14 December 2008

Apostolicae Curae

I do meet clergy, sound and thoroughly orthodox men, who are disturbed by the Bull Apostolicae curae Leo XIII declaring Anglican priestly Orders to be null and void. And one meets nice young laymen, fairly recently received into full communion with the Holy See, who make a point of addressing one as Mr So-and-so. And some rather fierce RC traditionalists fume and foam at the thought that we can give the impression of being so sound when, in their view, we are not even priests. Let me share my own thoughts.

I am not in favour of criticising and trying to unpick Apostolicae curae. That would simply put us in the same position as all those other people who are so totally loyal to the Holy See ... except in one particular matter. The only point I would make is that that the actual bull sealed for Leo XIII described the question as hoc caput disciplinae, and this is what was first officially published. It appeared to situate the question in the area of discipline and not of dogma. Pressure from the English RC hierarchy resulted in the removal from subsequent editions of the word disciplinae.

Moreover, in Apostolicae curae we got what we deserved. For more than three hundred years we, as a faith-community, had behaved as if we were a Protestant sect intent on harrying, persecuting, sneering at, and murdering Roman Catholics. After all that it is rather bad form for us to make a fuss about Cardinal Vaughan's success in politicking his way, against the views of the leading RC scholars of the time, to getting this condemnation.

What has to be pointed out is that Apostolicae curae no longer applies. Some sixteen years ago I coined the phrase 'the Dutch Touch' to describe the participation after 1933 of Dutch schismatics with indubitably valid orders in Anglican episcopal consecrations (the technical details are in my paper in the volume Reuniting Anglicans with Rome). The secret archives in Pusey House, Oxford, make absolutely clear that the intention of the very highest levels in the Church of England and the Dutch Old Catholic Church was to introduce the 'Dutch Succession' into the Church of England and so, after two or three generations, render Apostolicae curae obsolete. Remember that in 1662 the Cof E had made the formulae in presbyteral and episcopal ordination (which Leo had asserted were insufficiently clear), more explicit. Although the plotting of 1933 was done in private (so that nobody could say'Ah, the Anglicans do realise they are not real priests'), it clearly represents a formal and ecclesial act.

The Dutch Touch started in 1933. It must by now have reached those parts which other Touches cannot reach. Rome has not reinvestigated the question. But when Bishop Graham Leonard became a R C, the CDF did look at photocopies of the Pusey archive and recommended that there was enough doubt about the invalifidity of Bidshop Graham's presbyteral ordination for him to be ordained only sub conditione and not absolutely. John Paul II disagreed only to the extent that he ordered Bishop Graham not to be subjected to the indignity of diaconal reordination, either conditional or absolute. Rome specifically did not investigate the question of the validity of his episcopal orders, because of the problems which would have followed the discovery that the RC Church now had a married bishop!

Now, of course, we are nearly in agreement with Rome about the dubiety of Anglican Orders anyway. We believe that a large and growing percentage of Anglican Ordinations are invalid: the purported ordinations of women, and of both men and women by 'women bishops'. That is why, if we are to hang on in the C of E, we need a separate episcopate and clear mechanisms for the reordination of men who come to join us having been invalidlty ordained within the 'mainstream' Church.


William Tighe said...

There is, of course, one precedent for "a married bishop" in the modern Latin Church of which I am aware. It concerns the "Catholic Apostolic Church of
Brazil" which was founded in 1945 by the excommunicated Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa (1888-1961). In July 1945 Duarte Costa ordained to the priesthood a married man, Salomao Barbosa Ferraz (1880-1969) and a month later consecrated him to the episcopate. In 1958, towards the end of the pontificate of Pius XII, Ferraz entered the Catholic Church and, still married, was appointed Titular Bishop of Eleutherna on 10 May 1963, and exercised episcopal ministry as an Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He played an active role in several sessions of Vatican II, and died 11 May 1969.

Some accounts make Ferraz a Catholic layman originally, but others a Protestant. Earlier in his life he was a Presbyterian minister.

See: http://priest2b.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_archive.html

and: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Catholic_Apostolic_Church

and: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salom%C3%A3o_Barbosa_Ferraz

Independent said...

Is not Trent's view of intention such as to allow a bishop to ordain men and women at the same ceremony while conveying Holy Orders only to the men? Unfortunatly it does not seem to take the commonsense view that once a bishop has purported to ordain a woman he is rendered incapable of further ordinations on the grounds of defective intention.

