"REAL PRESENCE": ARCIC SORTED IT OUT
The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission, from its beginnings until 1994, dealt withn the Eucharist. It concluded, in 1994, with a statement by "the appropriate dicasteries of the Holy See" [which must include the CDF] to the effect that "The agreement reached on Eucharist and Ministry by ARCIC-1 is thus greatly strengthened and no further study would seem to be required at this stage".
It was no secret that, on the Vatican side, there had been unease about the reality of this agreement. In some quarters, there was a suspicion that the doctrinal formulae of agreement were abstract verbal confections which papered over a real and persisting disagreement. It centred upon the question of the Eucharistic Presence, particularly with regard to the Reserved Sacrament. Given this unease, there was a very sensible desire to investigate Anglican praxis ... what people did with the Eucharistic Elements; how they were physically treated. This was on the ground that praxis would reveal whether the fancy verbal agreements actually meant anything.
So the question was insistently put: Do the Anglicans adore It? [Apparently: YES!]
THE EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE: PRAXIS
But there is another equally important aspect of Eucharistic doctrine that needed to sorted out by ARCIC: the question of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. ARCIC had indeed arrived at some formulae of agreement; but it was not easy to see how the test question, the litmus test, How about praxis? Does praxis confirm the agreement? could be made to operate in this field.
But now ... 2020 ... a question of praxis ... yippee!! ... has finally presented itself.
The Anglican hierarchy, during the Coronavirus lockdown, forbade clergy to celebrate the Eucharist even on their own in locked churches; even when the clergy-house was so adjacent to the church that the priest could get into it without "going outside". I believe there was even a suggestion that clergy discipline regulations might be made to apply if a priest disobeyed this behest (yes; I know that Anglican bishops are lovely and smiley on TV but many of them are unpleasant bullies in real life).
On the other hand: Archbishop Nichols explained on the BBC that Catholics don't talk much about "Going to Church"; what matters for us is the Mass.
The Mass is a Sacrifice, impetratory, propitiatory.
With the country in turmoil and people dying by the thousand, here and throughout the world, any priest would naturally wish, above all else, to offer to God the Father the Sacrifice of His only-begotten Son. Not less often, but very greatly more often. Even if, exceptionally, he had to offer the Sacrifice without lay presence.
Nichols explained that, despite the coronavirus, every Catholic priest would be offering Mass daily. He did so, alone, in his own darkened and empty Cathedral, and did it online.
The reality of Anglican belief concerning the Eucharistic Sacrifice has been made abundantly and practically clear.
Those who control the C of E do not believe in it. And as for praxis: they are prepared to enforce their disbelief by sending their ecclesiastical police in. This policy, it seems, is being enforced even by Anglican bishops who claim to be "Catholic" ... who wear skull caps and waggle incense around and who think that sort of stuff makes them "Catholic".
S JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
said that he welcomed the existence of the C of E as a bulwark agaist unbelief, but recognised that the time was likely when it would be more of an obstacle to Truth than a help. In his Second Spring sermon he envisions the C of E as a corpse which corrupts the air which once it refreshed, and cumbers the ground which once it beautified.
Perhaps the next ARCIC agenda should concentrate on what to do with corpses ... ecclesial corpses.