Comments: women bishops: more articles and many letters

And a lot more letters in this week's Church Times, several of them pointing out that 'sacramental assurance' doesn't mean much in relation to the RC Church since they say Anglican orders ( as well as the orders of the non-conformist churches the Bp of Ebbsfleet mentions) are null and void in RC official view - so the sacraments are invalid anyway.

Posted by Anne Peat at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 2:05pm BST

Indeed, if you follow the arguments of sacramental assurance given by Father Killwick precisely, a lay person should not receive the sacramental ministry of anyone.

The XXXIX Articles is only valid if it is considered to have conciliar authority for the Universal Church, which it does proclaim by speaking of the errors of the Churches of Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria. Thus, the Church of England can receive innovations just as fully and with all of the usual caveats as anyone else.

The continued focus of the women's ordination discussion on an issue of competence of reception in sensu strictu or authority in the general sense is a red herring. If you do not believe in the competence of sole reception by the Church of England, you should not receive its Sacraments, for in your view, they are certainly invalid.

Could we please discuss ontology, which is the honest philosophical issue in this debate?

Posted by Caelius Spinator at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 4:46pm BST

'Whatever it is, the Eucharist, celebrated by someone not in the historic succession, or not using the right elements or words, and not having the right intention, is not a Catholic sacrament.'

No, Andrew it is a Church of England sacrament, and none the worse for it.

You won't find any of this stuff in the BCP and formularies of the C of E., and to call your personal, subjective theology borrow from another denomination 'Catholic' is up to you really, but a bit 'Alice-in Wonderland' to me.

To me, it comes close to posturing and mumbo-jumbo Beleive it if you want (I guess) but don't tear the denomination apart over it, and with it.

A Code of Practice ( unsatisfactory that we have no idea what it will say --why don't we ?) seems a generous provision and concession. Especially when one considers the concessions and provisions offered before we had women ministers, and partic after the ~Defeat of various Votes, starting in 1966 in the Church Assembly.

If the Church doesn't get a move on some us will be dead -- do you mind ?

Also I think that's a threat when you inform us it may fail in the House of Laity in 2012- isn't it ?

I think I am actually beginning to loathe Anglo-Catholicism, even though it was how I started off in the C of E and I was loyal to it for years. I think I now feel duped and cheated, when myself looking for answers while young and vulnerable.

Btw
As for the chronology of all this, which started long before the first vote in 1966, I think you are taking festina lente a bit far!

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 6:47pm BST

'“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory is mine!” Anglicans, especially Catholic Anglicans, find “blessed assurance” and a “foretaste of glory” in the sacraments of the Church.'

Isn't this putting the cart before the horse ?!

The whole point of this hymn is surely, of inner experience, beyond all externals, and not dependent upon them. Isn't that the point of Romans ?

Perhaps you're looking the wrong place for your blessed Assurance !

An old Church Union leaflet was called,

'Nothing happens ? You need conversion !'

Makes you think ...

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 6:56pm BST

How can bishops be so vital, when within the UK we have two established churches - one of which has bishops, and one does not ? I believe the Queen is Govenor of both.

No 'sacramental assurance' in Scotland then ? I have never heard this term before this year, and find it totally unnecessary and meaningless. I understand it is intended to manipulate my feelings.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 7:06pm BST

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, an event at which Christians have traditionally believed that God revealed Jesus identity as God-human to the disciples and, through their retelling of the incident, to the Church. None of the disciples present at the Transfiguration could have predicted what was about to happen or Jesus’ identity.

When the Church holds too tightly to past practices and beliefs we foreclose the possibility of God continuing to do a new thing in our midst, insisting that new wine fit into old wineskins. The New Testament passages that seem to preclude the ordination of women reflect their authors own historical-cultural loci, not the timeless and liberating insight of Paul declaring that in Christ there is neither male nor female.

Conventional wisdom among the bishops and others at the 2006 General Convention at which the Episcopal Church elected her as their Presiding Bishop was that she had no realistic chance of being elected. Yet the Holy Spirit acted and she was elected. Thanks be to God!

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has clearly been the right person to lead the U.S. Episcopal Church in these troubled times. She has unfailingly and consistently exhibited grace, love, and good humor. Her leadership has helped this province to begin once again moving forward. One key manifestation of that progress has been decreasing tolerance for the disloyal disaffected. The Church has ample room to include all who dissent. But the time has come for those who would foster secession to leave.

I see General Synod in 2010 having finally begun to move the Church of England, in which I served as a priest for two years, in a similar direction. The Church must look to the future and not be held captive by a relative handful who would remain mired in the brokenness and life-denying structures of the past.

Posted by George Clifford at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 7:07pm BST

Traditionalists really ought to read John Barton's letter of 23 July, which should give them great encouragement - as it does me, on their behalf.

Posted by john at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 8:16pm BST

Hard to see why many Anglo-Catholics will get elected to the Ninth Synod, if this is their manifesto.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 10:02pm BST

I thought sacramental assurance included the ordination of women....

Posted by Rebecca at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 10:04pm BST

I dunno, as a contemporary citizen and Anglican believer in a typical western democracy, I innately find the very notion of sacramental assurance - decoded common sensically as: for, by, and through men only, thence to women delegated - to be well nigh repugnant to empirically informed and rational concepts of personhood. Little to no gender/sex/sexual orientation science confirms that being female-ish innately connotes, let alone categorically determines, that you cannot be used by God in this particular way. It's an old notion, no doubt; and its time is vexed with increasing hard layers of great difficulty, piled high and piling high still - not least what in the world God is doing with the woman half of the human race, besides subordinate traditionalistic roles claimed to be essentially-uniquely feminine (woman, mother, daughter, sister, so forth).

Clinging to this flat earth notion is not assurance, let alone as sacred and closed a matter as the phrase 'sacramental assurance' would urgently have us conclude. Those who buy sacramental assurance at the cost of denigrating God's ability to call and minister through women are indeed walking on thin ice .... cracks appear everywhere.

Shoring this sorry business up is not actually going to get all of those who actually owe our lives to women, very far at all. Briefly put, the very hot second that circumcision as a holy sign of Abrahamic covenant was dead/moot/irrelevant in early Christian communities - the notion of a males only sacramental assurance became impossible, too.

The vexed corollary this view then raises is what in the world I can or should do, to live in peace with believers who not only still think such horrid stuff, but will apparently go to almost any lengths to purify themselves and their congregations so that they can be unperturbed by what God might actually be doing in and through all the women who otherwise would be discerned neighbor, priest, bishop, archbishop? How those believers so afflicted will finally be able to bear themselves is yet to be demonstrated. So far, the picture is not a pretty sight, alas, Lord have mercy. Please, no more flat earth Anglicanisms. Please.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 10:17pm BST

Surely it is not sacramental assurance as such but the doctrine that it is incumbent on gender that Anglicans cannot be expected to swallow.

Posted by Geoff McL. at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 10:37pm BST

The PEV of Ebbsfleet needs to move to his next Epistle fairly smartly. If he is really expecting the next General Synod to continue his employment as a Flying Bishop, he might well need to update his air-worthiness certificate - which will carry the injunction that he either acknowledges that the Church he serves ordains women as Bishops, and requires all it's servants to accept that fact (abandoning it's non-catholic ethos of a two-tier episcopate); or they need to whole-heartedly embrace the Church body that refuses to admit women into the clerical role. I suspect that Rome will not extend the 'engagement' process for too much longer.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 6 August 2010 at 11:19pm BST

'...the Church of England has no more competence to change the tradition than it has to change the bible, the creeds, or the sacraments.' Bishop of Ebbsfleet

If so, then was sacramental assurance not lost at the reformation when the Church of England rewrote the liturgy in the vernacular and cut itself off from Rome? This is the Roman view, and seems more defensible than Bishop Andrew's apologetic.

Posted by Samuel at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 12:10am BST

I, too, believe in the efficacy of Christ's sacraments at the hands of his priests and bishops in the apostolic succession. That includes women priests and bishops, and the bishops who ordained them.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 12:17am BST

"Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!"

It's a pretty hymn, but bad theology.

The point is, ***we belong to Jesus***, not that he is "mine". O_o

*****

"It is sometimes objected that Article XXVI says that the “un­worthiness of ministers” does not hinder the effect of the sacrament. If we read the Article in full, however, we see that the unworthiness referred to is not an issue about holy orders, but serious moral unworthiness: “wicked­ness”."

Come on, this is sophistry. "Pretending to be a priest when you're not" would certainly fall under the "wickedness" clause. Ergo, a fake-because-she's-female priest's sacraments WOULD carry "assurance."

When it comes to the tortured arguments of the "Give us a church-within-a-church or ELSE!" anti-WO crowd, as Gertrude Stein said of Oakland (California, near where I was born), "There's no THERE there."

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 1:06am BST

I wish those who argue for sacramental assurance could at least be consistent in saying whether it it is based on objective actions or not. Simon Killwick says it is a genealogical matter: was each person in the line back to the apostles ordained by the correct procedure? I do not agree with that view, but at least it can potentially be known. Andrew Burnham, however, says that a sacrament celebrated without the right intention is not valid, something that intrinsically can never be known by anyone except the celebrant.

