9 July 2008


Today, Bl Adrian Fortescue; martyred when Henry VIII was culling the friends and family of Reginald Pole after Pole had written his book on Church Unity. These martyrs of the period 1533-1553 make me the more unwilling to be driven out of S Thomas's Church. They (unlike the heroic martyrs of the later 'seminary' period) attended their ancient churches; lived an ecclesial life under bishops who had collaborated in Henry's schism from the Holy See; they were Church of England people and from within the Ecclesia Anglicana bore witness to the Faith of the Ages despite the schism in which they were unwillingly involved.

What we need is a simple process whereby priests and people in orthodox parishes within the C of E can be reconciled with Rome where they are; property rights to their churches transferred to a body outside the Establishment; the orders of their clergy speedily adjusted to the juridical requirements of Apostolicae curae.


johnf said...

.. and with the present Holy Father, we have the best chance yet of this coming to pass.

We hope and pray, Father

nebuly said...

Oh my dear father I so hope that your dream comes true but I greatly doubt it.

They were Church of England people under Henry VIII but the poison had entered and Edward VI saw to that.

The Marian period is less easy to account for but with the ascent of Elizabeth only Bishop Kitchen of Llandaff remained and he very old as all the English/Welsh bishops forsook this Church and the Edwardian radicals returned.

Whatever Elizabeth's real intentions these protestant clerics were all she had to work with and only her conservatism ensured the conditions in which some rediscovery of Catholicism could be renewed in what was left in the shape of Bancroft Andrewes and the rest.

Surely by then most Church Catholics had become out and out Papists?

We now know that having 'valid' orders and sacraments has not protected ecclesiology or made us fully a Church - would you agree? And the Synodical system having given us divorce now moves to the distruction of Order. Then nothing can remain beyond our Keble-like rock pools.

Perhaps classical High Anglicanism is the best path we never trod - and we have been shown to be a catholic melody sung in the din and discord of a protestant sect - but with Orders. Is there anything left to take to Rome? And will not those who went in the sixteenth century ( and after ) simply feel we have been tardy?


Augustine said...

Will keep you in my prayers Father.

Little Black Sambo said...

To judge from the vengeful statements we have heard from some of the victors in the recent coup, there will be enormous pressure on the authorities to give us nothing at all, even if as a result St Thomas's and hundreds of other churches stand empty. They would rather the Moslems had them than orthodox Christians.

Frair John said...

Are you truly willing to say that everything you have done as a Priest is "null and void" and go through schooling again to be able to go back to doing what you do now? That is what Apostolicae curae requires. That was reaffirmed in 1998 by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
According to Rome you are not a Priest, and barely a Christian.
To go to Rome is to say that everything you have done is playacting and false.

johnf said...

Friar John

Yes, I know that my Church takes that stance, but there are many priests in the Anglican communion today and in the past who are/have been in communion with Rome in their hearts and in their actions.

Conversely there have been breakaways from the Roman Catholic church in recent times - the 'Old Catholics' - stemming from the Bishop of Utrecht, whose orders are canonically recognised, but have strayed down some strange paths. And what of the Emmanuel Milongo, excommunicated Bishop, ordains priests (also excommunicated), and I guess, technically their orders are valid.

But God sees into men's hearts and with Him all things are possible. So to my mind, whether the orders are recognised by Rome or not, they still may be recognised by God.

I trust that the subtle mind of Papa Ratzinger will find a way that is acceptable to everyone

Conditional baptism has been around since time immemorial, why not conditional orders?

Frair John said...

John F-

Because he slammed that door shut in '98, and slapped infallibility on it.
Utrecht may be a better fit for some, since they don't buy the specious arguments of Apostolicae Curae, but to go to rome is to have to formally renounce all that came before.

John F H H said...

Frair John,
Not sure whence your info. comes, but Mgr. Graham Leonard, formerly Bishop of London, was conditionally ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood,and there may have been others.
My understanding is that where a former Anglican priest was perpared to submit the requisite paperwork to Rome, a lengthy process, Rome in some cases authorised conditional ordination.
Most priests were ordained absolutely. In every case, the rite for their ordination included acknowledgement and affirmation of their previous ministry.
Rome acknowledged from the time of Vatican II, not only the special place of Anglicans amongst separated brothers and sisyers in Christ, but also the common Baptism of all Christians.
It is Rome's great concern for unity which caused her to send the cardinal to address the General synod last year, the Lambeth conference this year.
The pain caused to Rome by Synod's rejection of Rome's tender counsel is shared by the those now considering whether to find refuge in the barque of Peter.
Having studied carefully the Rites for the Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church I find no reference to play-acting , falsity, or barely Christian.
"The rite is so arranged that no greater burden than necessary (see Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion and unity."
"Any appearance of triumphalism is to be avoided"
"One who was born and baptized outside the visible communion of the Catholic Church is not required to make an abjuration of heresy, but simply a profession of the Catholic faith."


Frair John said...

Mgr.Leonard was received and re-ordained before Ad Tuendam Fidem was proglomated the instruction attached to which , penned by the current pontiff, gives examples of the "ordinary magisterium" which must be accepted with obsequium religiosum and expressly mentions Apostolicae Curae.
Swimming the Tiber means signing onto that document and all that it entails. And that, along with the recent comments by the Pope about how those outside of Rome are not the Church, you must admit, for the sake of your own intellectual and spiritual honesty ,means that you have NEVER been anything other than play acting. They may not put you through a formal abjuration of heresy or anything like that, but it is still the implication of the action.
In the eyes of Rome if you are an Anglican Priest you are a dressed up lay-person pantomiming the Mass. It may be all smiles and chuckles and a cup of tea at RCIA, but in the end, that is all you are to them.

