Episcopal Life Readers respond to articles about Vatican’s proposal to welcome former Anglicans

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is one from the Rev. Thomas Myers :

If the professor of ecclesiastical history at General Theological Seminary feels that the pope's announcement is more for Britain, it is because the Episcopal Church is being run and overrun by anything but Episcopalians. His query as to whether or not the constitution would newly recognize Anglican orders is as shallow as the new wave theology in the Episcopal Church, and suggests it would include the apostasy that is driving the church apart. Shame on you, professor. The pope has extended his offer to those who desire to retain orthodox worship, theology and practice, and who understand that the unity of Christ's body is ultimately more important

Read them all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

Posted October 31, 2009 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. David Hein wrote:

One commenter writes that Prof. Dr J. Robert Wright’s “query as to whether or not the constitution would newly recognize Anglican orders is as shallow as the new wave theology in the Episcopal Church….”

Comment seems a bit harsh. All that Fr Wright was saying was that the Church of Rome seems to have a very positive attitude toward—indeed a deep respect for—Anglican history, tradition, spirituality, liturgy, and theology. Which we’ve seen represented since the days of Abp Geoffrey Fisher and quite demonstrably during the archiepiscopates of Michael Ramsey and Robert Runcie. And of course in the documents of Vatican II, in the meetings and statements of the international commission, etc. So, looked at from the point of view of true ecumenism (two churches coming closer together, not just one church taking on some members of the other chuch), the question can legitimately be asked, Why not talk also about rescinding Pope Leo XIII’s late-19th-c. bull declaring Anglican orders invalid and why not consider establishing intercommunion with the Church of England (and its offshoots)?

Bob Wright was responding in a sensible way to a reporter’s question, and what he offered was a thought-provoking comment. At least I found it so. In fact, I borrowed it to use in my own response a couple of days ago in a long interview with a reporter from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for a program called Rear Vision, airing Nov. 11; it will cover the whole history of this business.

October 31, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
2. driver8 wrote:

To my surprise, I really am astonished that they put up such invective about fellow christians in an official communication from the Episcopal Church. Good grief - we are not a political party belittling our opponents, nor a sports’ bar trash talker, we claim to be God’s church. Look how they love each other, look how they are ready to die for each other…

October 31, 2:11 pm | [comment link]
3. Branford wrote:

One thing I don’t understand about orders being considered invalid - how can the Vatican rescind this in the face of the ordination of women? How can Anglican orders be valid for the Roman Catholic Church when perhaps the ordaining bishop is a woman, which Rome does not recognize? Meaning there is no validity to the ordination. Do those suggesting Rome should recognize Anglican orders mean only those ordinations with male bishops? And how would that work? I just don’t see it - if Rome does not recognize the ordination of women, and Anglicans ordain women, then how can Rome recognize any ordinations? (Not trying to be difficult - I just don’t understand the logic.)

October 31, 2:22 pm | [comment link]
4. David Hein wrote:

No. 3: “Not trying to be difficult - I just don’t understand the logic.” No, you’re right. But it all reminds me of that story Richard John Neuhaus used to tell about the very conservative Roman monsignor who, when told in the mid-‘70s that the Episcopalians were about to ordain women, replied calmly, “No problem.” Aghast, his friend the bishop asked how he could hold such a view. “Well,” the msgr replied, “they can’t ordain men either, can they?”

October 31, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
5. driver8 wrote:

Of course - the questions imply - why isn’t the Papacy Anglican? Because it’s not - indeed the whole point of dialogue is that it begins by recognizing a least some difference. Catholics and Anglicans disagree about important matters, and agree about other important matters. RC have repeatedly said how much they value the relationship with the Anglicans and also how sadly the relationship has been strained by recent actions. (Good grief look at what Cardinal Kasper said to Lambeth).

If your wife says “I love you but when you do X it breaks my hearts” and you do it anyway, and then do it again, and then do it again, and say “Nur, nur, ner, nur, nur you can’t stop me” don’t be surprised if your wife is fuming mad, broken hearted and moves out.

October 31, 2:41 pm | [comment link]
6. Branford wrote:

I should have clarified my #3 post - I just don’t understand the Anglican logic. Rome is remaining consistent to her understanding - some Anglicans seem to be overlooking the elephant in the room. [And, David Hein, love the Neuhaus story smile  ]

October 31, 3:40 pm | [comment link]
7. driver8 wrote:

The Anglican logic (or at least some Anglicans’ logic - because Lambeth 1978 implied that the priestly ordination of women is an adiaphoron rather than a Gospel essential) is presumably that the RCs are simply mistaken. So the question implies - why don’t you just accept you are wrong.

October 31, 4:09 pm | [comment link]
8. Franz wrote:

driver8(#2) —Sadly, you are right.  Perhaps the invective is the result of their desparation.  The institutional voice of too many organs of ECUSA (national, diocescan and local) has become harsh and bitter. 

As I understand it, the RC approach to certain Anglicans is this . . . If you are seriously interested in Rome (and all that this implies) we may be able to accomodate some of your form and structure ... That’s it.  It is not designed to appeal to evangelicals, it is not intended to appeal to reappraisers (who are presumably happy with how things are working out for ECUSA, the C of E, and the rest of the AC.  So the only thing I can think of is that the angry ones know that they have nothing to offer those who might seriously consider Rome but for the very bad post Vatican II liturgy, and, seeing that they will be losing bottoms in the pews, and pledge units in the bottom line, are getting a little testy.

October 31, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
9. driver8 wrote:

We’re a long, long, long way from this aren’t we:

Archbishop Fisher, 1951 “We have no doctrine of our own – we only possess the Catholic doctrine of the Catholic Church”

October 31, 5:36 pm | [comment link]
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