On Killwick's view a male bishop who is in a 'male line' of ordination can subsequently validly ordain a male priest without affecting the sacramental assurance. And yet FiF are insisting such bishops cannot validly ordain men. Never mind theology, there's no logic within the practice.

Posted by magistra at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 9:23am BST

The whole 'assurance' thing strikes me as deeply mistaken - Jesus is about risk and commitment not assurance. He offers edginess, not systems. He is not a comfortable person, in the modern sense of comfort anyhow.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 10:34am BST

'the Holy Father comes among us as the leader of the Christian family'

Well, no he does not. Families don't have leaders; the assumption that they do is a remarkable reflection of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet's way of looking at the world. For him this is all about power, and, in particular, patriarchial power.

If he believes that Benedict does indeed lead all Christians, whether they like it or not, then he should not be a member of the Church of England; that's the home for those of us who have noticed that the Reformation, as well as the Resurrection, first witnessed by Mary Magda-lene, Apostle to the Apostles, actually happened...

Posted by chenier1 at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 1:37pm BST

Sam , they didn't just translate the liturgy, they tore out the sacrificial heart of the Mass. It became a communion service ( tagged on to Morning prayer) celebrated about four times a year.

There was no reservation and adoration of the eucharistic elements.

They banned prayers for the dead and to the Saints.The sacrament of holy anointing fior the sick was donme away with.

However what the letters did not pick up, was how Canon Killwick de-churched those provinces of the Anglo Communion who have women bishops. This shows how dangerous it would have been to give FIF their Church within a church.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 2:17pm BST

R.I.W., exhilarating as it may be to pontificate - as an ex-Anglican turned R.C. - on the problems of our sacramental theology; the fact that the Anglican Tradition has grown with the passage of time while R.C theologians of the present day (at least within the static confines `of the Vatican Magisterium) are more interested in resiling to pre-enlightenment doctrinal paradigms (resisting new revelation) - seems to have escaped your notice.

As a priest of the Anglican Tradition, Robert, I can assure you that Prayers for the Dead, the Sacrament of Anointing and ínvocation of Prayers` of The Saints is alive and well in our Tradition.
I think perhaps your understanding of Anglican doctrine must have been largely informed by your experience of the more evangelical tradition into which you were first inducted. You seem to have missed out on the growth of the Tradition since it's early beginnings - Semper Reformanda!

The Holy Spirit is `still very much alive in the Anglican World. It can cause problems - but not as great as the problems of a static theology.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 8:27pm BST

From the FiF perspective, the call for "sacramental assurance" actually makes sense.

Except . . .

Their objection is not just to female bishops, but to any bishop who doesn't oppose female bishops. Thus, no matter how technically pure the sequence of male-on-male ordinations from the apostles to the present, a particular thought crime is enough to invalidate the sacraments.

In this respect, the FiF and their fellow travellers are Donatists, pure and simple.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 8:49pm BST

Fr Ron, RIW comes at this from just such a "sacramental assurance" perspective.

Yes, the 39 Articles officially "did away with" Eucharistic adoration and Prayers for the Dead (in the CofE at the time of their promulgation). [As far as "the sacrificial heart of the Mass", we've always had "our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving"---not to mention Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary!---but I guess that just isn't up to Vatican snuff, as it were.]

The fact that millions of Anglicans over hundreds of years have ignored the 39 Articles regarding these (and other) issues doesn't matter. All that matters is that there was a {horrors!} gap, and therefore, sacramental assurance was lost. In short: RIW's is a very small god.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 10:02pm BST

"All that matters is that there was a {horrors!} gap, and therefore, sacramental assurance was lost."

Well, *I'd* have a problem with Anglicanism were that the case. Fortunately, there *was* no gap, and there were RC scholars who had no doubts that Anglican Orders were valid before Leo XII mucked it up with Apostolicae Curae.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 1:15am BST

RIW is simply recycling the Pope's talking points from 'Apostolicae Curae' from the beginning of last century.

It's true that the 39 Articles are excessively Protestant, and I would personally not agree with a number of them (the ones denying purgatory, transubstantiation, and benediction of the sacrament). Having said that, the 39 articles aren't considered to be infallible, and there have always been plenty of Anglicans who dissented from them. As early as the 17th century, they weren't considered infallible. There were Anglican pacifists and Anglican socialists, in spite of what Articles 37 and 38 say, and by the same token there have always been Anglicans who held more to the Catholic view of transubstantiation, purgatory, the Mother of God, and so forth.

As JCF, millions of Anglicans over hundreds of years have ignored the 39 articles on these issues, which is a good thing, and means that we still have valid sacraments.

Posted by Hector at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 4:44am BST

Gosh. Is it not time that those who seek "assurance" in whatever form, just go to wherever they find that "assurance". Navel gazing about what is or is not the "real deal" is a major distraction. If you can't accept women giving you communion (because they are not "proper priests/bishops" or "safe") then go joing the RC Church. Remember the RC church doesn't even recognise Anglican bishops as "real". Take what you need from Rome if it matters so much to you. The good thing about Christianity is that there are many forms within major established traditions. Each can find what they are happy with.

Posted by Findlay at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 1:57pm BST

I am a woman priest in the US and do value sacramental assurance. I do not receive Communion in church that did not keep the apostolic succession. I am not the only one. I can understand that there are women and men who cannot accept me as a priest and have been willing to honor them -- rather like what Paul says about the brethren who were troubled by meat purchased in the public market. What I can't follow is the Donatist assumption that any bishop who ordains women has somehow lost his validity.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 8:03pm BST

@Bill Dilworth: I wasn't talking about Anglican orders, per se.

However, if said orders really DEPENDED on an unbroken line from the 12 apostles, there really isn't any historical evidence that even the RC or EO lines are 100% gap-free.

Assurance in anything less than our saving Lord Christ---Big Enough to bridge any gap!---is a fool's errand, IMHO.

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 8:32pm BST

Columba
"What I can't follow is the Donatist assumption that any bishop who ordains women has somehow lost his validity."

If it comes from the Anglo-Catholics it's clearly appalling theology.

But if comes from the Evangelicals it makes sense, because they aren't interested in apostolic succession or the validity of sacraments and they are not saying that women can't be priests, but that according to St Paul they shouldn't be.
Therefore, a bishop who doesn't object to women priests isn't a proper bible believing bishop and has succumbed to false teachings.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 8:49pm BST

The only 'sacramental assurance' we have, about the validity of the Eucharist and any other sacraments of the Church, is that which may be discerned from the Word of Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. To believe that Rome only is capable of true discernment is to say that all other strands of Christian Tradition are null and void - something that the Orthodox Tradition, at least, would strongly challenge.

Likewise the Celtic`origin of British Christian Tradition stands against the idea`of Roman claims to exclusive validity of sacramental order. The political influence of the Papacy throughout its history cannot be denied. However, Anglicanism has derived its ministry from Christ - in the very same way as Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, by virtue of the divine economy.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 9:45pm BST

There is a certain irony that our Anglo-Catholic writer has chosen to cite a hymn that (at least in my experience) is largely popular here in the States as an anti-sacramental, anti-liturgical statement. The first line says it all for these people - "Jesus is my blessed assurance." (I think JCF has misread the text.) No sacraments, no ordained clergy, and certainly no bishops are required by the people who regard this hymn as nearly creedal.

I also find it interesting, that while professing to being Anglican, some of these folks insist on referring to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Rome as "the Holy Father." I assume here the US they would be AINO, Anglicans in Name Only.

Posted by David Bieler at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 10:22pm BST

Columba Giliss,

I'd just like to add that I do believe women can be validly ordained as priests and bishops. I think it's overall a good thing that we have women clergy nowadays- though I am troubled and saddened by the fact that it's made relations more strained with Rome and the Orthodox, and wish we had done it differently somehow. But I've received the sacraments of baptism, holy eucharist, and confession from a woman priest, and my experience tells me that women can in fact be priests. I don't want to confuse the ideas of sacramental assurance with the idea that only men can be priests.

Posted by Hector at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 10:53pm BST

We live in a Universe in which the observable matter is spread over a space at least 92 billion light years across, with probably more than 100 billion galaxies, which range from dwarfs, with as few as ten million stars, up to giants, with a trillion stars. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has between 200 and 400 billion stars.

God brought it all into being. This is God's living creation; and, as the universe expands, God's living creation continues to grow, in all its magnificence.

I really don't think we need worry too much about the capability of God to keep track of those who require sacramental assurance and those who do not.

I do think we need to worry about a view of God as some sort of celestial bureaucrat who requires all the right boxes to be ticked in all the right places in a multi choice exam.

For me that view comes very near to blasphemy.

It seeks to reduce the great glory of the living Creation, and the living God who made it, to the sort of person who delights in catching someone out in a set of trick questions.

That is a very human thing to do; we've all met people like that. But is not a God-like thing to do...

Posted by chenier1 at Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 11:51pm BST

@JCF "I wasn't talking about Anglican orders, per se."

Maybe not, but RIW is, I think.

"However, if said orders really DEPENDED on an unbroken line from the 12 apostles, there really isn't any historical evidence that even the RC or EO lines are 100% gap-free."

