Sunday, February 19, 2012

The death of the Anglican Covenant

It is theologically and politically interesting, if not historically and ecclesially amusing, that as Pope Benedict XVI shores up support for his reforms in the Roman Catholic Church with the appointment of 22 mainly like-minded cardinals, Archbishop Rowan Williams is left floundering on a sea of dissension. The Anglican Covenant was the ‘Tory’ mechanism by which the Anglican Communion might be held together over differences on the issues of gender and sexuality, with the incorporation/adoption/imposition of a bit of papalism to deal with ‘scandalous and ungodly behaviour’ – a move quite contrary to Anglican ecclesiology. Yet the Covenant is being trounced in diocese after diocese as the Whiggish hordes defend their historic liberties.

It is perhaps a mark of episcopal ignorance and inadequacy that the Bishops appear to have learned nothing from Anglican history. The parallels with the chaos of 1643 are evident, this being the era of the Cromwellian Commonwealth, the outlawing of the Church of England and the rise of Presbyterianism. The resulting Westminster Confession of Faith was revoked in England at the Restoration in 1660, but its provisions remain in force in Scotland to this day. The lessons are clear: the Anglican Communion is an international partnership of autonomous communities with theological diversity. i.e., not one church; the Archbishop of Canterbury is not a central authority, i.e., not a pope; the Anglican pattern of church governance is synodical, i.e., not papal. And no covenant can make these things so.

The Covenant was designed to hold the Anglican Communion together for better or worse, in sickness and health, ‘til the Second Coming do them part. For, like papal infallibility, only the apocalyptic parousia could render it absolutely null and utterly void. But Anglicanism is wary of the totalitarian and centralised: the See of Canterbury is not as absolute as the See of Rome.

And so we are left wondering how each ecclesial community can grapple with Scripture, tradition, reason and experience when reason and experience diversely challenge Scripture and tradition. If the US branch of the Communion says it’s consistent with the ‘Anglican tradition’ to consecrate an openly gay bishop or the odd lesbian, who is the African branch to be ‘appalled’ at such a development? And if one Province decides that it is most definitely consonant with the ‘Anglican tradition’ to appoint women to the Episcopate, who is to decide the proportionality of the punitive action against them?

What if the Anglican Church of Australia wishes to object to the Queen being Supreme Governor of the Church of England on the basis that the hereditary principle is ‘corrupt and sexist’? Shall ++Cantuar simply say they are ‘entitled to their views’? Who is the guardian of the 'Anglican tradition'? How can there be Roman unity in Anglican diversity? How can one impose discipline without exerting a pseudo-papal authority?

The Covenant was designed to resolve disputes and strengthen unity, yet it is clear that Anglicans do not do ‘punitive action’ (or unity) very well: we do not even do suspension, preferring instead the euphemistic ‘withdraw from public ministry’. So we can forget anathematisation or excommunication.

The bizarre thing is that the Anglican Church actually practises what the Roman Catholic Church purports to: subsidiarity. It is to do with governance at the lowest level, and the Anglican Communion has historically been constructed on devolved localism. It is thoroughly Whiggish. But it hasn’t worked.

It is the old Conservative tension between Tory centralised authority that seeks to preserve tradition and Whiggish local democracy to precipitate radical reform. Is the Covenant a via media between restriction and liberty; between subsidiarity and centralisation; between paternalism and autonomy?

Insofar as it appears to be satisfying no one, perhaps the balance is right. Yet if the Covenant be not unanimously approved by all 38 Provinces in the Communion, it can be authoritatively adopted by none.

And that will just leave us with the XXXIX Articles ‘as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today’. What need another covenant?


Blogger Lay Anglicana said...

I pray, I pray that you are right to sound the death knell of the Covenant, O Cranmer!

Whiggish hordes and others - it takes a lot to rouse the English to revolt, but when they are so roused, would-be tyrants had better look to their laurels.

Is there rejoicing in Heaven? Well,today is the Feast of the Transfiguration - what do you think?

19 February 2012 at 12:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

"They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up."

19 February 2012 at 12:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The Covenant was formally spawned by the conflict between the American church (TEC) and the more conservative provinces in the Communion. The AoC has been attempting to find some way to keep the Communion intact. Specifically, he has been trying to prevent the conservative provinces from punishing TEC for TECs heterodoxy all the while trying to prevent the conservative provinces from leaving over a failure to punish TEC for TECs heterodoxy. It's been a trying decade for Rowan Williams.

The Covenant was his brilliant non-solution to the problem. As he has done for the last seven years, he would bury the problem in unending process. The conflict would be removed to an organizational structure controlled by Canterbury. There people would spend years (and years and years and years) talking about problems without ever getting around to solving them. Or at least that was the plan.

