Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ecclesiology: Everyone does what is right in their own eyes?

The "embarrassing evangelicals" at Jesmond Parish Church (JPC), Newcastle, England - ordaining a bishop without requisite orders to do so - have stirred up a hornet's nest of posts and counter-posts, radio interviews (perhaps TV also), and have even made the news in Christchurch's Press. A good round-up of posts is at Thinking Anglicans. TA also reports on moves towards a new structure here.

Back to my post below: I finished it thus:

"I think in this situation there are also significant episcopathological questions about what we Anglican evangelicals understand ecclesiology is. I will leave that for another post, save for this teaser:

Is it not strangely "Catholic" rather than "Anglican" when we go outside our national church boundaries to secure the ordaining hands of another bishop in order to have a bishop "of our own"?"

Needless to say some others have been getting there before me:

(1) On the matter of what the ordainers and their supporters think about what they have done ecclesiologically, see this paper, Credible Bishops. Its fine and non-controversial point is that faithful leadership needs faithful uber-leadership. But what it misses, I suggest, is this idea: faithful uber-leadership to support faithful leadership does not require a bishop. A senior and respected priest will do the job. A General-Secretary (lay or ordained) or a relevant organisation for reform and renewal will assist greatly. Anglican history is replete with examples of faithful uber-leadership who were not bishops: Newton, Simeon, Stott, Watson, Green, Philip Jensen and here in NZ, Canon Orange.

(2) Andrew Goddard, the voice of centrist evangelical reason in the CofE today, exposes the irregularities of the ordination here. And, SPOILER ALERT, makes the point that the ordination is not only not in accord with CofE canon law, it is not in accord with the canons of REACH SA itself.

(3) We voices from Down Under are plural, with Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, Sydney, chiming in with fervent support for the ordination and the reasons for it taking place, but recognising that nevertheless the ordination is "irregular" which strikes me as precisely the point Andrew Goddard makes (though Mark Thompson does not understand how the ordination even breaks REACH SA's own rules).

(4) We had better balance the Goddards out by including the liberal one (if I may so speak) and Giles G makes a point here which is not far away from the point I would like to make re the ecclesiology of this specific episcopathology (the study of the conditions under which episcopacy may be a flourishing form of life, including whether that flourishing is like the multiplying of bacteria or the multiplying of fruit ripe for harvest).

(5) [Added later]: JPC itself has published its thoughts in a Q and A document about "new style bishops."

Here goes, and quite briefly because it is The Week of Clergy Conference and There Is A Lot To Be Done Before Heading to the Wilds of Mid Canterbury (and slightly less than flourishing internet):

(1) bishops oversee the church in large chunks (dioceses, provinces, national churches, Communions) and thus need to be drawn from the chunks by a process the chunk is agreeable to;

(2) bishops offer a focus of unity and work for unity of the chunks of the church they are appointed to oversee and thus their appointment (and ordination before appointment, if not already ordained a bishop) should be according to the agreed processes (orders, canons, liturgies) of the chunk concerned so that this focus of and work for unity begins with unity;

(3) bishops are definitional of churches which have bishops: (among other definitions and distinctions) Anglicans are not Presbyterians because we believe in individual bishops rather than the corporate episcopacy of the Presbytery; but we Anglicans are not Roman Catholics because we believe that (a) bishops may be married; (b) need not be submissive to the authority of a single bishop for the whole world, though should be submissive to some authority whether a more local/national archbishop/primatial bishop or to a local/national General Synod (Convention).

Wise owls among us will add further points, but three is a fine number, standard for sermons and bless by the Trinity. On the first two counts the ordination in Newcastle is jolly well irregular (at best) because it involves zero process of involvement according to agreed protocols of the wider church (whether that is the CofE, REACH SA or the network of churches Bishop Pryke will be bishop of).

That is, bishops, even evangelical ones, must have a catholic (agreeable to the whole church) character to them and in the case at issue, this character is missing. There is a strong sense in this case where a few have chosen a man to be ordained bishop and the ordination has taken place in a secret location, unknown to the many, that "everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes."

