Friday, August 01, 2008

Cardinal Kasper: Rome’s recognition of Anglican orders is ‘definitively blocked’

This is curious, because Cranmer thought the matter had been dealt with definitively in the Bull Apostolicae Curae issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1896. He declared in no uncertain terms that ordinations conducted with the Anglican rite introduced by Cranmer in 1550, which replaced the medieval rituals which had thereunto been used in England, are ‘absolutely null and utterly void’. And he implored those who sought orders to return to Rome where they would find ‘the true aids for salvation’.

If Anglican orders were null and void in 1896, they must still be so today, so Cranmer is a little puzzled as to why the Cardinal mentioned this at all. Indeed, the ‘absolutely’ and ‘utterly’ did not even leave room for much ARCIC debate on the matter.

But, unlike the abruptness of Pope Leo XIII, or the downright rudeness of Cardinal Dias, Cardinal Kasper assured the Anglican bishops that he was addressing them ‘as a friend’, and he wished to speak with ‘the frankness which friendship allows’.

And so, in the spirit of Lumen Gentium, he praised ‘the great and wonderful Anglican cathedrals and churches the world over’, along with ‘the old and famous Colleges in Oxford and Cambridge’; and he spoke in admiration of the ‘marvellous Evensongs’ and ‘the beauty and eloquence of Anglican prayers’; and then he turned to Cranmer (though he did not mention him by name), and expressed his deepest appreciation of the ‘fine scholarship of Anglican historians and theologians’.

Or perhaps he was referring to Newman, for he expressed the hope that there might emerge in the Anglicanism of today a new Oxford Movement - the movement of return to the tradition of the Apostolic Church inspired by Cardinal Newman.

And he expressed this hope along with his exhortation for the Anglican Communion to remain united – each province in communion with the other. Yet the two aspirations may now be absolutely and utterly mutually exclusive, and one wonders why the Cardinal does not see this. He said: “...the ordination of women to the episcopate effectively and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican Orders by the Catholic Church.” And since there are so many traditionalists within the Anglican Communion who accord with this, it is difficult to ignore the subtle but evident allusion to the call of Pope Leo XIII that they should return to Rome where they would find ‘the true aids for salvation’.

Let us not forget that the Cardinal is the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. For him, all ecumenical roads lead to Rome. So Cranmer wonders if he may address His Eminence also as a friend, for he wishes to speak also with the frankness which friendship allows.

His Eminence referred to ‘anthropological and biblical hermeneutical questions which need to be addressed’, but chose to focus on the relatively peripheral issues of gender and sexuality.

Cranmer would like to graciously and humbly bring to his attention the recent (though by no means revelatory) observations of the Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Australia. While the principal differences between the Roman Church and the Anglican Church have seemingly been reduced to the possession of a penis in the pulpit, or what two consenting men do with their penises behind the pulpit, Bishop Robert Forsyth went on the offensive. He said to the Pope that there indeed remained ‘very great and significant differences’ between the Anglican and Catholic churches, ‘including, if I may say so, even your very office.’

The bishop said he had been inspired by the Pope's exhortation for Christians to see one another as brothers. And he was joined in this protest by the Dean of Sydney Cathedral, the Reverend Phillip Jensen, brother of Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen, who refused to meet the Pope during his visit because ‘there is nothing in modern Roman Catholicism that reduces our need to protest’.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald , he objected to ‘Roman Catholic claims to authority’ and ‘the enormity of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church’, referring specifically to Papal infallibility and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. He wrote: ‘We object to the Pope claiming to be the Vicar of Christ. We reject all claims to authority that imply the insufficiency of Scripture. We reject any implication that Jesus’ work on the cross was insufficient, or requires some other mediator.’

In answer to these claims and more, the Dean of Sydney Cathedral quotes from the 39 Articles: ‘The Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith’.

