Monday, September 25, 2006

A Liberal Roman Catholic Schism!

http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/

Whispers in the Loggia has received definitive confirmation that, at yesterday's ceremony at Washington's Imani Temple (home of the breakaway African-American Catholic Congregation), Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo ordained four prelates of the Old Catholic Church to the indisputably valid Roman episcopate, passing to them his lineage and, with it, the episcopal lineage of Pope Paul VI, who ordained Milingo as archbishop of Lusaka in 1969. An Associated Press story yesterday had caused confusion by referring to the ceremony as an "installation," particularly as the ordinands had previously claimed episcopal orders through other channels.

While the Holy See last week raised the specter of "canonical suspension" on the renegade Zambian prelate with a deadline of 15 October, yesterday's action places Milingo under an automatic latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Holy See under the provisions of canon 1382. In the west, the break is comparable only to the events of June 1988, when the traditionalist Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre ordained four bishops of his own, incurring the excommunication of all involved and creating the great schism of the 20th century.

Milingo and his four prelates -- the "Council of Bishops" of the "Married Priests Now!" movement -- are meeting today in Washington to discuss the division of their responsibilities. Expect a statement from the Holy See quickly.
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060925/ap_on_re_us/archbishop_marriage_2

An African archbishop who wants to make celibacy optional for priests installed four married men Sunday as Roman Catholic bishops. The Archdiocese of Washington did not recognize the installations. "This means nothing within the church," spokeswoman Susan Gibbs said.
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo — whose marriage to a woman chosen by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon scandalized the Roman Catholic Church — performed the ceremonies at a Capitol Hill church. Installed were the Rev. George Augustus Stallings, Jr., of Washington, Peter Paul Brennan, of New York, Patrick Trujillo, of Newark, N.J., and Joseph Gouthro, of Las Vegas.
The four men claim affiliation to the breakaway Synod of Old Catholic Churches.
"We are not only validly ordained Catholic bishops, but we are ordained Roman Catholic bishops," Stallings said. Milingo has said that the head of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops has demanded he send a letter of repentance by Oct. 15 to Pope Benedict XVI or face "canonical suspension." The Vatican said Milingo violated church law when he created "the so-called 'Married Priests Now' association," and when he previously celebrated Mass with married clergy. A "canonical suspension" would bar Milingo from ordaining priests, leading Mass and performing other sacraments, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit writer and expert on the church. Milingo, 76, has had a troubled relationship with the Vatican for years.
Before his marriage, Catholic officials accused him of promoting African indigenous beliefs by performing mass exorcisms and healing ceremonies. Then in 2001, the archbishop married Maria Sung, a South Korean acupuncturist Moon chose for him, at a mass wedding in New York.
Four months later, Milingo renounced the union, after a personal appeal from Pope John Paul II. But Milingo said he grew frustrated by restrictions on his ministry, so he fled Rome. In July, he reappeared in the United States to announce his new organization. He says he now lives with his wife in the Washington, D.C., area.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Conservative* Communion Emerges?

http://www.globalsouthanglican.org/index.php/comments/kigali_communique/

At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations.

We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith.

Provinces Represented: Bangladesh**, Burundi, Central Africa, Church of South India, Congo, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem and Middle East, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines**, Rwanda, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Southern Cone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa, West Indies (** Not present but represented)

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* Conservative as opposed to catholic and orthodox, because Bangladesh, Burundi, South India, Kenya, Philippines, Rwanda, Southern Africa, Sudan, Uganda, West Africa, and West Indies purport to ordain women to the Sacred Order of Priests in violation of Scripture and Tradition.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Saint Joseph Gets His Due in 1962

Communicántes, et memóriam venerántes, in primis gloriósæ semper Vírginis Maríæ, Genitrícis Dei et Dómini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beáti Joseph ejúsdem Vírginis Sponsi.

In communion with, and honoring the memory in the first place of the glorious ever Virgin Mary Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ; also of blessed Joseph, her Spouse.

In relation to my essay on the role of the Mother of God in Anglicanism, consider this history-making addition in the wider Western Church:

In honour of Saint Joseph, the Most Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope John XXIII did what was unthinkable at the time and altered the venerable and 'inalterable' Canon of the Mass of the Roman Rite in 1962, by adding Saint Joseph to the list of those Saints commemorated in the Roman Liturgy from time immemorial.

Let us never forget to venerate the memory of Saint Joseph, foster father of Our Blessed Lord and Patron of the Universal Church.

Sancte Ioseph, ora pro nobis.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Second Council of Orange (AD 529)

The definitive Catholic answer to Calvinism and hyper-Augustinian thought...

Q: What does the Catholic Church believe about grace, human free will and salvation?

A: The answer lies in the dogmatic teaching of the Second Council of Orange.

CANON 1. If anyone denies that it is the whole man, that is, both body and soul, that was "changed for the worse" through the offense of Adam's sin, but believes that the freedom of the soul remains unimpaired and that only the body is subject to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and contradicts the scripture which says, "The soul that sins shall die" (Ezek. 18:20); and, "Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey?" (Rom. 6:16); and, "For whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved" (2 Pet. 2:19).

CANON 2. If anyone asserts that Adam's sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, "Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him "unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).

CANON 9. Concerning the succor of God. It is a mark of divine favor when we are of a right purpose and keep our feet from hypocrisy and unrighteousness; for as often as we do good, God is at work in us and with us, in order that we may do so.