The radicals in the US weren't willing to accept de facto approval for their doctrinal innovations. The wanted formal approval. They wanted acceptance on their terms. The conservatives meanwhile caught on to the AoCs strategy of endless talk with no resolution in sight. So both warring factions rejected the Covenant outright. Conservatives saw it as weak and toothless - incapable of imposing doctrinal discipline. Liberals refused to accept even the theoretical idea that churches could be disciplined for innovation at all. The fact that liberals would control said discipline via Canterbury did not assuage them. That was duplicity. They wanted open acceptance. The only people who actually supported the Covenant were institutionalists who wanted to keep the Institution together. Organizations like Fulcrum and the Anglican Communion Institute fought for it. There simply weren't enough of them to matter.

So now the CoE must choose what kind of church it wants to be. Does it want to turn to the left and follow TECs money into oblivion? Does it want to turn to the right and stand in opposition to its own culture? The second option seems impossible because the leadership in the CoE becomes more like TEC with each passing year. However, the first option means separation from the growing conservative churches. It means the AC becomes a shriveled declining set of post-modern western churches with the real power center set in NYC. Not an attractive option for a Canterbury that wishes to maintain its traditional position of leadership. It's no wonder the AoC has been fight so hard to avoid smashing his ship of state on one of these two rocks. But the currents are just too strong.

One way or the other, the leadership of the AoC is passing out of English hands. The centers of power have shifted away from the centralized bureaucracy in Canterbury. The English church no longer possesses either the money or the power or the moral authority to hold sway. The Covenant was a last effort to maintain stasis, but it was doomed to fail from the start. Now TEC will wave it money and its fellow travelers in the CoE will follow in its footsteps. The more conservative members of the CoE will depart and create a new Communion with conservative Anglicans worldwide. The old communion with wither and die. The new communion will not be anglo-centric.

This was RWs nightmare. It is what he struggled so hard to avoid. And yet, like Oedipus, he by his every effort served only to bring his own destruction by his own hands. Cue the chorus, and hand him the pins.


19 February 2012 at 14:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 39 articles seem a 'good foundation'to make a stand!.

See(no pun intended) the Papists are renovating theirs!.

19 February 2012 at 14:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The weakness of men so apparent. They build their little empires in vain....

19 February 2012 at 15:30  
Blogger Oswin said...

Stasis, as Your Grave suggests, can often be for the good; ideas come and go, fashions fade, hysteria subsides etc.

We need a ten/fifteen/twenty year moritorium against further nibbling infractions within/against the true Anglican community of Britain. As we cannot dictate to others further afield, then let them go their own way; they are not 'us', and we not 'them'.

We must call a halt to the de-masculation* of the Church and, codpiece safely in hand, stand and defend our ground.

Those who have left the Church for 'Rome' need to return to the Anglican fold, and fight their corner. Those that haver and dither, let them look to the chaos ahead, and stand firm.

The Anglican Church IS England; and like 'England' it had better wake up pretty damned quickly - wake-up, and do nothing; vigorously! ('stasis' remember?).

Change cannot be avoided; but change oftentimes needs a backwards route, ask any soldier, hunter or ballroom dancer.

* not necessarily aimed at female 'priests' as many women display more 'balls' than do men!

19 February 2012 at 15:52  
Anonymous Scott said...

I hope you can get all this sorted.
I'll watch from the Ordinariate and wish you well.

19 February 2012 at 15:58  
Blogger Fr. James Pappas said...

The 39 Articles might work to hold the CofE together, but will do little to hold the Communion together. TEC never adopted the Articles at our founding more than 200 years ago. They are included in our Prayer Book as an historical note, but they are binding on none of us. I'd suggest that the closest we will ever come to a binding document for the Communion will be the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral:

1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God.

2. The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith.

3. The two Sacraments,--Baptism and the Supper of the Lord,--ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

4. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.

19 February 2012 at 16:03  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

The 39 Articles? If only! I seem to remember a certain Canon Fraser and Dr Jeffry John taking substitutionary atonement apart, which is a pretty central part of Article 31. When you have leading clergy who disregard not only the foundational doctrines to which they publically confessed, but also Scripture itself, you're clearly not going to have much adherence to covenants of convenience designed to keep everyone under the same banner.

Rather though than schism, or aquiesce to a central authority whose authority (being in part chosen by the British government) is questionable to begin with, there is another route which is always open to us, and should have been our first resort. We have to expend our energies not on working out how we may live together in disunity but on striving for unity.

Disunity in the Church is not something that can be put aside as a matter of inconvenience, it is not merely the inevitable clash of views in an institution that branches across many continents. It is a fundamental spiritual hindrance on our work, which we urgently need to address in a spirit of humility and forgiveness.

The CofE Synods have long allowed themselves to display the trappings of a court in which such issues are decided. 1 Corinthians 6:7-8 seems like an excellent starting point for us all when it comes to seeking unity with those who hold views opposite to our own:

"To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud - even your own brothers!"

19 February 2012 at 16:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Fr. James Pappas
1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God.

This is exactly the crunch point!
If the Holy Scriptures are indeed "the revealed word of God" then whence cometh the heterodoxical teaching?
I for one stand by the Faith once delivered to the Saints.

