Sunday, 17 July 2011

For the Record: Anglican Papalism, by Fr Brooke Lunn

January 2006

Anglican Papalism is a movement, from schism to unity, with a clear idea of our starting point, and a definite sense of direction. The movement’s antecedents go back to the schism, and its future goes forward to its destiny - full communion with the Roman Apostolic See. It is the expression, in a particular historical and geographical context, of the desire for unity in accordance with the expressed will of Our Lord Jesus Christ [John 17].

The usage - Anglican Papalism - goes back scarcely a century, though what it indicates, namely, efforts to heal the break with Rome, go back to the break itself. Because of widespread misunderstanding of it, it is necessary to be clear about its precise meaning.

My dictionary gives:
  • Anglican…(Anglicana ecclesia in Magna Carta)…Of or pertaining to the reformed Church of England or any Church in communion with it.
  • papalism n., papalist n. & a. (a) n. a supporter of the Pope or the papacy; (b) adj. Of or pertaining to papalism or papalists.
  • Romanizer n. a person, esp. an Anglican, who favours or adopts practices of the Roman Catholic Church M19.
From the above we may see Anglican Papalism as a movement of members of the Church of England or any Church in communion with it in support of the Pope or the papacy.

Thus Anglican Papalism is not to be confused with Romanizers. The former belongs in the realm of ideas, the latter in the realm of phenomena. The phenomena of Romanizers are relatively easy to perceive. The idea of Anglican Papalism requires much more application in order to begin to comprehend it.

Anglican Papalism - essential points

1. Christian unity
Unity is a fundamental concept running through the Holy Scriptures.
a) The story of Adam and Eve illustrates the essential unity of the whole human race.
b) We are created in the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity, the perfect society, the model of unity in diversity.
c) The story of Cain and Abel illustrates the social responsibility aspect of the essential unity of the whole human race.
d) The struggle to establish Jerusalem as the centre of unity of God’s people over against the high places, and the focussing of this unity on the Temple, is a central theme of the Old Testament; and is still very much present today.
e) Along with this goes the emergence of ethical monotheism in God’s revelation.
f) Jesus’s concern for the unity of God’s people is expressed in various ways, particularly in John 17: ‘that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.’
g) Ephesians 1:9-10 reads: ‘For he (God) has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.’
h) From this follows the need for Christian unity. The French catholic priest Paul Couturier, who has become known as the Apostle of Unity, saw in the prayer of Jesus in John 17 the basis of his own understanding of prayer for unity, so he produced for his Week of Prayer the formula that the visible unity of the Kingdom of God may be such as Christ wills and achieved by whatever means he wills.
j) God’s will, as Ephesians says, is to unite all things in heaven and on earth, so unity also means the unity of the whole human race, through, amongst other needs, inter-religious dialogue.
k) It also means the unity of the whole creation…ecology, the ‘green movement’, and so on.

Unity is the primary motivation of Anglican Papalism. The understanding of what unity means continues to develop, but the basic motivation remains.

2. Rome
Anglican papalists are convinced that the fulness of the Church is to be found both in the local Church, the bishop and his people, and in the universal Church, the communion of all the Churches with the Church of Rome, the Apostolic See. It is not a case of either/or, but of both/and. Thus full communion with Rome is not just some optional extra, which might be helpful, but is essential for the fulness of the Church. Rome holds a unique place in the unity of the Church, over and beyond the fact that unity necessarily involves all Churches and ecclesial communities and, indeed, everyone of good will who professes the Christian faith.

Section 23 of the ARCIC Agreed Statement Authority in the Church I reads:

If God’s will for the unity in love and truth of the whole Christian community is to be fulfilled, this general pattern of the complementary primatial and conciliar aspects of episcope serving the koinonia of the churches needs to be realized at the universal level. The only see which makes any claim to universal primacy and which has exercised and still exercises such episcope is the see of Rome, the city where Peter and Paul died.
It seems appropriate that in any future union a universal primacy such as has been described should be held by that see.

3. Prayer
 Prayer is very much to the fore in Anglican Papalist work for unity. The Church Unity Octave, first observed in 1908, originated with two Anglican papalists. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity developed from this. Couturier, the ‘Apostle of Unity’ was first brought to England through the efforts of Anglican papalists. Today the Catholic League is active in promoting prayer for unity. A special edition of The Messenger of The Catholic League, no. 280 October 2003 – February 2004 was dedicated to the vision of Paul Couturier as part of the observance of the fiftieth anniversary of his death. Also from the Catholic League comes the Christian Unity Prayerbook.

4. Doctrine
It is fundamental to Anglican Papalism that an essential prerequisite for full unity is agreement in the essentials of Christian doctrine. Until Vatican II this was identified in the Creed of the Council of Trent. Today the touchstone is the Catechism of the Catholic Church  of 1994. The work of ARCIC is recognised as of great importance in the search for unity.

5. Liturgy
 Lex orandi - lex credendi - lex vivendi…worship, faith, life…Christianity is all of a piece, and all the parts belong together in its wholeness. The catholic Church, as distinct from many ecclesial communities which express themselves primarily through ‘Confessions’ [Augsburg, Westminster, etc.] expresses herself primarily through liturgy. Thus Anglican Papalists give due significance to their convictions through liturgy. This is not the same as saying that Anglican Papalism is primarily about liturgy. It is not. There are many Romanizers who are most definitely not papalists; and there are Anglican Papalists who would scarcely merit the description of Romanizer. The difference between papalist and Romanizer is fundamental, yet there remains much confusion. Yet indeed many Anglican Papalists are Romanizers. Issues raised by this are dealt with in a Catholic League publication, Liturgy and Unity.

6. Loyalty
Anglican Papalists have been on the receiving end of much unjust criticism - that their position is irrational, hypocritical, disloyal, etc. Where such criticism has been just, and this seems to be very rare, the object of such criticism has been exceptional and untypical of Anglican Papalism. Geoffrey Curtis CR, not a papalist himself, in Paul Couturier and Unity in Christ [p. 163] gave a fair appreciation which questioned the charge of disloyalty. This is considered further below.

One of the most frequent grounds for the allegation of disloyalty is the adoption of practices of the Roman Catholic Church. This ground is refuted in Liturgy and Unity, already mentioned above. Another ground is that Anglican Papalists stress the importance of bishops but then don’t do what their bishops tell them to do. There is more than an element of truth in the waggish observation - unlike most Anglicans, I have a high doctrine of episcopacy, but low expectations; whereas most Anglicans seem to have a low doctrine, but high expectations; and I am the one who is least often disappointed! Put another way, I do not subscribe to a doctrine of the infallibility of individual bishops!

Pope Paul VI, who succeeded John XXIII, and had the task of seeing the Second Vatican Council through to its completion, is almost definitely the Pope with the best knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Anglicans since the ferment of the sixteenth century. He said, at the canonisation of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970, that on the day when the Church of Rome would embrace firmly her ever-beloved Anglican sister in the one authentic communion of the family of Christ ‘no offence will be afflicted [sic] on the honour and sovereignty of a great country such as England. There will be no seeking to lessen the prestige and usage proper to the Anglican Church’ [Rome and Canterbury Through Four Centuries, Bernard and Margaret Pawley, pages 341-342]. Anglican Papalists, loyal to all that is of good value in our Anglican heritage, say a heartfelt ‘Amen’ to that.

I now live in retirement in the London Charterhouse. The very first of those Forty Martyrs canonised in 1970 was Saint John Houghton, Carthusian Prior of the London Charterhouse. He was martyred, viciously, on 4th May 1535, because he refused to accept Henry VIII as head of the Church in England. To accuse Saint John Houghton of disloyalty to the Church in England because he supported the papacy would be a manifest travesty. 'Anglican' and 'Papalist' are terms that came into usage later, but Anglican Papalists today look to Saint John Houghton, along with many of his contemporaries, as true witnesses, even unto death, to the conviction which we share with him.

7. England
Anglican Papalists recognise both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in England as rightfully claiming descent from the undivided Church in England before the sixteenth century schism. We do not accept derogatory epithets such as 'the Italian Mission' or 'the immigrant Irish Church' to describe the Roman Catholic Church in England.

One of the powerful motivations of Anglican Papalism is the Christian mission to the people of England, of whatever racial, religious or cultural background. We perceive the present disunity among Christians in England as a scandal, a stumbling block to the mission of the Church in our land. It is not just some historic scandal [Henry VIII and all that], but a continuing scandal, an actual scandal, here and now, in which the Churches and ecclesial communities in England today participate. Reunion and unity, for us, mean one visible Church in England, with a common identity, not a stifling uniformity but unity in an acceptable diversity. What that means for us has been explored in, for example, Liturgy and Unity, already mentioned above, and Reuniting Anglicans and Rome - a special issue of The Messenger of the Catholic League  from October 1994.