As for married bishops - St Peter was one.

Independent said...

unfortunately - sorry

Independent said...

A really fierce Catholic traditionalist would address all secular priests as Mr. It was Archbishop Manning in his diocese who upset such traditionalists by requiring seculars, to raise their status vis a vis the religious, be called Father. Naturally many objected to the innovation.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Well, of course, it is very different for Americans and other non-British subjects, especially those of us in the Anglican Catholic Church (Continuing Church) who cannot really identify with all of the matters raised here, and for whom the Church of England is not the same thing as Anglicanism.

When Fr. Hunwicke writes, "Now, of course, we are nearly in agreement with Rome about the dubiety of Anglican Orders anyway," I take it that he means the state of official Anglican orders in modern times, after the innovation of women's "ordination". For this reason, any priest ordained in such a modern Anglican church must be simply ordained, or conditionally ordained, to serve in the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC). Frankly, I am content with the apologetic for our orders in Saepius Officio and in E.J. Bicknell's book on the Thirty-Nine Articles. We never needed the "Dutch Touch," and it had potential to serve only as an ecumenical gesture, having no other value at all.

But then again, I write my blog entries on The Continuum in part to restore the confidence of Continuing Anglicans, and in part to convert Anglicans to Anglicanism.

Fr. Fraser said...

I don't know what actual role the Old Catholics had in English consecrations, but in America the participating PNCC bishops only ever said "Accipe Spritum Sanctum," which are the same insufficient words cited in Apostolicae Curae. In this respect AC would still be applicable.

Similarly, another little fact that has always bothered me about Anglican orders is the necessity of 3 participating bishops. Now certainly in Episcopal consecrations there are more than enough bishops present, however it is my understanding that generally only one of the bishops, the "chief consecrator," says anything at all--the other two (or more) merely holding outstretched hands. Questionable at best.

And as already mentioned, Ratzinger's recent defense of AC in his commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem is troubling, if only on a general gut level.

Regardless, should be interesting to see what happens with Steenson.

Independent said...

It is a pity that so much of the Anglican Response of the Archbishops concerned with the eucharistic sacrifice depends on the prayer of oblation which is in the 1662 rite an alternative thanksgiving prayer. They clearly has 1549 in mind. It is a pity too that their work merely represented their own opinions not shared by Evangelicals who made up a large part of the C of E at that time. Also they do not adequately deal with the criticism that before 1662 the rites of ordination do not specify what order in each case is being conferred. Pope Benedict has a strong case for reiterating Apostolicae Curae.

However it would seem that by now all bishops of the C of E are in the Old Catholic Succession. For detail see The Accipe Potestatem Archives on Google. It would seem however that this is not the case with the Protestant Episcopal Church.

William Tighe said...

Two comments:

(1) Dr. Steenson was ordained to the diaconate in Rome, at Santa Maria Maggiore, by Cardinal Law this past Saturday, and will be priested in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 21st. I have not heard that his ordinations were or will be anything other than unconditional.

(2) Some years ago I had several conversations with the Rt. Rev'd Anthony Rysz (b. 1924), Bishop of the Central Diocese of the Polish National Catholic Church from 1968 to 1999. He is (and was then) the last living PNCC bishop who participated in consecrations of Episcopal Church bishops during the period of intercommunion between those two bodies from 1946 to 1978. He told me that at such events the PNCC bishop present either laid on his hands in silence or said aloud the words prescribed in the Anglican rite. He told me clearly and specifically that as far as he knew during the whole 1946 to 1978 period no PNCC bishop ever followed, or was asked to follow, the practice of European Old Catholic bishops in the period from 1932 to either 1959 or 1974 (consecration of Eric Kemp as Bishop of Chichester) in reciting "Accipe Spiritum Sanctum" etc., from the Pontifical.

Unknown said...

This all seems so messy and technical! The only way one can be really sure of the validity of one's ordination is Union with Peter!

Anonymous said...

It's think it's something of an assumption that Roman orders are valid! Leo xiii (or should I say, Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val - who wrote the bull) set a pretty high bar for validity. The modern Roman ordinal fails the litmus test - hoist on their own petard. And after all who know what the Medici Popes private intentions were - that is if we accept the thrust of the bull AC that private intention is king?

