on Saturday, 28 October 2017 at 10.00 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Opinion
Bosco Peters Liturgy Sex Obsessed
Ian Paul Psephizo What did large churches ever do for us?
Tony Clavier The Living Church Protestant or Catholic?
ViaMedia.News It Can Happen to Guys Too!
Question: Is the Church of England Protestant or Catholic?
I’m afraid so-called ‘obsession’ with sex remains valid in the same sort of way ‘obsession’ with race remained valid in the Civil Rights campaigns of 60’s USA. When a Church vilifies people’s tender, faithful, dedicated expressions of love – and as far as the present status quo goes, it does, theologically – and when a Church orders its priests to remain celibate if they are gay, and deprive partners of precious expressions of sexuality; and when whole Provinces are threatened with sanctions because they ‘dare’ to let people determine their own consciences about human sexuality; and – in the wide… Read more »
Bishop Tony’s reflections on Anglican’s Catholic and Protestant heritage are interesting, not least for highlighting evidential reasons for his approach. His concluding comments about the importance of place, (a concept itself rooted in context, history, and time), deserve to be unpacked more than the available space allows. Perhaps he can be encouraged to develop this theme further?
The key truths about salvation are about Original Sin, Free Will, Predestination, Justification, Good Works, Sanctification and whether we look to the Bible alone for those truths or whether ‘Tradition and scripture together form a single sacred deposit of the word of God, entrusted to the church’ (Dogmatic constitution on divine revelation, Second Vatican Council), and who has authority to decide what is the truth about these vital matters. As I see it, the differences between the Reformed and Roman Catholic doctrines on these subjects are real and vital. That should not prevent Roman Catholics and Reformed Christians being on… Read more »
Re: Bishop Tony Clavier’s article, there is a very engaging article on the same wave length by Stanley Hauerwas in the Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-reformation-is-over-protestants-won-so-why-are-we-still-here/2017/10/26/71a2ad02-b8 The (ostensibly) Roman Catholic university I attended as a R.C. undergrad forty years ago, provided office space for the R.C. chaplain and the Protestant chaplain along side one another. The protestant chaplain’s office was staffed by students and non-Roman Catholic clergy from the community. I dropped by the protestant office one day to meet up with a friend, and the local Anglican parish priest ( who used the honorific, father) was taking his turn at being… Read more »
Ian Paul writes a thoughtful apologia for large churches. I have worked in large churches, small churches and medium sized churches in various types of setting (rich, poor, median) and I agree with most of the points he makes about what large churches contribute. However, they are an urban phenomenon, as by definition there has to be a sizeable local population to provide a large congregation. And they tend not to be a part of the community in the same way that smaller churches on estates and in small towns and villages can be. The community work done by some… Read more »
Phil, You list a lot of abstract terms and theological theory, but personally I would phrase things thus: “The key truth about salvation” (to use your intro)… is about opening your heart to the love of God. I think you can do that in many ways, and in many traditions, including protestant, catholic and orthodox. Anglicanism is not a puritan or Calvinist sect. It embraces a wide range of religious expressions. And maybe that is what is special about it: because it throws us back on the need to love each other in our differences. It calls for growth and… Read more »
The Clavier and Hauerwas articles are stimulating. But I wish we could move away from some of those western doctrines towards eastern, Orthodox, theology. The Orthodox, for instance, have never gone for original sin—they have a different take on such as Romans 5—and, if I understand correctly, sit very light to the (unscriptural) doctrine of the fall. This puts a life affirming take on their theology, one that is echoed in Charles Wesley’s hymns (good patristic scholar that he was) such as ‘made like him, like him we rise’ and ‘man shall all be lost in God’ (from ‘Let earth… Read more »
The term “Protestant Episcopal” is found in some of the official documents of the Church of England but is one disliked, for example, by Robert E.Shoemaker in his book, “The Origin and Meaning of the name ‘Protestant Episcopal'” (in reference in his case to the United States). Here in Australia, the term “Protestant” is now very rarely used although somewhat revived in the discussions this week of Luther’s theses posted to his bishop though probably not on a church door, the name of course originally associated with that particular “Reformation”. (In my hospital, only rarely do a few very old… Read more »
Re Stanley Monkhouse, “But I wish we could move away from some of those western doctrines towards eastern, Orthodox, theology. The Orthodox, for instance, have never gone for original sin”
Ditto. Dreary Augustinian doctrine always brings me down.
Well said, Janet Fife. My husband who is a priest, functions in 4 villages just outside Oxford. It is a tragedy to know that so many of the vibrant Christians resident in the villages go into Oxford rather than to their parish church. They would be able to do so much and be a real force for the gospel if they would only throw in their lot with their parish church. An elderly parishioner who goes into one of the large churches in Oxford broke her arm and was not able to drive, when I asked her if we would… Read more »
Ironic to have a non TEC Anglican Bishop living in the US speak of the charism of Anglicanism as ‘place’!
