Comments: Canterbury and Lourdes

To me the actual sermon is quite superstitious. It is in the realm of magic, and I think it is debased. This brings so much into a lack of credibility.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/09/archbishop-to-lourdes.html

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 2:14pm BST

I found the sermon deeply moving and I thank ++Rowan for it.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 6:28pm BST

"To me the actual sermon is quite superstitious. It is in the realm of magic, and I think it is debased."

How so? To me, religion is all about the mystical, supenatural, the unseen. It seems, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you define that as 'superstitious'. If so, what is religion about for you? I found it, as Davis said, deeply moving.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 9:32pm BST

This is the same Archbishop who assents to the 39 articles which condemn the invocation of Saints.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 25 September 2008 at 10:54pm BST

I, personally, thought Archbisop Rowan's sermon at Lourdes to be quite inspirational, and I'm sorry that 'Pluralist' should find it 'superstitious' - perhaps true plurality would require more than one way of dealing with the place of Mary in the scheme of God's plan of salvation for the world.

Having said that, I realise that one of the tragedies of the Reformation was the denigration of the significance of God choosing a lowly woman to bring about what God has purposed for Christ's incarnation. However, one cannot overlook the importance of Mary's pivotal reaction to God's invitation to become the Mother of Christ, and the fact that her shrine at Walsingham has survived the depradations of the inconclasts of the English Church - being revived even before the return of the Roman Catholic Shrine of Mary at Walsingham, in the original Slipper Chapel - This ought to prompt some recognition of Mary's importance to all Christians as the very first 'Spirit-filled' Christian of our era.

The ABC's reference to Bernadette's epochal recognition of Mary as the subject of her visions may well be thought to be the 'stuff as dreams are made on', but one can hardly discount the amazing devotion to Christ that has been a direct result of her revelations. Bernadette's visions gave her an undoubted relationship to Mary, who would have pointed her to Jesus; whose own life and ministry consistently points us to The Father.

Superstition? Maybe.
Faith-building? definitely!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 12:06am BST

It seems to me that you can find the Archbishop's sermon "superstitious...in the realm of magic, and...debased" only if you find Catholicism itself those three things.

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 2:45am BST

In my Anglican Via Media, I feel a distinct sense of ambivalence about this.

On the one hand, I think the "Protestant Truth Society" (Must.Not.Write.Oxymoron!) are a bunch of nervous nelly party-poopers. There's nothing wrong w/ venerating saints, or even trusting, in prayerful hope, for Divine healing through the waters.

On the other hand, Mariolatry IS a danger, when we start using Vatican terms like "spotless", to describe the mother of Our Lord. Mary is just another redeemed sinner like the rest of us, thank God (it's through that redemption that we CAN venerate her as "Saint Mary").

[I don't for a second believe that illiterate Bernadette heard WHATEVER she saw, call herself "the Immaculate Conception" (Oh-so-conveniently backing up that dogma "infallibly" proclaimed just 4 years previously. Yeah, right.)]

Contra Cardinal Kasper, I not only think that Anglican-RC ecumenism isn't dead, I think that, only NOW---with the post-Vat2 honeymoon out of the way---that true ecumenical relations can actually BEGIN...

...but they must begin w/ *honesty*. The honesty to tell Rome that, for example, God calls women (many women) to the priesthood. But never called (conceived) even *one* "immaculately".

Mary is a human, a sinner.
Jesus is a (divine) human, the one human, who ain't.

That was the Will of God. Praise Her! :-)

Posted by JCF at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 6:13am BST

RIW,
"This is the same Archbishop who assents to the 39 articles which condemn the invocation of Saints."

The Articles don't get it right in every instance, and in this they are certainly wrong. Besides, they were never anything more than a failed attempt by the illegitimate daughter of a sexually incontinent, gluttonous, adulterous usurper to bring about some kind of peace in her Kingdom. Do the Welsh even have to assent to them? Most of the rest of us don't outside the Muvver Country.

JCF,
"Mary is just another redeemed sinner like the rest of us,"

No, She is far more than that. She it the most exalted of God's creature, chosen to bear in her body God Incarnate. She is what She is because He is what He is. Veneration of Mary was universal till the Reformation. Just because Rome goes too far in one direction is no reason for us to go too far in the opposite direction, whatever the Protestant revisionists thought. It seems pretty obvious to me that conceiving, bearing, and raising God Incarnate would most likely mean that there was SOMETHING special about a person.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 11:32am BST

Thank you, JCF, for your excplicit account of your understanding of Mary's role in God's plan of salvation for the world. I, like you, have problems with the 'Immaculate Conception' theory about Our Blessed Lady. If she were not fully human like the rest of us, then exactly how far back would you have to go to ensure that her conception was actually 'without sin'? And how could Jesus have fully shared in our 'sinful human nature'? No doubt the Roman Catholic Church would have had some private input into that particular nomenclature.

However, I do think that the initial virginity of Mary was important, but as for the 'perpetual' bit of it, one cannot help wonder how this could have been preserved post partum. And what about the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the Scriptures? I suggest it doesn't really matter about that - whether or no. What does matter was her 'fiat' that gave Mary pre-eminence over the rest of us - her 'Yes' to God.

In my parish of St. Michael and All Angels in Christchurch, New Zealand, we are happy to process the image of Our Lady of Walsingham on her Feastday - because this is part of our catholic tradition shared with our Anglican roots in the Church of England. We shall celebrate the Feast of the Conception of the BVM - but without reference to her status as 'Immaculate'. To us at Saint Michael's, Mary's value is purely as the God-Bearer, 'Theotokos', (perhaps more Easterly than Western); who is our model for the task of the call to all Christians to bear Christ to the world in our everyday lives.

Ave Maria, gratia plena...