CANON 10. Concerning the succor of God. The succor of God is to be ever sought by the regenerate and converted also, so that they may be able to come to a successful end or persevere in good works.

CANON 11. Concerning the duty to pray. None would make any true prayer to the Lord had he not received from him the object of his prayer, as it is written, "Of thy own have we given thee" (1 Chron. 29:14).

CANON 12. Of what sort we are whom God loves. God loves us for what we shall be by his gift, and not by our own deserving.

CANON 13. Concerning the restoration of free will. The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it. Hence the Truth itself declares: "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

CANON 14. No mean wretch is freed from his sorrowful state, however great it may be, save the one who is anticipated by the mercy of God, as the Psalmist says, "Let thy compassion come speedily to meet us" (Ps. 79:8), and again, "My God in his steadfast love will meet me" (Ps. 59:10).

CANON 15. Adam was changed, but for the worse, through his own iniquity from what God made him. Through the grace of God the believer is changed, but for the better, from what his iniquity has done for him. The one, therefore, was the change brought about by the first sinner; the other, according to the Psalmist, is the change of the right hand of the Most High (Ps. 77:10).

CANON 16. No man shall be honored by his seeming attainment, as though it were not a gift, or suppose that he has received it because a missive from without stated it in writing or in speech. For the Apostle speaks thus, "For if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose" (Gal. 2:21); and "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men" (Eph. 4:8, quoting Ps. 68:18). It is from this source that any man has what he does; but whoever denies that he has it from this source either does not truly have it, or else "even what he has will be taken away" (Matt. 25:29).

CANON 17. Concerning Christian courage. The courage of the Gentiles is produced by simple greed, but the courage of Christians by the love of God which "has been poured into our hearts" not by freedom of will from our own side but "through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5).

CANON 18. That grace is not preceded by merit. Recompense is due to good works if they are performed; but grace, to which we have no claim, precedes them, to enable them to be done.

CANON 19. That a man can be saved only when God shows mercy. Human nature, even though it remained in that sound state in which it was created, could be no means save itself, without the assistance of the Creator; hence since man cannot safe- guard his salvation without the grace of God, which is a gift, how will he be able to restore what he has lost without the grace of God?

CANON 20. That a man can do no good without God. God does much that is good in a man that the man does not do; but a man does nothing good for which God is not responsible, so as to let him do it.

CANON 21. Concerning nature and grace. As the Apostle most truly says to those who would be justified by the law and have fallen from grace, "If justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose" (Gal. 2:21), so it is most truly declared to those who imagine that grace, which faith in Christ advocates and lays hold of, is nature: "If justification were through nature, then Christ died to no purpose." Now there was indeed the law, but it did not justify, and there was indeed nature, but it did not justify. Not in vain did Christ therefore die, so that the law might be fulfilled by him who said, "I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them" (Matt. 5:17), and that the nature which had been destroyed by Adam might be restored by him who said that he had come "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

CANON 22. Concerning those things that belong to man. No man has anything of his own but untruth and sin. But if a man has any truth or righteousness, it from that fountain for which we must thirst in this desert, so that we may be refreshed from it as by drops of water and not faint on the way.

CANON 23. Concerning the will of God and of man. Men do their own will and not the will of God when they do what displeases him; but when they follow their own will and comply with the will of God, however willingly they do so, yet it is his will by which what they will is both prepared and instructed.

CANON 24. Concerning the branches of the vine. The branches on the vine do not give life to the vine, but receive life from it; thus the vine is related to its branches in such a way that it supplies them with what they need to live, and does not take this from them. Thus it is to the advantage of the disciples, not Christ, both to have Christ abiding in them and to abide in Christ. For if the vine is cut down another can shoot up from the live root; but one who is cut off from the vine cannot live without the root (John 15:5ff).

CANON 25. Concerning the love with which we love God. It is wholly a gift of God to love God. He who loves, even though he is not loved, allowed himself to be loved. We are loved, even when we displease him, so that we might have means to please him. For the Spirit, whom we love with the Father and the Son, has poured into our hearts the love of the Father and the Son (Rom. 5:5).

CONCLUSION. And thus according to the passages of holy scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ, as has already been frequently stated and as the Apostle Paul declares, "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29). And again, "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and it is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). And as the Apostle says of himself, "I have obtained mercy to be faithful" (1 Cor. 7:25, cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). He did not say, "because I was faithful," but "to be faithful." And again, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7). And again, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17). And again, "No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven" (John 3:27). There are innumerable passages of holy scripture which can be quoted to prove the case for grace, but they have been omitted for the sake of brevity, because further examples will not really be of use where few are deemed sufficient.

According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God's kindness.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Letters on Anglican Orders

With thanks to the All Too Common blog, I herein provide a link to a fascinating set of letters regarding that inescapable subject, the validity of Anglican Orders. Enjoy!

http://all2common.classicalanglican.net/?page_id=343

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mary and the Incarnation: An Anglican Tradition

From Easter 2004:

O Queen of Heaven, be joyful, alleluia;
Because He whom so meetly thou barest, alleluia,
Hath arisen as He promised, alleluia:
Pray for us to the Father, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.


In the Easter season, we should feel the most transformed, and should, with eager anticipation, renew our encounter with the ageless truth of Christ's ineffable conception, birth, death, and glorification in our human flesh. Jesus Christ is born, in order to die and rise again. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. The Incarnation has happened, in our world, in our space and time, for us, in our human nature. Emmanuel, God is with us.

