Monday, October 26, 2009

The APA Statement on the Vatican Announcement

APA Statement on the Vatican Announcement of October 20, 2009

From the Office of the Presiding Bishop,
The Most Rev. Walter H. Grundorf, D.D.
October 26, 2009

The Anglican Province of America (APA) welcomes with hopeful interest the Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church. It has opened a way for persons who are currently Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while retaining elements of Anglican liturgy, spirituality, theology, discipline and ethos. This remarkable decision demonstrates on the part of the Roman Communion a recognition of the integral virtues of historic Anglicanism. These characteristics can serve to be a gift to the wider Catholic and Apostolic Church. The new structure proposed by the Roman Communion is a fruit of the prayer and labor of faithful souls who for over a century have devoted themselves to such a form of reconciliation. While many in the Continuing Anglican movement may not avail themselves of this new ecclesiastical structure, the APA awaits with anticipation more information, which will give it a greater opportunity for consideration and reflection.

Our Province remains grateful to Almighty God for the positive relationships which have existed and continue to exist between the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. Traditional Anglicans possess in common with the Roman Communion the essentials of the Catholic Faith, including the canonical Scriptures, the universal Creeds, the Seven Sacraments, the male character of the Apostolic Ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and traditional Christian teaching and doctrine concerning Holy Matrimony. We share what Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey called in 1966 a Faith “founded on the Gospel and on the ancient common Tradition.”

Our differences over the role and authority of the papal office, the infallibility and universal jurisdiction of the Pope as defined in the decrees of the I Vatican Council of 1870, the 1854 and 1950 dogmas regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, the validity of Anglican Orders and Apostolicae Curae will require further intensive and deliberate dialogue. Nevertheless, we anticipate a deepening relationship and collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church as a result of the new Apostolic Constitution about to be promulgated, a Constitution we are eager to read, evaluate and prayerfully consider.

We commit ourselves to fervent prayer for all those who will follow the path now created by the See of Rome, as we pledge to continue our prayer and work with Roman Catholics everywhere for the visible unity of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The mysterious manifestations of the Logos found throughout the Old Testament are real manifestations of Christ, Christophanies. In all of these phenomena, in which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Word, God the Son appears to the faithful or is active in creation, the pre-existent Logos is pre-incarnate, revealed in mystic forms and apparitions and signs before He assumes flesh of the Blessed Virgin and is made true Man. We see the Divine Logos in Genesis 1 and 2 in the Creation of the world, in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 and 3, as Melchizedek in Genesis 14, at the oaks of Mamre with Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18, in the Burning Bush before Moses in Exodus 3, in the Cloud and Pillar of Fire before the children of Israel in Exodus 13, as the Rock which followed the Israelites in Romans 10, as the Finger of God giving the Law in Exodus 19 and 20, and as the King of Glory in Isaiah 6, as the Angel of the Lord throughout the Old Testament, just to take a few examples.

But in all of these, although Christ the Word is truly revealed and manifested to His people, He appears only in types, figures, images and symbolic apparitions, the shadow of good things to come. Yes, Jesus is throughout the Old Testament, for the Old Testament is ultimately about, and authored by, Jesus Christ, the Word. He is the Lawgiver, the Lord of the Covenants, the Inspiration of the Prophets, the Visionary showing forth the age of salvation. He is the true Ark of the Covenant, the authentic Manna from heaven, the genuine Rod of Aaron, the sure Mercies of David, the Wisdom of Solomon, the One whose Glory appears in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Saint Augustine of Hippo instructs us that the Israelites were proto-Christians who fed on Our Lord in mystical communion, a foretaste of the Eucharist, because they had the supernatural virtue of faith in Christ before His Incarnation. Christ was in the faithful of Old Covenant leading them to the fullness of revelation.

In truth, we have no authoritative basis in Scripture on which to assert the theological premiss that Our Lord, because of His divine consubstantiality with the Father and the deification of His human nature in the Incarnation and Resurrection, actually appeared to the Israelites or others in the period before the Incarnation in His actual human nature. The Fathers of the Church, such as Saint Athanasius, Saint Chrysostom and Saint Gregory Nanzianzus, revel in the mystery of the Old Testament appearances of the Logos, but they never claim He was present there in His human nature born of Mary. For them, locating the historical moment, event and reality of the Incarnation in time and space is all -important, for the Incarnation is God's in-breaking into the created order. God forever becomes Immanuel in the precise moment of the Incarnation.