On the third point, I suggest that we do not beat about the bush or South African veldt working out whether the Overseas Bishops Measure or Canon X,Y or Z applies. When canons are disregarded in order to have a new bishop, we have a new church in process of being defined. (Cf. Giles Goddard's article). Let's not bewail the irregularity of Bishop Pryke's ordination. Let's beseech those who seek a better way for the orthodox in the CofE to leave now, following the new bishop. It is the honest thing to do.

However all the orthodox who want to stay in the CofE, who want to work within the rules of the church, who wish to both influence if possible and then abide by the resolutions of the General Synod, let them stay. Let them give their bishops a good old hurry up if they should stray from the way of Christ. But let them not go down the path of irregular ordinations ... unless, see the paragraph immediately above.


Bryden Black said...

One simple and single question Peter: what do we do when the practices and patterns of behaviour of the organization have become systemically and chronically corrupt and sick?
John Wesley for example may have died seeing himself a CoE minister. The CoE itself had long ago ignored him and denied his God given ministry. And today's Anglican Communion and a good number of its provinces are sicker institutionally than the CoE of the 18th C

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
(1) Continue to pray and to work within the sick etc organization, where "within" includes within its rules and it Synodical processes for changing those rules; or,
(2) Leave.
What is not appropriate to the ecclesiology of bishops is to appoint one's own bishops, against the rules, within the sick organization.
And, as a question back to you, if the CofE is such a sick organization, how is it that the vast majority of evangelicals within it are not thinking of leaving it?

Bryden Black said...

Aha Peter ...
(1) Which of TODAY'S "provinces" might I have in mind actually ...?
(2) The truth behind 2 Tim 3:5 stands over and above any institutional form - precisely, eventually.
(3) And 18th C history taught us much, much about the way an institution often misses the movements of God, about the mercy of God - for even secular historians have suggested the Methodist Revival averted an equivalent revolution in England to that which occurred in France, where often those very leaders who were blind to God's work literally lost their heads - and about the long term consequences of a failure to read the signs of the times adequately. For France and for England, and so for ...

Lastly, what I've always found wanting in any appreciation of contemporary episcopacy is its abstract nature. For we love to say we're following the Early Church's Traditions, yet we pay scant attention to the actual demography and/or sociology of that very Church. What was the ratio of bishops to communicants in say the 3rd and 4th Cs? If Cyprian could muster a synod of bishops totalling 221 in mid 3rd C in North Africa for example, then clearly that means something VERY different to how we today function in either CoE or ACANZ&P ...! WHOSE "rules" might we follow after all?! History Peter, history ...!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bryden
All apt observations and glad not to be French (re the guillotine ... different story re pastries ...!)
Question: if we don't like our episcopacy, should we not change it by persuasion of fellow members of our church rather than by unilateral, individual, I do what is right in my own eyes actions?

Liturgy said...

I had similar thoughts to Bryden when I hit your point (3), Peter.
Anglicanism, I posit, actually has a fairly similar "corporate episcopacy" to Presbyterians. Presbyterian "chunks" are simply smaller (which they might have as "more appropriate"), and Presbyterians might be much closer to the Early Church ecclesiological proportions that Bryden highlights.
Your first point, yes, has become a sociological description of Anglican bishops: "they oversee the church in large chunks". But, having at least begun reflection on and reorganisation of the presbyterate and the diaconate, it is noticeable that all this stopped short at the episcopate.
"Bishops oversee the church in large chunks" is hardly an adequate theological approach; and we have now noted such a statement struggles to find justification in the Early Church.
I note, also, your careful use of the technical ecclesiological term "chunks" so that the novel Kiwi Anglican ecclesiology does not immediately look uncomfortable in your analysis.

Christ is Risen!


Peter Carrell said...

Is my life as a blogger drawing to a close? Having secured the agreement of Bosco and Bryden there are no more mountains to climb!