8. Individual reception
Recognising Newman’s dictum about the primacy of conscience, Anglican Papalists see this as applying not least to those Anglicans who enter individually into full communion with Rome. The Catholic League, in recognising this, logically opened membership to all who agree with the four objects of The League and with the doctrinal basis of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

9. Ecclesial communities and corporate reunion
Those Anglican churches, including the Church of England, which have formally moved away from the catholic teaching and practice of apostolic succession in holy orders [as taught in the Ordinal with its Preface accompanying the BCP 1662] are now Ecclesial Communities rather than Churches in the proper sense. This leads to a substantial change in the basis for seeking corporate reunion with the Roman Apostolic See. In no way does it diminish the need for reunion. In so far as Rome recognises ecclesial communities, then this reunion will properly be corporate.

10. Unity of creation
Unity includes Christian unity, unity with other religions and life stances, and the unity and harmony of the whole creation. This is added in as a reminder that our own particular motivations need to be seen in the overall context of God’s will for the unity of the whole creation, to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.

Two Classic Texts
I elaborated the above ten essential points from my own personal experience and understanding of Anglican Papalism over more than half a century. It is an understanding at the beginning of the third millennium. Basic to it are two classic texts of Anglican Papalism - England and the Holy See, by Spencer Jones in 1902; and The Church of England and the Holy See (the 1933 Centenary Tractates of the Council for Promoting Catholic Unity).

I take a glance at these two texts below, as they are critical evidence for the true nature of Anglican Papalism. A recent book and the reviews of it reveal the extensive ignorance of the true nature of Anglican Papalism, and the prejudice, misrepresentation, misunderstanding and false judgements deriving from this ignorance. The reason why so many commentators on Anglican Papalism who are not themselves Anglican Papalists are so hostile is complex. This is a challenge to Anglican Papalists. This present article merely attempts to throw some light on what Anglican Papalists themselves understand it to be.

Anglican Papalists’ true home in mainstream Christianity
Anglican Papalism is a movement from schism to unity, from the margins to the centre, from a backwater into the mainstream of Christianity. As such it is the very opposite of extreme. So how is it that it is so frequently misrepresented as extreme ? Extreme depends on what one identifies as the norm. If you perceive the Church of England to be The Norm of Christianity, with Dissent wandering off from this norm in one direction, and catholics refusing to come into line with the norm in the other direction, then clearly Anglican Papalists are out of line with this norm. The term nonconformist makes the point, having been used to describe both Dissent and catholics.

The evidence does not support the view that the Church of England is the norm of Christianity. It does support the view that the catholic Church is the norm. This is not so much because she is overwhelmingly the largest body of Christians, but more because of her faithful witness to God’s revelation down the ages. That there is a gap between the faithful teaching of the Church and all too much of the actual practice, not just of individual members but also of the members corporately, is recognised in the teaching by the model of the Church as the pilgrim people of God rather than as the perfect society.

This proper norm was recognised by the English Church down the ages until the state imposed an alternative norm in the sixteenth century. Yet the arms of the Archbishop of Canterbury to this day incorporate the Pallium, the symbol of authority conferred by the Pope, thus indicating the proper norm. The Gospels of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, probably brought to England by Saint Augustine himself when sent by Pope Gregory, being used at the enthronement of Archbishops of Canterbury, including our present Archbishop, likewise indicate the proper norm. The ARCIC process has helped to acknowledge the proper norm [e.g. Authority I.23]. The second half of the twentieth century has seen much progress in acknowledging the proper norm of Christianity, though there is still much more to be done here.

A key principle in Spencer Jones’s England and the Holy See is that of proportion. Thus, to treat the Church of England as the norm of Christianity is to get things seriously out of proportion. To treat the catholic Church as the norm is to restore a sense of proportion. Anglican Papalism, with its conscious desire and commitment to pursue the expressed will of Our Lord Jesus Christ for unity, and our recognition that this necessarily involves full communion with the Roman Apostolic See, places our true home right at the heart of mainstream Christianity.

Loyal Anglicans
The loyalty of Anglican Papalists to our Anglican heritage is second to none. Spencer Jones’s England and the Holy See is a classic Anglican text, written for Anglicans by an Anglican. The overriding purpose of the Centenary Tractates of 1933 is to demonstrate that the true home of the Church of England is full union with the Holy See - which they demonstrate most effectively. The title of the series is - The Church of England and the Holy See.

The loyalty of Anglican Papalists to our Anglican roots is seen in many ways, of which the following are some:

1. Anglican Papalists have a good knowledge, understanding and appreciation of our Anglican heritage; usually better than that of fellow Anglicans. The two texts referred to above demonstrate this very clearly.

2. Anglican Papalist clergy and laity have a fine record of devoted work, often in the pastorally tougher parts of The Lord’s Vineyard. I note in The Catholic Herald of November 11, 2005, "H.J.Fynes-Clinton, one of the prime movers [of Anglican Papalism], rarely had a good congregation at St. Magnus the Martyr."

I was a server at St Magnus from 1951 to 1959, when I went off as a student to Trinity College, Dublin, months before Father Fynes died. Latterly, I served the 8am weekday Mass, occasionally attended by local office workers, as well as the lunchtime services. I myself worked in Barclays Chief Foreign Branch just up the road. For the 8am Mass Fr Fynes would catch the underground from St James Park, near where he lived, to Monument, close by St Magnus. He was in his eighties. His GP had told him that this was too much for him, and when Fr Fynes carried on nonetheless, his GP said: ‘Well, you’re on your own.’

A good congregation? City of London parishes were viewed by many as sinecures. Fr Fynes viewed the parish of St Magnus as the very opposite, a most demanding ‘cure’ of souls. Far from being sinecures, City of London parishes are seen by diligent pastors as among the toughest pastoral assignments. Fr Fynes led the way in weekday services in the City. Our community of worshippers in the 1950s at St Magnus had a powerful influence on me, for good, as I believe; and the inspiration for this was Fr Fynes. I wish to say much more on this, but now discipline myself; except to say that the comment which provoked my response I consider to be unworthy, and ignorance is a poor excuse.

3. Our recognition that we are in schism is an honest self-appraisal, not disloyalty. Were St John Houghton and his fellow Carthusian martyrs being disloyal to the Church in England when they took their stand against the tyrant Henry VIII ? Was St Thomas More likewise being disloyal? Was St John Fisher also being disloyal? They were not Anglicans in schism. We are. But the issue is the same.

4. A true, thorough, critical evaluation of all that is good and worthwhile in our Anglican heritage is a necessary exercise of the principle of proportion.

5. The willingness to persevere in the face of misunderstanding, unfair treatment and misrepresentation is a test which demonstrated the loyalty of our forebears who were actively persecuted; and continues to be a test for us today.

6. Anglican Papalists, notably Spencer Jones and Fr Fynes-Clinton, expressed themselves very clearly
about the responsibility of bishops to exercise a ministry of unity in witnessing faithfully to God’s revelation. They were absolutely clear that the mind of the Church took precedence over the vagaries of individual bishops. For this they have been criticised as inconsistent, disloyal and undisciplined. Yelton, in Anglican Papalism puts it thus: ‘This was a fairly typical attitude to bishops by those who on the other hand sought to uphold church order, displaying one of the ambiguities which has plagued the Catholic Revival throughout its existence.’ Which prompts the question: 'Was Athanasius wrong to confront the Arian bishops?' Was Athanasius ambiguous? What nonsense!

When it comes to charges of disloyalty, those who have in our times changed the fundamental nature of our Anglican heritage should become aware that they are in a very vulnerable glass house.

How others see us
About thirty years ago the local council of churches decided to hold the Week of Prayer service in our church. It was their first visit. The secretary of the council came around to arrange things, and I shewed her the church. ‘The council won’t like this’, she said, as her nose twitched at a suspicion of incense in the air. ‘Shrines, candles…’ - the usual list of aids to worship in catholic churches which so upset the anti-catholic prejudice nurtured in the English since the sixteenth century. ‘But’, said I, ‘the local catholic Church is an active member of the council of churches, and you have held services there?’ ‘Yes’, she replied, ‘but then we expect such things of them. We expect you to know better.’

Even to this day we should be well aware of just how deep-seated is anti-catholic prejudice and ignorance. In so far as this has declined, this has coincided with a decline in the place of religion as a whole in our society. So, Anglo-Catholics, and Anglican Papalists even more so, are criticised because we ought to know better.

An appreciation is given by Geoffrey Curtis CR in his Paul Couturier and Unity in Christ, 1964 [p.163]:

We are beginning to see that Anglican Papalists have been unfairly judged. Abbe Couturier saw this very clearly. They are accused by English Roman Catholics of failure in logic and by many of their fellow Anglicans of disloyalty. There may be Anglican Papalists who are a law unto themselves and who ignore the force of the ordination pledges and are thus disloyal to our Church and to its bishops. There may well be an Anglo-Roman underworld as there have been Protestant and Modernist underworlds and, for all I know, an Inferno of ‘Moderation’. But the true Anglican Papalists are not of this calibre. They are a small group with a long lineage in our Church, and many are of the salt of the earth. Their particular standpoint many of them have recognized as involving a call to a life of reparation. Contrary to average opinion this small group is notable for its intellectual power as well as for its holiness. Perhaps the books of Anglican theology of this century that have been most widely read abroad have been books by Papalists - Spencer Jones’ England and the Holy See and Gregory Dix’s The Shape of the Liturgy; Dr S.H.Scott’s great work, Eastern Churches and the Papacy, is used by scholars in most parts of the world. 
To other Anglicans their position seems neither disloyal to our Church nor, given their convictions, contrary to the logic of charity, but rather sadly disproportioned. We believe that our own Anglican heritage possesses certain Christian values in trust and that these would be jeopardized if we were to submit to Rome as she now is.