No, but then again there's no unassailable historical evidence that OLJC lived, either; we depend on Scripture and Tradition for our knowledge of him. I don't have any more trouble believing that there's an unbroken chain of ordinations going back to the Churches founded by the apostles than I do believing that there's an unbroken chain of knowledge that goes back to those Churches in the first place.

FWIW, I'm not claiming that the apostolic succession is the end-all and be-all for the Church. There are groups that may have preserved the apostolic succession, but without the apostolic faith that goes with it, in the innumerable fly-by-night episcopi vagantes groups here in the States, for example.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 12:20am BST

@ David Bieler: "some of these folks insist on referring to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Rome as "the Holy Father." I assume here the US they would be AINO, Anglicans in Name Only."

I wouldn't read too much into the title. Even the news media uses religious honorifics (calling the Pope "the Holy Father" or the Pope, the Dalai Lama and the Ecumenical Patriarch "His Holiness," for example). I don't doubt that there are people who sail under an Anglican flag of convenience, but you can't necessarily tell them from anybody else based on honorifics alone.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 12:25am BST

@David Bieler on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 10:22pm BST


The first line says it all for these people - "Jesus is my blessed assurance." (I think JCF
has misread the text.)


Meanwhile, the rest of us take it that JCF (JCF on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 1:06am BST) is using the first line of Fanny Crosby's well-known words of 1873

http://nethymnal.org/htm/b/l/e/blesseda.htm


JDR

Posted by John Roch at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 1:14pm BST

Chenier1: you hit the nail on the head. spot on. Thank you for articulating my views so precisely and better than I could have myself!

Posted by Findlay at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 1:23pm BST

I'm surprised by the mechanical understanding of "succession" in some posts because a more dynamic understanding is very old news. Just for example, important ground was overturned in the "Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry" WCC Faith and Order Paper in the early 1980s. One needs to read the whole document but instance; Ministry IV (B) Succession of the Apostolic Ministry # 37 "In churches which practice the succession through the episcopate, it is increasingly recognized that a continuity in apostolic faith, worship, mission has been preserved in churches which have not retained the form of historic episcopate. This recognition finds additional support in the fact that the reality and function of the episcopal ministry have been preserved in many of these churches, with or without the title 'bishop'. Ordination, for example, is always done in them by persons in whom the church recognizes the authority to transmit the ministerial commission."

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 3:30pm BST

"I'm surprised by the mechanical understanding of "succession" in some posts because a more dynamic understanding is very old news."

Just because one does not embrace the "more dynamic understanding" does not mean that one has not heard of it.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 4:57pm BST

@John Roch I'm sorry if I was misunderstood. I was trying to express what I believe the sentence is meant to convey. I didn't mean to imply that the line as quoted in the essay was in error. The problem with the sentence is whether the antecedent of the possessive pronoun "mine" is "Jesus" (JCF's reading) or "Blessed assurance" (my reading). I think a close reading of the entire text supports the interpretation that Jesus is the blessed assurance rather that Jesus is possessed by the writer. I will admit that requires reading this line is a way that most regard as old fashioned.

Of course someone out there will probably tell us that we all missed the "plain meaning" of the text.

Posted by David Bieler at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 5:02pm BST

Yes, yes, it has emerged clearly of late just how the C of E and indeed anglican communion would fare much better without 'bishops'.

I would love to see their discontinuation (I'm holding my breath) in favour of an exercise of episkope with greater integrity, and modern clout. Also the ridiculous idea of 'sucession' and historic this and that. Poetic yes --but pushed to far by high church groups to the point of absurdity and beyond. Almost as dysfunctional as 'papal' infallibility.


Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 7:00pm BST

Bill posted "Just because one does not embrace the 'more dynamic understanding' does not mean that one has not heard of it" Correct, it certainly doesn't; but it does seem reasonable to expect that a conversation about succession would occur in the light of what is a major ecumenical breakthrough. I don't think the options are limited to "embracing" or not embracing. Options might also include reading one's understanding of succession "in the light of", or "against the questions raised by" for example. Indeed,carrying on the discussion without any reference to major theological developments puts us in the same place as if such developments have not been heard about. I'll make a similar observation about some of the back and forth here around posts from polemical Roman Catholics. You would think ARCIC had never existed. It's an odd stance for Anglicans who style themselves as "thinking". Maybe a better description might be Anglicans thinking mostly about sex from a parochial point of view? Most of the arguments here about women and ordination, pro and con, are dated. The premises of traditional Anglo-Catholic arguments that are con, for example, have not changed in substance in thirty years and reflect a complete absence of feminist theological insight.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 8:46pm BST

Bill Dilworth,

Yeah, I've referred to the Pope as 'the Holy Father' before when I want to show respect. It doesn't necessarily mean much.

Rod Gillis,

That 'more modern' understanding is the one embraced by the Reformation, and it's a deeply false one. I'm well aware that apostolic succession is a politically incorrect idea in our rationalistic, democratic, liberal, modern age. So much the worse for the modern age. That's precisely why we need the apostolic succession now more than ever, to remind us that there is something higher, truer, and better than the culture of the world. The church needs to be loyal to the traditional understanding of apostolic succession as it has been handed down for two thousand years, not to modern ideas about democratic and liberal governance.

I'm skipping church at my local parish this weekend and travelling quite a distance to go in a different city: partly because I want to go to a sufficiently Anglo-Catholic parish that recognizes the Assumption of Our Lady, and partly because the local parish is going to have a Lutheran pastor officiating (intercommunion wth the ELCA was one of the dumber ideas of my church). I don't believe Lutheran pastors can validly celebrate the Eucharist, since they don't have apostolic succession and don't believe in transubstantiation (though of course Anglican priests can celebrate the Eucharist in Lutheran churches, though I don't think they should). Some of us are happy to adhere to the beauty and mystery of what you call the 'mechanical' understanding of apostolic succession, and have nothing but contempt for the 'modern' understanding.

Posted by Hector at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 9:07pm BST

"I would love to see their discontinuation (I'm holding my breath) in favour of an exercise of episkope with greater integrity, and modern clout"

Why? Were you so impressed with the results the last time that the CofE ditched bishops in favor of something more modern, under Cromwell?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 9:47pm BST

Here is a great story from Episcopal News online, re the consecration of a new bishop and what we in Canada would call First Nations spirituality.
http://www.episcopalchurch.org/81803_123953_ENG_HTM.htm

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 10:12pm BST

"I don't believe Lutheran pastors can validly celebrate the Eucharist, since they don't have apostolic succession"

Well, they do since the Concordat, don't they?

"and don't believe in transubstantiation"

But neither do a majority of Anglican clergy. Or Anglicans, for that matter.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 11:15pm BST

Well Hector, at least we understand each other. We in Canada are in full Communion with (ELCA) Lutherans. They do not have what you understand to be "apostolic succession", and have never claimed to have it. But their pastors are inter-changeable with ours, their bishops co-consecrate with ours. But hey, you want to run to an increasingly parochial untenable intellectual 'Masada", fill your boots.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 11:29pm BST

Hector posted "I'm skipping church at my local parish this weekend and traveling quite a distance to go in a different city: partly because I want to go to a sufficiently Anglo-Catholic parish that recognizes the Assumption of Our Lady" August 15th is on the calendar of the Canadian Church as the "falling asleep of the BVM", falling asleep being a good New Testament term for dying in the faith. Interesting, my female friends tell me that putting women on a pedestal often goes hand in hand with refusing to recognize them as equals.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 9 August 2010 at 11:38pm BST

Ah, it's the Summer Silly Season, and time for nitpicking! ;-)

"Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine!" says the hymn. IMHO, it's conveying the belief that "Jesus is Mine" IS the Blessed Assurance. I don't mean to imply that the hymn-writer thought she possessed Jesus . . . but that is what she said. [And a lot of soteriological confessions do seem to have a rather possessive tone. I think it's something all Christians have to watch out for: e.g., making faith in Christ into a (saving) work. It's pure GRACE (from Christ) which saves, not our action, even merely mental, of taking up the *proposition* that Jesus saves. Jesus ain't mine, I'm his. My faith-action does nothing more than, say, enable me to sing the hymn! }-0]

****

I think it's a mistake to assume that the 1980s ecumenical convergence agreements (esp. "BEM", and its impact on Anglican-Lutheran relations, as well as the US multi-church "COCU" proposals) are merely "Reformation" inventions.

They were designed to *bridge* the Reformation-Catholic divides. We may disagree on how well they did so, but Catholic theologians (Anglican, RC and EOs) all had a direct imput to BEM (for example), and *most* Catholic feedback to BEM thought it *advanced* (while not yet fulfilling) the cause of Christian union.

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 12:34am BST

Bill Dilworth,

Anglicans don't explicitly _disbelieve_ in transubstantiation either, not unless you take the 39 Articles as infallible. There are plenty of Anglicans who do believe in transubstantiation (there are churches I've been to which practice eucharistic adoration and the like). Lutherans _explicitly_ hold to consubstantiation, as far as I know. That said, I try to avoid Episcopal parishes which are on the low-church or super-liberal ends of the spectrum.

