19 December 2008


I feel that there is some confusion about what the Holy See might allow to Anglicans coming into full communion as groups.

Uniatism is not a term that has any canonical meaning. There are no Uniate Churches. There are only Churches, of different Rites, in full communion with the Holy See.

Anglicans do not have a distinct Rite. The idea of some tractarians that medieval England used, not the 'Roman Rite' , but the Sarum (and other rites), was a nonsense. Sarum et al were mere dialects of what has always been a pluriform Roman Rite (and, before the standardisation which printing enabled, was very much more pluriform). Adrian Fortescue neatly pointed out that to speak of the Roman and Sarum rites is as daft as to speak of English, French, and Yorkshire as three languages. Significantly, and very logically, the United Anglicans in the USA who use the Book of Divine Worship are using 'The Anglican Usage of the Roman Rite'. The question is: what structures Rome would allow for groups that use variant forms of the Roman Rite.

And there is no doubt that Rome would be infinitely flexible, adapting canonical structures to suit the needs of real situations.

There is, in the Roman Communion, the 'Extraordinary Form' of the Roman Rite. When an entire quasi-Diocese in Brazil, which used this Form, returned to full communion, Rome erected them into a personal (but stable) Apostolic Administration. Something even more broadminded and generous is on offer to the SSPX. These are the analogies which are relevant to our situation.

I suspect that the real issue is not what structures Rome would allow, but the ability of Anglican Catholic clergy to bring groups with them. So many layfolk have a residual affection for their ancient parish church or even their ancient diocese. That is why we need to be a firmed-up ecclesial entity before we make a final move (see earlier posts). And to be strong and real enough to be able to take with us some of our properties - which, in its heart of hearts, the Cof E doesn't really want to be lumbered with the upkeep of anyway.


Unknown said...

I suspect that the whole 'Anglican Use' issue is a bit of a red-herring. While the 'Book of Divine Worship' is, no doubt, a nice version of the New Roman Rite the fact is that the ordinary New Rite is what most Anglo-Catholic parishes use. As such they would surely do better to just carry on with what they were doing before.

Besides I, as an English Catholic, have deeply held objections to this idea. As a recusant (well, half-recusant) I very much feel that the ancient Church of the middle ages was destroyed at the Reformation and that its only true, legitimate heir was the recusant remnant. In this I have no doubt that I am theologically and historically correct. Indeed, it would be a heresy for any Roman Catholic to disagree with me on this. To accept this 'Anglican Use' is to give credence to the Anglo-Catholic branch theory (condemned) and is also a challenge to people like me's Englishness. If there is such a thing as 'Anglicans in union with Rome' I am one and always have been. Why then should I use the totally impoverished books of the '68 Use? Why should the newcomers, with not a few quasi-heretical ideas, be given something different that encourages disunity and sets up the converts as a groups separate from the Irish-descended mass of old Catholics (whom I would be lumped with).

None of this is meant to be rude but this is why I would not bet on permission for the Anglican Use in Britain if I were you.

Anonymous said...

Christian said: "To accept this 'Anglican Use' is to give credence to the Anglo-Catholic branch theory (condemned)"

Sorry to say, you miss the whole point. No doubt this is a function of your ultra-Montanist and un-educated opinion. I personally refer to RC's such as yourself as "jar-head Romans," you're just being good Marines - blindly obedient. The problem is that your ilk are blindly obedient to a straw man construct that does not resemble anything historical or objectively factual (which unfortunately makes it impossible to intelligently discuss things with you). Just blind obedience to claims of exclusive "specialness."

Because of narcissism, your ilk precipitated the Reformation. Your kind are actually scared to death that Anglo Catholics are right (not to mention, that they have a friend in the current Pope). What will you do when all of the intelligent, educated, articulate, MARRIED Anglican bishops, priests and deacons crash your party?

Like all folks in your station, I strongly suggest entry level study in sacramental theology before you start spouting your ridiculous false witnesses. Remember, O thou man, that God can read your deceptions. Ignorance may be bliss but it is no excuse.

