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Anglican Orders

Discussion in 'Denomination Specific Theology' started by Philip_B, May 19, 2017.

  1. Philip_B

    Philip_B At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Supporter

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    ANGLICAN ORDERS NOT 'INVALID' SAYS CARDINAL, OPENING WAY FOR REVISION OF CURRENT CATHOLIC POSITION

    Leo XIII’s remarks that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void” have been a major stumbling block to Catholic-Anglican unity​
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    One of the Vatican’s top legal minds has opened the way for a revision of the Catholic position on Anglican orders by stressing they should not be written off as “invalid.”

    In a recently published book, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, calls into question Pope Leo XIII’s 1896 papal bull that Anglican orders are “absolutely null and utterly void.”

    “When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” the cardinal says in volume of papers and discussions that took place in Rome as part of the “Malines Conversations,” an ecumenical forum.

    “This about the life of a person and what he has given …these things are so very relevant!”

    For decades Leo XIII’s remarks have proved to be one of the major stumbling blocks in Catholic-Anglican unity efforts, as it seemed to offer very little room for interpretation or revision.

    But the cardinal, whose department is charged with interpreting and revising Church laws, argued the Church today has a “a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity” which could be revised on the Anglican ordination question.

    “The question of validity [regarding the non-recognition of Anglican orders, while the Pope would give pectoral crosses, rings or chalices to Anglican clergy], however, is not a matter of law but of doctrine,” he explains in a question and answer format. “We have had, and we still have a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity: this is valid, and that is not valid. One should be able to say: ‘this is valid in a certain context, and that is valid another context’.”

    Cardinal Coccopalmerio also recalled Pope Paul VI’s meeting with then Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, in 1966. It was a famous meeting as the Pope gave the archbishop his episcopal ring and also, according to the cardinal, a chalice.

    “What does it mean when Pope Paul VI gave a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury? If it was to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, it was meant to be done validly, no?” he explains. “This is stronger than the pectoral cross, because a chalice is used not just for drinking but for celebrating the Eucharist. With these gestures the Catholic Church already intuits, recognises a reality.”

    Pope Francis has also pushed ahead with a number of symbolically important ecumenical initiatives such as travelling to Sweden to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformation. The Pope has also called for Christian denominations to act as if they are already united and leave the theological disagreements to be resolved later.

    Yet the major difficulty for the Catholic Church in recognising Anglican clergy would be the perception of validating women priests, something that was strongly ruled against by John Paul II.

    The new collection of papers also includes the records of two discussions that took place between Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI - when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - and the former Anglican Bishop of the Diocese in Europe, Geoffrey Rowell.

    On Anglican orders, Bishop Rowell quotes Cardinal Ratzinger as saying: “we cannot do anything about Leo XIII’s words but there are, however, other ways of looking at things.”

    While the Pope Emeritus does not follow up with any suggestions, he does accept that Anglican eucharist services have value.

    “When an ecclesial community, with its ordained ministry, in obedience to the Lord’s command, celebrates the eucharist, the faithful are caught into the heavenly places, and there feed on Christ,” he says.

    Elsewhere in his contribution, Cardinal Coccopalmerio distinguishes between the “differences” and “divisions” between Christians: the latter, he stresses, should only be over fundamental things such as the divinity of Christ.

    “Today, Churches are divided, or, rather, they say that they are divided because they lack common elements which, however, are not fundamental because they are not a matter of faith,” he explains.

    “We say: ‘you don’t have this reality, which is a matter of faith, and therefore you are divided from me. But in fact it isn’t a matter of faith, you only pretend it to be.”

    While a revision of Leo XIII’s position on Anglican orders would be a milestone, the cardinal also stresses the situation is currently somewhat “unclear.”

    09 May 2017 | by Christopher Lamb
    Anglican orders not 'invalid' says Cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position

    It does seem that there is a mind for a greater mutuality of respect between many Churches and Rome and Canterbury certainly seem to have found fertile ground to explore in recent years. Clearly not everyone will welcome these shifts in position, however I for one certainly do.
     
  2. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member

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    Has the good cardinal also decided that the ordination of women among the Anglicans is valid? Have you guys even figured that out?

    I wonder if Anglicans have accepted the validity of Catholic orders, something explicitly rejected by the head of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth, in 1570?

    As one who hoped earnestly for reunion in the 1970's and 1980's and followed ARCIC intently, I can see how one might say there is 'not nothing' in Anglican ordination. And in some cases Anglicans have moved over the years to find consecrating bishops who are in some line of uncontested apostolic succession. That may change things. But I think the good cardinal is in the end not very helpful, and I'm not so sure the spin of everything being suddenly hunky dory is a good thing.

    Catholics accept the ordinations of the Orthodox. And nothing much changes there. It's been a 950 year estrangement that will probably not be resolved for another 950 years. Well, at least not in my lifetime. And that without any significant roadblock in the last 50 years from the Catholic side. Having the Catholic Church accept the validity of (some?) Anglican ordinations is not a panacea.

    The reason Leo XIII found Anglican orders null and void was that the intent of Anglican orders was measured to be something other than the intent of Catholic orders. Anglicans, at their origin had Catholic bishops who signed the Supremacy Act. And initially the intent and form of their ordinations was no different from their ordinations before they signed the Supremacy Act. That changed later, as Anglicanism differentiated itself from Catholicism. In Article 25 of the Articles of Religion it is pretty well affirmed that Anglican ordination is not the same as Catholic ordination. How are we now supposed to conclude they are the same? Newman and the Oxford Tractarians may have wanted it to be so, but they did not win the day. Evangelical Anglicans wouldn't have wanted that for a minute. Leo had to conclude that the ordinations did indeed differ. Do they somehow today not differ because we all want things to be better?

