23 July 2022

Sex, Status, and Ecumenism

 The admirable periodical Friends of the Ordinariate has thrown some diverting light on the events leading up to the founding of the Ordinariates.

Most readers will probably know that there were several movements leading up to that significant event. There was the RITA (Rome Is The Answer) initiative of Bishop Andrew Burnham and two of the other English Flying Bishops; this led to success, and the Ordinariates are the measure of that success. But there was also a larger group of English Anglican bishops, mostly diocesans, who took up a fair bit of Roman time and attention. But why did those bishops draw back from the brink and ... with the noble and distinguished example of Bishop Nazir Ali ... cease to aspire to unity? (Roman sources have indicated that the attempts engineered by John Hepworth were not the most significant factor in these events: "the main factor was a desire to address the English situation").

So what happened to that group of English Anglican diocesans? Friends of the Ordinariate gives evidence that their problem was that Rome would not accept married Anglican bishops as bishops. They could be authorised, like abbots and some monsignori, to use pontificalia; but they would be denied the sacramental reality of the Episcopal Order.

So that's what all that ecumenism stuff was to lead up to! Unlike Bishop Burnham and his colleagues, unlike Bishop Ali, they were not big enough men to sacrifice ... personal status!!!

Their foremost belief was ... Bishops we are and bishops, in the fullest sense, we must be acknowledged to be ...

... and hands off our wives!


Frankly, Ecumenism has always been a seedy plot to destroy Anglican Catholicism within the Provinces of Canterbury and York. Our elite has always made clear that:"We shall not allow anything to impede our liberal Proddy desire for pan-Protestant unity ... so you 'Catholics' are going to have to give up your belief that episcopal ordination is essential for valid ordination to the priesthood. And it's no good complaining that the Methodist use of non-wine in their communion services would render their communions invalid anyway ... and you can stop banging on about Confirmation ... O, and by the way, we shall continue to persecute you for using at the Altar that horrid Roman book ... you'll still be on our 'banned' list ... "

The Anglican Dominant Tendency invented Bergoglianity decades ago! Our resistance against it has characterised Anglican Church life throughout my own decades in the provinces of Canterbury and York. 


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

St Peter and at least most of the other apostles had wives, and kept them whilst exercising episcopal ministry. So, the men chosen by Our Lord would not have been good enough for them. But they're happy to raise homosexuals to the episcopate.


P.S.: Cardinal Beaton and Jon Arason were 16th Century married bishops.

Jhayes said...


The Wikipedia article on Marion Ogilvy summarizes Margaret Sanderson’s account of their life together as concubinage rather than marriage

Margaret Sanderson sees their relationship as example of clerical concubinage which Beaton himself condemned in others. In her biography Cardinal of Scotland, Sanderson discusses the issue at greater length and points out that all their eight children were born before he was fully ordained, which presumably occurred at the time [of] his consecration as Bishop of Mirepoix in 1538. The Cardinal's relationship with Marion seems not to have become a specific target of his critics or an embarrassment to his apologists until the 19th century.

Jhayes said...

Similarly, the Wikipedia article on Jón Arason points out that:

Clerical celibacy was only practiced in medieval Iceland in the sense that priests did not marry their partners, and Jón Arason had at least nine children by his long-time partner Helga Sigurðardóttir

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

There is documentary evidence (in some Scottish records office?? - I can't remember) that David Beaton, cleric in minor orders, married Marion/Mariotta Ogilvy. So, even by tbe standards of the then-operative Corpus Juris Canonici, the union was undoubtedly valid. I once mentioned this fact during the course of a conversation with a Scottish traditionalist priest, which went over like a lead balloon. That was the end of that conversation. As to Bishop Jon, the relationship would also have been a valid marriage as per both Divine and praeter legem customary law.


Moritz Gruber said...

>>St Peter and at least most of the other apostles had wives, and kept them whilst exercising episcopal ministry.

No, the latter is not proven and actually unlikely. They did have wives, but St. Peter says "See, we have left everything and followed thee". This would have included the wife. Later, we hear of a right of the Apostle to a "sister-as-a-wife" (which St. Paul waives), but that rather sounds like a fixed expression for a parish housekeeper. It certainly can have been that, even if it might, also, have meant a wife who believes.

What is certain is that very shortly afterwards, bishops had no right to consume their marriage. The Ritual had "hast thou put thy wife aside", or something like ist, in the consecration for a bishop.

