Thursday, July 23, 2015

Anglican Catholic Church Archbishop Mark Haverland's Sermon at ICCA

15 July 2015

Psalm cxxxiii, verse 3 - Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

I was trained to believe that sermons are not meant primarily to prove or to instruct, much less to argue.  Rather sermons are primarily meant to proclaim:  to proclaim the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection of our Lord.  I hope this idea animates my Sunday Mass sermons.  But Evensong or Evensong and Benediction are somewhat different from Sunday morning.  We read in a delightful miscellany on the Church and clergy by A.N. Wilson of a priest who for forty years ‘preached on a variety of themes at his morning Mass, but thought it inappropriate, at…Benediction, to preach on any subject other than the Empress Josephine.’ (A.N. Wilson, ed., 1992, p. 240)   I don’t plan to be quite that bad.  But when Bishop Ackerman invited me last year to this event I told him that I would have to address what seems to me the central problem with most of the efforts of Forward-in-Faith and its precursors and now also with the ACNA.  I was invited nonetheless, so here is something with a bit of polemic in it, as promised.  I will not say with Trevor Huddleston that I have naught for your comfort. But neither will I speak smooth things. 

The central problem of which I just spoke is a lack of theological clarity and consistency and, to be blunt, catholicity.  That is a rather provocative assertion.  Let me offer an initial qualification, if not apology.  I know that the religious world is filled with huge problems which are of much greater apparent importance than the intramural fusses of soi-disant Anglo-Catholics.  In a world of resurgent and violent Islam and a secularizing America, our intramural differences may seem minor.  I do not wish to indulge in the sadism of small differences.  But then I happen to think that Anglicanism is central to the fate of the West, and that the near collapse of orthodox Anglicanism since the mid-20thcentury is at least indirectly tied to our wider troubles.  So, back to the question of theological clarity, which I do not think is in fact a minor problem.

The Anglican alternative to the paths taken by Forward-in-Faith and ACNA is Continuing Anglicanism.  Despite all of our checkered history and with all our failures, I think we Continuers have theological integrity.  That integrity is not a subjective or personal matter, but rests on an objective theological base, expressed clearly in the Affirmation of Saint Louis.  This foundation situates us irrevocably within the central Tradition of Catholic Christendom.  All Anglican formularies are seen by the Affirmation through the lens of the central Tradition.  Anglican formularies are not a kind of Occam’s razor to limit what is acceptable in Catholic tradition for Anglicans.  Rather the Catholic consensus and central Tradition are the lens through which we read and appropriate our Anglicanism.  This central Tradition is found in the Fathers and the Seven Councils and in the consensus of East and West, ancient and modern and living still.  For us, the central problem of the Episcopal Church and of the Anglican Communion is not Gene Robinson or an error concerning any particular person or issue.  Rather the fundamental problem was an implicit assertion, decades ago, that the central Tradition of Christendom is at the disposal of Episcopalian Conventions or Anglican Synods or Lambeth Conferences.  It is not.  The Affirmation and my own Church’s formularies firmly, decisively, and forever reject doctrinal ambiguity, comprehensiveness, or the attempt to make our peculiarities decisive and determinative.  We are not Anglicans first and Catholics second.  We are members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church first, and Anglicans second.  We will vigorously pursue unity with all others who share this central belief.  No unity, at least no full or Eucharistic communion, is possible or desirable with those who do not share this starting point. 

I congratulate the ACNA for leaving the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada.  Every one of you who made that change did a good thing and one, I hope, that you do not regret.  But that departure can only be a good first step.  For ACNA is really not a Church but a coalition of dioceses. The coalition is for some purposes only, and the communion of the dioceses is impaired and imperfect.  The ACNA has retained the central flaw of the recent Lambeth Communion because it permits member dioceses to ordain women to the three-fold ministry, and therefore implicitly claims that the central Tradition is not decisive and may be set aside.  ACNA is not a return to orthodox Anglicanism, but only a return to the impaired state of the Lambeth Communion that began in 1975 and 1976. 

Continued ambiguity or confusion about the central tradition and women’s ordination is very dangerous.  It is very dangerous because it encourages Catholic churchmen to compromise themselves in a variety of ways.  Perhaps just as bad, fine, bright, and consistent Catholics will perceive that there is no certain trumpet, no clear ecclesiology, and no real future in a world of such compromises – and so you will continue to suffer the death by a thousand cuts, as people go to Rome or Orthodoxy or the Continuing Church or just stay home. 

