Comments: Ordinariate or Religious Society?

Can someone explain what it may mean to be "in full communion with Rome without losing ... Anglican identity"? Sounds like a bit of ecclesiastical slight-of-hand.

Meanwhile, over on Episcopal Cafe, the Dio of VA vs. CANA saga goes on, with CANA's appeal being rejected. Am not quite sure what this means in the immediate future.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 7:07pm BST

"in addition to [1] the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be [2] a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England"

1. the Ordinariate, will be *within the Church of Rome*

So how then can 2. "a new Society ... *within the Church of England*" (we'll see about that!), be "in addition to"?

(?)Ford and company need to choose a superior (Canterbury or Rome?), and be clear about it. It's one or the other: there's no "in addition to" here. As is, they resemble "the Church at Laodicea": "I spit you out, because you are neither cold nor hot" (Rev. 3:16).

Posted by JCF at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 7:33pm BST

They could do with Methodist, Baptist and URC strands and in-put for further intensified catholicity - could nt they ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 8:37pm BST

Well this so far suggests to me that we will have much more, much more of the same in due course. After all per some media reports at least, Rowan Williams and Benny Sixteen are now great buds who hold one another in fond, high regard, indeed?

One conservative's courage/vision is another conservative's toxic innovation? One must acknowledge the sheer, brash vigor of church leaders who dutifully expect to be patted positively on the back for dressing up new moves and new speeches, predicated fundamentally on the same old flat earthisms told in familiar hot button campfire tales about monstrous, horrid, scary things? ... modernity? women? and of course, as always, those creepy and frightening queeeerrrr folksssss?

Are Anglicans now herded like young school children, suddenly agape and aghast and afraid of reading books, touching women (or, worse, talking with and thinking with women?) ... and how long are we supposed to schock dead in our tracks at knowing that our extended families and work teams include queer folks? Ubelievable, except that it is preached again with a very solemn and self-regardingly pious face.

Our hard targets haven't changed much for several decades now ... nearly the same old scapegoat/target people, save for the fact that Marxism/Soviet Communism has faded a bit ... (hot buttons remain: uppity women and queer folks ... when will these rhetorical bullseyes wear out? ... who/what will be next in the Vatican and/or Canterbury sharp shooter rifle scope cross-hairs?) ...

What sort of Big True Complete Religion is this, which so obdurately aims to rescue us from thinking and weighing modernity? Using all the available best practice took kits?

Can church life thus categorically rescue us from having to consider uppity educated women and queer folks, as we would truthfully and common sensically consider ourselves?

Coding the pope's scapegoating and false witness against scapegoated neighbors, into "ministry"?

Infallible Newspeak, ex cathedra?

Quick now, put all the astronomers and mathematicians under strict house arrest, and by all means, forbid them to speak or publish. Where did I put my decoder ring when I took it off last night before bed?

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 9:19pm BST

You can bet that Reform will have their own Society of Thomas Cranmer.

As for the Anglo-Catholic Society, what a very English rebufff to Pope Benedict!

By the way both St Wilfrid and St Hilda were zealous Romanists!

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 9:30pm BST

Please use the words Church of England not Anglican when referring to the Church of England Bishops and clergy,
There is no Anglican Church, only the Anglican Communion.
I am a Church of England priest, not an Anglican priest.

Posted by Canon Bruce Sharpe at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 9:32pm BST

Never did think much of Wilfrid. Obviously chosen because he was an ardent Romaniser (see Bede H.E.), but even the pro-Roman Bede seems to have disliked him. One of the most dubious saints ever to grace the Kalendar.

As for the choice of Hild - hm, female headship anyone...?

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=david rowett) at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 9:40pm BST

So that's where all those black coated clergy were going who I saw arriving at Victoria Station this morning. Quite a manifestation of the LBSCR (London, Brighton and South Coast Religion)!

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 9:42pm BST

Once again, the negative comments flow. Why not try and be happy that some clergy are seeking a way of remaining within the Church of England?

Rome is only a solution for a few CofE priests. For many, this could be the answer.