Her Majesty, in November 1952, made and signed the accession declaration: “I, Elizabeth, do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God profess, testify, and declare that I am a faithful Protestant”. At her Coronation in June 1953 she was asked: “Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?”. To discuss whether, or to what extent, we may be Lutheran or Calvinist, is one thing; but anyone who suggests the Church of England is not Protestant is simply not speaking the Queen’s English. They are like physicists who… Read more »
T Pott: At my ordination I swore to uphold the 39 articles. Anyone who thinks I believe in them doesn’t speak the Queen’s English.
Your assertion that Tony Clavier is not associated with TEC is incorrect. He has been working as a priest within TEC for a number of years now.
T Pott. I don’t disagree. The original Catholick Religion claim was very soon one of protestant claims about the errors of the mediaeval church (Lancelot Andrewes et al). Yet people throw the word ‘catholic’ around in anglican circles routinely in our period. And there is as well considerable deference to the See of Canterbury — a deference not turned back by the incumbent, nor as of yet not ceasing outwith the CofE re: Lambeth Conference, Primates etc. Given the protestant religion reality that in time became the nomenclature, to which you refer here (and to which Bishop Clavier refers in… Read more »
Question to T Pott: What is your understanding of ‘upholding the 39 Articles’?
Clergy (and where relevant, laity) don’t swear “to uphold” the 39 Articles, not any more, anyway, and not since 1974. The bishop or other person reads the preface: “The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine… Read more »
To what extent has the portrayal of the Church of England in rural areas contributed to the decline in attendance of ‘small churches’? The ‘spin’ put on such churches is that they are inward looking, peopled by the very old and wedded to worship that looked anachronistic at the turn of the last century. Even if we are to take the Vicar of Dibley type portrayal out of the equation, the statistics we present to the rest of the country don’t make inspiring and inquiring reading. This is likely to be a challenge for our new Communications Director – how… Read more »
Thank you Simon. It just shows how old I am.
Reply to Simon Kershaw: But (obvious question)- what does affirming loyalty commit you to, bearing in mind that the Preface states that the Church has been led by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Christian truth in the Articles, Prayer Book and Ordinal. Also, what about Canon A5?
Thank you, Lavinia Nelder. From the first episode of Dibley (I was not ordained then) I felt uncomfortable. Was this the ideal image of Christianity and of being a Vicar that some church PR Officers told us would revitalise the church? I was brought up in rural Cumberland and I have ministered to rural communities in England and Ireland. Dibley bore little or no relation to reality, and if my antennae are well tuned, a Dibley Vicar would have been regarded as a buffoon. I’m not sure that celebrity Vicars of today do much to dispel that image. But even… Read more »
The biggest problem with Tony Clavier’s essay is found in the title. As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.
SS–sorry, but he is indeed a “non TEC anglican Bishop.” Yes, latterly he is working in TEC.
Makes the appeal to ‘place’ even the more strange.
To amplify on my previous comment — one difficulty in using binary terms like “protestant” or “catholic” to categorize religious traditions is that the meaning of the terms has shifted over time. In institutional terms, anyone who is part of a religious community that acknowledges the Pope as the head of the church can claim, legitimately, to be Catholic. In pragmatic terms, today’s Roman Catholic Church is probably not “Catholic” in the terms in play in 1500 — ie there are no sales of indulgences or chantry clergy, altars are free-standing, worship is conducted in the vernacular, etc. At least… Read more »
Philip Almond – did you mean to ask for my understanding of upholding the 39 articles? It was FrDavidH who used the phrase.
crs – I don’t think the Queens anointing was specifically Protestant, or even Christian, though certainly Biblical – as Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king.
I do agree about the AbC though, just as the Queen is above politics, the archbishop (based on his gay sex comments) seems to see his role as above religion, a mere focus of unity.
Re: jnwall, “…if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.”
Looking at the metaphor differently, on the other hand….
“If I had a hammer …I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters All over this land”
(Pete Seeger & Lee Hays)
What people found in churches 50 years ago was a deeply incarnational form of Christianity essential for ministry even if the concept of mission in the UK wasn’t on the horizon. This incarnational mission is still very much to the fore in many rural communities, but this seems to have a lower priority in the eyes of a significant body of the Church. It makes me wonder how much do the commuting Christians want to be part of the larger (small)community or is it just easier to worship away and put your faith back in a box until next Sunday.
