Thursday, December 27, 2007




A note from this blogger: To all that is written below I say a hearty "Amen!" However, it must be noted that within the membership or partnership (full and otherwise) of Common Cause there is a great deal of "diversity," to the point that it may simply end in fracture. The REC and the APA use the historic Prayer Books of 1662 and 1928, while almost all of the other groups use the 1979 American Prayer Book--something no APA or REC bishop would allow in their jurisdictions. Also, there is the 800 pound gorilla standing in the corner--the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood. Bishop Minns of CANA has recently stated that he will press on for the ordination of women in order to maintain the "two integrities" that were present in the Episcopal Church (language that makes me shudder. . . this is the language of TEC/ECUSA, not the language of historic Anglican theology). There can be no true common cause without Common Prayer and catholic order; if these are lacking the whole endeavor will be in jeopardy.
From the Common Cause website:

Theological Statement

We believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, the Common Cause Partnership identifies the following seven elements as characteristic of the Anglican Way, and essential for membership:

We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life.

We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.

We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ.

We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian.

Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures.

We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.
We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing the fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief. In all these things, the Common Cause Partnership is determined by the help of God to hold and maintain as the Anglican Way has received them the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ.

"The Anglican Communion," Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher wrote, "has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ's Church from the beginning." It may licitly teach as necessary for salvation nothing but what is read in the Holy Scriptures as God's Word written or may be proved thereby. It therefore embraces and affirms such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the Scriptures, and thus to be counted apostolic. The Church has no authority to innovate: it is obliged continually, and particularly in times of renewal or reformation, to return to "the faith once delivered to the saints."

To be an Anglican, then, is not to embrace a distinct version of Christianity, but a distinct way of being a "Mere Christian," at the same time evangelical, apostolic, catholic, reformed, and Spirit-filled.

Monday, December 24, 2007


A blessed Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men. And the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came as a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Very sorry the the absence. . .

I see that people continue to read the blog and stop by and leave comments, for which I am thankful. I'm sorry I haven't been very productive recently. One of the readers in the past requested that I post at least once a week. . .I will try to get back to something of a schedule around the New Year.

Please do keep sifting through the archives though. There might be something useful or informative in there.

AC+

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The classical and orthodox rite in the Anglican Church and the Anglican Rite in the Orthodox Church.

I've been meaning to post for sometime, but life is always busy. I've been told by some readers in the past that I should post at least once a week--I have obviously fallen short of that goal.

In any case, I'd like to set forth a brief comparison between the eucharistic canon from the "Liturgy of Saint Tikhon" and the Cranmerian-Laudian rite as set forth in the American Prayer Book of 1928. A recent reader commented on the substantial changes made to the 1928 rite in order to expunge all "protestant" elements. I will leave it to the readers to decide for themselves how much change was actually made.

That being said, I admire the work of the Western Rite Orthodox in preserving a very nice edition of the Book of Common Prayer in their Saint Andrew's Service Book, taking note that most of the work was done over four centuries ago by the blessed archbishop and martyr, Thomas Cranmer.

Here is the 1928 Eucharistic Canon from the BCP:

ALL glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious the death and sacrifice, until his coming again: For in the night in which he was betrayed, (a) he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, (b) he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, (c) this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise, after supper, (d) he took the Cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of this; for (e) this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins; Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me.

WHEREFORE O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.

AND we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and, of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.

AND we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and all thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him. And although we are unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice; yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

Here is Tikhon's rite:
ALL glory be to Thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that Thou, of Thy tender mercy, didst give Thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who there (by His own oblation of himself once offered) made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in His holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that His precious death and sacrifice, until His coming again: (A bell rings once.) For in the night in which He was betrayed, He took bread; and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is My Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of Me. (A bell rings thrice for the offering of the Host.) Likewise, after supper, He took the cup; and when Hehad given thanks, He gave it to them, saving, Drink ye all of this; For this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins; Do this as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me. (A bell rings thrice for the offering of the Cup.)

The Oblation
WHEREFORE, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we, Thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here before Thy Divine Majesty, with these Thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto Thee, the memorial Thy Son hath commanded us to make;having in remembrance His blessed Passion and precious Death, His mighty Resurrection and glorious Ascension; rendering unto Thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.

The Epiclesis
AND we most humbly beseech Thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and of Thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to send down Thy Holy Spirit upon these Thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be changed into the Body and Blood of Thy most dearly beloved Son. Grant that we, receiving them according to remembrance of His death and passion, may be partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood.R. Amen. Amen. Amen.

AND we earnestly desire Thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching Thee to grant that, by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His blood, we, and all Thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His Passion. And here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto Thee; humbly beseeching Thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of Thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with Thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with Him, that He may dwell in us, and we in Him.And although we are unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto Thee any sacrifice; yet we beseech Thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ, our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honor and glory be unto Thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

Friday, September 28, 2007


For your consideration


The Eucharist

of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer


in contemporary language



Let us pray for the whole state of Christ's Church.


ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who by your holy Apostle has taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men; We humbly implore you most mercifully to accept our [alms and] oblations, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto your Divine Majesty; imploring you to inspire continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord: And grant that all those who do confess your holy Name may agree in the truth of your holy Word, and live in unity and godly love.We implore you also, so to direct and dispose the hearts of all Christian Rulers, that they may truly and impartially administer justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of your true religion, and virtue.Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all Bishops and other Ministers, that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth your true and living Word, and rightly and duly administer your holy Sacraments.And to all your People give your heavenly grace; and especially to this congregation here present; that, with humble heart and proper reverence, they may hear, and receive your holy Word; truly serving you in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life.And we most humbly implore you of your goodness, O Lord, to comfort and support all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.And we also bless your holy Name for all your servants departed this life in your faith and fear; imploring you to grant them continual growth in your love and service, and to give us grace to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of your heavenly kingdom. Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.


¶ Then shall the Presbyter say to those who come to receive the Holy Communion,


You who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from this time foreword in his holy ways; Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.

¶ Then shall this General Confession be made, by the Presbyter and all those who are minded to receive the Holy Communion, humbly kneeling.


ALMIGHTY God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our many sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against your Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly your wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may from this day forward Serve and please thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of your Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


¶ Then shall the Presbyter (the Bishop if he be present) stand up, and turning to the People, say,


ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ Then shall the Presbyter say,


Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Jesus Christ says to those who truly turn to him:

COME to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. St Matthew 11:28
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. St. John 3:16

Hear also the words of Saint Paul:
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 St. Timothy 1:15

And hear what Saint John says:
If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John 2:1, 2

¶ The Presbyter continues, saying,

[The Lord be with you.]
[Answer. And with your spirit.]
Presbyter. Lift up your hearts.
Answer. We lift them to the Lord.
Presbyter. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Answer. It is right to give him thanks and praise.

¶ The Presbyter turns to the Lord's Table and says,

IT is indeed right, it is our duty, at all times and in all places to give thanks and praise to you, Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God.

¶ The PROPER PREFACE, if one is appointed, shall be said here, otherwise the Presbyter continues saying,

THEREFORE with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim and magnify your glorious name, forever praising you, and saying,

¶ Presbyter and people.

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Glory be to you, O Lord most high.


PROPER PREFACES

On CHRISTMAS DAY, and the seven days following
BECAUSE you gave Jesus Christ, your only Son, to be born as at this time for us, who by the operation of the Holy Spirit, was made man of the substance of the Virgin Mary, his mother, but without spot of sin, to make us clean from all sin.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On the EPIPHANY, and the seven days following
THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord, who in substance of our mortal flesh, revealed his glory, that he might bring us out of darkness into his own marvellous light.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On the feasts of the PURIFICATION, ANNUNCIATION, and TRANSFIGURATION
BECAUSE in the mystery of the Word made flesh you have caused a new light to shine in our hearts to give the knowledge of your glory in the face of your Son, Jesus
Christ our Lord.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On EASTER DAY, and the seven days following
BUT chiefly we are bound to praise you for the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the very Passover Lamb who was offered for us and has taken away the sin of the world. By his death he has destroyed death; and by his rising to life again he has restored everlasting life to us.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On ASCENSION DAY, and the seven days following
THROUGH your most dearly loved Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who after his glorious resurrection plainly appeared to all his Apostles, and in their sight ascended up into heaven to prepare a place for us, so that where he is, there we might also ascend and reign with him in glory.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On WHITSUNDAY, and the six days following
THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord, according to whose most true promise the Holy Spirit came down from heaven, with a sudden and great sound, as it had been a mighty wind, and in the likeness of fiery tongues, lighting upon the Apostles to teach them, and to lead them into all truth; giving them both the gift of tongues, and also boldness with fervent zeal, constantly to preach the Gospel to all nations, by which we have been brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of you and of your Son Jesus Christ.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On the feast of TRINITY only
WHO with your only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit, we confess to be one God, one Lord, in Trinity of Persons and in Unity of Substance. For what we believe of your glory, O Father, we believe of the Son also, and of the Holy Spirit, without any difference of inequality.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

¶ Or this.

FOR the precious death and merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and for sending to us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter; who are one with you in your Eternal Godhead.
Therefore with Angels, etc.

On ALL SAINTS' DAY, and the seven days following
WHO, in the multitude of your saints, has surrounded us with so great a cloud of witnesses, that rejoicing in their fellowship we may run patiently the race that is set before us, and, together with them, may receive the crown of glory that fades not away.

THEREFORE with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify your glorious name, for ever praising you, and saying,

¶ Presbyter and people.

