20 December 2017

Women Bishops

I wonder if I am out of date with regard to Anglican canonical niceties?

My recollection is that 'suffragan' [i.e. auxiliary] bishops are commissioned by their diocesan, and that their commission becomes void when the diocesan retires ... until the new diocesan grants them a new commission. Is that still the case?

This means that those congregations which reject the sacerdotal ministrations of women in the London diocese, who hitherto have been 'under the care of' Jonathan Baker, will henceforth be under the care of a Jonathan Baker who acts in the name of and by the authority of a woman 'bishop'.

When there is a woman at Canterbury, the same will true of those who are under the care of the bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough.

Will this be an acceptable situation? Personally, I don't see how it can be. But those clergy who hung on in the C of E in 2011 are now very adept at staying put. There is always, they explain, some further Enormity, still a few years ahead, which will finally make their position impossible, but this Enormity is just about tolerable.

If I had any power in the matter, I would offer such clergy a period of, say, eighteen months during which they could enter the Ordinariate (or a diocese) on special terms ... such as reordination within six months.

For some, such an offer would be a lifeline, a godsend; for others, it would call their bluff.


Jesse said...

To this layman's my mind at least, Father, there may be other "special terms" still more attractive to those who value what is and has been good in Anglicanism. I'm thinking, especially, of irrevocable approval of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in its integrity and of the Authorized Version of the Bible. In the new era of Magnum principium, surely this could be achieved!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Franciscus encouraged us to exeleutherostomize and you do it very well, Father.

Unknown said...

From the vantage point of a Catholic who was once a ‘papalist’ Anglican clergyman I can sympathise with Anglicans who feel that their position is being undermined by the appointment of a woman ‘bishop’ in London. Fr Hunwicke is quite right in pointing out that they cannot avoid the fact they they are, even if indirectly, subject to a person who they do not accept is really a bishop. He is also correct in indicating that many who hold ‘papalist’ views will cling onto the CoE virtually whatever happens. I plead guilty of such procrastination!

However, I do not think that Fr H is entirely fair to those who hesitate to join the Catholic Church as a positive choice. Looking at Anglicanism as a Catholic can strongly affirm that a woman cannot be a priest but I can equally strongly affirm that Anglican Orders are absolutely null and utterly void (Apostolicae curae 1896 & the Doctrinal Commentary of the CDF relating to John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ad tuendam fidem 1998). This is, for Anglicans, a hard teaching but would be a sufficient, indeed necessary, reason for someone who didn’t believe it to refuse to join us however dire the alternative. All I would say is that if you reject this teaching you absolutely would be making a mistake in joining us contrary to your conscience. If, however, you do accept it you cannot in conscience remain as an Anglican minister purporting to offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Paddy said...

What a splendid suggestion!

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Stephen

You posit too definite a polarity with regard to Anglican Orders, because of the participation since the 1930s of Dutch 'Old Catholic' bishops in Anglican episcopal condecrations. This led the Holy See to declare, when Graham Leonard went knocking on their door, that, in case of Anglicans whose orders derive from the Dutch initiative, "there is a doubt about their Invalidity".

the Savage said...

I doubt that the kinds of London Anglo-Catholic who would be interested in the "special terms" Fr. Hunwicke proposes have used the 1662 Book of Common Prayer since at least 1928.

Cherub said...

There is no way on earth that the 1662 BCP would or could be accepted in the Catholic Church. The service of Holy Communion, together with its Black Rubric, is founded on heretical Calvinist doctrine. Anglo-Catholics tried to get around this by, among other things, adding the prayer of Oblation to the Consecration prayer. But that is not the 1662 Prayer Book. At its heart the BCP is anti-Catholic.

About Fr Hunwicke’s charitable suggestion that C of E priests be given one more chance to enter the Ordinariate and be quickly ordained I have no objection. I would doubt there would be many, or even any, that would it up, but it is right and charitable that every chance be afforded these men.

Deacon Augustine said...

The further Enormity which will make their position impossible is the achievement of 40 years service in their generous Defined Benefit Pension Scheme.

Ed Ahlsen-Girard said...

The AV leaves Tobit, Maccabees et al as apocrypha also.

Jesse said...

This I readily concede. But I was thinking of actual Anglicans!

mormorador said...

I appreciate the clever and also correct use of Enormity here - to mean a great evil - rather than the meaning that has attached to it in recent years, that is, to use it as an abstract noun for what is enormous, detaching it from any sense of evil...

Please keep blogging in 2018, Fr Hunwicke, you are one of the marvellous ones.

Gaius said...


Black rubric aside, I don't think there's anything in the BCP that's actually heretical. Cranmer mostly insinuated Protestantism into the CofE by taking out explicitly Catholic elements of the services, not by adding explicitly Protestant parts.