Posted by Fr James at Friday, 24 September 2010 at 10:42pm BST

I agree with Fr. James on this - I think this is a positive development.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 12:38am BST

"Traditionally-minded Anglican clergy from the South of England were gathering at a Sacred Synod in Westminster today to discuss the future direction of the Church of England."

- Anna Arco, Catholic Herald -

Under whose auspices was this 'Sacred Synod' convened? Was it called by the offical body of the Church of England? If not, it surely has no status in that Church. To call such a Synod must be already some sort of schismatic action, which seems to have involved some serving Church of England Bishops. What will be done about this action which has departed from the polity of the Church of England. Will the espicopal leaders be subject to the discipline of the Church? If not, then why not?

It is not very different from the actions of certain 'episcopal' former members of TEC who have now declared themselves to be prelates in ACNA.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 12:59am BST

"By the way both St Wilfrid and St Hilda were zealous Romanists!" - Robert I Williams -

Remember, though, Robert, that Hilda was the female Head of a Joint Monastery at Whitby, of both Women and men. What does that say about the new society's ideal of MEN ONLY in charge?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 1:04am BST

"Anglican Catholic bishops have announced that in addition to the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West."

- Statement of 'Anglican Catholic' Bishops -

Oh, Indeed! So this is a new religious Order within the Church of England. By whom was this new Order in the C.of E. set up? Does it have the Authority and the Blessing of the English General Synod? Or is it an 'ad hoc' Brotherhood devoted to male only Headship in the Church? If it is this latter, then it must reflect on the female influence of a mitred and pastoral-staved Abbess, whose rule over both mean and women in her Whitby Monastery could indicate some sort of split-personality within its ranks - those who really believe that women can exercise legitimate authority in the Church, and those who do not. They will have to make up their minds on this.

OR, is this all a new way of declaring a brand new Province of the Church of England, which owes obedience - no longer to the Province of Canterbury - but to the Pope of Rome? You can't have it both way!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 1:14am BST

I am unable to grasp the integrity of this proposed Society, and am not helped by not clearly knowing who said or wrote what in the body of the main text above.

This seems like a new proposed home for those who are unable either to accept the ultimate authority of the Pope, nor the authority of a woman. I wonder what the Pope might feel about that. He has made his offer which was intended for those who have already left the formal Anglican Communion; but now the 'Catholic' C of E refugees are countering it with their own home-grown offer.

I thought the 'anti ordained women' Catholics thought they were already Catholics, despite some of them ordaining women as deacons, and using their episcopal authority to ask someone else to ordain them as priests, and then actually licensing them themselves as - what? - to serve as Protestant ministers in their dioceses. Now, they want to encourage others to become Catholics, but not proper Catholics, because they want to be able to reserve judgement about Papal authority, let alone infallibility. Don't they remember that the local authority is the bishop?

Furthermore, there has long been a valid opinion that those intending to leave the C of E for Rome or elsewhere should at once give notice, rather than carrying on in office till their 3 months - or more - have expired. What are all these bishops, including diocesans, doing? In office, being mightily episcopal, and inviting people to sign up for a preparatory breakaway group which is only now reflecting theologically, if not ecclesiologically, and seeing itself as a useful ecumenical voice - where others have apparently failed. Disgraceful.

And they have the gall to suggest that women bishops will fracture the focus of unity which lies at the heart of the catholic episcopacy, even in the C of E. We have long had to live with bishops we don't much like; but this is a new game to have to endure bishops who are openly, and whilst still in office, campaigning for an exit strategy, a Third Province by another name, in the event of the C of E getting some decent committed women among our bishops at some point in the vaguely conceivable future. What if it doesn't go through Synod? Come back, all is forgiven?

We haven't even elected the next General Synod, let alone passed any legislation, let alone it being passed by Parliament. A very, very uncatholic, disloyal, divisive and fractious move too far, and far too soon.

Posted by Peter Edwards at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 1:52am BST

Love the LB&SC parallels Richard, it was one of my first railroads I saw in Great Britain, and loved the "Thumpers", diesel-electrical multiple units with their whistling turbochargers and 4 cyl. EE powerplants that were once commonplace out of Victoria. And come to think of it, the region it served does seem to have a "high" ring to it!

