What a week for the Anglicans or the Episcopalians or whoever is near you who claims ancient ties to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
First there was the silence about Anglicanism in that much-covered Vatican document, the one that grants the Orthodox a unique, if wounded, status as a sacramental “Church.” In the past (please correct me if I am wrong), Anglicans have usually received some kind of nod in Vatican documents to their historic roots and claims to apostolic succession. But in the new Vatican statement, there is silence. Does that mean that the Church of England is covered in the following reference?
Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.
That’s blunt. The Reformation communities have “not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery.”
And then there was this strange little passage in the Associated Press story covering the Episcopal rites for the funeral of Lady Bird Johnson.
“We are here to let Lady Bird go and to celebrate her glad release,” said the Rev. Stephen Kinney, former rector at Johnson’s home church, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg.
The service ended with a song written for Johnson. One of her daughters, Lynda Johnson Robb, watched from the front row, holding a grandchild and swaying to the music and smiling. The Eucharist, a religious ceremony re-enacting the Last Supper, took place in a room constructed with limestone and oak, both native to the Hill Country.
There are quite a few issues on which many Episcopalians and Anglicans do not agree. However, I am sure there are few in the Anglican Communion who would refer to the Holy Eucharist — Anglo-Catholics would say “Mass” — as a “religious ceremony re-enacting the Last Supper.” Some of the themes and variations in Anglican discussions of this issue even show up in the Wikipedia entry on Anglican Eucharistic theology.
I don’t know if the Texas Hill Country is “high-church” (Catholic) or “low-church” (Evangelical Protestant) or a mixed Episcopal zone.
Still, the AP reference is strange and it assumed way too much. Then again, maybe the writer had already read the latest update from Rome. It was that kind of week.