Thinking Anglicans

reactions to Anglicanorum coetibus

The initial official CofE response was already linked in the previous item.

After that, the first group reaction to reach TA was from Church Society. See Response from the Council of Church Society to the plans by the Church of Rome to receive disaffected Anglicans.

Note: strictly speaking this is not a response to the now published text, as it says: “The statement was agreed by the Council at its meeting on 4 November 2009.”

We will add responses from other groups as they arrive. Press responses will be in a separate article.

Forward in Faith has issued A first reaction to today’s publication of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The Bishop of St Albans has issued this statement.

The Primate of Nigeria Archbishop Peter Akinola has issued a Statement from GAFCON/FCA Primates Council.

41 comments

  • BillyD says:

    From the Church Society: “According to its own doctrinal standards and history, the Church of England’s true nature is that of a Protestant, Reformed, Evangelical and catholic (in other words, universal) church.”

    I think it’s hilarious that they capitalize the words “Protestant,” “Reformed,” and “Evangelical,” but draw the line at “catholic” and “church.”

  • Wilf says:

    They have also omitted the definite article before Church Society. I am sure that it has always been referred to as ‘The Church Society’.

  • Ashpenaz says:

    So, an Anglican priest who wants to be ordained in the RC church would have to admit that he was NEVER ordained before, that all the sacraments he’d dispensed were utterly INVALID, including marriages, and that anyone to whom he gave the last rites is now burning in hell. Am I getting that right?

  • BillyD says:

    I thought we went over this before, Ashpenaz?

    Baptisms – valid, since lay people can administer this Sacrament when needed

    All other Sacraments – invalid

    BUT

    No one, but no one teaches that in order to get to Heaven you need to receive valid “last rites” from a validly ordained priest.

  • jon_c says:

    John Broadhurst’s statement that the “original notice from Rome was extremely generous” must surely be tempered by the necessity to deny that one’s orders thus far were valid and that there is no money on the table (or buildings) for any who wish to take up this offer. I presume that his insistence on meeting together is to work out whether there will be enough financial support for those who wish to join the Ordinariate.

  • Robert Ian williams says:

    Note how Church Society condemn the errors of Rome, but not the errors of their Anglo-catholic allies who have copied the same “Romanist errors!”

    Ashpenez… a lay man can baptize and a marriage of two baptized Protestants (not previously married and divorced) is valid even if celebrated in a Methodist cHurch.

    As for Broadhurst ( FIF) as a former catholic he could never be a priest in the Catholic Church !
    He has no intention of leading FIF on a pilgrimage to Rome .. he is just using this to blackmail the synod for more concessions.

  • If I had to I could – just about – cope with (re) confirmation as a layperson. To believe that all the absolutions I have conferred, etc etc etc are utterly invalid and that I’ve spent the last 25 years dressing up and playing at priesthood – nahhhhhh. Not out of hubris, but rather the opposite. FiF seem unduly happy with the idea, but….

  • anthony says:

    Ashpenaz, he would have to be ordained in the RC church but I don’t see anywhere that it says he would have to admit anything. There are plenty of individual RC’s who think Anglican orders are valid (Swedish orders too). But if his choice is to enter the RCC as a priest, he should expect to have to get used to doing things their way. If that is an obstacle for him, and it’s very understandable why it might be, he needs to literally sit down and consider why he thinks he should be making the move.

  • “So, an Anglican priest who wants to be ordained in the RC church would have to admit that he was NEVER ordained before, that all the sacraments he’d dispensed were utterly INVALID, including marriages, and that anyone to whom he gave the last rites is now burning in hell. Am I getting that right?”

    No.

  • Joe says:

    I don’t really get it. If some already believe the whole Catechism of the Catholic Church (including papal infallibility, the Pope’s ordinary and immediate jursidiction over every Christian, the invalidity of Anglican orders — the latter having been infallibly declared according to Benedict when he was still Ratzinger), then why are they not RC already? Presuming that they would have had some basic integrity as Anglicans, how could an invitation by the Pope to come on over change their beliefs so suddenly? Do they now believe different things because some non-faith concessions have been made? Or do they believe problematic RC dogmas because they disagree with the C of E over women? But there’s no logic to that, and shockingly little theological integrity. The enthusiasm being shown by some raises huge questions not just about integrity but also about basic theological competence.