It is heartening indeed to hear that there are still Protestants in the Anglican Communion. And, in a true spirit of ecumenism and friendship, Cranmer hopes that Cardinal Kasper or Pope Benedict will extend an invitation to the Dean to address their next gathering (should they occasion to hold one) when he might be able put an ‘Anglican position’ on their deliberations, with all the frankness which friendship, of course, allows.


Anonymous John Knox said...

Your Grace quotes the Dean of Sydney as saying the very opposite of what was conveyed. Of course Philip Jensen said: "We reject all claims to authority THAT imply the insufficiency of scripture."
John Knox hopes that this will not only be applied to the Pope but also to the present situation in the (Australian) Anglican communion where the insufficiency of Scripture to establish doctrine seems to have become the new creed of convenience for many.

1 August 2008 at 07:50  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Knox,

His Grace thanks you for bringing his attention to his minor grammatical typo but major theological error.

He has been weary of late, but has now corrected the quotation.

1 August 2008 at 08:07  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Unfortunately Your Graces confusion, it has become necessary for Rome to reiterate the same point numerous times of the benefit of the Anglican Communion simply because it seems unable to absorb the message at first telling. Case in point, after the Church of England voted to ordain women, Pope John Paul II issued Ordinatio Sacerdotalis which contained among other treasures

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

Now how much clearer can the RCC make it, is there any room for misunderstanding at all, and yet the ABC at the time George Carey said, "We would like clarification on this statement." Once again "We would like clarification on this statement." What?

So you see we have to follow everything up for the benefit of the fraternal ecclesiastical community in large type, repeat it twice and add pictures otherwise the AC seems relapse into the 'spiritual Alzheimer's' and 'ecclesial Parkinson's' referred to by Cardinal Ivan Dias.

The Bishop of South Sydney is correct about differences even in the office of the Pope. The Pope is democratically elected by the votes of his peers, whereas the ABC is simply a politically appointed post by the Government of the day, effectively a minister for state religion.

Archbishop Peter Jensens comments typify the ignorance and bitter vitriol that emanates from certain jealous, petty minded prelates obsessed with their own agenda. However clearly no theologian or intellectual equal of Benedict XVI, he had has made one telling point, which again seems to be the object of some selective amnesia in the collective mind of the AC and therefore bears repeating again. He unintentionally highlights that the numerous and ever dividing ecclesiastical communities within the AC is collectively a body in protest, in order for it to exist it has to have some object of this protest and as he reminds the forgetful AC is the RCC. So Archbishop Peter Jensen correctly surmises the position of the AC, it is defined by its opposition (protest) to the RCC hence Leo XIII exhortation, that You Grace kindly reminds us of that they should return to Rome where they would find ‘the true aids for salvation’. And again for the benefit of the AC “return to Rome where they would find ‘the true aids for salvation’”

1 August 2008 at 10:38  
Blogger Richard Hooker said...

Your Grace reminds us most eloquently of that which is good for the goose ..... We are mindful that in the long run the goose and the gander may be stuffed equally as the occasion demands.

1 August 2008 at 10:51  
Anonymous tiberswimmer said...

The Dean of Sydney refusing to meet the Pope?? . . . that's like the Mayor of Slough refusing an invitation to Windsor Castle. Quite pitiful, Your Grace.

1 August 2008 at 13:24  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I don't really think you should equate the Pope with the Mayor of Slough. He may be in error, but he does have a large following.

1 August 2008 at 14:58  
Anonymous Tom said...

Leo XIII's Apostolicae Curae is, according to Rome, definitive still - see the recent Ad Tuendam Fidem, issued by John Paul II and drafted by the then Cardinal Ratzinger . But Apostolicae Curae deals only with the question of the validity of the Reformation Anglican ordinal. Since then the Anglican ordinal has been reformed in a Romeward direction, and Anglican beliefs about orders have moved somewhat Romewards too. Moreover Old Catholic and Dutch Jansenist bishops with orders recognized as valid by Rome have participated in many Anglican episcopal ordinations (the so-called 'Dutch touch').