Yes, I see better now that we could do with a root and branch reform of the episcopacy including what "chunks" means in relationship to it. I am with you brothers. But not if it means law-breaking.

Peter Carrell said...

Is my life as a blogger drawing to a close? Having secured the agreement of Bosco and Bryden there are no more mountains to climb!

Yes, I see better now that we could do with a root and branch reform of the episcopacy including what "chunks" means in relationship to it. I am with you brothers. But not if it means law-breaking.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Peter, for the link to Credible Bishops, an interesting window into the fissiparous mind.

(a) Participation (union with Christ) and incorporation (membership in the Body) have been overlooked along with the ecclesiological questions-- where is the Body today?; who safeguards its unity and truth?-- that these realities have posed to believers and to which the episcopate has been the answer, even for some Reformed and Lutherans. This is surprising as we have been living amid a non-denominational revival of Protestant interest in what scripture shows us about participation and incorporation.

(b) It is also important: Anglican awareness of these realities informs our practise of, not just episcopacy, but also baptism and communion and so also confirmation, ordination, and arguably marriage. Not to put too fine a point on it, it does not make sense, scriptural or otherwise, to press an actualised ethos for the bodies of the faithful with only a docetic ethos for the Body of Christ itself.

(c) The memorandum would have been more persuasive if it had engaged the scriptural basis for the strongest alternate views, or at least those current in the Church of England. It instead dismisses those views for being different and deplores the influence that they have on the church at large. This is important: if the implied readers were in fact motivated by primarily by the scriptures, then the authors would at least engage relevant opposing views on what the Bible says to remove all doubt about their own position.

(d) Rather, a sort of bishop is sketched-- admittedly with very few strokes of the pen-- who seems a mainly didactic and disciplinary officer rather like a dean. Peter is right about this. Perhaps an alternate deanery for parishes keen on more of a certain kind of rigour fits the authors' purpose better than a diocese.

Bowman Walton

Anonymous said...

(e) Nevertheless, the memorandum is a plea for co-conspirators, who presumably have their doubts, to take episcopacy seriously. If we only believed what the authors say, some of us might take it less seriously, but there is surely no reason to doubt their own sincerity. Their motive seems to be actualisation in the present of an idealised Reformation paradigm that stipulates making a case from scripture, but does not require engagement with critics from other tribes on the ground of scripture.

(f) One is tempted to infer from that closure that the collective fissiparous mind, even when represented with intelligence, lacks the imagination to respond to challenges to its familiar paradigm. They love to consolidate the wisdom of a familiar past; they dislike careful comparative thinking. American Catholics who were lost amid the pastoral innovations of Vatican II come to mind.

(g) And so too does the passionate clash between the partisans of Vatican I and Vatican III. Fish-on-Friday Latin-mass Catholics whose lives were deeply enmeshed with Tridentine ways struggled to coexist in the same dioceses with think-for-yourself English-mass Catholics who could only remain Catholic if the Church relaxed those ways. Experimenting nuns who discarded quasi-monastic habits for simple street-wear were hurt and perplexed by the sputtering rage of Catholic traditionalists who just needed for there to be holy women in black somewhere. "Why is my religious vocation any of your business?" in the '60s could just as well be "Why is my sexuality any of your business?" in the '10s.

(h) The Anglican points of enmeshment are different-- certain received insights and stubborn ignorances, a strong preference for the propositional, etc-- but the clash between those who sail close to shore and those who navigate by the stars feels the same. At the extremes, it is the difference between couples who wear similar clothes in public and the no less committed couples who often travel and socialise apart. Some are enmeshed and self-less-- virtuously and viciously so-- others are connected but differentiated selves. At worst, the enmeshed do not adapt because they are not good at adapting, and the differentiated do not stay the course because they are too good at adapting.

(h) Roman Catholics have never really made peace, but they have learned to co-exist because their reception of participation and incorporation as essential to salvation makes schism unattractive to all but the most alienated. In contrast, the myriad tiny schisms from TEC alone since the C18 point to the Anglican vulnerability: we have said the right things about both salvation and about bishops, but because we have not all stressed the organic connections among those things, some are always apt to think that a bishop in communion with himself or with a few faraway co-conspirators is enough.