In my experience a fair number of Anglican priests, including women priests, who may not explicitly embrace the RC terminology about transubstantiation, still believe that it's really the Body and Blood of Christ, and not merely in a symbolic or consubstantial sense. I was talking to a very nice, young, fairly liberal woman priest awhile ago, she mentioned having officiated at a Lutheran service And there are plenty of Anglo-Catholics who do explicitly embrace the transubstantiation terminology (for good reason- Jesus taught it fairly explicitly in John 6).

In any case, as far as I know, the Lutherans don't even claim to have apostolic succession. Look, I respect the Lutherans a lot- my best friend is Lutheran, I was close to a number of African Lutherans when I lived in Africa, and I think the historically Lutheran societies of Scandinavia have achieved a really admirable, and in many ways deeply Christian, model of social equality, harmony, and solidarity. I like the fact that Lutherans still recite the Athanasian Creed in services. That said, if they don't think that apostolic succession is important, then they're certainly entitled to that opinion, and I wish them well, but I'll go elsewhere when I want to receive the sacraments.

Posted by Hector at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 12:59am BST

"I don't believe Lutheran pastors can validly celebrate the Eucharist, since they don't have apostolic succession."

The Church of Sweden which is pretty Lutheran although its Priests have always been referred to as Priests, believes it does have apostolic succession (though only through one 16th century bishop).

The Idea of Transsubstantiation d a t e s from Lateran IV in 1215. Luther said: à la bonheur!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 6:19am BST

Oh come now, Hector: don't torture John 6 to get "Jesus taught [transubstantiation] fairly explicitly". That's Popoid table-pounding, not remotely objective (fair) Biblical scholarship!

There's a bunch of "as far as I knows" re your anti-Lutheran beliefs. In all honesty: I don't think you do (know Lutheran beliefs ***as practiced in 2010***).

You're willing to cut Anglicans "not literal belief in the 39 Articles"-type slack. Why don't Lutheran anti-Transubstantiation claims receive the same charitable expansiveness? [And this? "merely in a symbolic or consubstantial sense": if you're equating Lutheran Consubstantialism w/ Radical Reformation "merely symbolic" interpretations of the Eucharist, that's flat-out wrong.]

Finally: re "my best friend is a...". Word to the wise, don't EVER go there! ;-/

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 9:16am BST

Hector: "I don't believe Lutheran pastors can validly celebrate the Eucharist, since they don't have apostolic succession."

And I don't believe you, or anyone else for that matter, can claim to know the full scope of what God is or who can "validly" celebrate the Eucharist in HIS eyes. Somehow, I think God probably transcends all the nit picking obsession with rules about hands on heads, boys only can be priests/bishops etc. And thank goodness too. The very clear and powerful message Jesus came to give, as far as I can see, was not to do with prevailing obsessions (and I use the word specifically) with what was or was not Jewish law and who ticked or did not tick all the boxes. Christ's message was surely to get away from all that. Somehow I feel we fall into the same trap as those in Jesus time did as we turn away from what He really meant us to be concentrating on in our over-analysing and desperation for certainty (assurance?) and pointless "rules".

Posted by Findlay at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 10:19am BST

I would love to see their discontinuation (I'm holding my breath) in favour of an exercise of episkope with greater integrity, and modern clout"

Why? Were you so impressed with the results the last time that the CofE ditched bishops in favor of something more modern, under Cromwell?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 9 August 2010 at 9:47pm BST

Actually, just to clarify something : I am not actually holding my breath in fact ! Just typing too fast.

Bill there are, truth to tell more recent and indeed, contemporary expressions of 'episkope'in the modern Church, which avoid men (mostly men as we know) who go around the globe behaving as the anglican bishops and primates are doing, stirring up trouble (Cana, FoCrs, Gafcon) etc.

Look at the various Baptist, Congregational, Independents,Methodist, Presbyterian, URC, Unitarian & Free Christian Churches, Quaker and so on Churches, and their diverse and dynamic polities. And queens losing their head.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 1:34pm BST

Hector posted "And there are plenty of Anglo-Catholics who do explicitly embrace the transubstantiation terminology (for good reason- Jesus taught it fairly explicitly in John 6)."

You won't find one single credible New Testament scholar who believes that Jesus taught transubstantiation in John 6 or anywhere else. Even in Roman Catholic theology there is open recognition that this doctrine is a form of doctrinal development in which NT passages are "elucidated" you might say by most significantly Thomas Aquinas.(see Catechism of the R.C. Church, for example). Any first year R.C. seminarian can tell you transubstantiation is based on Aristotle's epistemology.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 1:41pm BST

"Anglicans don't explicitly _disbelieve_ in transubstantiation either, not unless you take the 39 Articles as infallible. "

The only way that I can take the Articles of Religion is through Tract 90.

I don't find the philosophy behind transubstantiation terribly convincing, but I'm not trying to tell you how to regard the Real Presence. I don't know *how* Christ is present in the Eucharist; I know that it is his Body and Blood, but I don't think that makes me necessarily an adherent to transubstantiation. (It seems to me that if it's either just bread and wine or if it's the Body and Blood of Christ but looks like something else entirely, it doesn't fit the bill for a sacrament: an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.)

What I am saying is that if you have narrowed down the range of priests from whom you will receive the Eucharist to those who believe in this particular doctrine you're going to be greatly inconvenienced in finding a lot of venues open to you in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 1:46pm BST

JFC posted "I think it's a mistake to assume that the 1980s ecumenical convergence agreements (esp. "BEM", and its impact on Anglican-Lutheran relations, as well as the US multi-church "COCU" proposals) are merely "Reformation" inventions.'

Good point. Its' a mistake based on arrogance in my opinion. A great number of highly trained theologians have spent a great deal of time in dialogue trying to find common ground. It's sad to read posts that over focus on old theological theory, but evidence very little sense of the pain of Christian division, or the delight in building bridges.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 1:52pm BST

“I like the fact that Lutherans still recite the Athanasian Creed in services. That said, if they don't think that apostolic succession is important, then they're certainly entitled to that opinion, and I wish them well, but I'll go elsewhere when I want to receive the sacraments.”--Hector

Well, TEC is in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and our bishops participate in the consecration of all ELCA bishops, so your objections should be moot in another decade or so. Besides, The Episcopal Church in America has always recognized the validity of Swedish Lutheran priests’ Sacraments. In fact, the Church of Sweden parishes of the New Sweden colony became Episcopal parishes (e.g., Gloria Dei “Old Swedes” Church, Philadelphia, built in 1697), because Swedish bishops thought they should be part of the American Church.

There are other connections as well. Gustavus Hesselius, a portrait painter born and trained in Sweden, emigrated with his brother, a Lutheran pastor, to Christiana, Delaware in 1712. Hesselius's work represents the migration of a provincial European Baroque tradition to the American colonies. Hesselius is credited as the first painter in the English colonies commissioned to create a religious painting for a public building.

Happily for Episcopalians, perhaps his most significant altarpiece, once thought lost, was recovered early last century. That altarpiece of the Last Supper, painted in 1721-22 for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Queen Anne’s Parish, Maryland, is a work, with thirteen figures. It is considered one of the most important religious works created in America during the Colonial Period. It was also a testament to the strong High Church traditions in Maryland during the period it was created. Now privately owned, the altarpiece was publicly displayed in 1940 at the American Swedish Museum in Philadelphia.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by Kurt at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 2:39pm BST

"It's sad to read posts that over focus on old theological theory, but evidence very little sense of the pain of Christian division, or the delight in building bridges."

Could you *be* more patronizing?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 2:45pm BST

Bill asked me "Could you *be* more patronizing?"

Not patronizing Bill, just blunt. If there is a debate about an issue, I would expect it to include the current state of the question.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 3:41pm BST

As a fellow Anglo-Catholic, I can assure Hector that Lutheran definitions of the Real Presence are more robust than those found in our own "Historical Documents." As for the historic episcopate, they have taken that too on board, agreeing to ordain bishops for life with the participation of Anglican co-consecrators - and as noted above, the Church of Sweden never gave up its succession in the first place, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland restored it some time ago. The Archbishop of Toronto laid hands on the National Bishop of the ELCIC at her ordination as bishop. Lutherans were in some ways more conservative than the English Reformers. The Augsburg Confession insists "We do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it" - weekly no less! And Martin Luther himself called Our Lady "the highest woman," and wrote that "we can never honour her enough."

Posted by Geoff at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 3:51pm BST

"Well, TEC is in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and our bishops participate in the consecration of all ELCA bishops"

I wonder how this works out practically, since Episcopalians believe that the episcopacy (like the priesthood and diaconate) is for life, and the ELCA does not - bishops serve a specific term, which may be renewed, and afterwards go back to being a pastor. In ECUSA we may (and do) have bishops who do not exercise jurisdiction and who serve as the rectors of parishes, but they're still considered bishops; I believe that in Lutheran eyes an erstwhile bishop is "just" a pastor.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 3:55pm BST

"Not patronizing Bill, just blunt. If there is a debate about an issue, I would expect it to include the current state of the question."

First of all, the "more in sorrow" meme ("It's so sad to see people disagreeing with me...") is pretty patronizing Rod; you might want to reconsider its use if that's not your intention.