For what it's worth, Dom Gregory Dix's "Letters to a Layman" makes an excellent apologetic for Anglican validity. Felix Cirlot's "Apostolic Succession and Anglicanism" is the best scholarly (and readable) work on the subject I know. Add to this the intrigue revealed in John Jay Hughes' "Absolutely Null & Utterly Void" and Romes adamancy becomes a tempest in a teapot.

I enjoy Neale's observation that the orders of RC clergy in England are not derived from the English Church but from Spaniards.

Independent said...

Canary - if you were an Orthodox taking a Cyprianic View of Holy Orders then your point of view would be defensible, however your Church takes an Augustinian view and regards the transmission of such Orders as possible even in schismatic and heretical bodies. Both the Vatican II Council and the CDF seems quite concerned with the "messy and technical" question of which bodies outside communion with the succesor of St Peter have indeed a valid hierarchy.
How quaint that JM Neale should have been concerned with nationality rather than validity,especially since the See of Canterbury was at times occupied by good Englishmen like St Augustine, Theodore,Lanfranc, Theobald of Bec, Boniface of Savoy, etc.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I am Orthodox and Cyprian's writings represent the consistent teaching of the Fathers.

Question: Are we discussing the orders of heretics? If so then it doesn't really matter where they claim their orders are from. There are no Mysteries outside the Church.

I don't care if the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch concelebrate the Episcopal consecration. Heretics by virtue of being separated from the Church are incapable of receiving the grace of Holy Orders.


Unknown said...

Presbyter - I was denying the possibility of valid orders existing outside the Roman (and Orthodox) churches. It just seems to me that the theological history of the Anglican Church is so very confused. On a issue as important as Holy Orders, we can't afford to have any doubt. Many Anglicans like to insist that they are 'catholic' and not 'protestant'. Yet many more Anglicans would consider themselves protestant. Even amongst Anglo-Catholics, I would consider very few to be truly Catholic except in their liturgical sympathies. They go to Benediction, yes, but I don't know any who believe in the necessity of confession. They genuflect, yet they believe it is possible to ordain women.

There are, of course, some who do maintain the orthodox Catholic faith (Fr Hunwicke included) but they are such a tiny minority. The orthodox Catholic segment of the Anglican Church do not represent the faith of the Anglican communion.

The fact that the VAST majority of Orthodox Catholic churches reject the validity of your orders or at least express doubt should be a cause of major concern.

Unknown said...

Sorry typo - I was NOT denying the possibility for valid orders to exist outside orthodox Catholic churches.

Anonymous said...

John (ad Orientem) - Back to Neale: He opened the door which led to several Holy Orthodox Patriarchs (in writing, mind you) to acknowledge the VALIDITY of Anglican holy orders (prior to the Dutch Touch). It was the "ordination" of womyn that ended the inter-communion of the Holy Orthodox with Anglicans. As far as those of us who have consistently eschewed womyns "ordinations" the facts remain the same. To understand the scope to which the H.O. Church admired and acknowledged Anglicans, we need only look to the fact that the Church in Russia sent emissaries to learn of the saintly Neale how to organize an holy order of sisters for the ministering of the sick Ala the Order of St. Margaret.

Canary - That the "theological history of the Anglican Church" is so very confused is an entertaining conjecture! So, the theological history of Rome and the East aren't confused? Right! Go tell it to Popes Gregory x and John xxii and Ss. Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure and Albertus Magnus. Confused: Indeed!

William Tighe said...

Well, of course -- it shouldn't need saying, but evidently it does -- there never was any "intercommunion" between the Orthodox and the Anglicans. What the Orthodox "recognition" of Anglican Orders (or the recognition of "Anglican Orders" by some Orthodox churches and patriarchs, as others, e.g., the Russians, took the opposite stance) meant was that in the event that the Anglican Communion, or some Anglican churches, sought to enter into communion with Holy Orthodoxy (with the requisite doctrinal affirmations and "clarifications," and no doubt the exclusion of some of the more Evangelical/Protestant aspects), then, by an exercise of "economy" Anglican clergy would not have to be reordained in order to minister in Holy Orthodoxy. That's all it meant, no more and no less. (That some Anglicans aspired to such a denouement can be seen in the origins of the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, and in writings such as, e.g., *Anglicanism and Orthodoxy* by the University of Reading Philosophy Professor, ex-Methodist, and Orthodoxophile Anglican H. A. Hodges, which was published in 1949 and reprinted in 1957.) A glance at, say, the relevant parts of Bishop Kallistos (Ware's) *The Orthodox Church* will easily confirm the truth of this.

