Al Kimel, Former diocese of SC Episcopal priest who moved to Rome, to join Orthodox Church

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fr. Kimel is to be ordained into the Orthodox Church on Pentecost Sunday (i.e. today) by Bishop Jerome of the Russian Church Abroad, for the Western Rite.

For those of you who may not know, Al is the former rector of Holy Communion, Charleston, S.C. In 1998 it was written about him:
Father Alvin Kimel, Jr. became the 15th rector of the parish in November 1996. He is a scholar and accomplished liturgist. His efforts include an emphasis on improving music to complement the choral Eucharist and to generally raise the beauty of worship. Father Kimel is a superb teacher from the pulpit, in the classroom, and by published worship aid always available in the Church. He is well on his way to a successful ministry and the future of the Church of the Holy Communion looks bright.
A number of years later, Al wrote about himself:
Al Kimel... was a parish priest in the Episcopal Church for twenty-five years. He has published articles in the Anglican Theological Review, Sewanee Theological Review, Interpretation, Scottish Journal of Theology, Worship, Faith & Philosophy, Pro Ecclesia, and First Things. He has also edited two books: Speaking the Christian God and This is My Name Forever. He began [the blog] Pontifications in March 2004 as a way to reflect on the meaning of the Church and to invite others to share in these reflections. In June 2005 he entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. On 3 December 2006 he was ordained a priest in the Catholic Church. He is currently serving as the lay Catholic chaplain at Kean University in Union, New Jersey.
I found an article about Al's Roman Catholic ordination (with a picture of some of the family) here.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox ChurchRoman Catholic* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiology

140 Comments
Posted June 12, 2011 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

I am sure there is an interesting faith journey here which perhaps Fr Kimel will share with us one day as he continues on his Mediterranean voyage.  He remains a blessing.  Prayers for him.

June 12, 7:39 am | [comment link]
2. Sarah wrote:

Predictable.

June 12, 7:51 am | [comment link]
3. Dan Crawford wrote:

Many years ago, I read a remarkable essay by Hugo Rahner on the church as the filthy, anything-but-spotless bride of Christ, dragged through the mud of history, all-too-willing to be beguiled by the temptations of power and popularity, much too eager to compromise the Gospel for worldly security, but still the Bride of Christ, who gave his life for her.
Long ago, I gave up searching for the perfect church. I learned that because of my own pride and blindness, I would never be comfortable in any church.  The church is motley collection of sinners like me - it will never be the the beautiful Bride of Christ until he brings her to him in heaven.  I will pray for Fr. Kimel, and hope that he has found his spiritual home.
As for me, I pray I shall always see in the sins of the Church my own sins, and recognize the countless ways God’s grace overcomes both.

June 12, 9:15 am | [comment link]
4. kmh1 wrote:

I hope he’s not playing Russian roulette after a Roman holiday! smile

June 12, 10:03 am | [comment link]
5. Ralph wrote:

I pray that he will find God’s peace in Orthodoxy, so that he might effectively share God’s peace with others.

I also pray that Fr Kimel, who is not usually at a loss for words, will someday share his journey with us, so that other Episcopalians considering the Tiber Swim may take this into account.

I don’t know him, except for his blog comments, so I can’t say whether the sequence from another branch of Christianity to TEC, to Rome, and to Orthodoxy is, or is not, predictable. But, I honestly wonder whether Rome, with its centuries of Pharisaic bureaucracy and scholasticism, is the best fit for disaffected Anglo-Catholic priests.

What are the choices for an Anglo-Catholic?
1. Stay in TEC, in opposition to its leadership. (Not an option in every diocese.)
2. Move to ACNA, knowing that Anglo-Catholicism is also in the minority there.
3. Go to one of the various Anglican splinter groups, including the Anglican Catholic Church.
4. Go to Rome, or a branch of orthodoxy, where things are going to be Very Different.

Others?

June 12, 10:06 am | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

I don’t criticise those who are searching about looking hither and thither.  I think people are desperately trying to resolve their own situation from a church which has rocked off its axis and is no longer facing and directed by Christ.  But the truth is and remains that all these people are Anglicans in the wilderness, and the failing has been with our leadership.  There will be no restoration for this church until that issue is resolved.  There is however hope and indeed growth in Anglicanism where most of the Global South remains Christ-centered and faithful, and is consequently experiencing phenomenal growth.  This is what I take comfort in - that there are many primates who I regard as leaders I can look up to.  Even in my country there are still many bishops worth following, but the closer you get to Lambeth Palace, the more the winds blow the dust about aimlessly, and through its doors you find empty corridors and nobody home, certainly not Christ.  There will be no resolution until God raises up new leaders from amongst us, and I suspect it will be from among ‘us’.

June 12, 10:18 am | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “I don’t know him, except for his blog comments, so I can’t say whether the sequence from another branch of Christianity to TEC, to Rome, and to Orthodoxy is, or is not, predictable.”

I have no idea about the general rule for most people—my comment was only about specifically this person’s “journey.”  I read his Pontifications blog back in 04/05 as he dragged out the rhetorical process for departure to Rome and then afterwards proceeded to triumphalize about the One True Church.

RE: “I also pray that Fr Kimel, who is not usually at a loss for words, will someday share his journey with us . . . “

I am sure that some people will be interested in this and have no doubt that he will “share his journey” eventually.

In regards to ACs in particular, the latest latest tack by those who have gone to the One True Church they are currently believing in was to pronounce that one is not truly an AngloCatholic if one does not 1) accept the Holy Father as the Holy Father of the Church and 2) accept Rome as being the One True Church.

So they can neatly discount the thousands of non-WO-affirming, non-gay-affirming ACs out there who accept neither premise as true. 

They can then proceed to assert that “there is no place in Anglicanism for True AngloCatholics.”

Which—by their definition of AngloCatholicism—is rather blindingly obviously true!

And there we are.

Just to speak personally and in no way trying to advise Ralph or others . . . I think, for those Anglicans [of whatever stripe] considering various options, another perspective on looking at those options might be to answer these questions:

What does one do when one undergoes a tremendous, deeply wounding loss? 

How does one cope?  What guides one’s decision-making?  How does one sort through what one rationally believes to be true over against the deeply painful, roiling, and overwhelming emotions that one is experiencing?  Is there a way to distinguish the two?

One option—of several perspectives—on coping with the loss is to say “what I thought I had was a lie and was intrinsically flawed.”

That is certainly one option for how to view a stunning and painful loss—and from that belief there comes all sorts of paths, which one may sort through and experience ad infinitum.

That’s not the option that I—or many—have chosen, but it certainly is an option.

June 12, 10:57 am | [comment link]
8. Nikolaus wrote:

WHOA!!! [he says while his jaw hits the floor]  I’ve only read the headline - I’ll read the whole thing once my knee stops jerking.  I used to follow Pontifications and was a bit surprised when Fr. Kimel chose Rome initially over Orthodoxy and assumed that was the end of the story.  May the Savior grant him peace and an end to his wandering.

June 12, 11:24 am | [comment link]
9. Ad Orientem wrote:

AXIOS!  And many years!

June 12, 1:10 pm | [comment link]
10. St. Nikao wrote:

Over a year ago, Fr. Matt Kennedy and Fr. Kimel were locking theological antlers at SFIF and Fr. Matt said he could see the direction Kimel was heading - he meant Orthodoxy.  So, as far as accurate predictions go, we should give Matt+ Kennedy the prize.

June 12, 3:17 pm | [comment link]
11. St. Nikao wrote:

Pageantmaster said a mouthful of truth right here:  “...the truth is and remains that all these people are Anglicans in the wilderness, and the failing has been with our leadership.”

If the AC a leader like say, Dr. Al Mohler (who cleaned house - and cleared the innovators out of his seminary), ++Mouneer, ++Akinola, ++Orombi or +Nazir Ali, there would not be wandering, wounded, scattered Anglican sheep without a shepherd.  But one leader would need a majority behind him or at least Sarah Hey on his team, to clean the elephants and their mess out of the Anglican compound. :8-)

June 12, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
12. Ad Orientem wrote:

When I learned last night of Fr. Kimel’s move Eastward I was quite shocked.  In hindsight though, I have to say that I should not have been so surprised.  Fr. Kimel has always had a very powerful attraction to Orthodoxy. Back in his blogging days when announced his intention to swim the Tiber I remember there was near universal surprise. 

Even after his move to Rome he continued to post very sympathetically to Orthodoxy and it was clear that he felt very keenly the wound of the schism between Rome and the Orthodox Church.  Many of his posts and comments on his own blog as well as others seemed to strive for common ground and the hope of an eventual restoration of communion.  And I believe he was pained by the rather firm rejection of any likely reconciliation by most of his Orthodox interlocutors.

Rome, we pointed out had dogmatized certain things which were flatly unacceptable to us and there could be no communion under those circumstances.  (The decrees of the First Vatican Council being at the top of that list.) 

Given his long affinity for Orthodoxy I probably should be much less surprised than I was.  I am however still somewhat surprised by his decision to come in via ROCOR.  That’s a bit like entering the pool by diving into the deep end.  I would have expected him to go through the Antiochian Archdiocese which has a Western Rite Vicarate.  And theirs, unlike ROCOR, has been very accepting of post schism western liturgical development.  The two liturgies they employ for their WR are a slightly corrected version of the 1928 BCP and an also slightly corrected version of the pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Missal.  ROCOR by contrast has leaned towards liturgical antiquarianism (use of Sarum being common in their WR).  That said, there are some very good reasons I can think of (but don’t want to get into) for avoiding the Antiochians right now.  But I am sure Fr. Kimel has his reasons which perhaps he will share if and when he is comfortable doing so.

I hope some photos of the happy occasion will eventually be posted.

June 12, 3:51 pm | [comment link]
13. Teatime2 wrote:

I think that many who recall Fr. Kimel’s arguments and protestations here and on his blog after his decision to go to Rome detected that all wasn’t well. He protesteth too much. I got the impression that, rather than “pontificate” at us on the rightness of the decision, he was really trying to convince himself.

I’m not trying to be mean in stating that. It’s just that I recall thinking he may not be content with his decision and his affinity for Rome probably won’t last. So, along with Sarah, I’m not surprised by this news.

I am saddened, though, for those who jump full throttle into one church after another in this manner. As others have said, the “perfect” church or the “perfect” church structure doesn’t exist. It simply doesn’t. And I fear that in “church-hopping,” one might be putting too much energy and hope into ecclesiastical structure and politics rather than fixing attention and hope on Christ. It’s not a church or structure that saves us—it’s Jesus. And we can find Him and serve Him in the most imperfect of churches. In fact, that’s exactly what happens.

And what better day to realize that than on Pentecost! When the Holy Spirit descended on imperfect individuals and God entrusted them with building His kingdom on Earth! We sometimes forget that the Holy Spirit leads, teaches and strengthens us individuals, too, and not just a structure we call “the Church.” In fact, many of the greatest saints operated outside the good graces of that structure. Some were even condemned by it.

June 12, 3:52 pm | [comment link]
14. St. Nikao wrote:

Fr. Kimel is not likely to have changed but for a very good reason, theological, sociological, rational.
Wonder if Fr. Addison Hart, another former Episcopalian who has felt the need to leave Rome, will go to Orthodoxy or back to Anglicanism?  He has a brother in each of those churches.

June 12, 4:35 pm | [comment link]
15. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#7 Sarah

What does one do when one undergoes a tremendous, deeply wounding loss?

One goes to the foot of the Cross and places these things there in prayer.
God bless.

June 12, 4:44 pm | [comment link]
16. eulogos wrote:

Through all of this I feel very certain that Fr. Kimel’s attention and hope is in Christ.  As a Catholic, I will miss being in communion with him,  but I also understand both the attraction to the beauty of Orthodoxy,  and the revulsion from much of modern day Catholicism in the US;  ugly barren churches,  banal music,  insipid sermons, the absence of liturgical gravitas.  Some people can say “But I know Our Lord is truly present, and that is all that matters.”  And some cannot.  I attend the Eastern rite.    The ecclesiological arguments between Catholicism and Orthodoxy do not lead to a sure conclusion for anyone who is not immediately taken with certainty about one or the other.  Those of an Orthodox bent,  who stress worship over a coherent system of doctrine and authority, and the local church over the universal church (vast simplification, I know)  look at the local Catholic church in many parts of the US,  and fail to see the “marks of the Church”  in practice.  When he wrote his blog and came to his conclusions,  Fr. Kimel perhaps thought he was one of the second type,  but found he was wrong about himself, he was really one of the first.    I wish he had been able to figure this out *before* he took a trip through Rome, and I am sure so does he.  But I wish that people would not think or speak harshly of him.  Such a turnaround always involves much suffering unless a person is not very serious, and that is hardly the case with Fr. Kimel.  Please say a prayer for him,  one and all, that things will now go well for him. 
Susan Peterson

June 12, 4:48 pm | [comment link]
17. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#16 Susan
I suppose I see Fr Kimel has on a journey around various parts of Christ’s church.  In some ways, I am envious of the rich experience he is having.  All the churches are different even within one denomination; some have rich liturgy, some boring sermons, some don’t behave very Christianly with one another.  When one reads St Paul’s letters this inconsistency, and indeed squabbling was what occupied him.  Thus has it ever been, but we carry on where we are for the most part, and perhaps even in our imperfect churches, Christ can reach and restore us in His own image.  That is how I look at it anyway, so I wouldn’t see this as a rejection of the Catholic Church, more a personal journey.  He will have a very interesting story to tell us, and I hope there is not too much pain.