19 February 2012 at 16:26  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

God, you swaddlers really do complicate entities beyond all neccessity, don't you? The solution is obvious.

1 - Sack the Queen (as head of the CoE, that is);
2 - Disband said body (come on, it's only Catholic lite,after all; the Real Deal is out there waiting for you);
3 - Re-up to Rome, where you belong. We'll soon sort out any moral dilemmas you may still have.

By the way, Cranmer, why are your new robot detection words so flaming difficult to read?

19 February 2012 at 17:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan1: "By the way, Cranmer, why are your new robot detection words so flaming difficult to read?"

I'm not really having any trouble with it. Mind you, I'm an atheist. We have a knack of cutting through the distractions and seeing the actual underlying form.

19 February 2012 at 17:48  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Well, DanJ0, they do say the trick to solving a riddle is not to look at it too deeply. I'd guess that's where you're a Viking.

19 February 2012 at 18:00  
Blogger non mouse said...

Well said, Oswin!

And no, Corrigan: those of us who've been in the British Isles for a long time don't belong in Rome. Our ancestors would not have kept on to the 'end of the earth' if they'd wanted to be with that lot. Nor would we have developed English or retained Celtic languages in our island-- we'd all be speaking mucked up Latin. But earlier, as now, we had a bit of help from the Greeks.

No - and if there's anything Christian about the papaseatoists, they'll give us back those nasty, illegal, parchment things they're holding in the vaults.

19 February 2012 at 18:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Excellent post, Corrigan as we watch the CoE flounder in the deep water...

Only a matter of time before the Anglican communion tears itself apart, and the constituents go their separate ways...

19 February 2012 at 18:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Re-up to Rome, where you belong. We'll soon sort out any moral dilemmas you may still have.

Unity. An excellent idea! And just as soon as Rome throws Trent, the Papacy, the Marian dogmas, and Sacred Tradition overboard, then we can talk.


19 February 2012 at 19:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How dare the apostates take the word Covenant upon their lips.

The real deal is indeed waiting out there for Reformed Anglicans:

The Westminster Standards as per the Solemn League and Covenant.

Ex tenebras lux.

19 February 2012 at 19:19  
Blogger Phil said...


Well thought out and well constructed summary of Anglicanism (My Church)today.

I raise similar issues with Anglicans at all levels in the UK. 90% agree with me/you but most will not say or do anything to rock the boat.

The one exception is "Reform" (Bible believing Anglicans despised or feared in the main by liberals) who for the CofE is the best hope for a future.

No sorry the only hope for a future. Incidentally the largest and most vibrant churches in England are more often than not members of Reform.

19 February 2012 at 19:58  
Blogger Phil said...


Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your comments as it gets me thinking

The debates here would not be worth reading without you!

19 February 2012 at 20:01  
Anonymous Prudence said...

As one of your Grace’s earlier posters has said, we don’t have the 39 Articles in Common throughout the Anglican Communion. Campaigners against the proposed Covenant have been claiming that we don’t need it because we are ‘held together by a common liturgical heritage’; but in many parts of the Communion, this ‘liturgical inheritance’ is little more than historical, since Anglican liturgies diverge widely and not all Provinces even recognise the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a formulary.

Many Anglicans were irritated when the then Cardinal Ratzinger said that Anglicanism—the third largest Church in the world—was not a Church at all, but an ‘ecclesial community’. And yet how can we call Anglicanism a global Church, when some Provinces subscribe to radical new doctrines which others cannot accept, and when Provinces set up new churches within each other’s territories?

Sadly, the Church of England is in danger of retreating into a ‘Little Englander’ mentality, and showing less interest in the proposed Covenant than probably any other Province in the Communion. Many of those Provinces that have already adopted it are in poorer parts of the world, and have done so because they value the link with Canterbury; are we to say we have no need of them? Speaking personally, I can say that my own understanding of what it means to be Anglican, and indeed of what it means to be Christian, has been profoundly enriched (in ways of which I suspect Your Grace might approve) by friendships with those elsewhere the Communion.

The proposed Covenant received overwhelming support when it came to General Synod for a preliminary discussion, so why the Diocesan votes? Frankly, we have been caught napping. The Church of England has been so obsessed with women bishops of late, that the only people who have had their eye on the Covenant ball are the small band of nay-sayers who have been campaigning determinedly against it. Many Diocesan Synod members have little clue what the Covenant is even about before they turn up to vote on it (if they turn up).

It will be sad and almost arbitrary if a thoughtful, subtle proposal – which never promised to solve all our problems, but which is the only thing on the table – were to be rejected in this way by the C of E.

19 February 2012 at 20:17  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Something needs to be done.

As an example, the former Episcopalian Bishop of Newark, Spong, is harldy a Christian!

Amongst other things he argues 'theism' as a way of understanding God is dead; that Jesus was not the Incarnate Son of God; that Genesis is myth; there was no Virgin Birth; there were no miracles; there was no Resurrection or Ascention; the Bible is not the Word of God; and there is no Final Judgement.

