Anglican Orders are Alive and Well!
An article from The Messenger of the Traditional Anglican Communion: Volume 8, Number 2- Ascensiontide 1999
[It is essentail for the existance and for the well-being of the Church to have an apostolic ministry in direct line with the apostles. Separation from the successors of the apostles results in a separation from the Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is an historical fact that the apostolic succession was continued without break in the English Church all through the Reformation period, by bishops of the old apostolic line. Matthew Parker's consecration was the connecting link by which apostolic succession was continued after the final break with Rome. The one thing that could have broken the link was retained. Fifty years after the event a trumped up charge known as the 'Nag's Head fable' was promoted by a papist in an attempt to disprove the consecration. Others were to support him although in varying and contradictory forms. As a result, the English Church made a very careful and searching examination of the consecration. All the records and evidence of the event were made public. The story was proved to be a falsehood. Archbishop Parker's consecration was indeed valid beyond all doubt. Scholars including Roman Catholics were ashamed of this baseless invention.]
Last year as the Lambeth Communion Bishops were preparing for their Conference at Canterbury, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a statement that re-affirmed the Roman contention that Anglican Orders are "Absolutely null and utterly void" - invalid in other words! Though not infallible, he did this after consultation with the Pope who left him to devise the article and asked him to be "generous".
The timing was obviously intended to make a great splash with the Lambeth Communion in disarray, and many Anglicans devastated by the trends pushing the feminist line and some considering a Roman solution. There was perhaps also a hint of finesse with 1896 just a century ago. The article caused a slight ruffling of feathers, but after a hundred years the topic was well-drained of discussion and this added nothing new. The papal bull "Apostolicae Curae" of 1896 was not composed by the Pope but by Canon James Moyes (with Cardinal Merry de Val ?) in cahoots with the rascally anti-Anglican putsch who hijacked the proposal of Lord Halifax for a joint-examination of Anglican Orders with Rome, and instead turned it into a one-sided kangaroo court with limited terms of reference and a loaded Committee including a Spaniard who had no English nor had read the relevant English documents. Even so, three of the eight members, notable scholars without guile, found in favour of Anglican validity. S
Script-writers for leading politicians frequently cause calamities by their failure to get the facts right: however the puppet reads what is placed before him and the world claims it as his policy. The present Pope, John Paul II, is not a vindictive Bishop; nor was Leo XIII. Both are known as men of good-will and a burning desire to promote the work of the Church productively. Regrettably, however, the Papacy is served by a beaurocracy that can be manipulated by politically - driven motives.
It is significant that the re-awakening of the English Church by the Oxford Movement placed great store on the Apostolic Succession which threatened the position of papal authority at the time. Opportunity to dash Anglican hopes clearly motivated Gasquet, Moyes and Co., to the hope of gathering a harvest of disillusioned souls into the Roman fold. The current situation would seem to have spurred on the good Cardinal in 1998 with so much in disorder in the Lambeth Communion on the feminist agenda. It is doubtful that the rush really worked in either case.
The Anglican position on the validity of any sacrament requires total vindication of the five main factors in administering it - Right Intention, correct minister, matter, form, and subject. On this fundamental basis, we of the Anglican Continuum reject the validity of "ordinations" administered to women since Intention means "to do what the Church does" while both etymologically and historically "Priest" means male and our Lord as sole Christian Priest chose men to the Apostolic Ministry. We can do no more than judge the validity of the Orders of any Communion by the same fundamental rule.
Nobody who reads the Preface to the Anglican ordinal or the content of rites (form, words) for administering the Sacrament for any of the three orders can justly deny that it intends "to do what the Church does". However, the Roman Committee of 1896 had to find a plausible fault to condemn Anglican orders and hit on the form (with confusion as to intention) and condemned as invalid the words used because after "Receive the Holy Ghost..." they failed to specify (for Priestly ordination) the current Roman interpretation of Priesthood, viz, "to offer sacrifice to God and celebrate Masses for the quick and the dead...") for brevity I skim over the full quotation. Further similar objections centre on the necessity set down by the Council of Trent for undeviating adherence to its definitions of Transubstantiation and the Mass as a propitiatory Sacrifice as in the 1546 Profession of Faith: while the addition of words after the ordinal of the 1549 Prayer Book specifying the Order being conferred on the subject was incorrectly interpreted as admitting a fault of intention. (In fact the revisers specified that the addition was in the face of Presbyterians who denied any difference between the Orders of Bishop and Priest.)
In reply to Apostolicae Curae the non-infallible Archbishops of Canterbury and York signed as Response the exquisite Latin document prepared by Bishop John Wordsworth of Salisbury, pointing out the incredible error of the Bull in that by specifying the need for inclusion of the contemporary form of Rome it negated the Orders of ALL in the Apostolic Ministry who had EVER been ordained or Consecrated. Those words were added much later and not as part of the actual bestowal of Ordination Grace but in the "porrectio instrumentorum" - the handing over of the symbols (chalice and paten) for the Eucharist.
A regrettable rejoinder from Rome took up the attack and insisted that no man could be Priest who did not accept the Trent definition of Transubstantiation: to which the Archbishops of York and Canterbury wrote, "It is, for us, simply impossible to believe it to be the will of our Lord that admission to the ministry of the Church should depend upon the acceptance of a metaphysical definition in terms of Medieval philosophy, of the mysterious gift bestowed in the Holy Eucharist, above all when we remember that such a definition was unknown in the Church in the early ages of its history, and only publicly affirmed by the Church of Rome in the thirteenth century."
Father J.J. Hughes is a Roman Priest, former Anglican (Society of the Sacred Mission trained) who was given permission to study the documents of the Roman Committee which sat on Anglican Orders, and wrote in detail of his research. An article in the erstwhile "Australian Church Quarterly" (February 1968) entitled "The Scandal of 1896" sets out a review of Hughes' work and shows the amazing underhand workings which were conceived by the group to ensure that neither Anglican imput would be permitted in reaching a conclusion and that indeed no other conclusion would be reached than condemnation of the Validity of Anglican Orders.
A further problem exists in that elements in the Roman Church, with which Cardinal Ratzinger appears to be identified, remain irrevocably bound to a doctrine of propitiatory sacrifice first enunciated in medieval times - that each Mass is a separate sacrifice (virtually distinct from Calvary) in which the priest somehow repeats the sacrifice of Calvary in an "unbloody" sacrifice. This called into question whether we would wish to qualify as "priests offering propitiatory Sacrifices". Once again the witness of the early Church (as also efforts reforming misguided belief from the medieval times) affirms and reaffirms that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is that of Calvary itself, and that our Lord, the sole Priest, shares His Priesthood with the Apostolic Ministry as He offers for ever in Heaven, and on earth we plead the same Sacrifice particularly in the final part of any Sacrifice, the Communion, whereby the offerers identify with the Victim, and Priest and people in sacred Unity with Him complete the sacrificial action each time we "do this in remembrance..."
No Anglican need be uneasy that men who have been trained and tested for the Sacred Ministry do nor, as Rome says, receive the fullness of Holy Order at the hands of any Anglican Bishop whose Orders follow rigid laws of the Anglican Prayer Book and Church. Rome may have a big role in Universal Christianity, but that does not include the right to be sole judge of all questions that arise. The Apostolic Succession was preserved by the Ordinal of 1549 and through all revisions since, and continue to be top priority in Church Order in the Traditional Anglican Communion.