June 12, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
18. Chris Taylor wrote:

Hope he goes back to blogging, as I found his observations and reflections very interesting—even if his path to Rome was not one I could follow.

I agree with others that there is no “perfect” church in this broken and imperfect world.  It is precisely that realization, in combination with a sense that after the Reformation a certain humility about the inescapable imperfection of the Church—composed as it is of broken human beings—is essential that keeps me in the Anglican fold.  Lord knows this part of the Church is imperfect, but I still find in the Anglican witness to the Gospel—especially in its efforts, however imperfect, to discern and hold together as comprehensively as possible various insights into Truth, something uniquely precious and compelling.  The elasticity of Anglicanism certainly has it’s dangers (now being definitively tested), but that same comprehensiveness requires a profound humility about the possibility of perfection in this world that I find lacking too often across both the Tiber and the Bosphorus.

June 12, 5:13 pm | [comment link]
19. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

I suppose another thought is that Anglicanism is the only one of the three major church traditions which regards itself as “in communion” with the others as part of the church of Christ.  Catholics and the Orthodox, and indeed any Christians in good standing with their own Trinitarian churches are welcomed to the Eucharist in our churches.

Fr Kimel started as an Anglican Priest, has become a Roman Catholic and a Roman Catholic Priest; and now is becoming Orthodox.  Perhaps he will become an Orthodox Priest in due course.  Fr Kimel, notwithstanding the divisions in the body of Christ has been a member of each of these parts of the body, and perhaps will have been accepted as a priest in all three.

It is, in its own way, very ‘Anglican’.

June 12, 6:08 pm | [comment link]
20. Teatime2 wrote:

Pageantmaster, well, that’s certainly a positive way of looking at it, lol. But I thought he was joining the Orthodox priesthood today—or does “ordained” have different meanings in Orthodoxy beyond priesthood? (I’m not being snarky, just wondering about the use of the word and what it means regarding his status.)

June 12, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
21. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#20 TT2 - perhaps you are right, and Fr Kimel has just made his hat trick.

June 12, 7:06 pm | [comment link]
22. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Perhaps it is one for the Guinness Book of Records?  I wonder if anybody has managed to be ordained in all three churches before?  Quite a feat, when you think about it.

June 12, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
23. Teatime2 wrote:

In record time, too, Pageantmaster. i noticed he was just ordained for the RCC in Dec. 2006. So, priest in three churches in fewer than 5 years.

June 12, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
24. nwlayman wrote:

“Catholics and the Orthodox, and indeed any Christians in good standing with their own Trinitarian churches are welcomed to the Eucharist in our churches.” 
Ah, but in practice so are those who think they are both muslim and christian.  So are bishops who utterly deny the creed.  Which is to say, who (really, name names?) exactly is *not* welcomed?  Name any person who would be refused.  Ever.  The big reason marriage means so little to Anglicans is that the eucharist means so little.

June 12, 7:23 pm | [comment link]
25. Ad Orientem wrote:

Fr. Kimel is indeed being ordained (chierotonia vs chierothesia).  This means he must have quietly entered into full communion with the Orthodox Church sometime ago.

June 12, 7:27 pm | [comment link]
26. Ad Orientem wrote:

Not to get off track but open communion is definitely an odd novelty of the modern world.  Even almost all Protestants a mere century ago would have looked upon the practice with some trepidation.

June 12, 7:30 pm | [comment link]
27. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

26. Not much of an issue in 1911, I imagine AO.  The Russian Orthodox were mainly in Russia, but it was about that time that the Anglicans started talking to the Orthodox ecumenically, and for a time there were quite serious talks about communion. 

#24 That is just ridiculous.

June 12, 7:37 pm | [comment link]
28. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#25 AO - have you ever heard of anybody else being ordained in all three churches?  Is Fr Kimel a first?

June 12, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
29. driver8 wrote:

FWLIW the COE held that communion could be given to those confirmed or desirous of being confirmed until about 40 years ago.

I wonder, given that historically Anglicanism held to more or less the same eucharistic discipline that is now upheld principally by the RCs, Orthodox and certain Lutherans, whether there are Provinces which still uphold the traditional Anglican teaching?

June 12, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
30. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#29 driver8
Checking CofE Canon 15A[1] Communicant members of other churches admitted to Communion are presumably also assumed to have been confirmed or its equivalent, which for the Orthodox, I assume is Chrismated:

baptised persons who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and who are in good standing in their own Church
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/35579/sacraments.pdf

June 12, 7:55 pm | [comment link]
31. Ad Orientem wrote:

Can’t speak for any other Christian bodies.  But Orthodox Christians cannot commune in an Anglican church, or any other non-Orthodox church.  Because of our understanding of what Holy Communion is, to commune with the non-Orthodox is tantamount to resigning from the Church.

June 12, 8:06 pm | [comment link]
32. Iohannes wrote:

Ad Orientem, Thanks for the clarification. Do you know if Fr Kimel has spoken or written yet about his conversion? Till today I had heard nothing.

June 12, 8:09 pm | [comment link]
33. driver8 wrote:

#30 Yes that’s right if one receives Communion in a church other than the COE one is welcome to receive communion at a COE church. Before about the early 70s this wasn’t true (at least in terms of the Canons). Given that it’s such a recent development in Anglican eucharistic discipline I do wonder if there any any Provinces who uphold the older teaching?

June 12, 8:15 pm | [comment link]
34. Ad Orientem wrote:

Iohannes
I only found out myself last night when I emailed Kendall. It sounds like he has chosen to keep this low key and as private as religious conversion can be.  Frankly I respect that.  There are very good reasons for not trumpeting these sorts of moves. 

That said Al is a well known figure in both the Reformed and Catholic Christian traditions and this is a noteworthy event.

June 12, 8:18 pm | [comment link]
35. eulogos wrote:

Ad Orientem, perhaps you can clarify something for me.  I had never heard the term chierothesia before last night, when I first heard this news.  I looked it up, and it seems to be something like conditional ordination.  A laying on of hands in which the bishop prays that any defects in the current ordination would be remedied.  Therefore, this is different from ‘ordination’ per se.  Please correct my impression if I am wrong. 
Susan Peterson

June 12, 8:21 pm | [comment link]
36. Iohannes wrote:

Re: 34
Thanks. I respect that, too.

June 12, 8:31 pm | [comment link]
37. Ad Orientem wrote:

Hi Susan
Susan you are correct.  The Orthodox Church generally does not recognize that non-Orthodoxn sacraments have the same effect as when performed within the Church.  The difference being with and without grace.  This is not to say that non-Orthodox sacraments are utterly empty or meaningless.  But they are not what the Church does.

When converts are received into the Church the normal method is to baptize and chrismate them.  However in some cases following the lead of the church canons converts can be received by economy if they have previously received a Trinitarian baptism with water where the form and intent closely approximate that of the Orthodox Church.  The sacrament (we would say “mystery”) of Holy Chrismation can fill with grace those sacraments that were “close” but not Orthodox.

Likewise in rare cases when a priest is received from a church that has maintained clear lines of Apostolic Succession some Orthodox jurisdictions will receive that cleric by vesting and the laying on of hands to fill whatever was lacking in their heterodox ordination.  This is sometimes done with Roman Catholics and more normally with non-Chalcedonian Orthodox and clergy who while “Orthodox” received their orders from bishops in schism from the Church.

One of the reasons I earlier expressed some surprise at Fr. Kimel’s decision to be received by ROCOR is that the Russian Church Abroad has a well established reputation for conservatism within the Orthodox world.  Economy is exercised much more sparingly than is customary in some other jurisdictions where Fr. Kimel might have been received by Chrismation and then later vested. 

ROCOR generally does not recognize Roman Catholic sacraments as being “close enough” for economy and so convert clergy from Rome are almost always ordained (chierotonia).  I hope this answers your question.

In ICXC
John

June 12, 8:43 pm | [comment link]
38. Dick Mitchell wrote:

Before he went to South Carolina, Fr. Kimel was rector of St. Mark’s in Howard County, in the Diocese of Maryland – my current parish (though my wife and I arrived after he had left).  About 20 years ago, Fr. Kimel and 5 other local rectors issued the Baltimore Declaration, a call to traditional Christian teachings.  It was strongly written, and criticized at the time for its tone – in a day and age before so many lawsuits and deposings.  Of the six Baltimore-area rectors, three have now retired, including South Carolina’s own Dean Bill McKeachie, and Fr. Kimel is the second to become an Orthodox priest (Gary Mathewes-Green, now Fr. Gregory, left TEC long ago).  The sixth rector, Fr. Fisher, remains a rector in the Diocese of Maryland.  But the Baltimore Declaration was a marker for traditional Episcopalians in an earlier time, and we appreciate Fr. Kimel’s work on it.

June 12, 9:00 pm | [comment link]
39. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“Name any person who would be refused”.

I’ve seen it in the Anglican Church—sometimes all it takes is a priest with guts, and a good bishop with the same to back him up. 

First example was someone who was stalking someone else in a parish and was ordered to stop.  He didn’t stop.  After he was refused at the rail, he stopped. 

Second example was a set of two couples.  The husband of one and the wife of the other started carrying on a rampant extramarital affair.  There were kids involved in both families.  They tried to come to church together, even with their spouses in the congregation.  Priest refused Eucharist to the “lovers”—one couple divorced, the guilty wife wised up and went back to her family.

We’re not as doctrinally “free-for-all” as some RC’s or others think.

June 12, 9:06 pm | [comment link]
40. Michael Liccione wrote:

Fr. Kimel is doing what his conscience tells him. That is what he has always done. How do I know? Because his journey has been a hard one for at least 15 years, and he has not shirked any of the difficulties. Although, as a Catholic, I do not agree with his decision, I hope and pray that in this way he can find peace with the Lord.

June 12, 10:24 pm | [comment link]
41. francis wrote:

Folks, the entire Communion is adrift with a lack of leadership and there is plenty of heartfelt pain to go around.

June 12, 10:49 pm | [comment link]
42. Paula Loughlin wrote:

I am not overly surprised by this.  May God bless him.

June 13, 12:35 am | [comment link]
43. montanan wrote:

I am impressed by the good will being wished for Fr. Kimel.  I don’t know him or his writings.  I know that our Lord leads us down paths we never expect - and a mark of faithfulness is obedience to those leadings.  I wish Fr. Kimel God’s blessings in this journey.

That being said, as a physician, I never have much question (other than the usual about quality, training, references, demeanor, etc.) about someone who leaves her/his first practice situation to seek another:  We all come out naive and not uncommonly find ourselves in situations which are not what we thought they would be.  However, I look very carefully at those who are seeking a third practice, having left one and now wanting to leave another.  Some of these physicians are fine; some, however, are those who are looking for something to satisfy them which the job cannot give.

I do not say this to imply it applies to Fr. Kimel.  However, the situation seems quite unusual.

June 13, 1:27 am | [comment link]
44. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re 28
Pageantmaster
Sorry I missed your question.  Yes, it has happened before.  But it is rare.  It pretty much has to happen exactly in the order we have here.  Anglican-> Roman Catholic-> Orthodox.  And it needs to happen in a jurisdiction that does not exercise oikonomia with converting Catholic clergy.

June 13, 1:52 am | [comment link]
45. Fr. J. wrote:

I am not sure we can say that Al is well known among Catholics.  He is certainly well known among the minute number of Catholics who were following Anglican affairs between 2003 and 2006 in the blogosphere.  It would not surprise me if when he was first assigned to a Catholic parish that no one there had ever heard of him.  For those who are active in the Catholic/Christian blogosphere it is important to know that what is earth shattering in cyberspace often goes unnoticed in the pew.  I meet Catholics all the time who have never heard of the Motu Proprio, for example.  And surely that got much more press than Al’s brief courtship with the Mother Church.

June 13, 2:13 am | [comment link]
46. MichaelA wrote:

Nwlayman wrote:

“Ah, but in practice so are those who think they are both muslim and christian. So are bishops who utterly deny the creed. Which is to say, who (really, name names?) exactly is *not* welcomed? Name any person who would be refused. Ever. The big reason marriage means so little to Anglicans is that the eucharist means so little.”

No, just because a relatively small number of Anglicans in influential positions in a few western provinces would do that, doesn’t mean you can tar all Anglicans with the same brush. Should all Roman Catholics be judged by the behaviour of Alexander Borgia? I suggest not, and the same courtesy should be extended to Anglicans, the vast majority of whom are not in western provinces (and it should be added, many even in western provinces are in fact faithful to the true principles of Anglicanism).

We Anglicans recognise Oriental Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Oorthodoxy as churches, even when we disagree with them. Most Anglicans permit a person who is a communicant member of another church to take communion with them, because this is what the Apostles would have done.

