Friday, November 10, 2006

The REC Orders Controversy

In this matter I believe one can be seriously mistaken, as one may follow a line of strict theological interpretation, especially of sacramental intention, that ends up justifying Apostolicae Curae and Leo XIII and the Roman claim against Anglican Orders. The imposition of too rigid views on the validity of orders runs the risk of undoing the theology that has underpinned an Anglican understanding of the validity of orders since the sixteenth century.

The Catholic Church has always said that so long as proper matter and form are used in the administration of sacramental ordination, and proper liturgical expression is given to the sacramental act in question, the sacrament is valid, even if those who convey and receive it are heretics, not just heretics on Christology or Trinitarian theology, but heretics even on the question of Holy Orders itself. The only way ordination can be rendered invalid by way of intention is if an ecclesial body purposefully frames rites of ordination which clearly intend not to ordain to the three sacred Orders of the Catholic Church. That simply cannot be said of the REC Ordinal, which is virtually identical to the 1789 American Ordinal. Sacramental intention is always liturgical exterior intention, the intention of the Catholic Church enshrined in her rites and manifested in her liturgical action, not the private intention of the minister or subject. For that reason REC orders are as valid as those of the Anglican Communion...

Please visit The Continuum and the All Too Common blogs to contribute to the ongoing discussion.


Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Amen! (from an REC priest, as you know).

Using the logic that some desire to employ to call into question the validity of REC orders would render past Anglican Orders invalid by modern Anglicans, and Catholic Holy Orders in general invalid by the standards of the Middle Ages (because the most ancient rites lacked annointing of hands, giving of the paten and chalice, specific mention of the sacrifice of the Mass, etc).

Anonymous said...

I weighed in a rather rough manner to try to shake up Fr. Hart. I doubt I did any good and am to afraid to look. I have founf that neither subtle or blunt methods seem to carry much weight the Continuuum.

Indeed, the Continuum is supervised by folks sympathetic to the notion that the Counter-Reformation mediated thourgh Victorian Anglo-Catholicism is Apostalic Christianity and in simultaneous and complete accord with the Eastern Fathers and the Augustinain synthesis. In other words, not much point spilling ink there.


The Ordination of Anthony Kevin Isley to the Sacred Order of Deacons

At Saint John's Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. (video, but no audio).