Unknown said...

I must admit, "rev'd up", that I had quite a laugh when I received this comment as you just caught me reading Garrigou-Lagrange's neo-Thomist critique of Kant's epistemology (see "God: His Existence and Nature", Vol.1, p103).

Anyway, I could hardly be accused of being an ultra-Montanist as any true ultra-Montanist would be appalled at the nascent Gallicanism in my statements about specifically English Catholicism and hostility to foreign forms of Catholicism.

Besides that I do not really see what you are trying to say (other than that I am stupid and/or ignorant). You merely make the ascertain that I am blindly obedient to a straw man. I assume you mean the Pope. In this you are wrong. I am no friend of papal authority. The overemphasis on this over the last 150 years or so is, in my opinion, largely what landed us in this mess in the first place. Without Pius IX and X there could not have been a Paul VI. In fact, I believe that the 'Book of Divine Worship' is a prime example of continental papal diplomats coming in and acting in a way that ignores the history and details of the situation in a local Church.

I am happy to debate with you but please offer arguments not unsubstantiated insults.

Unknown said...


Independent said...

God has ever brought good out of evil, including out of the Reformation. Perhaps we might say "O felix culpa". I would suggest that Christian peruse Fr Aidan Nichols' "Hind and the Panther" for an appreciation of what Anglicanism could bring to the Catholic Church. There is a whole corpus of hymnody, poetry, architecture, scholarship, devotion and liturgy which it could bring with it. There is no reason for Catholics to fear this, though the change in the historic ways of the recusants with the advent of the 19th converts bringing with them the somewhat Italianate devotions of ultramontanism might suggest otherwise, but German catholicism has acquired much of the heritage of Luther, singing his hymns with particular gusto, and it would be a shame if the glory of Cranmer's prose were not to be adopted. The English Missal, The English Hymnal can stand comparison with any vernacular Catholic productions. Perhaps the Church should like Fr Paul of Graymoor, a great apostle of unity, take as its text "Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost".

Independent said...

One hopes that any generous offer to the SSPX will make it clear to them that they must accept Vatican II complete with its teaching on ecumenisn and religious liberty. Anglican suppliants to the Holy See should not have any difficulty in accepting the Council.

Unknown said...

Presbyter, you mistake my point. Anglicanism clearly does have lots to offer the wider Church and the Reformation precipitated the glorious Counter-Reformation so I have no disagreements with you there!

I do object to the use of Cranmer's words in the liturgy as he is a heresiarch (sorry but I cannot deny that). As such his work should be examined very closely before being accepted into the liturgy. Moreover, Cranmer's work was specifically written with heretical intent. As such I, personally, would not consider any of it worthy of inclusion in the liturgy. That martyrs the full length of this country died rather than participate in one service including these words should also count for something. What would St Margaret Clitherow think?! This is, however, only my opinion.

What is more my point is the division that the creation of an 'Anglican Use' would create in the Church in England and the message it would send out about the Anglican branch theory. I also think that it would prevent the proper development of a "sensus Catholicus" amongst converts. This is something the ex-Anglican Card. Manning was very concerned with in the last century.

(Just regarding the SSPX briefly, the argument with them is not so much about whether they should accept V2 as what the documents of the Council actually say. They don't accept the Council because they say that the changes in teaching on ecumenism and religious liberty are heretical as they are just that, changes. If there were changes then they are quite right but the Church says that no new doctrines were declared at the Council. The document on religious liberty is merely a change of emphasis on the righteousness of preventing the spread of error to the eternal Church teaching that all should be able follow there religion of choice. The document on ecumenism was a change of policy not teaching.)

Independent said...

Christian -Since the various oriental rites do not suggest a branch theory, I am a little baffled as to how a mere use can do so. Before the reformation England had a variety of uses, indeed uniformity is merely the consequence of the invention of printing, but no one thought of them as different branches of a church. Do American Catholics have any problems with the Pastoral Provision?