    I say this as a former RC priest, knowing that charges of a similar lack of integrity could be lodged against me. But, like many RCs, when you’re born into the RC Church, you take quite a bit of the Church’s official teaching with a pinch of theological salt. Switching the other way is arguably more difficult, because of the dogmatic shifts required, and no pinch of salt is permitted. Even if I ought to be tarred with my own brush, that does not mean that others shouldn’t also be tarred….
    Joe

  • Joe says:

    Welsh Jacobite:

    Only baptism and marriage would be considered valid. We Anglicans make a bit too much over the contradictions in Roman doctrine and practice (they say our orders are utterly void, but then they turn around and give our archbishops episcopal rings). But Ratzinger very certainly said that apostolicae curae is an infallibly taught doctrine, and null and void means null and void. The RC Church only very rarely uses conditional ordination of Anglicans, preferring absolute ordination of Anglican priests, even when the validity of their episcopal ordination via Old Catholic churches could be established. There is no way of reading this irenically: given the RC belief in the impossibility of repeating ordination to the same order, any absolute second ordination implies the (utter) invalidity of the previous one. There are no grades of invalidity, only of liceity.

    The position is as ungenerous and as uncompromising as one can imagine, and the only reason Anglicans are not more upset about it is that we are convinced that the RC Church is wrong (how could we not be convinced?); and, belieivng in the Spirit’s call to unity, we also believe that the RC Church will change its mind some day. If we did not believe that, then we might as well give up on ecumenism now….

    Joe

  • Ashpenaz says:

    The Vatican says, and this document restates, that Anglican orders are null and void. If I were an Anglican priest, in order to move into the RC church, I would have to accept as infallible teaching that my ordination was null and void. Therefore, as an Anglican “priest,” I would never have offered my parishioners the Body and Blood, I would never have confirmed anyone, I would never have absolved anyone, never married anyone. I was simply in a man in a funny dress saying words which didn’t mean anything.

    If a priest submits to “absolute ordination,” as the document says, rather than conditional ordination, that’s exactly what he’s saying about his priestly life prior to his switch to RC. How could an Anglican priest, in good conscience, say his previous ordination was null and void? How could he be so selfish and insulting to his parishoners?

  • anthony says:

    Joe, I will defer, in view of your being a former RC priest, to your knowledge of this stuff, but I was not aware that the invalidity of Anglican orders was an article of faith in the RC church. Apostolicae Curae of Leo XIII was not an infallible pronouncement, and Cardinal Ratzinger before he was pope could not have proclaimed anything infallibly. I am getting curious, as I noted above, as to how detailed a statement of faith a candidate for RC priesthood will have to make. The documents indicate that they will have to accede to the articles of faith contained in the RC catechism (and by implication no others), but do they have to accede to the entire catechism verbatim? That would be a hard thing to ask of many RC priests today. And are they really going to be required to abjure formally and categorically all the sacraments they administered as Anglicans? Maybe they are. Many commenters are saying it, but what is the source of this information?. I am not denying, just trying to find out.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “a marriage of two baptized Protestants (not previously married and divorced) is valid even if celebrated in a Methodist cHurch.” – Robert Ian Williams –

    Also, Robert, perhaps you are not aware, but a marriage performed in a Register Office is also ‘valid’. Or at least it used to be.

  • BillyD says:

    “If some already believe the whole Catechism of the Catholic Church (including papal infallibility, the Pope’s ordinary and immediate jursidiction over every Christian, the invalidity of Anglican orders — the latter having been infallibly declared according to Benedict when he was still Ratzinger), then why are they not RC already?”

    Confusing, ain’t it?

  • Neil says:

    Come on Joe…your reasoning is pathetic. We are ALL born into the church in which we find ourselves. The only difference is that the journey for you has been easier than then reverse would be. And I agree. The whiff of CofE presumptuouness re ordaining women (mostly prepared in evening classses) is NOTHING compared to the refusal of the RCC to even accept the issue needs discussing. This is on open question… a live issue.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “”So, an Anglican priest who wants to be ordained in the RC church would have to admit that he was NEVER ordained before, that all the sacraments he’d dispensed were utterly INVALID, including marriages” – The Welsh Jacobite –

    Not so, Jacobite. While the nouveau recusant was still an Anglican clergy-person, he was recognised as an official marriage celebrant by the British legal establishment. So, although his new Chruch might consider the marriages he officiated at were ‘invalid’ according to the doctrine of his new Church, they were and are still valid by English Civil Law.

