Interesting post on Anglican holy orders

A long and detailed piece.  An excerpt:

There is another, personal, often unacknowledged, benefit of absolute ordination (and confirmation) for Anglican clergy converts: it makes it utterly clear that the ordinand is converting to the Catholic faith. As the name implies, Anglo-Catholics of a certain disposition believe that they are already Catholic. These emphasize the word “Roman” in “Roman Catholic,” to distinguish themselves as Anglican Catholic, separated from the Roman Church by geography and history, but not by doctrine or liturgy. Priests of this thinking who become Catholic often protest that they did not change; rather, it was ECUSA who defected from the faith and left them.  The move to Catholic orders is a mere correction of jurisdiction.

To an Anglican Catholic’s self-image, for such a change to be considered conversion carries a certain degree of offense, implying that they were wrong in believing that they were Catholic. While the Anglo-Catholic claim to catholicity is generally respected as the belief of the holder by Catholic authorities, Apostolicae Curae makes clear that the Catholic Church does not agree with their belief. Despite claims to Catholic identity, including a recognition of papal supremacy on the part of Anglo-Catholics, there is, among many, manifestly an incomplete submission to the judgment of the Roman pontiff on this point. It is, in fact, nothing less than stark self-contradiction to disagree with the Holy Father on the grounds that one has already submitted to him. Those who hold back from becoming Catholic in protest that they are already Catholic demonstrate that they are, in fact, still Protestant.

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9 Responses to Interesting post on Anglican holy orders

  1. Indeed as is historical also, the Anglican Communion has stated that “Catholic” orders are not always valid either! Surely the “call” of God is also interior to the man himself, as well as in the visible church, and a man with a Roman Collar, is not necessarily a man called by God. Again the making and “call” is God’s work ‘In Christ’ itself! And yes, there are still Anglicans who still “protest”, this is the nature of the Church itself… the Ecclesia semper reformada, “always reforming”!

    There might not be as many of us Reformed Anglicans left, but “we” are still here thanks be to God! Ready, willing.. and hopefully able! … By the truth of the Gospel itself! And as Melanchthon put the matter in a classic sentence: “To know Christ is to know His benefits.” And as the good Scots pastor and theolog, P.T. Forsyth wrote: “Theologically faith in Christ means that the person of Christ must be interpreted by what that saving action of God in him requires, that Christ’s work is the master key to his person, that his benefits interpret his nature.” (The Person and Place of Jesus Christ, London, 1946, p. 6).

  2. Pingback: Interesting post on Anglican holy orders | Catholic Canada

  3. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotations: There is another, personal, often unacknowledged, benefit of absolute ordination (and confirmation) for Anglican clergy converts: it makes it utterly clear that the ordinand is converting to the Catholic faith. As the name implies, Anglo-Catholics of a certain disposition believe that they are already Catholic. These emphasize the word “Roman” in “Roman Catholic,” to distinguish themselves as Anglican Catholic, separated from the Roman Church by geography and history, but not by doctrine or liturgy. (boldface added)

    Although this author makes some very good points, I caution that there are serious theological difficulties in his use of the terms “convert” and “conversion” in this context. Rather, the magisterium of the Catholic Church has repeatedly stated that these terms are to be used only in reference to those who come to the Catholic Church from unbelief or from non-Christian faith.

    From your quotation: Priests of this thinking who become Catholic often protest that they did not change; rather, it was ECUSA who defected from the faith and left them. The move to Catholic orders is a mere correction of jurisdiction.

    In fact, the concept of “correction of jurisdiction” (or, more precisely, change of jurisdiction) is much closer to the explanation of the Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church in the general instructions thereto. This rite incorporates confirmation only for those who are not previously confirmed. Here already, we see a stark contrast: an adult candidate for reception who comes from any church of the Orthodox Communion or from the Polish National Catholic Church typically would already be confirmed, and thus would NOT be confirmed (again) at the time of reception, whereas those coming from the Anglican Communion, various continuing Anglican bodies, and Protestant denominations typically are not yet confirmed and thus are confirmed, supplying what is lacking, at the time of reception.

    And for those coming from the “Anglo-Catholic” wing of Anglicanism, the change is even less — there is no change whatsoever in fundamental belief or practice, though there is now real communion with the Bishop of Rome and submission to the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

    From your quotation: Despite claims to Catholic identity, including a recognition of papal supremacy on the part of Anglo-Catholics, there is, among many, manifestly an incomplete submission to the judgment of the Roman pontiff on this point. It is, in fact, nothing less than stark self-contradiction to disagree with the Holy Father on the grounds that one has already submitted to him.

    Paradoxically, the lack of submission on the part of those who claim a Catholic identity within Anglican Christianity is no greater than the lack of submission on the part of those who persist in referring to those received into the full communion of the Catholic Church from other Christian bodies as “converts” when the magisterium of the Catholic Church has repeatedly repudiated this terminology.

    From your quotation: Those who hold back from becoming Catholic in protest that they are already Catholic demonstrate that they are, in fact, still Protestant.