(i) A sort of grand bargain: why don't you enmeshed Anglicans stop resisting the participation and incorporation of the scriptures and Prayerbook, and why don't you differentiated Anglicans see yourselves in the predestination and vocation narrative of the scriptures? We can better be who we are with the whole mind of Christ.

Bowman Walton

Bryden Black said...

Nice view from the mountain top hey Peter!

And now I will tell you a little story. A regional Bishop of the archdiocese of Melbourne asked me once if I had carte blanche what I might do to aid evangelism and church growth in the diocese. He was driving me to his region for a day conference on just that subject when I was the department director. My response was, "I don't think you're going to like this Bishop N but I would appoint 24 bishops to the archdiocese of Melbourne. Trouble of course, Bishop, is that your Currency, i.e. your power, would be seriously diluted." The rationale for my answer had something to do with the catechumenal process. But that can wait for another day.

Fascinatingly, he was the only bishop to write to me after I retired from my position, thanking me for all my ministry in the city. And he was a pretty high church Anglo-Catholic.

No Peter; reform of the Anglican episcopate it is virtually impossible. Too much vested interest!

Jean said...

Hmm well, it all seems a bit Mickey Mouse to me.

John Wesley is an example, but in fairness, he did everything in his power NOT to be in the position of ordaining people for the sake of retaining the order of the CofE to which he retained allegiance, rather than following his own perspective that scripturally it was permissible; and the need for him to eventually do so came mostly from venturing into a new territory and facing pressure because there was such a limited number of people able to carry out communion and baptism, and the serving Bishops in the CofE of the time were not open to ordaining those preaching in the US - quite a different story to the current predicament.

So... I guess as Peter points out order is important especially for unity and deliberately spurning it is not necessary for a group of people who feel spirit led and called in a particular direction, there is plenty wriggle room in the lower echelons within current Anglicanism - as in the case of John Wesley, if it indeed turns out to be a God-endorsed direction it will be evident by its fruit and may then enter the upper echelon by necessity.

I have no idea whether Bishops in Aotearoa would or would not welcome more to the number! They all seem rather overworked...

Brian Kelly said...

To follow on from brothers Bowman, Bryden and Bosco - Brian butts in with blundering (blinkered or blessed?) bloviation:

It really comes down to what you think bishops are for: the 'esse' or 'bene esse' of the church? The Cyprianic model says there is no church without bishops (the ministry and sacraments are invalid without the historic episcopate - a classic Catholic position); but the Reformed Anglican view is that bishops help the health of the church as faithful and significantly gifted teachers personally connecting the different local ecclesial communities.
Well, yes - but that depends on the bishops. Too many legally authorised bishops in Tec (Bruno, Schori, that guy in PA etc) have ravaged the flock and not built it up. Following a man-made law of ecclesial polity doesn't mean you will be a good and faithful shepherd - or a very effective one.
The truth is the C of E has lost half its worshippers in the period 1980-2015 and most of 190 or so churches in Newcastle diocese are only 10 or 15 years from closure.
If Peter's word to the Jesmond sans culottes is 'Be off with you!' (but with the subtext '... but leave the property behind' - as happened throughout Tec and is happening in the Church of Scotland now - see St George's Tron in Glasgow)- then he will only hasten that meeting with the undertaker.

Father Ron said...

Bryden, you seem to be indicating her that their should be a greater proliferation of bishops in the Church, when what is really need is more pastoral clergy. Bishops, whether we like it or not, have become enforcers of doctrine, administratiors rather than pastors. A specific case in point is that of the new Bishop Pryke in the REACH camp (& AMiE) in the U.K. He has been ordained to 'keep the faith' of the 39 Artifacts and all that goes with that outdated, antique understanding of the Church and the human condition.