Along with the typical festivities of our exultant holiday, we will spiritually note, even if barely in passing, the beauty and love portrayed so overwhelmingly in the gesture of a Mother who sojourns with her Son on the path that leads to crucifixion and resurrection. This union of Mother with Son is most vividly portrayed in the brilliant masterpiece which every professing Christian should see, the film entitled, The Passion of the Christ.

Many Christians, sadly, seem to acknowledge the occurrence of the event which wrought the beginning of our salvation and only once a year, on 25th December. Even more sadly, many devout Christians who rejoice in the Saviour's Nativity will again this year, as they have done for so many others, take a brief notice of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Christmas crèche, and then entirely forget her once the celebration is over. Far too many Christians, and yes, Anglicans, pull our Lord's Mother out of the closet and display her for the Christmas season, only to stuff her back quickly into the closet once those festivities have subsided.

There are many reasons for this, but perhaps fear or misunderstanding are the principal ones. Some worry that honouring the Mother of the Lord might detract from His glory, His praise and worship. Some fear that by giving honour and recognition to Mary we potentially obscure the centrality and uniqueness of Jesus Christ. Others ask why we do not pay more attention to the special place Mary holds in the Christmas story, in the Passion story, and in the economy of salvation achieved by her Son. Helpfully, the Holy Catholic Church of the ages supplies answers to these questions and concerns, and guides the faithful to a right and authentic way of reverencing the Mother of the Lord for her special vocation as the agent of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. Anglicanism, as we shall see, has her share in handing-on this right and authentic way we call Tradition. How should we really see the Mother of Jesus Christ?

The Church Catholic

For example, the celebration of Christmas, the Mass of Christ, is the Feast of the Incarnation par excellence. The ancient Latin Church proclaimed Christmas to be magnum mysterium, the Great Mystery. And it is fitting, therefore, that as we insert ourselves by prayer, liturgy, and sacrament, into the solemn Mystery of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, we should ponder the unique role played by the Virgin of Nazareth in the accomplishment of our salvation at that holy season.

On the Feast of the Annunciation, 25th March, we recall that our Lady by her fiat brings the infinite into the finite and conveys flesh and blood to the Immortal Creator of all. The Virgin Mary becomes the Throne and Temple of God, Who dwells inside of her bodily. By a free act of her will, the Blessed Virgin chose to co-operate with God's plan for the human family and consented to become the human Mother of Him who is God.

'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.' (S. Luke 1.38). Not only does Mary's act of obedience, faith, and love serve as a primary example for all Christians today and in every age; it sparks the process whereby mankind is redeemed and saved. Thus, the early Church Fathers see in the conversation between the Holy Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel the reversal of the curse of Eve procured by the first mother's disobedience.

In the patristic tradition, which faithfully interprets Scripture, Mary is portrayed as the new and Second Eve, by whose obedience the disobedience of our first parents is rectified. 'Death by Eve, life by Mary' (S. Jerome). 'By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way, Mary, though she also had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience. What Eve bound by her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith' (S. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3.22). The early Church also regards Mary as the Touchstone of Orthodoxy. A right understanding of Mary's role has always been held to protect, defend and secure a right understanding of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. For this reason the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (AD 431) proclaimed Mary to be Theotokos, or Mother of God. 'And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me' (S. Luke 1.43). The doctrine simply means that the Person to whom Mary gave both human nature and human birth is God, the One Divine Person of the Eternal Son. Jesus Christ is God; Mary is His Mother; therefore Mary is the Mother of God, or God-Bearer.

The Church of England and all the Churches of the Anglican Tradition officially commit themselves to this dogmatic truth because they accept the decrees of the undisputed Ecumenical Councils. So, although you may not hear the phrase used very often in your parish, Anglicans should and do call Mary the Mother of God. Otherwise, we would not accept the reality of the Incarnation.

The title regarding Mary's divine maternity ensures that Christians truthfully apprehend the identity of her divine Son. The term Theotokos is meant to glorify the Redeemer, and only by derivation His Mother. Certainly it does honour her, as it more profoundly honours Christ; it acknowledges what God has done through and in Mary by becoming Man for our salvation. This teaching, like all genuine devotion to the Lord's Mother, points directly and powerfully to Christ. 'Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it' (S. John 2.5). Mary herself would have it no other way.

The Anglican Divines

From the start of the English Reformation, the apostolic Church of England was keen to preserve the ancient Church's doctrinal position concerning our Lady while correcting abuses and errors which had crept in during the medieval period. The 1549 first English Book of Common Prayer enshrines the Church's universal reverence for our Lady in its commemoration of the Saints: 'And chiefly in the glorious and most blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord and God.' The great hymn of our Lady, the Magnificat, is the heart of the BCP Evening Prayer office. The Prayer Book Christmas collect designates our Lady 'a pure Virgin' (BCP 96).

The course of Anglican theological writing from the seventeenth century forward reveres the greatness of the Lord's Mother and the singular dignity of her vocation. 'Her virgin-eyes saw God Incarnate born, When she to Bethlehem came that happy morn/ How high her raptures began to swell, None but her own omniscient Son can tell; Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced, Next to His throne her Son His Mother placed/ And here below, now she's of Heaven possessed, All generations are to call her blessed' (English Hymnal 217).
These words were penned by the saintly Bishop Thomas Ken (d. 1711), better known for our beloved doxology.