There are excellent reasons to be both Catholic and Anglican.  Anglo-Catholics enjoy the great strengths of the Anglican patrimony.  We have the Authorized Version of the Bible and the classical Book of Common Prayer.  Together these are not only compelling literary and cultural monuments, but also provide us with a well-balanced spirituality.  In some Christian bodies the Bible is loosed from tradition and from the praying Church.  Of these bodies Richard Hooker wrote:

"When they and their Bibles were alone together, what strange fantastical opinion soever at any time entered into their heads, their use was to think the Spirit taught it them." (Laws, Preface, VIII.7)

The Prayer Book tradition in contrast provides an anchor, an objective interpretative lens, and a prayerful setting for traditional and orthodox interpretation of Scripture.  In other Christian bodies the sacraments have been loosed from Scripture and its constant fertilizing influence.  Scripture is neglected and the jewel of the Eucharist is pried loose from its golden setting in a round of offices centered on the systematic reading of Psalms and Scripture.  But for Anglican Catholics the sacraments are truly Scripture so prayed and read and presented as to be a large part of the very sacramental forms through which God pours forth his grace into our hearts.  In short, our tradition has an almost perfect balance of Bible and sacrament.  We begin with the Bible as presented in and with Common Prayer, but then add our Anglican patrimony of architecture, music, literature, spirituality, and theological method.  Those are formidable strengths.  How sad that so many neo-Anglicans have jettisoned the bulk of this patrimony by abandoning the classical Anglican liturgical tradition. 

Dear friends, if you compromise with the ordination of women, and if you abandon the largest part of our Anglican patrimony by adopting modernist liturgy rooted in the Novus Ordo or, worse, in the Anglo-Baptist ideas of Sydney, there is little to hold people.  Then you can only trust in a kind of slightly more decorous imitation of Charles Stanley or the already-fading mega-churches.  You’ve given up both your Anglican past and also any future that can be meaningfully described as Anglican. 

We must abandon all sectarian, provincial ideas that separate us from the central consensus of the Tradition of the great Churches.  We must take this duty seriously by systematically rooting our doctrine and practice in Catholic agreement.  Seven Councils, seven sacraments, invocation of the saints, objective sacramental efficacy, the Real Eucharistic Presence, clear moral teaching, male episcopate and priesthood and diaconate:  those are all matters of Catholic consensus.  That is what we must believe if we take seriously Archbishop Fisher’s assertion that we have no faith of our own. 

The Catholic Movement in the Church of England began as an attempt to call all Anglicans back to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.  The goal was nothing less than the wholesale conversion of the entire Church to the fullness of the Faith.  The partial success of the Movement may have been its downfall. When Anglo-Catholics became too successful to ignore or suppress, and were invited to the table to enjoy a share of the spoils – a percentage of the mitres and deaneries and professorships and plum parishes – Anglo-Catholics too often lowered their sights and quieted their voices.  From the conversion of the whole, we became satisfied with a slice of the pie, with a comfortable status as a recognized party.  But half-Catholic is as unreal as half-virgin. 

If you still are in the Episcopal Church:  get out.  Get out today.  Anything else threatens your soul’s state.  Dear friends in ACNA:  you must present a clear and unmistakable demand.  The ordination of women must end, soon and completely, for it is directly contrary to Catholic doctrine.  No grand-fathering – or grand-mothering is possible – because such compromise leaves intact the central, revolutionary, and false implication that the deposit of the faith is negotiable and at our disposal. 

Until there is such clarity, there will be no unity among those of us who like to think of ourselves as Catholic and Anglican Churchmen.  There will be no unity because you cannot be a pure cup of water in a dirty puddle.  That is the simple, basic message of the Continuing Church to the neo-Anglicans. You have gone a very long way down a very wrong path, and that is true even if all the time you were avoiding a still worse path.  You have a journey home to make, things to unlearn and to remember and recover.  We want to welcome you at home.  But there can be no restored communion with us without hard decisions and firm actions from you.   