Bishops today need to be a little more forward-looking - more open to the future than the past; bearing in mind the urgency of mission in a diverse and wonderful world, for which Christ died and in which the Holy Spirit is still working to 'lead us (and the Church) into ALL Truth'. Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is no longer moribund, Alleluia!

True catholicity in the Church caters for all shapes and sizes - irrespectivee of our personal likes and dislikes. This is why so many of us appreciate the openness and inclusivity of Pope Francis - who, like Pope John XXIII and iother reformers before him in the R.C. Church is so much feared by the intransigents who seem to be afraid of any further revelation of the Mercy of God in Christ.

Bryden Black said...

Goodness me Peter! What Spirit is blowing hereabouts?! First it was Bosco and Bryden and now it’s Ron too! And the views from near the summit of the same mountain are pretty delightful ...

Ron; I surely and broadly agree with you. Bishops are NOT to be modelled after CEOs or Managing Directors, especially MDs, as they have a foot in both camps, management plus governance, and so the power dimension comes quickly to hand, often most unhelpfully. [Yet see too Sykes’s works on “power” and “authority”.]

Yet my “proliferation” thought-experiment clearly had its context too. I was the Director of the Diocesan Dept of Evangelism & Church Growth. The sorts of day session for regional clergy I was on my way to conduct were bread and butter staples of what I offered. And I also noted this: “The rationale for my answer had something to do with the catechumenal process. But that can wait for another day.” I.e. if we examine the revival of the catechumenate process and materials, and take its provenance seriously, that will affect matters greatly.

Another story. Lambeth 1988 called for a Decade of Evangelism, 1990-2000. I gather the Diocese and Bishop of Lichfield took this most seriously. He resigned from many a committee, appointed lay administrators left, right, and centre. And proceeded to be the primary apostolic missionary in his patch — brilliant! Naturally, this meant a massive reorganization of the ethos and vision of the diocese. Collegiality ruled! Yet I do not know the final outcome(s) ... The story is third hand. So; this is the kind of thing my “24 bishops” have in mind; they naturally require to be endowed with profound pastoral compassion and insight; no apostolic missionary gets far without such. Viz. 2 Corinthians in its entirety.

Yet my position holds: reform of the Anglican episcopate is virtually impossible. Too much vested interest! With puns abounding ... and the shadow of 2 Timothy.

Peter Carrell said...

Hello Brian and other commenters
Thoughtful comments, thank you.
Brian: my word to Jesmond is not be off with you, nor is it leave your property behind if you do. My word is, you belong to a church with rules, keep them, play within them, communicate your unhappiness with them, get representation on General Synod to change them. If none of that works, my word to Jesmond then is, act with integrity.

A very brief thought re bishops and their multiplication: my agreement with a root and branch reform of the episcopacy (now alert to the unlikeliness of it, pace Bryden!) would involve consideration of what we want bishops to do (including apostolic, educational, leadership, pastoral activities), how well they are doing those things (in a very busy and demanding world and church, and whether we might serve ourselves and our bishops well by having (a) more or less of them; (b) larger or smaller dioceses, or larger or smaller metropolitan areas with (so to speak) sub-dioceses within them. Etc. What I see in ACANZP is some very busy bishops in grave danger of being worn into an early grave.

Brendan McNeill said...


I have just spent a few days in the Czech Republic, one of the most atheistic nations in Europe, but still one with a very strong Catholic and even reforming heritage that pre-dated Luther by 100 years. Sadly it also played a significant part in the start of the 30 year war, has suffered under communism, and seems to me at least still to be recovering. Many of it's large churches are now empty, or have become museums or art galleries.

It is a reminder, if one was needed that the past is no guarantor of the future.

I note in response to your post there has been much talk about the role of Bishops, the ideal number of Bishops per square kilometre, their busyness and so on. What I find strangely missing from this dialogue is any expectation that our Bishops might be expected to provide robust, forthright, orthodox theological leadership to the flock entrusted to their care.