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 12:04pm BST

This is the same Archbishop who assents to the 39 articles which condemn the invocation of Saints.

No. It condemns the Romish doctrine of the invocation of Satints. Read Tract 90.

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 12:46pm BST

I can't help noticing that all the comments posted so far have been from men. Interesting that most of you are so hung up on the sanctity of Mary only so long as she is a VIRGIN. I'm a mother of 4 children and a friend of many other non-virgin women, and I have no end of trouble with the idea that a true christian *must* believe that Jesus had to be born from a pure virgin who remained a virgin ever thereafter. To me Jesus's divinity is proved by his normal, egg-and-sperm conception, made sacred by God the Father. Are you going to call me a heretic for that? Do you even understand what I am getting at?

Posted by SarahHP at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 2:43pm BST

"for the 'perpetual' bit of it, one cannot help wonder how this could have been preserved post partum. And what about the brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in the Scriptures?"

Well, one can see it as preservation from the "taint" of sex, or one can see it as based on the idea that, having consented to be part of something so utterly fantastic, no less than God's plan for the redemption of His Creation, sex just didn't mean very much. And there is a very old tradition as to who Jesus's brothers and sisters were, I see no reason to ignore it. Also, remember that in the Greco-Roman world, to preserve one's virginity was to refuse to be under the sway of a man. The most powerful women in Rome were the Vestal Virgins, after all. There is an argument that Greco-Roman mind would have understood perpetual virginity as a badge of strength and independence from subjugation to male authority. I'd better be careful with that though, a woman who rejects male headship is rather threatening to our Evangelical brethren.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 2:48pm BST

Well, whatever the 39 Articles say about the saints, GAFCON thinks its part of the true definition of Anglicanism and the basis for its future.

Tract 90 is a marvelous essay in special pleading that shows that whatever the Articles meant in 1563 they had ceased to mean that by 1841.

God knows what they mean now; thats what makes FoCA's embrace of them so delightful.

Posted by jnwall at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 4:25pm BST

To respond:

My view is that when Jesus was born it was an ordinary birth by an ordinary mother. Just as the birth narratives are myth after the event of Jesus, so is all this stuff about "Elizabeth recognises Mary as bearing within her the hope and desire of all nations".

Rowan Williams and others might like to live inside "This story of Mary's visit to Elizabeth is in many ways a very strange one" but I find it distorting of who we are as people, and indeed this whole story is a dead-weight to seeing the equality and potential of humanity more clearly.

This idea of "When Mary came to Bernardette" is just superstition wrapped up in a geographical location, and so is all such stuff about recognising here is joy and healing etc..

It's a sort of alternative science and alternative history, but Williams will call it all a "story" - until he gets challenged. Its realism does not stand up, and its story is harmful.

The issue for me has always been whether Christianity is reformable, be consistent with contemporary thought and whether it can advance our humanity. It has always struck me that all this visitation and Mary aspect is a kind of female deism wrapped up in localised superstititon and carried by a patriarchal hierarchy - and is distorting.

We know virtually nothing about the historical Mary; there is but a hint of strain between Jesus and his mum and the usual about families. When so much of it is made up, the question is whether what is made up is useful or not.

I'm more 'liturgical' than Catholic: if I am Catholic in any sense then it is very lightly so.

Posted by Pluralist at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 5:04pm BST

Strange how invocation of Saints and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary was missing from Anglicnaism for 300 years and most ANGLICANS NEVER PRAY TO HER.

The point is ...if prayer to Mary is not Anglican doctrine..why aen't Anglican mainstream turning on Rowan like they do on Gene.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 5:58pm BST

JCF parenthesises:
"[I don't for a second believe that illiterate Bernadette heard WHATEVER she saw, call herself "the Immaculate Conception" (Oh-so-conveniently backing up that dogma "infallibly" proclaimed just 4 years previously. Yeah, right.)]"

Yeah, right indeed. Any standard work about Lourdes will tell you that the parish priest, Fr Peyramale, was absolutely gobsmacked by Bernadette's response. He had been mightily irritated by the nutty kid and her "lady", and had sarcastically told her to ask the lady's name. When she said, in dialect, that the lady had said, "Que soy era immaculada concepciou", Peyramale had been amazed, and had asked her if she had understood. Bernadette had replied that she did not.

This is really a bit of a non-story. +Rowan is only one of thousands of Anglicans to go to Lourdes. The only notable thing is his position as archbishop.

Posted by Alan Harrison at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 7:09pm BST

Re-read what I said, Ford:

"Mary is just another redeemed sinner like the rest of us, thank God (it's through that redemption that we CAN venerate her as "Saint Mary")."

As you see, I DON'T condemn venerating Mary (or the rest of the saints). Far from it.

But if any of you were left scratching your head at what I said . . . then Congratulations! You got it!

Like MOST of the Christian faith, it's a *paradox*, people. Humans, all of us, are fallen. Are sinners...

...and yet in Christ, ALL are redeemed. All are capable of being "saints", and some (both too few AND, paradoxically per Rome, too many?) are lifted up as saints, for our special, reverent attention (veneration).

Is Mary "more special" than the rest of us? Maybe. Maybe she was specially "assumed" into heaven, maybe she was crowned Heaven's Queen, for all I know.

But nuthin' happen to her, without being redeemed by Christ. An act of redemption that, by the Will of God, happened IN history, on Calvary's hill.

Retrojecting that redemption back to the "moment of Mary's Conception" not only fails Occam's Razor (nonsensically complicated), I believe actually TAKES AWAY Mary's human dignity, as one "the Great Unwashed."

I speak personally: I *need* a fallen, sinful---THEN redeemed---Mary. If there's HOPE for her, then there's hope for me! ;-)

OCICBW.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our deaths.