Consider the words of the famous priest-poet George Herbert: 'I would address/ My vows to thee most gladly, Blessed Maid/ And Mother of my God, in my distress' (To All Angels and Saints). That indefatigable poet William Wordsworth, an Anglican, calls Mary 'our tainted nature's solitary boast.' Bishop John Pearson (d. 1686) writes: 'We cannot bear too reverend a regard unto the Mother of the Lord, so long as we give her not that worship which is due unto the Lord Himself. Let us keep the language of the Primitive Church. Let her be honoured and esteemed, let Him be worshipped and adored' (Exposition of the Creed).

Today, the 1662 English Prayer Book maintains the Feasts of the Conception, Nativity, Annunciation and Purification of the Blessed Virgin; the 1928 American the last two. The Anglican liturgical tradition is steeped in a restrained and filial Marian piety. Love for the Lord's Mother is woven throughout the vast collection of hymns found in the Ecclesia Anglicana. 'Virgin-born, we bow before thee; Blessed was the womb that bore thee; Mary, Mother meek and mild, Blessed was she in her Child' (Bishop Reginald Heber, English Hymnal 640). Observe the lyrics of Sing of Mary, pure and lowly (Hymnal 117), written by a Continuing Church priest, Roland Palmer, SSJE. We need only sing the wonderful phrase of Ye watchers and ye holy ones to be reminded the pivotal role played by the Mother of God in the Anglican ethos: 'O higher than the cherubim, More glorious than the seraphim, Lead their praises, Alleluia! Thou bearer of the eternal Word, Most gracious, magnify the Lord, Alleluia! (Hymnal 599).

The Living Tradition Today

Theology, to find its genuine meaning, must be expressed in the worship and devotion of the Christian in the pew, for the Christian Faith is unintelligible apart from worship. Christianity is neither a philosophy nor an ethical system, but a living Communion of Divine Persons in the One Godhead with whom we share intimate communion. We should never forget that devotion to our Lord's Mother belongs to the earliest stage of Christian worship. It would be historically inaccurate to claim that the Church's honour of the Mother of Jesus belongs to a much later development; rather, it is an historical fact that the memory and prayers of Mary were solicited by Christians in liturgical prayer and private devotion well before the formulation of the Nicene Creed.

Devotion to the Mother of our Lord is an integral part of the Church's family tradition, a tradition which unites us to the Saviour Christ and thus to His Mother in a special relationship. Orthodox Christian instinct has always realised the closeness which exists for time and eternity between the God Incarnate and His human Mother; she who bore the Son of God in her body for nine months enjoys an intimacy and a communion with her Saviour which exceed all imagination. She who loved and loves her Son Who is God continues to be close to Him, and we who are by grace drawn to union with Jesus find ourselves therefore in a close spiritual bond with the one who was graced to be 'highly favoured' (S. Luke 1.28).

The unforgettable Christmas image is that of Mother and Child. We are invited to share in the love that that Mother and that Son share. All who belong to the Son are embraced by the Mother. Like Jesus, we are children of Mary too. 'Woman, behold thy son. Son, behold thy Mother' (S. John 19.26-27).

It is a serious danger to suppress or reject a balanced, sober and biblical devotion to our Lady, for where this has happened experience has clearly shown that our Lord has been allowed to fall into her position, and while being honoured and venerated as a good or even perfect man, He ceases to be adored as God. Devotion to Mary as the Lord's Mother safeguards the Deity of Jesus Christ. Where devotion to the Mother is cultivated, devotion to the divine Son flourishes; where honour for the Lord's Mother is neglected, supernatural faith in the Incarnate Lord wavers.

Or, as a couple of eminent theologians have succinctly put it, 'Honour Mary and let the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost be worshipped' (S. Epiphanius, Panagion 79.7). 'Who will not honour the Mother? Who will not venerate the House of God' (S. Ambrose of Milan, Exhortation of Virgins 27). 'My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.' Our Lady now in heaven perpetually magnifies the Lord and rejoices in her Saviour as we with jubilant hearts honour Mary, the one chosen uniquely by God to become His own Mother in the Incarnation of the Word.

Devotion to the Virgin Mother can never properly be separated from devotion to her Son, for any veneration that it is offered to her is ultimately offered to Him, Who lovingly and gladly accepts the praise of the Mother He has so highly exalted. Being a masterpiece of God's grace, the Virgin Mary only desires to magnify the Lord. Any honour given to her redounds to the glory of the One who made her what she is. Certainly the Lord Jesus, who fulfilled the Law perfectly, continually keeps the commandment, 'honour thy father and thy mother.' He who honoured his Mother desires that we do the same, that we honour our parents... and His earthly Mother.

Hence, Christians have in every age and clime happily fulfilled the prophecy of the Theotokos: 'All generations shall call be blessed' (S. Luke 1.48). 'Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb' (S. Luke 1.42). In being blessed, Mary blesses the Lord. All true Marian devotion is Christocentric, Christ-centered.

In short, 'fear not Mary.' There is nothing to fear, but much to love and for which to be eternally thankful. The ancient orthodox Christian tradition does not neglect the role and person of the humble handmaid of the Lord; neither does it exaggerate claims concerning her beyond the realm of Scriptural teaching. Here, in yet another instance, the intuition of Anglicanism's via media takes over. Only that which can be proven by Scripture and authenticated by the catholic consensus of the undivided Church suffices when it comes to the honour deserved by and given to the Blessed Mother of our Lord.