That is a gracious appreciation, but I am greatly puzzled that Fr Curtis sees Anglican Papalists as willing ‘to submit to Rome as she now is’ [his book was published in 1964], and so jeopardize our own good Anglican heritage. Submission is the Roman Catholic approach to Anglicans wishing to enter into full communion with the Roman Apostolic See. It is difficult indeed to see how this is compatible with the Anglican Papalist principle of corporate reunion. In number eight of the Centenary Tractates of 1933, Fr Fynes-Clinton has a section headed ‘Corporate Return’. In this he emphasizes: ‘Our schism from Rome was Corporate: the remedy must be Corporate’. Fr Corbould, in the same tractate [pages 25-26…quoted later and see previous post] lists eight Anglican aspects which might be agreeable to Rome in the cause of reunion.

Fr Curtis was clearly sympathetic to the cause of unity with Rome. This is seen in his biography of Paul Couturier. Also, Fr Curtis was a prime mover in the recognition at the London Charterhouse of the Carthusian Martyrs. What is it about Anglican Papalists that Fr Curtis found to be ‘rather sadly disproportioned’ ? He is not alone among those of goodwill who seem to misunderstand us. Does some of the problem lie with us, and our possible failure to communicate clearly what our principles are ? I remain genuinely puzzled. This is not because I believe that our movement is above criticism. Yet I suspect that some of our critics are more familiar with the fringe elements rather than with the essence - not a sound basis for fair judgement.

There is also the phenomenon, still very much with us today, of anti-papalism amongst strongly traditional Anglo-Catholics. Amongst these would be found those content to be called Continuing Anglicans.

A more bizarre hostility is found in a Jesuit reviewing Yelton’s book. His review takes up so much space with abuse of Anglican Papalism that he leaves himself with no room at all to substantiate his false accusations. Briefly damning with faint praise - ‘occasional intellectual brilliance’ - to heaping abuse - misconceived, travesty, dishonest, parasitic, pastorally disastrous…what is it about Anglican Papalism that draws out such unfairness? But one point above all in that review suggests that time should not be wasted on it. ‘For Catholics, papalism is a position which few will understand.’ Recall the dictionary definition of papalism - ‘a supporter of the Pope or the papacy’. A Jesuit, whose fourth vow is one of special obedience to the Holy Father in the matter of accepting missions, not understanding papalism ? Let’s move on quickly.

A completely opposite and very positive view of us is seen by many Roman Catholics. Witness, for example, the warm relations we have enjoyed for many years with our contacts in the monasteries and diocese of Bruges where we visit annually in the hope of and furtherance of Anglican-Roman Catholic unity. A key ingredient of such good relations is friendship.

Fair minded Roman Catholics acknowledge that Anglican Papalism has drawn some of the anti-catholic prejudice away from Roman Catholics. A fair number of Roman Catholics learnt their catholic faith and life in the Church of England. Amongst these only a few ‘kick the ladder away’ or ‘bite the hand that fed them’. The Catholic League, once exclusively Anglican Papalist, now has Roman Catholic members, including Officers and Council members. We are in good heart.

Anglican Papalism since 1960
 I take the date 1960 from Yelton’s Anglican Papalism - A History 1900-1960 [p.16]: ‘The real undermining of the Papalist tradition came in the period after 1960, which is not dealt with in detail in this study.’ This judgement is supported by reviewers of Yelton’s book: ‘He has written a study in failure’; ‘A lost cause’; ‘the coup de grace’; and so on. So, given the precise meaning of ‘Anglican Papalism as a movement of members of the Church of England or any Church in communion with it in support of the Pope or the papacy’, consider the evidence.

On 3rd December 1960 Dr Geoffrey Fisher visited the Pope. This was the first ever visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to the Pope since the sixteenth century schism. Subsequent Archbishops of Canterbury, including our present one, have visited the Pope. Since 1960 the Second Vatican Council led to great improvement in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations. The Vatican 2 Decree on Ecumenism said [13]: ‘Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican communion occupies a special place.’ Since 1960 ARCIC was set up, and continues to do valuable work towards unity. Pope Paul VI, from a position of considerable knowledge and understanding, expressed a most gracious and generous appreciation of our Anglican heritage.

 The Catholic League took Vatican II totally on board, and subsequently took the Catechism of the Catholic Church [1994] as our touchstone of orthodoxy. The League’s publications, including The Messenger, continue to promote the papalist cause. Notable here are two special issues - Reuniting Anglicans and Rome in October 1994; and The Unity of Christians: The Vision of Paul Couturier in February 2004.

The Congregation of the English Mission was an initiative of The League regarding corporate reunion, whose explorations for three years to 1990 are briefly described in Reuniting Anglicans and Rome. Much of the work and prayer for unity goes on at the grassroots level and doesn’t make the headlines. A good example is the inauguration of the Emmanuel Chapel in the Begijnhof guesthouse in Brugge, for which the League provided the monstrance and the icon of the Mother of God. The years since 1960 have seen some of the most positive gains in the search for unity. Sadly, the last few years have seen a significant turning away from unity with Rome on the part of the Church of England.

For several centuries the religious life of England was largely to be identified with the Church of England, hence Anglican Papalism. The continuing marginalisation of the Church of England in English society raises questions concerning the Anglican dimension of papalism. We may be moving towards a situation where the need would be better expressed as English Papalism. The 1933 text was The Church of England and the Holy See. The 1902 text, England and the Holy See, may now more accurately reflect the situation.

Whether it be Anglican or English Papalism, the movement remains as necessary as ever, new challenges notwithstanding. Seeking the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ is not a lost cause. Failure is not an option. The coup de grace ? A tradition undermined ? Inevitable flaws ? A lost cause ? Failure? Shades of Mark Twain: Reports of our death are an exaggeration.

For the Record: Fr Brooke Lunn on "The Centenary Tractates" of 1933 - The Church of England and the Holy See

A glance at the Centenary Tractates of the Council for Promoting Catholic Unity in 1933
Brooke Lunn, January 2006

Eight tractates were published, as follows:
1. What do the Celtic Churches say? by the Reverend Silas M. Harris, M.A. (36 pages)
2. What does the Anglo Saxon Church say? by the Reverend J.G. Morton Howard, M.A. (20 pages)
3. What do the General Councils say? by the Reverend S. Herbert Scott, D.Phil., B.Litt., F.R.Hist.S. (36 pages)
4. What did the Church of England say? by the Reverend J.G. Morton Howard, M.A. (32 pages)
5. What does the XVI century say? by the Reverend Spencer Jones, M.A. (40 pages)
6. What do English Divines say? by the Reverend L.F.Simmonds, M.A. (32 pages)
7. What do the Tractarians say? by the Reverend Spencer Jones, M.A. (44 pages)
8. What are we to say? by the Reverend H.J. Fynes-Clinton, M.A. and the Reverend W. Robert Corbould. (31 pages)

The purpose of the tractates was to demonstrate the integral relationship between the Church of England and the Holy See from the earliest times; how, since the sixteenth century schism, this integral relationship had not totally been lost from sight or remembrance; and, in 1933, celebrating the centenary of the Oxford Movement, the extent to which this integral relationship had been restored to sight, with progress towards its full re-establishment.

The tractates are of considerable scholarly merit, and bring before the reader a wealth of evidence which four centuries of anti-catholic propaganda had sought to suppress. For my part, they largely substantiate, as Spencer Jones says in the thirteenth of his propositions [see previous post] ‘that Rome is in fact the mother of English Christianity’. Here I wish to refer, briefly, to tractate eight by way of a corrective to certain misunderstandings currently circulating.

What are we to say?

In tractate number eight Fr Fynes-Clinton, referring to the Manifesto of October 1932, wrote:
Constructively it asserted that the inevitable end of the Catholic Revival is the corporate return of the English Church to communion with the Holy See, and that this is the aim for which it is the duty of all Catholics to strive.
Under the heading of ‘The Catholic Life of the Church’ Fr Fynes writes:
The English Church possesses those essential elements of the Catholic inheritance that make her a living part of the Holy Apostolic Church founded by Christ:- the Faith in her assertion that she adheres to the undivided Church and the Oeucumenical Creeds, and in her appeal to the early Councils and the consent of the Fathers: Sacramental Orders with her expressed intention that they be a continuation of those of the Primitive Church: her maintenance of Episcopal government and her ancient Canon Law.