    Once again, I point out that the magisterium of the Catholic Church officially does NOT consider the Anglican Communion to be Protestant, even though Protestant theological influences entered and came to dominate that body some time after the Anglican Schism. Thus, it would be correct to say that those who hold back from becoming Catholic in protest that they are already Catholic demonstrate that they are, in fact, not yet really Catholic, or that they are, in fact, still Anglican — but not that they are in fact, still Protestant.

    Norm.

    • @Norm: I am not sure just where your getting your historical information and authority for the Anglican Communion, especially for the Elizabethan Settlement? It is a historical fact that since then the Church of England has considered itself both Catholic & Protestant! This was in reality too the essence of the Continental Reformation.

      • And btw, many of us simply no longer believe in the authority of the RC magisterium, but this does not mean we somehow hate Catholicism in tote, but don’t believe in the essence of the Papacy, and papal doctrines. Note Melanchton still believed in the mission of the Church of Rome, and the so-called pope as the bishop there, but nothing more. And here too we can note the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism. Surely the Person of Christ and something of the Trinity of God is the common ground here.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Fr. Robert,

        You wrote: I am not sure just where your getting your historical information and authority for the Anglican Communion, especially for the Elizabethan Settlement?

        Many sources.

        But the historical fact is that the Anglican Schism occurred during the reign of Henry VIII, and it was purely political — the pope refused to grant a Decree of Nullity for Henry’s then-current marriage, so Henry severed communion essentially so he could grant it himself. The theology of the Church of England remained substantially Catholic during the remainder of his reign. It was only after his reign that Protestant theological influences gained the upper hand, culminating in the Elizabethan Settlement. Thus, the Catholic Church has always regarded the Church of England, and subsequently the Anglican Communion, as an entity that is NOT Protestant. The Second Vatican Council acknowledged this distinction clearly in the decree Unitatis redintegratio on ecumenism. Note the following text from that document (boldface added).

        13. We now turn our attention to the two chief types of division as they affect the seamless robe of Christ.

        The first divisions occurred in the East, when the dogmatic formulae of the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon were challenged, and later when ecclesiastical communion between the Eastern Patriarchates and the Roman See was dissolved.

        Other divisions arose more than four centuries later in the West, stemming from the events which are usually referred to as “The Reformation.” As a result, many Communions, national or confessional, were separated from the Roman See. Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place.

        The “special place” to which this text alludes is precisely the fact that they are not Protestant.

        You wrote: And here too we can note the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism.

        Yes, and the same decree devotes a whole separate section to the separated churches of the East, in which the Catholic Church recognizes the apostolic succession and thus the validity of all of the sacraments. A presbyter of any church of the Orthodox Communion who elects to come into the full communion of the Catholic church (1) would NOT be confirmed at the time of reception and (2) would NOT be (re)ordained by a Catholic bishop, unlike his formerly Anglican counterpart. Rather, his Catholic bishop would simply grant him faculties allowing him to resume his ministry upon his official reception into full communion of the Catholic Church.

        You wrote: Surely the Person of Christ and something of the Trinity of God is the common ground here.

        Yes, of course!

        Norm.

        Norm.

      • @Norm: Your statements are hardly fully historical, most scholars (including some RC’s)know full well that the Lutheran and Continental Reformation most surely effected the Church in England during the time of Henry the VIII, Henry was actual very friendly with some of the Continental Reformers. And we of course can see this with Cranmer even in the time of Henry to some degree. For sure the Protestant reforms did not happen over night in the English Reformation! But the Anglican Communion did think of itself as the both “Catholic” and “Reformed”, this was something of a progression, however. I would recommend Diarmaid MacCulloch large classic book on Thomas Cranmer here, (691 pages worth! Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1996). I have a first edition myself. Surely the great Archbishop Cranmer is quite simply THE greatest early figure in Evangelical and Reformed English Anglicanism! And let us not forget one of the first great martyrs!

        Finally, beware of straining everything through a Roman Catholic idea of history and paradigm! This is quite simply one of the great problems that Catholicism promoted during the Reformation (noting surely Trent), and it is still problematic today with some Catholics. WE ALL must see the Church both East and West, as in its historical reality, and thankfully many Christian theolog’s in all three of the Church’s (EO, RC, & Protestant) are tracking much better here! Again, note too, the great enemy and enemies of the historical Church are surely seen now in the culture today, which as I have said quite over and over, are in modernity and postmodernity! And it is here that I see (as others) the Jesuit social gospel in the main, and of course “Francis”. And this is certainly a historical and theological negative!

      • We should note here too, that many in the EO place of the Church see the same problems with the social as too the theological gospel of the Jesuits!

  4. grahame says:

    The separation of the ecclesiastical provinces of Canterbury and York from the Church Catholic headed on earth by the Bishop of Rome was a great tragedy. Historians will one day reflect on the fact that when great steps were made to achieve reconciliation, these were undone by those who were determined to follow another agenda rather than one that incorporated the great goal of Catholic unity.

    GCT

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