes, couldn’t be a cafeteria Catholic like
every Catholic I know - they’re really Protestants!

[29] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-03-2008 at 10:15 PM • top

I really don’t think Rome is reaching their target market with an ad in Episcopal Life- who reads that rag but revisionists? I have been to Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio. It is a beautiful very orthodox place. Maybe I can swing by in July. I will keep the conference in my prayers. May we all be One.

[30] Posted by via orthodoxy on 04-03-2008 at 10:51 PM • top

Betty See,

Good luck.  Those Episcopalians who want to teach their children from the BCP and Scripture had better hurry up.  The BCP can, and will, be changed again, and as time passes you will find that departing rectors become harder and harder to replace with someone who will not oppose your efforts from the pulpit, subtly or not.

That said, I am stupefied by this ad being run.  This is almost like opening the Not In Our Name newsletter and seeing an ad that leads off “First to Fight: US Marines”.

[31] Posted by Ed the Roman on 04-03-2008 at 10:55 PM • top

Part of the irony is that KJS and her radical revisionist allies loath the Roman Catholic Church even more than they loath us.

[32] Posted by Irenaeus on 04-03-2008 at 11:44 PM • top

#29 That’s because you live in Los Angeles.
It isn’t that way everywhere and it won’t last forever. 

I am familiar with two Anglican use parishes, the one in Boston-I’ve been there twice- and the one in Scranton Pa.  I have been there many times, including when most members of the congregation were received into the Church.  Their liturgy is reverent, the sermons are good, the music is traditional which I like, and the people are friendly, including some beautiful families.  I know the Anglican use people hope to establish something that will last for more than one generation and that plans and proposals are in the works.  What will come of them is unclear at this point.  It may depend on how long Pope Benedict lives since he is very favorable to the Anglican use.  However the people who became Catholic in Anglican use parishes did not become Catholic only under the condition that they could have the liturgy and music that they wanted; they all became Catholic because they had come to believe the Catholic Church is the church of the creed.  And that’s not a Potemkin village!
Susan Peterson

[33] Posted by eulogos on 04-04-2008 at 12:08 AM • top

I really don’t think Rome is reaching their target market with an ad in Episcopal Life- who reads that rag but revisionists?

Or middle of the road pew sitters who get the fishwrap folded inside their diocesan paper and wonder what happened to the church they grew up in.

[34] Posted by Rom 1:16 on 04-04-2008 at 12:25 AM • top

#29 LA Anglican, I would have to agree with comment #33:  From where I sit, there is a trend to orthodoxy in the RCC.

Since there is no social pressure to belong to any church, and there are many social pressures to renounce Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, those that are active and, notably, those that convert tend to be very committed and orthodox.  Certainly, there are remaining “cafeteria Catholics”, and they all seem to run for public office.

I don’t find most Catholics to be very concerned about “recruiting” from other Christian churches.  And RCIA tends to “weed” people out.  There are refugees from TEC regularly, and all seem to have come very reluctantly to check out the RCC option.  In fact, the idea of joining the RCC seems to be repugnant and they have come out of desperation.  They spend serious effort in discernment.  None have really imagined that they would convert.  Nor are they given much encouragement to join.  The attitude in our parish is “please do not join us if you do not believe the essential tenets of our faith” and “take all the time you want to explore, study and challenge before you make any decision.”  Interestingly enough, my parish is in the NW which is comparatively liberal ... with a very controversial history.

The ones that have come to my parish have converted and have become some of the best informed, most cherished and incredibly active members. And they are serious about their beliefs ... not a cafeteria Catholic among them.

Obviously, Catholics make similar journeys to TEC.  It is not a one-way street.

[35] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 02:45 AM • top

The Anglican Use thing has been around for quite a while.  It has been very rarely implemented (perhapsd 6-8 congregations nationally), due to resistance from most RCC Diocesan Bishops.  They view Anglican Use potential folks as “troublemakers” and really don’t want another “rite” within their Diocese.

[36] Posted by star-ace on 04-04-2008 at 08:57 AM • top

Mad Potter, do you suppose the “cafeteria Catholic” may be confined to the U.S., or even merely parts of the U.S.? Or even certain social groups?

[37] Posted by oscewicee on 04-04-2008 at 09:01 AM • top

I think any anectdotal evidence (especially from 31 years ago) that tries to encompass “most Catholics” (really?  out of the billion or so?) is probably more a reflection of the one offering the evidence than of objective reality.

[38] Posted by Chris Molter on 04-04-2008 at 09:11 AM • top


Liturgical tradition was important enough to actually be referenced here..  If they were received only because they felt that the RCC was the Church of the Creed then why the AU in the first place?  If the AU ever demonstrates any long term viability then I would bet that there would be more than 6 parishes in very short order.

BigTex AC

[39] Posted by BigTex AC on 04-04-2008 at 09:16 AM • top

Those Episcopalians who want to teach their children from the BCP and Scripture had better hurry up.  The BCP can, and will, be changed again,

Word on the street is that the changes are in the works as we speak and that they are at an advanced stage. I have also been told that “If you didn’t like the ‘79 BCP, you are really really really not going to like the new version.

the snarkster

[40] Posted by the snarkster on 04-04-2008 at 09:18 AM • top

Mad Potter, your statements just don’t reflect my experience of Catholics and perhaps we should both concede that the Catholic Church, even in the West, is too large for either of us to make many pronouncements on the people who make it up.

[41] Posted by oscewicee on 04-04-2008 at 09:28 AM • top

Thanks for that clarification, Mad Potter.

[42] Posted by oscewicee on 04-04-2008 at 09:29 AM • top

#29, #35:  I know Los Angeles gets a lot of bad press, but—believe it or not—there is a trend toward orthodoxy in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles if one can judge from the quality of recent graduates from the Archdiocesan seminary (St. John’s). Every recent graduate of that seminary whom I have met is totally orthodox, as is the rector of the seminary.

[43] Posted by slcath on 04-04-2008 at 09:47 AM • top

#39 I agree.  Many people call themselves “Catholic” who rarely attend Mass ... if at all.  To me, attending Mass regularly is a minimal test of being a practicing Roman Catholic.  (And yes, the number of Catholics would drop dramatically by this measure; most numbers for religious membership would as well.  We all know that.)

Thirty-one years ago ... dramatically different.  There is a huge shift and it is on-going in the US.  I live in a diocese that was a scandal in terms of its (proposed) theology.  It has changed in the past two decades.  My parish is large and is a “training” parish for new priests.  These new priests are very dedicated and very orthodox.   

These days ... there is no benefit ... none ... for being a cultural Catholic ... or even a cultural Christian or especially becoming a Roman Catholic priest.  This is a huge shift in the Western world.  It will take some time to adjust to this reality and understand all that flows from it. And it is much more significant than the wider society is willing to admit.

Many Catholics have left.  Obviously, God was re-newing His Church ... as He does regularly.  One unlooked for blessing was a number of amazing converts (many of whom are highly trained in theology) who have been in the forefront of this renewal.

Again, what is happening in the RCC is not unique; I am not claiming that at all.  But what I do know is that there is considerable misunderstanding about RCC theology and practice that just goes on and on.  One thing that the RCC does in a superb way is to document the beliefs of the Church and the latest Catechism is a gift tp Roman Catholics and anyone who just sincerely wants to understand the RCC.