Beyond question she has much of value to contribute to the whole in her sacramental life, in her revived Religious Orders, in her historic continuity with the past and an intimate nexus with the national life and history that no other religious body possesses. In this lies a hope for immeasurable progress in the future in winning the allegiance of the English people back to their Catholic inheritance. The Church of England has unrivalled opportunities of reaching every village and household, of influencing the great interests and powers of the kingdom, and these opportunities involve the gravest responsibility.
Further on, under the heading ‘Corporate Return’, Fr Fynes writes:
To-day we see cause for great hope in the agreement that our state of disunion is intolerable. Schism from the Church or schism within the Church is sin. Our schism from Rome was Corporate: the remedy must be Corporate. Individual secession serves but to postpone reunion and leaves the problem where it was before. A corporate return made possible by an acknowledgment of the faults on both sides in the spirit of penitence, of prayer, of charity and determination. This is our aim: its glory our inspiration. The supreme need of the Church of England to-day is Corporate return to the Holy See, and this is but a return to her natural and original life.
Fr Corbould, in the second part of tractate eight, regarding the acceptance of the Holy Father as the centre of unity for Christendom, writes:
But such an acceptance need not involve the great upheaval feared in our accustomed religious life. Granted dogmatic agreement, on Roman principles much variety could be allowed in practice, and much could be allowed of those things which are peculiarly English and which we have come to value. In a union effected on such a basis for instance, all the following concessions could be made without touching the basis of dogmatic agreement. We do not say they all would be: we do not even say that it is desirable that they should be, but at any rate they serve to show how large a field of negotiation remains after dogmatic agreement has been attained. Rome could concede:-

1. That the Archbishop of Canterbury be acknowledged as Patriarch of such Anglican churches throughout the world as should desire to enter into the union.

2. That until the Anglican Church shall ask for a change of relationship she shall be governed by her own canon laws, provided that these in no case override oecumenic laws or custom, under the authority of the Patriarch of Canterbury, with an appeal to the Holy See.

3. That liberty be granted to the Anglican Church to appoint her own bishops.

4. That an English rite be authorized approximating as nearly as possible to that familiar to our people, but revised so far as necessary to satisfy Catholic liturgiologists.

5. That the use of the Authorized Version of the Bible be allowed until such time as a revised edition of it can be agreed upon.

6. That the Pope himself shall regularize from his point of view the orders of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that the Archbishop should then secure the “regularization” of the rest of the clergy - no denial of the validity of their present orders being required of them. (It should be noted that such a means of satisfying questions as to orders was suggested by the Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference of 1920 and would follow the precedent of St. Chad and the Celtic Church.)

7. That the existing bishops and priests of the Anglican Churches adhering to the union should be secured in their present offices and status - including those who should be already married.

8. That communion in both kinds should be allowed as a permissive use.

That such ideas should be put forward in 1933 in a classic Anglican Papalist text should act as a corrective to false notions about Anglican Papalism still in circulation.

For the Record: Fr Brooke Lunn on "England and the Holy See" by Spencer Jones

A glance at Spencer Jones’s seminal work for Anglican Papalism
Brooke Lunn, January 2006

This book was published in 1902 when Spencer Jones was Rector of Batsford with Moreton-in-Marsh. It runs to 440 pages, plus an introduction of 16 pages by Viscount Halifax, and a preface of five pages by the author. It is subtitled An Essay towards Reunion, and is written primarily for the benefit of the English people and members of the Church of England, to commend to them the idea of reunion with the Holy See. It is not an attempt to commend the Church of England to the Holy See with a view to reunion. In 1902 anti-papal, anti-Roman, anti-catholic sentiment was still widespread in our society. This sentiment remains into our time, though much diminished in a society where Christianity itself is increasingly marginalised.

The Preface gives some indication of the author and his motivation:
If in the following pages I speak for the most part in the first person it is because I am speaking only for myself. I have to shelter myself, therefore, under the well known saying that in questions of this kind egotism is true modesty…  
My thoughts have been running upon the subject of Reunion for thirteen years; and I have made some attempt to analyse what I think may be described as the chronic difficulty of the Anglican Church; until at the last I feel constrained to speak…
My general aim is to contribute materials for discussion and to do something towards restoring the great doctrine of unity to that position in the context of Christian thought which properly belongs to it; and the leading idea throughout is the principle of proportion as applied to any progressive movement that may arise in the direction of Reunion with the Holy See…
For the rest, if the unity of the Church is destined to become one of the commanding and controlling thoughts of the New Century, words recently uttered by the late deeply revered Bishop of Durham may here be set down in order to give a certain stamp and seal to this project. “If I were to choose a motto,” he said in his annual charge to his clergy (1900), “If I were to choose a motto for the coming age I should say that its work and its aim lies in applying to every relation of life the truth which is now dawning upon us, ‘Ye are all one man in Christ Jesus.’ ” 
In seeking to commend the Holy See, the writer puts forward a principle which he terms proportion. He sees a great disproportion [p.23] between our attitude towards Dissent and our attitude towards the Holy See. We are fair towards the former and unfair towards the latter. His principle of proportion, therefore, requires equal fairness in our attitude to others. This fairness requires that we seek to know and understand others before forming judgements; that is, that we should consciously avoid prejudice.

Much of the Essay is taken up with exploring particular areas of prejudice, seeking to throw light on these areas, and so eradicate false and unfair judgements. The largest chapter, more than a third of the book, entitled ‘Hindrances and Helps’, looks at some of these areas, seeking to clarify and so assist fair judgement. The area most treated is the place of the Bible in the catholic Church. Other areas include The Blessed Virgin, Infallibility, Indulgences, Images, Jesuits, and so on. It is a measure of change that I understand why Jesuits were included, for when I was young our protestant world presented them as bogeymen. Today Ignatian spirituality is appreciated well beyond the bounds of the catholic Church.

Unity, Saint Peter, and Divisions
Spencer Jones sees three types of unity:

The question is, are we to wind up our dogma at the risk of alienating men, or are we to relax it in order to attract them? 
The Undenominational type of Unity follows the latter course, and the Catholic type of Unity the former.
The basis of Undenominational Unity is a common sentiment; and of Catholic Unity a common faith. And the latter would seem to be in accordance with the teaching of the New Testament and the experience of history.

Spencer Jones further distinguishes these two types by seeing their different ends as, respectively, union and unity. Union is some sort of coming together, recognising each other - today sometimes referred to as Federal unity. Unity, on the other hand, necessitates full agreement on the essentials of doctrine and morals. Union implies an invisible unity; unity necessitates visible unity.

The writer calls the third type Anglican. This is the so-called Branch Theory - Anglican, Greek and Latin. Spencer Jones simply and briefly describes this and passes no judgement on it other than to leave it behind.
Now of these three principle types I think it will be acknowledged that the Roman type comes nearest to that ideal of Unity presented by Our Lord which I have made some attempt to pourtray [sic] in this chapter.

Chapter III treats of Saint Peter in 89 pages, presenting a case for the Petrine ministry. In this the writer is to some extent anticipating the work of ARCIC. Chapter IV is entitled ‘Divisions’.
It may be convenient to consider Contradiction and not Division as the proper antithesis of Unity; and to restore the proportions of Christendom not to destroy its divisions as the proper aim of Reunion…
So to regard Divisions is to recognise them as a necessary condition of our case; it being only when they are pressed beyond their limits that we rightly describe them as contradictions or conveniently characterise them as unhappy. Unity is not uniformity, although the two ideas are often confounded; and discrimination in the use of the term Division will perhaps best secure the proper distinction between them.
Let the idea of Division, then, be considered as at once necessary and subordinate to the idea of Unity, and our unhappy Divisions or Contradictions as destructive or antagonistic to its life.
In short, unity in diversity - legitimate diversity.