Posted by JCF at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 7:43pm BST

"On the other hand, Mariolatry IS a danger, when we start using Vatican terms like "spotless", to describe the mother of Our Lord. "

You might just want to listen to a well known English Carol that is sung around Anglican/Episcopal University Chapels, Churches, and Cathedrals during Advent and Christmastide during Lessons and Carols - "A Spotless Rose" - I don't think its a Vatican thing. Actually I think its a Herbert Howells thing based upon a medieval English Prose.

And one could also describe you as spotless as soon as you came out of the baptismal font - assuming you were baptized.

Posted by whb at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 10:47pm BST

"But nuthin' happen to her, without being redeemed by Christ. An act of redemption that, by the Will of God, happened IN history, on Calvary's hill."

Even those who believe in the Immaculate Conception believe that the BVM was preserved from sin by the Redemption of Christ, even though it came before: http://www.ewtn.com/faith/Teachings/marya2.htm

Posted by BillyD at Friday, 26 September 2008 at 11:01pm BST

'"My view is that when Jesus was born it was an ordinary birth by an ordinary mother. Just as the birth narratives are myth after the event of Jesus, so is all this stuff about "Elizabeth recognises Mary as bearing within her the hope and desire of all nations".'

The present topic aside, this seems to me to reflect an impoverished view of the purpose and power of myth. But I digress...

'It's a sort of alternative science and alternative history, but Williams will call it all a "story" - until he gets challenged. Its realism does not stand up, and its story is harmful.'

I think I probably already know the answer, but I wonder why things like apparitions of Our Lady are nothing but superstition, but the Incarnation and the Resurrection get a free pass?

"The issue for me has always been whether Christianity is reformable..."

Into what?

"...if I am Catholic in any sense then it is very lightly so."

That reads like a fair statement.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 2:39am BST

As a former RC, and the product of 17 years of Roman Catholic education, by the time I finished my third year of college I came to regard Mariolatry as disturbing and an impediment to a deeper relationship with Christ. It was one of the reasons, though not the primary, that I became an Episcopalian in 1976.

As to this matter of Lourdes, or Fatima, or wherever it was supposed to be in Mexico that the Blessed Mother of our Lord also appeared, I have -- probably for close to forty years -- felt that it was POSSIBLE that Mary was revealed to people in those places. But, in my view, it is also possible that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and delivered to him the Book of Mormon. In other words, I don't personally believe that any of those occurred, but I do not doubt the possibility that I might be mistaken.

I believe in the revealing and redeeming love of God in Christ, and the revelation and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Father to do what He (an inadequate description) will.

I believe that I can, and must, pray through Christ, and can be inspired by all manner of Saints, but should not make them my religious focus.

It is most disillusioning that the Archbishop of Canterbury would himself lend credibility to the Lourdes story.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 3:24am BST

"Any standard work about Lourdes will tell you that the parish priest, Fr Peyramale, was absolutely gobsmacked by Bernadette's response."

I'm familiar w/ the standard (Vatican) works, Alan.

I just don't believe them (The BVM hadn't had 1800 years already to clear this up?). Nope, sorry! ;-/

[I find it interesting that, contra JH Newman's "Development of Doctrine", Rome finds it necessary increase TESTS of doctrinal loyalty, precisely when it's being challenged on other fronts. Kinda like B16's prediction of a smaller, more CONTROLLED RCC?]

Whatever. I favor closer AC-RCC relations, because Rome needs us so badly---it's kind of our evangelistic burden. (Yeah, yeah, yeah: go ahead and mock, on the basis of comparative size. Whatever!)

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 5:50am BST

I should think most theologs nowadays would be able to discern the difference between 'mariolatry' and a decent 'mariology'. If not, the future Church is doomed to superstition.
I'm very happy to caller her 'Blessed' - in accord with the Magnificat.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 11:51am BST

This comment from Ron Smith on Lourdes was on the finace posting:

"These extracts from the ACNS site are evidence of the generic catholicity of the Anglican Mother Church's relationship to the apostolic tradition. "

Generic ...yes to a group which arose in Anglicanisnm in the nineteenth century. Mainstrean Anglicanism had no prayers to the BVM or any other Saint. Non of the non-jurors are Archbishop Laud ever prayed to her.

Those are the plain facts, and if Church Society were as active as they used to be , they would have formally criticised the pilgrimage....however they only have two obsessions, homosexuality and women bishops.

The PTS is now run by non-Anglicans..its cutreent chief man a Baptist minister.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 12:38pm BST

"As to this matter of Lourdes, or Fatima, or wherever it was supposed to be in Mexico that the Blessed Mother of our Lord also appeared..."

OL of Guadalupe supposedly appeared to Juan Diego at the Hill of Tepeyac, now part of the Mexico City metropolitan area.

"I have -- probably for close to forty years -- felt that it was POSSIBLE that Mary was revealed to people in those places."

Me too, and like you I'm not convinced. But I'm not terribly bothered by those who do find them convincing or appealing. I've been to two of the shrines (Fátima and Tepeyac) and found neither one of them terribly appealing - the only time I've actually feared for my life in church was at the Basilica of OL of G, when I wanted to go one way and the crushing crowd insisted on going another. But whether OL actually appeared in those places, at Tlaxcala, or Walsingham, they seem to be convenient places for me to offer devotion to God through his Mother. Whether or not the actual apparitions are true, the Persons said to be involved are real, and I am related to them.