Secondly, why is anyone responsible, in a discussion of what they believe, to articulate any position but their own? I wasn't debating an issue, but expressing my beliefs.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 4:07pm BST

JCF, I believe that you are mistaken about non-Protestant participation in COCU and its successor, CUIC.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 4:11pm BST

“I wonder how this works out practically, since Episcopalians believe that the episcopacy (like the priesthood and diaconate) is for life, and the ELCA does not - bishops serve a specific term, which may be renewed, and afterwards go back to being a pastor.”--Bill Dilworth

Yes, I believe they are elected to six or seven year terms, which may be renewed. We of TEC consider them bishops for life. I believe, over time, ELCA members will become more comfortable with the traditional three-fold ministry, and will revise their canons regarding the episcopate accordingly. Our agreement with ELCA is, I believe, a proper implementation of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral concerning the episcopate “locally adapted.” In any event, a bishop can certainly fulfill a priest’s role, even if s/he does not usually exercise episcopal functions.

Kurt Hill
In sweltering Brooklyn, NY

Posted by Kurt at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 4:33pm BST

I do think Rod may have a point, Bill.

Here in Europe, all the Anglican provinces in the British Isles are in full communion with the various Lutheran churches in Scandinavia, under the Porvoo Agreement. (Fr Mark will update me on the state of play in Denmark, etc.)

This is not based on the kind of theories about physical apostolic succession that used to be quite normal among Anglicans. We have in fact moved on.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 4:38pm BST

Simon, I'm aware of the Porvoo Agreement, as well as the intercommunion agreement between the ELCA and ECUSA. I recognize that Anglican provinces are involved in relationships with churches who, by my (admittedly antiquated) reckoning, experienced a break in the succession at the Reformation or later.*

I don't see how those facts necessarily affect *my* continuing in the beliefs I've stated. If there's one of the Articles of Religion that I earnestly endorse it is XIX, with its "As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred, so also the Church of Rome [and, one might add, the Anglican Communion] hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith." I take it as a matter of course that the institutional Church will have positions with which I do not agree - indeed, that I think are mistaken - and I'm comfortable with that.

*For the record, I'm not terribly concerned about the implications of Porvoo (say, a Norwegian pastor transferring to the CofE without reordination). It's pretty apparent that the Scandanavian Lutherans intended to keep the threefold ministry; I leave the rest up to the Church's (and God's) economy.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 5:07pm BST

For the removal of doubt, I offer s. B3 of the Waterloo Declaration:

"The Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affirm each other's expression of episcopal ministry as a sign of continuity and unity in apostolic faith. We thus understand that the bishops of both churches are ordained for life service of the Gospel in the pastoral ministry of the historic episcopate, although tenure in office may be terminated by retirement, resignation or conclusion of term, subject to the constitutional provisions of the respective churches."

Posted by Geoff at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 5:24pm BST

Simon: the Church of Denmark (Dansk Folkekirke) bishops, the Queen and the Government's Church Minister have agreed to accede to the Porvoo Agreement in October of this year. Nationwide, I haven't detected any enthusiasm for the idea at all: Anglicanism, far from appearing grand or attractive, currently comes across to Danes as being over-hierarchical (something that Danes tend to be suspicious of) and wrapped up in the kinds of petty discrimination they left behind some time ago, and which they associate with Roman Catholicism (Danish society tends to be fairly anti-Catholic).

The Danish Church's synod meets in October, and interestingly, the big policy decision before it will be regarding same-sex marriage. The Government has asked the Church to formulate a policy before going ahead with proposed legislation along the lines of the laws recently brought in in Sweden, Norway and Iceland (and also on the way in Finland), allowing for gender-neutral marriage. At all levels of the Church of Denmark, there are strong majorities in favour of following Sweden and allowing for same-sex marriage in church. Civil partnerships have been blessed in churches openly for many years.

So we face the prospect this Autumn of another national church entering full communion with the C of E and moving forward on the gay issue at the same time. Doubtless some Church of England bishops will engage in underhand manoeuvres in the meantime, in an attempt to dissuade the Danes... but I doubt they would carry any weight here, Danes not being predisposed to accept foreign interference in their national church, and very much not being impressed by baronial hierarchs of any sort.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 6:17pm BST

Simon, a lot of theological work was done on the notion of apostolicity before Poorvoo was instigated. I believe our House of Bishops published a paper they had agreed on it. I think the then Bp of Ely ( Stephen Sykes of The Integrity of Anglicanism ) was fairly key. I once had a copy, alas a victim of my downsizing on retirement. But you are right..it outlined a broader understanding of apostolic succession than simply a tactile one.That understanding of apostolic succession only became a shibbolleth in the more catholic parts of Anglicanism post Oxford Movement with its narrowly Branch Theory of the Church. The Caroline Divines rarely used the doctrine of apostolic succession to unchurch members of the continental reformed churches.

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 7:16pm BST

Bill, point taken about expressing your personal beliefs. I do the same, clearly. However, issues like “apostolic succession” and “transubstantiation” and such are in the first instance aspects of corporate believing. It seems to me that it is important and constructive to bounce one's personal beliefs, whether in agreement or not, off the same.

As for the "sorrow meme", I was not taking that point in the direction you note. I'm not sad that people disagree with me per se. However (and I'm not aiming this at you) I think it is rather sad when opinions about big-ticket items are expressed mostly out of a concern for dogmatic rectitude but with little regard for how Christian dis-unity has impacted the witness of the Christian Church, has put up barriers between people and divided families. I just don't have much patience with earnest young men pontificating about what is "truth" while at the same time dismissing the very real impact Christian disunity has on people’s lives. We have several small communities here where Anglicans and Lutherans have lived and worshiped side by side for over two centuries. When Anglican Lutheran dialogue began here, and joint worship was held, one pastoral benefit bringing together mixed Anglican-Lutheran families to a significant new degree. Interestingly enough, I was able to introduce the imposition of ashes more easily to my Anglican parish at that time because their ELCA Lutheran neighbors in the church next door had done so first. When I read that someone is skipping church because a Lutheran pastor is celebrating the Eucharist, and that Anglican--Lutheran inter-communion is “the dumbest thing” I find that incredibly sad. Besides, it really fries my fanny.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 7:17pm BST

Bill Dilworth, and others, may be interested in the text of the Waterloo Declaration by Anglicans and Lutherans found here:
http://www.elcic.ca/What-We-Believe/Waterloo-Declaration.cfm

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 7:21pm BST

Geoff, thanks for the excerpt from the Waterloo Declaration (and thank you, Rod, for the whole thing) - I wonder if the bit about the lifelong ministry of bishops is something that the ELCA has embraced, as well.

For what it's worth, when visiting family in Modesto, California (inside the dueling Dioceses of San Joaquin) I wasn't sure about finding an ECUSA parish; I confess that I was quite prepared to do one of two things: either go to one of the many RC venues to fulfill my Sunday obligation (but without taking Communion) or...attend an ELCA parish (and take Communion). Maybe I'm more "dynamic" in my approach to the succession than I am willing to admit. ;-)

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 9:37pm BST

Perry Butler posted "The Caroline Divines rarely used the doctrine of apostolic succession to unchurch members of the continental reformed churches." True, and a very good point to make indeed.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 9:48pm BST

'We have in fact moved on.'

Well, some of us have; as I mentioned quite some time ago, I am completely baffled as to how some of those still loudly complaining about women being priested have apparently entirely failed to notice the existence of the Porvoo Agreement. The Church of Sweden appointed its first female priests in 1960; it signed the Porvoo Agreement on August 24 1994. The Church of England signed on July 9 1995, when it was obvious that the Church of Sweden would appoint its first female bishop in the near future; it did so just two years later, in 1997.

Canon Simon Killwick has been in full communion with a church which appoints women to the Episcopate for the last thirteen years; if he hasn't spotted it by now then his powers of discernment are so gravely flawed that it would be profoundly unwise to rely upon anything he says.

It does seem to me that there are a great number of disingenuous arguments being tossed around; rebut one, and something else miraculously emerges from under the gooseberry bush as a vitally important point necessary for salvation to actually work.

"Sacramental assurance" provides the princely sum of 2,160 results on Google. The phrase used by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, "sacramental certainty", has the even less impressive 147 results on Google.

He claims this to be an indispensable part of the Catholic Faith; one wonders why such an indispensable part of the Catholic Faith has not been communicated rather more effectively than this hitherto...

Posted by chenier1 at Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 9:52pm BST

"JCF, I believe that you are mistaken about non-Protestant participation in COCU and its successor, CUIC."

Only if you consider TEC "Protestant", Bill! ;-/

Seriously, I didn't mean to imply that RCs or EOs were anything other than informal observers (if that) re COCU/CUIC. (The ELCA---which some of us may consider "catholic", while evidently not you, Bill---are official observers. I confess, however, that I am not nearly as "up on" COCU/CUIC, or other formal ecumenical matters, than I was 15-20 years ago. The "Ecumenical Winter" froze me out too, alas.)