June 13, 4:40 am | [comment link]
47. MichaelA wrote:

Ad Orientem wrote:

“Can’t speak for any other Christian bodies. But Orthodox Christians cannot commune in an Anglican church, or any other non-Orthodox church. Because of our understanding of what Holy Communion is, to commune with the non-Orthodox is tantamount to resigning from the Church.”

That is not quite accurate - you also can’t communicate with many other orthodox churches.

June 13, 4:45 am | [comment link]
48. MichaelA wrote:

My apologies - “communicate” in my last post should read “commune”.

My point was that the Eastern Orthodox churches have not been in communion with the Oriental Orthodox churches since the 6th century AD.

June 13, 4:50 am | [comment link]
49. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#44 AO - Thanks - that is helpful although I do not quite understand the reference to housekeeping in relation to converting Catholic Clergy.

Regarding communion, as MichaelA points out, there are problems for Anglicans being recognised as communicants by the Orthodox churches when they can’t even bring themselves to recognise one another.

Prior to 1911, Britain did not see much contact with the Orthodox who stayed largely at home under the sway of the Eastern Empires of the Ottomans, Russians and Austro-Hungarians.  There was of course the odd visiting exotic aristocrat. 

One still doesn’t come across many Orthodox day to day in the UK as the ethnic Greek and Greek Cypriot communities seem to keep to themselves, and the growing Russian and Romanian communities don’t seem particularly religious, but that may have something to do with 90 years of communism, followed by rampant materialism.

As far as Catholics were concerned, after the Reformation, the Catholic Church had indulged in a campaign of extreme hostility and undermining of both the English state and church, and although diplomatic relations were progressing by the time of George III, the chippy hostility to the CofE and its offshoots continues, as one can see often on these blogs.

Nevertheless, whatever other churches views of us, I think we take a generous and principled line, as MichaelA says and seek to treat the matter as the the apostles would have done.  I know of Catholics who do indeed take up our offer, and they are very welcome, whatever the current hostility of their hierachy, and on the ground we do get on together, work together, and where we can, worship together, and I am glad of it.

June 13, 7:21 am | [comment link]
50. centexn wrote:

#12…

“That said, there are some very good reasons I can think of (but don’t want to get into) for avoiding the Antiochians right now.”

Would like to hear you expand on this comment.

June 13, 7:22 am | [comment link]
51. Confessor wrote:

Actually, Fr. J, #45 - Jerusalem is The Mother Church…the first and the final Church.

June 13, 8:51 am | [comment link]
52. eulogos wrote:

#50 I am a speaker from the outside whose source of information is what I read on a few Orthodox blogs, one of which has sadly to me now gone private.  But to summarize, there are conflicts within the American AO Church which run roughly along ethnic vs. convert clergy lines, which have become very ugly at times. 
Susan

June 13, 9:28 am | [comment link]
53. eulogos wrote:

Fr. J, I don’t think Fr. Kimel was ever assigned to a parish.  He was given a college chaplaincy.  This sort of assignment seems obvious to many Catholic bishops, because they have no experience with married clergy.  They can’t send a family to go live in a rectory with other priests.  They are used to being able to move clergy around with minimal notice.  There is a potential for being shuffled every June,  and occasionally, if a pastor dies, a priest could hear one week that he has to move halfway across the diocese and take over the parish by three weeks from today .  In the June transfers priests do get to express a preference for whether they will move or stay,  and to apply for positions which they know are open,  but they have to go where they are assigned whether it is their preference or not. (The people are not consulted.)  Taking into consideration children’s school ties or a wife’s job seems to them an impossible complication.  So they tend to use these married convert clergy to fill chaplaincy positions they are responsible for, and when they do that they think they are being considerate,  as these positions are not nearly so demanding as a parish job.  But they are not considering that a man may be used to having the support and friendship of his people, or that despite being an intellectual, he may have a vocation to pastoral ministry.  I think that this is very unimaginative of them.  There are so many vacant Catholic churches,  vacant not because there were not a few hundred people who were very attached to the parish who wanted to continue to worship there,  but vacant because they have no priests. And there are small remote parishes where a priest living there must necessarily live alone,  which is not the best human situation for most.  For many convert clergy, this would be the right place,  a situation like the one they knew, where their experience would be of great benefit.  And the Catholic people would, I believe, absolutely love it. 

I hope they will eventually catch on.
Susan Peterson

June 13, 9:49 am | [comment link]
54. laudate wrote:

God bless Father Kimel.  I remember his “Pontifications” blog very fondly.

I have followed the Western Rite in Orthodoxy very closely for some time, and it can be a very wild, confusing, and disheartening place.  Simply put, there is no single vision for what Western Rite Orthodoxy actually is, even within single groups (ROCOR or Antiochian).  And there is much confusion about how the canonical Western Rite groups fit canonically into their respective jurisdictions.  And of course there is the perennial battle with Orthodox (both cradle and convert) who hate the Western Rite and would like to see it disappear.

Truthfully, I would be more hopeful for Fr Kimel, had he settled into the Byzantine Rite somewhere, like his friend Fr Freeman.  I pray, however, that he will be at home and at peace in his new ecclesial home.

June 13, 9:49 am | [comment link]
55. driver8 wrote:

#49 There was a famous experiment in the later seventeenth century to restore relationships between the COE and the Ecumenical Patriarch - including an Orthodox presence at Oxford at the “Greek College”. (Of course, the story of the ever tolerant COE may not quite be right since one of the things generally thought admirable was that both Orthodox and COE were anti RC). The non-Jurors tried again in the early eighteenth century but their attempts petered out to nothing.

It may be that “open” communion was the Apostles view. If so, it often wasn’t shared by their Orthodox, Catholic or Reformed heirs who seem, in general, considerably less sanguine about denominationalism than many of us seem to be.

June 13, 11:01 am | [comment link]
56. Catholic Mom wrote:

the revulsion from much of modern day Catholicism in the US;  ugly barren churches,  banal music,  insipid sermons, the absence of liturgical gravitas. 

Gee..I gotta check my glasses.  They have either totally frosted over with rose-coloring or I am really missing something here.  Seriously!  If I had never been in a Catholic church in my life, the one thing I would know from reading Anglican blogs is that they are dismal, boring, inspid, banal, and I think this last quote included “barren” (??).  Hey, maybe they really are!  And I’m just too ignorant to know it?? 

Because all the churches I have belonged to (admittedly only five in my entire life including childhood, college, graduate school, and adult life) have been dynamic, super-active, with great music (the least of my concerns) fantastic clergy, wonderful homilies, etc.  But maybe they are all the exception because I’ve always gone to church in university towns?  Seriously…I’m trying to puzzle this out.  Am I just lucky or am I too uneducated to realize how much better other churches are?? 

Actually, if it’s the latter, I don’t want to find out because the last thing I want is to become an eccesiastical orphan, forever searching for the “right” church.  You know the saying “the secret to a successful marriage is not finding the right person.  It’s being the right person.”  Now, of course, that doesn’t apply if you’re married to a wife-beater or your church goes wildly off the rails, but in general I think it holds true in all relationships, including ecclesiastic ones.  The only exception might be when the person’s deepest theological instincts are in conflict with the teachings or practice of the church they are a member of.  But I wouldn’t think that would be happening on a regular basis for a single individual.  Like maybe once in a lifetime when you are young and you first join a church without your parents.

June 13, 12:19 pm | [comment link]
57. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 47
MichaelA
We do not commune with the Oriental Orthodox because they do not recognize the decrees of the Council of Chalcedon.  They are monophysites (i.e heretics).  Until the 20th century the Anglican Communion also more or less uniformly refused communion with them.

June 13, 1:34 pm | [comment link]
58. Confessor wrote:

A quote from this weekend’s Ordinariate ordination in England:
“Mgr Newton stressed: “First and foremost then you are to be ordained a priest of the Catholic Church. What happens to you today will give you a new authentic authority to your ministry.
“You will discover in the words of Lumen Gentium that ‘There can be no genuine priestly ministry except in communion with the Supreme Pontiff‘”

June 13, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
59. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#58 When one reads the breathtaking arrogance and lack of charity of such words, it makes one mightily glad to be an Anglican.  May God forgive them.

June 13, 3:44 pm | [comment link]
60. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

And how sad to hear Keith Newton so easily discount his entire working ministry to date.  Ugh!

June 13, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
61. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Mind you, he will probably say he is probably just obeying orders.  Horrible.

June 13, 3:46 pm | [comment link]
62. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

I just find the process people are put through to deny the validity of God’s calling on them in their previous church and the power of His Grace in their lives in the past when joining the RC Church truly odious.  There is something about this church which is just oppressive, and lacking in joy, notwithstanding some of the wonderful Christians in it, from top to bottom.  It is doleful.  It is when I hear of such stuff, that a cloud descends and I am so glad to be an Anglican.

June 13, 4:21 pm | [comment link]
63. Teatime2 wrote:

I agree, Pageantmaster. I don’t understand why so many people like to promote exclusivity and claim favor/honor over others, in general. I don’t think it pleases God. Goodness, Jesus Himself had strong words for the apostles when they were arguing amongst themselves about who was going to sit at His right hand.

Besides, the RCC hierarchy and bureaucracy bear little resemblance to the structure of the Early Church and the ministry of the apostles. None of us can claim we have it right. LOL, aside from the military trappings (which I’ve never understood), I rather think that the Salvation Army is closer to what Jesus had in mind.

June 13, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
64. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#63 I have a lot of time for the Salvation Army, Teatime.  They do wonderful work, with exceptional humility.  I have supported their work, and they rather make me aware of what perhaps we should all be doing as Christians.

June 13, 4:54 pm | [comment link]
65. Teatime2 wrote:

Pageantmaster, Here in the States, I don’t think that most people consider the Salvation Army a church. They (we) think of it as an outreach to the poor and a disaster relief agency because when disaster hits anywhere in the U.S., the Salvation Army immediately mobilizes and responds. People also associate them with Christmas giving because of their red kettles and bell ringers.

But they are wonderful about teaching the Gospel, as well as living it. Somehow they effortlessly seem to bring people to Christ without being pushy or offensive but also without compromising their beliefs. Everyone is invited to their worship services and they have wonderful Sunday School, Bible studies and midweek programs for children, too. They have vans that will pick up the children at their homes for the programs. I personally know people whose Christian lives began through the Salvation Army.

What impressed me is how non-competitive and non-territorial they are. They aren’t put out in the least if/when people feel their spiritual lives may be better served in a more structured or otherwise different Christian denomination. I’m sure there are some egos at work within the Salvation Army because it is an organization of humans, after all,  but the ego or self-righteous thing isn’t regularly on display and exclusivity isn’t one of their talking points.

Only two things prevent me from becoming a Salvationist. First, I have a strong belief in the Eucharist, which sustains me, and, secondly, I am not especially courageous in losing the trappings of “church.” I am a bit uncomfortable with the military structure/allusions, as well, but that’s not a big stumbling block.

June 13, 6:10 pm | [comment link]
66. Teatime2 wrote:

LOL, I guess what I’m saying is that, with no offense intended toward the RCC or the OC, I’d be far more intrigued and impressed if Fr. Kimel and others like him became Salvationists. That would be a huge statement and change of spiritual direction, wouldn’t it? I’m not condemning them, of course, because I don’t have that sort of courage, either. But the thought sticks in my mind because I think that in a search for loving and serving Jesus passionately, that’s where He’s likely to be found.

June 13, 6:20 pm | [comment link]
67. eulogos wrote:

Now I have to go scurrying for my copy of the decrees of VII, so I can see what this citation meant in context.  It certainly does not refer to the concept of “validity” since the Catholic Church has stated that it considers the Orthodox to have true orders and sacraments.  It seems to me that it is more the Orthodox who believe that no sacraments have their true effect outside of the true church, ie Orthodoxy, so that even a baptism is empty of grace until the person is united to Orthodoxy. 

I really wish that commenters of Protestant background would understand that denominationalism was not the understanding of apostolic church or of anywhere in the church until sometime after the Reformation.  There was one church,  it was united in faith, the details of theology were important,  and those who could not agree with what was decreed by a council were no longer in the Church, period.  Of course there was all kinds of politics going on,  arguments about whether a council was really a council, and so on.  But the idea that several groups with a different understanding of doctrine could coexist and both be in The Church was unthinkable.  And not too much was considered adiaphora as far as I can tell.  Various Orthodox writers still include the use of “azymes” ie, unleavened bread,  as an essential which the Western Church would have to give up in any reunion.  Their Western rites are not so Western as to use unleavened bread.    If any of you imagine that in the various approaches of the Orthodox to Anglicanism, there was ever ANY idea of “intercommunion”  while the Anglicans remained in the least Protestant in belief, or continued to say the creed with the Filioque, etc etc,  you are quite mistaken. I think that they are Patristic in this insistence, and that you are quite mistaken to believe that your idea of open communion between different denominations with different beliefs is Apostolic. On the other hand,  I have been told by a Orthodox monk to my face that Catholic baptism is NOT “the same baptism” as Orthodox baptism, and that I think is not consistent with what the Church decided on this issue in the 400’s. 

