LIKE A BROTHER

Monday, May 12th, 2014 | Uncategorized

Anglicans?  Roman Catholic Church here.  Yeah, I know you haven’t heard from us in a while.  We’ve been pretty busy lately, what with electing our new pope and canonizing a couple of old ones.  You know how things can slip away from you sometimes.

Anyway, we got something that we have to tell you.  The two of us have had some great times in the past.  Lord knows, you guys produced some fantastic hymns over the years and even we have to admit that the 1662 Book of Common Prayer kicks ass.

But here’s the deal.  We thought long and hard about this and…well…this just isn’t working out and we’ve decided to see other churches:

Anglicanism in the United States is functionally incoherent as an ecclesiastical system, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States concluded in a report released last month, as there is no normative voice for doctrine and discipline in the Episcopal Church of the USA.

It’s not you, it’s us.

In a paper entitled: “Ecclesiology and Moral Discernment: Seeking a Unified Moral Witness,” approved at the ARC-USA meeting held on 24-25 Feb 2014 at the Virginia Theological Seminary, the joint commission noted “how differently our two communions structure and exercise authority, not only with respect to moral teaching but all forms of teaching. Our teachings do differ in content, specificity, and detail.”

We’re just in a different place right now.

“The absence of an authoritative universal magisterium among the churches of the Anglican Communion marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority,” the statement said.

“Without such a universal teaching authority it is difficult to state definitively the teaching Anglicans hold on many specific matters, beyond the governing documents and prayer book of each particular church. This fact marks a signal difference in the structure of teaching authority from the Roman Catholic Church and helps to explain a significant tension in the relationship between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.”

Please don’t cry.

The paper focused its efforts on two issues: immigration/migration and same-sex relations. In examining same-sex unions, the joint statement said that “the teaching of the Episcopal Church on same-sex sexuality may be said to accept an unresolved tension between primary textual authorities on the one hand and local councils (both General Convention and diocesan conventions) on the other.”

“It is hard to see how our differences in moral theology and ecclesiology will be resolved, and it is not clear to many whether they should be,” the statement concluded.

We still like you.  But only as a friend.

29 Comments to LIKE A BROTHER

Whitestone
May 12, 2014

Talk about Pot calling the Kettle black.

A choice between the RCC and ECUSA is like choosing between pestilence or plague.

Any organization which contains and tolerates such Cardinals as O’Brien, Archbishops like Favalora, Bishops such as Raymond Lahey, leaders like Maciel, and the many miscreant gay and pe-dophile priests, offers little to no advantage over Robinson, Russell, Williams and Shori.

I would not trust my grandchildren in a confessional or room alone with either organization’s clergy.

Katherine
May 12, 2014

Finally facing the obvious. The article doesn’t say what the discussion about immigration/migration consisted of, and anyhow, that isn’t likely to be church doctrine. But saying that “there is no normative voice for doctrine and discipline in the Episcopal Church of the USA” is putting it mildly, unless one thinks, as I do, that with reference to same-sex relations the doctrine and discipline of ECUSA are in practice clear and clearly contrary to the apostolic faith and discipline.

Arnold
May 12, 2014

Whitestone: We are a church of 1.2 billion souls worldwide, over 410,000 priests at present (and a far larger number over the past 50 years), several thousand bishops and over 800,000 members of religious orders. Your litany of the unacceptable is a rather short one by comparison and a deliberate insult to the rest of the Catholic priesthood, not to mention us lay people. Our miscreants disobeyed or ignored the teachings of their own church. The Episcopalians have no set teachings or doctrines to use as a standard by which to measure behavior. Isn’t that basically what the ARCIC statement was getting at?

unreconstructed rebel
May 12, 2014

“there is no normative voice for doctrine and discipline in the Episcopal Church of the USA”

And that, boys & girls, is why I finally cleared off. Trying to reason much less argue with such an organization is rather like trying to nail jello to a wall. Once upon a time there were the 39 Articles, but by the time my generation came along, they were considered at best quaint.

I mean, just what is a Bhuddist Christian? Anybody want to take a stab at that one?

Mike
May 12, 2014

Finally is right, Katherine. For at least the past 20 years, “ARCIC” has been a shortcut for the word “farcical.” My guess is that somebody’s finance department finally put their foot down and disallowed the travel allowance to this charade!

gppp
May 12, 2014

“… the teaching of the Episcopal Church on same-sex sexuality may be said to accept an unresolved tension between primary textual authorities on the one hand and local councils (both General Convention and diocesan conventions) on the other.”

Like the old KJS poster says: “Don’t believe that crap? Neither do we.”

Ed the Roman
May 12, 2014

Whitestone, I always count on you to fire up the old Whore-of-Babylon rhetoric and ignore the distinction between a church with some leaders who are not faithful to its teachings and a church whose teachings are undefined in the first place.