Twenty-eight propositions
Returning to the first chapter, entitled ‘On the Principles of Reunion’, Spencer Jones sets out twenty-eight propositions:
With a view to promote discussion…some of which, indeed, will appear obvious, while as regards others I shall ask the reader to assume the limitation of a prefix, such as, Let it be granted - or, Let us assume for discussion’s sake - or Does it not appear likely that ? - but all of which are intended to clear our minds and to guide us in the consideration of the subject that is before us:
  1. That Christendom is divided against itself.
  2. That a house divided against itself cannot stand.
  3. That our Lord meant us to be one.
  4. That it is our duty, therefore, to compose our quarrels.
  5. That he has endued us with the power to do so.
  6. That this power discovers itself in the work of the Holy Spirit on the part of God, and in prayer and labour on the part of man.
  7. That it was to the Church regarded as one that our Lord vouchsafed the promise of His presence.
  8. That the enterprise of Re-union is, therefore, genuine since its purpose is divine.
  9. That a “divine ideal must be capable of fulfilment.”
  10. That as a matter of history no other form or principle of Government has been able to come near to the Holy See in its power to keep together in the bond of a living fellowship so many thousands of Christians.
  11. That the Communion of Rome is conspicuous in the records of Scripture (“I thank God that your faith is spoken of throughout all the world”); and appears at once unique and conspicuous in the subsequent records of the Church.
  12. That the See of Rome is the Apostolic See and is destined to become the visible centre of Christendom.
  13. That Rome is in fact the mother of English Christianity.
  14. That Reunion, for the English Church, signifies Reunion with the Church of Rome.
  15. That England cannot formally remain as she is except in so far as she is infallible.
  16. That Rome cannot formally cease to be what she is since she claims to be infallible.
  17. That two cannot continue to agree except they walk together.
  18. That fellowship and communion are therefore necessary if faith is to continue one.
  19. That two cannot walk together except they be agreed.
  20. That it is therefore necessary to study the belief of other Communions before we oppose them or unite with them.
  21. That a more extended recovery of contact is calculated to destroy prejudice and thereby to prepare the way for Communion.
  22. That since “large changes and adaptations of belief are possible within the limits of the same unchanging formulae,” explanation will be found in fact to remove misunderstandings and to reduce the distance between us.
  23. That time, which is an “element in all growth,” has already effected much.
  24. That circumstances which alter cases do thereby, and so far determine duties.
  25. That movements, therefore, which may be inexpedient at one point of time may come to be wise and proper at another.
  26. That fair and free discussion as distinguished from recommendation of practical steps will serve to prepare us for conjunctures.
  27. That Reunion has come at length to be frankly recognised both as an idea and a necessity among all Communities of Christians; and that the same freedom of discussion must be allowed in relation to Rome as is universally permitted in all other directions.
  28. And that at all times and under all circumstances “love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Spencer Jones is an Anglican country parson and scholar, writing primarily for Anglicans, in the classic Anglican tradition - scripture, tradition and reason - sweet reason. While his style is very much that of 1902, his content, again and again, speaks directly to our situation a century later. His key principle of proportion has made some headway, specifically in the work of ARCIC. However, the official Anglican attitudes to the catholic faith on the one hand, and on the other to those who follow alternative religious paths, remain disproportionately favourable to the latter.

It is particularly noteworthy that his principle of proportion is most ironically ignored when it comes to Anglican Papalism itself, of which he is such a key exponent. It remains an urgent question for Anglican Papalists as to why we continue to be so misunderstood, misjudged and misrepresented. Whatever the reasons for this, a reasonable acquaintance with the writings of Spencer Jones would serve as a significant corrective. 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

For the Record: Fr Peter Geldard on the Ordinariate in 2010

What is the Ordinariate? – Origins and Opportunities

Fr Peter Geldard, Catholic Chaplain of the University of Kent

This address began as a talk to the Catholic League’s annual pilgrimage for Catholic Christian Unity at the Beguinage in Bruges, Belgium, in September 2010 (see left). A shorter version was delivered at St Agnes’ Church, Kennington, on Saturday, 11 December 2010, and this at St John’s Church, Sevenoaks, on Wednesday, 15 December 2010.

I don’t know if many of you do remember me from the past, when I was the National Secretary of the Church Union. But if what I say could be of use to you, it is not only in the sense that I have been involved in the Ordinariate in the last six to nine months, but also that in some ways (when I tell you my life story briefly) you will see that I have been involved in it for perhaps the last thirty or forty years.

First of all, I am going to say just two things that, as it were, I am not going to say - but will refer to. The first is that I do not believe it is right or possible for me here to persuade you, or try to encourage you, to make a decision in your own lives that may not be appropriate, or may not be timely. Important spiritual decisions are always acts of faith and it is one of the mysteries of God that He gives that gift of faith to people at different times and in different ways. There are in each one of us on our pilgrimages the Nicodemus, as well as the St Paul. So it is very important that none of us get into a judgmental situation, let alone a rhetorical argument (whether within ourselves or with regard to other people), where the position you find yourself in demands that you must make a certain decision right here and now, or that you should have made it five years ago, or that you should be making it in a fortnight’s time. I say again, it is one of the mysteries of God that for different people at different stages they come to different conclusions.

We have seen that in our Church life’s history, particularly in England over the last 200 years, for some people there comes “a bridge too far”, or “a straw that breaks the camel’s back”; and sometimes it may seem almost insignificant in terms of the weight it carries. For John Henry Newman, you may remember, the great founder of the Oxford Movement, it was the Jerusalem bishopric. We may find it rather obscure today to think that that debate in 1841 about who should or should not be bishop in Jerusalem – an English Anglican, or a Prussian Lutheran and whether they were interchangeable - was the crucial issue; but for Newman it was the final moment. For Cardinal Manning, of course, it was the Gorham Judgement, the judgement of the Privy Council that overturned the Bishop of Exeter’s and the Court of Arches’ rulings that it was contrary to Church of England teaching to insist that baptismal regeneration (of infants particularly) was conditional upon a personal profession of faith – and this permitted a vicar to be appointed on the authority of the secular power without regard to episcopal authority. Different crises have confronted other people right up to the present day. After the Second World War there were some who found the Church of South India scheme too much, in that it provided for the gradual assimilation of Anglican, Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian ministries in one united Protestant Church with a threefold ministry, by means of mutual recognition regardless of whether ministers were ordained by a bishop. For me, it happened when I had been for 20 years on General Synod, on 11 November 1992 at 5 o’clock – I remember it well –and the decision was made by the Church of England unilaterally to ordain women to the priesthood by a majority in the House of Laity of one vote. For me that was the bridge too far. But the crucial thing is, and I hope I have kept my word in this, that I have never judged anybody who came to a different conclusion, or who thinks differently at any given moment.

Part of my work, particularly in dealing with students from all over the world (I deal with about 18,000 students at the University of Kent), is to respond every year to the many students who come to me asking if they could be reconciled with the Catholic Church, some from Anglican backgrounds, some from other very committed backgrounds and some from none at all. I learnt very quickly that you never say, “Well, it depends on where were you last week, or what your position was the week before.” You simply just say, “The door is open; you’re welcome; come in”. In this way, I want to say something even more positive as well, and that is that all that has gone before is usually God-given. So one of the crucial things I always want to emphasise - and I hope this has been prominent in your thoughts and discussions - is that there is to be no denial of the past. The past and what God has done in it is something that he is building on, making it into something better and bigger. There is no question of you denying the Anglican sacraments you have received or the baptism you possess – all these things are God-given. And it is that grace that we build on: it is a going forward, not a looking back.

So that is the first point I want to be borne in mind, so we do not need to come back to it again. The second point to register, but that I do not want us to labour, is that I am not going to seek to convince you that it is the fulfilment of the Catholic life that we should be in communion with the successor of Peter. That I take as a sine qua non, something which, in the end, all of us believe is central. When I joined the Church of England - I came from a non-Church background as a young lad of 17 and a half, having grown up at Bexhill near Hastings, and I went to a church called All Saints, Sidley - almost within a matter of days of coming into that community I believed that the fulfilment of Catholicity was to be found in communion with the successor of Peter. I recognised it, staring at me in the face, in Scripture. In the little I knew then and have studied since of the Early Fathers, it stands out and it keeps being repeated. I also saw it being emphasised time and time again by scholars within the Church of England. I remember reading that great book by Michael Ramsey, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, The Gospel of the Catholic Church, written in 1936 and now too often forgotten, in which he makes that fundamental point that the unity of the Church and the wholeness of the Church are inseparable from the apostolic order and mission of the Church, by means of which it proclaims the Gospel and we live and bear witness as Christ’s disciples in the world. Thus he speaks not just of bishops and their role in the Church but of the one episcopate, the successor to the apostles, the organ of unity and continuity (p.220, 2nd edition, Longmans, 1956), which it is impossible to consider apart from its primate (p.228). He quotes the paper about the Papacy by Canon B. J. Kidd, Warden of Keble College, Oxford, at the Malines Conversations: “without communion with him there is no prospect of a reunited Christendom” (p.228). And he challenges a certain Anglican tendency to present the episcopate as just something that contributes to the bene esse of the Church, rather than what constitutes its esse (p.219). To Ramsey, this “one episcopate” of the universal Church, in which the Bishop of Rome is integral to its ever growing organic wholeness as the Body of Christ (p.220), is thus not just there for its benefit or wellbeing, it is of its very essence.

So, even though I knew that the Church of England led by the Archbishop of Canterbury was not united with the Catholic Church led by the Pope, I had that profound awareness of this one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of which the Church to which I belonged was clearly part, and by which God was able to work in us and and give us his grace, despite our divisions. I knew that in my life in the Church of England, first as layman and then as a priest, I was not in communion with the Pope, whose role and ministry is vital to the Catholic faith in which I believed and proclaimed; but yet I believed that God had his reasons and a purpose for me in the Catholic movement in the Church of England. Providentially and mysteriously he had put me in All Saints, Sidley, and he put me in the Church of England as he put you in the Church of England, because I believe categorically - and most of my life has been fighting for this - that our job was thus to do whatever we could to reconcile the whole body. As Catholic Anglicans, we were not saying that Catholicism was preferable to Anglicanism, we were not denying our Anglican sacramental life, and we were not denying our history. In fact we were attesting to the opposite. The great affirmation of the Oxford Movement, the Tractarian Movement, and the Anglo-Catholic Movement was, of course, to challenge the Church of England to recover her true catholicity, in her worship, her spirituality and in her history. And so the witness of Catholic Anglicans was not asking her to deny anything, but to affirm something that we believed was there but due to historical accident had sadly disappeared from view.