How can these beliefs possibly be squared with any orthodox Christianity? And they are not that unusual.

There's the 'via media' and then there's the 'via chaos'!

19 February 2012 at 20:23  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Well said, Mr Carl @ 14.00 $ 19.09.

In a sense the Anglican Church is a victim of its own success. For some time the Orthodox church has been the obvious model for the future with its autocephalous structure. Prophecies of doom for the Anglican communion are as implausible as similar prophesies that may have attended the Orthodox after the Great Schism in 1054.

If Anglicanism fulfills a continuing need among its communicants it will both flourish and remain a refuge for those seeking relief from Roman magisterium. And they are many.

19 February 2012 at 20:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "As an example, the former Episcopalian Bishop of Newark, Spong, is harldy a Christian!"

If he ticks the Christian box and is invited to take part in the Ipsos Mori poll then he's a Christian and who are we to question it?

19 February 2012 at 20:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


If he ticks the Christian box and is invited to take part in the Ipsos Mori poll then he's a Christian and who are we to question it?

Except the man is a functional atheist. He would agree with essentially every argument that you make. If Spong may properly be called a Christian, then I may properly be an atheist, and words have lost their ability to make meaningful distinctions.


19 February 2012 at 21:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

The voice used the term "we" in reference to Christianity? Are professed and commited atheists, openly hostile to theism, now defining the terms? Is this the latest development in secular equal opportunities?

Sure Spong can tick the box and call himself what he wants. Can he properly claim membership of the Episcopalian Church and speak on its behalf as a Bishop without acccepting basic Christian doxology?

Any reasonable definition of being a Christian must include the receipt of Christian Baptism, believing in the Incarnation, Sacrificial Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and accepting His teaching and those of the authors of scripture.

19 February 2012 at 21:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Except the man is a functional atheist."

I know, I was just being facetious because of an earlier thread. One of the local Anglican chaplains near me famously didn't believe in god, it used to drive one of the others mad with rage. Mind you, he was a hellfire and brimstone man who used to write into the local paper most weeks either that gays and Muslims would burn in hell forever unless they found Jesus, or that the local witches were plotting to kill him. When he retired, I think the bishop breathed a huge sigh of relief. I think the atheist vicar moved on in the end, or was quietly encouraged to go. He was part of the Sea of Faith network if I recall.

19 February 2012 at 21:27  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

I regret any flippant comments regarding this for it is an issue of great importance. His Grace has articulated well, as he usually does, a matter which is a great disaster for Christendom particularly today in the face of secular and Islamic expansionism. As a Catholic I am not very happy with the leadership of many bishops in the Church but what stands out after centuries of Protestant division and still continuing is the consistent teaching of Catholicism even if we cannot say that about a good number of clerics currently occupying high positions. Our Lord did not say he would prevent traitors entering our portals but he did say he would send the Holy Spirit to guide his Church and even though we have had some pretty unattractive characters in high places at different times the true authority continues to teach orthodoxy. Prudence says that Anglicanism is the third largest church in the world. Jesus said “May they all be one”. My friends return to the true fold – the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church – the One True Faith.

19 February 2012 at 21:27  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

bluedog said ...

"For some time the Orthodox church has been the obvious model for the future with its autocephalous structure."

You do know the nature of the controversies within Orthodoxy over Constantinople being the mother church and first among equals? They also have Ecumenical Councils that authoritatively resolve doctrinal disputes or doubts. The autonomy centres on canon not dogma. They are also accepted by Rome as authentic because they have preserved the fundamental orthodoxy of Christianity.

There's no getting away from leadership and some form of central authority.

19 February 2012 at 21:32  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

To badly miss-quote Henry Cooper.

"The Roman Empires model, is the Roman Empires model."

End quote.

It is a top-down system of centralized command and control as old as civilization itself.

The system works reasonably well, most especially when you have had as much practice running nations, empires, banks, real estate agencies, governments, multi-national corporations, organized crime syndicates, brothels, secret services, continents, and political ideologies, as the old Roman Empires church has had over the last two millennia.

However The CofE should not panic, its relevance to this country and The 'Christian' Church as a whole has been in decline for a very long time, yet it is still here, and set to be around for some time to come, albeit in an ever more irrelevantly subservient form.

The RCC like its Mystical Babylonian mother is on the other hand a born surviver, capable of metamorphosing into any form, or encompassing any astrologically based faith which best conduce to the preservation of its temporal power.

Darwinian survival of the fittest, most powerful, treacherous, largest, richest, devious, dishonest, well connected, adaptive, slippery and two faced, if you will?

19 February 2012 at 21:43  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

One of the local Anglican chaplains near me famously didn't believe in god

Reason Number 1 why the Church of England should be dis-established and allowed to collapse upon itself. How can a church leadership be so corrupt that it would tolerate an atheist as a shepherd? Set the axe to the root for the tree has long produced poison fruit.