  • Bill MacLean says:

    What about former Anglican laymen who individually converted previously? Can these people, who have been attending a diocesan parish for years in come cases, become members of parishes in the Personal Ordinariate?

    I am a former Episcopalian who became RC 20 years ago. I love being a Catholic, but I still miss the great hymns.

    I’m not a music snob, but I cringe when I think about all those Barry Manilow style “easy listening” songs we sing at Mass. Catholic liturgical music is a pretty sorry mess of 1970’s style music that is difficult to sing and not particularly inspiring.

    I think many former Anglicans would be interested in the Ordinariate, but I’m not sure if that path is open to us.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  • BillyD says:

    “never married anyone”

    Well, Anglican priests don’t “marry” anyone now, in the way you seem to imply. The ministers of the Sacrament of Matrimony are the couple themselves: the priest is just there as the Church’s representative and to bless the union. AFAIK, the only ones who believe that the priest is the minister of the Sacrament (no priest, no marriage) are the Eastern Orthodox.

  • “The whiff of CofE presumptuouness re ordaining women (mostly prepared in evening classses)”

    presumably the same proportion of men are also prepared in evening classes? But I agree that it is an utter disgrace that there are now so-called ‘clergy’ allowed to operate in parishes without a working knowledge of Coptic.

  • Ren Aguila says:

    “Joe, I will defer, in view of your being a former RC priest, to your knowledge of this stuff, but I was not aware that the invalidity of Anglican orders was an article of faith in the RC church. Apostolicae Curae of Leo XIII was not an infallible pronouncement, and Cardinal Ratzinger before he was pope could not have proclaimed anything infallibly.”

    I suggest readers look up the term “creeping infallibilism” and the most recent text of the Profession of Faith required to be taken by Roman clergy, etc. before taking up rectorships.

  • anthony says:

    Ron, I read that Profession of Faith, at least the latest one I could find (1989) and I have to agree it casts its nets wide. It is apparently regarded as theologically ambiguous by some canonists. Does it make Apostolicae Curae part of the deposit of faith? I have always been told that Apostolicae Curae was fundamentally pragmatic, and did not settle issues of historical fact.

    Whoever says that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his or her church is getting close to creeping infallibilism. That’s why I restrict claims of infallibility to my own personal interpretation of scripture.

  • Joe says:

    Anthony:

    The Ratzinger commentary includes the following:

    ‘with regard to the nature of the assent owed to the truths set forth by the Church as divinely revealed (those of the first paragraph) or to be held definitively (those of the second paragraph), it is important to emphasize that there is no difference with respect to the full and irrevocable character of the assent which is owed to these teachings … in the case of the truths of the second paragpah [apostolicae curae falls into this category, as he later mentions] the assent is based on faith in the Holy Spirit’s assistance to the Magisterium and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium.’

    I’m afraid this is pretty clear, really. Hence the upset when John Paul II changed canon law to bring it into line with the Profession of Faith, which includes such an extension of infallibity (based on Vat II, it must be said), and the even greater upset with Ratzinger’s subsequent explanation of the significance of the changes; for the changes were intended to have consequences.

    There was some opposition at the time, and some RC commentators said that Ratzinger’s list was not infallible. But the Profession of Faith clearly intends to include these definitive teachings even if they have not been defined ex cathedra (because they can’t be, not being divinely revealed). The problem is that, if you don’t now what’s on the list, then you can’t know what has been infallibly decided, and if some things are only ‘perhaps infallible’ then infallibility as currently defined has to be suspect itself. I am skipping a few parts of the argument for the sake of space, but I don’t see any way around this (I can provide a longer unfinished paper for those who like hurting their minds)….

    Infallibility ought to be a bigger issue than it is. To my mind it cuts to the heart of what faith is all about, and there are alternative, and to my mind better, ways of faithfully grappling with the assurances given by Christ.

  • MJ says:

    @Ren – You mean this bit?

    “What is more, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic Magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.”