(Actually, come to think of it, there's at least one collect which refers to "Jesus Christ, our only mediator and advocate," which I suppose could be a denial of the intercession of the saints. Though, depending on how you understand the terms, you could probably put an orthodox interpretation on that, as well. Of course, if the Catholic Church were for some reason to adopt the BCP, they could just strike out the word "only" and have a perfectly orthodox prayer.)

vetusta ecclesia said...

Isn't the point of the Ordinariate to have some laity as well?

Jesse said...

@Cherub: I acknowledge that your position is held by a great many intelligent people, and also that what I propose may seem hopeless of acceptation.

Indeed, I'll one-up you and assert that the sacramental theology of the Prayer Book's principal architect, Thomas Cranmer, was in fact rather "lower" than Calvin's. This has been carefully argued by Gordon Jeanes in his 2009 book Signs of God's Promise: Thomas Cranmer's Sacramental Theology and the Book of Common Prayer. Jeanes concludes that Cranmer thought of himself as espousing a "sacramental instrumentalism," like Calvin and Bucer, but that his logic is that of "sacramental parallelism," comparable to Heinrich Bullinger's. (For what it's worth, this also shows Cranmer's teaching to have been, pace Dom Gregory Dix, at least somewhat "higher" than the "sacramental memorialism" of Zwingli.)

I would nevertheless argue that this is largely irrelevant to how the Book of Common Prayer can and ought to be interpreted. Cranmer's compositional procedure when crafting a new text (such as the Holy Communion's "Prayer of Consecration" -- not his term for it!) seems to have been to assemble all the scriptural passages that were, on a literal rather than a figural reading, directly relevant to the rite in question. He then arranged them into a coherent prayer. In the Communion's "Prayer of Consecration," he drew on Col. 1:20, Eph. 1:7, Heb. 9:28, Heb. 10:10-14, 1 John 2:2, Luke 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:23-26, 1 Cor. 10:16-17.

It will be noticed that these passages say everything the New Testament has to say about the Eucharist in terms of "real presence" and of "sacrifice" (again, as I said, omitting the "figural" readings that may be given to other passages).

The relevant interpretive question, therefore, is not what Cranmer intended this rite to mean, but what Scripture itself means us to understand about the Real Presence and the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Whatever that meaning is, the rite itself can bear it.

I would note, in passing, that the 1552-1662 placement of reception of the Body and Blood immediately after the Words of Institution, before the Prayer of Oblation, strikes me as entirely in keeping with the insight into the Eucharistic Sacrifice as principally the self-offering of Christ and those joined to him, developed by Hartmut Gese and cited cum laude by Joseph Ratzinger in The Feast of Faith. The ritualists of the past who mutilated the 1662 rite missed out on a beautiful liturgical expression of this truth.

Jesse said...


As for the Black Rubric, I could understand a Roman Catholic objection to its 1552 form, which denied any "real and essential" presence of Christ. But the 1662 revision, read literally, denies only a "corporal" and local presence of Christ in the sacrament. This is entirely consistent with the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, who likewise denies that Christ is present either physically or locally in the sacrament. It is also consistent with the Eucharistic theology of Joseph Ratzinger as found in his sermons on the Eucharist preached while he as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, published in God Is Near Us, which make clear that there is no physical change in the bread and the wine. (As the Rubric puts it, they "remain still in their very natural substances.") John Keble, at least, saw this as no obstacle to Eucharistic Adoration.

I have long since given up hope that such arguments will ever persuade people -- especially former Anglicans -- that the classical Prayer Book is not "anti-Catholic." But such arguments are what persuade me to remain an Anglican. The mingle-mangle of the Ordinariate's approved liturgies cannot, in my view, sufficiently nurture the distinctive and authentic spirituality that grew up around the Prayer Book, a spirituality that, although nowadays practised only by an endangered minority, deserves to survive. If that liturgical spirituality cannot be welcomed into the Catholic Church, then it will have to survive outside it.

Hence my suggested "special terms."

Alan said...

I think the point made by Vetusta Ecclesia is important. It touches on what has, in my opinion,been the greatest problem for the fledgling ordinariate, and what is, with hindsight, the greatest failing of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Church of England.

At the formation of the ordinariate, three of the four prelates to whom was assigned care of parishes not accepting the ministry of women priests immediately signed up (Monsignors Newton, Burnham and Broadhurst), as did Mgr Newton's predecessor at Richborough (Mgr Barnes) and several retired prelates. The number of priests who moved was proportionately much lower, and the number of laypeople didn't, I understand, make it into four figures. So far as I am aware, the only priest actually to take a majority of his congregation with him was Fr Ed Tomlinson.