[44] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 10:43 AM • top

Just to answer a number of statements: the Catholics I know are not in LA - I don’t know any who profess it, here. The Catholics I know are all family members and friends in New York City and on Long Island - probably more Catholics there than in Rome. Believe me, my Catholic pedigree is impeccable. I didn’t officially leave Rome until I was 34.
I grew up in a place where I met ONE Protestant in my entire life - and I grew up in NYC.
These Catholics practice birth control and miss Mass on a regular basis, they do not go to Confession and then they go to Communion when they go to church. In short, they live in the state of mortal sin as defined by the so-called One True Church.
And as far as there being one billion Catholics in the world - that is totally deceptive and the Vatican knows this. There may be one billion or so baptized Catholics but not practicing Catholics. This is like Hillary saying she was under sniper fire.
And as far as practicing Catholics in Europe - forget about it. 95% of Catholics are in the state of mortal sin - nobody goes to Mass.
I guess someone will now tell me missing Mass is not a mortal sin.
And of course converts are more orthodox - they chose to be there!
That’s all for now.

[45] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-04-2008 at 11:33 AM • top

LA Anglican,

No one making preceeding comments about the state of the RCC suggested that the membership numbers represent practicing Catholics ... but with a few exceptions, most membership numbers of churches are inflated.  Even Pope Benedict XVI has discussed the fact that the RCC is likely to be smaller in number.  What concerns him is that the Church and its members are faithful to the Word of God.  He, more than anyone, understands the status of the RCC in Europe and, for that matter, in the United States.  He has been concerned for a long time.

With all due respect, the practice of your family and friends is not necessarily true of all Catholics and does not reflect the new trends.  It does reflect the part of the Church than is dying off.  I think that we agree on that.  We agree that not attending Mass is a mortal sin.  We agree that not confessing mortal sins and yet receiving the Euchrist is in and of itself a mortal sin. This should be a fundamental understanding of all practicing Catholics and yet it isn’t.  I agree that the Church has been very lax on training and enforcement… which is serious.  I would submit those Catholics that do are placing themselves outside of the Church. 

Frankly, it sounds from your description that your family and friends have in effect left the RCC but may still describe themselves as Catholics.  Are they still counted? Yes, because of the sacrament of Baptism.  Is it a realistic picture of faithful Catholics?  No, and it never was.  There was never a secret about that.  Broad demographic statistics do not reflect much.  Church attendence .... absolutely is a better measure.

I guess the other thing I would say is that the statement that no one goes to Mass in Europe is silly; I do spend time in Europe and see all kinds of change there as well.  And it is actually difficult not know observant and faithful Catholics in LA. At a minimum, you can easily find them in various “life” movements.  As far as Catholic pedigree goes, well, you have made my point.

I do not see the RCC as perfect in practice ... far from.  It never was and it never will be.  But to describe the RCC from your experience and to project it too broadly is not intellectually honest.

You did not believe the basic tenets of the RCC, so you found a Church that better matched your religious convictions.  Obviously, you studied and thought about it seriously.  I deeply respect you for that and that is intellectually honest.

[46] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 12:58 PM • top

Joe Blake obviously was able to pull a fast one and get some priceless publicity out of an inexpensive ad.  Well done!

[47] Posted by Violent Papist on 04-04-2008 at 01:09 PM • top

While the QUANTITY of people swimming the Tiber may not be high (at least yet), what’s notable is the QUALITY of many of them.  That is, they are often outstanding leaders like Bishops Dan Herzog of Albany or Jeffrey Steenson of Rio Grande, or Fr. Al Kimel etc.  Their departure is a SERIOUS loss for us (though a great gain for Rome).

Similarly, it’s notable that the American Lutherans have lost many of their brightest and best theologians in recent years.  At least a dozen of them have converted to Roman Catholicism in the last decade or two (Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things, is perhaps the most famous, but he is representative of the star quality of many of these ex-Lutheran scholars).

It was the same way in the mid 1800s.  Not a whole lot of Anglican clergy went over to Rome along with, or after, John Henry Newman defected in 1845, but what this movement lacked in terms of quantity, it more than made up for in quality.
Cardinal Manning, two of the Wilberforce brothers, Frederic Faber (etc.) represented some of the cream of the crop of Anglican clergy.

But fortunately, since Vatican II, ecumenical relations have improved immensely and such conversions are no longer generally seen as traitorous, or as scandalous betrayals of Anglicanism.  I remember +Stephen Neill once telling me that when he was a student at Cambridge in the 1920s, a Roman priest who became an Anglican was called a “convert.”  On the other hand, alas, a C of E priest who became a Roman Catholic was called a “pervert.”  I’m glad those acrimonious days are past.

David Handy+

[48] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-04-2008 at 02:33 PM • top

#49, interested observer. you’re right, more than 5% go to Mass in Europe. maybe 10% - I saw them myself when I was in Rome during Holy Week last year. But it looked like old ladies in black dresses (like my grandma) and little children.
My point is that Rome has set up a fence around the Torah so to speak. And believe you me, I’m not happy with any institutional church any longer.
And I also pulled a Hillary myself and stated before that I didn’t know any Catholics here in LA. That’s not true - I just must have blocked it out (actually I was thinking about neighbors and friends). I ran an Italian American organization here a few years ago, Catholic to a man/woman. We even had our meetings at a famous local church auditorium and was involved with out local festival to a famous Italian saint (imagine my dismay over that).
Anyone (as far as I could tell, and I knew my members very well but couldn’t look into their souls) who went to Mass every week and didn’t practice birth control, and/or co-habitate or have pre-marital sex or any other laundry list mortal sin - who was considered a practicing Catholic was a rarity.
In fact, as a non-Catholic, I had cultural Catholicism shoved down my throat because that was expected in this organization and it was tradition - part of being Italian if you will. Christmas parties for the local Catholic school, gifts for the priests, attending Mass during Italian feast days, on and on.
So, been there, done that. Any arguments about the Glories of Rome and why traditional Episcopalians should jump ship out of the many varieties of Anglicanism and swim the Tiber are empty.
And that is the point of this thread, really. I don’t see how serious Episcopalians could suddenly believe all the post 1854 claims. Eastern Orthodoxy I can see, even though it’s not for me.

[49] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-04-2008 at 02:33 PM • top

They ran in the add in the wrong place. They should have run the ad in the NY Times.

That way all of those secular liberals who read the Times could not go to the Catholic Church, instead of not going to the Episcopal Church, and it might allow the Catholics to make up some ground lost to the Muslims.

[50] Posted by BillS on 04-04-2008 at 02:38 PM • top

#51 SO for +Steenson or Kimel+ come trades for KJS or Jim Naughton ... IT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!! mad

[51] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 04-04-2008 at 02:42 PM • top

Hosea 6:6 (#54),

LOL.  I agree, it’s most unfair.  I’d say TEC is running a sort of trade deficit.  Our imports from Rome don’t come close to matching the high value of our exports.

David Handy+

[52] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-04-2008 at 02:58 PM • top

LA Anglican,

I regularly read Anglican website to better understand the dynamic of the Christian Church in a secular environment and how it “plays out.”  I have great hope that committed Christians will be able to preserve the core of standard Christian doctrine in a very unfriendly environment. 

I am not posting on an Anglican website in an attempt to convert anyone to the RCC. Nor would I feel able to comment on any churches I have previously attended.  I do however feel okay about commenting on the RCC, especially if I think I can add some insight. 

I will say this much: I never hear anyone who has left another Christian church to come into the Roman Catholic Church criticizing or “bad-mouthing” the Church they have left.  It is typical to hear about a deep appreciation for both the people, the witness, and the training received.  Except:  People who leave the Roman Catholic Church are usually incredibly critical after they decide to move to a different Church or to leave religion entirely.  I have heard this commented upon a number of times, and, of course, there are different theories about why that is.  But it appears to be pretty common.  So I feel that it is okay to challenge some of the characterizations that appear from time to time just to balance things out.