We Catholics are actually quite soft by contrast to the Orthodox, after meditating for 500 years or so on the wounds inflicted by the Reformation.  For instance, the decree on Ecumenism states,“For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion….But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.

The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation. It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.”

To my mind it follows from this quite clearly that the ministry even of those without orders in apostolic succession,  in these separated communities, is not deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation.  Therefore it is certainly a true ministry.  I do not believe that Fr. Newton is “discounting” his ministry as an Anglican. 

As for me, I do not discount the ministry of the Baptist pastor who lives across the street from me (though I know little about it.)  I do not discount the ministry of the female Episcopal priest who baptized my husband,  and who also counseled me with some wisdom that same day, although I do not believe that she is truly a priest in the Catholic sense.  I do believe that God has work for them to do and has chosen them for their congregations at the point where they are “in the mystery of salvation.” 

Nevertheless, from a Catholic point of view there is something lacking in any ministry and in any Christian life outside of Catholic Unity.  Catholics believe that there can be but one Church of Christ. that it is visibly united, and that all men are called to belong to it. Therefore there must of necessity be something lacking in any ministry not fully united to Christ’s Church.  (The Orthodox believe the same thing, except that they are that Church and they understand its hierarchical structure differently.)
Fr. Newton was expressing, for men who are now Catholics, a truth about Catholic unity, not a derogation or depreciation of what they had been doing before, except an acknowledgement of that prior deficiency which they acknowledged by becoming Catholic.  I was unable on a brief skimming to find the exact citation from Lumen Gentium,  but it is clearly from a document which is explaining the Catholic understanding of unity,  a unity which has a hierarchy as the bones of the visible body so to speak.  Their priestly ministry is an extension of the ministry of their bishop (or in this case, their ordinary)  who is in the college of the Apostles united with the see of Peter, the head of the Apostles and the Vicar of Christ.  He was reminding them of Catholic ecclesiology,  and perhaps also that they are no longer men of a party within a church,  but men under obedience. 

Again, this was not to belittle the work of their previous lives.
And I wonder that you would call it uncharitable.  I once argued, in a question and answer session after a lecture he gave, with a liberal Episcopal priest who was once a close friend of mine in college,  about the attitude of Episcopalians towards the non Christian religions,  the tendency to say that they were simply “other paths to the same truth.”  He was trying to tell me that this came from “a generous spirit.”  Is this charitable towards a Buddhist, to tell him that nothing is lacking in his path?  If Catholic belief is that all are called by God Himself into Catholic Unity, that this is in fact the Body of Christ, the New Adam, the Community of Salvation,  into which God calls all human beings,  does charity require that we never say so, or say anything which implies this?  Charity requires that we speak the truth in love.  That means that we acknowledge how much of goodness and truth are in the separated Christian communities,  that we acknowledge that you are brothers in Christ, who do baptize with Christ’s baptism.  It requires that we not mischaracterize your beliefs while engaged in polemics.  It does not require that we not speak what we believe is the truth. 

Susan Peterson

June 13, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
68. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

“There can be no genuine priestly ministry except in communion with the Supreme Pontiff‘”. 

I have great respect for the Pope, and I guess this is the belief.  But, having watched my priestly Protestant spouse minister and sometimes run himself ragged in the care for others, I think it’s utterly ridiculous; the RC brand of “apostolic succession”, or not. 

And there were plenty of priests “in communion with the Supreme Pontiff” who did lots of horrible things that didn’t look one bit like “ministry”, let alone good or genuine ministry.

June 13, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
69. MichaelA wrote:

Catholic Mom wrote:

“Gee..I gotta check my glasses.  They have either totally frosted over with rose-coloring or I am really missing something here.  Seriously!  If I had never been in a Catholic church in my life, the one thing I would know from reading Anglican blogs is that they are dismal, boring, inspid, banal, and I think this last quote included “barren” (??).  Hey, maybe they really are!  And I’m just too ignorant to know it??”

The comment about “ugly barren churches,  banal music,  insipid sermons, the absence of liturgical gravitas” was actually made by a practicing (and committed) Roman Catholic. Its a comment that can really only be made by an insider - just as a similar comment about Anglican churches (which on occasion would be merited) could only be made by an Anglican.

I am not saying you have to agree with it of course, and I myself cannot comment. But I just wanted to point out that this wasn’t so much a case of Anglicans denigrating the RCC; rather it was a member of the RCC engaging in some self-criticism directed towards particular aspects of the RCC.

For what its worth, I have read far stronger comments about particular parts of the RCC on RC blogs!

June 13, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
70. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Susan, we cross-posted.  67 is a good post, and it explains a lot.

June 13, 6:42 pm | [comment link]
71. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#65 Teatime - many thanks - over here, although the ‘church’ aspect is not emphasised, I would say that the Salvation Army is indeed a sort of church with a very particular set of beliefs, which do not entirely sit with those of the CofE, but are not entirely inconsistent with them.  I would say that they are a protestant group, and perhaps evangelical might not be a totally wild description, but they are ‘salvationists’ as I hope are Fr Kimel and others, and as we all should be.  I think there are two reasons for the military aspect:
1. We are ‘soldiers of Christ’ - ‘Onwards Christian Soldiers’, ‘Soldiers of Christ arise’ etc.
2. The SA started its ministry in the poorest, most unhygienic and disease ridden parts of our Victorian cities.  Their appearance made a statement to those listening, that they could have a life of order, health and purpose when they saw scrubbed wholesome looking people marching with a band and with purpose.  I think that may well have been the reason.

Interestingly, it was the Salvation Army, and the Anglo-Catholics who established their ministries among the poor parts of the cities and their people, in the former case offering a band, order, military purpose, and in the latter case, charity, magic, and a glimpse through their buildings, robes and reverence of heaven.  Both seeking to bring the Kingdom of God to the poor, so while it might not seem so, they do have a considerable amount in common.

June 13, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
72. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #67
Susan
See Patrick Barne’s The Non-Orthodox: The Orthodox Teaching On Christians Outside The Church.

June 13, 6:47 pm | [comment link]
73. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#67 Susan
Thanks also for the long thoughtful post.

I really wish that commenters of Protestant background would understand that denominationalism was not the understanding of apostolic church or of anywhere in the church until sometime after the Reformation.

Well, as you know we regard ourselves in the CofE as both catholic and reformed, part of the apostolic church as we say each Sunday in the Apostles’ or Nicene Creeds.  Whether you like it, we do have denominationalism, and the Roman Catholic denomination just saying that it is the universal one church to the exclusion of the Orthodox and the Anglicans and other Protestants does not make it any the less what it is which is a denomination, I would say while still being part of the body of Christ.

As you know I have hung around these arguments for long enough to have listened to and understood both what Roman Catholics and the Orthodox say about themselves, and about others.  I do understand what the RC church says about itself, and how it argues for that understanding.  I just disagree with it, and feel quite entitled to say so and say how uncharitable it is to the brothers and sisters in Christ of the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox.  I think we Anglicans have a much more mature and I would say Christian attitude to other Christian denominations, saying neither that they have ‘some aspects’ however imperfect of the church, nor that they are incomplete because they do not accept the bishop of Rome as the intermediary for their apostolic authority and descent.

That said, your broadmindedness and openness to other denominations, and perhaps what Christ may have to offer you, and through you us, through that engagement does you credit.

June 13, 6:57 pm | [comment link]
74. Teatime2 wrote:

Susan,
I think it boils down to this: in varying degrees, one either believes that human-imposed rules and laws carry the weight (and Godly inspiration) of Scripture and thus must be strictly obeyed or one doesn’t. Put another way, were the “keys to the kingdom” actually a skeleton key that unlocked and secured everything under the sun with God’s approval and pleasure or are there limits to what the institutional Church decides and Jesus would approve/bless?

I personally don’t believe that the institutional Church truly has all of the power over souls that it claims in Jesus’ Name, which is why I am no longer RC. I also believe that God permits all of these Christian denominations to exist so that there is some balance, some discussion, and some soul-searching. History shows us that Rome as the only game in town did not serve the Gospel impeccably, which is to be expected in a human organization. There is only so much one can gloss over with mysticism, though.

June 13, 6:57 pm | [comment link]
75. MichaelA wrote:

Eulogos wrote:

“It certainly does not refer to the concept of “validity” since the Catholic Church has stated that it considers the Orthodox to have true orders and sacraments.” 

Does that mean all Orthodox, or just the Eastern Orthodox?

“I really wish that commenters of Protestant background would understand that denominationalism was not the understanding of apostolic church or of anywhere in the church until sometime after the Reformation.”

We really wish that you would understand that the reverse is the case!

“There was one church,  it was united in faith, the details of theology were important, ...”

Which is exactly what protestants believe!

“and those who could not agree with what was decreed by a council were no longer in the Church, period.” 

That does not at all reflect what most of the church has believed for most of its history. I suggest having a look at how the wider church actually behaved, both before and after each major council.

“And not too much was considered adiaphora as far as I can tell.”

Compared to today, probably more adiaphora than there was then, depending on which group you are talking about.

“I think that they are Patristic in this insistence, and that you are quite mistaken to believe that your idea of open communion between different denominations with different beliefs is Apostolic.”

I appreciate that you think this, but we have to follow apostolic teaching and early patristic practice, not the private interpretation of a modern person.

“On the other hand,  I have been told by a Orthodox monk to my face that Catholic baptism is NOT “the same baptism” as Orthodox baptism, and that I think is not consistent with what the Church decided on this issue in the 400’s.”

Precisely. As best I can tell, attitudes today among the “catholic” end of the spectrum tend to be far more closed than were the attitudes of the general church in the patristic period.

“...after meditating for 500 years or so on the wounds inflicted by the Reformation.”

Do let’s be serious. The Reformation was no different to the schisms in the 6th century and the 11th century, nor many other lesser arguments that have gone on throughout church history. Anyway, there was an easy way to prevent any “wounds from the Reformation” - the RCC should have joined it instead of heading off on its own tangent, first at Trent, and then diverging even further at Vatican I.

“For instance, the decree on Ecumenism states, ...  I do not believe that Fr. Newton is “discounting” his ministry as an Anglican.”

You are assuming that Msgr Newton is being consistent with the decree on Ecumenism. I doubt that he is - many Roman Catholics adopt an interpretation of that decree that leaves it virtually devoid of meaning.

“Fr. Newton was expressing, for men who are now Catholics, a truth about Catholic unity, not a derogation or depreciation of what they had been doing before, except an acknowledgement of that prior deficiency which they acknowledged by becoming Catholic.”

If so, then he is extremely poor at choosing his words. As it happens, I don’t believe that - Msgr Newton is an erudite and intelligent man. Rather, what we are seeing here is a manifestation of the RCC claim to Petrine Supremacy, which every other church rejects.

“Therefore there must of necessity be something lacking in any ministry not fully united to Christ’s Church.”

We Protestants agree. You are most welcome to become fully united to us, in which case your ministry will be complete!

“(The Orthodox believe the same thing, except that they are that Church and they understand its hierarchical structure differently.)”

What you meant to write was that the Eastern Orthodox believe that they are the Church; and the Oriental Orthodox believe that they are the Church; and the Roman Catholics believe that they are the Church. We Protestants just shake our heads, and then we get on with exercising true unity.

“That means that we acknowledge how much of goodness and truth are in the separated Christian communities,  that we acknowledge that you are brothers in Christ, who do baptize with Christ’s baptism.  It requires that we not mischaracterize your beliefs while engaged in polemics.  It does not require that we not speak what we believe is the truth.”

I agree wholeheartedly. That is what Protestants believe about the bishop of Rome and his followers. However, there are many in western Anglicanism who have rose-tinted glasses about what “unity” with Rome actually means - they think it means something like the Apostolic view of unity set out in scripture, whereas the reality hinted at in Msgr Newton’s speech is rather different. I myself have no illusions about the nature of Rome, and I am not offended by your comments above, since my view of the RCC is similar to your view of Protestants. But I think it is worthwhile to warn those thinking of joining the Ordinariate of what they are really getting into. We see too many who join Rome with stars in their eyes, and then move on (or back) within a fairly short space of time.

June 13, 7:09 pm | [comment link]
76. Ad Orientem wrote:

I have absolutely no issues with Rome’s self understanding.  Obviously I disagree since I too am no longer Roman.  But the Creed clearly refers to only one Church.  And both we and the Romans agree on at least one point, the Church is Visible and it is One.  To believe otherwise is to reject at least part of the Creed.

June 13, 7:10 pm | [comment link]
77. MichaelA wrote:

Whoa, Ad Orientem, you are making a huge leap beyond logic there!

Your first premise is correct: the Constantinoplan Creed did indeed refer to “One Holy and Apostolic Church”. It said nothing about “visible”, nor would it have done so: The Church Fathers understood the problem with relying on “visibility” as a criterion for orthodoxy - that would have led to the right people being wrong in Athanasius’ day. That is why the next part of your comment commits two errors:

“And both we and the Romans agree on at least one point, the Church is Visible and it is One.  To believe otherwise is to reject at least part of the Creed.”