Perhaps if that function were restored to our Bishops, we might avoid the fate of the Czech Republic; something our demographic trajectory suggests is our destiny.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brendan

Bryden Black said...

Clearly the Bs have it!

Thanks for your comment Brendan. And I hope you have been to see the site of those multiple defenestrations ...!

Actually, I agree with you. That's the entire point of the catechumenal process - at least, one of its key points. And not just abstract theology either. Rather, fully integrated head and heart due Christian formation and discipleship.

Father Ron said...

"What I find strangely missing from this dialogue is any expectation that our Bishops might be expected to provide robust, forthright, orthodox theological leadership to the flock entrusted to their care." - Brendan McNeill -

It may just be, Brendan, that with your comparatively recent association with Anglicanism - having previously led your own Home-Church - your understanding of 'orthodox' (or any other sort of episcopacy could be coloured by your own experience of leadership.

However, authentic episcopacy involves much more than selective doctrinal 'purity'. It requires a eucharistic intimacy with the Christ who is Head of The Church - first and foremost - before any selective judgment of what is 'right and proper' in the way of adaptation to modern society. The Holy Spirit is still in the process of bringing about the emancipation of the marginalised, poor and disenfranchised of society, and it is the bishops of the Church whose oversight is designed by God to bring this about.

This has now largely happened with, e.g; the emancipation of slaves and women, once thought to be second-class citizens of the kingdom of God - even by the bishops of the Church. Now, it is the turn of those afflicted by the phobias which we are not, at the moment, allowed to mention on this blog - as well as of war, famine, and Pharisaism.

Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Bryden Black said...

Thank you Ron for displaying so clearly what present day liberal Anglo-Catholics mostly believe and hold dear, and therefore for allowing types such as myself to offer their suggested rejoinders. Three brief comments here for now - even as our joint mountain top experience seems to have been rather brief too.

First and foremost, any ordained ministry in the Anglican tradition is to the ministry of word-and-sacrament. Consequently, both priests and bishops, whose “cure of souls” is properly a fully collegial one according to the BCP, have this as their initial lode star. [It is one reason I am a fully convicted ‘Anglican’, BTW, wishing to ensure a fully integrated form of theology and praxis around both poles.]

Thereafter, bishops have as their special vocation the fostering of a wider collegiality-cum-unity we term “catholicity”. But you know that! Yet our Anglican Reformation was also very clear that its genuine nature has to be far more than a case of mere mechanical genealogy. True “apostolicity” is not ensured solely by that form of “succession”. Orthodox faith-and-morals is an essential trait of “apostolic succession” as well. Once again, it’s a case of both-and!!

Lastly, I’d highlight a most crucial feature of that very “modern society” you seek to describe and which is the Gospel’s contemporary mission field. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians is very clear on the nature of Christian Freedom. Such a treatise as Martin Luther’s 1520 “The Freedom of the Christian” is a glorious elaboration and application of the theme. Sadly and even tragically, in our 21st C all this has become but a bastard step-child of what was once a glorious heritage. Secular western society has as its lode star just this: the goal of human being is the self positing, self determining, self authenticating of an autonomous personal subject tout court. And while some of this might ‘sound similar’ to what the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ seeks to grow, it is in both its origins and fruit actually a counterfeit. One of the great lay Anglican prophets of the last century, CS Lewis, saw all this most clearly himself. It’s called “The Abolition of Man” ...

Any form of episcopacy therefore that fails to take these three elements into account is profoundly suspect frankly, and requires due reformation.

Brendan McNeill said...

Hi Bryden

Yes I did! - It was only a couple of months ago that my 13 year old granddaughter introduced me to the term defenestration. She was fascinated that a word existed for throwing people out of a window.

It appears the Czech's have a penchant for it.

It's not unknown in NZ's history either. Apparently a retired sea captain was elected mayor in one of NZ's small towns early in our colonial history. Timaru from memory. He arrived at the Council meeting to see at the top of the agenda, a vote of no confidence in his mayoralty. He quietly rose from his chair, went over and locked the door to the room, and then asked who was responsible for this motion. Eventually a councillor admitted to the deed, at which point the mayor picked him up and defenestrated him. Story courtesy of TeRadar. - Not fact checked but used on his 'eating the dog' tour.