[53] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 03:38 PM • top

#56, interested observer.
I have plenty of great things to say about my Catholic school, minor seminary (Order of Friars Minor) and Catholic university education as well as the nuns and priests who educated me - Dominicans, Franciscans, Vincentians - and my entire Catholic family. These were great people. But these great people were not the institution of the church.
All I was stating is that your typical Roman Catholic is a Protestant and doesn’t even know it. I was one of them. I left. And I’m not buying the PR.
BTW, my brother who was a professed Franciscan, is a Protestant but refuses to believe it. He tells me about the One True Church, American-style, I guess.

[54] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-04-2008 at 03:55 PM • top

#56. observer - but you stated there were many theories on why people leave the RCC - in my case it was studying the subject 20 years before leaving and an almost 20 more to make sure I was right. After all, I ex-communicated myself and will go to Hell even though an Anonymous Christian won’t.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I heard a Jesuit theologian explain the sacrifice of the Mass to a secular radio audience. I cringed. Mostly because you could feel the Jesuit cringe himself as he described the actual eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ. His words hung in the air. It sounded utterly fantastic and right out of Joseph Smith if you will. And yes, he described John 6, but he had no conviction on it, wondering how the audience thought him mad. But, of course, left out the context. I know the argument, I don’t agree, so let’s leave it at that. It’s hard enough to believe a dead man walked bodily out of a tomb.

[55] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-04-2008 at 04:07 PM • top

David Handy,

I checked the Wikipedia just to get a sense of people who converted to RCC and people who have left RCC for another Church.  Granted, this is not the best scholarship, but still it was interesting.

I do think that the RCC has gotten the better part of the exchange ... and, goodness knows, we need it.  I was shocked to see Matthew Fox listed as an Episcopalian; I am so very sorry.

[56] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 04:17 PM • top

LOL! “The quality of the
study and consideration is not necessarily linked to the length of time
spent in study and consideration. That is a separate measure. Smart people
can look at the very same evidence and come to very different conclusions”
Yes, smart people already know this. But I don’t think different conclusions are allowed in your church.

[57] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-04-2008 at 07:39 PM • top

LA Anglican… you misunderstood what I wrote.  The comment had nothing to do with why Catholics leave the RCC.  The fact is lots of people leave lots of churches for lots of reasons ... some good reasons and some not so good reasons.

The “many theories” refer to an observation that ex-Catholics tend to be rather bitter about the RCC and people who leave a Church to join the RCC tend to be mostly positive about their experience in their previous Church.  It comes up as an observation fairly frequently. 

I am sorry that I was not clearer.

The fact that you spent many years studying and considering your religious beliefs speaks for your seriousness and dedication.  The quality of the study and consideration is not necessarily linked to the length of time spent in study and consideration.  That is a separate measure.  Smart people can look at the very same evidence and come to very different conclusions.

[58] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 07:56 PM • top

“It was the same way in the mid 1800s.  Not a whole lot of Anglican clergy went over to Rome along with, or after, John Henry Newman defected in 1845, but what this movement lacked in terms of quantity, it more than made up for in quality.
Cardinal Manning, two of the Wilberforce brothers, Frederic Faber (etc.) represented some of the cream of the crop of Anglican clergy.”

According to Father Peter Geldard, who was the leader of the Catholic Group in the C of E General Synod, now the Catholic chaplain at the University of Kent, approximately 700 out of nearly 24,000 priests left the C of E around 1850 as a result of the Gorham Judgment.  Most all of these would have become Roman Catholics - though he doesn’t say how many were ordained Catholic priests.

In the 1990s, because of women’s ordination, approximately 730 priests left the Church of England out of 11,000 priests total.  Approximately 580 of these priests (of whom 120 are maried) were subsequently ordained as Catholic priests and about another 150 priests remained laymen.  About five priests becaome Orthodox and another seven joined continuing Anglican bodies.

[59] Posted by Violent Papist on 04-04-2008 at 08:12 PM • top

Wow, LA Anglican, you have provided a pretty vivid example of that one observation.  Obviously, further discussion on this topic is not likely to be very fruitful.

[60] Posted by interested observer on 04-04-2008 at 08:52 PM • top

Depending on Rome’s final decision we may see a whole lot more of the “Anglican Use” in the next decade or less. The Traditional Anglican Communion, has petitioned Rome for full sacramental union. With Pope Benedict’s appreciation of the Anglican Liturgy, it may very well happen. That would increase the number of “Anglican Use” Parishes, and may perhaps give them their own bishops so that they may very well become not just the “Anglican Use of the Roman Rite,” but possibly a full-fledged “rite” within the Roman Church, as for instance the Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches.

It may or may not happen but just because they are currently small doesn’t mean that they won’t stick around for awhile. And it may become a home for those “Anglo-Catholics” who are truly dismayed over the current state of the Anglican Communion, at least IMHO.

[61] Posted by FrRick on 04-04-2008 at 10:06 PM • top

Violent Papist (#63),

Thanks for providing the statistics.  But while they prove that the quantity of Anglo-Catholic clergy who have gone over to Roman Catholicism is relatively small, they can’t say anthing one way or the other about my claim that the QUALITY of those converts to the papal allegiance was often very high.  That of course involves highly subjective judgments. 

But just to take one very high profile case, take one of those over 700 C of E clergy (among 11,000) who went over to Rome in the 1990s, the renowned Bishop of London, Graham Leonard, who staunchly opposed the ordination of women.  As one of the top bishops in England, +Graham Leonard was widely respected as a man who was firmly orthodox, deeply devout, and highly competent.  He was praised as a faithful and effective bishop by many outside of Anglo-Catholic circles (i.e., evangelicals and broad churchmen too).  But our loss was Rome’s gain.

My point in an earlier post about our “trade deficit” with Rome, i.e., that our imported clergy didn’t match the value of our exported ones, doesn’t depend just on such subjective evaluations.  What I was getting at is this.  We tend to import Roman priests who are seeking a more liberal and lenient and less dogmatic church (as well as those simply wanting the freedom to marry).  But we tend to export clergy to Rome who are seeking a more strict, consistent, and dogmatic church.  The end result: Anglicanism loses its “better” clergy in my opinion, since I prefer a church that is strict, consistent, and dogmatic to one that is lax, inconsistent, and allergic to dogmatism.

Of course, other Anglicans who are more fearful or opposed to Romish tendencies would evaluate the trade differently.

David Handy+

[62] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-05-2008 at 11:17 AM • top

Everything is better across the Tiber.  Really?  Those thinking about crossing would be well advised to read several years of back issues of the New Oxford Review  a no-holds-barred journal for and by conservative Roman Catholics which chronicles what they really think of their church, especially its episcopate, which looks like a clone of the HOB.  As contributors have pointed out here there is a certain sameness across the fruited plain.

[63] Posted by Son of Bede on 04-05-2008 at 12:36 PM • top

I trust that everyone knows by now that not everything is better on the other side of the Tiber.  Quite the contrary.  Every Catholic has his own laundry list of things that need improvement, sometimes radical improvement, in the Catholic Church.

But one point that LA Anglican has repeatedly advanced is completely irrelevant—namely, the number of bad Catholics.  Why are they “bad”?  Because they profess beliefs and live in ways that contradict the public teaching and catechesis of the Catholic Church.  And that, of course, is the point, isn’t it? 

The Catholic Church has been around a long time, ever since the Day of Pentecost.  In many places it became the dominant religion of the culture.  Whenever this happens, it becomes very easy to become and be a nominal Catholic.  But there is nothing unusual about this state of affairs, no matter how regrettable we may think it is.  The same thing can be said about any form of Christianity that becomes culturally dominant—whether it be Orthodoxy in Greece or Lutheranism in Sweden or Protestant revivalism in the deep South. 