Nebuly said...

The possession of Orders are not badges of nobility but place the holder at the service of Christ through his Church.

When the Jesuit Priest Godfrey O'Donnell beame Romanian Orthodox he was ordained outright by the Metropolitan and not conditionally. Perhaps we all need to learn how to submit ourselves to the demands of our situation rather than indulge in the same wilful enthroning of self which has led to the wreck of the C of E

Fr John Hunwicke SSC, said...

Apostolicae curae said that Anglican orders were null in 1897. It did not deal with the question of whether they would still be invalid 111 years afterwards and 75 years after Dutch Old Catholic Bishops, whose orders Rome recognises, had begun to participate in Anglican episcopal consecrations with an expressed intention, embodied in solemn Latin protocols, of conveying, were it necessary, valid orders to future Anglican bishops. It was officially stated by Rome re Graham Leonard that there was now a doubt attaching to the judgement of invalidity.
I do not understand why some Roman Catholics have such a visceral hatred of Catholic Anglicans.

Frair John said...


Ad Tuendam Fidem and the teaching document attached certainly dose move the question to the current place and time. The argument at key is a specious one based on the FORM of the rite, not about who is touching who. According to Rome our form is deficient, and no amount of Old Catholic and Orthodox change that the official teaching of Rome is that our Orders are invalid. Mgr. Graham Leonard swam when the waters were murkier, they have since clarified.

On a side note, do you really think that all of the married priests that will be swimming will be welcomed with open arms?

Paul Goings said...

Apostolicae curae, in discussing the defect of form, references the 1552 ordinal. There have been many changes to the ordinal since then, and Rome has not condemned any modern Anglican ordinal. (Which would be problematic, as the 1972 Roman ordinal is very similar to most of them!) So the issue of defect of form is a non-starter.

And Ad tuendam fidem implies nothing of what you suggest except that Apostolicae curae is to be definitively believed, and this that Anglican orders were absolutely null and utterly void in 1896. Nothing more is indicated or implied.

As to the issue of married priests, there are already a number of them in England and the U.S.; I don't suppose that this will be an issue, especially since this is an interim situation. Why, Frair John, do you believe that it will be a problem?

(And "Frair John" is a progressive Anglican, not a Roman Catholic.)

Frair John said...

Apparently, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

I was simply saying what I have been given to understand by an acquaintance who worked at the Vatican. If you all hold out for Benedict XVI to reverse a clearly put theological statement, that has been reaffirmed as recently as 10 years ago via some interpretation of the documents that passes from creative and enters into "magical realism" go ahead and swim to Rome.

Just don't expect to be anything more than uninvited guests. And don't be surprised, if married, to have laicized priests born tot eh Latin Rite to meet you with anything other than hostility.

Paul Goings said...

What is being denied?

I was simply saying what I have been given to understand by an acquaintance who worked at the Vatican.

In what curial office did this acquaintance work? The various offices (and this is a vast understatement) are often not familiar with the workings of the others. I suspect that the misinformation you obtained is a result of that situation.

And no one (with any sense) is suggesting that Apostolicae curae will be overturned. In point of fact, it is merely a statement of what was true in 1896, useful enough for dealing with the situation as it stood at that time, but largely meaningless today. Nothing in Ad tuendam fidem changes that.

Just don't expect to be anything more than uninvited guests.

But we all--and everyone else--has been invited. Will there be some spoilsports? Sure. But that'd be true if I took my Anglo-Papalist self to the most "inclusive" parishes in my ECUSA diocese. That's just human nature. But if you're claiming that this will be a nigh-universal reaction, then you're just wrong, and I know any number of converts who would agree with me.

And don't be surprised, if married, to have laicized priests born tot eh Latin Rite to meet you with anything other than hostility.

Well, perhaps. But, really, how many of them do you run into on a daily basis that are still practicing catholics? And, in any case, so what? This, I'd imagine, would be the very least of the problems of a married priest-convert

The issue of "denying what you were before" is also overblown, in my opinion. No one is forced to stand up and proclaim that they were a false teacher, masquerading as a priest.

Heaven knows it's easy enough to drag your feet about converting--and I should know!--but the reasons you suggest seem entirely specious to me.

Nebuly said...

The Bishop of Chester writes in a book review in the Church Times

'Second, to Cardinal Kasper’s challenge that the real decision facing the Church of England is whether it considers itself to be Catholic or Protestant, the authors here make a fundamentally Protestant choice. For example, in a stimulating contribution Mark Chapman presents the modern Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic conceptions of episcopacy as being far removed from those of the Anglican Reformation.

He asserts that the Tractarian claim that the Church of England had, through its bishops, an essential continuity with the Early Church is a “myth”. It has certainly been a powerful myth.'

I fear I scent the new self-understanding. It makes all idea of validity and succession a side show.

What next? 'Lay' celebrants?

English Catholic said...

"I do not understand why some Roman Catholics have such a visceral hatred of Catholic Anglicans."

I don't believe there is any hatred.

Most of us are simply confused that 'Anglo-Catholics' can remain seperated from the Catholic Church while professing belief in the Catholic Faith.

I am sure we would welcome your coming into full communion with great joy.

Little Black Sambo said...

English Catholic, do read the comments on Damian Thompson's blog. Fr Hunwicke is not making it up.