19 February 2012 at 21:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of the Catholic Church 'Christianising the pagans' the Catholic Church 'paganised' Christianity.The Catholic Church has survived by a policy of assimilation or destruction of those it perceives as 'enemies''

And therefore the Catholic Church can never be the 'True church'of Jesus Christ.

Don`t take my word for this ..just make a list of all the Catholic 'religious practices' and compare them with the Word of God, you will find most of them directly oppose the Word of God and God states that these practices are abhorrent to Him.

19 February 2012 at 22:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "How can a church leadership be so corrupt that it would tolerate an atheist as a shepherd?"

I don't know what happened there. At one point,there was a proposal to set up some sort of inquisition thingy for heresy, only without the hot irons and racks of old. Presumably if people didn't shout out their belief in the central tenets of the religion then they would be asked to leave. This was ten years or so ago so perhaps I mis-remember it all.

19 February 2012 at 22:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


The last statistic I saw suggested that 3% of priests in the CoE do not believe in God.


19 February 2012 at 22:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The case for the disestablishment of the Anglican Church is one that needs to be addressed with urgency.

There seem to be some within The C of E who have no or little belief in God or the Gospel.Of course there are good men but the leadership seems to be lacking in direction and purpose.

If the Church cease to be 'salt and light' then it has outlived its usefulness and God will allow it to be trampled underfoot.

19 February 2012 at 22:31  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Dodo @ 21.32, I do understand the role of Constantinople, at least I think I do. However it is not as though the mother church is blessed with vast resources, the power is essentially moral, as is the case with Canterbury/Lambeth in the Anglican communion. Neither the Orthodox or the Anglicans will tolerate regimentation. Which leads one to question how on earth the Irish remained Catholic.

19 February 2012 at 22:36  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Dear Len, we have long since been singing from roughly the same hymn sheet, as they say, please keep it up, and remember the road to TRUTH is a long and lonely path.

I am not a Christian as most people might understand the term, indeed if anything I understand the universe around me in highly mystical terms. Which is why I understand the RCC, where it comes from, where it wishes to take humanity, and why.

This is why the TRUTH is so vitally important, for if humanity does not want to go there, it better wake-up and wise up, and do so ASAP.

I dislike with a passion lies, and liars, deception, as well as deceivers. Which is unfortunate, because the more I care to find out the more I realize that I have been repeatedly lied to, as well as most cruelly deceived.

Jesus may have been exactly what he claimed to be, on this particular matter I am still to make up my mind.

However, for those that believe in The Word, the RCC, and the CofE are the last possible places for them to be, as you correctly allude to.

19 February 2012 at 22:36  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

I see len has now teamed up with Atlas shrugged. All we need now is DanJ0 to join the happy little circle.

A libetarian atheist, an agnostic conspiracy theorist (I think?) and a confused, make it up as you go along, 'born againer'.

How can Catholicism survive all this?

'Nuff said!

19 February 2012 at 22:43  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


See who you attract?

"See I understand the universe around me .... Jesus may have been exactly what he claimed to be, on this particular matter I am still to make up my mind ... for those that believe in The Word, the RCC, and the CofE are the last possible places for them to be, as you correctly allude to."

He is encouraging you to undermine Christianity. And so too will your other fellow traveller. Ever wondered why and who you are serving?

19 February 2012 at 22:53  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

bluedog said ...

"Neither the Orthodox or the Anglicans will tolerate regimentation."

Regimentation? Hardly!

In matters of canon and liturgy or in matters of doctrinal orthodoxy? There is a big, big difference.

You do know the Catholic Church is made up of 23 autonomous particular churches, each of which accepts the paramountcy of the Bishop of Rome on matters of doctrine?

These churches are communities of Catholic Christians whose forms of worship reflect different historical and cultural influences rather than differences in doctrine. In general, each church is headed by a Patriarch or Bishop, and has a degree of self-governance over the particulars of its internal organisation, liturgical rites, liturgical calendar and other aspects of its spirituality.

The Latin Church is the largest and the Pope and Roman Curia is head of the Latin Church.

There are 22 self-governing Eastern Catholic Churches. The Eastern Catholic Churches follow the traditions and spirituality of Eastern Christianity and are composed of Eastern Christians who have always remained in full communion with the Catholic Church or who have chosen to re-enter full communion in the centuries following the East-West Schism.

The fundamental beliefs of the Christian religion are summarised in the Nicene Creed. For Catholics, they are detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Based on the promises of Christ in the Gospels, the Church believes that it is continually guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected infallibly from falling into doctrinal error. The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.

These 22 churches accept the paramouncy of the Bishop of Rome and they are members of the one Catholic Churches with no distinct theologies. All these particular Catholic Churches are full communion with the Church of Rome. In the words of Vatican II:

"It is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists."

Not "regimentation"! More acceptance of the need for a leadership to ensure unity in belief under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Compare it to the theological and canonical chaos that is the Anglican communion.

