An Anglican Priest

"Protestant and Reformed according to the principles of the ancient Catholic Church." Bishop John Cosin (d. 1672)

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

In my "virtual" absence until January 1, I've decided to post some "re-runs" of previous topics (in that they seem to come up again and again). Enjoy.

Archbishop Temple and Anglican Orders

Archbishop Frederick Temple is not known as an original theologian or scholar. In fact, Frederick Temple is probably best known as the father of a future Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple. However, one extremely important event occurred in 1896 while Frederick was Primate of all England: The Church of Rome, in the person of Pope Leo XIII in his bull Apostolicae Curae, declared the Holy Orders of Anglicanism--the Orders that had been bestowed upon the likes of Lancelot Andrewes, William Laud, Samuel Seabury, and John Wesley--"utterly null and void."

This declaration was based upon the assumption that the revised Ordinal prepared by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in 1549 was defective. One of the objections made to the Anglican Ordinal was that the language used was insufficient in the making of bishops. The words of the Anglican Consecration rite were "Take ye the Holy Ghost, and remember that thou stir up the grace of God, which is in thee by imposition of hands" while the Roman Pontifical simply states "receive the Holy Ghost." If Anglican bishops are not to be accounted as properly raised to the episcopate, neither then are the Popes of Rome by the same standard so applied.

Pope Leo XIII also objected that the Anglican priests were not instructed by the Ordinal to offer the Mass for the quick and the dead; instead they are told to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments. As the instruction pertaining to the Sacrifice of the Mass was only added to the Roman Ordinal in the 11th Century, again it must be stated that if Anglican priests are not properly priests then neither were any of the presbyters of Western Christendom.

Other spurious arguments were made by various Roman authorities against Anglican Orders, much of the same caliber as those already mentioned. Some of the arguments pertained to the vestments worn or posture taken by the priest during Holy Communion. One other objection was that Anglicanism itself lacked a full understanding of the Eucharist as sacrifice. Indeed, the Church of England had rejected, both in her liturgy and in the 39 Articles, the notion that each Mass offered Christ as a new Sacrifice to the Father. Instead, in its liturgical theology it chose to emphasize the teaching of Saint Augustine of Hippo:

'If you wish to understand the body of Christ, listen to the words of the Apostle: "You are the body and the members of Christ." If you are the body and the members of Christ, it is your mystery which is placed on the Lord's Table; it is your mystery you receive. It is to that which you are to answer "Amen," and by that response you make your assent. You hear the words "the body of Christ," you answer "Amen." Be a member of Christ, so that the "Amen" may be true.'

This sentiment is echoed in Cranmer's Prayer of Oblation (which follows the reception of the Bread and Cup in the English Rite):

"And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all partakers of the Holy Communion, may be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and be made one body with him, that we may dwell in us and we in him." This is the Eucharistic theology prayed through the Anglican liturgy.

When Frederick Temple responded to Leo concerning this important issue, he did so via a letter directed to "the whole body of Bishops of the Catholic Church."'We make provision with the greatest reverence for the consecration of the holy eucharist, and commit it only to properly ordained priests and to no other ministers of the church. Further, we truly teach the doctrine of eucharistic sacrifice, and do not believe it to be "a bare commemoration of the sacrifice of the cross," an opinion which seems to be attributed to us (by Roman Catholics). But we think it sufficient in the liturgy which we use in celebrating the holy eucharist--while lifting up our hearts to the Lord, and when now consecrating the gifts already offered that they may become to us the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ--to signify the sacrifice which is offered at the point of the service in such terms as these. . . .[F]irst we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; then next we plead and represent before the Father the sacrifice of the cross, and by it we confidently entreat remission of sins and all other benefits of the Lord's passion for all the whole church; and lastly we offer the sacrifice of ourselves to the creator of all things which we have already signified by the oblations of his creatures. The whole action, in which the people has necessarily to take part, we are accustomed to call the eucharistic sacrifice.'This is the eucharistic theology of St. Augustine, enshrined in The Book of Common Prayer and taught by the Anglican divines of the Reformation, the Restoration, and beyond. Archbishop Frederick Temple, when faced with the challenge, asserted the theology of the Church of England succintly and authoritatively.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Lord Peter's Mouse said...

The priest who actually drafted the reply to Leo's letter was the Rev'd Thomas Alexander Lacey whose skills as a Latinist Leo had already admired.
Lacey was one of the greats of the 19th and early 29th century and a writer wich which all true prayer book Anglicans should be acquainted.

7:59 PM  

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