There might then, consistently with maintaining Apostolicae Curae, still have been a case for Rome's reexamining the validity of present-day Anglican orders. (Remember that on his reception from Anglicanism, Graham Leonard was only conditionally ordained as a Catholic priest, thanks to these changed circumstances.)

So Kasper is not disregarding Apostolicae Curae's negative verdict on the validity of Reformation Anglican orders. Rather he's addressing the issue of the validity of present-day Anglican orders, and saying that Rome is not now interested in re-examining them. Not that that Anglican Communion hasn't been warned about this for long enough. And the attitude of Constantinople and Moscow will be the same - though expressed even less politely. Canterbury is now placed by Rome and Constantinople firmly with the rest of western Protestantism. Not that Cranmer would have objected to being so placed - though that was always part of Leo XIII's point.

Of course, Rome might take a different attitude to re-examining the orders of break-away Anglo-Catholic communities, such as the TAC, that leave the Anglican communion and commit to not ordaining women. I think that through Kasper, Rome is also rather gently putting Canterbury on warning that since reunion with Canterbury is now impossible, Rome is happy to deal separately with dissenting Anglican 'traditionalist' groups. There may even be an Anglcan uniate church. Who knows?

1 August 2008 at 16:56  
Anonymous The recusant said...

There were no valid holy orders at all in the C of E between 1559 and 1662. This didn't bother the Calvinists who ran the church during that century - holy orders was one of the 5 sacraments they had thrown out. In their view holy orders and a sacrificing priesthood were Popish superstitions.

With the restoration of the monarchy (and the partial restoration of religious ceremony) the C of E brought back a form of holy orders in 1662. But the gap of a century meant that the apostolic succession had been broken.

During the 19th century some Anglicans ("high Anglicans" or "anglo-Catholics") worried about this. They asked Rome to validate their orders. They were disappointed. In 1896 pope Leo XIII declared that Anglican ordinations were invalid.

Feeling hurt and snubbed, the high Anglicans then approached the Orthodox churches. The Greek and Russian patriarchs made friendly noises and were more polite than the Pope, but the patriarchs couldn’t bring themselves to validate Anglicans orders either.

What the high Anglicans did next is most revealing. Rather than say bugger Rome and bugger Orthodoxy, they asked bishops from the Polish National Catholic Church to officiate at their ordinations. The Poles were 'Old Catholics', Catholics who had broken with Rome after the doctrine of Papal Infallibility had been declared. The Old Catholics could of course trace their apostolic succession through the Roman Church back to the apostles.

One may ask why would Anglicans do this if they were confident of their own apostolic succession?

1 August 2008 at 18:44  
Anonymous roland the headless thompson gunner said...

Jensen is an odious little buffoon.


1 August 2008 at 20:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dean of Sydney's newspaper article cited by His Grace strikes me as something of a masterpiece of concise 'plain' writing.

In the course of a short article the Dean manages to:
1. Define Anglican Protestantism
[the primacy of scriptural authority; Justification by Faith alone; the rejection of a need for priestly intercession; reiterates the importance of the Thirty Nine Articles; notes that the doctrinal errors of Roman Catholicism continued to accrue post Reformation);

2. Distinguishes secular government/the separation of Church and state from intolerant myopic secularism;

3. Places freedom of religion and the freedom of peaceful assembly within the (Christian) context of hospitality;

4. Notes the links between the liberty of the subject and Protestant 'individualism';

5. Matches the right to assemble to the duty to pay taxes;

6. Distinguishes clear but courteous ecclesial/theological disagreement from ill mannered and disruptive 'protest' whilst avoiding the temptations of obfuscatory ecumenicism.