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Glory be to you, O Lord most high.


¶ When the Presbyter, standing before the Holy Table, having so ordered the Bread and Wine, that he may with the more readiness and decency break the Bread before the People, and take the Cup into his hands, he shall say the Prayer of Consecration, as follows.


ALL glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that you, of your tender mercy, gave your only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again: For in the night in which he was betrayed, he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise, after supper, he took the Cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, Drink this, all of you all you; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins; Do this, as often as you shall drink it, in remembrance of me.


The Oblation
WHEREFORE, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of your dearly beloved Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, we, your humble servants, do celebrate and make here before your Divine Majesty, with these your holy gifts, which we now offer unto you, the memorial your Son commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto you most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.


The Invocation
AND we most humbly implore you, O merciful Father, to hear us; and, of your almighty goodness bless and sanctify, with your Word and Holy Spirit, these your gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.
AND we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly imploring you to grant that, by the merits and death of your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and all your whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer and present unto you, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto you; humbly imploring you, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of your Son Jesus Christ, be filled with your grace and heavenly blessing, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him. And although we are unworthy, through our many sins, to offer unto you any sacrifice; yet we implore you to accept this our honour-bound duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be unto you, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.


Presbyter. And now as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray,

OUR Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

¶ Or this.
OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed by thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

¶ Then shall the Presbyter, kneeling down at the Lord's Table, say, in the name of all those who shall receive the Communion, this Prayer following.
WE do not presume to come to this your Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your many and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your Table. But you are the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.
¶ A Hymn may be sung while the bread and wine are distributed.

¶ The Presbyter shall receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to administer the Bread and Wine to the Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons, in the same way, and after that to the people, placing it in their hands as they devoutly kneel. Sufficient time shall be given for all to communicate. The Presbyter shall distribute the Bread saying,

THE body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.

¶ And the Minister administering the Cup shall say,

The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve your body and soul to everlasting life. Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you and be thankful.

¶ If the consecrated Bread or Wine be spent before all have communicated, the Presbyter is to consecrate more, according to the Form before prescribed; beginning at, All glory be to thee, Almighty God, and ending with these words, partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.¶ When an have communicated, the Presbyter shall return to the Lord's Table, and reverently place upon it what remains of the consecrated Elements, covering the same with a fair linen cloth.¶ Then the following is said by the Presbyter, or by the Presbyter and the people together,

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we heartily thank you for feeding us, who have received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and by that feeding, assuring us of your favour and goodness towards us, and that we are true members of the mystical body of your Son, the blessed company of all faithful people, and are also heirs, through hope, of your everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of your dear Son. And we humbly implore you, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with your grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as you have prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

¶ Then the GLORIA IN EXCELSIS or another appropriate Hymn shall be sung, all standing.

¶ And note that alternately the Gloria may be sung immediately after the Kyrie Eleison.

GLORY to God in the highest, and peace and goodwill to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you who are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

¶ Or this.

GLORY be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.
For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

¶ As the people kneel, the Presbyter, or Bishop if he is present, shall give this BLESSING.

THE peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.

¶ A Hymn may be sung.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A reflection on communion cups. . .






Being from the Methodist tradition, with relatives in the Lutheran tradition, I'm very familiar with the practice of using the small individual cups in the serving of the Communion elements. Also, when celebrating a Sunday Eucharist at a nursing home I was requested to use individual cups in delivering the elements; I complied (using my chalice and paten for the consecration and laying my hand on the tray with the individual cups per the rubrics where it states the the priest is to lay his hand on every vessel to be consecrated), while I know this is not the preferred method for most in the Anglican tradition. Indeed, one priest just out of seminary informed me that anyone who would allow this practice, the use of the small individual cups, is obviously un-Christian--his exact words were "anti-Christ."
I inquired as to why he thought this was so. His response was clear: such a practice destroys the symbolism of sharing the one Cup of the Blood of Christ, per the First Epistle of Saint Paul to the Church at Corinth. Where is the unity in Christ symbolized if each person has their own tiny cup? Also, the rubrics mention that the priest is to take the cup (not cups) into his hands during the consecration. I agreed with him, this is true. But I also asked if he had seen celebrations of the Eucharist where more than one chalice was used. He said yes, he had. I asked what the essential difference was between using one chalice, two chalices, or let's say one small chalice for each person. All destroy the symbolism he seeks. He didn't have an answer. I agreed that the use of the small cups is not ideal, but in some circumstances where it is employed (such as where it is requested in a nursing home) it does not render the sacrament in any way invalid.
Also, it must be noted that the same manner of argument used for the individual cups is used by most who desire to use wafers as the bread in the Eucharist. While the priest mentioned above had an obvious dislike of the small cups for destroying the symbolism of the one Cup, he was blind to the fact that the use of individual pieces of bread destroys the symbolism of the one Bread in the exact same manner. The loaf is not broken with each person receiving a piece; each is separate, just as the small glasses of wine are separate. The logic of protesting against one can be employed just as quickly and validly against the other. Ideally, for each celebration of the Holy Eucharist there should be one Bread and one Cup: the great Anglo-Catholic theologian Bishop Gore argued similarly. Of course, convenience has long been an argument for the use of wafer bread; it is easy to distribute and store as the reserved sacrament. If convenience is the most pressing argument for wafer bread, I can't see how this argument cannot also be used in favor of individual cups. Some things are far from the ideal, such as the use of the little cups and the tiny pieces of bread (also, there is nothing more "Catholic" in using a round wafer and somehow more "Protestant" in using square pieces of bread), but neither invalidates the sacrament. They just take away from the outward symbolism. . .

Monday, September 10, 2007

An ordination to the priesthood. . .

A very nice slide show from Saint Thomas of Canterbury Church in Houston, Texas.



Sunday, September 09, 2007

A little levity. . .

Have you heard of Methodist transubstantiation?

It's when they turn wine into grape juice.

(Having grown up in the Methodist tradition--I still have a bust of John Wesley in my study--I found this pretty darned funny).
A little clarification on "magic touch" theology

In the essay reproduced below Dean Crenshaw rejects "magic touch" theology. One reader ignores the main point of the essay, that modern protestantism has ". . .gone to the other extreme—we don’t want church at all, or we’ll make up our own version."

The thesis of the whole essay is summed up in the concluding paragraph: "With Rome, you can only have access to the Cross through the Church, which promotes their legalism. With modern day Protestantism, you can have the Cross apart from the Church, which is license. With Anglicanism you have the Cross in the context of the Church, which is balance." Remember that Rome has allowed herself to introduce new doctrines as "necessary to salvation." How has she claimed to the "right" to do this? Because the authority of someone touched by someone touched by someone else who was touched by Saint Peter is presumed to give them the right to create new doctrines unheard of in the first thousand years of the Church (please see the Old Catholic theses for details).

A similar statement is made by Archbishop Haverland of the Anglican Catholic Church: "Mere maintenance of a mere outward or tactile line of succession does not by itself maintain catholicity: the faith and worship of the Church also must be maintained.” This sounds like a rejection of "magic touch" theology just as much as Dean Crenshaw's comments.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Genius of Anglicanism

by the Very Rev Dr Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.
Dean, Cranmer House
(from the official blog of Cranmer House: http://cranmerhouse.blogspot.com/)
Over the centuries the Church has struggled with primarily three heresies: Arianism (denying the deity of Christ), Gnosticism (separating the spiritual from the physical), and legalism (that one can earn his salvation). The irony is that the other side of the coin to legalism is license, that one can live like the devil and still go to heaven when he dies. I would like to consider legalism and license.
During the time of the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church was selling indulgences, people literally paying for their sins in advance so they could enjoy them later, which is the flip side to legalism, a license to sin. Thus legalism implies license. It works like this: if one can earn his salvation (legalism), that puts him in charge of grace, and makes God his debtor. If he is in charge, he can refuse His grace and still claim to be a Christian (license).

The Protestant Reformation brought the Church back to a reasonable position from the legalism and the license of Rome. Statement after statement by the Reformers made it clear that one could not earn his salvation (contrary to legalism), but that faith without works was dead (contrary to license).

For example, in 1538 Cranmer said: [We] are yet not justified on account of any worth or merit of penitence or other works or merits of [our] own, but freely by faith on account of Christ when we
believe. . . .

But then a few lines later he also added:For good works are necessary to salvation, not because they justify the ungodly, nor because they are a price paid for sin, or a cause of justification; but because it is necessary that one who is already justified by faith and reconciled to God through Christ, should strive to do God’s will. . . .

There is the balance. We are justified by faith in Christ apart from works, but the faith that justifies is living faith that necessarily produces works (James 2:14ff; 1 John 2:3-4). So what is the problem? The problem is that legalism and license are still with us. Rome still has its problems with legalism and license, but so now does Protestantism. The Protestant revival fire of the 1500s that brought the Church back in line now needs to be brought back in line itself. We are selling grace as seen in the emerging church movement, as seen in the entertainment models for salvation, in the smorgasbord approach to Church where the “consumer” will pick and choose what he likes—not what is biblical.

Here in Houston we have several mega-churches that advertise their entertainment services each week. One has a stage play each Sunday, sometimes with motorcycles jumping on stage, another time with cars smashing into one another. Another mega-church has a large globe behind the preacher that gradually turns with not a cross in sight. Thus the symbolism is that the cross has been replaced with the world. I’ve never heard the preacher preach on sin or the cross. The slogan is “Find the champion in you,” not in God. Other churches have contemporary worship where the consumer, not God, is the center. In each case, the emphasis is on us humans and what we like, not on God and what He requires.

