Thinking Anglicans

First report from Independent Reviewer: Chrism Masses

The first report of the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration is now available and can be read here.

First report from Independent Reviewer
31 July 2015

As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer.

In October last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration.

Sir Philip’s first Report is published today and can be read here.

Notes:

Further details on the work of the Independent Reviewer can be found here.

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Simon Sarmiento
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Bishop Tony has issued a response to this report which you can see here

http://www.sswsh.com/fullposts.php?id=162

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

There was no Chrism mass in the Church of England after the Elizabethan settlement of 1559. Oil was not used until a few maverick Anglo catholics illegally reintroduced it in the nineteenth century. Diocesan Chrism Masses only developed after the second world war. To this day in the C of E there is no official priestly rite to use the oil for the anointing of the sick. I wish some die hard Anglo catholic would point to the independent reviewer that these so called purist bishops have ordained women deacons and they broke with tradition. Is there provision for some… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

Anti-OOW bishops: “Any pain the masses cause to clergy women and others is “a cause of concern” but the underlying pain results from “the decision to ordain women as bishops and priests while recognising that their ministry cannot be received by all in our church””

In short, “Don’t blame us, you did it to yourselves!” Nice (not). Kyrie eleison!

Father David
Guest
Father David

Robert, I presume that all post Reformation monarchs were anointed with holy oil at their coronations in Westminster Abbey, certainly the Second Elizabeth was so anointed by Archbishop Fisher in June 1953. So when was the holy oil used at coronations consecrated and by whom? So, it would seem, that the practice of using oil in the Anglican Liturgy wasn’t completely abandoned after the great upheaval.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Maybe as a one off at a coronation but not as a sacrament for the sick or dying.

Neil Patterson
Guest
Neil Patterson

David, the Coronation does indeed represent the continuous Anglican use of oil, and has often been acclaimed as such. But as far as I am aware the only sanctifying of the oil on most occasions was by a prayer in the service itself shortly before the oil was used, and which like almost all such prayers in Anglican liturgy, prayed for the effects (on the monarch) rather than for the oil to become blessed.

Fr William
Guest

Playground gangs come to mind. The C of E of the future,

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

From the website of the British Monarchy, at the page concerning the Crown Jewels, “The oldest piece of the Regalia is the 12th century gold Anointing Spoon, used to anoint the Sovereign with holy oil.”

Christina Beardsley
Guest

The use of oil in anointing the sick can be found in Common Worship ‘Pastoral Services’:
https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/pastoral/healing/layingonofhands.aspx

peter kettle
Guest
peter kettle

At the coronations in 1937 and 1953 the following words are used in this prayer said by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the section ‘The Anointing’: ….Bless and sanctify thy chosen servant [N] who by our office and ministry is now to be anointed with this Oil [here the Archbishop is to lay his hand upon the Ampulla] and consecrated King / Queen… Note the capital letter on Oil – does this imply the oil has already been consecrated? The rest of the wording does not explicitly do anything to the contents of the Ampulla, though the term ‘holy Oil’… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

If the C of E wishes to learn a thing or two about the blessing of holy oil then we need look no further than the Armenian Church. A great cauldron of oil is blessed with the right arm of St. Gregory the Illuminator by the Catholicos of All Armenians in his cathedral church at Etchmiadzin. However, I think such a ceremony might just be a step too far for some of our more Evangelical brothers and sisters.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

I’m away from all my books and references right now, but my recollection is that the prayer associated with the Oil at the Corronation, has been variously modified over the years. Originally a prayer that specifically blessed the oil it eventually became a prayer to bless the person who was to be anointed. Maybe it was Compton (Bishop of London) at the Coronation of William III and Mary II who made that change — he certainly made a number of changes to the service.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Whenever we see clips of Elizabeth II coronation, the scene that is most often seen is the moment when Geoffrey Fisher placed the crown upon the monarch’s head. Of course, the most sacred moment ( as in the Old Testament when Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king ) was the anointing. There was much debate at the time as to whether or not the coronation should be televised. A positive decision was made and the sale of televisions rocketed. However, I believe that the anointing was considered to be too sacred a moment to be shewn… Read more »

Peter Mullins
Guest
Peter Mullins

This isn’t anything to do with oil. It is about WATCH and The Society taking radically different views about what ‘mutual flourishing’ means in terms of the specific situations in which priests ‘gather around their Bishop’. The former appear to see hints of taint and disregard for the authority of the diocesan Bishop. The latter appear to see sacramental assurance and regard for the role of the Bishops of The Society. For what it is worth, the Independent Reviewer appears to be saying that WATCH hasn’t chosen strong enough ground (“Chrism masses are by no means the only occasion when… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Unction of the sick was in 1549, dropped in 52; provided for provisionally in 1935. In TEC, we’ve had unction of the sick since at least 1928. We use Chrism at Baptism since 1979, and some bishops used it in Confirmation prior to that time. Do the English now use Chrism at Baptism?