Katherine
May 12, 2014

Those Episcopalians who considered themselves part of a “reformed catholic” body lost that in ECUSA with the first illegal female ordinations. Some of us (and I plead guilty) took a while to recognize it. The same-sex business is an extension of that process. ARCIC has been pointless for quite a few years. Perhaps the RCs could try with ACNA, but that’s still in formation. It needs to face the same set of problems. At least we can say it’s doing a more faithful job of it than ECUSA.

FW Ken
May 12, 2014

When my Episcopalian Old Testament professor told me that, yes, Anglicanism, by design, has no definitive teaching authority, I could see the banks of the Tiber. Oddly, enough, it was a book by the Presbyterian James Smart, The Teaching Ministry of the Church that influenced by thinking. We read it in an undergraduate religion class in a Methodist school, so I guess becoming RC was an ecumenical adventure for me.

:-)

Matthew A
May 12, 2014

How can they say there isn’t a normative voice for doctrine and discipline when the ECUSA has made it crystal clear that churches can not leave with the property, that same sex marriages are to be encouraged and marriage lasts until the marriage dies or the marital partners get bored?

Sheesh, what more do they want? It’s like they take the whole God thingy seriously.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
May 12, 2014

ARCIC has been a pointless waste of resources ever since TEC began ordaining women. Not only was there no common ground on the issue but it clearly demonstrated then what this report finally acknowledges.

TEC is morally bankrupt, theologically incoherent and administratively chaotic. The only real driving force is its addiction to disobedience.

Will
May 12, 2014

“Contains and tolerates”? Whitestone, those are two very different things, and lumping them together doesn’t serve the cause of truth at all. Every organisation with humans in it will “contain” sinners – of every type and description. Did you ever really expect it to be otherwise? But in case you hadn’t noticed, the likes of O’Brien and Maciel didn’t exactly have their scandalous misdeeds “tolerated”. There’s the fundamental distinction: in TEC, immorality is not merely tolerated but excused, celebrated and dogmatized.

Winston
May 12, 2014

The English attempted to build a national church in a nation that already had a multitude of “religions” — and “only one sauce”. They could not have produced a comprehensive Magisterium, as that would have been too exclusive for their circumstances. Instead, they tried to build a comprehensive institution in a pluralistic environment.

I would like to note thata majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and members of the Constitutional Convention were at least nominally Anglicans. Make of that what you will.

I believe the founders of our church and our state did good service for their nation(s)in their time, and I have a great fondness for what they managed to create. Both are now lost. I miss them profoundly.

bob
May 12, 2014

It’s a pretty mild comment. Using the lofty idea of a “universal teaching authority” in the same room as an Anglican…..Well, they can’t decide who can marry who, why expect anything more? Hanging around with a golden retriever is more rewarding and the dog has more theological understanding.

Bill2
May 12, 2014

Frankie G. like to pretend he was Catholic back in the day. Once you get past the first BCP, you’re pretty much dealing with Calvinism with copes. Once I realized that at long last, you either need to make peace with being a protestant or go Orthodox or RC.

The ARCIC pretty much makes very little REAL sense at that point other than some vague feel good pronouncements advocating higher taxes and open borders.

Brize
May 13, 2014

Regarding Whitestones comments and responses to it, i remember C F Allison saying many years ago that it was more important to retain sound doctrine than sound morals, because if morality were lost it could be rebuilt from the basis of sound doctrine, but doctrine, being revealed rather than derived, could not be rebuilt from sound morals. Made sense to me then and still does.

Jacob Morgan
May 13, 2014

Well, Whitestone, one of the original apostles betrayed Jesus Himself, so the bad bishop thing goes back a long way, and by your logic the whole Christianity thing went down in flames when Judas took took the silver, if being able to point out a bad bishop sinks the whole enterprise.

Only the saints truly and completely practice what they ought to preach. And saints being discovered in the Catholic church is a big deal with much celebration–that is not the point. The point is that Church A has preists and bishops that do not always practice what they preach, while Church B preaches error in excess of what many of them practice.

And no, I don’t worry at all when my daughter visits the confessional. Besides there being a WALL between the penitent and the preist, the preist where we belong is a holy person. At the old parish, the preist had been a late vocation, a nuclear engineer making good money–he gave that up to be a chaplain at a federal prison before moving to a parish years later. He was absolutely faithful to the teachings of the church, and yes he did preach against contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexual acts, the seven deadly sins, etc., from the pulpit. It would not surprise me in the least if he had practiced mortifications in atonement for the sins of other preists. To libel him with that broad brush is judgmental in the worst way.

LaVallette
May 13, 2014

At long last: calling a spade a spade. About time a stop was put to the “pretence” of the theological and moral contiguity between Catholicism and Anglicanism, (Episcoplianism in particular). That died when Henry VIII decided he knew better and released the whirlwind. Charity is based on the truth! To put it bluntly: in ARCIC and the “Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the United States” and such similar dialogues in every part of the world, while the Catholics sought common ground in order to seek reunification under the mantle of the One Catholic Church, the Anglicans merely bathed in the feeling of “recognition as co-equals” with the Catholic Church that such dialogue(s) was/is perceived to confer. When it came to do “their thing” the Anglicans gave not (and still do not give) a single whit for the position of their much larger and older dialogue partners

Ed the Roman
May 13, 2014

Whitestone, I recommend sixty days of distinguishing between leadership elements who don’t follow defined teachings and having teachings that are undefined. Just as an exercise.