20 February 2012 at 00:17  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Carl: As to how it happens, the answer I fear is heavily tied into the nature of CofE seminaries, many of which are dominated by minds so given over to the ephemeral academic obsessions of the day that they've rather forgotten some of the basic doctrinal truths. Not that they are all, by any means, as bad as the Sea of Faith lot - but there is in the CofE intellectual circles a fair degree of suspicion towards "low" church, but really what is often meant by that is "non-intellectual church".

The AoY's comments about the middle-classness of the CofE's hierarchy were spot on in this regard. Not that this is anything new: the struggle in the CofE has always been between low and high (even more so than between Catholic and Protestant).

20 February 2012 at 01:14  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

len said...
"Instead of the Catholic Church 'Christianising the pagans' the Catholic Church 'paganised' Christianity.The Catholic Church has survived by a policy of assimilation or destruction of those it perceives as 'enemies'"

Would you care to provide supporting evidence for his assertion?

I'm quessing probably not as it's merely yet anotheer prejudiced 'hit and run for the hills' attack.

20 February 2012 at 01:40  
Blogger Manfarang said...

"The solution is obvious"
Join the Free Church of England.

20 February 2012 at 02:53  
Blogger Oswin said...

High Church or low, Catholic or prod, believer, marginal agnostic, or 'cultural Christian' of whatever standing; all have a place in the C-of-E. How magnficient is that!

From 'Jam and Jerusalem' to 'Onward Christian Soldiers' to High Mass - rejoice! The C-of-E has largely conquered the need for all that medieval strife. An English construct born, as much from common sense, as it was from belief.

Whosoever thinks that they, and theirs, is the right way alone, must make God weep.

From a lone Len to DanJo, and even for a Dodo, there is a place for all, that doesn't ask a great deal of you, as a Church, but leaves you your freedom to be as devout as like; or to use as you desire, for weddings, Christenings and funerals.

The C-of-E, for all it's faults, is a pinnacle of civilisation in an otherwise maniacle world.

Until proven otherwise, I reckon it's God's default position where we poor specimens are concerned. It just makes sense, is all.

Leave it alone; just let it be; change as little as is possible, and only then, after many years of considered thought, institute miniscule change; or better still, don't! If you think it weak; then help to make it strong.

God bless both the C-of-E and Her Majesty, and be thankful for an institution that was designed for a diversity of opinion; just so long as it is loyal opinion. Eccentrics are welcome, but extremist nutters need not apply. Open everyday, including Sundays and Bank Holidays; or else, just ask for the key!

20 February 2012 at 02:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oswin ,

I would be interested to know what Jesus would say to this Church or to any Church and that IMO is what really matters!.

20 February 2012 at 08:19  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

carl jacobs said

One of the local Anglican chaplains near me famously didn't believe in god.

There are free churches within reformed circles where leaders deny
Virgin Birth
Salvation through Christ as sacrificial for our sins
The Bible is largely myth
If you are not Prospering but are suffering or in ill health, then you have no faith.

but is not implied or expressed in its tenets of faith.
Should the church/congregation be disbanded?

The Letters from the Apostles were not to disband the church but to enforce the true belief of all who attend and expose the wolves for who they were.

Take it ALL/everyone who attends your church are Born Again and there are no wolves or tares amongst the wheat to mention?

Reason Number 1 why the Church of England should be dis-established and allowed to collapse upon itself. WRONG
How can a church leadership be so corrupt that it would tolerate an atheist as a shepherd? SEE ABOVE !

Set the axe to the root for the tree has long produced poison fruit. Calvinistic logic, whereas of course you and others in your faith suffer none of what you accuse the Anglican Church of. Correct?


The Seven Church of Revelation described by Our Saviour as 'HIS'
Ephesus – The desirable church that left its first love (Revelation 2:1-7). Ephesus was the influential capital city of Asia Minor on the Aegean Sea. Ephesus is now known for its huge metropolis of ancient streets, arches and ruins.
Smyrna – The persecuted church that suffered poverty and martyrdom (Revelation 2:8-11). Smyrna was located north of Ephesus in a powerful trading position on the Aegean Sea known for its harbors, commerce, and marketplaces. The primary ruins of Smyrna are located in the modern Turkish city of Izmir.
Pergamum – The worldly church that mixed doctrines and needed to repent (Rev. 2:12-17). Pergamum is located on the plains and foothills along the Caicus River in Western Turkey. It was considered a major city in Asia Minor since the 3rd century BC, and became a Greek and Roman hub for temple worship.
Thyatira – The false church that followed a seductive prophetess (Rev. 2:18-29). Thyatira is located in western Asia Minor about 42 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. The ancient city was known for its textiles and dyeing trade, and is now known as the Turkish city of Akhisar.
Sardis – The "dead" church that fell asleep (Revelation 3:1-6). Sardis is located on the banks of the Pactolus River in western Asia Minor, 60 miles inland from Ephesus and Smyrna. Popular ruins include the decadent temples and bath house complexes.
Philadelphia – The church of brotherly love that endures patiently (Revelation 3:7-13). Philadelphia is located on the Cogamis River in western Asia Minor, about 80 miles east of Smyrna. Philadelphia was known for its variety of temples and worship centers.
Laodicea – The "lukewarm" church with a faith that’s neither hot nor cold (Rev. 3:14-22). Laodicea is located in the Lycus River Valley of western Asia Minor, a primary trade route between the cultures of the West and East. Laodicea was known as a primary hub for the Roman aqueduct system.

