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.


Texanglican (R.W. Foster+) said...

Father, I know there will be a special committee to deal with Prayer Book issues soon, if it has not already been formed. I know there is general interest in the Network (certainly here in FW) in a new BCP more in keeping with the traditional Books. BCP 1979 is a poor thing, to be sure!

As for WO, I do wonder if CANA can stay wiht us long. The FiFNA dioceses, APA, AMiA and REC will command a numerical majority in the entity, and I cannot see that a robust WO contingent will hang within the new entity long unless they are willing to "grandmother" out their female priests over time. We shall see.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

I hope you are correct on both fronts.


Anonymous said...

So far, CCP has not fudged: its statement of principles comprises both (1) the first Seven General Councils, which is crucial to Anglicanisms orthodox-catholic witness, and (2) the 39 Articles of religion, which is essential to Anglicanism witness to the reform of Latin theological error (i.e., scholasticism) along patristic lines.

Let us pray that it does not fudge on matters of clerical orders and liturgics.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

I would hope it would truly follow the words of the Archbishop:

"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."

True indeed--no authority to innovate.

Unknown said...

It is amazing to me how certain innovations, the '79 book and WO among them, command such passion that persons are willing to give up both classical Anglicanism and Christianity for them. But that seems to be the case with Bishop Minns. How does one make these folk realize that the troubles which they have sought to escape will be right back with them if they embrace such heresies?

Or do they even believe in heresies beyond the consecration of openly homosexual bishops?

Anonymous said...

I believe that one's own personal formation can easily be too parochial and uncatholic, leading to a myopic and subjective vision of the "ideal" Anglican Church.

Personally, I only broke out home-parish syndrome by visiting lots of churches in lots of communions and jurisdictions. I found value in almost all the Eastern Rites (though the Coptic tradition is rough on Anglican ears), couldn't find much in a the "Said Latin Mass," but a bit in a High Choral Latin Mass. I even found a lot to like in Victorian Anglo-Catholicism compared to hyper-hokey Prayer-Book Presbydestinarian "Anglicans." Pentecostals and Snake handlers, admittedly were over the top.

In the end, despite things I would restore to the 1549 standard, I accept that the US 1928 BCP is the last legitimate edition reached by consensus in my locality and that the same for the Hymnal 1940 (though I think the 1982 Hyman is much more passable than the 1979 Common Book of Prayer).

In the end, CANA and other groups, such as FIF, must to decide whether the Church catholic is correct (the Ecumenical Counsel as historically understand) or whether one is authentically Anglican (39 Articles w/o Tract 90 (Romish gloss) or Griffith-Thomas (Calvinist gloss).

Unfortunately, history suggests neither group will come to the center of historically authentic Anglicanism, must hope springs eternal.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

I think that two of the options you suggest (Ecumenical Councils AND Articles of Religion) are not mutually exclusive. One can affirm the 7 councils as well as the mild Augustianism of the Articles. One main problem is that many Anglicans who claim "Catholicism" do not really affirm the 7 Councils--they affirm their own limited knowledge of the Councils as well as whichever Roman doctrines and practices they see fit to add to the theology of the 7 Councils. As I've said before, I'd be happy if Anglican could sign on to the Old Catholic theses, for these set the limits of what is properly Catholic and what is distinctly Roman.

Unknown said...

I hope you will pardon me if I point out that Newman was only following a Roman Franciscan friar, i.e., Christopher Davenport aka Francesco de Santa Clara, in his interpretation which received the imprimateur of the Holy Office of his time. But this was also of a time and period when the Roman see was offering Laud a cardinal's hat and the French bishops were praising George Bull's defense of 'Catholicism' while wondering why and how a 'protestant' could have done so.
Today we endure many myths about what the Caroline Church, pre and post the Cromwellian interregnum looked, sounded and even smelled like, but we should recogniaze that it was profoundly different from what came to be after the beginning of the reign of William and Mary. But then Rome was also changing profoundly so that a papist of that age would hardly recognize the Roman Church of our own. And this is why we must keep going back to the fundamental documents and formularies of the Church which is what the English reformation intended.

Anonymous said...



My thesis is that Authentic Anglicanism comprises both the Seven Councils properly understood (not in the Roman way) and the 39 Articles properly understood (neither Roman or Puritan).

And I agree, about the 14 Bonn Theses. Since they paved the way for intercommunion with Anglicanism before both most Old Catholics and Anglicans went off the rail, it is a good guide for modern clarification of the meaning of the import of the 39 Articles and the Seven Councils.

Anonymous said...