This raises an absolutely vital point of orthodox Christology: the communcatio idiomatum, the 'communication of idioms' or 'sharing of properties' in the Hypostatic Union of Our Lord''s Person. According to the Council of Chalcedon, in the One Person of Christ, the human nature shares the attributes and properties of divine nature while the divine nature undergoes a true participation in human nature - and this happens with no confusion, fusion, separation or change in the two natures of Christ. Therefore, Christ's human nature was deified or divinised, transformed to partake of the life of the Godhead and to share in the glory, perfection and immortality of the Divine Word. Christ's flesh becomes divine, inhabited by the fullness of God, 'in-Godded.' So just as God truly lived, suffered, was crucified, died and rose again, so in Christ Man lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost in the glory of heaven and forever participates in the communion of the Holy Trinity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Anglo-Papalist Ordinariate

The new 'ordinariate' for Anglican Papalists today erected by the CDF offers the greatest hope to those currently of the Anglican obedience who desire to enter into full communion with the See of Rome, and is undoubtedly a fruit of the prayers, longings and labours of many holy and faithful souls who for over a century and a half have devoted themselves to this cause. It is undoubtedly the fulfillment of the highest aspirations and deepest desires of a not inconsiderable number of Anglo-Papalists since the heady days of the Catholic Revival. Let us certainly pray for those who will seek to enter the Roman Communion by the path which has now been paved for them by Pope Benedict XVI. In terms of ecumenical activity, the establishment of the ordinariate may be the most momentous event since the sixteenth century Reformation.

This news is indeed fascinating and compelling, and will undoubtedly be equally fascinating to watch unfold in the days and weeks ahead. But it must be said that we should very much doubt that many in the orthodox Continuing Anglican movement will avail themselves of this new constitutional structure in the Roman Communion, as our priests and people are generally not inclined or disposed to accept the Papal Claims and Dogmas and have no affinity with Papalism. We should confidently assert that most of our Continuing Churchmen repudiate the I Vatican Council of 1870 and so find no overwhelming attraction to this new offer. Papal Infallibility and Papal Universal Jurisdiction, combined with Rome's rejection of the validity of Anglican Orders and its assertion of the de fide and salvific character of the Marian Dogmas, is altogether a situation most Traditional Anglicans will find simply too difficult to accept. Assuredly, for most Continuing Churchmen, the observance of the creation of the new body will be intriguing, but academic, detached and remote, and likely nothing more. We shall be 'observers and by-standers' during the process to come.

In the meantime, we await with hopeful expectation what yet may come from dialogue with the Orthodox Church in America and what relationship may yet emerge between Eastern Orthodox Christians and us, the original Catholics of the Anglican Rite.

In short, as riveting as it is, the new Anglo-Papalist entity will not affect most Continuing Anglican jurisdictions in any direct way, save the Traditional Anglican Communion. But in all love and charity let us pray fervently for those who will now swim the Tiber in this fashion and wish them well in their journey of faith, love, hope and conscience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Notes on Holy Order

It could be argued that Pope Leo XIII was partially prophetic in his declaration of September 1896, in that Holy Orders now conferred in several provinces of the Lambeth Anglican Communion are in many places invalid due to the invalidity of ministers of episcopal consecration and priestly ordination - that is, women who purport to be bishops or men purportedly consecrated to the episcopate by women. In those cases Apostolicae Curae is undoubtedly correct, but not for the reasons identified by the Roman Pontiff. It is not the defect of intention or form, but defect of minister, which renders such ordinations invalid. Subsequent to 1896, all of the world's Anglican bishops, from 1932 in England and 1946 in the USA, have received episcopal consecration in a line from the Old Catholic Churches of the Utrecht Union, which are held by Rome to be undoubtedly valid.

The infusion of Old Catholic Orders, coupled with the use of the 1662 Anglican Ordinal (which Ordinal was not condemned by Apostolicae Curae but in fact was rather asserted by Leo XIII rightly to acknowledge each Order being conferred in each ordination rite), created a situation never envisioned by Leo in the nineteenth century. We should remember it was the 1550 Edwardine Ordinal, not the 1662, which was claimed to have a defect of form. Every living validly-ordained Anglican bishop and priest now possesses Orders from a source that Rome is compelled, at least theoretically, to recognise as valid.

