Saturday, 24 October 2009

Not All Catholics Are Traditionalists

Press release from the Society of Catholic Priests and Affirming Catholicism

Saturday, 24 October 2009

NOT ALL CATHOLICS ARE TRADITIONALISTS

The current debate about the implications of the offer made by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to make provision for Anglicans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church ignores one important fact. The majority of catholics within the church are in favour of women’s ministry and wish to remain loyal to the Anglican tradition within the Anglican Communion.

The Society of Catholic Priests, which has over 500 members in this country and is about to establish chapters in the American Episcopal Church and in Australia, and Affirming Catholicism which draws together clergy and laity in this country and throughout the Anglican Communion, are committed to the catholic nature and teaching of the Church of England. We are actively working to see women ordained to the episcopate and hold that this is entirely consistent with the teaching of the church and the historic nature of our orders. We are also convinced that the issues of human sexuality should not be ones that divide the church.

To suggest that the departure from the Church of England of those who hold more conservative views will remove the catholic wing and tradition from the church is entirely wrong. Churches and parishes which have a catholic tradition and are served by priests, both male and female, are growing and flourishing and look forward to the future with enthusiasm.

We welcome the offer made by the Pope to those of our brothers and sisters who no longer feel that the Anglican Communion is their spiritual home. We hope that this will not impede swift progress in the Church of England towards the ordination of the first women bishops in this land.

Fr Andrew Nunn
Rector General
The Society of Catholic Priests

Fr Jonathan Clark
Chair
Affirming Catholicism

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 10:37pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England
Comments

If you wish to know what the FiF crowd really think of AffCath and SCP then Fr William Davage, Librarian at Pusey House, will fill you in. Preaching at the just concluded FiF Assembly he said:

"You cannot re-write the Faith once delivered to the Apostles. You cannot dilute the Faith as would the liberal catholic: that suppurant oxymoron."
http://www.forwardinfaith.com/prayer/reflections/2009-NA-sermon.pdf

So there you have it. Liberal Catholics are self-contradictory and pus-inducing. Nice.

While listening to the speakers I was quite taken aback by the sheer venom and disdain in the voice of one priest as he raised the outrageous idea of having to swear canonical obedience to "some lady".
http://www.forwardinfaith.com/news/na09-10.html

That being said, not all at the Assembly are happy bunnies at the thought of crossing the Tiber, especially the laity!

Posted by: MJ on Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 11:16pm BST

The word 'catholic' used in this context is entirely inconsistent with the revealed apostolic faith which attests to and upholds the historic order of the Church. Whilst one accepts that there are many parishes and clergy both male and female within the Church of Enland who ostensibly appear to be 'catholic', the title 'liberal sacramentalists' would be more fitting to those whose own agenda has rejected catholic order in favour of political correctness and aggresive feminism.

Posted by: Gareth Jones on Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 11:35pm BST

I've been to several FiF churches that use the Roman Missal - why have they not been prosecuted? I suggest that the CoE will not miss them.

Posted by: JW on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:04am GMT

I misread the beginning of this text as a statement about Roman Catholic priests. And indeed many Catholics would be in favor of women priests. If people join the RCC just because of women priests and gay issues they are leaping from the frying pan into the fire.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:10am GMT

Listening to the FiF speeches I came away with a vivid impression of just how faith is an objectified, sealed off bubble world for the speakers. Since I hang out with Anglicans who left that sort of church life, so typical and redolent of USA Bible Belt churches across so many denominations, I always need sharp reminding that weaponized doctrines and closing down can be the religious order of the day.

Alas. I do not gain any positive impression that this sort of FiF Anglican will play well with any others, inside any Elizabethan Settlement Global Big Anglican Tents. All they have are settled doctrinal answers on display in the most gilded and orderly of museum cases; and so far cannot quite seem to get what about their innumerable lines of museum case closed answers just flies right past the mark for most progressive believers all around the planet. It is not just that they personally have found a Jesus and God who make religious questions and discernment unnecessary; it is that they define faith as the sort of enterprise which lines us all up minds off, conformed to something that supposedly got born/delivered whole-intact by the original Apostles.

