Earlier this month, The Council of Bishops of the Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda (SSWSH) published a statement Communion and Catholicity in the Church of England: A Statement of Principles.
Today the Council has published the promised second statement A Catholic Life in the Church of England: A Statement of Policy and Pastoral Guidance.
You can download the full text of the new statement here.
In the Society’s own words:
This statement by the Council of Bishops of The Society, issued in September 2015:
- considers the relationship of parishes to the bishops of The Society and, through them, to its other parishes;
- explains the criteria that the bishops follow in deciding whether to commend the ministry of bishops and priests, for the purpose of sacramental assurance;
- explains the rationale for registering Priests, Deacons and Ordinands of The Society;
sets out the bishops’ policy with regard to ordination;
- considers what living in the highest degree of communion that principle and conscience will allow should mean in practice;
- offers pastoral guidance on receiving Holy Communion and on concelebration.
The bishops call for openness to the Spirit, and for decisions to be taken ‘according to conscience and principle, and remembering the primacy of charity in the Church’.
There is also a leaflet titled Communion and Full Communion, based upon both statements, and available here.
The main press release about this is over here. The full text is copied below the fold.
The Council of Bishops of The Society today calls on catholic Anglicans to increase their participation in the life of their diocese and the wider Church of England. They comment, “Such participation… will be an expression of the love (charity) that is an essential characteristic of the communion that flows from our common baptism.”
In their statement of policy and pastoral guidance, entitled “A Catholic Life in the Church of England”, they also indicate how the principles set out in their earlier statement “Communion and Catholicity in the Church of England” need to be applied in practice. They show how The Society offers sacramental assurance.
The bishops once again reject any so-called “theology of taint” (whereby a bishop who ordains women as bishops or priests thereby invalidates his own orders and the orders of those whom he subsequently ordains). They explain and endorse the aspiration of ordinands to be ordained by a bishop with whom they are in full communion (because they are able to receive the ministry of all whom that bishop ordains).
The bishops affirm that holy communion is normally received within a context of full communion, but recognize that there can be occasions when it is appropriate (though none should be compelled) for the clergy and people who look to them to receive communion from validly ordained bishops and priests who do not belong to The Society.
The Chairman of the Council of Bishops, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson (Bishop of Wakefield), said, “These statements are the fruit of prayerful reflection and of consultation with our clergy and people. We offer them to those who look to us for teaching and pastoral guidance, and also to all with whom we share the life of the Church of England. We hope that they will be studied carefully and prayerfully, and that any responses to them will reflect the spirit in which they are offered.”