In our own case, Bishop Grundorf was initially consecrated by bishops of the English Matthew Old Catholic line in 1976 before he was conditionally consecrated by Anglican Communion bishops in 1991, thus settling this issue for us permanently. But Apostolicae Curae, it has been said rightly by others, is the second Galileo case, and presents a neo-scholastic theology riddled with inconsistent leaps of logic and largely devoid of patristic sacramental theology, as was amply demonstrated by the Archbishops of England in their Responsio of 1897, Saepius Officio. I for one have moral certainty that Anglican Orders have always been valid since the Reformation: Accipe Spiritum Sanctum!

Even if Apostolicae Curae were correct in its claim of defective form and intention for the Anglican Ordinal, Apostolic Succession undoubtedly was restored with Old Catholic co-consecration, even if the sacramental form utilised by the Old Catholics is not the one identified by Pius XII in 1947. But, of course, I hold Leo XIII was misled and misinformed by some members of his commission and was incorrect in his judgement of 1896. Four of the eight theologians of the 1896 commission held Anglican Orders were valid, but they were ignored principally in favour of Cardinal Vaughn of Westminster, who proposed to the Pope that the condemnation of Anglican Orders would lead to a mass exodus of Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England into the Roman fold. He too was incorrect and misjudged the situation.

All that being said, the position of the APA, the Anglican Church in America, the Anglican Province of Christ the King and some other Continuing Churches regarding validity of Orders is that of Saint Augustine of Hippo: where valid matter, form, minister, intention and subject are unquestionably found, the ordination in question is valid. This means that as long as male bishops consecrated by male bishops in an unbroken succession ordain male priests and deacons or consecrate other male bishops, using the laying on of hands and prayer for the gift of Holy Orders in a recognisable ordination rite, the Orders are always valid. Thus, we receive in Orders male bishops, priests and deacons from the Episcopal Church or other Lambeth Anglican Communion churches, so long as it can be substantiated that their ordaining prelates were male, consecrated by males.

The 1979 American rite, although certainly leaving much to be desired, is essentially a valid ordination rite and is accepted as valid by the APA, for the 1979rite contains the necessary essentials of ordination.

Usually only in cases where the ordaining bishop's succession is in doubt does the APA require ordination sub conditione. Sacramental intention is actually the simplest of all the necessary requirements for valid ordination, for the only necessary intention is 'generally to do what the Church does,' that is, to ordain bishops, priests and deacons as the Church has always done. One does not have to intend what the Church intends, but merely to do what the Church does.

A bishop may have in his mind and heart an heretical or schismatical intention or understanding of the sacraments, even of Orders, or may belong to a communion or sect that holds officially to false doctrine, even concerning the sacraments, and still validly ordain, so long as he intends seriously to perform the rite as practised by Christians or as instituted by Our Lord. As long as one intends in a general way to ordain according to the mind of Christ, or the New Testament Church, or the true Church, or God's will, the ordination is valid.

This is because the intention necessary for valid ordination is expressed ritually, exteriorly, in the rite itself - and thus ordination is always valid when a valid rite is used. A valid bishop and subject and a valid rite effect a valid ordination. The problem now is that under Mrs Jefferts-Schori 'bishops' are ordained who are not bishops for lack of a valid minister of consecration. So we must do our homework to ensure that the ordaining bishop in every case is in fact a bishop.

Most Continuing Churches follow the historically Augustinian-Western approach to this subject. I should deem the practice of some other Continuing Churches, the Polish National Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy to be Cyprianic in origin.

It is indeed difficult to know exactly how far an ecclesial body has to go into heresy, even heresy regarding Holy Order, before its sacramental intention, the ritual ecclesiastical intention of a Church as a corporate body, is rendered null and void. The Anglican precedent would maintain that such a corruption would have to be of the most extreme and severe kind. The Arians presumably had valid orders, as do Nestorians and Monophysites today, but, of course, their heterodoxies are Christological and not directly sacramental. The Episcopal Church presents an almost unique situation of being a Church having had Apostolic Succession that has introduced a heresy targeting specifically Holy Orders (and, by relation, Christian anthropology in general, as we have seen with the homosexualism and deconstruction of Matrimony crises). There are few examples of this particular kind of error in history of which I am aware, for most sects that strayed over time from orthodoxy as far as TEC eventually abandoned altogether even the semblance of Holy Order - I think of the Montanists, Albigensians, Cathari, and other sects of a gnostic orientation. Such abandonment of Order is now inevitable for the Episcopal Church. TEC will follow suit and has initiated the process of eliminating the Catholic priesthood one ordination at a time.