Jean said...

Hi Brendan

It is quite fitting timing you bring up the fall of communism at such a time as this with the influential Lutheran Pastor who began the cascade passing away this last week:
Christian Fuhrer Obituary

So Bishops:
Those who worship me must worship in Spirit and in Truth - so yes there is the word/scripture and sacrament as you point out Bryden; and there is as you point out Ron the relationship with God through the holy spirit. And there is the acknowledgement of the membership of one body, the Chuch. Alll good qualities for a Bishop to hold.

I have to concur Bryden re the appearance of what may appear as 'values' today is heading towards its meaning as being able to independently decide what 'we' believe is to be valued and subsequently followed and practiced in society - as opposed to the objective reference point, of acceptance of Gospel values, not of our own making. Every school in NZ now has values in their curriculum but whose values? It was scary reading an article by a researcher on euthanasia recently and the conclusions made which concluded such as family members who have sick parents for example have a right not to care.... A right not to care, seriously? I do believe the divide between the Church and secular society will grow but I think for the Church this will actually mean growth not decline, for suddenly what Jesus teaches will again stand in stark contrast to the other option.

Peter Carrell said...

Lightly edited/moderated comment from Brian - you verge unnecessarily close to ad hominem:

"You're right, Bryden - what Ron espouses under the banner of 'Freedom' is really a tired trope from the sixties. It may be dressed in Anglican robes and sing some of the old tunes but the paternity to these beliefs is not the Lord's Apostle St Paul (...) but the secular apostles of the 19th and 20th centuries - Marx, Feuerbach, Adorno and the Vienna circle, and Fromm.
Not surprising really when you grasp that the guiding spirit of liberal Catholicism ('catholic-lite') is not the Great Tradition but G. F. Hegel: the dialectical manifestation of 'Geist' in history. Ron's talk of 'emancipation' is pure Hegel .... He equates certain currents in human history with the salvific work of Christ - just like Charlemagne, Napoleon, Lenin, the Third Reich, Mao etc etc.

Brian Kelly said...

It isn't 'ad hominem' to quote or avert to a person's actual words. Rom has said many, many times on this blog that Paul's teaching on these questions were his own culture-bound thoughts and not the voice of the Holy Spirit. And many, many times Ron has denounced 'fundamentalism' and 'literalism' (with the strange exception of patristic or Lutheran Eucharistic beliefs, which are privileged). In that, Ron is perfectly within the spirit of 20th century liberal catholicism-lite (Macquarrie rather than Gore).

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; Fr Ron refers yet again to Brendan's supposedly recent "association" with Anglicanism in a rather market town provincial Canterbury type of way. Neither the bible nor tradition care when you became a Christian and certainly not an Anglican. What is Fr Ron trying to say?


Peter Carrell said...

There is always a danger, Nick, that we Anglicans will claim only Anglicans can know Anglicanism. Or even that only long standing Anglicans can know Anglicanism and arrivistes should serve a long apprenticeship. Both claims are erroneous.
PS That's why I comment from time to time on matters pertaining to Rome :)

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Brian
I suggest you could make your main points without asides in parentheses.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; those who join you today are real Anglicans; they recognise you for what you are. In the same way, people who join us on Holy Saturday are true Catholics. They saw us and wanted to be a part. As for your apprenticeship to Rome, we'd be happy to have you but I'm not sure God is bound by our Catechism and Rome treats Anglican orders as valid regardless of the fine print.


Father Ron said...

Thanks, Nick, for your observation that Rome has now accepoted the fact that Anglican Orders are valid. So much for Pope Leo, who had an axe to grind.

Your very appearance on this blog demonstrates the fact that anyone can comment on anything - they don't have to be experts. (I, for one, appreciate your presence!).

Incidentally, I believe that Roman Catholic Orders are also valid.