Glory be to the Undivided Trinity.  Glory be to Jesus Christ on his throne of glory in heaven and in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.  All honor to the glorious and ever-Virgin Mother of our Lord. Peace be to the Holy Churches of God.  May God forgive us our sins, which are many and great.  May God give us wisdom to discern a safe path forward.  May God grant us true humility and unshakable fidelity and great love.  May God bring our Church to glorious days and may he bring us to unity with all his holy people, so that Jerusalem may be as a city that is at unity in itself.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC CONGRESS OF ANGLICANS

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Anglican Family, the Global South, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) movement, and all the faithful seeking a conciliar Church:
The International Catholic Congress of Anglicans, held July 13-17, 2015, at St. Andrew’s parish of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, of the Anglican Church in North America, gathered to reaffirm a catholic and conciliar doctrine of the Church. The Great Commission of our Lord directs the Church to make faithful disciples, calling them out of the nations of the world to be holy to the Lord. This statement seeks to sketch out the way forward in fulfilling our Lord’s call to make faithful disciples in the context of a properly conciliar church.

SALVATION, CRISIS, AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Greek word for church, ekklesia, identifies these disciples corporately as “the called One.” The Gospel of our Lord therefore identifies this one holy people, the Church, as integral to salvation for all, so that the Church Fathers and the Reformers of the 16th century, echo the great African Bishop, Saint Cyprian, who said:  “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation,” and, “no one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as mother.” God calls out a people, rescuing them from sin and death, assuring them that they will participate in Christ’s reign, the Kingdom of God. Indeed, it is impossible to know the Lord, who calls out of darkness and into His marvelous light, without being joined to His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Through preaching, the sacraments, catechesis, and spiritual formation, worshiping in Spirit and in truth, the Church is able to make disciples by being faithful to the Apostles’ teaching, the breaking of bread, the prayers, and the fellowship.
 As the body has no life apart from the head, so the Church has no life apart from Christ, whose Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. However, churches and the culture in the West are in crisis. Secularism pervades both. In many places, Islam seeks to replace the Church and radical Islam persecutes her.  Unprincipled egalitarianism eviscerates language, liturgy, life, faith, and orders of a divided Christendom. A culture of death is evident in abortion and euthanasia, and a tragic and unnecessary sexual confusion shapes the paradigms of young and old. What does the Church say? Where does she stand, and with whom? A deficient and aberrant ecclesiology is not simply a result of the present crisis in Church and culture, but is rather a primary cause for the current crisis, and deserves the attention of all catholic Christians.

A HOLY SYNOD AND A CONCILIAR CHURCH
For the Church (the ekklesia) to act, she must know who she is: what is she called out to be? The Church is called into synodality—to come together, to worship, to live in communion with the Holy Trinity, and to mirror the life of the Holy Trinity. This implies the conciliarity of the whole people of God, responsive to the Blessed Trinity, and participating in God’s “heavenly synod” as the Church Catholic gathered around God’s authoritative Holy Scriptures and the Apostolic Tradition. In this, she is to be the Church on earth as she is in heaven. Perhaps the clearest example of this is the First Ecumenical Council (A.D. 325). The Bishops encircle the emperor’s throne with the copy of God’s Holy Word on it, seeking the mind of Christ, searching the Scriptures daily by the power of the Holy Spirit. This perfectly expresses both the authority of the Word of God written and the authority of the Church.
As the “called out ones,” the Church consists of parts and individuals, made into a whole. This is the meaning of the Greek word “catholic” (kata holon according to the whole”). It speaks of wholeness and integrity. The people of God are to live, be, and function as the whole Church Catholic of all ages in true worship, living out the Gospel in apostolic doctrine and communion.
Continuity with the whole Church of heaven and earth for all ages (by the expression of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in worship, witness, belief, and behavior) marks and identifies this conciliar life in synodality. For Anglicans, this continuity is expressed in the common confession of the Catholic Creeds and Ecumenical Councils at which they were formed and clarified.
 St. Vincent of LĂ©rins describes this in the true, Christ-centered, biblical, confessing, and conciliar sense when he says that the Church upholds “what has been believed by all, everywhere, and at all times.” This is the essence of kata holon, “according to the whole.” When the Church is healthy she is able to come together in the Great Tradition of Eucharistic-centered worship around God’s heavenly throne that touches earth. As the Church is at holy rest in God’s presence in worship, it becomes a holy people following the unchangeable teachings of Scripture as understood by the Church of all ages and as bearing on the urgent issues facing the world today. Worship as communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of all ages then erupts into the world with one voice, bearing witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ’s glorious Gospel.
However, when the Church drifts from historic faith, order, and morals, the opposite is true. Indeed, is this not what has happened in the Anglican Communion? There is an inability even to
gather the historic Lambeth Conference due to this brokenness. Sinfulness has impeded the ability to convene in Holy Synod. The time has come for faithful Anglicans to reclaim the apostolic and Scriptural catholicity, conciliarity, and will, and to come together as a globally obedient witness in Holy Synod, where bishops, clergy, religious and laity can meet together to consult and decide important matters, with each exercising the role proper to them.
In a Conciliar Church, bishops hold a place of primacy as servants of the servants of God in succession from the Apostles, who were consecrated by Christ Himself to lead the Church into the Truth of the Holy Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit. “Where the bishop is, there is the Church,” and “wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be” (Saint Ignatius). At the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) the Apostles, in consultation with the presbyters and through prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit, resolve a great doctrinal and practical problem through synodal action. The whole Church, clergy and laity, decide how the decision is to be communicated to churches and Christians around the world. Thus bishops, clergy, and laity all participate in the Church’s synodality, which is effected through the gifts and work of all.
Mutual synodality, however, does not allow the Church “to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another” (Articles of Religion, XX). The ancient Church Fathers and Councils considered apostolic and biblical order, faith, and morals by definition to be unchangeable. Thus, when the people of God gather in synod, they do so in order to receive, discern and follow “the Faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. Such Councils find the mind of Christ that has been and always will be. The realized goal of conciliarity is that the Church speak in true, orthodox unity to the world with the mind of Christ. As Jesus prayed just before entering the Garden of Gethsemane, this oneness that He has with the Father, and seeks to have with His Church, brings true belief, obedience, mission, and spiritual awakening to the world (John 17).