But whatever the problems of the Catholic Church (and they are legion), at least she has a body of authoritative, public teaching, against which the professions and practice of her members may be assessed.  When was the last time you heard a Catholic bishop deny the resurrection or divinity of Jesus Christ?  When was the last time you heard a Catholic parish priest declare to his congregation that abortion is morally permissible?  Academics and religious, and of course laity, might get away with such public disavowals of essential Catholic teachings; but bishops and parish priests generally do not.  As a rule they are held accountable to the teaching of the Church as it is stated, e.g., in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  As a rule.  I’m sure people can always cite exceptions, but they remain exceptions. 

I agree that there are many, far too many, “bad” Catholics.  I am one of them.  Perhaps one day God will make me into a better Catholic.  In the meantime I am grateful both that the Church continues to teach and practice the faith once delivered to the saints and that she graciously permits us bad Catholics to continue to live our lives within the Church.

[64] Posted by FrKimel on 04-05-2008 at 01:53 PM • top

If anyone thinks that the American Catholic episcopate looks like a “clone of the HOB” (# 67), I would suggest that he peruse recent doctrinal statements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

[65] Posted by slcath on 04-05-2008 at 02:18 PM • top

obviously that was

[#70] interested observer wrote:

An instructive example on one of the many sources of textual variation.  smile


[66] Posted by carl on 04-05-2008 at 02:19 PM • top

what I am saying is relevant. These are not “bad” Catholics. They are not Catholics at all. We are all sinners. These so-called “Bad” Catholics are just sinful Christians, which, according to your Church are damned.

[67] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-05-2008 at 03:01 PM • top

#67 Son of Bede ...

Without encouraging anyone to join the RCC, I do want to point out that, theologically speaking, the RCC has not deviated from its particular tradition as many other Churches have.  (Of course, if one does not care for the traditional RCC understanding of theology, that is all the more reason to stay away from RCC.) 

Yes, there have been disasterous choices for bishops.  Notably, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Jean Jabot (1973-1980) promoted the selection of some truly awful bishops.  Some of these bishops are gone, some are not.  It will take time, but the damage has been huge.  The same is true for the selection of priests ... some have gone, some have not. 

However, the tide is turning in the choice of bishops, in the seminaries, in the selection and training of priests, and in the liturgy.  The shock of the priest scandal seems to have unexpectedly put “progressives” on the defensive and “traditionalists” on the offensive.  Archbishop Sambi is an important corrective influence.  And I cannot overstate the importance of Benedict XVI in this process.  However, the Holy Father does not have unrestricted power (rumors to the contrary), and the Church is very process driven.  That has its pluses and minuses too.

Our music ... again the example set by the Vatican should help eventually.  The Church architecture as well as the inside of the churches ... that is even more long term.

Again, I will state the obvious ... no one looking for perfection is going to find it in the RCC.

[68] Posted by interested observer on 04-05-2008 at 03:02 PM • top

[#67] interested observer wrote:

I do want to point out that, theologically speaking, the RCC has not deviated from its particular tradition as many other Churches have.

Perhaps by definition, since the RCC simply declares by fiat that all its decisions are historically consistent.  But to suggest that (for example) the Roman doctrine of ‘No Salvation Outside the Church’ has not been turned on its head in the last century is simply false.  What Rome teaches now regarding this doctrine, and what Rome taught during the Reformation are out of phase by 180 degrees.  Confer with Father Feeney, whose only crime was to accurately remember what the Roman church used to teach.


[69] Posted by carl on 04-05-2008 at 03:15 PM • top

I for one welcome the unusual appearance of Fr. Kimel (#68) on this thread; he has been rather scarce around SF in recent months.  I agree wholeheartedly with the basic thrust of his comment about how nominal membership is a problem wherever a particular church attains cultural dominance.  There would be widespread agreement on that point, of course.  What many fail to see are the far-reaching implications of that fact in our new Post-Christendom culture in the western world.

I have been repeatedly trying to make a similar point on many threads, namely that at the heart of this Anglican crisis is the undeniable fact that we now live in a radically new cultural context, a de-Christianized, pluralistic, relativistic, Post-Christendom social context.  And that literally changes everything.

As I keep saying: the only thing worse than a state church is an ex-state church that still pretends to be a state church, or just knows no other way to think or act.  Of course, habits that are 1500 years old are very hard to break.  But break them we must.

And Rome holds one of the great treasures in trust for the whole western church in her new RCIA, i.e., the Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults.  In going back to the classical, pre-Christendom model of the catechumenate and recovering it, Rome is leading the way that the rest of us must follow in recovering this vital part of our common patristic inheritance.  Rome may be lagging behind in other ways, such as a married priesthood, but when it comes to understanding the demands of making disciples and reforming Christian Initiation for this scary new post-Christendom world we now live in, Rome is leaving us Anglicans and the Lutherans behind in the dust.

Fr. Kimel, I hope you visit us again before too long.  If you hadn’t noticed, I happened to invoke your name in my earlier comment #51 as an example of how we Anglicans seem to be on the losing end of the trade in clergy between Rome and Canterbury.

David Handy+

[70] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-05-2008 at 03:45 PM • top

I for one welcome the unexpected appearance of Fr. Kimel on this thread (#68).  He has been rather searce around SF the last few months.  And I especially welcome the thrust of his comment about how nominal members or “bad” Christians become a HUGE problem wherever a particular church tradition becomes culturally dominant and established.

Many people would immediately agree with that assessment.  But what many seem to fail to see are the far-reaching implications of the minimal expectations that go along with an established church in any society.  As alert readers will know, I frequently harp on this subject, arguing that at the heart of our Anglican crisis in the west is our failure to come to terms with our new and daunting challenge of facing an increasingly hostile, post-Christendom social environment.  I think it literally changes everything.

For now, all I’ll say that seems relevant to the topic of this thread, is that we Anglicans would do well to learn from Rome in one key area, the reform of the rites of Christian initiation and the recovery of the ancient model of the catechumenate.  I think the post-Vatican II RCIA or Rite for the Christian Inititation of Adults is an incredible treasure of pastoral wisdom that we Anglicans (and theLutherans) desperately need to learn from.  Though Rome may lag behind us in other regards (say, in allowing married clergy, for instance), this is one area where Rome is leaving us behind in the dust as it gradually implements a crucail reform with very far-reaching implications indeed.  Not least, in introducing a far more demanding model of church life and discipleship than anything we’ve known in about 1500 years in the West.  But the early patristic inheritance is ours to claim as well.  And I hope we will.

Fr. Kimel, I hope you won’t stay away so long and will honor SF with another visit sooner rather than later.  In case you hadn’t noticed, I mentioned your name in my #51 as an example of an outstanding priest we lost to Rome and one who exemplifies how our exports seem to outvalue our clergy imports.

David Handy+

[71] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-05-2008 at 03:57 PM • top

#68 Fr.Kimel

“But whatever the problems of the Catholic Church (and they are legion), at least she has a body of authoritative, public teaching, against which the professions and practice of her members may be assessed.” 

Yes, but that has not prevented large segments of the church from violating its teaching and noisy high-profile people from agruing with the Magisterium in public and getting away with it.  How is that different from the apostasy in TEC?  Take for example the relationship of the Society of Jesus with the Holy Father(s) over the past 50 years and the issue of “liberation theology”.  When Cardinal Ratzinger was running the CDF he felt it necessary to weigh in on the alarming Marxist elements of the movement (1984) whereupon Fr. Juan Segundo S.J. quickly published a lengthy rebuttal subtitled “A Warning to the Whole Church” (1985) and as far as I know he was not fired or disciplined by the SG or anyone else.