The Anglican Church, in common with the rest of Catholic Christianity, has ever held to the following truths concerning the life of Jesus Christ. Take these truths and ponder them in your hearts in this season of joy, as Mary took the mystery of Christ and pondered Him in her heart (S. Luke 2.19). May these beautiful aspects of the Gospel give us a new appreciation for the awesome mystery initiated for our sakes in Bethlehem of Judea...and fulfilled at the Cross and empty Tomb of old Jerusalem.

1) Mary is the unique agent of the Incarnation, chosen by Jesus Christ Himself.
2) Mary freely obeyed and freely chose to accept her role as the Mother of God.
3) Mary represented the human race by her choice, becoming the Second Eve.
4) Mary gave her whole life and obedience to Jesus Christ and loved Him utterly.
5) Mary reversed the curse of Eve by giving God a human nature by which to save us.
6) Mary is Mother of Him who is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.
7) Mary is the greatest member of the Church, and one with us in Emmanuel.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, our Risen Head and King, the true God born of Mary, bless and keep you during the celebration of His victorious triumph over sin, Satan, and death.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Vaticanism

I have long believed that the ultimate test for profession of faith in the Roman Church is the belief that the office of the Papacy, the Bishop of Rome infallible and possessive of an universal and immediate jurisdiction, is a supernatural reality, a divinely-revealed and governed institution given directly by God and necessary to the salvation of all Christians. Father Francis J. Hall describes such a belief in a divinely-given Papacy as 'Vaticanism.' Dr Edward Pusey simplifies the matter by saying, to paraphrase, 'the Roman system reduces the Creed to one statement, Credo Papam, I believe in the Pope.'

Such a test has been requisite for authentic fidelity to the Roman See since the I Vatican Council of 1870.

Recently Father Alvin Kimel has proposed this 'Sacrament of the Papacy' as the true test of catholic faith, identity and practice:

'...Coleman Fannin has written a thoughtful piece on why he is attracted to [Roman] Catholicism and why he, at least for the moment, has decided to remain within the American Baptist Church. Fannin is particularly attracted to the transnational witness of the [Roman] Catholic Church and its ability to resist the all-encompassing demand for allegiance of the modern state(s) and its culture(s). He does not attempt to explain the freedom of the [Roman] Catholic Church over against culture and state; but I think the answer is clear - the divinely-created institution of the papacy.' Emphasis added.

http://catholica.pontifications.net/?p=1948

Indeed, Vaticanism is where the rubber proverbially meets the road. If one believes in the divine Papacy, then one must profess faith in the Roman Catholic system. If one cannot, one is bound to remain a loyal Catholic in another Apostolic communion. As I see it, 1870 remains the insurmountable and indefatigable barrier to genuine catholic ecumenism and rapprochement. On side stand the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglicans, Old Catholics, Assyrians, and Swedish Lutherans, the bodies which descend from the Apostolic Tradition, and on the other, isolated, stands Rome alone. Let us pray for the return of all Catholic communions to the fullness of the Faith as lived and expressed in the Great Tradition of the Undivided Church and the Seven Holy Councils. Only on the basis of the doctrine and practice of the First Millennium Church can the Christian world once again be reunited... or can it?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition

The 1874 Bonn Conference on Reunion:

The genuine Tradition (the unbroken transmission, partly oral, partly in writing, of the doctrine delivered by Christ and the Apostles) is an authoritative source of teaching for all successive generations of Christians. This tradition is partly to be found in the consensus of the great ecclesiastical bodies standing in historical continuity with the primitive Church, partly to be gathered by scientific method from the written documents of all centuries.

Archpriest Januschev [Eastern Orthodox] asked what 'the great ecclesiastical bodies' referred to were. Dr Dollinger [Old Catholic] answered, 'First your own Church, and then the Western Church, except those sections of it which have severed their historical continuity.'

Bishop John Wordsworth, 1900 Special Committee of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Anglicans honour the Holy Scripture as the rule and test of divine truth, by which every form of doctrine, whether derived from ancient tradition or from theological definition, must necessarily be tried.

The Church of England accepts and venerates the primitive traditions of the Church which are in harmony with Holy Scripture, remembering that the Canon of Scripture itself is received from tradition. The Church of England has always proclaimed itself studious of antiquity and averse to novelties.

The 1931 Joint Anglican-Orthodox Doctrinal Commission, London:

1. The Christian Revelation. We accept the Divine Revelation which was delivered once for all in Our Lord Jesus Christ: and we receive it as it is revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and as it has been made known and handed down from the Apostles in the Tradition of the Church throughout the ages by the operation of the Holy Spirit.
2. Scripture and Tradition. We agree that we receive the Divine Revelation in Our Lord Jesus Christ through Scripture and Tradition.

By Scripture we mean the Canon of Scripture as it is defined by Saint Athanasius and as it has been received by the whole Catholic Church.

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any that it should believed as an Article of the Faith or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

Holy Scripture is fulfilled, clarified and interpreted by Holy Tradition.

Everything necessary to salvation can be found in Holy Scripture as completed, expounded, interpreted and understood in the Holy Tradition, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit residing in the Church.

We agree that by Holy Tradition we means the truths which came down from Our Lord and the Apostles through the Fathers, which are confessed unanimously and continuously in the Undivided Church, and are taught by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We agree that nothing contained in Tradition is contrary to the Scriptures. Though these two may be logically defined and distinguished, yet they cannot be separated from each other nor from the Church.

The 1935 Joint Anglican-Orthodox Doctrinal Commission, Bucharest:

The Revelation of God is transmitted through the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Tradition.