If Luther's hymns are acceptable to German Catholics, then what is wrong with Cranmer's words. He is considerably more orthodox than some theologians at present in communion with the Holy See, and , provided of course he is suitably adapted - as has already been done in the "Book of Divine Worship", itself approved by Catholic authority, what good reason can be given for not using him. Where he translates he is superb and I am at a loss to see how when he is merely translating from impeccable Saurum and patristic sources his work should be shunned. He certainly has, what the present English mass has not, literary merit.

I would have thought that there is no doubt as to what the documents
of Vatican II actually say, even though on questions of liturgy they have been more honoured in the breach than the observance. However those who still believe that "error has no rights" and wish to carry on hating the Jews probably regard the sections on liberty, judaism, and ecumenism as erroneous.
How they reconcile this with the teaching of the present Pope no doubt requires a considerable amount of casuistry.

As for the Reformation precipi ating the Counter Reformation, I remember being taught some 50 years ago by a rather secular historian that this was a little difficult as many aspects of the latter preceded the former, and it was more realistic to talk of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. I believe this now to be the general view.

Thank you for your comments on my small contribution. I can sympathise with your attitude but it does seem a bit like that of the labourers in the vineyard who had toiled through the heat of the day and did not see why latecomers should be rewarded.

Unknown said...

Presbyter - Thank you for your interesting reply. You do rightly point out that the pre-Reformational Use's do show that liturgical diversity does not necessarily lead to division. The problem with the creation of the Anglican Use is, however, in not only a totally different historical context it is also different in nature.

The context today is that there has been a c.450 year schism with a body that has, at the very least, had tendencies towards error. That body was also responsible for the systematic persecution of the loyal Catholics. That body has, in the past, set it self up as the true Catholic Church in England, heir to the ancient Use's and devotions of that venerable Church and has claimed that the orthodox were schismatics. A main part of Catholic apologetics has been trying to refute these errors and maintain that the orthodox, 'Roman' Catholics are this ancient Church's only true heirs. This is the rub: Anglicans have, and many still do, claim to be a 'branch' of the ancient, universal Church of the first millennium. Anything that would suggest that this is so must be combated.

The nature of this 'Anglican Use' is also different to the pre-Reformational Use's as the medieval Use's were geographic. No one would have said the Durham Use in Salisbury and visa versa. The 'Anglican Use' is something for a community, a community with a specific problem with admitting that the Catholic Church in England is the ONLY Catholic Church in England. I know that you and other Anglicans cannot accept this but that is precisely why you are still Anglicans and have not become Catholics. That is the difference between us.

(as a side note, the American example is not really much of a test case as the number of parishes using the 'Anglican Use' is so small and thinly spread that one cannot have any real idea of how it would affect England as a whole if we have an influx of many thousands of Anglo-Catholics attached to this Use).

I recognise that the consensus is against me on the issue of allowing Cranmer's words in the liturgy but I still stick to them. The conscious was against liturgical sanity only 10 years ago but that has rather changed. I would also add that were I a German bishop I would not allow the use of Luther's words in the liturgy either.

Regarding the doctrine of religious liberty I was very much surprised and baffled by your comments. Are you suggesting that the solemn teaching of many many popes and Council's can just be thrust aside by a rather haphazard 'Pastoral' Council? Are you suggesting that declared doctrine can be changed? If so then you are clearly no catholic, Anglican or Roman. You must have meant something different. Please to explain this a little further....

(On the Reformation-Counter-Reformation thing I am aware of this debate but, as a historian, hold that the C-R was given most of its urgency and energy by zeal to defeat the R. So I continue to use the term Counter-Reformation)

Independent said...

Christian - thank you once again for your comments. It is a pleasure to cross swords with you. However I find your description of Vatican II as "an haphazard Council" somewhat strange. It is certainly not the view of the most excellent Pope and smacks rather of the Anglican Article which declares that General Councils have erred even in matters of faith. May I point out that I write from an ex-Anglican point of view, just as you I suspect write from that of the Lefebvrist schism.If I am worong please accpet my apologies.
As to whether the Church can correct itself, you may recall that when the whole world including Popes found itself Arian a certain amount of correction was required. Successive Popes have contradicted one another concerning the primary purpose of marriage . The term usury too has undergone a certain amount of redefinition since the Middle Ages. As Newman puts it to be perfect is to have changed often.
However the question at issue is one of semantics, although I doubt if you would not agree that the church has changed its mind about the Syllabus of Errors.