[72] Posted by Son of Bede on 04-05-2008 at 04:12 PM • top

#73 Carl,
I’m not sure that this is the blog to get into the long details of Fr. Feeney controversy ... but, it was a case of a Jesuit theologian linked to the Saint Benedict Center in Cambridge, Mass. in the late 1940’s into the 1950’s.

But let me suggest that an overall explanation to the Roman Catholic position on the dogma “outside the Church, there is no salvation” can be found in the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 846-848, 851 and can be found at

You also might want to check out Catholic Answers, This Rock, March 2004 “Can Non-Christians Be Saved?”

As far as the Fr. Feeney controversy, I would recommend THE CASE OF LEONARD FEENEY
for what I think is a well-documented discussion about his case.

Otherwise, my answer would go on for pages and would not be better than these sources.

[73] Posted by interested observer on 04-05-2008 at 04:16 PM • top

# Son of Bede, well, you sound like one of “us”!

The problem is our modern expections.  The Catholic Church is not a dictatorship nor is the Holy Father a CEO.  The RCC is not an American corporation or bureaucracy.  The speed at which the Church works is decades instead of months or even years.  It is very, very slow.

The Magisterium functions through its scholarship, its Councils and all of the written documents that it produces.  It is both the way the documents are produced and the documents themselves that give the RCC its bearings.  And it very rarely and very reluctantly uses its tools of discipline in spite of what is commonly believed.

[74] Posted by interested observer on 04-05-2008 at 04:43 PM • top

#74: Yes, but that has not prevented large segments of the church from violating its teaching and noisy high-profile people from agruing with the Magisterium in public and getting away with it. How is that different from the apostasy in TEC?

Quite true, but also irrelevant.  One can debate the merits and demerits of the disciplinary policy of the post-Vatican II Church, which has tended to err on the side of leniency rather than harshness, which often characterized the disciplinary policy of the Catholic Church during the first-half of the 20th century. 

You ask, “How is that different from the apostasy in TEC?” Surely the answer is obvious.  There is a world of difference between being a “dissenter” within the Catholic Church and being a “revisionist” in the Anglican Communion.  Dissent requires an authoritative body of doctrine against which one can “dissent.”  But of course there is no authoritative and irreformable body of doctrine within Anglicanism.  And that is the crisis in which Anglicanism now finds itself.

[75] Posted by FrKimel on 04-05-2008 at 05:01 PM • top

I’m sorry everyone about the virtual duplicate comments #74 & 75.  It looked to me like they hadn’t gone through.  I’m glad to see they did, as I was about to try a third time.

Well, I see from #79 that Fr. Kimel has hung around and not disappeared as quickly as he appeared.  I’d like to direct a question to him and it’s this.  As one of the prominent leaders behind the famous Baltimore Declaration, do you see any difference between the situation in TEC then and now?  And how would you account for the fact that so many of you who drafted and signed that brave declaration calling for TEC’s return to orthodoxy have not only left TEC, but have given up on Anglicanism altogether?

Those are two very sincere questions.

David Handy+

[76] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-05-2008 at 05:31 PM • top


I totally got the wrong citation to the article on Fr. Leonard Feeney.  I just got careless.

The article that I think has the cleaniest explanation and best scholarhship is at the Catholic Culture website in their “library” with the title “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus” written by Michael Mazza.

Obviously, there are views that are sympathetic to Fr. Feeney and views that are less sympathetic and but the explanation I am recommending is very well done.

Interestingly, one can read contemporaneous views in three articles written in TIME magazine ... one in the May, 2, 1949 issue, another in the October 13, 1952 issue and finally in the January 1, 1965 issue (all on-line).  I think that you would find them both fascinating and revealing.

[77] Posted by interested observer on 04-05-2008 at 05:38 PM • top

1 Corinthians, chapter 3.

[78] Posted by Bob K. on 04-05-2008 at 06:26 PM • top

Fr Handy, thank you for your kind comment and your good question. I think that I should refrain from addressing your question in this forum.  I still hold the same views about Anglicanism that I held four years ago, and recent events have only confirmed me in those views.

[79] Posted by FrKimel on 04-05-2008 at 07:20 PM • top

Here’s a Newsday story today about Catholics on Long Island (1.4 million I believe) where my ancestral home is still located with a quote from a Catholic ex-priest theologian from St. John’s University, one of my alma maters. It seems only 64% go to Mass at least once a month. Oh my!,0,114791.story

[80] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-05-2008 at 11:37 PM • top

In this Newsday article cited above, only 40% surveyed went to Mass every week. That’s lots ‘o damned souls out of the 1.4 million Long Island Catholics. Need a lot more confessionals Fadda. But then again, maybe these Catholics don’t meet the 3 pronged test of a mortal sin. Hopefully, they had some shoddy CCD teachers who didn’t tell them that missing Mass to watch the Giants was a mortal sin. 
I’m not saying Anglicans are any better. But it doesn’t seem to me that we forfeit eternal life for sleeping in once in a while or for any other laundry list of the 3-pronged mortal sin test which I’m sure can be rationalized away as not mortal sin just like other churches are accused of rationalizing away sin.

[81] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-06-2008 at 01:20 AM • top

LA Anglican, let me start by reminding you that the plural of anecdote is not data.

I will finish by noting that what most of the martyrs of the classical period got martyred for was being caught at mass.  Which they refused to skip at the risk of their lives.  See “The Shape of the Liturgy”, by Dom Gregory Dix.

He was a life-long Anglican, by the way.

[82] Posted by Ed the Roman on 04-06-2008 at 06:31 AM • top

We seem to have drifted a long way from the question why ‘Episcopal Life’ thought it a good idea to print a recruiting ad for the RCC Anglican Use. My take is that the more orthodox believers leave TEC the happier they will be (so long as they leave the property behind).

[83] Posted by flabellum on 04-06-2008 at 07:49 AM • top

#86, Ed the Roman,
I suggest you read Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna (the Christian sociologist).
Flabellum is right. We have drifted off the topic.

[84] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-06-2008 at 06:01 PM • top

Fr. Kimel (#83),

This is a belated thank you for your reply in #83 to my earnest questions.  I have read your whole long, many-part series from the Pontificator that you kindly provided the link for. Alas, I find your gloomy and devastating assessment of Anglicanism’s essentially Protestant nature dead-on-target.  We need to talk.

LA Anglican (#88),

If you are referring to the book I think you are, “Pagan Christianity,” by Frank Viola, I understand even more clearly where you are coming from.  I don’t know any book he co-authored with George Barna, but I had a parishioner in my last church who was a Frank Viola enthusiast and loaned me a copy of his vehement, even vitriolic, anti-Catholic diatribe.  I can only say that I think that Viola is right in much of what he asserts POSITIVELY about the charismatic or non-institutional DIMENSION of the Church depicted in the New Testament.  But I think Viola is TOTALLY and DISASTROUSLY wrong and ultra-sectarian in his caustic and total rejection of the institutional, hierarchical, and sacramental demension of the Church (which is just as biblical as the charismatic deimension).