We agree that by Holy Tradition we means the truths which came down from Our Lord and the Apostles and have defined by the Holy Councils or are taught by the Fathers, which are confessed unanimously and continuously in the Undivided Church, and are taught by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The 1956 Joint Anglican-Orthodox Doctrinal Commission, Moscow:

Holy Scripture is explained and completed in the light of Tradition.

Tradition means the divinely revealed truths transmitted from the Apostles through the Fathers.

The 1976 Anglican-Orthodox Agreed Statement, Moscow:

The Inspiration and Authority of Holy Scripture

The Scriptures constitute a coherent whole. They are at once divinely inspired and humanly expressed. They bear authoritative witness to God's revelation of himself in creation, in the Incarna­tion of the Word and in the whole history of salvation, and as such express the Word of God in human language.

We know, receive, and interpret Scripture through the Church and in the Church. Our approach to the Bible is one of obedience so that we may hear the revelation of himself that God gives through it.

The books of Scripture contained in the Canon are authorita­tive because they truly convey the authentic revelation of God, which the Church recognizes in them. Their authority is not determined by any particular theories concerning the authorship of these books or the historical circumstances in which they were written. The Church gives attention to the results of scholarly research concerning the Bible from whatever quarter they come, but it tests them in the light of its experience and understanding of the faith as a whole.

The Church believes in the apostolic origin of the New Testa­ment, as containing the witness of those who had seen the Lord.

Both the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches make a dis­tinction between the canonical books of the Old Testament and the deutero-canonical books (otherwise called the Anaginoskomena) although the Orthodox Churches have not pronounced officially on the nature of the distinction, as is done in the Anglican Articles. Both Communions are agreed in regarding the deutero-canonical books as edifying and both, and in particular the Orthodox Church, make liturgical use of them.

Scripture and Tradition

Any disjunction between Scripture and Tradition such as would treat them as two separate 'sources of revelation' must be rejected. The two are correlative. We affirm (i) that Scripture is the main criterion whereby the Church tests traditions to deter­mine whether they are truly part of Holy Tradition or not; (ii) that Holy Tradition completes Holy Scripture in the sense that it safeguards the integrity of the biblical message.

(i) By the term Holy Tradition we understand the entire life of the Church in the Holy Spirit. This tradition expresses itself in dogmatic teaching, in liturgical worship, in canonical discipline, and in spiritual life. These elements together manifest the single and indivisible life of the Church.
(ii) Of supreme importance is the dogmatic tradition, which in substance is unchangeable. In seeking to communicate the saving truth to mankind, the Church in every generation makes use of contemporary language and therefore of contemporary modes of thought; but this usage must always be tested by the standard of Scripture and of the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Councils. The mind (phronema) of the Fathers, their theological method, their terminology and modes of expression have a lasting importance in both the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches.
(iii) The liturgical and canonical expressions of Tradition can differ, in that they are concerned with varying situations of the people of God in different historical periods and in different places. The liturgical and canonical traditions remain unchange­able to the extent that they embody the unchangeable truth of divine revelation and respond to the unchanging needs of man­kind.

The Church cannot define dogmas which are not grounded both in Holy Scripture and in Holy Tradition, but has the power, particularly in Ecumenical Councils, to formulate the truths of the faith more exactly and precisely when the needs of the Church require it.

The 1984 Anglican-Orthodox Agreed Statement, Dublin:

Paradosis - Tradition

Looked at from outside, the two Churches appear to be very different in their attitude to tradition, the Anglicans allowing a great variety of attitude and teach­ing, the Orthodox being strongly attached to the defini­tions and the structures of the tradition, especially to those established in the Ecumenical Councils and by the Church Fathers.

Nevertheless within the freedom existing in the Anglican Communion there is a commitment and re­sponsibility to the tradition, and a conviction that there are elements in the tradition, for instance the historic Creeds and the Chalcedonian definition, of permanent validity. On the Orthodox side, there exists freedom and understanding of tradition as the constant action of the Holy Spirit in the Church, an unceasing presence of the revelation of the Word of God through the Holy Spirit, ever present, here and now. Tradition is always open, ready to embrace the present and accept the future.

The Anglicans share this understanding of tradi­tion. Tradition, with Scripture as the normative factor within it, is that which maintains our Christian identity, which develops and nurtures our Christian obedience, and makes our Christian witness effective in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The tradition of the Church flows from the Father's gift of his Son 'for the life of the world', through the sojourning of the Holy Spirit in the world to be a con­stant witness to the truth (John 15.26). The Church draws its life and being from this same movement of the Father's love; that is to say, the Church too lives 'for the life of the world'. Its tradition is the living force and inexhaustible source of its mission to the world.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church enables the whole body of the faithful, the pleroma of the Church, to be enriched and strengthened in facing the problems of our time, both within the Church and outside it. There is a variety of gifts of the Spirit which work together for the building up of the Christian people for their work of witness and service in the world for the common good. Both Anglicans and Orthodox see in their fidelity to tradition a mutual bond, and a strong incentive to closer co-operation in witness and service to the world.

One aspect of the dynamic nature of tradition is to be seen in the way in which the Church assimilates and sanctifies certain elements of the cultures of the various societies in which the Church lives. The Fathers of the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, exercised a careful discrimination in their use of mater­ial from the society around them. The Church at the present time needs to exercise a similar discrimination, remaining true to the mind (phronema) of the Fathers and facing the new questions with which our century confronts us.

