Comments: Church Times on Roman announcement

"For Anglicanism to work in the absence of authoritarian sanctions requires balance of, and respect for, the many ways in which believers interpret the central tenets of Christianity"
- Church Times editorial -

Precisely stated! This analysis of true Anglican polity allows for the distinctive application of Christian theology to be worked out in the local context of various Provinces of the Communion, a situation which makes us all vulnerable, but more capable of making a Gospel response to real needs in their individual settings.

'One size (shape) fits all' is not necessarily a viable response to particular needs in various cultural and societal contexts. Even the Roman Catholic Church recognises this - in its offer to provide special 'ordinariates' to accommodate Anglicans who are unhappy with Anglicansim as they experience its ongoing ethos of reforming the patriarchal nature of the Churches' ministry.

This is what has made Anglicanism so attractive to so many people in this modern world - a world which seeks to explore the infinite variety of creation as it is being discovered by science and the application of human reason. This human power to reason seems to have been left behind in the rush for conformity with out-dated and no longer viable supposition based on antique methodology in the interpretation of Scripture and Tradition

Those moving into the authoritarian mode of the Roman Catholic Magisterium will have eventually to come to terms with the restrictive boundaries of that Tradition - which seems to become less and less open to the reality of life in the world of today. The 'Semper Reformanda' culture of Vatican II seems to have given way to a distinct *Loss of Nerve*, which is hardly pragmatic in its resistance to any understanding of the need for change in the preaching of the Gospel.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 23 October 2009 at 9:21am BST

It's bizarre to see My Lord of Guildford playing down the imperialism of the Vatican's move here, when he himself signed the recent letter trying to interfere in the Church of Sweden's internal decision-making by telling them not to dream of pressing ahead on same-sex marriage without first getting permission from the C of E!

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 23 October 2009 at 11:52am BST

I can't believe that the discerning folk at the Churcgh Times are saying that if the Synod does not come up with a solution for the Anglo-catholics, this is where they will go. they will not go to Rome i n large numbers.. their bluff has been called.

No one mentions the money ( stipends)and building factors.

Maybe in the US a wealthy Anglo-Catholic parish could ( wher land is cheap) do it, but not in The Church of England.

Can you just see it.. a Forward in Faith priest worshipping in a former Methodist chapel with three old ladies. Thats the reality.

FIF en mmasse are going nowhere..

Even in the US the handful of Anglican Use parishes connsist predominately not of former Anglicans but cradle Catholics.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 7:31am BST

Does it not seem strange that what (Anglican) Catholics needed and promised (Act of Synod) for their survival in terms of proper provision for the future was denied by the CofE and generously offered by the RCC?
Nobody has commented on this. If it was such an outrageous thing to want/grant (as WATCH claimed) and compromising of the authority of a bishop - how come the RCs have been so kind??!!
Their bishops are not squealing in the way women lining up for preferment in the CofE are just because some people will come under another structure!

Posted by Neil at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 11:07am BST

"If it was such an outrageous thing to want/grant (as WATCH claimed) and compromising of the authority of a bishop - how come the RCs have been so kind??!!"

Um, they don't have any bishops whose publically advocated position on OOW or gay people would be upsetting to conservatives, what is there to comment on? It's not exactly outrageously innovative for Rome to demand that everybody comply with the same set of rules. Do you think it somehow generous that Rome is offering to disaffected Anglicans measures that fit with Rome's polity and ecclesiology but not with Canterbury's? Why should it be worthy of comment that the Roman Catholic Church is different from the Anglican Church? You're basically asking why no-one is commenting on the fact that the Anglican Church is unwilling to change its rules in a more Romeward direction, while Rome is generous enough not to change her rules much at all. Sorry, but I don't find it remarkable that Canterbury is unwilling to become more Roman while Rome is happy to stay just as Roman as She always was.

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 5:21pm BST

Robert and your like. Please have a day or two to prayerfully relfect on your attitude.

We are at the place we are at because of the continued meanness and hostility to those who, with integrity and good theological reason, struggle to accept WO

The Pope - not some geezer- BUT Christ's vicar on earth has shown that the same group are worth preserving and has embarrassed synod in doing with love what, in hatred, they refused.

Now you are gloating that, because you have power to deprive conscientious and persecuted people of their fabric, they might be left at your mercy once more.