Father David
Guest
Father David

Tobias, tomorrow I shall have great joy in baptising Abi and prior to the waters being poured I shall anoint her with the sign of the cross using holy oil, blessed by the bishop at the Chrism Mass.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

This is all rather disappointing, if not entirely surprising. Peter Mullins has it right – this is not about oils, but rather a dispute between WATCH and SSWSH. I had always assumed that the Adjudicator had been put there to defend the oppressed minority against the predations of the rapacious majority, so it is a surprise that the first referral has come from the majority side. Sir Philip seems to be of the same opinion, for he has taken care to come down on the side of the minority. But it is a pity that he has accepted so many… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

Malcolm Dixon: “The statement claiming that many of the separate Chrism masses under the auspices of FiF/SSWSH have been attended by the relevant Diocesan(s) is at best grossly misleading and dangerously close to dissembling. There may have been a very few occasions when this has happened, but at the vast majority of such occasions, the Diocesan was not present and would not have been welcomed if he had turned up.” It would be very helpful if the Bishop of Wakefield could substantiate his statement. If his statement is shown to be less than accurate, it should be brought out into… Read more »

ExRevd
Guest
ExRevd

This isn’t terribly edifying. Both sides have more in common as pressure groups than they probably care to admit. Both seem to be adopting a “my way or the highway” position that is the hallmark of fundamentalists everywhere, religious or otherwise. And to pick as the battleground the one service in the liturgical year that is most clergy focused, and probably furthest removed from the experience of churchgoers, let alone the wider public, makes this look a tempest in a teapot, not only unedifying but laughable.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

Masterly judgement by the Independent Reviewer. I would expect nothing less. He does however seem to have let his guard drop at one crucial point in saying: “I do not imply any criticism of those who organise and preside at [these Chrism Masses], or of what has gone before, when I say that it will be essential that they continue to be advertised and conducted wholly within the spirit of the House of Bishops’ Declaration, not that is as narrow gatherings of one embattled section within the Church but as outward-looking celebrations of what those present have to bring to… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

We must not forget that another aspect of the Chrism Masses is that they offer the opportunity to renew Episcopal, Priestly and Deaconal vows.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I can’t imagine why women would be excluded from a Chrism Mass, short of the heresy of “taint”. Of course, CoE seems to have embraced that heresy.

I think that every diocese in TEC does these Masses during Holy Week, and of course, none exclude women. This has been going on my entire adult life. CoE has come to tolerate exclusion as an entitlement, rather than evidence of the brokenness of humanity.

I suppose it’s of little account in very “low church” settings…

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

Read carefully, Christina and you will see that the anointing is for any authorised minister, lay person or deacon.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Anne/Malcolm – see the annexures to the report. The Bishop of Wakefield provided a full table of this year’s Chrism Masses and the various responses of the Diocesan Bishops. The allegation that the information provided might be misleading is utterly groundless.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

If the reviewer had ruled against the separate masses, what good would it have done? Trad Anglo-Catholics would’ve been PO’d at WATCH, and out for some tit-for-tat retribution down the line. It would’ve done nothing whatsoever to bring together two groups who, as the reviewer says, hold irreconcilable theologies.

So long as the Church of England continues down this path, a path I disagree with, it’s probably best that both groups keep as far away from each other as reasonably possible. “Mutual flourishing” is most likely when they’re out each other’s hair.

Julia Redfern
Guest
Julia Redfern

Picking up on Anthony Archer’s post, a signal of generosity perhaps? Loved ++ Justin’s happy tweet quoted in + Tony’s 7 July letter (Appendix C), ‘Now off to Chrism mass for traditional Catholics in this area, grateful for their ministry, privilege to be there, #5principles’. (To be fair to the organisers of the Fulham Chrism Mass, the 2015 invitation was carefully worded, ‘The Mass will be offered in the presence of the Bishop of London, and Bishop Robert Ladds and Bishop Peter Wheatley will be present and will concelebrate’)*. Returning to the judgement, masterful indeed but a shame that the… Read more »