Inspiration of Holy Scripture

To introduce the subject of biblical inspiration from a classic Anglican perspective, I would certainly first make reference to Father Francis J. Hall, arguably the greatest Anglo-Catholic systematic theologian of the twentieth century. From his pen flows the following summary which very neatly describes the Anglican view:

Theological Outlines by Rev. Dr. Francis J. Hall
Ch.III. Q.14. Biblical Inspiration

THE Bible is a series of "Sacred Scriptures," written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; which has been compiled and preserved by the Church for the edification of the faithful, as "the Word of God," and a means by which every doctrine can be proved which she requires to be believed as necessary for salvation.

2. The Scriptures were written under diverse circumstances, by different writers, in different ages, and for a variety of immediate purposes. But a Divine unity of purpose governs the whole series. "The Old Testament is not contrary to the New . . . everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ," in both.

3. The Church declares in the Nicene Creed that the Holy Ghost "spake by the prophets." This is the Catholic doctrine of Inspiration. In other words, the Scriptures not only contain but are the Word of God, and for the purposes of their inspiration have Divine authority throughout. How they came to possess this authority, i.e., the method of their inspiration, the Church does not define; but what the Church means by teaching that the Bible is divinely inspired is perfectly clear — that they have Divine authority. Such authority, if present at all, is absolute; and biblical inspiration does not admit of degrees.

4. But the amount of spiritual teaching contained in the various portions of Scripture varies widely, and this has led writers to speak of different degrees or amounts of inspiration. In doing so they confuse inspiration with spiritual illumination or with revelation. We must distinguish between inspiration, or the authority possessed by the Scriptures, and the immediate purposes which the several parts of Scripture were inspired to fulfil. If one Scripture is inspired in order to record in God's way a dark passage in Israel's history, and another in order to make known heavenly mysteries, both are none the less equally inspired — i.e., have equally real Divine authority for their diverse ends. But they have unequal values, if both are viewed as sources of spiritual edification; and if spiritual edification were the invariable mark of Divine inspiration, we should have to deny the place of some parts of the Bible in inspired Scripture.

5. Plenary inspiration, or the equal inspiration of every part of the Bible, is taught by the Catholic Church. But when interpreting the several Scriptures we must bear in mind the limitations of Divine purpose in each, and the organic place of each Scripture in the whole. The biblical meaning, as distinguished from that of the human writer must be ascertained. The two meanings do not invariably coincide. The biblical meaning or purport is Divine and therefore inerrant, as far as it goes, however defective it may appear when compared with that of later Scriptures.

6. That a Scripture is divinely inspired is made known to us primarily by the Church, although the fitness of the Bible as a whole for the general purpose which it is designed to fulfil affords constant verification of the Church's testimony. Without ecclesiastical attestation we could not distinguish the Sacred Scriptures with certainty from other holy writings; nor, in view of the inevitable mistakes of copyists, could the Scriptures be preserved from doctrinal corruption except by the Spirit-guided Church. The Church is both the witness and the keeper of Holy Writ.

7. The Sacred Scriptures were written from the point of view of God’s Kingdom, and for the members of it; and their general purpose is to establish and strengthen them in the doctrine which they have learned or are able to learn in that Kingdom. The Bible is not the source of truth for God's Kingdom, for the Church’s possession of it is more ancient than the Bible, and was derived from direct revelation. Yet the Bible contains all saving doctrine, and must be found to prove what the Church teaches. It is often the means, also, by which individuals discover the true religion. The Church and the Bible are both necessary. Both are Divine and we may not separate or mutually oppose them in our study of Theology.

The foregoing forcefully reminds me of the teaching adage of Saint Augustine of Hippo, who said, to paraphrase, 'I would not have believed the Gospel had the Catholic Church not taught it to me.' The classic Anglican appraisal of Holy Scripture, and particularly regarding its inerrancy and canonicity, considers the Bible to be the inspired Word of God containing all things necessary to salvation, uniquely inspired and authorised of God, and rightly interpreted solely through the hermeneutical lens of the Spirit-bearing Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, scriptura omnia continet. As you astutely point out, Anglicans have not (historically) been deeply concerned with the various theories of how the Bible was inspired, because we receive the inspired Scriptures on the basis, not of particular theories or doctrines of inspiration, but of the canon-establishing authority of the Holy Catholic Church, which in turn has been guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth to determine those canonical books which bear the mark of divine inspiration. Holy Writ, the 'Church's Book,' possesses a full, plenary and complete inspiration from God and is therefore inerrant and infallible as the Word of God in its fundamental inspiration, that is, in its origin, authorship and revelation from God. How each part applies to particular questions of literature, history, theology, etc. depends upon the context and purpose of specific origin. But the underlying qualitative inspiration of the whole Canon of Scripture from God the Holy Ghost as the unique record of His revelation to man is unquestioned by orthodox Anglicans.

For a more 'liberal' Anglo-Catholic perspective on Biblical inspiration I present:

The famous Dr C B Moss's The Christian Faith...