“today’s Roman Catholic Church is probably not “Catholic” in the terms in play in 1500″ But of course it is Catholic in that there is a universal teaching, a magisterium, a central See, Bishops in Communion, and a clear sense of eucharistic inclusion. Free standing altars etc did not define the Catholic Church. We could end up making words mean nothing if in the name of declaring anglicans “catholic” we reduced Catholic to selling indulgences. (The teaching itself can be defined as the reduction of temporal punishment after confession and absolution; the Catholic Church has not rejected that notion). TP:… Read more »
Lavinia Nelder I am sure you are right that changing patterns of community and belonging are a factor in the struggle to build Christian communities today but patterns of decline in CofE churches go back a great deal further than 50 years.
Reply to T Pott: Sorry – I didn’t read the post carefully. Perhaps FrDavidH could answer my question?
Re CRS “…[Roman Catholicism] is Catholic in that there is a universal teaching, a magisterium, a central See…” All things which non-Roman Catholics would assert are not catholic. This is especially so when one defines “universal” as conformity with R.C. definitions.
I would give an an example of ‘upholding’ the 39 Articles as ministerial life as lived in the diocese of Sydney. So-called ‘Anglicans’in that part of Australia haven’t yet heard of the 21st century but choose to live as if nothing has happened in the Church since Cranmer. It makes them appear eccentric if not a little mad.
Re: jnwall, “…… protestant traditions …donning albs and stoles, if not chasubles, during the conduct of worship.” The difficulty is evaluating cultural affectations v. recovery by protestants in an ecumenical environment. The conversation hinges on reference points as you correctly note in your post 10/31. Roman Catholics have claims that are particular. See Unitatis Redintegratio Chapter I (#3) Chapter III (#13) which references Anglicans and Chapter III (1 # 14 ff.) which discuss the Orthodox. Anglican first use the term catholic is in the sense of “…One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church…” within a matrix that includes the creeds of… Read more »
RG: If canadian catholic liberals or american ones do what they want vis-a-vis Catholic teaching, the latter remains what it is. The same is true when liberal anglicans confect a new meaning of small-c catholic (this coming in about fifteen varieties, including several you do not like). I live in the Catholic rectory of a 12th century Catholic church in France. The faithful do not believe the faith they live and confess is “national diversity depending upon where one lives.” That is now quasiment what anglicans here at TA think: national churches in honour of diversity. They may even call… Read more »
I grew up in a faithful R.C. family during Vatican II. Discussion at home together with information provided at school and Sunday mass were intense.
I did studies under R.C. university scholars (one of whom was mentored by Council theologian Joseph Ratzinger) excited about the reforms and the catholic protestant question. It gave one an existential coordinates that protestants who have never been Roman Catholic find difficult to appreciate.
Events like this one (link) describe current ecumenical momentum behind the search for a recovery of catholicity by protestants and Roman Catholics alike.
RG: yes, I have seen this press release. In it the word “Catholic” is used and it applies to the RCC. Your curious phrase “recovery of catholicity by protestants and RCs alike” is nowhere to be found. Unsurprisingly. I have an association with both Centre Sevres (Jesuit) and Institut Catholic in Paris and have supervised PhD work in the area of Vatican II. Lutherans have done important work on justification by faith in conjunction with Catholics and it is very gratifying to have pontifs speak positively about Martin Luther. But “recovery of catholicity” is a bit like canadian football as… Read more »
re: CRS, Your academic work gives you a perspective; but the existential experience of actually having been R.C. during a formative time of one’s life and in that era of the R.C. church is one you cannot re-create intellectually. However,you can learn from another’s experience. “…the word ‘Catholic’ is used and it applies to the RCC.” Yes,its is “upper case”. Thankfully the article is in the business of clarity. Ecumenism may described as the search for catholicity on the part of all dialogue partners. Roman Catholics claim the fullness of catholicity. Other churches, including but not limited to Anglicanism, claim… Read more »
Tony Clavier raises a number of vexing questions such as, “Do the terms Catholic and Protestant serve any useful purpose?”. Those interested in exploring both Clavier’s questions together with those prompted by his article on this thread may find the following book of interest. The Unity We Have And The Unity we Seek:Ecumenical Prospects For the Third Millennium. ( Jeremy Morris and Nicholas Sagovsky eds. T&T Clark 2003.) An essay within, The Reformed Tradition And The Ecumenical Task: ‘A Vulnerable Catholicity’ by Peter McEnhill is of particular interest re the Clavier piece. McEnhill discusses what he describes as the vulnerable… Read more »
RG: You would appear to be someone who tries to keep up with theology and ecumenism. In Unitatis Reintegratio the term “catholicity” is used with reference to the now diverging arena represented by baptism and eucharist. That is, the fact that baptized Christians do not share eucharistic unity is an obvious impairment if the word “catholic” is defined as universal and existing *within Catholic Church,* where baptized non-Catholics do not/cannot take communion. It does not refer to the idea that the Catholic Church’s teaching, or its ministry, or sacramental truthfulness, is lacking and so it is in search of something.… Read more »