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 12:16am BST

Bill Dilworth,

Interesting. I live in a part of the country without a lot of Episcopal churches (and even fewer Anglo-Catholic parishes) so I've often been unable to find a church. I've never at all been troubled by going to an RC church and not taking communion. I probably take communion sometimes when I shouldn't (i.e. not being spiritually prepared) and I don't feel like I have a 'right' to take communion....it's a free gift, not something I'm entitled to. If the Roman Catholic church . I can get spiritual sustenance by simply participating in the liturgy, after all. Never been to a Lutheran service, but you're probably right that I've been uncharitable towards them, and should educate myself more about Lutheran thought nowadays. Certainly, as I said above, we have a lot to learn from the Lutheran countries about how to build a healthy, solidaristic society.

Posted by Hector at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 3:16am BST

Is it more "Catholic" to partake of the Eucharist/Holy Communion, or not to?

In MY Catholic self-understanding, I'm *too hungry* to Eat Jesus, NOT to do so. :-) [My hunger extending to BOTH (possibly) Masses/Divine Liturgies where Jesus's (RC/EO) servants inhospitably try to limit Christ's invitation, and where Christ's (Protestant) servants have a Holy Communion---WHEN they have it---that may be lacking in Catholic particulars. God's Economy of Grace is BIG ENOUGH to cover all of 'em!]

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 8:29am BST

"My hunger extending to BOTH (possibly) Masses/Divine Liturgies where Jesus's (RC/EO) servants inhospitably try to limit Christ's invitation"

I used to receive Communion at RC Masses as a matter of course, but it ended up making me feel "sneaky." My policy now is to only receive in Churches that ECUSA is in communion with.

I doubt you'll get very far trying to receive at an EO liturgy, unless you are prepared to simply lie to the priest. In my experience it's common for Orthodox priests to inquire about the Orthodox bona fides of strangers right there at the chalice. I've even seen Orthodox priests ask to see copies of people's Chrismation certificates. Of course, that was 20 years ago or more, so maybe they've lightened up.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 10:20am BST

I am reminded of two of Jesus's statements to his followers: "Do this in remembrance of me...." and "Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my names..."

While I appreciate the tradition of the historic episcopate, and I don't think I would ever accept lay presidency within my own church, I would never go so far as to say that the communion services of other denominations were not valid expressions of both of those statements.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 11:19am BST

I don't know, I have absolutely no desire to receive communion in an RC church, as much as I have benefited from a great many RC services.

What's the point of receiving a gift if the gift isn't freely given? Communion is a gift, and if the church doesn't want to give me the gift, then I don't want to receive it.

Posted by Hector at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 4:12pm BST

Hector,
it's God's gift not that of the church.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 5:32pm BST

I was raised as a Roman Catholic. My mother was a Baptist (though she is now Presbyterian in attendance). I often went to services at her church on holidays (as well as Mass) such as Christmas and Easter. I received communion at both.

Now, an Episcopalian for some 30 years, I do not receive in Roman Catholic churches when I attend a family service--not because I do not believe it to be a legitimate Eucharist, but because I respect that church's decision that I should not.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 7:56pm BST

"When I read that someone is skipping church because a Lutheran pastor is celebrating the Eucharist, and that Anglican--Lutheran inter-communion is “the dumbest thing” I find that incredibly sad." - Rod Gillis

Starting at the back, Rod, I would certainly not say that ("...dumbest thing..."), but I would definitely go to another Episcopal Church on any Sunday that a Lutheran (ECLA) pastor, or any other member of the clergy not ordained in the Apostolic Succession, were the celebrant at my own parish.

No, I would not skip church -- to quote your words "When I read that someone is skipping church because a Lutheran pastor is celebrating..." -- that Sunday; you are not citing the more realistic choice since your selected scenario is not the only option). If I were in a city where no Episcopal or Anglican church were available, I would certainly go to a Lutheran church as an alternative, but would not partake of their communion.

You may believe what you like, as may I or Bill Dilworth, but the validity of the sacraments is a key value for me, regardless of what you seem to focus upon as ancillary benefits regarding Christian unity.

I do note that some of the Scandinavian Lutherans have maintained the Apostolic Succession, so my comments are solely related to Lutheran pastors who have not been ordained by those few continuing Lutheran churches.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 8:22pm BST

Gerry Hannon, thanks for your post. I suspect where we disagree is in a definition of "apostolic succession". But you are right, I give priority of place to a focus on Christian unity and what I think are very significant and constructive ecumenical advances in both theological understanding and pastoral practice--gains that build up community in the real world. Perhaps my being a pastor for the past thirty three years explains my priorities. As an Anglican "priest" in a liberal catholic stream, I have come to prefer the term pastor to both presbyter and priest. Personally, I have received communion at Lutheran, baptist, Methodist/Presbyterian, and disciples of Christ services, at conferences and other events. I trained at an ecumenical (Anglican/Roman Catholic/United Church of Canada) Divinity School. I was pleased to attend communion services there when an ordained United Church of Canada minister was the presider. It was at divinity school that I learned about the Caroline Divines not trying to "unchurch" continental protestant churches, as Perry Butler pointed out here yesterday. As for skipping church and the "dumbest thing", I was responding there to Hector's comments. Canadian Anglicans belong to a church that is, as a matter of policy and fact, in full communion with ELCA Lutherans. That is really the issue I wanted to address. You do what your conscience dictates, but I have long since made my peace with the position you adhere to.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 9:03pm BST

As I mentioned above, I know I've been uncharitable to Lutherans, and I should give their theology a second look. Perhaps I'll even attend a service one of these days (though I do believe that the sacraments can only be validly carried out by priests in the apostolic succession, so I wouldn't receive communion there. Except maybe in Scandinavia, apparently). I have, believe it or not, gone to church before and had a Lutheran pastor officiate when the regular priest was out of town. I didn't have a problem with it, though I don't think I received communion that day. Transubstantiation isn't really the issue to me, the problem I have is that Lutheranism _explicitly_ and _as a corporate body_ denies transubstantiation. (Anglicans are _allowed_ to believe in it, and though many don't, some do.)

That said, I've been planning this trip out of town for a long time. I really want to go to an Assumption service, and this is one of the few Episcopal churches in the region that make a big deal out of Marian veneration. The Lutheran co-celebration is really a side issue; the Assumption deal is more important. And yes, Rod Gillis, I do know that 'falling asleep' or 'dormition' are New Testament euphemisms for death (she didn't actually die, of course, but that's by the bye). Plenty of feast days are on the calendar, that doesn't mean that any given parish will necessarily make a big deal out of them.

Happy Assumption / Dormition / Feast of St. Mary the Virgin this weekend, whatever you may choose to call it (though I do find the last title almost too silly for words.)

Posted by Hector at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 9:08pm BST

"but I would definitely go to another Episcopal Church on any Sunday that a Lutheran (ECLA) pastor, or any other member of the clergy not ordained in the Apostolic Succession"

After so many years of Episcopal hands on the heads of Lutheran Bishops (since 2001), it seems that we couldn't be certain that an ELCA pastor wasn't in the apostolic succession without checking.

Did we go through something like this with the Churches of North and South India, when the Anglican provinces there joined with other Protestant bodies? For a while I imagine that they had episcopally ordained clergy serving alongside those ordained by other means, but now they're full members of the WWAC.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 9:14pm BST

Sorry Hector, I was in cranky frame of mind when I posted that. I have a figurine of the BVM and an (Anglican) rosary on my devotional table in my study, and I agree the "falling asleep" (ekoimethisan) thing really doesn't go down very well when translated into modern English. Blessed Assumption day to you as well.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 9:45pm BST

Hector, Lutherans only reject transubstantiation in the narrowest sense - that which denies that there is an outward sign (of bread) at all and is thus rejected by Anglicans as "overthrow[ing] the nature of a sacrament" (which is both the sign and the thing signalled). But while Lutherans may not share the Roman Catholic enthusiasm for aristotelian chemistry, they gladly confess that the Sacrament of the Altar is truly Christ's Body and Blood, "in, with, and under" the gifts of bread and wine. A difference between a Lutheran confessional view and the contemporary official Roman line lies in pretty nuanced territory, and it would be unfortunate if Anglo-Catholics made the same mistake about Lutherans as many RCs do about us by lumping them in with those Reformers whose much feebler views on the Real Presence Luther himself strongly denounced.

I must also contradict you on the claim that Our Lady "of course" died. The papal definition of the dogma is silent on the question, while the more ancient version holds that she did indeed first die and then was resuscitated and raised to heaven. Given that the point of the Assumption is that it foreshadows the general resurrection and theosis of the dead, the actual dying part would seem to be fairly important.

Posted by Geoff McL. at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 10:24pm BST

To accept TEC's claims to apostolic succession, while *at the same time* rejecting TEC's authority to make ecumenical covenants, comes fearfully close to making "touch" (Dutch or otherwise! *LOL*) into an *idol* IMO.

[FYI: The approach of TEC towards ELCA's ministry being a "Both/And" *paradox* (and the only thinking worth a damn is paradoxical, IMO!). That is, TEC *both* accepts the ELCA's orders *as is* (in 2001, the time of the agreement) *and* enfolds ELCA's ministry into our apostolic succession, going forward (Moreover, in point of practice, many ELCA bishops received the laying on of hands from TEC bishops BEFORE 2001 as well)]

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 10:50pm BST

Re: it's God's gift not that of the church.