I find it interesting, that at Lourdes and Tepeyac OL is said to have appealed to peasant sensibilities. At Lourdes she spoke not in French but Occitan, and at Tepeyac she appeared as an Aztec lady and spoke Nahuatl. I don't know about Lourdes, but the Tepeyac apparition was very important in the evangelization of Mexico - because she appeared as a Mexican, and not one of the conquering Spanish, the Mexicans identified with her and took her into their hearts. What's important about OL of G is not the apparition, but the reaction of the Mexican people.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 4:10pm BST

Pluralist,

"if I am Catholic in any sense then it is very lightly so."

I guess what I'm getting at is: what is religion for you? I get the impression, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you are not at all comfortable with the supernatural or the mystical. Now, I have no problem with that, but if you take the supernatural and the mystical out of religion, what have you got? If Jesus was nothing more than an ordinary man walking around first century Palestine with a fluffy message of "be nice to each other", then what's the point of it? For me, the attraction of religion lies in its mysticism and the concept that there is more to our experience than what can be concretely understood, so I don't understand the attraction of "religion" without these things. For me, religion without the mystical is philosophy. Though there's nothing wrong with philosophy, it doesn't answer what I think is a basic human attribute, the need to "contact the numinous" (if that's the right word).

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 5:17pm BST

JCF,
"I DON'T condemn venerating Mary"

I didn't say you did.

"Is Mary "more special" than the rest of us?"

More special than we are now? Yes. More special than we will be? No.

"But nuthin' happen to her, without being redeemed by Christ."

But that's the point of veneration of Mary, as I said, she is who she is because He is who He is. Our veneration of her is merely recognition that she is the one, regardless of how many others Gabriel went to that night who said 'no', and we can't know that, who said 'yes'. She conceived and bore God Who had taken upon Himself created nature to redeem that created nature. If indeed she has been "gathered to God" crowned queen of Heaven, or whatever, it is merely because of the One Whose mother she is. It isn't that her 'assumption' is anything special, it's that, because of Her Son, the resurrection has been anticipated for her. It'll happen to all of us, she just got there first as "family priveledge", so to speak. I think, given your last bit, we're probably saying the same things, just that you are more uncomfortable about coming too close to RC dogma concerning her. I don't blame you, I think Rome goes too far. Read some Orthodox writings on her, maybe it'll make more sense.

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 5:26pm BST

"Non of the non-jurors are Archbishop Laud ever prayed to her."

Your knowledge of the private thoughts and actions of long-dead ecclesiastics seems formidable.

Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 6:44pm BST

Speaking of Archbishop Laud, I found a reference to him in a book of Anglican prayers entitled _Give Us Grace_, in connection with a book written by a layman named Anthony Stafford. The Archbishop licensed and defended the book in the face of protestant criticism; its detractors were bothered both by the subject matter (its title was _The Female Glory, or the Life and Death of Our Blessed Lady, the Holy Virgin Mary, God's Own Immaculate Mother_) and its exalted language in praising the BVM. It seems to speak of belief in the Immaculate Conception. And excerpt can be found at: http://books.google.com/books?id=OAGlVkxd3i0C&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=%22archbishop+laud%22+%22virgin+mary%22&source=web&ots=ueUbATjVJW&sig=IMvtUEsiX-AymmGaxg6GLOWf66A&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPA58,M1


Posted by BillyD at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 7:14pm BST

"It'll happen to all of us, she just got there first as "family priveledge", so to speak. I think, given your last bit, we're probably saying the same things, just that you are more uncomfortable about coming too close to RC dogma concerning her."

Quite possibly, Ford.

I just find that, the more misogynistic Rome behaves towards women (and by extension, LGBTs), the more they EXALT Mary in a way that I don't think she would appreciate, past or (Queen of Heaven) present!

[If "spotless" just means "grace received at baptism", whb, then fine. But only IF an adult baptizand could immediately follow their baptism with hours and hours of the wildest SEX ever, w/ their spouse, and thereby remain no less spotless! ;-D]

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 8:50pm BST

Some people are so worried about acknowledging anything other than Jesus that they just end up looking petty and mean.

Jesus never denied there were angels, or prophets, matriarchs or patriarchs, God the Father or Holy Spirit. Nor did Jesus see the need to claim to be all of them. Nor to denounce them. In fact Jesus was quite protective of them e.g Look at Matthew 23 where Jesus said "Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah"

Or Mathew 15 "For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Saturday, 27 September 2008 at 10:53pm BST

"But only IF an adult baptizand could immediately follow their baptism with hours and hours of the wildest SEX ever, w/ their spouse, and thereby remain no less spotless!"

But...what would the rest of the folks at the Easter Vigil think of that?

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 12:26am BST

"Mainstrean Anglicanism had no prayers to the BVM or any other Saint." - Robert Ian Williams.

Robert, your scarlet slip is showing again. however, when you were an Anglican (before you so recently 'crossed the Tiber') your Anglicanism was obviously of the 'protestant' variety. You should read some of the history of the Early Christian Church in England - before the episode of the iconoclasts. There you will discover that devotion to Our Lady was alive and well before, and in, Edward the Confessor - not to mention the Saints of England - Hilda, Julian, Chad, etc.

Like most RC converts, you have probably made the mistake of believing that the English Church was defective or non-existent before the arrival of the first Italian Archibshop of Canterbury. However, any decent survey of English history will put you right about that.

I am interested, Robert, in your avid desire to contribute your RC slant on the present problems within the Anglican Communion - especially since you have left it's embrace after not going ahead with your vocation to its ministerial priesthood.

Mary is Mother of the Whole Church - not just the Roman Catholic part of it. Otherwise Anglicanism would be bereft of a vital component part of it's historical confessional Faith. Regarding asking for Mary's prayers; it was once said that, if you wanted someone to do something for you, it would be quite a good idea to ask his mother first. This seems to me a fairly practical 'motherly' task. And it is not Mary's virginity that is the most important reason for our love of her; rather, it was her pattern for us as 'Theotokos' -the bearer of God's Son, Jesus Christ.