So am I just being mean spirited? They have large churches and we don’t, so I have to find something wrong with them? That is not the problem. If they were preaching the Gospel, I would rejoice, but one perhaps occasionally preaches the Gospel and the other one has announced that it will preach on sin, but will affirm the people. So how does all this connect with legalism and license?Listen to the preaching from these mega-churches and what do you hear? It is not about God and His majesty and sovereignty. It is not about sin, the Ten Commandments, and judgment. It is not about Christ and His death on the Cross for our sins. It is five steps to financial success. It is six steps to have a good relationship with your wife. It is how to eat right and be healthy (not kidding). In other words, besides being man-centered, it is “You do this and you’ll be blessed,” which is legalism. It is putting “ought” as the way to “is,” making performance the way to grace. This is not the way of the Cross.Since it is a smorgasbord approach, the Christian is taught that it does not matter where he attends, what services are important, or whether he even joins a church or not, but that whatever he does, God smiles and all is well (license with a vengeance).

Moreover, we also have the mish-mash approach to theology, with more and more people playing down any real theology. Just believe what you want. This is especially true in the emerging church approach. Are churches today Trinitarian? Who knows. Are they Incarnational? It is difficult to tell. Even otherwise conservative scholars are falling prey to kenosis theology, which teaches that Jesus did not know who He was until later in His ministry, if even then. Thus we have a gradual incarnation, or no incarnation. Then we have the increasingly popular universalism movement, with some following Barth, which is the ultimate license view: if all are going to heaven, eat, drink, be merry, make light of God’s sexual morals, live like the devil, for tomorrow we die and we all go to heaven. (A society that forgets hell goes there.)

So where does Anglicanism come into all this? If by Anglicanism we mean the historic Anglicanism, the one committed to the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the old Reformation Anglicanism, then it is just what is needed in today’s horrible Christian milieu. This Anglicanism has a balance between the Cross and the Church. By emphasizing the Cross, it maintains that our relationship with God is not by our merits, not by our righteousness, but by the righteousness of Christ. On the altars of just about all Anglican churches is a cross, the center of our worship, the way we approach God, the mediation between us and God, our only hope in life and in death, the ultimate symbol pointing to the unconditional love of God for His people. It is the constant reminder that we do not earn grace, that we are sinners without hope, which is why the Son of God had to come, and it is God’s way of telling us not only that sin is real but that it is so awful that it took the death of His Son to save us. If the Cross is the not the center of worship and in our lives, we will necessarily fall into legalism, seeking to please God our way. The return of the doctrine of the Cross, with its emphasis on substitutionary atonement, was one of the great benefits of the Reformation, and especially of Anglicanism. (For one of the best books I’ve ever read, get The Cross of Christ, by John Stott, an Anglican scholar and minister.)
But the second pillar of true Anglicanism is an equal emphasis on the doctrine of the Church. By that we don’t mean some so-called rapture, but the importance of being part of a visible, local church that teaches the Word and administers the Sacraments. With regular oversight and with regular attendance to receive the Word and Sacrament, the Church should guard us from license, thinking we can live just any way we please. No one is so righteous as to be without some human authority over him, and God has given that human authority in the Church.And Protestantism has lost its original fervor for the Church, and has now gone to the other extreme from Rome: We don’t need any church. We’ll just choose what we like, and do as we like. We think that any strong doctrine of authority in visible churches is Roman Catholic, which allegedly means that we can only go to God through human priests. That is not Anglicanism or Protestantism. Anglicanism (and Protestantism) eliminated the doctrine of the magic touch: if you’ve been touched by someone who has been touched by someone who has been touched by an Apostle, you have received grace. But now we’ve gone to the other extreme—we don’t want church at all, or we’ll make up our own version. Church is an add-on to our faith, but only if it’s convenient, if we don’t have a hunting or fishing trip planned, if the kids don’t have sports events to attend, or if company has not come in from out of town.

We forget that it was John Calvin himself, that great Protestant reformer in Geneva, who echoed St. Cyprian's assertion that we should not call God our Father if the Church is not our mother (Institutes, 4.1.4.). That is true Protestantism. It was Puritanism, in reaction to English Anglicanism, that did not want a strong doctrine of the Church. Thus they emphasized individualism when they settled this country. At first they were a wonderful and godly people, but in time their individualism has become part of the reason we have inherited such a smorgasbord approach to worship today and to egalitarianism in our culture.
Again, Anglicanism has a striking balance: in our Books of Common Prayer, we have strong Trinitarian theology, strong doctrine of the Incarnation of God the Son, and the Cross is at the center. Sin also is at the heart of our theology as we confess our sins to God looking to the Cross for forgiveness. This protects us from legalism.
But Anglicanism also has strong worship with a healthy emphasis on Word and Sacrament. It sees itself as under the great Head of the Church, that its ministers are specially called by Christ and given to His Church to protect it from heresy and to help people in the Christian life (Eph 4:11-16). Christ’s own authority is in His Church; thus we must do things His way. A pastor is also guardian over the souls of those in his care. This protects us from license.
Perhaps an example will help us to understand this. In some circles, the Cross is rightly held up as the great cure for our sins, the only cure. But then the people are taught things like “you aren’t saved because you are in the Church, but you’re in the Church because you are saved.” In this mindset, the Cross is only for individuals, not for the corporate Church. It is only the individual who decides what his state before God is, and the Church is made irrelevant. This tells the individual that he does not have to come to worship and does not have to keep the commandments of God as the necessary evidence of his salvation (contrary to 1 John 2:3-4). It also tells the individual that what one does in worship does not matter, for the Church is irrelevant to his salvation. In other words, salvation is put completely outside the context of the Church.
Here is another example. I know a very sweet Christian lady who has been baptized three times because two times she decided (not the Church) that she had not really meant it when she said she believed in Jesus. On the contrary, it is not we who decide to join Christ’s Church, but it is He who decides to join us through His ordained and appointed ministers. And once we have received the sign of entrance, we must never receive it again, for baptism does not belong to the individual but to Christ. The first time she was baptized Christ was serious, and thus she never needs it again. If she is in control of her Christian life, then an option is license, using the Church and sacraments according to her rules, not Christ’s rules, or no Church at all. We have the smorgasbord approach again.

The genius of Anglicanism is that the Cross and the Church complement one another. On the one hand, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ where He died for our sins guards us from legalism, from thinking we can earn our way into God’s favor. On the other hand, the Church is Christ’s gracious institution to keep us in line, where the means of grace are administered to His people. The two go together, for the Church should lead us to God via the Cross, and the Cross should lead us back to the Church. We must not think of these as separate.
With Rome, you can only have access to the Cross through the Church, which promotes their legalism. With modern day Protestantism, you can have the Cross apart from the Church, which is license. With Anglicanism you have the Cross in the context of the Church, which is balance.

Amen.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Old Catholic Theses: A rather Anglican document, don't you think?

THE FOURTEEN THESES OF THE
OLD CATHOLIC UNION CONFERENCE AT BONN
SEPTEMBER 14-16, 1874

I. We agree that the apocryphal or deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament are not of the same canonicity as the books contained in the Hebrew Canon.

II. We agree that no translation of Holy Scripture can claim an authority superior to that of the original text.

III. We agree that the reading of Holy Scripture in the vulgar tongue cannot be lawfully forbidden.

IV. We agree that, in general, it is more fitting, and in accordance with the spirit of the Church, that the Liturgy should be in the tongue understood by the people.

V. We agree that Faith working by Love, not Faith without Love, is the means and condition of Man's justification before God.

VI. Salvation cannot be merited by "merit of condignity," because there is no proportion between the infinite worth of salvation promised by God and the finite worth of man's works.

VII. We agree that the doctrine of "opera supererogationis" and of a "thesaurus meritorium sanctorum," i.e., that the overflowing merits of the Saints can be transferred to others, either by the rulers of the Church, or by the authors of the good works themselves, is untenable.

VIII. 1. We acknowledge that the number of sacraments was fixed at seven, first in the twelfth century, and then was received into the general teaching of the Church, not as a tradition coming down from the Apostles or from the earliest of times, but as the result of theological speculation.

2. Catholic theologians acknowledge, and we acknowledge with them, that Baptism and the Eucharist are "principalia, praecipus, eximia salutis nostrae sacramenta."

IX. 1. The Holy Scriptures being recognized as the primary rule of Faith, we agree that the genuine tradition, i.e. the unbroken transmission partly oral, partly in writing of the doctrine delivered by Christ and the Apostles is an authoritative source of teaching for all successive generations of Christians. This tradition is partly to be found in the consensus of the great ecclesiastical bodies standing in historical continuity with the primitive Church, partly to be gathered by scientific method from the written documents of all centuries.

2. We acknowledge that the Church of England; and the Churches derived through her, have maintained unbroken the Episcopal succession.

X. We reject the new Roman doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as being contrary to the tradition of the first thirteen centuries, according to which Christ alone is conceived without sin.

XI. We agree that the practice of confession of sins before the congregation or a Priest, together with the exercise of the power of the keys, has come down to us from the primitive Church, and that, purged from abuses and free from constraint, it should be preserved in the Church.