Firstly, you aren’t agreed on the point, if you each have mutually incompatible concepts of what the visible church is (and you do). Secondly, “to believe otherwise” is to reject at least part of the teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman Church, but it isn’t “to reject at least part of the Creed.” They are different different concepts.

June 13, 7:20 pm | [comment link]
78. Ad Orientem wrote:

Umm no.  You are flatly wrong.  Orthodoxy and Rome agree very much on the nature of the Church insofar as it is visible and One.  It has been consistently taught as such by the Fathers and the saints.  Roman Catholic saints (post-schism) concur.  Further your statement that those who rejected the teachings of the OEcumenical Councils were not considered to be outside the Church is so demonstrably false from even the most casual glance at the canons and decrees that it could fairly be called risible.

All of the dogmatic definitions have anathemas clearly attached.  If you reject them you are absolutely excommunicated and cut off from the Church.  I really have no idea where you are getting your bizarre version of Patristic Church history from.

Perhaps you could direct me to some scholarly work that shows how the Fathers of the Church were all Protestants who believed in open communion?

June 13, 7:33 pm | [comment link]
79. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#67 Susan

I was unable on a brief skimming to find the exact citation from Lumen Gentium

Perhaps because it appears to come from: ‘JEAN PAUL II, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation pastures dabo vobis’ [Para 28]
http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/fbo.htm
From here, apparently:
http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/fc4.htm#bk
I wonder if Keith Newton needs to go back to school?

June 13, 7:44 pm | [comment link]
80. St. Nikao wrote:

1. The ancient Creeds are not Scripture and not complete.  They are merely doctrinal outlines, cognitive understanding, but they do not mention the Commandments, particularly the Two Great Commandments and the First Love factor is key.  A merely Creedal position will not please God at all.
2.  A Church’s self-understanding is not valid outside itself unless it agrees with others understanding. 
3.  Unity is formed through Biblical truth, love, humility, forbearance, mutual respect, submission, agreement, and self-understanding.

So far, we don’t have a lot of evidence of unity amongst the major or even lesser groups. 

The Manhattan Declaration was one recent effort to join forces to fight the world/flesh/devil together, but all could not conscientiously sign because of doctrinal differences with other groups.  Did any Orthodox sign it?  Piper did not as I recall, but Dr. Al Mohler did.

June 13, 7:46 pm | [comment link]
81. eulogos wrote:

Catholic Mom, #56.  Although the comment is on an Anglican blog, #69 is absolutely right, both that I am a Catholic,  and that these things are said all the time on Catholic blogs. 

  I think I am speaking from a very different sensibility.  If you are a happy American Catholic,  I don’t want to make you unhappy.  My sensibility was formed first by the Episcopal Church and high Anglicanism, and now by the Byzantine Rite.  I think we would have to look at pictures of churches together to discover the concrete references of my statements and to find out to what degree your appraisal would differ from mine.  I want a church that looks like a church and is rich in color and sacred images.  In the Western rite some of these images will be statues, and I prefer them to be of some artistic merit and subtlety, but at this point I will take a crowd of mass market pastel plaster saints, over a beige carpeted bare hall decorated perhaps with some felt banners or some sixties era sheaves of wheat and grapes and some “artistically” arranged driftwood and rocks. 

Just the fact that you said that music was “the least of your concerns” is a clue to our different sensibility.  I want a chanted liturgy as the norm.  I don’t want to see the choir up front next to the altar, unless there are formal choir stalls there in the Anglican manner and they are vested. I don’t want to see, much less listen to, guitars and tamborines,  and their bouncing and posturing players.  I want all the liturgical movements to be formalized.  I want the vestments and altar appointments to be made of beautiful, embroidered cloth.  I want an altar rail to divide off the space where the altar is (or a rood screen, or iconostasis.) I don’t want lay people in that space except for vested acolytes.  I don’t want communion given out by lay people,  if it is at all possible to avoid it, and if it must be, I wish they would at least wear the white robe as the Anglicans have them do.  (At one parish I sometimes went to because they had a six thirty am daily mass,  and it was just down the street from where my husband was going to a Wednesday AM Anglican eucharist, I had to close my eyes and look down, because they had a pants suited nun set up the altar, do the readings, give out the cup, and clean the vessels afterwards. They were trying to make her into a quasi-priest.  I was already Byzantine by that point, and after the awe and mystery of the space around the Byzantine altar, where I would never think to tread,  I absolutely could not bear it.  Another parish has a daily mass in which all 20 people present each have to hug each other at the kiss of peace,  even passing behind the altar to do so, while Our Lord lies there neglected.  I can’t go there either.  You never encounter such things?   

The word “dynamic” actually makes me shudder!  I am looking for “heavenly” in liturgy.  I guess I understand what you mean by dynamic outside of liturgy, but it isn’t my favorite descriptor! 

As for sermons,  I have heard some good exhortative Catholic sermons, often by the Redemptorists who received me into the church,  and one or two sermons which were properly explicative of doctrine, especially those by the Oratorians in Toronto.  I suspect my sensibility here is more Protestant.  I would like some serious exegesis of the readings.  I want what Fr. Matt Kennedy does at Good Shepherd, except from a Catholic point of view.  There is one bi-ritual (one who celebrates both the Roman and the Byzantine rite)  priest who sometimes celebrates and preaches at my Byzantine parish who does a pretty good job of preaching, although not quite with the degree of exegetical depth Fr. Matt has taught me to appreciate.  I knew one priest who was a master of the ten minute, tell a story and make one point homily.  Certainly one’s attention never wandered and the one point was usually good,  but I feel that after a while one might want more.

The happiest concurrence of liturgy and sermon I have experienced is actually at an Orthodox church,  Fr. Gregory Matthews-Green’s parish in Linthicum Maryland.  I suspect there is some Anglican influence there; Fr. Kimel told me Fr. Gregory was always a good liturgist.  This is a small simple church building which once was Methodist I think, and later some kind of Korean Protestant,  but they have managed to make it look rich and beautiful. 

(Not relevant but I can’t help telling it; when the Korean pastor was turning over the building to Fr. Gregory, he shook his hand and said in his broken English “Your church many grow.”  I look upon that as a sweet moment of Christian goodwill between pastors of vastly different theology and sensibility.  The Orthodox had to haul out not only pews, but all sorts of amplifiers, translation earphones, and a projection screen before they set up the space with iconstasis and icons, and chandeliers, oriental rug,  tall beeswax candles in sand…but “Your church many grow.” It did, too.) 

I don’t know how much use this wandering account of my tastes is to anyone else.  I think it may explain why “Catholic Mom” and I see with different eyes.
Susan Peterson

June 13, 8:29 pm | [comment link]
82. eulogos wrote:

#79 Pageantmaster,  you are quite a scholar.  Or are you just a skilled Googler?  In any case, thank you. 
Susan

June 13, 8:32 pm | [comment link]
83. eulogos wrote:

#54 laudate
Have you ever read Frederika Matthews-Green’s essay about her first experience with the Byzantine rite, and about how much more easily most men than most women adjust to it, in her experience. You can find it on her webpage. 
Here is a link
http://www.frederica.com/facing-east-excerpt-1/
Susan

June 13, 8:42 pm | [comment link]
84. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#82 Susan
Google is my friend cool smile

June 13, 8:52 pm | [comment link]
85. eulogos wrote:

Ah, now I can just sit back and listen to Ad Orientem and MichaelA go at it.  While they marshall their points I will go check out the link that Ad Orientem sent me.
Good will to all, although not agreement!
Susan Peterson

June 13, 8:54 pm | [comment link]
86. MichaelA wrote:

Susan at #85, you are all heart! :o)

June 13, 9:04 pm | [comment link]
87. MichaelA wrote:

Not wanting to disappoint Susan, I suppose I had better reply to Ad Orientem at #78!

“Orthodoxy and Rome agree very much on the nature of the Church insofar as it is visible and One.”

Well sure, so long as you first clarify that by “Orthodoxy”, you mean “Eastern Orthodoxy”. But its not really agreement - you could just as easily say that Islam, Judaism and Christianity agree that there is one God. That would also be correct, in a way.

In reality, Rome, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy aren’t agreed at all, and probably never will be. If one group of churches says: “we are the visible church and nobody else is”, and another group of churches says, “No, you are wrong, we are the visible church and nobody else is” and yet a third group says, “No, you are both wrong, we and only we are the visible church”, then you don’t have agreement at all. Rather, you have strong and contentious disagreement!

“It has been consistently taught as such by the Fathers and the saints.” 

No it hasn’t. You haven’t even adequately defined what you mean, except that the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox and the Roman Catholics are in schism. This bears little or no resemblance to the teachings of the church fathers.

” All of the dogmatic definitions have anathemas clearly attached.  If you reject them you are absolutely excommunicated and cut off from the Church.”

This is wildly inaccurate, particularly when applied to the whole patristic period.

However, I know where you are coming from, because we have been through this before on T19. At one point you pushed the idea that the church fathers taught that one must excommunicate anyone who had communion with a heretic, and we went through the church fathers and of course it wasn’t there, except in a few isolated and late instances. I suppose we have to go through it all again, fine.

“I really have no idea where you are getting your bizarre version of Patristic Church history from.”

We go through this every time. You write something like this, and I respond: “By reading the church fathers” and then we discuss what the church fathers actually say, and lo and behold, either they don’t say what you have asserted, or only a minority of them do. I am quite happy to go through the exercise again. Over to you.

“Perhaps you could direct me to some scholarly work that shows how the Fathers of the Church were all Protestants who believed in open communion?”

If I had made either of those assertions, then I would! If you define it a bit better we might get somewhere.

But of course there is then the issue of “scholarly work” – last time we discussed an issue similar to this, it turned out that phrases like “scholarly work” meant “books Ad Orientem has read, and whose conclusions he already agrees with”!

June 13, 9:41 pm | [comment link]
88. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) wrote:

Thanks to all for the interesting posts.  Pageantmaster and Google, taking over the world…  grin

June 13, 11:38 pm | [comment link]
89. Paul Zahl wrote:

I think Sarah’s comment (# 7) is important.

She considers a singular option to “stunning and painful loss”: the possibility that what one had was “intrinsically flawed”.  It seems to me that such a possibility in relation to the Church culture-wars needs to be studied—or at least conceded as an alternative meaning. 

You can work that possibility through and still come up for air!  But given the “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground” (“Fire and Rain”, 1970)—the real evidence of a stunning loss, no matter how one spins it—I think this question needs to be asked. 

I’ve been thinking about Comment # 7 for almost two days.

June 14, 9:30 am | [comment link]
90. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#89 Rev Zahl

I too have been thinking about these things, in the context of a reading from Wednesday for such events as these: 1Kings 19:1-18

I do not know if it helps, but I do not believe that the Anglican Church is “intrinsically flawed”, although, like in Elijah’s time, the prophets of the Lord are being put to the sword.  Think on these things by all means, but then place them by the foot of the rood and take rest under the broom tree.

Nil Desperandum.  God bless.

June 14, 10:15 am | [comment link]
91. St. Nikao wrote:

Helpful to my deliberations about the validity of Anglicanism in the face of those deriding and discrediting her from the two OTC camps, have been the posts at the Anglican Continuum blog (http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/) on the Thirty-nine Articles as well as those concerning the Ordinariate. 

It’s important to get many views - ‘In a multitude of counselors’ there is wisdom, safety and victory as several verses in Proverbs tell us. 

The current church is a tangled, divided, evolved work of many human weavers over the centuries, good and bad, some reliable and some not.  We need many candles and much care and prayer, to be able to untangle the fine threads, see their true colors, trace them backward to their beginning and weigh their merits and acertain the support they have received from the whole of the church, past and present.

June 14, 11:02 am | [comment link]
92. wildfire wrote:

When flying machines end up in pieces on the ground, there is a black box somewhere that explains why it happened.  We have a black box as well, but people are looking for it in the wrong place.  It is not theological, but legal and political.

June 14, 11:02 am | [comment link]
93. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#92 well said.

June 14, 12:37 pm | [comment link]
94. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#92 When reading ‘a variety of views’ it is important to know from whom the view is coming.  One of the fairly few 19th C commentaries on the 39 Articles was from an Anglo-Catholic.  In the case of the articles you mention at least one from a Catholic priest.  Should we take our views of Anglican foundational documents from a hostile church or world view?  I think not.

Where you start from will ultimately determine where you end up.

June 14, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
95. Catholic Mom wrote:

  Although the comment is on an Anglican blog, #69 is absolutely right, both that I am a Catholic,  and that these things are said all the time on Catholic blogs. 

I never said it was said by Anglicans.  I said it was said on Anglican blogs.  Usually by ex-Anglicans. smile

I want a church that looks like a church and is rich in color and sacred images. 

OK, my former church (pastored by Father, now Msg. Greg) was beautifully decorated with religious artwork collected from all over the world by Father Greg.  Personally I think Father Greg is gay (though I am absolutely convinced completely celibate) which is really none of my business but he does have a tremendous sense of art and decoration.