"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners....."

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 5:46am BST

Billy D ...the non-jurors tried to effect a union with orthodoxy..but this fell down over the issue of transubstantiation and the invocation of Saints. The non-jurors represented the highest and best of seventeenth century High churchmen.

I remember seeing Archbishop Laud's statue at Walsingham Anglican shrine.

Laud believed in the validity of non episcopal orders outside England, regarded the sacrifice of the mass as an abominationa and wrote agisnts the invocation of saints.

Anglo-catholic continuity,preceding the late nineteenth century is a complete myth.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 8:36am BST

"Anglo-catholic continuity,preceding the late nineteenth century is a complete myth."

Continuity? What continuity? We are talking about revival of things that had been lost through error.

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 12:26pm BST

The point is Ron ..is that when I was an Anglican i was loyal to the historic postion of the Anglican Church as "reformed " in 1559.

The spiritual heritage of the pre-reformation Church is not yours , it is that of the English Catholics, who despite the Protestant take over, at great personal cost maintained the true Church in England and Wales.

For three hundred years there was no Marian devotion or invocation , prayers for the dead, requiem Masses,chasubles, even unction in the Church of England.

Your faith is in essence a nineteenth century aberration, which you have further tailored to 21st century liberalism.. you obviously like the haberdashery and a make up religion to follow.

I believe on judgement day it will prove of no benefit.

Wasn't it incredible ,how W B compromised on women bishops.. I thought your interview with THE PRESS was excellent.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 2:12pm BST

"Your faith is in essence a nineteenth century aberration, which you have further tailored to 21st century liberalism.. you obviously like the haberdashery and a make up religion to follow. I believe on judgement day it will prove of no benefit."


So, at the end, that's ALL you're about RIW?

Depart with you then, and be no more about us poor benighted "Thinking Anglicans"!

Lord have mercy...

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 5:21pm BST

"I believe on judgement day it will prove of no benefit."

Are you speaking ex cathedra here, or simply exercising your ordinary magisterium here?

Whatever. I'll be sure to save a spot for you in the afterlife.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 5:22pm BST

"Your faith is in essence a nineteenth century aberration,"

And I thought that it was only the rabid consevos on this site who rubbish the faith of those they don't agree with.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 6:18pm BST

Robert Ian Williams,

I do applaud you for coming our of your newly-inhabited RC Closet at last, I hope everyone on this site will now recognise you as the latest product of conversion from Ecclesia Anglicana into the Church of Rome. No doubt, your move was prompted by what you have come to regard as a defective position in your former discipleship. Has this actually been renounced formally, by the way, and did you have to be 're-baptized'? This is no idle question, I really want to know what is the process of moving from one 'defective' branch of the Church to another.

One does wonder about those who hold what could be called an 'enlightened' stance of women and gays in ministry while yet converting to, and remaining in, a Church which has not yet arrived at that position. Are you hoping to help the cause of LBGT openly, or subversively?

Concerning your invective against the validity of the Catholic and Apostolic claims of the English Church; perhaps you now need to examine the rival claims of the double-papacy at Avignon and Rome! One can only be thankful that God only has sinners to proclaim the Gospel - as you may discover if ever you try again for priestly orders in the Roman Branch of God's Church..

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 28 September 2008 at 11:19pm BST

"I believe on judgement day it will prove of no benefit."

Extra ecclesiam nulla salus? Really? You don't even hear cradle Romans saying stuff like that any more. But, in the bad old days when locally we hated each other based on RC/Prot split, there used locally to be a saying about how converts tend to be more vehement in their condemnations than those born in a particular denomination. I won't use the exact phrase, it's not exactly politically correct. But this highlights the danger of adopting a religious position, not because you like what it teaches, but because you don't like what you're leaving behind. Be happy with Rome because you agree with what She teaches, not because you hate the Anglicans. If Rome's uncatholic position concerning the Bishop of Rome is not a problem for you, then well and good.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 29 September 2008 at 2:27pm BST

I'm probably closest to Pluralist on my thoughts about Mary.
I think it's important that whatever we feel, each of us is entitled to our own understanding of what the gospels tell of us Mary. Each of us like Bernadette are seeking God and being called into our own personal relationship with God. Each relationship is unique/personal.

BTW I love the Spotless Rose by H. Howells. There is one I believe by Joubert also?

What I get out of Rowans+++ sermon is, this is his personal take on Lourdes, Bernadette, saints and revelations, not yours or mine.

Sarah.... I've always found it interesting that Mary had to be a virgin to be spotless. I certainly believe that my grandmother, who was the mother of 3, was spotless. I find it interesting that so much emphasis is put on virginity as being something that's clean and sex as dirty or at least sin tainted (must be that Anthanasius character fault).

Posted by BobinSwPA at Monday, 29 September 2008 at 6:02pm BST

Ron

This is a balanced and tolerant blog and I have never hidden my loyalties. I think it does us all well to explore the issue of authority. that was very critical to my conversion. Hopefully evangelicals will be able to pick up on that, and liberals will be helped by insights. in fact I have found them very helpful. If I didn't believe in the Magisterium of the Catholic Church , I think I would be liberal.

As for Anglo-Catholicism I never believed in it as an Anglican, and I find it still as unconvincing now. The issue of continuity is key and you seem to skate over the 300 gap between the Reformation and the Oxford movement. I am aafraid that continuity is the eseence of validity.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 29 September 2008 at 7:25pm BST

Robert Ian Williams : "As for Anglo-Catholicism I never believed in it as an Anglican, and I find it still as unconvincing now. The issue of continuity is key and you seem to skate over the 300 gap between the Reformation and the Oxford movement. I am aafraid that continuity is the eseence of validity." (your spelling)

I'm afraid, Robert, you will have to do better than that - especially when you allow yourself to
consider 'where was the continuity maintained when the papacy was held in two rival cities - Avignon and Rome?' Who was the real contender for the 'infallibility' now claimed by their several descendants? Surely there was some degree of inconsistency involved here?