When did your heart SO fill with hatred? When did you actually start rejoicing if Catholic minded Christians were forced to stay and be miserable rather than go and be free to be the Christians they feel God is calling them to be.

The attitudes of the liberals to the Pope's response in love reminds me SO much of Pharoah. Rather than repent and admit they have sinned - they continue to hold back the exodus. So very sad-it was THIS cold hearted approach which

a) has stifled Catholic Anglicansim
b) led us to a point of no return
c) led the Pope to reach out in love
d) threatens your future as well as ours

Think on that..please?

Posted by Ed Tomlinson at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 8:08pm BST

"Their bishops are not squealing in the way women lining up for preferment in the CofE are" - Posted by Neil

"squealing women"

Them thar's the Red Doors, Neil. Please exit, and take this misogyny to the Red Hat down the street... (Lord have mercy!)

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 8:34pm BST

"The Pope - not some geezer- BUT Christ's vicar on earth has shown that the same group are worth preserving and has embarrassed synod in doing with love what, in hatred, they refused."

Ed:

You may think the pope is "Christ's vicar on earth..." but I gave up on that when I left the Roman church 30 years ago.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 11:10pm BST

"The attitudes of the liberals to the Pope's response in love reminds me SO much of Pharoah. Rather than repent and admit they have sinned - they continue to hold back the exodus. So very sad-it was THIS cold hearted approach which
a) has stifled Catholic Anglicansim
b) led us to a point of no return" - Ed Tomlinson

Dear Ed, nothing like a bit of hyperbole to make your point here! I am an Anglo-Catholic. I am also a 'liberal' of the 'Inclusive Church' ethos.
This is not an oxymoron, merely a statement of the truth. Why do you ultra-montanes who swoon at the thought of women and gays in ministry think that Rome is any less fallible than Canterbury? If you really believe that Christ is indeed 'Head of the Church', and that the Holy Spirit is still alive and working in the Church, I don't see how you can avoid the fact that women and gays are, like you and everyone else, created in the Image and Likeness of God; that God only has Sinners to preach the gospel, and that the Pope is as big a sinner as you and me - fallible and able to make mistakes. What's to be gained by moving from one fallible Church to another?

AND, you aint goin to get the property when you go. Just get used to that fact. Nor, indeed, are you going to continue to get your Stipend this time around.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 24 October 2009 at 11:27pm BST

JCF...the men who support WATCH are equally squealing at the prospect of allowing people with whom they disagree a structure within the CofE. Given the determination to proceed with women bishops - which will happen - I cannot see the problem in trying to retain those who remain faithful to what they believe with structural provision.
And btw it is not for you to be showing doors to anybody - we are both members of Christ's church. It ain't your property mate.

Posted by Neil at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:23am BST

Ed--

As an American looking at what is shaping up to be more an English situation: no one is holding up any exodus. The road is quite well traveled between RCC and TEC (and many others, as well). Indeed, the latest Roman offer seems a way to make that transit as an institution, not just as an individual, but no more than that.

But your casting the Anglican churches (COE or TEC) as "Pharaoh" is quite telling: Pharaoh and his countrymen were worshippers of idols, enemies of God's chosen people, opponents of the will of God. That's a characterization that we in the TEC are quite familiar with, as it's been charged against us since WO, certainly since Gene Robinson. It surfaced today, in attentuated form, in South Carolina, where the actions of our church are termed uncanonical and dysfunctonal, leading to license to ignore them. We are used to the charge--the situation reminds me of people who need to get angry enough to make the break that they know they need to make, and so make more out of a situation than it warrants. What is happening is only that people, individually or in companionship with others, are choosing to move their affiliation--their church membership. Calling us apostates doesn't make it so, but if you believe it, and feel the need to make the charge, then make it, feel righteous, and go.

But then go! We here in the U.S. are faced with the situation of people having left, but then not leaving, and remaining in buildings to which they have no right, and continuing to press, not only in law suits, but in a war of words, their case against a church that no longer works for them. If go you must, then go. But then go! Go with God's blessing, and, in all Christian kindness, with the good wishes of those who stay.

Posted by Christopher (P.) at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:56am BST

Sorry ET, though I do think there is plenty of raw, mean tone to go around these days in most domains of global Anglican Land. However, I simply do not hear FiF struggling with WO - they consistently speak and publish as if any inkling of WO just stinks to the rafters, along with the women and men believers who are daft enough to entertain any possibility of WO for even the most transient of moments.