XII. We agree that "indulgences" can only refer to penalties actually imposed by the Church herself.

XIII. We acknowledge that the practice of the commemoration of the faithful departed, i.e. the calling down of a richer outpouring of Christ's grace upon them, has come down to us from the primitive Church, and is to be preserved in the Church.

XIV. 1. The Eucharistic celebration in the Church is not a continuous repetition or renewal of the propitiatory sacrifice offered once forever by Christ upon the cross; but its sacrificial character consists in this, that it is the permanent memorial of it, and a representation and presentation on earth of that one oblation of Christ for the salvation of redeemed mankind, which according to the Epistle to the Hebrews (9:11,12), is continuously presented in heaven by Christ, who now appears in the presence of God for us (9:24).

2. While this is the character of the Eucharist in reference to the sacrifice of Christ, it is also a sacred feast, wherein the faithful, receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord, have communion one with another (I Cor. 10:17).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Anglicanism: Catholic or Protestant?

Last week parts of the Anglican world were shaken slightly by the publication of an article purported to be by the Rev. Dr. J. I. Packer, a prominent Anglican theologian and supporter of many traditional Anglican causes. The title of the article was "Anglicanism: Protestant or Catholic?" The article was not by Packer and was fairly simplistic in its analysis of the question. However, some valid points were made about the use of the various Missals within Anglicanism. Numerous Anglo-Catholic authors (Bishop Gore and C.B. Moss among them) have made the same point: The only true Missal of the Church of England is the Book of Common Prayer.

The pseudo-Packer article's main point, that Anglicanism is wholly "protestant" is, as I said, extremely simplistic. However, so too is the contention among some that the term "protestant" doesn't even apply to Anglicanism. If asked if we Anglicans are Protestant or Catholic some will say: "We are Catholic, but not Roman--we are not Protestants." This is simplistic and historically erroneous, and any layperson with an interest in reading would soon find very Catholic sounding Churchmen of the 16th and 17th centuries embracing the term Protestant. But my rector said it wasn't so! What to make of it then? Is we are using today's terminology perhaps "Protestant" isn't wholly accurate, but neither would be the use of the term "Catholic," for in today's use of the term this means Roman. Many Anglicans are happy to explain the historic and correct use of the term "Catholic" but do not wish to do so with the term "Protestant." This is a selective use of logic--if the historic usage of one term is explained the other term ought to be likewise explained. "You see, you misunderstand the term Catholic dear friend. . ." The follow up should be they also misunderstand the historic use of the term Protestant.

How do the Anglican divines use the terms? It is shocking to many that the terms are used together: Protestant Catholic, Reformed Catholic, etc. Again, as I say so often quoting Bishop Cosins: "Protestant and Reformed according to the principles of the ancient Catholic Church." What does this mean? Well, it should be clear to most. The English Reformation was built upon removing erroneous beliefs and practices (the Mass not in the vernacular, the Bible not in the vernacular, Purgatory, indulgences, transubstantiation, doctrines about the excess merits of the saints, etc). All needed to be stripped away--reformation was needed, and the Church of England protested against the errors of the Roman Church.

To put it more concisely: "At the Reformation the Church of England became protestant in order to become more truly and perfectly Catholic." William Van Mildert, Bishop of Durham 1826-36.

Let me turn to the good Father Moss for a fuller explanation (from Answer Me This):
"Remember, “Catholic” means universal. Strictly speaking, only those doctrines and practices are Catholic which have always been believed and used in all parts of the Church. More loosely, the word is applied to practices and traditions (such as the observance of Christmas Day or the use of special dress by the clergy) which have a long continuous history and are universally accepted, even though they do not go back to apostolic times. The word also implies “orthodoxy,” holding the right faith and worshiping God in the right manner as required by the Church."

In answer to the question: Is the Anglican Church Catholic or Protestant? Moss replies
"Both; it is Catholic positively and Protestant negatively. It is Catholic in its essential nature because it maintains the Catholic and apostolic faith and order. It is Protestant, in the old sense, negatively because it rejects the papal claims to supremacy, infallibility, and universal jurisdiction, and the decrees of the Councils of Trent and the Vatican."

When one is confused as to the use of these terms, they ought to be clearly explained. Some will argue (as Moss actually does) that the term Protestant has changed so much that we should omit its use all together (many Lutherans argue likewise, in that the old use of the term Protestant only referred to Anglicans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians; since now it refers so loosely to almost anyone it is meaningless). However, the same could be said of the term "Catholic," since almost everyone means Roman when they say "Catholic." In my opinion we should follow the language of the Anglican divines, using both terms correctly and explaining the meaning in a clear manner to avoid confusion.

Is Anglicanism Protestant or Catholic? It is both, in the best sense of both terms.

Monday, August 20, 2007


A Reflection on the Roman theology of the Holy Eucharist

by

Bishop Charles Gore, D.D.

THE THEOLOGICAL BEARINGS OF CERTAIN EXTRA-LITURGICAL USES OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

IT is the doctrine of the Church, based on the teaching of the New Testament, that Christ is present in us. And the word "Christ" signifies the Eternal Son of God as incarnate. When we say that Christ is present in us we mean something more than that He is present in us as God, Who is present everywhere; and something more than that He is present in us by the gift of His Spirit. We mean that He is present in us also in respect of His sacred and glorified humanity. The same idea is suggested by our Lord's simile of the vine and the branches and by St. Paul's simile of the Head and its members. The incarnate Lord and His people cohere in one organism, one order or system of life. The incarnate person includes His people: "Totus Christus caput et membra." It is, no doubt, the doctrine of the Church that the humanity of our Lord is not omnipresent. It is "circumscribed." So the Second Council of Nicæa defined: "If any one do not confess that Christ our God is circumscribed in respect of His manhood, let him be anathema." But in His body the Church, and in every member of it, the presence of Christ means His presence in manhood as well as in Godhead.

The most cogent ground of this conviction is to be found in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Christ had taught His disciples that they could only have eternal life through eating the flesh of the Son of man and drinking His blood, and so abiding in Him, as He in them (St. John vi. 53, 56); and no words could express more vividly participation in His humanity. Thus were they prepared in a measure for the institution of the Holy Sacrament, when He pronounced the bread to be His body and the wine to be His blood, and bade them eat and drink. These words "body" and " blood" must certainly mean His humanity. So the Church has believed that Christ is present in that Blessed Sacrament according to His humanity; and that by receiving His body or blood, under the humble form of bread or wine, they receive Him, the incarnate person, Who comes to dwell in them by an abiding union, mingling His humanity with theirs. It is thus that the Church is "the extension of the Incarnation," and the Holy Sacrament is the chief instrument of this extension. It is true that we are to receive the Blessed Sacrament again and again. In this way the method of the Divine bestowal is adapted to our human need for reiteration. But the purpose of the reiterated bestowal is that the gift of the inward presence may be perpetual in us: that He may dwell or abide in us, and we in Him.

This doctrine of the permanent presence of Christ in us in respect of His humanity, and of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar as the special instrument by which this inward presence is effected, has been the common Catholic doctrine.

I will only quote two clear passages from St. Cyril of Alexandria: "But as the body of the Lord Himself is life-giving, since He has made it His own by a real union, which passes understanding and utterance, so we also who become partakers of His sacred flesh and blood are by all means (panth kai pantwV) endued with life, since the Word abides in us in the way of deity by the Holy Ghost, and in the way of humanity by His sacred flesh and precious blood" (" Adv. Nest.," iv. 5; "P. G.," lxxvi. 193 B.). And, again, in words that we should perhaps shrink from using, as they have a materialistic sound, but which are at least clear: "Do not wonder at this, nor say to yourself like the Jews, 'How can this be?' Consider rather that water is cold by nature, but when it is poured into the vessel and set upon the fire, it almost forgets its own proper nature and passes over into the energy of the fire which has overcome it. So also we, even if we are corruptible by the nature of the flesh, yet by the mixture in us of the true life lose our own weakness and are transformed into what belongs to it, that is the Life. For it was needful, indeed it was needful, that not only our soul should be recreated into newness of life by the Holy Spirit, but also this dense and earthly body should be sanctified through partaking in something denser and akin to itself [that is, the flesh and blood of Christ] and so summoned to incorruption" ("In Jo. Evan.," lib. iv. 5; "P. G.," Ixxiii. 580 A.). I quote only these two passages; but Thomassin will supply any student with abundance of quotations both from Greek and Latin Fathers to the same effect. [See "Theol. Dogm.": "De Inc. Verbi Dei," lib. x. capp. 21, 22 (Paris, 1868, tom. iv. pp. 390 ff.).] There is no mistaking the insistence of the Fathers, both Eastern and Western, on the indwelling of Christ in us in respect of His manhood, on the permanence of this indwelling, and on the function of the Holy Eucharist in bringing it about. Thomassin summarizes his multitudinous quotations: "Physice et substantive per eucharistiam carni Christi copulatur et concorporatur Ecclesia." In whatever sense Christ is present "bodily" (in His humanity) in the Eucharist, in that sense and no other He is, according to the Fathers, present in us who receive Him; and that for the permanent cleansing, strengthening, and refreshing of our whole nature, body and soul, with His whole human nature, seeing that by assuming human nature He infused into it Divine and recreative virtue. That is the consentient doctrine of the Fathers. And the doctrine maintains itself in the East to the present day. I have had occasion to read a late Greek mystical writer, Nicholas Cabasilas, who was Bishop of Thessalonica about A.D. 1350 (Migne, "P. G.," cl.), and I found his treatise, "De Vita in Christo," full of emphasis upon our union through the Eucharist with the glorified manhood of Christ, by a coalescence or mixture, soul with soul, flesh with flesh, blood with blood, a coalescence "closer than any physical union." That would be the doctrine of the Greeks and Russians to the present day. [See Khomiakoff in Birkbeck's "Russia and the English Church" (London, 1895), vol. i. pp. 207, 208.] In the Roman Communion Thomassin, writing at the end of the seventeenth century, seems to be full of an unhesitating enthusiasm for it. But this, as will be seen, appears to be exceptional. Among our own theologians since the Reformation, Hooker adheres to it ("Eccl. Pol.," v. 55.9, 56. 9); William Law, in many of his writings, is full of it. Among the writers of the Oxford Movement, Pusey frequently affirms it, and it is a leading thought of Robert Wilberforce's works, "On the Incarnation," and especially "On the Holy Eucharist." Fr. Benson often affirms it. Dr. Moule, the present Bishop of Durham, though he is not speaking specially of the Holy Eucharist, is emphatic that the characteristic function of the Holy Spirit is to "effect an influx into the regenerated man of the blessed virtues of the nature of the second Adam, an infusion of the exalted life of Jesus Christ, through an open duct, living and divine, into the man who is born again into Him the incarnate and glorified Son of God."' Finally, Dr. Weston, the Bishop of Zanzibar, makes it a special point of his recent book, "The Fulness of Christ," that the essence of the Church is the manhood of Jesus, in which all His faithful members permanently live: that it is the manhood of Jesus which is the substance of the Eucharist: "By faith we meet Christ's humanity in the sacrament and feed upon it" (p. 273), and so "the very substance of Christ's humanity is in them [communicants] to become one with the substance of theirs" (p. 102).