Having been present at a Mass celebrated at Avignon for The Assumption of Our Lady, I became aware of the tremendous sense of propriety held by the locals in their loyalty to the Avignon Pope. Are these people now apostate?

Don't try to confuse us Anglicans with talk about the infallibility of Rome - especially after the theological and ecclesial turnaround from the intentions of Good Pope John XXIII at Vatican II. However, I wouldn't be too sure that Rome will not make another turnaround on the subject of women clergy, when the current crop of male candidates for the ministry dries up.

Don't mistake me, I am not entirely dismissive of your Roman Catholic branch of the Church. I could even accept the 'primus inter pares' title for 'il Papa', but not that of infalliblity. I do, however, ask you to observe the same respect for other legitimate branches of the Church. I have always known that converts to Rome are usually more stridently protective of their new allegiance than those moving in the other direction. I suppose it's just a case of self-justification really.

Anyway, this blog, as someone else has pointed out, is really for 'Thinking Anglicans'. On what grounds do you consider your comment to qualify?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 2:38am BST

Ford,

I don't hate ANGLICANS ..MOST OF MY FAMILY ARE OF THAT PERSAUSION.

Of course non Catholics may be " saved through no fault of their own"....but that is if their ignorance is not culpable. That is official Catholic teaching.

As for my reference to Ron, I was referring to the fact that in eternity he may find ne was never actually an ordained priest.

I say may, not because I doubt Apostolicae Curae, but he may have got a supplementary ordiantion elsewhere ,as several Anglo-catholics have done.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 7:46am BST

Come on. There is space for the other, otherwise it's like me walking away from commenting at Fulcrum knowingly as an outsider.

Increasingly I've come to a view that my faith position is rooted in the nineteenth century insight. I used to think that was limited, naff and in need of updating. It is updated, but the nineteenth century realised the value of synthesis and that kind of liberalism, and also what limitations they faced when theology was joined with other disciplines like history and science. So I'm one with Ernst Troeltsch and James Martineau. As for what Ford Elms said, my concept of numinous is the same as in the arts and yes religion is about a set of resources for a philosophy of life.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 11:55am BST

RIW
"Of course non Catholics may be " saved through no fault of their own"....but that is if their ignorance is not culpable"

Ignorance is defined as culpable if those who persist in it KNOW themselves to be wrong.
As those who adhere to other faiths of other strands of Christian faith do so because they truly believe they are right, they are saved even according to Catholic doctrine (says my Jesuit friend).


And your other sentence should read:
"I was referring to MY BELIEF that in eternity he may find ne was never actually an ordained priest"

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 3:51pm BST

"That is official Catholic teaching."

I think you'll find that's official ROMAN teaching, which does not equate with Catholic, unless you are claiming that all those Christians in communion with the See of Constantinople are not catholic Christians, which would come as a surprise to them, I imagine. And, I didn't express myself clearly. I doubt you actually hate any individual people, but you obvious have some strong feelings about the communion you left to join Rome. I was less than accurate out of hotheadedness. I apologize. I don't feel you hate me personally, or anyone else here. But you do seem to have a lot of negative feelings around Anglicanism, hence my comment that it is better to join a religious group because you like what they teach, not because you don't like what you are leaving behind.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 4:59pm BST

Ford:

Earlier you asked what more is there if Jesus were just an ordinary man. Although I don't believe Jesus was/is ordinary, progressive and orthodox christians can find much in common. Jesus provides a blue print of "the way." As I see it, Jesus is a model for the kingdom of God (and I believe He was saying that it is possible in the hear and now and beyond).

You might want to read a little JD Crossan or M Borg. Although, I don't subscribe to everything they put out there, they did change my opinion on me getting heaven. That was what being a Christian use to me to me (and I suspect a great many others). Christianity was a behavior mod plan for the masses. These two authors changed my perception. Just a warning that both are very progressive.

Just some thoughts to ponder.
Peace Bob

Posted by bob in swpa at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 5:57pm BST

Dear EriKa a Jesuit friend is sadly no guarantee of orthodoxy. The authentic Catholic teaching is that the ignorance could be caused by the person in question rejecting insights of truth given them, or not searching for the truth with the gracess given.

i.e. I'm comfortable as an Anglican...

By the standards of your friend , the only people in Hell would be well informed Catholics...yet he is almost certainly a Universalist. I shall pray for him.

As for Tract 90 , Newman later repudiated it, as a genuine interpretation of the 39 articles.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 8:59pm BST

Pluralist
"my concept of numinous is the same as in the arts and yes religion is about a set of resources for a philosophy of life."

So why call it "faith" and "religion" and not just philosophy? I mean, doesn't the word faith imply that there hs to be a faith IN something, rather than a philosophical view OF something?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 8:46am BST

RIW
"By the standards of your friend , the only people in Hell would be well informed Catholics..."
Now that's an amusing thought!

But why did you bother becoming a Catholic if all you've done is exchange a small minded punishing evangelical God for a small minded punishing RC one?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 9:29am BST

I became a Catholic because I believe it is the one true Church founded by Our lord. I do not believe that Anglicanism is a branch of it, but i do believe that there are many sincere Christians through no fault of their own out of her communion. I would love to see youm Ron , Ford come home to your birth right.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 6:12pm BST

"I became a Catholic because I believe it is the one true Church founded by Our lord."

Fair enough.