We all understand you very well on three points:

You hate Catholicism.

You hate the bad behavior of bad clergy.

That bad behavior is part of what invalidates Catholicism in your view.

But the way you rag on Rome suggests that you have a non-hypothetical alternative to it that is free of all those faults. When are you going to say what it is? Remember, I said *non-hypothetical*. “A principled Anglicanism true to its founding” is hypothetical.

FW Ken
May 13, 2014

Catholic triumphalism aside, is good to remember the success of Anglicanism in bringing Christianity to Africa, particularly. Did they ride along with the British Empire builders? Well, yes, but they are hardly the first to do so, and what they built has outlasted the empire, bringing many souls into the Kingdom.

undergroundpewster
May 13, 2014

“Anglicanism in the United States is functionally incoherent as an ecclesiastical system…”

How come nobody thought to call them is as witnesses in all those nasty departure trials where TEc was able to convince the judge otherwise?

dwstroudmd+
May 13, 2014

ARCIC, A REALLY Convoluted Inadaba Contender, before its time, has finally been EXPOSED! Details from Frank Griswold at the Second Coming! Stay tuned…

Whitestone
May 13, 2014

FW Ken is right. Anglicanism was used by God as an effective vehicle to bring Christ to the world, Africa and Asia. This was not accomplished by anything, but the grace and power of God, The Holy Spirit, Who inspired missionaries with humility and a fervent desire to teach the Gospel and bring souls to Christ – a movement that sprang from the devotion, dedication and enthusiasm of the Wesleys and their cohorts.

Tragically, some African Christians have said that at least half the RC priests in Africa are homose-xually-oriented, and many are miscreants rejected/removed from service in first world countries and have committed the same abuse in Africa that they did in their home countries. It sure seems that those sent to work with the Eskimo and Native American children were such persons.

Katherine
May 13, 2014

Those of us who post here regularly know that Whitestone’s anti-Catholicism is incorrigible. However, repeating a rumor that “at least half of the RC priests in Africa are homosexually-oriented” seems extreme even for her. Serving Christ in sub-saharan Africa is ever more dangerous as strict Islam comes into contact with the expanding Christian churches. Spreading ugly second-hand stories about Christian communions not our own is not honoring God or the sacrifices of all African believers.

Ed the Roman
May 13, 2014

Some say? Really? Some say? Some say that allusions to anonymous accusations are unworthy of a serious debate, too.

FW Ken
May 13, 2014

It has been claimed that half of American priests are homosexually oriented, but other sources say 20% to 30%. Given than something less than 5% American of priests have had an accusation against them, much less a credible accusation, it’s clear that affliction with same-sex attraction does not equal to child molesting. Even allowing for the fact that 85% of the complaints involved young men, you still get a small percentage of men acting out.

One more comment about the orginal article. Fr. George Conger is a reputable journalist and, from what I read, a good priest. His article is well-written and, I think, does not represent the “win” for Catholicism that some are reading into it (perhaps myself included). In fact, the ARCIC statement acknowledges that each Communion comes at authority and teaching differently. Obviously, I agree with the Magesterial Authority which the Catholic Church claims, but we should not go further than the article.

On the other hand, we can agree that ARCIC is a dead issue, and seek other ways to fulfill Our Lord’s prayer that “they all may be one”.

LaVallette
May 14, 2014

Whitestone is an anagram for Jack Chick!

The young fogey
May 14, 2014

It’s really about the Catholic Church being what it always was vs. Hooker’s mildly “reformed” made-up church which basically lost its nerve at the “Enlightenment.” Anglo-Catholicism, as well meant as it often was, confused people, then fashionable ecumenism around the time of Vatican II confused people more. The Pope gave Archbishop Ramsey one of his rings, and Anglo-Catholics thought they were becoming Catholic while Catholic liberals thought they were becoming “enlightened” neo-Anglicans. The churchmen will keep nattering about primacy, etc., but dialogue is a dead end. Neither the mainline liberals nor the Third World Evangelical conservatives want to become Catholic.

Suburbanbanshee
May 14, 2014

Re: bad bishops and bad Christians, it’s not just a modern problem. I’ve been translating St. Beatus of Liebana’s Commentary on the Apocalypse for the last few years. Boy, does he speak feelingly about bad bishops, “those who seem to be in the Church but are not,” using friendship with bad government leaders to oppress good Christians, abusing Bible quotes, leading normal people astray, etc. etc. (And then there’s laypeople.)

Beatus was drawing from early Christian sources for a lot of this; and the Book of Revelation itself is quite early, and there’s a nice long list of church idiocies in the letters to the seven churches. So it’s not like you can put a date on sin.

Some people are always going to be out there to take advantage or puff up their own egos. The difference is whether we try to get rid of them and/or their behavior, or whether we enable and praise the bad behavior.

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