Do we have priests of similar standing in the Church of England?


von Hayek

2 August 2008 at 00:26  
Blogger William said...

Recusant, the "Dutch touch" was an ecumenical gesture to Rome, intended to help them get themselves out of a hole of their own making. The foolish and ill-argued document of Leo XIII (see Sæpius Officio (1897), a comprehensive rebuttal on all points by the English Archbishops) left Rome with the equally unpalatable options of striving to maintain an untenable position or admitting that Leo had got it wrong. But rather than just rub Rome's nose in its own dirt, Anglicans sought to provide Rome with a way out of the mess without losing face, i.e. by allowing it to say that the situation had changed and that Apostolicæ Curæ no longer applied. That Rome rejected the opportunity is its own problem and not one that troubles for one moment any Anglican I know, of whatever tradition or theology.

2 August 2008 at 10:15  
Blogger William said...

BTW, it was the "Dutch touch", not the "Polish touch", though bishops of the PNCC (as a member Church of the Union of Utrecht) may well have been involved in some consecrations.

2 August 2008 at 10:26  
Anonymous The recusant said...

William thank you for your response however I think you are missing the point; this was not an ecumenical gesture on equal terms or in accord with the wishes of Rome. Far from it, the "Declaration of Utrecht was a desperate attempt to rectify something that the Anglican Clergy had grave doubts over for years, namely the validity of their orders.
Anglo-Catholics, who had pinned their hopes on some kind of papal recognition of Anglican orders, could hardly have had to counter a blow so completely devastating as the blow delivered by Apostolicae Curae. Even today, Anglicans bristle at the mere mention of the name of Leo XIII, but in a stroke a false and embarrassing position which had developed over centuries of uncertainty had been clarified by the Chief Bishop of Christendom in a single sentence, i.e., "Anglican orders are null and void."

So desperate in fact were they to try and remedy this defect that at each ordination, the protocol was documented, with the Church of Utrecht bishop stating that he was participating in order to pass along the Dutch line of succession, and another document from the new Anglican bishop stating that in Episcopal consecrations he performed, it was his intention to convey the Dutch succession. Fr John Hunwicke noted, "Both of these documents constitute a tacit reference to Apostolicae Curae and imply a willingness to address that Bull as a significant reality in ecclesial life. They say 'We care about Pope Leo's condemnation of our Orders; and we are remedying the alleged defect in ways that (we hope) will be acceptable in his terms'."

Now before you bring up the answer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York remember the warm welcome accorded the Papal Bull by the secular as well as by the non-Catholic religious press in Great Britain which published Apostolicae Curae either in its entirety or in generous and unedited excerpts. The London Times frankly admitted the fairness and the justice of the papal condemnation:

“Henceforth it is evident that he who desires to be a Catholic and to have the sacraments, as Catholics understand them, with all the supernatural powers of the priesthood, must be united and subject to Rome. The via media invented by some, and the union fancied by others, without the submission to the jurisdiction of Rome, are things to be despised. Better thus. We Englishmen have never pretended to have valid orders in the sense of the Pope, that is, such as confer the mysterious powers of the Catholic priesthood. Let us remain, therefore, what we are.”
In much the same spirit the Anglican publication the Rock was willing to admit that Pope Leo was championing a truth attested by history:
“The Pope has spoken with a promptness and with a determination which many did not expect. We are fully in accord with him, and we can subscribe to almost all his arguments. It is precisely what we have always held, namely, that by the Reformation the heads of the Church of England deliberately and effectively separated from the Church of Rome, repudiated her teaching on the priesthood and the episcopacy, and therefore in ordination they never had any intention of conferring the priesthood, since they considered sacerdotalism an injury to the Priesthood of Christ, without foundation in the Scriptures, and repugnant to all the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel.”
Another Anglican publication editorialized that Pope Leo had finally said what ought to have been said long ago, that the Holy See completely understood the facts of the English Reformation. "If any disastrous consequence is to follow the publication of the Pontifical Bull," it concluded, "the disaster will not be due to the Church of Rome, but to those who have departed from the principles of the Reformation."
You champion Saepius Officio, a document ignored by Rome because it was really and as Anglican Archdeacon Taylor of Liverpool said at the time in reference to this Anglican Reply:
With all due respect for the eminent prelates who have sent it forth, I cannot but regard it as altogether unsatisfactory and unworthy of the occasion. Far better to have left the Bull unanswered altogether. Their lengthy document contains a great amount of theological and liturgical research, but it simply omits altogether the real point at issue. The question is plainly stated in the words of the Papal Bull, but is passed over by proving what no one denies, namely, that the Reformers intended to continue the three orders of bishops, priests, and deacons in the Church. This is not the question; but whether they intended that the priest should discharge precisely the same functions as before. The argument of the Bull is simple, intelligible, and, on the premises laid down, conclusive; and we owe the Pope a debt of gratitude for so clearly proving the thoroughly Protestant character of our Church.