Orthodox who tended to become more familiarly acquainted with Anglicans and Anglican churches tended, however, to lose their initial enthusiasm for it, especially once they became aware of the "comprehensive" nature of Anglicanism and the fact that their Anglo-Catholic friends could not authoritatively speak for their churches and, especially, make definite committments to the Orthodox on their behalf. St. Raphael of Brooklyn (Raphael Haweeny, consecrated a bishop by the Russian Orthodox church in America ca. 1910 to serve Arab parishes), initially favorable to (P)ECUSA in the end came to the conclusion that Anglicanism was fundamentally Protestant, and that no possibility for real reconciliation (other than the conversion of Anglicans to Orthodoxy) existed. The PECUSA Bishop of Delaware from 1908 to 1919, Frederick Joseph Kinsman (1868-1944), who resigned and became a Catholic in that year, provides interesting material in his religious autobiography, *Salve Mater* (1920), about how friendly encounters (in which he was often a party) between Anglican and Orthodox representatives tended to founder when the Orthodox, impressed perhaps by the closeness of belief to Orthodoxy of their Anglican partners, would request that Anglican churches do such things as accept explicitly the ecumenical status and decrees of the Seventh Council, or make explicit provision for invocation of the BVM and the saints; and the Anglicans, acknowledging among themselves the impossibility of conceiving that a General Convention or a synod of their bishops would ever do any such thing, would indicate that their hope was that the Orthodox would accept them "just as we are" as "brethren" -- whereupon the Orthodox would leave puzzled and disapponted, but still friendly and hopeful.

One might add, that while there is a certain diversity of practice among various Orthodox jurisdictions about whether to (re)ordain or not convert Catholic clergy (both Latin and Eastern), there has never been any variation in the practice of always ordaining Anglican clergy who become Orthodox. (I well remember the reaction of the then chaplain of a certain Cambridge college in the late 1970s who, when he returned from a trip to Romania, spoke about how Anglican clergy were allowed to celebrate the Eucharist on Orthodox altars in certain monasteries there, unlike the RC priests, who were not allowed to do so, and I replied that far from that being a token of "recognition" it probably meant that, given the Orthodox practice of celebrating only once a day on any altar, they felt that whatever the Anglican clergy were doing, it was not the same thing as their Divine Liturgy, whereas the refusal to allow RC clergy to say Mass indicated that the Catholic Mass might possibly be the same thing.)

Independent said...

John. How can you say that St Cyprian represented the consistent teaching of the Fathers when St Augustine on the issue in question disagreed with him?
Do you also think the Ecumenical Patriarch sufficiently ignorant of Orthodoxy so as to not appreciate the significance of his actions?

Canary. The term Anglo-Catholic is a very broad term indeed. It nowadays is used in England to include Liberals who believe in the ordination of women, the "marriage" of homosexuals,and abortion,it includes Conservative High Church Protestants, and also those who either embrace a form of Orthodoxy or the whole gamut of Roman teaching. The one thing they seem to have in common is a liking for elaborate services.

Fr Aidan Nichols OP in his "The Hind and the Panther - a Theological History Anglicanism" describes how all this confusion came about.

Fr Hart. Does the ACC re-ordian men already ordained by a male Anglican bishop? I can remember that when Dr Mascall was consulted as to whether a man ordained by a male bishop (who also purported to ordain women )was validly ordained, he concluded that such an ordination was valid. His doctrine of intention was that of the Council of Trent.

D. Benedict Andersen OSB said...

How can you say that St Cyprian represented the consistent teaching of the Fathers when St Augustine on the issue in question disagreed with him?

Quite true. In order to argue this, one would have to exclude the witness of almost all the Latin Fathers, and not a few of the Greek Fathers.

Cyprian himself knew that his position was not "the consistent teaching of the Fathers" since he held that each bishop was free to make up his own mind on the issue of (re)baptizing heretics.

The emphasis on Cyprianic ecclesiology in Orthodox theology seems to be a rather recent development (invoked, perhaps, to explain why some Orthodox began baptizing Catholics in the 17th and 18th centuries).

The more authentic approach of the Orthodox Church is represented by Basil's First Canonical Epistle and Canon 95 of Trullo (which are by no means Cyprianic).

Not that this has much to do with the validity of Anglican orders ...