Even the protestantising 'heresies' of Archbishop Cranmer and his associates, which are said to have denied the mediatorial-sacrificial character of the priesthood and in some cases even sacramental grace in ordination, did not destroy the valid intention of the Church of England, for the Preface to the Ordinal and the Anglican Rite themselves ensured the necessary transmission and preservation of the essentials of Holy Order by establishing the intention of the whole Church. What matters is the intention of a Church openly declared and expressed in the liturgical rite and action of ordination.

The private opinions of Archbishop Cranmer and friends did not eradicate the necessary intention because the rites used were and are valid. In such a case heretical opinions may exist subjectively - but the valid rite confects objectively. Otherwise no one could ever know or have any assurance or guarantee whatever that any sacraments at any time were valid, and that state would thwart the very purpose for which the sacraments were instituted: the efficaciousness of the sacraments is given by Our Lord through the covenantal signs of grace, not through the personalised or interior beliefs of the celebrant. Thus when the sacrament is celebrated according to the Church's rite with the Church's mandated essentials as given by Our Lord and the Apostles, the sacrament is valid.

If we go too far in our requirements concerning sacramental form and intention in ordination we may fall into Leo XIII's trap, but we must maintain the irreducible minimum of what is actually required by the Church for the valid conferral of the Church's own Apostolic Ministry. Even the Episcopal Church and the 1979 rite officially intend to continue both the Apostolic Ministry of bishops, priests and deacons as received by the historic Catholic Church, and the transmission of the grace of Holy Order. But in practice a defect of ministers and subjects breaks the succession in many places.

I would assert that to lose the grace of ordination a Church must so corrupt an ordination rite that one of the essential requirements for validity has been eliminated. Where the sacraments are concerned, the Church always takes the safer course and requires a certitude for the validity of sacraments - it would not be permissible for the Church to risk the loss of sacramental assurance and grace for the People of God by allowing doubtful Orders and sacraments to be administered in her communion. Orders are presumed valid when the proper form, matter, minister and subject are present - for then you have intention with them. When one of these necessary elements is in doubt, the only solution is conditional ordination.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Notes on Christology

Our Redemption is achieved in Our Lord Jesus Christ because in the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, God the Word, the only-begotten Son of God, assumed true and integral human nature of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was made true Man. 'Only that which God assumes does He redeem.' If Our Lord had not assumed a true human nature identical to our own and taken upon Himself true human flesh and spirit, He could not have saved us or redeemed us, for what He came to heal, restore, repair, divinise and transform was our own very nature, the reality of our humanity. Had He not become true Man in every aspect and way, sin being the sole exception, He could not have united the substance of our humanity to the substance of His divinity and thus raise our human nature into perfect communion with God.

Thus Christ took upon Himself a true, created, physical, material and natural humanity. 'God became Man so that man may become God.' In the Incarnation, Our Lord fully restores the Image and Likeness of God in man, which had been marred and injured by Adam's transgression; through Christ's human nature in the Church and Sacraments, we receive Him - and thus our own human natures, united to His in the Mystical Body of the Church through Baptism and in the Sacramental Body in the Eucharist, are replenished and nourished with divine life through the Holy Ghost. In this mysterious gift, we are enabled both to grow in holiness, virtue and love and to allow the Likeness to God to be entirely recreated in us personally. Our human members become the members of Christ the Man in His Body, of which He is the Head.

At the Annunciation, the miraculous and virginal Conception of Our Lord, the Logos or Word recreated human nature in the womb of the Blessed Mother by the Holy Ghost and assumed from Mary a perfect, sinless, immaculate and complete human nature, a human body, mind, spirit and soul. God put on flesh and took human nature into the Godhead by His hypostatic union: in the One Divine Person of God the Son exists from the instant of the Annunciation and forever two perfect, distinct and united natures, divine and human. The human nature assumed by Christ was created directly by Him in the body of Mary without human intervention or seed, no human father, so that the humanity of Our Lord is the New Creation. Our Lord is called the New Adam, the Second Adam and Lord from heaven (I Corinthians 15) because God the Son became truly human and united perfectly with His divine nature a completely renovated and restored human nature.

Our Lord's human nature was not pre-existent, but fashioned by God in the mystery of the Incarnation. By the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, Our Lady conceived a human nature to which Our Lord was inseparably and instantly united and one which is identical to our own. In this union, Our Lord's divine nature was not changed and our human nature in Him was made whole and returned to its original state.