Posted by evensongjunkie at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 4:34am BST

How can it be good Bill, when a society dedicated to keeping Anglo Catholics within the Church of England adopts the name of two Saints who believed in full submission to the Pope?

Its a stupid as myself starting a John Wesley religious order in the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile across the pond , three dioceses out of four of the Anglican Church in America (Tradional Anglican communion) have rejected the ordinariate. The fourth diocese is apparently split.

When they say diocese think of about ten congregations.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 7:27am BST

Hey, I love a catholic religious society as much as the next Anglo-Catholic . . . but there's a difference between an order and a *fifth-column* (and "The Missionary Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda" shows every sign of being the *latter*).

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 7:49am BST

Ron, St Hilda never held spiritual authority over men. No Catholic woman has ever been put in directional authority over men....children yes, but not men.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 8:52am BST

Peter Edwards - 'I am unable to grasp the integrity of this proposed Society, and am not helped by not clearly knowing who said or wrote what in the body of the main text above.'

Integrity? Oh, stop it, Peter. My sides are aching.

Posted by junius at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 9:27am BST

Oh stop being provocative Ron. I've pointed out many times before that FiF Anglo-Catholics are not Roman Catholics in disguise. What they're saying is that the Ordinariate is there for those who wish to enter full communion with Rome, and now this Society could be an option for those who wish to be part of the Church of England.

I wonder why you capitalize Authority and Blessing, as if to imply that General Synod possesses some great divine power? The formation of religious societies and orders does not require any such authority or blessing from Synod. Do you recall the recent formation of the Order of the Companions of Martha and Mary? They didn't need General Synod's approval, but a Bishop to receive their vows.

Posted by Fr James at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 11:32am BST

Ironically, the Anglo-Papalist blogs I've looked at this morning seem to hate the idea of the Society, too.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 12:54pm BST

"...ecumenical dialogue directed towards the goal of full visible communion with the rest of the Church catholic, both Eastern and Western."

IOW, a rationalization for inaction. They have an engraved invitation to practice Anglican spirituality within the "full visible communion" of the Catholic Church, and what do they do? Found yet another new society to cover their remaining in a church that does not want them.

Posted by Steve P in La Crosse, Wis. at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 3:02pm BST

I find the 'Society' aspect a bit prissy. But these people don't want to pope and they're still fighting. Perhaps they do need some sort of re-branding. I think something like 'the Archbishops' amendment' will eventually be agreed and even if it isn't Anglo-Catholics opposed to WO who stay may well find they are sufficiently 'protected' by the code of practice. I also think it's clear enough that many are motivated not just by rejection of WO but also by a positive commitment to C of E pluralism. May they stay and be happy. May they also extend to the rest of us a bit more mutuality.

Posted by john at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 7:45pm BST

"No Catholic woman has ever been put in directional authority over men....children yes, but not men." - Posted by Robert Ian Williams

"directional authority", huh?

I feel CERTAIN there are RC women flight traffic controllers, providing to "directional authority" to (male, adult) pilots, for which they are most grateful! ;-)

[If you feel I'm being flip, RIW . . . my FIRST inclination was to refute your assertion, by citing the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori! >:-D]

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 8:15pm BST

"Ron, St Hilda never held spiritual authority over men. No Catholic woman has ever been put in directional authority over men"

- R.I.Williams -

Just try reading a little English - not Roman Catholic - History. St. Hilda was Abbess of Whitby, a joint monastery of both women and men! There was simply no Abbot!

"I've pointed out many times before that FiF Anglo-Catholics are not Roman Catholics in disguise." - Fr. James, F.i.F. -

The difference between Anglo-Catholics and 'F.I.F Anglo-Catholics' is that the latter would seem to be an exotic sort of hybrid genus - not sure about which family they really belong to. This latest movement is proof of the same. It's about time they reconciled to one family or the other.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 9:26pm BST

St Hilda was not in charge of the men, and both congregations were under the Bishop.

Spiritual authority..JCF ..not everyday authority.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 10:48pm BST

RIW
You seem to be reverting to your evangelical roots. Roman Catholics don't have a problem with women's spiritual authority over men, they just don't believe that they can be ordained. They can teach you and preach to you, they just cannot celebrate the Eucharist.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 11:28pm BST

So where are women in authority over men? They are not allowed to preach at Mass.