A CATHOLIC CONGRESS FOR AN ANGLICAN COMMUNION
Thus, the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans met to address and to model a global, realigned, and fully orthodox doctrine of the Church. This Congress is committed to walk in conciliarity with all Christians who embrace the Catholic Faith—and who allow the Faith to embrace them. A conciliar model of the Church is essential to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The ancient sees of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and the faithful in communion with them, along with Anglicans, Lutherans, and various expressions of Protestantism, each have God-given charisms to be given and received by all—uniting them in ultimate synodality for the discipleship of all the nations of the world to Jesus.
Only an Apostolic and conciliar Church can properly allow for such giving and receiving of gifts for the people of God and for the salvation of the world. Indeed, no one part of the Church can stand firm against the world, the flesh and the devil without the other parts.  Because of her core ecclesial difficulties, the Church has insufficiently addressed other causes of further demise both within culture and the Church. There are assaults from without such as virile secularism, militant Islamic persecution, sexual confusion, and the redefinition of matrimony from God’s created order upheld by Christ as a lifelong sacramental union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9). From within there are departures from a Biblical, Catholic faith and order, heresy, liturgical chaos, and failure to call for repentance from sin.
These subsidiary crises, allowed to proliferate through ecclesial lapses, have further fragmented Anglicans globally. Some of the faithful have hoped for the best in the church homes of their youth, others have formed the “Continuing Churches,” or have maintained the Faith in particular jurisdictions. Primates, bishops, clergy, and laity in each of these have struggled valiantly to maintain the historic Church, but the fragmentation continued, and distance between the faithful increased.
God has, however, been moving among Anglicans in an extraordinary way; recent years have seen significant realignment emanating, for example, from GAFCON and the Global South. Yet only with a healthy conciliar ecclesiology will there be movement toward one another in true unity. This Congress recognizes that a proper doctrine of the Church is critical, requiring the attention of all faithful Anglicans.
Now therefore, to fulfill the Great Commission—and to realize further ecumenical relationships within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church—true unity must surpass mere federations and coalitions. This International Congress invites all Anglicans throughout the world (a) to a reexamination of the doctrine of the Church and (b) to a further consideration of areas of continuing ecclesial contention, for instance, the ordination of women, deemed by some to be a first order issue. This is necessary so that there may be a revival of Catholic Faith and Order, and a return to a biblical, credal, and conciliar fidelity. Only through honest discussion, ongoing prayer, and ultimate agreement will faithful Anglicans discern fully what God is doing in the great realignment taking place globally. This International Congress prays also that in God’s good providence there will be a truly Ecumenical Council of the whole Church to address contentious issues facing Christians and churches and to strengthen the faith of the Church.

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