This is of course false to the real history of the first three or four centuries among the real people who so variously followed Jesus of Nazareth. But hey, what's a little historical fiddling among FiF friends, compared to the glorious way the Magisterium has already answered all of any possible human questions?

Not Elizabethan Settlement Big Tent Anglican types, then. Why would FiF want to rub shoulers with the rest of us? Why, indeed? Except for the sly, fond hope that some day or other, everybody will let themselves be eaten alive by this sort of conformity? Gee, if I wanted that church life, I could have stayed USA Southern Baptist or Assemblies of God or Church of God (Indiana) or Methodist or Presbyterian or ?????

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 1:08am GMT

I was similarly struck by the venom of an Anglican Network in Canada conference held in Toronto a few years ago. It was akin to the vitriol of American politics of the past decade or so - beyond disagreement and well into contempt and hatred for anyone of differing viewpoint. What I heard wasn't the pious simpering that gets played out in the newspapers. It was hate.

I kept wanting to tell the venue staff "Most Anglicans aren't like this, really!"

Posted by: Aaron Orear on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 2:12am GMT

Not all Catholics are traditionalists. Indeed, and not all are Roman!

Posted by: Brian on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 3:56am GMT

Thank you Father Jonathan (Affirming Catholicism) and Father Andrew (The Society of Catholic Priests) for you reminder that by no mean all Catholics within the Church of England, or in the other Provinces of the Anglican Communion for that matter, are opposed to the ordination of women and gays within the Churches of our Communion.

Despite the untoward remarks of Fr.William Davage of Pusey House library, many of us who value the treasures of the Catholic and Reformed Faith of the Church of England (and certain other Churches within the Communion) will continue our striving for Church Unity - but not on the basis of any denial of the full humanity of women and gays in the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 7:39am GMT

Very good post by drdanfee. I totally agree there are too many 'doctrinal answers' within the RC church although there are too from progressives who see the question/issue of the ordination of women to be answered and settled. This is an equally gilded doctrinal area for them (plus Gene Robinson as well). What the Churches need to work for when there are open questions, is the space to have proper debate and disagreement rather than point scoring. And how to live together.
Some people might be scandalised by the way women priests were introduced - but provided there is space in good conscience and integrity to be honoured in the CofE I cannot see why people would want to join the RCs who will not even debate such question(s).

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 9:58am GMT

A lot of effort has gone into ecumenical dialogue over the last 40 years and from this has emerged , I would judge, the building blocks for a "reformed catholicism". What has been lacking is an attempt to articulate a fresh specifically Anglican evaluation of "Reformed Catholicism", something sufficiently explicit to help unite the groupings within Anglicanism that want to own this label...in distinction to "Western Catholics" and Anglicans who wish to go behind 1662/1559 and espouse an updated Edwardian protestantism....and give Anglicanism a firmer identity within the Una Sancta.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 10:54am GMT

"those whose own agenda has rejected catholic order in favour of political correctness and aggresive feminism."

In keeping with the smug selfrighteousness of this blithe dismissal of the faith of people who support OOW, can I ask what about those who reject catholic order in favour of a bunker mentality and a militant persecution complex? Because what is a flying bishop if not a clear rejection of catholic order? Seriously. Take thou the beam from thine own eye.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 11:14am GMT

The Society of Catholic Priests that is forming in North America also issued a similar statement:

http://www.thescp.org/documents/theSCPResponsetoVaticanAnnouncementPressRelease2.pdf

Posted by: Jared Cramer on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:14pm GMT

Fr Smith's comment about the 'denial of the full humanity of women' in the Church, beggars the question 'does one have to be ordained priest or bishop to be 'fully human'? I would value clarification on this not as a point of contention, but simply because I do not understand the rhetoric.