Why do you hang around Anglican sites and talk trash about the Anglican Communion? Do you really think that it presents an effective witness? Do you think that many RCs would be convinced to swim the Tiber in the opposite direction (swim the Thames?) by Anglicans hanging out at RC sites and talking trash about Rome?

Posted by BillyD at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 7:12pm BST

RIW
I can see that you feel more at home in the Roman Catholic church and there's nothing wrong with that. We all prefer particular ways of expressing faith, or particular theological thoughts.

But I think just as the Jews learned that God wasn't tied to living in the tabernacle, we have to acknowledge that he doesn't favour one particular denomination.

It's serious - all this squabble about who is truly orthodox is deeply damaging. In an increasingly complex and multi-faith global world we just HAVE go learn to move beyond those small minded views of God. The risk of fundamentalist battles is just too great.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 10:33pm BST

I think we live in an ecumenical age and that dialogue is always good....and I have certainly gained from my dialogue and discusson with liberals.. It is interesting to see how anti-Catholicism is shared by the extremes of evangelical conservtives and some liberals.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 1 October 2008 at 11:21pm BST

"It is interesting to see how anti-Catholicism is shared by the extremes of evangelical conservtives and some liberals."

That's an interesting comment, because the only Catholicism I don't like is the self-righteous version you proclaim here.

You see, I don't reject any denomination wholesale, I only ever reject those within it who give it its most narrow and exclusive reading.

And if you need to feel that you alone have the truth, and evangelicals are sure that they are the only orthodox on the planet, then of course you won't see eye to eye.

But it's so childish!

The mystics of all all denominations, indeed the mystics of all faiths, are closer to each other than to the fundamentalists within their own ranks.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 8:01am BST

"It is interesting to see how anti-Catholicism is shared by the extremes of evangelical conservtives and some liberals."

Does it really make sense for a Roman Catholic who pontificates about how fatally flawed Anglicanism is to whine about people not appreciating the RCC?

Still waiting for an explanation of why you think trashing Anglicanism is such a great witness for the RCC, and whether you think it would go over as well if the shoe were on the other foot.

Posted by BillyD at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 4:43pm BST

"These two authors changed my perception. Just a warning that both are very progressive. "

I'm reading God and Empire now actually. I like what 'Ive read of Crossan. Not so much Borg. And, BTW, I feel much the same about "progressive" as I do about "orthodox", words used for their superior sound. I see nothing "progressive" in denying the mystical aspects of the faith, any more than I see anything "orthodox" in preaching oppression of God's children. I particularly like Crossan's point that, essentially, Christianity is opposed to Empire of any sort. His points on Fundamentalist Rapture fables are also well taken. Reading that bit, all I could think of was the video game Left Behind.
And, I'd agree that the Imperial model of Christianity was a behaviour mod plan for the masses, but not Christianity itself. It became that after the lamentable but understandable sellout to the world 1700 years ago. I simply don't see the point of Christianity as just social/moral philosophy, much less as a model for modern sociopolitical justice initiatives. Social justice is a part of it, naturally, as Crossan says, it is part of God's plan from the beginning, but I think we miss the point if we see it solely in those terms. I get the feeling some liberals use social justice to justify the rather, to them, embarrassing profession of faith in God. But then, I also know many extremely left wing yet solidly Incarnational Christians from whom I have learnt a lot. To quote one "Unless and until it can be proven to me that Jesus was a mere man teaching a message of justice, I am disinclined to sell my Incarnational heritage for a Pot of Message." I feel much the same way.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 9:34pm BST

So when the Lord Jesus Christ said, " I am the way, the life and the truth and no man comes to the Father except by me"...

Isn't that exclusivity big time.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 2 October 2008 at 10:52pm BST

Ford
"Unless and until it can be proven to me that Jesus was a mere man teaching a message of justice, I am disinclined to sell my Incarnational heritage for a Pot of Message"

Yes, but it doesn't have to be either or. There is a huge spectrum of views between the two, not an easy step from one to the other.

This "either / or" is still very much a post modern question concerned with the objective truth of something that can only have one right and one wrong answer, and is still mired in literalism.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 9:41am BST

1. "I think we live in an ecumenical age and that dialogue is always good....and I have certainly gained from my dialogue and discusson with liberals" - RIW -
2. "So when the Lord Jesus Christ said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father except by me...' - Isn't that exclusivity big time.(?)" - RIW -

Your several postings here, Robert - including the above sentences - reveal your tendency to use double-entendre as a means of provoking a sort of 'Aunt Sally' conversation on this site. This is hardly calculated to produce enlightenment - rather the opposite: obfuscation.

Your speak of 'ecumenical dialogue' but you seem to put down any meaningful attempt on the part of the rest of us to actually engage in dialogue with you. Your monological insistence that 'Rome is Right' is surely calculated to stifle any attempt at true dialogue - never mind ecumenical understanding.

Further, regarding your second statement, above; please don't confuse the exclusivism of the Roman Catholic Church with what you are calling the 'exclusivity' of the claims of Jesus to be the Way, the Truth and the Life - to God. Jesus is talking about himself, not about the Roman Catholic Church - or any other single entity. Nor, either, is he talking about the Anglican Church for that matter. Jesus is speaking of himself as the means of access to salvation for everyone - certainly not exclusively the R.C.s

b.t.w., you still haven't answered my question about what happened to the continuity of the RC Church when 2 rival Popes claimed supremacy - at Avignon and Rome, at the same time! What sort of special 'exclusivity' was observed then?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 10:23am BST

"Isn't that exclusivity big time."

Depends on how your interpret it.

Someone here quoted that wonderful piece from C S Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia the other day, where a worshipper of Tash is afraid that he might be damned because he hasn't served Aslan.