Which one are you, lad and shall we take the axe to you therefore?.

20 February 2012 at 09:11  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

len said...20 February 2012 08:19


I would be interested to know what Jesus would say to this Church or to any Church and that IMO is what really matters!.

He already has old boy, in the Book of Revelation to the 7 He calls His (even the RCC which has gone most astray), as He stands in the midst of them, Giving His report which ALL are obliged to listen to and repent of their ways and DO His bidding.

He speaks to us as individuals who gather together throughout history and our strengths and weaknesses that must be looked at and addressed, NOT IGNORED.

Tis a time of Peace and Goodwill towards ALL men as the time of the Gentiles has not yet come so the time to continue to tell all about Christ is still our blessed duty and loving obligation for Our God.

Ernst agrees with Oswin that..The C-of-E, for all it's faults, is a pinnacle of civilisation in an otherwise maniacle world.

Pray not for persecution lad, persecution is not THE sign of being a Christian but of doing His Commandments, for it will most surely come, as He says it will if you love Him but pray that we are man enough for the tasks that He sets before us daily, for we work for Him. Let us pray that we can use our time in the period we are born into to bring souls to Him as He described and that we point out error so that others may mature in Christ with a sure foundation.

Ernst, me fine boys.


Tis a lovely day outside and Ernst gives thanks to The Lord for it.

20 February 2012 at 09:39  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...


Forgot to put

'or who assert

The Bible is largely myth
If you are not Prospering but are suffering or in ill health, then you have no faith.'

Trust no-one believes that Ernst does not believe the Bible to be wholly true and to be taken literally unless of course expressly told not to by God as He will show the meaning.

Trying to get out in the sun too quickly!. More speed, less haste!


20 February 2012 at 12:04  
Blogger Oswin said...

Len @ 08:19 :

Well yes, indeed; but again, I reckon that Jesus might still hold a lingering appreciation for the ''lesser of two weevles'' joke; and see good within the myriad intentions of the C-of-E.

In place of 'perfection' I'll settle for the 'make do and mend' of the Church of England. As with war-time 'rationing' it doesn't give us all that we want, but it does give much of what we need; it all depends upon how good a cook you are, is all.

Now join the queue with your neighours; there's fresh fish at St. Andrew's, and a rumour of lamb-chops at St. Anthony's! :o)

20 February 2012 at 14:42  
Blogger Oswin said...

Tsk! That's 'weevils' & NOT ''Weevles'' pfft!

20 February 2012 at 14:50  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin said ...

"High Church or low, Catholic or prod, believer, marginal agnostic, or 'cultural Christian' of whatever standing; all have a place in the C-of-E. How magnficient is that!"

"Whosoever thinks that they, and theirs, is the right way alone, must make God weep."

"The C-of-E, for all it's faults, is a pinnacle of civilisation in an otherwise maniacle world."

That's all well and dandy for a social club offering a range of customer focused activities. But for the Christian Church serving and worhipping God - hardly!

Christ warned us about false teachers intent on leading the Church astray.

The Bible speaks of Truth. Yet you propose it's okay for a church to be so wide in its heterodoxy that its Bishops can deny the Nicene Creed; deny a personal God exists; deny the Incarnation; the sacrificial death and Resurrection of Christ; the Ascention; the Last Judgement; even that Hell exists. That Bishops can deny the moral injunctions of the Bible and sanction abortion, contraception, homosexuality and serial divorce.

Is there any wonder the Church of England is sinking into the ground? With friends like you it really doesn't need enemies!

20 February 2012 at 16:41  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo : do you really want a list of RC follies and faults? After all, we've been there, interminably so, it seems...besides, it would be ungracious and ill-mannered. We do 'polite' at the C-of-E.

God willing, the C-of-E will weather all storms; so be a good Dodo; try not to lead with your chin...

20 February 2012 at 17:03  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


For all it's human weaknesses and the sinfulness of its members, the Catholic Church does not compromise on doctrine for the sake of the 'via media'!

By all means attack the dogma and doctrines of the Church. At least you know what they are!

20 February 2012 at 17:31  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo : we sure do...

20 February 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


Bet you don't know the Anglican ones!

21 February 2012 at 01:04  
Blogger Oswin said...

Silly me, Dodo, I thought you'd already blessed me with your wisdom on that score?

Point of order: I did not ''attack the dogma and doctrines of the (your) church'' - I was marvelling at the wonders of my own; until you came along, that is.