This is how I became heavily involved in working for unity within in the wider Christian Church and predominantly, of course, with the Roman Catholic Church. That was my aim and my ambition. I saw that the Catholic Church was the larger part of Christendom and that we Anglicans were western, but we broke away from it at the Reformation. So it was the duty of those Anglicans who realised this to try if we can to reconcile Christendom and heal our breach. Thus historically our job was to work within the Church of England to try to achieve that by every means - by getting the Lambeth Conference to pass resolutions in 1920 affirming this; and by encouraging the Church of England to become involved in closer relations and dialogue with Rome, notably through the theological dialogue of ARCIC, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. All that was to the good; all that was so hopeful for the cause of Christian Unity. One of the great joys I had when for ten years I was National Secretary of the Church Union was travelling all over the world, speaking, promoting and encouraging the ARCIC process, particularly in places where the bilateral discussions were being held - Australia, Japan, Korea, South Africa, the United States, a whole variety of places. I urged the case for ARCIC to come to fruition.

To cut a long story short, all this came of course to a climax in my life when, you remember, Pope John Paul II came to Canterbury in 1982. The stole he wore that day was one that I had presented to him personally a year earlier on behalf of the Catholic Societies of the Church of England. The greatest joy was when he came into Canterbury Cathedral with Archbishop Runcie and they stood in front of the throne of St Augustine. You may remember those historic words: “The successor of St Gregory greets the successor of St Augustine”. It appeared that there truly was a genuine chance that corporate reunion – as we referred to it – was a possibility within my lifetime. It is for that reason that I continued to labour within the Church of England. But then we fast-forward a little bit, only ten years, and that ideal, that hope, shattered. That was, of course, on that Wednesday afternoon in 1992, when I saw what came to be referred to as “an insuperable barrier” placed squarely in the path of the possibility of reunion. At that moment, whereas for the bulk of my life up until that point I believed that I was part of the wider Catholic Church, and the Church of England was part of the wider Catholic Church but contained within it (of course) people who emphasised Protestantism, in simple terms the circle turned. I realised that corporately the Church of England had become a Protestant Church, in which some people were desperately trying to be Catholic.

And so that, for me, was a dilemma. It was a dilemma which resulted, as some of you may know, in myself and six others being involved in very detailed negotiations with Cardinal Hume and other Catholic bishops of the time towards some kind of scheme of corporate reunion for Anglicans who desired it. These are now names that will be familiar to you – there was Bishop Cormac Murphy O’Connor of Arundel and Brighton , as he was then and successor to Cardinal Hume as he became; there was Cardinal Hume’s assistant, someone called Bishop Vincent Nicholls, who has now succeeded them both as Archbishop of Westminster; there was Bishop Allan Clark of East Anglia, who had been chairman of ARCIC; and there were one or two other ecumenical officers, such as Fr Michael Seed SA and Fr Anthony Nye SJ. On the other side there was the Bishop of London, Dr Graham Leonard, myself and a few other priests, including Fr Brooke Lunn and Fr Michael Woodgate. I always say teasingly as I wrote in an article at the time, “I suppose in military terms we were rather heavily out-gunned!” But the reality was that we were there to negotiate the possibility of reconciliation. It happened, because of one of those quirks of history, that I had written an article in the Catholic Herald, a Roman Catholic newspaper, published on exactly the same day that the Bishop of London had written an article in the London Times. I described how I had become an orphan, how I believed that what the Church of England had done had destroyed something which to me was very precious; and that I was now seeking a new mother. Graham Leonard, using slightly different language, said he recognised the time had come for us to make our journey to the Catholic Church, that we were to come as supplicants and it was our job, perhaps, now never to talk in terms of demands respect for our position ever again. In the course of those discussions, of which books and articles have been written, with more and more coming out on the web occasionally, it was known that I was particularly involved in presenting details of something that was called the Pastoral Provision, which had already been set up in the United States. This was a unique arrangement, whereby individual Anglican parishes (or Episcopalian as they are known in the United States) might be reconciled with the Catholic Church, retain their own particular liturgy and, with their own particular ethos, remain as what were called pastoral parishes in something of their own right. They would come under the local Catholic bishop of the diocese in which they were situated and thus integrate with it, but at the same time they were to be allowed to retain all that they could of the past. Now admittedly in America such parishes have had the great advantage in many cases of already owning their building and being used to paying their own pastor. So if you made a decision to change allegiance, you could do so almost lock stock and barrel and the only cost involved in material terms was painting a different sign outside the door. For the most part, parishes carried on almost seamlessly - one week Anglican and Catholic the next.

I had been to the States many times and I had found out all the details they had about how this had worked. I presented everything to Cardinal Hume and the other Catholic participants at our meetings in England. I remember many weeks of discussing it. But one of the problems at that period of history - and many of you will know this because it came out afterwards - was that Rome insisted on unanimous approval from the Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country before a like scheme could be implemented here. Anything less than unanimous approval meant that things could not happen. No such unanimity was possible, so the result was that that concept of corporate identity among groups being reconciled could not in the end come to pass in England. Perhaps on the Day of Judgement we shall see the whole plan laid out and realise how the hand of God was at work in this. Whether, in fact, seeds were sown then that have borne fruit in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus and the prospect of an Ordinariate that are now before us, I leave for history to decide. I remember the sixteen boxes of great big folders I had and, rather than see the waste of all my efforts, I said to Cardinal Hume that I hoped he could do something with all this work. He rather sweetly said he would post it all to Rome. Being still a young man, I was concerned about the cost of the postage and he said, “Peter, have you ever heard of the diplomatic bag?” So all this went off to Rome and whether or not this had any influence I don’t know. But what I do know is that, during my time as General Secretary of the Church Union, three times I met John Paul II and three times I met his assistant, someone called Cardinal Ratzinger. On something of shorthand terms, I once had a conversation of about twenty minutes with him and the concept of corporate reunion was something we talked about. So possibly seeds were indeed sown.

Ironically in the birthplace of Anglicanism, with no hope of a Pastoral Provision in England for Christians of Anglican tradition owing to the opposition of English Catholic bishops of the time, there was no possibility of a structure to maintain or care for groups or parishes with their own identity. The only way open to Anglicans to become Catholics, individually or in groups, was what we called Individual Submission or Individual Conversion. I had finished in London at the Church Union and I was then serving as priest of a church in Davington in Faversham which is part of the Canterbury diocese, a sweet lovely medieval church which was actually attached to a house. This caused a lot of confusion because my name is Geldard, but the owner of the house was someone called Bob Geldof, so there were many times when our names got confused in the newspapers. It also got confused in the telephone bill and once I opened mine and saw that I had spent something like £8,000 on calls, before I realised that it was his bill and not mine. Surprisingly, the cheques never came the other way! Anyway, there I was at Davington in Faversham, and from 1992 I thought it right to spend two years with my people praying, reflecting and deciding what was right. For the situation which I faced then - and it may be one that many of you face now - was that “you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. If you act immediately, you are accused of being impetuous; if you delay and you think and you reflect, you are accused of being opportunist. In the end I felt it was right that we explore all the possibilities. We got speakers in to talk about what was then called “The Roman Option”; we got speakers from Orthodoxy; there were people begging me to create what we could almost call a Continuing Church, virtually a Congregationalist church; and of course there were others who said that, if we were part of the Church of England, then we must accept the decisions made. And we wrestled with all that.

After two years, I felt it was right that I declared my hand. But not knowing it fully, although I sensed it, I knew there were others in the parish that had been thinking the same as me. When I announced my decision, 34 others in the parish made the same decision - all the church officers and the whole parish council. Thus 35 of us were received into the local Roman Catholic church in Faversham. Then, in ways that I still do not fully understand, I waited to see what the outcome those discussions with Cardinal Hume would be. At the time I resigned, the possibility of a married man like me being ordained had never been talked about, let alone put into practice; and so I resigned and there was that long period of silence and worry and concern. After that, as far as the way that the Catholic Church often works, so the saying is, “the rest is mystery”. Suddenly the phone went and basically they said, “We’re going to ordain you and we’re going to make you the Catholic Chaplain of the University of Kent just down the road, so you can stay in the same house.” I have enjoyed that work that God has made possible and given to me for the last sixteen years.