David Handy+

[85] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-07-2008 at 11:12 AM • top

Fr. Handy,
I have the second edition of Pagan Christianity and this edition is co-written with Barna, with Barna statistics and survey results. But this is definitely NOT “where I’m coming from.”
I don’t believe what Viola suggests is workable. But it was interesting to see where the pagan influences come from although I knew this but not in such detail even down to choirs, etc..
Maybe Ed the Roman did not know this. I don’t know.
It also hearkened me back to my trips to Rome and St. Pete’s. Some people are awed by the majesty. I am not. I am revolted. It is very hard for me to believe that all that was what the Lord had in mind and what the Holy Spirit has led us to.
Viola’s book was recommended by a church group called The Ooze. NT Wright was a speaker at this year’s seminar, BTW. The Ooze is trying to recapture a certain type of NT Christianity. It’s the type championed by Viola. 
BTW, like you, I am charasmatic. I may sound like a screeching anti-Catholic at times but I am not. I even completed Francis MacNutt’s (a former Catholic priest, I’m sure you know) Healing Prayer school. Of course, when he gets into sacramental theology, I gloss over it. One of the reasons I remain in TEC is because I belong to a healing Order where most have refused to leave and are taking a stand.
BTW, I am still thinking about all you wrote in the inerrancy debate and will eagerly read your recommended books.
Again, this topic just lights a fire under me. It is an inter-Anglican squabble that’s heightened when those on the other side of the Tiber weigh in. And yes, theologians and the good Fr. Kimel have gone to the side I think possibly based on ideas - not as practiced - or as I knew it as the Catholic Poster Boy in NY, a Catholic ghetto.

[86] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-07-2008 at 07:53 PM • top

Fr. Handy,
Just to continue a minute about Viola’s book. I don’t believe the second edition was anti-Catholic at all. In fact, he concentrated on evangelical Protestants and hardly mentioned the Catholic Church or Anglicans. I was surprised by this.
Maybe Barna made him take that stuff out. I don’t know much about Barna’s early life but he went to Boston College as an undergrad so I’d bet he grew up Catholic. 

Viola seems to believe that starting house churches in a different way than he proposed is unbiblical. This is of interest to me since I started a church/ministry (9 toes out of Anglicanism) and am in the process of getting it off the ground. I guess I’ll just listen to the church planting I learned at Liberty and leave Viola to his own devices.

[87] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-07-2008 at 08:05 PM • top

Fr. Handy,
one last note. As a charasmatic you may be interested in a Francis MacNutt book whose first edition title was “The Nearly Perfect Crime: How the Church Almost Killed the Ministry of Healing.” He must’ve taken a lot of heat from his Catholic friends because the second edition is entitled “The Healing Reawakening: Reclaiming Our Lost Inheritance.”
As you might imagine it is not very kind to the Catholic Church from the Church Fathers on down to the present.
BTW, I was reading this book at the same time I was reading Viola. 
Then again, as a charasmatic priest, you probably know of these problems first hand even in our own church, with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and all that entails.

[88] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-07-2008 at 11:38 PM • top

LA Anglican (#90-92),

I just tried to post a rather long reply that doesn’t appear to have gone through.  So I’ll try something shorter and simpler.  I’m not familiar with the book you mention by Francis MacNutt (either edition), although I’ve long admired and benefited from his classic early book simply called “Healing.”  And I’ve heard him and his gifted wife Judith speak on several occasions.  I used to receive their regular newsletters, but I’m no longer on their mailing list.  But surely it’s significant that Francis and Judith have not taken the easy route and become Episcopalians or Lutherans, despite the fact that Francis was deposed and ex-communicated for getting married.  However critical they may be of the Roman Catholic Church, and understandly so, they have not joined some other church.

Something similar could be said of Dennis Lynn.  You may be familiar with the writings of the Lynn brothers, Matthew and Dennis.  Their book, “Healing Life’s Hurts” is another classic from the Catholic charismatic movement’s formative days.  I’ve lost track of them, but both Matthew and Dennis were Jesuit priests.  Then Dennis, like Francis MacNutt, got married and was deposed and ex-communicated for the crime of doing so.  But, like the MacNutts, as fas as I know (and I’m open to being corrected), Dennis and Sheila Lynn have never formally joined some Protestant church.  They are certainly critical of the Catholic Church, but they do so from within, despite all they’ve suffered.

David Handy+

[89] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-08-2008 at 09:36 AM • top

LA Anglican (#90-92),

Since you’ve recommended a couple books now, let me return the favor and do the same.  First and foremost, I can’t recommend too highly the marvelous set of lectures on the doctrine of the Church by the great missionary to India and early ecumenical leader, Lesslie Newbigin, published in 1953 as “The Household of God.”  It’s a modern theological classic, though alas, like most classics, it’s more often praised than read.  There Newbigin demonstrates that the NT supports all three main views of the nature of the Church, which Newbigin labels the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Pentecostal views.  Remember, this was back in 1953, before the charismatic movement emerged in the so-called “mainline” churches and made Pentecostalism respectable.  This is easily one of the three or four most influential theological books I’ve ever read.  It led me to become what I call a “3-D” Christian (evangelical, catholic, and charimatic).

Second, I also commend an older and better known book by the Anglican missionary strategist Roland Allen.  Called, “Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?”, Roland Allen makes a tranchant and biting critique of the usual, traditional methods of missionary work that Anglicans have used, like almost everyone else.  For instance, he shows from the book of Acts how Paul demonstrates an astounding confidence in the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide his new converts as he goes from place to place, starting new churches everhwhere but never staying long to ensure the church develops properly.  But I find Roland Allen far more balanced and profound than Frank Viola in treating the same biblical data.  And here’s my point:  Roland Allen was an Anglo-Catholic.  He was a high church SPG missionary in China and then East Africa in the early 1900s, not a low church CMS one.  But he was a great exemplar of a “3-D” Christian, even though he probably never spoke in tongues.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface of some deep and complex matters.  I don’t want to prolong this discussion here, LA Anglican.  Feel free to contact me privately, if you want to pursue these matters.  But I fear we may be wandering far off-topic.

David Handy+

[90] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-08-2008 at 09:53 AM • top

LA Anglican,

Finally, let me take advantage of today’s Daily Office readings to suggest one of the major problems with the whole Frank Viola or “restorationist” type approach.  Viola is allergic to the whole idea of ordained (professional) ministers, seeing in it a betrayal of the key Protestant doctrine of “the priesthood of all believers” (ala 1 Peter 2:9-10; Rev. 15:5-7 etc.).

But consider the implications of today’s OT reading from Exodus 19 (first part).  There we find a remarkable passage that asserts what could be called “the priesthood of all Israel,” since the whole crowd is called “a holy nation” and “a royal priesthood” or “kingdom of priests” (Exod. 19:6).  And yet this corporate priesthood of all Israel did not exclude the special ordained cultic priesthood of the Levites, especially the descendants of Aaron and Zadok.  In other words, the existence of the ordained liturgical priesthood didn’t rule out the priesthood of all Israel, and vice versa.

Now I suggest the same applies to the New Covenant.  The difference is that in the OT, we have EXPLICIT commands authorizing the cultic priesthood of Aaron and his sons along with Exod. 19:6.  Not so in the NT.  All we have are the IMPLICIT indications of ordained offices, such as the mention of the offices of “overseer” (bishop), “elder/presbyter” (priest), and “servant” (deacon) in the letters to Timothy and Titus.  Or the implications of Jesus’ choice of the Twelve as “apostles.”  And so on.

Clearly, the classic three-fold ordering of ordained ministry is basically a POST-biblical development, though a very early one indeed.  It’s already there in 1 Clement, chapters 41-44, which probably was written about the same time as the Book of Revelation, i.e., around AD 96 or so.  And Clement was the third “Pope,” or “bishop” of Rome; so he’s a very important figure in the early Church.