Notice the Church teaches that Our Lord assumed human nature, an 'impersonal' human existence composite of body and soul like our own, but not a human person. This is because Our Lord Jesus Christ is not a God-possessed man, a human personality in which the Logos dwells as in a temple. Our Lord is not merely a saint or God-inhabited human person, but is God made flesh, God made Man. The one and only Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Divine Word, the Eternal Son of God, not a human person united to a Divine Person. The belief that Jesus of Nazareth is a distinct human person indwelt by another distinct person, the Divine Logos, is the heresy attributed to Nestorius of Constantinople and condemned by Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in AD 431. Nestorianism professes there are two persons in Our Lord joined in a moral union: Jesus the man and Christ the Divine Word. Nestorians often use the heretical phrase 'two persons in one personality' to describe a Word-Man Christology at odds with the Gospel and the Catholic Faith. Jesus is not two persons in one organism, but One Person with two natures, of one nature with the Father in His Deity and of one nature with us in His humanity.

The divine and human natures are united in the One Person of Our Lord without 'confusion, change, division or separation.'

The Orthodox teaching is that Our Lord is One Person in two natures, human and divine, as taught by the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon AD 451. There is one 'Who' (the Word) and two 'Whats' (divine and human natures) in the Person of Our Blessed Saviour. Monophysitism, condemned by Chalcedon, teaches the opposite error of Nestorianism, to wit, that Our Lord has only one nature which is divine. The term Monophysite means 'one nature' (mono phusis). Monophysites hold that Christ's human nature was absorbed by his divine, as the heresiarch Eutyches proclaimed, 'like a drop of water in the ocean'. This heterodox doctrine denies the true humanity of Our Lord as Nestorianism denies the true divinity of the Incarnate Logos.

Thus the womb of Our Lady is the new Garden of Eden, Paradise, and Our Lord is the New Adam, whose human nature is the recreation of human nature free of original and actual sin, untainted by corruption and free from mortality, concupiscence and the consequences of the Fall of man. Christ the New Man, sinless and Virgin-born, possesses a human nature, not of Adam's line, but of His own, given to Him by the Holy Ghost through the Mother of God. The Blessed Virgin Mary is one through whom the human race has been offered the gift of a regenerated human nature liberated from sin, for from her Christ's new human nature presents us with the total renewal of human life, like that of Adam before the Fall, yes, but even higher.

For in Christ, the substance of our mortal flesh has been deified and united to the Godhead in perfect communion and union. Our Lord raises human nature to a level never experienced by or realised in Adam, for in Christ, our human nature is shared by 'One of the Holy Trinity' and thus is inserted into the perichoresis, the mutual indwelling and communal life and love, of the Holy Trinity. Christ our God takes from us our humanity, with its loss of original justice and grace, and communion with God, and likeness to God, and gives us His humanity, effused with the fullness of divinity, in return - a divine exchange of love and grace. This human nature of Christ, the substance of our own humanity freed from sin, glorified by divine life, and full of the Holy Ghost, is communicated and applied to us in the Sacraments.

In Christ, from the moment of the Incarnation, exists the perfect union, personal union, of the One Divine Person of the Son and His regenerated human nature. God is forever Man in Jesus Christ and remains such for all eternity. But the human nature is indeed a created human nature, that is, a human nature generated and truly born from our nature - there were Monophysite heretics in the fourth and fifth centuries that held that Christ possesses an uncreated or heavenly human nature, heavenly flesh not derived of created human nature, but that error is based on a Gnostic denial that God truly took human flesh, was truly conceived and truly born in every we are but with the exemption of sin (Hebrews 4).

The Docetists and other early quasi-Christian Gnostics held Our Lord was but a phantom, an apparition, a heavenly being devoid of material flesh and blood who only appeared (dokeo) to be human, but did not possess a truly material physical human nature. Several early Gnostic heretical movements asserted Christ was truly divine but that He lacked a true and consubstantial human nature with us: such error vitiates the purpose and reality of the Incarnation. The Orthodox Catholic Faith maintains that Christ is consubstantial with us concerning His Manhood and consubstantial with the Father concerning His Deity (Athanasian Creed). Jesus Christ is like us, therefore, in every way. He is Very God and Very Man. In Him, both natures exist distinctly, without fusion, mixture and confusion, and yet are inseparable and interpenetrate each other. As the ancient Fathers describe the mystery, the Son's divine nature divinises His human nature 'like iron in the fire.' The iron and the fire remain distinct from each other, but each takes on the property of the other. Truly we can say therefore that God was born, performed miracles, hungered, thirsted, suffered, was crucified, died, was buried and rose again. And the humanity of that God-Man is now divine, resplendent with the glory and life of God.

May 2024 Comprovincial Newsletter

The Comprovincial Newsletter for May 2024 -