I am very well aware that this great thought does not admit of intellectual analysis. We cannot explain the process by which Christ's God-united manhood is made present in the Eucharist or is communicated to us. But the same thing is true, I think, of life at every stage. We cannot analyze the mystery. All that I am now concerned to do is to affirm that nothing less than this has been the doctrine of the Church, and nothing less than this is really required by the language of Christ.

I know that some among the Fathers (as St. Cyril, in a passage quoted above) use language which has a materialistic sound, and I should desire earnestly to maintain that the substance of Christ's manhood is "given, taken, and eaten, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner." But the more unguarded expressions of some of the Fathers serve at least to emphasize what they teach about the manhood of Christ being really communicated to us.

I know, on the other hand, that there are passages in the Fathers and other great theologians which can be quoted as implying or asserting that all which distinguishes the Christian is the gift of the Divine Spirit: but the doctrine which I have described above constitutes the main stream. And I am emphasizing it, at this moment, because it seems to me that this doctrine, really; apprehended and suffered to possess us, effectually tends to check the desire for a shrine of the sacred humanity, external to ourselves, the tabernacle or the monstrance, where we can adore Jesus Christ in His manhood and hold, as it were, external interim course with Him. If I believe that He in His manhood is within me, as near to me as I am to myself, and that I can within the tabernacle of my own heart hold closest intercourse with Him in His glorified manhood, I shall indeed entertain the deepest reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, which is the instrument of this indwelling, and adore Him who is there present, and I shall receive, as often as I may, by Holy Communion, the sacred presence within me; but it seems to me almost impossible that, when I hold Him within me and am permanently joined to Him in His manhood, I should passionately desire the opportunity of greeting Him in the tabernacle under conditions in which He is obviously further from me and external to me, while at the same time I cannot see Him or hear Him as the first disciples could, "in the flesh." The closer and more intimate union with Christ within me must surely throw into the shade the external and more remote access. So it has seemed to me. So I have found it, if I may refer to that, in my own experience. I did as a youth passionately love the worship of our Lord in the tabernacle, though I was mostly debarred from it. But since, forty years ago, I read Wilberforce and was led to follow up his train of thought, I have found that the thought of our constant and inward union with Christ, in His manhood as in His Godhead, absorbs the desire for the merely external "visit": and that all the more because this deeper and more intimate union is what the New Testament proclaims as the privilege of the Christian since Pentecost, for the sake of which it was worth while for the Apostles to lose all the lower and lesser privilege of external companionship with Christ, even though that carried with it the hearing of His words, the witnessing of His acts, and the looking up into His face.

And later I made another discovery. That is, that the Roman Church, which alone has sanctioned the extra-liturgical devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, has, by the consequences of its own special doctrine of transubstantiation, cut at the root of the really Catholic doctrine of the presence of Christ in respect of His manhood within the believer. [As to the adherence of the East to the doctrine of transubstantiation, Khomiakoff says, in the passage quoted above, "She [the Church] does not reject the word 'transubstantiation,' but she does not assign to it that material meaning which is assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away." Thus it has not had any effect upon Eastern Church theology such as we can trace in the West.] Christ is, according to the Roman Catholic theologians, in His manhood locally in heaven and, supralocally, in the Host on earth. Receiving the Blessed Sacrament, the communicant has Him within himself. But not for a permanent spiritual presence, only for a few minutes, as a visitor. The ancient, really Catholic, doctrine of the Eucharist, admitting as it does that the outward and visible elements of bread and wine remain in their natural substances after the eucharistic consecration, leaves them to go their natural way into the physical system, while the spiritual realities, the body and blood of Christ, of which they are the vehicle, go their spiritual way into the soul of the receiver, and so into his whole nature. But according to the Roman doctrine the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood. There remain only the body and blood under the outward species or appearances of bread and wine. And this only for a few minutes after the Sacrament has been received by a communicant. As soon as the process of digestion begins, a re-conversion takes place. The heavenly things, the body and blood, are no longer there. There is only bread, or bread and wine, in process of digestion. "For when," says Perrone, "the species have reached the point at which the body or material should be dissolved or corrupted, the real presence of the body of Christ ceases, and God by His omnipotence again produces a material substance of bread or wine in that state in which it would naturally be found if no conversion had preceded." [J. Perrone, S.J., "Prælect. Theol." (Turin, 1866): ''De Eucharistia," § 151, vol. viii. p. 146.]

It is painful to mention this doctrine. In the second edition of "Dissertations" I expressed regret that no Roman Catholic reviewer of my book had contradicted it. In a recent treatise, "De Sanctissima Eucharistia," in which Dr. Coghlan has done me the honour of replying to my dissertation, he confirms it, though I do not think that he states my own teaching truly. It is worth while attending to his explanation.

We Anglicans are in the habit of speaking of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist under the terms "the outward sign" (signum) "the inward reality" (res), and "the spiritual effect" (virtus). Where exactly the collocation of these three terms comes from I do not know. They are excellent. But they are not the Roman terms. From Peter Lombard [See "Sentences," lib. iv. dist. B. This phraseology comes from his attempt to adhere to the words of Jerome and Augustine when he is not adhering to their meaning.] the Roman theologians have derived the terms sacramentum tantum, sacramentum simul et res, and res tantum. The "sacrament taken by itself" is the species. The "sacrament and reality" is the true body and blood of Christ under the species of bread and wine. The "reality taken by itself" (the res tantum) is the effect of the sacrament, what we call the virtus, which Fr. Coghlan says is "commonly said to be incorporation into the mystical body." Now of these, the second (sacramentum et res), he says, remains only so long as the species remain uncorrupt. There is nothing permanent except the res tantum, or effect, which is commonly described as "incorporation in the mystical body." What is this effect? Is it that glorious or rich effect which I have been trying to describe in the earlier part of this paper? that is, the permanent infusion of the sacred manhood of Christ, God-united, into the soul and so into the whole nature of the communicant? No. Many of us must have been struck with the meagre and embarrassed appearance of the statement of the effects of the Blessed Sacrament in the later Westerns. The great ancient phrases that are used appear to be explained away. Because, in fact, the ground on which they stand has been cut away. There is no permanent presence within us of the sacred humanity. This is, I believe, the universally accepted doctrine of the Roman Church. I make a point of it because it has this consequence: except for a visit of a few minutes, Christ is not within us in respect of His humanity, only in respect of His Godhead. The manhood of Christ is to be found only in heaven and in the Host. I am, indeed, by His Spirit inwardly joined to Christ, so as to be (so to speak) of one organism with Him. But in respect of His manhood He is external to me, not within me.
It was some twenty years ago that I seemed to myself to discover that the Roman Church has really abandoned the Catholic doctrine of the permanent presence within men, His members, of Christ in His manhood. Recently I asked the most competent theologian known to me among English Roman Catholics of undisputed orthodoxy in their Communion, [Fr. Rickaby, S.J.] and he writes to me in answer to my question:

"Christ, as man, thinks of, knows, and loves all His faithful, and in this sense is present with them. But men seek for more than this. It cannot be denied that local inclusion or juxtaposition adds much to presence. Indeed, a body cannot be otherwise than bodily present, that is, locally (in the Sacrament the body of Christ becomes referable to place, not in itself, but by the elements). Can we predicate a continued bodily presence of Christ's humanity in every man in the state of grace? I do not know of any formal decision of the Church in the matter, but theologians, I believe, would be unanimous in answering in the negative." "The gift, which indwells in the faithful in grace, is not of the sacred humanity of Christ, but the Holy Ghost." "Not that the sacred humanity indwells them, but they live in conjunction with it," that is, through the possession of the Holy Spirit. [Fr. Rickaby holds that the Eucharist brings with it "a fuller outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the soul of the communicant." But what ground have we for attributing this particular effect to Holy Communion? Not so did the Fathers interpret St. John vi. Some Roman Catholic writers have supposed an indwelling of the soul of Christ in us (see Dalgairns, "Holy Communion"). But what ground is there for such an idea in Scripture or tradition? Roman Catholic writers (e.g. Fr. Coghlan, pp. 354 ff.) do not seem to me to be able to attribute to Holy Communion the enrichment of our nature by any permanent and definite gift communicated to us therein, now that they have abandoned the really Catholic doctrine that we "eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood" for the permanent inward strengthening and refreshing of our whole nature by His God-united manhood. I am sure that this point needs to be followed out. St. Thomas ("Summa," pars 33, qu. 79, art. 4) teaches that the "res huius sacramenti est charitas, non solum quantum ad habitum sed etiam quantum ad actum, qui excitatur in hoc sacramento." But this is a merely subjective effect, such as Zwinglians would speak of].