  I prefer them to be of some artistic merit and subtlety, but at this point I will take a crowd of mass market pastel plaster saints, over a beige carpeted bare hall

Well, my present pastor, Father Tim, would probably have been a truck driver had he not entered the priesthood.  His taste varies from gaudy to kitsch except in the few works of “art” in the church which manage to be both gaudy AND kitschy.  But the church IS extremely “colorful.” smile  I appreciate that both the artistic works valued by Father Greg and by Father Tim have been selected on the basis of heartfelt love and devotion and a sense of what is beautiful in their eyes, albeit with a different depth of artistic understanding.

Just the fact that you said that music was “the least of your concerns” is a clue to our different sensibility.

The most of my concerns is that the faithful are kneeling in reverent silence around the Holy Table while the priest stretches out his hands over the elements and says “This is my Body…This is my Blood” and that Jesus Christ himself comes down from heaven at that moment and becomes really and truly present in our midst.  Since no music whatsoever is playing at that moment, it is the least of my concerns what music is played at some other time.

  I want a chanted liturgy as the norm.  I don’t want to see the choir up front next to the altar, unless there are formal choir stalls there in the Anglican manner and they are vested. I don’t want to see, much less listen to, guitars and tamborines,  and their bouncing and posturing players.  I want all the liturgical movements to be formalized.  I want the vestments and altar appointments to be made of beautiful, embroidered cloth.  I want an altar rail to divide off the space where the altar is (or a rood screen, or iconostasis.) I don’t want lay people in that space except for vested acolytes.  I don’t want communion given out by lay people,  if it is at all possible to avoid it, and if it must be, I wish they would at least wear the white robe as the Anglicans have them do. 


Wow! That’s longer than my kids’ Christmas list!  Personally I’d like a free lunch after mass and a Mercedes to drive me home but I’m not going to get that either. smile  We have 6,000 people in my parish.  And most of them show up regularly.  That’s what I meant by “dynamic” —a congregation that is very active and shows up and gets involved in a lot of things.  When you have 800 people per mass in church, you are going to have lay ministers of Communion or you are still going to be there when the next mass starts.  And I’m very happy and grateful that these people volunteer and show up week after week to do this.  Since I’m not attending a papal mass, I really don’t care what they wear assuming it is appropriate for church.  And if I ever get to attend a papal mass I’ll be so happy to be there I won’t care either.

  I had to close my eyes and look down, because they had a pants suited nun set up the altar, do the readings, give out the cup, and clean the vessels afterwards. They were trying to make her into a quasi-priest.

Do you never wear pants suits to church or is it just nuns that aren’t supposed to wear them?  When I see a sister who has dedicated her whole life to the Church and to serving others I usually think something along the lines of “God bless you sister” rather than be annoyed by her clothing.  As far as being a “quasi priest”—I assume she is a big part of the ministry of that church and the pastor wants to share as many as duties as he can with her (bearing in mind that everything you mentioned can be done by lay people—and in some cases by 10 year old children).  As long as she is not purporting to concelebrate what is the harm?

I was already Byzantine by that point, and after the awe and mystery of the space around the Byzantine altar, where I would never think to tread,  I absolutely could not bear it. 

OK, can I say something really delicate here?  Please totally correct me if you think I’m way off base, but deep down inside I sometimes think that Anglicans [I’m not saying Orthodox] need a lot of music and decoration and liturgy and “gravitas” etc. etc. to provide “awe and mystery” to their services because they lack the one essential mystery—the ability to bring Christ himself physically into their midst.  I would not exchange a mass said downstairs in my basement with music provided via my kids iPod for the greatest (but to me empty at the core) ceremony in Westminster Cathedral.  How much chanted liturgy was there at the Last Supper?  How much great art work on the walls?  What vestments were worn?  What embroidered cloths were on the table?  Where was the altar rail when Christ passed around the cup of his blood?  Are lovely things lovely to look at?  Sure.  But they are things.  And they are non-essential.  I appreciate that an effort has been made to make the church look beautiful.  Whether it meets my greatest expectations or not is a very minor point.

Another parish has a daily mass in which all 20 people present each have to hug each other at the kiss of peace,  even passing behind the altar to do so, while Our Lord lies there neglected.

Well considering that Our Lord said “by this sign will men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another” I can’t think that he would feel TOO neglected by Christians hugging one another in his presence.  But I will agree that hugging can be over done.  We once had a visiting priest who announced that he had huggers stationed at the back door and everyone would receive a special hug on the way out.  He said “If you you’re Irish and you don’t like to be hugged, pretend you’re Italian.  If you’re Italian and you don’t like to be hugged, there’s no hope for you.”  I’m Irish and I ducked out a side door. smile

As for sermons…  I suspect my sensibility here is more Protestant.  I would like some serious exegesis of the readings.  I want what Fr. Matt Kennedy does at Good Shepherd, except from a Catholic point of view. 

Well, Father Greg is an intellectual and his sermons were brilliant and full of quotations from great theologians and scholars.  Father Tim is a Jersey boy and his favorite thing in life is to go to the shore.  His homilies almost always have to do with something that happened at the beach or the time he had $500 in his back pocket and he lost it and then found it later in his couch cushions. (You can guess what parable was the Gospel reading for the day.)  But they are both men of great faith and frankly Father Tim’s sermons are much better understood (and quoted) by my sons than Father Greg’s ever could be.  And then there is Father Charlie who is a retired priest who sometimes steps in for Father Tim.  Father Charlie’s homilies consist of this:  he tells a bad joke from Reader’s Digest and then he talks about heaven.  Father Charlie was devoted to his mother who died 20 years ago.  Father Charlie truly believes that she is in heaven and that he will be reunited with her there.  For Father Charlie heaven is as real and certain a destination as the post office down the street.  No matter how much I think I “believe” I always feel like a total agnostic when faced with the absolutely unshakeable faith of Father Charlie.  And frankly that is far more important for me to expose my kids to then, for example,  the most erudite sermon from someone to whom heaven is at best an abstract intellectual concept.  So I am very happy to listen to Father Charlie.

June 14, 1:47 pm | [comment link]
96. St. Nikao wrote:

Agreed - #92.
It is not theological, but political (as in power-mongering and political agendas and ‘correctness’), plain old sin and loss of first love devotion - getting eyes and heart off The True Head and Builder of the Church - the one Mediator - Jesus Christ.  John 14:15, 21.

June 14, 1:47 pm | [comment link]
97. Teatime2 wrote:

#95—

OK, can I say something really delicate here?  Please totally correct me if you think I’m way off base, but deep down inside I sometimes think that Anglicans [I’m not saying Orthodox] need a lot of music and decoration and liturgy and “gravitas” etc. etc. to provide “awe and mystery” to their services because they lack the one essential mystery—the ability to bring Christ himself physically into their midst.  I would not exchange a mass said downstairs in my basement with music provided via my kids iPod for the greatest (but to me empty at the core) ceremony in Westminster Cathedral.  How much chanted liturgy was there at the Last Supper?  How much great art work on the walls?  What vestments were worn?  What embroidered cloths were on the table?  Where was the altar rail when Christ passed around the cup of his blood?  Are lovely things lovely to look at?  Sure.  But they are things.  And they are non-essential.  I appreciate that an effort has been made to make the church look beautiful.  Whether it meets my greatest expectations or not is a very minor point.

Delicate? No. Arrogant? I think so.

First off, the changing of the elements is a gift from God who, despite the grandiose claims, isn’t bound in His gifts, actions, and mercies by the proclamations and rules of the RCC. “Ask, and you shall receive; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” “What Father would give His son a stone when he asked for bread or a scorpion when he asked for a fish?”

I could go on but won’t. Our priests ask, the same as yours do; we ask, just as you do, and I believe God answers, blesses and transforms. My God is not bound by a middleman.

And you have it all backwards, anyway. We have beautiful liturgy and places and we sing beautiful hymns BECAUSE of the wondrous action that’s going on at the altar. Because God deserves the best of our human efforts. Come to that, every human offering is inadequate but for God’s grace making them holy.

I know I’m probably writing to jaded eyes but I just have to wonder. If we’re so deficient and offer nothing but window-dressing, then why even “slum it” here? The sort of arrogance that your post displayed isn’t going to convert us and gloating/mocking/castigating isn’t a very Christian activity, even from the OTC crowd.

June 14, 2:21 pm | [comment link]
98. Teatime2 wrote:

Oh, and “Westminster Cathedral” is an RC cathedral. Perhaps it’s the Abbey services you seek to disparage? I doubt the Dean would lose sleep over that.

June 14, 2:23 pm | [comment link]
99. Catholic Mom wrote:

Right—it’s the Abbey I was thinking of.  Never can tell those British places apart.  It’s the American arrogance thing. smile  Or maybe the Irish arrogance thing.  Definitely one or the other. smile

First off, the changing of the elements is a gift from God

Umm…correct me again (I’m up for it) but apart from arguing about their ability to do it, don’t the Anglicans say they are NOT doing it??

June 14, 2:31 pm | [comment link]
100. eulogos wrote:

95, Catholic Mom.  I really do appreciate your love for your pastors; you convey them well.
I don’t really agree with you that high Anglican worship is empty. It is always possible for people in any tradition to be insincere or concerned with externals rather than with true worship of the Holy Trinity.  But I don’t think that is any more true of beautiful worship.  I think that Our Lord is present to Anglicans in their worship.  An immense number of things could be said at this point, and I am not sure which ones it is important or wise to say. We could get into a discussion of Anglican orders, Dutch touch and all that.  But I won’t.  My own experience is not anyone else’s truth, nor does it prove any doctrine. But I will say anyway that I was converted by the presence of Our Lord in an Episcopal eucharist.  How this is, is not mine to say.  But I don’t believe He leaves any of His people orphans. 

I have been perfectly happy at some very simply celebrated Eucharists in some very basic settings.  Like, at a church picnic.  I guess it is what appears to me the “fake” or “tawdry” or maybe just “cheesy”  aspect of some church decoration,  or that some of it is very self consciously pushing a certain set of ideas.  For instance, the removal of the altar rail around the sacred space says there is no sacred space,  it is all holy (this was said to me by a priest) and denies the sense we all have that God is much holier than we are, even if we are made holy by being His.  This is a large subject.

I think it is a false opposition to say that if someone preaches with learning,  heaven is to him only an abstract intellectual concept. You didn’t quite say that, but you implied it.  I respect the preacher who tries to make sense of the Sunday readings for the people, even if he isn’t magnificently learned.  He can share the result of an hour or two of study in his ten minutes on Sunday. 

No, I don’t wear pants suits.  I dislike them and don’t look good in them.  I usually wear long skirts.  But my point was that the altar is a place set apart and vestments are part of that.  It wasn’t a point about what the nun wears in her daily life, although of course I prefer at least a modified habit.  And in fact lay people should not do all of the things she does.  For instance, extraordinary ministers of holy communion are not supposed to purify the vessels; the priest is supposed to do so.  But I won’t argue with you any more about this.  One cannot convey a sensibility via argument. 

Susan Peterson

June 14, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
101. Catholic Mom wrote:

If we’re so deficient and offer nothing but window-dressing, then why even “slum it” here? The sort of arrogance that your post displayed isn’t going to convert us and gloating/mocking/castigating isn’t a very Christian activity, even from the OTC crowd.

Well, I don’t go to mass here.  I already said I’d rather go to mass in my basement than in Westminster Abbey.  (For one thing, it’s much much closer.)  I just come to exchange views here because you all are so good at it. smile  I didn’t notice a whole pile of gloating, mocking or castigating in my last post, but if you saw it that way, I apologize.  I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for Anglicans—but it’s based on their faith in Jesus, not on their music, liturgy, art etc. however good those may be.

June 14, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
102. eulogos wrote:

99 Catholic Mom,  it depends which Anglicans you talk to. And what you mean by “change.”  And by “physically present”. 

Anglo-Catholics of the highest (in the churchmanship sense of high) type mean *exactly* what we mean in their celebrations of the mass. Some of them even use the same liturgy we do, some the Novus Ordo, some the Tridentine rite, and some a missal which is a combination of parts of the prayer book with parts from the mass.  Then there are other Anglicans, still rather high,  who use the prayer book ritual, but with genuflections, incense etc etc.  Some of them say they do not believe in transubstantiation, but they do believe in the Real Presence.  They reserve the Blessed Sacrament and genuflect to the tabernacle.  As far as I can tell, the transubstantiation which they do not believe in, we Catholics do not believe in either.  What they reject is not what we teach.  (And actually, we do not believe Our Lord is “physically” present, the word you used, if by that you mean materially or chemically.  We believe He is “substantially” present.  Which means,  “really” present.  Which is what they believe.  )  And then some Anglicans believe what Calvin believed, that Christ doesn’t come down here, but that by receiving communion we are for the moment lifted into heaven with him.  And some even take the memorialist position.  But those you will not find with the incense and the genuflections. They still take the rite very seriously. 
Susan Peterson

June 14, 2:48 pm | [comment link]
103. Catholic Mom wrote:

  But I will say anyway that I was converted by the presence of Our Lord in an Episcopal eucharist.  How this is, is not mine to say.  But I don’t believe He leaves any of His people orphans. 