They can teach in a school...but teaching is not the cure of souls.

Erika you are side tracking again ..lets keep on this very interesting topic. This is such an English rebuff.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 26 September 2010 at 8:48am BST

"Traditionally-minded Anglican clergy from the South of England were gathering at a Sacred Synod in Westminster today to discuss the future direction of the Church of England."

No-one invited me!

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Sunday, 26 September 2010 at 3:16pm BST

RIW: St Hilda never held spiritual authority over men.

So far as I understand the Rule of Benedict, and insofar as Bede HE IV:23 may be relied upon, she indeed 'ruled the monastery, constantly occupied in establishing the regular life....' And particularly telling is this:

'Those under her direction were required to make a thorough study of the Scriptures and occupy themselves in good works, to such good effect that many were found fitted for holy orders and the service of God's altar. Five men from this monastery later became bishops, Bosa, Aetla, Oftfor, John and Wilfrid...'

So I apologise RIW - but it's hard to maintain that this doesn't represent 'spiritual authority over men' ('direction', 'required'...)

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=david rowett) at Sunday, 26 September 2010 at 3:46pm BST

"So where are women in authority over men? They are not allowed to preach at Mass."

You would seem to be on shaky ground here. The prohibition of women preaching at Mass doesn't seem to have anything to do with their being in authority or not over men; it's because of the (misguided) RC stance that the homily is part of the liturgy reserved to those in major orders:

"Can. 766 Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory, if necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems advantageous in particular cases, according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops and without prejudice to ⇒ can. 767, §1.

Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year."

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 27 September 2010 at 1:07am BST

Lets not side track. However this very English rebuff to the Ordinariate , comes at the same time as the tiny Anglican Church in America ( traditional Anglican Communion ) has en masse rejected the Ordinariate option.

If an Ordinariate is erected , I feel there will be less than 100 persons in the English branch..with a disproportionate number of former clergy.

Its effectively dead in the water.

The spirit of the vicar of Bray and not the vicar of Littlemore prevails.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 27 September 2010 at 6:40am BST

I think the Vicar of Bray had the right instinct, like the Vicar of Morebath about whom Eamon Duffy has written so well. Both, at a time of ecclesiastical upheaval, put the cure of souls first. Good for them ,I say!

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 27 September 2010 at 2:02pm BST

What established, settled anglicans would want to join the RC denomination, under any circumstances ? And this is especially the case for ministers with plenty on their hands, plenty to be doing, and a denomination whose flexibility can be quite good, really.

Very few would think that there is much to be gained at all. Of course many of us have felt the romantic pull of a fantasy of Rome, in our teens or 20s, usually after reading Apologia Pro Vita Sua, and over--dosing on other such fare. But then
reality tends to kick in, and we see that the CofE muddles and compromises might be do-able in the real world.

I myself find I believe more and more, in less

and less, these days.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 27 September 2010 at 4:45pm BST

That's news to me. Women regularly preach at Mass at the Roman Catholic church I know best. And I know several adult male Catholics who have a woman spiritual director, too. The notion of compulsory male 'headship' over women is indeed a conservative Evangelical, not a Romanist, one. I've never heard an RCer talk in such terms.

Posted by Chloe at Monday, 27 September 2010 at 6:29pm BST

The point is Chloe, they are doing it illegally..according to canon law only an ordained man can preach at Mass.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 5:12am BST

Robert Ian Williams - what a great comedian you are!

"I have been proven wrong in my sidetracking argument, so let's not sidetrack!"

Please, continue to speak for the Roman denomination - we'll have converts to Protestantism in the millions!

It's a pity, for the few good RC's left, though, that blowhards like you have never bothered to learn how much depth and subtlety there is in your Roman denomination, even when it's being arrogantly and stupidly wrong-headed!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 6:18am BST

"The point is Chloe, they are doing it illegally..according to canon law only an ordained man can preach at Mass."