And during those years it has been interesting to recall the many conversations with others who have wondered, as I had done, about what is right for them. All that wondering changed, I believe, last November in 2009, when out of the blue came this booklet, which I am sure you are familiar with, called Anglicanorum Coetibus. If you have not yet read it, do not worry. If you have already read it and it is not all that clear, do not worry either. In a sense it is like the telephone directory – there’s no point in just reading a document like that and thinking you will get all the answers. It is not a narrative, nor is it the story or the explanation. It is “legalese” and it is job is to describe the administration of the Ordinariate once it is created. Mysteriously, perhaps, it does not tell the story behind how the Ordinariate should be created or what its “patrimony” may look like, because this is a constitutional document to provide for all time for the creation of a number of different possible Ordinariates, whereas the creation of each actual Ordinariate which it provides for will be over in a whisker when it happens. And so we are in that interim period where the creation of the Ordinariate lies ahead; and once the Ordinariate in England is up and running, it will be run according to this booklet. It is like when I always say to my students, as I try to help them when they struggle with their exams and their essays: “In the last resort, don’t read the book, look at the picture!” And so, if anyone asks what Anglicanorum Coetibus is all about, I say, “Look at the picture.” And this is crucial. It is not a picture of an individual “swimming the Tiber”, it is a picture of a bridge. What has changed - and of course it is the initiative of Pope Benedict that has caused this change to happen worldwide and particularly here in England – is that there is now a bridge that makes it possible for groups of people with their pastors to move and be reconciled, staying together, maintaining their patrimony and their heritage and all that they love, but fully incorporated with the wider Catholic Church.

This is so radical and so phenomenal that most people have still not got their heads round it. They can say what it isn’t, but they find it very difficult to say what it is. It is not a so-called “uniate” church, one of the historic Eastern Churches in union with the see of Rome, and yet it seems like a “uniate” church because of its own liturgical provisions and “patrimony”. It is not a bi-ritual church in the sense that it does not have a separate liturgy, yet at the same time it can have its own distinctive liturgical characteristics as well use the liturgy of the Western Church – which for many, of course, is the one they are using at the moment. It is not a specialist body for clergy like Opus Dei, although it does have an Ordinary who is going to be in charge of it in his own right, and the Ordinary will not be in Rome like a major religious superior, but in England close to his pastoral charges and as an integral part of the Church here. And so the whole thing in one sense is very confusing, yet in another very exciting. Above all, what it is - and I use these words carefully – is what I believe all of us, me in my lifetime and the generations who followed the Oxford Movement during the last 150 years have been desirous for. What we worked and longed for these long years has come about.

The greatest hope I had as an Anglican was for ARCIC to succeed. So one of the questions you have to ask is, “If we were all in earnest at ARCIC, and Rome claims it was in earnest in ARCIC, what would have been the result if ARCIC had come to an achievement within six months? What would have been the practical outcome?” The practical outcome would, of course, have been a corporate reunion of the whole. But the possibility of that in my lifetime I saw fading; and those who have known the Church of England since 1992, know that it has faded even further. But what has happened through the Apostolic Constitution is that Pope Benedict has revived the hope and offered the chance of corporate reunion along the lines that ARCIC might have achieved for all those right around the world who are desirous to have it. To use an analogy that others have used, he has sent a boat to pick us up, he has sent us a boat with extraordinary qualities, which will be our own. It is flying an ex-Anglican flag; it is being captained by an ex-Anglican Ordinary; and all the crew will be ex-Anglican. The hymns it sings, the ethos it has will be ex-Anglican. It has all the designs we could want and yet some people are saying there is one fault; and that is, if you go down into the engine-room, although the engine itself is ex-Anglican, you will see a little brass plate that says this boat was designed on the advice of ex-Anglicans, it was built by a man in Rome. Well, if that is the only fault that some people can find with it, it is like criticising someone for making the present you asked for. For it is in fact an offer which I believe we need to respond to as generously as it has been given.

It is also a challenge which all of us have got to reflect upon. You cannot blame it for not answering questions and addressing considerations over which it has no control. To look at one burning question at the moment, for instance, It cannot be blamed because it cannot categorically say, “You can have this building, bricks and mortar, lock stock and barrel”, because it does not own this or that building, or have any say over what belongs to the Church of England. I believe there are solutions to such questions with good will, perhaps an ecumenical Church Sharing Agreement, of which there are many examples in England already among different local denominations, to enable an Anglican parish and an Ordinariate Catholic parish to sustain their use of a cherished place together. But I beg you not to be locked into thinking too much of how you can take properties with you. Property is a liability. The pilgrim church must always travel light. Even so, there are possibilities in certain cases for people to be able to continue to use the buildings they know, because economic circumstances may tend to make that practical, even attractive, where it is difficult for an Anglican or an Ordinariate group to maintain the use of a church on their own. You do not need relations between Catholics and Anglicans determined and complicated when it comes to property. But with good will something may be possible.

The question I cannot answer is, “What is it going to be like in six months time?” What I can say is that the speed at which things are now happening is quite phenomenal. I stand judged if I get it wrong, but I believe that three of those bishops who have resigned will be ordained as priests by the end of January. I believe three or more will be ordained about a month later. I believe that groups will be starting to be reconciled at the beginning of Lent; they will be allowed to retain their pastor and they will stay working and worshipping together. There will be no question of taking the pastor away, as it was in my case, saying “Right, you go off to seminary for a year or two”. No; as I say rather teasingly, they will be resprayed very quickly in about ten weeks, they will be ordained, and they will continue their pastoral life, alongside any additional studies following on after that - exactly what happened in the Pastoral Provision in the United States and that we recommended for England as far back as 1992.

That is a phenomenal breakthrough. It is a great change of mindset for the Roman Catholic Church to commit itself to, and I cannot emphasise that to you strongly enough. But it has come about because of somebody with the exceptional qualities and insight that belong to Pope Benedict. He understands Anglicanism. He is a scholar of Newman, a lover of Newman and he is committed to Newman’s objectives Newman for the Church, for its people, and for Christianity in England.

I leave you with two quotations. The first is from Victor Hugo (Histoire d’un Crime, 1852/1877, end of chapter 10):

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
And then those words of Brutus from Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3:

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
omitted, all the voyage of their life 
is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat
and we must take the current when it serves,
or lose our ventures.

God bless you.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Study Paper III - The Sacraments and the Ordinariate

Today we post the last of the three Study Papers by Prebendary Brooke Lunn to assist deeper consideration of the issues raised by the Apostolic Constitution and its Norms, addressed in his Appreciation of Anglicanorum Coetibus, in which he identifies the provisions for an Ordinariate as satisfying the objectives of the historic Anglican Papalist movement for a form of corporate reunion.

Study Paper I - Towards an English Ordinariate is an aid to those considering whether to form or join a "group of Anglicans" that could constitute part of an Ordinariate. It also examines the key and distinctive characteristics of the developing Ordinariate in terms of patrimony, Catholic Christian unity and the integrity of the proclamation of the gospel in the setting of English - or, for that matter, any other - society.

Study Paper II - Anglican Patrimony explores in great depth the social, ecclesiological, theological, cultural and religious identifying mark of a distinctively Anglican-ethos Catholic particular church, as well as its liturgical heritage.

Study Paper III - The Sacraments and the Ordinariate makes a noteworthy case for a greater identity and recognition between the classic Anglican theological position and the teaching of the Catholic Church than usually thought. It locates conscience as a means to mutual respect. This is fertile ground for ecumenical growth towards visible unity; and, taking the Church of England and the Catholic Church at their word, makes a bold proposal for how the Ordinariate, the wider Catholic Church and the Anglican Church can come closer together around what Pope Paul VI saw as Anglicans' and Catholics' communion of origins: in this case, a shared Anglican patrimony and sacramental understamding.

Fr Lunn notes that, after a century of theological rupture, the Restoration Prayer Book of 1662 supplants the Reformed theology, that denied the ex opere operato nature of sacraments, with a reasserted agreement in the Anglican formularies with the teaching of the Catholic Church - "right form, right matter, right intention, right minister, right candidate, indelible character". He goes on to note, however, the prevalence of an alternative Anglican divinity, which has been damaging to Anglican-Catholic reunion, namely the belief that sacraments (including Order, notable episcopacy) are of the bene esse of the Church, rather than of its esse - you might say of benefit to it, rather than integral to its very being. One could add that a similar redefinition has occured with regard to the use of the word "Catholic" in ecumenical dialogue, wherever its use by different people rests unnoticed on different meanings and assumptions. For instance, one meaning is "comprehending the range of diverse beliefs and forms"; the other means "integrating all in the one binding truth".   Fr Lunn therefore calls for the reassertion of the common understanding about sacraments held by Anglicans and Catholics in their respective magisterial teaching authority, in order to clarify the massive misunderstanding about terms and teaching that has blighted ecumenical progress towards unity between the Catholic Church and "the Church of England entire".