Re:CRS, “[Unitatis Reintegratio] does not refer to the idea that the Catholic Church’s teaching …is lacking and so it is in search of something.” I agree completely. The Document reads [I (4)], “…divisions among Christians prevent the Church from attaining the fullness of catholicity proper to her, in those of her sons who, though attached to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all her bearings.” The sense is that full catholicity is prevented among ‘separated brethren” with the… Read more »
The document I referred to does just this: explain where Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church can agree. It is impressive in form alone. Of course Anglicans recite the Nicene Creed. The question remains how they understand the word catholic. If TA is any indication, there are about 6 different understandings, some mutually corrosive. The RCC does not labor under this same post-reformation burden. One has the distinct sense that when Lutherans and Catholics dialogue, they really know one another well, like estranged brethren. The former have all kinds of written formulation to refer to, akin to the latter. Anglicanism… Read more »
Re CRS, The “The question remains how they [Anglicans] understand the word catholic”. This is essentially the question I have been asking i.e. where does that diverge from, and where does it converge with, the Roman position? Peter McEnhill ( see my post Nov.4th 1:28) considers the reformed position on catholicity as grounded in the preaching of the Gospel,”seeking the reform of the church catholic in terms of the scripture.” Cardinal Kasper in his observation on the 40th Anniversary of Unitatis Redintegratio appears to concur given his comment about the churches of the reformation, “Despite their different, often considerably differing… Read more »
RG: you have been the one underscoring the catholicity of Anglicanism. I thought you had a view about how that is so. Now you have decided to ask me to answer the question/s you are yourself posing. My comments should make clear that I believe at present Anglicanism has no clear understanding, and that in comparison with the Catholic Church. Throwing the word “catholic” around in anglican circles points to at least 6 different understandings, some of them deeply contradictory. The Institute I have been in charge of has written amply on the general topic at the level of polity.… Read more »
Re CRS, “you have been the one underscoring the catholicity of Anglicanism.” No, I have been questioning the existence of a common lived out defintion. Nov. 1st, I posted, “there is currently no “small c” Catholicism –only a search for the recovery of a common definition of catholicity” Your rejoinder was a potpourri, ie. national churches, liberals here and there, opinions on TA, living in a Catholic Rectory, small ‘c’ catholic as a new confection. Your subsequent posts have gone on to articulate and reference views about the R.C. position, and more recently Lutherans, but nothing of substance on Anglicanism,… Read more »
Re. CRS, “Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry, Eucharist” Thank You for the reference. Having read it, but with over a hundred pages referencing a number of dialogues. some I am familiar with, others not, I would not presume to comment at this time. Section IV ‘Remaining Differences and Reconciling Considerations’ certainly raises questions to ponder. For Example, the section “The Nature and Limits of the Binding character of Church Teaching”. (IV(A)(4) “Critically, Lutherans hold that the gospel cannot without reservation be consigned to an ecclesiastical ministry for its expression and preservation.” Interesting to get the final verdict from the… Read more »
RG: my comment to 1.50 seems to have got lost and I see now you have a second comment. In my remarks at the three Lutheran congregations sponsoring me for the Reformation anniversary,I imagined the effect of canonising Martin Luther. The last two popes have spoken enthusiastically about his contribution. “in part continue to exist” — yes, probably refers to apostolic succession; or Old Catholics. I do not believe that constant reference to the Anglican Communion as “not a church” and as a “loose association of independent national bodies that disagree” will be perceived as moving in the right direction.… Read more »
PS–UR was promulgated in 1964, in a very different ecumenical climate re: Anglicanism now 53 years later.
Exhibit A is the extremely vehement reaction in the most recent posting at TA. “We have no doctrine.” “We have no world-wide church.” “The CofE answers to no one but has its own national life.”
Who would UR imagine it is speaking to, or who might speak for Anglicanism in response, in such a context?
Re, CRS, “I do not believe that constant reference to the Anglican Communion as ‘not a church’ and as a ‘loose association of independent national bodies that disagree’ will be perceived as moving in the right direction.” On that score,I prefer to fess up to my own sins rather than those of someone else;but I actually agree that this characterization of The Anglican Communion is not helpful, neither to us nor to our ecumenical partners. However, I think it is an effort to marshal voices from our attic as a counter measure to current trends. Let me close with something… Read more »
RG, you are welcome.
1953 and 2017, on this score, are as far apart as the east is from the west.
I suspect the shrillness of the push-back from within the CofE draws from an “attic against counter trends” that will widen the gap, if that is now possible. At best we will have “catholicity” of subjective insistence.
Grace and peace.