Christina Beardsley
Guest
Christina Beardsley

Well, Robert Ian Williams, we have – probably rightly – been accused above of straying from the main topic here by discussing the oils. As a point of accuracy I was simply pointing out that the Church of England does have an authorised form of priestly anointing of the sick, in Patoral Services (Communion Worship) and in my edition (2000) it repeatedly refers to Canon B37 ‘Of the ministry to the sick’, Section 3 of which reads: ‘If any such person so desires, the priest may lay hands upon him (sic)and may anoint him (sic)with oil on the forehead with… Read more »

Peter Bostock
Guest
Peter Bostock

For the record, my parish of S. Aidan Grangetown hosted a Chrism Mass celebrated by The Bishop of Beverley. The Bishop of Durham preached and he was warmly received by me and everyone else both in church and in the hall afterwards. He was applauded. I have photographs to prove his presence. Last year I attended the Chrism Mass celebrated by the Bishop of Beverley in the Diocese of York. The Archbishop preached. I dissemble not.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Profuse apologies for impugning people erroneously in my earlier post. Being away from home and normal computing facilities, I had read the report but not been able to open the attachments. I now accept, in the light of information provided here, that some ordaining Diocesans, and even the Archbishops, have graced some dissenting Chrism masses with their presence. But this is totally at variance with my personal experience during 27 years in a Res C parish, ending in 2012 when I left in despair. During that time, I always made sure to attend my diocesan Chrism mass, so that at… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Let’s just stop for one minute and remember who instigated all this: WATCH! Its members will simply not be satisfied until they have driven out of the Church every traditionalist who happens to disagree with them! It’s their way, or the highway! Some commentators on this thread conveniently forget who wrote the original complaint.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

This rite is a recent development and missing from the Church of England liturgy for 400 years.It is even in th canon not described as a sacrament.However I take your point, and please accept my apologies.

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

Such are the gymnastics to which the CofE has sentenced itself.

Oh for a single-clause measure.

Oh for a better Synod!

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Let’s just stop for one minute and remember who instigated all this: WATCH!”

So, Benedict, you wanna go a schoolyard round of “You started it! No, you started it!” Where does that get us? [See re Israel/Palestine]

If we don’t agree on what the “this” is (in your statement above), we can never agree who started “this”. [Each of us will keep working backwards, to a previously-aggrieved “this”]

The question is, how do we move forward (in faith…and Spirit-led progress!), breaking that cycle of aggrievement? Of exclusion? Of fear?

Rob
Guest
Rob

The more I read about WATCH, the more they come across as liberal fundamentalists, ideologies, and fanatics. Well done Sir Phil for sorting them out! I suspect there will be more of this cantankerous naughtiness in the future though!

Malcolm
Guest
Malcolm

I agree with Benedict.
Look I attended a ABC FinF Church yesterday.
It was 3/4 Full Church good liturgy and preaching.
3 retired Priests in attendance(would have been four but hes on holiday)
Happy faithful people
We like Crismm Masses its part of who we are
LEAVE US ALONE to praise the Lord in word and sacrament.
We are only few dont force any more away WATCH!!!!

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“The question is, how do we move forward (in faith…and Spirit-led progress!), breaking that cycle of aggrievement? Of exclusion? Of fear?”

By not trying to coerce our opponents into unity? Why didn’t WATCH try to *persuade* everyone to join in the same chrism mass?

I agree that there should’ve been a single-clause measure, but two integrities is the path chosen in England, and if it’s to work, people need to be given space.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Just some random thoughts here from the WATCH member who wrote the theological – liturgical note which forms the background to our submission. 1. Contra Benedict et al we are not in the business of forcing people to leave the CofE . We want a one church approach to mutual flourishing not a two church approach and so it is entirely appropriate to ask whether certain practices militate against being one church and lean u towards being two. We think the development of alternative ‘chrism masses’ does just that. 2. We need to separate out the renewal of ordination vows… Read more »

Paul Bryce
Guest
Paul Bryce

Storm in teacup, I and many evangelicals have never attended such a service and it has never been an issue. To make this service the focus of unity in a diocese is a mistake by WATCH and the jamboree for SWSH grows smaller each year from what I hear, accept it and let history decide.