Adding injury to their insult? FiF has consistently used any space that 'provided for them' to wage weaponized doctrinal way upon any and all other Anglicans with whom they disagreed. Disarmament this flying bishop and related accommodation was not, clearly.

So far as the Vatican offering leeway - it seems like a savvy public relations gesture more than anything else. Believers who think skinhead-ish horrid things about queer folks and uppity women will be welcomed and chatted up by other folks who also believe skinhead-ish things about those two hot button target groups. What could be more fun that dishing the Vatican dirt about those faintly creepy folks who are theologically defined as, Intrinsically Disordered?

Some sort of slightly delicate finesse might be involved, insofar as the Vatican needs to put the FiFers in a separate preserve where their married clergy cannot usettle the sheep who are all supposed to believe lockstep in a going line about priests who are exclusively male and exclusively non-sexual. Given how the Vatican's power flows, top down, that little deal should not be all that much of a problem? Should Fifers want to belong to a club that regards their clergy marriages as so deeply suspect and out of order? How will that push come to shove?

Don't look for the Vatican to send you much support or practical help, though, if or when you find you are having clergy family life problems. You got yourself into it, now didn't you, FiF?

Plus, as Iker of Fort Worth noted, ... we have too many divorced/remarried folks around here to get too comfortable too fast for too long with Benny, formerly known affectionately as God's Rottweiler.

Now realignment is going to get really interesting.

Posted by drdanfee at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 1:39am GMT

"BUT Christ's vicar on earth"

I simply do not understand how a priest in the Church of England (or a layperson, for that matter) could actually believe this and NOT reconcile himself to the Roman Church at the earliest possibility, whether or not there's a Personal Ordinariate in the offing. If you believe that the Pope is the "Vicar of Christ", how can you stay in a Church that specifically teaches the opposite? The "Vicar of Christ" has explicitly said that your priestly orders are void and of no account; whatever are you doing presenting yourself as one?

The Anglo Papalist position simply makes no sense to me. If it's anything more than rhetoric and window-dressing, it would seem to present an ethical and philosophical contradiction.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 12:55am GMT

"I cannot see the problem in trying to retain those who remain faithful to what they believe"

Because it's about (as homophobes are always reminding us) *behavior*, Neil. The behavior of Power-Over. Whether it's the entire CofE, or just some "structural provision", they want somewhere where "in Christ there is no male or female" will NOT apply---in perpetuity! A fiefdom, over which to rule, and propagate their defective anthropology (and that's all it is: a Modern defect, not an "ancient Tradition". Feh!)

"btw it is not for you to be showing doors to anybody - we are both members of Christ's church. It ain't your property mate."

Absolutely, and I've never said otherwise. I want the SINS of misogyny and homophobia OUT. The sinners---of whom I am one, too!---are not only welcome to stay, but they're precisely for whom Christ died.

I want ALL people to stay within the CofE (or wherever their Anglican church is). People with the besetting sins of homophobia and/or misogyny can stay, too---but they don't get a "No Go Zone" in which to *propagate* that sin. No way!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 4:33am GMT

"I simply do not understand how a priest in the Church of England (or a layperson, for that matter) could actually believe this and NOT reconcile himself to the Roman Church at the earliest possibility"

Neither do I BillyD. The Bishop of Rome hath no authority......., by which we mean outside his own diocese. If one of the driving forces, at least ostensibly, of the English Reformation was the very catholic affirmation of the authority of every bishop within his own diocese, why claim to be Anglican if you actually believe the unCatholic and relatively novel innovation that one particular bishop, because of the long faded status of the city his see resides in, is King of the Bishops? Why not reunion with Constantinople or Moscow? Why not go where the liturgy is better? And while we're at it could someone explain the Divine authority behind patterning the governance of the Church on the urban structure of a long defunct Empire?

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 6:42pm GMT

"one particular bishop, because of the long faded status of the city his see resides in, is King of the Bishops" -Ford Elms

Um ... did you mean Benedict, or Rowan?