There is a great effort being made to introduce and maintain among us the use of the worship of Christ in the tabernacle or the monstrance. There are, it seems to me, cogent reasons of a practical kind against this. But I am not now talking of these. I cannot desire, even if I thought it were practicable, the familiarization of our people with this use. I believe the conservative instinct of the Eastern Church in this matter has been sound. It seems to me that the true, full doctrine of the inward presence of Christ in His people, by His manhood as well as His Godhead, renders it out of place: and that the use tends towards the denial of the doctrine. And thus, conversely, I find that the only part of the Church which has encouraged the use (the later Western Church of the Roman obedience) does, in fact, deny that doctrine of the inward presence of the Manhood in the Church and in all its members which is the rich heritage of real Catholicism. It denies it not formally as by a dogma of the Church, but really by the consent of theologians, so that it is not, I believe, permissible for Roman Catholic writers to affirm it. And I have written this because I desire to submit this theological consideration to those whose minds are occupied on the subject.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


The Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood

Richard Hooker

THE grace which we receive by means of the holy eucharist does not begin life, but continues it. Therefore, no one receives this sacrament before baptism because nothing dead can take nourishment. The thing that grows must be alive in order to grow, and if our bodies did not constantly waste away it would not be necessary to have food to restore them. Perhaps the grace of baptism would be sufficient for our eternal life if our spiritual being were not impaired each day af-ter our baptism. In the life to come, where neither body nor soul can decay, our souls will require this sacrament as little as our bodies will require physical nour-ishment. However, as long as the days of our warfare shall last, and as long as we are subject to decay and growth in grace, the words of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will remain true, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." [Jn. 6. 53.]

Life is the true end for man, and those who have received a new life through baptism are told what kind of food is necessary to continue that new life. Those who wish to live the life of God must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, because his flesh and blood are a part of the diet which we must have in order to live. In infancy we are incorporated into Christ by baptism, and receive the grace of his Spirit, and we receive it without knowing that we are re-ceiving it; but in the eucharist the gift is received in another way, because we know by grace what the grace is which God gives us. We see the stages of our growth in holiness and virtue, and we recognize their existence; and we know that the strength of our life begun in Christ is Christ. We realize that his flesh is meat and his blood is drink; and these things we do not merely imagine, but we really know. They are so truly known that by faith we taste of eternal life when we re-ceive the body and blood given to us in the sacrament. The grace of the sacrament is recognized as the food which we eat and drink.

Just after the feeding of the five thousand on the Sea of Tiberius, [Jn. 6. 25 ff.] the Disciples learned from Christ that his flesh and blood were the true source of eternal life, not because of the bare force of their own substance, but because of the dignity and worth of the Person who offered them and still offers them up as a sacrifice for the whole world. The Disciples also learned that the body and blood were a life for each particular man only by being received by him himself as an individual. They understood this much although they did not yet perfectly understand what was the consequence of such a doctrine, and they did not understand until they gathered together for no other reason which they could imagine except to eat that Passover which Moses had instituted.

Then, they saw their Lord and Master take the chosen elements of bread and wine in his hands, and, with eyes lifted to heaven, consecrate and bless them for the endless good of all generations till the world’s end. Thus, by virtue of his divine benediction, these elements were made forever the instruments of life, and thus the Disciples were the first who were commanded to receive them, and the first who were promised, if they duly administered them, that the bread and the wine would be the channels of life and the vehicles by which his body and blood would be brought to them, and this was a promise not only to them but to their successors.

All of this had happened, and they had heard him say, "Take, eat; this is my body; drink ye all of it; for this is my blood." [Mat. 26. 26–28.] Could they have done what he had told them to do, believed what he had promised, and experi-enced the results he had promised, and not have been filled with a kind of fearful admiration for that heaven which they saw within themselves? We are taught by their joy and comfort that this heavenly food is given for the satisfaction of our empty souls, and not for the exercise of our investigating and overly subtle minds.
If we have any doubt as to what is expressed by these admirable words, let that one be our teacher as to the meaning of Christ, to whom Christ himself was a schoolmaster. Let our Lord’s Apostle be his interpreter, and let us content our-selves with his explanation, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the com-munion of the body of Christ?" [1 Cor. 10. 16.] Is there anything clearer and easier than the fact that just as Christ is called our life because we obtained life through him, so the parts of this sacrament are called his body and blood because when we receive these elements we do receive the body and blood of Christ?

We say that the bread and the wine are his body and his blood because through their instrumentality we participate in his body and blood, and that is a valid assertion because we quite properly give the name of the effect to the cause which produces it, for the cause is in the result which grows out of that cause. Our souls and bodies receive eternal life, and this life in them has as its source and cause the Person of Christ, and his body and blood are the source from which this life flows. The influence of the heavens is in plants, animals and men, and in everything which they make alive; but the body and blood of Christ are in that com-municant to which they minister in a far more divine and mystical kind of union, a union which makes us one with him, even as he and the Father are one.

The real presence of Christ’s most blessed body and blood should not be sought for in the sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of it. The very order of our Savior’s words agrees with this interpretation of the meaning of the sacrament. First, he says, "Take, eat;" and only after that does he say, "This is my body." First, he says, "Drink ye all of it;" and only after that does he say, "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." [Mat. 26. 26–27.] It was only after the eating that the bread became the body of Christ; it was only after the drinking that the wine became his blood. The only interpretation that seems appropriate to these words of Christ is that which says that the bread is his body, and the cup is his blood only in the very heart and soul of the receiver, and that the sacramental elements themselves really exhibit, but do not really contain in themselves, that grace which it has pleased God to give us by means of them.

Everybody confesses that the grace of baptism is poured into the soul of man, and that although we receive it by means of water, it is neither located in the water, nor is the water changed into it. Why, then, should men think that the grace of the eucharist must be in the elements before that grace is in us who receive the sacrament?

The fruit of the eucharist is participation in the body and blood of Christ. There is not a single sentence in Holy Scripture that says we cannot be made partakers of his body and blood by means of this sacrament, unless the body and blood are contained in the elements or the elements converted in them. Christ’s words about his body and his blood are words of promise, for when he says, "This is my body," and "This is my blood," [Mat. 26. 26–27.] he promises us his body and his blood.

We all agree that Christ really and truly carries out his promise by means of the sacrament; but why do we trouble ourselves by such fierce contests about consubstantiation and the question whether the elements themselves contain Christ or not? Even if consubstantiation or transubstantiation are true, it does not benefit us, and if they are not true it does not handicap us. Our participation in Christ through the sacraments depends upon the cooperation of his omnipotent power, and that power makes the sacrament a means of creating his body and blood in us. Whether there is or is not such a change in the elements themselves, as some people imagine, need not make any great difference to us.

Let us, then, accept that in which we all agree, and then consider why the rest should not be considered superfluous rather than urged as necessary. In the first place, it is generally agreed that this sacrament is a real participation in Christ, and that by its means he imparts his full Person as the mystical head of every soul who receives him and thereby becomes a very member incorporate in his mystical body, which is the blessed company of all faithful people.
In the second place, it is also agreed that the communicant who receives the Person of Christ through the sacrament also receives the Holy Spirit who sanctifies the communicant as it sanctified Christ who is the head of all those who participate in him. In the third place, it is commonly held that whatever power or virtue there is in Christ’s sacrificed body and blood we freely and fully receive by this sacrament. In the fourth place, it is agreed that the result of the sacrament is a real transmutation of our souls and bodies from sin to righteousness, from death and corruption to immortality and life. In the fifth place, all believe that the sacramental elements are only corruptible and earthly things; therefore, they must seem to be an unlikely instrument to work out such admirable effects in man. For that reason, we must not rest our confidence in these elements themselves, but put our trust altogether in the strength of his glorious power, which he can and will give us. Through these his gifts and creatures of bread and wine, he will give that which he has promised to give us.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Anglican Books--good old fashioned classical Anglican books!--free for the taking!