This naturally raises all sorts of complex and controversial issues about the binding or non-binding status of post-biblical traditions.  I won’t even try to get into that here.  But once again, feel free, LA Anglican, to contact me privately, if you wish to pursue these matters.
I do wholeheartedly affirm the characteristic Protestant doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, I just don’t see it as being in necessary conflict with a special ordained priesthood.
David Handy+

[91] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-08-2008 at 10:14 AM • top

As for taking the easy route and becoming an Episcopalian, I do believe at one time Dr. MacNutt did in fact frequent Episcopal Churches if not being formally received. His healing center was started at the invitation of one of the Florida Episcopal Bishops. I think eventually he was un ex-communicated.
As for my route, I believe it was more an issue of trust. I am a product of the first years of Vatican II. My vocation director in the Franciscan Order left and was married and ex-communicated, the Dominican sister who was the principal at our grammar school left and was married, the Franciscan principal at my minor seminary left and was married, and my parish priest who married us left and was married after he had a Luther-like experience in his first trip to Rome.

Another event that made me question all this was the hubbub over my marriage to a Southern Baptist while I was in law school. I don’t know if this is regular but I had to get a special dispensation (that’s what the Jesuits called it) to marry outside of my home NY parish (my parish priest as a child was Msr. Tom Hartmann the Catholic half of the God Squad BTW).
After pre-Cana classes out here in Hollywood, I was told that I needed to be interviewed by the Jesuits so they could okay my marriage to my NY bishop. I had to bring 2 witnesses. So I brought two Catholic friends who were a lawyer and doctor married couple.

We were grilled (including my fiance) separately by the Jesuits. We were all asked if I ever slept with my mother-in-law! I asked the Jesuits why they would ask me such a question. They told me it was because I was marrying a Southern Baptist. Southern Baptists were considered a “cult.” Scout’s honor. Anyway, this was basically the moral line of questioning that we all had to go through for us to get the “ok.” And basically, we went through all this to please mom.

And if truth be told, although I am not anti-Catholic, it is my experience that your rank and file have as much knowledge of their faith as Mormons do about Joseph Smith and our Bible. It’s the old “trust us” mentality. That’s the practice, it may not be the theory. But as one trained as a lawyer - and as a minister, I see too many inconsistencies, too many nuanced postions changed over the years, too much “reasoning backwards” to use a constitutional law phenomenon.

In short, the Gospel is quite simple. Reaching Life after life after death (to use NT Wright) does not involve believing the Resurrection AND Mary was conceived without sin (I wore a Miraculous Medal many years of my life) and other Marian dogma AND the Church AND an entire plethora of add-ons.   

So, for me, it was not the easy route, but the truth that set me free. And I’m not beholden to any denomination or system, or church or communion. Or Calivn, Luther, Warfield, Hodge, Berkhof, Chafer, Hooker, Cranmer or any Protestant either.

[92] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 10:17 AM • top

what I am saying is relevant. These are not “bad” Catholics. They are not Catholics at all. We are all sinners. These so-called “Bad” Catholics are just sinful Christians, which, according to your Church are damned.”

This is an incorrect statement, though there are self-proclaimed “orthodox defenders of the magisterium” who take your position, or come close to it.  The Catholic Church does not teach that anyone in particular is damned.  Even “unrepentant sinners” are not necessarily damned because (a) there are such things as venial sins and (b) for a sin to be mortal, one must not only commit grave sin, but be subjectively culpable for that sin as well.  Catholicism, unlike evangelicalism, does not assume strict liability for sin.  The framework for evaluating these issues differs in the Catholic Church from that of your typical evangelical Protestant. 

Moreover, not all grave sins cut a person off entirely from the visible body of the Catholic Church.  Adjudicated excommunications that cut a person off completely from Church membership are few and far between.  In general, even mortal sinners remain members of the Catholic Church so long as the person still has Christian hope. 

Thus, it is wrong to simply say that “bad Catholics” don’t exist and aren’t really Catholics at all - though I can hardly blame you for being confused, since it is more often than not, the self-proclaimed “orthodox” Catholics who are often responsible for the confusion.  Culturally, America is a nation of Puritans or apostate Puritans with a low tolerance of “sinners” or “hypocrites,” as the case may be, in the assembly and “orthodox” American Catholics share this distorted cultural tendency.

If one is looking for a “pure” church, i.e. no known grave sinners in the sanctuary (or in the pews for that matter), the Catholic Church is not what you are looking for.  But, the Catholic Church does not make that claim anyway.  Rather, she claims to teach with authority because she was founded by Christ himself.

[93] Posted by Violent Papist on 04-08-2008 at 10:29 AM • top

#97, Violent Papist,
I know the difference between venial and the 3-pronged test of mortal sin. I know one can miss any prong of the three prongs and only be guilty of mortal sin.
Again, if one had a shoddy CCD teacher or priest or nun who didn’t teach the True Faith correctly, one is just off the hook.
I’m not looking for a “pure” big C church. And of course, every non-Catholic Christian will argue with you about whether Jesus founded the Church of Rome.

[94] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 10:37 AM • top

#97, Violent Papist, what you’re really describing is criminal intent with a criminal act - mens rea and actis rea - for mortal sin.
If I don’t know abortion is a mortal sin, then it’s not. 18 year old Sally goes to Planned Parenthood or where ever - has no post-confirmation Catholic education, knows abortion is legal - and assumes therefore, it is moral, and has it done.
No mens rea, no mortal sin.

[95] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 10:44 AM • top

“I know the difference between venial and the 3-pronged test of mortal sin. I know one can miss any prong of the three prongs and only be guilty of mortal sin.”

What you meant to say was “guilty of venial sin” not “guilty of mortal sin.”  But, if you know that’s true, then why did you say that the Catholics Church teaches that bad Catholics aren’t Catholics at all, but are dammed?  I certainly agree that there are a lot of shoddy CCD teachers and priests that mislead people.  The “salvation implications” to use an ill-sounding phrase, are left to God, thankfully, and not the caprice and malice of the moral scold.

[96] Posted by Violent Papist on 04-08-2008 at 10:46 AM • top

“If I don’t know abortion is a mortal sin, then it’s not. 18 year old Sally goes to Planned Parenthood or where ever - has no post-confirmation Catholic education, knows abortion is legal - and assumes therefore, it is moral, and has it done.
No mens rea, no mortal sin.”

Mens rea and actus reus are civil legal concepts, not theological ones, but there are indeed similarities.  But, there is also the issue of natural law that is written in every man’s heart.  One doesn’t require the Church to teach you that certain things are wrong for you to intuitively know through practical reason that they are wrong.  At the same time, the practical reason can be easily distorted, thereby mitigating culpability.  Ultimately, determining the subjective culpability of a sinner in a given case is a highly speculative enterprise, which is why it is God who is the ultimate judge, not man.  It is also the reason why not only the chaff and the wheat are not always readily distinguishable, but also why they must reside together until the final harvest.

[97] Posted by Violent Papist on 04-08-2008 at 11:12 AM • top

Probabilism at its worst or finest!  Is there a difference?

[98] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 04-08-2008 at 11:35 AM • top

Violent Papist,
Thanks for your response. Now that you’ve brought natural law into it, I guess we won’t ever know when one has committed a mortal sin.
Better go to confession and let a priest tell me!
It’s built into the system. Just another stroke of genius for the sacramental system!

[99] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 11:39 AM • top

Fr. Handy,
Thanks for the book tips. I’ll take a look. But we have different ecclesiologies. And I will contact you privately.

You and I have gone in opposite directions it seems but still landed in the Via Media. You went from evangelical Wheaton to Episcopal Yale. I from St. John’s to evangelical/fundamentalist/dispensational Liberty. Dispensationalism really is only different when talking about prophecy and the age to come (which by the way, outside of the Rapture and Chiliist ideas is pretty square with NT Wright’s writings about the Life after Life after death). Oh yes, and being charismatic is anethema to indy Baptists, although there are some SBC that are charismatic undercover. Calvin was the culprit who taught the Gifts of the Spirit ended with the close of the Apostolic Age/Canon. Of course, I don’t buy it. 