The Bull did not seek to belittle or provoke further antagonism with the Anglican Communion; it was in response to a request for clarification on a specific point by Anglican clergy and that clarification was given. That the response was unwelcome by some and evidently still is a source of resentment does not detract from the authority of the document or its present validity, nor that at the time it was welcomed by many more. There are those who no doubt feel aggrieved by its content just as some women and homosexuals feel slighted by the churches position on their ordination and lifestyle today, like those the reaction is often vocal, defensive, angry and loud but who is ultimately responsible for the debacle of Anglican orders?

If you want to really find the culprit look no further than Cranmer, Henry VIII's and Edward VI's Archbishop of Canterbury, that we owe the composition of the Ordinal rites. It is Cranmer's Ordinal — named, however, the "Edwardine Ordinal" because it dates from the reign of Edward VI (1547-1553) and none other that was examined impartially by Leo XIII in 1896. Edward's Ordinal it was that was characterized by Apostolicae Curae as a "new rite" (novus ritus) because this rite had departed from rites which were essential to the validity of Holy Orders.

2 August 2008 at 15:27  
Blogger Robert Zacher said...

To be more accurate, there is 'Dutch Touch' from Utrecht but there are also Polish, German, Swedish, at least one Eastern Orthodox and a couple of Roman Catholic touches now included within the tactile succession of Anglican episcopal orders - all with proper form and intention.

What kind of a life have I had to retain all of this tactile succession trivia, I often ask myself? I don't even think that the tactile succession of bishops means a helluva lot anyway. The Roman Catholics themselves can't trace their tactile succession with any hard evidence further back than the 16th cen. Nevertheless, the information I mention is available to those who hold stock in such things and are interested.

4 August 2008 at 05:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not go back to square one? Why did the Church IN England become the Church OF England? The break with Rome didn't occur because of strong desires for "reform". It occurred because a king wanted a male heir, and would let nothing stand in his way. A thousand or more years of spiritual tradition were thrown out the window. Some of the greatest thinkers in England were executed. Popular pro-Catholic uprisings were squelched, and the English people were robbed of their spiritual inheritance. Because of a king, and cronies who stood to benefit from newly acquired power and land.

In time, the unspeakable became the norm, and it looks golden now in the haze of history, but the Reformation in England wasn't "reform" at the onset. That came later. The initial impetus for the break was royal, self serving greed, every bit as reprehensible as the faults of the Roman Church that allegedly caused the break. How can this not matter to Anglicans? How can the cause of the reformation in England not matter?

26 October 2010 at 20:20  
Anonymous Fr. John Dewar said...

What about Hugh Curwen, Archbishop of Dublin, consecrated according to the Roman Rite in the time of Mary, and who under Elizabesth became Bishop of Oxford and took part in Episcopal Ordinations? And what about the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Spalato who came over to England and became Dean of Windsor and who took part in consecrations, one of whom was the chief consecrator of William Laud?

18 June 2011 at 14:12  

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