Which has nothing to do with whether a woman is allowed what you call "directional" authority over men. It's a lay/ordained issue, not a gender one. Even laymen with considerable authority, like abbots, wouldn't be able to deliver the homily.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 3:58pm BST

RIW
'You seem to be reverting to your evangelical roots. Roman Catholics don't have a problem with women's spiritual authority over men, they just don't believe that they can be ordained. They can teach you and preach to you, they just cannot celebrate the Eucharist.' Posted by: Erika Baker

Good on you, Erika! This should really be the nub of the debate, rather than all this pontificating over the holding and use of authority.

As a former Anglican now moving towards reception in the Orthodox Church, I realise that I am joining a body which believes in a male priesthood and episcopacy. However, it is clear from reading the Orthodox press etc that there is much pondering now taking place regarding just what this means.

This is where Erica's comment becomes very relevant -The priest symbolises Christ during the Liturgy, which is the main reason why the Church has always maintained a male priesthood. However, there is a very wide role for both men and women to perform in teaching, preaching and providing pastoral leadership and support.

It's also worth remembering that ordination to the priesthood (ie presiding at the Liturgy) was never regarded by the early Fathers as a reserved occupation for any man who chose, but a God-selected role for a very few men. Let's put this gender diatribe to bed once and for all!

Posted by Philip PM at Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 11:35am BST

Philip
Please don't be so quick to co-opt me for your side. I believe the Roman Catholic teaching on women priests to be misguided at best. It is known that Rome has acknowledged that there are no theological objections to women priests but that it has nevertheless declared the debate as closed. I can only speculate why it might have taken that approach, but "gender diatribe" might just possibly have something to do with it.

Where I see the real difference between you and evangelicals is in the different use of arguments to oppose women priests and in the fact that your hostility is restricted to the priesthood and the preaching at Mass, whereas evangelicals take it a step further and accept no female authority over men. They, on the other hand, point to a literal reading of St Paul’s teachings in Scripture for their belief and haven't just locked uncomfortable theology away.

It amounts to the same outcome – so I can see why RIW, who used to be an evangelical, would be confused.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 9:41am BST

Philip: "The priest symbolises Christ during the Liturgy, which is the main reason why the Church has always maintained a male priesthood."

As I have frequently noted before, while there are coherent arguments to be made against the ordination of women to the priesthood, this is not one of them. Indeed, this argument is, at its very core, heretical - a denial of the Incarnation and an implicit claim that women are not redeemed.

"That which is not assumed is not redeemed," according to the irrefutable logic of Athanasius. Philip is essentially arguing that in the person of Jesus, God assumed only male humanity.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 1 October 2010 at 5:03pm BST

I note that that Canon Bruce Sharpe said that their is " There is no Anglican Church, only the Anglican Communion.
I am a Church of England priest, not an Anglican priest."

Sorry Canon, but there are many Anglican Churches other than the C of E even in the UK, and all these Anglican Churches are in communion with Canterbury and these priests are Anglican priests not C of E priests.

Also those members of the C of E and the wider Anglican Communion who accept the Pope's offer will leave the Anglican Church and will join the Roman Catholic church and consequently have no further say in the way in which the Communion develops in the future.

Posted by John Frost at Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 4:56am BST

"Sorry Canon, but there are many Anglican Churches other than the C of E even in the UK, and all these Anglican Churches are in communion with Canterbury and these priests are Anglican priests not C of E priests."

Same difference.
There are Anglican "churches" but no single Anglican Church.
That's why these other Anglicans are not CoE priests, but Epsicopalian priests or Church of Nigeria priests etc.
The Nigerian church has it right on their website, they call themselves "Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion".

The danger of referring to an Anglican Church is that it implies a homogeneity in terms of structure, polity and theology that isn't there, and isn't there for good reason, however people now want to impose it.


Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 9:38am BST

I get fed up with seeing Athanasius' comment being misapplied. "That which is not assumed is not redeemed" was in response to those who claimed the Incarnate Son of God had a human body and divine soul. For Jesus to be fully human he had to have a particular gender. Of course that doesn't mean that only those who share his gender are saved. Its the claim that Jesus was incarnate as both male and female, rather than the claim that only a male priest can act 'in persona Christi caput' that demonstrates a faulty understanding of the incarnation.

Posted by Matthew at Friday, 8 October 2010 at 2:13pm BST
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