Many orthodox Anglicans today find Moss's reverent agnosticism regarding the inspiration of Scripture distasteful if not erroneous. His view, a mid-twentieth century representation of the Lux Mundi liberal catholic school founded by Bishop Gore of Oxford, is heavily dependent on the then-novel historical-critical scientific method of evaluating Scripture, which has now in some respect been proven to be utterly misguided or useless (a la Wright) and fails to meet the practical demands of theologians today. One might argue that he weakens biblical authority in the name of strengthening the Church's. In some ways he is a forerunner of the modernist-revisionist movement, brining an attitude of rationalism and doubt and uncertainty to the formulation of Scriptural Canon and Tradition, and his emphasis on the role of reason has given rise to theological innovations which he would have undoubtedly abhorred.

http://anglicanhistory.org/cbmoss/24_36.html

The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas

http://anglicanfederation.org/

The Common Cause Federation

Roundtable Drafts Articles for a Common Cause Federation

The Common Cause Roundtable which represents nine orthodox Anglican jurisdictions and organizations in North America met in Pittsburgh August 16–18, 2006 to continue its unifying work.

The Common Cause Roundtable Partners accomplished three major tasks:

affirmed their Covenant Declaration;

amended and approved the Theological Statement of the Common Cause Partnership; and,

recommended the formation of the Common Cause Federation (CCF).

The Roundtable drafted and approved proposed articles to create the Common Cause Federation which would formalize the relationship of the partners and allow for other orthodox Anglican groups to apply for membership. The representatives at the meeting will now take the three above-mentioned documents back to their constituent bodies for approval and adoption. The approval process is likely to extend over the next 18 months. The texts of the Covenant Declaration and the Theological Statement are contained below and are available on the website of the Anglican Communion Network at www.acn-us.org. The text of the Articles of the Common Cause Federation will be available in mid-October.

One of the actions of the Common Cause Partners’ meeting was to include the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA) as the ninth roundtable partner. In addition, the retired Archbishop of Southeast Asia, the Most Rev. Yong Ping Chung was the Bible teacher for the Roundtable meetings over the three day period. Bible teaching took a central place in shaping the work of the Common Cause Roundtable.

COVENANT DECLARATION OF THE COMMON CAUSE PARTNERS

We intend by God’s grace:

to partner together in a renewed missionary effort in North America and beyond, driven by our passion for Jesus and His Gospel.

to ensure an orthodox Anglican Province in North America that remains connected to a faithful global Communion.

to create a unity in the essentials of our Anglican faith that respects our varied styles and expressions.

to build trusting relationships marked by effective coordination, collaboration, and communication.

THEOLOGICAL STATEMENT OF THE COMMON CAUSE PARTNERS

We believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him.

Therefore, the Common Cause Partnership identifies the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:

We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.

We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian.

Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.

We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.

We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief.

In all these things, the Common Cause Partnership is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain as the Anglican Way has received them the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ.

“The Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, “has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God’s Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to “the faith once delivered to the saints.”

To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a “Mere Christian,” at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.

Proposed to the Partners August 18th, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Jerusalem Declaration

THE JERUSALEM DECLARATION ON CHRISTIAN ZIONISM

Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches In Jerusalem

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."(Matthew 5:9)

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.

We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation. We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organisations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region. We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:

We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honour the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.

We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.

We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.

We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.

We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.

With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonization, apartheid and empire-building. God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.

"What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy, and towalk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our Land. By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace - and working for peace makes us children of God.

"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2Cor 5:19)

His Beattitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

August 22, 2006

Roman Catholic Acceptance of 'Womenpriests'

http://www.stjoan.com/bulletinfr.htm

Saint Joan of Arc parish of Minneapolis Minnesota, a parish ostensibly in full communion with Pope Benedict XVI, is sponsoring a 'Eucharistic Celebration' offered by Ms. Regina Nicolosi – one of six women who in June of this year claim – contrary to church dogma - to have received sacramental ordination to the Catholic priesthood. The 'Eucharist' will be celebrated on 23 September at the parish, according to the parish bulletin for the 27-28 August weekend. Call to Action, a group of Roman Catholic laity and clergy that proclaims a need for fundamental change in the governance and belief-system of the Roman Church, issued the invitation to participate through the parish.

The actual advertisement:

Call to Action Minnesota: Womenpriests Celebrate the Eucharist. On Saturday, September 23, 4-8 pm. Call to Action invites you to a Eucharistic Celebration with Regina Nicolosi presiding. Rev. Nicolosi was ordained as a womanpriest this summer. Following the Eucharist is a presentation by SJA parishioner Dr. Dorothy Irvin on 'Ancient and Contemporary Models of Womenpriests and Deacons'.

Is this the beginning of a new revolution in the American branch of the Roman Communion? The echoes of the simulacrum which transpired in the Church of the Advocate Philadelphia on 29 July 1974, and subsequent events in the Episcopal Church leading up to 1976 and 2003, are ominously unmistakable.

The Anglican Mission in America and the Female Diaconate

From my good friend Father Peter Geromel:

I wanted to pass along the location of a paper that I think you might find interesting. It is written to the AMiA bishops in response to the report on the Ordination of Women to the priesthood about the fact that while the priesthood has been denied to women in AMiA, the Diaconate has not. It is written by Fr. Jason Patterson, Assistant Rector at St. John the Evangelist AMiA in Churchville, PA. Fr. Patterson has studied at Westminster Theological Seminary and has a M.A.R. from Trinity School for Ministry. Although a young clergyman, he has already accepted a position on the Board of the Prayer Book Society. His paper uses Scripture, the traditional formularies, and evidence from the first five centuries of the Church to explain why AMiA cannot continue to ordain women to the diaconate. This is good to see coming out of the ranks of AMiA, because Holy Orders is a communion breaking issue and many Anglican theologians consider that the Sacrament of Ordination is one and therefore the integrity of the Sacrament must be inviolate throughout.

http://www.stjeac.org/ (the paper is in the righthand margin of the website).

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