I would suggest that the indication is that Anglo-Catholicism, especially in its papalist form, has failed to "take" with the laity, and consequently many priests have felt obliged to choose between a lonely conversion as a matter of personal conscience or staying with their laypeople in the hope of somehow rescuing a "Catholic" religious sensibility. Maybe we were fooled by the huge numbers once going to Walsingham, many of whom were perhaps enjoying a mildly exotic "high-church" day out or weekend away.

JARay said...

I am not sure that I can agree with "Jesse that " This is entirely consistent with the teaching of Thomas Aquinas, who likewise denies that Christ is present either physically or locally in the sacrament." The teaching of the Catholic Church has always consistently proclaimed that Jesus Christ is present "body, blood soul and divinity" under the appearances of bread and wine...appearances are not actuality! The actuality is indeed the "body, blood, soul and divinity" of Jesus Christ. Many miracles over the years have clearly shown this to be the real truth. Real flesh has been shown to exist and real blood of type AB positive.
Thomas Aquinas has never denied this nor has Joseph Ratzinger.

Jesse said...

@JARay: On such miracles, see St. Thomas, S.Th. IIIa Q. 76 art. 8. Christ is not present in them "under its proper species" but only "under the appearance of flesh". "Christ's body under its proper species can be seen only in one place, wherein it is definitively contained. Hence since it is seen in its proper species, and is adored in heaven, it is not seen under its proper species in this sacrament."

Banshee said...

JARay -- Yes, the Catholic Church teaches that although Christ is REALLY REALLY PRESENT in the Eucharist (Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity), He is substantially present but He is not physically present. It's advanced doctrine and doesn't come up much.

The thing that is physically there is the "accidents". The Real Presence is the "substance." He is really there, in every single way except physically.

The late Father Hardon did some talks on this, and they made my head hurt SO VERY MUCH. (My head was already hurting with sinus, and now it is hurting more from the memory of the talks.)

This doesn't mean that Eucharistic miracles don't happen. It means that Eucharistic miracles are visible (and physical) signs, where God does something different.

And you will notice that when there is a Eucharistic miracle, nobody says to himself, "Yup, I'm going to chow down on Jesus' physical flesh and blood! Yummers!" Because it's a sign, in a different way than the normal Eucharist; and we treat Him differently when He comes to us differently.

Banshee said...

Here's the page on the Eucharist and the Real Presence, in an archive of Fr. Hardon's talks. As you can see, he had a lot to say about the Real Presence and why it matters!

I'm not sure exactly which talk I was listening to. He did a lot of talks back in the Eighties, and sometimes the sound quality of the transferred tapes is not that great. It was part of a series of classes done for a bunch of nuns -- I think they were Filipinas visiting the US for training? So it may have been that long series of talks in "A Eucharistic Retreat."

William Tighe said...

Perhaps of interest:

From the encyclical Mysterium Fidei by Pope Paul VI:

"Not that there lies under those species what was already there before, but something quite different; and that not only because of the faith of the Church, but in objective reality, since after the change of the substance or nature of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and wine but the appearances, under which Christ, whole and entire, in His physical “reality” is bodily present, although not in the same way that bodies are present in a given place.”


Here's the Latin original text:

Non enim sub praedictis speciebus iam latet quod prius erat, sed aliud omnino; et quidem non tantum ob fidei Ecclesiae aestimationem, sed ipsa re, cum conversa substantia seu natura partis et vini in corpus et sanguinem Christi, nihil panis et vini maneat eisi solae species; sub quibus totus et integer Christus adest in sua physica «realitate» etiam corporaliter praesens, licet non comodo quo corpora adsunt in loco.


Fr William Bauer said...

I applied as an Anglican for the Ordinariate. After two (2) years of hearing nothing I contacted the Vatican directly. I was referred to the United Statea' office, which said I was not serious, and that I should repent, and that my parishioners could become Roman Catholics without me. I than applied to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Same guy (me), same parish, same liturgy (almost) and no bureaucratic insults.

pueblosw@gmail.com said...

I am truly sorry for Fr. Bauer's experience. Someone in the Roman church clearly did not get the message. All of which confirms what I have felt for some time, that there is considerable foot dragging in the Roman church. Seems some are internally focused when the opposite message was commanded by our Founder. As far as the transition itself, from a strictly historical view, the return is to the English Church prior to 1635 and Henry VIII's schism. As such, it would seem to be little different than the Church in other countries in its relationship to Rome. I understand cultural differences in different geographic areas but would hope for a little more unity in terms of "one flock".

Claire from DE said...

As you put it: the bread and wine remain still in their very natural substances. I think I understand your meaning but this is not how Catholics could express it or pray it. The substance (what the thing IS) changes to the substance of the body and blood of Christ and only the accidents, those properties apparent to the senses, remain. I made my first Communion in 1954 but the term transubstantiation is still the explanation given in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In some way the Eucharist not only signifies Jesus’ presence but IS really Him.