  • john says:

    Excellent statement from the Bishop of St Albans: measured, respectful (not unduly) of RC initiative and of those who avail themselves of it, quietly confident about the integrity of the C of E and of his diocese within it.

  • JCF says:

    “Infallibility ought to be a bigger issue than it is. To my mind it cuts to the heart of what faith is all about, and there are alternative, and to my mind better, ways of faithfully grappling with the assurances given by Christ.” – Posted by Joe

    Hear, hear!

    “That’s why I restrict claims of infallibility to my own personal interpretation of scripture.” – Posted by anthony

    *LOL* [I do, too—but I’ll have you know that my infallibity more infallible than your infallibility, anthony! ;-)]

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “I’m not a music snob, but I cringe when I think about all those Barry Manilow style “easy listening” songs we sing at Mass. Catholic liturgical music is a pretty sorry mess of 1970’s style music that is difficult to sing and not particularly inspiring. I think many former Anglicans would be interested in the Ordinariate, but I’m not sure if that path is open to us.
    – Bill, on Tuesday –

    Bill, you’re probably right. The music standards are generally better in a decent Anglo-Catholic Church setting. However, if you have been (re-) baptized as a Roman Catholic, I believe you will not be allowed to enter the Anglican Ordinariate.

    The only recourse open to you is to just re-join your original baptismal Church/Faith community – in a place where the music and the liturgy are taken more seriously than in your present Roman Catholic situation. This you would be allowed to do, without jumping through too many hoops.

  • anthony says:

    Thank you Joe for your instructive explanation. I remember this controversy from the time, but at that time I was following it in the National Catholic Reporter, which took rather a dim view of Cardinal Ratzinger and anything emanating from His Eminence. I should know more about this topic. Your offer to post a “longer, unfinished paper” is gracious, but you should not go to to any such trouble. Do you know of a reliable book that analyzes this aspect of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate? I can locate no discussions on the usual search providers.

  • Ren Aguila says:

    @MJ yes, exactly my point.

    @anthony: it does cast its nets wide. This is why it’s clear that if former Anglican clergy cross over, they must say, if we follow this strictly, that before coming over to Rome, they were nothing more than laymen in fancy clothing.

    @Joe: I agree. Infallibility should be something we should examine very carefully. The Anglican side of the RC-Anglican dialogues should be ready to assert that even Rome’s own position (in Dei Verbum) that the teaching authority is the servant of God’s Word does negate the very bases for infallibility itself. I would not argue a “sola Scriptura” kind of stance here, but more of a “Scriptura prima.”

  • Tim says:

    Sheesh, such a complex model and hierarchy.
    When I look at two organizations, one saying “we don’t recognize you” and the other saying “we do our thing *and* we welcome you to our communion too”, I know which has the bigger(-hearted) attitude; that is why I’m an anglican and why I oppose narrow-mindedness in all its forms.

    Borg has it right, with his interpretation of Paul: the Gospel of the Kingdom is radical equality for all, not hierarchy.

  • in response to mynsterpreost:

    I agree entirely about the Coptic, but what about the Syriac. 🙂

  • I agree entirely about the Coptic, but what about the Syriac. 🙂

    Thanks for that Simon. You are quite right, and I shall immediately look out my copy of Payne Smith and refresh my memory. It’s the vocab that goes, you know…;-)

  • Bill MacLean says:

    @Father Ron Smith:

    I wasn’t baptized in the RC church. As far as I know, RC will not baptize a convert, with the exception of conditional baptism in cases where documentation is lacking.

    I was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church, but only (re)confirmed RC.

    I just found the “complementary norms” at the Vatican website, and found this:

    “Article 5

    §1. The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate. Those baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.”

    As I read it (and I may be wrong), anyone who was at one time an Anglican (“originally”) but has received the “sacraments of initiation” (which I take to be baptism, confirmation, and eucharist) from the RC church can join the ordinariate.

    RC doesn’t re-baptize because they recognize all Christian baptisms, so if you have been received into the RC church, I think you qualify for the ordinariate, as long as you came from Anglicanism.

    From what I remember, Anglican music is *way* better than the average RC Parish music, but that wouldn’t be reason enough for me to leave the Roman Catholic church. The reasons that caused me to convert in 1988 are more prominent to me than they were even then. I hope that Anglican parishes haven’t chucked all the great hymns since I left.