However, as for the ''Anglican ones'' : if you mean the 'Thirty-Nine Articles'; then yes, I've read through a time or two, but I'd never attempt to quote off the top of my head, not this side of a brain-change; be reasonable!

I've even read His Grace's proto Top-Ten too. (smiles sweetly and awaits a gold star...) :o)

21 February 2012 at 02:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 39 Articles.

(I think you will be surprised Dodo)

21 February 2012 at 07:24  
Anonymous livescore said...

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21 February 2012 at 07:49  
Blogger Oswin said...

Your Grace: first 'anonymi' and now advertising links! Is something amiss? I'm sure 'livescore' does indeed have '' a lovely fabrics choice'' but ...?

21 February 2012 at 16:11  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Good Lord.

What next?

That we all have won a share in the Ugandan lottery.

"We are pleased to inform you about the Lottery Draw held on the 27TH of MAY 2008 from the Australian National Lottery programme .This is to inform you that your comment has been emerged as a winner for further information and claim. Contact your claims agent (MR. CHANGA UMFOOFOO) for the release of your $400,000USD with the below email address and quote these numbers below for him to file your claim. Please send 1000 pounds to unlock your share and claim your bonuss "

Just thought I'd give TingeyMeBob the heads up first if he's reading..He would be UNBEARABLE on here if successfully scammed... No Takey Money Tingey!

Trust that helps the fella.


21 February 2012 at 16:57  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


Not surprised at all len.

Interestingly, I do know a bit about the 39 Articles. I much preferred the 10 Articles that Cranmer published before them!

Then along came Luther .... Calvin ... Zwingli ....

If only the first 8 Articles of the 39 were universally accepted by the Anglian Church. But then Articles 9 to 18 sowed the seed of the future trouble.

Bottom line - if you don't accept the Nicene Creed then how on earth can you be a Bishop or Priest in the Church and claim topreach the Gospelof Jesus Christ?

22 February 2012 at 00:01  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: Glad to see you've been doing your homework; that'll teach you not to go mentionings things!

22 February 2012 at 01:59  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Thank god for google and wikipedia. Where would online savants be without them?

22 February 2012 at 06:34  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

DanJ0 Dit...

"Thank god for google and wikipedia. Where would online savants be without them?"

It takes 'un' to know 'un'?
vous êtes une carte! *le fait de rire joyeusement[Giggling Gaily]*

Ernst 'Le Joker' Blofeld

22 February 2012 at 09:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin said...
"Dodo: Glad to see you've been doing your homework; that'll teach you not to go mentionings things!

On the contrary,that's how one learns.

DanJ0 said...
"Thank god for google and wikipedia. Where would online savants be without them?"

P;ease see above. And, though you're mistaken the development disorder, I'm flattered you consider me otherwise an expert and brillant!

"Savant syndrome is a rare condition in which people with developmental disorders have one or more areas of expertise, ability, or brilliance that are in contrast with the individual's overall limitations."

22 February 2012 at 17:13  
Blogger Oswin said...

One recalls the days when it was termed : 'Idiot Savant' ... (sniggers...) :o)

22 February 2012 at 17:23  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Ah, the good old days,

22 February 2012 at 22:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

I remember when people with learning difficulties were 'sub-normal'; people with physical disabilities were 'handicapped' or 'spastics'; those with mental health problems were 'lunatics'; and elderly people were just 'old'.

How times change.

23 February 2012 at 00:32  
Blogger Oswin said... it says on the tin.

Which, truth be told, was in someways, a better system of classification; with reservations, naturally.

As will always be the case, it's not the fault of individual words or designations, but of their casual, or pejorative use.

Modern sensibilities of terminology are as equally abused, but less specifically so. We have traded 'specifics' for generalities.

One significant difference perhaps; where once the 'sub-normal' were urged by convention, to 'normality' - modern designations appear to offer their recipients, and their families, something of an 'excuse'; or so I've sometimes thought.

23 February 2012 at 15:57  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...


I think it's he opposite. Label somebody 'subnormal', i.e beneath normality in intelligence terms, and it signals a fixed state. Many were incaserated for life in institutions - hidden away.

'Learning difficulties' signifies something that with appropriate assistance and attention, can be overcome to some extent. So we now help these people to live more independent lives in the community.

Language socially constructs a 'reality'. Some words should not be changed and some should.

24 February 2012 at 19:26  
Blogger Oswin said...

note: ''with reservations, naturally''.

Just as a matter of interest, what was your 'label' ?

25 February 2012 at 02:08  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

I take it you mean "is" rather than "was".

No one's been able to ascribe a label to me to date. Many have tried.

And yours?

25 February 2012 at 18:03  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: no, I meant 'was' - I'm quite aware of the 'is' label.

26 February 2012 at 15:13  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin: Gnōsis is a wonderful thing.

27 February 2012 at 00:35  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo : especially when so ably demonstrated by one of your many selves eh?

27 February 2012 at 00:45  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin: if you say so.

27 February 2012 at 11:47  

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