It's God's gift _by way of_ the church, that's why He doesn't allow me (a layman) to walk by the corner bakery, point at the loaves, and say, 'This is My body....'.

Posted by Hector at Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 11:25pm BST

We seem to have moved a long way from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet's letter. He appears to hope the legislation will be defeated and thinks traditionalist catholics should gear themselves up to attempt to achieve this. It may be he is right..the measure may be lost in the House of Laity, though if it is ,it will be by the votes of the fairly strong block of lay conservative evangelicals.But if the legislation is overwhelmingly approved by diocesan synods its defeat in one house of GS will cause considerable bitterness and would I suspect ensure that when the legislation came back,say, 4 yrs later, it would be a one clause measure. Meanwhile what of the Ordinariate? The bishop seems keen on this, +Richborough even more so. Are they going to delay until 2014? This delaying must look increasingly opportunistic to RC eyes ( comments please RIW !)and there is surely something a bit odd in C of E bishops continuing to minister when they have more or less said their theological position is to all intents and purposes Roman Catholic.It seems to me traditionalist catholics are now split between those for whom the Ordinariate is Plan A, and those for whom it is Plan B......the episcopal meetings in September will no doubt highlight this division.

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 8:29am BST

". . that's why He doesn't allow me (a layman) to walk by the corner bakery, point at the loaves, and say, 'This is My body....'. "

Correction:

That is why you don't allow *yourself* to do so. God has little interest in such small matters.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 8:49am BST

Hector
So what are you saying, that God grants you this gift in your church but when you are in a Catholic Mass he somehow refuses to grant you the same gift? Does he have different tiers of sacraments from the not quite so perfect to the perfect?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 10:12am BST

The crucial thing surely is the decision of a Church to enter into full communion with another Church. This is where it seems to me our understanding of apostolicity/apostolic succession has developed theologically since the days of the South India scheme. There are plenty of episcopi vagantes who may well have "valid" orders in a tactile sense..but I dont see how their sacraments can be" valid" in a proper ecclesial sense since they are not bishops of a Church just a small ad hoc grouping.The Church of England accepted that understanding of apostolic succession in the Porvoo Agreement by making no distinction between the Church of Norway ( and now Denmark) where the apostolic succession in the tactile sense was lost at the reformation and the Church of Sweden where it wasn't.The Church of England has always been episcopal but it only became episcopalian in 1662. Before that date foreign clergy entering the C of E ministry were not usually re-ordained. When the Scottish Church incorporated Bishops under James 1st the ministers chosen ( in presbyterian orders) were not ordained deacon/priest first but simply consecrated as bishops.

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 12:32pm BST

Geoff McI,

It's certainly legitimate to believe she died, and this appears to be the position of the early church- the apocryphal accounts of the event explicitly say that she died and was then resuscitated and assumed. It certainly makes sense, as you say.

However, there are some scriptural passages that seem (to me) to foretell the Assumption, and they also imply the absence of death. For example, 'In kinship with Wisdom there is immortality' from the Book of Wisdom (which uses Wisdom as a symbol of Christ), and 'Thou shalt not die, for this law was made not for thee but for all others' from the Greek version of Esther, which was traditionally taken as applying figuratively to Mary. And of course, the passage in Revelation 12 that is often taken to refer to Mary, talks about her being rescued from the wrath of the serpent, and implies that the serpent was not victorious over her even for an instant.

More to the point, we know that Enoch and a couple other people were spared from physical death, and it seems to me that if that privilege was extended to any of the saints, then a fortiori it should also have been extended to the Super-Saint, Mary.

But this is just my personal opinion and I wouldn't expect you to share it.

Posted by Hector at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 1:40pm BST

"There are plenty of episcopi vagantes who may well have "valid" orders in a tactile sense..but I dont see how their sacraments can be" valid" in a proper ecclesial sense since they are not bishops of a Church just a small ad hoc grouping."

There's admittedly something amiss in a system that treats Archbishop Tony, who runs the Really True Continuing Catholic Anglican Church out of his converted garage and heads a mighty communion of a dozen, as a "real" priest, but a Lutheran pastor as an imposter. America is simply lousy with episcopi vagantes in the tactile succession but with no real ties to the Church in this century.

"The Church of England accepted that understanding of apostolic succession in the Porvoo Agreement by making no distinction between the Church of Norway ( and now Denmark) where the apostolic succession in the tactile sense was lost at the reformation and the Church of Sweden where it wasn't."

What was the reaction of British Anglo-Catholics to all this? I would think that they would be in more "danger" of being confronted with a male Porvoo bishop than a female Anglican one. Was there a strong reaction from them?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 1:51pm BST

See re "Both/And", BillD (The CofE seems to have adopted the same posture towards the Churches of Norway and Denmark, as TEC did towards the ELCA)

And speaking of paradox! @ Hector and MarkBrunson: you're BOTH right! ;-D

More specifically: I don't think Hector SHOULD do, as he hypothesized re "the corner bakery" (anymore than I believe the Diocese of Sydney is correct: See Above Thread).

...but *at the same time* I think it's too broad to say that NO non-apostolic-succession-ordained person may EVER celebrate Holy Communion (both in terms of the ecumenical Economy of Grace, and pastoral emergencies).

A Doxology to the God of Paradox! :-D

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 10:26pm BST

". . that's why He doesn't allow me (a layman) to walk by the corner bakery, point at the loaves, and say, 'This is My body....'. "

What if you bought the bread and some wine, took it home or to a friend's house, where "two or three" were gathering in Jesus' name, read some Scripture, prayed, and then had a common meal -- especially a Seder?

Are you so sure that the bread and wine would not be what Jesus intended?

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 2:51am BST

Mark Brunson,

If you're going to throw out what church tradition says about who is allowed to confect the Eucharist (i.e. not laypeople) then why trust them about whether or not it is what they say it is?

I mean, to me, it LOOKS like bread and wine. I trust that it's the Body and Blood of Christ because church tradition, interpreting John 6, tells me so. But if I accept the church as reliable about what the Eucharist is, then it seems to me I should also trust it as a reliable guide to who is allowed to confect the Eucharist.

There's room for some leeway, obviously (I believe that women priests and gay priests are valid priests, and therefore they can confect the Eucharist, whereas the RC, Orthodox, Armenians and some other churches would disagree. But we'd both agree that laypeople can't do it.)

Posted by Hector at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 3:24am BST

I DON'T trust them to tell me what it is.

Why should I trust people who've consistently *failed* to bring the Kingdom of Christ for some 1700 years? Who've helped none but themselves and tried to impede those who would help others?

Why do *you* trust them? Are you really so weak in your faith that you can only believe in God if you believe in *them*?


Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 8:34am BST

Perhaps subscribers to this thread should take note of the Australian Anglican Church's current decision not to allow deacons or lay-people to preside at the Eucharist - thus maintaining the Anglican Tradition of priestly presidency. This has been done largely in response to the Diocese of Sydney's move towards Lay Presidency. (It is interesting to note that the Sydney Diocese does not allow of the Ordination of Women to the office of a priest or bishop.)

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 12:49pm BST

"Perhaps subscribers to this thread should take note of the Australian Anglican Church's current decision not to allow deacons or lay-people to preside at the Eucharist - thus maintaining the Anglican Tradition of priestly presidency."

Indeed.

And, I don't think that someone's adherence to that Tradition ought to be made to look like a lack of faith, or over-regard for RC opinion.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 1:16pm BST

There is a good reason why it 'looks like bread and wine'.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 3:50pm BST

The farce of the Australian tribunal.. is that it has no binding force in Sydney. Sydney only assented to the Australian Anglican Church Constitution, when it guaranteed autonomy for each diocese. In effect Anglican dioceses in Australia are self governing provinces! The Sydney Diocese believe that the women priests in the rest of Australia are lay celebrants anyway!

They couldn't care two cents for your belief in Apostolic succession, Bill..they believe it is not Anglican and not of the esse of the Church.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 4:17pm BST

Personally, I'm all in favour of 'lay presidency' (even if its current advocates are in other respects pretty unpleasant). Why ever not? There WERE no 'priests' in the first century, yet - presumably - that was the fount of the Apostolic Tradition.

Posted by john at Friday, 13 August 2010 at 7:14pm BST

"There WERE no 'priests' in the first century, yet - presumably - that was the fount of the Apostolic Tradition."

You're kidding, right? I refer you to the first paragraph on p 510 of the present American BCP

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 12:48am BST

Robert, I'm aware of the Sydney Anglicans' position, thank you.

By the way, you're on record as being against "Roman bashing." Perhaps you could, in the interest of ecumenical relations, tone down your glee at the examples of Evangelical aberrations you constantly bring to our attention.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 12:53am BST

The relevant document outlining the Church of Englands understanding of apostolic succession that facilitated Porvoo is "Apostolicity and Succession" 1994...though not sure where you get a copy now.