    Question: Do you read the document the same way I do? I am certainly not experienced in reading church documents, so I’m just stumbling along here.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “§1. The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate.” – Bill –

    Bill, I don’t read the above statement in quite the same way as you do. To me, the inference is that – if you were baptised an Anglican, you may, after you have ‘made your profession of faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation (presumably within the Ordinariate – not in the Roman Church)
    with due regard for Canon 845 (whatever that may say) you may be entered into the register of the Ordinariate.

    That, to me, does not seem to cover your explicit situation, where you have become a Roman Catholic by virtue of your already having been Confirmed in the R.C.Church.

    Sorry, Bill, but unless you resile from your R.C. conversion, you may still have to put up with the tacky music. However, it will probably all be the same musical tradition in Paradise. I really think that God will be much more accepting of our differences than any denominational Church.
    Agape.

  • David Malloch says:

    My understanding is that “membership” of the ordinariate will be part of regulating procedures for marriage, ordination etc…..

    The Ordinariates will be a part of the RCC and there is nothing to suggest that catholics in general will not be able to worship in the churches of the ordinariate if they so choose. Otherwise it would make little sense to have made such specific provision for the possibility of Ordinariate priests and Diocesan priests covering in one another’s churches.

  • anthony says:

    Father Smith –
    “Can. 845 §1. Since the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and orders imprint a character, they cannot be repeated.

    §2. If after completing a diligent inquiry a prudent doubt still exists whether the sacraments mentioned in §1

    were actually or validly conferred, they are to be conferred conditionally.”

    People who have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost should not be baptized again. If they are, it seems that the second baptism has no effect, no matter what church it is performed in. Anthony

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “People who have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost should not be baptized again. If they are, it seems that the second baptism has no effect, no matter what church it is performed in.” – Anthony –

    Precisely, Anthony. And just in case any Roman Catholic is looking in on this site (R.I.W.?), it was interesting that, when Pope John Paul visited Canterbury in Archbishop Runcie’s time, the two prelates were able to share a common reiteration of their Baptismal Vows in Canterbury Cathedral.

    Although they could not share a common Eucharist -because of Rome’s view (Archbishop Runcie’s orders being ‘invalid’ according to Rome), they could not have shared in either its celebration or reception – they could, at least, acknowledge their commonly-received Baptism into the same Christ.

    (I do hope God is able to sort out all these doctrinal difference before we get to share the Heavenly Banquet in heaven.)

  • anthony says:

    Fr. Smith said “I do hope God is able to sort out all these doctrinal differences before we get to share the Heavenly Banquet in heaven.”

    I hope so too. I think He most probably sorted them out before the daystar. Anthony

  • Clive says:

    Bill, I see no reason why you can’t join the Ordinariate. You and I are orginally of the Anglican tradition and have completed the rites of initiation. Indeed, there is specific mention in the norms of priests who have already converted and been ordained as RC priests being able to join the Ordinariates so I don’t see why lay people can’t.

    In any case Archbishop Nicholls in an interview with Ruth Gledhill also makes clear that Mass is Mass is Mass and Catholics will be free to attend Ordinariate churches ad hoc if they wish. The border will be porous I expect.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “In any case Archbishop Nicholls in an interview with Ruth Gledhill also makes clear that Mass is Mass is Mass and Catholics will be free to attend Ordinariate churches ad hoc if they wish. The border will be porous I expect.” – Clive –

    “Free to attend” does not necessarily mean “Free to join”. However, this is not too different from us Anglicans popping into the occasional R.C. Mass – on visits to the European Continent, for example – knowing that it is exactly the same Mass as we are privy to in our own Anglican Churches which recognise the ‘Real Presence’. What ever the Pope may think, it is the very same Christ who comes to us in the Mass of both our Churches. I have no problems with that myself. The Roman Catholics who come to Mass occasionally in my Church think the same. Agape.

  • Dunstan Harding says:

    For Anglo Catholics to accept Benedict’s pig in a poke deal in “Anglicanorum Coetibus” is a perfidious act, rank prostitution, and a disgraceful insult to women, whether in the CofE or the Roman Church.

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