He argues that, if the two do indeed hold different sacramental theologies, then questions of  mutual recognition and validity surely do not matter. It is only because the sacramental theology in both is  fundamentally the same that it matters to Anglicans that their sacraments according to their formularies are valid by Catholic criteria; it also matters to Catholics that the Catholic Church has formed a judgment that they do not, after all, meet those same criteria. How to overcome this impasse? Fr Lunn believes that a step forward can be made, not through the unrealistic dream that one position or the other can be made to prevail, but through each recognising that the other's position is conscientious. Thus Anglican interlocutors are unlocked from the point of grievance and disputation over validity according to the Roman Catholic judgment, and Catholic interlocutors need not be constrained to regard Anglican sacramentality solely in adverse terms: without resiling from its settled judgment, it is at least possible to recognise freely that the Anglican judgment is different, and that the Anglican conviction is to be respected as conscientious.

Fr Lunn sees this recognition of each other's conscientious position as an important step towards the "regularization of Sacraments" on the road to corporate reunion within an Ordinariate. The ecumenical resonance would be strong and positive. Respect for conscience and integrity does no harm to the different convictions, teaching and practice of the other, at the same time as it recognises that basic principles and faith are actually held in common.

He then cites for study purposes a formula, suggested in 1994, that does justice to both conscientious positions. It sought to place the ordination of a former Anglican priest into the sacerdotal presyterate of the Catholic Church in context. In practice and in principle, no Anglican cleric in the last half century has been asked to go against their conscience and deny their original Christian faith and ordination. Cardinal Hume addressed this problem for Anglican consciences at the time by saying that the doubt was not nowadays about validity, but invalidity. But still, he said, the Church and its faithful require absolute certainty. And so the Church requested Anglican clergy, who it recognises as "ordained in some sense" (even fully valid for Anglican purposes - and was that not some recognition of the Anglican conscientious position?), to seek and accept ordination without conditionality and beyond doubt in the Catholic Church. Indeed Cardinal Hume was responsible for obtaining the agreement of the Congregation for Divine Worship for a form of prayer to be inserted into the rite of ordination of former Anglican clergy, to articulate the reality of what was going on (the ordination of the ordained) liturgically. The prayer (which has been used widely at the Ordinariate ordinations) recognises that "not a few of the sacred actions of the Christian religion as carried out in communities separated from her can truly engender a life of grace and can rightly be described as providing access to the community of salvation", recognises and thanks God for the number of years of the candidate's previous ministry in the Anglican Communion "whose fruitfulness for salvation has been derived from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church", and prays that it be brought  to fruition in the full ommunion and presbyterate of the Catholic Church. These wordings, which reflect the terms and teaching of the Decree on Ecumenism from the Second Vatican Council, demonstrate a great deal of respect for conscientious conviction and also a recognition of Anglican sacramentality by the very act of the Catholic Church's receiving it.

Readers of this Study Paper may also refer to Study Paper I, section V, in which Fr Lunn proposes practical terms for the Church of England and the Catholic Church to take each other at their respective words and follow their ecumenical pledge not to do apart what can be done together. With regard to the Ordinariate and its Anglican patrimony shared with the Church of England, should it not in due course mean that (other than in the celebration of the sacraments) Ordinariate clergy could receive, like Free Church pastors and ministers, an authorisation to officiate. If Anglicans and Catholics are committed ecumenically to the mutual exchange of gifts, it is a principle of Catholic Church life that members of its Ordinariates do not turn their back on those with whom they share the Anglican tradition, but come to the fore in mutual friendship, pastoral collaboration, cultural links and bonds as close fellow Christians. It will have to be in the end that Anglicans receive a warm and honoured welcome when they come to a Catholic Church belonging to the Ordinariate, and there sense a deep sense of affinity and spiritual ecumenism. By the same token, just as Anglican regulations in England provide a place for fellow Christians from other Churches in its systems (PCC members, ecumenical canons, church-sharing agreements and local ecumenical partnerships), it ought to be that members of the Ordinariate also play their part in this generous ecumenical space. The Ordinariate's Anglican identity and heritage thus serve not as points of rivalry and rupture, but as the very means by which Catholic and Anglican closeness on the road to visible unity in the same apostolic faith can be strengthened.

Read or download Study Paper III: the Sacraments and the Ordinariate here.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Study Paper II - Anglican Patrimony, by Fr Brooke Lunn

Today we publish Fr Brooke Lunn's second Study Paper to assist exploration of his Appreciation of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

This is already an historic document, since it is a reworking for the present circumstances of An Inlook into Anglican Identity, a study guide Fr Lunn developed early in the period from 1987 to 1990 as the leaders of the Catholic League set up a Committee for Corporate Reunion, to explore the feasibility and basis of corporate reunion. "Anglican identity" was thus the term being used at the time of the first formal plan for a scheme in the late 1980s and just into the 1990s, before the phrase "Anglican patrimony" entered into the currency. To those who say that the Apostolic Constitution was rushed in its conception and had no precedents, once again we demonstrate evidence of important foundational work two decades ago, itself resting on more than a century of repeated efforts, contacts and approaches, which are now bearing fruit as they are realised in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and further afield.

The original Inlook was printed in its entirety in our August 2010 Special Edition of The Messenger, a substantial collection of 200 pages of documentation and analysis entitled, Anglicans and Catholics in Communion: Patrimony, Unity and Mission. This remains available for free distribution and if you would like a copy, please email us here and we will send you a copy while stocks last. All we ask is a small donation to the Newman Fund to support the Ordinariate.

After a searching discussion among members of the League, using the Inlook, a "Congregation of the English Mission" was established as an embryonic body that could in due course petition the Catholic authorities for a "group of Anglicans" requesting a corporate reunion, marked with a distinctive Anglican identity and outlook, and committed to the union of all Christians for the sake of, and vital to, the effective and convincing mission of the one Church to the nation. Sounds familiar?

In this pioneering work, Father Lunn was a leading figure. The proposed model for corporate reunion looked to Canon 372 and also to concrete examplars such as the relatively new exceptional structure of the Personal Prelature (designed and implemented for Opus Dei) and the Pastoral Provision in the USA. A series of meetings took place with Cardinal Basil Hume OSB, Archbishop of Westminster, and his advisers Fr Anthony Nys SJ and Fr Michael Seed SA. There were also informal explorations with the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (whose prefect at the time was Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI - evidently Anglicanorum Coetibus was long forming in his mind) and the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to the United Kingdom at the time, Archbishop Pablo Puente Buces. These plans could not be advanced at the time - the Personal Prelature because it provided only for a clerical body, and a Pastoral Provision because the Bishops of England & Wales were "of one mind that, in our particular circumstances, such alternatives would serve to increase the multiplicity of Church identities in an unhelpful and confusing manner". Their full November 1993 statement eventually rejecting the Congregation for the English Mission's proposal, and addressing the forthcoming likely transfer of hundreds of clergy to the Catholic Church and untold numbers of laity on an individual basis alone, can be read here. Who knows what could have been?

There were several parish groups received on an individual-cum-corporate basis, mainly in the Diocese of Westminster - notably at Enfield Lock (St Peter & St Paul) and St Pancras (Holy Cross, Cromer Street). But these relied on church-sharing by a small Catholic congregation with a continuing but diminished Anglican parish congregation; and relations, despite considerable efforts at good will locally, proved difficult, not least as their former pastors were not available to lead the nascent Catholic communities, their having been moved on to other parish postings in anticipation of ordination and incardination in the diocese. While obviously there was disappointment on the part of many that a Pastoral Provision for Anglicans seeking full communion, with some kind of distinctive ecclesial reality of its own, could  not at that time be integrated into the Catholic Church in England and Wales, many clergy and faithful were undeterred. It is estimated by Fr John Broadhurst that in England over the 10 years from 1994 (the period of financial and housing support allocated by the Anglican authorities for those in conscience taking up what was essentiallly a voluntary redundancy or early retirement scheme) and in the period since, 500 Anglican clergy became Catholics, with large unrecorded numbers of lay faithful. The effect of this influx of Anglican background, patrimony and contribution to the life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales remains uncalculated but deserves thorough research. Certainly, it was something of an answer to prayer - even if an unexpected one - for vocations to the priesthood, during a period when across the Western world the numbers being ordained was seriously contracting.

As in Fr Lunn's first Study Paper, Towards an English Ordinariate, the focus is taken beyond the immediate identity markers of Liturgy and Tradition, to a thorough treatment of origins and the Anglican theological paradigm of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, to an appraisal of  the purpose and truthfulness of a Via Media (and the integrity of how that is practised), to considering the role of the laity in Anglican church life, and on to such factors as the relationship of Church and State, how size of congregation affects identity and mission, and the importance of folk religion and culture for what our now termed the "evangelisation of culture" and the "struggle for the soul of Europe".

Fr Lunn has thoroughly revised his original Study Paper to take account of the opportunities offered by Anglicanorum Coetibus and development of the new Ordinariate. It is also a masterly introduction to the thinking of Newman as it relates to the fields he covered.

Read or download Fr Brooke Lunn's Study Paper II - Anglican Patrimony here.

We will post the final Study Paper - Sacraments and the Ordinariate - on 5th July.