Looking back at your remarks about Bl Margaret Clitheroe I wonder if like St Thomas More she might exercise the virtue of forgiveness. You may recall he looked forward to meeting his opponents merrily in heaven.

Having taught recusant history before it became fashionable, and having agonised for many years about the Reformation, I would agree with you that the Anglo-Catholic theory of the Reformation is indefensible - indeed it has been dealt its death blows by Anglicans like MacCulloch and Congregationalists like Haigh - but that is no good reason for rejecting Cranmer's inimitable prose.

Unknown said...

Presbyter - I think that this argument about Cranmer does really seem to be one of taste so we might as well just agree to disagree. I am sure we could probably have some common ground in both loving the Coverdale Psalms.

I consider Vatican II a "haphazard Council" because it was one of the few (if not the only) in history to have been called on a whim and with no real heresy to confront. I also believe that the documents are badly written in that they confuse the faithful. Our gloriously reigning pontiff as said himself that “not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis many of them have been just a waste of time”.

I am actually not a Lefebvrist nor would I ever be, This is because I do not hold any of Vatican II to be heresy as I believe that it can all be interpreted in the light of Tradition. Many, if not most, SSPXers seem to think that the documents cannot be interpreted in the light of Tradition and are, therefore, heresy. I also object to their insistence on disobedience when that it clearly no longer necessary. The comparison between them and a thief in a shop were everything is free is a rather apt one. I do, however, have a healthy respect for the Archbishop without whom this present revival (which I believe will grow) would never have happened.

I am rather shocked at your talk of doctrinal change. Doctrine can never, and has never, changed. No pope became an Arian as such though a handful of pope's have fallen into heresy. That merely means that they were no longer pope. Just as any 'Catholic' theologian who is in obstinate heresy is not a real Catholic at all. One does not cease to be a Catholic just because the Church declares it so, one ceases to be a Catholic the moment one embraces heretical decent.

Usury is a difficult issue but it is not an irresolvable one. Their are copious numbers of articles explaining why their has been no change in Church teaching on this point.

All this being so, any change to Church teaching on religious liberty is an act of heresy. One cannot change dogma solemnly declared by Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Pius X and Pius XII. I attach an interesting article on this below. It is primarily about why the Council's 'Declaration on Religious Liberty' is not heresy but it does also explain why it important to prove that the Declaration is not a change in the previous doctrine.


William Tighe said...

"I consider Vatican II a "haphazard Council" because it was one of the few (if not the only) in history to have been called on a whim and with no real heresy to confront."

Constantinople II (553) might be said to have been called on an Emperor's whim, and to have been pretty much unnecessary, and unfortunate in its results (the disgrace of Pope Vigilius conduct, and subsequently the Istrian Schism in northern Italy, in the West and, in the East, the spurning of a real possibility or reconciling the Persian Church [not quite officially "Nestorian" at the time] on the basis of a robust Chalcedonian Orthodoxy, in favor of pursuing the will o' the whisp of reconciling the anti-Chalcedonian miaphysites on the basis of ambiguity.)

Unknown said...

Well, quite. Hence the qualifying 'few'.

Fr. John D. Alexander said...

I'd be interested in reading more about the distinction between "rite" and "use." At what point does a "use" diverge so much from its parent "rite" that it becomes a "rite" in its own right (so to speak)? The analogy with the distinction between languages and dialects seems apt. My linguist friends tell me that in some cases that distinction can be quite arbitrary and is often more a matter of politics than objective linguistic criteria. I'm *not* saying that the distinction is meaningless; I'm just wondering what criteria are applied to determine whether we're dealing with two uses of one rite, or two separate rites.

Independent said...

John Henry Newman thought the First Council of the Vatican was not a necessary Council.