Posted by anthony at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 4:38am GMT

"did you mean Benedict, or Rowan"

I had no idea that the Archbishop of Canterbury made any claim whatsoever to monarchical authority over the other bishops of the Church. This is significant alteration in Anglican ecclesiology. Could you point me to the place where he publically makes that claim, because I'm actually shocked to hear that an Archbishop of Canterbury would make for himself the claim that was one of the main causes of the English Reformation 500 years ago. In fact, it seems the main complaint about him from both sides in this current turmoil is that he WON'T seek to exercise that kind of Papal power. Is Canterbury involved in some sort of covert power grab that no-one knows about, not even the conservatives who secretly yearn for a Bishop/King?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 1:02pm GMT

Ford, you are right beyond doubt, but still many of us tend to view the Archbishop as some sort of Anglican Pope, and I would venture that that attitude has been encouraged in the past several years by the Anglican/Episcopalian blogosphere, which focuses enormous attention and expectations on him. As do the media in general.

However, I was entertained by the thought that your eloquent phrase "because of the long faded status of the city his see resides in" applies at least equally well to Canterbury as to Rome.

Posted by anthony at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 11:47pm GMT

Anthony, I suspect that the Archbishop of Canterbury, along with his title of 'Primus inter pares' has never expected to become sole arbiter of doctrine in the Church - not in the same way that successors of the Petrine Primacy have been led to understand.

After all, the ABC is only one of several of the 'Instruments of Unity' recognised by most of us as having equal authority within the Anglican Communion - which is a confraternity of equal and independent provincial Churches, each with their own statutes and ordinances, but with a common denominator in their acceptance of the historic creeds and the apostolic succession. This latter is not considered to be derived solely from the Petrine Succession, but from Christ himself.

Such a stance prevents the arrogation of absolute primacy on the part of either one or another mainstream Christian body - whether Anglican, Roman or Orthodox. (This is where I stand!) *Christ is our Corner-stone, on him alone we build*.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 12:21am GMT

Thank you, Fr. Smith, for the cogent definition. Anthony

Posted by anthony at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 7:43am GMT

"many of us tend to view the Archbishop as some sort of Anglican Pope"

I have to confess, Anthony, I had never encountered this attitude until a few years ago, and then only, as you say, in the context of those conservatives whose REAL issue is an inability to tolerate situations in which the rules are not clearly delineated AND enforced. It is amusing, particularly since the very ones who seem most interested in forwarding this Pseudopope idea about the ABpofC are exactly those Anglicans who most loudly claim spiritual descent from the Reformers for whom the idea of centralized monarchical authority in the Papacy was the work of the Devil himself! It's amazing how unnecessary certain principles can become when fear and hatred cloud the issue, no?

As to the sameness of Canterbury and Rome WRT the idea of ancient cities being important for Church government, I agree entirely. Perhaps in our modern day, when so much has changed, especially the society around us, we should reject the Council of Whitby and go back to a more Celtic model. That would mean monastic bishops, of course, but that wouldn't be so bad, I don't think.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 3:26pm GMT

Ford - going to a Celtic model - an intriguing though speculative proposal. I am going to give some thought to that - how one might get from here to there even experimentally, within a limited geographical or social boundary; how, even if structures could be established, leadership could be found capable of bringing along the rank and file, etc.

Posted by anthony at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 11:37pm GMT

Anthony, I truly believe we in the West are in a post Christian world. Our Church's organizational structure was based first on the Roman Imperial model, then the Reformation produced a different model based on the ideas of the time. This is no coincidence, that the political situation shapes the Chruch's political structure. Either it was a mistake caused by our overattachment to the world, or God led us to hitch our wagons to the political stars we needed to ensure our survival at the time, or both. This is another such time. We long ago fell into the trap of thinking that, bishops had to have a gegraphical diocese based on a city. Why? That's just the prevailing political structure in place at the time our political structure was evolving. The Celts had no cities, as an example, so that couldn't work for them. Yeah, I'm one of those "Whitby was where we lost" people, though I'm not completely antiquarian about it. Our Tradition is a faith informed by a sacramental way of life shepherded by a three fold ministry. I don't see a need to define it more closely with ideas that link status to the size of the bishop's city, or any other part of the bishop, for that matter:-)

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 4:42pm GMT

Thanks, Ford. This gives me plenty to look into. In the ancient Mediterranean world, society was understood in terms of cities. In old Ireland it was a matter of kinship groups. Today it is based on networks. We need to find ways to adapt our institutions to changed social structures, and studying an ancient networked society (for an extended family is a simple network) may illuminate the most fundamental advantages and pitfalls.

Posted by anthony at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 8:12pm GMT
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