Posted by: Gareth Jones on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 1:10pm GMT

I have had many friends and colleagues who had sincere concerns about the ordination of women, yet we shared in a Catholic understanding of the Church and Sacraments. None have ever called me a 'Liberal Sacramentalist'.

Reformed Catholic or Prayer Book Catholic, yes. With the various teases that accompany these terms.

This name calling makes me deeply sad.

Posted by: Edward Green on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 4:31pm GMT

I also initially thought this article was about Catholics who support women priests rather than 'catholics' within the Anglican church who do. In regard to the former, there are in fact a great number of Roman Catholics who support having women priests and who think Rome's animosity towards gays is outdated and hypocritical. Some reports suggest that up to a third of Roman Catholic priests are in fact gay. Whatever the truth is, it will be interesting to have these more traditionalist priests entering the Roman church yet being married. Marriage of priests is another issue that many of the laity in the Catholic church are actually in favour of even though none of those in charge will even discuss it.

I think Rome may get more than it bargained for in this new unity with the Anglican church. And interesting question is also whether it would be possible for the Anglican communion to make the same offer to members of the Catholic church.

Posted by: Bayesian Believer on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 9:09pm GMT

I totally agree with Ford Elms, that the Flying Bishop is a departure from a viable and coherent application of catholic order, hence why I have never ministered under one! I have no issues whatsoever with the ministry of woman ordained to the priesthood and the episcopate within the Church of England. The problem lies with the exclusive inclusivists who pride themselves on illibral libralism, and will not make provision for the conscience of a significant majority of Gods people.

Posted by: Gareth Jones on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 9:51pm GMT

'Liberal Sacramentalist', was a term coined by a senior founding memeber of Affirming Catholicism, not me.

Posted by: Gareth Jones on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 9:52pm GMT

"Fr Smith's comment about the 'denial of the full humanity of women' in the Church, beggars the question 'does one have to be ordained priest or bishop to be 'fully human'? I would value clarification on this not as a point of contention, but simply because I do not understand the rhetoric."
Posted by: Gareth Jones on Sunday

I suppose, Gareth, that you, like some of the anti-women and anti-gay factions in the Church somehow believe that the full humanity of these two groups is not 'up to' the standard of humanity that the priesthood of the Anglican Church ought to require of its ordinands.

I think you might agree that the call to Christian priesthood is not about any special characteristic of being human - otherwise Paul would not be talking about the 'priesthood of all believers' - which he speaks of as for everyone.

The difference between this priesthood and the sacerdotal ministry is merely the matter of a call from God upon the life of a ministerial priest which is unique - not requiring a distinct category of humanity (e.g male or female), but a unique 'calling' from God through the discernment of the Church into which the priest is being called (in this case - C.of E.)

The real difference between the 'priesthood of all believers' and the sacerdotal priesthood, is that every single Christian is called into the 'priesthood of all believers', whereas a sacerdotal priest is especially called by God to serve in that specific capacity.

This is something that is obviously not really understood by the present Archbishop of Sydney, who is advocating Lay Presidency at the Eucharist. Maybe this helps you, Gareth in your lack of understanding of my post.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 10:05pm GMT

Rome would sue (for copyright infringement), if it could, those who call themselves "Catholic", but don't submit to the Holy See.

Just as I'm sure many of us here would like to sue (for copyright infringement---among other things!) those who call themselves "Anglican", yet are not represented within the Anglican Consultative Council.

But that cat is out of the bag.

Me, I'm an anti-Popoid, pro-Vatican2, pro-OOW, LGBT-affirming Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian---so sue me! ;-/

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 10:33pm GMT

Please dont presume Father Ron, that you know what I believe about gay or women priests, I am simply entering debate to deepen my own understanding of the issues at hand, and where different people are coming from. Thank you for your clarification which is helpful. What is unhelpful is linking the issue of gay clergy and woman clergy together, they can be mutually exclusive issues and often are.