Anonymous said...

Peter; it was Cardinal Coccopalmerio who was reported in the Tablet (9 May) as rejecting the "nothing has happened" view on Anglican orders. We clearly have some differences, but it's not unlike American and Canadian English; the differences are small unless you are American or Canadian.


Bryden Black said...

Clearly not "small" enough to permit Eucharistic intercommunion ... So; we're still bilingual, French vs. English, say, as in Canada alone ...! Rien ne change alors!

Anonymous said...

I rather meant that we both speak English (Australian and New Zealand) and the British cannot tell the difference, although we will claim that we sound different from Australians. Likewise the Canadians and US Americans. They sound indistinguishable to most Aucklanders, but a Canadian can spot someone south of the border.


Peter Carrell said...

Here's the thing: a lay Roman, an Anglican priest and a Pentecostal had one piece of bread between them and an hour before ISIS were going to behead them. What happened? Spoiler Alert: they didn't argue over who would preside at their eucharist, and they all received the body of Christ.

Anonymous said...

True. I doubt many ordained Romans would quibble either. If the Orthodox were there, we'd let them preside so they could do at least one thing quickly :)


Bryden Black said...

Sorry Nick; I knew full well what you meant. Our difficulties though continue. While in parts of Argentina RCs and Anglicans might regularly fully participate in each other's rites with the blessing of both churches, such exceptions justify the norm. And it'll take a concerted and surely political effort to shift the paradigm.

Brian Kelly said...

Yes, Peter - but that was only after the Roman tried to engage ISIS on the relevance of 'Lumen Gentium' (1968) and Karl Rahner for interfaith dialogue and the Anglican priest tried to explain why she wasn't wearing a headcovering and that her cassock wasn't actually a burqa. Meanwhile Bishop Brian T. (for it was he) snuck up behind the bewildered jihadis (a couple of passionate lads from Cronulla) and slew them in the Spirit. After that, nobody argued with him.

Father Ron said...

For Nick's -and anybody else's information who might be interested - when 'in Rome, I do as the Romans do; I go forward to receive the gift of Christ in the Mass.

I once, on a cruise where there was no Anglican Celebration, approached the R.C. Chaplain on board at a celebration of the Mass. I told him that I believed in the real Presence of Christ in the Mass, and would he permit me to receive the Elements. Not only did he agree, he shared with me what is commonly calledL 'the priest's Host'. I believe Christ was fully present in that transaction.

I have no sense of guilt in receiving Communion at a Roman Catholic Mass. After all, Christ is the Host - if we believe their basic theology.

Bryden Black said...

Aha; dear Ron. I see that perhaps we are retracing our steps up to that summit again! Another story, which has a great punch-line akin to your own.

It was Saturday 6th January, and we’d just driven as a family from Paris to Normandy via Chartres to stay with some lovely French friends who have an old large rambling house which forms the hub of a camping site in the summer. Our hosts went off early next day to the Caen prison, as was their wont, to assist with the mass for the inmates led by a local Augustinian. They mentioned we were staying, and we’d all be coming later with everyone else to celebrate the Feast of Epiphany with the entire monastic community. We arrived to a great surprise! The priest had been busy, mentioning me to the abbot, who instinctively invited me to full participation at their altar. “Thank you”, says I (en français) in the vestry, as they clothed me in full regalia, “for inviting me to share in your service.” “Ce n’est pas notre service; c’est le service de Dieu! It’s not our service”, he replies, “it’s the service of God!” And the beaming smile from his beautifully radiant face clinches it ...

There’s also a delightful PS. As we processed in, suddenly our just teenage son catches sight of me dressed to the nines, and in his inimitable breaking, loud voice calls out, “Cor! F-a-r—o-u-t!! Look at dad!” And the other son, a singer, was in heaven all day on account of the fullness of the all male choir’s rich accompaniment of the mass. Maranatha!

Father Ron said...

Good on you, Bryden. Perhaps we're not so far apart; deep down!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!