Susannah Clark
Guest

There can be many integrities, but just one commandment to love. We are *ALL* in communion with each other, whether we like it or not, because our communion comes from being ‘in Christ’ and by no other means. I believe in respecting people’s space to their own conscience and belief. The same applies to people and churches who as a point of conscience believe we should affirm and celebrate gay and lesbian relationships and marriage. That too is a matter of “integrities” and should be respected as strongly as those whose conscience cannot accept female bishops. You believe the Eucharist… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Charles Read or any of his fellow members of WATCH can attend any of the chrism masses provided by SSWSH. There is no expectation or coercion. Please allow us traditionalists the same space and not seek to force people who don’t agree with you into a corner. That is exactly what your submission to Sir Philip Mawer smacks of, although clothed in the language of mutual flourishing.

Paul Bryce
Guest
Paul Bryce

Yes Susannah it is respect, but as I cannot agree with what someone who believes in transubstantion does I would not attend a eucharistic service as the words and understanding are wrong. So whilst identity in Christ is central, making what appears by all attempts a confusion of various reformation and explicitly Roman Catholic elements in a service the focus of unity as WATCH have done is wrong.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘Storm in teacup, I and many evangelicals have never attended such a service and it has never been an issue. To make this service the focus of unity in a diocese is a mistake’

Thank you, Paul Bryce! This is my view too.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

It is obvious that neither Tim nor Robert I Williams have ever been present at a ‘Chrism Mass’ in their various settings of the Anglican Communion. RIW’s experience (before his swim across the Tiber) was of an Evangelical community in the NZ Diocese of Nelson. New Zealand. Certainly there would have been no such ‘popish’ celebration in that place. However, I would have thought that Tim, in Canada, might have experienced a Chrism Mass – at the hands of Bishop Victoria Matthews – a good Anglo-Catholic and now my diocesan bishop here in ACANZP. However, he may have absented himself… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

I cannot for the life of me think why Evangelicals seem to have such an aversion towards the use of holy oil for anointing when its use is quite prominent in Holy Scripture. There are a score of references in the Bible advocating its utilisation. Monarchs and High Priests were anointed in the Old Testament and James in the New specifically requests that the sick be anointed with oil by the Elders of the Church. Like Father Ron, I really cannot see what the problem is and what all the fuss is about.

Robin Ward
Guest
Robin Ward

It is certainly ironic to see how Chrism Masses, which until the early 1990s were treated by most diocesan bishops as a bit of a faddish Anglo-Catholic embarrassment to be celebrated in a hole-in-the-corner way and often with some sort of unreasonable stipulation about only blessing one oil, have now in some minds become a shibboleth and roll call, the touchstone of communion and loyalty.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Good point, well made Robin. The Counsel of Gamaliel seems to apply here with regard to the proliferation of Chrism Masses. For those who have difficulty with the wrong kind of bishop presiding, maybe a solution comes to us from across the Pond? The late, considerable Liturgiologist – Dr. Kenneth Stevenson recommended that I purchase the 1976 American Book of Common Prayer, a volume that I have found to have proved to have been invaluable throughout my ministry. When it comes to the Laying on of Hands and Anointing the rubric states:- “If oil for the Anointing of the Sick… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

Again, I’m surprised that there isn’t more consideration and comment about the reaffirmation of ordination vows that is concomitant with the service. For the purposes of liturgical theology, a bishop is a bishop is a bishop. Having worked out the Donatist and Novationist controversies, we can trust the oil is as blessed as the Lord requires, regardless of the personal characteristics of the bishop blessing them. The reaffirmation of ordination vows ought to be the same, in that the vows are made to a particular bishop as symbol of the episcopate. In the rite for TEC (from the “Book of… Read more »

Alastair Newman
Guest

A question about the Five Guiding Principles agreed by the General Synod. These Principles are now held up as of extreme importance by the Church, to the extent that you will not be ordained if you do not assent to them. For me, as a member of WATCH, adhering to Principles #4 (the Church of England remains committed to enabling those who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests to flourish within its life and structures) and #5 (Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Ron, you would be incorrect. I have attended the service you refer to as a Chrism mass, although it was not called that when I attended. I do not, however, attend it any more. Father David, I have no objection to the use of oil in anointing the sick, which I agree is very biblical. I do not, however, see anywhere in scripture that it needs to be ‘blessed’ by anyone in order to be effective (observation would seem to indicate that Pentecostals do just as well with it as Anglicans, and their oil certainly is not episcopally blessed!). Nor… Read more »

Paul
Guest
Paul

Agree with Tim and his reasons, I have no problem with others gathering for such an event but the point in this discussion is whether having two events in a Diocese marks disunity. I say it cannot when there is no a) clear agreement on its theological function and b) no requirement to attend for all clergy and many do not through either choice or its poor timing.