And the answer is along the lines of: if what you do further's Aslan's goals then you have been serving Aslan even if you have done it in the name of Tash.
And if your actions have supported Tash's goals then you have been serving Tash even if you have been doing it in the name of Aslan.

Christians call this "by their fruits shall you tell them".

That's for interfaith dialogue.
As for inter-denominational squabbles - are you really saying that non Roman Catholics are not following Jesus?

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 10:28am BST

"Isn't that exclusivity big time."

I'm not sure. It's taken that way, but is that necessary? The Christian concept is of a Fallen Creation retored to its original sate by its Creator, who took upon Himself created nature. That restoration opens the door to all of us, and it is Him who did it. But, does that necessarily mean that we must preach that those who do not believe as we do will not be allowed to enter by that door? Will God shut out those who have never heard the Gospel, or who have not believed it? Might it be that he has thrown open the doors, fully intending that the Truth be spread, and believed, as widely as possible, increasing its spread exponentially, but always intending to let everybody in? I'm suggesting a different understanding of evangelism. I'd say most consider evangelism to be about "saving" souls from a God who will torture them eternally if they make the human mistake of believing the wrong thing. It's all about helping people get away with their crimes. But, might it actually be about inviting people to get on board with God's plan for Creation, what Crossan calls the Great Divine Cleanup? Don't you think fear of damnation as a result of wrong belief might have had its day as an effective Evangelism tool?

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 2:44pm BST

God is not exclusive, God is responsible for all of Creation. God is just and does not show favouritism. There is a heaven where only elitists Christians go (the rest of us really don't want to be listening to them for all eternity). They can not comment what happens outside their little dominion because they've never bothered to look. So their fear mongering is based on ignorance.

Ford postulated correctly "I'd say most consider evangelism to be about "saving" souls from a God who will torture them eternally if they make the human mistake of believing the wrong thing. It's all about helping people get away with their crimes. But, might it actually be about inviting people to get on board with God's plan for Creation..."

Amen. That's why Jesus was sent. The priests were trying to portray that only a certain suitable kind of Jews as saved and all else was condemned.

Go back and read about the Daughter of Zion in the Old Testament - in Isaiah a light of salvation for both Jew and Gentile. She collaborated with and affirmed Jesus and God's plans for Jesus, because they were consistent with her missives for this planet.

The Christians who carp on about needing Jesus' grace to save them from God's wrath are correct. That's why Jesus was created. There needed to be a place where they could go where they wouldn't be hurting others nor offending God's sensibilities. God doesn't have to listen to them or worry about their provision because Jesus does that. But souls who are kind and humble have always been able to approach God directly, it's just that most souls are too frightened or greedy to do so (God can not be manipulated). Nor can the Cherubim of the Glory.

Jesus wants to destroy this planet? Fine. Go and do it on his own steam, just don't bother asking the feminine for help in doing so nor a new planet afterwards. We don't give out new life to proven bullies and abusers.

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Friday, 3 October 2008 at 9:14pm BST

Dear Ron,

There was a valid Pope and an anti- Pope all the time. Just as at present there is an Anglican Communion bishop in San Joaquin and a de-frocked bishop still holding on to the property.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 4 October 2008 at 7:50am BST

"There is a heaven where only elitists Christians go (the rest of us really don't want to be listening to them for all eternity)."

But, Cheryl, they'll also have to listen to us! I used to think that if people like Jerry Falwell were going to Heaven, I actually wanted to go to Hell. Or, if as I always suspected they went the other way, that was all the more reason to live a virtuous life, to avoid having to spend eternity in a Hell made doubly bad by their presence. But, if we're all in the one City, imagine, Heaven for us is Hell for them. Isn't God just, eh? We get to spend all eternity watching them be all bent out of shape having to associate in the Kingdom with the unrighteous they fought so hard to separate themselves from here!

Posted by Ford Elms at Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 6:35pm BST

What I'm surprised has been missed in the heat of this discussion is that in allowing the Archbishop of Canterbury to preach at a Roman Catholic Mass the validity of his orders is being recognised:
http://www.liturgy.co.nz/blog/catholics-archbishop-canterburys/137

Posted by Bosco Peters at Sunday, 5 October 2008 at 10:19pm BST

Robert Ian,

In response to your latest: Which pope was the valid pope - Avingnon or Rome? And were the subjects of the 'invalid' pope ever given papal absolution for their apostacy? And if so, by whom?

Sorry about this silly conundrum, but you started it. We might just as well get it out of the way. I am only trying to get you to see that there is actually no 'infallible magisterium' on this earth. Only God is the source of ALL TRUTH.

The idea of a pope speaking 'ex cathedra' which presumably gives him/her the gift of magisterium is quite risible - if it were not so misleading of any truly catholic understanding of what we are prone to call 'authority'

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 6 October 2008 at 7:02am BST

Bosco
The validity of his orders would be recognised if he was allowed to celebrate mass.
Like the Anglican church, Catholics do have lay preachers.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 6 October 2008 at 7:24am BST

Ford
"But, if we're all in the one City, imagine, Heaven for us is Hell for them"

Only for the split second it takes them to recognise true Heaven.
Once all their fear, anger and resistance has been melted away by God's love, they'll be as truly healed and restored as you or I will be.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 6 October 2008 at 8:27am BST

Can anyone tell me whether an anglican is permitted to take Mass in a Catholic church?

Posted by scott at Saturday, 2 May 2009 at 1:40pm BST

scott: "Can anyone tell me whether an anglican is permitted to take Mass in a Catholic church?"

Officially, only in certain, very restricted, circumstances. You should request permission from the celebrating priest beforehand. There must be no possibility of you being able to receive communion in an Anglican church, and you must hold a 'Catholic' understanding of the Eucharist.

Posted by MJ at Saturday, 2 May 2009 at 2:56pm BST
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