I believe that Our Lord can make himself present to any person in any place at any time through any means.  And I am sure that he has not left faithful Anglicans as orphans.  Or course I think the fullness and completeness of the mass is more to be found in a bare Catholic church than in the greatest Anglican cathedral or else I would not be Catholic.  As someone asked earlier—is it uncharitable to say this?  I almost never discuss this and only did this time because we were specifically talking about what some Catholic churches may lack.

June 14, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
104. eulogos wrote:

#103 CM “Is it uncharitable to say this?”  It is a very touchy point for Anglo-Catholics. And some Roman Catholics take an uncharitable delight in telling them they are adoring a piece of bread.  I skirmish with them all the time on the more conservative Catholic blogs.

The Orthodox, you know, don’t think any sacraments are grace filled outside of Orthodoxy.  How does it make you feel that they think only they are really receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion?  Not as an abstraction, but say if you were among them.  One of them told me to just wait until I saw my Orthodox grandchildren baptized. (My son had married an Orthodox girl.)  I said I had just seen two Catholic grandchildren baptized.  He said that was not what he meant.  I said “It’s the same baptism.”  and he denied it.  My jaw dropped.  Now if I had no respect for the Orthodox I suppose I could have dismissed it,  but I wouldn’t have been there in the Orthodox church basement after liturgy if I didn’t have great respect for the Orthodox. 

Can you imagine how it feels to have someone say that when you kneel to receive Our Lord (as Anglicans still do)  He is not really there?  Because that is what you said.  And Anglo Catholics believe He is there based on the same theology as we do. And they do respect us, even while rejecting our errors.  Other Anglicans with a different theology of ministry and sacrament are not quite so vulnerable,  but a statement like yours still seems arrogant.  If it were true one might have to say it if pressed.  But I don’ t think our theology requires us to say it. 
Susan Peterson

June 14, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
105. Catholic Mom wrote:

Anglo-Catholics of the highest (in the churchmanship sense of high) type mean *exactly* what we mean in their celebrations of the mass.

I will exclude the Anglo-Catholics from what I said, just as I excluded the Orthodox.  But I will say that while I do not believe God has left the Anglo-Catholics to be orphans, I think history surely has.  I feel very sorry for them and I mean this in a sincere way.  I would be very sad to be in their position.

June 14, 3:10 pm | [comment link]
106. St. Nikao wrote:

CM,

This discussion has gone sort of off-base and several things need to be said to clear the air and help us to continue from here:

First - We are discussing a much-loved and very gifted former Anglican who has found it necessary to leave the RC for the Russian Orthodox.  And we are concerned about his distress and welfare and are praying for him.

Second - The claims and ecclesiology of the RC were formed by and within the RC, and thus are only valid within the RC.  They are not shared by other Christians, including the Orthodox. 

Three - We cherish our Anglican heritage, both the theology and the form of worship, and believe it to be validated by Scripture and the Holy Spirit.  It does not matter to us in the least whatever Roman Catholics or the Orthodox may think of it. 
Your view may be limited to catch phrases and colored by a kind of spiritual competitiveness.
Here is a brief history that may help you grasp Anglicanism better:  http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/27528#461757
Here is a short treatise on Anglican orders: http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2011/06/apostolic-authority-and-anglican-orders.html

Further, we know that Henry VIII didn’t create or begin the church in England, but he did help it become free from a system that was out of order and self-exalting and political as much as Christian.  With the continental and English reformations, gradually the Roman Catholic Church reformed, albeit in very very slow motion. 

Finally, we Anglicans have good will and all blessings toward the Roman Catholic Church and hope it will continue, grow and flourish.

June 14, 3:40 pm | [comment link]
107. Sarah wrote:

An interesting discussion.

RE: “Is it uncharitable to say this?”

I do not think it at all uncharitable—it is perfectly in keeping with the doctrine and dogma of Rome. 

Any Protestant [evangelical or catholic or reformed or all three] will think it simply the outcome of the foundational delusion of the RC doctrine and dogma and move on, entirely unoffended.

If a woman sincerely asserts and believes that she is the Queen of Sheba and you are her friend, then naturally you accept the *consequences* of that belief.  When “the Queen of Sheba” demands that you curtsy to her or declares that she must refurbish her robes and crown for future public engagements, you don’t really get offended by those consequences of her foundational belief.  You simply accept it, smile, and move on.

As far as the material/physical aspects of worship—I think that theology matters.  As a wise acquaintance of mine always says—we are doomed to live out, on a daily practical basis, our theology.

As William Temple once said, Christianity is intrinsically and theologically the most materialistic religion in the world.  We’re not gnostics or anti-materialists.  We believe that God loves the material world—after all He created it and He became enfleshed as man too. 

Hence—the material aspect of the Christian faith and of Christian worship.

Obviously everybody has different tastes.  But if a person finds the *material expression* of a particular room in Christ’s house invariably tawdry, tasteless, vacuous, shallow, repellent, or BrittanySpears like, they should probably attribute that particular expression of the Christian faith as “living out their theology in a concrete way” and ponder just what bits of their doctrine and dogma lead to that material expression.

Bishop Allison articulates this idea quite magisterially in his book The Cruelty of Heresy, which nicely describes the *practical real-world effects on people* of heresy.

The good news is . . . “we are doomed to live out our theology” applies to *all Christians* and their respective doctrines and dogmas.

We Anglicans, for instance, are experiencing that truism in spades at this interesting segment of our church’s history.

As I’ve said before, I think it’s a “bad patch” [just as I could name a couple of centuries—or three or four—of other “bad patches” for certain other Christian churches].  But it’s pretty darn bad, and it has real-world consequences for human beings who happen to be Anglican.

June 14, 4:38 pm | [comment link]
108. Teatime2 wrote:

Well said, Susan and St. Nikao. Susan, your words are particularly appreciated.

CM shouldn’t feel sorry for us. As the via media church, we Anglicans are used to taking it from both sides, at times. The hardcore Protestants say we’re too Catholic and the hardcore Catholics say we’re deficiently Protestant. It’s the nature of the middle way.

However, I was gobsmacked by the disparagement of our Eucharist because that is belittling the actions of Our Lord. It is not some magically scripted words of consecration or ordination that make Christ present in the sacrament—it’s GOD’S ACTION because of the promises of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And to say that God cannot or will not act in this manner outside of the RCC or the OC is, in my mind, blasphemy.

Elizabeth I said it quite simply and well:
“Christ was the word that spake it.
He took the bread and break it;
And what his words did make it
That I believe and take it.”

He said it, I believe it. It is a matter of faith and of asking, not formulas and speculated metaphysics. It is mystery.

June 14, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
109. Catholic Mom wrote:

If a woman sincerely asserts and believes that she is the Queen of Sheba and you are her friend, then naturally you accept the *consequences* of that belief…you don’t really get offended by those consequences of her foundational belief.  You simply accept it, smile, and move on. 

Yes, but only if you are firmly convinced that the Queen of Sheba is actually dead or else never existed.  If a woman fimly believes that she is the Queen of England, you may have to consider the possibility that she is.  Especially if she lives in Windsor Castle, carries a little purse, wears white gloves, and waves a lot.  In which case you might have to weigh seriously the consequences of *not* curtseying. 

The Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church believe there IS a Queen of Sheba and that she is alive right now and that they are she.  Actually, the RC Church believes that they are the Queen of Sheba and the Orthodox are very likely her twin sister.  The Protestants, by and large, deny that there is a Queen of Sheba to begin with, so their dismissal of RC claims is quite different from Orthodox dismissal of the same claims. 

However, please note, I wasn’t even remotely discussing the Queen of Sheba or the claims of the Roman Catholic Church to be the One Holy and Apostolic Church.  An extremely long list of the deficiencies of the average Catholic church was listed and I discussed them point by point.  In one singe paragraph I discussed my belief that the Catholic Church possess a greater fullness of truth in the Eucharist than do Protestants which makes all other aspects (liturgy, vestments, music, etc) secondary.  This being totally synonymous with the words “I am a Catholic” it is surprising that it is surprising.  As far as the Orthodox view of the RC sacraments, why indeed would it bother me in the slightest?

June 14, 5:32 pm | [comment link]
110. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#108 Teatime - there is much in what you say.  Much of what we formalise in our liturgy is to express formally the instructions Christ gave us, and to which he promised that he would respond:
1. ‘where two or three are gathered together in My Name,
there I am in the midst of them’ Matthew 18:20;
2. ‘And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ 1 Corinthians 11:24;
3. ‘So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ Luke 11:9-13
4. ‘whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’ John 14:13-14
and of course:
5. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19
God is faithful and keeps His promises, so if we follow the instructions, by His Spirit He will come.

June 14, 5:39 pm | [comment link]
111. Confessor wrote:

Amen, Sarah, Teatime2 and Pageantmaster. 


Thanks and praise be to God!

June 14, 5:46 pm | [comment link]
112. St. Nikao wrote:

I love that poem Teatime2.

One source also cites John Donne, one of my favorite poets, as the author of that poem.  http://classicsnetwork.com/quotes/authors/Donne

However, here’s a very appropriate word from Elizabeth I for this thread:

“There is only one Christ, Jesus, one faith. All else is a dispute over trifles.”

(Elizabeth’s response to the Catholic/Protestant divide)

June 14, 6:26 pm | [comment link]
113. Sarah wrote:

RE: “However, please note, I wasn’t even remotely discussing the Queen of Sheba or the claims of the Roman Catholic Church to be the One Holy and Apostolic Church.”

Certainly there is a rather direct link between the claims of the RC church about itself and this rather plain vanilla assertion of RC doctrine and dogma: “they lack the one essential mystery—the ability to bring Christ himself physically into their midst . . . “

RE: “Yes, but only if you are firmly convinced that the Queen of Sheba is actually dead or else never existed.”

Very true. 

RE: “If a woman fimly believes that she is the Queen of England, you may have to consider the possibility that she is.”

Absolutely.  But once it’s been considered, and history, the logistics of travel, and various other practicalities have been examined, and the friend has rejected her friend’s foundational assertions about herself then one proceeds onward to dealing with the perfectly understandable, natural, and unsurprising consequences of her friend’s faulty foundational belief about her own identity.

RE: “The Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church believe there IS a Queen of Sheba and that she is alive right now and that they are she.”

Yes indeed they do.  And there are natural, unsurprising, and understandable consequences to their foundational beliefs about their identity.

RE: “The Protestants, by and large, deny that there is a Queen of Sheba to begin with . . . “

Oh not at all.  They understand that the Queen of Sheba exists and that the RC or EO churches are most definitely *not* her.  ; > )

RE: “In one singe paragraph I discussed my belief that the Catholic Church possess a greater fullness of truth in the Eucharist than do Protestants which makes all other aspects (liturgy, vestments, music, etc) secondary.  This being totally synonymous with the words “I am a Catholic” it is surprising that it is surprising.”

We completely agree there.  There are natural, understandable, and unsurprising consequences to the RC belief about its own identity.

Protestants who understand the RC assertions about itself and its identity should have no surprises at all about the consequences of the RC beliefs about its identity.

June 14, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
114. Teatime2 wrote:

Indeed, Pageantmaster. It was these passages and understandings of Scripture that first made me critically ponder what I was taught in the RCC about other Christians, made more poignant because I had so many devout Protestant loved ones.

St. Nikao, John Donne is one of my favorites, too. But this sounds more like Elizabeth to me because it’s so succinct and stylized as her most famous:
“Much suspected by me,
Nothing proved can be,
Quoth Elizabeth prisoner.”

But, whoever wrote it, it’s still spot-on. smile

Sarah, it’s not surprise about substance but surprise at such poor form. It is akin to a committed carnivore showing up at a vegan gathering and pronouncing the food as rubbish. Is it reasonable to expect that a carnivore may think thusly of vegan fair? I suppose. But if you think it’s rubbish and you can’t restrain yourself from being critical about the fare then expect to be called out by the vegan guests who shouldn’t have to apologize for their practices at their own gathering.

Look, I have immediate family who are RC; I don’t trash their beliefs and they don’t trash mine. We speak of what our traditions have in common. It’s called being polite and loving, recognizing and respecting that we do believe differently about some things.

And I think this does have some bearing on the original topic. While the former Anglicans might give intellectual assent to the doctrine of their new Church, it can be quite a different matter to live with it and apply it.

June 14, 7:38 pm | [comment link]
115. Teatime2 wrote:

oops, fair=fare. My mind must still be on the Dr. Pepper festival from last week, lol.

June 14, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
116. Sarah wrote:

RE: “It’s called being polite and loving . . . “

[sniff] BUT what would be the point of blogging then???

; > )

June 14, 8:22 pm | [comment link]
117. Ad Orientem wrote:

Wow.  This thread is still alive (though I note it has wondered way off topic).  It must be in the top 10% for comments on T-19.  Briefly…

Susan Peterson,
Thank you for your kind words.  Sorry I won’t be obliging with the fireworks you were hoping for.  More on that in a moment.  [Section edited out by Elf] I will be unsubscribing from this thread after I post this.  It’s gotten too off track and my email box was flooded when I checked it tonight.  I have enjoyed our conversation here.