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 12:34pm BST

John,

Don't be ridiculous. Bishops are, by definition, the successors of the apostles, and priests are, by definition, the successors of those people to whom the Apostles delegated responsibility. The first century versions of bishops _were_ the apostles. He didn't say 'Do this in memory of me' to the broad public at one of his public sermons, he said it at a private dinner to the Apostles alone (His mother and other women may also have been present, of course, as they tended to spend a lot of time with him, which strengthens the case for women's ordination). Regardless, the point is that the command to re-enact his sacrificial death through the Eucharist was given to the apostles (i.e. the first bishops), not to anyone else. That bars you, me, Methodist pastors, and any other layman from validly confecting the Eucharist.

Posted by Hector at Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 1:35pm BST

Bill,

Since I'm a Brit., I haven't got access to the American BCP. What I said is a perfectly standard church history view (held, e.g., by James Dunn). The same view holds that Christian priests only came in in the second century.

Posted by john at Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 5:12pm BST

"Since I'm a Brit., I haven't got access to the American BCP."

Of course you have:

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/bcp.htm

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 9:59pm BST

Hector:

A Methodist pastor is a "layman"? Hey, way to encourage ecumenism!

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 2:03am BST

Hector/Bill,

OK, that's the confessional claim. It is not, however, what many church historians/historians of early Christianity would say. It's a retrojection.

Personally, I don't care, except, as here, when people seek to build theology on it. Even that I don't really mind, except that - as usual - such people seek to inflict their theology on others. Then I do mind. As for Methodist pastors or their like not being legitimate celebrators of the Eucharist, I'm afraid the idea strikes me - as, I believe, most Anglicans today - as being absurd and offensive. Why? Because it seems uncharitable and un-Christian. And such considerations decisively trump shaky, pseudo-historical claims to apostolic purity.

Posted by john at Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 12:17pm BST

John - apropos of your comment about the absence of priests in the early Church! Where were you prepared for Baptism? Was it in the Church of England, and if so, who were your teachers. They need to look to their primitive Church Tradition documents to apprise themselves of the real facts. Sydney Diocese would welcome you; they seem to entertain the same blindness to facts about the beginnings of the Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 12:59pm BST

I'm actually with Sydney on this one. The fact that I attend an apostolic-succession church, and receive communion from people who like to think they are in that succession, does not mean that I admit that they in fact are, or that it matters for the Lord's Supper.

The private-dinner argument proceeds not from anything that Jesus said, but rather the circumstances--he was having a Seder meal with friends and followers, in a room that could not accommodate a large crowd, and at a politically charged time when many people in then-occupied Jerusalem were hoping that he would throw off the Roman yoke.

So at best, the private-dinner argument is a circumstantial-evidence argument, and as such is not very persuasive. There were no Gentiles in the room--does this mean that no Gentiles can attend communion?

As for apostolic succession, my reading suggests that the concepts of monarchical bishop and apostolic succession were merged only in the second century--not in the first. It seems that church father Ignatius, for example, knew nothing of an apostolic succession, even though he strongly emphasized the bishop's unifying role.

I suspect our differing views as to lay presidency and apostolic succession are traceable to different views as to what it means to confect the Mass, or to share the Lord's Supper.

I'm no believer in transubstantiation, real presence, or even consubstantiation, so I'm happy to let the bread and wine be largely what they were before the service started. It follows that I see little need for priestly-apostolical authority in the breaking of bread and the pouring of wine.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 1:28pm BST

"I suspect our differing views as to lay presidency and apostolic succession are traceable to different views as to what it means to confect the Mass, or to share the Lord's Supper."

Ya think?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 6:31pm BST

Father Ron,

I was baptised into the C of Ireland. I now attend the C of E - currently (and for ever) a liberal Anglo-Catholic Church. I am completely aware of the claims that are made. Many of my best friends accept them. I am also aware - in fact, professionally rather well-informed - of what most NT/early Christianity historians think about these matters. Few believe in first-century priests. Go and do a little reading, and please don't patronise me.

Posted by john at Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 9:49pm BST

"He didn't say 'Do this in memory of me' to the broad public at one of his public sermons, he said it at a private dinner to the Apostles alone"

If that is the case, then we are barred from *participating* as well.

Faulty conclusion based on contorted logic peppered with a certain degree of magical thinking.

Try again.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 5:07am BST

"I'm no believer in transubstantiation, real presence, or even consubstantiation, so I'm happy to let the bread and wine be largely what they were before the service started. It follows that I see little need for priestly-apostolical authority in the breaking of bread and the pouring of wine."

- Jeremy, on Sunday -

So the Domincal words: "This is my Body, this is my Blood" have no ontological significance for you, Jeremy? This may be THE dividing line between the Catholic and the Protestant strands within the Anglican family of Churches. Calvinism has never been my own personal spiritualitY, nor, I strongly suspect, would it be that of many Thinking Anglicans - bearing in mind the strong Eucharistic Tradition of the Church of England and its subsequent heirs in the Anglican Communion.

However, If you find no difference in the esse of the elements after the prayer of consecration, I could well understand your stance on the whole matter of sacerdotal ministry. But you cannot claim to be a stereotypical Anglican in this matter of sacramental validity.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 17 August 2010 at 1:00pm BST

I can't see why differences of interpretation of the Eucharist NECESSARILY depend on existence of/belief in apostolic succession. Here (as elsewhere!), it's Jesus that matters: all the rest is (more or less) fluff.

Father Ron,

Please respond. You are behaving badly. One of the lessons of this blog (as, even more, of 'traditionalist' blogs) is that 'priests' are -to put it at its mildest - no better than the rest of us in matters of simple honesty and integrity.

Posted by john at Wednesday, 18 August 2010 at 1:16pm BST

Perhaps, as John Donne's poem suggests, I simply try not to worry overmuch about such things -- or what other people think about them.

To me that is very Elizabethan, and thus very Anglican.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 18 August 2010 at 1:59pm BST

"Please respond. You are behaving badly."

I say - this seems uncalled for.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 19 August 2010 at 12:14am BST

Father Ron and Jeremy (with different intent),

Few things are less edifying than 'liberal' Christians who pursue 'liberal' agendas (rightly) but outside those agendas insist on doctrinal orthodoxy. Any fool can do that. Many fools do (as, also, even more, on 'orthodox' blogs). Not only is it foolish, it is completely unrealistic: people go to church (the few, after all, who do) for many different reasons and they can't be whipped into line. Sensible people, whatever their position in the hierarchy, realise this and act accordingly. Fools and knaves don't, and foment unremitting dissension and unhappiness.

Posted by john at Thursday, 19 August 2010 at 10:22am BST

"One of the lessons of this blog (as, even more, of 'traditionalist' blogs) is that 'priests' are -to put it at its mildest - no better than the rest of us in matters of simple honesty and integrity. "

- John, on Wednesday -

You are so right, John, in this proposition. I do not claim, personally, to be any more honest, nor of a greater integrity than any other lay person (for, as a priest, I am also a member of the laity). We are all flawed human beings, and that is, generally, the basic supposition of most of my blogging on this site - or any other. This is why I find it all the more wonderful that God bothers with any of us, and the fact that Christ has redeemed me together with all the human race is a constant source of delight to me personally.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 19 August 2010 at 12:42pm BST

"Few things are less edifying than 'liberal' Christians who pursue 'liberal' agendas (rightly) but outside those agendas insist on doctrinal orthodoxy. Any fool can do that. Many fools do (as, also, even more, on 'orthodox' blogs). Not only is it foolish, it is completely unrealistic:"

So, traditional belief must be silenced because it doesn't fit in with an overall liberal agenda? Who's insisting on "orthodoxy" now?

And who the heck are you, anyway?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 19 August 2010 at 1:17pm BST

Bill,

Keep your hair on. Nothing I have ever said anywhere justifies the inference that I believe that 'traditional belief must be silenced'. I'm all in favour of its being stated. I am absolutely against people like Jeremy or myself being 'disqualified' from some sort of notion of 'correct' Anglicanism. Apply that criterion and the churches would be even emptier than now.

As for 'uncalled for': Father Ron consigned me to Sydney perdition because I said I saw nothing wrong in lay presidency; both you and he referred me to 'official' documents, as if that could solve a historical dispute; neither of you bothered to reply when I asked for arguments. I 'called' you both - and the responses were unimpressive.

Bye.

Posted by john at Thursday, 19 August 2010 at 2:23pm BST

"Nothing I have ever said anywhere justifies the inference that I believe that 'traditional belief must be silenced'. I'm all in favour of its being stated."

Oh? Why - so you can abuse those who do state it as "fools and knaves"?

"I am absolutely against people like Jeremy or myself being 'disqualified' from some sort of notion of 'correct' Anglicanism. "

You sure do seem to be attributing a lot of power to someone's pointing out that the position you adhere to is not the one adopted by the Anglican Communion. Dissent is fine - but if you're going to throw a fit whenever someone points out that it is dissent you're going to have problems.

"Father Ron consigned me to Sydney perdition because I said I saw nothing wrong in lay presidency."

Father Ron pointed out a fact - your position that anybody can celebrate the Eucharist is the position of what passes for "Sydney Anglicanism" (although not all Anglicans in Sydney are Jensenites). In fact it's something you drew attention to yourself.

"neither of you bothered to reply when I asked for arguments"

Oh, for crying out loud...


Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 19 August 2010 at 6:56pm BST
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