It is true, though, that in itself this can be dispensed for bishops just as it can for priests. The reason why, while converted ordained ministers get a dispensation from priestly celibacy as a matter more or less of course (as they should), noone gets one from episcopal celibacy is Church policy. To the mind of the Pope, this would have been what it was like: "So, I have these Anglican bishops who might convert. I will dispense them from celibacy, have them made priests, prelates of their ordinariats and give them staff and mitre. If they insist, they can also be assistants-to-the-papal-throne and count-palatines of the Lateran. They say, though, that they won't convert unless I make them bishops. - On the other hand, if I make them bishops, I will seriously antagonize the Eastern Catholic Churches (who, having given up priestly celibacy, tend to give possibly too much weight to the episcopal celibacy, being the part they retained); they might possibly join the Eastern Orthodox; speaking of Eastern Orthodox, I will seriously worsen our relationship with them. Am I willing to risk all that, in order to appease someone who is not content with priesthood, prelateship, ring, staff, mitre and a fancy title, as long as it's not the actual sacramental episcopal character?" As we see, Pope Benedict said no.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Moritz, I Cor 9:5 is crystal clear (in Greek, also compare the Itala , the earliest Latin available), that "Kephas" and the other apostles took Christian women around with them as wives (including on their missionary journeys). St Paul, already a bishop, states that he has exactly the same right, resting upon the natural, and therefore divine, law.

The "requirement" of clerical celibacy is indefensible legal positivism.


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Moritz, there were no "parish housekeepers". Taking around women as effectively doulai/servae would have been a serious public scandal. There is no way "gunaika" in that verse can be intelligently translated as anything other than "wife". That this is so is seen from St Jerome in Adversus Helvidium.


Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

The Eastern Orthodox err seriously in limiting tbe episcopste to celibates. There is no nexus between celibacy and holy orders. The real motivd is "sex (by extension marriage) =;girl germs" , i.e , ritual purity, which has no place in NT times (although a fair few of my fellow trads certsinly believe in it.)


John Vasc said...

Surely the point is not who in the remote and unclear circumstances of the early church, many centuries ago, might speculatively have had a wife or not, but that when given the option in this present century, some Anglican bishops chose simply not to follow the envisaged spiritual path, in order to retain their higher office.
It was not really so much 'Hands off our wives!' but 'Hands off our careers!'

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

John Vasc, that is not true. It is crystal clear that it is the divine and apostolic right of the secular clergy to marry. There is no speculation about the practice of the early church. Accepting these facts may be a cross for some, but they can bear it in a spirit of asceticism, I'm sure.


Banshee said...

The early Church believed what the Jews believed -- a priest/bishop could be married, fine, but nobody could come to say Mass without fasting from food and sex. (And the same thing for laypeople receiving Communion.)

And the early Church kept a lot of fasting seasons and fasting days in the week, which included fasting from sex, and a lot of devout bishops fasted more than anybody else. So a bishop with a wife was not going to have many times to have sex anyway.

Sexual continence is the puzzle piece that people forget.

And I am pretty sure that Jon Arason was not under any illusions that he was behaving well, and doing a good job as priest. He just didn't care, and the parish people were in no position to get rid of him. He was mooching off his job.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Jon Areson was a martyr (and read what I have written above. No human law can abrogate or repeal divine law), and this business about ritual purity/fasting from sex prior to communion in the early church is no more than speculation. Catholics need to get it through their skulls that the idea of ritual purity (which seems to gain adherents whenever Platonism waxes in strength) is a lapse into Judaising, and has no valid place in New Testament times, regardless of what the subjective feelings of piety of some may dictate to the contrary ...


pueblosw@gmail.com said...

I would note that a lot of this sounds like "inside baseball" and I will leave the expertise to the historians and canon lawyers. As far as the Anglican Bishops who are reluctant to alter their status in an Ordinariate hierarchy, I would suggest to them closer study of the history of how their Church got caught up in this kerflufel almost six centuries ago along with the theology that accompanied it. I would also suggest that they account for the protestantization of their Church under Edward VI, which seems quite deliberate in its intention.

From Fr. Khouri said...

Moritz, So the teaching of the Lord on marriage "What God has joined together let no man put aside" and that of St. Paul as well did not apply to the married Apostles?

AvB, sexual fasting in marriage is not about sex as a impure or "nasty" thing but time to prepare spiritually to offer or receive the Mysteries. This is not some speculation but is found in many early local Councils and ratified by the Sixth and Seventh Ecumenical Councils. St. John Chrysostom in his work "On Virginity" also speaks about sexual fasting in marriage.