MichaelA
We have indeed been down this path before, though my recollection differs somewhat from yours.  As I recall I posted substantial quotes from the Fathers, various saints and works by reputable experts in the field of Patristics and Church History.  All of which you dismissed.  The quoted saints were too recent, the works were books that I had read and agreed with etc.  When invited to present quotes or evidence supporting your pov you demurred expressing the view that there was no need since in your opinion the burden of proof lay with me and I had failed. 

[Section with ad hominem references deleted by Elf]

And so, after some thought I have decided to take a note from Mrs. Nancy Reagan and “just say NO.”  And let us be honest here.  Is there anything that I could post that would more effectively express the consensus patrum than what has been written by men like Iakovos Zizioulas whom you dismissed so blithely?  I think not.  Such an undertaking is a waste of time.

All the same I wish you well.  Despite our profound differences I suspect that there are a wide range of areas where we are in agreement.

In ICXC
John

[Edited by Elf - please do not link to ad hominem comments posted elsewhere through this site - thanks]

June 15, 2:57 am | [comment link]
118. MichaelA wrote:

[Response to edited comment edited by Elf]

“Despite our profound differences I suspect that there are a wide range of areas where we are in agreement.”

Without a doubt. During heated arguments, I know I find it easy to forget all the many things that Christians agree on, a myriad things pertaining to heaven, hell, hope, mercy, sin, grace, holiness, judgment, love, redemption etc etc.

June 15, 4:31 am | [comment link]
119. Sarah wrote:

[Response to edited comment consequentially removed by Elf]

June 15, 6:20 am | [comment link]
120. Catholic Mom wrote:

  it’s not surprise about substance but surprise at such poor form. It is akin to a committed carnivore showing up at a vegan gathering and pronouncing the food as rubbish. Is it reasonable to expect that a carnivore may think thusly of vegan fair? I suppose. But if you think it’s rubbish and you can’t restrain yourself from being critical about the fare then expect to be called out by the vegan guests who shouldn’t have to apologize for their practices at their own gathering.

Oh for goodness sakes, Teatime, methinks you doth protest too much.  People can make all kinds of statements about the beauty and truth of the Reformation and why they are glad to be Protestants and the errors of Rome (none of much bothers me in the slightest and some of which I completely agree with) and say what a dismal awful church/service/liturgy/music/whatever/whatever the Catholics have and when I write a post which is 99% ONLY about my experiences as a Catholic and include in that post a most unsurprising statement about how Catholics feel about the mystery of the Eucharist compared to how the overwhelming number of Protestants feel about it (and happy to be corrected if someone tells me that the Anglo-Catholics fall in a different category) then I am trashing your whole religion and it’s just too awfully rude to bear?

OK, again, I apologize.  I will never make any statement whatsoever in the future that could remotely be seen as comparing Catholicism with any other branch of Christianity in a way which suggests that I feel that Catholicism has greater merit in any way.  You may tell stories about what bad experiences you had in the RCC and why you rejected it.  Other people will talk about how delusional the foundational claims of the Catholic Church are.  Still others will describe the excreble (sp?) music and litury.  I will sing “Kumbaya” and sway while reading.

June 15, 7:59 am | [comment link]
121. Sarah wrote:

RE: “and sway while reading. . . . “

[hands raised in horror] Oh please do not do that!

June 15, 8:01 am | [comment link]
122. St. Nikao wrote:

Teatime2 #114 - I just logged on to say the same thing and that I thought you were right.  After going back and reading some of my Donne poems, (I don’t have his complete works) I’m also convinced it was Elizabeth’s ascerbic short, sweet, steely wit and authoritativeness at work in the poem about the Eucharist.  Donne’s far too long-winded to be the author.  :8-)

June 15, 8:10 am | [comment link]
123. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Donne’s far too long-winded to be the author

When all is done, the hell of hells, the torment of torments, is the everlasting absence of God, and the everlasting impossibility of returning to his presence; sayes the Apostle, it is a fearefull thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Yet there was a case, in which David found an ease, to fall into the hands of God, to scape the hands of men: When God’s hand is bent to strike, it is a fearefull thing, to fall into the hands of the living God; but to fall out of the hands of the living God, is a horror beyond our expression, beyond our imagination.

June 15, 8:56 am | [comment link]
124. Catholic Mom wrote:

[hands raised in horror] Oh please do not do that!

Well, you know, it’s something I picked up at one of our clown masses.  Or maybe it was the puppet mass.  Anyway, we are usually handed a guitar or banjo when we enter church and we spend most of our time drowining out the liturgy by strumming and singing “Oh Susannah!”  or the like.  It’s actually a lot of fun.

June 15, 9:09 am | [comment link]
125. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Sarah raising her hands is definitely a development.

June 15, 9:22 am | [comment link]
126. francis wrote:

Sorry to interfere with all the cutesie comments but there are no pix of Fr Kimel and there is no info about a Western Rite (Russian) Church.  This seems to be a best kept secret and will have all the legs that such a story will engender.  Not too hopeful from the cave.

June 15, 10:25 am | [comment link]
127. Sarah wrote:

Hi Francis—here’s one of the announcements:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=37024.0

So I’m not sure how it is a secret.

I would think the story would spread a bit . . . although I’m not sure what you mean by “legs”—as I said way above, I don’t think this is a particular surprise and consider it fairly ho-hum.  Generally it’s the “surprises” that tend to spread like wildfire.


Signed,


Cutesie

June 15, 10:39 am | [comment link]
128. francis wrote:

Thanks for that link Sarah.  It seems Western Rite is a very small activity indeed.

June 15, 10:59 am | [comment link]
129. farstrider+ wrote:

A bit more info from Sarah’s link:

[Kimel] was chrismated by an OCA priest (his longtime friend, Fr. Stephen Freeman), ordained in ROCOR, and will be serving alongside Fr. Alban Waggener of Lynchburg (Antiochian).

June 15, 3:09 pm | [comment link]
130. MichaelA wrote:

[Consequentially deleted by Elf]

June 15, 6:40 pm | [comment link]
131. eulogos wrote:

I have to admit that I don’t understand why he entered ROCOR, in order to work in an Antiochian parish.  Especially since the Antiochians would have received him by vesting and ROCOR performed something more….here I understood that it was something like a conditional ordination but another source said it was a full ordination, so I am confused.  Even if he didn’t care about that,  again, why ROCOR in order to be a priest in an Antiochian church?  Confusing to me.  I guess I am glad for them if the Orthodox are working together better than they have. 

I hope Fr. Kimel is well and will be happy.  I hope even more that he is doing what God wants him to do,  and that he acted with conviction about the truth of what he professed.  I admit that after following him on Pontifications,  where he shared all his thoughts,  I can’t help wondering about how he rethought all those issues.  But we don’t really have to know.  In the end it remains a mystery how one person comes to this conviction and another to that. 
I do think it does matter which is the truth, but at the same time, if we are really doing our best to listen to Him and obey Him,  I don’t think God would blame us for not figuring out the details exactly right.  And only He knows if we are doing our best to hear and obey.
Susan Peterson

June 15, 9:37 pm | [comment link]
132. The_Elves wrote:

Commenters are requested to be careful in their commenting and in particular to avoid the personal but stick to the thread issues - thanks - Elf

June 15, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
133. Confessor wrote:

Susan Peterson wrote in 131, ”...I am glad for them if the Orthodox are working together better than they have.”
Seeing the several groups of Orthodox working together in Fr. Kimel’s ordination is a reason to rejoice.  It was also a joy to see the various Continuing Anglican groups meeting together recently in Victoria BC, then afterward proclaiming their points of unity and planning future meetings. 

Hopefully these two events are an answer to our Lord’s prayer for unity in the upper room and will lead to wider unity among those who claim His Name.  It is interesting to note that both events are connected and seem to be responses, however indirectly, to the (Roman) Catholic Church.

June 16, 10:53 am | [comment link]
134. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#133 Confessor
I think it is also interesting to note the role of Anglicans and former Anglicans in encouraging unity among the churches and encouraging them to talk to one another and work together.  The problem is however that our efforts are often misundertood to encourage those who believe that a drive for unity involves submission to one or other of the churches.  But I think it is a particular gift of the Anglican Church as a peacemaker both between churches, and between peoples, as we are engaged in in the Middle East and elsewhere.

June 16, 11:11 am | [comment link]
135. LogicGuru wrote:

[Slightly edited - Elf] But I do have a theological concern. When I see Kimel and others who are dissatisfied with the Episcopal Church joining the RC church or the Orthodox Church I get the sinking feeling that for conservatives, as for liberals like myself, fundamental theology isn’t of primary importance—that what matters are hot-button issues concerning sexuality and, above all, the role and status of women.

The Roman Catholic Church is committed to doctrines that no Anglican can accept, e.g. papal infallibility and the invalidity of Anglican orders. Its disturbing that conservative like Kimel are prepared to swallow this as a don’t-care because they prefer the Catholic Church’s official doctrines concerning sexual ethics and the role of women. The Orthodox Church is even more remote theologically, liturgically and culturally: much as we hate it and kick against the goads, we (Anglicans) are Latins not Greeks and the East-West Division is much deeper, and older, than the Protestant-Catholic split. But again, conservative Anglicans who go over to the Orthodox don’t seem to have had sudden revelations leading them to reject the Filioque Clause: again, it’s all about sex, women, and a range of “lifestyle issues.”

What is dismaying about this whole affair is that it reveals in the most blatant way that for conservatives, as well as liberals, theology just isn’t important and theological differences don’t matter. The differences that matter to both conservatives and liberals make the cut between social conservatives, defined primarily in terms of a package of views about sexuality and gender, and social liberals. What matters is Culture Wars, not metaphysics.

June 16, 12:31 pm | [comment link]
136. Confessor wrote:

Also interesting, Pageantmaster, are the Orthodox vows quoted by The Pilgrim at MCJ (http://themcj.com/?p=22116) in which Fr. Kimel essentially agreed that certain doctrines held by the Roman Catholic Church are erroneous.  This is an affirmation of the Concilliar form of communion, doctrine and decision-making and discipline between the *churches* that Anglicans also hold to be faithful to Scripture.  Fr. Kimel must have come to believe this or he would not have gone through the pain and humiliation of this move or have made these vows.

May the Lord help us all who claim His Name to come to the sweet solid unity for which He prayed and prays still.  Amen.

June 16, 4:40 pm | [comment link]
137. Teatime2 wrote:

Confessor, That’s really interesting.
But I think that, at some point, one has to realize that the institutional Church is human-made and no one has it exactly right. If you keep searching for “perfection,” then you run the risk of becoming your own pope. And I can’t imagine any human being really wanting that role!

I also find it interesting that he’s going to be serving in the Antiochan church. Our local Antiochan Orthodox parish is listed as “gay-friendly.” Uh-oh. wink I’m not entirely sure what that means in practical terms but it’s an indication that “the issues” are everywhere.

June 16, 6:06 pm | [comment link]
138. Confessor wrote:

Maybe triple Uh-oh, Teatime2.

Uh-oh if he knew about such as this and went ahead anyway,
Uh-oh if he did not know
Uh-oh if Orthodox know and have fallen for the ‘it’s my identity’ line and the ‘I can’t help it’ line and have decided to affirm the identity and let people call themselves by these labels.

I have to say, it shakes my confidence in the Orthodox.

Would you be willing to post a link to the website?

June 16, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
139. Confessor wrote:

Teatime2 - That may be a vagante group like the Antiochian Catholic Church. There are many vagante groups:  http://www.ind-movement.org/

Here is the official Antiochian Orthodox Teaching - http://www.antiochian.org/node/17905 V. Rev. George Morelli is a clinical psychologist, therapist and Orthodox priest and pastor.

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America left the National Council of Churches, saying it was “unhappy with policies and statements some member denominations have made supporting gay and lesbian church members.

Metropolitan Philip Saliba, the denomination’s top bishop, was reportedly outspoken during the archdiocesan convention in Dearborn, Michigan, in urging the church to withdraw from the NCC. According to the online Orthodox News, published by Orthodox Christian Laity, both clergy and lay delegates approved the step unanimously July 28.

“It got to be too much,” said Antiochian spokesman Thomas Zain. “There was no more reason to be part of it.” The New York–based NCC has “lost its goal of Christian unity on a doctrinal basis. The goal seems to be including everybody and [promoting] niceties.”
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2005-08/antiochian-orthodox-christians-leave-ncc

June 16, 8:38 pm | [comment link]
140. MichaelA wrote:

Confessor wrote at #136,

“Also interesting, Pageantmaster, are the Orthodox vows quoted by The Pilgrim at MCJ (http://themcj.com/?p=22116) in which Fr. Kimel essentially agreed that certain doctrines held by the Roman Catholic Church are erroneous.”

I found most of the 143 comments on that page fascinating. The majority seem to be by Orthodox and Roman Catholic commenters, and they give a good idea of the wide spread of ideas on this subject.

June 16, 8:58 pm | [comment link]
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