If you're a priest, a seminarian, or just someone who is interested in what real Anglicanism looks like, you need these books. Included with these is the previously sited text by Father Moss, Answer Me This.

http://www.anglicanbooksrevitalized.us/

Thursday, August 16, 2007


More wisdom from the good Father Moss, Answer Me This, 1959


Chapter Seventeen – The Holy Communion

219. Is it correct to say that the Holy Spirit is with us always, but God the Son is found not only, but especially, in the consecrated elements, at the Holy Communion?
Yes, but you must not draw the distinction too sharply. Our Saviour said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world” (St. Matthew 28:20), and “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (St. Matthew 18:20). God the Holy Spirit is the Agent of Holy Communion (see St. John 16:14). We must not claim to understand fully the mystery of the Trinity or ignore the fact that God is One.
220. Does the Church believe that the bread and wine in the Holy Eucharist become the flesh and blood of Christ, or just that Christ is present?
They become the Body and Blood of Christ, but not in a local or material sense. “When the Sacrament is moved, the Body of Christ does not move” (John Henry Newman). It is a mystery which we cannot expect to understand. The bread and wine continue to have all the properties of bread and wine; but they are also much greater than bread and wine, as we know by experience.
221. Is Christ really present in the consecrated elements?
222. What is meant by the Real Presence?
Christ is really present in the consecrated elements, but the words “real” and “presence” may mean several different things. He is present to feed us with His life and to enable us to share in His offering of that life to the Father. In my opinion it is wiser to think in terms of power than of presence. The bread and wine are changed by the Holy Spirit: they have Divine power which before consecration they did not have.
223. In professing to believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, do we mean the Son as opposed to the Holy Spirit?
Yes; for the Holy Spirit has not taken to Himself a body or blood (but see Question 219).
224. Why should I believe in the Real Presence in the Holy Communion?
Because our Lord taught us to believe it. He said, “Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me” (I Cor. 11:24; see also St. Mark 14:22; St. Luke 22:19; St. John 6:51–54). Every part of the Church in every age has believed it. Even Luther held it strongly, and Charles Wesley ended one of his eucharistic hymns with these words:
We need not now go up to heaven
To bring the long-sought Saviour down.
Thou art to all who seek Thee given:
Thou dost e’en here Thy banquet crown.
To every faithful soul appear,
And show Thy real presence here.
The rubric in the English Prayer Book says: “If any of the bread and wine remain unconsecrated, the Curate shall have it to his own use; but if any remain of that which was consecrated, it shall not be carried out of the church, but the priest ... shall immediately after the blessing, reverently eat and drink the same” (part of this is omitted in the American Prayer Book). This distinction between the consecrated and the unconsecrated elements shows that Anglican teaching agrees with that of the rest of the Church.
225. Is the Real Presence the same as Transubstantiation?
226. Do we believe in Transubstantiation?
Transubstantiation is a theory devised in the twelfth century to explain the Real Presence in terms of the philosophy then universally current. It was made compulsory for Romanists by the Lateran Council of 1215 and the Council of Trent (1563). ‘We are not bound by these Councils. Our Article 28 condemns Transubstantiation, but whether the official doctrine or a popular corruption of it is uncertain. Transubstantiation cannot be proved from Scripture, and there are serious technical objections to it (see Charles Gore, The Body of Christ). There seems to most of us to be no need for any explanation or definition of the mystery of the Eucharist.
227. What exactly happens at the consecration? Do the bread and wine turn to the actual Body and Blood of Christ, as Roman Catholics believe?
They do not become the material Body and Blood of Christ, as you appear to mean. That is certainly not the official Roman doctrine (even if some Romanists think it is). Romanists do not believe that they are cannibals. The best Anglican divines teach that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ after a heavenly and spiritual manner. What happens at the consecration is that in answer to the prayer of the congregation led by the priest, who is ordained and authorized to lead it, the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine, so that while remaining bread and wine they also become the spiritual Body and Blood of Christ. It is a mystery which we cannot define further.
228. What is the official teaching on the Holy Communion, since the Articles are vague?
See the Second Office of Instruction in the American Prayer Book (in the English Prayer Book, the Church Catechism). The mystery of the Holy Communion cannot be fully understood and there have, and still are, different opinions about it. The Church is wise to avoid sharp definitions. The Holy Communion was given to us to be received reverently, regularly, and thankfully, not to be a subject for disputes.
229. Why is the Holy Communion the most important service of the Church?
It is the one service which our Lord expressly commanded, when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” From the earliest days of the Church, all its members gathered on the Lord’s Day for the “Breaking of Bread” (Acts 2:42, 46, 20:7). Hebrews 10:25 commands regular attendance. The whole Church in all ages has regarded the Holy Communion, or Liturgy, as the chief service round which all others are grouped. The Lord’s Day, or Sunday (which is not a continuation of the Sabbath of the Jews), was made a public holiday in order that Christians might be free to worship at the Eucharist. The Church of England directs sermons to be preached and notices issued at this service, and at no others, and the Episcopal Church follows its example.
230. Why has Morning Prayer superseded the Holy Communion as the main service on Sunday morning?
This custom, which is peculiar to the Anglican Churches, and is now rapidly breaking down, has a long history. The intention of the Prayer Book was that the Sunday morning service should be Morning Prayer, Litany, and Holy Communion with sermon. In the sixteenth century people had long been accustomed to communicate only once a year. The Reformers wished to abolish “solitary Masses,” at which only the priest communicated, and to restore frequent Communion by the laity. They laid down that if no one had given notice that he wished to communicate the service should proceed only to the Prayer for the Church Militant. This was the usual order of service until about a hundred years ago. The belief had long become general that no one ought to be present at the Holy Communion who did not at the time intend to communicate. (There is no trace of this in the Prayer Book, nor is it known in any other part of Christendom. It is supposed to be due to the Elizabethan Puritans.) So when there was a Eucharist, the greater part of the congregation as they were not communicating, trooped out.
The followers of the Tractarians, in order to induce people to prepare for Communion more carefully, especially by receiving it fasting, introduced the early Communion service, which is now almost universal in the Church of England. When choral services became common, Morning Prayer and Ante-Communion became choral, and the choir and most of the people, when there was to be Communion, departed after the Prayer for the Church Militant. Then came the demand for shorter services; the Ante-Communion was dropped, and the sermon was preached at Matins. Other parishes introduced a Choral Eucharist at which people were not supposed, or even allowed, to communicate, for fear they might not be fasting. So arose the contrast of parishes with Sung Morning Prayer and parishes with Sung Eucharist. The distinction is now being broken down by the Parish Communion at nine or ten o’clock, sometimes followed by a parish breakfast; this service combines general Communion with music, but Morning Prayer disappears. (For its advantages and disadvantages, see the Archbishop of York [Michael Ramsey], Durham Essays.)
231. Where there is but one priest, ought he to celebrate three times on Sunday? Might one of the services be replaced by the Mass of the Presanctified?
I cannot say without knowing the conditions. A priest ought not to celebrate more than once a day without necessity, but for many reasons it often is necessary. If there is a parish or family Communion, as the inquirer says, I see no reason for a late one as well. The laity might fairly put themselves to some inconvenience rather than expect their priest to celebrate three times in one day.
The Mass of the Presanctified would not solve the difficulty. This is an ancient service, based on Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, and held on days when the ordinary Liturgy was not thought suitable: among the Greeks, on all Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent; among the Romanists, on Good Friday and Easter Eve only. It has no Anglican authority and would not satisfy anyone’s needs on a Sunday; there is no consecration, so that the congregation is not joining in the Sacrifice, for which Communion from the Reserved Sacrament is not a sufficient substitute.
232. If the Holy Communion is the chief service, why is it at eight o’clock rather than at a decent hour when most people are present?
It is at an early hour in order that the communicants may be fasting, according to the universal custom of the Church. The first hour of the day is the best time to give to the worship of God.
233. If Holy Communion is the chief service, why do many parishes have Morning Prayer?
See Question 230. We ought to attend both, and it is quite possible, by not having too many hymns or too long a sermon, to get both into an hour, or a little more. This seems the more urgently required if there is no Evensong, which in many English parishes is the best-attended Sunday service.
234. Why is Morning Prayer frowned on unless it is accompanied by the Holy Communion?
There is nothing whatever against Morning Prayer, which every member of the Church ought to know and love, but it should never be a substitute for the offering of the Holy Eucharist; if you have not attended the latter you have not done your Sunday duty and are breaking the Fourth Commandment.
235. How can the importance of the Mass, not only on Sundays but on weekdays, be better emphasized?
If you are one of the fortunate few who have the time and opportunity to go to the Holy Communion (Eucharist, Mass, or Lord’s Supper) every day you ought to live up to that great privilege by showing yourself specially kind, patient, and self-sacrificing toward your less fortunate neighbors: “to whom much is given, of them much will be required” (St. Luke 12:48).
236. Does the Church believe that the sacraments (Holy Communion) are God, or only symbolic of Him?
Neither. The sacraments are means by which God’s grace and power are conveyed to us; they are not bare symbols (such as, for instance, the sign of the cross in baptism), but “effectual signs” (Article 25). They are not God: God is almighty and eternal; the Holy Eucharist is not almighty or eternal.
237. How should I receive the Holy Communion?