The eye-opening you described you had at Yale was the same kind of eye opening I had at Liberty Seminary. I was still a nominal Anglican throughout that wanted to be grounded in the Word in an uncompromising fashion. But I am gradually seeing really see no need to fight to be tied to Anglicanism. If I did, I’d see AMiA as a good fit. I just can’t seem to take the re-baptizing plunge in the water tank in a local Baptist church. I think it may be the same for Episcopalians who can’t seem to swim the Tiber, so I understand that.
And swimming the Tiber was what this thread was all about, after all.

[100] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 12:07 PM • top

LA Anglican (with regard to #96),

Yes, the MacNutts live in Jacksonville, FL and they were invited to start their Christian Healing center there by the late, great Bishop Stephen Jecko (R.I.P.).  They certainly did frequent TEC churches, but my point is that they never joined one (although there are some EXCELLENT charismatic parishes in the Jacksonville area).  Francis and Judith chose to take the harder road and remain part of the “loyal opposition” within Catholicism, so to speak.

It’s not something I recommend for members of TEC.  In most places anyway, the time for that kind of “stay and work for change from within” strategy is doomed.

David Handy+

[101] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-08-2008 at 12:14 PM • top

Fr. Handy,
I agree the “stay and fight” idea is ultimately doomed. I did bolt to a Uganda parish here for awhile that is under siege by Bp. Bruno. But due to changes in the parish, the “at war” mentality and serious family concerns that could not suffer a negative parish at war situation, coupled with the fact that I’m part of a charismatic Order that is overwhelmingly Episcopalian, I went back to TEC until the dust settles.

[102] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 12:26 PM • top

Mortal sin does cause us some dilemmas, does it not?  It is a mortal sin to skip communion on Sunday, but it is also a mortal sin to knowingly participate in heretical worship. And often in TEC, the choice is both, or neither.  There is, of course, morning prayer, but that is not the same as the Eucharist.

[103] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-08-2008 at 12:35 PM • top

I don’t believe we have the category of mortal sin. It’s sin. As to heretical worship, I guess you can call me a heretic because I don’t believe in the Real Presence. So Episcopal Eucharist for me is just a memorial and yes, a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. And I don’t believe communion forgives sin. I am forgiven.

The fact that other Anglicans could very well call me a heretic makes me pause to call other Anglicans heretics. We have open communion in my parish. I guess my rector is a heretic as is the Vestry that allows it but I wouldn’t presume to know.

At the Prayers for the People, we routinely use language that seems to suggest prayers to saints, including our Patron, a so-called martyred King of England. But I just don’t say those prayers although I think it heresy.

I was in NYC at Christmas and I purposely took my family to a Anglo-Catholic High Christmas Mass, with an Angelus to Mary afterwards. Prayers to saints, the whole nine yards. Heresy? Not for me to say. Not usually my cup of tea but it’s Xmas and my former Romanism got the best of me.
Viva la Anglican difference - to a point.

[104] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 12:52 PM • top

LA Anglican,

I was wondering where you chose to worship.  The only parishes in the LA area I really know anything about are St. James’, Newport Beach, and All Saints, Long Beach.  Both are affiliated with Uganda, as you probably know (and maybe one of them was the parish you tried out for a while).  And I really don’t know much about even those two.  I’m an east coast guy.

But visitng churches that are radically different than your home church can be fun and stimulating.  I try to do it several times a year.  So I’ll go to a Pentecostal church, or check out some evangelical megachurch, or drop in for a Russian Orthodox service or something else, just for the sake of variety and to get out of ruts.  As a “3-D” Christian, it’s hard to find a church that gives anything like equal emphasis to all three dimensions. 

David Handy+

[105] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-08-2008 at 01:16 PM • top

Fr. Handy,
It was St. Luke’s in LaCresenta. Great church. Great people. Charismatic, Catholic and Evangelical (I’m not very catholic but it’s not a deal breaker). I hated to leave.

But, it seemed their theological conservatism went hand in hand with political conservatism. We’re politically centrist to liberal Democrats. My better half is more rabid. And I liked the idea of fighting the Evil Bishop. He’s not very evil in person. I dealt with him when I was Diocesan Coordinator of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. But the Diocese here is outta control as you know.
But there were other family concerns as I mentioned that I don’t want to specify here, that didn’t fit well with a war mentality and political conservatism, so I went back to the Evil Diocese and view my neighborhood congregation like a congregationalist. Again, some would scream heresy!
I don’t go to other churches but go to healing missions put on by my Order and Holy Spirit speakers come from Anglican, Pentecostal, Methodist and other churches.

And I’m in the tv/film business and watch lots of TV programming. I go to different services by watching lots of religious programming, EWTN included - and even cable access. Been doing that for over 20 years or so.

[106] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-08-2008 at 01:47 PM • top

LA Anglican (#110),

This is getting more interesting. Your last post reminds me of a great testimony I just heard.  I’m visiting my two children, who attend a large (700+ ASA), thriving, charismatic AMiA church in the western suburbs of Chicago (Wheaton).  On Easter morning, the sermon featured a testimony from a relatively young couple who have come to faith in Christ in the last few years after starting to attend this fine parish (Church of the Resurrection).  Like you, they are ex-Roman Catholics who were completely lapsed for years.  That is, until they had kids and decided they wanted their children to be raised in a church.  Some friends invited them to Rez and the rest is history (by God’s grace).

But part of what made their story so funny and delightful was the honesty of this young couple.  The wife confessed that they were very concerned about the environment (“tree-huggers” was her term) and one of the things that had inititially held them back was the fear that if they threw in their lot with this conservative church that they be expected to give up their concern about global warming!  Hilarious.  It brought down the house.

FWIW, I was a subscriber to Sojourners for years after I graduated from Wheaton.  I thought of myself as theologically conservative, but politically liberal.  Well, now I’m a regular reader of First Things, so I’m now a political “neo-conservative” I guess (though I dislike such labels).  Many of us are complex creatures, hard to pidgeon-hole.  Which is as it should be.

Ironically, while I came from a moderately liberal Democratic family, my wife came from a rabidly conservative Republican family (her father made Ronald Reagan look moderate).  Our votes used to cancel each other out.  Then for years we were both Independents.  Now we’ve flip-flopped.  In that close presidential election in 2000 between Bush and Gore, I voted for Bush, she voted for Ralph Nader!  I’m sure she never told her father (grin).

David Handy+

[107] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-08-2008 at 03:02 PM • top

Fr. Handy,
This is so true:
“Many of us are complex creatures, hard to pidgeon-hole.  Which is as it should be.”
Never in my wildest dreams would I think I’d be where I am now in my spiritual journey, and life, in general.

BTW, in your inerrancy postings you mentioned the Word Commentary. Christian Books is selling it at $19.95 per month, so I bought the entire series. Thanks.
And sign me up for the New Reformation!

[108] Posted by LA Anglican on 04-09-2008 at 01:10 PM • top

LA Anglican (#112),

Welcome aboard the elite NRAFC.  It’s a lively group, and you’ll find others who are also much more low church than I am (examples would include bluenarative and Br_er Rabbit).  We don’t have a litmus test for membership.  Perhaps the most important requirements are a passion for Christian orthodoxy in its Anglican expression and a sense of humor.  That is, we take the cause of orthodoxy very, very seriously, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously in the process (grin).

As for the Word Biblical Commentary series, I’m delighted you decided to buy it.  And yes, CBD is a great place to get it at a substantial discount.  On the whole, it’s a very good series.  But like every other commentary series, it is uneven in quality.  I’ll be interested to hear from you eventually about how well you like it (or you don’t) in general, and which volumes you especially find helpful.

David Handy+

[109] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 04-09-2008 at 04:16 PM • top

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