    Unfortunately the best we can say is that from a Catholic perspective Anglican orders are 'not nothing' but affirming that they are actual Catholic orders isn't possible given the Anglican history of denying that they could be the same. I don't know how to overcome that. The Oxford movement didn't succeed in overcoming it. ARCIC didn't succeed in overcoming it. Finding bishops in some sort of apostolic succession as co-consecrators at your ordinations may have improved things. Maybe. But is it all fixed up now? I don't think so. The new elephant in the room is that the liberals are in the driver's seat in Anglicanism now, and what do they mean by ordination? Who are they ordaining? Sadly, I think the hope for AngloCatholics is to either set sail in some continuing Anglican existence as independents or connected to African Anglicanism or to join one of the Ordinariates. You might not want to do that, but I see no other solution to the ordination issue at this time, given the current leadership of the Anglican communion. The Catholic Church might concede that some Anglican ordinations are valid, and conditionally re-ordain priests and bishops coming into the Ordinariate. But how is Queen Elizabeth's rejection overcome? How are the 39 Articles overcome? It's not just rewriting history about pope Leo XIII, but rewriting that history as well. Or not 'rewriting history' so much as actually undoing it. Is there a way to undo it? Who speaks for Anglicanism that can and will do so? There are many Catholics who wanted, or even still want this to move forward. And that includes pope emeritus Benedict, and little old me. I'm just not an optimist any more. I see the Anglican/Catholic thing sliding backwards. And I think that cardinal Coccopalmerio is into unhistorical wishful thinking.
     
  3. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    It didn't take long to witness that "clearly not everyone will welcome" part, did it?:rolleyes:
     
  4. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for your response about my response.
     
  5. Philip_B

    Philip_B At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Supporter

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    As I understand it the Tablet is not an Anglican Journal.
     
  6. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member

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    So what are the Anglican journals all saying about it?
     
  7. Philip_B

    Philip_B At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Supporter

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    Anglicans don't have a problem with Anglican Orders, so it is not our story to tell.
     
  8. Paidiske

    Paidiske Bodily member Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    As I understand Article XXV, it's not saying that Anglican and Catholic ordination are different things. It's saying that calling ordination a sacrament is a misunderstanding of the nature of ordination, which should rather be understood as admission to a "state of life" (as with marriage); and that this would be equally true for Anglican and for Catholic clergy.
     
  9. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Well-Known Member

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    Who really cares what some guy in Rome says about your denomination? This is the same group that decided that my baptism makes me a de facto member of their denomination. So what? Do I care? Not a whit. Will it make any difference in the grand scheme of things? Not a whit, unless I suddenly give them more respect than they deserve.
     
  10. Paidiske

    Paidiske Bodily member Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    If we see the two denominations as hopelessly divided, with no possibility of growing closer together, then I'd agree, bbbbbb. Let the Pope say whatever he likes and we'll get on with being us.

    But if we have any desire for ecumenism, then working out how we might grow closer together becomes important (and recognising our orders would be a major step in that regard).

    Personally, while I have the desire for ecumenism, I have little real expectation of it in my lifetime (or to put that another way, Rome's version of ecumenism seems to be, "Become Roman Catholic, and then we will all be one!") But I respect people who work towards it as a good thing.
     
  11. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Well-Known Member

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    In retrospect I did not mean to dismiss the goal of Christian unity. However, I agree with you that the Catholic approach, which has not deviated in my lifetime, is simply untenable.
     
  12. Philip_B

    Philip_B At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Supporter

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    I don't think I could say the same. Pope Francis and Justin Welby issued a joint statement saying that 'our division is a scandal and a shame'. I don't wish to minimise the problem, neither do I care to ignore the progress that has been made. My hope, my intent, is that we should strive to be part of a solution, not digging in to maintain the problem.

    just saying.
     
  13. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Well-Known Member

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    I will know there is genuine respect on the part of Rome when, and if, they ever admit that they were wrong and that they made a serious mistake.

    It does happen, but very infrequently, as, for example, when the Catholic Church shifted its position relative to Islam and Judaism.
     
  14. Philip_B

    Philip_B At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow. Supporter

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    In my lifetime they have learned to say the Mass in the vulgar tongue!
     
  15. bbbbbbb

    bbbbbbb Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and they moved the high altar from the east wall into the center of the church which, IMO, was much more radical than saying Mass in the vulgar tongue.

    The philosophical problem is that the Catholic Church proclaims that it is the true, unchanging church of God but, unlike the Eastern Orthodox (to name one branch which really has changed less than any others) the Catholic Church fully believes in a form of progressive revelation such that it is now rather mired in a Tradition that is at significant variance with the other branches of Christianity.

    There was a time, primarily in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when the Catholic Church took the stance of setting itself as much apart from the other branches in an apparent effort to convince potential converts. This strategy actually was quite effective in England where there were large numbers of conversions from Anglo-Catholics. Even today as the two churches continue to drift apart issues such as woman ordination and homosexual ordination provide an impetus for some sincere Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.

    However, beginning with Vatican II the Catholic Church has determined that ecumenism is a much better course of action. The problem posed with ecumenism is how to bring Catholic doctrine and practice more into line with other branches of Christianity without radically destablizing the existing Church. It is a difficult balancing act.
     
  16. Dave-W

    Dave-W Our six grandchildren Supporter

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    We have been working that way also. For the last 15 years or so a group of Messianic Jews and a varied group of protestant ministers have been meeting with the Catholic pontiffs and the EOC patriarchs. There have been discussions on a number of significant points of rule and doctrine. The group is called Toward Jerusalem Council 2.
    www.tjcii.org
     
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