Posted by: Gareth Jones on Monday, 26 October 2009 at 1:13am GMT

"What is unhelpful is linking the issue of gay clergy and woman clergy together, they can be mutually exclusive issues and often are."
- Gareth Jones -

Gareth, those of us who belong to the 'Inclusive Church' affinity in the Anglican Communion seem mostly to have come to the common understanding that both issues - of W.O. and LGBT ordinations - are connected, for the most part, by those who in the current climate of dissent within the Communion are seeking to distance themselves from supporters of both important issues.

Perhaps you have not been concerned with both of these issues so far. Most of us on this website have, and it in that understanding that we post our comments on this site.

I do realise, of course, that F.i.F. people may be rather more inclined to accept the ordination of gays, whereas they have an objection to the ordination of women. That is understandably so. However, for most of us who contribute to the correspondence on this site, the two issues are closely connected. I'm sorry if I've offended your sensitivity about just one of the issues.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 26 October 2009 at 10:09am GMT

"What is unhelpful is linking the issue of gay clergy and woman clergy together"

Maybe, but you can't deny that there is great similarity between the two groups. Simply for being how God made them (unless of course you believe the alarming conservative innovation that homosexuals are not actually a part of Creation), both groups have been deprived of rights and freedoms by the Church, and while they needed an axtra reason to murder women, the Church has been directly responsible for the deaths of millions of the members of both those group. Both groups have been subject to lies, slander, and propaganda from the Church. And both groups have managed to survive, somehow, despite the virulent animosity of the Church. Both groups, because of this abysmal, unChristian, and evil behaviour by the Church have, in our day and age, rejected Christianity in droves. So, both groups have been driven away from God because of the Church's appalling behaviour towards them. I'd say there's a lot to learn from considering their stories as different manifestations of similar issues.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 26 October 2009 at 6:53pm GMT

One of the more interesting long term possibles in all of this, may be may ... be... that Benny's hard work to turn back the clock on Vatican II sub rosa is having the opposite effects on the ground. I can think of few things more likely to liberalize believers over the long run than ordering them about and lock-stepping them in church life and in daily life. Especially in so-called western democracies where citizenship involves reaching across innumerable differences, thinking, investigating, and dealing with any number of ways in which life is not black/white/good/evil. The more Benny seeks that self-serving sort of black/white categorical strict control - not to deny he already has quite a fair share of power - the more free thinking Roman Catholics he is likely to provoke in real church life an real civil society. By sidestepping his ecumenical cadre and others who might have slowed him down or blocked him to some extent, Benny has taught another sort of lesson?

The more rabidly antigay Benny sounds, directly and via all of his spokes-folks, the more empathy he nurtures for the queer folks he so meanly targets. It's not pat and pretty, this real law of unintended consequences.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 26 October 2009 at 8:58pm GMT

There's nothing universal about closing debate on the place of women or gays - that's parochialism. Catholic means universal, so, at current, liberals are more catholic than traditional sacramentists.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 4:19am GMT

I fear that debate is closed when the consciences of a significant minority of a group or institution are undermined, and that minority are given no space for freedom of conscience. I fear debate is closed when general synod and bishops make promises they have no intention of keeping. It's all very sad, last night me and a dear friend who is a woman priest wept together...

Posted by: GJ on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 10:14am GMT

"The word 'catholic' used in this context is entirely inconsistent with the revealed apostolic faith which attests to and upholds the historic order of the Church. Whilst one accepts that there are many parishes and clergy both male and female within the Church of England who ostensibly appear to be 'catholic', the title 'liberal sacramentalists' would be more fitting to those whose own agenda has rejected catholic order in favour of political correctness and aggresive feminism.
- Gareth Jones on Saturday -

Gareth, I've only just taken in what you have here posted on the subject of what the word *catholic* might mean - for Anglicans. From your particular emphasis here, it would seem that you consider only the Roman point of view. If you were at all cognisant of the Anglican view, you would be able to understand the Anglican claim to catholicity, which no longer depends on an alliance with the Roman Pontiff. I suggest you read up on what the Church of England web-site has to say about the claims of the Church to be both catholic and Apostolic.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 11:59pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.