Go to church early: be in your place at least five minutes before the service begins; fasting (unless you are sick or aged), that is, having eaten or drunk nothing that day. Make sure that your hands and nails are perfectly clean. If you are a woman, put on no lipstick, for obvious reasons. When the time comes, proceed quietly to the altar, take off your gloves, and kneel at the rail. When the priest comes to you with the Bread, be ready, with the palm of your right hand held out and your left hand cupped underneath it (as St. Cyril of Jerusalem in the fourth century directed), making your left hand a throne for your right. The priest will place the Bread in your palm; raise it to your mouth but don’t touch it with your fingers, and be careful that no crumb or fragment is lost. When the priest comes to you with the Cup, he will have a firm hold of it. Grasp the base of the Chalice with your right hand, and tilt it carefully to your lips. Drink only the least quantity that you can swallow. If you are a woman, don’t wear a hat with a broad brim, which would prevent the priest from seeing your face; that is how accidents easily happen. Kneel straight upright throughout, and don’t bow your head. Wait until the next person has communicated, then rise and return to your place; in some churches it is the custom to return by a different way, so as to avoid confusion between those coming and those going. Unless it is absolutely necessary, never leave the church until the priest has returned to the sacristy; to leave before he does is very bad manners. Never leave the church without offering a thanksgiving. Be careful what you say immediately after Communion, for the reaction on returning to the world is the devil’s opportunity: if you can do so without hurting anyone’s feelings, it is best to go home silently.
238. Being an Anglican member of the Catholic Church, may I communicate in the Roman Church?
Certainly not. If the Roman priest knew who you were he would not communicate you. To communicate without telling him would be a lie, and a very grave one; to communicate in unrepented sin is to be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, and to bring judgment on yourself (I Cor. 11:27). To receive Communion in any Church is to commit yourself to its beliefs; in this case to the papal supremacy, etc. The Orthodox Church will sometimes, in exceptional cases such as that of the former Queen of Rumania, give Anglicans Communion when there is no Anglican priest at hand; and there is no Orthodox doctrine which we are bound as Anglicans to reject. But this is perhaps unlikely in the United States. No Anglican should do so without special permission from the Orthodox bishop.
239. May intinction be used, and in what way consistently with Catholic usage and Anglican tradition?
240. Why do some priests and some dioceses object to intinction? Has it been sanctioned by the Lambeth Conference or the American bishops?
Intinction is Communion with the Bread dipped in the Chalice or touched with the Wine. It has been the regular practice of the Eastern Churches since the thirteenth century, and recently of the Dutch Old Catholics (who formerly communicated in one kind only). There is no Anglican tradition or authority behind it, as far as I know. Intinction is permissible, with the leave of the bishop, in special cases, such as for alcoholics or persons with diseased lips. However, it does not really fulfill our Lord’s command (St. Matthew 26:27): “Drink ye all of it.” The notion current in some quarters that the common cup (which has great symbolic value) is dangerous to health is nonsense. The person most likely to suffer, if there were any truth in this silly idea, would be the priest: and statistics show that priests live longer than anyone else.
241. How often should I receive the Holy Communion?
Provided you come in repentance, faith, and charity, and make proper preparation and thanksgiving, you should aim at once a week at least. An old writer says: “If he asks how often he should receive, tell him as often as he can, that the old Serpent, seeing the Blood of Christ on his lips, may tremble to approach.” No one, except a priest who has to celebrate more than once, is allowed to communicate twice in one day.
242. Does a priest have to consecrate specially to take Communion to a sick person?
No. He may bring the Body and Blood of Christ from the altar or he may keep the sacrament permanently in the church, so that a sick person, or anyone who cannot get to the church, may be communicated at any time. But those who are permanently house-bound should be given a private celebration from time to time, if conditions permit. The priest who celebrates will always himself receive.
243. How much wine may a priest consecrate at one time?
As much as is needed, but not more than enough.
244. Why is not the Host reserved in all Anglican churches, as there seems to be always a tabernacle built in?
I suppose some priests do not know how to reserve and do not feel the need for it. The standing tabernacle is not a good place because it distracts attention from the altar, which is more holy than the tabernacle. It is more usual to reserve in an ambry (small cupboard) at the side.
245. Need one make a formal preparation before every Communion if one communicates often?
I do not think so, if one is careful to make frequent self-examination, to be sure one is in charity with all men, and to beware of letting Communion become formal. You should have a spiritual adviser and consult him.
246. How can Communion in one kind be justified, in view of the words of institution?
It cannot be justified: and it is forbidden in the Anglican Communion as it is in all the Eastern Churches (see Article 30). Even Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, if not in both kinds separately (which may be impossible), should be by intinction (see Question 239).
247. How about the use of one cup for Communion?
The Church requires the use of the common cup, out of which all are to drink. This has high symbolic value. Fear of infection is an idea which should be ignored. The Chalice must be cleansed by the lips of the celebrant, and not by a purificator. If the consecrated wine touches any fabric, that fabric must be carefully washed, and the water drunk by the celebrant. See Question 240.
248. Does the Invocation in the Canon imply a Receptionist theory?
The Invocation is: “We most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and, of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.” There is nothing here that implies Receptionism, but, like all Anglican consecration prayers, it does not exclude Receptionism; which is not a heresy, for it has never been condemned by the Church, though it is contrary to the usual teaching of the Church. The elements are here called “bread and wine” after the recital of the words of our Lord, “This is my body, This is my blood.” At the same place in the Roman Canon the following words occur: “the holy bread of eternal life, and the cup of perpetual salvation” (in Unde et memores). The theory that the use by the celebrating priest of the words of our Lord (which were His words of administering, not of consecrating) effects the consecration is a medieval belief which has given rise to many superstitions. The Canon of the Roman Mass is much older than this theory. The belief shown by all the ancient liturgies is that the consecration is effected by God the Holy Spirit in answer to the prayer of the Church, which has already offered thanks over the bread and wine. Every ancient liturgy known to us, with the doubtful exception of the very obscure Roman Mass, contains an Invocation of the Word or the Holy Spirit. The American Church (with the Scottish and other Anglican Churches) has, by restoring this invocation, returned to the practice of the ancient Church.
249. Who may be admitted to the Holy Communion, and why?
See Questions 168–79. Those who have been baptized and confirmed (and have not been excommunicated), and are under the bishop of the diocese or some bishop in full communion with him (that is, are Anglican or Old Catholic communicants) are entitled to receive the Holy Communion as full members of the Episcopal Church (remember that this was written before the 1970s), which is the Catholic Church in the United States (see Questions 127, 128). Communicants of the Orthodox, Armenian, and Assyrian Churches may be communicated at our altars, with the permission of their own bishops. This permission must be obtained in every case and on every occasion; and they must on no account be admitted to Communion without it (except at the point of death). Our authority is the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference, subject to the consent of the American bishops.
The Church of England has formally permitted communicants of the Churches of Sweden and Finland, and some other national Churches of the Lutheran tradition, to communicate at our altars. They believe as we do about the creeds and the two great sacraments; they never seceded from the Church of England, whose authority they recognize; and they could not become Anglicans even if they wished to, as there is no Anglican Church in their native countries.
250. Is it not superstitious to think the condition of the stomach before Communion more important than the condition of heart and mind?
The condition of heart and mind is indeed the most important thing: to communicate without repentance, faith, and charity is profane. The reason for the rule of fasting Communion is that we may honor our Lord’s Body and Blood by making it the first food of the day. This has been a custom of all parts of the Church from early times. It is also the experience of most people that they are not in a fit condition for religious exercises after a meal, for this there is plenty of biblical authority (Ex. 34:28; I Kings 19:8; Dan. 10:3; St. Matthew 4:2; Acts 10:10). The best time to communicate is early in the morning, before the cares and distractions of the day have begun.
251. Has the Anglican Church an official or majority doctrine of the Real Presence?
See Questions 220–24. The Anglican Church has no doctrine on this or any other subject that cannot be proved from Scripture or has not been defined by the Universal Church. There is no definition of the Universal Church on this subject. We must not be explicit where Scripture is not explicit. In any case doctrine is not decided by majorities, which have no spiritual authority. The Holy Eucharist is a mystery, and the less we try to explain it the better.
252. Why is the Eucharist a sacrifice?
See Question 189. The only sacrifice in the Christian religion is the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, made on the Cross and offered in heaven (see the Epistle to the Hebrews). The Eucharist is the principal means by which we are permitted to take part in that sacrifice and to offer all that we are and have, that we may be united with our Saviour’s perfect sacrifice. When we take part in the Eucharist, even without receiving Communion, we are carried into heaven and share the worship of the angels and archangels; when we receive Communion we take part more fully, for then we feast on the Sacrifice.
253. What is “Benediction”? How can it be reconciled with Articles 25 and 28?
“Benediction” is the practice of using the consecrated Bread for blessing people: either in a glass vessel called a “monstrance” or in a closed vessel called a “ciborium.” It is a modern Romanist ceremony, unknown in ancient times or in the Eastern Churches. It was not in use even among English Romanists before the nineteenth century. The Articles quoted only say that Christ did not command the sacraments to be carried about, or gazed at, and this cannot be denied by anyone.
Benediction is forbidden or strongly discouraged in most Anglican dioceses. Such learned and holy men as Pusey, Scott Holland, Richard Benson (founder of the Cowley Fathers), and Bishop Gore (who forbade it in his diocese) were strongly opposed to it. Benediction encourages simple people to believe that our Lord is locally present in the tabernacle and to offer adoration to the outward visible signs of His presence; but we must not offer adoration, the worship due to God alone, to anything that we can see. If we believe that Christ is locally present we believe what the best theologians say is not true; and if we do not believe it, Benediction is meaningless. The blessing of God is the same, whether the sacrament is used for the purpose or not.
Other objections are these: Whereas our Lord is in the sacrament for sacrifice and for Communion, “Benediction” and similar practices are not connected with either, and we cannot be sure that they have His sanction. Emphasis on His sacramental presence, apart from Communion, leads to neglect of His promise to be present wherever His people are assembled; and of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Benediction and similar unnecessary practices have created in many minds a strong prejudice against the reservation of the sacrament, which is often necessary for the sick and others who cannot be present at the Eucharist.